Friday, January 29, 2010

Lasagna in a Mushroom

Some time back I got the idea to stuff some big mushrooms with cheese somehow, but never got around to trying it out. Then lately I have been wanting lasagna or some other baked pasta and somehow this dish was born.

My son and I went back and forth on what to call it, and finally settled on:

Lasagna in a Mushroom

For the Sauce

1 tsp Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Minced Onions
1 Clove Garlic, Minced or Pressed
8 Ounces Tomato Sauce
Pinch Each Salt and Pepper
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 tsp Dried Basil

Heat the oil in a small sauce pan over medium-low to medium heat. Add the minced onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook and stir for about one minute. Stir in the tomato sauce, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the flavors come together, about 20 minutes.

For the Mushrooms

4 Portobella Mushrooms
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Pinch Each Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to the highest broiler setting and place the top rack about 6 inches from the broiler

Remove the stems and gills from the mushrooms. Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush over both sides of the mushrooms and set aside to marinate for about 10 minutes. Place the mushrooms 'gill'-side down on a baking sheet and broil until soft and beginning to brown on the edges, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip them over, 'gill'-side up.

For the Stuffing

1 Bunch Spinach, Leaves Only, Washed and Coarsely Chopped (Don't dry them, the water will help cook the spinach)
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil

Put the spinach leaves in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat, and cook until wilted and all of the moisture has evaporated, about 6 minutes or so. If you can't add the spinach all at once, add more as it wilts down. It will cook down quite a bit.

Combine the ricotta, parmesan, spinach, pepper, and basil in a small bowl.

Remaining Ingredients

4 Thin Slices Cheese, Fontina, Mozzarella, Muenster or other good melting cheese.
Chopped Fresh Basil for Garnish

To Complete the Dish

Lower the oven to 350

Spread 1/4 of the sauce in each mushroom. Top with 1/4 of the ricotta cheese mixture, and one thin slice of your melting cheese. Put the baking sheet back in the oven, and bake the mushrooms until heated through and the cheese has melted, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil. If your cheese is taking too long to melt (or you like it a bit browner), you can use the broiler to melt it, which should only take 1-2 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

French Onion Soup

Continuing with the theme of things that are good to eat when it's cold outside, I bring you French Onion Soup. There really isn't too much to say about this soup. It's yummy and satisfying on a cold day, and with the bread and the cheese in the bowl, it can really be a complete meal with just the addition of a salad, or some garlicky greens.

French Onion Soup

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Butter
8 Cups Thinly Sliced Onions
1/2 tsp Sugar
8 Cups Broth (Beef is traditional, but you could use chicken or veggie and still achieve delicious results)
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
Pinch Dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper
8 Slices French Bread, Toasted
1 1/2 Cups Gruyere or Domestic Swiss Cheese, Grated

Heat the oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and stir to coat with the fat. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, then add the sugar. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize and turn a nice brown color. This will take about one hour.

Add the thyme and the wine, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Add the broth and simmer, partially covered, 30-45 minutes until the flavors are well blended.

To serve, ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls, add a slice of toasted bread to each bowl, and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes. For easier movement in and out of the oven, you can place the individual bowls on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the oven.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crispy Kale Chips

I learned how to make these kale chips last year after seeing many recipes for them online. It is one of those recipes that is almost too simple to call a recipe. These kale chips are so interesting. Delicious, salty and crispy. A great starter to a meal, or addition to any snack spread. Hrm....the Superbowl is coming up.

This is a basic recipe with salt as the only seasoning, and it is quite good, but feel free to experiment with other flavor combinations. I have made them with chili powder and cumin for a Mexican feel, or you could use curry powder, or just spice them up a bit more by adding a pinch of cayenne....

