Friday, October 30, 2009

Pink Lady pumkin two ways

Here are the two dishes I made this week with Tony's (Accardo Gourmet Produce) beautiful Pink lady pumpkin. I used the Pink lady because I had never eaten it before and I was curious to cook with it. But you could use any of his beautiful pumpkins or squashes for this recipe.

1 pink lady pumpkin or any other pumpkin or Squash
1 onion diced
1 head of garlic pealed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 carrots diced
2 stocks celery diced
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 qrts chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
salt and pepper to taste

First thing to do is to roast the pumpkin. You could just put the squash in the pot with the veg and stock, but roasting it first gives it a nice caramelized flavor profile. Plus it's so easy.

You want to Cut the pumpkin in to manageable pieces and peel the skin off.

Once you have peeled the pumpkin and taken the seeds out you need to cut it into bite size cubes. Place it on a sheet pan with 1/4 cup of olive oil, onion, garlic, generous salt and pepper. Mix so that everything is evenly coated.

Place the sheet pan in a 350 degree oven and roast for about an hour, just until the pumpkin is fork tender. You will want to stir every once and a while to insure even browning. ( you may need two sheet pans depending on the size of the pumpkin)

Place the other 1/4 cup of olive oil in a pot with the carrots, celery, and thyme and saute over medium heat until tender. Add the roasted pumpkin mixture into the pot. I set aside some of the roasted pumpkin for dinner that first night.

Cover with the stock. and bring to a boil. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and bring down to a simmer. Let simmer for a half an hour. Test for salt and pepper, adding more if you need to. After the half hour let the soup sit and cool a little. Once cooled place a little at a time in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. I then take the pureed soup and run it through a sieve. This however is not necessary. It just depends on how smooth you like your soup. Do this with the remainder of the soup.

Now you could have the soup that day. I like to let it sit for a day. I just seems to enhance the flavors. I also like to place some of the cold soup in to small zip lock bags and keep them flat in the freezer for future consumption. And they are a perfect one serving portion.

If you would like to church up the soup a little, I like to garnish it with some of Paul's Parsley pesto and a little Creama (or you could use sour cream)

Now for the roasted Pumpkin that you set aside. This makes a perfect side dish for a meal. I pared it with some of our new vendor, Cajun Grain, Brown Jasmin rice. If you had not tried this you really need to. It is amazing!! I also kept it simple by roasting off some chicken thighs for protein.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grilled Zucchini with lime, cilantro and pine nuts

This dish is so incredibly easy and packs a great flavor punch. I am posting this for my customer Ellen and her husband who had mentioned that they don't really cook and usually its an item that can go on the grill! So this if for them.


4 medium zucchinis

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup pine nuts

1 cup chopped cilantro leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of two limes

salt and pepper to taste


Place the pine nuts on a sheet pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes until toasted.

Slice the zucchini length wise into 1/8 inch thick slices. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat up the grill! You can grill these outside or on a stove top grill. You want to grill them until tender. Be sure to not over cook them or they will become mushy.

Now to make the dressing, use the bowl you had the zucchini in, the left over olive oil and garlic should still be in it. Add the lime juice and the cilantro to it. Taste it and make adjustments. You may need to add more salt and pepper or you might find you want more olive oil or lime juice. You be the judge.

To finish the dish off toss the zucchini in the lime cilantro dressing, add the pine nuts and serve. You can eat this hot, but I prefer it at room temperature.


Zucchini and suqash saute

This is a dish that my mom used to make all the time when I was growing up. It is a great way to use zucchini and squash in a way that is tasty to even kids.

My moms version is pretty much the same except that she cubes the pork and sautes them first in the pan and adds them back in the end. But since I was cooking for my in laws, I thought I would church it up a little and serve whole pork chops.

I picked up these Zucchini and squashes from the Monicas. Choose ones that are not too large. I like mine a litter smaller for this recipe.


3 medium zucchini, large diced

3 medium yellow squash, large diced

1 yellow onion, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

3 tomatoes *

1 table spoon tomato paste*

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese optional

*if you want you can use 1 medium can of crushed tomatoes in place of the fresh tomatoes and the tomato paste.


