October 27, 2011

Pretty, Good & Tasty

Rainbow chard is so abundant and beautiful, it's hard to ignore. It's a wealth of nutrients and cooks in a wink. I like it best braised in a little oil with lots of hot peppers then perked with vinegar. It's good frizzled in a hot oven (like kale chips) and is wonderful sliced into soups and stews. Most folks remove the stems and ribs to cook separately from the leaves. But, I find that if you chop them fine, they'll cook along with the leaves nicely in a soup or stew. Here are two very simple recipes. Eat chard. Tonight!

Silky Braised Chard 
Serves 4

1 large bundle chard, leaves rinsed but not thoroughly dried
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Apple cider vinegar

Separate the leaves and ribs of the chard. Slice the leaves into 1-inch strips and chop the stems. Heat the oil over low in a heavy pot and stew the onion until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chard leaves and stems, season with salt and pepper, toss then cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The leaves should turn silky. Serve with a splash of vinegar.

Sauteed Chard with Hot Peppers
Serves 4

1 large bundle chard, leaves rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and diced
1/2 fresh lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Separate the leaves and ribs of the chard. Slice the leaves into 1/2-inch strips and chop the stems. Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the chard an stems with the pepper just to coat with the oil, cover the pan, and cook until the leaves are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the pan is dry. Drizzle with a little lemon juice to taste and serve.

October 19, 2011


Thursday October 20
7:00 p.m.
Northern Heartland Kitchen
Book Signing

Autumn is the season for cooks and this year couldn't be better. The new crop of sweet potatoes, squash and apples, celeriac, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, and those hearty cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts, the vibrant carrots, parsnips, turnips (phew) are promising, earthy and sweet. Stock up, these things keep a while, ready when you are to cook. 

Kale is at its best right now, getting sweetest as the frost moves in. No doubt kale is the most nutritious green around -- loaded with anti-oxidents, vitamins, minerals -- it's low cal, hi fiber and dang, it tastes good. It grows any place, every place, a vibrant crop in this hostile climate. Here's a simple recipe for speedy raw kale salad. Make a big batch of it, it tastes better through the week.

Raw Kale Salad (Serves  4)
This will keep several days in the refrigerator, its flavor softening along with the kale leaves, over time.
2 bunches dinosaur or curly kale, stems and veins removed and leaves chopped (about 4 heaping cups)
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey, or more to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/4 cup toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds or toasted chopped pecans

October 17, 2011

Get Squash!

The butternut, pumpkin, acorn, delicata, red kuri are all in and it's a good time for soup. Quick and easy. Check out this recipe from KARE 11 TV from Northern Heartland Kitchen!

October 13, 2011

Discovering our Roots! Mill City Last Call!

Discovering our Roots!

Last Call

It's the last Saturday for the Mill City Market and a great time to discover our roots. Sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots in all colors, turnips, potatoes, things that grow underground. Stock up, these are keepers that, unlike tomatoes or tender peas, don't have to be eaten right now. While you're grabbing the best of this season, think about enjoying great local produce all through the winter and sign up for a CSA. Many of Mill City Market farmers have late fall and winter shares.

Tune In 

 KARE 11 - TV 
this Saturday @ 10:00 am
See what's at the Mill City Market
and then come on Down!

CITIES 107. 1
this Saturday @ 1:15 pm
WEEKLY DISH with Steph & Steph
Northern Heartland Kitchen
talking great food!

KARE 11 - TV
Monday 10/17 @ 4:00 pm 
Cooking with Pat Evans
Know your Squash!

Ginger Sweet Potato Soup
Apple-Mint Salsa
Serves 4 to 5

Our northern sweet potatoes are prettier, sweeter, denser and smaller than those that grow down south. Delicious simply roasted off in the oven until tender, they're also terrific in this luscious gingery soup. It's topped with a spicy, tart salsa made of our snappy local apples. Quick and fresh!

2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and grated, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of grated nutmeg
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
5 to 6 cups homemade or low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut milk or heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh apple cider
1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat and saute in the onions until they're very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook another minute. Increase the heat and add the sweet potatoes and enough stock to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are very soft, about 15 minutes.  Puree the soup in batches and return to the pot or use an immersion blender. Stir in the coconut milk, cider, honey and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm with the Apple-Mint Salsa (recipe below).

Apple Mint Salsa
Makes about 1 cup

This lively fresh salsa sparks the sweet potato soup. It's also delicious on grilled chicken or served as a compliment to local cheeses (especially Shepherd's Way Big Woods Blue).

1 small tart, crisp apple, such as Keepsake or Regent
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined, finely minced
Sprinkling of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl and serve right away.

October 7, 2011

Saturday, October 8
Demo, tasting and book signing!

Then head north to
Apple Fest!
Sunday, October 9!

October 3, 2011

Glorious Beans!

Use your bean!

Beans beans beans. They're in big time at all the markets, snappy and fresh. Best way to cook them is the simplest: in boiling water until tender (beyond tender-crisp). Then drain quickly and toss with a nice, peppery olive oil and coarse salt. You'll want to eat them with your fingers, and you should. Or, you can get a little fussier and try this classic Chinese dish (green beans originated in China). It makes a lively side dish to grilled chicken. Or, toss in cooked chicken at the end and serve over cooked noodles or rice.

Chinese Fried Green Beans
Serves 4

Sunflower or any neutral corn oil for frying
2 pound green beans, well trimmed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
Large pinch hot pepper flakes, to taste
1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Put about 2 inches of oil in a deep skillet set over medium-high heat and bring to 350 degrees F. Wash and thoroughly dry the beans (they should be very very dry before you begin). Fry the beans, stirring occasionally, until they brown, about 7 to 12 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Darin off all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet, return to the heat and stir fry the garlic and shallot until the garlic begins to soften (being careful it doesn't burn), about 30 seconds. Toss in the beans, with the paper flakes, honey and soy sauce to taste. Serve topped with the toasted walnuts.