Aunt Suzy says . . .

I love sweet corn but like eating it off the cob more than on.  This is my basic way of sauteing corn, but other vegetables can be added (tomatoes and limas would make succotash!) and the herbs can be varied.  Heartier herbs like oregano, thyme, sage and rosemary are best added with the corn.  If using tender herbs like basil, mint and cilantro, add these right before serving. We served this with our lemon-garlic grilled chicken and a delicious sauteed kale dish we posted last summer – it felt like the perfect meal for a delightful summer day.

4 servings

1 yellow or red onion, thickly sliced, each slice cut into quarters

1 tablespoon EV olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Kernels cut from 6 ears of corn, about 3 cups

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped

1/4 cup basil, cut in chiffonade

Salt and pepper

Heat a large saute pan to medium high, add the olive oil and heat till shimmering.  Turn down heat slightly and add butter.  Add onion and saute for 5-7 minutes till soft and starting to brown.  Add corn, thyme and oregano and saute for another 5 minutes or so until corn is heated through.  Remove from heat and stir in the basil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I’ve been wanting to make a kohlrabi salad ever since seeing a recipe on a blog last year.  I recently bought a beautiful kohlrabi – something I’ve never eaten nor cooked with –  at the farmers’ market and came home to find this recipe in the Wall St Journal Saturday “Off Duty” section.  It looked even better than the one that inspired me to buy the kohlrabi!  We really enjoyed the sweetness and juiciness the kohlrabi added to this slaw.  It’s a perfect accompaniment to something grilled, shown above with grilled salmon and our spring farmers market potato salad.  Note that for a salad like this, all quantities are subject to your taste!

Slaw Ingredients

1/2 medium green cabbage, cored and shredded (about 2 cups)

1 green or purple kohlrabi, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 red onion, cut in half moons (about 1/3 cup)

Quarter and core the cabbage, then cut in thin strips.  Peel the kohlrabi and shred on the big holes of a box grater.  Place both in a colander and add the salt.  Place the colander over a bowl, cover with a towel and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to expel excess moisture.

Herb Dressing Ingredients

1/4 cup EV olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 tablespoon minced shallot

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped

1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

Salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk the olive oil, mustard and lemon juice in a bowl until slightly emulsified.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to blend.

Assembling the Slaw

Squeeze any excess moisture from the cabbage-kohlrabi mixture.  Place in a large salad bowl and toss with the red onion.  Add the herb dressing and toss to thoroughly blend all ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, black pepper or lemon juice as necessary.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This tasty and healthy salad was introduced to us by “Aunt Cindy and Uncle John” (my brother and his wife).  They had recently made this for Cindy’s niece’s bridal shower and loved it so much they made it for Mom/Granny’s 86th birthday party.  I discovered the original recipe on Health.com.  Two adaptations were made from the original – roasting the asparagus instead of adding it to the edamame cooking water and using marinated artichoke hearts vs. plain. We all agreed that this is a “keeper”!  It’s fast, easy to make, delicious and impressive.  When we saw that they were using a jar of pre-shaved Parmesan cheese purchased at Costco, we thought this recipe would fit right in with the Sandra Lee semi-homemade approach :-).  So if you use the pre-shaved cheese, it’s even faster to make!

These quantities make 4-6 servings and the recipe can easily be made in larger quantities by doubling or tripling.

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (14-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 pound medium asparagus, tough ends removed, and cut diagonally into thirds
1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese (about 2/3 cup)

Instructions

1. Rub the inside of a large salad bowl with cut sides of the garlic clove; discard garlic.

2. Add oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl and whisk until slightly emulsified. Add the artichokes, tossing gently and set aside at room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, place the edamame in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until asparagus and edamame are crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Rinse under cold water, drain well, and blot dry with a towel or paper towels.  FOR ROASTED ASPARAGUS:  Cook the edamame for about 5 minutes, drain and pat dry.  Oven roast or grill the asparagus whole, lightly coated with a little olive oil.  Once done, cut into 2-inch pieces.  Proceed to step 4.

4. Add asparagus and edamame to the artichoke mixture and toss to blend.  Arrange shaved Parmesan over all and serve.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Years ago I learned about securing good fortune and prosperity for the coming year by what you eat on New Year’s Day – specifically black-eyed peas, cooked greens and cornbread.  This good luck menu is from the Southern U. S., although I have learned from Wikipedia that eating black-eyed peas for New Year’s can be traced back to ancient times as a Jewish tradition on Rosh Hashana.  The significance of each item as I learned it, although there are many interpretations – all for good luck or good fortune:

Black-eyed peas – one day of good luck for each pea eaten

Collard greens – green for money/prosperity

Corn bread – for gold in your pocket

Some people add pork to the menu for living “high off the hog”.  Following is a recipe for the way we make black-eyed peas for New Year’s.  For some reason, we always do a vegetarian version for this occasion.  We also have recipes on the blog for black-eyeds with sausagegreens and corn bread.  Happy New Year and wishing you much luck and prosperity!

