Winter Vegetable Panzanella

So you know panzanella — once you figure out how to pronounce it, it’s really fun to say. Panzanellaaaaa. panz 1It’s that delicious bread salad we make in the summer, with garlic, tons of tomatoes and sweet onions and cucumbers, laced with tons more basil, great red wine vinegar and fruity olive oil. It’s a joy of a summer salad for those few of us anymore who aren’t avoiding carbs — and for the rest, we sneak a bite or make it our treat for the week.

Well here is panzanella in the middle of winter: What gives? This one is also delish — crusty bread folded into cubes of roasted red beets, golden butternut and bright green Lacinato kale — the soft kale with an almost creamy texture. Douse this in a wintery maple mustard vinaigrette and top it with smoked mozzarella and you won’t miss the summer version at all — not yet anyway. Danielle demoed this in January 2015 at Brookside and at US Botanic Garden.

panz 22 C of 1-inch cubes crusty sourdough, a day old (2 large, thick slices)
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb purple beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 C Lacinato kale, ribs stripped, leaves washed and sliced into strips
½ C red onion, diced
1 apple, cored and cut into cubes (Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Fuji, Kiku, or tart if you prefer)
10 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into small cubes (can substitute crumbled blue cheese)

Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette

4 T balsamic vinegar
2 t maple syrup
2 t grainy Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ C olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the beet cubes with a small amount of olive oil, spread them on a baking sheet and roast until just tender, 30-40 minutes. Do the same for the butternut cubes, putting them in another roasting pan and cook until tender but not about to fall apart, about 20-25 minutes.

In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and add the bread cubes. Sauté, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Slice the kale and chop the onion and set both in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and mustard. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Add about half the dressing to the kale and onion, mix well. When the beets, butternut and bread cubes have cooled slightly, add them to the kale and onion. Toss again to coat everything, adding a little more dressing as needed. Just before serving, add apples and mozzarella. Serves 4-6.


Celery Root Salad with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Celeriac, that unlovely step-sister of the root vegetable family, has not been made more popular in the US celeriac 2merely by bestowing upon her a Downtown Abbey-esque name. In fact, the French term for celery root has been around – even on this side of the pond – well before the advent of television itself. But somehow pragmatic Americans seem to favor the truth of the matter – the baseball-sized , brownish, pock-marked lumps that you find on produce shelves inevitably are labeled just what they are: Celery root. Nomenclature aside, the burgeoning foodie market’s natural curiosity is what’s driving better supermarkets to stock this gnarly winter vegetable.celeriac 4

Cut it open and you get creamy flesh that looks like a turnip and emits the most delectable scent of artichoke, carrot and, yes, celery, which, after all, is what the root nurtures above ground as it grows. Not your conventional celery that bunches and blanches, producing crispy, cucumber-textured stalks that we use in so many ways. Rather, the rougher country cousin of that staple, strong and coarse enough to stay out of most soups and chicken salad concoctions in favor of the compost pile – or feeding the pigs or chickens as we used to do back in the day when Adrienne was raising such in rural Virginia.

And those who do experiment with celery root discover a new favorite – a creamy winter soup using a couple of the bulbous tubers along with its green counterpart and a fat onion, simmered in stock and then pureed with the dairy – or non – of your choice, makes a winter night a joy to weather. Oven-roasting along with whatever strikes your fancy at that moment – or by itself – brings out celeriac’s innate sweetness (yes, the humble vegetable aims to please), and celeriac 5mashed with a handful of potatoes brings a whole new meaning to our beloved “mash,” side dish of choice to elegant winter roasts and rich stews.

But here we are preparing it virginally – the celery root is raw, dressed in an unusual vinaigrette using preserved lemons, pickled in salt for a number of weeks, resulting a smoky, nutty, undefinable “umami” – that elusive fifth estate of the palate which, when experienced, brings it all home in a “Ta daah!” moment. But it doesn’t end there – the preserved lemon (widely available in international grocery stores and increasingly in supermarkets, but if you can’t find it check out this link) is combined with lemon juice, creme fraiche for a swooning creaminess and poppy seeds for subtle texture and beauty, plus walnuts for crunch. The dish is garnished with pomegranate arils for eye candy as much as the lovely little pop of sweetness in the mouth.

