In most parts of the country, autumn is a transitional season where summer slowly transitions into winter. Leaves turn colors, fields are harvested and turned for the next season, and our sleeves get longer.
Here in Central New York, autumn lasts about three weeks. September gets progressively colder, so much so that you think it is October already. By the time Halloween hits, parents debate whether snowsuits are necessary underneath the costume for trick or treating. Continue reading Meatless Monday: Kale-Quinoa Minestrone
Mexican food scares the hell out of white Baby Boomers and I’m not sure why. The Father and The In-Laws would rather eat a bowlful of glass than a taco and for no good reason. Popularly, Mexican food is characterized as being hot, thanks to the mystery chile peppers that Speedy Gonzalez would slip to his threat du jour.
I also think that Taco Bell had something to do with it. I haven’t run for the border in a long time, but my memories of what’s inside the wax paper wrapper is not pretty. It is usually a sloppy mess of meat, salsa and sour cream with the smell of warm garbage. I don’t know why this was so appealing to me in high school, but I ate it like a champ.
Continue reading Meatless Monday: Black Bean Burritos
I’m not sure I can quantify The Wife’s dislike for peas. It’s odd. They are innocuous little things, full of vitamins and fiber, and they’ve never done anything to harm anyone, particularly her. Still, there she is, sneering at the little buggers when I serve them.
In an effort to get her to eat some peas and see if the appearance of the green sphere would take some of the edge off, I went with a soup from Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help You Cook Anything by Kelsey Nixon. It’s a nifty little book. Anyhow, Kelsey purees the peas, mixes them with some stock and dairy, and BAM!, soup. So, how did it go over? Continue reading Meatless Monday: Sweet Pea Soup
The best reason I can come up with for why I don’t use more black-eyed peas is that I never really ate them while growing up. We all branch out and try new things, but when it comes to things like beans, I think we just lean on the familiar. Cannellini beans are popular in Italian cooking. Black-eyed peas are popular in Southern cooking styles and dishes like Hoppin’ John. So, maybe it’s not so unusual.
Anyhow, black-eyed peas are high in calcium, folates, protein, dietary fiber and vitamin A. When paired with kale, high in vitamin A, C, K and calcium, you can get a lot of nutrients out of a meal.
The original recipe included sausage, but it was easy to eliminate it for Meatless Monday purposes.
Continue reading Meatless Monday: Kale and Black-Eyed Pea Soup
Part of our continuing series on the glory and splendor that is macaroni and cheese. See Parts: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII.
So, this recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation.
Food blogging is an area where plagiarizing someone else’s work is very easy to do. Let’s take macaroni and cheese. No one holds a trademark on it, so ingredient lists are not unique or special. The recipe as it is written by the person who developed it, however, is. I come up with about half of the recipes that I have published her at Al Dente. The other half come from a book or website. Those works are protected by copyright and, while I do give credit, I’m careful how I use these items because I don’t seek permission from an author or publisher before I use the recipe. Transcribing Donald Link’s recipe for his smoked sausage and pork belly cassoulet, as it appeared in his latest cookbook, would be wrong on so many levels. Continue reading Meatless Monday: Macaroni and Cheese Part IX
As the pall of autumn casts itself upon us, Meatless Monday will likely incorporate more dishes like this offering. Soup seems to be a rather easy meatless option for us here at Al Dente HQ. It was a staple food in both The Wife and my house as children. I’ve talked about my family’s attachment to escarole soup in the past. The Wife and I were both raised on the little pearl pasta known as acini di pepe, or pastina.
Frankly, there’s no better smell in a house than the combination of celery, onion, bay leaf and chicken (or beef) broth bubbling away on a stovetop.
Continue reading Meatless Monday: Gnocchi and Spinach Soup
Around here at Al Dente HQ, kale usually comes in the traditional curly form. It’s the most widely-found variety of the veggie at farmer’s markets and grocery stores, and usually the cheapest and easiest to work with. I’ve seen the red variety at the market before, but never ventured in that direction.
This week, I picked up a bag of Tuscan kale, known also as Lacinato or Dinosaur kale. From One Green Planet:
Lacinato Kale (also known as Dinosaur) is a kale variety that features dark blue-green leaves with a slightly wrinkled and firm texture. The hearty leaves of Dino Kale are tall and narrow and retains its firm texture even after it has been cooked. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than the curly kind with its flavor described as deep and earthy, but not so bitter with an almost nutty sweetness.
Continue reading Meatless Monday: Lemon Pasta with Kale and Goat Cheese
Convenience. It’s typically why I don’t use dry beans, going for the canned variety instead. While I plan dinners ahead of time each week, I rarely decide a given evening’s more than a few hours in advance. Soaking beans overnight requires more planning than the average Al Dente meal receives.
So, canned it is. Except when it isn’t. One of the things that stood out to me in Merrill Stubbs’ recipe at Food52 was the rapid soak-and-cook method of handling the beans. It worked…sort of.
I was a little disappointed that the beans weren’t softer, even after soaking them before boiling. In total, I soaked the beans for two hours, boiled them then let them sit for another hour. They were still a little too hard. Continue reading Meatless Monday: Brothy, Garlicky Beans