Cioppino’s Brother from a Long Island Mother

 

Charlie and Steve are the seafood mongers at my Saturday Greenmarket.   They are total goofballs who always make me laugh and also really generous.  Every week, right before I leave the market they ask me, “Kelly, whaddya want today?”  I end up with a fat fillet of something delish each week.  Sadly, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to cook the same day of getting the fish, so I’ve been stockpiling a stash in the freezer.  In the past few weeks, as I’ve been building up a sizable amount of cod, hake, monk fish and tile fish, I’ve had stew on the mind.

I’m in the first week of a 30 day nutritional reset (basically paleo) that involves eating meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds and minimal fruit.    I’m eating really well and already feel energy from taking a break from alcohol, wheat and sugar.

So, yeah, I don’t feel like I’m missing out…especially after eating a big bowl of this stew, fragrant with tomatoes, saffron, coconut milk and a spontaneous swirling in of a tablespoon of a little something luscious, a prize in a butcher shop if you can find it, known as leaf lard.

Spicy Seafood Stew

Yields: 1 large soup pot.  This recipe easily feeds 8-10 people.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. fish, semi firm preferably (I used a combination of hake, cod, swordfish  and monkfish)
1 lb. shrimp
1 large, white onion
1 carrot, thinly into discs sliced on bias
2 leeks, thinly sliced and well washed (soak rings in bowl of cold water)
6 cloves garlic
2 packed c. kale
2 quarts chicken, fish or vegetable stock (or water)
2 cans diced tomato
1 can coconut milk
2 pinches saffron, crumbled
1 sprig thyme
2 t. coriander, ground
2 t. fennel, ground
2 t. red pepper flakes or sambal
1 T. leaf lard or 2 T. butter

Directions:

  1. Sweat onions and shallots in large soup pot with a couple glugs of olive oil.   Add garlic and cook a couple minutes more.
  2. Add canned tomatoes, stock or water, crumble in saffron, spices, sprig of thyme and red pepper flakes or sambal.
  3. Cover with lid and allow flavors to simmer together for 15 minutes, over medium low flame.
  4. Keeping it at a low simmer, add fish chunks, shrimp and coconut milk.
  5. Allow stew to cook 5-7 minutes, or until shrimp turn opaque.
  6. Remove from heat and swirl in 1 T. leaf lard or 2 T. butter.

 

 

 

Roasted Curry Cauliflower Soup with Kaffir Lime

Curry Badger strikes again…

What to do with a gallon sized ziplock bag of leftover roasted cauliflower??  Soup, you say?  I’m really happy with how this experimental soup turned out!  It is a warm, spicy comforting bowl of goodness.  You could easily make it vegan by substituting 1 can of coconut milk for the half and half.  Or maybe you are in that flexitarian fleet of vegetarians who eat bacon (you know who you are…) and also think it’d be rad to top this soup with crispy, salty bacon crumbles.  Tempting as that is, I kept it vegetarian and topped it with beet relish bought from Divine Brine Pickles, who specialize in lacto-fermentation* * *

Ingredients

3 heads cauliflower, cut into popcorn sized florets
4 whole cloves garlic, slightly crushed with flat side of knife
2 T. + 2 T.  madras curry powder
1 T. coriander
1/4 c. oil (olive, grapeseed or canola)
2 quarts vegetable stock or broth
1.5 cups half and half
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Roast Cauliflower:

Toss  cauliflower florets with garlic cloves, oil, 2 T. curry powder and coriander and roast in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes (or until slightly toasty and soft)  This step can be done ahead of time, roasted cauliflower can be frozen until ready to make soup

To Make Soup:

Combine vegetable stock and roasted cauliflower florets in a large pot.  Add 3 kaffir lime leaves, red pepper flakes and remaining 2 T curry powder.  Simmer over medium low heat for 20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, combine half and half and remaining 3 kaffir lime leaves in a small pot and simmer over very low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove lime leaves and discard.  Add half of cauliflower soup mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.

Add pureed cauliflower back to large soup pot.  Using mesh strainer, strain half and half steeped with lime leaves into the large soup pot.

Stir in half of squeezed lemon and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Suggestion: top with dollop of Greek yogurt and beet relish or fresh chopped cilantro

* * *

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine”

~Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions

 


 

 

 

New Year Waffles with Banana, Chia Seed and Yogurt

Cha-cha-cha chia!  Is so good for you.  Who knew that America’s beloved sprouted pet contains a powerhouse of a seed?  I remember my friend Nick, first telling me about chia (“Have you tried chia seeds? They’re really fun!  They turn fruit juice into gel!)  and I thought, could it really be chia, as in infomercial chia that has made it’s way into health food stores, co-ops, and every Park Slope home?  But it is! This same chia is touted to have just as much nutritional value as flax.  It is high in Omega-3s, protein, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins B, C and E.  Unlike flax, chia seed does not have to be ground to properly digest all of its healthful qualities — they can be consumed whole.   I like to sprinkle them on salads, greek yogurt and add them to baked goods.  They have a popping mouth feel quality, much like poppyseeds — the shell is not thick or hardy.    Who couldn’t use some chia or waffles in their life?

