Photos by Zachary Cross
Herbs are something that we usually think of as enhancing a dish, and are often used with a light hand. What happens when they are a larger part of a recipe? It makes for a lot of flavor!
Once upon a time, when magazines were at their heyday, there were many to choose from if you wanted to try new recipes. Martha Stewart is still around with Living, Cooking Light (that staple of 90s fat free cooking), and the classic women’s magazines are also available. But now the internet is the star for recipes. Pinterest is the place to go for recipes of all kinds, from the most sugary, food color-laden dessert, to Paleo, to vegan, to Thanksgiving dinner. Just about anything you can think of. I find all sorts of new recipes there, and though, just like when I clipped magazine pages, I pin more than I use (though without cluttering my house!). I do use plenty of those recipes and find new favorites as well as enjoy simply experimenting.
Somehow, even with all those online recipes, I had never heard of Persian herb omelets. Kuku is a Persian egg dish that is something like a frittata or thick omelet. Kuku sabzi (sabzi is herb in Farsi) is a kuku flavored with herbs. Not delicately sprinkled on top or measured by the tablespoon, this recipe has herbs by the cup - five cups of them! And this is for only six eggs.
I came across this recipe in Milk Street Magazine. A new venture by the co-founder of America’s Test Kitchen, the magazine says, “we’ll explore a lively new kind of cooking that‘s both simpler and smarter, and it’s guaranteed to make you a better cook.” I’ve enjoyed Cook’s Illustrated in the past so, despite already having plenty of recipes on Pinterest, I thought I’d give it a try. It’s been fun reading about various cooks, foods, and new recipes.
As it turns out, Martha’s made kuku, and recipes abound on Pinterest. But it took a different medium to bring it to my attention.
Like many other types of foods, kuku, even specifically kuku sabzi, has many variations. Some have onions or leeks; others leave them out. The number of eggs and amounts and kinds of herbs change. Walnuts and barberries (often replaced by dried cranberries) make it especially Persian. Eggs are an essential, though I’ve seen some vegan versions that challenge that idea. This is a gluten-free and dairy-free dish, though again some rogues add unnecessary ingredients such as flour or butter.
I checked out a few recipes online, but in the end I decided to stick with the Milk Street recipe. I made sure to ask a farmer ahead of time for the herbs, and I suggest you do, too. Five cups is a lot! Also, this recipe calls for cilantro which varies widely in availability. It bolts in the heat so it may be available one week but not the next.
If you can’t get the cilantro or one of the other herbs, feel free to substitute to taste and availability. Mint and chives are two other common herbs in kuku sabzi. Chives sometimes take the place of the onion, too, or sometimes are in addition to it.
Like a frittata, kuku can be cooked on the stove, in the oven, or both. This recipe is just in the oven which is pretty simple. Lining the pan with parchment ensures that the eggs make it out of the pan. The olive oil is supposed to help it crisp up but mine did not do that. It was good anyway and I will perhaps I will bake it a little longer next time to see if that makes a difference.
Cut your kuku in slices, as you would a frittata or pie, to serve. Or try in small squares, as Martha did for a buffet meal.
Whole milk, Greek-style plain yogurt is a traditional topping or side. I found that straining my regular yogurt through a coffee filter during the time I was making supper to be long enough to make it nice and thick.
Top with more cranberries, and/or walnuts as a garnish. Enjoy!
From: Milk Street Magazine, March-April 2017
Start to finish: 1 hour
(20 minutes active) | Servings: 6
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups lightly packed flat-leaf spinach
2 cups lightly packed cilantro stems and tender leaves
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
6 scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon black pepper
6 large eggs
½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
⅓ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (optional)
Plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt, to serve (optional)
Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the the upper-middle position. Trace the bottom of an 8-inch square or 9-inch-round cake pan on kitchen parchment, then cut inside the line to create a piece to fit inside the pan. Coat the bottom and sides of the pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil, turing the parchment to coat both sides.
In a food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, dill, scallions, and remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Process until finely ground. In a large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and pepper. Add 2 of the eggs and whisk until blended. Add the remaining 4 eggs and whisk until just combined. Fold in the herb-scallion mixture and the walnuts and cranberries, if using. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the center is firm, 20 to 25 minutes.
Let the kuku cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, then invert onto a plate and remove the parchment. Re-invert onto a cutting board or serving platter. Cut into wedges or squares and serve warm, cold, or at room temperature with a dollop of yogurt, if desired. The kuku can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, tightly wrapped.
Printable recipe here
Photos by Zachary Cross
Happy Easter! One classic Easter decoration is eggs, usually dyed pastel or bright colors. All you need for beautiful eggs can be found at the market and you can use common household items.
With the return of warm weather and longer days, eggs are abundant at market right now. Although many of the eggs at market are brown, there are also white, blue, and green. And those colors have more variations and shades, including spots and combinations of brown and green.
