Braised Turnips & Apples

Ok, so this doesn’t sound like the most exciting dish in the world. It’s pretty good, though, and a great way to use up a ton of greens at once if you, like me, are drowning in CSA greens. It’s also a good excuse to whip out not one, but two, meats in a single dish.

Really, me? Why do I insist on writing every damn thing on 1 teeny tiny scrap of paper?

Braised Turnips & Apples

1 bunch baby turnips (or regular turnips)

1 bunch turnip greens

1 bunch Ethiopian kale (or any other green, really)

2 Fuji or other semi-sweet apples

1 onion

2 hot Italian sausages

4 oz. bacon (I used home made bacon flavored with garlic, black pepper and bay)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. white wine

1 c. chicken stock

2 Tbsp. honey

2 tsp. hot paprika

1 tsp. salt

3 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Put the largest pan you have a lid for over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. While you are waiting for the oil to come up to temperature, slice the onion into thin half rounds and the bacon into 3/4 inch chunks.

Add the onions and bacon to the heated pan. Let the onions soften while you attend to the greens. Wash all greens, remove any tough stems, and slice into ribbons. Add to the pan.

Add the white wine, wait a minute or so, and add the chicken stock. Bring up to a vigorous simmer, cover, and cook on a low simmer 20 minutes.

While your greens are braising, prepare your next additions. Chop the turnips into roughly 3/4 inch pieces. Slice the sausage into bite-sized pieces.

Add the turnips and sausage. Re-cover and cook an additional 10 mins.

While that is working, de-seed the apples and chop into 3/4 inch chunks.

Add the apples and cook an additional 10 minutes. Gather your seasonings.

Add the honey, paprika, salt and cider vinegar. Stir well to combine. Put the lid on and let the mixture cook 5 minutes more.

Serve with mashed potatoes for a hearty stick-to-your-ribs German style meal or with buttered bread for a lighter take.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch

Carrot Pesto Risotto

I got carrots with their tops in this week’s CSA and needed something to do with the greens other than halfheartedly toss a handful in a dish for garnish. Enter pesto. Pesto is one of those great little things to have in your bag of tricks to pull out on a rainy day, or a great way to use up an ingredient you have zero idea what to do with. This pesto doesn’t give you the flavor wallop a traditional basil pesto does, but it’s not half bad. And it’s frugal. Frugal, I tell you. Next time I might add some garlic to the mix to liven things up a bit. I tried a bit of cheese, but it really didn’t make any difference.

Carrot Pesto Risotto

For the pesto

1 bunch carrot greens, hacked into manageable chunks
2 tsp. lime juice + more to taste
1-2 dried chills, sliced or torn into pieces
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the carrot greens in a big pot of salted water for about a minute, or until they are bright green and kind of wilty. Drain and add to the bowl of a large food processor.

With the motor on, add 2 tsp. lime juice, 2 huge pinches salt, chilis and olive oil. Taste. If it needs more brightness, add some more lime juice. If it’s a little dry, add a couple Tablespoons of water.

For the carrot risotto

1 bunch carrots (about 2 1/2 cups), roughly chopped into 3/4 inch segments
Olive oil
1 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. white wine
4 c. stock (I used 2 c. vegetable and 2 c. lobster stock made with my best friend Better Than Bouillon – use all vegetable if making vegetarian or vegan)

Toss the carrots with a glug of olive oil and a generous pinch salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in a 450 degree oven about 35 minutes or until browned at the edges and soft.

While you’re waiting for the carrots to brown, make the risotto.

In a medium pot over medium-high heat, sautee the rice 2 mins. in 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the white wine, reduce heat to medium and cook 1-2 mins. or until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Add stock by the half cup, stir, and simmer until the rice is al dente and won’t take more liquid.

Serves 2 for dinner.

Pork and Celery Stir-Fry

This makes a nice, satisfying weeknight meal. The punch from cutting celery gives great flavor, but if you can’t find it, regular celery will be just fine. I usually add fish sauce to this mixture, but it skipped my mind this time, and it was fine without. If you happen to have some and happen to think about, a good squirt or three would be great here. Carrot greens are not mandatory. I happened to have a ton of them slowly dying in the fridge and decided to give it a go. They were nice, but not in the least necessary.

Pork and Celery Stir Fry

1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 red onion
1 carrot
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
4 Tbsp. soy sauce (swap coconut aminos if you’re going strict paleo)
1 Tbsp. ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce – swap for a bit of honey or maple syrup if going strict paleo)
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 bunch cutting celery
2 tsp. rice vinegar
Handful carrot greens

Bring sesame oil up to temperature in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add the pork and break apart. Keep working and breaking the pork up until it starts to brown.

While you’re working periodically on the pork, thinly slice the red onion. Add to the pan, stir.