Crispy Kale Chips

1 Bunch Kale
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Salt

Preheat Oven to 350

Clean and dry the kale. Cut away any course stems, and cut the leaves into roughly 3-inch pieces. Toss the kale with the olive oil and salt. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Place the kale on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for about 10 minutes, turn with a spatula or tongs and bake 10 minutes more, until crisp and beginning to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven to a plate or platter. Or, if you are uncouth like me, eat straight off the baking sheet while the fried chicken cooks.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Fried Chicken - Guest Post

This is a guest post from my DH who made fabulous fried chicken tonight. Thank-you sweetie for a delicious meal and a wonderful post!

Once upon a time, the show 'Good Eats' used to be accessible. When Alton Brown started producing the it, he covered true classics of Americana cuisine that were accessible to the average cook. Over the years 'Good Eats' inspired me to try to try cooking Standing Rib Roast, Steak Au Poivre and brewing my own beer. As 'Good Eats' passed into the third season, the show began to wander further away from simple, accessible fare in the interest of novelty. While I rarely cook anything from 'Good Eats' today, the first two years of the Alton's geeky, instructional show were some of the most influential for me as a cook.

This Fried Chicken recipe came during the first two years of the show and it has always been a tasty treat. It fits right into my personal 'butter zone' of cooking in that you can start it, leave it alone for several hours (leaving you free to watch the NFL playoffs or run a few daily quests in WOW) and still have something tasty to eat.

Here is the recipe that Alton used for his Fried Chicken show:

Some notes:

* If you take the advice of 'seasoning liberally' keep in mind that the seasoning mix is mostly salt. The Fried Chicken I made tonight was tasty, but was too salty. I recommend using half as much salt as he calls for.

* I used smoked paprika instead of the Hungarian paprika. It was the bomb.

* You don't have to use shortening as the fry oil, but it actually makes a difference. The oil is so neutral that it allows the spices and the flavor of the chicken to shine through.

Melting shortening. Hmmm.

Seasoning. The buttermilk makes a wonderful binder for flavor.

Mmmmm. Fried food.

It's dark on the top. No, it's not burned. That's flavor.

Ta dah!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Meat Sauce for Pasta

We've been having winter this week. Which for us means lots of rain, wind, cold, and more rain. This is another meal that's great for this kind of weather. Pretty simple comfort food for a cold, rainy night.

Meat Sauce for Pasta

2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, Diced
1 Pound Ground Turkey
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Pressed
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1 28-Ounce Can Tomato Sauce
12 Ounces Button Mushrooms, Sliced
Carrot and/or Zucchini, Finely Grated (If you need to sneak veggies into your family)
Parmesan Cheese (Optional for Garnish)

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up with a spatula or wooden spoon until no longer pink. If your turkey is very fatty, spoon off some of the excess fat at this point. You want about 1 Tbsp of fat left in the pan with the turkey and onions. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste, cook, stirring, for about one minute. Add in the dried herbs, and stir to coat the meat and onion mixture. Add the tomato sauce and the sliced mushrooms. At this point, you can add in finely grated summer squash and/or carrots if it's summer and you have an abundance. Your family will never know. Unless, of course, they happen to walk into the kitchen and find you grating a zucchini over the sauce pot. Then they will know. Then they will strongly deny the fact that you have been grating zucchini into the pasta sauce for years. But that may be a topic for another entry...Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 3o minutes; the longer the better. Serve over the pasta of your choice. Garnish with parmesan cheese as desired.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tortilla Soup

I got this recipe from the Eating Well website, and it is one of the easiest soups I have ever made. It comes together amazingly quick and is yummy and healthy to boot. What more could you ask for?

Tortilla Soup

8 Corn Tortillas
2 tsp Canola Oil
3 Anaheim or Poblano Peppers (To Yield 1 1/2 Cups Diced)
1 Medium Onion, Diced
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, Cut Into 1-Inch Pieces
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1 14-Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (Cheddar, Jack, Pepper Jack or a Mexican Blend)
1/4 Cup Cilantro, Chopped

Preheat the oven to 400

Slice the tortillas into thin strips and arrange on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and bake until lightly browned and crispy, 12-15 minutes.

