Roasted Vegetable Tart

This is the kind of recipe that begs to be written about. It is the perfect way to welcome Fall—roasted Autumn vegetables tossed with prosciutto, surrounded by a flaky, buttery crust. Did I mention the thin layer of goat cheese underneath it all? Sure, it’s decadent, but it’s sweater season, so eat up!

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Begin by roasting a small amount of butternut squash, carrots, leeks, red bell pepper, and cauliflower with rosemary and olive oil. Once the vegetables are tender, toss them with prosciutto and set aside.

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While the veggies are in the oven, prepare the dough. This recipe also gave me an excuse to learn how to use the pastry attachment on my food processor. I was shocked to discover how easy it was, although I’m confident you can still make a delicious crust the old fashioned way. The recipe calls for a mix of potato flour, rice flour, and cornmeal. Since I had some all-purpose Cup 4 Cup on hand, I substituted it for the rice and potato flours, but kept the cornmeal because I love the flavor and texture of a cornmeal crust. Butter and cream cheese keep the dough moist and flaky.

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Once you’ve rolled the dough out into an oval, spread a thin layer of room temperature goat cheese from the center to about 1 ½ inches from the edges. Spoon the roasted vegetables into the center and fold the edges into a pleated crust, brushing with egg or olive oil to ensure it browns properly.

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This is a great meal to serve guests, because the last 35-40 minutes is entirely in the oven—plenty of time to clean up your kitchen and prepare a green salad. The author of this recipe also has a standard version and a vegan version, in case you’re curious. The recipe is versatile, beautiful, and entirely satisfying. You’re welcome!

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Roasted Vegetable Tart

Fine Cooking            August 2014

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Pineapple-Glazed Chicken with Jalapeño Salsa

I recently went on a trip to Kauai, and returned with a lingering hunger for tropical flavors. The pineapple salsa in this dish made it the perfect recipe to satisfy my craving. I tweak this recipe ever so slightly, but it truly is a happy combination of sweet, spicy, and savory.

fruit stand in kauai

fruit stand in kauai

First things first, this recipe can be made with any cut of chicken. I typically just use bone-in and roast until the meat thermometer hits 160. This time I chose all bone-in chicken breasts and set the oven at 375 instead of 400. Although the light char on broiled or grilled chicken can enhance flavor, the glaze is delicate enough that I prefer a simple roasted version for this recipe.

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The glaze is light and makes a delicious sauce for after the chicken is cooked, so I tend to make two to three times the amount of glaze called for in the recipe. I like to use canned pineapple for the salsa, which means I end up with about ¾ cup of pineapple juice anyway. Since pineapple juice is already so sweet, I cut the amount of brown sugar down just a little. With ¾ cup of pineapple juice, I used 4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of yellow mustard. The lower sugar content means it’s necessary to boil the glaze for a few extra minutes to get it to thicken, but the consistency isn’t as important as the flavor. Just remember to salt and pepper your chicken and your glaze before they go into the oven!

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The salsa is easy to prepare, so you’ll have plenty of time to put it together once the chicken is in the oven. This time I used a fresh jalapeño, and you can even use fresh Serrano peppers if you like a little more heat. As is, this salsa tastes fresh and sweet, with just a little tang and heat from the red onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Again, adding salt and pepper to the final salsa is key.

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I serve this dish with some steamed green beans on the side. It’s bright, colorful, summery, and delicious!

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Pineapple-Glazed Chicken with Jalapeño Salsa

Bon Appétit            March 2010

Chicken Marbella

This may be the best chicken you ever eat! This recipe is a crowd pleaser, and perfect for picnics because it tastes best at room temperature. The recipe serves 12, but it’s easy to halve or even quarter. It keeps well, so there is no harm in making the full recipe and enjoying leftovers all week long.

pre-oven

pre-oven

It’s important to marinate the chicken at least overnight, and up to 48 hours. This step tenderizes the chicken and infuses it with flavor. When you’re ready to bake, just sprinkle it with brown sugar and pour white wine on top. I typically cut the brown sugar in half, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Capers and olives balance the sweetness of the brown sugar and dried prunes. I substitute Kalamata olives because they’re my favorite, but really any good olive will do.

