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Posts Tagged ‘cooking in vt’

Abundance of Apples

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

IMG_8354We have one small empire apple tree in our front yard, which happens to grow, somewhat lopsidedly, in perfect view of my office window. That means that most years I get to watch the squirrels enjoy much of the fruit it bears, which is OK because normally the apples are small and gnarly and only provide a few human mouthfuls each at best.

This fall, however, the tree has outdone itself and, for some reason, the squirrels have left a lot for us. The apples are decent sized, crisp and perfectly tart-sweet. In addition to enjoying them fresh off the tree, I’ve made applesauce, apple crisp and my favorite quick supper of roasted sausages, potatoes, onions and apples. I’ve even mailed a half-dozen, carefully wrapped, to our oldest son who just started college out of state.

I’ve heard that this year, despite (or perhaps because of) its waterlogged start, has delivered a bonanza tree fruit harvest. A friend has been bringing me local plums from a grower named Horace Clark in Milton (he also had a bumper crop of peaches this year), as well as pears from her own tree.

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Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato, Olive & Chickpea Relish

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes, Taste of the Landscape

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato, Olive & Chickpea Relish
Serves 4
At Leunig’s, the roasted cauliflower steaks are the centerpiece of a vegan entrée served with the relish as well as a cashew “cream cheese” and roasted red pepper coulis sauce on a caper and tomato quinoa pilaf. We streamlined the recipe, but this would make a great entrée with any grain pilaf and also a substantial side dish for simply grilled meat or fish.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 small heads cauliflower (each about 1 ½ pounds)
  2. ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  3. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  4. 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  5. 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  6. 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
  7. 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  8. 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if canned)
  9. 3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  10. 1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
  11. 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
  12. 1 large plum tomato, diced
  13. 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  14. 1 scallion, white and light green part sliced thinly on the bias
  15. 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  16. 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  17. 3 tablespoons honey
  18. 2 teaspoons mild chili powder (or Peppadew rub if you can find it)
  19. Freshly ground pepper and coarse salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Trim just the green leaves from the bottoms of the cauliflowers. Set them root side down on a cutting board and, using a large knife, carefully slice two one-inch-thick steaks from the center of each cauliflower such that the root end holds each “steak” intact. Carefully trim the root end of the four steaks while making sure to leave each intact. Set the cauliflower steaks aside on a rimmed cookie sheet. From the remaining parts of the two cauliflowers, chop about 3/4 cups of small chickpea-sized cauliflower florets for the relish and save the rest for another use. (You can sear and roast more of the cauliflower if you want, but they will not present as nice steaks without the root to hold them together.)
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallot, red onion, oregano, thyme and the reserved cauliflower florets and cook, stirring occasionally, just until softened but not colored, about 7-10 minutes. In the meantime, put the chickpeas, lemon zest, olives, sundried tomatoes, plum tomato, golden raisins, scallion, parsley, red wine vinegar and 3 teaspoons of the olive oil in a medium bowl. Add the cooked garlic mixture to the bowl, stir to mix well and set aside.
  3. Wipe out the sauté pan, add about half the remaining olive oil and place the pan back over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add as many of the cauliflower steaks as possible and sear, about 3 minutes per side until dark golden. Repeat as necessary until all four steaks are seared on both sides, adding more olive oil if needed. Transfer the cauliflower steaks back to the rimmed cookie sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and 1½ tablespoons of hot water and brush both sides of each steak with the honey mixture and then sprinkle with chili powder and salt to taste. Roast in the oven until tender but not soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste the relish and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm steaks topped with tomato, olive and chickpea relish.
Adapted from chef and co-owner Donnell Collins, Leunig’s Bistro, Burlington
Adapted from chef and co-owner Donnell Collins, Leunig’s Bistro, Burlington
Vermont Life Magazine http://vermontlife.com/

We Can Pickle That!

Written by Julianne Puckett on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

Pickled dilly beans offer a tart crunch to a brunch-time bloody Mary. Photo by Julianne Puckett.

Pickled dilly beans offer a tart crunch to a brunch-time bloody Mary. Photo by Julianne Puckett.

I’m a pickle junkie. My pickling cucumbers are just starting to show up in my garden, but I’ve discovered that one mustn’t wait for cucumbers: you can go ahead and get started with whatever is in your garden right now.

You can pickle all sorts of vegetables. Radishes, beets, beans, turnips, carrots — you name it, I’ve probably pickled it. So I thought I would share some of my favorite pickling recipes and techniques with Vermont Life readers.

Pickles, pickles, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

Cucumber Pickles

  • Canned pickles. Traditional waterbath canning: the grandpappy of pickling methods, the one that allows you to have pickles all year long, whenever you want them (as long as you haven’t eaten them all). I’ve been making this one recipe for several years now and it hasn’t let me down yet.
  • Refrigerator pickles. This is my go-to pickle because it takes so little time and yields such awesomely pickle-y results. As long as I have cucumbers in the garden, I usually have a few jars of these pickles in the fridge. They are pretty vinegary (which I like) and the taste is more reminiscent of a deli half-sour pickle than a traditional dill.
  • Lactofermented pickles. Last summer, I tried my hand at lactofermentation, the old, natural process by which veggies are fermented using salty brine. Despite the hard time I got from my blog readers about using the words “putrefication” and “scum” in my how-to descriptions (I was being accurate, mind you), I thought the pickles were fantastic and surprisingly easy to make — not to mention that they lasted an extremely long time in the fridge. They tasted like a true barrel-style deli pickle.

Dress up a salad with bright, pickled radishes. Photo by Juliane Puckett.

Other Pickled Veggies

Here’s where you can get quite creative and will likely end up with some of your favorite pickles — think outside the cucumber box.

  • Dilly beans. Pickle-y but with better crunch, and hey, they count as a serving of vegetables. And if you put them in a bloody Mary, that’s about eight servings of vegetables, right?
  • Root vegetable kimchi. This is a quick and very pretty fermentation process, courtesy of Chef Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Zucchini pickles: Another great use for zucchini and ready in 24 hours. Slightly sweet and definitely spicy.
  • Pickeled radishes. I have used this same brine recipe with beets, turnips and parsnips, too — delicious and versatile!

Phew! I think that should keep you fully pickled for the entire year. What are your favorite veggies to pickle? And what pickling method do you prefer?

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