Heat the canola oil in your soup pot over medium heat. Add the peppers and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 6-8 minutes. Add the cumin, and cook, stirring for one minute. Add the chicken pieces and brown for about 5 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes with their juice, and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the tortilla strips, cheese and cilantro. !Buen Probecho!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I love Indian cuisine (as if there were a cuisine I didn't love), but until very recently it has been nearly impossible to get because there just weren't many Indian restaurants around. Thankfully, that is changing, but in the meantime I have had to learn to go it on my own. To that end I have learned to make a few Indian dishes, and this is one of them. This is a pretty basic, hearty vegetarian curry recipe, perfect for a cold wintry evening. Or a summer one if you're in the mood. Anyway, make this dish soon!


1 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Large Onion, Diced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Crushed
2 tsp Fresh Ginger (I like the stuff in the jar)
2 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp Ground Cumin
2-3 tsp Curry Powder
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (or to taste)
1 Potato, Cut into Bite-Sized Pieces (about 2 cups)
3/4 Cup Red Lentils
1- 14 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes, including juice
1- 14 Ounce Can Coconut Milk
2 Cups Veggie or Chicken Broth
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Brown Sugar
1 Cup Green Peas (Frozen is fine, no need to thaw)
2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Heat the oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Cook the onions for about 10 minutes then add the garlic, ginger, and dried spices and cook, stirring, for about one minute. Add the potato and lentils and stir to coat with the spices. Add the tomatoes with their juice, coconut milk, broth, garam masala, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover and cook until the lentils and potatoes are very soft, about 30 minutes. Add the peas, and simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes until the peas are hot. Stir in the cilantro and serve with rice and/or naan.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010



1 Package Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Warm Water
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Milk
1 Egg
1 tsp Salt
2 1/4 -2 3/4 Cups Bread Flour

In the bowl of your mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water. Let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and mix in the sugar, milk, egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough. Continue mixing for another 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternately, mix the dough and knead by hand. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat and cover with a damp towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

Punch down the dough. Pinch off golf-ball sized pieces of dough and roll into balls. Place the dough balls on a plate or tray, cover with the damp cloth and let them rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat your grill or grillpan. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a thin circle using a rolling pin. Oil the grill. Put the dough circles on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes until puffy and slightly browned. Turn and cook another 2-4 minutes. Continue until all the dough has been cooked.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicken with White Wine Sauce

I wanted to do something special for my sweetie, so I decided to make this, one of his favorite meals. I am very glad I did! We had a wonderful meal with candles and nice wine. It is also a great winter meal, and if you live anywhere near me, you also have 10 days of rain in the forecast, and this meal is a great way to end a rainy day.

Chicken with White Wine Sauce

2 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, Diced
1/2 Pound Button Mushrooms - About 3 Cups Sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Pressed
1 1/2 tsp Dried Basil (Or more to taste)
Salt and Pepper
4 Chicken Thighs (Bone-in Skin-on) or Chicken Pieces of Your Choice
1/3 Cup Chicken Broth
1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
2 tsp Cornstarch
2 TbspBroth or Wine

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Generously salt and pepper the skin side of the chicken pieces. Place the chicken skin side down in the hot oil. Salt and pepper the other side. Cook until nicely browned on the first side, 7-10 minutes. Turn with tongs and brown the other side, another 8 minutes or so. Remove the chicken to a plate and drain all but about 2 tsp of grease from the pan.

Add the diced onion and cooked about 7 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to release their juices, another 5 minutes or so. Add in the garlic and basil and continue cooking until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, 2-3 minutes.

Move the vegetables to the side of the pan and return the chicken pieces to the center. Combine the broth and wine and pour over the chicken. If you think you need more liquid, go ahead and add equal parts wine and broth. You want the liquid to come about half way up the chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and no longer pink, about 30 minutes. Combine cornstarch and broth or wine. Stir into the chicken and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice, noodles or polenta. Yum!

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Apple Muffins

For the weekend, a quick but oh-so-tasty muffin recipe. Make these for breakfast this weekend, or freeze a batch for quick breakfasts or snacks during the week.

