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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

Simple Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

Last week my little blog had an anniversary!  I’ve been occupying this small corner of the internet for three years now.  Goodness time has flown by!  I’m so very thankful for the friends it has brought into my life.  It is such an amazing feeling to find people that share my interests– people that give a damn where their food comes from and believe that it makes a difference.  Making food does more than just nurture my body, it nutures my soul.  Thank you for stopping back week after week to see what I’ve been doing– I am truly grateful.

Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

I suppose you’re expecting a celebratory cake recipe, but no, today I’m marking the occassion with…kimchi!  You know I’m a sucker for fermented foods (they are so ridiculously healthy for you)– this  homemade sauerkraut gets made ever month in our house.  Kimchi is along the same lines– it’s also lacto-fermented– but it’s made with a different type of cabbage and a couple of other vegetables. The red color comes from a Korean ground red pepper called gochugaru.  It has a wonderful flavor.  Finding gochugaru can be a bit of a hunt, even in a large city.  Definitely check an Asian specialty store.  I found mine at United Noodles in Minneapolis.  You can also order in online at Amazon.  A package will last you awhile, so you won’t have to reorder very often. Kimchi is easy to make and doesn’t take very long to ferment.  It’s as simple is mixing up a flavorful paste with garlic, ginger, and the gochugaru and tossing it with the vegetables.  If you love kimchi, there is absolutely no reason not to make your own.

Simple Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

Simple Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

The big question is, what do you do with kimchi once you’ve made it?  The possibilities are endless, really.  Toss some into a batch of fried rice, throw some into your stir-fry, put it into soups, eat it with dumplings, or straight out of the jar.  I love to eat it on a pizza with spicy ground pork.  It adds that extra “oomph” that some dishes need.  Make it.  You’ll be happy that you did!

Homemade Kimchi | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Kimchi

(makes nearly 2 quarts)

1 /3 cup kosher salt

1 (3 1/2 pound) head napa cabbage, remove core and cut cabbage into 2-inch strips

water

7 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

12 ounce daikon (white radish) peeled and cut into matchsticks

7 garlic cloves, smashed

3 tablespoons fish sauce (or water, if making vegetarian)

1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

5 tablespoons gochugaru (less to taste)

To prepare the cabbage:  Place the cut cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.  Massage well so the the cabbage starts to soften and become watery.  Then add enough filtered water to cover the cabbage.  Weigh it down with a plate and then place something heavy on the plate.  Let it stand for 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the red pepper paste.  In a small bowl, add the ginger, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and gochugaru.  Mix until uniform.  Set aside.

When the cabbage is ready, rinse it with cold water about 3 times.  You want to thoroughly wash the salt off of it.  Then drain in a colander for 15 minutes and gently squeeze out any remaining water.  Return to the bowl that has since been cleaned.  Add the daikon, green onions, and red pepper paste and gently mix with your hands (use gloves, if you want) to coat all of the vegetables.  Pack the kimchi into clean jars and press down until the brine covers the vegetables.  Leave about an 1-inch space at the top of the jars (you will just be shy of 2 quarts for this recipe, so space shouldn’t be an issue).

Let the jars stand at room temperature for 1-5 days ( I generally do 5 days, but it’ll depend upon the temperature of your house).  There may be some bubbling action and you may want to open the jar to release some of the gas, so it doesn’t bubble over and create a mess.  Taste it along the way, when it is fermented to your liking, put it into the refrigerator.  The flavors will continue to enhance when it’s been in the refrigerator for a while.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from The Kitchn

Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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Healthy Asian Peanut Slaw | Relishing it

I love a good slaw.  Basically, I love any salad that is made from cabbage and crunchy vegetables.  Sure, once summer rolls around I’ll be thrilled to dig into a plate of delicate, tender greens.  But, in the meantime, I never tire of crunchy, hearty vegetables.  They satisfy me when I’m hungry.  They have a great mouth-feel– as in, I actually feel like I’m eating something substantial.  Like I’m eating a meal.

Healthy Asian Peanut Slaw | Relishing It

Healthy Asian Peanut Slaw | Relishing It

Healthy Asian Peanut Slaw | Relishing It

Cabbage (and kale) are really my go-to winter salad fare.  Remember this salad?  I still eat it at least once a week.  The same goes for the one I’m sharing today.  I love combining Asian flavors into a slaw.  It just works.  Making a dressing using plain yogurt is a perfect way to “health it up”, yet still satisfies that need for something a bit more indulgent and creamy.

