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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer


March 06, 2008

All Hail Kale!

Eatmorekaledesign Kale doesn't have the sweet, earthiness of chard or the melt-in-your mouth quality of baby spinach: It's vegetal, strong and chewy. Which means that the green stuff can be an acquired taste.

Years after I'd professed a love for oft-maligned Brussels sprouts and lima beans, I failed to feel any affection for kale, whether Red Russian, Lacinato or otherwise.

Only since I got my first farm share and was forced to cook the veggie more regularly did I develop any positive feeling about the ultra-healthy leaves. It will never be my favorite vegetable, or even in my top 10, but I can manage to enjoy it.

On Wednesday we ran a story about Bo Muller-Moore, the dude who makes the famous, green "Eat More Kale" bumper stickers, t-shirts, and even baby onesies.
With it, we printed two recipes. Here are a few more...

Kale, Potato, Bean, and Linguiça Soup

Adapted from One Potato, Two Potato by Roy Finamore and Molly Stevens

A version of the Portuguese caldo verde is earthy and gutsy and bright with the colors of tomatoes, kidney beans, and kale. It makes a big batch, so serve it to a crowd. But it also keeps very well; like a stew, it might even be better the next day.

Serves 8 to 10

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound linguiça or chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 bay leaf
1 small bunch of kale, stems removed, chopped coarse (about 4 very generous cups)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, or 1 3/4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped ripe tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can kidney or pinto beans, or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for serving (optional)

Heat the oil and linguiça in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Cook until the sausage renders some of its fat and begin to shrink, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
    Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until the pieces are limp and the edges are starting to turn golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for a few minutes more, until it’s fragrant. Add 1 cup of cold water, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve any caramelized bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the potatoes, bay leaf, and 7 more cups of cold water. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover partway, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the kale, and continue to simmer until the kale and potatoes are tender but not falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes.
    Add the tomatoes, beans and the sausage, and continue to simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve in wide soup bowls. The soup will really sing if you drizzle each bowl with a thread of fruity olive oil.
    If you are serving this on the second day, make sure you have plenty of broth. Add water to thin the soup and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Polenta & Greens

from Heather at Pete's Greens

2 bunches cooking greens, such as kale, collards, chard, spinach
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
Dash red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
2 carrots, halved and sliced (optional)
Italian seasoning herbs (optional)
Sliced shitake mushrooms (optional)
1 c grated cheese, provolone, cheddar, fontina, even feta, as you like

Wash and chop the greens. Sauté onion, garlic, and carrots and/or mushrooms in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper & red pepper and Italian herbs. Cook until browning and fragrant. Gradually add the greens, stir frying until all are incorporated and just wilted.

1 c polenta (coarse cornmeal)
3 c water
1 tsp salt

Boil water & whisk in polenta & salt. Turn down very low, watch out for sputters. Cook until thick, stirring often.
Brush a baking dish with olive oil. Pour in about 2/3 of polenta, spoon in the greens, top with remaining polenta & cheese. Take a butter knife and swirl through the top layers a bit. Bake @ 350 until bubbly and slightly browned, about 30 minutes.

A couple notes on this recipe. It is easily doubled, which makes a generous 10 x 14 Pyrex baking dish. The polenta is easier to work with if it is poured right away when it thickens. If you wait it will set up into a more solid form. Prep the vegetables and have all ingredients ready before you cook the polenta, so it will be ready at the right time, as the greens take just a few minutes.

Crispy Kale
From Nancy at Pete's Greens

Everyone loves this preparation, from kids to adults. In a nice dish, it's even fancy enough to set out at a cocktail party buffet.

1 - 2 bunches of kale (any sort will do) washed and spun dry
1 - 2 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 300F. Remove kale ribs and chop into bite size pieces. Wash kale and spin dry. On a large cookie sheet or sheet pan toss kale with oil and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Place in oven and toast kale for 25-45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until kale is crispy. How long kale will take to dehydrate depends on both the variety of the kale as well as how dry it is when it goes into the oven. Serve as an appetizer or side dish

Go eat some kale!!

