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Gazpacho with Crab + Avocado

August 28, 2021

imageIs there anything more refreshing on a hot day then Gazpacho? It is one of my all time favorite summer dishes. It is like drinking your salad – so filling and delicious, and I love it with the tang of vinegar and kick from jalapeño. I was reading about this easy version this morning from Cup of Jo and I know I’ll be making it soon, but I love this recipe.

When we visited Paris a few years ago, it was a 100 degrees, and we ate lunch at a bistro where I saw it on a chalk board menu served with vegetable tartar on top. It was so refreshing – ice cold, and the tartar made of just cucumbers, onions and zucchini was so different (and so precisely chopped! The woman who waited on us came up and asked how I liked it and I am guessing she made it herself).

Her dish made me think about adding something on top, and I wanted to add a protein to make it a meal. I adore the combination of crab and avocado, and I was craving them tossed in lemon. So I made a mixture tossed in a quick vinaigrette out of lemon, olive oil, and mustard. The result was…amazing! Perfect for lunch or as an appetizer. (You could even put them in little glasses for a party).

To make the gazpacho: imageChop all the veggies and put them in a food processor. Then tear up the bread and add it along with all the liquids (water, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil). That is it!

imageimagePulse it to the desired consistency (fine, but not liquified). So easy. And it makes a huge batch, great for a party or for luxurious lunches the whole week.

For the crab and avocado (which would be good on anything, right?):

imageimageCube two avocados, and squeeze half of a lemon over it. Then add half of the 1 lb. can of lump crab – I really love Heron Point’s brand, and you can freeze the other half, though we ate ours as an appetizer with easy remoulade the next night. But you could also use shrimp as well, chopped if they are large. In a bowl, mix together 3 T. olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon, and the other half of a lemon, a dash of tabasco sauce along with salt and pepper. Then pour that over the lump crab-avacado mixture, and stir. Add 2-3 T. scallions.

image

To serve, pour chilled gazpacho into bowl. Spoon crab mixture on top and enjoy.

imageThis is just the most luxurious dish, the crab goes so well with the tomatoes and spicy jalapeño.  Simple flavors, simple ingredients. So stock up at your next farmer’s market or with your garden bounty and whip this up – I promise you will thank me!

Gazpacho with Crab and Avocado (printer version here)

For Gazpacho:

4-5 very ripe beefsteak tomatoes

2 large English cucumbers, halved and seeded

2 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and stemmed

1 small (or ½ of one large) red onion

2 slices day old white bread

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 cup ice plus ½ cup water

4 T. red wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more to drizzle

 

Directions:

Core and seed tomatoes. Peel and seed cucumbers. Stem and seed the peppers. Tear two slices of bread into pieces. Combine vegetables, bread and liquids in food processor and process until almost smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Pour soup into pitcher, cover and refrigerate until very cold. (You can serve with croutons if making without the crab mixture.)

 

For the Crab and Avocado Topping:

2 ripe avocados

½ lb. lump crab

1 lemon

3 T. olive oil

dash of tabasco

salt and pepper

2 T. scallions, sliced

Directions:

Cube avocados and spoon out. Sprinkle with half the lemon juice. Add crabmeat and toss lightly so ingredients stay chunky. Make vinaigrette out of next 5 ingredients, and gently toss to combine. Add one large spoonful on top of each bowl of soup.

 

 

 

 

 

Goat Cheese and Sage Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Kale and Blue Cheese

October 4, 2019

This post is basically one big ode to fall. And gnocchi. And my husband for taking me out to eat on our Anniversary. We went to the Black Trumpet and this was our main course. My meat-loving husband and I split this for our 15 year Anniversary dinner. It just oozed fall comfort food when we saw it on the menu and that’s pretty much what it is. This will help you get your fall on, I promise.

Also, why aren’t people shouting from the rooftops that homemade gnocchi is SO good and easy? Consider this my rooftop shout.

Remember that scene in Unbroken when he was on the stairs and watching his mother or grandmother making gnocchi in the kitchen, and that memory of comfort sustained him through almost dying in a boat and almost dying in the prisoner of war camp?

