Andrea’s Blog – Phase 2

Wow, it has really been a long time since I wrote a new post! First, I took time off to focus on writing my Persian cookbook. The book is mostly written, and I have been trying to get it in front of publishers. Not an easy task. I think I need to regroup and figure out a new approach.

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Adasi – one of the dishes from my cookbook

Reason #2 for not blogging – I started a new job in February as the Director of Delaware’s Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy. The immediate issues to deal with included offshore drilling, offshore wind, staving off fights agains renewable energy standards, and developing a brand new permitting program for heavy industry. Add to that, the Division is newly created, so we are going through the growing pains of bringing together some very different programs. It has kept me very busy, but I am loving it.

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My daughter learning to install solar panels

Reason #3 – My husband accepted and started a job across the country. Yes, we were offered our new jobs 3 days apart. They were both exciting new adventures, so now we are bicoastal.  But I have our son (who is now 9 years old) here with me.  So I have been busy learning to be a single parent again. Running him to lacrosse, tap dance, swimming, friends, etc. This has been exhausting! Truly single parents have my full respect.

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I have been keeping sane and relaxing by baking bread.  I have made some fabulous breads – challahs, sourdoughs, stuffed breads, etc.  I just haven’t been blogging about them.  I will do some posts about the best of them as time permits.  I also have tapered back my garden.  It is just strawberries, tomatoes, a couple of peppers, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.  To fill in the rest, I have joined a CSA.  I have been having fun cooking around whatever I get in the box; lately that has meant a lot of asparagus dishes…yum!  Tomorrow night, it will be a chicken and bok choy stir fry…I am looking forward to it!

My plan is to try to blog more as I go through this new adventure in cooking from the CSA, breadmaking and surviving life as a full-time working mom in a bi-coastal family.

 

 

Categories: Recipe | 2 Comments

Bitter Citrus Marmalade

On my drive to Boston to help my daughter move, I was listening to the radio in Connecticut and heard Food Schmooze for the first time. It was an entertaining food show, but most interesting was the cookbook they were discussing – Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti. I was quite intrigued, so I ordered the book and have been working my way through it. I have previously written about the butternut squash preserved in oil. I also made some of the fruit preserves that I really enjoyed. But today I would try two very different preserves – pickle cipolinis (onions) and bitter citrus marmalade.

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I decided to do them both to make the most out of getting out the canning pot and equipment. While the pickled cipolinis are sitting for a week before we can use them, the marmalade was ready this morning and made for some excellent bagel accompaniment!

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You can use a variety of citrus fruits as long as you have 2 1/2 lbs – I used 2 blood oranges, 3 meyer lemons and 2 mandarins. The blood oranges give a beautiful color to the marmalade, if anything, I might even use more of them next time. You can also use kumquats or other bitter citrus fruits.

Bitter Citrus Marmalade

from Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti

2 1/2 lbs citrus fruit (organic, untreated), such as blood oranges, madarin oranges, lemons, etc.

Spring or filtered water

Sugar

1 vanilla bean

Directions

For small citrus, cut crosswise into thin wheels. For the rest, cut into quarters, then slice into thin wedges. Remove and collect the seeds as you work (the pectin in the seeds will help set the marmalade). Put the seeds in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it into a bundle with kitchen twine.

Place the fruit in a large nonreactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with 3 – 3 1/2 cups of water – enough to just cover the fruit.  Add the seed bundle to the pot.

Bring the fruit to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Cover the pot and refrigerate overnight.

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Bring the fruit to a boil again over medium-hight heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the peel of the fruit is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the bundle of seeds.

Sterilize 6 half-pint jars, rings and lids. You can do this by washing them and then putting them in the oven at 285F for 30 minutes (don’t put the lids in the oven, just put them in the boiling canning water bath for a few minutes just before canning). Start heating the canning water bath to boiling.

Weight the fruit mixture; it should be about 2 1/2 lbs. Add an equal amount of sugar to the pot.  Slice open the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pot. Over medium-low heat, stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil Cook at a lively boil, stirring often, until the mixture has darkened and begun to thicken. This will take about 30 minutes. Watch out for spattering. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 220F and you can drag a path along the bottom of the pot with a silicone spatula.

