Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vegetable Pot Pie

It's been warm in Austin, but last week it was a bit chilly. Chillyish. And when it's warm, I miss baking so during last week's kind of chilly weather, I made a pot pie.

I'd seen a recipe on The Kitchn for a chicken pot pie with a poured biscuit crust. I prefer biscuits to puff pastry, so this seemed perfect. I only had to modify the recipe a bit to use what I had on hand, some seasonal vegetables from the market.

Instead of The Kitchn's veggie blend, I used: carrots, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, Japanese turnips, cremini mushrooms, and shelled edamame. And in place of the sherry, I used 3 tablespoons of vinho verde.

I also used coconut milk in the crust recipe, and almond milk in the sauce recipe, since that's what I had on hand.

The result was crazy good. We ate it for days, even on the warm evenings, and it was just as a pot pie should be: savory, warming, and very comforting.

This one's going into regular rotation during our non-summer weather.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Miso-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Oh man, I love Brussels sprouts. Even as a child, they were one of my favorite vegetables. My mom used to get the frozen ones that comes packed in a butter sauce, and eventually switched to growing them in her large backyard garden. I had never seen anything like the giant stalks with the little sprouts popping out all over them.

Now they’re super trendy on restaurant menus in Austin. I’ve been enjoying them at East Side King (at the Liberty), and at Uchiko for quite a while, just to mention two places. And their preparations are much more piquant than the simple roasted-with-butter one I usually make at home.

Today, I tried something new, a piquant Brussels sprouts recipe of my own. With a bunch of ingredients I had on hand, I whipped up a quick sauce that I glazed the panfried sprouts with.

Holy cow, they were good. The sharp sauce was a great complement to the strong flavor of the vegetable. The Brussels sprouts came through all earthy and sweet, and the sweet-sour-salty-spicy glaze matched it perfectly.

 Miso-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

2 teaspoons white miso (this is really mild)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 T. brown sugar
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
Juice of half a lemon
1 Tablespoon sunflower or safflower oil
1 pint Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved

Whisk together the miso, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili flakes, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts. Try to get them cut-side down, to help maximize the browning of the cut inner leaves. After about 3 minutes, flip one over and check for browning. If it’s well browned, from the center to the outer edges, stir and keep frying for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they’re just beginning to get tender. If it’s not yet browned all the way across the cut side of the sprouts, keep cooking for another minutes before beginning to stir.

Turn the heat off and pour the miso mixture over the Brussels sprouts. Stir to coat and serve.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Carrot Tarragon Soup

This weekend's downtown farmers market was small. All the venders lined just one street, and I was a little worried there wouldn't be much to be found.

I was glad to be wrong. There were plenty of folks with fresh fruit and veggies. I got a beautiful bunch of carrots from Bar W Farm, and couldn't wait to use them.

Coconut, to me, is one of those foods that can make almost anything delicious. The creamy, tropical flavor is one of my favorites. And I thought it'd go really well with the sweet, juicy carrots.

Lick Ice Creams, in South Austin, has a carrot-tarragon flavor that I adore. It's sweet and a little herbal, and really nice and creamy. That inspired me to try tarragon in my soup.

Though it used only a handful of ingredients, the soup was a success. It was earthy and creamy, with the delicate anise flavor from the tarragon shining through. Next time, I think I may try orange or tangerine juice in place of the lemon, just to switch things up.

Carrot Tarragon Soup
1 can coconut milk (the full-fat stuff)
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped tarragon, divided
1 Tablespoon sunflower or safflower oil
1 pound carrots
2 cups vegetable stock
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Salt, to taste 

In a small pot, combine the coconut milk with 1 tablespoon of the tarragon. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to simmer. Turn the heat to very low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tarragon steep in the milk.

Meanwhile, chop the carrots in bite-size pieces. (This is just to increase the surface area of the carrots. They'll be pureed at the end, so don't worry about them being attractive.) In a large saucepan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the carrots and a pinch of salt and cook until they're beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. 

Add the vegetable stock to the carrots, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk, add the remaining tarragon, and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and serve.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Onion Rolls

Early in our relationship, M and I had a pretty good Saturday morning routine. We'd walk to the Urbana Farmers Market nice and early. There, we'd load up on organic produce, then head over to Mirabelle and load up on pastry.

Mirabelle makes excellent pastries and breads, sweet and savory. One of my regular indulgences was their onion roll. It's a slightly sweet yeast dough rolled around sweet cooked onions, tangy cream, and crunchy poppy seeds.

We haven't lived in Urbana for years, and I've only seen the onion rolls at Mirabelle. With the onions, cream, and poppy seeds, it definitely has an Eastern European flavor to it, which isn't in abundance in Austin.

I thought of the onion rolls a few days ago, and I had to have one, so I took a shot at a recipe.

I made a no-knead pizza dough recipe, which has turned out to be pretty versatile. Then we spread the rolled-out dough with Full Quiver Farms neufchatel cheese and sprinkled on sauteed onions and poppy seeds and rolled it up cinnamon-roll style. (We made another roll with sauteed apple, crystallized ginger, and brown sugar.)

Then we sliced the rolls and let them rise before baking until golden brown with some melted butter brushed over the tops.

The rolls were perfect. The dough was browned on the outside and nicely fluffy and chewy on the inside. The onion filling was creamy, sweet, and satisfyingly poppy.

Onion Rolls
This is a full recipe for onion rolls, though I made half onion, half apple. For the apple-ginger filling, halve the filling ingredients for the onion rolls and substitute with 1 chopped and sauteed tart apple,  2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger, and 3 tablespoons brown sugar.

Dough for 1 pizza
2 tablespoons safflower (or other vegetable) oil
2 large onions, sliced
8 ounces neufchatel
1/4 cup poppy seeds
3 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook until very soft, but not browned. This can take 10 to 15 minutes. Set the onions aside to cool.

Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread the neufchatel on the dough, going all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the onions and poppy seeds over the cheese. Roll up the dough like a cinnamon roll, starting with one of the long sides of the rectangle. Place seam-side down and cut into 1.5-inch sections.

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the rolls on their sides, almost touching, in a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Remove the towel, brush the melted butter on the tops of the rolls (if using), and bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.