it's great for guests because all the work is done in advance

it’s great for guests because all the work is done in advance

This dish is beautiful and smells mouth-watering as it comes out of the oven. Sprinkling some fresh parsley over the chicken after baking adds some freshness and brightens up the other flavors. I typically serve this with rice just so I can make the most of the sauce. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Chicken Marbella via Epicurious

Silver Palate Cookbook

Harira

Harira is a traditional Moroccan stew made with chickpeas, lentils, and meat. This lamb version comes from the Toro Bravo cookbook, and it seemed like just the dish for a rainy Portland Spring evening. The recipe begins by sautéing shallots, parsley, and cilantro in olive oil. Although fresh herbs are typically tossed in towards the end of cooking, Moroccan dishes cook them up at the beginning to create a base of flavor. Next you add a mixture of fresh chopped ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, and saffron and stir for about a minute until the spices release their fragrance. (Moroccan cooking doesn’t benefit from substituting smoked paprika—the smokiness would overpower the other spices.) Add in the onions and lamb and stir until the lamb is cooked and the seasonings are fully incorporated into the meat. Finally, add in rinsed brown lentils, chickpeas, and high quality chicken broth and simmer for about an hour, or until the lentils are tender.

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Finish the stew off by adding the juice of one lemon and ¼ chopped preserved lemon peel. Preserved lemon is a beautiful, very flavorful ingredient. Be sure to remove the pulp and pith—the rind will give you the flavor you need without the bitterness.

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At Toro Bravo, an unforgettably delicious Spanish tapas restaurant in Portland, this dish is served with buttermilk cheese and homemade flatbread. To keep it simple and gluten free I served it with brown rice and a sour, plain Greek yogurt. It may not rival the restaurant original, but it was delectable enough for me!

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Harira via Culinate

Toro Bravo Cookbook by Liz Crain and John Gorham

Suzanne Goin’s Corned Beef and Cabbage with Parsley-Mustard Sauce

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Having lived in Ireland on two separate occasions, I feel connected to the culture and will take this otherwise strange holiday as an excuse to celebrate all things Irish. That said, I’m not entirely convinced that corned beef and cabbage is, strictly speaking, an Irish tradition. Also known as New England Boiled dinner, I suspect that it was more commonly prepared by Irish immigrants in America, but it’s delicious and it’s associated with Ireland, and that’s good enough for me.

onions with cloves, turnips, and carrots

onions with cloves, turnips, and carrots

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Please, for the love of your health, buy corned beef from a place you trust! You don’t need something that’s dyed pink and full of chemicals. In Ireland, the concept of free-range beef is unheard of—because they can’t imagine raising cattle any other way. This dish is like an Irish twist on pot roast. Like pot roast, the key is to cook the corned beef for a long time at a low heat. I was tempted by Suzanne Goin’s recipe, but I simplified it by sticking to the simmer-on-the-stove cooking method. I’ve also had trouble sourcing chiles in adobo that don’t contain gluten, so I just left them out. I’m sure they would have added a smoky, spicy complexity, but I wasn’t disappointed with my more traditional, fork-tender corned beef.

let it rest before carving

let it rest before carving

I purchased a 4 ½ pound cut of well-brined corned beef and let it simmer with the onions, clove, bay leaves, and thyme for just under four hours. I removed the meat from the broth to let it rest and followed the recipe to prepare the potatoes, carrots, turnips, and cabbage. Once everything was tender but not overdone, I discarded the onions, carved the meat, and displayed everything together on a platter. The parsley-mustard sauce I made in advance, while the corned beef was simmering. It’s more like a vinaigrette than a sauce, but brightened up the whole meal with fresh parsley and lemon-vinegar tanginess. Even so, I added a small amount of Dijon mustard to my beef because that’s how I like it.

smashed parsley becomes a vinaigrette-like sauce

smashed parsley becomes a vinaigrette-like sauce

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Anthem’s dry hopped cider was the perfect drink to accompany this dish. This was a feast fit to celebrate my Irish friends. Sláinte!