When I saw that scene, I was touched by the power of food memory like everyone else but now I know it really is because homemade gnocchi is that good. (RIP Louis).

Gnocchi has FOUR ingredients (five if you use cheese like I did) – you put potatoes that have been boiled and mashed (or grated) on a work surface that’s dusted with flour, then you add flour, make a well, crack an egg, add some salt and for these I added goat cheese and sage, and then you mix it all together with your hands until it forms a dough. It might actually take as long to make and boil these as it takes to boil a box of spaghetti.

This is one of those dishes that you can get all the elements together ahead of time. I cooked the vegetables and made the dough on Sunday and then our tile guys came in to finish our kitchen (yay, I can’t wait to show you all now that it’s done! Post coming soon). I didn’t get to roll out the gnocchi until two days later and it was totally fine.

To put the dish together, you just roast the kale (make extra because you will want to nibble on it all day long).

And then you make the butternut squash puree – just add some liquids to thin it out (I used milk, broth and apple cider vinegar) and some butter, salt and pepper.

Then you boil the gnocchi – it only takes 3 minutes to cook, and it nicely floats to the top of the water to tell you its done.  Then you melt 2 T. butter in a large pan and cook it until it’s browned.

Then you put these three elements together – which honestly you could have used each part alone or in a million other ways for other dishes, so keep them on hand all fall. Then you sprinkle blue cheese and chopped hazelnuts on top ( look for hazelnuts at a gourmet grocer or try Amazon).

This could be a Thanksgiving side dish, a comfort meal for a friend who had surgery or new baby, or just a date night at home. My older kids loved it, the little ones just wanted the gnocchi.

 

For the gnocchi:

4 russet potatoes (about 2.5 lbs)

2 1/2 cups flour + more for work surface

4 oz. goat cheese, softened

1 egg

2 T. chopped fresh sage

1 tsp. salt

Directions: 

Boil potatoes: put peeled potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, then cook for 20 minutes. When fork tender, remove and let dry on a towel.

Using a potato masher or potato ricer, mash potatoes until they are the consistency you would use for mash potatoes. (You can also grate them).

On a work surface coated in flour, pile the potatoes and then add the 2 1/2 cups of flour. In the center of this pile make a well and add goat cheese and egg, beating egg with a fork. Then add sage and salt, and using your hands combine all ingredients well and form into a loaf. Using a sharp knife, slice 1-2 inch strips through the longest side of the dough. Pulling one row apart at a time, roll between your fingers until a thin log is formed. Then cut 1-2 inch pieces of dough to form each gnocchi.

You can boil immediately, for around 3 minutes or until it floats to the top of the water. If you want to serve them later you can lay them on a cookie sheet and put in fridge or freezer until ready to boil. Once frozen they can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

For the butternut squash:

1 butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds removed

Olive oil

2 T. butter

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1/4 apple cider vinegar, optional

Salt and Pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil it. Place squash cut side down, and cook for 30-35 minutes, until squash feels tender when a knife is inserted. Let cool.

For serving, scrape squash into pan set on medium heat. Mash with a potato masher as it heats, then add butter and let it melt, then stir to combine. Thin puree out with your choice of liquids, I used 3/4 c. whole milk, 1/2 c. chicken broth, 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar. Stir and if necessary mash until desired consistency. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, tasting to adjust seasoning if more is needed. Keep warm until you assemble the dish.

For the kale: 

4 cups kale, steams removed and torn into pieces

2 T. olive oil

1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Toss kale with oil, salt and pepper. Divide kale among 2 sheet pans to avoid steaming and to get crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.

To assemble: combine butternut squash, gnocchi then kale onto a plate or plater. Sprinkle 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles and 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts on top. Serve immediately.

