January 30, 2011

Toasted Walnut and Lemon Chard

I find chard to be one of the milder leafy greens. I like the soft tender texture and lovely color, especially the stems of red and rainbow. For this side dish I used red chard because the colors seem particularly suited for winter, remaining bold after blanching. Chard works as a nice side dish for pasties or stewed pork.

Similar nuts or cheeses may be substituted for the asiago and walnut. Any kind of chard will work well.

1 bunch of chard, thinly sliced

½ c walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

½ lemon, juiced

½ c asiago cheese, grated

1 ½ tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add chard and cook until bright green and tender, 2-3 minutes. Drain chard and place under cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cool, squeeze out remaining water, wrap chard in a clean towel and set chard aside.

2. Next, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, sauté until translucent and then remove from heat.

3. Place chard in a large mixing bowl. Add onions, walnuts, cheese and lemon juice and thoroughly combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve room temperature.

Serves 3-4

January 26, 2011

Parsley-Garlic Butter Smashed New Potatoes

Eating potatoes new be one of my favorite ways to consume potatoes. Their immaturity makes them incredibly tender and easy to work with, as the skin is so thin it does not need to be removed. Steaming new potatoes seems to help them maintain their fresh taste and texture while at the same time retaining their moisture. Between the new potatoes and butter, this dish is particularly delicate and creamy. Smashed new potatoes work very well with mashed carrots and celeriac purée.

I used red new potatoes for this dish, but most waxy variety of new potato will work well.

1 lb waxy new potatoes

3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped

¼ c parsley, finely chopped

¼ c butter

salt and pepper

1. Steam potatoes over boiling water in pot with steamer basket until very tender, 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Once melted, add garlic and parsley and stir to combine. Remove from heat and continue cooking off heat for 1 minute.

3. Place the steamed potatoes in a large mixing bowl and smash each potato. Add butter, parsley and garlic to potatoes and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve potatoes hot or warm.

Serves 3-4

January 21, 2011

Vegetable or Vegetable Lamb Pasties

Pasties, likely originating in England, were traditionally fed to laborers, particularly miners, because they could hold the crust, eat the filling without touch it and discard the dirty crust once they had finished eating. Butte, Montana has a strong tradition of pasties due to it being a mining town with Irish heritage. I like making pasties because they are such a perfect meal, work with many different fillings and can easily be taken to go or frozen for later. Soups such as mustard green or roasted squash and salads such as caesar or beet make great starters for pasties.

Other ground meats may be substituted for lamb such as beef or bison. Other combinations or proportions of vegetables will work as well. Most fresh herbs will work in the crust including rosemary, thyme, mint or parsley.

Made especially for Annie, who specifically requested pasties.


2 ¼ c flour

1 c chilled butter, cubed

2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

ice water


1 medium red potato, finely cubed

1 stalk celery, trimmed and finely diced

1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 carrot, trimmed and finely diced

½ c peas

½ c spinach, roughly chopped

5 button mushrooms, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

¼ lb ground lamb*

1 tbsp butter, melted

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 egg, beaten

*lamb may be added or omitted depending upon preference

1. To make crust: thoroughly combine flour, butter, baking powder, herbs, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl or food processor. Slowly add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, to flour mixture and gently combine until dough begins to form. Being careful not to add too much water or over work dough. Form dough into two balls and place in the refrigerator.

2. To make filling: combine all vegetables, butter, seasoning and lamb if desired in a large mixing bowl. There may be remaining filling depending upon desired size of pasties.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator, each ball between two squares of parchment paper and roll each into a 12" diameter circle. Place 1 ½ -2 c filling on ½ of each circle, leaving a 2" border of dough. Fold the other ½ of the dough over the filling. Pinch border closed, cut a 1" slit into the top of the pastie and place pastie on a baking sheet. Repeat process with second circle. Brush pasties with beaten egg.

4. Place pasties in oven and bake until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Remove pasties from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve pasties warm.

Makes 2 pasties

January 17, 2011

Shallot Mashed Carrots

At times carrots seem so ubiquitous in cooking that they seem to take a sideline more than center stage, being one of many ingredients instead of the main ingredient. I find carrots can serve both roles better than most other vegetables because they have a sweet mild flavor and a beautiful color. I do not often think of carrots as creamy, but when they are mashed and real cream is added they certainly are able to become a rich and creamy side dish with a perfect orange hue. I like mashed carrots with green beans or blue potatoes.

