This is a re-post from November 2019….deep in the land-of-covid…not so long in the past. This is just so good and simple I wanted to re-share. Have a grateful, thankful and really good day.
I must confess I have a weakness for that (kinda gross) jellied cranberry sauce in the can. I am sure it has to do with childhood Holiday memories nested deep in my brain. On the other hand, I really love this cranberry relish that is quick, easy and fresh. It is a little bit sweet, a little bit tart and very special with a baked ham or a roasted chicken or turkey, not to mention roasted vegetables.. All you need is a food processor and about 10 minutes. It will keep in the fridge for a few days in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid so it is an excellent make-ahead.
There really isn’t any need for an official recipe, but I put a quick one at the end just in case.
About 2 cups of fresh cranberries, 2 firm but ripe pears (or apples), 1 orange including the peel and a 1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar are the 4 ingredients needed. All chopped in a processor, jarred and chilled. It really is “easy-as-this”. What a nice jar of this would be for a food-lover on your Holiday List!
Cool fall day…soup day…Matzo Ball Soup My Way day….restorative and nourishing. My way with lots of fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley, freshly ground black pepper…it is as “easy-as-this”.
You know what else is as “easy-as-this”? Voting. It is also restorative and nourishing for the soul. Coming up in just a few days is one of the most important times to get out and vote to keep women’s health care a free choice for all, to keep it safe and legal. It is a time to say no to no-background check gun purchases. It is a time to support our public schools. It is a time when doing good is possible if we vote. Vote early if you can or on Tuesday November 8th at your local voting location. It is as “easy-as-that”.
First grab a box of matzo ball and soup mix…there are quite a few to choose from. I use whatever is on the shelf..Streit’s or Manischewitz are the most common in my supermarket. They are very similar in what is in the box….a packet of matzo meal for making the balls and a packet of dried soup mix. Follow the directions on the box, but with a few additions to make it “my way”.
The additions of fresh lemons, low salt chicken stock or bone broth, generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh parsley turn an already good packaged product into something special. Adding chopped fresh parsley and black pepper to the matzo balls and the broth adds an updated flavor profile while the lemon juice brightens up the overall finished soup.
Restorative and nourishing this soup is ready to eat in under 1 hour…as easy-as-this dinner on brrrrrr chilly days.
Restorative and nourishing voting only takes minutes.
freshly ground black pepper – 1 teaspoons for the matzo balls + extra for serving
3 lemons – 2 juiced + one l sliced thinly for garnishing soup
fresh parsley chopped – 1 tablespoon for the matzo balls + extra for serving
In a mixing bowl whisk together the vegetable oil and 2 eggs until light and frothy. Add the matzo ball packet contents, 1 teaspoon of the black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley to the bowl, cover and chill for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the water and chicken broth to a large stock pot. Stir in the soup mix packet and bring to a boil.
Form chilled matzo ball mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter to make about 12 balls. Wet hands if need be while rolling.
Drop matzo balls into the boiling broth, add a tight-fitting lid to the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until matzo balls are throughly cooked. Remove pan from heat and add the juice of two lemons, additional black pepper and fresh parsley. Stir and serve bowls of hot soup with slices of lemon.
If I keep at it, I will find the absolute easiest way to do everything. It is not that I am lazy, but that I do not like to fuss. I want to start a task and take it through to the end as effortlessly as possible while ending up with something special…whether it be food, or art, or gardening. I am pretty sure my personality leads me in my approach…c’est la vie. Whipping up a batch of homemade jam and the time needed to do so can be at odds with one another…full of desire to do the first without the time usually needed, my recipe for oven roasted fresh peach jam makes the process of jam making doable and satisfying in all ways.
Around 3 lbs fresh, ripe peaches, not peeled, but pitted and stems removed, chopped
The zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup raw sugar + 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl. Let sit while oven pre-heats. (The peaches I used were clingstone, meaning the fruit’s flesh clings to the pit, so I cut the fruit away from the pit and then squeezed the juice around the pit into the bowl as well. More peach flavor and not waste.)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Scrape peach mixture out onto a baking sheet pan. Spread out evenly. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until fruit has softened and juices on pan start to thicken. Ovens may vary so keep an eye on the progress.
Remove baking sheet from the oven when fruit is quite soft and then mash with a potato masher or fork until it looks like jam.