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Suzanne Goin’s Corned Beef and Cabbage with Parsley-Mustard Sauce via Food52

 

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Fennel, Citrus, and Chiles

This dish is beautiful! It is an excellent way to prepare salmon for company because it comes together quickly and looks impressive. I used a meyer lemon and a blood orange to play up the contrast in colors, and because I like the sweetness of these varieties. The prep takes about ten minutes, and then the whole dish finishes off in the oven. I used a mandolin to slice everything—including the jalapeno. Be sure to wear gloves if you’re working with a hot pepper! It only takes one incident with capsaicin to discover why this step is so important.

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Since I wasn’t cooking for company, I purchased one pound of salmon fillets and altered my cooking time accordingly. I wanted the fennel to roast to its fullest sweetness, and the rinds of the citrus to lose some of their bitterness, so I roasted them for about 15 minutes before adding the salmon. I let the salmon filets cook for about 25 minutes, which meant they were cooked to medium rather than medium-rare. The end result was delicate and delicious, but next time I will roast the fennel mixture even longer for a sweeter, caramelized fennel result.

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Citrus and dill are natural complements to fish. Citrus flavors and brightens the fish without overpowering it, and dill is an herb delicate enough to pair well. The fennel and chile make this meal a little more interesting and fun. Enjoy!

served with a side of sauteed chard and capers

served with a side of sauteed chard and capers

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Fennel, Citrus, and Chiles

Bon Appétit

Roasted Carrot Harissa and Creme Fraiche Crostini

Harissa is a spicy red chili paste that originates from North Africa and it’s used so frequently in other parts of the world that it’s often viewed as a condiment. If you’re curious, you can read about some of the history and regional variations here, or learn how to make a standard version here. The recipe I’m sharing with you is more of a spread than a paste and the roasted carrots mellow the peppers and temper the heat.

it's bright orange!

it’s bright orange!

I’ve recently been spending time with some of my vegan friends, and when I contribute to a vegan meal I like to find recipes that show off the potential in vegetables and spices. This harissa is perfect because it is packed with flavor and makes use of one of the few vegetables that thrives in winter—carrots. Roasting the carrots brings out their sweetness, which is the ideal way to balance the spice from the peppers.

dried anaheims and chiles de arbol

dried anaheims and chiles de arbol

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I used dried Anaheim chilis and Chile de Arbol and found the results fairly mild. You can definitely up the heat by using a hotter dried pepper. Most of the heat in chilis is contained in their veins and seeds, so by removing those you are keeping the flavor and lowering the heat. The spice mixture in this recipe is ground cumin, black caraway seeds, and coriander seeds. I can’t describe the flavor combination—you’ll just have to trust me and try it. It’s divine!

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Both times I’ve made this I prepared it in advance, and followed the instructions to store with some olive oil on top. When it was time to serve, I stirred it to incorporate the olive oil and found the final texture creamy and smooth. I bothered with the crostini once, but since then I’ve just been eating it with chips or rice crackers. The priority is finding a blank slate so the harissa can shine.

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For those of us who are not vegan, I recommend serving this with crème fraiche and little parsley. The chips in the photos are Late July Sea Salt Multigrain and are conveniently gluten free, vegan, and delicious. Enjoy!

Roasted Carrot Harissa and Crème Fraiche Crostini via Food 52

By Gingerroot            February 2011

Quick Chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas

Let’s be honest—paella is never really quick and easy, but this version is straightforward and keeps your active time in the kitchen to under an hour. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that often mixes meats, fish, and even snails with rice to create a rich, one-pot meal. This recipe keeps it simple, adding only chicken thighs, Spanish chorizo (as opposed to Mexcian chorizo), and sugar snap peas to the rice.

roasted peppers and Olympic Provisions chorizo

roasted peppers and Olympic Provisions chorizo

The key ingredient that makes paella memorable is saffron. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It comes from the crocus flower and imparts a beautiful, yellow hue to anything it touches. This recipe requires soaking 1 tsp of saffron in white wine, which gives you a chance to watch the color as it seeps into the wine.

saffron yellow

saffron yellow

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Believe it or not, I follow this recipe exactly as it’s written. I use fire-roasted tomatoes instead of regular diced tomatoes, but that’s the only change I make. This time I used a locally made chorizo from Olympic Provisions. It worked perfectly, but I didn’t notice much difference from the less expensive, imported Spanish brands. Typically I use fresh snap peas, but it’s winter and the ones in the store looked tough and sad to me, so instead I bought a local, organic brand of frozen snap peas. I let them thaw while I was cooking so they would be ready to add in near the end of cooking, just as the recipe requires. They were a fine substitute, although the fresh peas retain a little more snap to their texture.

