Category Archives: The Recipes

All the Pretty Cosmos, Seed by Seed

THE DAFFODILS have finally bloomed. (We might as well be living in Nova Scotia for all the spring we have.)

The peas have been planted. Hurrah.

Thirty-six tomato starts are on the heating mat. Wait, no, correction. The tomato seeds have germinated and are now under the lights of our new gizmo. (I like to call it a gizmo, but this is what it really is: An LED SunLite 2-Tier Grow Light System. A very home-gardener-ish piece of equipment, I’m happy to say. None of this interminable hacking a small farmer has to do!)

Peppers, eggplants, and the first flower starts have taken the place of the tomatoes on the heating mat.

What varieties am I growing? First the peas. Green Arrow English shell peas, Super Sugar Snap peas, and the new purple Beauregarde snow pea from Row 7 seeds.

I always pre-sprout my peas by putting them between damp paper towels in a partially closed zip-top bag.

Then I make sure they’re coated with inoculant and plant them about an inch deep, pretty darn close together (no more than a couple inches apart so I can cram in a lot in one row!). I always think I’m going to thin them and I never do. And yet they yield prolifically. I think maybe because the roots grow down and not sideways.

I always plant them along a makeshift trellis or along one fence in the garden.

Most importantly, I protect the newly planted pea seeds from birds by covering them with fabric row cover or with upside-down plastic nursery trays (the kind with plenty of holes), weighted down with bricks to keep them from blowing away. I keep the cover on until the seedlings have a few sets of leaves.

In the tomato department: In addition to my usual assortment of cherry tomatoes (this year Sun Gold, Sweet 100, and Cherry Bomb) and my favorite sandwich and beefsteak tomatoes, Jet Star and German Green, I’m most excited about a paste tomato (also from Row 7 seeds) called Midnight Roma

Peppers and eggplants? Since I have such limited space in the fenced garden, I’m going to lean on some mini-vegetables that I hope will yield abundantly. I know my favorite Fairy Tale eggplants will comply, but I’m hoping some Lunchbox Peppers from Johnny’s will do the same. I’m also growing the delicious heirloom Jimmy Nardello pepper for the first time in five years.

But of course, as much as I love my vegetables, it’s no secret that my obsession with flowers has become all-consuming. Honestly, the number one way I deal with my anxiety these days is by reading flower books at night, imagining colorful bouquets in my head, inventing names of flowers —alphabetically — to try to fall asleep, and so on. (Though none of this has been particularly helpful this week as I try to balance too much work with preparing to travel down to see my sister and father next weekend – without having been able to procure a vaccine. At least I am getting the oil changed in my car! But enough whining.)

Clockwise from top: Cosmos ‘Double Click Rose Bonbon,’ Cosmos ‘Double Click Bicolor Violet,’ Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries,’ Cosmos ‘Cupcake White,’ Cosmos ‘Picotee’

And while I’m excited about my new dahlia passion, I am deeply indebted to my first loves – cosmos and zinnias – for cheering me through many years. In their honor (and because I’m just fascinated by the number of different varieties now available of both), I am seeding more than a dozen varieties of each, the most I’ve ever started.

This week, I thought I’d gather photos (mostly that I’ve taken over the years and some of new varieties from websites) of all the cosmos varieties I’m hoping to grow this year. I’ve only been able to seed a few of each variety, and God knows where they are all going to be planted (some in friends’ gardens, I’m sure!), but it will be fun to think about the spectrum of beauty and color anyway.

Clockwise from top: Cosmos ‘Apricotta,’ Cosmos ‘Sunset Orange,’ Cosmos ‘Apricot Lemonade,’ Cosmos ‘Double Click Bicolor Pink,’ Cosmos ‘Happy Ring’

If you’ve never grown cosmos, know that they are very user-friendly. The more you cut these annuals, the more they bloom. They get big and blousy and are quintessentially cottage-y. They don’t start blooming until mid-summer if you direct sow them in late May, but by starting them inside now, I’ll get blooms in June. And I learned from Erin at Floret that I should be cutting them when they are just about to open for the longest vase life.

