Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Honey-Glazed Carrots with Green Onions

Serves 2-4

1 lb baby carrots (think 1-2 bites, leave the skinny parts whole, halve or quarter fat ones) or 1 lb carrot, peeled, washed, and sliced into sticks about the size of baby carrots 
2 tablespoons butter
1 large garlic clove, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons honey 
salt and pepper
1/4 cup green onion tops, cut small (about 3-4 green onions once you discard the very tops and the white parts) or 1 tablespoon dried chives
Salt a large saucepan full of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add carrots and boil 5-7 minutes, until tender. Drain. In a large skillet or saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove garlic and discard. Add the honey, stirring to blend. Add carrots and salt and pepper to taste (it doesn't need much, a few shakes should do it). Stir around until carrots are coated. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, until carrots begin to brown. (You may need to increase heat to medium-high on some stoves.) Pour carrots and all the "juices" into a serving bowl. Add green onions and toss.

Roasted Potatoes and Beets with Balsamic Glaze

Serves 6

4 red beets, cut into chunks
2 potatoes, cut into chunks
1 yellow onion, cut into chunks
3-4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Toss beets, potatoes, onion, & garlic with olive oil, balsamic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 1 hour or until edges are crispy. Top with chopped fresh parsley.

Classic Greek Horta Greens

Serves 5-6

2 lbs of Greens:
Suggestions of Greens to choose from:
Swiss Chard
Dandelion – (Here in the United States, I’ve found that the white or green stemmed dandelions and especially the younger/shorter ones are less bitter than the red stems).
Feel free to combine different greens as well.
(Whenever possible buy organic greens to avoid ingesting the pesticides – if not available soak and rinse greens several times)
1 1/2 cups of water
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt to taste
2 lemons
(optional – 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder)
Cut the Greens into bite size pieces. Wash several times in bowl with water to remove any soil. If using kale with thick stems tear the leaves off the stems and discard stems.
In a large pot, add water, bring to a boil and add greens. Cover. Boil until stems and leaves are soft depending upon which greens you use. Check after 10 minutes by tasting to see if greens are tender and continue up to 20 minutes. Add more water if needed. Strain water from greens and return to pot. Add juice of two lemons, one turn of olive oil, salt and mix. Let sit for a few minutes in warm pot with flame turned off. Serve on plate or in bowl.
This makes 5 to 6 servings. Make extra since it tastes delicious the next day.
Dandelion Leaves Tip: If you want to make dandelion greens only (a bitter green) – use younger leaves if possible. Whatever length you use, I have found that by cooking dandelion greens in a steamer you reduce bitterness and follow directions to season with lemon, olive oil and salt above while still hot. Dandelion also taste milder when combined with another milder green such as Swiss Chard.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

Serves 4
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)
3/4 cup dried yellow or red lentils
1 4 -inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon curry powder
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Combine the sweet potato, carrots, celery, leeks, lentils, ginger, 3/4 teaspoon curry powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a 4-to-6-quart slow cooker. Add 6 cups water and stir, then cover and cook on low, undisturbed, 8 hours. Stir the soup vigorously with a whisk to make a rough puree. Thin with hot water, if desired. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon curry powder and cook until the curry powder is slightly toasted, about 1 minute. Stir the curry mixture into the soup and add the lemon juice, cilantro, and salt to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.

Massaged Kale Salad

Serves 6

1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
Small handful toasted pepitas ( pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons
In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes. Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.

