Elevate the ordinary with this powerful trio | Kitchen to Kitchen

Sidonie Maroon
Posted 1/26/22

Winter’s here, the endless days of gray, wind, cold, and rain. 

As a Northwest native, and after 28 years in Jefferson County, I’m used to it, but how to keep cooking without …

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Elevate the ordinary with this powerful trio | Kitchen to Kitchen

Here’s something simple but scrumptious: cheese sticks made from frozen pizza dough.
Here’s something simple but scrumptious: cheese sticks made from frozen pizza dough.
Photo courtesy of Sidonie Maroon
Posted

Winter’s here, the endless days of gray, wind, cold, and rain. 

As a Northwest native, and after
28 years in Jefferson County, I’m used to it, but how to keep cooking without getting the blues? One tactic is to elevate the ordinary and invest in activities, tools, and ingredients that will kick some sunshine into our lives and meals. 

Here’s a peek into my kitchen this January: I’m baking bread, sprouting seeds, ordering seeds for the garden, cooking soups and stews from around the world, eating all kinds of fresh citrus, dreaming up recipes for my new air fryer, and revisiting my love of Northern Italian food. 

GOOD STUFF TO SHARE

Do you dance while cooking? If you don’t dance outright, how about tapping your toe to the beat? I’m keeping a January playlist of artists and albums. Please give these musicians a try: Ottmar Liebert, guitarist; Maggie Sansone, hammered dulcimer; Mark O’Connor, fiddle. 

Black Truffle Salt    

Novel ingredients will spice things up, and I’m having a good time with the truffle salt from my Christmas stocking. It’s “Sabatino Tartufi Truffle Sea Salt.” I love it in scrambled eggs, on popcorn, and in olive oil as a dip for raw carrots. It has a deep umami cream of mushroom flavor. 

Cheesy Bread Sticks

With sourdough from bread baking, I’m making cheese sticks. 

They’re simple, and you can use frozen pizza dough. Use the same amount of dough as for a 12-inch pizza: add into the dough: 1 cup grated sharp cheddar, ½ cup grated parmesan, 2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves, 1 teaspoon oregano and ¼ cup dehydrated onion flakes. Roll out onto the pizza pan and slice into 1-inch wide strips. Bake at 425 F for about 20 minutes. 

New Appliances?

It’s time to unbox that new Instant Pot or Air Fryer — don’t you think? 

A new appliance can shake up your old habits and usher in adventure.
I love my kitchen tools, and all of them have enriched my kitchen life. I was sure that I didn’t need an Instant Pot and now, five years later, I use it three to five times a week. It’s fabulous for homemade Indian food and makes the best braised meats and stews. I’m currently making a weekly batch of yogurt. 

The new appliance on my horizon is the Ninja AF161 Air Fryer. No, I haven’t unboxed it yet, but I will and report back! 

Homemade Stocks and Broths 

Making my own stocks and broths to suit the soup is key to my style. Cooking from scratch, I feel peaceful, connected, and nourished. Chicken carcasses, vegetable peels, garlic, and ginger go into my Instant Pot. I cook broths under high pressure for 30 minutes with a natural release, and stocks for 120 minutes under high pressure with a natural release. I use this liquid gold to make soup, or cook beans in. Sometimes, I make a strong ginger tea using the same 30 minute method.

Sour Cream Dip

Try this dolloped on top of a bowl of homemade split pea soup, or with a side of roasted potatoes.

1 cup sour cream, ½ teaspoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish sauce, ¼ cup dehydrated onion flakes, zest and juice of one lemon. Yum.

Cream of Tomato Coconut Soup

Creamy and balanced, this is my favorite tomato soup for a cold winter’s day. To make without an Instant Pot, simmer ingredients together over a medium heat for ½ hour, puree and add finishing ingredients. Makes 2 quarts. 

INGREDIENTS

Instant Pot 

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

4 large slices of fresh ginger

4 slices of fresh turmeric, or 1 teaspoon dried 

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes 

1 tablespoon fish sauce

6 cups water 

TO FINISH 

1 can (14 ounces) full fat coconut milk 

¼ cup maple syrup, or sugar  

2 teaspoons sea salt 

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or black pepper 

DIRECTIONS  

Add onion, carrots, ginger, turmeric, garlic, tomatoes, fish sauce, and water to the Instant Pot. Set to high pressure for 10 minutes with a natural release. Using a high-speed blender, puree until smooth at the maximum speed. If using a regular blender, puree until smooth and strain to make sure everything is blended. Pour the soup back into the inner pot. 

Add the finishing ingredients to the soup, stir and taste. Correct as necessary. 

Serve hot. It’s excellent with cheese sticks. 

(Sidonie Maroon is the culinary educator at The Food Co-op; abluedotkitchen.com. Follow Sidonie on The Food Co-op’s Facebook group, Cooking with the Co-op. Find more recipes at www.foodcoop.coop/blog/elevate. Sidonie’s recipes include Instant Pot Beef Pho Stock, Shiitake Onion Soup, Barbecued Flavored Snack Sunflower Seeds, Spice Mix for Black, Pinto and/or Kidney Beans, and Black-eyed pea and Mushroom Curry.)

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