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Let’s talk veggies!

11 Oct

As the ‘shock’ of getting started has hopefully passed, now is a good time to take a look at what you are eating (instead of what you are not). Personally, I sometimes struggle with different ways to make vegetables to keep it interesting as veggies are the base of this nutrition strategy. I made 2 wonderful mostly vegetable meals this weekend that I thought I’d share with hopes that you all will do the same.

The first was from smittenkitchen.com – I had romano beans delivered in our CSA bag this week so searched google for a recipe.

Braised Romano Beans
Adapted from Laura Sbrana via The NYTimes 08/12/08

Time: 1 1/2 hours

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced carrot
1 cup minced red onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup peeled, crushed ripe tomatoes, preferably plum tomatoes, with their juices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds romano beans (flat green beans), ends trimmed (or fresh cranberry beans in their shells). . .Next time think I will cut the beans into bite size pieces prior to cooking as they are a bit ‘unwieldy’ when full length.

1. Heat oil in a deep skillet or a shallow three-quart saucepan. Add celery, carrot and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables barely begin to brown, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, a few minutes. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until mixture is well combined, about 5 minutes.

2. Add beans, setting them in pan all in one direction. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer. Baste beans, season with salt, reduce heat to low. Cook gently, partly covered, turning beans in sauce from time to time, until beans are very tender, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings.

The other was Sunday breakfast. I had spigarello (again from our CSA) and portabello mushrooms that needed to be used. Stuffed portabello mushrooms it is!

This dish can be made with any greens you have in the fridge – the hearty the green, the longer you will need to cook.

Adapted from Primal Cookbook: Quick and Easy

Ingredients:
2 portabello mushrooms
olive oil
4 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
1 bunch spigarello, or other greens
bacon fat
2 eggs, raw, scrambled

Preheat oven to 425.
coat mushrooms in olive oil
place on baking tray
season with salt and pepper
cook 15 mins

While mushrooms are cooking, remove woody stems from Spigarello by stripping the greens from the stem. Pile all the greens together and chiffonade (cut into thin strips). Rinse in a collander and shake off most of the excess water. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Place wet greens in skillet and cover to let them steam a bit. Once water is mostly evaporated, add 1 tbs of bacon fat or butter and toss greens to coat. Let cook for a minute or two, then add bacon pieces and stir to combine with greens. When bacon is cooked, add eggs, stirring to mix with greens and bacon. Remove from heat once eggs are cooked. Pile mixture on top of mushrooms and enjoy. (If using spinach or arugula, cook bacon first, then add greens as the greens will cook much more quickly than those used here.

Could use some more ideas. Please comment with your favorite ways to incorporate veg into meals and snacks.

What did you have for dinner tonight?

3 Oct

3 days into the Whole 30.  How are you doing?  Have any of you tried out any new recipes yet? I had a random assortment of veggies from our CSA (Eat with the Seasons), so this is what I put together:

Curried Chicken and Cruciferous Vegetables

1 Tbsp. bacon fat

1.5-2lb. chicken thighs

1 Tbsp. vadouvan curry powder, divided

1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (optional)

1 crown broccoli, chopped

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped

1 red onion, sliced

Handful shiitake mushrooms, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Season the chicken thighs with roughly 3/4 of the curry powder.

In a large skillet, heat the bacon grease over medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add the chicken.  Cook until browned on all sides and cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In the hot pan, add all of the vegetables, and the remaining curry powder.  If needed, add olive oil to saute the vegetables.  Turn the heat to medium-high until the vegetables brown just a little bit.  Put a lid on the pan, reduce heat, and cook until vegetables soften to desired amount.

While the vegetables are cooking, chop the chicken into 1-inch cubes.

All chopped and ready to go

Add the chicken back into the pan and mix with the vegetables. Add salt to taste. Once the chicken is warm, serve.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Welcome to the Whole 30!

1 Oct

Alright Folks, it’s begun!

