Review: Brassicas - Cooking the World's Healthiest Vegetables

Raise your hand if you're 100% certain that you have more than enough greens in your diet.

Yeah, me neither.

Brassicas: Cooking the World's Healthiest Vegetables, the new cookbook from Oregonian Food Day writer Laura B. Russell, is on a mission to change your answer to that question. It just might change mine.

I tried a couple of recipes, and am eager to tackle others. The Kale & Sweet Potato Saute on page 27 required serious patience in the first step (slow cooking 1/2" cubes of sweet potato,) but proceeded quickly with the second step (sauteing shredded kale.) Though I used much more than 2 tablespoons of olive oil and not quite as much chili powder as recommended, this recipe could easily become a standard around here. This works as a side dish, in a corn tortilla and, as recommended by the author, with a fried egg for breakfast.

If there's a mention of ginger in a recipe, I'm usually interested; it's the one type of 'heat' in a spice that I enjoy. The bok choy and crystallized ginger Waldorf salad sounded like a fun spin on an old-school classic, so I tried it out.

Dear god in heaven, it's awesome!

That first bite sparkled - lemon, crunch, pecan, and just a hint of ginger. I would even be inclined to kick the ginger up a few notches with ginger syrup.

The bok choy hides backstage in this recipe, under wraps with the greek yogurt and itsy bitsy amount of mayonnaise. Do take the time to let the bok choy mix with salt (and then carefully drying with a kitchen towel) as it definitely made a difference in the amount of liquid in the bottom of the dish.

Pick up a copy of Brassicas and prepare to make kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, arugula, cress, bok choy, chinese broccoli, mizuna, napa cabbage, tatsoi, radish, turnip, rudabaga, horseradish, wasabi, and kohlrabi your new best food friends.

No, really, they're ALL brassicas. Plenty to choose from! Take a look at Chapter One here.

P.S. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

Brass Cafe Roundup - Spring/Summer 2014

Wasn't that a pleasant silent interlude? It was for me, though not really quiet. I painted more of my kitchen, visited with a friend, and got back into re-writing that cozy mystery. 

I've been eating at the Brass Cafe and Saloon nearly every Thursday as well. As you may remember, each Thursday, the chef's get extra creative and offer "Little Plates" or appetizer-size samples of experiments.

I typically get two little plates and am perfectly happy. Sometimes dessert is added, but not always. Here are more than enough little plates to make your mouth water.

Start with thinly-sliced beef, asparagus, mozzarella cheese, charred cherry tomatoes, and a balsamic vinegar reduction.

Beef Asparagus Mozarella Charred Tomato Balsamic Reducion.jpg

And move on to a grilled croissant with prosciutto, duck egg, and greens.

Next up might be a small pasta served with sauteed leeks, olives, and goat cheese.

Followed by a red pepper risotto.

Perhaps you'd prefer roasted apricots with goat cheese and greens?

My personal favorite of the last few months has to be the sweet corn fritter. What's not to love about a deep-fried batter and sweet corn? The dipping sauce was divine. (And, of course, I've forgotten what it actually was!)

I'm busy in the kitchen this weekend, checking out a new cookbook that covers all sorts of greens: kale, collards, and more. Look for a review sometime next week.

Paul's Easiest (Butterscotch) Cookies

Here's a super-easy cookie that you can whip up in no time!

This recipe was found in a little cookbook at an estate sale I was at recently.

"Make It Now - Bake It Later! #6" is by Barbara Goodfellow. From what the interwebs tells me, Mrs. Goodfellow sold more than 1,000,000 of the total series of cookbooks.

That's more than one MILLION - in case you didn't quite believe the zeros.

And the thing is, this is the kind of cookbook that you'd easily dismiss. It's an 8 1/2 x 5 1/2
softcover book of no more than 40 pages. And it's all hand written.

With the book open, the recipes are on the right-hand page, sometimes carried to the next right-hand page. Each and every left-hand page is left blank with the word "Notes" at the top.

There are no fancy fonts, no colorful pictures, no stylized food. Just the recipes with a few helpful tips or anecdotes.

I made two variations. First I used both cornflakes and tortilla chips. Second, while the recipe below calls for the mixture to be pressed into an 8x8 greased pan, you can also drop these onto waxed paper. I did both.

I also put both into the freezer for a short time to harden up the mixture of butterscotch chip and peanut butter. There's no air conditioning in my house, so with 86 degrees outside and the heat rising in the house, the freezer was necessary.

I made sure to taste test these repeatedly. Until they were all gone.

I like the cornflakes the best because the corn flavor is more subdued. With the tortilla chips, the corny flavor was too strong, and the salt didn't shine. Too bad, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

You have probably had these cookies, perhaps you make them in your family and call them by another name. I just call them yummy :)

Paul's Easiest Cookies

1 package butterscotch chips
1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 cups cornflakes

Grease 8x8 pan and set aside. Pour cornflakes into bowl and set aside.

Melt chips and peanut butter in microwave oven. Go slow - maybe 20 seconds at a time until the chips are almost completely melted. Stir until smooth. Pour over the cornflakes and gently combine until the flakes are completely covered. Pour into prepared pan and gently press. Some cornflakes will break. Cover and refrigerate 2 or more hours.

For the cornflakes, try tortilla chips, potato chips, pretzels, Special K cereal, or Honey Bunches of Oats cereal.

For the peanut butter, try chunky peanut butter or peanut butter chips.

Add mini-marshmallows

For the butterscotch chips, use any kind of chocolate chip: white, dark, etc.