Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sides, Sides, Everywhere are Sides

Here we are, phase II…THE SIDES… We have stuck with some traditional ingredients but have tried to branch out a bit to try some different things that will still say “fall” and “Thanksgiving”.  Let’s begin. We have a delicious Leek and Beet Green Tart, that can utilize the beet greens left over from the Beet Slaw we made for starters. If you don’t want to use bacon, omit it and use some olive oil or butter to replace the fat and maybe a pinch of smoked paprika to add some smokiness. Any good melting cheese will do here, we used Gruyere but you could even go with a blue cheese, or Fontina… they both pair well with leeks and greens. We also have a Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad.  Inspired by something my friend Terry would eat…sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and lime juice…yum. I added the quinoa and cilantro and chipotle and turned it into a salad but really you could go with original 3 ingredients for a healthy and tasty side.  We also did some Roasted Roots; we are calling them fries so maybe the kids will eat them too (I know mine will only eat sweet potatoes in the form of “fries”). You can use any root vegetables you wish, if you don’t like parsnips, substitute more of one of the others…you could even use a hard winter squash in place of something if you wish, they cook at about the same rate. Serve with our Summer Bounty Ketchup recipe here, as a fun dip for the kids or just as is for the adults. These are great served warm or at room temperature. Next we have a risotto of sorts. It is Farro Risotto with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms.  I love farro; it has just recently become more widely available. It is sweet and nutty and a wonderful whole grain to get into your repertoire, very versatile and so good for you. 

Here are some other suggestions that we have posted in the past that would be great candidates for your Thanksgiving table: 
Roasted Cauliflower recipe here, Roasted Potato Salad recipe here
Laura Calder’s Green Beans with UG Crème Fraiche recipe here,  
Cranberry Relish recipe here and for some homemade bread, our Biscuits recipe here. 

We hope that you enjoy and are inspired to try something new. Next up…DESSERTS!!!

Leek and Beet Green Tart - Serves 6-8
2 1/2 ounces, 2 pieces bacon, diced
1 tablespoon butter, optional
4 big leeks, sliced in 1/2 moons, about 6 cups
1 sheet store bought puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Flour for rolling
1 bunch beet greens, chiffonade*, about 2 cups
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere
Rolling pin
Parchment paper
Pastry brush

Preheat your oven to 375°. Heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until crispy and the fat has rendered out, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the crisped bacon leaving the fat in the pan, if necessary add the tablespoon of butter (this will depend on how fatty your bacon is and may not be necessary).  Add the leeks and a good pinch of salt and cook until tender about 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to about 12 x 14 inch rectangle. Move to a piece of parchment onto a sheet pan. With a pairing knife lightly score a border about 3/4 inch in from the out side then dock the middle all over with a fork.  Brush the outside border with the egg wash and bake for 18-20 minutes or until puffy and golden around the border.

       Once your leeks are tender, move them to one side of the pan and add the sliced garlic, cook for 1 minute. Next, add the beet greens and cook until wilted, just a few minutes. Then stir in with the leeks until well incorporated. Remove from the heat and squeeze the juice from the 1/2 lemon and season with a few 
grinds of black pepper. 

When the puff pastry is done, remove from the oven and evenly spread the leek and beet green filling evenly within the border of the puff pastry shell. Cover with the cheese and sprinkle on the reserved bacon bits. Return to the oven for about 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted. You can broil to get the cheese browned but don’t walk away. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving. This is good served warm or at room temperature.

*Chiffonade is a technique of thinly slicing into shreds. For the beet greens I stack up the leaves then roll them like a cigar and slice starting at the tips of the laves into very thin shreds.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed (or about 2 1/2 cups cooked)
1 pound sweet potatoes, about 2 medium, peeled and cubed
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed limejuice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pepitas, for garnish

Combine quinoa, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water.
Cook the sweet potatoes in a covered glass dish in the microwave with a little water until tender but not falling apart, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Combine all of the ingredients except the pepitas in a s large bowl and stir until combined.  Add a little olive oil to loosen up the salad. Serve garnished with the toasted pepitas.

Roasted Root “Fries” -  Serves 8-10 
12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, about 2 medium
12 ounces carrots, about 4
12 ounces parsnips, about 2 large
12 ounces sweet potato, about 1 large
8 ounces beets, about 1 medium
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Several grinds black pepper
2 teaspoons dry Herbes de Provence

Preheat your oven to 400°. Cut all the veggies in 1/2 inch wedges or “fries”. 
In a large bowl toss the veggies with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.  Divide the remaining tablespoon of olive oil between 2 sheet pans and spread around with your fingers. Spread the veggies out in even layers between the two pans and sprinkle each pan with 1 teaspoon of the Herbes de Provence. Roast for about 30-35 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until golden and tender.
Serve with Summer Bounty Ketchup recipe here.

Farro Risotto with Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts - Serves 8-10
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 cups water
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and outside leaves reserved
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, sliced
12 ounces mixed mushrooms, quartered (I used crimini and shitake)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced, about 1 cup
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups farro
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
 A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
Food processor with slicing blade attachment or
Microplane grater

Combine the stock and water in a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Using the slicing attachment to your food processor or a mandolin (or a very sharp knife), very thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. You should end up with about 5 cups of shredded sprouts.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until tender, about 3 minutes, then the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms and a good pinch of salt and cook until those begin to soften and release some of their liquid, about 4 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook just until wilted about 3-4 minutes. Jack up the heat and cook until they begin to brown a bit on the edges. Remove from the heat and start the risotto. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the tablespoon of butter. Once the butter has melted add the diced onion and cook until tender about 5-7 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes more until most of the liquid is cooked off. Add the farro and cook to toast for 3-4 minutes or until you can start to smell it.  At this point we are going to start adding the stock, just enough to cover the farro, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed. You will do this in 3 intervals. Once all the stock/water has been added cook until the farro is tender but the “risotto” is still fluid and juicy, this should take about 20-25 minutes total. Add the Parmesan, nutmeg. And thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap the outer reserved Brussels sprout leaves in a damp paper towel and put in the microwave for a few seconds, to slightly steam, then cut them into thin strips (chiffonade) and set aside.  Gently stir in the cooked Brussels sprouts and mushroom mixture. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately garnished with the chiffonade of outer BS leaves.

4 cups white whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of sugar
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375°.In the bowl of a food processor pulse together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Add the butter and pulse until crumbs are formed. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the buttermilk just until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat the dough into about ¾-1 inch thickness. Using a 2-3 inch cutter cut the biscuits out as close as you can to each other to minimize scraps. Gather up scraps and pat together and cut again.  Place the biscuits on a sheet pan so that they are touching each other. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. Allow to cool slightly then serve warm…with fresh raspberries and crème fraiche maybe???

Crème fraiche
Crème fraiche recipe here.

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