So go for it – discover a whole new winter salad. (Found in The Washington Post, originally from the book “A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories,” and adapted here by Adrienne for a demos at Brookside Gardens and the US Botanic Garden January 2015.)

celery root saladCelery Root Salad with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Make ahead: You can prep all your salad ingredients in advance; store the prepped celery root in a bowl or tub of chilled water with a dash of white vinegar. This will prevent discoloration.

Peel of 1 preserved lemon cut into julienne (very thin strips)
Scant 1 C crème fraîche
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t minced shallot
1 T poppy seeds
1 C extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

2 baseball-size celeriac, peeled (1-2 pounds total)
1 C walnut halves, toasted
1 C picked celery leaves (from the heart of 1 bunch celery)
½ C celery stalk, sliced very thin on the diagonal (about 2 stalks)
2 t poppy seeds
¾ C fresh pomegranate seeds (arils)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

For the vinaigrette: Combine the preserved lemon peel, crème fraîche, lemon juice, shallot and poppy seeds in a food processor; pulse until the solids are finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil to form a creamy emulsion.

For the salad: Use a mandolin or sharp knife to shave the celeriac into wide, 1/8-inch-thick slices; Put them in a large bowl, along with the sliced celery root. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Add about three-quarters of the walnuts, crushing some of them with your fingers as you work them in.

Transfer the mixture to a large platter. Garnish with the celery leaves, poppy seeds and pomegranate seeds and remaining walnuts. Serve at room temperature, drizzled with oil and garnished with the flaked salt.


Warm Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Hazelnuts

slaw1 lb. Brussels sprouts
2 T unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ C toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Halve the Brussels sprouts lengthwise and them thinly slice crosswise, discarding ends that may be slightly brown. In a medium-sized sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and Brussels sprouts and sauté until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.


Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato casserole

 

 

 

Sautéed apples, a crunchy pecan crust, and spicy mashed sweet potatoes make for a sophisticated update.

3 to 3¼ lb. sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
4 T unsalted butter; more for the pan
1 C toasted and very finely chopped pecans
1 1/3 C breadcrumbs
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
1 C heavy cream
Eight ¼-inch-thick slices fresh ginger, unpeeled and crushed
2 whole star anise
One 2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 T plus 2 t bourbon
1½  t pure vanilla extract
3 large tart-sweet apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

Bake the sweet potatoes

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400̊F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake them on the sheet until completely tender when pierced with a fork, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, if not working ahead, reduce the oven temperature to 375̊F.

Discard the skins and put the flesh in a medium mixing bowl. With a potato masher, work the sweet potatoes until they’re well mashed (they don’t have to be perfectly smooth).

Make the crumb topping

Melt 2 T of the butter and combine with the pecans, breadcrumbs, parsley, and two big pinches of salt in a small bowl.

Infuse the cream

Combine the heavy cream, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil (watch carefully so that it doesn’t boil over) and remove from the heat immediately. Let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a liquid measuring cup, pressing down on the solids with a spatula to extract all of the liquid. Stir in 2 T of the bourbon, the vanilla extract, and ¼ t salt.

Cook the apples

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 T butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, season with ¼ t salt, and toss well. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Lower the heat if the apples are getting too dark, but not so much that they soften without browning.

Turn off the heat, carefully add the remaining 2 tsp. bourbon and stir until it evaporates, a few seconds. Pour in 1/3 cup of the infused cream and stir until the apples have absorbed most of it, a few more seconds. Set the pan aside and let the apples cool for about 15 minutes, turning them occasionally to release steam.
Assemble the casserole

Butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish (9×13-inch works well). Add the remaining cream to the mashed sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt. Arrange the apples across the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the sweet potato mixture over the apples in an even layer. Top with the pecan-crumb mixture.

Bake the casserole at 375̊F until the crumb topping is dark brown (it will be browner around the edges) and the casserole is heated through, about 25 minutes.

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake and mash the sweet potatoes and make the crumb topping a day ahead (cover both and refrigerate). Bring the potatoes and crumb topping to room temperature before assembling the dish. You can also assemble and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before baking. Return to room temperature before baking.


