Sauteed kale with chickpeas

Ingredients:
– 1 lb kale, stems removed and chopped into bite size
– 1/2 red onion, chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, sliced
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 12 oz cooked chickpeas
– 1/2 tsp salt
– red pepper flakes
– 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Preparation:
Boil the kale in salted water for 10 min then drain in a colander (it will shrink somewhat). In a hot pan, add olive oil and onion, let it soften for 5 min. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and let smoke for 1 min. Add kale and cook for 2 min, add chickpeas and let warm up completely. Remove from heat, add red-wine vinegar and salt, and mix well.

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Sauteed mushrooms

Jeff is not a fan of mushrooms. So, even though I had the immediate instinct of cooking the mushrooms with the chicken, he would end up not eating the chicken. I decided instead to sautee the mushrooms and eat them on top of freshly baked bread. Delicious!

Ingredients:
– white button mushrooms (about 2 cups), sliced
– 1/2 red onion, chopped
– 2 tbsp unsalted butter
– salt and pepper, to taste
– parmesan cheese

Preparation:
Melt butter in a pan, add onions and let them soften. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. The salt will bring out the water in the mushrooms and shrink them. For this reason, in some mushroom dishes you’re only supposed to season at the end. But I like that the mushroom flavor get concentrated as they shrink. Let cook until golden, remove from heat and place on a plate. Shred some parmesan on top.

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Beet & Candied Pecan Salad

J – I actually really like beets – Ines thinks they taste like dirt – so while she was away on vacation, I got to make a nice beet salad to go with the roast chicken I made earlier. This salad is really, really simple:

  • 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 medium sized beets, boiled and sliced thin
  • ~1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 10 oz lettuce or mixed greens, chopped
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon/lime juice

Skin and clean the beets, then boil until tender and slice then. While the beets are boiling, toast the pecans in a pan on medium-low heat, then add the maple syrup. Immediately turn off heat and turn pecans until coated.

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To make the dressing, I mixed 3 parts olive oil with 1 part balsamic vinegar, then added about 1/2 the juice of 1/2 a lemon (so…the juice of a quarter lemon…). Chop up the lettuce or simply add 1 10-oz bag of mixed greens to a bowl, then add the beets, pecans, goat cheese, and dressing. Mix and serve!

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Sides galore!!

This past week I realized we had a vast surplus of vegetables that had been accumulating for the past couple of weeks. So I’ve opted for cooking several side dishes and eat them in different assortments.

The first dish uses the giant rutabaga we received this week. We cut it up, boiled it until soft and then added it to some leftover baked butternut squash we had from last week. We added 2 cups of vegetable stock and pureed it until smooth. At the last minute, we added some leftover mashed potatoes and we now have mashed mixed vegetables.

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We also received mustard greens this week, so we decided to cook them with bacon. We used this recipe, which adds to the mustardy sauce a nice vinegar flavor.

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I also boiled some broccoli and topped them with a cheese sauce. The sauce was started with 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour seasoned with salt and 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, then I added 1 cup of milk and let it slowly incorporate. Finally, I added about 2 cups of cheese (about 50:50 of cheddar and parmesan) and mixed it all well. The sauce was poured over the broccoli.

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Finally, green beans with canadian bacon. Start by boiling the green beans for 4 min. In a skillet, met 3 tbsp butter, and sauté canadian bacon (about 3 slices, chopped) for 2 or 4 min. Add in drained green beans and mix well. Let everything cook for another 2 minutes and it’s ready to serve.

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Recipes – week 7

I – Ok, time to confess one of my culinary crushes… His name is Chef John, and he has some of the best culinary videos out there. Seriously, check it out… I first found out about his blog, through his super famous recipe for No-Knead Ciabatta. One of these days I’ll post some of my experiments with this bread.

