Lunchtime is often spent at my desk. Sometimes it’s what I’ve cooked for a post, maybe it’s leftovers, occasionally it’s an almond butter and honey sandwich with some fruit and a glass of milk. Whatever it is, it’s usually eaten while I do something else, often standing at the kitchen island because I don’t have time to sit down.
I sat down for this one.
I would argue that almost anything is better with bacon. I could probably give up any other meat. But, bacon, it’s not going anywhere. Paired with crispy on the outside, tender on the inside turnips, and these two things alone could win me over.
They took less than ten minutes. This is a quick one to whip up.
Once the veggies were done, they got moved over to the side so an egg could be fried. I like to get the skillet really hot, so the edges can crisp up a bit. Then I flip, turn off the heat, and let the top set just a bit. I like the yolk to be runny, so it will combine with the veggies to make a dressing of sorts. However you like to cook your eggs will be perfect though. You could even scramble them if you’d like.
3 small turnips (or potatoes or rutabagas), chopped
1 carrot, chopped
to taste salt
to taste pepper
2 C broccoli, chopped
2 T gouda cheese, chopped
1 T green or spring onion, chopped
2 T almonds, chopped
lemon slices, for serving
Cook bacon. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate. When cool, crumble.
Add olive oil to bacon grease. When it's hot, add turnip through cayenne. Cook over medium or medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli and cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Move veggies over to the side of the skillet (or remove and keep warm). Fry egg(s).
Divide the veggie mixture between two plates. Top with egg, cheese, onion, almonds, bacon, and a squeeze of lemon.
Very rarely do I want a break from soup when the weather is cold. But, every once in a while it’s ok to take a breather from a steaming bowl of goodness. And I really do love the crunch of raw veggies. I also like how different a salad looks in the winter, compared to summer.
This simple meal starts with some hardboiled eggs. If you’re not in the mood for eggs, you could use tuna as an alternative.
When I was cooking these eggs, I thought I’d try to do them a different way from the way that I always do it, the way that works every time. I’d seen it done differently on TV, or read about it on a blog, or someone said something at some point in life about a different way to hard boil an egg.
Always a sure sign that something will turn out splendidly.
I ended up with soft boiled (aka goopy not fully cooked) eggs. Not at all what I was hoping for. So I returned them to the pot and re-boiled them the way I’d always done it. The way my mom taught me.
They turned out perfectly.
Veggies that I had on hand to go with the eggs: broccoli and radish. You could also use beets, crispy potatoes, peas, carrots, cauliflower, or cabbage.
Since I’m still obsessed with dill, I made a creamy dill dressing. It’s mostly Greek yogurt, because I was almost out of mayo. But, I’m happy with how it turned out, so I wouldn’t change the recipe. But, if you like a little less tang, switch up the proportions to suit your tastes.
This salad was seriously filling, with chickpeas and eggs on there. I made it to go along with the Spaghetti Squash au Gratin that I’d made for lunch the same day, but didn’t end up eating it until dinner, since the Gratin was more filling than I’d expected. As a light dinner, it was perfect (for me anyways). (I keep hitting the caps lock key so it looks like I’m screaming half of each word at you. I must have a rogue pinky finger.) A small portion of each would go nicely together.
So that’s that. Now I can go back to eating soup. 😉
I’m thinking about the upcoming holidays. I’m making lists of gifts to buy for others, things I’d love to have (not that I need anything else), and recipes to make while we’re with family. A few weeks ago I was talking with my brother, Josh. We really like food, so that’s usually part of any conversation. We decided that at Christmas we’re going to make Duck Tourtière, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans with Bacon and Almonds, and a Butter Lettuce Salad with Pine Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, and Cranberries.
I may try to sneak these Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes in to the mix. Or I might see if I can add them to the Thanksgiving dinner menu… Whenever it happens, I’ve got to eat these again.
They start out simple – some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then in to the oven.
While they roast away, cilantro is washed and chopped.
Confession: I didn’t think I liked cilantro. I’m still not sure that I do. But, I’ve heard that you either love it or hate it, and if you hate it, you think it tastes like soap. I don’t think it tastes like soap, so I must love it.
I’m learning to, in any case.
The cilantro is mixed with a bit of spicy chile pepper (cayenne would work too), garlic, and cheese. Once the sweet potatoes are finished with their oven time, the flesh gets scooped out and mixed in too.
Mash it up and make it as creamy as you’d like. I like a few lumps left in there for texture.
