Monday, January 13, 2014

Teaching a Hot Chick New Cooking Tricks


This week I headed out to Brooklyn to cook with my friend Amanda. She reached out to me a while ago to help her expand her culinary repertoire from macaroni and cheese dinners out of a box for her and her family and I was excited about sharing my experience and love of Good Food!

A Stunning view of the clouds from the cafe at Fairway Red Hook
First we cleaned out her refrigerator and cabinets and I moved some things around so that it made an easier flow for cooking and storing dishes (at least I hope I did!) and so that I could see what we were working with. Then we headed to Fairway in Red Hook and had a nice lunch before we went shopping so we didn't buy everything in the store out of hunger and got down to business. 

The first item in the basket was a crate of Clementines, which are in season from Spain right now and so easy and delicious to snack on. Next up, we added strawberries, fresh spinach to make salads and to cook with, broccoli to steam or roast and organic Rainbow Chard, some sweet potatoes, golden beets, parsnips, fennel and a Butternut squash, a Kombocha squash and then moved onto dry goods. 

Amanda's a vegetarian so I wanted to make sure she's getting enough protein, so we got a can of Cannellini beans, some quinoa and millet and a Chia seed cereal for her and she has an adorable three-year-old son that we picked up a package of chicken and apple sausage for. We also picked up some fruit and nut mix for her to snack on, some individual packs of vegetarian soup stock and a box
of roasted pepper and tomato soup to heat up in a hurry and some yogurt and a chia and blueberry yogurt combination that sounded divine. 

We headed back to her apartment and fired up the stove and started prepping. I taught her how to hold the knife and let her practice on peeling and cutting up the butter nut squash which we cubed and tossed with olive oil, a few cloves of fresh chopped garlic and some dried rosemary and salt and put on a sheet pan to roast at 350 in the oven. We cut up the Kombocha squash into 1” slices with the skin on and Amanda drizzled it with olive oil and a little salt and then put it in the oven to roast too. We discovered that the super thin slices of kombocha turned into delicious crispy chips, so next time we'll cut some really thin slices with a vegetable peeler and do this on purpose to snack on!

 While the squashes were in the oven we prepped the root vegetables and put them in a glass dish to roast, Amanda got some more knife practice in with the golden beets and parsnips and we cubed everything (beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and fennel) and put that in the oven with olive oil and a splash of balsamic and some rosemary, salt and pepper. 

roasted root veggies, quinoa and snack size tureen
Once the Butternut and Kombocha squashes were done (about 30-40 minutes, until they were soft enough to pierce with a fork) we let them cool and popped in the root veggies to roast and got out the Rainbow Chard. I showed her how to roll up the chard to cut it into ribbons and we sautéed it in a pan with chopped garlic and olive oil. I love the contrasting colors of the hot pink and brilliant yellow veins and the deep green of the leaves! I made her a little snack tureen with quinoa, white beans and the beautiful greens.
It was approaching dinnertime and we decided to make soup with the roasted Butternut squash. I chopped up an onion and some garlic and we sautéed that and let it cool and put it into a blender with the roasted Butternut squash, 2 cups of the vegetable stock and let her son help "cook" by turning on the blender, which he enjoyed immensely :-) Enough so that when Amanda and I dipped a finger into the blender to taste the soup (after we took it off the base), he almost forgot that he didn't like the look of it and stuck his finger in too, but quickly remembered he was supposed to not like it and tried to shake it off!

We used another container of the individual portions of veg stock to make some quinoa, cutting it with water to equal one cup of quinoa to one cup of stock and one cup of water so we'd have enough for the soup. I love quinoa for immediate hunger emergencies since it takes about 15 minutes to make and can be paired with pretty much anything to make a fast and filling meal.
For dinner, we put some cooked quinoa in a bowl with the drained cannellini beans and spooned on the butternut squash soup and added the ribbons of sautéed chard. It was visually gorgeous and so the combinations of flavors were incredible! In retrospect, I should have added a drizzle of the truffle olive oil that I found in the cabinet, but I’ll leave that to her to share with her husband when she impresses him with her newly learned cooking skills ;-)

1 comment:

  1. What a gift! To show her all those awesome skills. I actually have this awesome nut/fruit mix I use for healthy snacking and I just posted it today. Check it out, you'll love it! https://bodyredesignonline.com/a-healthy-mix-to-nix-the-snacks/

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