Clockwise from top: Cosmos ‘Radiance,’ Cosmos ‘Daydream,’ Cosmos ‘Sensation Mix,’ Cosmos ‘Rubenza,’ Cosmos ‘Xanthos,’ Cosmos ‘Velouette’

Another thing I’ve learned about cosmos over the years is that I can cut down deeply into the plant to get stems long enough for arranging. It doesn’t matter that I’ll be cutting some unopened buds along with those stems, because the plant will just respond with more blooms. Some cosmos varieties grow very tall (up to six feet) and wide so give them a little space and consider corralling them with twine and stakes as the summer goes on, especially if you live in windy-world like we do. I invariably lose at least a few of my plants when the first hurricane threatens.

There they are. May the sight of them bring you joy. And if you live on the Island, give me a shout in about 8 weeks. I’ll have extra cosmos seedlings!


P.S. Good sources for Cosmos seeds include Select Seeds, Johnny’s Seeds, and Swallowtail Garden Seeds.


PEAS, PLEASE: In case you can’t wait until June to cook with peas, here are a couple of my favorite pea recipes, over on cookthevineyard.com.


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The Friday Night Smoke Follies, and Chocolate to the Rescue

BOY, I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW much I was looking forward to sitting in my comfy chair in the living room last night, a mug of Tazo wild orange tea and a little bowl of chocolate chips by my side. My big cardboard box of garden seeds on the ottoman. A stack of flower books on the floor. A roaring fire going in the fireplace.

The fire part happened but the rest didn’t. In fact, the fire was short lived, though it did blaze long enough to fill our entire house with smoke.

Yes, as I’m sure you guessed, the flue was closed.

But not because we didn’t open it. Or at least go through the motions that should have opened it. I’ll spare you the archaic construction of the mechanism that opens our flue; just know that a (hidden) pin that connects a knob to a lever unceremoniously removed itself so that screwing and unscrewing the knob no longer opens or closes the flue (we now know).

We have had backdrafts on windy nights, we have had times when the chimney didn’t draw right away. And because we thought the flue was open, the smoke at first didn’t alarm us. In fact I had hopped in the shower right after we lit the fire, only to hear the smoke alarm go off and find Farmer upstairs pacing (he hates the alarm). My partner was focused on turning off the smoke alarm when I came down the stairs in a towel – and the fire looked like it was drawing. So right at that moment I wasn’t worried.

I went back up the stairs to put some clothes on and immediately realized the bedroom was filling with smoke. (Smoke rises, don’t ya know!) Farmer clung to me, I threw my clothes on while trying to keep my face in the damp towel, and in the few minutes it took before I headed back downstairs, the smoke in the stairway became eye-stinging, cough-inducing bad. Thick. I saw that my partner had grabbed the fire extinguisher out of the hall closet and sprayed the fire (it was out) and was flinging open doors and windows.

I grabbed Farmer by the collar and ran him out to the car, where he hopped in (he loves the car) and stayed for the next three hours.

We, however, spent the next three hours (with all the doors and windows open and fans going, on a lovely 30-degree evening) removing just about everything from the living room, vacuuming first with the shop vac, then with the regular vac, and dusting every surface. In addition to the powdery residue from the fire extinguisher all around the fireplace, there was a fine layer of something (and in some places, not so fine) everywhere, including over all the upholstered furniture. The something I guess was part dust (we aren’t very good housecleaners), part ash, and mostly fire-extinguisher leavings. Delightful! 

The good news about having to do this kind of cleanup during a pandemic is that you have face masks lying around! (It’s a good look paired with a wool hat, a down vest, and a vacuum.)

After the living room, we moved into the breakfast room, where that layer of stuff also covered the dining room table.

Then we changed the blankets on Farmer’s bed and brought him in. It was late.

I’ll say this: I now understand how people can get quickly overwhelmed by smoke in a fire situation, while thinking they can get through it. I’d liken it to good swimmers who think they’ll be okay if they fall overboard into cold water (I used to be a sailor), when in reality, hypothermia can arrest muscle response in a matter of minutes. Yikes. That smoke was on steroids. (And yes, the house smells and will smell for some time.)

This was an exceptionally crummy endgame for this week as I had been working nonstop on my usual deadlines plus the 120-page Island Guide going to the printer on Tuesday. I was exhausted. I wanted my chocolate and my comfy chair! (Can you say whiner?!)

