Thursday, November 24, 2011

Better Homes and Gardens: Mandarin Coconut Bowl (a.k.a. California Salad)

My dad has one mission for Thanksgiving.  Okay, one mission besides running to the store before they close to grab whatever ingredients are missing.  Hey, when three women are trying to bring a massive meal together, sometimes things get overlooked.  But the night before, his mission is to make this salad.  A very strange, very 70's concoction, but it's been part of my family's Thanksgiving ever since I can remember.  And who can argue with miniature marshmallows?

Mandarin Coconut Bowl (a.k.a. California Salad)
Adapted from the 1974 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

2½ cups pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 (3½-ounce) can flaked sweetened coconut
2 cups sour cream

Combine first five ingredients. Fold in sour cream and chill overnight. In desired, serve in lettuce cups.

Makes 8 servings

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Food 52: Roasted Radish and Potato Salad with Black Mustard and Cumin Seed

For some reason, I keep getting a ton of radishes in my CSA box.  I'm trying to figure out why that is exactly.  I don't really know that many people who eat radishes, so I'm not sure why the farmers decide to plant them in such large numbers.  Maybe I'm not aware of the secret radish society or something.  Anyway, I found a good use for my beautiful French breakfast radishes this time.  It's an Indian-inspired potato and radish salad.  If you can't find black mustard seeds, brown are definitely okay.

Roasted Radish and Potato Salad with Black Mustard and Cumin Seed
Adapted from Food 52

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 large Yukon gold potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
8-10 French breakfast radishes, ends trimmed
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, salt, and sugar until solids dissolve. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine potato pieces with a glug or two of olive oil, a good sprinkling of sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, tossing evenly to coat. Roast potatoes in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the radishes into two or three pieces, depending on how big they are. Using the same bowl that you tossed the potatoes in, combine radishes with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper; mix well to evenly coat.

Once the potatoes have roasted for 10 minutes, using a wooden spatula or spoon, gently push potatoes around, being careful to keep skin intact (as best as possible). Push potatoes to one side of pan, adding radishes in a single layer to the other side. Continue to roast for another 10-12 minutes or until potatoes and radishes are tender, shaking pan midway through (at 10 minutes start checking to make sure radishes do not overcook).

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add black mustard seeds and whole cumin seeds and gently mix. Cook for about a minute, until fragrant, being mindful that black mustard seeds will start to pop. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Remove pan from oven and allow vegetables to completely cool (making it easy to remove from pan without sticking – especially the potatoes). Transfer roasted radishes and potatoes to a bowl. Add yogurt, black mustard/cumin seed mixture, and green onions, folding with a spatula to combine. Add lemon juice mixture by the teaspoonful until you reach desired taste (one and a half teaspoons of lemon juice-salt-sugar mixture is a good starting point). Fold to combine. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to develop. Bring salad to room temperature before enjoying.

Makes 2 servings

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Chile Panko Crumbs

Since butternut squash only entered my life about ten years ago, I don't have a ton of recipes to use the delicious roasted gourd.  Gotta fix that.  This one is a nice recipe from Jean-Georges Vongerichten (geez, is that a mouthful or what??) that I kinda doctored up my own way.

Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Chile Panko Crumbs

1 large butternut squash (about 2½ pounds)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup panko crumbs
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
¼ cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds in to a bowl.  Set the seeds aside.  Rub the squash with vegetable oil, and place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down.  Bake until soft when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.  Transfer the flesh to a large serving dish and mash with a fork into an even layer. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the squash along with the balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Remove and discard the strings of the squash seeds.  Heat 3 tablespoons of the squash seeds in a large skillet over medium-low heat until dry. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt and toast, tossing occasionally. When the seeds begin to pop, partially cover the pan. Continue toasting until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then transfer to a plate.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until melted, then toss in the panko. When well coated, stir in the thyme, chile flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Toast, tossing occasionally until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and toasted seeds. Spread the crumb mixture over the squash in an even layer and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings