…Or most of them, anyway.
I was delighted to receive the news, several weeks ago, that I had won a copy of Super Natural Every Day from The Kitchen Illiterate. Since receiving the book, I’ve been cooking from it quite a bit, as well as finding myself inspired by it while doing my food shopping. (“Yellow split peas? I think there are a couple of recipes for those in that new book!” “I should probably be keeping quinoa and bulghur on hand…” “How could we possibly be out of miso? To the Japanese store, posthaste!” Sometimes I talk to myself in an old-timey fashion.)
I’ve made mention of the book a few times on Seasonal Market Menus, my other blog devoted to CSA eating and menu planning, because the recipes are great for using whatever vegetables you happen to have around, given a few pantry staples. I certainly haven’t followed any of the recipes to the letter, but that doesn’t stop them from being a fantastic source of inspiration. Like this soda bread:
I’d never really considered soda bread as a legitimate thing before, but Heidi’s photos convinced me to give it a try. I substituted leftover pickle brine for half of the buttermilk in the recipe, to no ill effect. The dough was delightfully springy, and any rye bread that doesn’t insist on caraway is a good thing in my book. It baked up nice and crusty, with a slightly biscuity or scone-like texture in the crumb. The bread resisted staling longer than a yeast bread would, which is good because the loaf was huge. We ate it for almost a week, and then I took the remaining half and turned it into some of the crunchiest croutons I’ve ever made.
The recipe for Yellow Split Peas and Greens was easily adapted to use up a head of escarole I got from the farm share, and Nick gamely put it together one night when I was otherwise occupied (read: blogging). We both loved the cilantro pesto, of which there was a bit left over which could be used to dress any number of grains, beans, or pastas.
If there’s one recipe I already can’t wait to make again, it’s the Miso-Curry Squash. She used delicata, I used potimarron, both of which have thin, edible skins that make them terribly easy to cook with. But the star of the show was the miso-curry paste, made by mixing miso, Thai curry paste (she called for red, I used yellow), and oil. Tossed with sliced squash and cubes of tofu, then placed in the oven to roast, this stuff makes the house smell absolutely heavenly. I also left out the potatoes in favor of serving the vegetables over soba noodles, and replaced the so-rare-it’s-downright-mythical-here-in-France kale with sautéed Napa cabbage.
A sprinkle of cilantro and toasted pepitas – these two staples of Mexican cooking being a couple of Heidi’s fetish ingredients, apparently – and we enjoyed a delicious, hearty vegetarian dinner.
But I’m not done mining this book for ideas. I’m looking forward to making the wild rice casserole, which, come to think of it, would probably make a great Thanksgiving side, and when I read the recipe for baked oatmeal, I declared that I wanted to host a brunch just so I would have an excuse to make it. I adore oats, so the oatcakes are on the shortlist as well, and though I love French mustard, I’m curious to try my hand at the homemade stuff.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.