I made up for it this morning by plunking back into that chair (after getting up early to try and get a vaccine appointment with no luck), drinking lots of coffee out of my favorite Emma Bridgewater mug, and eating Chocolate Toast.

I had planned to write about seeds today (and chocolate). But I’ll have to report in next week about all the cool vegetables and flowers I’m planning to grow (and our fancy new LED grow-light gizmo).

I do need to air my concerns about my chocolate addiction. Not that I think it is going away any time soon. I have been hooked on Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips for a long time. Sometimes I am able to give them up for a while, but I always find my way back to them. They are my writing companions, and without them this week, I was bereft. I had purposely only bought one bag on the last grocery store run, thinking I’d wean myself off of them again. Bad idea. Halfway through the week I was rummaging through the odd old bits of baking chocolate, consuming everything with cocoa in it, including some really sugary Baker’s white chocolate, which frankly was disgusting. (You can see why I don’t drink alcohol anymore.)

Finally, my partner made a special trip to the grocery store to resupply me. It was a good thing it was him and not me, as I might have been tempted by Cadbury mini-eggs, too. I love those things – eek! What is it about chocolate?

Maybe you’re in the same boat, too, and frankly, it’s practically a prerequisite to celebrating Easter to consume chocolate. So, in my evil temptress way, allow me to point you in the direction of Abby Dodge’s Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cake if you need an Easter dessert. (So. Good.) Or Abby’s Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies or my Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies if you need a snack. (Who needs hot cross buns?) Consider these a reminder that you can find new recipes (and a free weekly newsletter) from me over on cookthevineyard.com.

If you celebrate Easter, may it be filled with much chocolate and little smoke.


P.S. Hey, speaking of Abby, she and I, along with our pal Martha Holmberg, have been asked to do a little Zoom panel on April 11 at 3 p.m. for the Fine Cooking Community FaceBook page. We’ll be talking about the early days of the magazine. If you’re a former Fine Cooking subscriber, you might be interested in joining this group.


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Picturing the Garden on Paper

Princess Margareta climbing English rose meets H.F. Young clematis.

OTHER PEOPLE bake bread, knit sweaters, craft origami. I draw pictures. Sometimes on random scraps of paper, but more often on pads of graph paper strewn around the house. I don’t have any actual drawing talent, which is a bummer since my great-grandfather was an artist and my sister is, in the immortal words of my mother, “very clever.”

Pink and White Roses, Paul A. Putzki, c. 1900

But I sure do like to make plans. It probably says way too much about me that when I’m anxious, creating make-believe worlds in little square boxes calms me down. But I’m going to leave that on the floor like so many discarded Legos. For now, anyway.

I’ve renovated our tiny kitchen three different ways on paper. And I’ve designed a fantasy kitchen with wrap-around windows, a baking station, a shallow floor-to-ceiling pantry, a user-friendly island, and big glass doors opening on to the deck. Light! I love light! 

I’ve sketched (aka scribbled) countless variations of this fantasy design — a room we’d actually have to add on to the southern end of our house as opposed to renovating the kitchen in situ

And stuffed away in drawers and file folders are years of garden designs.

In fact, just this week I drew a plan for a big (35’ x 40’) fenced vegetable and cutting flower garden that could (theoretically, if we wanted to take this plunge) be located in the open field in front of our house. We’d have to run water down there. We’d have to empty our pockets for fencing, soil amendments, irrigation hoses, the whole enchilada. We’d need a lot of help building this time around. But unlike the fantasy kitchen, which actually makes my teeth hurt when I think about how much it would cost, the fantasy garden has been tugging at me.

I detect a dangerous longing lodging in my bones. 

Which makes no sense.

I had my small farm, I had my farm stand. I said I was done with all that, and I was overjoyed at my partner’s generosity in immediately building me a small vegetable garden here at my new home. It would be so perfect, so manageable, so tidy. And it was, and it is, and we’ve already added on to it. Twice.

We started with the same three-square design I used for my very first Island garden in 2009. I plugged the virtues of that little design in an article I wrote for Martha’s Vineyard magazine several years ago called Holy Homegrown! That baby-bear garden, along with a mama bear and papa bear version, were beautifully illustrated by Fae Kontje-Gibbs for that piece.