Heat up the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and let cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is tender. Add the zucchini and squash, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for another 5 minutes until they start to get tender. Add the tomatoes and the tomato lower the heat and let simmer for about 1o minutes. Every thing will release their juices and all the flavors will meld together.

Now the optional part, you can stop and enjoy it as it is or you can add the cheddar cheese and add a cheesy loveliness to it! But it is up to you.

As you can see, I served this as a side dish with jasmine rice and pan seared pork chops. But you can serve it with what ever you would like.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chestnut and Andouille stuffed Quail

I had bought these Quail from Mr Dobie with Briarhill farms at an earlier visit to the market. They come frozen, 4 to a pack, which makes them easy to store for future use.
I saw that he also had fresh Chestnuts which bring back fond memories of walking through Piazza Novona in Rome with my husband, eating hot chestnuts from a cone. So of course I had to get some.
So with these ingredients I decided that I would stuff the quail with a chestnut and andouille cornbread stuffing. Accadian foods has great block andouille. This is a great combo because the cornbread adds a little sweetness, the chestnuts of course add nuttiness, and andouille adds great smokiness
First I started with the cornbread. It has to have time to cool before you make the stuffing.
1/2 cub butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Place in a oiled 1/4 sheet pan or an eight inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden and a tooth pick comes out clean. About 25 to 30 minutes.
I also roasted the chestnuts in the oven with the cornbread. Wipe them with a wet paper towel and make an "X" in the shell. The first time I cooked them was during Christmas and we were decorating our tree, drinking hot butter rums and the chestnuts started to explode in the oven because the steam inside them caused them to erupt. What a mess! The chestnuts take about 20 minutes to cook. You will know they are done because their shells will split.

Once they are cool, peel and chop them.

Now to make the Stuffing you will need.
1 onion chopped
2 bell pepper chopped (I used red and yellow but you can use green)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 pound andouille diced
1 recipe of cornbread crumbled and broken up
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pint of chestnuts roasted and chopped
3-4 cups of chicken stock
You want to use a large skillet to make this. Place the olive oil in the skillet over med. heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, and andouille. Saute until the peppers are tender and the andouille releases its oil. Add the chestnuts. Next add the cornbread and mix to that everything is evenly distributed. Add the chicken stock a little at a time. You want the stuffing wet enough to stick together with out being soggy. If you notice I did not add any salt. The andouille has enough to season the rest. You might need a little depending on the sausage.
Let the stuffing cool and than form it into 4 large balls. (I made 8)

Next you need to get the quail ready for stuffing. Now just an FYI, when you get your quail from Mr Dobie at the CCFM, it is a little harder to stuff them because he cuts them down the breast bone and usually them come cut down the back bone so they stuff a little better. But Mr Dobie's quail are some of the best I have ever had.
So just take a minute to cut out some of the extra chest bones. you can cut the wings off if you would like. I keep the trim and place it in a stock pot with some oil and brown them. Then add a little salt and pepper, deglaze with wine and add about 2 cups of chicken stock. I let this reduce to about 1/2 cup
Now just take the stuffing balls and place one in the center of each quail. With Mr Dobie's quail I had to use some butchers string to keep them closed. With the quail cut down the back you will be able to completely wrap the quail around the stuffing. I also make a small slit in one leg and stick the leg of the other in it to help keep it together.
To roast the quail, set the oven at 350 degrees. Place the quail on a oiled sheet pan and salt and pepper them. Place them in the oven for about 20 minutes take them out and baste them with honey, I like the honey from Paw Paw at the market. Return them to the oven and repeat again in 10 minutes. They should be done after 35 minutes. Take them out and rest them for 5 minutes. After you plate them, pour the quick sauce you made with the bones over them.
I served them with mustard greens from the Monicas. I washed and chopped them, then sauteed them with some garlic and olive oil, salt and pepper.
I also made Brabant potatoes. I reduced 2 cups of cream to about 3/4 cups, set this a side. Dice 3 Idaho potatoes, blanch them till tender. Let cool. When ready to eat, saute the potatoes in canola oil until they get a little color. And the reduced cream, salt and pepper, and cook until the cream is thick and coats the potatoes.
Now all that's left is to make yourself a plate and enjoy!