Adriana Velez is Food Editor for SheKnows. She spent her formative years in Brooklyn, which pretty much explains everything about her. She now lives somewhere else and has discovered life after kale and kombucha. She's written for Civil ...
Food blogger Meike Peters is reinventing fall comfort food, and we're so into it
You know what we're all saying around here: Winter is coming. But just in time for us to start feeling the chill is Berlin-based food blogger Meike Peters' new cookbook, Eat in My Kitchen. Think German comfort food meets Malta's sunny Mediterranean flavors with some Middle Eastern spices thrown in for fun.
Here are three recipes from Eat in My Kitchen we're especially feeling for fall: cumin-roasted squash with a pistachio-feta dip; a melty, spiced ham, apple and cheese sandwich; and Bavarian beer-roasted pork. Are you feeling them too?
Peters walked us through these succulent dishes so we don't have to wait for her cookbook to arrive at our door.
Cumin-roasted squash wedges with pistachio-feta dip recipe
Spice-roasted squash wedges have long been a favorite of mine, especially for cozy winter nights on the sofa. But I was newly inspired when I discovered Sabrina Ghayour’s wonderful Persiana cookbook, a beautiful recipe collection strongly influenced by the Middle East. The London-based chef takes an Asian pesto and squash dish created by her friend Chef Tony Singh, and makes her own variation with feta, pomegranate and a Persian-style pesto made of pistachio, coriander, parsley and dill. It caressed my taste buds and lifted the vegetable to new heights. Nutty, sweet and salty — it’s simply brilliant. I just had to come up with my own take on the recipe.
To make the dish simpler, I leave out the pomegranate and pesto and focus on the caramel sweetness of roasted squash, the biting sharpness of feta and the flowery flavor of pistachios. I also add cumin to lend the dish an earthy note and a hint of warmth. Sabrina uses butternut squash in her recipe, but I sometimes replace that with Hokkaido squash, which has edible skin and needs less time in the oven.
Serves 3 – 4
2-1/4 pounds (1 kilogram) seeded squash with skin, preferably Hokkaido or butternut, cut into 2-inch (5 centimeter) wedges
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place the squash in a baking dish. Whisk together the olive oil and cumin and season generously with pepper. Pour this over the squash and use your hands to toss and coat the squash in the oil. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the squash wedges over and continue roasting until golden brown and soft when pricked with a fork — about 7 minutes for the Hokkaido squash and 15 minutes for the butternut squash.
While the squash is roasting, make the pistachio-feta dip: Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. Add the feta, olive oil and cumin, and purée until smooth. Season to taste with additional cumin. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside.
To serve, spoon the dip onto the wedges and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
Imagine a cold gray morning in the early days of fall — the air silent and misty, a quiet chill hinting at the coming change of light and temperature. This is the moment when you realize that it’s time for summery treats to make way for food that’s more hearty and rich. A ham and cheese sandwich sounds just right.
It’s not winter yet, and autumn apples shine in glowing gold, orange and red. The flavors are sweet and saturated, almost overly ripe. All the fruit is now at its peak, and ready to show off what’s been collecting under its skin for months.
For this sandwich, I prefer to use an old apple variety that’s sour and juicy, like Belle de Boskoop. It’s firm but softens slightly when sautéed in coriander-infused butter. The spiced fruit pairs so well with rustic ham, but we’re not done yet. Aromatic grilled Raclette sinks into every bite and the whole thing is sandwiched on a crusty bun. Altogether, this seems like the best thing that could happen to ham and cheese.
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 small bay leaf
1 firm, tart baking apple, such as Belle de Boskoop, Granny Smith or Braeburn, cored and cut into 6 slices
4 slices ham
2 rustic sandwich buns, cut in half
3 ounces (85 grams) Raclette (or any aromatic cheese that melts well, such as Comté or Gruyère), cut into 4 thick slices
A few black peppercorns, crushed with a mortar and pestle
In a large, heavy pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the coriander and bay leaf and stir to coat them in butter. When the butter is hot and sizzling, arrange the apple slices next to each other in the pan and sauté for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side or until golden brown — mind that the spices don’t burn. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.
Set the oven to broil (quicker method) or preheat to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
Layer 2 slices of ham on the bottom half of each bun and top with 2 apple slices. Add 2 slices of Raclette and finish with the roasted coriander seeds from the pan and another slice of apple. Put the sandwiches under the broiler or roast at 500 degrees F (260 degrees C) for a few minutes or until the cheese starts to melt. Sprinkle with crushed peppercorns and place the top on each bun.
Bavarian beer-roasted pork with sweet potatoes and parsnips recipe
As autumn nears, I leave the buzz of the city and head to the suburbs to buy meat from a small local butcher near Müggelsee, Berlin’s largest lake. It’s become a tradition: My boyfriend and I place our order — whether for a roast, sausages or both — at our trusted shop then go on a long walk through the dense woods that surround the picturesque lake. With fresh air in our lungs — and a few sweet treats from a nearby bakery in our bellies — we pick up the bags full of meaty delicacies and hop back on the train.
This really is the ultimate roast with perfect crackling, juices sweetened with elderflower or apricot jelly and tender meat infused with beer, cloves, mustard and cinnamon. It’s pure comfort food.
Serves 4 – 6
For the pork
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
12 whole cloves, finely crushed with a mortar and pestle
5-1/2 pounds (2-1/2 kilograms) bone-in pork shoulder, with the fat scored (ask the butcher to do this or use a very sharp knife to create a diamond pattern)
2 cups (500 milliliters) beer
3 medium red onions, cut into quarters
2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and cut into cubes
4 large parsnips, scrubbed or peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
1 cinnamon stick, broken
3 star anise pods
2 heaping tablespoons white mustard seeds
For the sauce
1/2 – 3/4 cup (120 – 180 milliliters) vegetable broth
1 tablespoon light, fruity jelly, such as elderflower or apricot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Combine the salt and cloves, sprinkle onto the scored surface of the pork and rub into the scores with your fingers. Place the meat, scored side up, in a deep roasting pan and roast for 1-1/2 hours. Take the pan out of the oven, pour the beer over the meat and arrange the red onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cinnamon, star anise and mustard seeds around the meat. Roast for another 60 minutes, stirring the vegetables and spooning the juices from the pan over the meat every 20 minutes or so. Turn on the broiler for the last few minutes until most of the crackling is crisp — mind that it doesn’t get too dark. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a large dish, cover with aluminum foil and set aside.
For the sauce, pour the juices from the roasting pan into a medium saucepan, discarding the cinnamon and star anise. Add 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) of the broth and bring to a boil. Whisk in the jelly and mustard and season to taste with pepper. Taste the sauce and if the beer flavor is too strong, add more broth. If you prefer the sauce more concentrated, let it cook down for a few minutes. Cut the pork roast into 1/2-inch (1-1/4-centimeter) slices and serve with the sauce and vegetables on the side.