FIELD & FOREST

vegan

mixed citrus salad with champagne vinaigrette and pistachios

dinner, lunch, salads, vegetarian, winter, veganRachel SandersComment
(Yeah, not a photo of SLC in January... but more depictive of how I feel today than the dreary/smoggy/old-snow reality!)

(Yeah, not a photo of SLC in January... but more depictive of how I feel today than the dreary/smoggy/old-snow reality!)

I woke up this morning before everyone else (ish, Lucca woke up when I moved in bed and sneezed in my face before falling back asleep... Happy New Year!) and got up and walked into a clean kitchen and had this weird sense of deja-vu and warm fuzzies that I remember feeling when we put our first set of matching dishes into our cabinets shortly after we got married, where I would frequently open the cabinets and stand with my hands on my hips and look at the neat stacks of plates and bowls and think "this is very nice."

There is something so welcoming and calm about a clean kitchen in the morning. Richard and I hosted friends for dinner two nights in a row this past week, and in spite of the late evenings and multiple dishes, we've made a considerable effort to not leave anything to clean up the morning after (major props to Richard for pulling some serious dish-washing weight, and also for convincing me months ago that a mechanical dishwasher was a worthy investment - holy cow, was he right). And so instead of waking up in a post-gathering malaise and having to do more dishes first thing in the morning, we wake up, walk into a sparkling kitchen, make coffee, read, listen to podcasts, and then get to work/projects/Lucca-wearing-out. It has been lovely.

I realize the Gregorian calendar is a human construct and in geological time, the world doesn't really give two figs whether it is 2016 or 2017, but there is something that feels similarly fresh and new when we move from one year to the next. It is like shedding a skin or the feeling you get when you brush your teeth after eating corn-on-the-cob. An "oooh yes, I needed that, now I can get on with things" kind of feeling.

There were some very high highs and some rather low lows this year. I cannot lie and say that I'm looking at 2017 without some considerable concern for our country and our planet. I don't think that you can have a food blog or think/write/talk about food without considering greater issues at hand. I think about Syria each time I use Aleppo pepper flakes. I wonder about the speed/progression of climate change when I buy avocados at the grocery store. I consider the connections between some synthetic pesticides and Parkinson's disease, which afflicted my grandmother later in life, when I look at the costs of conventionally grown v. organically grown cane sugar. I think I look very frowny when I go food shopping. What can I say! I have a lot of serious thoughts in the grocery store.

But I also like to think that when we grab the minty-fresh feelings of a new year by the nads, we can make active, if often small, changes that create larger positive ripple effects throughout the next twelve months of our lives. Maybe this is the year you start calling your parents on a regular basis. Maybe this is the year you buy an electric car or take public transportation twice (or more!) a week. Maybe this is the year that you make the lunches you bring to work, instead of getting takeout all of the time. Maybe this is the year that you eat less meat, but get the sustainably and humanely raised (and super delicious) stuff whenever possible. Maybe this is the year that you volunteer for a cause you care about deeply, or donate money to help people in crisis far away. Maybe you start making choco-tacos and giving them to strangers, because you can! I don't know. But I bet there's something you've considered doing and ended up thinking, "eh, I'll do it later," or "maybe next year." Do it now!

I have some larger "I want to do this thing this year" thoughts for another post, but right now I'm working on being more brave. I want to stand up for people and things that I care about more. I want to take more risks, both personally and professionally. I want to act out of joy instead of fear whenever possible. Maybe you're good at this and you're thinking "well, that's not so hard." That is awesome for you! It is hard for me. I am working on it. I am not perfect. I'll probably fail a number of times, but at least I'm giving it a go. Maybe you'll forget your homemade lunch at home and break your lunch-bringing streak with some In-n-Out. It's cool. Hop back on the homemade lunch horse the next day. We're all human and we're all trying.

And now we come to the point of the post where I try to transition larger thoughts into a recipe and today I'm drawing a blank. Blah. Oh well! There's a salad here that is juicy and quenching and colorful and probably what your bod wants after a month of cookies and cakes and latkes and roasted meats and gravy and candy canes. It's easily scaled, so keep in mind that I would happily eat this recipe in its entirety before you choose your number of citrus units. Otherwise, it probably feeds 2-3 if you have other stuff happening on the side (photo context clues: like bread).

Much love in 2017 (and always). 💕

caracaranavelbloodorangesalad.jpg

makes enough salad for 1 Rachel or 2-3 normal people

Cut the citrus into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place rounds onto a plate or serving dish, alternating the types of citrus if you wish. Set aside.