Sheet Pan Lemon & Herb Salmon with Dill Cream Sauce

August 20, 2019

Hello00 food friends! If you are still reading this blog after the super silent summer here, thank you! I spent the summer being the general manager for a kitchen remodel and general move out due to floors being redone, as well as focusing on my super cute offspring up at our lakehouse (that doubles as a ski house in the winter). I spent a lot of time researching recipes and dreaming about all the food I’ll make this fall in our new kitchen, so I hope there are a lot of good things to come here on The Humble Onion. I want to make all the delicious but easy dinners with new flavors, so if you’re looking for that sort of thing, keep checking back.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s a picture of our kitchen – we are waiting on new counters and backsplash so I’ll wait until they are done to do a blog post about it but here is a sneak peak:

My first meal in our new kitchen was grass-fed burgers, and it was SUCH a thrill to hear the smoke alarm go off, then turn on our new blower in our hood…and hear the alarm shut right off. Any of you who have lived through this knows how stressful it is to set off your alarm all the time when you’re cooking. (Pro tip: we lived with a shower cap over our smoke alarm for almost a year and it kept it from going off when I cooked.) Also, here is where I remind you you don’t need a gourmet kitchen to make good food. I cooked at our camp kitchen all summer and was just as inspired. 

Ok, my second meal was this Sheet Pan Lemon & Herb Salmon with Dill Cream Sauce. I wanted something easy, healthy, but full of flavor and I had been craving salmon. I love Ina Garten’s Roast Salmon with Herbs and had made it before, so I thought I’d make the fish in a similar way, but loaded with the fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes on the vine, and asparagus all on the same sheet pans. I was also craving something creamy – and this lemon dill cream sauce couldn’t be easier.

This sauce soaked into all the lemon, olive oil, and tomatoes juices and mashed into the potatoes nicely. Every bite was delicious and kept having to remind myself how easy this dinner was. The best part was it kept well on the stove so my husband and son could load up when they got home from football. Yup, conditioning has started, so goodbye lazy summer dinners and hello taking turns to eat, coordinating rides, and making big dinners for a hungry teenager.

This meal starts with salt and peppering your salmon, then adding lemon juice and olive oil and letting it marinate on the counter while you prep the rest of the food. Then you add herbs…you can add others that you like like parsley or chives.

I made two sheet pans to give the veggies room to cook. I tossed the veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper and then nestled in the filets.

One Note: If you prefer your potatoes crispy, you can cook them on a separate sheet pan, and place in the oven 5-8 minutes before the fish and veggies. I poured the lemon and olive oil marinade over everything which made them soft and able to mash with your fork to pick up all the juices on your plate, which I loved.

Then they roasted for…wait for it…12 minutes. It was super fast, just enough time to pull together the cream sauce. For my littles who don’t like salmon, I did cook a turkey kielbasa and they were thrilled.

The result was a super fast, super yummy dinner. It was seriously easy and restaurant level delicious. The tart acid from the tomato juices mix with the meaty salmon, fresh herbs, and creamy lemon dill sauce, so every bit is fresh and light and full of flavor. The potatoes help make this a stick the ribs comfort food dish.

I can’t wait to make this again, and neither can my husband and big kids. We loved it I hope you do too.

Happy Eating, Katie xoxo

 

Sheet Pan Lemon & Herb Salmon with Dill Cream Sauce

Ingredients

1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) skinless salmon fillet

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup good olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (4 scallions)

1/2 cup minced fresh dill

1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed

1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

1 quart cherry tomatoes

For the sauce:

1/2 cup creme fraiche

1/2 sour cream

juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 T)

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon fillet in a non-reactive dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the scallions and dill. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet.

Divid vegetables on two sheet pans, and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper (about 2 T. of olive oil for each sheet pan). Nestle salmon in the middle of the veggies and then place in the oven.

Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until salmon is almost cooked in the center at the thickest part and the potatoes are soft when you insert a knife and the center of the salmon is firm. Cook 1-2 more minutes if needed.

While it cooks, mix together the dill cream sauce by combining the creme fraiche, sour cream, lemon juice and fresh dill with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and set aside until serving.

 

 

Rosemary Polenta with Morel Vinaigrette and Roasted Veggies

May 8, 2019

It’s that glorious time of year when flowers are blooming, the sky is filled with lacy branches of trees sprouting blossoms and buds, and New Englanders can finally start eating things that are growing near us. I just planted my lettuce and herb gardens (with a few jalapeño plants to load up the top of Asian noodle bowls). And we can’t get enough of the birds singing, its the most beautiful music.