Healthy Asian Peanut Slaw | Relishing It

I used freshly ground peanut butter in this dressing, but you can buy good organic peanut butter at your market.   Be sure to look for a kind that only contains ground peanuts.  Added salt is fine.  If you have to use something else with other ingredients, just be warned that the flavor of the dressing may be a bit off, as those other kinds generally contain a lot of sugar.  Most of the other ingredients for the dressing are things that you probably have in your refrigerator already.  The lime juice is the perfect backdrop for the flavors.  And as for the vegetables, the combination of red cabbage, carrots, carrots, cilantro, and broccoli are wonderful together.  I love using broccoli in this finely-sliced form.  Broccoli has a wonderful flavor, but I don’t always like chewing on the florets, so this is a nice solution.  I’ve also added golden raisins to this slaw.  Taking a bite with one in it feels like hitting the lottery.  Perhaps I should just toss more in next time?!  Cheers– hope you enjoy the slaw!

Healthy Asian Peanut Slaw | Relishing It

The Recipe: Healthy Asian Peanut Slaw

(serves 1-2)

For the Asian Peanut Dressing:

2 tablespoons organic natural peanut butter (containing only peanuts and salt)

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

honey (optional)

For the Slaw:

2 medium carrots, grated on the large hole of a box grater

1/4 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced

5-6 large broccoli florets, thinly sliced

1/4 large red pepper, julienned

small handful of cilantro leaves, stems removed

2-3 tablespoons golden raisins

chopped salted peanuts or cashews, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk the ingredients for the dressing together.  Set aside.  In a larger bowl, combine all the ingredients for the slaw,  sans peanuts.  Pour the dressing onto the vegetables and mix together using tongs.  You may not want to pour all of the dressing on at once (I generally have a bit leftover).  It’ll depend on your personal taste.  Top with the chopped peanuts or cashews.  Enjoy!

As always, thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!

Laurie

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Winter Salad with a Kumquat Vinaigrette | Relishing It

Apparently I’ve been craving a little color lately.  I recently bought a couple of brightly colored sweaters (orange and electric blue).  I just replaced my everyday-lipstick with a few colors that have a bit more pizzazz.  Yep, I just need to see a bit more color this time of year.  The dull gray skies and monotonous white snow just don’t do it for me by late January.   So…this colorful salad fits the bill perfectly.  And aside from the visual beauty, this one is delicious.  I could eat it every day.  Actually, I pretty much did for month straight last year.

Winter Salad with a Kumquat Vinaigrette | Relishing It

Winter Salad with a Kumquat Vinaigrette | Relishing It

Let’s start with the red cabbage.  I rely on it a lot during winter.  It tastes great, works both hot or cold, and it can hang out it your refrigerator for a while.  This last reason is important, because if you don’t happen to want to eat a salad every day, this ingredient will be waiting for you.  Tuscan kale is another great ingredient.  It’s perfect in soups or massaged and made into a simple salad.  Red peppers were on sale at our co-op the other day, so I bought a few of those too.  My kids love to snack on them all summer long, but they go through withdrawal in winter.  They were probably happier than I was when I brought them home.

Winter Salad with a Kumquat Vinaigrette | Relishing It

Finally, I present to you the kumquats.  They have such a fresh, powerful citrus flavor.  Take a look at this kumquat marmalade that I shared here a while back.  Kumquats always remind me of sunshine, which is obviously just what I need right now.  They’re sweet, tangy, and so fragrant.  I love them thinly sliced and tossed into salads– no need to peel them.  Just remove the few tiny seeds that will be inside. In this recipe, I blend them up (peel too) into a delicious vinaigrette that goes perfectly with any winter salad.  I also add a touch of honey to it to bring out the sweetness a bit more.  It’s a bit on the thick side for a vinaigrette, because the acidic component (the kumquats) is blended whole– but I think it’s absolutely lovely and the hearty winter vegetables work well with it.  The almonds are the perfect finishing touch to the salad.  I hope you give this little salad a try if you need to brighten up your day– I bet it will.  Enjoy!

