Monday, July 18, 2016

Refrigerator Pickled Carrots and Onions

Delicious, inexpensive, quick to make, great as both an accompaniment and a solo snack - what's not to love about pickled veggies? Adapted a Serious Eats recipe, waited 48 hours (well, more like 72, since we forgot about them for a day), then enjoyed!

1 lb. carrots, sliced to fit jar
1 large onion, about 6-8 oz, sliced into half-rings
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 T pickling salt (subsituted kosher)
1 t dill seed
1/2 t black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic

Clean and prep a jar (this one is 1.5 pints) and its lid. Since I wasn't canning, a simple soaping and thorough rinse with hot water sufficed.

Bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan, then blanch the carrots in the water for three minutes. Remove the carrots, drain, then plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking.

Peel and slice the onion into half rings, or your preferred cut.

Combine the vinegar and water in a small saucepan, then bring to a boil.

Place the pickling salt, dill seed, black peppercorns and garlic in the bottom of the jar. Add the onions, then the carrots.

Pour the vinegar-and-water brine into the jar, leaving 1/2 inch of space from the top. Make sure all the vegetables are covered.

Gently tap the jar to release the air bubbles. Close the jar tightly. Let it cool then place in the refrigerator.

Wait 48 hours, then enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Black Beans and Tomatoes v2

Modified this recipe (and seriously lessened the cayenne - and a good thing too, since one full teaspoon would have been inedible for me) to make a quick, easy weekday lunch staple. No need to be super-exact with the recipe, either.

2 T olive oil
1/4 large onion, diced (about 2/3 cup)
5 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
2 t cumin powder
1/4 t cayenne powder (might do a bit less next time)
1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 scallions, chopped, for garnish

Put the oil in a pan over medium heat. Once it's hot, add the onion and saute till soft, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook till slightly softened, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the cumin and cayenne powder to the pan. Wait several seconds till the aroma of the spices blooms, then mix well with the onion and garlic.

Add the beans to the pan, and mix well to combine with the onion, garlic and spice mixture.

Add the diced tomatoes and their juice to the pan. Turn the heat to high till the mixture starts to bubble, then turn the heat to low. Simmer till the liquid becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with chopped scallions and serve with rice.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Take Two: Chicken, Leeks and Tomatoes

When the local Harris Teeter restocked after the blizzard, the first thing I went for was chicken thighs. The second was the bunches of leeks that had been waiting patiently in the vegetable drawer of the fridge.

2 T olive oil
2.5 c leeks, chopped (about 5 small-to-medium ones)
2 t anchovy paste
2 t tomato paste
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained - reserve juice
2 pinches salt, plus more to taste
1/2 c juice from can of tomatoes
1/2 c hot water
2 small bunches thyme (maybe 5-10 stalks each)

In a flat-bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Brown the chicken till the skin colors slightly, turning once. Remove from pan and reserve on plate. (As you can see from the pic above, I was a bit lazy with this step.)

Add the leeks, sauteing till they begin to soften.

Add the anchovy paste and tomato paste, then stir till they coat the leeks thoroughly.

Add the tomatoes. Saute for a few minutes, then add the salt, juice, and water. Return the chicken to the pot. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower to simmering and cook till the chicken is done (25-30 minutes).

Remove thyme stalks. Serve with rice.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Blizzard Fare: Baked Lamb Shanks

The Tuesday after Snowzilla 2016, the meat shelves had been picked nearly bare. Happily, I found a couple of lamb shanks - not quite large enough for a Roald Dahl story, but sizeable nonetheless. A few variations on this New York Times recipe resulted in a hearty, delicious meal that was perfect for a snowbound day.

2 T olive oil
2 large lamb shanks (about 3 lbs. total)
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground cloves
1 t salt, plus more to taste
1/2 t ground pepper
28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped
1 t oregano
2 c hot water
14.5 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put oil in a large baking dish. Add the lamb shanks, turning them to coat them evenly with oil. Bake 30 minutes, turning once.

Combine the onions, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper. Mix well, then spoon the mixture on top of the lamb shanks.

Combine the tomatoes with the oregano. Mix well, then spoon on top of the onion mixture.

Pour the water around the lamb shanks.

Turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 1-1/2 hours, or till tender (1-1/2 hours was fine, though it could have gone longer for that falling-off-the-bone texture). If the dish begins to dry out, add more hot water.

Add beans to the juices 10 minutes before the end of cooking time. Mix everything and spoon some sauce over each shank before serving.