Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan*****

Roasting the fennel really mellows the anise flavor, they almost tasted like little crunchy onion rings.  My husband, who thought he didn't like fennel, was shocked by how good it is roasted with parmesan.

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4 tablespoons olive oil
4 fennel bulbs, cut horizontally into 1/3-inch thick slices, fronds reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange the fennel in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then with the Parmesan. Drizzle with the oil. Bake until the fennel is fork-tender and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Chop enough fennel fronds to equal 2 teaspoons, then sprinkle over the roasted fennel and serve.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Italian - Food Network

 

Mobile Market selection - week 3

It was tough to fit all the lush leafy greens into one single photo :o)

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fennel bulbs

collards        

red leaf  lettuce

green buttercrunch lettuce

green romaine lettuce

green garlic bunch

Florentine Pasta Bake****

A wonderful use for collard greens.  This is wholesome and comforting pasta dish where the collards add such a nice texture and flavor.  I don't recall having many "greens" growing up so I was thrilled to find this recipe that uses them in a pasta dish.  They somehow seem less frightening to work with this way.

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  • 4 tablespoons EVOO
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove, cracked or 3 green garlic stems, chopped
  • 1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 pounds spinach, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 box whole-wheat short pasta

     

    Preheat oven to 375ºF.

     

    Place a medium pot over medium heat oil. Sprinkle the flour over the oil and cook for about a minute. Slowly whisk the milk into the oil-flour mixture and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let it thicken a couple of minutes then stir in about 1/2 a cup of the Parmigiano. Set the sauce aside.

     

    Place a large, cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Toss in the cracked clove of garlic and cook for a minute or two to release its aroma and flavor. Add in the chard and wilt it down, about 2 minutes, then wilt in the spinach a few handfuls at a time. Season the greens with salt and pepper.

     

    Toss the dried pasta into the skillet and give them a good stir to incorporate them with the greens. Pour the sauce into the skillet, stirring again to evenly incorporate everything. Smooth the top down and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano over top of the lasagna.

    Cover the skillet with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and let it finish uncovered for about 15 more minutes to brown the cheese.

    Recipe adopted from Rachael Ray Show

  • Monday, April 28, 2008

    My Birthday Cake (in the making)

    So I made it a day early...

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    The cake batter

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    Stiff peaked egg whites

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    Folding egg whites into cake batter

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    Cooled German chocolate cake rounds

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    Coconut pecan frosting, cooling to room temp (I also placed it in the refrigerator to allow it to fully thicken.)

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    The masterpiece! Not bad at all for my first of many German Chocolate Cakes!!! My grandmother has made these for the family birthday's for years - but...since I now live 8 hours from home, mine will have to be second best.

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    Recipe: http://johnstonesvinblanc.blogspot.com/2007/12/grandmas-german-chocolate-cake.html

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    Chicken-Apple Sausage and Pasta Soup****

    This is a very simple soup - great flavors with minimal effort.

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  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup dried whole-wheat elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup mixed frozen vegetables
  • 6 ounces chicken-apple sausage, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

     

    In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until al dente (slightly firm) following package instructions; drain.

     

    In the same saucepan bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat. Add the vegetables; cook 5 minutes. Add the sausage and macaroni and cook just until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Transfer to a thermos (or two); divide Parmesan and wrap separately. At lunchtime, add Parmesan and serve with a wedge of corn bread, if desired.

    I used a jiffy corn bread mix.

    Recipe courtesy of Body and soul mag

  • Monte-Cristo Sandwiches*****

    It's like a french toast sandwich!

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    I decided to dip my sandwich in a small dish of maple syrup rather than drizzling it over the top - it seemed like more of a "hands-on" sandwich than a "fork and knife" sandwich.

    Serves 4

    8 slices bacon
    4 large eggs, beaten
    1/4 cup milk
    1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons butter
    8 thick cut sliced whole-grain soft bread
    1/2 cup brown mustard
    1/2 cup pepper relish or apricot jam
    4 slices sliced havarti cheese
    4 slices ham 
    4 slices turkey breast
    maple syrup, for dipping or drizzling

    Heat a griddle pan or large skillet over medium high heat. Cook bacon and remove to paper towels to drain, 5 minutes. Drain off fat. Reheat griddle over medium heat. Make sandwiches in 2 batches.

