Southside

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As much as I love all things rum and tiki, in the spring and summer, I also crave gin. Gin and tonic, gin and soda, gin and soda splash of tonic, gin fizz, gin martini, gin bramble, gin and juice, Stiegl Radler with gin, gin gimlet, tom collins, bee’s knees, etc etc etc. 

Also, as much as I love rum, I don’t like mojitos. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered one, and I raise my eyebrows at people when they do.

So I crave gin and I don’t care for mojitos, but I still like mint. Mint is the best garnish out there, and the smell of mint is the epitome of freshness. So, when I first heard about the Southside—basically a mojito with gin and lemon instead of rum and lime—it sounded about like what I imagined the perfect warm weather gin cocktail would be. My dad read about it in the Wall Street Journal (classic dad move), and as a drinker of gin and tonic, he was intrigued enough to give it a try (way to go dad). 

A quick google search shows the article was published in 2007, however, there is a nice follow-up seven years later in Town and Country called “The Southside is the Preppy Cocktail that Signals the Start of Summer.” I think that title pretty much sums it up. Though I consider my basic attitude as punk rock as the next guy, I’m not scared of preppy. I am, however, scared of the heat of summer and believe to my core that refreshing gin is one of the best ways to fight it. And we should always be fighting.

The key ingredients are gin, lemon, mint, and sugar—you really can’t mess it up. You can make a mint syrup, recipes abound. You can muddle mint with sugar and lemon juice, stir with gin to dissolve and mix and then top with soda. Or you can shake all the ingredients with fresh mint and either strain into a cocktail glass with a tiny splash of soda (my favorite) or into a collins glass with crushed ice and more soda (a close second).

‘Any which way you can’ will do, but I tend to at least operate under the following proportions: 1.5-2 oz gin depending on your taste for booze (the big brands will do or something a little more craft that enhances the herbal quality of the drink without taking away from the freshness); ¾-1 oz lemon juice (if at home, the juice of one not-gargantuan-sized lemon will do—jiggers can be tedious at the casa); 1/2 ounce of simple syrup (sugar,  honey, agave—all will do—I keep it simple); and a small handful of fresh mint leaves freshly torn. (For a further fun riff down the Southside rabbit hole, try muddling or shaking a few strawberries into the cocktail for more fruit flavor and that pretty pink color.)


2 oz Apostoles Mate Gin (London Dry or St. Georgia Terroir)

1 oz fresh lemon juice (~the juice of 1 lemon)

.5 oz simple syrup (or mint syrup)

5-10 freshly torn mint leaves

Shake with ice, strain into cocktail glass, top with a tiny splash of soda

Add strawberries or sub peppermint for more summer fun

Recipe & Story by Hunt Revell
Photograph by Erin Wilson

This recipe first appeared in Flagpole Magazine.

Three Bean Salad

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I remember my mother bringing home three bean salad from the grocery growing up. At the time it seemed a curious even unappealing dish, but it stuck in my mind into adulthood. When the heat of summer takes hold, what could be better or easier than a cold vegetable snack ready to eat straight from the fridge. With so many exciting varieties of beans available these days, skip the grocery store and check out what your local farmer is growing or drying and start from there.


1.5 cups dried heirloom beans of two varieties (or 30 oz. canned kidney and cannellini beans)

2 cups seasonal fresh beans, such as pole beans or wax beans

¾ cup quality extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup sherry or apple cider vinegar

½ preserved lemon

2 garlic cloves

4 sprigs thyme

½ bunch of parsley

3 spring onions

  

If using dried beans, soak overnight. 

Prepare the dressing by finely mincing your preserved lemon, yielding about 1 Tbsp of chopped rind. Grate the garlic cloves and add to a jar with the preserved lemon. Add the thyme sprigs, 1 tsp salt, a couple sprigs of parsley, vinegar and olive oil. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, drain the beans and remove the herb sprigs from the vinaigrette and set aside. Cook the soaked beans as you like, adding the used herb sprigs to the pot for good measure. Bring a pot of salted water to boil to blanch your fresh beans to al dente.  