Winter Salad with a Kumquat Vinaigrette | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Winter Salad with a Kumquat Vinaigrette

Serves 2

For the Vinaigrette:

10 kumquats, cut and seeded (leave the peel on)

1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot, white, or red onion

1 teaspoon honey

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Salad:

About half of a small red cabbage, cored and finely sliced

handful of Tuscan kale (6-7 stalks) stems removed and thinly sliced into ribbons OR a handful of fresh spinach

1/2 red pepper, julienned

handful of almonds, coarsely chopped

3-4 kumquats, seeded and thinly sliced

To make the vinaigrette, place the kumquats into a small food processor and pulse a few times until they are finely chopped.  Add the shallot, honey, and salt.  Pulse a few more times until nearly smooth.  Add the olive oil and blend.  This vinaigrette will remain somewhat thick.  Adjust salt, if necessary.

It’s best to place your salad ingredients (sans almonds and kumquats) into a bowl and pour the vinaigrette on top of them.  Toss to coat.  Plate the salads and top with the almonds and kumquats.  Leftover vinaigrette can be stored covered in the refrigerator.  Let it come to room temperature before using.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!  Have a wonderful weekend.

xo

Laurie

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Homemade Chicken Broth | Relishing It

Hello, friends!  I hope you all had wonderful holidays.  Ours was busy, yet really fun.  We did a bit (17 hours!) of driving and managed to see a lot of our family.  Since Christmas is such a special time, I really try to keep the focus on my kids and making memories with them– thus the lack of blog posts for the last few weeks.  But yesterday I sent the little ones back to school after an additional two-days off due to the extremely cold weather here in Minnesota caused by the…POLAR VORTEX!  Have you heard about this thing?!  I’m kidding, of course you have.  It seems to be pretty much the only thing that’s been on the news for the last two weeks.  Well, we actually didn’t mind it much.  We played a lot of indoor games (Life, Jenga, Battleship, and Uno each saw some use), and we ate a lot of delicious soup.  Which, I guess, is my segue into today’s recipe.

I have two amazing soup recipes that I plan to share over the next week or so, but before I get ahead of myself, I want to talk about homemade chicken broth.  Homemade chicken broth is the cornerstone to both of these recipes.  While I know that making homemade broth is an old hat for some, for most the solution is picking up a box at the supermarket.  I’ll be honest, that’s occasionally been my solution too, though we recently got another freezer, so I’ve been making broth non-stop now that I have more space.  There are so many health benefits that come with good homemade chicken broth.  It was with good reason your Mother and Grandmother fed you chicken noodle soup when you were sick as a child– they knew what they were doing.

Homemade Chicken Broth | Relishing It

One of the nice things about making chicken broth is that it can be as easy or as involved as you want it to be.  Pretty much any amount of effort will most likely yield something far better tasting than what you get in those grocery store boxes.  Throw a chicken in a pot with a few vegetables, a few herbs, water, salt, and perhaps a glug of white wine.  There it is.  So what are you waiting for?

Alright, a little more detail.  Broth can be made with whole chickens, chicken parts, of just bones (though, technically this last one is called stock). I generally buy a whole (organic, pasture-raised, etc) chicken that is about 5 pounds.  And contrary to what you may have heard, the meat from the chicken is definitely still useable after you have simmered it to make broth.  The chicken retains its wonderful texture and moistness.  The key is that you have to know when to remove the chicken from the simmering pot.

Here’s how to do it:  after 2 1/2 – 3 hours of simmering, take the whole chicken out and remove the tender, fully cooked meat.  Then return the bones and skin to the pot and continue to simmer.  I normally simmer my broth for 24 hours– you can get so many healthy things out of that chicken the longer you simmer it.  However, if you can’t simmer it for 24 hours due to your schedule, anything longer than 3 hours will be just fine.  If you can stretch it to anywhere between 8 and 24 hours, it gets even better.

Homemade Chicken Broth | Relishing It

Monetarily speaking, it also makes sense to make your own.  The cost of the chicken alone is less than I would spend on the amount of broth I yield from one bird.  Plus, I get delicious tender, flavorful chicken that I can plan meals around.  I store my broth in the freezer in wide-mouth quart jars.  I’ve made the mistake of using regular jars and have had some crack. I also don’t put the lids on initially, leaving 1-inch- 1 1/2- inches of space at the top to allow enough room for the broth to expand as it freezes.  I then put the lids on after it has frozen.

You’ll find that once you make your first batch of broth, you won’t be able to turn back.  Honestly.  Enjoy– get started on that broth and I’ll meet you back here very soon to talk about some delicious soups you can make with it!