A common way to do Easter eggs is to hard boil them, but blowing them gives you the opportunity to use the insides for scrambled eggs or baking and the outsides for decorating. If you’ve never blown eggs before, the basic idea is to make a small hole on each end of the egg, insert something inside to break up the yolk, blow the contents into a bowl, rinse, and let dry. You can make the hole with a pin, thin nail, or tiny drill bit. Stir up the yolk with the nail or a large, unbent paper clip. Although blowing the egg out with your mouth works there are other ways to do it. There are tools made for blowing eggs, or you can use an empty medicine syringe or nasal aspirator.
The simplest way, and my favorite, to decorate with eggs is to display them in their natural colors, no extra work needed! If you’ve kept your holes small they are not terribly noticeable. You can cover over the holes with matching paper, or use the holes to thread string or ribbon through to hang your eggs. If an egg cracks, you can use it as a scenery egg or a pot for a tiny plant. Still using the natural colors, or after you’ve dyed them, crushed eggs can be used as tiles for a mosaic egg.
If you’d like to decorate your eggs, the quickest way is to use a permanent marker or other pens to achieve anything from simple or whimsical decorations to complicated, Psansky-like designs. Use white gel or paint pen on brown or blue eggs, black on white, or combinations of colors. Your designs can be freeform or you can find tips for more complicated designs here.
Although tutorials for naturally dyed eggs, accompanied by beautiful photos (here is another), abound on the internet, I was somewhat disappointed in the results. I did see photos that matched my results, though, so at least I’m not alone! It is fun, though, to try out natural dyes and see what colors come from each plant - not always what you’d think. Many natural dyes can come from market produce, including leftovers and what we usually consider waste.
When choosing a dye material, think about what stains your hands, cutting board, and or countertops. Beets are an obvious first choice! They make a nice pink. However, I found the color faded when it dried. Carrot tops make a soft yellow. Yellow onion skins make a nice yellow when dipped briefly and make a darker orange when soaked for a while. Red cabbage makes blue, from pale to dark, depending on the color of the egg you start with and how long you dip it. If you froze or canned blueberries last summer they make a purple-ish color.
Colors I did not try but have seen online include carrots, spinach, and coffee. One color not available at market but one you might have in your home is red wine. I mention it because it was a fun one and a surprise. The color came out purple-ish brown but when it was dry it was sparkly, as if it were glittered.
All these colors are created by boiling the plant material with water - use about equal parts plant material and water. Strain and add one tablespoon vinegar per cup of dye. The internet, depending on the source, says to cool the dye or use it hot. The only dye I noticed a major difference with was onion skin: the hot dye made a nice yellow quickly but did not seem to cold. Certainly be careful if you use the dyes hot!
Have fun with the eggs you pick up at market this week!
Photos by Zachary Cross
Now that the weather is consistently warm, chard is in abundance at market. It’s so versatile and so pretty. Use the leaves in this recipe that’s appropriate for breakfast or supper
One night I needed a quick and easy meal (as I often do!) and opted for what I consider an all-in-one: Potato-Kale Hash Browns. It has eggs, potatoes, and chard - that covers all the food groups, right? I still think in food groups, no pyramid, steps, or plate for me. I did serve other foods that night, various leftovers that rounded out the meal.
Although recipes often call for specific greens, as long as you understand the differences among the various greens, they can be used interchangeably in recipes, sometimes with little tweaks. I find most kale recipes do not call for cooking the kale enough and lend themselves well to chard or spinach instead. This is one such recipe. Though they have very different tastes, both chard and spinach cook in a similar time frame. In this recipe the greens are sliced into ribbons and then combined with eggs, onions, and cheese, then quickly cooked. Substitute the greens you prefer or have on hand.
The first time I made this dish I used frozen hash browns to follow the recipe. Shredding fresh potatoes in the food processor is just as quick, especially considering the time it takes to let the frozen ones thaw a bit. Just be sure to squeeze them out in a towel. Or use leftover baked potatoes (note that I have not tried this but plan to in the future). Next, chop an onion (shallots are even better); slice some of the chard into ribbons; and mix with all the other ingredients except the oil. Cook in a skillet or griddle in a little of your choice of fat. I thought these were good cooked with a mix of palm oil and butter.
For supper these would be good with a soup, especially a pretty sweet potato or carrot one, such as last week’s recipe or this one.
Adapted from Potato Kale Hash Browns
20-24 oz potatoes (enough for 16 oz shredded and squeezed dry)
1-2 cups chard (or spinach) leaves cut in thin strips
4-5 eggs (depending on size)
¼ cup or more finely chopped onion (shallots, leeks, etc.)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste (taste it!)
Freshly ground black pepper
Fat for cooking (olive or palm oil, butter, whatever you like)
1. Combine all ingredients except oil(s) in a bowl. (The original author says you can cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours before cooking, perhaps for breakfast)
2. Heat a little oil in your skillet or griddle - I used medium heat, enough to cook quickly and brown well, but not too quickly. Stir whenever the mixture separates. Scoop about 1/4 cup and mound onto your pan, then flatten to make a cake. Cook until brown on one side, flip and cook until brown on the other (to your taste). Repeat with the remaining potato/kale mix.
