This week on Food52 I shared my favorite way to cook dried beans and how to stretch a pot of humble beans into a week of family dinners.
I was always intimidated by cooking dried beans. I would either forget to soak them ahead of time (ahhhh!) or keep them simmering in a pot, only to find them undercooked at the end of the day. After a while, I began to shy away from recipes that suggested I try it again.
Discovering the simplicity of preparing dried beans in the slow cooker has thrown my trepidation out the window. You just combine a few ingredients and turn on the machine! A few hours later you have a perfect pot of beans. Life-changing. (But if you don’t have a slow cooker, fear not: I recommend the method outlined in this recipe.)
Click here to read the full story and get four recipes from Feeding a Family including: Slow Cooker Black Beans, Buckwheat Crepes with Delicata Squash, Black Beans & Avocado, Kale & Sweet Potato Tacos on Homemade Corn Tortillas, and Black Bean Quinoa Burgers.
All photography by Elizabeth Cecil.
March is always a tough month. I desperately want it to be spring but day after day the weather sticks to its winter program. As much as I want to rush towards the next season, there is one thing about winter that I like to hold on to – soup.
It’s no secret that soup makes the perfect one-pot weeknight meal – little prep, minimal clean up, and, in the end, a big pot of warming food to feed a crowd or stretch throughout the week. Today I’m sharing a recipe for Ginger Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons. This soup calls for a simple list of familiar ingredients but is made special by the addition of fresh ginger and crispy (addictive!) Parmesan croutons.
I am a huge advocate for taking smart shortcuts in the kitchen. High-quality canned beans, crushed tomatoes, and broths are always in our pantry. These items are the building blocks of many family meals and save precious time and energy at the end of a busy day. I hope you give this comforting soup a try while celebrating the early signs of spring.
2 ¾ pounds orange-flesh winter squash, such as butternut
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek, trimmed, white and green parts, cut into ¼-inch pieces (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger, or more to taste
1 medium parsnip, (4 ounces), peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
4 cups of College Inn® Chicken Stock
2 three-quarter-inch slices whole-wheat bread, crusts removed
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and fiber, and peel. Cut into ½-inch pieces, and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Cook leek and garlic until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ginger, squash, and parsnips. Stir, and cook over medium heat, 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and College Inn® chicken stock. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the squash and parsnips are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer half the mixture to a food processor, and puree. Return to the stockpot until warm throughout. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, cut the bread into ½-inch cubes. Toast under the broiler until golden brown. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and return to the broiler, until the cheese begins to melt. Serve the soup in individual bowls with the toasted-cheese croutons on top.
As you may have gathered from my instagram I am thoroughly enjoying Genius Recipe’s Kale Salad this fall. The recipe originates from Northern Spy Food Co., a little NYC cafe that is now closed, and is the perfect thing to make at the beginning of the week, stored in the fridge for last minute lunches or snacks.
I’ve eaten this salad warm, at room temperatures, topped with a friend egg, and pressed onto avocado slathered toast – all are good.
Here is the salad’s recipe introduction in Genius Recipes “Raw kale is like any other green we’ve ever put to dressing-just a little more resilient. And that’s a very helpful trait, making it an ideal leafy salad to make ahead for company or tomorrow’s lunch. This particular kale salad is at once substantial and spry. It’s dressed with just lemon and olive oil, making it a bit like a raw version at a health store salad bar-but filled out with roasted kabocha squash, almonds, and two kinds of cheese. Depending on the season, Northern Spy trades out the kabocha for fresh apricots, kohlrabi, or pattypan squash. I sometimes go with slices of apple or persimmon. Kale’s amendable.”
Kale Salad from Genius Recipes
1/2 cup peeled, cubed kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale (preferably laminator or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and leaves finely sliced, about 2 1/2 cups
1/4 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
1/4 cup crumbled or finely chopped Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (or any good, aged cheddar-if you can’t find aged cheddar, use Parmesan)
Fresh lemon juice
Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss the squash cubes in just enough oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread on the baking sheet, leaving space between the cubes. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10 to 15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar, and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (using about 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Divide the salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved Pecorino cheese and serve.
In the November issue of Bon Appetite, Anna Jones shares a few “healthy-ish holiday survival” recipes. If you’re not familiar with Anna Jones this is what the magazine has to say about her: “The former food stylist to Jamie Oliver, Jones has a refreshing food sensibility that we can’t get enough of. Her recipes are practical yet creative, and they’re packed with feel-good ingredients that make the finished dishes more-not less-delicious. And guess what? They’re all vegetarian.”
Anna suggests making this Skillet Phyllo Pie with Butternut Squash, Kale & Goat Cheese for dinner on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. That’s some good advice although we enjoyed it very much as a Sunday dinner last weekend. The recipe is highly adaptable. Try it with Swiss chard or spinach in place of kale. Any squash or root vegetable will work in place of the butternut.
We also made a tray of her Seedy Oat Crackers or “the guiltless cracker” which can be made ahead of the holiday craziness (they’ll keep for up to ten days). Seedy Oat Crackers are gluten-free, and have very little fat. Packed with nutrient-dense seeds and oats, these special crackers leave you feeling satisfied.
Skillet Phyllo Pie with Butternut Squash, Kale & Goat Cheese from Bon Appetite November 2016
Serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
1/2 small butternut squash (about 1 lb.) peeled, cut into 3/4″ pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
3 ounces Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
8 ounces frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
4 ounces fresh goat cheese or feta, crumbled
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 400 F. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 6-8 minutes. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, 8-10 minutes. Mix in thyme and red pepper flakes and transfer to a medium bowl; let cool. Wipe out and reserve skillet.
Add kale, eggs, Parmesan, and lemon zest to squash mixture and gently mix to combine; season with salt and pepper. Layer phyllo sheets inside reserved skillet. Spoon kale-and-squash mixture into phyllo and dot top with goat cheese. Brush edges of phyllo lightly with oil and fold over filling, overlapping slightly, leaving center exposed.
Cook pie over medium heat until bottom of pastry is just golden (carefully lift up on side with a heatproof rubber spatula so that you can take a peek), about 3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake pie until kale is wilted and tender and phyllo is golden brown and crispy, 20-25 minutes. Let pie cool in skillet at least 15 minutes before slicing into wedges.
Do Ahead: Pie can be baked 6 hours ahead. Let cool; store uncovered at room temperature.
Seedy Oat Crackers “the guiltless cracker” from Bon Appetite November 2016
Makes 8 servings
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds, and salt in a large bowl to combine. In a separate bowl, stir oil, maple syrup, and 3/4 cup room-temperature water together. Pour over oat mixture; toss until soaked. Let sit 10 minutes to allow mixture to thicken. From into a ball. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, press another sheet of parchment on top, and roll out to 1/8″ thick (the shape doesn’t matter). Remove top layer of parchment. Bake cracker until golden brown around the edges, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn over cracker; remove parchment. Bake cracker on same sheet until firm and the other side is golden brown around the edges, 15-20 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet, then break into pieces.
Whether you are searching for a way to cook an unusual CSA vegetable, prepare fish for a crowd, or assemble a meal ahead of time, sheet pan dinners are your answer. And once you start crafting your own combinations of protein, vegetable, herbs, and sauce, you will be hooked on this foolproof technique.
Here, I’ll share 12 tips for getting started, some basic time and temperature guidelines to abide by, a few time-saving ideas, and two simple roast chicken sheet pan recipes. (If a roast chicken dinner two-ways isn’t a good place to start, then I don’t know what is.)…click here to read the whole story.
Photos by Elizabeth Cecil.