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spice rub

toast the rice then deglaze with saffron wine--watch the yellow appear!

toast the rice then deglaze with saffron wine–watch the yellow appear!

This paella makes enough for six servings, and it’s definitely rich and filling. I like to serve it with a green salad to lighten the meal up a little bit, often with a few olives to keep with the Spanish theme. This is company worthy meal, so invite over some friends and dive in!

I used my cast iron pot instead of a paella pan

I used my cast iron pot instead of a paella pan

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Quick Chicken Paella with Sugar Snap Peas via Epicurious

Bon Appétit            April 2010

Dolma (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Stuffed grape leaves are one of my favorite foods. I love them so much that when I was diagnosed with celiac I signed up for a private cooking class with a personal chef, and on the very short menu created just-for-me I asked to learn how to make grape leaves. My fiancé is Assyrian and stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage, and even stuffed onions are all part of traditional Assyrian cuisine. The first holiday I spent with his Assyrian side of the family I decided to prepare grape leaves as a contribution to our New Year’s Eve dinner. I had a reliable recipe from my session with the personal chef and I was excited to invite Ben’s family to roll grape leaves with me. Did I mention that none of them like stuffed grape leaves? Well, in fairness, they didn’t mention it to me either!

Don’t worry—they only told me after we had devoured almost all of the ones we made together. They insisted that these stuffed grape leaves were delicious, but agreed that none of them had eaten decent ones before. I knew what they meant. Poorly made versions can be tough, bland, or even sour. Instead, these are savory and a little sweet, and definitely tender.

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all the flavor is in the herbs, nuts, and spices

all the flavor is in the herbs, nuts, and spices

Here is what you will need. If you’re vegetarian you can just omit the lamb. I promise, I have done this with great success.

½ lb ground lamb

1 large onion, finely chopped

½ cup cooked white rice (do this in advance so it has time to cool)

5 TBSP olive oil

¾ tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

2 TBSP dried currants

2 TBSP pine nuts

1 TBSP each of finely chopped mint, dill, and parsley

2 TBSP tomato sauce or 1 TBSP purée

1 jar of grape leaves (I use Mezzetta brand)

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Cook the rice in advance to let it cool. Sauté the onions in olive oil until they are translucent, but not browned. Mix all of the stuffing ingredients and knead for 5 minutes. Take about 2 TBSP of stuffing and roll it into the shape of a small log (this is the right amount for large leaves, but you should adjust if the brand you buy has smaller leaves.) Place the glossy side of the leaf down—this means the back of the leaf should be facing you.

front of the leaf on the left, back of the leaf on the right

front of the leaf on the left, back of the leaf on the right

Put the log of stuffing at the bottom of the leaf, next to the stem. Fold in the sides first, then roll toward the tip of the leaf. Place the stuffed grape leaf seam side down in a large pot, with the ends touching to help keep them in place. Once all of your grape leaves are stuffed and in the pot, add 1 cup of water and tomato sauce or purée. The tomato will add flavor to the water, which will season the grape leaves as well. Cover and cook over medium heat for 40 minutes. You want them to simmer but if they come to a rolling boil they will open up and you will unwittingly have soup.

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These may be served warm or cold, with tzatziki, yogurt, or lemon juice. If you make your own tzatziki, I recommend grating the cucumber and gently squeezing it to get rid of some of the moisture. To turn this into a meal I served 4-5 grape leaves with a side of rice, tzatziki, carrot sticks, and hummus, and a green salad. If you make this for guests, although you can make them in advance, the scent of them simmering is mouth-watering. Enjoy!

snug little leaves

snug little leaves

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