This satisfying wintry dish is all about a well-stocked larder. Lentils, onions, dried pasta, preserved vegetables. The real star is this fermented escarole. It’s another idea from Ideas in Food, although it’s basically saurkraut. Escarole has always been my favorite green, but I always thought it would get stringy and mushy if fermented. Not true. You could put this on anything.
- 1 head escarole
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons salt
This is a very good salad if you are craving fresh vegetables but still want a warming winter meal.
Ginger is a strange part of a plant called a rhizome. Other well-known rhizomes include ginseng and turmeric. Ginger can elevate a lot of fall/winter flavors and it coincidentally helps warm the body. Rhizomes are very tough and fibrous and so their flavor is usually infused into dishes by grating, infusing oils, juicing, or drying and making into powder. But there are a few ways to make their intact flesh edible - namely through pickling or cooking them slowly in oil. This latter method makes ginger into little flavor bombs while simultaneously mellowing it’s harshness by drowning it in fat. It also works beautifully on fresh turmeric.
Split peas have a very unique flavor that’s at it’s best when balanced by salty and savory. This soup is brothy and fatty and full of flavor. One alternative to the miso bits that I want to try is to drizzle in a little fermented black beans with chili.
- 2 tablespoons high-quality miso
- 2 cups rye bread cubes
- 1 small bulb fennel, minced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 pint crimini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 pint split peas, soaked in salted room-temperature water for 2-6 hours
- 3 cups white wine or rice wine
- 1 head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
- 1 medium carrot, washed
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 bunch chives, minced
Their texture is more like rice gnocchi than rice dumplings or rice cakes. And their flavor is concentrated like nothing else - if you use jasmine rice you really do taste jasmine. This recipe is from the Dumpling book, and even though I wasn’t a fan of the Indian stew they made these with, the dumpling recipe was spot on. I have some plans to make these italianish sometime soon, but for now, here’s a nice red curry, based on one I found in David Thompson’s uncompromising book: Thai Food. In this picture, I used Chinese black rice, which has it’s own unique flavor. And although I used a perfectly ripe hachiya persimmon - a fuyu one or pineapple chunks or pomegranate seeds would also work.
In the colder months, when I want something very fresh tasting, pesto is where it’s at. Since they’re so small, most herbs grow well all year round in greenhouses, and when done right, you don’t need much more than pasta and sauce. It’s always good to have a little something to contrast the fatty, intense flavor of a good pesto - in summer, peak tomatoes do the trick perfectly but in late fall and winter, I really enjoy using baby turnips. A perfectly poached turnip, especially something like a white hakurei, stands up perfectly to pesto. It’s subtle but not bland, moist and crisp. And if you can get them, turnips greens are some of the sweetest, most flavorful greens available - useful raw or braised. Radishes or beets are also good stand-ins, prepared the same way.
This is a more composed dish than I usually do, which is even more reason I should have taken a picture. On the other hand, beyond the cooking time for the potatoes, it’s a pretty quick dish to put together. In that sense, this is sort of in the style of how we put together the gnocchi at Talula’s garden over the course of my year working there. The Spanish do a lot of various mixtures of olives, clementines (or oranges), almonds, sherry vinegar and cinnamon. Then cinnamon and potatoes is actually something I first did with Chinese food, but it fits. More than anything, though, I like the combination of textures on this plate. Creamy almond puree, juicy clementines, crisp dandelion stems, tender gnocchi, crunchy almonds, fatty and bright vinaigrette. Yum.
This is a great thanksgiving side dish for a number of reasons. 1. It’s delicious. 2. It mixes well with a lot of other stuff. 3. The rawness of it is a good contrast from all the heavy, long-cooked flavors of a traditional thanksgiving. 4. If you’ve got a mixed thanksgiving, this is a good place for some supplementary vegan protein. And this is especially important if you’re with family or any gathering where you don‘t know everybody: there is a direct relationship between the quality of the food you bring vs. the amount of leniency stupid americans will allow you when you start drunkenly (or if you’re really good, soberly) ranting about genocide and slavery and the real foundation of this country and how we could all work together to make a radically better future.
- 1 cup pistachios
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 head of kale
- 1 bunch of beets
- 4 kumquats, sliced thin with seeds removed
- ¾ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup succanat
Toast the pistachios in a single layer in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes or so, until fragrant. Combine the rice vinegar, succanat and ½ cup water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Pour over the kumquat slices. Let cool.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and salt it aggressively. When it’s boiling, add in the beets. Cook, covered for 30 minutes or so, until the beets are tender. When they’re still warm, slip them out of the skin and cut them into wedges.
When the pistachios are cool, put them in the bowl of a food processor along with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and salt to taste. Season with salt and vinegar to taste.
About a half hour before you’re ready to serve, chiffonade the kale and put it in a bowl. Season lightly with salt, red wine vinegar and olive oil and smash it with your fists. Crush it up real good so that the vinegar and salt can start tenderizing it. When it is time to serve, combine the beets, kumquats, croutons, pistachio dressing and kale. Toss, taste for seasoning, and serve.
This soup is pretty basic, which is part of the reason I like it. If I saw it on a menu, I probably wouldn’t order it because… how good could white bean soup really be? Well, i’ve been ladling off the broth and drinking it cold. It’s really good. But what elevates it is the brussel sprouts and the bread.
This is a little different baked semolina - somewhere between a pasta and a fritter. Some call this kind of thing a roman gnocchi. The dish is creamy and crispy, savory and vegetal. It’s a light dinner or appetizer.
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup semolina
- 4 cups water
- 2 t polenta
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups bluefoot mushrooms, stemmed
- ¼ cup sliced green garlic, just the white and light green parts
- 1 t ap flour
- 2 cups homemade or at least unsweetened, soymilk
- 1 head radicchio, quartered, cored, and roughly chopped
- whole nutmeg
- Red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chiffonade parsley
- 4 unsweetened dried peach rings
Today I plan to whisk you away to a magical mountainous trail through Liguria where people seem to subsist on pillowy pasta filled with an abundance of wild greens and foraged herbs. This recipe is surprisingly hearty and full-flavored as a result of mixing the heady aroma of black walnuts with the umami of the braised greens.