As we continue to relive Groundhog Day, day after day (223 days and counting), I make an effort to take joy in the little things. Sometimes it’s the color of the sky at sunset or the color of the leaves as they change and fall. It could be the continual blooming this late in the season of morning glories climbing my garage or the smile on my face when I finish another knitted pumpkin. More often, it’s the deliciousness of something I eat.
Fortunately, it was another winning month with the recipes selected by Cook the Book Fridays from Everyday Dorie. On paper, neither was remarkable. In my belly, JOY! And the joy was compounded by being able to use my CSA vegetables in both recipes, so perfectly seasonal.
First were the Miso-Maple-Jammed Sweet Potatoes (though I’m two weeks late on sharing my impressions). Roast sweet potatoes are a frequent guest at my dinner table. Butter has always been their simple topping. It never occurred to me to dress them up further. This recipe tops the roasted potatoes with a complex compound melted butter concoction: butter, miso, maple syrup, and ponzu sauce (which I substituted with soy sauce & lemon juice – didn’t plan ahead).
The topping was more saucy than jammy. It also wasn’t very photogenic, too brown. In any case, the miso-maple jam was tasty and I’ll whip up more next time I roast sweet potatoes. I served the sweet potatoes with this Inside-Out Egg Roll Salad from Food 52. The Asian flavors of the two dishes complemented each other well.
Next was Bean and Tortilla Soup. This sounded kind of boring. I don’t always like Dorie’s soups, so my expectations weren’t high. However, with a chill finally in the air, it’s time to start having soup for lunch. The soup is a simple vegetable soup with Mexican seasoning. Tomato-based vegetable soups are not usually my favorite. Was I ever surprised! Even plain, this soup was better than expected. Dorie provides a long list of add-ins. I had most of them on-hand, so we went wild. Beans (black, which I just stirred into the base), sour cream, diced avocado, cilantro leaves, some of the onion and peppers used in the soup, shredded cheese and tortilla chips. We ate this for lunch for three days. And next time, I think I’ll double it. It was that good.
Two more winners. What a delicious Dorie fall it’s been. You can find both recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie. The corn is on page 226 and the soup on page 60. You can find reviews from my Cook the Book Friday friends here for the sweet potatoes and here for the soup.
To my US friends, get out and vote! Vote by mail if you can. It’s safer for everyone (voters and election workers). Follow all the instructions to be sure your ballot isn’t disqualified. If a non-USPS dropbox is a reliable option, use it. If your state has a tracking system, follow your ballot to make sure it arrives and gets accepted. Voting is a privilege, and it’s your civic duty to participate. I’ll get off my soapbox now…
P.S. WordPress changed the editor since I last used it in September. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! Any advice for navigating sanely? Ugh.
I can’t believe we’re more than six months into the pandemic. I hope you and your families remain safe, healthy, and, most importantly, sane. With all the demands on my time (not), I still can’t get it together to write blog posts.
Earlier in the month, we made So-Good Miso Corn. At our house, corn is usually served on the cob. Microwave and serve. Summer sweet corn stands on its own. We prefer it plain (no butter). It can’t get any simpler. However, this recipe provided an excuse to dress it up a little bit.
The kernels are cut off the cob and sautéed in oil to char a bit. Then, you add butter and miso, adding a depth of flavor plus some umami. Some spices (za’atar, cayenne, and some fresh scallion) finish things off. We truly enjoyed this twist on corn with dinner. It wasn’t even that much more effort than plain microwaved corn, and so delicious! I served the corn alongside that other star of late summer dining, a tomato tart for a perfect meal.
This week, I embraced Salted-Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundaes. There’s almost a full pound of chocolate involved with this recipe. I’ll be honest, though I hope we can still be friends… I am not a chocoholic, and I don’t love ice cream. On the ice cream front, I do love ice cream outing especially if a top-down convertible ride is involved in reaching the destination. That’s leftover from childhood, but fortunately, Howard shares enthusiasm. Of course, the pandemic summer of 2020 has limited those options. Further insight on my ice cream philosophy: my preferred flavors reflect my view of ice cream as a vehicle for pieces (such as chocolate chips, heath bars, chopped up brownies or other such add-ins). Plain ice cream flavors are better served as the foundation for hot fudge. This is a long-winded way to say that I was probably going to like these sundaes.
The first step is making the salted-chocolate bits. You melt bittersweet chocolate, stir in some fleur de sel, then spread it into a thin layer to harden back up in the freezer. You might think “why not just chop of the chocolate and use that?” Non-chocoholic that I am, I will tell you that it’s worth the extra step. Just as salted caramel is a worthwhile enhancement to dulce de leche, the salt in the chocolate bits makes a difference.
Next you chop more chocolate and add cream, sugar, and corn syrup to make the simplest hot fudge I’ve ever made. Simple and so delicious. Before you’re ready to compose your sundaes, you also need to toast some slivered almonds. And, of course, you need to select your ice cream flavors. This recipe suggests vanilla and coffee ice creams. We have at least a dozen pints in the freezer (yes, really), none of them plain, so I picked the Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Crunch as the closest to coffee or vanilla and one that wouldn’t clash with the other sundae ingredients. (Note that most of the ice cream in the freezer is for Howard, not me…)
No one really needs instructions to make a sundae, but I really like how Dorie’s recipe sprinkles chocolate bits and almonds underneath the first layer of ice cream. Then it’s standard assembly: ice cream, hot fudge, more chocolate bits and almonds, followed by a second layer of ice cream, hot fudge and bits and nuts. Pretty decadent, but also quite wonderful. The heath bars in the ice cream weren’t shabby either, though I’ll admit that they might have pushed things over the top. We were both quite happy with this dessert!
So, I highly recommend you try both of these recipes. You can find them in Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie. The corn is on page 216 and the sundaes on page 297. Corn is almost out of season, so be sure to try that one soon. If you’re curious what other people thought of these recipes, you can find reviews from my Cook the Book Friday friends here for the corn and here for the sundaes.
Be safe! XO