Healthy Pumpkin Bread3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup regular oats (quick oats will work fine, if it's what you have, but the bread won't be quite so hearty)
This recipe will make enough to fill one 8x8 pan, three mini loaf pans, or 3 dozen mini muffins. Times for these three options are given below. Note: if you use paper liners for your muffins, the bread will stick to the paper unless muffins are cooled completely.
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease desired pan(s).
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a small bowl.
Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
Stir in pumpkin, then flour mixture, then oats.
Pour into pan(s).
Bake as directed below, or until the top of the bread springs back when touched.
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan if desired; cool completely.
8x8 pan = 25-30 minutes
3 mini loaves = 20-25 minutes
Mini muffins = 10-15 minutes
(Ovens may vary; your bread may need less or more time.)
Better Chicken Pot Pies
The one unusual trick I use in this recipe is to add the thickening portion (a mashed butter-flour roux) at the end, rather than the earlier parts of cooking. I found that the chicken cooked better in a thinner sauce, and that the thickening was more likely to hold up when added at near the end. Plus, you can really taste the richness in the final dish, hooray.
Note: I forgot the leeks and the parsley because these things happen. It would have been better with leeks; we missed them.
Makes 4 2-cup pot pies
2 cups (250 grams) all- purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
13 tablespoons (185 grams or 6 1/2 ounces) cold unsalted butter, diced
6 tablespoons (90 grams) sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) very cold water
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 to 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs and drumsticks are ideal)
1 to 2 glugs olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices
1 large onion, diced small
1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas (no need to defrost)
2 large carrots, diced small (about 1 cup carrots)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Make pastry lids: In a large, wide bowl (preferably one that you can get your hands into), combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut them up and into the flour mixture until it resembles little pebbles. Keep breaking up the bits of butter until the texture is closer to uncooked couscous. In a small dish, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, and water, and combine it with the butter-flour mixture. Using a flexible spatula, stir the wet and the dry together until a craggy dough forms. If needed, get your hands into the bowl to knead it a few times into one big ball. Pat it into a flattish ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 2 days. Meanwhile…
Make filling: Generously season all sides of the chicken parts with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If your chicken breasts are particularly large, I find that halving them can ensure they cook at the same pace at the other parts. Heat first glug of olive oil over medium-high heat in the bottom of a large Dutch oven (minimum of 4 quarts; mine is 5). Brown chicken in two parts, cooking until golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with second half of chicken. Set aside.
Heat second glug of olive oil in the same pot. Add onions and leeks, season with salt and pepper, and saute them until softened, about 7 minutes. If using, pour in sherry and use it to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer until mostly cooked off. Add milk or cream, chicken broth, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Nestle the browned chicken and any accumulated juices into the pot. Cover and gently simmer to 30 minutes, after which the chicken should be fully cooked and tender.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon; reserve it for another use, or this:
In a medium bowl, mash butter (feel free to replace any part of it with skimmed chicken fat from the previous step, thanks to a commenter below for the suggestion) and flour together with a fork until a paste forms and no flour is still visibly dry. Pour one ladleful of filling over it, and whisk until smooth. Add a second ladleful, whisking again. Return this butter-flour-filling mixture to the larger pot, stir to combine, and bring mixture back to a simmer for 10 minutes. The brothy base should thicken to a gravy-like consistency. Adjust seasonings, if needed.
Add carrots and peas to stew and simmer for 3 minutes, until firm-tender. Shred or dice the chicken, discarding the bones and skin or saving it for another use. Return chicken to stew and re-simmer for 1 minute. Stir in parsley.
Assemble and bake pies: Heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide chilled dough into quarters. Roll each quarter out into rounds that will cover 4 2-cup ovenproof bowls or baking dishes with a 1-inch overhang. Cut vents into rounds. Ladle filling into four bowls, filling only to 1 to 1 1/2 inches below the rim to leave room for simmering. Whisk egg with water to make an egg wash. Brush edges of bowls with egg wash, or if you like lids that easily lift off your bowls and are willing to risk that they may slip slightly into the bowl when baking, you can skip this. Place a lid over each bowl, pressing gently to adhere it to the outer sides of the bowl. Brush the lids with egg wash. Bake until crust is bronzed (more than mine, please, if nobody in your family is having a hangry meltdown) and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes.
Do ahead: The dough for the lids can be made up to 3 days in
advance and chilled. The filling can be made up to a day in advance and
re-warmed before assembling and baking the pot pies.