Place the red onion into a medium bowl, and add a few splashes of champagne vinegar to just barely cover the onion. Add a pinch of salt and miix briefly, then let sit for 5-10 minutes to marinate. Whisk in a small glug (a tablespoon-ish) of olive oil, and taste the dressing with a leaf or arugula or spinach. (I like my dressing slightly bright because the citrus can be sweet, but add more olive oil if you prefer your dressing to be more mellow).

Add the arugula and/or spinach to the bowl, and gently toss with your hands to coat the leaves with the dressing. Arrange the leaves over the citrus rounds so that you can still see citrus peeking out around the edge of your serving dish. Give it a quick twist or two of black pepper (not too much, please) sprinkle with the pistachios and serve immediately.

A 3-unit mix of citrus (I used a cara-cara orange, a navel orange, and a blood orange), peeled
a scant 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
champagne (or white balsamic) vinegar
kosher salt
olive oil
2 handfuls of arugula or spinach
, or a mixture of both
black pepper
roasted pistachios (alternately, roasted almonds) coarsely chopped

fridge clean-out minestrone

autumn, dinner, lunch, main dishes, soups, spring, vegan, vegetarian, winterRachel SandersComment
fridge clean-out minestrone | field + forest

One of my New Year's resolutions from like, 2012, was to get better at using up all of the odds and ends that accumulate in our fridge. For the most part, we've failed. We still fill up a little compost container with past-their-prime veggies/fruits/cheese ends/what have you every month or so. 

But, had I known the recipe for building this skill was one part Richard saying "I want soup" and two parts us being too lazy to travel 2.5 blocks to the store, we might have cracked this fridge clean-out thing a loooong time ago.

I feel funny sometimes when I share these kinds of recipes with you because they aren't flashy or profound or beautifully styled. This is base-level practicality at its core. But geez, there is so much gorgeous food inspiration among the cookbooks and the Instagram and the Pinterest that I sometimes really need someone to slap me across the face and say "put down the pea shoots and make some goddamn food with what you goddamn have."

(I picture this someone as one (or both) of my economical depression-era grandmas, which makes me feel happy in spite of the slapping.)

I'm guessing your fridge looks different than my fridge, and since this is about making the most of what's available to you in the moment, you shouldn't feel constrained by amounts of things or by particular ingredients. An onion, some olive oil, an acid, and maybe a little meat will be enough to carry any veggies pretty far along, and you can even get away with using water if you don't have veggie/chicken/beef broth hanging out somewhere. This soup will not be French Laundry soup by any means but it will be inexpensive and healthy and nourishing and soul-satisfying and delicious.

Pretty much everything we need.

fridge clean-out minestrone | field + forest
fridge clean-out minestrone | field + forest

butter
olive oil
2 leeks, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and rinsed (white and light green parts only), OR 1 large onion, chopped
salt
1 bunch carrots (~5 carrots) (alternately, use parsnips/sweet potatoes/what have you), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 cloves garlic, chopped
a few sprigs of thyme or 1 of rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups broth, water, or a mixture of broth and water
1 can chickpeas (alternately, use cannellini beans or other canned/cooked beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup ditalini (or other small) pasta (alternately, break up long pasta into small pieces)
1/2 bunch red Russian kale, chopped (alternately, other robust greens, chopped, or whole leaf baby spinach)
black pepper
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
(optional: cooked sausage, bacon, or shredded cooked chicken)

To serve: shaved parmesan, red pepper flakes, olive oil

In a pot set over medium-low heat, melt a small knob of butter (a tablespoon or so) and add a quick swig of olive oil. Add the leeks (or chopped onion) along with a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until they become soft and translucent. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for 5  (adding more oil or butter if the vegetables are sticking to the pot) until the carrots are just beginning to soften.

Turn the heat up to medium and add the wine. Let the wine cook down until the pan is almost dry again, then add the water or broth. Bring the pot to a boil, add the chickpeas and pasta, and cook for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to maintain a brisk simmer, add the kale, and continue to cook until the greens have softened and the pasta is al dente. (If you are including leftover cooked meat in your soup, add it along with the kale.)

Taste the soup and season with more salt, a little pepper, and the lemon zest and juice. Serve immediately, with shaved parmesan, red pepper flakes, and olive oil on the side.

fridge clean-out minestrone | field + forest

roasted veggie tacos + a video!

autumn, dinner, lunch, main dishes, vegan, vegetarian, winterRachel SandersComment
vegan vegetable tacos with aji amarillo sauce

So remember a little (er, long) while ago when I said you'd be getting a taco recipe soon? Well, rejoice! Soon is now.

