Ugly Vegetables

Adaptable Risotto

Course: Main

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Cooking With Co-Op Basics: Simple Risotto

Serves 4

Gluten Free

This recipe was created for my monthly Cooking with Co-Op Basics class at Mississippi Market. I've left the brands and prices just in case someone out there is interested.   The recipe was adapted from one I think is simple and easy to follow from Jack Bishop of America's Test Kitchen.

As with all the recipes I teach here, it is meant to be adapted to what is on sale or in season.

Ingredients:

6 C. Chicken or Vegetable Stock or Water boiled with 12 oz of Parmesan Rinds & 3 cloves garlic and dried thyme, parsley and a bay leaf (approximately $3.50) 

1.5 C. Bulk Risotto Rice (approximately $2) - Bulk

1 Medium Onion, minced ($.35, using one yellow onion from the $1.79 bag on sale)

1 Tbsp olive oil + 3 Tbsp Butter ($.50)

1/2 C grated Wisconsin Parmesan-style cheese (half a wedge approximately $2.50)

1 Pack Sno-Pac Peas (approximately $2-3) - Co-Op Basics

*Indicates Co-Op Basics Item

Preparation:

Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Keep it warm over low heat. (Or if making Parmesan Stock, you can make a day ahead, skim the wax off and reheat)

Heat the oil and 2 Tbs. butter in a heavy-bottomed medium pot. Add the shallots or onion and saute over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute.

Add the wine and cook just until the alcohol aroma fades, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the warm stock and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice absorbs the liquid.

Continue adding stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring, for 15 - 20 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add the frozen peas and continue cooking, stirring, until the rice is creamy and soft but still a bit al dente, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and vigorously stir in the remaining 2 Tbs. butter and the 1/2 cup cheese.  Add salt to taste.  Divide the risotto among individual soup bowls.  Serve immediately with more grated cheese.

 

Optional if budget allows: soft boil 4 eggs (in boiling water for 4 minutes), run under cold water until cool enough to shell & place one egg on each bowl

 

Notes & Alterations:

This recipe is meant to be adapted to your own tastes and mood so you don't get bored. You can saute 2 cups of mushrooms with 2 cloves of garlic and use the stems to make a mushroom broth. Or you can use one jar of Co-Op Basics Marinara instead of chicken broth into a tomato and basil flavor & use Sno-Pac Spinach or Broccoli. If using fresh vegetables, pan roast the choicest parts and finely chop any stems to add near the end of the cooking process.

Autumn Vegetable Soup

Cooking With Co-Op Basics: Simple Vegetable Soup

Course: Main Dish, Soup

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Cuisine: Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 celery stalks, chopped

  • 1 Bag Sno-Pac Mixed Vegetables (or vegetable of choice)*

  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic (bulk item)

  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning blend (bulk item)

  • 1 can diced tomatoes*

  • 3 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef broth

  • 1 tsp salt, to taste (bulk item)

  • 2 bay leaves (bulk item)

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (bulk item)

  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained (reserve liquid separately) or 1 cup dried beans cooked up to 4 days prior (see note).*

  • 2 cups fresh kale roughly chopped with tough ribs removed separately and finely chopped

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*Indicates Co-Op Basics Item

Instructions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.

  2. Add the granulated garlic and Italian Seasoning. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes and frozen vegetables and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.

  3. Pour in the kale stems, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

  4. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the great northern beans and the chopped kale. Continue simmering for 10 minutes, until the greens have softened to your liking.

  5. Remove the pot from heat, then remove the bay leaves. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

 

Note on cooking beans: Soak beans overnight in enough liquid to cover 3-4 inches above beans. Drain. Slow cook with enough water to cover by 2 inches. To maximize effort, consider cooking enough beans for multiple meals and freezing or refrigerating extra. Beans will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Alternative uses include bean spread or hummus, adding to salads, or bulking up sauteed vegetables or to compliment meat or grains.

 

Flavor Alternatives: this recipe is meant to be adapted to your own tastes and mood so you don't get bored. Consider substituting other seasoning blends (curry powder, garam masala, herbs de provence) to change the flavor profile. Wilty greens that you think are too soft for salad or peeled stems of broccoli, stems of collards, mustards or other greens can be substituted for the kale. Any other preferred frozen vegetable can be substituted.