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into thick rounds

¼ c cream

1 tbsp butter

1 large shallot, finely diced

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1. Steam carrots over boiling water until tender. Once tender, remove carrots from heat and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add parsley, continue sautéing for another minute off heat.

3. Combine sautéed shallots, cream and carrots in food processor. Combine ingredients until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve carrots warm or hot.

Serves 3-4

January 13, 2011

Mustard Green Soup with Ginger and Bacon

Dark leafy greens seem very fitting for winter, particularly where little green is to be found outside. I appreciate greens for the colors and flavors they offer to dishes made with them. Mustard greens are an especially flavorful variety of leafy greens and so are able to be watered down into a soup while maintaining their taste. I likely was inspired by Asian cuisine with the combination of mustard greens, bacon and ginger. Roasted bell peppers and sesame rice are great entrées with mustard green soup.

Bacon provides the most flavor, though butter or olive oil may easily be used as a substitute. A blender may be used instead of a food processor.

1 bunch of mustard greens, chopped

1 yellow onion, trimmed and chopped

1 medium carrot, trimmed and chopped

1 stalk celery, trimmed and chopped

1 c chicken or vegetable stock

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

2 strips of bacon, thinly sliced

1 tbsp olive oil


salt and pepper

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and brown. Once bacon has browned, add olive oil, onion, carrot and celery, sautéing vegetables until tender. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add garlic, ginger and mustard greens, continue simmering until greens are tender and brilliant green, 2-3 minutes. Remove the pot from heat.

2. Next, combine ingredients from pot into food processor. Blend ingredients until smooth.

3. Finally, return ingredients to pot and add water ½ c at a time until desired soup consistency has been attained. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve the soup room temperature or hot.

Serves 3-4

January 8, 2011

Beet Salad with Roasted Fennel and Goat Cheese

I am not quite sure why the combination of beets, fennel and goat cheese works so well, but it most certainly is delicious maybe due to the strong but subtle flavors of each ingredient. Beets are a lovely root to cook with because they have a sweet mellow flavor and retain their vivid color after cooking. This salad reminds me of spring, and so somehow seems especially fitting to be eaten in the middle of winter. Beet salad accompanies stewed pork or stuffed vegetables very well.

Using only one color of beet will work just as well. Any other green may be used instead of or in addition to arugula.

For Gabrielle and Nate because I made this salad for their wedding using vegetables they grew on their farm in Maine.

2 medium purple beets

2 medium golden beets

¼ c goat cheese, crumbled

1 bulb of fennel, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

4 c arugula

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss fennel with olive oil and spread evenly in a large baking pan. Place fennel in the oven and roast until slightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Once browned, remove from oven, turn oven off and set fennel aside.

2. Meanwhile, steam whole beets until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Once tender, remove beets from heat and peel skin using hands or a peeler while beets are still hot. Cut each beet into 8-10 segments, keeping the colors in separate bowls.

3. Divide fennel and parsley evenly between the two bowls of beets, add ½ tbsp olive oil to each bowl. Stir each bowl to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve beets over arugula and top with crumbled goat cheese. May be plated on a large platter or in individual portions.

Serves 3-4

January 4, 2011

Mulled Wine with Orange

Mulled wine is a perfect cold weather beverage. Thanks to my Swedish roots, I grew up drinking a variation of mulled wine called glögg, which was stronger due to the addition of hard alcohol. Both versions are very good, though mulled wine without hard alcohol seems a more versatile beverage. I have been making it for various social gatherings as a more festive alternative to straight wine. Not only does it taste warm and delicious, it makes the house smell like orange and spices, especially fitting for winter. White wine sangria is a perfect counterpart to mulled wine.

Most any inexpensive variety of red wine will work. Spices may be increased or decreased according to preference.

1 bottle red wine

1 c water

½ c sugar

1 orange, thinly sliced

2 cinnamon sticks

¼ tsp black peppercorns

4 cloves

1. Combine all ingredients in a large pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, simmering until sugar has been dissolved. Once sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and allow to rest at least 4 hours. Reheat wine over low heat as necessary.

2. Serve mulled wine hot.

Makes about 4 cups