New Year’s Day Black-eyed Peas

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced

1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced

1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups dried black-eyed peas

4-5 cups liquid*

2 bay leaves

1-2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 chipote pepper in adobo, rinsed and minced (optional)

1-2 dried red pepper pods (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste.

Lightly coat a large dutch oven or soup pot with the vegetable oil (I use canola).  Saute the onion and bell peppers for about 3 minutes until beginning to soften.  Add the garlic and saute another minute until fragrant. If using the chipotle pepper (for smokiness and heat), add at the same time as the garlic.

Add the *liquid.  For vegetarian use water, water with mock chicken broth powder or Better than Boullion (our favorite) or vegetable broth.  Or you can use chicken stock for the liquid.  Rinse and pick over the black-eyed peas and then add to the pot.  Add the bay leaves, thyme and red pepper pods, if using, then salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 45 -75 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on many things.  Check after 30 minutes to test degree of doneness, then every 15 minutes thereafter. They should be firm and creamy but not falling apart.  Serve on their own or over rice.

Aunt Suzy says . . . .

I did not grow up eating black-eyed peas, but am glad to have learned about them from friends who grew up in the South!  Black-eyed peas are packed with nutrients – high in potassium, iron, protein and fiber – and as an added bonus they have a delicious taste and meaty texture.  “Peas” is a misnomer since they are actually legumes related to the mung bean.   They are a Southern staple, but you don’t need to be from the South to enjoy them.  Many Southern-style recipes use smoked ham-hocks, a ham bone or  piece of ham to add flavor.  This one gets its smokiness from Andouille sausage.

I find it interesting that these legumes are thought to have originated in Asia (although they likely came to the U.S. from Africa).  In our local Vietnamese restaurants they are offered in sweet drinks and desserts – quite a departure from the savory dishes we’re used to!

Cook’s notes: The specified amounts in this recipe make a lot – a little under 3 quarts of finished product.  I make this large amount because they freeze really well, and I always feel that if I’m going to go to the effort, I might as well make a bunch.  You can cut these quantities in half to serve 6-8 people as a side dish, 4-6 people as a main dish served with rice.  This is great with dried peas, but if you can find fresh, even better.  I used chicken Andouille sausage, which is readily available at co-ops in the Twin Cities from Larry Schultz Organic Farm and at Trader Joe’s elsewhere.

4 cups dried black-eyed peas (unless you are lucky enough to have fresh, then use 7-8 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions, diced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2-4 cloves garlic (depending on size and your taste)

2 andouille sausages, split and sliced into half-moons

6-7 cups chicken stock or water (stock recommended but not essential)

3-4 red chile peppers or 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional – the sausage has a little heat already)

3-4 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

3-4 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

If using dried black-eyed peas, pick out the ones that don’t look so good and rinse.  Place in a large pot and add water to cover the peas by 3 inches.  Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.  Let sit for 15 minutes then drain and set aside.

Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven or soup pot with the olive oil.  Bring heat to medium-high.  Add the onions and celery and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the sausage and saute another 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another  minute or two until fragrant.  Add half the liquid and then the peas.  Add more liquid until the peas are just covered.  Add the chile peppers, thyme and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer covered for about 60 minutes if using dried peas. Start checking doneness after 30 minutes to prevent overcooking.  If you want less liquid when done, cook the last 15 minutes with the lid off.  For fresh peas, the cooking time will be 30-45 minutes.

Before serving, remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaves and chile peppers. Serve in bowls as a side or over rice as a main dish.  Always good with cornbread!

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe was given to my guy Randy by an Ojibway woman he used to work with at the Linden Hills Co-op.  She told him this method of combining roasted vegetables with wild rice is traditional, but that she had been creative with the types of vegetables and herbs.  Regardless, we love this dish!  We recommend that you use hand-harvested naturally growing wild rice vs. cultivated.  It’s a little like the difference between those hard pink tomatoes found in stores in the winter and those that are home-grown in the summertime.  If you don’t have easy access to true wild rice, you can order it from Scenic Waters Wild Rice – we buy from them at our farmer’s market.

This is a delicious vegetarian main dish or a wonderful side to roast chicken or salmon.  Since this seems like something that would have been served at harvest, we featured it in our Thanksgiving dinner along with roast turkey breast and my latest obsession, Persimmon Salad.  We tried a dry brining recipe from this November’s Bon Appetit for our turkey.  We liked this approach, but Randy felt that the wet brining we’ve used over the years yielded a better result.  You can see that Buddy the cat does not have a preference for one brining method over another!

The Rice

Cook 1 Cup Wild Rice according to package directions or you can choose one of these methods.  Cook the roasted vegetables while the rice is cooking – you’ll want them to finish roughly at the same time.

