April 14, 2011

Cooking together at LACE

Here are the recipes from our cooking collaboration at the LACE community kitchen in Barre - www.lacevt.org

Potato Soup for Every Season

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 ½ lb. russet (baking) potatoes

1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium)
1 teaspoon each dried thyme and rosemary
2 ¼ tsp. salt
A few grinds black pepper
7 cups water

Fill a bowl with cold water. Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks, dropping them into the bowl of water to prevent discoloration.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in the bottom of a stock pot.

Add the onions and half of the potatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft (5 minutes).

Add the herbs, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the water, stir to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender (30 minutes).

Mash the potatoes into the broth using a hard spatula, immersion blender, or potato masher.

Remove the remaining potatoes from their bowl of water, drain, and add them to the pot. Simmer, partially covered, until they are tender (20 minutes more).

Taste for salt. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with roasted beets (winter/spring), freshly chopped scallions (spring/summer), diced tomatoes (summer), grated carrots (fall), caramelized onions (winter).

Oven-Roasted Beets

Choose 4 medium red beets for a 9x13 glass baking dish.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop beets in half, first length-wise then width-wise. Then, chop each section into cubes. Throw cubes into baking dish after they are chopped.

When the bottom of the dish is covered with one layer of diced beets, sprinkle over the top:

2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon garam masala (Indian spice mix including some variation of pepper, cumin, coriander, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise – blend depends on region)

Pour ¼ cup olive oil over the top and toss with a spatula until beets are coated well.

Slide dish into oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven and toss with spatula.

Bake for 15 more minutes, cool and enjoy alone or as a soup garnish.

Millet Polenta

Polenta is a simple porridge typically made with ground cornmeal. Millet works wonderfully as polenta, because it sets after baking and can be easily sliced into rectangles and served with sauces and stews.

Soak 1 cup millet for 2 hours or so. Strain and rinse millet.

Pour into a cooking pot with 3 cups water.

Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer.

Simmer until millet begins to thicken (20 minutes). Then, begin to stir occasionally, as though you were cooking oatmeal.

Add 3 Tablespoons olive oil.

Cook on low heat and stir occasionally until millet reaches thick consistency. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, grease a large glass baking dish (9x13 works well) with olive oil.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pour millet into the baking dish and flatten it evenly.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges turn golden.

You can add toppings or mix, half and half, with another leftover grain (rice, quinoa, kasha, or amaranth) to spice it up!

Hard-Boiled Egg Sauce

Place a dozen eggs in a stock pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, drain hot water, and rinse with cold water until they are cool enough to handle.

Peel eggs and place in a blender.

Add to blender:

¼ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

½ Tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon powdered cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon dried oregano

Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes.

Enjoy with grains or as garnish for simple soups.

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