Apple Muffins

1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Sugar
2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
Dash Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Large Apple, Seeded and Finely Chopped (1 Cup)
1 Egg
6 Oz Vanilla Yogurt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Applesauce
6 Tbsp Melted Butter

Preheat Oven to 350

Grease a muffin pan, or line with paper liners.

Combine the dry ingredients (Flour through Salt) in a large bowl. Stir in the chopped apple. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan filling cups about 2/3 of the way full.

Bake in the 350 oven until lightly browned and a wooden pick comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack for further cooling, or enjoy now!

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roasted Brussells Sprouts

This is a super-quick but super-tasty veggie side. Make it when you have something else in the oven (meatloaf, perhaps?) for a practically worry free accompaniment.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts, cut in half
Olive Oil

No quantities are listed because you can make as many or as few as you need.

Preheat the oven to 375

Toss all ingredients on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the 375 degree oven until nicely caramelized and soft, but not mushy. 15-20 minutes. Stir at least once during roasting for more even cooking.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Meatloaf. Such a simple, homey dish. But for all that, it doesn't mean it can't taste good, and even be pretty healthy, to boot. I am pretty sure that every cook in the US has his or her own version. After tweaking mine for a long time, this is the one I have settled on (at least for the time being) Give it a try! I hope you like it as much as we do.


This recipe makes one 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf, but I like to use the little 2.5 x 5.5 pans, and I get three of those from this recipe.

2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
1 1/4 Pounds Ground Turkey
1 Small Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Celery Stalk
1 Carrot
1/4 Cup Parsley Leaves
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Ketchup, Divided
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Preheat Oven to 375

Tear the bread into pieces and put in a food processor. Pulse or Process until crumbs form, and put the crumbs in a bowl. Add the ground turkey to the breadcrumbs

Cut the onion, celery, and carrot into about 1-inch pieces. Put them in the food processor with the peeled garlic cloves and parsley leaves. Process until very finely chopped. Add the veggies to the breadcrumbs and ground turkey. Add 1/4 cup ketchup, the dijon mustard, the egg, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix up thoroughly with your hands and put into a loaf pan or pans.

Combine the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup with the cider vinegar and brown sugar and brush the mixture over your meatloaf. If you have a probe thermometer, insert it into the loaf (or one of the loaves) being careful not to touch the pan. Put the pan (or pans) on a baking sheet or a sheet of aluminum foil to catch drips. Bake in the 375 oven to an internal temperature of 160. For the smaller loaves this takes around 45 minutes. For the larger one, closer to 60 minutes. Let the meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Creamy Rutabaga Soup

After a three-week hiatus from CSA shares, I am finding slim pickin's in the fridge as far as veggies go. I seem to always have beets, and now rutabagas. I found rutabagas on three shelves of my fridge yesterday. Since I will be getting more tasty produce this week, I need to use these up. So for today's lunch :

Creamy Rutabaga Soup

2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Diced (About one Cup)
1/2 Cup Sliced Celery
1/2 Cup Sliced Carrots
1 Clove Garlic, Minced or Pressed
1 1/2 Pounds Rutabaga, Peeled and Diced
2 Cups Broth (Veggie if you're so inclined, or Chicken)
2 Tbsp Flour
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1/2 tsp Salt (or to taste)

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one or two more minutes. Add the diced rutabaga and stir to coat with oil. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the veggies are very soft, 15-25 minutes depending on the size of your pieces.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the veggies to a food processor, and process until smooth. You may need to add some cooking liquid to get a smooth puree. Set the veggie puree aside and reserve the cooking liquid.

Put 2 Tbps flour in the empty sauce pan. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously until all of the flour is incorporated. Put the pot over medium heat and whisk continuously until it begins to thicken and bubble, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable puree. At this point, add cooking liquid and/or milk to reach the soup consistency you like. Taste and adjust salt (and pepper, if you like).


