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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Cauliflower, potato and kale soup

This one is full of stuff that is good for you (especially if, like me, you’re recovering from the flu and trying to not get sick so often), plus it’s very comforting and delicious.

Ingredients:
– 3 tbsp olive oil
– cauliflower florets (from one small head)
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 quart of vegetable stock
– hot sauce (to taste)
– 1 quart water
– 3 medium russet potatoes, cut in chunks
– 1/2 lb kale leaves, chopped into bite size pieces
– 2 bay leaves
– salt & pepper

In a large pot, put the olive oil and the cauliflower florets. Let them brown in medium heat for about 10 min. It’s okay if they charr a little bit, it will add to the smokiness of the dish, but if it gets too smokey, lower the heat. Add the onion and let them cook for 2 min, then add the garlic and let them cook for another minute, and finally add the vegetable stock. Add also the hot sauce and let the florets cook until tender, about 5 min. Blend this mix with a hand blender, or in batches on a vertical blender. When the mixture is smooth, add the water, potatoes, bay leaves, and kale. Season with salt and pepper. Let cook until the potatoes are done, about 30 min. Mash the potatoes, but not completely, leaving some chunks. Adjust seasoning, serve and add a few drops of olive oil.

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Pasta without pasta!

I – This Friends&Farms grocery program is really forcing us to eat vegetarian dishes more often. This week was no different. Yet another previously unknown (to me) vegetable landed on our kitchen counter this week – spaghetti squash. I must say that now that I’ve cooked with it, I’m a fan (I don’t think Jeff agrees, but I may be wrong…). And it couldn’t be easier to cook. Literally, just stab it a few times, put it in the oven at 400ºF (200ºC) for 40 min and it’s done! You’ll have to let it cool, then open it in half and remove the seeds. Then comes the cool part – with a fork, start separating the inside of the squash from it’s skin. It comes out looking like spaghetti strands! We ate it with a garlic, basil and tomato sauce topped with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Baked salmon, vegetable curry and cranberry muffins

As Jeff mentioned, we were both pretty sick all week (damn you viruses!) but on Saturday I felt more or less okay and ended up cooking quite a bit. Which was good, because from then on and until today, it was bed-all-day for me…

On the weeks we get fish, I like to cook it right away because I think meat holds better in the fridge than fish. So the first recipe was baked salmon with potatoes (we had some left from last time) and mushrooms. It’s pretty simple, bake the seasoned potatoes and mushrooms for 20 min, then add the fish and bake for another 15min. We had more than the recipe asks for, and our steaks were pretty thick so I ended up leaving the fish in for another 5 or 10 min to make sure it was cooked all the way. But the best part was the sauce: red wine vinegar, whole grain mustard, honey and parsley. I’m not a big fan of salmon (I find it too fatty), but the sauce was quite tasteful so I actually ended up really enjoying this. Jeff does not like mushrooms at all, so they were all for me. I didn’t mind one bit because they were really tasty, none of that blandness you get from the white mushrooms from the grocery store.

The next recipe I made was a vegetable curry. This was my first attempt at curry of any kind so I was a bit afraid of making it too spicy. I learned I can go much stronger than I did, but it was nice to have this dish for the days of stuffy noses and lazy taste buds… The curry includes sweet potatoes, cauliflower, onions and carrots. We had it with brown rice, but also sometimes on a bed of arugula. This makes for a great vegetarian dish. One of the problems I have with vegetarian dishes is that they end up being a bit bland, but not this one!

And finally, as soon as I saw those cranberries, I decided to bake. I made cranberry muffins. So easy, it’s silly that we don’t make this all the time… Mix 2 cups of flour, 2/3 cup of sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup of chopped cranberries. Separately, mix 2/3 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of melted butter, a bit of grated orange peel, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 egg. Then mix the dry and wet ingredients, spray some cooking spray onto a muffin tray, place a spoonful onto each cup and bake at 400ºF (200ºC) for 15 to 20 min. Breakfast solved for the whole half the week.