February 16, 2008

Recipe: Steak with Cherry Port Sauce

Img_3979Steak with Cherry Port Sauce

Serves 2

A shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
A branch of rosemary, washed
A handful of dried cherries
salt and pepper to taste

1 prime, dry-aged steak
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and sweat (cook until translucent, but not brown). Then add the garlic and do the same. Add the branch of rosemary and cook, stirring gently, for about a minute. Pour in some port -- I used a $25 bottle. Save the really expensive stuff for drinking and don't touch the super cheap stuff -- I think I probably added around a cup. Then add a handful of dried cherries. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced to around 1/4 cup. Take off the heat and discard rosemary.

While the sauce is simmering, pat the steak dry and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat until very hot. Add oil, and when the oil begins to shimmer, add the steak. Cook until the first side is deep brown and flip. Place the pan in the preheated oven. My very thick (nearly 2 inch?) NY Strip took about 10 minutes in the oven.

When done to your liking, remove the steak from the pan and set it in a warm place to rest. Place the pan over medium heat and add the cherry port sauce, scraping to incorporate any browned bits clinging to the pan. When the pan is deglazed, whisk in around a tablespoon of cold butter (called mounting the sauce). Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

When the steak has rested for 10 minutes, slice it, giving alternate slices to each diner (that way, nobody misses out on the best bits). Top with cherry sauce.

I served this with crème fraîche mashed potatoes and a mesclun salad topped with toasted almonds, blue cheese, avocado and apple in a sherry vinaigrette.

February 14, 2008

Chili-Chocolate Short Rib Recipe from Donnell Collins of Leunig's Bistro

Chili Chocolate Short Ribs with Cheddar Polenta

By Donnell Collin’s of Leunig's Bistro

Chili Rub:
2, 8-10 oz. beef or veal short ribs
2 Dried ancho chilies
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme   

Toast chilies 8-10 minutes.  Buzz in food processor until powder.  Place in bowl and add remaining ingredients and mix well. Coat the short ribs very well and let sit overnight.

1 cup Spanish onion chopped
¼ cup chopped garlic
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Place two tablespoons of oil In an oven-proof pot.  Sear the short ribs on all sides, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove short ribs and set aside.  To the same pot, add all the above chopped vegetables [mirepoix] and sauté about 4 minutes.

2 1/2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chicken, beef, or veal stock

Add wine, butter, and stock to the pot. Bring to a simmer, scraping all the browned goodness off the bottom of the pot [deglazing].  Return the short ribs and bring to a boil.  Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until meat is very tender and almost falling off the bone, about 1 1/2 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ribs to a plate and cover to keep warm.  Skim the fat from the top of the braising liquid.  Simmer the liquid ‘till it thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. If needed, thicken with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour, mixed in well with a whisk. Let simmer until thickened.

Cover ribs with sauce and serve with Cheddar Polenta:

Creamy Cheddar Polenta

2 ½ cups chicken stock
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter,
¾ cup polenta
½ cup grated sharp cheddar

Bring stock, heavy cream and butter to a boil. Gradually add the polenta, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover, but continue to stir frequently, and simmer until the polenta is tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheddar, and season with salt and pepper.

January 04, 2008

Recipe: Quick Borscht

Img_3970 Since the first year that I signed up for a winter CSA share, I've been experimenting with borscht; the Eastern European, beet-based soup. It's a great, tasty way to use up a variety of hearty root vegetables.

Making borscht completely from scratch takes a while, since it involves making beef stock, this is a quick version that I prepare when I don't have the time, or the bones, for stock.

Quick BorschtImg_3964_2

~ A splash of olive oil
~ 2 onions, chopped
~ 2 pounds ground beef
~ 5 cloves garlic, chopped
~ 1 jar tomato paste

~ 8-10 cups stock. Homemade beef is best and homemade chicken is second best. When I don't have anything homemade, I use Imagine Organic Chicken Broth, the only decent store-bought broth I've ever found
~ A bunch of root vegetables,shredded (see picture above). For this batch I used 3 large red beets, 1 yellow beet, 1 chioggia beet, 1 rutabega, 1 parsnip and 3 carrots. Cabbage is also a great inclusion. I use a special KitchenAid attachment to shred the vegetables. A food processor would also work. Doing it by hand with a box grater takes a long time. I know, 'cause I used to insist on doing it that way, just to be stubborn.
~ Fresh or dried dill
~ Bay leaves
~ Cider vinegar to taste
~ Salt and pepper to taste
~ Sour cream

Heat olive oil and saute onions until they are light brown in places. Add the ground beef and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring regularly, until you smell a pleasant, tomato-y aroma and the color of the paste darkens. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the shredded veggies, dill and bay leaves. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and the flavors are combined, at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

December 18, 2007

Recipe: Jack Woods' Enhanced Eggnog

This is not really a recipe for eggnog: It's a recipe for something you can do with eggnog, provided that you want to get as drunk as possible without consuming more than your share of the creamy stuff. I haven't tried this (I prefer the eggnog to the booze, myself), but for those of you who like to walk on the wild side, here it is, courtesy of my co-worker, Rick Woods, and his father.

