January, 2007

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Yucatan Lemon Soup
Jan 14th, 2007



Lemon perked up the Celeriac Smash I wrote about in my last post, and it serves the same function for this clear broth flecked with pink shrimp and green cilantro. The recipe calls for Meyer Lemon instead of the traditional lime, but I had some Sweet Limes on hand that I wanted to try. These yellow fruit look like lemons, have a rind that smells like citronella candles, and flesh that tastes sweet with hardly any acid tang at all. I used the Sweet Lime rind and mixed the juice with a little regular lemon juice to add some needed acidity. Similarly, the original recipe suggested substituting 1/3 orange juice and 2/3 regular lemon if you can't get your hands on a Meyer Lemon.

To make the broth for this soup you simmer chicken broth with the lemon or lime rind, onion, jalapeno, and some sweet spices - cloves, cumin, and cinnamon sticks. I had a few other things going on in the kitchen while I was making this, and I let the broth sit steeping for quite a bit longer than the 20 minutes called for in the recipe. I really liked the deep aromatic sweetness this lent to the soup, and I think it's worth taking your time and making a double batch of the broth on a weekend or slow evening. With already prepped broth in your fridge or freezer all you have to do is shell some shrimp, warm your broth, and add lemon juice, hot sauce, and cilantro to taste. I went pretty heavy on the hot sauce and lemon/lime juice and it was just the thing for a cold rainy night - sort of like a Mexican style pho (actually along those lines some slippery noodles probably wouldn't be a bad thing at all to throw in there).


Yucatan Lemon Soup
makes 4 cups soup

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and quartered
8 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
3 tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemons or sweet limes)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 lb raw shrimp (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice (or combination orange or sweet lime and regular lemon juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Put the chicken broth, onion, jalapeno peppers, garlic, lemon zest, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a soup kettle and bring them to a simmer. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain the broth through a seive and discard the solids. The broth can be refrigerated or frozen for later at this point. If serving immediately, return the broth to the pot and bring to a low boil. Add the shrimp, lemon juice, salt, and hot sauce. Cook briefly until the shrimp are pink and firm, add the cilantro, and serve.

-Eating Well, January/February 2007
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Celeriac Smash
Jan 13th, 2007



I've sampled several different celery root (celeriac) preparatations over the past year due to the increased popularity of this root vegetable, and I've liked all of them but fell in love with none - until now. This simple recipe is from The Healthy Hedonist, a book I've raved out before on the site. It's really quick to prepare, the proportions are adaptable depending on your carb needs or taste, and I have to admit to licking the bowl clean.

The original recipe designates Red Bliss potatoes, but I used Yellow Finn which have a fabulously creamy texture and I think any thin-skinned boiling potato would work just fine. The completed dish has a complexity of taste that reminds me of eating something seemingly simple at a good restaurant and marveling at the deep flavor. Braising the vegetables in chicken stock adds caramelization and the lemon juice lends a piquant zing. I served regular mashed potatoes alongside this smash and Jim liked mixing some of those in to give a higher proportion of potatoes to celery root. You could also make this just with the celery root if you're concerned about carb count.

I thought it was perfect just the way it was.


Celery Root and Potato Smash
serves 5 or 6

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb celery root, cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
1 lb thin-skinned potatoes, such as Red Bliss, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 tbsp butter, optional


Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the celery root and potato and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper to taste. Saute until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the stock and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the skillet.

Cover and simmer until the celery root and potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Mash the vegetables in the skillet, stirring to soak up the pan juices. Then stir in the lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Taste, and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as desired. Stir in the butter if using and serve hot.

-Myra Kornfeld, The Healthy Hedonist
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Soft Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls
Jan 7th, 2007



My husband claims these started him on the path of holiday related weight gain, but really, was it my fault he felt the need to consume three-quarters of a pan of rolls in two days?

So, the holidays are over, many cookies and Caramacs have been consumed, resolutions have been made and I'm back on the cooking bandwagon. My weeknight cooking was becoming more and more infrequent, and I finally decided I had to deal with the root of the problem, which was that I have been getting home from work just too late to realistically cook dinner for kids that need to be in bed by 8:00. So I've moved my schedule up an hour and am regularly setting my alarm clock in the morning for the first time in seven years! (Did I mention my older boy, Jay, turned seven over the winter break?)

We're only a week into the new plan, so I'm hesitant to declare it a success, but it seems to be working out so far. I've got some good new weeknight recipes to document here, mostly on the lighter side due to that holiday overeating I mentioned, but first I need to get some over-looked holiday treats out of the way. These are really good whole-wheat rolls - soft and fluffy and theoretically filled with whole-grain goodness. Just don't eat the whole pan.


Soft Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls
makes 24 rolls

1 1/2 cups warm low-fat milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
3 large eggs, divided
1 package quick-rising yeast
3 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups cake flour, divided, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp wheat germ


Whisk milk, sugar, butter, oil, and 2 eggs in a large bowl. Whisk yeast, whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups cake flour and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a wooden spoon. The dough will be very sticky.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup cake flour on a work surface. Turn out the dough onto it and knead until all the flour is incorporated. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Put the dough in the bowl, coat the top with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, 1 1/4-2 hours.

Coat a 9x13" metal baking pan with cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rough 7x9" rectangle. Cut lengthwise into 4 equal strips and then cut each strip crosswise into 6 equal portions.

To form the rolls pick up one piece of dough at a time and gather and pinch the edges together to shape the dough into a rough ball. The spot where the edges come together is the bottom of the roll. Roll the ball lightly in your cupped hand with the bottom down, tucking the loose edges into it and stretching the surface of the dough tight. Arrange the rolls in the pan and cover with plastic wrap.

Let the rolls rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, about 1 1/4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining egg and sprinkle the wheat germ over top. Bake the rolls until light brown on top, about 20 minutes.

*To make ahead prepare the rolls in the pan and then store the pan in the fridge overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 3 1/2 hours. Then bake.

-Eating Well, December 2006
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