Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Blizzard in the City and Vegetable Soup

We all know, on cold, snowy days, how we love a nice, hot, nourishing bowl of soup.
As anyone knows we got dealt a blizzard this holiday season in N.Y. and parts a bit north.
Here is an easy vegefruitian soup that is healthy, nutritious and will warm the cockles of all of our hearts.
I'll call it Blizzard Vegetable Soup, in honor of the blizzard of 2010 .


1 Tbs. Olive oil
1 onion diced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
3 ribs of celery with tops, diced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 head of cabbage sliced
2 Idaho potatoes, large dice
3 carrots peeled and sliced
2 yellow carrots or 5 carrots in all
3 parsnips peeled and sliced
1- 6 oz can of tomato paste
water to cover soup, about 5 cups
grated parmesan cheese to add at the table



In a 5 quart pot over medium heat saute the onion, garlic, celery and herbs, salt, pepper and the pinch of red pepper flakes until softened.
Stir in the cabbage and cook until wilted. Add all of the remaining ingredients up to and including the tomato paste. Stir to combine. Put in water to cover, stir. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
Cook for  about 20 minutes until vegetables are fork tender but do not fall apart.
Serve with grated parmesan at the table.

Recipe, photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2010

Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts

Love these tiny cabbages especially this way, this time of year.
First you cut one container of the "chou"( little cabbages) in half.  Measure one cup of already shelled and roasted chestnuts. You can buy these already prepared in a jar.

In a large saute pan simmer the sprouts in 1 cup of chicken stock and a pinch of salt over medium high heat until color becomes bright green.

 Add the chestnuts and 2 Tbs. maple syrup. Continue cooking until the stock reduces and vegetables are tender. Finish with 1/2-1 Tbs. butter, roll around to coat vegetables. Correct the seasoning with coarse grain sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. The sprouts are done when they are tender and  coated nicely with the glaze.

Recipe, writing and photos, by Karen Pickus 2010
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

I made several pumpkin pies over the last few weeks. I experimented with sugar pumpkins, kakai pumpkins, butternut squash and even sweet potatoes. I used the same formula each time, and the subtle differences were only because of the vegetable used. I like a silky and spicy deep dish pie. This recipe renders my required results. For the filling I roast the the pumpkin at 400 degrees for about 1 hour, until the pumpkin is tender. Then I mash the pumpkin.

I put two cups of pumpkin in a bowl or a food processor. Then I add
1 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, 5 eggs, 1 tsp. each, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and a half tsp. of clove. 

 Then I whirl in a cup of cream, until the mixture is smooth. I pour the mixture into an unbaked pieshell and place the pie in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. The crust should be nutty brown and the top of the pie should be shiny and set.

Sweet Potato

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2010
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Well Seasoned Venison Chop

The Venison Chops
 I had some well deserved time off from GMA and decided to spend it away from the big A, so off I went. Some friends were hunting there for the week so I engaged in some wild game cookery and much needed R and R. Not bad for a food obsessed in need of rest person. My idea of a great time.

                          This is my friend the hunter preparing the chops.

Here I am cooking the chops. Well seasoned liberally with coarse grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauteed over high heat in a cast iron skillet in olive oil and a pat of butter, medium rare.


These chops were by far the best meat I have ever tasted, hands down, Amen.

Writing recipe and photos by Karen Pickus 2010
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pepitas and Pumpkin Seeds

I saw my friend the dirt farmer and all around food enthusiast this week. Charles, formerly known as the "King of Pop". He showed me these seeds that live inside these green and orange pumpkins. First I was taken by the crunch, he had toasted them to perfection, then I was delighted by the pumpkins themselves, rounded to a perfect promise, lovely green and orange orbs. And then I learned they come into the world this way, no shell just sensational seed. The pumpkins are called Kakai. I made pies with them that I will blog about soon. He gave me some pumpkins. Here I will show you how to roast the seeds. I thank my friend for many things... on the list I add Kakai  Pumpkin Seeds.

First you cut pumpkins in half and scoop out the seeds.

 Lay them in one layer on a sheet pan. Set the oven to 375.

 Roast for 30 minutes until seeds begin to pop and are dry and somewhat crispy. They will crisp up to a crunch as they cool.

Recipes, Writing and Photos by Karen Pickus 2010
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Finished Slaw

Finished Slaw
Ready to eat!