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Monday, January 11, 2010

Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets

This is a great recipe to make with and for kids. My son has been making this recipe (with declining amounts of help) for many years, ever since we saw Rachael Ray make it with a 6 year old on a 'cook with your kids' food network special. Last night the only thing I had to do was cut the chicken. Hrm...methinks I should put this on the menu more often.

Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets

Adapted from Rachael Ray

1 Cup Cornflakes
1 Cup Dry Breadcrumbs
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper (Or more, to taste)
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 1/2 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
1/3 Cup Flour
2 Eggs

Preheat oven to 375

Put the cornflakes in a shallow bowl and crush with your hands to desired crumb-like consistency. Add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and canola oil. Stir to combine. Place the flour in another shallow bowl, and beat the eggs in a third bowl.

Cut the chicken into roughly 2-inch pieces. Dredge the chicken first in the flour (Shake off excess), then the eggs, and finally the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. (As always, a layer of foil makes clean-up easier).

Bake in the 375 oven until nicely browned and crispy, 15-20 minutes.

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Printer-friendly Recipes Are Here!

Starting with today's (1/11/10) recipe, printer-friendly versions of my recipes will be available. Look for "For a printer-friednly version of this recipe, click here" at the bottom of the post. Click on 'here' and you should be taken to a text only version ready to print. If you need a printer-friendly version of a previous recipe, please leave a comment or email me, and I can make that happen. As of right now I don't plan to go back and re-do every recipe unless there is a need.

Thank you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cole Slaw with a Mexican Twist

I got this recipe while perusing recipes on line a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I saw it, so sadly I can't give due credit. But this is another easy and tasty recipe!

Mexican-Inspired Cole Slaw

1/2 Head Green Cabbage, Thinly Sliced
2 Slice Green Onions
1/4 Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp (or more to taste) Tapatio or Comparable Hot Sauce
2 tsp Fresh Lime Juice (More or less to taste)

Combine the cabbage, green onions, and cilantro in a salad bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust with more juice or hot sauce as desired.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fideos or Sopa Seca

This one is quick and easy. It would make a great first course for a big Mexican meal. It also works great as a main for a quick weekday dinner.


1 14-Ounce Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Small Onion, Cut in Chunks
2 Cups Broth (Chicken or Veggie)
8-10 Ounces Angel Hair Pasta or Vermicelli
1 Canned Chipotle in Adobo Sauce
2 tsp Canola Oil


Fresh Chopped Cilantro
Chopped Avocado
Sour Cream
Grated Cheese
Sliced Green Onions

Combine the tomatoes with their juice, the onion, garlic and chipotle in a food processor. Process until smooth.

Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Break the angel hair pasta in about thirds and add to the hot oil. (If using vermicelli nests, add them directly to the hot oil.) Cook, stirring as needed until well browned. Add the tomato puree and the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir. Continue cooking as needed, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Spoon into bowls and garnish as desired.

!Buen Probecho!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spicy Pork Stir Fry

This is a pretty straight-forward stir fry recipe. It is kind of like Kung Pao Pork, without the peanuts. And you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. This time I used broccoli and yellow bell pepper. But you can use any color peppers, carrots, cauliflower, summer squash... you get the idea. Just keep in mind that some veggies (like summer squash) cook faster than others and you should add those a few minutes later so they don't get mushy.

Spicy Pork Stir Fry

For the Sauce

1 Tbsp Sugar
3 Tbsp Water
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Dry Sherry (Not Cooking Sherry!)
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

For the Stir Fry

1 lb Boneless Pork (Tenderloin or Boneless Loin Chops) Cut into Bite-Sized Cubes
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
! Tbsp Soy Sauce
2-4 tsp Canola Oil
8 Whole Dried Chili Peppers Cut in Half Crosswise (I had super cayenne from our garden that we had dried. In the Mexican spice section of the grocery store you can get "Chili Japones")
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Seeded and Sliced
1 1/2 Cups Broccoli Florets
1/2 a Large Onion, Sliced
1/2 - 3/4 tsp Minced Ginger From a Jar (Fresh if you have it, but I rarely do.)

