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Elise's Simply Recipes
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Elise's Simply Recipes
A family cooking and food blog with hundreds of healthy, whole-food recipes for the home cook. Photographs, easy-to-follow instructions, and reader comments.
Updated: 5 weeks 6 hours ago
Now here’s an oft neglected spice—coriander seeds, what you get when you let your cilantro plants go to seed. Although from the same plant as cilantro, the seeds have a distinctively different taste from the leaves. There’s just a hint of familiarity between them. This recipe, in which coriander is one of the star attractions, comes by way of my friend Aida Mollenkamp, author of the the highly instructive cookbook Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook. The recipe caught my eye because of its other ingredients—chicken, cilantro, and the princess of leafy greens, Swiss chard. The coriander? That was the wild card. But oh my oh my, I love it in this dish. According to Aida the stew has classical Middle Eastern flavors. This stew is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. What a delight to discover how well coriander can play with chicken and greens.
Please welcome Hank Shaw as he shares a Southern favorite, collard greens! ~Elise
I grew up with a healthy affection for sauteed greens: Bright, vibrant, spiked with garlic and red pepper and maybe a little citrus at the end. This was how greens were supposed to be served — alive, vigorous and most of all, emerald green. So you can imagine my shock when I first encountered Southern-style collard greens.
Trying to think of fun things to make with our Easter ham leftovers, my mind kept playing an ear worm from Dr. Seuss’s homage to picky eaters, Green Eggs and Ham. I do not like them Sam-I-am. I do not like green eggs and ham. You can’t blame Sam-I-Am’s friend. The forest green ham and eggs in the book don’t look entirely appetizing. But what if we added one letter and a couple commas to the dish? So instead of “green eggs and ham” we have “greens, eggs, and ham”? This is a combination that anyone could love, especially in a grilled cheese sandwich with Gruyere. We just layer slices of ham, a fried egg, some Gruyere cheese, and for greens, baby spinach leaves between two slices of rye bread. Grill them up with a little butter, and presto! Greens, eggs, and ham grilled cheese sandwich.
Okay, this is crazy good. Think lasagna, but made with spaghetti noodles instead. Thin spaghetti noodles, actually, or vermicelli. A couple of beaten eggs are tossed in with the cooked noodles (along with grated Parmesan, yum!) and layered just the way you would if you were using lasagna noodles. The egg helps bind the noodles in place so you can easily cut out even rectangles to serve without them falling apart.
It’s asparagus season, finally! This has to be one of the easiest ways to cook asparagus. Just trim the ends, lay out on a foil lined baking sheet, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Parm, and then bake until done. I eat them like French fries. Addictive? Yes.
When I first started living on my own decades ago, and cooking for myself, I would buy some fresh fish at the market, put it in the fridge, cook it several days later, and wonder why it never tasted as good as my mother’s. The reason? It was no longer fresh! Now, having been duly trained by my notoriously picky seafood-loving father and my fisherman friends, I cook fresh fish the day I buy it. Not only that, but I buy the freshest looking fish at the counter, nothing tired, dull, or remotely fishy smelling. This often means a trip to the store looking for one type of fish, and returning home with another, because the halibut just didn’t look good that day but the petrale sole glistened. These salmon fillets were the most gorgeous fillets on ice at the market the other day, and the result of the quick broil with a hoisin glaze? Transcendent.
From the recipe archive, originally posted January 2011.
Beef brisket is a fabulous cut of meat. The brisket is located between the shoulders and the forelegs of the steer; these muscles get a work-out, and they are also well marbled with fat. So they are highly flavorful and perfect for slow braises. Long cooking time is needed to melt the connective tissue. Upon serving, the meat is cut against the grain, helping it become fall-apart tender.
Are you a lover of kale? Bread? Cheese? Mushrooms? Then you are likely to love this recipe from Jennie Perillo as much as I do. It’s basically a simplified strata of sorts, a casserole layering thin slices of rustic ciabatta bread with sautéed kale, mushrooms, and onions, and cheddar cheese, soaked with milk and egg, and then baked until bubbly and browned. It’s the ultimate kale lover’s comfort food. The recipe is from Jennie’s new cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie’s Kitchen, a beautiful book with photographs by Penny De Los Santos, heart warming prose, and tummy warming recipes for the home cook.
Ah the noble leek, often the bridesmaid, rarely the bride. Leeks vinaigrette is a classic French recipe that honors the leek for itself. In this recipe we first clean and prep the leeks, then boil them in water until just cooked, drain them, and marinate them for several hours (or days) in a vinaigrette with a touch of Dijon mustard. Served at room temperature, the leeks make a lovely salad or side. And given that they love a long marinating time, they’re perfect for making ahead.
Consider the leek. It’s majestic, a titan in the onion family. Mostly just the white and light green parts are eaten, though the darker green parts have plenty of flavor and can either be cooked longer to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock. The challenge when cooking with leeks is that they are almost always dirty. When leeks are grown, soil is piled up around them, so that more of the leek is hidden from the sun, and therefore lighter in color and more tender. What produces a beautiful leek, a long pale body, also results in sand and dirt been lodged deep inside the leek.
Please welcome Hank as he shares a simple Italian classic, pasta e fagioli, or pasta and bean soup. Perfect for Lent if you swap the chicken stock out for veg stock! ~Elise
Pasta fazool. I knew—and loved—this dish years before I knew how to spell it. Growing up in New Jersey, pasta e fagioli is a staple on every red sauce place’s menu, along with spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, alfredo and cannolis. Fazool (which is Neapolitan dialect for the standard Italian word for “beans”) is a peasant dish, a just simple soup of pasta and beans and veggies.
