I always enter the food doldrums when fall rolls around. You see, I’m really passionate about the flavors and colors of spring and summer. Asparagus, peas, plums, corn, nectarines, blackberries, tomatoes, fava beans…well, you get the idea. I think it’s more the change of season (cooler weather and shorter days) that actually brings me down. Because when you think about it, autumn’s bounty isn’t just about the brown and earthy. There’s a lot of color and flavor right now, too. So bring on the winter squash, the blood oranges, the Brussels sprouts, the persimmons and the apples! And try this bright and tasty recipe for Braised Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage.
(serves 4 as a side dish)
2 tspns Canola Oil
½ medium Yellow Onion—thinly sliced
6 cups Red Cabbage (about 1 small or ¾ of a medium cabbage)
1 tspn Salt
½ tspn Ground Cardamom (optional)
½ cup Sherry or Cider Vinegar
¼ cup Maple Syrup
¼ cup Dried Cranberries or Cherries (optional)
- Heat oil in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened—about 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut cabbage into quarters and remove core. Cut into strips about ½” in width and add to the pan. Stir to combine. Cook for 8-10 minutes until cabbage has wilted a little.
- Add salt, vinegar, syrup and cardamom. If you’re not a fan of cardamom, try ground coriander seed or even a pinch of ground cloves or nutmeg. Just something to perk up the flavors a bit.
- Lower heat to simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally—about 25 minutes. The longer you can cook this dish, the creamier the cabbage will be.
- Add cranberries or cherries (or even some grated apple) and cook for 5 more minutes.
Works well as a side for roasted pork or braised short ribs or served over polenta.
Whole Wheat-Sage Rolls
I love baking bread. So I was excited when I was asked to bring rolls to Thanksgiving dinner. I knew that I would make plain white pillowy dinner rolls using that tried-and-true Basic Rolls recipe from Craig Clayborne’s The New York Times Cookbook, but thought it would be nice to have a whole wheat option, too. After pulling several recipes from various cookbooks and the net, I came up with this version. These rolls were even better the next day as a vehicle for leftover turkey!
1 Tblspn Yeast
1 ¼ cup Water
¼ cup Butter
1 tspn Salt
2 Tblspns Fresh Sage–chopped
¼ cup Honey or Maple Syrup
1 large Egg
1 ½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 ½-2 cups All-Purpose Flour
Put water and butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 45 seconds. The water should be just warm to the touch. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients except all-purpose flour. Add a cup of all-purpose flour and stir. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a well floured pastry board or clean counter top. Knead dough until smooth and elastic–6-8 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size–about an hour should do.
Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough in half, then divide each half into 8 equal pieces. If you have a kitchen scale, each piece should be about 2 ounces. Roll each piece on the board using a circular motion with your hand in a claw position. Use your palm and fingers to form a tight skin on each roll. If the rolls are slipping on the surface, use a dab of water to help them stick a little to form that tight skin.
Place rolls evenly apart in a lightly greased 8″ x 13″ brownie pan or quarter sheet pan. 15 rolls fit perfectly, so you decide what to do with that extra roll. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on the top. For even baking, turn the pan half way through cooking. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes, then remove from pan to a wire rack to prevent the rolls from getting soggy on the bottom. If not serving immediately, put the rolls back in the pan, cover with foil and re-heat in a 350 oven for 5 minutes.
Romanesco Broccoli with White Beans
There were no Brussels sprouts at the Aptos Farmers’ Market today, so I had to make do with another favorite veggie: Romanesco broccoli. It’s kind of a cross between broccoli and cauliflower with beautiful, light green spires. Romanesco is milder and less bitter than broccoli and has an almost creamy texture. I thought that texture would blend well with white beans (another one of my favorites). I perked up the flavor a bit with crispy garlic slices and sun-dried tomatoes. This recipe would also work well with those Brussels sprouts I was craving or regular broccoli.
1 head Romanesco Broccoli–cut into florets
4 each Sun-Dried Tomatoes
2 Tblspns Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic–thinly sliced
1 can White Beans–drained and rinsed
to taste Salt & Pepper
Soak sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20-30 minutes. Drain and julienne. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add Romanesco and return to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat until oil shimmers. Add garlic slices and saute until lightly browned. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add tomatoes to the pan and stir and saute for a minute. Add Romanesco and cook and stir for another 2 minutes. Add beans and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Add garlic slices and serve immediately.
I thought I’d start a blog to unleash some of the recipes in my head and talk about some of the thoughts I have related to food and cooking. I’ll also attach some of my amateurish photos along the way.