While still warm, toss together all cooked beans with the vinaigrette and let cool in the fridge. To serve, finely chop the remaining parsley and spring onions and toss them together with the bean salad. Salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe by Erin Wilson
Photographed by Paige French

Tropical Morning Oats

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Do the work the night before and wake up to bright and flavorful morning oats with just a short warm-up. Play with other combinations of spices and toppings to enjoy overnight steel cut oats year-round. Breakfast is served!


1 can unsweetened coconut milk (13.66oz or 1 2/3 cups)

10 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

1 inch ginger, grated

4 Tbsp. honey, plus more to garnish

small sweet orange, like mandarin or tangelo, zested and segmented

1.5 cup water

1 cup steel cut oats

2 Tbsp. hemp protein plus more to garnish

1 cup almond milk or milk, plus more to garnish as desired

pecans, toasted and chopped

coconut flakes

 

In a medium pot, combine coconut milk, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, orange zest and honey and bring to a gentle boil. Return to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1.5 cups water and hemp protein. Let cool.

In the meantime, bring a dry pan to medium heat. Add the oats and lightly toast for about 3-5 minutes. Pour infused coconut milk over the oats and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, warm the soaked oats on the stovetop, adding milk to achieve desired consistency. Garnish with a generous addition of coconut flakes, orange segments, toasted pecans, hemp protein and a drizzle of honey.

Carrot Hummus with Gochujang & Hemp Oil

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The natural sweetness of fresh, local carrots plays nicely with nutty hemp oil and spicy fermented chili paste gochujang.  A simple, seasonal twist on classic hummus inspires you to snack well.


1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped

1 can chickpeas

1 large clove garlic, chopped

juice from one lemon

1 Tbsp gochujang paste   

2 Tbsp tahini

1 tsp. cumin

1 tbsp + pinch of salt

3 Tbsp. hemp oil

1 Tbsp olive oil

pepitas, lemon juice and hemp oil to garnish

 

Sauté carrots over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until slightly golden. Add 1 cup water and cover to steam for 10 minutes, until soft.

In a food processor, puree together garlic, gochujang, lemon juice, tahini, cumin and salt. Add the carrots and chickpeas. Puree, drizzling in the olive oil and hemp oil. Process until very smooth. Serve garnished with pepitas, lemon juice and hemp oil.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

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A quick and easy winter salad with a little finesse and a lot of flavor. 


for the dressing

¾ cup yogurt

1 large garlic clove grated

juice of 1 small lemon

½ Tbsp tahini

½ Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

 

1 medium cauliflower

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 radishes, thinly sliced

4 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced

¼ cup walnuts

small head lettuce, roughly chopped

chives + smoked paprika to garnish

 

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut up the cauliflower and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden. Toast walnuts for 5-10 minutes and chop. Let both cool.

Whip together ingredients for the dressing in a food processor or by hand until well-blended.

Toss together the cauliflower, radishes, mushrooms and walnuts with the dressing to taste. Add lettuce and sprinkle with chives and paprika to serve.

Slow-Cooked Okra, Fennel & Carrots

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Slow-cooking vegetables feels antiquated and, well, dull, but here the low and slow cooking method brings out an amazing caramelized sweetness and a new way to imagine cooking vegetables this fall.


1/3 cup coconut oil

7 garlic cloves, sliced

1/2 white onion, diced

3 anchovies (optional)

1/4 cup water

1 pound okra, cut to rounds

1 fennel bulb, sliced

1/2 pound carrots, roughly chopped

15 sage leaves, divided

1/2 - 1 tsp. salt

 

In a dutch oven, bring coconut oil to medium heat. Sautée garlic, onions, pepper flakes and anchovies for 7-8 minutes, until translucent but not browned.

Add the water, okra, fennel and carrots. Cut the sage into slivers, reserving about 2 leaves for garnishing. Add sage and salt to the pot and stir. 

Cover and reduce to low. Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high. Stir constantly for 5-10 minutes to lightly brown some parts. Serve hot or room temperature, garnished with fresh sage. 

 

 

 

Blueberry-Sherry Vinegar Shrub

Shrubs are an often beautiful way to preserve a moment in the season and an excellent refresher on a patio somewhere at dusk. Try mixing this one as a light cocktail over ice with 2oz. shrub, 2oz. amontillado sherry and club soda to finish. 