One of the most exciting signs of spring for foodies around the world is when morels pop up in forest floors and on the edges of a forest. (If you’re curious about hunting for them here is a great guide.) You can dry them and reconstitute them if you can’t use them all, which is what I used for this recipe.

I recently saw a picture of roasted veggies on top of polenta somewhere and I wasn’t able to get it out of my mind. It just seemed the perfect combination of creaminess and flavor and textures.

Turns out I was right.

Two things surprised me about this dish –

1) Just how good rosemary is in polenta! It perfumes the dish and is wonderful. You can use other herbs too of course but I loved the rosemary with the parmesan and the veggies.

2) The vinaigrette that I found from Bobby Flay. Who knew a vinaigrette would finish this off perfectly? I even played around and tried straight balsamic on some, and some balsamic cream, but the vinagrette was the best. I also used all olive oil since I didn’t have walnut oil, and I didn’t sauté the morels though I wish I did!  Somehow missed that in my excitement to pile up a bowl of all this deliciousness.

This is a very versatile dish – use whatever veggies and herbs you love. I hope you try this, it is so easy and yet assembled feels very fancy. Here’s to morels and spring and good food in our farmers markets!

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Rosemary Polenta with Morel Vinaigrette and Roasted Vegetables

 

For the roasted vegetables:

 

1 eggplant, cut into 2 inch pieces

2-3 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 red onion, cut into wedges

(Optional vegetable: parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes)

3 T. Olive oil

1 t. Salt & ½ t. Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine, then place in hot oven for 20 minutes or until fork tender, turning half way through. (Cooking time will depend on size of vegetables).

 

For the polenta:

4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 t. fresh rosemary or 2 T. dried rosemary

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter

 

Place the chicken stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gradually whisk in the cornmeal until it’s combined and there are no lumps. Add the salt, pepper, and rosemary and simmer, stirring almost constantly, for 10 minutes, until thick. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while you’re stirring. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan and butter. Taste for seasonings and serve hot with extra Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.

For the Morel Vinaigrette: ( from Bobby Flay):

¼ cup aged sherry vinegar

1 small shallot, chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon walnut oil

3/4 cup pure olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound morel mushrooms, washed thoroughly and dried (can use reconstituted morels).

In a blender, blend the vinegar, shallot, and mustard until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the walnut oil and 1/2 cup of the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and coarsely chop them. Fold the mushrooms into the vinaigrette. Spoon the vinaigrette over the grilled polenta.

To serve, spoon each element into a bowl – polenta, then veggies, then vinaigrette plus any herbs you like and grated parm.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Noodle Bowls

April 5, 2019

 

 

You guys…I didn’t know how much I needed noodle bowls in my life until I started skiing at a mountain with a noodle bowl bar. You get to choose the broth: chicken, beef or miso. And the meat: chicken, beef brisket or pork belly. And the noodles: ramen, udon or soba.

The first time I ordered one it was late in the day and they only had Udon noodles left. And basically now I’m hooked on them. They are so chewy and light and velvety. The perfect mix in a bite of meat and broth and crunchy veggies.

When we’re skiing, I dream about the tender meat, and salty broth, and spicy bits of jalapeno and sriracha sauce and those luxurious noodles.  And afterwards, this food makes you feel SO good. Super nourished and comforted and charged with good things so you can ski for hours.

I usually have to fend off all of my kids from grabbing all the noodles, so I decided to try to make noodle bowls at home.

What I did not realize was how easy it could be in a crock pot. Or what an awesome family meal this is, since picky eaters usually love the noodles and the egg (why does the egg just make this dish?) and can be coaxed into some grated carrots. It actually would make great party food too – lay out all the toppings and let friends build them selves a customized bowl to their liking.

All you have to do is cook the chicken and broth with some aromatics and mushrooms for a few hours, and then add the noodles five minutes before you want to serve it.

Then you layout all the toppings…

And then you start to assemble…

Oh man. They are just so good. And I know that you could look around for complex broth recipes and boil pork knuckles with cinnamon and star anise like real pho broth. But the thing is I’m probably never going to make those because I don’t have time.

This broth takes 10 minutes has a complex flavor from the garlic and ginger and onions, as well as the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.