    Beat eggs with milk, nutmeg and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the griddle or pan and melt. Turn 4 slices bread in batter, then add to griddle or pan. Turn bread after it browns, 2 to 3 minutes. Top 2 bread slices with mustard, the other 2 with relish. Add a slice of cheese and bacon on the cranberry covered bread. Add ham, then turkey to the mustard covered bread. Use a spatula to assemble 2 sandwiches and turn and press gently to set sandwiches in place. Repeat to make 2 more sandwiches. Cut sandwiches from corner to corner.

    Heat syrup in microwave safe container for 30 seconds. Drizzle syrup over sandwiches at the table.

    Recipe adapted from 30 minute meals - Food Network

    Saturday, April 26, 2008

    Backyard Update

    We've continued to do several more things to the backyard.  Our latest addition is the gazebo we bought last weekend.  Andy worked on and off on it all this week (thank you!) and finished with most of it yesterday.  It is so nice, I find myself going outside and utilizing our outdoor furniture a lot more now that we have shade.  The weather has been perfect for it too - I even sat outside in a light rain shower, which was very relaxing.

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    Photos with and without the screen attached

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    Warm Cabbage Salad**

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    4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
    2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

    2 Tbsp EVOO
    3 Tbsp honey

    2 slices bacon
    8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced

    6 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage, about 1 medium head

    3 ounces bleu cheese crumbles

    In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, EVOO, vinegar and honey until smooth. Set dressing aside.

    Cook bacon; remove from pan, crumble and set aside. Add mushrooms to the skillet and cook until quite soft; 5-6 minutes. Add bacon and dressing to pan, heat through. Place cabbage in a large bowl with cheese on top. Pour mushrooom-bacon dressing on the cabbage and mix well.

    Season with salt and lots of fresh ground pepper.

    Recipe adopted from SAM Zien the cooking guy

    Chorizo Lasagna*****

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    1 box (9 ounces) Oven Ready Lasagna, preferably whole-wheat

    2 -28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

    2 eggs

    1 container (15 ounces), ricotta cheese

    2 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend, dried

    2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

    1 pound mild chorizo sausage (casings removed)

    1 onion, diced

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

    Brown the meat, onion, and garlic in a skillet over medium heat, drain.

    Beat eggs in a medium bowl; stir in ricotta and Italian seasoning.

    To Assemble:

    Spread 1 cup sauce to cover bottom of baking pan. Layer 4 lasagna sheets; spread half the ricotta mixture and half the browned meat mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese and approx 1-1/2 cups lasagne sauce.


    Repeat layering lasagna sheets, ricotta cheese mixture, meat and 1-1/2 cups sauce. Final layer will be 4 lasagne sheets, remaining browned meat, sauce and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.


    COVER pan with foil.

    (at this point you can wrap with plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer. When ready to serve, thaw in refrigerator overnight and then bake at 375 degrees for 75 minutes with foil on, remove foil and continue baking at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.)


    Bake until bubbly, approximately 50-60 minutes.
    Uncover and continue cooking until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting

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    Libby enjoying May Day Kentucky Pie - mmmm! My husbands grandparents (from KY) and cousin (from Charlotte) were in town - we had too much food (lasagna, rosemary sourdough bread, roasted asparagus with rosemary and lime, and May Day pie), too much wine, too little sleep on a full stomach --- which equals up to a memorable night of laughter.

    May Day Pie - I made the pie last week and froze it: to prep it for serving the night before I pulled it out of the freezer and let sit at room temp for 24 hours. While enjoying dinner I placed the pie in a 200 degree oven and re-warmed it - so good! Full of chocolate flavor and brownie gooey-ness!