6 cups blueberries

3 cups white granulated sugar

3 cups sherry vinegar

club soda, to serve

 

Macerate fresh blueberries with sugar, mashing to release the juices. Let sit in refrigeration for 4 days to 1 week.

Add 3 cups of sherry vinegar. Stir well to combine and let sit for 1 week.

Strain, mashing the fruit to extract as much of the juice as possible. 

To serve, pour 2 oz. of shrub over ice and top with club soda. 

Beef & Beer Chili

This is weeknight chili. Unexpected cool rainy night chili. A chili that packs in flavor quickly and easily. Using really really good ground beef pays off, we promise. 


1 pound ground beef, preferably local and organic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo for more heat, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
28oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
1 bottle stout beer
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
15 oz. can cannellini beans, or 1 3/4 cups cooked at home
15 oz. can navy beans, or 1 3/4 cups cooked at home
to garnish: yogurt, chives, cilantro

 

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add onions, cooking until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and jalepeño or chipotle pepper and sauté for another 3 minutes. Return the beef to the pan with the spices and stir.

Add the tomatoes with their juices, beer, tomato paste, brown sugar and beans, crushing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt and chopped fresh chives and cilantro.  

Turmeric Turnips with Spinach Chimichurri

Take your roasted root vegetables off the beaten path. A medley of turnips, radishes and kohlrabi is the answer to your late winter food blues. Turmeric is good for everything and a bright spinach chimichurri awakens the dish. You’ll have extra chimichurri so feel free to roast more vegetables for a larger group.


6-8 turnips

2 kohlrabi

6-8 radishes

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely minced

¼ tsp. each cumin, black pepper, salt

5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1 cup spinach, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

 

Place a cast iron skillet into the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

Quarter the turnips, then chop the kohlrabi and radishes to a similar size. Mix together the turmeric, rosemary, cumin, black pepper and salt. Toss the chopped vegetables in 1 Tbsp. olive oil and spice blend. Add the spiced vegetables to the hot skillet in the oven and roast for 15-18 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the spinach, garlic, a pinch of salt, 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar and 4 Tbsp. olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until roughly pureed to make your chimichurri sauce.

When finished roasting, remove vegetables from the oven and while hot, toss with 2-3 Tbsp. of chimichurri to serve. 

Winter's Bounty Stew

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This nourishing, hearty, slightly spicy stew brings together the best of winter's harvest for a satiating cold weather meal that's restorative too. 


1 large onion, diced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
2 peppers chopped (bell or other large pepper)
32 ounces stock (low sodium, vegetable or chicken)
6 cups water
¼ cup quinoa
4 medium sized sweet potatoes, chopped in ½ inch cubes
12 petite potatoes or fingerlings chopped in ½ inch cubes (or sub 1 more medium sweet potato)
6 basil leaves, minced
2 star anise
Pinch cayenne
Pinch white pepper
1 tsp. each smoked paprika, dried tarragon, mild pepper powder, dried parsley, and dried thyme
1 tablespoon harissa
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces salt pork/bacon, chopped (if bacon, cook before, cool and chop)
Bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped

 

Heat olive oil to medium in a large stock pot. Cook diced onion gently until translucent. Add minced garlic. Be careful not to overcook garlic to avoid bitterness. Once garlic is lightly browned and onion is cooked, add stock and water. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes and quinoa. Once boiling again, reduce heat to simmer. 

Add minced basil, cayenne, paprika, white pepper, anise, tarragon, mild pepper powder, parsley, thyme, harissa and salt. Add pork. If you'd prefer a vegetarian soup, sub two teaspoons of salt for pork.

Simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, add one or two handfuls of chopped kale to each bowl and stir into soup. 


Produce for this recipe was provided courtesy of The Turnip Truck. The Turnip Truck works with more than 50 small, local farms to get their fruits, vegetables, dairy and other products to Atlanta area restaurants, schools and institutions. By tackling the challenges of storage and distribution to deliver products, they bring local, sustainable food to businesses with ease, advancing the cause of slow food and local food in Atlanta.

Recipe by Gresham Cash

Photograph by Paige French

Heirloom Squash Pie

Just a slight twist on the classic holiday pie using pumpkin's sweeter cousin, the kabocha squash. Almond flour and butter lend the crust an almost celebratory cookie-like crunch. 