Homemade Chicken Broth | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Chicken Broth

(Yields 5-6 quarts)

4-5 pound organic, pasture-raised whole chicken, or chicken parts, or bones

3-4 celery sticks, rough chopped

1 large carrot, rough chopped

1 large parsnip, rough chopped

1 onion, quartered (no need to peel)

1 bulb garlic, halved (no need to peel)

3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme

3 dried bay leaves

handful of fresh parsley, rough chopped

About 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt, more to taste

healthy glug of white wine, about 3/4 cup

Note: Remember, this is my version to make the broth.  If you don’t have all of the ingredients, don’t sweat it.  Use what you do have.  It’ll be delicious.  Also, when using the wine, if you’re not planning to finish the bottle,  portion it out into containers, freeze, and use some the next time you plan to make broth.  It works great!

Add all of the ingredients to a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot.  Fill with cold, filtered water– enough to cover ingredients by 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches.  Bring the ingredients to a near boil, skip off foam using a spoon, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting with the lid ajar ever so slightly.  You’ll want it to be on a very low simmer with the smallest amount of bubbles forming for the remainder of the time.  This will keep the evaporation to a minimum, as well as let the flavors deepen.

Simmer for about 2 1/2 hours.  Then carefully take the chicken from the pot and remove the meat.  At this point the chicken will shred beautifully.  You can use the meat immediately,  or freeze for another time.  Return the bones and skin to the pot and continue simmering for another 21 1/2 hours, or less time if need be.

When the broth is done, you will want to strain and discard the bones and vegetables– they’ve served their purpose.  Using the back of a large spoon, I often push the carrots and parsnips through the strainer– it gives the broth a wonderful color and flavor.  After you’ve removed the large chunks, you’ll want to pour the liquid through a cheesecloth, so it is nice and clear.  At this point, you can decide if you want to remove the fat from the broth or not.  Some people prefer the richness it adds and leave it in there.  I pour it into a gravy separator, the kind where the spout is on the bottom and the fat floats to the top.  If you don’t have that, you can also try a large resealable bag– the fat will float to the top and you can make a small cut on the bottom.  This may be tricky, so be careful.  Another option, is to wait until you place it into the jars or plastic containers, if using.  Once the broth is cold, the fat will harden and you can simply remove it.

When pouring into the jars, or plastic containers, if using– make sure to leave about a 1 1/2- inch space from the top of the jar.  The liquid will expand as it freezes.  Cool the broth completely before placing the the freezer.  I choose not to place the lids on them immediately, instead waiting until after they’ve fully frozen.  Thaw in warm water or place in the refrigerator when ready to use.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!

Laurie

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Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing ItI just know many of you are in the thick of planning your Thanksgiving menus, and I’ve got a side dish that would look absolutely grand on your table.  I’m one of those who think the Thanksgiving meal is all about the sides.  Sure, the turkey is fine, but there just isn’t a lot of excitement there.  It’s the side dishes that have the variety of flavors and colors that make the meal so interesting.   At least that’s how I feel.  My husband habitually defaults to two servings of turkey, gravy, potatoes, and stuffing.  That’s it.  I’m not sure what’s wrong with him.  Anyway, even if you’re not looking for a Thanksgiving idea, this dish is pretty incredible for any occasion.  I like to make it and enjoy the leftovers throughout the week– it keeps and heats up beautifully, never losing any texture or flavor.

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

I usually have some baked squash in my refrigerator on most any day during winter.  It’s just one of those healthy, filling vegetables that works with so many meals.  Butternut squash holds it’s shape really well in this dish.  Brussels are also a favorite, and here they go particularly well with the squash.  If you haven’t yet tried black rice, here’s your chance.  It’s healthy and has a wonderfully nutty flavor.  The slightly-chewy, toothsome texture balances out the softer vegetables in this dish.  And if you can’t get your hands on black rice, any wild rice would be a good substitute.

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

Finally, let’s talk about this amazing ginger sesame dressing.  Ginger adds such a unique and robust flavor, so a little goes a long way.  The sesame oil give the dressing an additional layer of nuttiness (flavor, not craziness).  It’s worth buying a bottle.  Side note, keep it in your refrigerator, so it lasts longer.  This dressing is amazing on these vegetables– but would be wonderful on so many other things, as well.  Be creative!  Enjoy!

Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Black Rice | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Ginger Sesame Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, & Black Rice

(makes enough for 4-6 people, easily)

About 1 pound small brussel sprouts, halved (or quartered, if large)

About 1 pound (or a bit more) butternut squash, peeled and cubed

2/3 cup dry black rice, rinsed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for roasting

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

Ginger Sesame Dressing:

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon finely minced ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To make the black rice:  Place the rinsed rice in a medium saucepan along with 1 1/3 cups of water.  Add a sprinkle of salt.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low-medium  and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is mostly tender.  Turn off the heat and let it sit in the pan covered for 15 minutes, or so .  Fluff with a fork when ready to use.

Meanwhile, place the brussel sprouts and butternut squash on a large baking sheet.  Toss with two tablespoons of olive oil.  Roast for abut 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Make sure to flip the vegetables once or twice for even browning.

To make the Ginger Sesame Dressing:  In a medium-sizd bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the olive oil.  Then, slowly add the olive oil while continuing to whisk.  Set aside until ready to use.

In a large serving bowl or platter, gently combine the roasted butternut squash, brussel sprouts, black rice, and ginger sesame dressing.  Taste and season with kosher salt, if necessary.  Top with the toasted sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Laurie

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Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

I grew up in a small town in western North Dakota settled way-back-when mostly by German immigrants. Not surprisingly, sauerkraut has always been a part of my family’s meals. My grandmothers, aunts, and my mom have always made their own.  I can’t tell you how many times in my childhood I had to trudge down the stairs to the cool basement to retreive another jar of kraut from the shelves packed with canned goods. It was always there– an endless supply. I loved sauerkraut as a kid, and still do. I’m that person who orders it on pizza any chance I get.  My favorite way to eat it is simply really cold, in a bowl.  I like my sauerkraut to have a lot of crunch to it.

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

I don’t exactly make my sauerkraut the same way the rest of my family does.  My version tastes the same– I’ve nailed down the technique that gives that deliciously tangy and crunchy sauerkraut.  But, I don’t can my batches. There are so many good, healthy things happening when you ferment food, that I just can’t bring myself to ruin those benefits by heating it up too much. Instead, I make small batches and let it ferment for a few weeks at room temperature, and then refrigerate.  If you’re not familiar with fermentation and the health benefits, be sure to look into it.

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

I’ve made saurkraut in a traditional crock in th past, which though seemingly fun, didn’t give me the results I was looking for. I loved the idea of the crock sitting out and fermenting for all to smell and see, but there was no crunch when it was all said and done. I’ll find another use for that crock, though.

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

I’ve found that my sauerkraut turns out precisely how I want it when I pack it into mason jars and let it ferment on the counter for a couple of weeks.  It becomes deliciously tangy and stays crisp and crunchy.  Every few days in the beginning of the fermentation process, I’ll open the jar to release some of the gas.  It doesn’t take long for the cabbage to take on that tell-tale sauerkraut scent.  The first time or two that you do this, there will be quite a lot of bubbles and fizzing action.  Exciting! After about 2-3 weeks of sitting out at room temperature, I test it out and when it’s the perfect tanginess– I put it in the refrigerator, ready to eat. Then I start another batch, and the process just rolls along. I always have fresh sauerkraut to use in my favorite dishes, such as this Rustic Potato, Sauerkraut, and Beef Galette.  Or mix it into this beautiful Ham, Bean, and Sauerkraut Soup by Fresh Tart.   I hope you give this a try.  It’s ridiculously easy and the rewards are fantastic.

Easy Homemade Sauerkraut | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Easy Homemade Sauerkraut

(makes about 2 quarts)

5 pounds of fresh cabbage, cored and sliced into ribbons (not too thick, not too thin).  Reserve a couple of the large outer leaves to use later.

3 tablespoons kosher or sea salt  (nothing with chemicals, please)

2 sterilized mason jars with lids  (preferably regular mouth jars– the “shoulders” on the sides will keep the cabbage pressed down and submerged in the liquid better)

I’ve  found that if I slice my cabbage too thin, it doesn’t have the crunch that I’m looking for.  Too thick, and it’s awkward to chew.  Using a chef’s knife works the best for me.  Slice it into not-too-thin, but not-too-thick ribbons (use your best judgement and refer to the photos).

