Batter Licker

October 26, 2010

october feast: warm potato salad with bratwurst and kale in creamy mustard sauce

October might be on its way out the door, but that only gives me another reason to have a final hurrah in the form of an October feast. And what’s a better way to do that than with a colorful, flavorful, one-pot (and one foil sheet) warm potato salad with bratwurst and kale in creamy but spicy mustard sauce?

Traditional Oktoberfest meals are always so flavorful, but also so … brown. Nothing against brown food, but with plenty of options for colorful veggie add-ins, I can’t quite understand why fall feasts systematically embrace such monochromatic earth tones.

Here, I used a trio of mini potatoes to add an unbelievable zap of color, from the creamy light yellow flesh of the standard fingerling to the pink peel and bright white flesh of the red thumb fingerling to the dark purple peel and bright purple flesh of the purple majesty. All three held their coloring after roasting and developed slightly different flavors and creamy textures perfect for a potato salad.

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October 25, 2010

butternut squash gnocchi in garlic-sage cream sauce

I’m not a pumpkin kind of gal. I’d like to be, and heaven knows I’ve tried pumpkin in various forms plenty of times. But pumpkin just doesn’t do it for me, unless I’m sticking a sharp knife into it to carve a spooky face.

Pumpkin’s fall friend butternut squash, on the other hand, is something I can really get behind. Butternut squash in soups, baked pasta dishes, pizzas, risottos, and salads – or even just roasted with a bit of salt – is positively divine.

Yes; I called butternut squash divine. No; I’m not exaggerating.

Compared to other kinds of squash, the creamy skinned butternut squash is a much more manageable size, making it both easier to peel and chop and unlikely to leave you with a ridiculous amount of leftover squash. And, for the occasionally lazy among us, you’ll be delighted to know that Costco sells skinned, cubed butternut squash for the next few months.

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October 19, 2010

farrotto with mushrooms, chard, garlic, and ginger

Cold weather is creeping back into San Francisco after a glorious month and a half of summer weather. To me, that means it’s time for warm, comforting dishes like risotto.

I especially love risotto because it tastes naughtier than it is. Although it looks and tastes incredibly creamy, risotto doesn’t contain any cream. Usually, the only high-fat ingredient I add is cheese, and even then, I don’t add much. Plus, without anyone noticing (ahem, Jay!), I can almost double the recipe’s output by adding tons of vegetables. As far as I see it, the only downside of risotto is the constant stirring.

But constant stirring is a double black diamond, super steep downside, probably covered with ice and moguls. It’s no gentle, downward sloping bunny hill. There’s no denying it: standing in your kitchen for 35+ minutes, stirring every minute or so, then adding broth every few minutes is downright laborious. And incredibly boring. It often makes me wish my rice cooker had a risotto-cooking mode.

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Enter my knight in shining armor: farro. (more…)

October 12, 2010

hummus trio – plain, roasted red pepper, and spinach

Filed under: appetizer,beans,mediterranean,veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , — Kristen @ 9:38 pm

Two summers ago, I got a fever. And the only prescription was more hummus. I had just discovered the wonder of quick, easy, delicious homemade hummus, which cost me a mere $1.30 for five servings, and I got a little excited. I went a little overboard. I ate hummus every weekday for lunch for a month straight.

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Hummus on a sandwich; hummus on a salad; hummus as a snack with carrots, cucumbers, or pita bread for dipping; hummus on a spoon. It was crazy. And incredibly creamy, easy-to-make, flavorful, healthy, and cost-effective. It kept me full but energized. Summer 2009 was most definitely the Summer of Hummus.
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