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Ladle the hot marmalade into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. If necessary, wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Screw the lids onto the jars (not too tight).

Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes (check websites such as this for information on water-bath canning). Remove the jars and place them upright on a clean kitchen towel. Let cool to room temperature before storing in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening. If any jars failed to seal properly, refrigerate them and use them first. Enjoy!

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Acorn Squash and Roasted Garlic Strudel

I had some beautiful acorn squash from our local CSA.

This was so much fun, both to make and to eat. It is actually fairly healthy, but feels very decadent. Must be the phyllo dough.

Acorn Squash and Roasted Garlic Strudel

from the Kitchn

1 head garlic, roasted
2 small acorn squash
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup pinenuts, toasted
1/2 package (about 30 sheets) of frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Directions

Split the acorn squash in half, scoop out the strings and seeds, and put the halves in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper, then either bake in a 350°F oven for about 50 minutes, or in a microwave for about 20 minutes, until the flesh is very soft and can be removed from the skin with a fork.

Scrape the acorn squash out of its skin and mash very well with a fork. Squeeze the garlic out of out of the cloves and mash. Put the garlic in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the sage leaves. Fry until fragrant, then add the acorn squash and cook until squash is warmed through. Set aside until slightly cooled.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked squash and garlic with the nutmeg, ricotta, and pinenuts. Stir well and taste. Add more salt and pepper if it needs it.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Melt the butter in a small bowl and add the olive oil. On a large piece of wax paper, lay out your first sheet of phyllo dough. Brush it with the butter, then stack another sheet on top. Repeat until you have about 10 layers (you can use less). Spread about a third of the squash mixture over the sheet of phyllo, leaving an inch of room at the edges.

Roll up from the long side, tucking the ends in. Pick up the wax paper and carefully roll the strudel off the paper and on to a large baking sheet.

Repeat to make two more strudels. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden and crispy.

Cut into slice and serve right away. Or, if these have to wait a little, you can re-crisp them in the oven at 400°F. Enjoy!

Makes 3 strudels, or 18-24 slices.

Categories: Recipe | 2 Comments

Butternut Squash Preserved in Oil

I was able to rescue about half a dozen butternut squash before the bugs destroyed the plants in my garden. We have been enjoying what have turned out to be some very tasty squash.

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While driving to Boston to help my daughter move, I listened to 6 hours of NPR. In Connecticut I discovered Food Schmooze, a very entertaining food show. Their guest that day was Domenica Marchetti, who had just published “Preserving Italy” a book devoted to preserving foods as they do in Italy. My interest was really piqued when one of the recipes they discussed was preserving butternut squash in olive oil. I just had to try this! This recipe was available on their website, but I have also subsequently purchased the book.

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I also made a farro salad from the book utilizing the preserved squash and dried cherries. It earned high marks from my daughters.

Butternut Squash Preserved in Oil

Domenica Marchetti 

1 1/2 to 2 lbs butternut squash

2 cups white wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 fresh chile pepper, sliced crosswise or a tablespoon of crushed hot pepper

1 tsp dried mint

1 1/2 to tsp kosher salt

Sunflower oil (I used olive oil)

Directions

You’ll need 3 or 4 sterilized 1/2-pint jars with lids for this recipe.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and any stringy pulp and discard (or reserve the seeds for another use). Peel off the rind and cut the squash halves in half again lengthwise, to yield 4 pieces. Slice each quarter crosswise into wedges about ¼ inch thick and transfer to a large heatproof bowl.

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Combine the vinegar, sugar, chile pepper, mint, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir once or twice to dissolve the sugar.

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Pour the boiling brine over the squash. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let steep overnight.

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Drain the squash, reserving the brine. Return the brine to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil vigorously for 2 minutes, then carefully add the squash. Return to a boil and boil until the squash is just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes—it should still be a little crunchy. Drain the squash and spread it out on clean kitchen towels to air-dry for a couple of hours.