    Apple Buckwheat Pancakes*****

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    3/4 cup buckwheat flour
    3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
    1 tablespoon honey
    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    2 cups apples, peeled and small diced
    1/2 cup honey warmed with 1 tsp cinnamon

    In a large bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, beat together the buttermilk, non-fat milk, honey, eggs, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them. Stir in apples.

    Preheat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over a medium flame. Ladle the batter onto the skillet with a 1/4-cup measure. Flip the pancake when it is golden brown on the bottom and bubbles are forming on top, about 1 1/2 minutes. Cook the other side until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Serve with warmed honey and cinnamon sauce.

    Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger - Food Network

    Mobile Basket Week 2

    I'm just getting around to posting this past weeks basket from Brinkley Farms.

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    I went pretty light on the fresh produce this week since we had family visiting, my confirmation, and several meals out (Vin Rouge was outstanding!)

      -  Chinese cabbage

      -  sweet potatoes, 2 lbs

      -  ground pork

      -  breakfast links

    Almond, Walnut, Cranberry Crumb Cake*****

    So very good - has a hint of almond flavoring, moist batter, chewy dried cranberries, and a crunchy topping.   This would be wonderful as a sweet breakfast offering or an after dinner dessert; either way serve it with a cup coffee! 

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    1/2 cup whole almonds, plus 1/4 cup sliced almonds
    1/4 cup walnuts, plus 1/4 cup chopped 
    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1/4 cup whole-wheat flour 
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    4 large eggs
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
    1/3 cup milk
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

    Combine the whole almonds and 1/4 cup walnuts in a food processor. Pulse the machine until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer the nuts to a medium bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

    In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer beat the eggs and the sugar until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. Add the butter, and milk. Stir in the almond extract and cranberries. Gently stir in the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the top of the cake with sliced almonds and remaining 1/4 cup walnuts. Bake until the cake is cooked and a toothpick comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack. Use a knife to loosen the edges. Turn the cake out, slice, and serve.

     

    Recipe adapted from Everyday Italian - Food Network

    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    May Day "Kentucky" Pie*****

    Unlike most May Day pies that use whole chocolate chips, this recipe specifies to melt them. I think the melted chocolate chips gives the pie an almost brownie look and texture. The pie freezes well too!! (Which is where mine will sit until Derby Day :)

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    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 cup sugar
    6-ounces semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
    1/2 cup self-rising flour
    1 stick butter, melted

    2 Tbsp bourbon
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 (9-inch) deep dish unbaked pie shells
    Ice cream, optional

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Combine eggs, sugar, and melted chocolate in large bowl. Add flour and mix well, stirring in remaining ingredients. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake for 40 minutes.

    Serve warm with ice cream.

    Bumblebee's*****

    The perfect use for your leftover pie dough scraps! I can't make a pie without making these; it brings back childhood memories of my Mom making them for my sister and I with her pumpkin pie dough scraps...

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    Gather leftover pie scraps, press back into a ball and roll back out. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon sugar and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Roll dough into spirals and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

    Herbed Lentils with Spinach and Tomatoes***

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    I decided to roast the grape tomatoes whole with a drizzle of EVOO, s&p at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  I then added them to the recipe; roasting them concentrates the tomatoes' sweet and robust flavors.

    1 cup French lentils
    2 cups water
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons diced shallots
    3 cups baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
    1 cup halved grape tomatoes (about 1/2 pint)
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
    1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Place the lentils in a pot with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still retain their shape. Drain any excess water from the lentils and set them aside.

    Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, lentils, basil, parsley, and mint to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper and serve.

    Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger - Food Network

    Sesame Bok Choy Stir Fry****

    Prep ingredients before starting to cook - it only takes minutes for the bok choy to wilt down.  There's heat from the red curry paste, sweetness from the sesame soy sauce, and crunchiness from the lettuce - has a great balance. 

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    2 Tbsp soy sauce

    2 Tbsp water

    2 tsp honey or sugar

    1 tsp toasted sesame oil

    1 tsp red curry paste (or crushed red pepper flakes)

    2 heads of bok choy

    4 green onions, chopped

    2 Tbsp canola oil

    1 Tbsp ginger, minced

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    2 Tbsp peanuts, coarsely chopped

     

    1. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, water, honey, sesame oil, and curry paste; set aside.