For the crust

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup almond flour
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 stick + 6 Tbsp butter, diced and frozen
¼ cup ice water

For the filling

1-2 heirloom squash, such as sunshine kabocha
      {equal to 4 cups diced and uncooked or 2 ½ cups cooked and pureed}
3 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup heavy cream
½ tsp nutmeg
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp cardamom
pinch salt
2 Tbsp sorghum syrup

 

Make the crust in advance by mixing together both flours with salt and brown sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the consistency resembles small pebbles. Add ice water and pulse just to combine. Roll out on a surface lightly dusted in almond flour until 1/8 inch thick. Set the crust into a buttered 9-inch pie pan. Leave in the refrigerator to chill until using; this can be done 24 hours in advance.

To make the filling, peel and dice the squash. Bring a pot of water boil and boil the cubes of squash for 15 minutes, until soft. Puree and set aside.

Blend together the remaining filling ingredients. Add the pureed squash and blend until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, being careful not to overfill. There may be more filling than you need. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until the filling just barely jiggles. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

Grilled Cheese with Apple and Sage-Walnut Pesto

Low and slow is the key to a great grilled cheese. Keep the pan lower in heat so the bread toasts slowly and the cheese has time to gently melt. Here we take the classic grilled cheese sandwich into the cooler months with sage-walnut pesto for depth of flavor and honeycrisp apple for tantalizing crunch.


13-15 leaves of sage, roughly chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp. parmesan
pinch of salt and pepper
6 slices of quality bread
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise (optional)
1/3 pound white cheddar, sliced
1 apple, such as a honeycrisp, thinly sliced

 

Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend together the sage, walnuts and garlic. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, parmesan, salt and pepper and pulse until well-combined. 


Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium low. Lightly spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread and pesto on the other. Place one slice of bread in the warmed pan, mayonnaise side down. Layer alternating with cheese and apple slices and top with a second slice of bread, mayonnaise side up. Let cook for about 8-10 minutes, turning the sandwich over halfway through, as soon as the bottom of the first sides becomes toasted and golden. Repeat to make 3 sandwiches.

 

This recipe features Barn Light Electric Enamelware plates.

 

PIckled Bamboo Shoots


4 cups sliced bamboo shoots

2 cups seasoned rice vinegar

2 cups water

4 garlic cloves

small handful of fresh dill

½ tsp. cracked black pepper

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

 

During their active growth period in the spring, harvest bamboo shoots using a shovel to cut where the base meets the soil. Cut each shoot in half lengthwise and gently remove the tough outer layers. Clean and slice the peeled shoots into whatever shape you prefer for the pickles.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Blanche the shoots for 10 minutes at a rolling boil to remove bitterness. Immediately rinse with cold water to cool. Arrange the shoots in the jars intended for storage.

In a small pot, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil. Reduce and let simmer for 10 minutes. If you have more than a quart of shoots, increase the amount of pickle brine while keeping to the 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar. While the liquid is still hot, pour over the bamboo shoots in their prepared jars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Wisteria Blossom cello

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A fragrant signifier of the arrival of spring, the invasive wisteria vine produces lovely violet blossoms that provide a fresh, floral take on the classic Italian cello. Now for a few important details before you begin...

Wisteria plants do contain toxins. Only the flowers are safe to consume. That being said, the leaves, vines, roots and especially the seeds are to be avoided; they are poisonous.

When foraging, avoid picking wisteria from busy roadways to avoid pollution by car exhaust. Find a nice clean environment from which to harvest and snip the flowers off the vines in whole clusters.

Set aside plenty of time for gathering blossoms and preparing the cello recipe. It will take a couple of hours to get your infusion going, as manicuring the blossoms is time consuming but worth it. Spread the harvested clusters out on a table and scoot up in a comfortable chair.  

As the season progresses, try this recipe using honeysuckle or mimosa blossoms. Always use the ascorbic acid and lemon zest to keep your liqueur tasting fresh.


15-20 freshly snipped wisteria blossom clusters

½ tsp. ascorbic acid powder 

5 organic lemons, thoroughly washed

1 liter Everclear or other 190 proof grain alcohol

6 cups distilled water

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

 

Hold each blossom by its base. With the other hand, gently pinch away all of the petals in one motion. Pinch only the petals from each blossom, leaving the stamen behind. Any green parts will be bitter. Collect the petals until they loosely fill 4 cups.