Fennel and Chard Gratin with a Crispy Salsa Verde Topping

Serves 4

2 T unsalted butter
¾-pound fennel (one large bulb or a few smaller bulbs), top trimmed and fronds reserved
1 1/2 pounds chard, thoroughly washed, thick stems and leaves separated
4 ounces chèvre, cut into uniform slices
¼ cup 2% milk
3 T chicken stock
Pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400° F. Butter a 1-2 quart oval baking or gratin dish and set aside. Slice fennel bulb(s) in half lengthwise and remove core from each half. Cut side down, slice fennel about ¼ inch thick (will start as half moons and get smaller as you reach the frond end). Repeat with remaining piece(s). Slice chard stems the same way. Roll the chard leaves and chop. Melt butter in a wide sauté pan and cook over medium low heat, stirring. When butter begins to brown and smell nutty, add fennel and chard stems and cook until tender (but still holds a bite) about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. While fennel and chard stems are cooking, place chèvre in a small saucepan with milk and chicken stock. Heat over medium low, stirring until mixture is well combined. Turn off heat. Transfer fennel and chard stems to a colander. Gently press down vegetables with the back of a wooden spoon to remove excess liquid. Move fennel and chard stems to a large bowl. Increase heat to medium high and add chard leaves to saucepan by the handful, stirring until all of it has wilted. Transfer chard leaves to the colander and repeat with the wooden spoon. Once you have removed excess liquid, place chard leaves into the bowl with fennel and chard stems. Add chèvre mixture to vegetables and transfer to prepared gratin dish, spreading evenly. Top fennel and chard with salsa verde bread crumbs and bake for 20 minutes. When finished, gratin should be bubbling and top golden. Remove and allow gratin to cool for a few minutes.
For Topping½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
3 T reserved fennel fronds (feathery parts, not stalk), finely chopped
12-imported oil cured black olives, pitted and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of ½ an orange (I used a Cara Cara)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup bread crumbs
Combine parsley, fennel fronds, olives, minced garlic, orange juice and olive oil in a bowl. When you are ready to put gratin in oven, add breadcrumbs and stir to combine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Garlic Dill Sweet Potato Wedges

Serves 4-6

3 sweet potatoes
¼ cup duck fat, melted (or other oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, etc.)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon paprika
3-4 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, the cut each half into 4-5 wedges. Place wedges in a bowl, cover with water and add ice, about 2 cups worth. Let wedges sit in ice for 30 minutes. Preheat over to 450 degrees. Remove wedges from water and pat dry. Place wedges back into a large, dry bowl. Add melted fat, garlic powder, salt, and paprika. Toss wedges to coat. Place wedges on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet to help cook on both sides (if you don’t have a cooling rack, just cook on parchment paper lined baking sheet and flip half way through cooking). Bake wedges for 30-35 minutes until cooked through and browned. After cooked, let cool for 5 minutes then toss wedges in the bowl with fresh dill. I used the same bowl that I had first tossed the wedges in with oil, the oil helps coat the wedges a little more and keep the dill sticking to the wedges.

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Chard and Carrots

Serves 6
A lush bunch of red Swiss chard that I got at the farmers’ market was the inspiration for this stir-fry. The stems, which stay nice and crunchy, are an important ingredient in the stir-fry, so look for chard with nice wide ribs.

1 generous bunch of red chard (1 to 1 1/4 pounds), stemmed and washed well in 2 changes of water (retain the stems)
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic (to taste)
2 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (to taste)
2 eggs
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons peanut, canola, rice bran or grape seed oil
1 medium carrot, cut in 2-inch julienne
1 bunch scallions, sliced, dark green parts separated
4 cups cooked brown rice, either chilled or at room temperature
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Dice the thick part of the red chard stems (discard the stringier, tapering part of the stems); you should have 1 to 1 1/2 cups diced stems. Stack leaves and cut in slivers, or coarsely chop. You should have about 8 cups (the leaves will lose a lot of volume when they wilt in the stir-fry). Combine garlic and ginger in a small bowl or ramekin and place near your wok. Beat eggs in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Prepare the other ingredients and place in separate bowls within arm’s reach of your wok. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or a 12-inch skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two when added to the pan. Swirl in 2 teaspoons of oil by adding it to the sides of the wok and swirling the wok. Make sure that the bottom of the wok or pan is coated with oil and add eggs, swirling the wok or pan so that the eggs form a thin pancake. Cook 30 – 60 seconds, until set. Using a spatula, turn pancake over and cook for 5 to 10 more seconds, until thoroughly set, then transfer to a plate or cutting board and quickly cut into strips, using the edge of your spatula or a knife.
Swirl in remaining oil and add garlic and ginger. Stir-fry no more than 10 seconds and add chard stems and carrots. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, until crisp-tender, and add light part of the scallions and chard leaves. Stir-fry until leaves wilt, 1 to 2 minutes, and add rice. Stir-fry, scooping up the rice with your spatula then pressing it into the hot wok or pan and scooping it up again, for about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, dark green part of the scallions, eggs and cilantro, stir-fry for about 30 seconds, remove from heat and serve.

