Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring's on its Way

And we're still eating lots of  bacon.

Beets, Brussels, Sunchokes, and some Bacon

I have some beets tucked away in the drawer of my fridge from several markets ago- just buy as many as the farmer will let you when they're around.  Beets keep a long long time as long as they are in a bag in the drawer- they tend to get a little soft when exposed to air for too long.  Make sure they're dry and the tops are removed or they might mold.

When I roast veggies I never peel them, unless they are just so giant that the skin has gotten thick- turnips are especially easy to tell because the skin will begin to peel right off with a paring knife.  

No salt or oil is needed here, the bacon will do the trick.  Stop by your friendly neighborhood Link 41ers on Main St and they will hook you up.  Of course, if you would prefer not to use bacon, oil and salt would do wonderfully.

for four people
  • 2 smallish beets, and sliced into wedges
  • 1 large handful of brussel sprouts
  • 3-4 sunchokes (those yummy delicious things that look kind of like ginger but aren't), washed and sliced into wedges or chunks
  • 1 small or 1/2 very large turnip, sliced
  • 2 slices back or jowl bacon (the meat on these adds a little texture and holds up to roasting better than belly, but you can use that too), diced
  • a few tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (I used Rouge's Caveman Blue)
Toss vegetables with bacon on a sheet pan and bake in a 350 degree oven until everything is tender.  Some things will cook quicker than others (like the turnips), but that's ok.  Texture makes things interesting.  Scoop off pan with a slotted spoon, making sure to leave most of the bacon drippings behind.  Sprinkle with blue cheese while warm and serve soon.

Kale Slaw with Carrots and, yes, More Delicious Sunchokes

I got a lot of sunchokes last week at the market.  I just couldn't resist- they are so crunchy and wonderful!  I kind of stole this recipe idea (at least the lemon juice part)  from Beth, a past William's Islander.  She said you are supposed to "massage" the kale for a long time to make it wilt.   I just gave it a few quick rubs, but it does the trick.  The lemon juice really helps, although vinegar has the same effect, just less gentle.

for two kale lovin' folks, or four 
  • 1 bunch of kale, thinly sliced.  I usually leave the stems in, if they are thinly sliced enough it is no problem.  
  • 1 carrot (another thing I stocked up on), sliced into little sticks.  You can use a mandoline if you own one (I don't).  You can also grate it, it just doesn't look as pretty
  • 1 sunchoke, sliced however you can (they are a little eccentric in the shape)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • salt to taste (a little more than you think you'd want, it helps break down the kale and soften the carrots)
  • a teeny drizzle of honey
Salt the kale and pour the lemon juice over.  With very clean hands lovingly massage the kale for a few seconds or more, until it is no longer squeaky, but more subdued and soft.  Toss in everything else and let sit til you are ready to eat.  The longer the better.

The Last of Last Year's Pink Beans with Andouille Sausage

Now that spring is around the corner I am going through the freezer and canned goods cabinet with much more abandon.  I have a LOT of pickled beets to make my way through, and it seems that fresh beets rarely go out of season, at least in my fridge.  I froze lots of beans and peas from the market last year and have been merrily cooking them all winter long.  They are nice because they are frozen fresh, not dried, so I don't have to plan ahead by soaking them overnight.  
  • 1 quart bag of frozen beans (or about 1 1/2- 2 cups dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight) cooked til soft
  • 1 turnip, diced
  • 2 kohlrabi, diced and greens chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 dried cayenne, crushed (optional- taste a bit of the sausage first to see if you want more heat)
  • 1 link andouille, sliced
Cook the sausage til almost done.  Throw in the garlic and kohlrabi and cook til tender.  Add the turnip and cook a bit longer and then add the beans and let simmer for about an hour til everything is nice and soft and wonderful..  Taste for salt and add as needed.  Serve with grits or quinoa or rice.  

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