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Pack the pieces tightly into the jars, leaving about 1 inch headspace.

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Pour enough oil over the squash to cover the pieces completely. Cover tightly with the lids and let stand at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

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To serve, remove only as much as you plan to use and let it come to room temperature. Top off the jar with more oil as necessary to keep the remaining squash submerged.


Enjoy!

Categories: Butternut Squash, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Persian Cookbook

You may have noticed that I have not been posting many new recipes lately. I am taking some time to focus on the cookbook I am writing.  I have gathered the Persian recipes from my husband’s family and others I have found and adapted them to an American kitchen.  My sisters-in-law spend many hours in the kitchen making their dishes.  With my husband’s help, I have found techniques to make them better suited to an American style of cooking.  Slow cookers, alternative ways to prep vegetables, and other techniques make these wonderful flavors accessible to American families, even for weeknight meals.

I will be including updated versions of many of the dishes I have already shared with you, plus some new ones just for the cookbook.

Of course there will be some favorites, such as Chicken Fesenjun

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and Khoresh Bademjun.

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But there will also be some new recipes and new twists on old standards, such as Mast-o Khiar

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Zeresht Polo,

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and Boogalamoon Polo.

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So, please be patient with me as I dive into finishing this.

Til later, enjoy!

 

 

 

Categories: Recipe | 2 Comments

Eggplant Parmigiana Sub

At 90, my mom is aging rapidly. Here she was a couple of years ago after the slide began but while she was still fairly alert (at least she still knew who I was).

Before she got sick, one of the foods she loved, but rarely treated herself to, was eggplant parmigiana subs. She especially liked the subs at our local pizza shop here in Dover. It was a major treat when she would visit and we would go out for our eggplant parmigiana subs. So when I picked up a whole bunch of eggplants on the farm in the Catskills, I decided to use some to make eggplant parmigiana subs in her honor.

Oh, she would have loved these. The hoagie rolls were the perfect texture to meld with the sauce and create just the right amount of bread to eggplant to sauce in each bite.

My words of advice, make sure the eggplant is really cooked through and soft. Over-cooked is better than undercooked.

Eggplant Parmigiana Sub

from FoodNetwork.com

1 large firm eggplant

3 large eggs (from Farmer Kim)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup olive oil, approximately

6 Italian style hoagie rolls, warmed in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 5 minutes before serving

1 cup part-skim Mozzarella, shredded

2 cups prepared marinara sauce, warm

Directions

Slice the eggplant crosswise about 1/4 to 3/8-inch thick – make slices as consistent as possible. If the base of the eggplant is very large, cut it in half lengthwise. Soak the sliced eggplant in a large bowl of warm, salted water for 1 to 2 hours. Make sure the eggplant is completely submerged in the salt water.

Scramble the 3 eggs with salt and pepper to make an egg wash. Remove eggplant slices from the salt bath, shake off excess moisture, and dip into egg wash. Then dip the eggplant slices, 1 at a time, into a flat plate filled with seasoned bread crumbs, covering all surfaces, and set aside. Continue breading the eggplant until all slices are done. Discard excess egg wash and bread crumbs.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan and allow it to heat up. (Add more oil as necessary during cooking.)

Add the breaded eggplant slices to the pan, cover and cook until you begin to see the eggplant become translucent, about 5 minutes. If it begins to burn, lower heat and allow it to cook slowly. Using a large spatula, turn eggplant onto the other side and cook 1 to 2 more minutes with the lid on until eggplant is completely tender.

When eggplant is completely cooked, remove from frying pan and place onto paper towels to blot any excess oil.

Place 2 or 3 eggplant slices onto warmed Italian roll, top with shredded mozzarella cheese, then warm marinara sauce.

Enjoy! Makes 6.

Makes 6.

Categories: Eggplant, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

Salad Shirazi

Salad Shirazi is a classic Persian salad. Fresh vegetables, mint and lime. Perfect for when garden tomatoes are plentiful.

The tomatoes share center stage with cucumbers, but you can’t beat the tomatoes for colorful lushness.