This is one of my favorite recipes. And, it's vegan! You'd never know! I actually forgot it was vegan the last time we made it until halfway through my second taco.

That's actually the kind of vegan cooking I prefer. We're not vegan, but we really don't eat meat more than once or twice a week, if that. We save the meat for dishes that really need it, like sausage bolognese and meat lasagna and roasted chicken (not quite sure how one would make this without the chicken), and focus on the vegetables the rest of the time. I will probably always eat this way, mainly because I have never met a vegan lasagna that can hold a candle to normal lasagna (mainly because I have never met a vegan cheese that can hold a candle to cheese).

My friend Andrew and I made this video back in January (note my pre-spring skiing alabaster complexion), and then I promptly sat on it for a number of months while moving/working/traveling/being a bum. So now that squash is back in season, it's high time I made good on my taco promises and gave you this recipe already, especially since it's ideal camping season in most parts of Utah. Even though I roast the veggies in the oven and cook the kale on the stovetop, the ingredients for these tacos are robust enough that you can make them ahead of time, pack them in your cooler, and reheat them in the backcountry with no discernable changes in quality or texture. They've been a featured item on more than one trip, and since getting fresh veggies in our tummies while camping is sometimes an issue for us, I'm always super happy when these are part of the rotation.

(Some of you are going to balk at the homemade tortillas thing, since that is admittedly a more time-consuming element of these tacos. I mean, I like these tortillas a lot, but you don't have to make them if you don't want to. I'll still be your friend. And even I don't bother with making the tortillas when we take this camping, mainly because we'll eat more than I can practically make. But seriously, do make the orange sauce, because it is like liquid crack and you can use it on your eggs/chips/burgers/veggies/significant other, so you'll definitely use up the full batch.)

Huge thanks and the biggest of bear hugs to Andrew for shooting this video with me and for helping me to eat all of the tacos afterward! Do yourselves a favor and check out his other work at andrewjamesfilm.com.


a few good squash (I used 1 large butternut and two delicata, but feel free to use whatever densely-fleshed squash is your favorite)
1 pound carrots
olive oil
1 bunch lacinato (dino) kale or Red Russian kale
kosher salt

TACO ACCESSORIES - tortillas, orange sauce, chopped cilantro + white onion, sliced avocado, toasted pepitas

Peel the squash (delicata squash can be unpeeled), remove any seeds, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel the carrots and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds or half-moons. Place the veggies in a single layer on two baking sheets, drizzle with olive oil, and toss lightly with your hands to evenly coat. Place both baking sheets on separate racks in your oven, and turn the oven temperature to 400˚F. Roast for 20-30 minutes, rotating the sheet pans once, until the edges of the veggies are becoming crispy and the insides are custardy.

While the veggies are roasting, stem, chop, and rinse your kale (do not dry it). Heat a cast-iron pan over a medium flame. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and let heat for a few seconds before adding the kale. Sauté the kale until it begins to wilt (the water from rinsing will help the kale to steam and break down). Add a pinch of kosher salt, and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the kale is soft and easy to bite through.

Remove the vegetables from the oven, sprinkle with kosher salt, and add to the pan with the kale. Set aside while you heat the tortillas, and gently reheat if necessary before serving.


ORANGE SAUCE (makes 2 cups)

Note: this recipe is inspired by both a salsa from Tacolicious and one from the beloved Q'ero in Encinitas, CA.

Turn your broiler to high. Lay the onion slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, and place under the broiler until they begin to blacken on one side, about 5-10 minutes.

While the onions broil, heat a heavy bottomed skillet over a medium flame and add a couple of teaspoons of canola oil. Add the chiles de arbol and the garlic cloves to the pan, and cook until the chiles are beginning to turn dark, the garlic is beginning to turn golden, and the whole thing smells smokey and delicious (this only takes a few minutes if that, so keep your eye on the pan).

Remove the chiles and garlic from the heat, and pour into the cup of an immersion blender or the carafe of a stand blender. Add the broiled onion slices, and pour about 1/4-1/3 of a cup of boiling hot water over the vegetables and let sit for 5 minutes (this will help them soften for blending).

Add the aji amarillo purée or tomatoes, the vinegar, and a large pinch of salt to the carafe and blend until puréed (it's okay if there is still a little bit of texture). Add the agave nectar and oil, and blend again until thoroughly mixed. Taste the sauce and add more vinegar/salt/agave/oil as necessary to get your desired balance of flavors.