Fill two pint jars, or more jars if using smaller ones, with the warm peach jam and allow to cool to room temperature. Add a lid and refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat.
Note: This basic method could be used for plums, cherries, apples, and berries. It’s a great way to keep the summer in the freezer for later.
Hot or cold depending on our tempestuous Spring weather…served in a bowl or sipped from a cup…easy and quick.
I realize that food always seems to taste better when you are sitting at a table on a rather idyllic beach as the sun sets, surrounded by tropical flora, the waves crashing and having great company alongside. Nothing to do, no pressing work, a hammock nearby. Really, that is a no brainer I think.
No matter how many times I have been to the Yucatan Peninsula, I still discover new dishes that are delicious in any setting. A roasted poblano pepper soup served chilled, a little creamy with a very fresh roasted poblano pepper flavor and a spicy bite at the end. Lovely, subtle green color laced with darker green flecks of pepper and cilantro and freshly ground black pepper rounded out a memorable meal in a memorable setting and was just as delicious here at home.
Optional for garnish: chopped tomatoes; hot sauce; cilantro leaves
Turn oven to 425 degrees. Place poblano peppers on a sheet pan and roast for about 15 minutes, flip them over with tongs and roast another 10 minutes or until they are charred and softened. Remove peppers and place in a reclosable plastic bag/or paper bag to sweat. After they have cooled somewhat, remove from bag and peel a much skin as you can off, remove and toss stem and most of seeds. Give the peppers a rough chop and set aside.
While peppers are roasting, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes until softened. Add chopped poblano peppers to the pan and saute another 5 minutes or so. Turn heat to medium. Toss in cilantro leaves and stems and mint. Add broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Working in batches (do not put too much hot soup in the blender at one time) puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to the pan.
Stir in 1/4 cup cream. Taste and adjust seasonings. Creamy poblano soup is delicious served hot or cold. If serving cold, chill in refrigerator in pan, uncovered until cold.
Serve hot or cold with a drizzle of additional cream, cilantro leaves, fresh lime juice and black pepper if you like. A sprinkle of chopped tomatoes and a splash of hot sauce is great if soup needs more heat.
A re-post from the past for current days. An easy bread to empower the most hesitant. Deliciously simple.
“So, her hands scuffled over the backboard, the reddening stove sent its plaque of heat against her where she stood in a floury apron by the window.” By Seamus Heaney, from “North”, 1975
Of all the past two years of Pandemic Baking going on, with lots of talk and attention going to yeast breads, sour dough in particular, little was mentioned about soda bread. I am not sure why, but there was a noticeable absence of tribute to this historic bread. Soda Bread doesn’t take a lot of time nor skill to complete…maybe that is why it was lacking in attention. Little ado and you have a loaf of bread. No waiting for a culture to develop. One just does it. Plain and simple. In an hour your loaf if ready to slice.
Irish Soda Bread has a long history connected to both Ireland and surprisingly American Indian cooking. The texture and grain is beautiful and sturdy. It works well for sandwiches and toast. It is simply a good everyday bread. This recipe as you will see can be savory or sweet with just a few tweaks. I have made this recipe many time adding fresh herbs, nuts, grated cheese and even red pepper flakes.
Irish Soda Bread…timeless and timely on this Day, March 17th, 2022.
A Sweet and Savory Irish Soda Bread - One Recipe, Two Loaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together in a mixing bowl.
Make a “well” in the center and pour in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and mix gently. Add more buttermilk if dough seems too dry. This dough should be soft and somewhat wet. Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Knead dough until smooth and shape into an 8 inch round, slightly flattened disk. Place dough on prepared sheet pan and using a sharp knife dipped in water, make an “X” in the top.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until bread is golden brown and crusty. When you remove the loaf from the oven and tap on the bottom it should sound hollow. Serve warm with softened butter.
Directions for Loaf #2
Preheat oven to 425 and prepared sheet pan.
Sift flour, salt and baking soda together, making a “well” in the center. Add yogurt, cream and half of the marmalade. Stir together quickly. Scrape dough onto a floured work surface and knead a few times.
Shape dough into a disk and place on sheet pan. Smear outside of dough with remaining marmalade. Using a sharp knife dipped in water, make an “X” in the top of the dough.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crusty.