    2. Cut bok choy ribs and leaves crosswise into 2 inch pieces.

    3. In a wok or large, deep skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add bok choy, green onions, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce mixture.  Stir-fry just until bok choy is wilted, about 3 minutes.  Serve and top with peanuts; if desired, serve over steamed rice.

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Jessica's Chicago Pizza Bowls*****

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    1/2 pound ground sausage
    1/2 onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 red pepper, diced
    3/4 cup tomato sauce
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground black pepper

    Cooking spray
    1/2 pizza dough ball (make breadsticks out of the other half, recipe follows)
    4 mozzarella deli slices

    8 whole mushrooms

    fresh basil or oregano, optional

    Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Spray the insides and outer rim of two 2-cup oven safe bowls with cooking spray, place two slices of cheese over lapping, 4 whole mushrooms, and a scoop of the meat mixture into each bowl. Cut pizza dough ball in half and then flatten into two rounds. Place a round of dough over each bowl and press to seal. Bake for 20 minutes.

    Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes, and then gently release the dough from the sides of the bowl. Flip the bowl onto a plate, remove bowl, and eat with a fork and knife. Top with fresh basil or oregano, serve with hot sauce. Too cool!

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    Cheese on bottom, then 4 whole mushrooms, and then sausage mixture.

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    Baked and cooling - ready to be released and flipped.

    Jessica's Garlic Bread Knots*****

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    1/2 ball of pizza dough

    garlic powder, pinch

    salt, pinch

    pepper, pinch

    2 Tbsp EVOO

    marinara sauce, optional

    Press out pizza dough into a rectangular shape, cut into 6 strips lengthwise. Roll strips unto themselves, like cinnamon rolls. Place bread sticks into a small oiled baking pan. Sprinkle with seasonings. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce, optional.

    I also made a fresh mixed salad with a

    Spicy Mustard Vinaigrette

    2 Tbsp EVOO

    3 Tbsp tarragon or red wine vinegar

    1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard

    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

    salt and pepper to taste

    Combine all ingredients in a small dish, shake or whisk to combine. Serves 2.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Light, Spring Supper

    Cod with Sweet and Spicy Rub*****

    *original recipe calls for salmon fillets

    Wow, this spice rub was superb!  I loved the balance of flavors with the sweet brown sugar and the spicy chili powder!  I served the grilled fish on a bed of red oakleaf lettuce and quinoa pilaf.

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    Cooking spray

    Spice Rub:

    2 Tbsp brown sugar

    1 Tbsp chili powder

    1 tsp ground cumin

    Salt and pepper

    4 cod fillets

    2 tsp EVOO

    Coat a grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat. Combine spice rub. Brush each fillet with ½ tsp oil and ½ Tbsp of the rub mixture. Grill fillets 3-4 minutes on each side.

    Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger - Food Network

    Quinoa Pilaf with Almonds****

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    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

    1 cup quinoa, rinsed
    1/4 cup almonds, slivered
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 large onion, chopped
    1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
    Salt and pepper

    Put the broth and quinoa in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and grain is tender.

    Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove nuts from pan and set aside. Heat the oil in the same skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and begin to brown, about 6 minutes.

    When the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl. Stir in the pine nuts, onions, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

    Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger - Food Network

    Mobile Market: basket # 1

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    Bok choy, red oakleaf lettuce, green butter lettuce (love it), and farm fresh chorizo.  My green garlic was missing...I'm going to email the farm and hopefully they will reimburse me next week.

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    Greek Goulash****

    Ground sirloin, eggplants, spinach, olives, and feta served over penne pasta!

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    Meal Kit: On Sunday I prepped the onion, garlic, and eggplant and placed them all in an air tight container together; these three ingredients all get added to the skillet at the same time. I also thawed and drained the spinach and placed this in a separate small bowl. Finally, I pre-made the olive gremolata and placed it in a third air tight container. I also got out the pantry items (penne, tomato sauce, and five spice powder) and placed them on the counter along side the recipe.