 

New Year Waffles with Banana, Chia Seeds and Yogurt

Ingredients:

3  cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 cups milk (any kind, whole, skim, almond, soy)
2 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil
3 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 banana, diced
Vegetable oil spray (for the waffle iron) – I used melted butter, brushed on iron

Directions:

  • Whisk together dry ingredients, including chia seeds
  • Whisk together wet ingredients
  • Dice banana and stir into wet ingredients
  • Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients
  • Brush waffle iron with butter or spray with cooking spray and go on with your bad wafflemaking self

Wintery Market Soup

My job at the Greenmarkets comes with one of the best perks:  an abundance of beautiful produce that I get to cook with.  I often do cooking demos at my market and this week picked out some of Rexcroft Farms cremini mushrooms, Russian kale and white turnips.  Add to the mix a vibrant fiery red chili pepper Fish Kill Farms cleverly calls “Ghost Face Killah” – a cross between a habanero and ghost pepper.  Throw in some onions, garlic, vegetable stock and coconut milk….and a soup is born!  Soup season has arrived.

Ingredients

32 oz. vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 head kale (my fav is Russian kale)
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms
1 yellow onion, medium diced
6 medium turnips, medium diced
1 ghost pepper (or any spicy chili pepper), sliced very thinly
1/4. c. cilantro, chopped for garnish
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Method

In a stock pot, on medium heat saute onions and garlic until softened.  Add turnips and saute until semi-soft.  Add kale, mushrooms and chili pepper and stir until kale wilts.  Add stock and once the soup simmers, reduce heat to medium low and let cook for 5 minutes.  Add coconut milk and let simmer for another 5 minutes…don’t let coconut milk boil, as it may separate.  Season to taste.  Garnish with cilantro.  Ladle up some goodness.

Ahhh pickles. And life.

 

Preservation is defined as the act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity, and materials of a property.  I take this to mean, preservation is the act of keeping something alive and zippy.   So when your veggies are on the out and out…in my case: peppers, onions, cucumbers and carrots, by all means save them from mushy expiration!  It is in these times that I turn to vinegar, sugar, salt and spices.  This quick pickling method is simple and rewarding.  It really is the the little things in life.  And in life, pickles are a great accompaniment.

INGREDIENTS

3 sweet peppers, sliced (I used purple and red bell peppers)
4 banana peppers, sliced
2 cherry bomb hot peppers, sliced into thin strips (see pic above)
1 white onion, sliced
4 cucumbers, peeled and sliced into coins
3 carrots, sliced into half coins (did mine on the bias)

Other Suggestions:  Add just about any veggie you like…cauliflower, fennel, shallots, green or wax beans, etc)

BRINE

Combine in a saucepan:

3.5 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. kosher salt
3 cloves garlic
2 t. coriander seeds
1 t. peppercorn
4 kaffir lime leaves (not easiest thing to find…it’s no substitute but use 1 bay leaf instead for a whole diff pickling experience — still tasty good)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Set aside prepped vegetables in a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl.
  2. Bring brine to a boil.
  3. Pour hot  brine over veggies.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter to cool to room temp.
  5. Let sit in fridge overnight.
  6. Eat chilled the next day, and the day after and the day after that.  The goal here is to eat these pickles until you too become pickled.

 

 

 

 

Kimchi Corn Salsa

Kimchi.  Corn.  Salsa.  In the mind of a purist or traditionalist, these three words don’t go together.  But I’ve never been one to be associated with a conventional flavor method, so yeah, I put ‘em together.  And I ate it.  And it was good.

(A homage to all traditional cooks — especially all the Moms from various regions across the nation and other countries — how I adore the love and rich culture that your food embraces…I understand we (unorthodox cooks) may bring a disapproving furrow to your brow and go against the rich history of your own cooking philosophy.  Which is why I will happily set my experimentation aside for the honor of pulling up a seat at your table any day).

This salsa is great served with tortilla chips and would also make a stellar topping for tacos.  Unconventional tacos.  Maybe tacos with grilled fish or pulled pork or whatever your taco heart desires.

 

Ingredients

1 pint kimchi, roughly chopped into smaller pieces suitable for salsa
3 ears raw sweet corn, shucked and kernels removed from cob*
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
splash sesame oil

*If you must use canned corn, OK it happens. If using grocery store corn, I’d suggest roasting it in the oven for 8 minutes at 400 degrees before removing from cob.  The best is local corn, in season, from a farmer’s market…which is crisp and sweet and does not require cooking…yes, corn so good it can be consumed raw.

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Yields approximately 1 qt.

