Fall

Rustic Sausage Lentil Stew

This week our toddler Madeline added the word 'brrr' (accompanied by exaggerated shivers) to her vocabulary. What frigid chill inspired this? When we got up yesterday morning in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, it was 69 °F (21 °C)...serious cold in her Caribbean world. In the spirit of enjoying this cooler weather, Rebecca requested a hearty lentil stew with the local sausage we had on hand. This Rustic Sausage Lentil Stew is straightforward to make and easy to adapt. This stew avoids the thick heaviness of many traditional lentil stews by using green French lentils that remain whole and al dente during cooking. While hearty, the stew is surprisingly light and bright. 

Rustic Sausage Lentil Stew

Aunt Mary's Spiced Pumpkin Bars

My Great Aunt Mary was a meticulous and brilliant woman, who also happened to have a stellar repertoire of holiday baked goods. She passed her recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Bars down to my mother years ago. I returned to Aunt Mary's recipe after a run of failed pumpkin bar experiments. Aunt Mary's Spiced Pumpkin Bars are a homey old-fashioned bar, with a soft texture, warm spices and gooey cream cheese icing. With only a few minor tweaks from the original, I present to you, the best pumpkin bars you will ever eat. 

Aunt Mary's Spiced Pumpkin Bars

Pittsburgh Style Haluski

Just over a week ago, Hurricane Irma swept past Haiti; bringing heavy rains, wind, and flash flooding to many of the communities we work in. These have been busy days of travel, hearing the stories of survivors, seeing the damage first-hand, and responding with food and emergency supplies to families who lost everything. My final trip last week was to the small community of Goyave, high in the mountains overlooking the coastal city of St. Marc. Goyave is a farming community that had been devastated by Hurricane Matthew last year. I was there to join in the celebration of a successful harvest and the end of an MCC project to help these farmers rebuild their gardens and livelihoods. Each of the 200 families who participated in the project brought a symbol of their good harvest. Soon our outdoor meeting area was filled with piles of beautiful fresh produce: cabbages, militon squash, corn, beans, avocados, onions, leeks, sour oranges, bananas, plantains, passion fruit, pumpkins, bell peppers, hot peppers, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and yams. As we finished our meeting, a community elder stood up to speak, he reiterated his thanks for the project that had helped the community rebuild, and added that we all must remember the Haitian proverb, "Men alemen vini, fe zanmi dire." This essentially translates as 'reciprocity is what makes for lasting friendships.' He advised that there were times when one needed to receive help, such as after a Hurricane, but that one must always work to give back. "It is bad for friendships if only one side gives," he said. So the community celebrated their rebuilding and their harvest by giving freely, to each other and to our group of visitors. It was humbling and beautiful to witness and receive this generosity. Arriving home late at night, dusty and tired, with a bag full of fresh cabbages and onions, I thought back to other celebrations and shared meals. I remembered many potlucks and meals with friends from our Pittsburgh days, and one of the region's classic comfort foods for shared celebrations -- Haluski. While there is much debate on whether Halsuki is authentically Polish (as is claimed by most Pittsburghers), there is little controversy about how simple it is to make, and delicious to eat. It is comfort food at its best: caramelized onions, cabbage, and kielbasa mixed with buttery egg noodles. A hearty and rustic crowd-pleaser, and a celebration of the season's bounty.

Pittsburgh Style Haluski

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Potatoes

The smell of roasting potatoes makes my mouth water every time. These golden brown orbs of puffed potato deliciousness have been my dish of choice this past month. And I think the addition of rosemary and lemon makes the house smell like Sunday dinner. Happy roasting!

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Haitian Squash Soup, Soup Joumou

Dieujuste Saint-Surain stands in his field in Senk-Pòt, Haiti, holding up two freshly harvested joumou (Haitian Creole for calabaza squash).  “To me, joumou means life, it means independence and it means the dignity of feeding my family with the food I grow,” says Saint-Surain. 