 

For a heartier version and if your budget allows, add 2 cups diced potatoes or sweet potatoes or other root vegetables in during step 3. Or 2 cups pre-cooked pasta or grains (barley or rice) can be added during the final 5 minutes of the simmer. Add an additional teaspoon of salt to accommodate these additions.

Making Stock From Scraps

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Several weeks ago I taught a class on making soup from scratch at the Mississippi Market. The soup recipe was adapted from one used on a recent television appearance; modified to be within the parameters of a $10 meal for a family of four. The guidelines are pretty loose, and I took a few liberties, including homemade stock being... well... zero dollars. As I write this, I’m sitting in a friend’s living room in Colorado after a trip for the Thanksgiving weekend and I keep thinking of all the stock I couldn’t make from the vegetable scraps we produced for our meals. This post is another basic exploration of easy ways to stretch the use of products that we might otherwise not see the full return on investment from. Enjoy.

Pre-Stock Planning:

As you prepare meals over time, save the following items in a ziploc bag in your freezer. I find it helps to label the bag so you don’t forget...

For All Stocks:

Onion, Shallot, and Garlic outer skins and root bottoms (rinse free of any dirt first)

Celery and carrot tops & bottoms

Herb Stems (thyme, basil, parsley, etc)

Carrot Peels

Green Leek Tops (rinse free of any dirt first)

Celery Root Peels (rinse free of any dirt first)

For Veggie Stock:

Any vegetable scraps except potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, cabbage, collard greens, beets, kohlrabi, or other vegetable you think might take over the flavor of the soup.

For Meat Stock:

Save the bones from roasted chicken, roasts, steaks, chops, ribs, or other meal (it’s best to separate the bones from the meat before people eat them to avoid pathogens). Or try shrimp, mussels, crab legs, or other seafood shells. I’ve been known to ask people to de-meat (is that a term?) their chicken and save me the bones before. I’ve also brought some home in to-go boxes from restaurants. No shame.

Herbs to Add:

1-3 Bay Leafs

1-2 Teaspoons of Peppercorns

1 Tablespoon Turmeric (for Chicken or Vegetable stock)

Preparation:

As a general rule, I make stock once I have 2 quart bags full of scraps and bones. However, you can make stock from even a small amount of scraps, just beware you won’t have a large amount of stock.

  1. Empty the contents (frozen is ok) into a pot large enough to cover them entirely with water. You can also roast your stock in the oven on a low setting (250 degrees or so)  instead, using a large roasting pan. Cover the stock ingredients by 3 or 4 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on a very low setting, uncovered, for several hours. Keep in mind the water will evaporate. If the water reduces below your ingredients, cover the pot.
  2. Taste your stock as you go. The ingredients will take a while to send their flavor over into the water. Any salt you add will concentrate as the water evaporates so be stingy with the salt until the end.
  3. When the liquid has evaporated below the ingredients, turn off the heat, allow to cool for a moment and strain the stock through a colander lined with cheesecloth or a fine sieve. Really you’re just looking to get the bones and big pieces out. Don’t worry too much if there’s still some things left floating in there. I actually find it really charming and realistic.
  4. If the liquid you’ve strained out is still too light for your liking, put it back on the stove and allow to reduce until you reach your desired concentration of flavor.
  5. This really all sounds like a lot of steps but keep in mind you’ve been collecting scraps throughout the past weeks and a stock pot boiling on the stove requires very little oversight. Plan to make your stock on a night when you’re home anyway doing other things.
  6. Once the stock is completed, allow to cool so you can skim off any fat. Placing the stock in the freezer for 15 minutes or so will help but I find putting it in the fridge overnight works too. Transfer the stock into old sour cream, yogurt or other plastic containers, being mindful to leave at least an inch of space at the top for the liquid to expand into when it freezes. I find 2 cup containers work really well.

Uses for the stock (a brief and incomplete list):

Soups & Stews

Adding to pasta sauces

Risotto

Deglazing your pan after sauteing vegetables or meats

Adding to mashed potatoes

Homemade Gravy

In place of water when cooking rice or beans

Poaching fish or seafood

Once you get into the habit of saving scraps and making stock, you'll be saving yourself from spending extra on high-sodium cubes and cans of bouillon. I promise.