Combine the pork with 1 Tbsp each cornstarch and soy sauce and set aside.

Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet over high heat. Shake the seeds out of the chilis into the hot oil, then add the chilis and cook until blackened, about one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add more oil if needed, then add the pork to the pan and stir-fry until mostly cooked, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the vegetables and ginger and cook until they are cooked but still crisp, about 2 minutes more. Re-stir then add in the sauce. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, 1 or 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and add the chilis back in. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Roasted Beets

As a CSA member, there are a lot of beets in my house. I have to admit, for about the first two years of my membership I was deathly afraid of the things. Never ate them. I gave them all away. But then, one year, I got brave and made this recipe. And boy am I glad I finally did! It did the trick for both my husband and me. We became beet fans, and now eat them pretty regularly in a variety of ways. But this preparation is super simple and brings out the sweetness quite nicely!

Roasted Beets

Beets, cut into chunks or wedges if they are big
Olive Oil
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs

I didn't list quantities because you can make as many or as few as you want. Put the beets in a bowl (or directly on a foil-lined baking sheet - less clean up) and drizzle with some olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and toss well with your hands to get all of the beets coated with a bit of the oil. Now spread the beets out on the baking sheet and tuck sprigs of rosemary among them. Roast in the oven until nice and tender and beginning to caramelize, 40-60 minutes depending on the size of your beets and the oven temperature. If I am only roasting beets, I go pretty high at about 425. But if you are cooking something else at the same time that requires a lower temperature, no problem. The beets will just take a little longer to cook. I cooked these at 350, and they took about 50 minutes.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kale in Puff Pastry

I bought some frozen puff pastry at the beginning of the holiday season believing I would surely create something delicious with it over the holidays. But here it is January 3, and there the puff pastry was still sitting in my freezer, tasking me. So I decided to make this Kale in Puff Pastry for breakfast. It turned out pretty good!

I've seen similar recipes to this one that use spinach, but I don't always have spinach on hand and I almost always have kale, so I decided to give it a go. Today I used lacinato kale, but any type of kale would be great. You could use chard or spinach in this recipe, as well.

Kale in Puff Pastry

Preheat oven to 375

One Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry

Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature while you prepare the kale and sauce.

For the Kale

1/2 Small Onion, Fine Dice
1 Clove Garlic, Minced or Pressed
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Bunch Kale, Cleaned Stemmed and Coarsely Choppped (Do not dry, the water on the leaves will aid in cooking)
Salt and Pepper
Pinch Cayenne Pepper (Optional)

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion and saute until beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about one more minute. Add the kale, in batches if needed, and cook until very tender. Season to taste with salt, pepper and the optional cayenne. If you opt for the cayenne, go easy, I used a bit too much for my taste. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside while you make the sauce.

For the Sauce

1 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Milk (I used 2%)
2 Ounces Neuchatel Cheese
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
One Egg beaten with 1 tsp Water

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking for about a minute to cook the raw flour taste away. Slowly add the milk while constantly whisking to avoid lumps. Once all of the milk had been incorporated, heat it to a gentle simmer. Add the neuchatel cheese, one ounce at a time, stirring to incorporate completely before adding the second ounce. Then add in the parmesan cheese and stir until completely melted. Season the sauce to taste with pepper and nutmeg. You can use white pepper if you don't like black specks in your sauce.

Combine the sauce and the kale in either the skillet or the sauce pan, whichever seems to make more sense to you.

The puff pastry should be thawed by now. Carefully unroll it and place it on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, pressing the seems together if necessary. Spoon the kale onto the puff pastry, leaving about a 1 inch border. Fold in the corners of the puff pastry so that they meet in the middle. (As the pastry bakes, it will move apart revealing the tasty kale inside.) Brush the tops of the pastry with the egg wash. Bake at 375 until puffy and brown, 25-30 minutes.