Dad's Eggnog

1 quart eggnog
6 1/2 oz. light or dark rum
3 1/4 oz. Myers dark rum
6 1/2 oz. brandy
1/2 pint vanilla ice cream
freshly grated nutmeg to taste


-- OR --

1 gallon eggnog
1 fifth of light or dark rum
1/2 fifth of Myers dark rum
1 fifth of brandy
1 qt. vanilla ice cream
Freshly grated nutmeg


December 13, 2007

Recipe: Pumpkin and Fennel Frittata

On many mornings I get up bright 'n' early and work from home for a few hours before heading to the office. There's something nice about blogging and answering e-mails while wearing my pajamas and eating breakfast.

My sweetie didn't have to work yesterday, so while I typed away he made me a really creative omelet using stuff from our Pete's Greens localvore share (I adore the Pete's Greens localvore share, by the way). Because D. works in the restaurant industry, he's great at flipping omelets in the air and catching them. I'm deathly afraid of missing and making a mess, so I prefer to prepare frittata instead. Here's my take on his creation.

Pumpkin and Fennel Frittata

Pumpkin or other squash
Fennel bulbs
Milk, Cream or Soymilk

Preheat oven to broil.

Peel the squash. Use a vegetable peeler if the skin is thin and a paring knife if it is thick. Wash the fennel. Make thin slices of fennel and pumpkin -- around the same number of slices each -- stopping when you have enough to cover an omelet of the size you plan to make.

Melt butter, and when it sizzles, lay the slices of pumpkin and fennel in the butter. Cook, turning once, until tender. The temperature should be high enough to caramelize the pumpkin a bit. Remove from heat.

If you're using the same pan (it's gotta be broiler-safe for the next step), wash it eggs in a pan that has already been used makes them more likely to stick. If not, melt butter in a new pan. Whisk eggs and milk together. When the butter sizzles, pour in the eggs. After the bottom layer has set, lift it up with a rubber spatula and allow the  remaining egg to run underneath. Continue doing this, moving around the edge of the pan, until the top moves sluggishly.

Place the pumpkin and fennel slices atop the egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Run the pan under the broiler until the top of the frittata is cooked and puffy, which doesn't take very long.  Serve.

Variations that we haven't tried, but which sound as if they'd be good:

Top the eggs with goat cheese before broiling
Add a small amount of nutmeg to the eggs before cooking
Cook onions, shallots or garlic alongside the vegetables
Brown some pancetta, cook the pumpkin and fennel in said fat, crumble pancetta on top before serving
Top with slivers of prosciutto before serving
Vegan: Cook the pumpkin and fennel in olive oil, put on top of a tofu scram

November 23, 2007

Recipe: Creamy Celeriac and Chestnut Soup

My husband and I invented this soup on Thanksgiving, and it turned out really well. As usual, I didn't measure as I cooked, so this is more a technique than a recipe. But this way, when I publish my first cookbook with all of the actual measurements, you'll still want to buy it! Maybe.

Creamy Celeriac and Chestnut Soup

A bunch of chestnuts
Homemade chicken stock
Olive oil
Celery stalks
Heavy Cream

With a very sharp knife, cut an X into the flat side of each chestnut. Be careful. Place the chestnuts in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and leave for around 10 minutes. Turn of the heat. Now you must be brave. Remove two or three chestnuts from the water with a slotted spoon. The shell around the X you cut should have opened up like flower petals. Pull off the hot shells, trying to burn your fingers as little as possible. Often, there is a skin left on the chesnuts once the shell is removed. Carefully remove that, too. Continue until  all of the chestnuts are peeled. If it becomes impossible to slip off the skins, bring the pot of water back to a simmer for a couple of minutes.

