It Is March and Pepper Is Cooking Up A Storm

For many years now, Pixie and I have given each other cookbooks for birthdays and Christmas … and sometimes just for the hell of it. In fact, most of my cookbooks are gifts and most of those came from Pixie. We just like to read cookbooks! One of the jewels given quite a few years ago is The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinionsby Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. We’ve been fans of “Splendid Table” for many years –the public radio show, the website, the podcast and its spinoffs and affiliated podcasts. For over twenty years, The Splendid Table has brought the wide-world of food and cooking into our lives. I’ve dabbled in this cookbook here and there and was really excited to take a deep dive into this book and try some new recipes. 

The cookbook contains recipes, but also lots of stories – just like the radio show! Tips abound from choosing salad greens, to storing olive oil, to buying the right kitchen tools, and other great cooking and kitchen tips. They also stress the importance of eating locally-grown and produced foods, which falls in squarely with our philosophy and mission. The recipes were created with busy people in mind: generally speaking, these are recipes that can be made in less than an hour without crazy, exotic ingredients. 

Here’s what we’d like to make this month:

  • Soup of Fresh Greens and Alphabets – A great winter soup using canned tomatoes, garlic, onion, escarole and chickpeas.
  • Green Apple, Cheese, and Chard Oven Omelet – A frittata where we will use local apples, New Mexico cheese, local eggs, chard, onions and milk. Frittatas are a weeknight go-to meal for us and we are looking forward to trying this one.
  • Scandinavian Flower Eggs with Sweet-Tart Mustard Dill Sauce – Eggs are coming back to the markets and this recipe will showcase these market jewels, along with lettuces that are grown by local farms throughout the winter.
  • Almond Chutney Chicken in Lettuce Roll-Ups – We love lettuce rolls and munch on them throughout the winter. This recipe also uses radishes, which are abundant this time of year. We will use free-range chickens from our friends at Pollo Real in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.
  • Belgian Beer Bar Tartine – These simple sandwiches  consist of multi-grain bread, fresh local cheese, and radishes. The perfect simple dinner to be enjoyed watching a college basketball game … with a pint of Belgian beer, of course!
  • Spring Vegetables and White Beans Scented with Fresh Bay – Carrots, garlic, spinach cooked with white beans sounds like a satisfying meal to us!
  • Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens Over Bow-Tie Pasta – We still have a few winter squash in the larger and are looking forward to trying them with pasta, escarole and herbs. 
  • Plumped Ginger-Caramel Shrimp – Pepper is heading to Florida this month and will try this recipe on some Gulf shrimp. The shrimp are brined and then quickly cooked with ginger, garlic and browned sugar. 
  • Pan-Brown Scallops on Bed of Bacon and Brussels Sprouts – We LOVE Brussels sprouts and we are at the tail-end of the season (sniff-sniff). We’re ready to try a new way of using them. 
  • Scandinavian Spiced Meatballs with Caramelized Apples – The apples are beginning to wane and our CSA still has some. We are also going to use some local, free-range beef. 
  • Wine-Braised Carrots with Fried Sage Leaves – We’ve been blessed with colorful carrots all winter and have enjoyed them in all sorts of dishes, raw, roasted …Braising them in wine will be new to us.
  • Provencal Oven Onion Saute – The onions this winter have been packed with flavor and are the bedrock to most of our meals. This recipe uses the salty umami of anchovies, the sweet acidity of oranges, and high heat to turn this humble vegetable into something else!
  • Greek Pot-Crushed Potatoes – We’ve enjoyed a wide variety of local potatoes this winter and are looking forward to trying this recipe which marries potatoes with Mediterranean herbs and spices. 

And what are you cooking this month?

Pepper Pasqua, March 2020

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