This served five people with a few sides, there would probably have been leftovers had I provided more sides.
Printable recipe here
Photos by Zachary Cross
Spring is really here and along with it warm days, cool nights, and some rainy days and nights. Soup is still a good option on the menu, especially one that can be served hot or cold.
Carrots are a versatile vegetable, and a beautiful one, too. Typically you’ll find orange ones at market but sometimes purple, red, yellow, or white ones as well. The colors aren’t just pretty, they represent different types of nutrients. We associate beta carotene with carrots and the color orange, but orange carrots also contain xanthophylls and lutein. Both are also carotenoids and associated with eye health. I know my mother told me that carrots would help me see at night! Red carrots contain lycopene like tomatoes do. Purple carrots contain the flavonoids anthocyanins instead of carotenoids. Anthocyanins are considered powerful antioxidants.
Originally, cultivated carrots were primarily purple, occasionally white, yellow, or red. Sometime around the 15 or 1600s Dutch growers bred yellow carrots with wild carrots, eventually ending up with the orange we associate with carrots today.
The carrot family is very large, though the family name is Apiaceae. Otherwise known as Umbelliferae, this family’s plants have upside down umbrella-shaped collections of flowers, or umbels. The most well known decorative family member is Queen Anne’s Lace (one kind of wild carrot) but you probably know many others: parsley, coriander/cilantro, caraway, cumin, dill, celery, parsnip, along with many, many others.
Coriander complements its cousin carrot’s sweet flavor, both in seed and leaf form. Though two parts of the same plant, they nevertheless have distinctive flavors of their own. The spice we call coriander here in the U.S. is typically the dried seed of the plant. Ground it has a sweet and almost citrusy flavor (though Serious Eats would disagree and say grinding takes the citrus taste out - I still smell and taste it!). You can buy it already ground or whole and grind or crush your own - it’s a simple job with a mortar and pestle. Jeffrey prefers the flavor and texture of crushed but I confess to preferring the convenience of buying ground.
Cilantro is the form of coriander you will find at market. Looking like Italian parsley, it has a much different smell and taste and some say it tastes like soap. Although this is supposed to be tied to your genes and nothing you can do can change it, I have found that repeat exposure to it, usually paired with yummy Mexican or Asian food, has made me go from hater to fan. Apparently this can work for anyone . If you are a cilantro hater, try it in pesto form or otherwise well chopped to help you acclimate.
We’ve been making carrot soup for a long time. It’s another of our favorites from Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Menus. The pages in the books are spattered and wrinkled - a sign of a good recipe!
It’s a pretty basic recipe, too. Shallots and coriander are sautéed in butter; carrots and stock are added, boiled, and pureed. A little cream adds body and a sprinkle of cilantro and chives add a nice touch of color as well as flavor.
We’ve followed this basic recipe pretty closely over the years but Martha says, “I find that the flavor of the carrots is greatly enhanced by adding a parsnip or a leek or even a ripe pear or apple to the soup while it is simmering.” The times we’ve tried a parsnip in the soup we found it bitter, but they were supermarket parsnips, not market ones. Maybe someday we will try again!
From Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Menus
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
4 cups chicken stock (I used vegetable stock)
1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced (optional) (I did not use)
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
Photos by Zachary Cross
Spring has sprung! Make a meal this week with market vegetables that is quick and easy and leaves you plenty of time to play outside.
Last week at market I was drawn to Lacinato kale. Known to Italians as cavalo nero, or black cabbage, Lacinato kale is a deep, dark green with dimpled leaves. It’s known by quite a few other names such as Tuscan kale, Italian kale, or palm tree kale - the latter because harvesting the outside leaves can lead to the plant looking like a palm tree. Dinosaur kale is another name that I thought that was just a marketing ploy. Apparently some people imagine that the leaves look like dinosaur skin. It might help some dinosaur-crazy kids want to eat it!
Despite the name cavalo nero, kale is not cabbage. At least it doesn’t form the tight head we associate with round cabbages. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds describes it as “loose-leafed cabbage,” and Victory Seeds as “a primitive, open variety of kale.” Which is it, cabbage or kale? Well, cabbage and kale both fall under the species Brassica oleracea, as do many of the vegetables we commonly associate with the genus Brassica, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and many others. I was left wondering which brassicas are not oleracea. A least a few well-known ones are not: turnips, mustards, rapini, and Chinese cabbage.
Whichever species of Brassica you eat, they are highly nutritious. Members of the Brassica family are high in vitamin C, soluble fiber, and cancer-fighting compounds. Although eating them raw is one way to preserve the nutrients, Brassica crops retain many vitamins during the cooking process.
