Friday, August 12, 2011

Tomatoes and Chevre with Blistered Padron Peppers

It's time for late summer produce, which means the dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are back! I can guarantee that I will be eating this for lunch almost every day for the next month.

Fresh Black Eyed Peas and Smashed Sweet Potato

All summer long I have been eagerly anticipating the appearance of this little box tucked away at the back of the market, and yesterday it showed up! These fresh black eyed peas are so good, nutty and sweet, and cook up really quickly with some herbs and a tomato from the garden. I like to eat them with smashed, roasted sweet potatoes, finished with really good olive oil and sea salt.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lentils and Celeriac with Toasted Hazelnuts

Another one from Plenty. I had some celery root that I was planning to use in a salad, but when I saw this recipe I knew I would make it instead. This is my idea of the perfect easy dinner for one, and boy was it good! The hazelnuts and mint together with the tang of the vinegar reminded me a lot of a lamb and rice dish my mom would make when I was little, almonds, mint and lemon. You can buy the ingredients for this any time of year but I feel like this would be especially delicious on a cold winter or autumn day.

Start by putting hazelnuts on a baking sheet in the oven at about 300 degrees for 15 minutes. While they are toasting, put lentils in a pot of water seasoned with a bay leaf and thyme, and start to boil. Start a second pot of salted water boiling for the celeriac. Cut the celeriac into large chunks (or "chips" as Yotam puts it), and add them to the water. Let both pots simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the celeriac is tender and the lentils are al dente. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and coarsely chop the mint and set aside. When the lentils are done, drain them and toss immediately with salt and pepper, a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, and hazelnut oil (about 1.5 parts olive to one part hazelnut). Add the celeriac, mint, and hazelnuts. All told, this shouldn't take more than a half hour and it is well worth every minute. As far as quantities go, I like to make about 1/4 cup of dry lentils per person, and you can portion out the other ingredients accordingly... I think I used about 1/4 cup of whole hazelnuts, a small handful of mint leaves, and one medium celery root (about the size of a baseball), and that was good for two servings. I eyeballed the oil and vinegar but I'd bet I used about a half a tablespoon of each oil and half a tablespoon of vinegar as well.

Green Bean and Pea Salad

This was adapted from Ottolenghi's Plenty. I bought the most beautiful, dark purple beans to use, thinking they'd look stunning next to the traditional green ones, but in the cooking process they lost all their color and this is what I ended up with. They are dressed in toasted mustard seed and coriander, red onion, tarragon, and lemon. I also added some baby beet greens to bring in some color.

Finocchiona, Ricotta, Caramelized Fennel and Olives

It's National Sandwich Month, so I thought I'd use a few of the things in my fridge to make one for lunch today. Finocchiona is one of my favorite salumi, made with fennel seed, so I caramelized some fennel to go with it, added some chopped olives and a little ricotta to temper the saltiness of the meat.