Tag Archives: Bon Appetit

Delicata Squash Risotto with Leeks

Like I’ve said before about my approach to cooking, I often come up with ideas for meals based on what Bill and I have on hand–in the fridge, in the pantry, or in the freezer. And since the fall, I’ve been storing several varieties of winter squash I bought from Visser Farms, because they keep well for using in the wintertime.

One kind is delicata. I’ve never cooked with it before so when I saw Bon Appetit’s recipe for Risotto with Butternut Squash, Leeks, and Basil, I wondered if I could substitute the delicata for butternut. It turns out, sources say delicata tastes somewhat like a sweet potato, so I figured it was a good option to use in the risotto.

I made a number of other substitutions in this recipe as well. For example, I had some homemade chicken stock in the fridge that I needed to use so I substituted it for the vegetable broth. I didn’t have fresh basil so I just omitted it because I think thyme carries enough flavor on its own. And, as usual, I used Pecorino cheese instead of Parmesan to accommodate Bill’s cow dairy allergies.

It’s an easy recipe. After you peel the skin off the squash and scrape out the seeds, you chop it into small cubes and saute it for about 5 minutes in olive oil.

Then you slice up some leeks. These also came from Visser Farms and have been hanging out in my fridge for at least a month.

After removing the squash from the pot, you add the leeks and saute them with chopped fresh thyme in olive oil until tender.

Then add the rice (stirring for one minute) and broth.

Just like most risotto recipes, you keep adding broth as it gets absorbed by the rice, stirring frequently.

After about 15 minutes, you return the squash to the pot and cook about ten more minutes. Once the mixture is creamy and the broth absorbed, add fresh grated Pecorino cheese.

It’s a delicious meal on its own, or a yummy side dish.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic from Cafe Matisse

If you get Bon Appetit magazine, you’re likely familiar with the RSVP section in the front, where readers get to request recipes from their favorite restaurants. Because I’ve been a subscriber since 1992, I have saved many of those recipes, including Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic from Cafe Matisse in Rutherford, New Jersey. It’s not far from where I grew up in Bergen County!

It’s really easy to make, although there are several steps that take time, such as roasting the tomatoes. But if you don’t have a plan for freezing your extra Romas from this year’s harvest (see Deborah Krasner’s freezing suggestions* on GoodEater.org), soup is the way to go.

First you slice the tomatoes in half.

Then you sprinkle them with salt and pepper and drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil.

After an hour of roasting, they look like this.

Once they’re slightly cooled, you puree them in a food processor.

In a stockpot, you mix the tomatoes with sautéed minced garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme, and crushed red pepper. Then add chicken stock. (For vegetarians, substitute vegetable stock.)

After about half an hour of simmering, you add fresh basil and season the soup with salt and pepper. Of course, it’s best if you make this a day ahead so the flavors have a chance to meld.

This recipe is wheat-free, corn-free, and dairy-free, unless you add the baguette croutons in the end. A nice option is simply to offer bread on the side.

Buon appetito!

*Thanks to my friend Julie for sharing Deborah’s article with me!

Over the Top: Rooftop Gardens for Restaurants

Chef Robert Del Grande at The Grove, Houston, TX. Photo via Bon Appetit

Have you seen the April issue of Bon Appetit magazine yet? Andrew Knowlton highlights ten restaurants in large cities that harvest herbs and vegetables from rooftop gardens. What a great way to offer local produce and make good use of rooftop space!

In the photo above is Chef Robert Del Grande at The Grove in Houston. 

Here are the other nine restaurants from the list: 

  1. Oliverio at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA
  2. Pura Vida, Atlanta, GA
  3. Frontera Grill, Chicago, IL
  4. Uncommon Ground, Chicago, IL
  5. Roberta’s, Brooklyn, NY
  6. Noble Rot, Portland, OR
  7. Gracie’s, Providence, RI
  8. Pyramid Restaurant & Bar, Dallas, TX
  9. Bastille Cafe & Bar, Seattle, WA

Have you been to any of these? Please share your reviews!

Community Supported Agriculture Expands in Central States

In today’s Grand Rapids Press, an article highlighted a survey conducted by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service that focused on business and marketing practices among 205 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) producers in nine states (IL, IN, OH, MI, PA, WV, KY, MO, TN).

Findings reveal that CSAs have emerged “as a direct farm marketing channel
during the past 25 years. During the past decade, increased consumer interest in local and organic fruit and vegetables has contributed to the CSA’s growing popularity and an increase in the number of CSA operations.”

Bill and I have contributed to those statistics because we just joined a CSA for the first time last fall–and we love it. Mud Lake Farm has been supplying us with fresh greens every other week all through the winter.

The Press article notes that a documentary produced in Michigan called “Eating in Place: A conversation on food, agriculture, and Michigan’s future” examined the area’s local food movement “and found six forces driving it: social justice, taste, health, economy, environment, and community.”

But I agree with Anja Mast, from Trillium Haven Farm: “People want to know who is growing their food.” It’s all about farm to table eating.

Want to find a CSA where you live? Check out LocalHarvest.org.

And, check out this month’s issue of Bon Appetit magazine. “The Conscious Cook” shares a new trend in CSA called a “whole diet” share. For about $50 per person per week you can get raw milk, organic grains, meat, poultry, eggs, syrup, pickles and vegetables. If you live near Lake Champlain, New York, you can get a whole diet share at Kristin and Mark Kimball’s Essex Farm in Essex, NY.

Beef Bourguignon with Parsley Potatoes

Last weekend I wanted to roast something in the oven since the weather is still on the cool side and I have several cuts of meat in the freezer that require slow-cooking.

There were quite a few beef chuck roasts, plus I had some dry red wine on hand. Putting two and two together, I decided upon Beef Bourguignon because I had all the other ingredients the recipe called for, too.

In my binder of recipes, I have several variations on this beef stew with wine, but landed upon Bon Appetit’s Beef Bourguignon recipe from May 1994. 

As usual, I improvised and have made those notations below.
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Roasted Onion and Carrot Soup

It’s soup season in Michigan. Especially when you have lots of root vegetables stored up from the farmers’ market. Because I had a bin full of carrots from Visser Farms and onions from the Boeve Farm, it made sense to make a batch of Roasted Onion and Carrot Soup from Bon Appetit.

I’m surprised this recipe only serves two people. Since we were having guests for dinner, I made one and a half times the recipe–18 ounces of carrots–which ended up being six large ones.

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Winter Squash Soup

One of my favorite soups to make this time of year is Bon Appetit magazine’s Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons. It’s easy and I can use local ingredients–such as the acorn squash and a butternut squash that I stashed in my garage as I squirreled away all the veggies I could get my hands on at the Holland Farmers’ Market.

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Beef Stew from Two Recipes

Beef Stew

Beef stew is such a simple one-dish dinner but you need a good two hours to let it simmer on the stove–not an easy situation for those who work full time. So I resort to making it on the weekend, which means it’s a good source of leftovers for later in the week.

There are oodles of recipes for beef stew. One way I’ve collected mine is through a subscription to Bon Appetit magazine, which my friend Cathy buys for me each year as a Christmas gift. When I used to get mail order catalogues (thanks to CatalogChoice.org, I’ve intercepted most of them), I’d occasionally save a recipe from Williams-Sonoma. And, of course, there’s the trusty Epicurious.com or just plain Google.

I’d say most of the things I cook tend to be inspired by documented recipes since I hate to follow rules. This week’s beef stew was inspired by two that I’ve kept in my collection: Roasted-Garlic Beef Stew from Bon Appetit (1997)and Beef Stew from the Williams-Sonoma catalogue.
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