The result is a light, refreshing salad. Enjoy!

Salad Shirazi

2 medium cucumbers, diced (~2 cups) (from the garden)

2 large tomatoes, diced (~2 cups) (from the garden)

1/2 onion, diced

2 Tbsp dried mint

Juice of 1 lime

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Mix the vegetable is a bowl.

Sprinkle the mint on top by rubbing it between your hands over the bowl. Add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Categories: Cucumber, Kosher, Persian, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Khoresh Bademjun (Persian Eggplant Stew) Vegetarian Version

Not only did we pick berries in the Catskills, we also picked eggplants (yes, pick-you-own eggplants!). What a happy thing!

So we are “eggplanting” it out this week.  My vegetarian daughter is home so, I created this version of khoresh bademjun for her. Needless to say, she was thrilled.

Khoresh Bademjun (Persian Eggplant Stew) Vegetarian Version

1 large eggplant, 2 medium eggplants, or the equivalent amount of small eggplants

3 Tbsp canola oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 oz soy granules

1 onion chopped

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 can diced tomatoes or the equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, about 2 large (the tomatoes were from my garden)

1 to 1 1/2 cups hot water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil.

Peel and slice the eggplant lengthwise, about 1/2” thick.  Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes until browned. Remove from oven.

In a large skillet, heat the other 1 Tbsp oil. Add the soy granules and onions and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add a layer of tomatoes. Add the water then cover with a layer of eggplants, covering the tomatoes and soy mixture as completely as possible.

Cover and cook over very low heat for about 2 hours, check after 1 hour to see if more water is needed.

Serve with rice and pickled vegetables.   Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Categories: Eggplant, Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Cincinnati Chili – Turkey Version

I have written before about how I love Cincinnati Chili.  I really do love it, the flavor just makes me very happy.

I previously shared a beef version made a little healthier by pairing it with spaghetti squash.

Tonight’s version used ground turkey. We didn’t miss the beef at all.

Cincinnati Chili – Turkey Version

From Taste of Home

2 pounds extra-lean ground turkey2 medium onions, finely chopped4 garlic cloves, minced

15 ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce

14-1/2 ounces reduced-sodium beef broth

2 Tbsp cider vinegar

1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped

3Tbsp chili powder

1 bay leaf

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 pound spaghetti

TOPPINGS:

16 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1-1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 medium onion, chopped

DIRECTIONS

In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook turkey, onions and garlic until turkey is no longer pink. Transfer to a slow cooker.
In a large bowl, combine tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, chocolate and seasonings.
Pour over turkey mixture. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Remove bay leaf from chili. For each serving, place 3/4 cup spaghetti in a bowl. Top with about 2/3 cup chili, 3 tablespoons kidney beans, 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped onion. 

Serves 8

Categories: Main Dish, Recipe | Leave a comment

Blueberry Cake Waffles

We picked 4 quarts of blueberries over the weekend. That’s a lot of blueberries. And we have thoroughly been enjoying eating them every time we open the fridge. But there are enough to make some fun dishes with them as well.  The first was a celebration breakfast for our daughter when she returned from her backpacking trip – Blueberry Cake Waffles!

These really do feel like you are eating cake for breakfast, but with the fun of being waffles. My only complaint with these is that the blueberries make them stick to the waffle pan, so you need to re-spray the pan after each waffle. But, overall, that is not such a big hassle.

Blueberry Cake Waffles

from thebakermama.com

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large eggs (from Farmer Kim)

¾ cup buttermilk

¼ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries (that we picked)

Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup milk

Directions

Preheat a waffle iron.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and add ½-cup waffle batter to each waffle side. Close and let bake for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Remove to a wire rack set on a baking sheet.

Meanwhile, whisk the powdered sugar and milk together in a shallow bowl until smooth. Take one cooked waffle at a time and dip it into the glaze. Place back on the baking rack, glazed side up, and let the glaze drip down the sides and set slightly.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes 6.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, place on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 350°F oven or toaster oven for 5-7 minutes.

Categories: Blueberries, Breakfast, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

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