Peel and chop the onions, shallots and celeriac. Wash and chop the parsnips and celery, setting any celery leaves aside for another use. Sweat the vegetables in a small amount of olive oil, stirring regularly, until the onions are translucent and the parsnips and celeriac have begun to soften. At the same time, bring the stock to a boil.

Add the vegetables and chestnuts to the stock, reserving one nut per serving for garnish. Simmer until the vegetables are completely tender. 

Puree the soup with an immersion blender, stir in cream, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Top each serving with a sliced chestnut.

***** Added Note...

The soup can easily be adapted to fit vegetarian or vegan lifestyles. To make it vegan, just use homemade vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and leave out the cream.


November 19, 2007

Recipe: Cider-Braised Pork Belly with Winter Vegetables

There's nothing like a piece of perfectly prepared braised pork belly. With crisp golden fat on the outside and impossibly tender meat within, it manages to be sexy and comforting at the same time.

In the Northern U.S., we don't use that much uncured pork belly, although 20-ton units of the stuff are traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Mostly we salt it or smoke it and call it bacon. In other countries, such as Canada, they make a much leaner "bacon" using different cuts. I confess a passionate attachment to the "streaky kind" we make here. It's one of the few remaining things that makes me swell with nationalistic pride.

Anyway...This weekend, I decided to try my hand at preparing a hunk o' belly for the very first time. As usual, I decided to improvise. The dish turned out really, really well, so I thought I'd share. I apologize for the lack of photos...When it comes to whipping out my camera before my fork, I seem to have a mental block.

Cider-Braised Pork Belly with Winter Vegetables

Equipment: Heavy duty metal pan with a lid (I used the Viking sauté pan with cover).

Olive oil
1 hunk of pork belly
1 large onion, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
1 Star anise
1 two-inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
Cider vinegar
Apple cider
Carrots and cabbage (or other winter veggies), chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in pan until hot, but not smoking. Pat the pork belly dry and season with salt and pepper. Beginning with the fattiest part, sear pork belly on all four sides until browned. Decrease heat, move the meat to one side, and add the chopped onions and shallots. Use the liquid that is released to stir up some of the browned bits of meat and fat (called "fond") stuck to the pan. Add the star anise, cinnamon and cloves.

Continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the onions and shallots are caramelized.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of cider vinegar, then add apple cider until it comes about a third of the way up the piece of pork. Cover pan and place in oven.

Cook for 1 1/2 hours, turning the pork and stirring the mixture every half-hour. If the cider seems to be in danger of drying up (this should only happen if the cover doesn't fit correctly) add a bit more.

Add chopped carrots and cabbage to the pan, stir, replace the lid and return the pan to the oven.

When the vegetables are tender, remove the pan from oven. Turn the oven to broil and place the meat on a broiler-proof dish. Season the vegetables and cider sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a serving dish and set in a warm place, leaving the cider sauce in the pan. Place the pan on a burner over medium-low heat and simmer to reduce the sauce. At the same time, broil the meat on all sides until the fat sizzles and turns a deeper shade of brown. Take care that it doesn't burn.

To serve, make a bed of vegetables on each plate, add slices of pork belly, and drizzle with sauce.

October 20, 2007

Recipe: Roasted Squash Gnocchi with Chard and Blue Cheese

Img_3531I invented this dish a couple of weeks ago for a good friend's birthday celebration. Because I made the gnocchi the "easy way" (stay tuned for details) it's neither uniform nor particularly pretty. But it tasted really good!

The recipe doesn't have exact measurements for some things, 'cause I didn't want to hold up the celebration by trying to pin them down. But hopefully it will be easy in enough to follow nevertheless.

Roasted Squash Gnocchi with Chard and Blue Cheese

1 medium squash, I prefer buttercup
2 eggs
a bunch of flour
sea salt
2 medium shallots
2 large bunches swiss chard
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
At least 1/2 pound chopped or crumbled blue cheese. I used Jasper Hill Farm's Bailey Hazen Blue

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and reserve (so you can cook them and eat them as a snack later), and place the halves cut side down in an oiled pan. Roast until the squash starts to collapse when you poke it, it should be soft enough that you can easily scoop out the flesh.