Place the sliced cabbage in a huge bowl and sprinkle with salt.  Use a masher, if you have one,  to mix the salt and cabbage together.  Bruising the cabbage a bit with the masher with soften the cabbage up and release some of the water from it.  Inevitably, I turn to my hands and massage the cabbage and salt together.  Let it sit for about an hour, or so.   Keep massaging it a couple of times throughout that hour, or place a plate directly on top of the cabbage and something heavy on the plate to weigh it down.  The pressure will release the water faster.  There should be a pool of liquid that has formed.  Pack it into the mason jars and push down– the liquid should come above the cabbage.  Next, fold the extra cabbage leaf and place on top of the cabbage.  This will push your cabbage down so it remains in the liquid to ferment.  Put the cover on the jar and wait.  After a day or two, open the jar and let the gas out.  There will be a lot of bubbles and fizzing action.  This is good!  It’s beginning to ferment.  Check it again every couple of days.  Occasionally, mold may form on top of the cabbage.  This is fine and normal.   Just scoop it out and continue to ferment.  I’ve found that mold occurs more often when using the crock method, as opposed to mason jars.

 After about 2-3 weeks (depending upon how tangy you like your sauerkraut), remove the cabbage leaf and place the jar in the refrigerator to use.  I’m not exactly sure how long it will last in the refrigerator, as we always use ours before it’s even a question.  It should be fine for a few weeks, possibly a couple months.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Coconut Red Curry Soup with Brown Rice Noodles via Relishing It

Hello again!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend.  Ours went by far too quickly, and was… a bit of a mixed bag.  Friday night I made this tasty coconut red curry soup, we played games, and had a dance party in Aria’s room– flashing colored lights and blaring music included.  It was great.  I still smile when I think about how happy she was spending her birthday money on her own disco ball.  Saturday, on the other hand, was not so pleasant.  Do you ever have days where everyone in the family wants to do something different?  No one can agree on a plan, everyone is a bit “off”, and the day spirals into communal grumpiness.  That was our Saturday.  As we were putting the kids to bed that night, talking about how we had wasted one of our precious weekend days, my daughter (in her sweet four-year-old voice) said, “Everybody’s different.  That’s just how life is.”  So there’s a bit of wisdom.  Thankfully, by Sunday we had all learned our lessons and agreed to compromise, and it was fantastic.  The sun was shining, we went out-and-about, the kids were happy, the adults were happy.  We ended the weekend on a great note.

Guajillo Peppers for Red Curry Paste via Relishing It

Anyway…back to this soup that I threw together for “Friday Night Fun.”  It’s loaded with tons of healthy ingredients– brown rice noodles, bok choy, snow peas, turmeric, chicken, and homemade red curry paste.  It’s all in there, combining to make a warm and filling soup laced with those delicious Thai flavors that we love.  The idea for this soup came about awhile back when I was making some other Thai dish.  I realized that I was out of curry paste, so I took a look at the ingredients on the empty bottle in the fridge.  I was already familiar with making my own condiments ( here and here), so I decided to give homemade curry paste a shot.  And since the the first listed ingredient was sugar, I figured it was an opportunity to make a healthier version to use in other meals.  One of the things I love about making homemade versions is that there really isn’t a right or wrong way.  It’s fun to go ‘off-book’.  As long as you pay attention to how the flavor combinations develop as you add ingredients, you’ll be fine.  Cooking with this philosophy opens up so many possibilities.  Have the courage to take a chance, and rely on your taste, and it’ll be a game changer for your kitchen skills.

Ingredients for Red Curry Paste via Relishing It

At any rate, I love the result of this red curry paste.  I decided to not add anything sweet to the actual paste.  Instead, I made up for any needed sweetness by seasoning the whole soup.  Use your judgement to fit this dish to your family’s taste.  The same goes for the dried chili peppers.  Here, I used a mild one– Guajillo.  Penzeys carries all sorts of dried chili peppers in different ranges of heat.  Use whichever you prefer.  And don’t be put-off by the anchovies in the paste.  They add a little umami flavor, but you won’t taste anything fish-like.  Trust me on this one.  One final thing on the paste, it’s a nice idea to make this a bit ahead of time to allow the flavors to come together.  You will have leftovers that can be stored in the refrigerator.  Of course, if you decide not to make your own curry paste, this soup will still be wonderful with a store-bought version.

Homemade Red Curry Paste via Relishing It

I love cooking with coconut milk (the canned version, not the carton).  Here, I sweetened the soup with a bit of honey, but palm sugar (or regular) can also be used.  The vegetables are interchangeable, of course.  A couple of hefty handfuls of spinach are a nice replacement for the bok choy.  Red pepper (sautéed a bit beforehand) also goes very well in this dish.  You can roast your own chicken, bake some chicken breasts, or use store-bought rotisserie chicken for an even quicker meal.  Or you can leave the chicken out entirely for a vegetarian option.  If you happen to have kaffir lime leaves on hand, throw them in– they will be brilliant.  I didn’t this time around, but the extra lime juice worked just fine.

