For someone who has repeatedly mentioned how much she enjoys cooking, it seems odd in retrospect that I have yet to share any recipes here. With autumn settling in, temperatures dropping, Thanksgiving just around the corner, and people beginning to crave hearty, savory fare, now is the perfect time to remedy that.
So here are three favorite, flavorful recipes that will stick to your ribs in cold autumn weather and make the house smell wonderful as they cook. (DISCLAIMER: I can't claim to have invented these recipes so much as added my own touches and innovations here and there. But I'm certainly prepared to give credit where credit is due.)
Rosemary White Bean Soup
(Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe)
1/2 lb. dried white beans (Garten uses cannellini beans, but as I've always had difficulty finding those, I substitute Great Northern Beans)
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (I usually find half a large onion sufficient for my purpose)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 branch fresh rosemary (4-6 inches)
1 qt. chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3-5 cloves of roasted garlic
2 tbsp of milk or cream
Salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1 inch and leave them in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Drain.
In a large stockpot over low to medium heat, sauté the onions with the olive oil until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 more minutes.
Add the drained white beans, rosemary, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Remove the rosemary branch and the bay leaf and discard.
Peel the cloves of roasted garlic, mash with 2 tbsp of milk or cream to make a soft paste, and stir into the soup. Pass the soup through the coarsest blade of a food mill, or place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely puréed. (Since I own a blender, but not a food processor--strange, I know--I puree most of the soup, but use a potato masher on a third of the beans in the bottom of the pan, to approximate a coarser texture.)
Return soup to pan and heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot. Brown bread makes an excellent accompaniment. Serves about 4.
Spicy Citrus-Glazed Broiled Salmon
(Alton Brown, whose recipe I'm using as a base, prefers sockeye salmon, but this glaze is so versatile--and delicious--that any kind of salmon will do: Atlantic, king, coho, even keta. I use about half the salt and pepper that Brown does, but you can tweak the seasonings to suit your personal taste. The result should be sweet, spicy, and smoky at once.)
1 fillet salmon, one-side skin-on, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, pin bones removed
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarsely ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Position the broiler rack about 3 inches below the flame. Line an appropriately sized pan with aluminum foil and place the salmon on an oiled trivet in the pan.
Place the sugar, zest, salt, and pepper into a bowl and stir until ingredients are well-combined. Evenly spread the mixture onto the salmon and allow to sit for 45 minutes, at room temperature. The glaze will melt and form a shiny, liquid coating over the fish.
Place the salmon in the broiler and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. (You may also want to turn the salmon skin-side up to crisp for a few minutes, which is a step Alton Brown omits but I don't.)
Remove the salmon from the broiler and allow to rest, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Double Corn Muffins
(I've always loved fresh corn on the cob and cornbread: this recipe--for which I can claim most of the credit--gives you the chance to enjoy a bit of both.)
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup fresh or canned corn kernels (drained)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine milk, oil and egg in small bowl; mix well. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Fold in corn kernels and stir until distributed evenly through batter.
Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for at least 5 minutes--muffin will fall apart if you try to remove the paper too soon--but serve warm, buttered or plain. (But I'll always go for the butter!) Makes between 12-16 muffins.
Enjoy! And wishing everyone an abundant and fruitful autumn!