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Salad of the Week: Romaine Lettuce and Cucumber Salad
2 cups bread cubes (1/2-inch cubes)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large romaine lettuce heart, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden. Let the croutons cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the mustard with the balsamic vinegar. Gradually whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the romaine, cucumber and croutons, toss well and serve.
Make Ahead: The croutons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Recipe from Food & Wine - September 2009
Asian Lettuce Wraps
This is a household favorite - the kids asked for it again the following night!
~ Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
16 large lettuce leaves
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Half of a large onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Asian chile pepper sauce (optional)
½ cup kohlrabi, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.
In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often and reducing the heat to medium, if necessary. Drain, and set aside to cool. Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently.
Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chile pepper sauce to the onions, and stir.
Stir in chopped kohlrabi, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter, and pile meat mixture in the center.
To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito, and enjoy!
Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Castro on Allrecipes.com
Fudgy Chocolate Beet Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting
(Vegan and gluten-free)
Yields: an 8-inch 2-layer cake with about 1.5 cups of frosting
For the cake:
2 medium beets
2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
1.5 cups raw turbinado sugar (or substitute cane sugar)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups oat flour
3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of kosher salt
For the frosting:
2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
few pinches kosher salt
2 Tbsp strong brewed coffee (optional)
To roast the beets:
Preheat oven to 400. Chop the stems off your beets, as well as the tips if they are long. Scrub clean. Wrap in foil and roast until a fork slides easily to the center of the beet, 60-75 minutes. Remove, unwrap, and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Once cooled, peel the beets by pushing the skins off with the back of a knife. They should slide off easily. Cut the beets into chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor. Puree, scraping down the sides as necessary. You may have to add a bit of water to encourage the beets to puree. Scoop out 1 cup of puree for this recipe - the rest is leftover.
To make the cake:
Lower oven temp to 350. Coat two 8-inch cake pans (or 1 9-inch cake pan)* with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper (trace the bottom of the tin onto parchment paper and cut out so it just fits in the bottom) and spray again. Set aside.
Whisk together almond milk and cream of tartar in a large bowl. Let sit about 5 minutes to curdle.
Add 1 cup of beet puree, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. With a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer), beat until foamy. (This is important so that the coconut oil does not separate and solidify.)
Sift in remaining dry ingredients. Beat again to incorporate.
Divide between the cake pans. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs, 30-35 minutes.
Remove and cool completely in the pans on wire racks. Then, if time allows, transfer pans to the fridge to cool further. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan before inverting the cake and peeling off the parchment paper. (Be sure you allow the cakes to cool completely before removing, or they will not hold together!)
To make the frosting:
Scoop out the flesh of the avocados and place in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and puree again, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
To assemble the cake:
Place the first layer on your cake stand or serving plate. If the top is uneven, carefully even it off with a knife. Smooth on about half of the frosting, and top with the second cake layer. Smooth on remaining frosting and add any decorations you like! (If you made 1 9-inch layer, you will have enough frosting to coat the sides, if you want.)
Refrigerate before serving. The cake can be served immediately, but I like it best after being refrigerated overnight. Enjoy!
Notes: *If you don't have 8-inch cake pans, bake a single-layer cake in a 9-inch pan.
Cake adapted from Minimalist Baker
Moist Chocolate-Beet Cake
This cake is not overly sweet, which is good for those of you looking for more of a snack cake, rather than a towering, frosted dessert. Although the original recipe calls for chocolate that is 70 percent cacao solids, you can use one that is in the 50-60 percent range, depending on what's available in your area. For those of you who can't get crème fraîche, I suspect mascarpone would be interesting, or perhaps just sour cream. Or maybe just a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside.
8 ounces beets, unpeeled, rinsed and scrubbed free of dirt
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (70% cacao solids), chopped
1/4 cup hot espresso (or water)
7 ounces butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (the darkest you can find, natural or Dutch-process)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 cup superfine sugar
Butter an 8- or 8 1/2 inch spring-form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Boil the beets in salted water with the lid askew until they're very tender when you stick a knife in them about 45 minutes. Drain then rinse the beets with cold water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the peels, cut the beets into chunks, and grind them in a food processor until you get a coarse, yet cohesive, puree. (If you don't have a food processor, use a cheese grater.)
Preheat the oven to 350º.
In a large bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring as little as possible.
Once it's nearly all melted, turn off the heat (but leave the bowl over the warm water), pour in the hot espresso and stir it once. Then add the butter. Press the butter pieces into the chocolate and allow them to soften without stirring.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter is melted. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then stir the egg yolks together and briskly stir them into the melted chocolate mixture. Fold in the beets.
In a stand mixer, or by hand, whip the egg whites until stiff. Gradually fold the sugar into the whipped egg whites with a spatula, then fold them into the melted chocolate mixture, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder.
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and reduce the heat of the oven to 325º, and bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until the sides are just set but the center is still is just a bit wobbly. Do not over-bake.
Let cake cool completely, then remove it from the pan.
Serving and storage: This cake tastes better the second day; spread with crème fraîche and sprinkle with poppy seeds shortly before serving. Or serve them alongside.
Adapted from Tender by Nigel Slater
Here is the recipe mentioned in the letter for the creamy pesto dip - it's perfect for dipping kohlrabi sticks.
Creamy Basil Pesto Dip
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Garnish: fresh basil sprig
Heat pine nuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted.
Process pine nuts and next 7 ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. With processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream. Transfer to serving bowl.
Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Serve with fresh vegetables or crispy bread sticks. Garnish, if desired.
Adapted from a recipe by Devon Delaney, Southern Living March 2006
Coleslaw five ways
Cabbage has started to arrive in shares. We thought we would include a great posting from Serious Eats that includes five tasty variations on coleslaw. Just follow this link.