This is a fabulous recipe for using up your extra sourdough starter. I don’t tend to make a ton of bread because we have so many excellent artisan bakeries in town, but I like to keep my sourdough starter fresh which means I either throw out the majority of my old starter or try to find ways to incorporate it into other recipes. I’m not a huge fan of the usual suspects – sourdough pancakes or waffles – so I’ve been making variations on a theme of these crackers for over a year now. Sometimes I use rosemary, sometimes thyme or even a pinch of smoked paprika. I brush with a little water prior to baking or sometimes a little olive oil and sprinkle on top a little more herb, salt or cracked pepper. The recipe below is really a base for your imagination and taste buds!
Ingredient: olive oil
Yotam Ottolenghi is my muse. I love his bold flavors, energetic spirit and infectious love for food. This is a rather radical modification of a recipe in his latest book, Simple. Rose harissa is somewhat hard to find (I get it at the Cheese Importers in Longmont, Colorado), but regular harissa that you make yourself or buy will be totally delicious. This is great as a side dish, something to bring to a dinner party (whenever that happens again…), or to add a little heft to a night when all your serving is a big salad. I find this intensely flavorful dish to be totally craveable. And for me, as long as it’s healthy, I don’t think we should make/eat any food that’s not in the category of craveable. Life is too damn short to spend time making and eating food that’s just meh.
I’ve been making variations of this succulent sauce since 1997. Romesco sauce is from Catalonia and is usually served over fish or other meat. It is frequently made with both almonds and hazelnuts as well as stale bread crumbs. My version is slightly different, but still hits those same taste notes. I usually serve it over grilled veggies, spread on tortillas topped with avocado and salad greens, dolloped on top of slices of baguette, thinned out and drizzled over orzo, etc.
I nearly always have everything for this in my kitchen, which means that even though we’ve been pretty homebound these last few months, I can usually make this without a trip to the store. In my freezer I always have almonds (if you don’t already, do store your nuts in the freezer to prevent them going rancid) and bags of red bell peppers that I roasted and froze the previous summer. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, substitute a light balsamic. If you don’t have smoked paprika, just use regular paprika.
Even if it tastes the same there is nothing appetizing about brown oxidized pesto. I used to find it so annoying when I would go to all the trouble and time to make a fresh batch of pesto and within minutes it would go from bright green to muddy brown. Bleh. But now thanks to Maria Rodale’s cookbook, Scratch, I finally learned the trick to keep pesto bright green: blanch the basil leaves. So simple! Below is my version of her recipe — it doesn’t have cheese (not that I’m opposed, I just like it better sprinkled on top not mixed in), uses walnuts instead of pine nuts, and less olive oil. The amount below will make enough pesto for a full pound of pasta.
During the harvest season I make as much pesto as possible and freeze in small 4oz. little jars. I used to freeze batches of pesto an ice cube tray, but I found that unless I wrapped each little cube in plastic wrap, they would freezer burn way too quickly. So now I just put in a little jar with a layer of parchment paper cut to size over the pesto and freeze.
Super simple, dead-of-winter soup. My husband always calls this kind of soup: A Bowl of Health. And he’s right. You can’t go wrong with onions/garlic, kale, sweet potatoes and a handful of beans when trying to keep ahead of whatever virus is circulating or nourish yourself when you are sick.
The other thing thatI love about this soup is remembering basically how to make it: 1 cup dried beans, 1 onion, 1 sweet potato, 1 bunch of kale, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 Tablespoon miso…