Following a long-fought independence from colonialism and slavery, Haitians developed a unique tradition of hospitality, celebration, and generosity centered around a simple meal: soup joumou. This well-loved Haitian dish is a hearty squash soup with meat and local vegetables. Soup joumou is shared widely with friends and neighbors on Haitian Independence Day, for Sunday breakfast, and at community celebrations. 

As Haitians take stock of the devastation of Hurricane Mathew, the spicy complexity and heritage of Soup Joumou is a reminder of a strong people, and a proud history of incredible resilience and independence in the face of daunting odds. 

Haitian Squash Soup, Soup Joumou

Rustic French Greens & Buttermilk Soup

Thanks for following along with our new adventures! We recently moved from Pittsburgh to Haiti where we are starting a 5 year volunteer assignment with a non-profit relief and development organization. We will be in transition for the next few months as we complete our in-country orientation, language study, spend time living with host families in both the countryside and capital... and lest we forget, have our first baby somewhere in there as well! Please bear with us as we will not have ready access to internet or a kitchen throughout this time. We will continue to share new recipes that we've prepared in advance, and updates on our new life in Haiti as often as we are able.

This Rustic French Greens & Buttermilk Soup is a simple, green, and earthy foil to the button-busting days of Christmas feasting. This recipe is inspired by a watercress soup Paul came across when we were on a French cooking binge, and we find that it adapts well to any hardy green you have on hand. A surprising hit with guests, this soup has a lovely mellow and subtle sweetness that is truly delicious.

Rustic French Greens & Buttermilk Soup

Apple Walnut Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze

Thanks for following along with our new adventures! We recently moved from Pittsburgh to Haiti where we are starting a 5 year volunteer assignment with a non-profit relief and development organization. We will be in transition for the next few months as we complete our in-country orientation, language study, spend time living with host families in both the countryside and capital... and lest we forget, have our first baby somewhere in there as well! Please bear with us as we will not have ready access to internet or a kitchen throughout this time. We will continue to share new recipes that we've prepared in advance, and updates on our new life in Haiti as often as we are able.

As much as we love the tropical fruits and Caribbean flavors of our new home in Haiti, we are nostalgic for the apple and spice combination, so classic to this time of year in North America. We love this old-fashioned Apple Walnut Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze, pungent with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger, glazed with a salty caramel.

Apple Walnut Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Brussels sprouts are a miniature member of the cabbage family that has seen a well deserved rise in popularity in recent years; with restaurants now featuring dishes ranging from Brussels sprouts brushcetta, Brussels grilled cheese, raw Brussels slaw, to charred Brussels pizza. As with all cabbage relatives, we particularly love our Brussels cooked at high heat with punchy accents of garlic, vinegar, salt, and bacon. Brussels Sprouts With Bacon is simple and delicious; a perfect fall side. If you are looking for more Brussels inspiration, check out our Barley Risotto With Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup

Yesterday was our last day of work, a bittersweet time in many ways. We left after saying reluctant goodbyes to many wonderful co-workers. It was an unusually silent car as we drove away, each of us lost in our own thoughts, until a loud rumble and clanking sound broke our melancholic lull. Our pensive quiet was replaced with a resigned amusement and a jolt back to practicality; we had managed to get a flat tire before we even left the parking lot. A tire change, careful drive home, and a trip to our local garage later, we were famished by the time we finally made it home. We heated up some Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup we'd made earlier in the week and dunked some of Paul's sourdough bread into the sweet goodness while we talked through our next life step. This soup is a master at capturing the nuanced sweetness of natural caramelization and the subtle nuttiness of roasted onion, garlic and butternut squash. While Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup tastes rich and complex, it is in reality just a very simple roasted vegetable puree turned into a velvety fall soup. We have adapted this recipe from James Peterson. For more information on his soup cookbook and others, check out our bookshelf.

Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup

West African Peanut Stew with Kale

Our sister-in-law made this deliciously comforting West African Peanut Stew with Kale on a recent visit to New Haven, and I have been craving it non-stop ever since. The taste and smell of garlic, ginger and peanuts will warm you on these crisp fall days. This simple and hearty vegetarian take on the classic West African peanut stew uses pantry ingredients and works well with whatever greens you happen to have on hand. 

West African Peanut Stew with Kale

Charred Garlic Salsa

To celebrate the garlic season, we've been eating batch after batch of this sweet, smokey, and nutty Charred Garlic Salsa. It's easy to slip into thinking of garlic as a year-round kitchen workhorse, rather than as a seasonal specialty worth savoring in its own right. If you've never paused to taste the difference between early summer's stale grocery garlic and the in-season local variety, this is the perfect vehicle to indulge. Charred Garlic Salsa is inspired by the flavors and techniques of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, and is delicious with chips, on bread, with grilled meats, tacos, or as an amazing condiment for sandwiches.

Charred Garlic Salsa

Bacon Bison Burgers

It’s the first day of September, an in-between season, with one foot in summer and the other inching towards fall. We created these Bison Bacon Burgers for this time of year, a last hurrah to warm summer grilling, with a nod towards cooler evenings. These are woodsy bison and beef burgers with hints of rosemary, smoky bacon and heaps of sweet caramelized onions. Honestly, these are fantastic burgers, bison lover or not, this burger will captivate your taste buds. And for the labor day weekend, celebrate with a last round of homemade burgers; Smokey Ancho Cheddar BurgersPortobello Burgers with Green Olive Tapenade, or, my favorite, Turkey Feta Burgers with Yogurt Curry Sauce.  

Bacon Bison Burgers

Carrot Ricotta Tart with Herbs

Last week we got a gorgeous bunch of multicolored carrots in our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) weekly delivery box. We roasted our carrots to beautiful morsels of caramelized goodness, tossed them atop an herb and ricotta smothered puff pastry, and crunched away with taste buds dancing.

Carrot Ricotta Tart with Herbs

Teriyaki Steak Soba Noodles with Mushrooms

We started making Teriyaki Steak Soba Noodles with Mushrooms in the colder months, searing off steak and mushrooms in a cast iron skillet, and tossing them with soba noodles in a rich homemade teriyaki sauce. Now that spring is here, we are getting local spring mushrooms in our CSA box and have been cranking up the grill for this deeply flavored dish. A dark, homemade teriyaki sauce serves as both quick marinade and robust sauce for healthy buckwheat soba noodles. We eat a lot of soba noodles here at the Hungry Hounds...check out our Carrot Soba Noodles With Ginger And Kale and Zucchini Soba Noodles With Grilled Vegetables

Teriyaki Steak Soba Noodles with Mushrooms

Three Layer Parsnip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

We are celebrating our one year blog anniversary with cake. We wanted an extraordinary cake for the occasion, one with a funky twist, moist flavor and sumptuous icing. Three Layer Parsnip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is our adaptation of the wonderful Diane Morgan's recipe. This fantastic, vegetable loaded cake mimics the spice and texture of a carrot cake, adding a mysterious subtle sweetness with the nutty flavor of grated parsnips. Since we discovered this parsnip cake a year ago, carrot cake just doesn't do it for us anymore.

Three Layer Parsnip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Roasted Vegetable Fattoush Salad

Crunchy zatar seasoned pita chips, sweet caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, and crisp, lemon laced vegetables; our Roasted Vegetable Fattoush Salad is a perfect light dinner that hints towards the warmer months ahead.