Last year, I pushed aside any thoughts of bigger vegetable gardens to concentrate on a perennial garden plan instead. This was a completely absorbing depository for my Covid anxiety, which had mostly alighted on the subject of my 90-year-old dad living alone in Delaware. It had been years since I’d given much thought to perennials, and the open space between our deck and driveway was daunting. It would be a good excuse to call Dad, the Master and Commander Gardener, more often. He’s the man who passed the graph-paper gene down to me. 

My gardener friend Laura Coit brought me a stack of books to get started, and one immediately stuck to me – The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer. So many sample garden plans! The “Sunny Four-Season Border” and “The Easy Care Entrance.” The “Fantastic Spring Fling” and the “Made for Shade.” A meadow garden, a cottage garden, a white garden, even a secret garden. 

My brain on graph paper. Scary.

They all sounded (and looked) so wonderful, but I soon realized that creating a perennial garden was like solving a giant logic puzzle. Venn diagrams would come in handy if you were that sort. The challenge was fun, but keeping track of all the variables was mind-numbing. As soon as I’d wrangle all the deer-proof, long-blooming, dry-soil tolerating, bee-friendly, Zone 7, mildew-resistant plants on to one list, I’d have to start peeling off the ones that had ugly foliage, grew six feet tall, or spread invasively. And that was before considering flower color or leaf shape. 

But I persisted and finally set my pencil down, many pages of an extra-large pad of graph paper later. I went plant shopping while my partner heroically excavated the sand and rock out of what would turn out to be three (not one) perennial beds by the end of the summer.  

I can’t wait to see what’s lived through the winter and how everything looks in the second year. 

But as much as I love perennials for landscaping, I’m truly obsessed with cutting flowers, which are driving this new obsession with the big garden down the hill. The big garden would have room for long rows of zinnias and dahlias (yes, here in Deer Central, even cutting flowers need to be fenced), as well as room for all of my favorite vegetables, including space hogs like potatoes and perennials like asparagus. Plus berries— and fruit trees! 

For so many reasons, I hope I’ll let go of this fantasy soon. There’s still a wee bit of room to expand the little garden, anyway. 

But then again, I just got my friend Ellen Ecker Ogden’s new book, The New Heirloom Garden in the mail. And guess what it is full of? Garden plans! Beautiful and smart designs, each with a different theme, and … oh dear, I think we’re doomed.


P.S. Thank you to all of you who continue to email and comment on the blog since the reboot! So nice to be reconnected. If you feel comfortable, I encourage you to post your thoughts in the comments section under the blog, so that we can share conversations with each other. 


Book Recs This Week


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Cook the Vineyard With Me — And Martha’s Vineyard Magazine’s New Website

        What’s in season. Where to find it. How to cook it.


Recipes follow me around. As do vegetables. And chocolate. And kitchen tools. I can’t get away from them. I admit, I’m not trying too hard.

Despite taking a break from cookbook writing after Simple Green Suppers came out in 2017, I’ve still been writing about food on Martha’s Vineyard for both the Vineyard Gazette and Martha’s Vineyard magazine (both owned by the Vineyard Gazette Media Group, where I am thankfully employed.) I’m also still contributing to Fine Cooking magazine. My guide to grilling vegetables is in the June/July issue.

So when Martha’s Vineyard magazine asked me to participate in the launch of a new cooking website and newsletter, I couldn’t say no. Didn’t want to say no. In fact, I said I thought it was a great idea! Yikes.

Well, it is a great idea — one that actually is going to come to life very soon. CooktheVineyard.com will be an online guide to cooking and eating deliciously at home, with an emphasis on finding and cooking fresh, seasonal ingredients. Of course that means recipes, and stories, and resources. And it will include a section on dining out, with regular features on chefs, restaurants and local food businesses and artisans.

But Cook the Vineyard will also be a free weekly newsletter, written by yours truly, with lots of recipes and ideas for what to cook every week, from weeknight suppers to entertaining menus.

You can read more about Cook the Vineyard, which will be sponsored by LeRoux at Home, The Net Result, and Cronig’s Market, in this article in this week’s Vineyard Gazette.

Then I hope you’ll sign up for the newsletter, which will be delivered to your inbox every Wednesday, starting July 3.