 Wild Rice with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans

rice

 

You can use all wild rice or a combination of wild with basmati, brown or red Bhutanese. Lundberg mixed rice combinations are an excellent way to go.

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 ½ lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
2 T olive oil
2 C wild rice or a wild rice blend (such as Lundberg), rinsed and cooked according to package directions
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C dried cranberries
¼ C warm water
2 T red wine vinegar
¾ C toasted pecans, chopped
3 T parsley, chopped

Dressing:
3 T extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
½ t ground cumin
¼ t ground cardamom
1/8  t cinnamon
¼ C freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ C freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T minced fresh ginger

Heat oven to 400F. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet. Roast until tender and starting to brown, about 20 minutes (check earlier if your pieces are very small). While the squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes.

Cook the rice according to package directions (I like to substitute vegetable broth for water). When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large serving bowl. Add the sautéed onion and garlic.

Place the dried cranberries in a bowl with the warm water and vinegar. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then drain and add to the rice bowl. Add the parsley and pecans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, orange juice, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Add it to the rice and mix well. Gently mix in the roasted squash. Adjust for salt and pepper. Serve warm if possible, or at room temperature. Serves 8.


Rustic Beet Tart and Wilted Greens

BF_BeetTart2

 

 
A beautiful tart to add to the buffet table or serve as an appetizer. Try making a couple with different colored beets and you’ll be sure to wow the guests!

3 small (2 to 3 inch diameter) beets, any color, with the greens
½ package of frozen puff pastry, or equivalent of homemade
1 egg
¼ – ½ C half and half, whole milk or cream
3 – 5 ounces soft chevre style goat cheese, room temperature
Pinch of nutmeg- to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the greens from the beets, wash, remove thicker stems and set aside.

Scrub the beets. Place each beet on a small square of aluminum foil, wrap in the foil and bake at 400F anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your beets. They’re done when they are knife tender and can be pierced with the tip of a paring knife with ease. Once the beets are knife tender, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.

While the beets cool, roll the puff pastry out until you have a rough 10-inch square. Transfer the square to a parchment-lined baking sheet or lined with non-stick foil. Roll in the edges of the pastry about an inch on all 4 sides so that you create pastry wall. Use a little water to seal the edges. You want to make sure that the custard doesn’t leak out when poured into the “shell”.

In a small bowl, mash the soften goat cheese with a fork or wire whisk. Add the egg and mix well. Slowly add the half and half, ¼ cup at first stir until you have a thick but pourable consistency. It should be no thinner than pancake batter, so don’t over pour.

Peel the skin from the beets and slice into rounds. You should get 5 or 6 rounds from each beet. Pour the custard into the pastry shell, then lay the beets on top, being careful not to overflow the pastry shell.
Bake at 400F until the pastry is golden, the custard is set, and the top is just a little brown, about 15 minutes.

About 5 minutes before you pull the tart out of the oven, heat a small amount of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Roughly chop the beet greens and sauté them until wilted, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add them to the top of the tart, scattering loosely to distribute evenly. Finish baking a few more minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

 


Citrus Salad with Spiced Honey

citrus-salad-spiced-honey-sl-l

 

 

 

 

1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 t peppercorns (black, pink or Sechuan)
1/4 t dried crushed red pepper
4 whole cloves
5 cardamom pods
3 medium-size oranges
3 mandarin oranges
2 Ruby Red grapefruit
2 limes
3 Meyer lemons
6 kumquats (optional)
Fresh pomegranate seeds
Toppings: extra virgin olive oil, fresh mint leaves, sea salt

Bring first 6 ingredients and ½ C water to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil gently – honey boils over faster than milk! – stirring often, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel oranges, next 3 ingredients, and, if desired, kumquats. Cut away bitter white pith. Cut each fruit into thin rounds. Arrange on a serving platter, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Pour honey mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer, discarding solids. Drizzle fruit with desired amount of spiced honey; reserve remaining for another use (such as flavoring iced tea). Top with a drizzle of olive oil, a handful of mint leaves, and sea salt.

Note: Salad may be made up to a day ahead. Prepare as directed; cover and chill up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature to serve.