Week Four: Sauteed Sunchokes (Cookbook: Farmer John’s Cookbook)

Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, are all over the winter farmers markets here in Seattle.  Finally in our third winter, I tried them.  The texture is similar to a potato, especially with this recipe.  I would like to try some other preparations before I decide if they enter our regular rotation.

Sautéed Sunchokes
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 1/2 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 Pound Sunchokes
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Slice sunchokes into 1/2 inch rounds.  Heat the butter and oil in a skillet and add sunchokes and one tablespoon parsley.  Cook, turn frequently until golden brown, finish with rest of parsley.

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Preserved Meyer Lemons

I love the flavor of preserved lemons.  My favorite way to use them is mixed with rice under a curry.  You get little tangy bites every once in while that really add to the dish.  I just made a new batch with Meyer Lemons.  I can’t wait to do a taste test with the remains of last year’s lemons.

Preserved Meyer Lemons (Adapted from Urban Pantry)
One bag of Meyer Lemons
Sea Salt
Canning Jar with Rubber Ring and Clasp (I tried using a regular canning jar with a metal lid and ring but the salt corroded them very quickly)

Trim lemons and cut into quarters.   Add a thin layer of salt to the bottom of the jar then a layer of lemons alternating with more salt until the jar is full.  The tighter the jar is packed, the better.  Leave the jar on the counter and over the next three days the lemons will exude juice, filling the jar.  If the lemons aren’t covered by juice on the last day, juice one or two more to fill the space and place the jar in the refrigerator.  The lemons will be ready to use in few weeks but their texture will change drastically over time.  You can use the lemons, rind and all, anywhere you would use lemons and salt.

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Week Three: Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile (Cookbook: Plenty)

I’ve been looking forward to testing Plenty for a long time.  I bought it for a friend last summer and wanted it ever since.  I finally received a copy for Christmas and there are lots of recipes to try.  This week I made Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile.  It was good but I will be trying other recipes before making this one again.  However, I did just realize that the green chile is still in the refrigerator, maybe that is what this dish was missing…

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile
2 Limes
Sea Salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium butternut squash
2 tbsp cardamom pods (I used ground cardamom)
1 tsp allspice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lime juice
1 green chile, thinly sliced
2/3 cup cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 400.  Trim limes and remove skin and pith, quarter and chop into thin slices.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise and cut into 3/8 inch thick slices. Mix ground cardamom and allspice with olive oil and brush mixture onto the squash.  Roast for 15 minutes or until squash is fork tender.  Whisk together yogurt, lime juice, tahini and salt.  I used goat yogurt instead of Greek so mine yogurt was pretty thin but you can add water to make it thin enough to pour.

Allow squash to cool slightly, cut off the skin and arrange on platter.  Drizzle with yogurt sauce and garnish with lime and green chile slices and cilantro.

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Week 2: Oven Fried Panko Chicken (Cookbook: Gourmet Today)

I’ve made “oven fried” chicken before but this recipe sounded easy so we tried it again.  The chicken was moist despite being very overcooked (love my new Thermapen)!  Next time, I would use our usual milk, egg wash, flour and panko crust rather than the butter mixture.  The butter hardened when it touched the cold chicken and the panko didn’t stick that well.

Oven Fried Panko Chicken
2 cups panko
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 stick unsalted butter softened
1 chicken cut into serving pieces (I just used skinless, boneless breasts)

Preheat oven to 450.  Stir together panko, salt, pepper and cayenne.  In another bowl stir salt, pepper and soften butter together.  Rub chicken pieces with butter mixture then coat with panko and place in oven for 30 minutes.  My oven must run hot because my chicken was reading 170 after only 20 minutes.

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Week One: Lemon Cumin Dal (Cookbook: Ruhlman’s Twenty)

My first recipe of the year is Lemon Cumin Dal from Michael Ruhlman’s Twenty.  I have made a similar recipe in the past with so-so results but I really liked this one.  Sauteing the spice mixture in butter brought out their flavors and I enjoyed the texture of the mung beans.  When I mixed everything together I didn’t think there would be enough spices to flavor the dal but I was very impressed.

Lemon Cumin Dal
1 cup mung beans
1/3 cup black-eyed peas
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kala jeera (Ruhlman listed this as optional and I couldn’t find any at the one store I tried so I skipped it)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (my cayenne is really hot, next time I will use less as it dominated the dish)
1/2 inch fresh ginger (I’m lazy and use the jarred stuff from Whole Foods)
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used the juice of half a lemon)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (skipped it)

Simmer beans and peas in 3.5 cups of water for 45 minutes.  Melt butter and let it brown slightly then add spices, sauteing for 30 seconds.  Mix spice and butter mixture with dal and let come to a simmer.  Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon juice if needed.

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New Year’s Resolution

I own a ton of cookbooks so my New Year’s resolution is to actually use them.

I buy cookbooks after seeing recipes online or browsing through them at Williams Sonoma only to have them sit on a shelf while I look up recipes online.

This year I plan to make something from one 0f my 44(!) cookbooks each week and if I am really organized, post about it.  Maybe then I can justify buying more…

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Time to Start Canning

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam was the first project of the season!
I used a recipe from Saveur and am pretty happy with the results.

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