And follow us on Instagram, too @cookthevineyard. 

And perhaps you’ll forgive me for dropping the ball on sixburnersue and help me pick up the slack over at cookthevineyard.com.

Happy summer and happy cooking.

 

 

 

And We’re Off! Simple Green Suppers is Live!



Just a quick update to let you know that Simple Green Suppers is off and running. We had a really awesome launch party at Morrice Florist. And we’re getting some great buzz! This week I’m guest-hosting the Instagram feed of my publisher @Roostbooks so please follow along to ogle some of @randibairdphoto‘s amazing photos. You’ll even get a glimpse at some great photos (like the one above of Little Gem and baby red Romaine lettuce, and the one of cherry tomatoes below) that didn’t make it into the book. (We took a ton of photos.) And while you’re at it, be sure to follow my Instagram feed @sixburnersue. If you’ve gotten the book and are enjoying it already, we’d really appreciate a 5-star (!) review on Amazon!

Just published this week–a great feature in Martha’s Vineyard Magazine (photo below) highlighting some of the recipes from the Toast chapter (with my, ahem, opinionated viewpoint on the best way to make toast!). And a feature blog on MindBodyGreen using leftovers from the Baby Potato, Greens, and Chickpea Hash in dishes throughout the week.

I’ve been doing some radio interviews and tomorrow I’ll return to my favorite–The Food Schmooze with Faith Middleton on WNPR.  Back in my Fine Cooking days, I used to ride up to New Haven every few weeks to be on the show with Faith and Chris Prosperi, and it was so much fun. 

In just a few weeks, I’ll be at the Grand Tasting at the Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival (Saturday, May 13), so if you happen to be going, stop by my table! And I promise I’ll let you know about other events and news coming soon. (Garden is getting going too.)

In the meantime, I leave you this teaser from today’s Instagram activity. Quick Roasted Beet, Arugula, and Wheatberry Salad with Strawberry-Balsamic Dressing. (That would be on page 40 in the book!)

All photos here by Randi Baird Photography.

A Stack of Books, a Double-Launch Party, and Five Island Women

Yes, okay, I admit it, I am getting a little kick out of this pile of books on my desk. Those copies of Simple Green Suppers are “author” copies to give to all the many people who contributed to the creation of the book.

But I am just going to stare at them for a while.

I have them stacked up that way so that I can see the beautiful spine that the talented book designer, Toni Tajima, created. And also, of course, just to remind myself that somehow I’ve managed to write (and deliver to my publishers) four books over these last nine years. I never would have predicted that when I left my job as editor of Fine Cooking magazine in January of 2008.

Heading into my tenth year of living on the Vineyard—and the publication on April 11 of that fourth book—I am feeling ridiculously nostalgic and grateful for this supportive, energetic, talented, and yes, tight-knit community I live in.

Take, for example, this launch party we’re having next Sunday afternoon, April 9.

First off, you have to know that my editor at Roost Books (in Boulder, Colorado; they are an imprint of Shambhala Publications), grew up on the Vineyard. Her name is Jennifer Urban-Brown. As it happens, Jenn offered me a contract for my fourth book not long after she offered another Island author, Sarah Moriarity Waldman, a contract for her second book. (Sarah’s first book, Little Bites, was with Roost, too.) Then as it happens, both Sarah and I chose (with Roost’s approval) to work with talented photographers, Elizabeth Cecil (Sarah) and Randi Baird (me), who are based on Martha’s Vineyard, but work and publish nationally as well.

Then, the folks back at Roost Books decided that they would publish both Sarah’s book, Feeding a Family, and my book, Simple Green Suppers, on the same day. This seemed like a fun and exciting way to double publicity efforts, though I doubt this would happen in another place. As it happens, Sarah and I have become friends, and though she is younger than I am, we also share many mutual friends in the food and farming community on Martha’s Vineyard. (Just so you know, we have a year-round population of 18,000, and yes, there are days, like yesterday, when the ferries stop running, and we are marooned. Winter is long. Friends are key.)