Anyway, I was pretty uninspired by the chicken breasts. So chef John came to my rescue. Chicken parmesan, without all the work… Except that I only realized right before cooking that the chicken breasts we got had bone and skin. It did take me a while to remove the bone but I left the skin on. I would actually recommend that because it made it juicy and, seriously, who doesn’t like chicken skin? (no worries, these are organic fed, free-range chickens).
I did have to leave my chicken in the oven for almost one hour, because these were huge breasts (ahem), so they took a while to cook. The side effect of that was that the bread was a bit past toasty in some areas. One other caveat with this recipe is that microwave warming really does not make it justice. It is much better to take the time and warm it up in the oven.

We also cooked the pork shank, Oktoberfest style, which was perfect with the Oktoberfest beer Jeff had brewed. And to make it a totally German dinner, we had that with braised cabbage (except that I used white cabbage and white wine instead). Sorry, no pictures of this one, but it was really tasty…

Recipes week 6

I – Sorry readers (is anyone out there?), it’s been a while since we wrote about our cooking. But no worries, we’ve been cooking all along. The reason for the silence is that I’ve been wanting to post about a Portuguese dish that I made recently, and it will take a while to write up, so I’ve been procrastinating. As with all procrastination, my solution is do something else (as opposed to doing nothing) and somehow I’ll find myself doing the thing I didn’t want to do in the first place. So I’m gonna post about all the other recipes we’ve done, and maybe I’ll get to the big one…

So, from the last batch of groceries that we posted, we had rockfish (also known as stripped bass). I like fish cooked very simply: lemon juice plus salt & pepper, and then, either grill it and pour some olive oil on top, or fried in a bit of butter. This time, I went the butter route. After pan frying the fish, I removed it from the pan, and added a bit of lemon juice and white wine to the butter, and it made for a great sauce.

To go with it I made delicious mashed potatoes with goat cheese and caramelized onion (recipe here), and brussels sprouts. Now, neither of us is a big fan of brussels sprouts. They always taste bitter to me (apparently, some people cannot taste this bitterness), but I wanted to give them a chance (since we got a pound of it, anyway…). So I found a brussels sprouts recipe for people that don’t like them. Apparently, the trick is to not overcook them and then add plenty of garlic and parmesan cheese. I can happily report that they did really taste good to me. Jeff didn’t seem so convinced, but hey, it was worth the shot…

We also had ground pork and the following week we received some cabbage, so Jeff went to work and made pork dumplings. They are really good, but it did take him a whole afternoon and he seemed a bit distressed by the end (as in “I’ll never do this again”). I’ll let him tell you about it himself.

 

 

Venturing into the unknown

I really had no idea how to deal with the butter beans. I looked at them and was wondering if I should remove them from the pod or if I should cook them in the pod (like snap peas or green beans). Thankfully, there is a thing called internet where I first found out that butter beans are a type of lime bean. Then I found this handy website. It tells you right there that the pods are not edible (disaster averted… for now).

So I got to work, snapping the pods and removing the beans from the inside.

The problem was, I ended up with a pitiful amount of beans. I found a simple recipe that instructed me to put the beans, a bit of butter and a bouillon cube (chicken or vegetable) in the slow cooker, cover with water and cook on low for 1h. Which is what I did and the beans were delicious, but enough for one serving…

The other ignorance-filled moment of the week involved peanuts. We received a bag of peanuts in the shell a few weeks back and I had just let them sit around for a while. Then, one of these nights I thought I’d eat them as a snack. When I first peeled the peanut and tried it, it tasted horribly wrong. They were sour, they were hard, in a word, they were green. So, yeah, I had no idea they had given me green peanuts and that I had to be the one roasting them. Somehow, my brain assumed that the roasting would be part of the conservation process for the peanut. To the internet I went, and I learned that the peanut actually grows on the root of the plant. I was completely ignorant to the fact that the shell is already dry when you pull them out! I thought they were like dried fruit… Ok, I learned something. Next step, roasting them. Alton Brown to the rescue – peanut oil, salt, and peanuts on a baking sheet, roast for 40 min. In the end, I peeled them all and put the roasted peanuts in a bag with some salt to coat. They were still oozing their oils so the salt just ended up accumulated in the bottom of the bag. We didn’t care, they were delicious on their own.