They get to roast for a little while longer while the toppings are prepared. More cilantro, some Greek yogurt, and some Kale Pesto (Basil Pesto would be great too!).
I sprinkled them with some coarse sea salt before they went in to the oven. I didn’t add any more cheese to the top. You could do the opposite if you’d prefer.
A good dollop of Greek yogurt goes on top, cilantro is sprinkled, and pesto waits to adorn.
Brush both sides of the sweet potato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Pierce a few times with a fork. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, or until the flesh is tender.
Scoop out the flesh and mix with cilantro through garlic. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Return the filling to the skins and top with sea salt. Return to the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes more.
Serve topped with yogurt, pesto, and reserved cilantro.
Today is one of those fall days where it actually feels like fall. I’m wearing jeans and a sweater and am totally comfortable.
I’m also going through the photos that I took of the Chicken Pot Pie that I made the other week and drooling. We ate the leftovers for dinner last night, otherwise I’d probably be heating them up for lunch right now.
So that’s a little bit about my life.
Fall weather and Chicken Pot Pie make me happy.
So do things like my dog’s whiskers, the way the sky can turn such brilliant shades of orange and pink after the sun’s gone down, and a good Skype conversation with my dad.
I have to tell you, this particular Chicken Pot Pie recipe is one of my favorites. After tasting the sauce I yelled, “Oh my gosh!”, to no one but myself. So, I just had to share it with you.
It’s a simple pie with humble ingredients. I make this often enough, and use what I have on hand. So it can range from things like carrots, potatoes, and celery, to parsnips, squash, and peas. It feels like the kind of meal that’s been made for years and years and years, by people who at the end of the day, just want something nourishing and delicious to fill their bellies.
This meal fits that exactly.
A couple of weeks ago I roasted some chicken. The leftovers and pan drippings were frozen. Saved just for this meal. The bones went into the freezer, for the next time I need to make stock. I defrosted the chicken in the fridge overnight and then shredded it and dropped it into the cooked veggies.
I usually use chicken stock for this dish. But, this time I had pan drippings. You can tell the difference by the jiggliness of it. The pan drippings jiggle, while stock is more liquid. The fat will rise to the top of both. I like to scrape it off (and give it to the dog as a treat).
For this type of dish, I find it a little bit easier to just whisk the thickening agent (flour or cornstarch) together with some of the liquids, and add it to the pan. It thickens nicely once it boils. A traditional roux can be made instead (you know, where you heat some fat, then add an equal amount of flour and cook for about 30-60 seconds, then whisk in the stock and let it thicken), if you prefer.
After it boils and thickens, the milk is added. I don’t like it when the sauce breaks, so I like to leave the milk out until the end. Then heat it ever so gently, just until steam rises.
Once the seasoning is checked, the skillet is set on a baking sheet (in case of overflow – I’d rather clean that than the inside of the oven).
Pie crust is rolled out. I used Alana’s recipe (from her cookbook). I tried to work quickly, but since the skillet and filling were both so hot, it got a little soft. It didn’t seem to matter in the end though.
The crust is brushed with egg and sprinkled with some of the sea salt that we brought back from Paris. Just because it feels fancy and I like the crunch.
And then it bakes and bakes and suddenly it’s done and the air smells like so much goodness that I almost can’t contain myself. I want to devour the entire pie before it’s cooled and before my friend arrives for lunch.
But, I don’t. I restrain myself. I eat a normal sized portion and don’t even yell about how good it is in the middle of our conversation (although she did interrupt us to ask about the pie crust). I like when things get interrupted because something is just too good to keep quiet about.
2 small potatoes (or combination of 1-1 1/2 C potato, radish, turnip, or rutabaga), chopped
1 small sweet potato (or 1 C peeled acorn or butternut squash), chopped
1 small onion (or 2 shallots), chopped
2 stalks celery (or 1 fennel bulb), chopped
to taste salt
to taste pepper
1 t fresh rosemary (or thyme), chopped
1 small summer squash, (or 1/2 C cauliflower or peas), chopped
1-2 C chicken, cooked and shredded
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 C chicken (or vegetable) stock or chicken pan drippings
2 T all purpose flour (or 1 T cornstarch)
1/2 C cold water
1/2 C milk
1 pie crust
1 egg, beaten
coarse sea salt
lemon wedges, for serving
Pre-heat oven to 375F.