It’s also a dish of a thousand variations. Some cooks’ pasta e fagioli is so thick it’s basically a pasta dish. Some people use so much tomato the fazool looks like a tomato soup with pasta and beans. Sometimes you’ll see white beans, sometimes borlotti beans (basically the same thing as cranberry beans), and sometimes even kidney beans. Once in a while you’ll see meat, either leftover bits of meatloaf or tiny meatballs, like the ones you see in Italian wedding soup.
If molasses were a beer, it would be a Guinness stout—rich, thick, dark, caramelly, deeply flavorful. It is Ireland’s most popular brew with, get this, more than 1.8 billion pints sold around the world every year. (That’s a lot of beer!) Around here it’s a favorite for St. Patrick’s Day, and you can find stacks of Guinness displays at practically every store that sells beer. Naturally Guinness has made its way into flavoring many dishes, including breads and cakes as well as stews like this one. Guinness stew is Ireland’s answer to Belgian carbonnade, with stout instead of ale, and with root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, and turnips.
Is there a more perfect combo than pork and cabbage? Usually the cabbage comes in the form of sauerkraut, but it is just as easily braised in a little stock with some sliced onions and seasonings. We used celery seeds and caraway seeds which work beautifully with the cabbage and pork. By the way, are you aware that the USDA has officially lowered the recommended internal temperature for cooked pork? It’s now 145°F, meaning US raised pork can now sport a little pink on the inside without causing worry.
Oh my, there is something magical about this bread. It’s really just a basic soda bread, but with ground up rolled oats swapped in for some of the flour. The result is deep and nutty, and the crust thick, browned, and crunchy. Perfect with some rich Irish butter and homemade jam. Or maybe a little whipped cream cheese and smoked salmon. Eat it up quickly though! Soda bread is always best freshly made.
Here’s something fun to add to your table on St. Patrick’s Day—green mashed potatoes, why not? The Irish have a long tradition of mixing greens into their mashed potatoes. In this recipe we purée raw parsley and green onions, which when mixed into the potatoes turn the mash a vibrant green. Perfect for a festive meal. You could also experiment with baby spinach, mint, or other greens. In fact, I added some fresh mint to one of the mashes I made and served it with lamb, it was lovely. Enjoy!
Belgian endive (correctly pronounced “on-DEEV”, though most people around here say, “N-dive” and good luck getting them to change) is a lettuce-like vegetable that is often used with the leaves acting as little boats, to hold appetizer tidbits. The leaves are delicate tasting, just slightly bitter, exquisite. Belgian endive is a chicory, like radicchio or curly endive, that commercially is grown completely indoors, away from light, in order to result in the delicate leaves we enjoy. Exposed to light, the leaves turn green and become much more bitter. They grow like a forced bulb on top of a large root the size of a fat carrot.
Don’t you love petrale sole? Such a lovely light and delicate fish. I couldn’t resist picking up a few fillets today at the market. A classic piccata is a great way to prepare sole, or any small flat fish such as flounder or fluke. Just lightly dust the fillets in seasoned flour, fry them on both sides until nicely browned, and serve them with a sauce made with white wine, capers, butter, and parsley. Enjoy!
Recipe revised and updated. Originally posted Aug, 2006.
Chicken cacciatore is an Italian dish of chicken braised in a tomato-based sauce and often includes wild mushrooms. It is frequently referred to as “hunter style” as the word cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. Why “hunter” style? One story is that if a hunter came home empty-handed, his wife would kill a chicken for the meal instead.
When I first experimented with this recipe, I made it without mushrooms or bell peppers, which are often included in chicken cacciatore. Since then, I’ve come to enjoy the dish with mushrooms and bell peppers so have updated the recipe to reflect those additions. If you prefer it without one or both of these ingredients, please feel free to leave them out. Many people also add green olives or capers which would be great additions as well.
Years ago I went on a carrot kick. Someone had given me a champion juicer and I set off to consume my weight in carrot juice over the next month. Remember when your biology teacher told you that your skin would turn orange if you ate a lot of carrots? She was right! When I went in for my physical my doctor looked at me with alarm; he thought I was jaundiced. Fortunately, it was just all that beta carotene from the carrots. No harm, no foul.
Sometimes the most nourishing foods are also the most simple and easy to make. This carrot ginger soup is just that. All you need are carrots, onions, butter, a little ginger, a few strips of orange peel, some stock, water, and salt. The soup comes together in less than an hour, prep included. Lovely.
Do you ever cook with spaghetti squash? My friend Amber recently gave me a big box of CSA vegetables from a local farm, and in it was a ginormous spaghetti squash. I think it was at least 8 pounds, twice the normal size. Spaghetti squash is called such because the cooked flesh shreds into strands like spaghetti. You can use it as a lower carb and gluten-free replacement for spaghetti noodles in many recipes. Also, it being a winter squash, uncooked and whole, a spaghetti squash will last for months. The squash is very happy baked, shredded, and then tossed in a sauté with garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan. Some chopped greens thrown into the mix make it a meal.
What types of dishes do you like to make with spaghetti squash? I’d love to hear about them. Please let us know in the comments.
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This pint-sized, hardcover book is the A-Z of garlic, the super bulb. The culmination of months of research, Adams Media published my summer of 2011 findings - I hope you enjoy discovering garlic as much as I did.
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