Sometimes it’s hard to find a vegetarian recipe that our whole family will enjoy. Especially one that’s not complicated. Beans are a great start to a vegetarian main dish but can be pretty bland. Sometimes when we serve them it’s in a dish with a lot of ingredients, but this one is pretty simple. Olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper help make the beans and kale into a tasty dish without a lot of effort.
To round out our meal I served a crusty Bread and Butter baguette. As a gluten-free alternative I also made a quick cheese grits casserole. My grits casserole is really more like polenta, making this an all-around Italian meal.
Adapted slightly from Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop
Serves 4 as a Main Course
1 ½ pounds kale
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 15-ounce cans cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
⅔ cup chicken or vegetable stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Photos by Zachary Cross
This has been such a warm winter and with all the trees and plants blooming it seems like spring. This weekend’s snow and chilly temperatures remind us that winter’s not over yet! Soon it will be time for salads again but for now use this season’s greens in a warm and comforting soup.
This Friday is St. Patrick’s Day and what better way to celebrate than with potatoes and kale? Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale. I’ve made this dish before but potatoes and kale also make a good soup - and a beautiful, bright green one, too!
Once you’ve made potato soup enough times you don’t even need a recipe. Start by sautéing salted onion, shallots, or leeks in butter or oil. Once they’re soft, add some garlic if you’re in the mood for it. Add some potatoes, peeled or not, plus some more salt and water to cover. Cook the potatoes until they’re soft. Add enough liquid - milk, stock, and/or water - to make the soup consistency you desire. Purée some, all, or none of it. Vary it with something green: broccoli, spinach, kale, or another green. Or something not so green: cauliflower or celery. Or orange, as in pumpkin chowder.
Until you can make potato soup in your sleep there are plenty of recipes out there to give you structure. In addition to the pumpkin chowder there is a recipe for potato leek soup on the blog. This potato kale soup recipe comes from Simply in Season which has at least a half dozen other potato soup recipes as well!
Right now just about all our farmers that grow greens have kale. The varieties range from light green to dark green as well as reds. There are frilly leaves, flat leaves, and leaves in between. I choose Red Russian this time: it has flat but toothed leaves and is a light green with red stems. Be sure to stem your kale but use those stems! Chopped and sautéed with the onion they are plenty tender, especially after being parboiled.
Precooking the kale helps it blend quickly with the soup at the end and keeps the kale flavor from overwhelming the potatoes. I boil mine for 7 minutes to reduce oxalic acid and goitrogens, but 2-4 minutes or even less can be enough if your kale is super tender or you like a stronger flavor.
I often find myself wanting something orange to contrast with whatever green thing I am cooking. An easy way to supply this is with a baked sweet potato or baked sweet potato fries. If I’m feeling energetic I might make some pumpkin muffins. Before I made my soup I put a pumpkin in the oven to cook and when it was done I took a taste. It was delicious as-is! I did salt it a little and added a little butter before pureeing it. It made a vibrant and tasty topping for my soup. Other topping options are cheese, regular or pumpkin sour cream, or bacon bits.
Adapted Slightly from Simply in Season
Yields 6 cups/1.5 L
1 large bunch kale (stemmed)
Steam or parboil leaves and stems and set aside. (Don’t try to cook it with the potatoes; the flavor will be too strong.)
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
Melt butter in soup pot. Add onion and saute until golden. Add garlic and chopped kale stems and saute another minute.
2 large potatoes (diced)
2 cups/ 500 ml hot water or broth
Add, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft. Remove half of the cooked potatoes; puree the rest with the cooking liquid and return to the soup pot. Return reserved potatoes and steamed kale to soup pot. (Puree everything if a smooth texture is desired.)
3 cups water, broth, or milk
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Pepper to taste
Add along with additional hot water or milk to preferred consistency. Heat gently until hot and serve.
Printable recipe here
Photos by Zachary Cross
It’s been a warm winter but it’s not over yet! Recent chilly mornings and evenings have been perfect for a wool hat. It’s a great project for even beginning knitters and can be made with local “ingredients!”
The three basic human needs are food, clothing, and shelter. Though we usually associate farmers markets with providing food, some of our farmers provide us with clothing items as well. Wool is an excellent fiber for all sorts of clothes.
My favorite knitting author is Elizabeth Zimmermann. In addition to being a phenomenal artist and knitter, Zimmerman was a delightful writer and her books are a pleasure to read whether or not you actually end up knitting something. Zimmermann’s preferred fiber was wool, and her essays on its virtues will convert most anyone. I assume her love of wool is at least partly because of her upbringing in England and later life in New England. Wool is warm, even when wet; yet breathable, naturally resistant to dust mites, dirt, and even fire.
But wool is also wonderful to knit with. It is elastic yet holds its shape. It feels good in your hands. It takes dyes beautifully and comes in natural colors as well.
Farmer Cheri Miller of Harvest Home raises Finnsheep in Rising Fawn Georgia. Although she also sells various cuts of lamb, she says, “fiber production is a farming activity - it isn’t always about food!” Cheri sells wool in the form of roving, yarn, dryer balls, hand knitted and woven items, and has partnered with a mill in Ft. Payne to make socks from her wool.