The Roasted Vegetables

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Scatter 4  chopped and seeded Roma tomatoes in a 9 x 12 pan.  You can also do this in a large cookie sheet or the bottom of your stove’s broiler pan. We recommend lining these latter two with foil.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the tomatoes.

Dice the following, in about ½ inch slices and cubes depending on the vegetable and place in a large bowl.  The 1 cup amount should be used as a starting point.  Our quantities typically vary from 1-2 cups depending on the original size of the vegetables we use.

1 cup carrots                                                 1 cup onion

1 cup celery                                                   1 cup fennel bulb

1 cup yukon gold potatoes and/or 1 cup sweet potato

1 cup zucchini

Toss with the vegetables:

4 minced garlic cloves                           1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Olive Oil                                       1 teaspoon pepper

Arrange vegetables over the top of the tomatoes and cover with foil.

Roast for 20 minutes at 450 degrees in the top 1/3 of the oven.  After 20 minutes, stir the vegetables and roast for 10-15 minutes more to desired doneness. If the mixture is a little soupy, roast uncovered.  If it’s a little dry, put the foil back on for the final 10-15 minutes.  You want the finished product to not be too wet nor too dry.

When done to your liking, remove the vegetables from the oven and stir in 1/2-1 cup fresh chopped cilantro.  You can substitute parsley if you don’t like cilantro.  Stir the rice into the vegetables and place in a serving dish or platter.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons dill. Enjoy!

Cooks Notes: If you use sweet potato, make sure it’s the one with the light tan skin/light yellow flesh.  The relatives of this sold as garnet or jewel yams with orange flesh are too wet.  Mushrooms are a nice addition to the roasted vegetables for an earthier flavor – try it both ways.  When selecting fennel, it should have bright green feathery tops and no brown spots on the bulbs.

Braised Hearty Greens 2 Ways

November 19, 2010

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We loved cooked bitter greens here on the Savory side of Sweet & Savory Kitchens!  Randy grew up with them in Texas – his grandmother always made turnip greens.  I learned about “greens” and how to cook them in Chicago from my friends whose families were from the South.   Some people like to make a pot of greens with one type; I typically make a mix, although if I cook only one, it will be collard greens.  From left to right in the picture are mustard, collard and turnip greens.  The Hmong farmers in Minnesota  (immigrants from Laos after the Vietnamese War) grow the most astounding greens!  Greens are a big part of  Hmong cooking, even though they are of different types than those brought from Africa.  In the South, greens are usually cooked with a smoked or cured meat.  I carry on that tradition, but I also make a vegetarian version of greens which just might be overtaking the ones with meat as our favorite!   And either way, they absolutely must be served with cornbread.  There might be other things on the table, but Southern greens without cornbread . . . well, they just aren’t greens!

This is probably one of those things like chili – there are as many ways to cook greens as there are greens’ cooks!  Here’s my take, but this is definitely something you can modify to your taste.

The Pot Liquor

The basis for really delicious greens is the savory liquid in which they are cooked.  Start with 1 medium onion diced, and 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced.  Place a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add a thin coating of vegetable oil and heat until it shimmers.  Add the onion and saute till soft, then add the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes until fragrant.  If making with meat, add 1 andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half-moons, at the same time as the onion.  If making vegetarian, add 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, rinsed, seeded and sliced (shown) at the same time as the garlic.  In both ways, add about 2 inches of water to the bottom of the pan.  Simmer for 30 minutes to concentrate the flavors.  You can do this a day or two ahead of cooking the greens.

Preparing and Cooking the Greens

You will want 3 or 4 (or more!) bunches (called “messes” in the South) of greens.  I always start with collard greens as the base and add either mustard or turnip greens (or both!).  Place them in a sink-full of water, then drain.  Do this 1-2 more times to get all the dirt and grit off the greens.  Once you’ve washed the greens, remove the leafy part from the tough stems and discard the stems.  I do this by tearing the greens by hand into about 2-inch X 2-inch pieces.   Many people cut the stems out and slice the leaves, as is described in Francis Lam’s recent article on Sauteed Greens.  Place the greens into the pot with the pot liquor at a boil.  You will have to do this a little at a time because your pot probably won’t hold the entire amount at once.  They will cook down in a minute or two when you can add more greens.

Once you’ve added all your greens and they have cooked down, add a little more water.   I always throw in a couple of dried chile peppers, unless I’ve used the chipotles.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 – 90 minutes to desired doneness.  We do not like our greens boiled down to a mush, so I start tasting at the 45 minute mark.  Check every so often to see if you need to add more water – nothing worse than burnt greens!  If the turnips greens have some nice little turnips on the ends, I’ll peel and dice those and add to the pot with turnip greens.

Cooked greens are something that freeze well.  We always make many batches in the fall when greens are at their peak and then freeze to enjoy all winter.  Pictured are two packs ready for the freezer – the one on the left is vegetarian with turnips and the one on the right is made with andouille sausage.  It’s wonderful when New Year’s Day rolls around and we don’t actually have to cook greens from scratch!