Kale, White Bean and Escarole Soup:
In a large soup pot over low heat, add 3 Tbsp olive oil and sauté 2 oz pancetta, finely chopped, 1 large yellow onion, chopped, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 celery stalk, finely chopped, and 1 chopped carrot until tender and fragrant, 15-20 minutes. Add 2 cups kale, stems removed, leaves washed and chopped and 5 cups Escarole, stems removed, leaves washed and chopped. Cook until the greens are wilted and tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup chopped tomatoes and cook another 10 minutes. Pour in 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add 2 cans cannellini beans and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Just before serving, add the juice of ½ lemon, stirring to combine and salt and pepper to taste.
Kabocha Squash with Sage and Leeks:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare kabocha squash by washing, poking 2 to 4 holes in the center with a sharp knife. Bake whole squash in oven to 60 to 90 minutes, until soft. When squash is done, cut in half, remove seeds and fibers, and scrape flesh from skin into a bowl. Mash but do not puree the squash. Melt ½ cup butter in a large skillet. Add 4 to 8 sage leaves and fry until crisp, 1 – 2 minutes. Add 1 leek (julienned white part only) and 1 tsp salt and continue to heat for 2 to 5 minutes until leeks are soft and translucent. Now add squash to skillet and mix until all butter is incorporated.
Fall Green Salad with Apples, Nuts, and Pain d’epice Dressing:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put ¾ cup walnut halves in a pie pan. In another pie pan, toss 2 cups cubes of rustic multigrain bread with crusts removed with 1 tbsp walnut oil. Bake walnuts and bread, stirring occasionally, until walnuts are golden and croutons are golden and crisp, 12 to 25 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely chop nuts. Whisk together, 3 tbsp walnut oil, 1 tsp orange zest, 1/3 cup orange juice, ½ tsp each cinnamon and ground cloves and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently with 2 qts lightly packed small lettuce leaves or pieces, 2 cups lightly packed escarole, 1 thinly sliced tart-sweet apple, the nuts and croutons. Add more salt and pepper to taste if you like. (from October 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine)
Nori Radish Toasts:
Slice a 12 in. section of baguette in half length-wise, cut into 2-in. pieces, and toast in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on edges. Using scissors, snip 1 large sheet toasted nori into bits, then pulverize in a spice grinder. Mix nori powder with about 5 tbsp butter; smear thickly onto toasts. Top with thinly sliced radishes and radish greens. (daikon would work great). (from the November 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine).
Mushroom, Chicory (Escarole), and Celery Root Salad:
Preheat oven to 375. Wipe dirt from 1 ½ lbs mixed wild and cultivated mushrooms such as Maitake, oyster, and chantrelles. Trim any tough ends, and cut mushrooms to make all pieces about the same size. Toss in a bowl with ¼ cup olive oil, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until browned, 30 t 45 minutes. Let cool. Make dressing: sprinkle a peeled garlic clove with ¼ tsp salt, mince and then flatten with the side of a chef’s knife into a paste. Scrape paste into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and add 2 tsp whole grain mustard, 1 tsp honey, ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves, ¼ cup Champagne vinegar and ¼ cup olive oil. Cap jar and shake until emulsified. Peel 1 8 oz celery root, then cut into matchsticks, dropping them into a bowl of water to prevent darkening. Pat dry, then put in a large salad bowl and add 12 cups loosely packed escarole, endive and raddichio, leaves torn into bite sized pieces. Add mushrooms. Toss gently with dressing. (also from Nov 2011 issue of Sunset)
Sunchoke and Sausage Soup:
Dice 4 slices turkey bacon. Place the turkey bacon, 16 oz sausage, 1 lb sunchokes, washed, peeled, halved and cut into ½ inch slices, 6 yellow finn potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, 3 stalks celery, diced, ½ large onion, diced, 1 leek white and light green parts only, chopped, 3 cups chopped fresh greens (vitamin green!) or spinach, and 2 cloves minced garlic into a large saucepan. Pour in 1 quart chicken stock and season with ½ cup chopped fresh parsely, 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, 1 pinch cayenne pepper, 1 pinch ground paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir ¼ cup flour into 1 cup water until no lumps remain. Stir into the simmering soup, and continue simmering, covered, 30 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. (adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes.com)
Roast Baby Fennel:
Preheat oven to 425. Slice the stems from the baby fennel. Slice the bulbous parts into thin slices vertically, Slice 1 large onion into thin slivers. Toss the fennel and onion with ¼ cup olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and place in a heavy baking dish. Bake to 35 minutes or more covered in foil. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more until the fennel is tender and onions are caramelized. Serve immediately.