Heat an oven proof skillet. Add oil. When oil is hot, add carrot through rosemary. Cook covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add summer squash and chicken and cook for about 3-5 minutes more, or until veggies are tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Whisk stock or pan drippings with flour and water. Add to the skillet, turn the heat to high, and bring it to a boil. Let it thicken for about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, turn heat to medium-low, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until steam rises, but do not boil. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set on a baking sheet.
Roll out pie crust. Top the filling with the crust (careful, the skillet is hot!). Make a few air vents with a sharp knife. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Bake for 22-30 minutes, or until crust is browned and flaky.
My friend Christy came over for lunch the other day. She’s one of my favorite people to eat with and I often think of her when I’m cooking, since our tastes are so similar. She asked where the inspiration for this dish came from. I can’t honestly remember. It may be the heat (still up close to 100 degrees F, which is obviously wrong for September), or just a leaky memory. Wherever the idea came from, it was good.
It went well with the Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Salad that I’d made (more on that another week), the Roasted Eggplant Soup that she’d brought, and the Lemon-Basil Spritzers that we were drinking to beat the heat. I mean, mostly, we were just happy to be hanging out. But, it’s always even better when there’s yummy food to compliment a wonderful friendship.
It all started with what I call Fish Wellingtons. And they all started with a good pie crust. I use Alana Chernila’s recipe. (Page 149 of her cookbook, Homemade Pantry.) It’s the best pie crust I’ve ever made. I gave Christy this cookbook as a birthday gift during lunch. I’m not sure who was happier that she has it now, her or me.
I’d made the crust the day before and frozen it. It’s also great made the day of.
Frozen pie crust is a great stress/tension reliever. Have you ever had the opportunity to smack a partially frozen pie crust with a rolling pin? As effective as a punching bag, and, you can eat it later.
I’ve used two kinds of fish for this dish. Swordfish and Halibut. Use what you like and what you’d think will go well with the rest of the ingredients. I liked both of these, and would use either again (especially if they’re on sale, which is why I used Halibut this time, Swordfish last time).
Sometimes I like to stand by the stove and listen to the food cook. I often forget to slow down and listen. There’s so much beauty to be found in simple things like liquid bubbling in a pan. Things like this refresh me.
You don’t have to use butter. But, I love the deep flavor that it adds. If you’d prefer, olive oil would be great too.
You also don’t have to brown the butter, if that makes you nervous. But, you’ll be missing out on the even deeper, richer flavor that browning it brings.
The potatoes and zucchini are thinly sliced and crisped up in a skillet. When they’re done, garlic is added, mostly to make you swoon from the insanely awesome smell.
Crusts are smacked and rolled out. They’re topped with all the goodies you’ve been smelling (and sampling – the potato filling might not all fit – don’t be afraid to stand at the island and eat the leftovers – saves a container from having to be washed at a later date).
Fish is broken apart and added. You probably won’t need it all – leftovers can be frozen and saved for Chowders or refrigerated for sandwiches and salads.
The crust is folded over, crimped shut with a fork, poked a bit, then brushed with a beaten egg (save the rest of the egg to add to scrambled eggs or an omelette).
I’m wishing that I’d made six instead of three. I think I could eat this everyday for like ever… But, then I say that about most things.
Recipe Type: Main, Dinner, Fish, Baking
Author: Rachel Oberg – De Ma Cuisine
Crispy potatoes and squash, fresh tomatoes and braised fish are wrapped up in a delicious pie crust to make a variation on Fish Wellington.
2 C vegetable stock (or white wine)
1 fillet fish (Swordfish or Halibut), skin removed
pinch fennel pollen
2 T butter
4 small potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
to taste salt
to taste pepper
pinch fennel pollen
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pie crust, divided equally into 3 pieces
1 tomato, sliced
1 egg, beaten
coarse sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
Heat stock and when it’s boiling, add the fish with a pinch of salt, pepper, and fennel pollen. Braise for about 10-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
Heat a skillet. Add butter. When it starts to brown, add potatoes, salt, pepper, and fennel pollen. Cook for about 7 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and cook for about 6 minutes more, with a dash more salt, pepper, and fennel pollen. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Roll out pie crusts. Place on a baking sheet. Divide potato mixture between the three crusts and spoon onto one side. Top with tomato slices and the fish. Sprinkle with a bit more salt, pepper, and fennel pollen.
Fold the non-topped side of the crust over the fish and veggies. Press edges down and crimp to seal with a fork. Pierce the top a few times with the fork. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes on a rack place in the top third of the oven.