October 26, 2016

Admitting it is Autumn Lentil Salad



Ingredients:

1 6.7-oz tin smoked herring in oil*
2 tablespoons good quality apple cider vinegar
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
1 bunch French breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
8-9 oz cooked beets, halved and sliced
8 oz cooked Beluga lentils**
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:


Drain half of the oil from the fish into a small bowl, whisk in vinegar and spices. Discard the remaining oil. Chop the fish. Add to the bowl along with the lentils and onions. Serve at room temperature.


*I buy mine at Trader Joe's but they are easy to find
**many stores, include Target, sell these fully cooked in vacuum-sealed packets. Simply heat them according to package instructions.


My thoughts:
This is a difficult thing for me to do but I have to do it. We are nearly a month into autumn. The fact that today was the first day I had to wear tall boots (no tights yet!) instead of sandals or ankle boots really drove it home for me. That and the fact that all is left new in the ground are radishes, beets, squash and some hardy greens. So this that in mind, I came home and made this for dinner. It, like quite a few things I seem to enjoy, combines a few ingredients people are skeptical of: radishes, beets, canned smoked fish, lentils...but again, I swear it is really good! Slightly pungent (eat among loved ones) but it really comes together to make a savory, smoky veggie packed salad that makes a lovely lunch or light dinner.

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October 17, 2016

Smoked Turkey and Greens Pot Pie




Ingredients:
1 cup frozen Lima beans
1 cup peeled, diced Russet potatoes
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/2 cup flour
1 carrot, cut into coins
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 parsnips, cut into coins
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups cubed, smoked turkey breast*
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or turkey stock
1 3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 egg, beaten
salt
freshly ground black pepper


puff pastry (if using defrosted frozen, you will only need one sheet)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt the butter in a large skillet with high sides, a large saucepan or a stove top and oven safe 2-quart casserole. Add the onion, garlic, parsnip, celery, carrots, Lima beans, potatoes, and kale. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.

Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk, bay leaf, and stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit, about 10-15 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf. Add the turkey, herbs and spices. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Cook for 2 minutes. Divide into large, oven-safe ramekins or pour into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Leave  1/4 to 1/2 inch of room at the top.



Top with a layer of puff pastry. Pierce with a knife. Brush with egg. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.



*Store-bought or homemade
My thoughts:
I bought this whole, smoked Butterball turkey ages ago at Aldi and stuck in the small extra freezer we have in our basement. It sat there forever because we never had room in the fridge to defrost it. One of the only lucky things to come out of the fridge breaking and throwing out all of our food is that we now have tons of space because we have no food. So I defrosted the turkey (and transferred all the frozen stuff from the basement into the fridge freezer and defrosted that so I have that to fill too!) on the empty shelf. I didn't really know what to expect but it was really good! It was super moist and juicy (there were even enough juices in the cavity to make a quick turkey stock with!) and while smoky, it wasn't overpowering.

One of our favorite things to do with smoked turkey legs is make greens and while I had kale from my produce box order, I wanted to make something different with it. So I came up with the idea to combine greens and another favorite way to use up cooked poultry; pot pie! OMG, it was so good! Creamy without being too rich, savory and smoky and just really really good. Normally I put peas in my pot pie but since I was going Southern-inspired, I used Lima beans instead. They held up really well and added to the "packed with vegetables" pot pie I was going for. I hate having to make a side dish after making a time-consuming recipe so the more vegetables, the better! We have been so busy this summer it was good to get back into the kitchen with my partner in marriage and crime and make a fun meal! Pot pies are simple to make but time consuming so leave yourself more time than you'd think for the prep.


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October 14, 2016

Smoked Olive Egg Salad


Ingredients:
7 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4-1/3 cup sliced smoked olives*
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (powder)
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

Slice eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place the yolks in a small bowl. Set aside.

Remove one egg's worth of white. Discard or eat. Chop up the remaining egg whites. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the onion and olives.

Place the mayonnaise and spices in the small bowl with the yolks. Mash with a fork until smooth. Pour over the chopped egg mixture. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


*I get these at our local smokery but they are also available in specialty or gourmet stores

My thoughts:
It has been an unfortunately eventful last few months. One of the most recent disasters was our refrigerator going up resulting in the loss of hundreds of dollars of food including tons of beef, seafood, all of the produce I harvested and frozen this summer, and every thing in the fridge except cured meats, olives, butter and cheese. We are slowly trying to get things back in stock but between not having a fridge for nearly a week, visiting a peanut farm, the apple butter festival two hours away and Matt's school schedule I've barely cooked in weeks. I finally broke down and made this for our lunches. Luckily the smoked olives I had bought at the smokery survived and they add a ton of flavor to this easy egg salad. I bet regular olives would be good too if you can't find smoked--just swap the paprika for smoked paprika.

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