I especially liked a natural dark gray yarn and chose that for my project. When I say natural, it’s the color of the sheep that the wool came from, not dyed. Cheri has dyed wool as well, in a variety of colors. Her yarn is a worsted weight, making it appropriate for many different kinds of projects. She sells it by the ounce, and my hat comes in at about 2.5 ounces. Allow another ounce for a larger hat or for one with a closed top.
This winter I’ve found that I wanted a basic, neutral-colored hat for chilly days. There have been days, too, that I’ve already had my hair in a ponytail or a bun and haven’t been able to fit a hat over that. Knitters and crocheters are a creative lot, and there are patterns for hats with holes in them to accommodate ponytails and pigtails. One of the easiest ways to do this is to finish off a hat earlier than usual in the process, creating a hole in the top of the hat for a high messy bun, man bun, or ponytail. Some would argue this hole allows heat to escape, and I say this warm winter is the year to give it a try!
For the basic hat pattern I went with Viridian Hue’s basic Tweed Hat. It’s in a man’s size which suits my large head. It could be easily adapted by using a smaller needle size, thinner yarn, or fewer stitches. I ended up knitting a little tightly, coming in at about 14 stitches to 4 inches, rather than the pattern’s gauge of 13 stitches to 4 inches, which made for a slightly smaller hat.
To make this a messy bun hat I turned to Vickie Howell’s article for guidance. It’s less work to make a bun/ponytail hat, since you’re ending it sooner, but having some guidance of when to end it was helpful. She provides another basic hat pattern, in more of a women’s size, if you prefer to try that. Her technique works for any basic bottom-up hat pattern and she has instructions for crocheted hats as well.
I began my hat in a lighter gray, also a natural color, and used that for the brim. It’s a nice contrast but subtle against the similar but darker gray. I used 20 inch circular needles for most of this project. They were a bit long, and if you use 16 inch you may be able to use them all the way to casting off, if you leave the bun hole. I found I needed to switch to double pointed needles near the end, but only for a few rows. If you are comfortable with double points, certainly use them for the whole hat if you like.
Though this hat is adaptable to different sizes and designs, keep certain proportions in mind. I used a 5x5 rib on the brim. To do that you need to keep the number of cast-on stitches a product of 10 - I cast on 70. If you want you can change it to 3x3 and cast on a multiple of 6, or 2x2 and cast on a multiple of 4, etc. When you’re decreasing and figuring out the size of the bun hole there’s a little math involved, but it’s not something you’ll be graded on!
Note that Harvest Home’s yarn comes in hanks, not skeins or balls, and you’ll need to wind it into a ball before using. This is not unusual, but if it’s not something you’re used to The Spruce has instructions on winding a ball from a hank. You can also wind a center pull ball with help from a paper towel tube.
Not a knitter, yet? In addition to Zimmermann’s books (the first project in Knitting Workshop is a similar hat to mine) there are many others, as well as plenty of free tutorials online. This one on YouTube is pretty simple and straightforward for casting on. Since you’ll be knitting in the round, joining in the round is an important step. Knitting abbreviations are described here.
Adapted from Viridian Hue’s Tweed hat, altered with Vickie Howell’s Tutorial for a messy bun hatYarn: Cheri Miller’s worsted in your choice of color, 2-3 oz or depending on hat size
Needles: size 8 16” circular for the brim, size 10 16” circular and dpn for the body of the hat *or size needed to obtain gauge (I usually use a size down)
Gauge: 13sts/4” in stockinette
Size: to fit a 24” head
Cast 70 stitches on size 8 needles and join in the round.
Knit 5, Purl 5 until brim measures 2 inches from cast on edge.
Switch to larger needles and knit until hat is about 6 inches from your cast on edge.
Switch to double point needles as needed
K 8 knit 2 together (K2tog) to the end of the row (63 stitches (sts))
K 7 K2tog to the end of the row (56 sts)
K 6 K2tog to the end of the row (49 sts)
K 5 K2tog to the end of the row (42 sts)
Knit 4 K2tog to almost the end of the row. Do not knit the last two stitches together (36 sts)
Knit 1, Purl 1 for 2 rows
Bind off in K1P1 rib pattern
Block and wear!
Printable pattern here
Photos by Zachary Cross
I talked recently about occasionally being overwhelmed by our CSA share our first year using one. Greens were especially abundant that year, and are right now in this mild winter. We used a lot of greens - and got our kids to eat them - by making quiche in bulk.
In the early 90s, partly due to cost and partly due to factory farming practices, we decided to eat a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian friend had introduced us to Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook via her spanakopita recipe. We purchased our own copy, not realizing it had been updated for the low-fat trend so popular then. We kept a copy of the old spanakopita recipe (with the butter and eggs) and used the new recipes without the options of throwing away the egg yolks and other such suggestions. Our copy is stained and worn, with pages falling open to favorite recipes.