Everyday healthy. A Grab-and-Go snack. Simple is good. Make it cheaper, make it better.
Homemade granola is so much tastier and healthier than anything available store-bought….and more definitely more affordable. At times when I am really busy I will buy my favorite brand from the supermarket, but earlier this week while grocery shopping I had a few “arresting inflation shopping moments” that did not have anything to do with filling my car up before entering the grocery!
Limes, which I had to have for a photo shoot recipe, were 89 cents each! Two large crisp apples cost $2.64, etc, etc. The granola I buy “in a pinch” was $1 more per package and the package is not very large. Granted it is low sugar, low-batch produced and has a lot of really good ingredients, but I just could not make myself toss it in the cart. Why now? Why not now? Why not make my own using what I already have at home in my pantry. It is quick and easy and based on good whole grain oats and whatever else I can rummage up so I call this batch “Inflation Inspired Pantry Granola”.
Pantry Granola is delicious with yogurt and fresh fruit, but also as a sprinkle over a scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt, and can be stirred into oatmeal right before eating to add a little crunch. Sometimes I take it in a little container with me in the car for when I get the munchies. A little bit salty and a little bit sweet. Very satisfying.
This batch of granola has pecans, large coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, almonds, old-fashioned oats, maple syrup, brown sugar and olive oil with a bit of sea salt tossed in. I have attached a recipe or how-to, but truthfully you can add as much or as little of any nuts, grains, dried fruit, etc as you like. It is pretty hard for this to not be a success. It is absolutely as easy-as-this.
Spread out on parchment lined baking sheets and popped into the oven until a bit caramelized. We like our granola pretty toasted & roasted, but that is totally up to you. Less toasted, more toasted, anyway you like it.
Stored in large airtight containers ready for the pantry. It is as easy-as-this.
3 cups whole grain rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill), not quick cooking oats
1 cup each pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans (or any mixture to make 3 cups)
1/2 cup each pistachios, walnuts, slivered almonds (or whatever nuts you have to make 1.5 cups)
1 cup flaked coconut (shredded works as well)
1/2 cup maple syrup (you can use honey, just take it down to 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
Sea salt flakes (kosher will do)
Note: Use whatever combination of ingredients you prefer or have on hand for your own mix. You can add dried fruit such as chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries, banana chips, but add these the final 15 minutes of cooking so they do not get to dried out! I have added in flax seeds and cracked black pepper as well as a bit of coffee grounds. Make it how you like it…the process is the same.)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking pans with parchment paper.
Mix together in a large bowl the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, slivered almonds and coconut.
Add maple syrup, olive oil and brown sugar and sea salt flakes. Toss all of the ingredients together until well combined.
Divide the granola mixture between the two pans and spread out evenly. Bake granola, stirring every 15 minutes, until the granola is toasted to your liking, for about 45 minutes. (Adjust time based on your oven and how toasted you like your granola.)
Remove granola from the oven and let cool completely. Store in airtight containers for up to 1 month. I have found that one batch usually lasts us about a month with both of us having it most mornings.
1 1/2 cups full-fat buttermilk (or mix plain yogurt with milk if you do not have buttermilk)
1-4 tablespoons water (optional
1 generous tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese (could use Swiss or White Cheddar in a pinch)
Saute garlic and onion in olive oil in a pot over medium high heat until slightly translucent. Add in ground beef and brown, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks.
Sprinkle chile powder, cocoa powder and cumin over browned meat and stir to blend well. Cook another few minutes while stirring.
Add coffee, black beans and tomatoes to the pot along with 4 cups water. Bring chili to a boil, turn heat to simmer and cook for about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
While chili is simmering make the cornbread. Put bacon grease or veg oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet (I used a 10 inch which works fine) and place in cold oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Whisk together the cornmeal and flour in a bowl. Stir in the oil and buttermilk. Add a bit of water if it seems too thick.
Add the black pepper, thyme and shredded Gruyere, stirring to blend well.
When oven is preheated, remove the skillet and pour in the cornbread batter. The batter should sizzle. Return skillet to the oven and bake until the cornbread is dark brown, 12 to 17 minutes. At this point I pull the skillet from the oven and turn cornbread out onto a plate, flipping the bottom side to the top and put it back into the hot skillet, returning to the oven for another 5 minutes so the cornbread is crispy on both sides.
