I have never cooked cucumbers before! The cucumber slices in this stir-fry were quickly sautéed until just crisp tender- great. I also loved the seasonings in the finished dish.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christina Chaey. I used my largest skillet (14-inch) but would use a 12-inch next time. I don’t have a 14-inch splatter screen and I made quite a mess. It was worth it.
Yield: Serves 3 to 4
1 large English/European cucumber, peeled in alternating lengthwise strips, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, halves sliced crosswise on a diagonal 1/2-inch thick (I used a melon baller to remove the seeds)
1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1 tsp Diamond Crystal), plus more
2 T oyster sauce
2 T soy sauce (I used Trader Joe’s light soy sauce)
2 T Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or medium-dry sherry (I used dry sherry)
I have a couple more dishes featuring sweet summer corn to share. This quick stir-fry was perfect to serve after a busy day outside. After prepping the ingredients in advance, it was fully prepared in the time that it took for the rice to cook.
This recipe was (slightly) adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. The original recipe notes that peppers, peas, mushrooms, or summer squash could be substituted for the fresh corn. Great!
Yield: Serves 4
3 T oyster sauce
1 T unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
4 to 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 lb), cut into 1-inch pieces
My sister introduced me to Ethiopian food many moons ago. Ever since, we have really enjoyed eating at Ethiopian restaurants but I have never prepared any dishes at home. After receiving collard greens and parsley in my CSA share, this seemed like a fitting menu to try. It could be served any time of year. For us, it was a perfect meal to serve on a rainy and cool June evening.
I loved the brightness that the grated ginger, lemon, and chopped fresh chile added to the tender, stewed collard greens after cooking. The chickpea stew recipe utilizes the genius technique of incorporating ground red lentils to thicken the base.
The recipes were adapted from 177milkstreet.com. I changed the proportions and decreased the heat intensity. I served it over rice with dollops of whole milk Greek yogurt to offset the spice. I also omitted the fresh chile garnish in the chickpea stew. In a restaurant, these dishes would be served with injera, Ethiopian flatbread.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Stewed Collard Greens (Gomen Wat):
1 1/2 T ghee
1/2 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T minced fresh ginger, divided
scant 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 pound stemmed collard greens, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons and roughly chopped
3/4 to 1 cup chicken, vegetable or beef stock, divided
1/2 to 1 Fresno or serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Berbere Spice Blend: (you will have a little extra)
1 T smoked sweet paprika
1 1 /2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
scant 1/2 tsp garlic powder
heaping 1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/4 tsp dried basil, ground or crushed into a powder
1/8 tsp ground cumin
For the Chickpea Stew (Shiro Wat):
2 T red lentils
3 T ghee
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups (1 pint) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 to 10 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 T minced or grated fresh ginger
2 T Berbere Spice Blend (above)
2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, stemmed and chopped, optional (I omitted it)
cooked rice, for serving, optional (I served both dishes over white Basmati rice)
whole milk Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
injera (flatbread), for serving, optional
To Make the Stewed Collard Greens:
In a large pot over medium, melt the ghee. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, 1 tablespoon of grated ginger, the cardamom and turmeric. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
Add about half of the collards and cook, stirring, until slightly wilted, then add the remaining collards.
Stir the stock and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the collards are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. (I cooked it for 30 minutes.)
Off heat, stir in the chopped chile, lemon juice and remaining 1/2 tablespoon ginger.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish.
To Make the Spice Blend:
In a small bowl or jar, stir or shake together all ingredients until combined. The berbere will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot for up to 2 months. (I used a recycled glass spice jar.)
To Make the Chickpea Stew:
In a spice grinder, pulse the lentils until finely ground, about 10 pulses; set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium, melt the ghee. (I used a low and wide enameled cast iron pot.)
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and berbere. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have given up their liquid and the mixture is beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, ground lentils, 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Boil over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook at a simmer, uncovered and stirring often, until the sauce clings to the chickpeas and the desired thickness and consistency is achieved, about 15 to 20 minutes. (If serving over rice, cook the rice at this time.)
Off heat, stir in the parsley and chili (if using).
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the stewed collard greens and chickpea stew with injera or over rice topped with a dollop of yogurt, as desired.
I don’t typically make dishes with Asian flavors, so this dish was a nice change of pace. Tsukune, Japanese grilled chicken meatballs, and the sweet and sour sauce they are typically served with were the inspiration behind this weeknight dish. The sauce was essential to this sheet-pan meal as well- we repeatedly drizzled it over everything.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman. I used freshly ground chicken thighs and omitted the water in the meatballs. The original recipe suggests using this tasty sauce on pork chops as well.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Sauce:
2/3 cup ketchup
4 T (1/4 cup) Worcestershire sauce
2 T rice cooking wine or water
2 T honey
4 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Meatballs & Assembly:
2 heads of broccoli or 2 large broccoli crowns (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 to 3 T vegetable oil, divided (I used canola oil)
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 to 1 1/4 lbs ground chicken (I used freshly ground chicken thighs)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 T toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
cooked rice, for serving (I used brown Basmati rice)
lightly toasted sesame seeds, for serving, optional
To Make the Sauce:
Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, rice wine or water, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a small saucepan.
Measure out 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl; set aside for glazing meatballs later.
Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.
To Make the Meatballs & Finish the Dish:
If freshly grinding chicken, use a meat grinder with the medium disk. Grind trimmed chunks of meat. (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs.) Chill ground meat until ready to use.
Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Trim broccoli stems and remove from crown. Peel off tough outer skin; slice crosswise into ½” pieces.
Cut florets into 2″ pieces.
Toss on prepared baking sheet with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (if using). (I used a dash or red pepper flakes.)
Push broccoli to the edges of baking sheet to create a space for meatballs.
Brush space in the center of the pan with remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Mix chicken, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
Using wet hands or a large cookie scoop, form into twelve 1 1/2″-diameter meatballs. (I placed the rationed scoops on a plate and then gently formed them into meatballs.)
Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet; brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture.
Bake until meatballs are cooked through, 14–18 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time
Remove from oven; heat broiler.
Brush meatballs with remaining glazing mixture; broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 3 to 5 minutes- watching carefully.
Spoon meatballs and broccoli over rice in bowl. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallion slices, as desired. Serve with additional sauce on the side to pass at the table.
I absolutely love red lentil soup. I have made several versions and I have always been pleased with the results. It’s easy, healthy, and delicious. This version was incredibly creamy. I loved the pop of color from the flavorful toppings too.
This recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. I modified the proportions. We ate it with a green salad and warm naan- a perfect light dinner. Vegetable stock can be substituted for the chicken stock for a vegetarian version.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
For the Soup:
4 T unsalted butter
2 large onions, chopped fine (I used a food processor)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken stock (I used 4 cups chicken stock & 4 cups homemade turkey stock)
4 cups water
21 ounces (3 cups) red lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 T (1/4 cup, about 1 lemon) freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning
For the Topping:
4 T unsalted butter
3 tsp dried mint, crumbled (I omitted it)
2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
To Make the Soup:
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in broth, water, and lentils and bring to simmer. Simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and about half are broken down, about 15 minutes.
Whisk soup vigorously until it is coarsely pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and extra lemon juice to taste. Cover and keep warm. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Thin soup with water, if desired, when reheating.)
To Make the Topping:
Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in small skillet or in the microwave. (I only did 1/2 of the topping because I froze 1/2 of the soup!)
Remove from heat and stir in mint and paprika, as desired.
Ladle soup into individual bowls, drizzle each portion with spiced butter (about 1 teaspoon), sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.
This recipe was adapted from a “staff favorite” Food and Wine recipe, contributed by Sarah Jordan. I appreciated the press-in crust and we all absolutely loved the consistency of the bars. Pie bars have the bonus of easier portion control too- which is crucial on Thanksgiving. 😉 Great.
Yield: Makes on 9×13-inch pie
For the Press-In-Crust:
2 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour sifted with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter with the sugars at medium speed for 2 minutes.
With the mixer at low speed, beat in the sifted flour-and-salt mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on the 2 long sides. (I used a pyrex pan.)
Transfer the dough to the pan and press it over the bottom and 1 1/4 inches up the side all around. (You can cover the dough with plastic wrap and press with the bottom of a measuring cup.) Be sure the corners are not too thick.
Refrigerate until firm.
Bake the crust for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown; halfway through baking, use the back of a spoon to smooth the sides and corners of the crust.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the crust cool before filling.
For the Filling:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom, optional (I omitted it)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
Baked Press-In Crust (above)
crème fraîche or whipped cream, for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
In a small bowl, whisk the sugars with the spices and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs.
Whisk in the sugar mixture, then whisk in the pumpkin puree and the evaporated milk until smooth.
Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 10 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 350° and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until the filling is fully set.
Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
Cut into bars and serve with whipped cream or crème fraîche, as desired.
Note: Bars should be stored in the refrigerator. Serve chilled or at room temperature. (I prepared them a day prior to serving.)
I do have a favorite pumpkin loafbut I can’t resist trying another recipe- especially if it involves cinnamon-sugar. 🙂 This one incorporated lovely spices as well.
This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.com. I increased the amount of cinnamon-sugar topping and baked the batter as muffins rather than a loaf. I love the portion control of a muffin.
Makes: 18 standard muffins or 1 large 9×5-inch loaf
For the Batter:
1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable or another neutral cooking oil or melted butter (115 grams)
3 large eggs
1 2/3 (330 grams) cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
heaped 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
two pinches of ground cloves
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:
2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar (use 1 T for a loaf)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (use 1 tsp for a loaf)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F, preferably on convection.
Butter 18 muffins wells or a 6-cup loaf pan or coat it with nonstick spray. (I used 8 outer wells in one pan and 10 in another.)
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, butter or oil, eggs and sugar until smooth.
Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinanmon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves over batter and whisk until well-combined.
Add flour and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula, just until mixed.
Using a 3 tablespoon scoop, ration the batter into prepared muffin wells, or scrape into a loaf pan, and smooth the top(s).
In a small dish, whisk or stir sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over top of batter. (I sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon over each muffin top.)
Bake muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, and a loaf for 55 to 75 minutes, or until a tester poked into all parts of cake (both the top and center will want to hide pockets of uncooked batter) come out batter-free, rotating the pans once during the baking time for even coloring. (I rotated the oven racks between the two muffin pans as well.
Cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes and then remove, or cool completely in the pan(s). The latter provides the advantage of letting more of the loose cinnamon sugar on top adhere before being knocked off.
Note: The muffins (or loaf) keep well at room temperature. The original recipe recommends covering the cut edge of the loaf with a piece of foil or plastic and leaving the top exposed to best keep the lid crisp as long as possible.