The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

1 red onion, peeled, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
canola oil or other neutral oil
1/2 cup dried chiles de arbol
6 large cloves garlic
boiling hot water
1/3 cup aji amarillo purée or two medium tomatoes
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
kosher salt
1 tablespoon agave nectar (syrup) or 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup canola oil


BLUE CORN TORTILLA (makes 8-12)
adapted from King Arthur Flour

Combine the flour and cornmeal in a medium bowl, and add the oil, mixing to combine. Dissolve the salt in the water and add to the bowl, mixing to combine with your hands or a wooden spoon.

Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, adding a little more flour to the board if necessary. Divide the dough into 8-12 equal pieces (depending on how large you would like your tortillas) and roll each piece into a ball. Set on a plate or baking sheet, cover with a damp dishtowel, and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, leaving the rest covered, press the dough ball using a tortilla press (if you don't have a press, which I don't, place the dough ball on a large piece of plastic wrap, fold the wrap loosely over the ball, and press using the bottom of a dish or a pan). Place pressed tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp dishtowel while you work with the rest of the dough.

Once the tortillas have all been pressed, heat an ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat and line a dish with a dishtowel or large piece of foil. Cook the tortillas for 1-2 minutes on each side, until the color is light with some golden spots. Remove cooked tortillas to the lined dish, and keep covered with the towel or wrapped in foil while the others cook.

Serve immediately.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup blue cornmeal
4 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup + one tablespoon water

beans with garlic, rosemary, and aleppo pepper

dinner, lunch, vegan, vegetarian, winter, autumnRachel SandersComment

Gah, my mouth starts watering whenever I think of these beans. These look innocuous, but they are heady with garlic and deeply savory with rosemary and pepper flakes. I sometimes can't believe how good they are considering that they're made with things that are usually just lying around! Pure magic.

The beans pictured here are Good Mother Stallard beans from Rancho Gordo. I love how these beans plump up when you cook them and how densely creamy they are on the inside, but you can make this with any cooked beans or canned beans you have around. You could simply add them to the oil with the garlic and cook until they're heated through, but I like taking them a little further so that some become golden and a little crispy on the outside. That's when things really start to get good.

After that, you can remove them from the heat and serve them straight from the pan as is, or give them another pinch of flaky salt and a squeeze of lemon for a bit of a lift (which is highly recommended!). If you can't stop eating them, then you know you've achieved perfection.

serves 2-4 as a side

This recipe easily scales up, but I wouldn't bother scaling it down, as the beans make fantastic leftovers when added to pasta or salads, or served with eggs. You can even make a slice of toast, top it with a few slices of avocado, add the beans and a fried egg and have a very respectable breakfast or brunch dish.

How to simply cook dried beans: place your beans in a large bowl and soak them overnight in plenty of cold water. Drain and rinse your beans to remove any grit, and put them in a large pot with plenty of cold water and a single bay leaf. Bring the water and beans to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover, cooking until the beans are no longer mealy and taste creamy, but not so long that they turn to mush (I start checking my beans 30-45 minutes after they started cooking, but the timing can vary greatly depending on the age of your beans). Once the beans are cooked, remove from heat, uncover, and let cool in their cooking water (this helps to keep them intact). Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.


1/2 pound Good Mother Stallard beans (or other beans that hold their shape once cooked), cooked, OR 2 cans cannellini beans
A generous glug (two tablespoons) olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic (or more, no need to limit yourself!), thinly sliced
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
1 large pinch aleppo pepper flakes OR 1 small pinch standard red pepper flakes
Flaky salt, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste


In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat until it begins to shimmer and can easily be swirled around the pan. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds or until it begins to turn translucent and smells really, really good (don't let it brown here). Add the pepper flakes and rosemary, cook (stirring) for a few more seconds, and then add the beans. Stir everything together, raise heat to medium, and then let cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through, the garlic is turning golden, and a few of the beans are beginning to turn crispy.

Remove from the heat, strip the leaves from the rosemary, and stir the leaves back into the beans. Finish with a generous pinch of flaky salt and a good squeeze of lemon, and serve immediately.


Note that if you use canned beans, you may have to stir them more gently while cooking, as canned beans have a greater tendency to fall apart when cooked in this way. But beans that have fallen apart make excellent bean mash, which is a lovely thing on its own, so it's not any tragedy should this happen to you.