 

Cool Cucumber & Radish Raita

Jackson Heights, how I love the close proximity of your multiple, culturally diverse grocers.  It’s worth the trip to pile up on Indian spices, yogurt, herbs and crazy-cheap brown basmati rice…especially since once I’m done at Patel Brothers I can walk like, 20 feet and stock up on kimchi from my fav Korean market.  I really delight in these shopping ventures.  You know what else is delightful?  Scoring veggies and fruits from the vendors at the farmer’s market I work at.  Generosity at it’s finest.   So, what to do with my cucumber, radish and garlic gifts in the middle of July?  You got it…raita.  A great Summer staple that can be served with grilled veggies, meats, seafood, naan or crackers.  Or with a spoon.  With the fridge hanging open.  Cool and cool.

Ingredients:

1 qt. yogurt

2 cucumbers, scoop out inner seeds with spoon

8 red radishes, sliced thinly and julienned*

1/4 c. mint, chiffonade**

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. black mustard seed, toasted and ground

1 T. cumin seed, toasted and ground

2 t. kosher salt

2 t. garam masala

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and serve chilled.

Yields 2 qts.

 

*To julienne radish:  Slice thin disks of radish into matchsticks

**To chiffonade mint: Roll a stack of 5-6 whole mint leaves and slice into thin ribbons

 

 

 

Kale & Seaweed Matrimony

Ok, so I’ve been on a really big seaweed kick lately.  I add it almost daily to so many things — scrambled eggs, rice, noodles, tuna salad, even the occasional morning fruit smoothie.  I kinda think seaweed is one of the most nutritious and delicious things you can casually use as an add-in.  Seriously, do not fear the sea vegetable.

Lately, one of my favorite things to throw it into is sauteed kale.  And come on, I’ve been on a kale kick ever since I learned it had culinary capabilities beyond being a garnish at Sizzler.   Ah, but the marriage of seaweed + kale is such a scrumptious thing. Do you kale take thee seaweed to have and to hold forever?  Well.  In my future cooking, yes.    
I do.

Oh and by the way…top this saute with a roasted salmon or seared tuna fillet.  Um, bliss and beyond.

Saute:

1 c. chopped kale in 1 tsp. olive oil.  When wilted, add a splash of rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.  Right before turning off heat, stir in 1/2 c.  shredded nori seaweed.  I like to toast full nori sheets in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes and keep them on hand in a baggie for future use.

Eat as is, or top with fish or a fried egg

!

 

 

 

Comfort Food Rice Bowl

I make this rice bowl fairly often and it is sooo satisfying.  It is comforting in the way that toasted English muffins or mac ‘n cheese are…a.k.a it really hits the spot.  I even eat it for breakfast sometimes!  And it’s nutrient rich, with pickled carrots, seaweed and brown rice all top with a runny fried egg.

I make the rice and pickled carrots in a larger quantity so I can keep these ingredients in the fridge and eat it all week.

Fail-Proof Oven Baked Brown Rice

4 c. brown rice
7 c. water
splash of rice vinegar
pinch of salt
1 T. canola oil

  • Combine all ingredients in baking dish with fitted lid or covered tightly with foil.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Fluff with fork.  Perfect rice every time.

Quick Pickled Carrots

4 carrots, peeled and coined or julienned
1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
2 T. salt
2 T. sugar

  • Whisk together vinegar, salt and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Let marinate in fridge while rice bakes.

Rice Bowl Assembly

  • If using cold leftover brown rice, reheat in skillet with scant amount of canola oil.  When hot, stir in ripped up sheets of nori seaweed until just wilted.  No nori?  Not a fan of seaweed?  Try spinach instead!  But if you want to give seaweed a shot, it is delicious and densely packed with nutrients, vitamins, iron and minerals.  Nori is the same seaweed you’ve had when you eat sushi and can be found at any Asian market
  • Top rice bowl with pickled carrots, an over easy egg and spicy chili sauce (Korean gochujang or Sriracha are top picks).  Mix together and dig in!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Beet Soup

Eat your colors! Butternut squash and beets are roasted and pureed with elephant garlic and light coconut milk to create a smooth and vibrant soup.  Swoon worthy.  This makes a really big pot o’ soup so invite your friends and neighbors over to swoon and spoon with you.  And, yeah, that’s a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.  Go crazy.

Ingredients

several glugs of olive oil
2 medium butternut squash, halved
4-6 beets, peeled
1 14 oz can light coconut milk
4 c. water
1 head garlic (I used elephant variety)
2 T. garam masala
Kosher or Sea Salt, to taste

Directions

1.  Roast the following in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes:

Butternut Squash – drizzle a baking sheets generously with olive oil.  Place squash, cut side down on sheet

Beets – peel beets and leave whole, spread on foil on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, fold up edges of foil to create a pouch and seal at the seams

Garlic Head – cut top off garlic head, only enough to expose and slice through the tips of the cloves.  Drizzle with olive oil and    roast in a foil pocket

2.  Once all veggies are roasted, scoop out squash and discard skin.  Dice Beets.  Remove cloves from garlic skins.  Combine roasted veggies and all remaining ingredients in a large pot.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

3.  Puree in a blender or using a handheld immersion blender.