Socca

While flipping through my most recent edition of National Geographic Traveler I came across this 1-page article on Socca (chickpea flour crepes).  Seeing as the picture indicated that this Socca (which I had never heard of before) was a food, I decided to read on.  The ingredient list was simple: chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt.  The intent seemed ideal: to be in rough shards, eaten with your fingers.  How could I go wrong?  So I tried it.

The batter is fairly thin- much like crepe.

Socca batter

Socca batter

There are several options for cooking these- under a broiler (in a fry pan), on a very hot baking stone, stove top.  I opted to make my first three on a baking stone, preheated in a 500 degree oven, and the last in a cast iron pan so that I could see the difference.

Broiled socca: crispy edges and nicely cooked center

Broiled socca: crispy edges and nicely cooked center

I served these as a gluten-free flatbread type of side to lemon-pepper chicken and green salads topped with crispy-fried mushrooms, roasted red peppers and cheddar cheese.

Socca makes a great app or accompaniment

Socca makes a great app or accompaniment

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpea flour
2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt (or more if you really want to taste it)

Directions:

  • Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, garlic, thyme, and salt. Let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours
  • Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone in it
  • Give the batter a quick whisk and ladle a quarter of it into the skillet
  • Switch the oven to Broil and let it go for 5-10 minutes, until the top is browned and the socca is cooked in the middle (yet still tender) and crispy around the edges. Use a spatula to remove it from the stone
  • Repeat to make the additional flatbreads
Socca- ready for cutting

Socca- ready for cutting

Pork and Kimchi Sliders

While perusing through my pile of recent magazine recipes I came across one from Food and Wine for “Crunchy Pork Kimchi Burgers” and I thought well, this sounds weird, but oddly good at the same time.  Then I went to the Northampton Tuesday Market  and there was a vendor sampling fresh kimchi which was nothing like the shelf-stable stuff that I had eaten in the past- a little less crunchy, a little less bitter, more sweet, and simply lovely.  Just a hop-skip-and jump up from her stand was Mockingbird Farm who had ground pork for sale and I just knew that I had to give this recipe a try.   I grabbed some baby spinach from Enterprise Farm and now had the makings for this lovely sounding dish, locally sourced.  Since I was on a roll, and they looked fantastic, I grabbed some white turnips too (from Old Friends Farm)- I figured they’d be great for roasting.

Since I’ve eaten primarily grain-free since the beginning of this year, I adjusted the recipe to omit the flour and panko and obviously had a different end product than what was advertized in the magazine.  I really loved the dish the way that I made it and will definitely make it again this same way.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 large garlic clove, pressed

2 scallions, chopped

1 lb. ground pork

3/4 cup finely chopped kimchi (I ran it through the food processor rather than hand-chopping)

Sprinkle of Kosher salt

Vegetable oil, for frying

10 oz. baby spinach

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

sesame seeds (for garnish)

Directions

  • In a bowl combine the ginger, garlic, scallions, pork and kimchi with the salt

ginger, garlic, scallions, pork and kimchi with salt

  • Form the mixture into eight small patties, about half an  inch thick (to get these all a uniform size, I used a number 2 scoop)

Add the patties and fry over moderate heat...

  • In a large skillet (cast iron if you’ve got it), heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Add the patties and fry over moderate heat, turning once only, until you have a beautiful crisp on each side and there is no more pink visible from the outside(you want them to be cooked through)
  • Set aside to drain on paper towels and let the juices finish distributing
  • Pour off all of the vegetable oil from the skillet and add some toasted sesame oil and the baby spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over a medium-high heat until wilted (about 1 minute)

baby spinach wilting in toasted sesame oil

  • In a small dish, mix the mayonnaise, sesame oil and soy sauce
  • Pile the spinach on plates and top with the sliders, drizzle with the sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy

Pork and Kimchi Sliders over wilted sesame spinach with roasted white turnips

I will admit to eating two left-over patties the next day, straight out of the fridge.  A different experience, but good still.  The sauce is a bit salty, so be sure not to over-do it.