Coconut Red Curry Soup via Relishing It

A note about the bowl in the photo– isn’t it lovely?  You know I advocate using local ingredients as much as possible, but I also have a soft spot for local artists.  The gorgeous bowl in these photos is from Evla Pottery.  I fell in love with their work years ago when my husband surprised me with a large decorative plate.  Last week while on a stroll with Aria, I stopped in to have a look around and was smitten with these bowls.  Evla is run by a husband and wife who craft wonderful pottery and paintings.  They have a beautiful store, and I’m thankful that they’re just a few blocks from our home.  Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood, or take a look on-line if you need to treat yourself or another to something special.

Coconut Red Curry Soup with Brown Rice Noodles via Relishing It

The Recipe: Red Coconut Curry Soup with Brown Rice Noodles

(Serves 4-6)

For the Red Curry Paste:

4 dried Guajillo peppers (other peppers will work fine, too)

1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped ( about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

1 knob fresh ginger, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon hot curry powder

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3-4 tablespoons minced shallot

3 garlic cloves

2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

3 tablespoons liquid from soaked peppers, more if needed

For the Coconut Red Curry Soup:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

About 1 pound chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (rotisserie works well, too)

2 teaspoons coriander seed, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 stalk lemon grass, left whole

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon hot or sweet curry powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2-3 tablespoons honey (or more, to taste)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons red curry paste

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

2 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated  (or a couple hefty handful of fresh spinach)

About 1  1/2 cups fresh snow peas

1/2 chopped cilantro

1-2 limes, cut into wedges

5 cups water

1 can organic coconut milk

8 ounces brown rice noodles

To make the red curry paste:  Place the dried chili peppers into a small bowl, pour boiling water over them and cover the bowl with a plate.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Reserve some of the soaking liquid.  Using  a small mini food processor, add the peppers, lemon grass, ginger, curry powder, ground coriander, fish sauce, shallots, garlic, anchovies, and 3 tablespoons soaking liquid.  Blend for a few minutes until very smooth.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the coconut red curry soup:  In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil.  Add the shallots and ginger and sauté for a minute or so.  Add the curry powder, turmeric, ground coriander, and red curry paste and sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add  5 cups of water along with the lemon grass stalk, fish sauce, coconut milk, and honey.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low-medium and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or so.

Meanwhile, bring a large kettle full of water to a boil for the brown rice noodles.  When the soup tastes as if the flavors have melded, cook the rice noodles in the boiling water for about 8-10 minutes, or until they are al dente. Remove the stalk of lemongrass.  About 2 minutes before the rice noodles are done, add the snow peas , bok choy , and chicken to the soup.    Strain the noodles and add them to the soup.  Stir in most of the green onions and cilantro, reserving a bit for garnishing the top each bowl.  Be sure to serve a lime wedge or two along with each bowl– the lime really brightens the soup and brings all of the flavors together.   This soup is best enjoyed immediately when it is done.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by today! xo

Laurie

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Today’s recipe is another healthy, vegetable-laden dish– a fresh, simple soup that is brilliant served hot or cold.  See, I told you I was going to eat my weight in veggies.  This week the seasonal produce in my refrigerator– asparagus, pea shoots, and leeks– was just begging to be made into something wonderful.  This soup is the result.  It’s simple, though with seriously impressive flavors.  What I mean is, even though it comes together in about 30 minutes from start to finish (if you’re skilled with a chef’s knife), it tastes surprisingly complex.

From the first spoonful, you can distinctly taste each of the main vegetables.  Clean and crisp.  And the lemon adds that nice acidity that frames the flavors of the asparagus, pea shoots, and leeks.  As you stroll through the recipe, you’ll notice there are no herbs or spices (aside from salt and pepper).  For this soup, I wanted the pure flavor of the vegetables to stand out.  I also knew I didn’t want it packed with cream (though I love, love creamy soups).  Instead, I added a Yukon Gold potato to provide that smooth texture.

This soup is very good by itself– especially as a chilled Summer dish.  I also love it warm with a piece of toasted french bread and poached egg gently laid on top.  Magic happens where egg yolk meets soup.  Give it a try, you’ll see.  One last thing to keep in mind is that the balance of flavors in this soup stands or falls on how much lemon and salt you add.  As always, taste, taste, taste!