You could obviously swap beef broth and some cuts like flank steak or brisket to this recipe, and you could also use Ramen or Soba noodles instead. And if you’re looking for any of these ingredients, an Asian section at most grocery stores should have the Udon and Ramen noodles, and I also found some Miso Broth that I can’t wait to try too.

I hope you try these soon, because they are life changing. I don’t say that lightly but THEY’RE THAT GOOD.

Slow Cooker Noodle Bowl (I doubled this to feed 8 and have some leftovers):

Ingredients:

1 diced onion

6 garlic cloves, minced (may only want to do 8 when you double it)

1 T. fresh ginger, minced

4 cups chicken broth (1 32 oz. boxes)

1 lb. chicken breasts

8 oz. sliced shitake mushrooms

¼ soy sauce (more to taste for serving)

¼ rice wine vinegar

½ t. pepper

1 package Udon or Ramen noodles

 

Toppings:

Shredded Carrots

Bean Sprouts

Cilantro

Sliced Jalapeño

Hard-boiled egg, cut in half lengthwise

Sriracha sauce

Directions:

Add onions, ginger, garlic, chicken breasts, chicken broth, mushrooms, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and pepper to crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.

When finished, remove chicken breasts and let rest, and add noodles to crock pot. Let cook for 5 minutes while you prep toppings. Slice chicken breasts then add back into crockpot, stirring to be sure noodles are broken up.

To serve, ladle broth, noodle, chicken and mushrooms into bowl. Add fresh vegetables and herbs, two halves of the hard-boiled egg, and Sriracha and jalapeños for heat.

Fall Salad with Apple Cider Dressing, Pears, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate

November 7, 2018

I love this salad SO much. It has everything I love about fall produce – pears and pomegranates – plus a tangy apple cider vinegar dressing. The crunchy walnuts and tangy goat cheese just round out the flavors and textures in this dish. It would be beautiful on a Thanksgiving table (and lighter, with a nice note of acid to balance the other heavy foods). You could also sub cranberries for pomegranates too. It’s the kind of dish at a buffet that surprises me and makes me want more.

I recently thumbed through Ina Garten’s Cookbook, How to Cook Like A Pro, and when I got to a page that listed her Apple Cider Dressing, I had to laugh. It was the exact dressing I had just made and put on this salad. I don’t know if that qualifies me as a pro, especially because it’s a very simple, basic recipe that is delicious and easy and you’ll use it all the time.

I actually buy all the ingredients for it in bulk at BJs, including a one pound bag of shallots. I guess I really need to have the makings for it in my pantry. Yes, that is a giant Dijon jar you see there and I love it!

 

This dressing just brings every thing in this salad together. The toasted walnuts…

The pomegranate seeds and crumbled goat cheese…

This salad hits the high notes for flavor but also it’s just so pretty.

That whole ‘we eat with our eyes first’ idea means that our mouths and our tummies will be so satisfied with this on our plate. And you can play around with the ingredients – roasted butternut squash, candied pecans, dried cranberries all play well with this dressing. And I highly recommend grabbing a big wooden bowl like this if you see one! This functions as our fruit bowl but I have made a huge salad in it for parties before and it always dresses up the table and is always one of the first dishes to be polished off.

Hope this salad helps you round out your fall entertaining table! But it is equally as good for a simple dinner or a lunch for one.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

 

Fall Salad with Apple Cider Dressing, Pears, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate (printer versions here):

16 oz. of mixed greens (the mix I used had shredded carrot, pretty but optional)

3-4 oz. of crumbled goat cheese

1-2 sliced pears

⅓ cup toasted walnuts

⅓ cup pomegranate seeds (or substitute dried cranberries)

For the dressing:

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

⅓ cup olive oil (I like a 2:3 ratio of vinegar to oil but you make like it 1:2 and use 1/2 cup of oil)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 T. chopped shallots

S & P

 

Directions: 

Slice pears, toast walnuts, and prepare pomegranate seeds and goat cheese, if you’ve bought them whole.

Mix dressing, then add most of it to greens, tasting to see how well-dressed it is. Add more dressing if needed.

Layout in a wooden bowl, then top with sliced pears, pomegranate, goat cheese and walnuts.