Winter

The Last Salad of Winter & A Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette

Paul and I are nuts for winter fennel salads, and it turns out that our 14-month old daughter is a big fan as well... that is until we upped our game and added this amazing caramelized apple vinaigrette. Madeline ignored the salad completely and licked the vinaigrette off all the salad components, all the while loudly commenting "mmmmmm." We realize that a 14-month-old cannot be our barometer of good food, but darn it if we don't love this salad combination ourselves, and want to lick the vinaigrette off the bottom of our plates. The tart green apple, crisp fennel, sweet blood oranges and sweet and sour notes of this wonderful caramelized apple vinaigrette make this a winner.

The Last Salad of Winter & A Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette

6 Winter Salads

For us, a good meal involves contrast, vibrant vegetables and meatless mains, even in the coldest months. We’ve put together a collection of 6 of our most popular hearty winter salads to inspire your winter salading. 

1. Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus

2. Kale Cobb Salad with Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

3. Roasted Vegetable Fattoush Salad

4. Crisp Apple Fennel Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette

5. Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

6. Slow Cooker Lentil Salad with Roasted Squash

6 Winter Salads

Beef Stroganoff

We are well into January now, and all of those New Year's resolutions to subsist on green smoothies and sorghum grain bowls may be looking more aspirational then realistic at this point. Enter Beef Stroganoff, a rich and sumptuous cold weather hit packed with umami meatiness, the tang of sour cream, and the piquant brightness of white wine and mustard. Beef Stroganoff is the perfect old-school counter to the self-flagellation that too often accompanies the new year, and beats the joy out eating. This New Year resolve to eat food you love!

Beef Stroganoff

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

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

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

Flemish Beer Braised Beef & Onions, Carbonnade de Boeuf

In Pittsburgh we are beginning to see the first glimpses of spring. As I write, rain and fog are rolling over the city -- an oddly welcome change after months of snow and ice. With Saint Patrick's Day festivities this weekend, we thought it appropriate to celebrate the coming end to winter with our streamlined take on the rich and unctuous Flemish Beer Braised Beef & Onions, Carbonnade de Boeuf. This dish uses beer for 100% of the braising liquid, so pick one you really like. I used my homebrewed brown ale, which has a rich toastiness and mild bitterness. Be careful using a bitter or hoppy beer, since the cooking will concentrate these flavors considerably. While this dish takes some planning ahead (around 4 hours start to finish), it is straightforward to make and works every time. Your house will be filled with the enticing aromas of caramelized onions, braising meat, and simmering beer. 

Flemish Beer Braised Beef & Onions, Carbonnade de Boeuf

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

Crisp Fennel Apple Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette

Fennel and apple pair terrifically in this simple and elegant salad, wonderful for cleansing the palate after a hearty winter stew. Fennel is a winter vegetable that brings a celery like crunch and cucumbery sweetness to this easy winter salad. We like to pair fennel and apple with a tart and salty citrus vinaigrette, and couldn't resist the bright orange color and flavor of this tangerine vinaigrette.

Crisp Fennel Apple Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette

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

Blood Orange & Ginger Shrub

Blood Orange & Ginger Shrub- we are talking about an odd sounding, old fashioned beverage that has nothing to do with gardening or hedges.  The shrub was a popular drink in America during the colonial times, and referred to a vinegared fruit syrup mixed with water, alcohol or sparkling water, also called a drinking vinegar.  The British have their own version of a shrub, a fruity alcoholic cordial, without the vinegar.  Recently, shrubs have had a revival in bars and restaurants, and for good reason, they are refreshing, tangy and delicious!  Shrubs are easy to make, and have only three ingredients, fruit juice, sugar and vinegar.  They can be made in two ways, hot or cold, and in our recipe for Blood Orange & Ginger Shrub, we opted for a slightly modified cold version.