Scoop ascorbic acid powder into the bottle of alcohol and shake to dissolve. Peel the zest from the lemons, avoiding the white pith. Save lemons for another use.

Combine petals, zest and alcohol in a two-liter glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Give the contents a good stir and store in the refrigerator for two weeks. 

After two weeks, strain the solids away using cheesecloth.

Prepare a simple syrup by bringing 6 cups water to a simmer on the stovetop. Add 2 ½ cups sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.

Combine simple syrup with the infused alcohol and stir well. Ladle into bottles using a funnel. 

Store tightly sealed bottles in a cool dark place for at least 2-3 months. The longer the liqueur ages, the better it will taste. Try to let it sit on the shelf for a year if you have the patience.

When ready to drink, store the bottle in the freezer. Serve straight from the freezer into small frosted glasses. 


Recipe by Bob Fernandez

Photograph by Paige French

Clarified Milk Punch

Milk Punches have captivated American drinkers since the early 17th century. From the selection of spirits to the methodology, this classic style of drink leaves plenty of room to play. 

At The National in Athens, Georgia, Bar Manager Michael Clancy gives a nod to the Mediterranean with his Clarified Milk Punch recipe. Aromatic cardamom and coriander accent sweet Cachaça, the fermented sugarcane juice he uses in place of more traditional rum. 

In contrast to the quintessential Bourbon Milk Punch, a Clarified Milk Punch boasts an iridescent transparency that leaves the drink's creamy texture and subtle richness completely unexpected. The magic lies in the clarification process. Cool acid literally breaks the warm milk, separating out the solids to leave behind crystal clear whey that enriches the final concoction. You'll have to taste it to believe it. 


3 tsp. ground cardamom

2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. coriander seeds

6 oranges

1/3 cup Ceylon tea

1 ½ cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar

3 cups hot water

1 liter Leblon Cachaça

1 liter Ansac Cognac

0.75 liters orange juice

1.5 liters whole milk

2 ½ cups lemon juice

 

Peel and juice the oranges. Reserve the orange juice for the next day. Mix together the orange peels, cardamom, coriander, tea and sugar with the hot water until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool overnight.

On the next day, strain the cooled mixture. Add cachaça, cognac and orange juice to make the base for the punch.

In a pot on the stove, bring the milk slowly to a boil. Remove from heat and break the milk by pouring in chilled lemon juice. Immediately add the broken milk to the base and stir to combine. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth to separate the milk solids from the whey. Strain several times until clear.

To serve, pour 5 oz. of the finished Clarified Milk Punch over ice and garnish with a blood orange wheel if desired. The flavor of the punch will only improve as it keeps in the refrigerator for up to two months. Some say it can even remain shelf stable at cellar temperatures for years.


Recipe by Michael Clancy

Photographs by Danielle Hulsey

Styling by Candice Beaty

Braised Beef Stew with Parsnips and Paprika

In the grey cold of winter, a warm pot of pretty much anything could warm the soul. In the spirit of a Hungarian gulyás, this stew elevates inexpensive cuts of beef by slow-cooking alongside earthy sweet parsnips and smokey spicy paprikas. A meal meant to be shared or eaten for a few days, this recipe make 8 servings and can easily be prepared in a crock pot. To serve, pour over rice and top with the bright bok choy slaw.


3 pounds beef stew meat or chuck roast cut to 1 ½ inch cubes

1 Tbsp. salt, divided

1 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

3 onions, sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 inch piece of ginger, grated

5 banana peppers, chopped

add 1 tsp. dried chili flake if the banana peppers aren't spicy

1 pound parsnips, diced

2 Tbsp. sweet paprika

2 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. ground caraway, divided

3 tomatoes, cored and diced

2 cups red wine

1 bunch of bok choy

1 ½ Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Cooked Rice, optional

 

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season beef with 1 ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper. Sear on all sides and set aside.

Turn the pot down to medium-low. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in paprikas, 1 ½ caraway and 1 ½ tsp. salt. Add 2 cups of red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan.

Add the beef and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cover. After one hour, add the peppers and parsnips to the pot and continue to cook 1 hour and 30 minutes until beef is very tender.