Universal Winter Squash Stew

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Cooking With Co-Op Basics: Squash & Chickpea Stew

Course: Main

Serves 4

Vegan, Gluten Free

This recipe was created for my monthly Cooking with Co-Op Basics class at Mississippi Market. I've left the brands and prices just in case someone out there is interested.

As with all the recipes I teach here, it is meant to be adapted to what is on sale or in season.

Ingredients:

1 Butternut, Acorn, or other Fall Squash (1.5-2lbs or half a larger squash)

1 Small Onion, Diced - (about 4oz)

1C. (half a package) Sno-Pac Mixed Vegetables (corn, carrot, green bean, sweet pea)*

1 15 oz Can Diced Roasted Tomatoes (or Co-Op Basics pasta sauce if on sale)

1 5.4oz Can Native Forest Organic Coconut Cream

1/2C. (about 4.5oz) Bulk Garbanzo Beans - this works out to about 1.5C cooked, drained & cooking liquid reserved (for slightly more money, sub one 15oz can Field Day Beans)*

1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp Bulk Kosher or Sea Salt

1/4 tsp + 1 tsp Bulk Granulated Garlic

1tsp + 1 tbsp Bulk Powdered Ginger

2 tbsp soy sauce (Tamari if Gluten Free)

4 tbsp sunflower, peanut, or vegetable oil

2C. Bulk Long Grain Brown Rice - cooked*

 

*Indicates Co-Op Basics Item

Preparation:

Soak beans overnight in enough liquid to cover 3-4 inches above beans. Drain. Slow cook with enough water to cover by 2 inches. To maximize effort, consider cooking enough beans for multiple meals and freezing or refrigerating extra. Beans will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Alternative uses include bean spread or hummus, adding to salads, or bulking up soups and stews.

Preheat oven to 425F

Slice winter squash into rings or half and slice into half rings about 1 inch thick. If you are nervous about cutting into the thick skin of the squash, place your hand on the top of the knive and rock the handle back and forth in a saw-like motion to cut off the base and give you a flat surface to use while you cut the squash in half.

Cut off skin if squash is not an acorn, carnival, or delicata squash. Remove center pulp and seeds. Rinse seeds and set aside.

Dice the squash into 1/2-1" pieces. Toss in a bowl with 2 tbsp oil and place on baking sheet in a single layer with some space empty for seeds later. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4tsp garlic granules and 1/2 tsp ginger. Place in oven on upper-middle shelf. Place seeds into oiled bowl and set aside.

While squash is roasting - prepare the sautée:

Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large sautée or sauce pan over medium heat. Sautée onion until soft. Add frozen vegetables and remaining salt, ginger and garlic. Sautée 2-3 minutes until bottom of pan begins to brown and reduce heat to low. Stir in tomatoes, coconut cream, soy sauce, beans, and 1/2 cup bean cooking broth. Simmer on low, stirring frequently until squash can be added.

Check squash pieces for doneness - a fork should be inserted easily. Add the seeds to the sheet pan and roast another 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Carefully move squash into sauce pan with other ingredients, saving seeds for garnishing.

Add additional bean broth to thin the saute to desired consistency (some people like a thicker sauce).

Serve over rice. Sprinkle squash seeds to garnish. Salt & Pepper to Taste

Stock up & store: most winter squashes will last months in a cool dark cupboard!

Stock up & store: most winter squashes will last months in a cool dark cupboard!

Notes & Alterations:

Flavor Alternatives: this recipe is meant to be adapted to your own tastes and mood so you don't get bored. Crushed red pepper flakes can be added for increased spiciness to taste. Wilty greens or diced stems of broccoli, collards, kale, mustards or other greens can be added with the beans. Any other preferred frozen vegetable can be substituted. This recipe can be turned into a soup by adding 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock and an additional can of tomatoes.

Consider the following combinations instead of garbanzo beans, coconut cream, and ginger.

Navy Beans, 1 tbsp Dried Basil, 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme (or 1.5 tbsp Italian Seasoning). Garnish with parmesan cheese.

Black Beans, 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin, 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander. Garnish with cojita or cheddar cheese or salsa.

Garbanzo Beans, 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp Indian Curry Powder or 1 tbsp ground turmeric & 1 tbsp Garam Masala.

Or omit beans and keep the coconut cream, add 2 tbsp curry paste (green or red). Garnish with squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro or ground coriander.