Katzen followed up the Moosewood Cookbook with The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. While not as basic as the Moosewood, Broccoli Forest has at least one staple for us: the quiche formula. Instead of needing a quiche recipe for each kind of quiche you’d like to make, Katzen came up with a formula: crust + cheese + filling + custard. It’s a 9- or 10-inch crust, about ¼ pound of cheese (I don’t use that much), enough filling to cover the cheese and crust thinly, and a custard of 3 eggs plus one cup of milk. Although Katzen has recipes for each component (and suggestions of how to combine them), the possibilities are far greater than contained in her cookbook, or any cookbook for that matter.
When faced with a mound of greens that first CSA season, the combination we used most often was a traditional crust, whatever cheese we had, and greens sauteed with onions. We would work assembly-line style, eventually ending up with plenty of quiche for supper and at least several for the freezer. We’ve only frozen quiche with regular pie crust, but they froze and reheated well, great for when we needed a break from cooking.
Depending on the ingredients you choose, it is possible to buy all your quiche ingredients at the market. For the crust you can go with a traditional crust, homemade or storebought. Lately I’ve been making quiches crustless or with a hashbrown crust. I’d been eyeing this torta for some time and decided to give a crust of fried potato slices a try. It was time consuming, I’ll admit, although less frustrating for me than pie dough. There are also plenty of recipes online for paleo, gluten-free, or other crusts.
Use whatever cheese you fancy. Gruyère is a traditional one for quiches, but think about what you like and what complements your filling. I imagine you can leave out the cheese entirely but it does create, as Katzen says, “a moisture-resistant barrier between the filling and the crust.” No matter how much you love cheese, though, don’t go overboard on it. Too much cheese can keep the custard from cooking properly.
The fillings can be so many things: greens, onions, garlic, mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, broccoli, squash, whatever you want. I advise that you cook juicier veggies before using, and alliums such as onions and garlic are yummier sauteed or browned.
Eggs are a must for the custard, and I don’t have enough experience with vegan cooking to suggest a substitute. The milk, though, while a good use of your milk share, is flexible. If you need or want a dairy-free dish by all means use a different kind of milk, or use extra eggs, frittata-style.
When I made this quiche I had stems from the various greens I had been using: beet, several kinds of kale, and chard. While I’ve been using chard stems for a long time, I had not used other stems until Alice suggested it. Now I save them and use them as I would the greens, allowing for a longer cooking time. I had hoped to make a pretty spiral with them, as in this tart, but even after cooking they were not quite flexible enough. Normally I would chop the stems, but I decided to leave them long and I enjoyed the result. The beet stems retained their color well and helped create a variety of colors as well as textures.
I asked for and received a mandoline slicer for Christmas and had not used it yet. I don’t think I could have made all those potato slices (I made a double batch) without it. I experimented with different thickness and although I enjoyed being able to make paper-thin slices the ⅛ inch slices were plenty thin yet still had enough substance for the crust.
Using a springform pan was a challenge for this crust. It makes for the best presentation but the biggest hassle. Normally I line a springform pan with wax paper and that seems to fill in the potential gap at the bottom well. I saw this post that used parchment paper instead and decided to use it. Since the potatoes had been fried I did not think I needed to grease the paper and that is perhaps where I went wrong. The quiche leaked, just a little in one pan and a lot more in the other. Make sure you have yours sealed well before you try this! Next time I’ll try using foil as in this post.
Other than a little leakage this turned out beautifully and tasted even better. Note that I used a higher ratio of eggs to milk, mainly because we are using up our milk share quickly this week. I also used more custard as a straight-sided pan such as a springform has a higher volume than a typical pie pan.
Inspired by Mollie Katzen and Grown to Cook
For the crust:
One large potato - I used Yukon gold, but any kind should work
Fat of your choice
For the filling:
2-3 oz cheese, shredded
One medium to large onion, sliced or chopped
Stems from about four bunches of greens
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°. Slice the potato thin, about ⅛ inch (peel first if desired, I did not). Fry in fat of your choice in batches until cooked and lightly brown, season to taste with salt and pepper. Line a springform pan with wax or parchment paper (see above) and line with overlapping potato slices. I found it easiest to arrange the slices on the side first, trimming them as necessary, then the bottom.
Sauté the onion until at least wilted, and possibly brown, as you prefer. Salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Parboil the greens stems 7 minutes, then drain. Chop or leave whole and add to the onions, seasoning to taste.
Beat eggs, mix in milk, and sprinkle salt to taste.
Assemble the quiche: sprinkle cheese on top of the prepared crust, arrange a thin layer of the greens mixture (be careful if it’s still hot!), then slowly pour custard over all.
Bake at 400° until custard is set and lightly brown.