While the onion is working, chop 1 carrot and mince 4 cloves garlic. Add to pan. Stir periodically to avoid burning, 3 mins.

While that is working, chop the cutting celery.

Add grated ginger, soy sauce, ketjap manis, lemon juice and rice vinegar. Add the cutting celery, stir fry a few minutes until starting to wilt.

Meanwhile, chop the carrot greens.

Taste and add a bit more lemon or vinegar if needed. Top with carrot greens and serve over brown rice.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch.

Soba with Starfruit

Soba with Starfruit

Adapted from Ottolenghi Soba Noodles from 101 Cookbooks

1/2 c. rice vinegar

1/3 c. brown sugar

large pinch kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, pressed

2 big pinches red pepper flakes

1 tsp. sesame oil

zest and juice of 1 lime

canola oil

5 small Asian eggplant

soba noodles (2 bundles or enough to serve 3)

2 star fruit

Red onion

Handful Italian basil

Handful cilantro

Prep your eggplant by trimming the ends and cutting into a small (about 1/4 inch) dice. Set aside.

Prep your starfruit by cutting into 1/4 inch slices and quartering.

Put a large sautee pan on medium high heat and a large pot of water on to boil. Add a good glug or two of canola to the large sautee pan (you want the bottom covered).

While your pan and pot are coming up to temperature, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved fully (about 1 minute). Set aside. Add the pressed garlic, red pepper flakes and sesame oil.

Your oil should be just getting up to temperature (you’ll know it is hot enough when a drop of water sputters when added to the pan). Add half of the eggplant and fry until nice and browned. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Add the second half of the eggplant and repeat.

When the water comes up to a boil, add the soba noodles. Cook according to package directions until al dente (about 3 mins). Drain and immediately rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Knock as much water off as possible. Add a little olive oil to your hand and toss the cooled noodles around in the colander to coat. This will help the noodles from clumping all together into a gluey mess while they sit.

Prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Slice the onion into wafer thin slices (you only need a handful or so).

Sliver the basil.

Chop the cilantro.

Zest and juice the lime and add to the dressing.

In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss with the dressing and let sit an hour to give the flavors a chance to marry.

Toss again just before serving & enjoy.

Serves 2 for dinner with enough left over for a nice-sized lunch.

Taste of Fall Pumpkin, Arugula & Pecan Ravioli in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

This is a riff on one of my favorite uses for canned pumpkin. I make this pasta a thousand different ways – with fresh pasta, with wontons, with greens or without, but always with pumpkin and nutmeg. The combo is great, and a perfect light weeknight meal.

Pumpkin Goodness

Taste of Fall Pumpkin, Arugula & Pecan Ravioli in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

1/2 can pumpkin puree
4 oz. goat cheese
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 bunch arugula, finely chopped
4 leaves fresh sage
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
olive oil
Approximately 30 wonton wrappers

Combine the pumpkin, goat cheese, nutmeg and 2 big handfuls of arugula in a small bowl. Stir, mashing with the back of your spoon, until the mixture is integrated well.

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

Arrange your wontons in a single layer on the countertop. Fill each wonton assembly style with 1 tsp or so of the filling (place the filling in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your finger in a shallow bowl of water and lightly moisten 3 sides of the wonton wrappers. Fold the edges of the wrapper together so you have a rectangle ravioli. Make sure to press out any excess trapped air.

When the water comes up to a boil, add the raviolis in batches of 6 or less at a time. You don’t want to dump them all in at once, or they will stick together in a soggy messy lump of grossness. As each batch floats to the surface, skim off with a slotted spoon and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. I then moved each batch of six to a plate so there was no chance of stickage, which worked great.

While your last few batches are cooking, put a large pan over medium/medium-high heat. Add the butter. I used a little less than a Tablespoon for serving 12 wontons. When the butter is starting to brown and turn nutty, add your ravioli. Cook, swirling in the pan with the occasional flip until the bottoms just start to brown. Add the remaining arugula and sage and cook, continuing to stir occasionally until the arugula wilts, approximately 3 minutes. Add a shot or so of olive oil if the sauce looks lacking and serve.

30 wontons serves 2 for a light dinner or 3 for an appetizer. I served 12 as a stand-alone dinner and was hungry an hour later.

Roasted Sesame Radish Soba with Kale

This dish started with the question, what can I do with these CSA radishes other than serve them raw or pickled? I’d made simple roast English breakfast radishes before, and knew they turned sweet with heat. I’m happy to report that this dish turned out great – the radishes were sweet, almost turnip-y and the greens worked well with the sauce and carrot. All in all a satisfying, healthy weeknight dish.

Apparently the dish was so good I forgot to take a picture of it. These are watermelon radishes.

