Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sautéed Asian Greens

I was in Chinatown yesterday and I couldn’t resist the beautifully produce that lined the crowded streets.   Vegetables like pak choy, yu choy choy sum, Napa cabbage, and Chinese broccoli were among the many phyotchemical rich vegetables that have become hallmarks of all Asian markets. Prepared simply, they are a refreshing compliment to any meal.
We are having Chicken Vindaloo tonight so the greens will be a nice addition to this spicy dish.   

I sautéed pak choy and Chinese broccoli in hot olive oil with little salt and pepper, then garnished it with toasted garlic and sesame seeds.  Here is a simple recipe.
1-pound Asian Vegetables
2-tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, julienne
1-teaspoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper

Trim and wash greens.
Separate the bottom half of the greens from the leaves because the bottoms/stems take longer to cook.
Preheat a large sauté pan; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan.
Add garlic and sauté until slightly brown.  Remove garlic and oil from the pan quickly and set aside.
While pan is still hot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil; sauté the bottoms/stems for about 3 minutes.  Add leaves; season with salt and pepper. Add water and cover for about one minute. Remove from pan when vegetables are crisp but not hard.   
Garnish with garlic
 and sesame seeds.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash and Tuscan Kale

I attended a charity event this week where chefs displayed their talents and love of the season by using pumpkin in their creations.  As this, every present gourd and its relatives took center stage, in the form of-savory pumpkin bread pudding, butternut squash puree, pumpkin spaetzle, butternut squash soup shots, and pumpkin gnocchi; I couldn’t help but think about how I would honor the beta-carotene rich vegetable for you.    

Determined to do something a little different, I decided to use butternut squash in a supporting role, not as the main character.  This is what I created.

Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash and Tuscan Kale

1-tablespoon olive oil
1-cup onions, small diced
1-cup leeks, small diced
1-cup fennel, small diced
½-teaspoon salt
1-tablespoon minced garlic
½-teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2-tablespoons chopped thyme heaping
2-cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
3 quarts Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
½ -cup diced tomatoes
1/3-cup Amaranth (optional)
10 ounces butternut squash, medium diced
3 oz Tuscan Kale-chiffonade1

In a 4-quart pot, heat olive oil until just before, smoke point. 
Add onions, leeks, fennel, and salt. 

 Reduce heat; sweat2 vegetables for about 7 minutes until onions appear translucent.
 Add garlic, pepper and thyme.  Cook for 2 minutes more.
Add lentils, chicken broth, bay leaf and tomatoes. 
Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and allow lentils to simmer for 20 -30 minutes. 
When lentils start to become tender, add Amaranth, butternut squash and kale.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes more or until squash becomes tender but not mushy. 

Yield 2.5 quarts

This soup always tastes better the second day.  When ever you choose to enjoy it having it with a crusty piece of bread and a salad makes for a hearty meal.

1 Leafy vegetables that are rolled and cut
2 To cook and item, usually vegetables, in a covered pad in a small amount of fat until it softens and releases moisture

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin... Gourd of the Season

I apologize for not posting last week.  I needed to see a few of my customers on Saturday which consumed the entire day. 

Riding along route 25 on the North Shore is beautiful this time of year, as the leaves go from shades of green to bright yellows and reds.  I ride with the windows down as the aroma of hot cider and donuts fills the air. 

For miles farmers displays fruits and vegetables that are hallmarks of the season.  Produce stands are line with gourds of all shapes, sizes and color.

This time of year, I can’t help but think of everything pumpkin as the ubiquitous gourds shows up on all of my chef's menus.  I get inspired by their creations.  Some of their items include pumpkin souffle, pumpkin gelato, pumpkin cheese cake and pumpkin flan.

I avoid dessert that incorporate pumpkin because they typically have that pumpkin spice flavor that is the trademark of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  Thank you Kate of for the Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado recipe she posted on September 28.  I substituted pumpkin for the butternut squash and it worked well.  Check out her recipe; I am sure you will like it as much as I did. Next week I'll prepare something savory with pumpkin...perhaps a pasta.