Roasted Vegetable Fattoush Salad

Caramelized Cardamom Spiced Apples with Pistachio Cream

It’s a weeknight and you want pie. Unfortunately, you’re husband (and resident crust-maker) is still at school and you are not confident enough (read: too lazy) to make a crust. My solution: Caramelized Cardamom Spiced Apples with Pistachio Cream, essentially an Indian scented pie filling without the bother of a crust. We have had Indian flavors on the mind recently and have served this as an accompaniment to Pork Vindaloo

Caramelized Cardamom Spiced Apples with Pistachio Cream

Sweet Potato, Chili & Lime Soup

Think of this Sweet Potato, Chili and Lime Soup as a sweeter tortilla soup, a spicier butternut bisque, or a limey chowder. This silky textured soup eats like a hearty cream soup gone funky with chili and lime. Given the natural richness of the sweet potatoes, we found that sour cream, lime, cilantro and tortilla strips are a must for both flavor and textural contrast. Our soon-to-be brother-in-law had the inspired idea of adding a dollop of Chimichurri Sauce to the soup, he was right, it’s a winner! Serve with some homemade bread and a bright beet salad, and you have yourself a colorful and light winter meal. This recipe is adapted from James Peterson.

Sweet Potato, Chili & Lime Soup

Toasted Oat & Honey Porridge

I crave porridge for breakfast on cold winter days. Growing up, my sister and I ate porridge for breakfast most mornings. At some point along the way, things got a little creative, with my sisters’ addition of chocolate chips to her bowl, and my own garish sprinkle of mouth puckering vitamin C powder to mine. I think you could say that these add-ins remain a fairly accurate representation of our adult taste preferences. When I saw the title ‘very best oatmeal’ in Whole Grain Mornings, I couldn't resist. Our slightly adapted version, Toasted Oat & Honey Porridge, is fantastic and speedy, and I have been obsessively making it on weekdays and weekends for the past month. The texture is incredible, no more gummy, thick porridge. Instead, the technique preserves the shape and texture of the individual oats through a two-step toasting and steaming process that leaves you with a surprisingly soft and chewy texture. We liked that addition of honey for just a hint of sweetness, and a flurry of crunchy almonds and pomegranate seeds to make this into a quick, beautiful, and delicious bowl of porridge.

Toasted Oat & Honey Porridge

Smokey Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Its Superbowl Sunday, which means snack day! These Smokey Sweet Potato Oven Fries are crispy, smokey, spicy, and sweet: a perfect game day (or any day) snack. We eat them year round, but always appreciate the excuse for a heaping plate. 

Smokey Sweet Potato Oven Fries

French Cabbage Soup, Garbure Gasconne

Blustering snow and icy rains found us craving a hearty soup this week.   Gazing down the steep cobblestone hills winding down from our house, we opted for caution, and a pantry raid, in favor of driving.  For our winter-storm-fare, we dunked homemade sourdough bread in aromatic bowls of French Cabbage Soup, and dreamed of beaches!   Our recipe for French Cabbage Soup, Garbure Gasconne, is a modified version of this delicious cabbage soup from the French region of Gascony.  This soup smartly employs steaming and simmering techniques to gently extract the delicate flavors from winter root vegetables.  French Cabbage Soup is a warming vegetable soup with a depth of flavor that far exceeds its humble ingredients.

French Cabbage Soup, Garbure Gasconne

Barley Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Risotto is an elevated dish with rustic origins, and is thought to originate from the rice growing regions of northern Italy. While risotto is often associated with fine dining and classic technique, it does not have to be an intimidating dish. The basic idea behind risotto is slowly simmering and stirring a grain in broth to release its creamy texture. While risottos often call for arborio or other specialty rices, the technique can be used with many different grains. Barley Risotto with Brussels Sprouts is a comforting winter dish, rich with nutty flavor from both the barley and roasted brussels sprouts.

Barley Risotto with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Citrus Pulled Pork Tacos with Feta

Its the season for resolutions, and food trends are emphasizing the lean and green. In this spirit, I suggested a kale salad for dinner last night. Paul smirked, and countered with a suggestion of loaded nachos. So goes marriage. Our brilliant compromise, Citrus Pulled Pork Tacos with Feta, pairs Yucatán Citrus Pulled Pork with a cumin and garlic red cabbage salad, cilantro, and briny feta, for a satisfying and light main.

Citrus Pulled Pork Tacos with Feta