The Recipe: Spring Vegetable Soup

(Serves 4 — enjoy hot or cold)

1 quart chicken stock

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle

1 pound asparagus

1 large white onion, chopped

1 medium leek, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 large yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped

1 packed cup of pea shoots

squeeze of lemon

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

crusty french bread and poached eggs, optional

Prepare the asparagus by trimming the very ends.  If you have some thick ones, peel the last 1 1/2-inch of the stock with a vegetable peeler.  Cut off the tips of the asparagus and set aside.  Cut up the remaining asparagus into 1-inch pieces.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup kettle, add the olive oil.  Over medium heat, sauté the onion, leek, celery and a sprinkle of salt and pepper until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, potato, and asparagus.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes and asparagus are tender.  Then, put the pea shoots into the soup and cook for about 1 minute, or until the pea shoots have wilted a bit.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the reserved asparagus tips and cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove from water and place into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

Remove soup from heat.  Use an immersion blender or carefully pour the soup into a stand blender (in batches), blend the soup until creamy.  Season with a squeeze of lemon, to taste, as well as salt and pepper.  Seasoning this soup properly is key.  A bit more lemon or salt can make all the difference.   Add the asparagus tips to the soup or serve as a garnish on top.  This soup is wonderful served hot or cold.   It is outstanding served with toasted french bread and a poached egg on top.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!  Have a fantastic weekend!

Laurie

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One of the best perks of late spring and early summer cooking is that so many dishes are quick and simple– there’s isn’t much fussing or preparation time.  This is a good thing– especially if you have little ones either underfoot or begging to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.  And even if you don’t have to keep one eye on the kids while you cook, who wants to spend these longer, warm days in the kitchen?  I know I sound like a skipping record, but I happen to be delighted that summer produce is starting to appear.  Aside from the fresh seasonal flavors, it’s easy– and that means more playtime.

This week, it’s time for asaparagus!  Yes, that sentence was worthy of an exclamation point.  You see, asaparagus isn’t around for long, so when it arrives, I go all out.  I have several simple asparagus dishes that I make this time of year.  This gorgeous tart is one of my favorites. And this one, which combines two fantastic seasonal ingredients– asparagus and morels, still makes me swoon. But the best of all is the dish in today’s post- roasted asparagus with balsamic browned butter.  It is, unquestionably, my favorite way to prepare asparagus.

I first made this dish years ago for my in-laws.  They loved it enough that they started preparing asparagus this way, too.  I think the chances are better than average that you’ll do the same.  This side is perfect because it relies on a simple flavor combination.  Browned Butter, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.  That’s it.  These three ingredients pack an amazing punch.  So much so, that you don’t want your asparagus swimming in the sauce.  Less is more, here.

A word or two about the preparation of the asparagus.  First, use fresh seasonal asparagus.  Don’t get me started on that asparagus you often see year-round in some grocery stores and restaurants.  Those oversized, tough, tasteless, shoots are not what I’m talking about.  Asparagus should be enjoyed when it was meant to be– for those few weeks in spring when it’s fresh and tastes amazing.  When looking for asparagus at the market, look for the tops of them to be tight and closed.  This indicates they were recently harvested.  Asparagus should be eaten as soon as possible after you buy it, as the flavor dissipates pretty quickly.  Also, I don’t follow the school of thought that you should snap huge chunks off the bottom of the stem to avoid the “woody” portion.  Instead, I simply use a vegetable peeler and peel the bottoms.  It becomes just as tender as the top section and you avoid wasting a fair amount.  Hope you enjoy this dish!

The Recipe:  Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

1 pound asparagus

olive oil, to drizzle

kosher salt

cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

toasted, sliced almonds, optional

shaved lemon zest, optional

Preheat an oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Wash and dry the asparagus.  Cut off the very bottoms with a sharp knife.  Use a vegetable peeler to peel the bottom 1-inch to 1  1/2 -inch.  Toss the asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Place on the baking sheet and roast for about 12 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, place the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Stirring frequently, melt the butter until it is a deep golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Be careful not to burn it.  Remove from heat and add the soy sauce and vinegar to the pan.  Mix it together well with a wooden spoon, making sure to incorporate any brown bits in the butter.

Place the asparagus on a serving platter and pour the balsamic browned butter over the top.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds and a bit of shaved lemon zest.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light

Thanks for stopping in — have a wonderful weekend!

Laurie

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