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Monday, March 27, 2017

Recipe Review from 3/19/2017

Oh, be still my gurgling tummy!  A new cook book acquisition has me running down the proverbial rabbit hole of new recipes and much to my delight, there's a website!  The website actually came first, cook book second, but I didn't know that.

The Food Lab Cookbook is ahh-mazing!  I've made a couple things out of it and reviewed them in the last couple of weeks (the mac and cheese being the most notable).   Then I checked out the website and immediately found three recipes I wanted to make AND I had the ingredients for.  I'm also thrilled that the recipe includes weights for everything.   I don't know how many times I've stood and wondered what someone meant by "one large onion" or "two medium zucchini".    A large onion from my garden or one of the softball sized things I get from the grocery store?  So weights - yay! 

The Salmon Chowder kicks off of my newest recipe obsession...  Enjoy!

The Meal Plan from the week of 3/19:
Sat (L) leftovers   (S)  Chinese take out and March Madness
Sun (L)  leftover chicken and stew  (S) Salmon Chowder
Mon (yoga) leftover chowder
Tues - leftover chowder
Wed - Pasta with Butnut squash and sage
Thurs - leftovers
Fri - leftovers

Lunches - leftover Beefless Stew then Squash Soup

Salmon Chowder (The Food Lab/Serious Eats)
This is easy enough to make on a weeknight - the longest bits are waiting for the bacon to render and simmering the potatoes.  During which kitchen can be cleaned up, table set and sides prepped.  Granted, this assumes you assembled and chopped all your ingredients ahead of time, but there's plenty of time to cook bacon and chop veggies too.

I was also contemplating the ways I could switch this up - by adding shrimp instead of salmon, or toss in some fresh corn... can't wait to explore!  

photo from
1/2 pound salt pork or bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (225g)
2 tablespoons water (30ml)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 8 ounces; 225g)2 large ribs celery, finely chopped (about 6 ounces; 170g)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 20g)
1 cup bottled clam juice (235ml)
1 quart whole milk (900ml)   (I used goat milk)
1 pound russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (450g)
1 bay leaf
3/4 to 1 pound boneless, skinless fish scraps, such as salmon, cod, or halibut, cut into 3/4-inch chunks (350-450g)
Minced fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, or chives, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving
Crackers, for serving

Combine salt pork or bacon and water in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated and pork has begun to brown and crisp in spots, about 8 minutes. Add onion, and celery. Season gently with salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened but not browned, about 4 minutes longer. Add flour and cook, stirring, until no pockets of raw flour remain. Stir in clam juice, followed by milk. Add potatoes and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.

Simmer chowder, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fully tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in fish chunks and simmer just until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately, garnished with minced fresh herbs, hot sauce, and crackers.

Pasta with Butnut Squash, Browned Butter and Sage (Food Lab/Serious Eats)  vegetarian
If you can find the "good" pasta (ie, not Creamette, Barrillo, etc), do so.  It will definitely elevate the dish (and make it look like the picture below).  I found the "good" pasta at a specialty store in town, but by then I had already purchased regular shell pasta and didn't want more stuff in the pantry.

This does come together fairly quickly - however, we had pre-diced our squash several days prior and that makes a big difference on meal assembly.  Flavor wise, pretty good.  I think if I had the "good" pasta, it would have been better.  I would make this again because it's a great way to use that fall butternut squash.

Daniel Gritzer on Serious Eats notes (and this is actually from the recipe below), and this is SO true and why I love butnut:  

"Butternut squash has just enough personality to make it interesting in its own right, 
but is still enough of a blank slate to make it a good base for all sorts of flavor ideas. 
If butternut squash brought home an elementary school report card, 
the note from the teacher would say,  
Has a strong sense of self yet always cooperates well with others."

photo from

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (30ml)
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (450g; about 1/2 large squash)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30g)
1 small shallot, finely minced (about 1 ounce; 30g)
1 handful fresh sage leaves, finely minced (about 1/2 ounce; 15g)
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon (15ml)
1 pound small cupped, tubular, or ridged pasta such as orecchiette, penne, farfalle, or rotini (450g)
1 ounce grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (30g)

Heat olive oil in a large stainless steel or cast-iron skillet over high heat until very lightly smoking. Immediately add squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until well-browned and squash is tender, about 5 minutes. Add butter and shallots and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until butter is lightly browned and smells nutty, about 1 minute longer. Add sage and stir to combine (sage should crackle and let off a great aroma). Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine pasta with enough room temperature or hot water to cover by about 2 inches. Season with salt. Set over high heat and bring to a boil while stirring frequently. Cook, stirring frequently, until pasta is just shy of al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain pasta, reserving a couple cups of the starchy cooking liquid.

Add pasta to skillet with squash along with a splash of pasta water. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook until the pasta is perfectly al dente, stirring and tossing constantly and adding a splash of water as needed to keep the sauce loose and shiny. Off heat, stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and texture with more pasta water as needed. Serve immediately, topped with more cheese at the ta

 Mexican Butternut Squash (Food Lab/Serious Eats)  vegetarian option
I'm not sure if I massively misread the recipe, or if my inexperience with ancho chili's played a part (Northern girl here - almost speak Canadian, eh?), but I looked for fresh ancho's because the recipe didn't say dried.  From the picture on the website, it appears to be dried.  Confused!  Ultimately, not being able to find either, I went with poblano chili's, charred them under the broiler, steamed and peeled them, then added to the rest. 

I still want to make the ancho version - I suspect I'm supposed to use dried and those I think I can find in the other grocery store in town. 

2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
photo from
2 ancho chilies, stemmed (see authors note below)
I used two poblano chilies, charred and skins removed. 
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth (see note above)
1 cup water
Sugar, to taste

Note: If you want a less spicy soup with a less intense chili flavor, feel free to discard the ancho chili seeds or scale down to 1 ancho chili pepper. Otherwise, go for the big flavor and spoon in plenty of crema or sour cream to tame the intensity. You can make this soup vegetarian by substituting with vegetable stock.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss squash with 2 tablespoons oil, season with salt, and spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast squash, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, about 35 minutes.

In a dry skillet, toast ancho chilies over high heat, turning once, until fragrant. Let cool, then tear into pieces

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, and garlic, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add ancho chilies, chicken stock, and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain simmer. Stir in butternut squash.

Using a blender or stick blender, blend soup until completely smooth. Season with salt and add sugar 1 teaspoon at a time to balance the flavor, if needed.

Spoon soup into bowls and garnish with crema or sour cream, cilantro, and pepitas. Serve with lime wedges.

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