Crispy fried capers are one of my favorite garnishes, ever. They are way more interesting than bacon bits — yes, I said it. When you drop capers (that you’ve patted out on paper towels as best as possible) in a little puddle of oil, magical things happen — their layers curl out and crisp, like the world’s tiniest blooming onion. Like all fried, crunchy things, they don’t keep long under the weight of dressing; I recommend adding them only right before serving. I usually use brined capers for this, but both brined and salt-packed will work.
Although I love and prefer this salad exactly the way it is, I don’t think it would be bad with substitutions, whether you make them due to personal preferences or just what you have around. Raisins or another dried fruit would probably work for the currants; other briny things like chopped green olives or even cornichon could probably work instead of capers (don’t bother frying them), almonds could be swapped with any nut that you prefer, just toast them well, etc.
Makes about 3 cups which, for us, is never enough. 3 cups will be 2 large portions or 4 petite ones.
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, then more to taste
3 tablespoons (30 grams) dried currants
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
2 tablespoons (about 25 grams) brined or salt-packed capers
oil for frying
1 small, compact-looking head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced (use green and white parts)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional, mostly for color)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds on a tray and toast them until they’re a deep golden color, tossing them once or twice to ensure even cooking. This will take 10 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool.**
Meanwhile, place lemon juice, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add currants; set aside and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.
If using brined capers, drain and spread them on paper towels until most of their moisture has wicked out, about 5 minutes. If using salt-packed capers, soak them in water for 10 minutes to remove the saltiness, then drain, rinse and pat dry on paper towels. Pour a 1/2-inch of olive oil or another oil that you prefer to fry in in a small skillet or saucepan. Heat it over medium-high. When hot enough that a droplet of water added to the oil hisses, carefully add the capers and step back — they’re going to sputter a bit for the first 10 seconds. Once it’s safe to get closer, give them a stir. Depending on how dry they were, it can take 1 to 2 minutes for them to get lightly golden at the edges and then crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.
Trim cauliflower leaves and cut head into quarters. Using an adjustable-blade slicer (this is mine; it takes up very little room) to cut cauliflower, stem and florets, into 1/4-inch slices. Add to a large bowl.
Scoop currants from vinegar mixture with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with cauliflower, along with almonds, capers, scallions and parsley. Slowly whisk 5 tablespoons olive oil into remaining vinegar mixture in a thin stream. Add several turns of freshly ground black pepper. Pour over cauliflower and other ingredients and turn gently to coat all pieces. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste. Dig in!
** P.S. I really tried to avoid this pesky oven step by toasting mine in a skillet, the one I’d use to fry the capers in a few minutes. Twice, I failed because the little bits got black and smoky before the larger ones toasted, no matter how much I kept them moving. I’m pretty sure I could do better in the future, but I was running out of almonds. If you trust your pan-toasting skills, feel free to cook the almonds there instead.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Ricotta Salata
When I first had this salad at The Smith, I couldn’t figure out why it was so familiar and I’m really not proud of the fact that I’d had it three times before I remembered: my cookbook! Right, that old thing. In the book, I tried to teach myself, a kale resistor, to be a kale lover and I did so by taking it back to the 1990s, when restaurants discovered that if you add dried fruit, toasted nuts, a crumbly salty cheese and a honey-and-dijon vinaigrette to any previously unappetizing pile of salad greens, it will taste delicious. Here, the dried fruit is dried cherries (but The Smith uses dried cranberries), the toasted nuts are almonds, the honey-Dijon is barely sweet and uses coarse Dijon as well. From The Smith I learned to add a little snippet of dill, a touch of grated lemon zest and cooked, cooled quinoa to make the salad that I’m literally counting down the minutes to lunch so that I can have it again.
Yield: 2 to 3 quite large meal salads or 4 to 5 side salads; salad will wilt a bit and seem smaller the longer it sits with the dressing
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
8 ounces Black Kale, also known as Cavolo Nero, or Lacinato, Dinosaur, or Tuscan Kale
1/2 cup slivered almonds, very well toasted and cooled
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped a bit
2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
2 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled or finely grated
Few gratings of fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
Just shy of 1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Rinse quinoa well in a small colander. This is essential to remove bitterness. Place quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer with a couple pinches of salt. Simmer at a very low temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain any un-absorbed liquid from cooked quinoa. Spread quinoa on a plate to cool quickly.
Wash your kale and dry it well. Then, with a knife, remove the rib from each stalk, leaving long strips of kale leaves. Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients to kale and toss to mix.
Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then dig in.
Mustard Greens Recipe
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces
- 2 to 3 Tbsp chicken broth or vegetable broth (vegetarian option)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant.
2 Add the mustard greens and broth and cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.