After I pull the cornbread from oven I leave the skillet on top of the stove to keep warm until ready to eat. Turn cornbread out onto a cutting board, bottom-side up and cut into wedges or squares.
Serve chili in bowl with pieces of cornbread, and if you like it hotter than hell have some bottles of hot sauce at the ready. Bon Apetit and stay cozy.
Or….”For the love of all things good in this world…Eat your Peas, Eat your Greens, Eat for Good Luck and Health, and Get Vaccinated, Please”
Regardless of what is happening in this crazy world…I cook Black-Eyed Peas for New Years…it is one of favorite food traditions I have managed to keep going over the years come rain or shine, health or sickness, hell or high water.
This year has been so challenging on many fronts. This December, just when we thought we could come in from the cold… being vaccinated and boosted created a illusion of safety…..still wearing our masks when out in the world we just felt better about life in general…maybe we could loosen up a little? There are those of us who believe in science as well as a few fun and harmless cultural myths….eating black-eyed peas to bring us good luck for the New Year is one of the later. In the name of science please, if you have not, get vaccinated and boosted. In the name of a delicious cultural myth cook some black-eyed peas for good luck for 2022…we are all going to need it.
This recipe is a riff on one published in Bon Appetit magazine in December 2020. I made a few changes, but all around this is a delicious bowl of black-eyed peas over rice with some healthy greens, a bit of bone broth and lots of fresh limes for finishing.
A beautiful bunch of fresh lacinato kale ready to be trimmed and chopped. If you cannot find lacinato, then use whatever fresh kale that is available. You can use fresh, dried or frozen black-eyed peas, or as the original recipe called for, canned. I prefer the first choices as canned peas can get mushy pretty quickly.
Good Luck to you in all your endeavors in 2022. Be well, be safe, be kind. Teresa.
Black-Eyed Peas with Lacinato Kale, Jasmine Rice and Sour Cherry Sauce
4 cups of cooked black-eyed peas (Soak dried or frozen peas in just enough water to cover for 2 hrs. Drain. Cook peas in a pot of salted water, simmering just until peas begin to soften and are not mushy. Drain. If using canned, then rinse and drain before using.) Set aside after cooking until ready to add to pan with other ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion, white or yellow
4 cloves minced garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
One 14.5 can crushed tomatoes
1 bunch of lacinato (or other) kale, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup of chicken bone broth/or regular chicken or vegetable broth
1″ piece of fresh ginger, minced
Cooked Jasmine rice for serving
a loaf of crusty bread, sour dough or other
lots of fresh lime wedges
Sour Cherry preserves or jam slightly thinned with a bit of water to make a sauce
kosher salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stirring often, until light golden brown.
Add coriander, turmeric, garam masala and cayenne, stirring to mix well.
Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer, stirring every now and then, cooking just until mixture starts to darken and thickens a bit…about 12 minutes.
To pan add cooked black-eyed peas and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Pour in broth and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer. Add in kale in bunches, stirring down into broth. Cook another 15 minutes on simmer, until black-eyed peas are and kale are tender. Remove pan from heat and stir in minced ginger.
Serve in bowls over hot jasmine rice with fresh lime wedges to squeeze over all to really brighten flavors, crusty bread for sopping juices, and a dollop of sour cherry sauce to round it all out. Ice cold beer is a good accompaniment.
This recipe is based on one from Bon Appetit Magazine from December 2020 with changes respectfully made by me.
One week away….the Holidays officially start with loads of heavy, delicious foods…mains and sides (my favorite part of the meals), desserts…put on repeat. A month of meals.
Consider this little jewel of a salad to be a segue, an interlude, maybe a palate cleanser, definitely a colorful, shiny seasonal edible. It has crunch, color and citrus, freshness and a healthy-feel goodness.
There is no “real” recipe and you can improvise if need be. But here is how I made this.
Chilled shredded Radicchio in the bottom of the bowl topped with Cara Cara oranges, cubes Jicama and Pomegranate Ariels lightly drizzled with a simple vinaigrette.
You could have this for lunch one day between those heavier Holiday meals. Or, just slip it in the mix and build it in a large salad bowl served along with those yummy sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts?
However you spend your Holidays this year…with or without a mask, in a large or small gathering, with family and friends, or just by yourself relaxing and Netflix bingeing, be kind, share and be well.