One of those friends is another published author, editor, and radio host who happens to be the first (well, second) person I ever met on this island. Her name is Ali Berlow. Ali was the founding Executive Director of Island Grown Initiative, a non-profit supporting local farmers, (Randi Baird is a long-time board member and director as well) and founder of Edible Vineyard. And she is the author most recently of The Food Activist Handbook and is working on a new radio podcast, The Gleaning.

When Roost suggested that Sarah and I do a panel discussion for our party, we both agreed that Ali was the perfect person to moderate. We asked her, and she said yes. We agreed that the panel should include Randi and Elizabeth so that we could all answer questions about the process of making a cookbook. So there we had our quintet of Island women in food and publishing. (Yay.) (Left to right: Sarah, Elizabeth, Ali, Susie, Randi.)

Two weeks ago, with the event mostly planned, we learned we would need to change locations, as our bookstore, Bunch of Grapes, was going to be moving (only down the street, fortunately.) So we began to quickly look around for another space—the Ag Hall, the libraries, a theatre. Then we thought of a special place that happens to be owned by none other than our editor Jenn’s sister. (I told you the Island was small—forget six degrees of separation, it’s more like two.) Emily Coulter is the owner of the most enchanting floral shop you could imagine—Morrice Florist.

 And Morrice Florist also has a big solarium space—big enough to fit a crowd. Emily was happy to accommodate us, and Roost has ordered up chairs and refreshments.

Now all Sarah and I have to do is make several dozen nibbles from our books, and arrive on Sunday ready to talk and sign. Randi and Elizabeth will be there, of course, as will many friends and artists in the community who worked directly or indirectly on our photo shoots or on recipe testing. Bunch of Grapes will be there selling stacks of books. And I will probably get a lump in my front and tears in my eyes when I see all the other friends spilling through the doors, friends who’ve made living on this Island, for me, a much bigger deal than a stack of books—no matter how alluring they are.

 

 

A Few Small (and Big) Ways to Use Miso In Recipes

 

When I tiptoed over the mostly-vegetable line into the all-vegetarian world, I finally got friendly with miso. So when I wrote Simple Green Suppers, I took advantage of miso’s deep flavors in several different ways. Probably my favorite recipe is a simple Lemon Miso Butter (great on sautéed vegetables or in grain dishes), but I also use miso in a delicious Crystallized Ginger-Miso Dressing (on an asparagus and grapefruit salad, and more), and in soups and broths, including the wonderful Spring Miso Broth with Stir-Fried Asparagus, Romaine, Scallions, Tofu, and Mint recipe pictured above.

If you’re not friendly with miso yet, here’s a little background: Miso is a nutritious fermented bean paste, and making it is an ancient Japanese craft. Usually, fermentation begins with soybeans, salt, and koji (a fermenting fungus); sometimes grains or legumes like barley, rice, or chickpeas are added. The miso is aged for varying lengths of time; generally older misos will have more umami flavor and the saltiness will have mellowed somewhat.

The color of miso will tell you something, too. Generally, the lighter colored misos are the mildest (and most versatile). I use white (sometimes labeled yellow) shiro miso most often, especially for dressings and sauces (top right in photo below). But I also like the darker misos—in broths and soups especially. Great miso is now made in the U.S. In fact, my favorite miso is made right here in Massachusetts, by the South River Miso Company in Conway. I especially like their one-year azuki bean miso (bottom right below) and their three-year barley miso (middle bowl, below), but all of their varieties are delicious and worth seeking out.

However, you don’t have to go out of your way to find miso. Most major supermarkets and all natural food stores carry at least a small variety of misos. All misos have an alluring sweet-salty-funky flavor that’s hard to beat for flavor-boosting.

It’s fun to try out a range of misos; just know that you may need to use a little less of a darker miso or add a little more water (or other ingredients) to taste. A good starting point for soup is one tablespoon per cup of water. If you like, you can strain your broth if using a chunky artisan miso. Keep in mind that all miso pastes destined for soups should be dissolved in hot water, but never boiled. Boiling can destroy flavor and nutrients.

So now, time for you to get friendly with miso, too—though maybe you already are! Either way, I think you’ll enjoy these two recipes. (And you’ll have to get a copy of Simple Green Suppers for the soup recipe above. I know, what a tease. But just a friendly reminder if you haven’t pre-ordered the book–well, you could certainly do it now.)