While the squash is roasting: Peel and mince the shallots. Then wash the chard and slice it into ribbons. If you'd prefer not to use the stems in this dish, you can save them for another use. Sweat the shallots in a bit of butter or olive oil, when they're translucent, add the chard and let it wilt. Reserve.

Now the blue cheese sauce. Put the 2 T. flour in a pan (no oil) and heat over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring constantly. You will smell a nice toasty aroma as it heats. Drop in the butter (it'll sizzle) and quickly whisk the butter and flour together. Slowly drizzle in the milk (if you don't mind using an extra pot, it's best for the milk to be hot, but it'll still work if it's not), whisking constantly, until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Let simmer until thickened. Stir in blue cheese and remove from heat.

Put the shallot chard mixture in a 9 X 13 baking dish and add the sauce. Stir.


When the squash is done, remove from the oven and carefully scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the shell. Allow to cool until is is comfortable to touch. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then, with a fork, blend in two eggs. Stir in two cups flour. Then, add 1/2 cup flour at a time until you've formed a smooth and elastic dough.

Put a big pot of water on to boil.

To make gnocchi the easy way, grab a chunk of dough and roll it between your palms to form a long "worm" (like playing with Play-Doh). Place this on a floured cutting board and chop it into bite-sized pieces with a chef knife. Take the bits, make sure they're coated in flour, and lay  them in a single layer on any surface that you won't need for a few minutes: a sheet pan, cutting board, etc. Continue until all the dough is gone.

Salt the boiling water and drop in the gnocchi a few at a time. You'll need to do a few batches. Each batch should take around 5 minutes to cook, and the gnocchi will rise to the top when nearly done. Skim them out with a skimmer, add them to the pan with the veggies and sauce, and stir to coat. Let the water come back to a boil and add the next batch.

When all the gnocchi are done or the pan is nearly full, make sure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and put the pan in the oven. If there are leftover gnocchi, toss them with oil and save for another time. Let cook until hot and bubbly. Serve.

Whew...that was more complicated than I expected. It took me three days to write this post! By the way, if you make this, use your own discretion during most steps. If medium heat on your stove will make the sauce boil instead of simmer, use medium low instead. You get the idea.

October 09, 2007

Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Recipe

Planning dinner for my friend Devon's 30th birthday last Saturday was kind of like being on Iron Chef. I knew that party guests Chris and Laura, owners of Bread and Roses Farm in Westford, planned to bring an assortment of veggies when they arrived at my apartment, I just didn't know which ones (see, "secret ingredients!"). They showed up with a little of everything: red peppers, eggplant, carrots, beets, chard, kale, mesclun mix, leeks, parsley, dill and buttercup squash. The b-day crew also spent part of the afternoon at Shelburne Orchards picking apples in a rain storm. So we had those to work with, too.

I did my menu planning on the fly at Shelburne cookbooks, no internet. Just me, a vegetarian birthday girl with veto power, and thousands of products. Here's what I came up with: Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms, Roasted Squash Gnocchi with Chard and Bayley-Hazen Blue Cheese Sauce, Salad with Toasted Pecans and Apples, and Apple Crisp for dessert.

Here's the first recipe (others will follow in future posts).

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms (serves 6 as an appetizer)

3 medium-sized portabella 'shrooms
olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic
a handful of flat-leaf parsley
bread crumbs
salt to taste
pepper to taste
A round of Demitasse, a mixed-milk cheese from Lazy Lady Farm (or substitute any soft cheese with a white rind that you like)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the mushrooms' stems, cutting off and discarding the really dirty bit that was underground. Clean mushroom stems and caps.

Lightly oil both sides of the caps and place them in a Pyrex dish or other oven-friendly container. Bake, turning once, until cooked through. Once done, remove from oven and turn heat to "broil."

While the caps are cooking, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Mince garlic and add to pan, stirring regularly to prevent burning. Mince mushroom stems and add. Do the same to the parsley. When the ingredients are cooked through, add breadcrumbs until you have enough crumb filling to top the three mushrooms (maybe around 2/3 c.). Saute until the crumbs are golden brown.

Spoon the filling onto the mushroom caps, forming a mound in the middle that tapers towards the edges.

Cut the cheese into sixths, and put one slice atop each of the stuffed mushrooms. Place under the broiler and leave until cheese is runny. Cut each mushroom cap in two and serve.

Stay tuned for the Roasted Squash Gnocchi recipe...

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