J

Steamed Butternut Squash with Ancho Chili Dressing

Between entertaining out of town guests, exercising my right to a social life, training for the next big race (we have our mile down to 9:28- yay!), and living life in general I have neglected my blog.  For this I should be ashamed.  But it is not for lack of cooking, or trying out new recipes.  There is just not time enough in the day to get them all out on the internet 😉  That said….

We are entering the fall season very soon (9/23 to be exact) and with this new season come a whole load of new crops from the farmers.  Our October CSA shares will boast of goods such as: beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, collards, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard greens, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, cool-weather spinach, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, turnips and squashes.  As I tend to cook with what I have in the fridge, I’ll attempt to keep you stocked with interesting ways to use these fabulous ingredients.

This particular recipe was inspired by World’s Healthiest Foods and turned out quite lovely.  It fills the house with the warm smell of cinnamon and sweet onion while it simmers.  The finished dish is naturally sweet and the squash has a creamy consistency.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into cubes

1 medium red onion, cut in half and sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon & 1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Steam the squash cubes for about 6 minutes

  • While the squash is steaming, sauté the onion in a tablespoon of broth for about 3 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently
  • Add the garlic and spices and mix well

  • Next, add the remaining broth and begin to simmer
  • Add in the steamed squash and cook together for another 3-4 minutes

  • Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cilantro, and serve

We had this as a side to a chicken from our meat CSA which we had put on the rotisserie smothered with herbs de Provence.

Black Bean Chili with Chicken & Zucchini

This recipe is a great way to get some low-fat protein and fiber worked into your diet with a huge flavor profile.  It’s simple to make and only takes about half an hour from start to finish.   And did you know that the Chinese black bean, also known as Douchi, is a fermented soy bean? So if you’re trying to eat a more primal diet, these are an acceptable item.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Salt & pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered & chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups of black beans

2 cups of diced tomatoes

1 small can mild green chilies

2 Tablespoons ancho chili paste

1/2 cup cilantro

Sour cream

Directions:

  • Warm a skillet over a medium heat, add olive oil
  • Season the chicken breast with chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper & sauté for a couple of minutes per side- just to get the cooking process started.  Remove from heat & set aside
  • In a large soup pot, sauté the onion, zucchini and garlic for 5 minutes.  While these are cooking, cut you chicken into bite-sized pieces
  • Add the chicken, beans, tomatoes, chilies and chili paste to the pot, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Top with sour cream & cilantro and serve

Ginger Pork Tenderloin with Asian Vegetables

This meal was inspired by a recipe posted on WHF for Asian Sauteed Cauliflower.  I say “inspired by” because, of course, it grew into something very different.  The stand-out element here is the dressing that you make for the vegetables.  It’s a little salty and a little sweet, and it’s made almost buttery, if you will, with the addition of cilantro at the end.  I used many of the same ingredients to dress the pork with.

Ingredients:

Pork:

1 pork tenderloin

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon tamari

salt & pepper

Vegetables:

1/2 of a medium head cauliflower, trimmed & florets cut into bite-sized pieces

1 decently-sized carrot, sliced into rounds

1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into half-rounds

½ of a large onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
5 Tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 medium cloves garlic, diced small
2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoon tamari
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Season the pork with salt & pepper
  • Heat a cast iron fry pan on the stove top at a medium-high heat, add the oil, then begin searing the pork tenderloin
  • While the pork sears, mix the ginger, vinegar, honey & tamari, then pour it over the seared pork
  • Pop the frying pan, with pork & dressing, into the oven for 23 minutes (adjust up or down depending on size)
  • While the pork finishes in the oven heat the chicken broth in a large skillet at a medium to medium-high heat and when it begins to steam add the cauliflower, carrot, zucchini, onion & ½ of the garlic, cover and allow to steam for 5 minutes
  • While the veggies steam, mix together the ginger, remaining garlic, vinegar, honey, tamari, olive oil, salt & pepper
  • After the veggies have cooked for 5 minutes, uncover them and add the dressing
  • Turn the heat off under the pan, and stir the veggies every couple of minutes to distribute the dressing
  • Serve the veggies topped with cilantro

This meal was very tasty 😉

J