Lemon-Miso Butter

Make this handy flavor-booster ahead; cover and keep in the fridge for up to a week. In Simple Green Suppers, I use this butter in a recipe for Stir-Fried Black Rice with Baby Bok Choy and Asparagus, and in a recipe for Parsnips and Creminis with Wheat Berries. But you can use it on any stir-fried or sautéed veggies or with rice; be sure to add the butter to the recipe while the veggies or grains are still hot. Double this recipe if you like. (If you need to soften butter quickly to make this, cut it into a few pieces and microwave for a few seconds, but don’t melt it.)

Makes ¼ cup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons white (Shiro) miso

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

In a small bowl, combine the butter, the miso paste, and the lemon zest. Use a small silicone spatula or wooden spoon to mash together until well combined.

Recipe copyright Susie Middleton, from Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy for One-Dish Vegetarian Meals (Roost Books).

Crystallized Ginger-Miso Dressing

I have to admit this dressing is one of my favorite recipes. It features crystallized ginger with assists from lime, maple, and miso. I love it on an Asparagus, Grapefruit, and Sushi Rice recipe in Simple Green Suppers, but it is equally good with broccoli, green beans, cabbage, or lettuce. Double or triple if you like.

Yields about 1/3 cup

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced crystallized ginger

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

1½ teaspoons white (Shiro) miso

In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, the lime juice, the crystallized ginger, the maple syrup, the cilantro, and the miso. Whisk well.

Recipe copyright Susie Middleton, from Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy for One-Dish Vegetarian Meals (Roost Books).

Top Photo by Randi Baird, Randi Baird Photography

 

 

Chickpeas, Meet Smashed Potatoes

I’m not done with you yet, chickpeas! (Sorry folks, next week we’ll move on to miso and ginger and butter and some quick little sauces!) In my last blog, I talked about how versatile chickpeas are, because you can actually sauté or roast them—and turn up their flavor at the same time by browning. I included an Indian Curry recipe from the new book. But with Simple Green Suppers now just four weeks away from bookstores (Yippee! And I may have the first copy in my hands within days!), I thought I’d give you one more teaser recipe with chickpeas, which also happens to make use of, yes, smashed potatoes.

Those of you who’ve been following me since Fine Cooking days will realize that I just can’t leave these little crispy flattened red potatoes alone. Ever since I first developed the recipe more than 10 years ago (and here it is on FineCooking.com), I’ve been re-imagining them as components of other dishes. In Simple Green Suppers, I’ve included them in a simple and delicious hash with greens, chickpeas, and, of course, garlic. And they don’t even have to go in the oven; in this dish, instead of roasting, the boiled potatoes get smashed and sautéed. A lot of yummy things happen in this sauté pan!

But honestly, I also wanted to run this recipe because I love the photo (by my very talented co-conspirator, photographer Randi Baird) that runs with it. Stand by for a lot more amazing photos, great strategy, and delicious recipes in Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy For One-Dish Vegetarian Meals.

And if you live on Martha’s Vineyard, save this date: Sunday, April 9, 4 pm. Official book launch party at Bunch of Grapes bookstore—yay!

Baby Potato, Greens, Garlic and Chickpea Hash

A simple, comforting supper with just a few ingredients, this was inspired by a freshly dug batch of Red Gold potatoes from the garden. Nutty-tasting yellow-fleshed Red Golds are delicious, but of course not required in this recipe—any baby potato will do! The potatoes get boiled first, then crushed and sautéed with the other ingredients for a delicious crispy finish. I also love that this recipe showcases another tasty way to use chickpeas as a protein—in a rustic “hash.” Sautéing the chickpeas until golden is the trick to giving them extra flavor. It even works with canned, drained chickpeas. Choose your favorite tender greens for this, and be generous with the garlic, too.