Roasted Sesame Radish Soba with Kale

3 watermelon radishes
1 bunch kale
2 small carrots
1 c. vegetable stock
1/2 palm sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. soy
1 Tbsp. mirin
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 servings soba

Preheat the oven to 425 F. While your oven is preheating, chop the radishes into roughly 1 inch chunks. De-stem the kale and slice it into ribbons. Slice the carrots into thin rounds.

Put the radishes into the oven on a cookie sheet. Bake 25-30 mins. or until they reach your desired softness. I left mine a little al dente, and they tasted just fine.

While your radishes are cooking, add the vegetable stock and kale to a large pan and cook approximately 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the kale is soft. Add the carrot halfway through the cooking time (this will give you crisp carrots – for softer carrots, add at the beginning with the kale).

While all this is working, toast your sesame seeds in a dry pan over high heat until they just begin to brown and smell nutty. Set aside and make your radish dressing.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine 1 Tbsp. honey with 1 Tbsp. soy. When the radishes are done, pull the sheet from the oven and pour the radish sauce over. Add the shallots, toss to combine, and put back in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully so the mixture does not burn.

Cook the soba according to package directions, about 3 minutes, and drain.

When the radishes are done, add the sesame seeds and toss to coat.

Add the noodles to the pan with the kale and carrots, along with the miring, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. soy, and chili garlic sauce. Toss to combine.

Serve topped with the roasted sesame radishes.

Serves 2

Faux Pho

This pho, while not strictly traditional, has a nice taste and satisfies those mid-week noodle in broth cravings nicely.

Faux Pho


8 c. beef broth
2 stalks celery
2 small carrots
2 cloves garlic, well and truly smashed
1 shallot, chopped
2 star anise podsa
12 peppercorns
1 Tbsp. grated ginger

1c. when chopped red yard long beans (or any other bean, really)
1/2 lb. baby pac choi
1 package per person instant noodle soup Udon noodles (I used the brand from the picture, which I picked up at Super Target)

Ground ginger
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Lime juice

First, make the stock. The goal here is for a flavorful stock in its own right. You want something that tastes good before you add all the fixins.

Add the stock to a medium pot over high heat. While your stock is coming up to the boil, slice your celery into thin moons, your carrots into thin rounds, and smash the garlic. Add to the pot as you go.

Once the broth and its additions come up to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes. You can go longer if you would like, just don’t loose too much volume. You want the flavors to marry and the stock to pick up some great fresh taste from the veggies and spices.

While your broth is working, prepare your vegetables. I went with red yard long beans and pac choi, since that’s what came in my CSA share this week. My rule of thumb for any asian soup is this: a green + a color. Any green + something from any other color. Slice the beans thin (about 1/4 inch long) and chop the pac choi into bite-sized pieces.

At the 30 minute mark, strain your broth to take out the solids. They’ve given their all at this point and you have fresh things to add to the pot.

Add the beans and simmer 5 mins.

Add the pac choi, simmer an additional 2 minutes. Kick the heat up to a boil

Add the udon and boil 3 mins or until done.

Split into 2 bowls and season with fixins to your particular taste. I used 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1 Tbsp. fish sauce, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. cilantro, 1 tsp. sriracha and 1 tsp. lime juice.

Serves 2, with enough broth left over for a third serving.

Kohlrabi & Apple Slaw Noodles

Kohlrabi & Apple Slaw Noodles
I’m cautiously optimistic that this single dish will pull me out of my cooking rut. This was great, though next time I may double the sauce amount. It came out on the dry side for my taste so I finished with an additional drizzle of sesame oil. A nice touch, but the sweet/sour/bright sauce would have been even better.

1 Kohlrabi bulb, julienned
Kohlrabi greens, ribboned
2 small carrots, julienned
1 Fuji apple, julienned
2 cloves garlic, slivered
8 oz. fettuccini-width rice noodles
1 Tbsp. sesame oil

For the sauce

4 tsp. honey
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 dried chili peppers, de-seeded & minced
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. pomegranate molasses
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. ponzu

Set a large pot of water on to boil for the noodles. Boil noodles 6 minutes (or the lowest cook time listed on the noodle package – you want al dente). Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

While you’re waiting for the noodles to cook, make the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Adjust seasoning to taste. You want it to taste great on its own.

Add the sesame oil to your your largest pan over high heat. When the noodles go into the boiling water, toss the kohlrabi bulb and garlic into the pan. Cook, stirring, until the noodles are done.

When the noodles are done, add them to the pan. Keep everything moving so the noodles don’t stick all over the place. Add the kohlrabi greens and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the sauce, carrots and apples. Stir fry an additional 2 minutes to combine everything well.