Blood Orange & Ginger Shrub

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

Yucatán Citrus Pulled Pork, Cochinita Pibil

It is a mid-winters day in Pittsburgh. The wind is howling, the sky is grey, and the dogs are curled up napping by the fire. This is classic roast weather. Yucatán Citrus Pulled Pork, Cochinita Pibil, is a vibrant version of pulled pork that takes advantage of citrus season to bring the spicy, fresh, and tangy flavors of the Yucatán to your table. Our non-traditional take on this classic feast dish simplifies the technique for the home cook, forgoing pit-roasting and the often hard-to-find ingredients, including annatto and banana leaves. Yucatán Citrus Pulled Pork is easy to make, and works beautifully on tacos, over rice, with potatoes, or in sandwiches. 

Yucatán Citrus Pulled Pork, Cochinita Pibil

Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

Beet & Goat Cheese Salad is our favorite salad. It is a recipe which we repeat almost weekly throughout the year. We particularly love Beet & Goat Cheese Salad in the winter months, when colors are more muted and eating tends towards the creamy and starchy.

Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

Chilled Cherry Soup with Cardamom, Meggyleves

The origins of this chilled cherry soup are Hungarian. But I came to know this dish by way of a memorable Christmas breakfast with Paul’s family. Between courses of oyster stew and cardamom bread, there was a mysterious ruby-hued soup. Combining the warmth of cardamom with the sweet tartness of cherries, this Chilled Cherry Soup is tangy, vivid, and refreshing: a lovely foil to the richness of holiday feasting.

Chilled Cherry Soup with Cardamom, Meggyleves

Buttermilk Celery Root Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are my comfort food. Throughout my elementary, middle school and high school years, I would spend most Wednesdays evenings with my Grandparents, eating homemade mashed potatoes.  By my request, I ate mashed potatoes on hot summer days, mashed potatoes on sick days, mashed potatoes on birthdays and over the holidays.

Buttermilk Celery Root Mashed Potatoes is our own hybrid version. We like them for the subtle vegetal flavor of celery root and the creaminess of butter, tempered by tangy buttermilk and garlic two ways. 

Buttermilk Celery Root Mashed Potatoes

Persimmon Citrus Salad

“What kind of weird orange tomato is that...” the check-out clerk wondered aloud, as persimmons made their way up the conveyor belt at the grocery store last week. Ten minutes later, there were two mangers involved, a low buzz of grumpy conversation in the line, and toes tapping impatiently. Finally, with the arrival of a third manager, and no persimmon on the produce list, I was told to name my price and take my strange fruit home. Victory! Persimmon Citrus Salad is worth the trouble to track down persimmons in your area, it is a festive and zippy salad, featuring winter's most vibrant colors and textures, bathed in a lime mint vinaigrette.

Persimmons are a fall fruit in season between September and December and there are a number of varieties of this fruit. We prefer the pumpkin orange, tomato shaped Fuyu persimmons, as they can be eaten at all stages of the ripening process, unlike other varieties which are astringent and incredibly bitter until they fully ripen.  

Persimmon Citrus Salad

Maple Walnut Baklava

We love maple syrup! Possibly my own craving for this iconic sap is the result of my Canadian heritage. But then there’s my American husband, who obsessively drizzles maple syrup over everything in sight, from a sweetener in his tea and coffee, to pork roasts, chili, ice cream, to salmon. Regardless of the origins of our maple passion, the maple-fication of Baklava was really quite inevitable. Maple syrup accompanies us camping and hiking, vacationing and traveling. Little bottles of maple syrup were stowed away in my suitcase headed to Ethiopia by my mother, and were in our packs as we traveled by moto in Vietnam and hitchhiked in Thailand. Maple Walnut baklava is a fantastic dessert, managing to be both light and flaky and also rich and gooey. This dessert features sheets of delicate filo, layered with the toasted flavors of browned butter, roasted walnuts, cinnamon, oranges and clove. Once cooked, the flaky pastry is bathed in a concentrated maple syrup, with a deep caramel flavor and subtle sweet notes.  

Maple Walnut Baklava