Serves 2

10 baby red potatoes (preferably yellow-fleshed), about 10 ounces

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1  1/3 cups cooked chickpeas (well-drained if canned)

1 (generous) tablespoon minced fresh garlic

3 cups chopped or sliced stemmed tender greens (such as Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli greens, or young kale)

Fresh black pepper

Hot sauce or vinegar

1/4 cup sour cream

Chopped fresh chives

 

Put the potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt in a large saucepan and cover with a generous amount of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and cook, shaking or stirring, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the greens and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, tossing or stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Move the greens and chickpeas to one side of the pan and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Let it melt and add the boiled potatoes. Using a potato masher or spatula, crush the potatoes into large pieces (you don’t want to mash them completely, just break them up) and sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Turn the heat to medium high and stir everything together. Press down on the mixture with a spatula and cook until the bottom is somewhat browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the hash over in pieces and cook again until the other side is somewhat brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the hash from the pan and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper and a splash or two of hot sauce or vinegar. (Or serve with a bottle of hot sauce alongside.) Serve right away, garnished with the sour cream and chives.

Copyright Susie Middleton, 2017. From Simple Green Suppers (Roost Books). Photo by Randi Baird.

 

 

Best Veggie Sides for Thanksgiving, Revisited!

DSC_2822_01Here I go again reposting–so sorry, but once again, no time to create some new recipes for you for Thanksgiving, and time is flying. (And,  of course, the new book recipes are TOP SECRET…just kidding, I’ll start posting a few of those as pub date nears.) Anyway, I thought you’d appreciate a reminder of some of these amazing veggie side dish recipes on sixburnersue, so here goes. So while, yes, you’ll recognize most on this list, if you’re like me, you may have forgotten some. Reminders aren’t all bad!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with dear friends and delicious food.

Okay, here are our favorites from past Thanksgivings.

1. Crispy Smashed Potatoes (photo above)

2. Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberry-Ginger Butter and Toasted Walnuts.

3. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce

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4. Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

5. Thanksgiving Gratin of Butternut, Corn, Squash & Leeks

6. Potato Galette with Fresh Rosemary & Two Cheeses

RoastedBeetJewelsPg.2057. Roasted Beet Jewels with Cranberries, Pecans & Balsamic Butter

8. Roasted Turnips & Pears with a Rosemary Honey Drizzle

9. Potato Gratin with Gruyere, Thyme & Horseradish

10. Caramelized Turnips, Potatoes, & Carrots with Onions & Thyme

turnip overhead

Tart Art: Recipes for Sweet or Savory Rustic Tarts

DSC_0626I’ve been looking for a great excuse to repost this blog on rustic tarts. Well, it being the eve of you-know-what, I don’t thing I even have to mention why you might want to totally distract yourself with an incredibly delicious cooking project. (Perhaps you don’t have a TV or the internet in your kitchen.) But even if you don’t feel like cooking today or tomorrow, chances are that either a sweet or savory tart might fit perfectly into one of your holiday menus. So, Ta da! A repost of where to find directions to all my yummy rustic tart recipes.

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Sweet or savory, these open-faced pies can be everything from appetizer to dessert—and even breakfast. A couple years back, I wrote and photographed a story called “Tart Art” for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, and now the recipes are all online. It’s a great place to go for my all-purpose, buttery, flaky dough recipe—and to find recipes for both my versatile fruit filling (apples, pears, or plums) and for two different savory fillings.

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The fruit fillings work for sweet rustic tarts that are as delicious for dessert as they are the next day for brunch or an easy leftover breakfast. And if you’ve got a copy of Fresh from the Farm on hand, you can find one of my favorite variations in the recipe for Little Pear Crostatas with Hazelnut Crisp Topping. (Rustic tarts go by the name crostata in Italy and galette in France.)

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The savory fillings I did for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine—Savory Cabbage, Apple & Cheddar and Savory Roasted Butternut, Pear, and Cranberry—are variations on the fillings I did for my tart chapter in The Fresh and Green Table. Not only are these savory tarts deeply flavored and satisfying (great with soup or salad), but they are a lot of fun to put together.

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For step by step assembling instructions, you’ll want to look back at the directions and the photos I included in a previous blog, which includes a link to one of the recipes from The Fresh & Green Table. (The Seven Treasure Roasted Winter Veggie Tart is also a favorite in The Fresh & Green Table.) And over on the Martha’s Vineyard Magazine website, you’ll see that I’ve given you options for dividing the dough into either two or four pieces to make two bigger or four smaller tarts.

So you’ve got options.

And when summer comes around (we can be hopeful, right?) don’t forget about my most favorite tart of all—the Roasted Tomato Rustic Tart in Fresh from the Farm!

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