Printable recipe here
Photos by Zachary Cross
As you are probably well aware, Valentine’s Day in the U.S. is pretty commercialized, with red in the form of candy, flowers, and cards all over stores. You can celebrate with something fun and pink or red while still using local ingredients.
I’m pretty sentimental about Valentine’s Day because it was my first date with my future husband. It was an awkward though auspicious evening. Thirty years later I can celebrate with Jeffrey and the kids that it all worked out well in the end!
In our family we celebrate the day with fun foods, often in shades of pink (such as pink mashed potatoes). It’s an easy color to create with food, from raspberries and cherries to beets. Apparently if you are patient, you can even color foods a true red with beets.
When I saw Easy Bistro’s beet panna cotta I knew I had to make some. Not that I think I can match theirs! But it’s pretty and pink and can be made at home.
Beets are plentiful right now, and should be well into spring. They range in color from a deep red, which will give your dessert a bright purple-pink color, to bright red, pink, and also orange and yellow. The inside of your beets may different from the outside, too! In addition to solid-color beets, some beets are striped on the inside, looking especially fun cut into rounds.
Save the greens from your beets. They cook up like other greens, with the addition of a dark pink color if you use dark red beets. You can even make a savory version of beet panna cotta that uses the greens, too.
Panna cotta is Italian for cooked cream and generally a dessert of cream thickened with gelatin. Faith Durand, via The Kitchn, calls it “...the perfect dessert.” She’s says, despite being traditionally cream and gelatin based, it can be made with dairy-free milks, and even vegan with a gelatin replacement. And it’s easily made gluten-free as the ingredients are not usually ones that contain gluten. Eggs are not necessary for the panna cotta itself. Finally, it can be flavored pretty much however you want. Or make it plain and serve it with the sauce of your choice.
There were plenty of recipes on the internet for beet panna cotta to go around. It appears that Easy Bistro’s is accompanied by orange but most of the ones I found online were paired with lemon. The tangy flavor makes for a pleasant contrast for the earthiness of the beets. The recipe I’ve used has plenty of cream, butter, and eggs, but if you cook dairy or egg free I saw plenty of recipes with coconut cream instead of the dairy cream and gelatin instead of eggs.
As you can see, the panna cotta turned a bright and dark shade of pink. I imagine lighter beets would be a lighter pink and the orange or yellow ones would give you a yellow tone, though I have not tested them. Note that I used regular lemons instead of Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are occasionally available at Whole Foods if you want to give them a try.
If you want to work on this dish ahead of time the recipe notes that it can be made up to three days before serving. For serving parfait glasses show off the brilliant pink, though I couldn’t resist trying it in a heart-shaped pan as well. Happy Valentine’s Day!
From bon appétit
Beet Panna Cotta
1⁄2 pound red beets, peeled, cut into 1⁄2” pieces
2 cups heavy cream
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons honey
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Meyer Lemon Mousse
1 tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
1⁄2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces, divided
1⁄2 cup sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1⁄2 cup chilled heavy cream
Six 8-ounce glasses or ramekins
Beet panna cotta
Bring beets, cream, and salt to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer very gently until beets are tender, 25–30 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, combine gelatin and 2 Tbsp. cold water in a blender; let sit 5 minutes for gelatin to soften.
Transfer beets and their cooking liquid to blender; add honey and vanilla and purée until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard solids.
Divide purée among glasses and chill until set, 31⁄2–4 hours.
Do Ahead: Panna cotta can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Meyer lemon mousse
Bring lemon zest and juice, 1⁄4 cup butter, and 1⁄4 cup sugar to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolks, egg, and remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar in a small bowl until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot lemon mixture into egg mixture. Transfer back to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened and whisk leaves a trail, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining 1⁄4 cup butter, whisking until melted and curd is smooth. Transfer curd to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve, whisk cream in a small bowl to soft peaks and gently fold into curd. Spoon mousse over panna cotta.
Do Ahead: Lemon curd can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Recipe by Odd Duck, Austin
Calories (kcal) 650 Fat (g) 56 Saturated Fat (g) 34 Cholesterol (mg) 330Carbohydrates (g) 34 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 31 Protein (g) 6 Sodium (mg) 280
Printable recipe here
Photos by Zachary Cross
A while back Cortney Geary, market customer and former board member, gave me a suggestion for a new recipe of sorts. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, then once I did I wondered why I didn’t make it right away!
Do you make meal plans for your household? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. There are different ways to plan, for instance sitting down to plan a week’s worth of meals and then shopping to fit those meals. Shopping at the market often takes a different approach, combining a general idea of the seasons and what farmers will be bringing along with plenty of surprises. If you participate in a weekly CSA, though, you often don’t get a choice and you are probably going to have to work with what you have. That might sound negative, but the years we were part of a farm’s CSA I enjoyed the freedom from decision-making!