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    Only meat and eggplant mixture with pasta

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    With toppings: feta cheese and olive gremolata

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin or lamb
    Black pepper
    1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 sprigs fresh, finely chopped
    2 pinches Chinese five spice or ground cinnamon
    1 onion, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, grated
    1 small eggplant, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
    1 box frozen spinach, 10 ounces, defrosted and wrung dry in towel
    1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
    1/2 cup pitted, chopped kalamata black olives
    1 lemon, zested
    1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1/2 pound orzo pasta
    1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

    Heat a large high sided skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, over medium- high heat. Add beef, brown and crumble meat, about 5 minutes. Season the meat with salt, pepper, oregano, cinnamon. Add the onions, garlic and eggplant and cook 6 to 7 minutes then stir in spinach and tomato sauce. Simmer a few minutes and adjust seasonings.

    Chop olives with lemon zest and parsley - Greek Gremolata!

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook penne according to box instructions. Drain pasta and combine with meat goulash. Top bowls of goulash with feta cheese and olive gremolata.

    Recipe adapted from 30 Minute Meals - Food Network

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Crab and Avocado Duet****

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    1 ripe avocado
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    Pinch white pepper
    1/2 pound lump crabmeat
    2 tablespoons chopped chives

    Pit and peel the avocado and cut it into 1/2-inch chunks. In a small bowl toss the avocado chunks gently with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and season with salt to taste. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, pinch of white pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add crabmeat and toss.

    Stand an empty 15-ounce can with both top and bottom removed on a serving plate. Scoop a quarter of the avocado into the can. Place 1/4 of the crabmeat on top and press down gently into the mold. Gently pull the can off the avocado and crab mixture. Garnish with a half teaspoon of chives. Repeat with the remaining 3 servings and serve.

    Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

    Bell's Oberon Ale - Finally!

    **Update: I've decided this is indeed my very favorite beer - it's crisp, refreshening, and has spicy hint of orange.

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    I've been looking forward to this seasonal ale for several weeks, it's finally been released and is now available! It's an American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops making it both spicy and fruity. Andy and I ran into Sam's Quick Shop last night and I was thrilled that they had it. I love wheat ales and they are very popular this time of year, so I'm usually in luck. I also highly recommend Chicago brewed Goose Island's 312, it's been a long time favorite of mine, but it's not sold in North Carolina. Luckily, my sister, Sara, in Indiana is going to hunt it down and buy some for me!

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    Broccoli and Cheddar-Stuffed Potato Skins with Avocado Cream*****

    These were awesome! Andy loved them - the potatoes had crispy skins, the avocado cream has a hint of lime, and the ham adds a nice richness.

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    8 small Idaho potatoes, scrubbed and dried
    4 teaspoons canola oil
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 ounces ham, diced

    Avocado Creme:
    2 scallions, thinly sliced, greens reserved
    1 medium avocado

    4 cups broccoli florets
    2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
    2 tablespoons lime juice
    1 clove garlic
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

    Pierce potatoes several times with a fork and wrap in paper towels. Microwave on high for 13 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from microwave and cool until potatoes are easy to handle. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop all but 1/8 inch of the inside of the potato, leaving skin intact. Reserve scooped potato flesh for another use.

    Brush both inside and outside of potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place potatoes, skin-side down, on a baking sheet and bake until skins are crisp and edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

    Steam the broccoli until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and puree in a food processor.

    To make avocado cream, combine scallion whites, avocado, sour cream, broccoli puree, lime juice, cilantro, garlic and salt in the small bowl of a food processor and process on high until smooth. About 30 seconds.

    Spoon avocado cream filling evenly among potatoes, then top with scallion greens and 1 teaspoon ham bits.

    Adapted from Ellie Krieger's original recipe

    Rhode Island Style Crab Chowder*****

    This was light in calories and yet very filling. I used lump crab meat in this recipe, instead of using clams which the original recipe said to use. O also included diced bell peppers instead of the original celery.