While the stew is cooking prepare the bok choy slaw. Finely chop the bok choy. Whisk together sherry vinegar, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and 1 ½ tsp. caraway. Dress the bok choy and set aside to marinate.

Serve the braised beef stew over rice with bok choy slaw to garnish. 

Butternut Squash Risotto

A holiday season staple, this risotto demands a time standing at the oven that's ideal for chatting and sipping wine while the turkey bakes. Don't be tempted to rush!

For vegetarians, add 2 tsp. smoked paprika to the roasted squash, eliminate the pancetta and substitute a rich vegetable stock.


1 butternut squash, roughly 2 pounds
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
2 large shallots, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Toss with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside. 

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock on medium-low heat. 

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Sauté the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. 

Add the rice and stir to fully coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. 

Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir until the stock is absorbed.

Continue to add the warm stock, one ladle at a time, when the risotto starts to dry. Repeat until the rice is cooked, stirring every few minutes for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Remove from the heat and add the roasted squash cubes and parmesan to finish. 

Persimmon Tomatillo Salsa

Persimmons boast such natural sweetness you make think it unnatural. Complimented by fresh green cucumber, crisp celery and that unusual tomatillo essence of earth, the sweetness sings. Enjoy spread over a meaty white fish or with a simple corn chip--your choice.  


4 persimmons, peeled and diced

2 tomatillos, shucked and minced

1 celery stalk, minced

1 small cucumber

Small handful of cilantro, minced

1 lime

1 tsp. salt

 

Mix together the cut persimmons, tomatillos and celery. 

Peel and puree the cucumber in a food processor. Strain to reserve the juice. Add 2 Tbsp. of juice to the mixture. 

Season with salt and the juice of one lime. Chill for at least 1 hour. 

 

Spiced Black and White Rice Salad

Not your average rice salad, this recipe combines two types of rice to achieve color and textural appeal. The grains are scented in the cooking process with a Persian-influenced spice blend and freshened with a bright, herbal vinaigrette. 


1 tsp cumin seed

1 tsp coriander seed

5 cardamom pods

10 whole cloves

1/4 tsp black peppercorn

1 cup black rice

1 cup jasmine rice

3.5 water, divided

1 tsp salt, divided

2 Tbsp butter, divided

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 leek, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp fresh garlic

2 Tbsp fresh ginger

2 Tbsp sherry vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon, divided

2 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned

2 Tbsp. fresh mint, minced

1 tsp thyme, chopped

1/3 pound Chinese long beans or green beans, blanched and cut on a bias

 

In a spice grinder, pulse together the first 5 ingredients until finely ground.

Place each type of rice in two separate pots. Cover each with 1 3/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 of the spice blend. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until al dente. Spread cooked rice on a sheet pan to cool. 

Meanwhile, set 1/2 cup olive oil and the thinly sliced leeks on medium-low to slowly cook for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

Mince the garlic and ginger. Puree or mash together with a pestle to create a paste, adding a pinch of salt.

Add the garlic-ginger paste, sherry vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, and chopped fresh herbs to the leek oil. Shake or stir to emulsify the vinaigrette. The vinaigrette can be made a day in advance. 

Combine the black and white rice with the beans in a bowl. Add the vinaigrette and mix thoroughly. Season with the remaining lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve at room temperature. 


Photograph by Elan Palmitessa

Peach Butter

Preserving the bounty at harvest time is a routine deeply entrenched in our cultural heritage. This peach butter is perfectly sweet and tart with warm spices that will translate through the winter. Now go ahead, buy all the peaches you can.


5 lb. peaches, cut into 1 inch dices, leaving the skin on

1 – 1.5 cup sugar, depending on sweetness of peaches

1 stick cinnamon

2 inches ginger, sliced

1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped

4 star anise

8x8 inch square of cheesecloth

 

Puree together the peaches and sugar in a food processor.

Place all spices together on the sheet of cheesecloth. Wrap and tie to create a bundle.

Add peach puree and spice bundle to a heavy bottomed pot. Cook over medium low, stirring often, for 60 to 75 minutes. Test for doneness by checking the thickness on a cool spoon.

Remove the spice bundle. Can according to manufacturers instructions if desired. Makes 2 1/2 pints of butter.