Pan-Fried Kale

Serves 4
1 whole Large Bunch Of Kale, Or 2 Regular Bunches
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
Salt And Pepper, to taste
½  Lemon, Optional
Thoroughly rinse the kale in cold water, soaking if necessary to remove grit. Tear the kale into chunks.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and quickly stir it around to avoid burning.
Throw in the kale and use tongs to move it around the skillet. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and continue cooking until slightly wilted but still crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the kale to a plate and serve!
Option: Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

5 Ways to Use Dried Citrus Peels

"One of our New Year's resolutions is to find more ways to use kitchen scraps, and with all the Cara Cara orangesKishu mandarins, and other citrus fruits we've been eating, we now have plenty of dried peels saved. Here are some of the ways we use them. Let us know if you have any tips, too. Last winter, we made a list of 5 Good Uses for Your Citrus Peels, which included both fresh and dried peels. This time, we're focusing on more ways to use the peels we have dried in the oven or air dried on a drying/cooling rack. We keep them stored in air-tight containers in the pantry. (Note: we recommend using pesticide-free fruit only.)
• Grains: Infuse rice or quinoa with citrus flavor by adding dried peels to the water during boiling/steaming. Peels may be eaten or removed before serving.
• Powder: Grind peels with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and sprinkle over baked goods (combine with sugar for sweetness), use in marinades and rubs, or anything else you can think of.
• Roasted vegetables: Although it isn't a substitute for fresh zest, dried lemon or even orange peel does work well in roasted dishes. Try tossing large pieces or ground-up peels with roasting beets and other root vegetables.
• Sweet bean soup: In Chinese cooking, Mandarin orange peels are added to sweet dessert soups. For recipes, check out A Table For Two's Red Bean Soupand Diana's Desserts' Sweet Red Bean Soup.
• Tea: Mix orange or lemon peels into homemade tea blends or just add to green or black tea as it's steeping."

Potato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Quiche

Serves 6
1 recipe pie crust (for single crust pie)
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of all excess liquid
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 400°F. Roll out pie dough and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Gently prick pie dough all over with a fork making sure that you don't fully puncture the dough. Cover with foil, weight down with pie weights, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Place in the oven and bake until browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and reserve. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add potato, toss to combine, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potato is tender, about 8 minutes. Add drained spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer spinach mixture to pie crust. Whisk together eggs and milk then pour over spinach mixture. Dot with goat cheese, pressing the cheese into the quiche so that it's covered with egg mixture. Place in the oven and bake until quiche is puffy and beginning to brown in spots, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

Shungiku Salad with Sesame Soy Dressing


Serves 2

1 1/2 teaspoon(s) Sesame Seeds
2 tablespoon(s) Vegetable Oil
2 (1/2 pound) Firm Cakes Tofu, halved diagonally
2 slice(s) (thin, round) Smoked Ham
1 large Egg, beaten
2 large Mushrooms, sliced
4 cup(s) (loosely packed) Young Shungiku Leaves, torn
8 slice(s) Cucumber
2 tablespoon(s) Rice-Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoon(s) Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon(s) Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon(s) Oriental Sesame Oil
1 clove(s) Garlic, finely chopped
Prepare Sesame Soy Dressing: In screw-top jar with tight-fitting lid, combine 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, rice-wine vinegar, reduced-sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, Oriental sesame oil, and garlic, until well mixed.
Prepare Shungiku Salad: Heat large skillet until hot over high heat. Add sesame seeds and stir-fry until lightly browned. Remove to bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and tofu triangles. Brown tofu well on all sides -- about 10 minutes. Drain tofu on paper towels and set aside. Reduce heat to low. Add ham and brown lightly; remove to plate. Fold ham in half; roll into cone shape and set aside. Add egg to skillet and cook until set like a thin pancake, turning once. Remove to cutting board and set aside. Add mushrooms to skillet and sautee until wilted -- about 1 minute. Transfer to plate. Cut egg pancake into 1/2-inch-wide strips. To serve, divide Shungiku leaves between 2 serving plates. Top with mushrooms, cucumber slices, egg strips, tofu triangles, and ham cones. Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds and serve with Sesame Soy Dressing.