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    My version:

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 slices ham (about 2 ounces), chopped
    1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
    1 medium bell pepper, diced
    4 cups red bliss potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch dice
    1 lb lump crab meat
    2 cups clam juice, bottled
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    Water, to cover
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Heat the oil in a large soup pot over a medium-high heat. Add the ham, onions and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the potatoes, crab, clam juice, thyme and water, to cover. Bring to a boil, and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    Adapted from Ellie Krieger's original recipe

    Raleigh Farmers Market

     

    Today my friend, Laura, and I headed down to the state farmers market.  I was impressed with the herbs, plants, and trees that were available; not even to mention the potatoes, strawberries, asparagus, garlic, onions, and lots of greens.  We had a great time, it was not overly crowded like I was afraid it might be, and only took about 30 minutes to get there. 

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    My purchases:

    • 4 coleus plants
    • 8 kimono plants
    • sage
    • french tarragon
    • chives
    • fresh bay
    • parsley
    • 4 red bell pepper plants
    • 4 jalapeno plants
    • brandywine heirloom tomato - dark pink with crimson flesh
    • green zebra heirloom tomato - green striped  with a yellow blush
    • debarao heirloom tomato - deep red Italian plum
    • washington heirloom tomato - deep red large cherry

    Total spent: about $40.00

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    left to right: 2 large pots of pepper plants, sage, tarragon, chives, parsley, 4 tomato plants - all will go on the back patio or garden

    foodblog 011 coleus in large front porch pots and kimono's potted for the front patio table   

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Indian Chicken Curry Pizza

     

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    1 whole wheat pizza dough ball (Trader Joe's)

    1/3 jar of curry sauce (Trader Joe's)

    5-6 asparagus stems, pre-cooked and chopped, seasoned with chhole masala

    2 chicken breasts, pre-cooked and chopped, seasoned with chhole masala

    3-4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

     

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Drizzle pizza stone or pan and dough with EVOO.  Using your finger tips, press dough out to the edges of your pan.  Spread sauce onto dough, top with asparagus, chicken, and cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until dough is golden brown on the edges and cheese is bubbly.  Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

     

    Before starting the pizza I wedged some red potatoes, drizzled them with EVOO and, you guessed it, chhole masala - for the Indian flare.  I baked them in the 425 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping once while roasting.

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    Spring beer of choice:

    Rising Moon - made by the makers of Blue Moon, it's a wheat ale with hints of lime.  Quite nice!

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    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Early Spring Garden Photos

    These are photos of our work so far in the backyard garden. Andy decided this year he wanted to expand the garden area around the patio to give the yard more of a "homey" feel - like are old backyard in Kentucky (which we really miss).

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    Back left to right: mint, oregano, rosemary

    Middle four pots: chives, thyme, basil parsley

    Front: dill

    I still plan to add sage and tarragon, I missed not having them last year. I'm going to the State Farmers Market Saturday morning with a friend, I hope to find both of them there along with heirloom tomato and pepper plants.

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    Purple plum tree planted last fall; it had sweet, white blossoms a few weeks ago.

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    The arc around the patio - herbs on the left and will be an azalea bush on the right and probably the tomato and pepper plants. Look how green the grass is this year, yeah! Bring on the rain, with a few dispersed days of sunshine so that I can put the hammock and umbrella out. :o)

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    ****UPDATE: It's just been reported that there are green leaves on the crepe myrtle!

    Andy also wanted a stone walk way to the back gate. We planted a crepe myrtle last fall too, unfortunately it didn't make it. We have ordered a Brown Turkey Fig Tree to replace it. I am really looking forward to having fresh figs this August, the grower said it was very possible for it to bare fruit this year!

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    Our backyard in KY - much bigger, and in these photos the grass still had the cute little lines around the sod (as Steve once put it).

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    Look at that "blue " grass! We had a Japanese maple, my peonies from Becky, and hostas on the left side of the deck. On the right side was my herb garden.

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    Later, we mulched under the deck too and planted hostas - I hope they're still growing happily...as for me now...there's a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble downstairs waiting for me.