Herbed Beets With Feta

Roasted beets with herbs and feta cheese make a wonderful vegetable side dish for many meals. Try the recipe sometime when you encounter fresh beets at the market.

Herbed Beets With Feta
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Recipe type: Sidedish
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Serves: 4 - 6
 
This is a very elegant, and elegantly simple to craft, warm vegetable side dish to serve. The combination of herbs, beets, and feta cheese make a rich and complex palate of flavors.
Ingredients
  • 6 beets (approx 1.5 lb)
  • 1½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1½ tsp chopped fresh chives
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • Ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the thyme, chives, and olive oil, reserve
  3. Peel beets under running water and wrap them individually in foil
  4. Roast beets in oven until tender when pierced with a fork, approx. 1 hour
  5. Remove beets from oven, unwrap, and quarter them
  6. Place beets in serving bowl and drizzle them with herb and oil mixture
  7. Add crumbled feta cheese and pepper
Notes
Beets come in a variety of colors, all of which have very similar flavors. Try mixing different colors for a more interesting presentation. The beets can be roasted the night before and stored (in separate containers by color) if desired and reheated before adding herbed oil and feta cheese.

I particularly like this served with roasted lamb or medallions ofbeef tenderloin, but it pairs wonderfully with a variety of main dishes.

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Curried Pumpkin Soup

While I’ve called this recipe Curried Pumpkin Soup, it is really a winter squash soup. Because this soup is not sweet just about any winter squash (acorn, butternut, kobacha, Hubbard) can be used instead of pumpkin.

Curried Pumpkin Soup
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Recipe type: Soup
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Serves: 4 - 6
 
The rich flavor combinations in this creamy soup are complex and subtle, yet the soup is neither difficult to make nor overly filling. It is a wonderful meal on any cooler and/or rainier day or evening.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried, smoked chiles (chipotle, cobn, and/or ancho), chopped
  • 5 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Sauté the onion in butter in a wide 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (3 - 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and grated ginger allow this to cook for 1 minute longer.
  2. Add the dried, smoked chiles, pumpkin, and chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until pumpkin is completely tender (30 minutes).
  3. When the pumpkin is tender, add the Jamaican curry powder and heavy cream. Use a hand / stick blender to puree the soup until smooth, or transfer to a blender and blend in batches. Add salt, pepper, and additional curry powder to taste.
  4. Turn heat down to low and allow the soup to slowly come back up to heat ( 3 - 5 minutes).
Notes
For a more Caribbean flavor, substitute coconut milk for the heavy cream. This will also sweeten the soup somewhat, so you may want to adjust the levels of chiles, salt, and pepper. For a higher protein dish with a decidedly coastal flair, add some firm white fish (cod, haddock, pollack, or snapper) that has been sautéed, baked, or broiled to the soup after it has been puréed. Simply cut the fish into bite-sized pieces and fold them into the soup. Allow them to heat through and serve. For a more ancient and Native American variation, add roasted corn to soup at service. Toss 2 - 3 cups of corn kernels (fresh or frozen) with olive oil and place them in a baking dish. Season with black pepper. Broil, stirring often, until the corn begins to brown. Keep an eye on them! They burn quickly and easily. Sprinkle or mound the roasted corn onto each bowl of soup just before serving it up.

This rich and creamy soup also pairs well with Fresh Corn Salad, especially in warmer months or areas.

Serve in deep bowls with a side of cornbread, fry bread, or Johnny cakes and enjoy the autumn or winter!

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Jamaican Curry Powder

Jamaican Curry Powder is quite different than Indian curry spice mixes, though it was inspired by it and shares the name, “curry.” It tends to be simpler in flavor and tastes more spicy and sweet as opposed to the spicy-hot and slightly sour flavors found in Indian curries. The signature difference between Jamaican and Indian curries is that Jamaicans use allspice in theirs while the Indians normally don’t.

Jamaican Curry Powder
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Recipe type: Spice Mix
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Serves: 100+
 
Jamaican curry powder is a great addition to many, many dishes. It can, among other things, be used in soups, salad dressings, or as dry rubs on meats.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole anise seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 5 tablespoons ground turmeric
Instructions
  1. Reserve the tumeric. Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, anise seeds, fenugreek seeds, and allspice berries in a pan. Toast them over medium heat, stirring or shaking them gently, until the spices slightly darken and become very fragrant. This takes approximately ten (10) minutes.
  2. When the spices have been toasted, remove them from the skillet, and allow them to cool to room temperature. Grind the toasted spices with the turmeric in either a spice grinder or mortar & pestle. Store the ground spices away from direct light in an airtight container at room temperature.

Once made, it will keep for many months if stored in a cool, dark, dry place.

At that point, no matter what you put it in or on, it’s all cut and curry. Mek wi nyam!.

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Foole Meze

I especially like this dish served with good feta cheese and a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the seasoned olive oil.

Foole Meze
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Recipe type: Appetiser
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Serves: 4 -6
 
Foole Meze is a Greek fava bean appetizer or starter course. In point of fact my name for the dish translates as "fava bean appetizer."
Ingredients
  • 3 cups frozen fava (broad) beans
  • ½ cup kalamata olives
  • 4-6 marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook the fava beans in rapidly boiling water for 4 minutes, then rinse under cold water.
  2. Remove the leathery outer skin from the fava beans and discard.
  3. Mix together the shelled fava beans, olives, and artichoke hearts in a bowl.
  4. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and sea salt in a small bowl.
  5. Place equal amounts of the fava bean mixture on serving plates, drizzle with the dressing, and top with the parsley and a little freshly ground black pepper.

I hope you enjoy!

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Fresh Corn Salad

This is a great spring and summer salad that can also be used as relish with summer meat and fish dishes.

Fresh Corn Salad
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Recipe type: Salad
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Serves: 4 -6
 
This salad goes very well with seafood dishes especially shrimp, octopus and scallops – and with cold meat salads such as chicken salad, ham salad or tuna salad. As a relish it adds a nice component to fish tacos, quesadillas and – believe it or not – hot dogs.
Ingredients
  • 6 - 8 ears of sweet corn
  • 4 - 6 mild to medium chilies (Anaheim, red, orange or yellow bells, banana peppers, etc...)
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 small basket of grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs to taste (sage, oregano, cilantro, dill, thyme, etc...)
Instructions
  1. Shuck the corn and cut the kernels from the cob
  2. In a large bowl (glass, ceramic or stainless steel preferred) combine all the ingredients except the tomatoes.
  3. Allow salad to sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste
  5. Serve sprinkled with the tomatoes
Notes
Add crumbled feta cheese and sliced roasted beets Add grated sharp cheddar and diced Granny Smith green apples Add ½ cup diced jicama and substitute diced tomatillo (husk tomato) for half the grape or cherry tomatoes Substitute rice wine vinegar for cider vinegar. Add ½ cup grated daikon (Japanese giant white radish) and 2 tablespoons ponzu (Japanese citrus sauce) Dice and drain the tomatoes and fold them into the salad. Use as relish or condiment for summer dishes if you're of a mind to do so.

In a sealed container this salad will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

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