Serves 4

Charcutepalooza Challenge 12 – Cinci By Way Of Charcuterie Chili

This is it. The end of my ‘Charcutepalooza A Year of Meat’ challenges. The very last one. I must admit to being a bit sad about my timed meat adventure ending. I learned a lot this year. Not only about food, but about where it comes from, food traditions, and even a bit of science. I also learned a bit about myself, and how far I can comfortably go to prepare something (like sausage, bacon or duck confit) that I’d always taken for granted.

This year has opened my eyes not only to the breadth of preserved meats out there, but how much of it can very easily be made at home. These things are not out of my league, they’re dead simple.

All it takes is a little time, a few special tools, lots of pork and patience. Having a partner in crime like my Dearest Husband the master sausage maker doesn’t hurt, either.

As I reflect back on this past year, I can say with all confidence that it has been one of my proudest on the culinary front. Not only have I been busy salting, curing and smoking my own meats, but I have started the first fledgling forays into canning.  Zombie apocalypse? Bah. I’m good. I have duck prosciutto and summer jam.

This month’s challenge was to be a charcuterie master class of sorts – we had to use 3-4 different charcuterie elements in a single celebratory dish to show off a bit. So what did I do? I decided to go back to my roots and share a dish I loved as a kid with my hubby.

Ok now Buckeyes, don’t get up in arms. I know this isn’t traditional Cincinnati Chili. I know. Settle down. Breathe. This chili is made in the same spirit and has damn near the same profile of that ‘mole of the midwest’ Buckeyes have come to know and love.

Mmmm… quasi sacrilicious

Cinci By Way Of Charcuterie Chili

As I was coming off of an epic charcuterie fail I decided to use this dish as an opportunity to serve the bits and bobs of charcute I’ve collected over the past year.

Original Cincinnati chili calls for 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef.  I went in a different direction.

I used some bacon from this challenge (ok, not from this challenge exactly since I’ve been making about a batch a month since the beginning of the year – this stuff goes quick!)

Some leftover brisket from this challenge (unbrined)

Some leftover breakfast sausage from this challenge (and yes the notes of ginger tasted just fine)

and the topper: the very last bit of the duck confit from this challenge.

2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 cloves, crushed
1 lb. brisket, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
4 oz. home made bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch batons
8 oz. breakfast sausage, broken up
4 oz. duck confit, shredded
1/3 can (~ 6 oz.) canned plain tomato sauce
1/2 can (~ 1 c.) canned plain diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 square (~2 Tbsp.) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
Huge handful shredded extra sharp cheddar per person

In a dutch oven or other large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, brown the bacon, brisket and sausage in batches, removing each batch as it is browned. You’re aiming to develop flavors here. If your fond (the brown bits) on the bottom of the pot is getting too burnt, add a little water to loosen. Save it if you can, but if you can’t, pitch it.

After the meats are browned, add 1 tsp. olive oil to the pot along with the onions and garlic. Cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the meat back to the pan along with the spices, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Add water until the mixture is covered by 2 or so inches. I made my chili in a 5 quart dutch oven and added water to the fill line.

Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 2 hours until everything is very tender and delicious.

Let sit, uncovered, a few hours until ready to serve. You want to give the flavors a chance to mix, mingle and marry.

When you’re ready to serve, turn the heat on to medium while you cook the spaghetti (following package directions).

When your spaghetti goes into the pot, add the duck to the chili. Stir to combine.

Serve the chili over the spaghetti and top with a huge handful of cheese per serving.

Serves 6 – 8, depending upon your serving size.

The ‘I Need Healthy In My Life’ Grain Salad

This light & cleansing dish will set you back on track

The ‘I Need Healthy In My Life’ Grain Salad

This is a great good-for-what-ails-you one bowl dinner, perfect to get yourself back on track after a weekend of decadence.

Adapted from Radish and Pecan Grain Salad from Food 52

2c. mixed cooked farro, pearl barley and brown rice
1c. arugula
1c. parsley
1/2 c. fresh tarragon
1/2 lb. pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 c. walnut oil
1/4 c. tarragon vinegar
1 c. radishes, sliced wafer thin
1/4 c. shallot, minced
1/4 c. olive oil

Set a large pot of salted water on to boil while you prepare the salad.

While the water is coming up to a boil or while the grains are cooking, mince the parsley, tarragon and shallot. Slice your radishes wafer thin.

When the water has come up to a boil, add the farro, pearl barley and brown rice. Cook until tender, 30 – 45 mins. If you’re worried about everything not cooking at the same time, cook big batches of each separately and freeze the leftovers in zipper bags for a quick weeknight meal base.

When the grains are done to your liking, drain into a colander and set aside to cool.

While the grains are cooling a bit, place your pecans into a dry pan over medium-high heat. Toast until fragrant and beginning to color. Remove from the heat and chop.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl of grains, toss, season to taste with salt & pepper and serve.

Serves 2 for dinner with enough leftover for lunch.