A few years ago Alice recommended An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler (thanks Alice!). The book is a wonderful ramble on food and cooking, not a cookbook, but it does have ways to prepare food. And Adler has a video showing how she uses her week’s worth of farmers market produce, prepping it all as soon as she gets home and using it all week in simple, quick meals. In reading the comments about her video, I saw that some people thought this was unrealistic because she has such a wonderful kitchen, with no children or pets running around underfoot. While there is a difference between cooking all that she does and me making five times that much all at one go, I do find that prepping my market haul (that’s me, staggering back to my car on several trips, multiple bags on each arm) as soon as possible makes not only for an easier week of cooking, it also saves room in the fridge!
If you are a planner, I highly recommend signing up for the weekly market newsletter. It includes a list of what farmers are planning to bring to market. Weather, crop issues, and other factors can change that, but you can get a general idea of what to expect. I also recommend, however, that you learn to shop by “Pantry Principle” style. Although this method is mainly aimed at cost savings, it makes sense for shopping seasonally as well. Essentially you make your meals based on what you have, not plan your shopping based on what you want to eat. The cost savings comes from stocking your pantry with sale items. This method works whether you are trying to figure out what to do with your share in a given week, or if you do want to stock up in season, say, with canning tomatoes or applesauce-grade apples. It was difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea until participating in a CSA. The next year I added a decent-sized home garden and was in a community garden as well. It was pretty important to figure out how to use what I had that year!
Amy Dacyzyn helped make the pantry principle well known in her Tightwad Gazette in the 90s. Although Dacyzyn describes a meal-planning technique that involves planning the night before, she also describes saving time and making certain dishes over time, for instance, pumpkin pies from scratch. I found this week’s recipe to be a good candidate for cooking over the course of a week.
Cortney’s suggestion was more of an idea rather than recipe, but it’s a simple and adaptable one. Faced with leftovers during the holidays, she used sweet potato casserole in her usual pancake recipe and enjoyed the results. My initial resistance to this idea was that I find sweet potato casserole too sweet so I don’t often make it. I decided to make a less sweet batch and go from there.
I did not anticipate not having leftovers! My family is pretty mixed on their feelings about sweet potatoes. They will all eat them but some are more enthusiastic than others, and opinionated about their preferred form. Jeffrey, for instance, loves sweet potato casserole with browned marshmallows on top. Tiny cubes of browned sweet potato are loved by another family member. I figured the response to a relatively plain, lightly sweetened casserole would be lukewarm. Well, they ate it all so I had to try again.
I stretched the cooking out over the course of a week by first serving the potatoes baked. I used the oven, but a slow cooker works well, too. I made plenty!
A couple of nights later, I made a simple casserole and doubled the recipe. The recipe I used has a nut topping but I skipped that because of the nuts and flour. It also adds a lot of sugar to the recipe and I did not want that. I did add a little bit more sweetening to the casserole in the form of maple syrup, mostly for flavor. I exchanged the vanilla extract for pumpkin pie spice. Those are all my preferences, make the casserole to your taste, thinking about its next use.
In a few more days I was ready to make pancakes. Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes from the More with Less Cookbook is basic and easily multiplied to make as large a batch as you want. It’s unsweetened, which makes it a great base for topping. And what toppings there are at market! Our farmers have honey, maple syrup, and all sorts of jams and preserves.
Your favorite pancake recipe should work fine, and the best one is the one you are most familiar with, so you can tweak it as needed. I replaced some of the buttermilk in my recipe with the sweet potato casserole. My casserole was a fairly dry one so I used about ½ cup casserole and ¼-½ cup buttermilk for the cup of buttermilk called for. I ended up with the same consistency as usual, but the pancakes seemed lighter and fluffier than they typically do. The batter tasted fine, but the end result was amazing! These were the best pancakes ever (we did not, but should have, christened them Richard Scarry pancakes). I typically prefer a plain pancake and find that pumpkin, apple, or other flavors seem weak in pancakes. I assume that sweet potato’s strong flavor is what made the difference in these. A bonus is that they gave my grain-free pancakes (I use the same recipe and replace the flour with a plantain) a better texture than usual. I’m not sure if it was the extra egg, fiber, or starch from the casserole, or maybe a combination of all three, but I was pleased.
I’ll share the recipes I used, but feel free to make this all your own, an extended, if not everlasting meal.
From Food Network
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the baking dish
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (3 to 4 large potatoes; about 1 3/4 pounds)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Special equipment: a 2-quart baking dish
For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 2-quart baking dish.
Whisk together the butter, mashed sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and the eggs in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
For the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl until moist and the mixture clumps together. Stir in the pecans and spread over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Bake until mostly set in the center and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
For a printable recipe go here
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
From More with Less Cookbook via Our Family Cooking
Combine in a bowl and mix with fork:
1 cup buttermilk**
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Add and mix only until moistened:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup unbleached, white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fry in hot, lightly greased skillet.
1/2 cup whole wheat; 1/4 cup unbleached white, 1/4 cup wheat germ or wheat hearts
**No buttermilk? Put 4 teaspoons vinegar in cup, fill with milk to 1 cup.
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