Since we are almost a day into the Whole 30, how was that kitchen clean-out been going?  Have you gotten rid of all those breads? Or just hid them in the back for the future?  I would recommend getting rid of them completely – all the less tempting if they aren’t even in the house.  What did you have for breakfast this morning?  This seems to be a meal that many people have a problem with, as many of the quick staples have been removed.  What did we all do before the invention of the bagel and toaster?

Well I’m here with an alternative.  Never a big egg eater as a little kid, I have grown to delight in the simple pleasures of eating a well cooked hard boiled egg.  You know the one: when the whites have taken on a nice solid consistency that gives to your bite, with vibrantly yellow yolks just solid enough to stay whole when you bite into them.

Check out the link to Mark Sisson’s Bacon Egg Avocado Tomato salad.  While not technically a breakfast dish, I think it makes for a great start to the morning.  It can be made in bulk, and holds up really well in the fridge.  If you’re turned off by avocados that have turned a little brown though, I would recommend adding the avocado right before serving.  I have also experimented with some subtle changes to this dish:

Crumbled sausage or seasoned ground beef instead of bacon

Salsa instead of fresh tomatoes

Diced zucchini or broccoli added as well

Experiment with this simple riff on egg salad, and you will find a whole new delicious way to eat eggs.

Till tomorrow!

From Rick’s Kitchen

9 May

Appetizer: Peel and Eat BBQ Shrimp

Entrée: Rib-Eye Steak with Chimichurri Marinade and Dried Chile-Mustard Sauce

Mango and Black Bean Salsa

Dessert: Rick’s Chocolate Shake

Recipe

Steaks:

  • 8 rib-eye steaks 8 to 10 ounces each
  • Chimichurri marinade, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Dried Chile-Mustard, recipe follows

Directions:

Place the steaks in a large shallow baking dish or pan, cover with the marinade and turn to coat. Refrigerate, covered for 1 to 4 hours. Preheat grill to high. Remove steaks from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and season with salt and pepper, discard remaining marinade). Grill until golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking 3 to 4 minutes for medium rare.

Chimichurri Marinade:
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped oregano leaves
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
Dried Chile-Mustard Sauce:
  • 2 cups Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons chile powder
  • 3 tablespoons warm water

Desert: Rick’s Chocolate Shake

Serves 2

  • Two scoops Organic Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 8 oz Almond Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Almond butter
  • 8 cubes ice

Blend and Serve

From Jen’s Kitchen – Easter Brunch

8 Apr

What’s are the menu?

Mushroom and Shalot Quiche (with or without crust)
Roasted Asparagus with Goat Cheese & Bacon
Strawberry & Walnut Spinach Salad

Drink of Choice: Mimosa with fresh squeezed orange juice
Personal Favorite Easter Candy: Cadbury Royal Dark Mini Chocolate Eggs

Recipe: Mushroom and Shalot Quiche

Serves 8

Crust:
-1 cup almond flour
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp sea salt

Filling:
-16 eggs
-6 Shallots – chopped
-3-4 mushrooms – sliced
-2 Tbsp fresh chives – chopped
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-Goat Cheese (optional)

Directions:
1.  Pre-heat oven to 375
2.  In a small bowl mix together the crust ingredients
3.  Spread the crust in a thin layer over the bottom of the baking dish and bake in the oven for 10 minutes – until crust is brown and hardened.  Remove and set aside.
4.  While crust is baking, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add the shalots
5.  Once shalots have softened, add mushrooms and cook through
6.  Add chives for the last 2 minutes of cooking the mushrooms.  Set aside.
7.  In a bowl, whisk together eggs
8.  Pour the mushrooms/shalots into the bowl with the eggs and stir together.
9.  Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish.  If you’re using goat cheese, sprinkle it over the top of the eggs and it will blend in during baking.
10.  Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes – or until the eggs are cooked (stick a fork in and if it comes out fairly dry, it’s finished).

It is great without the crust as well.  I also make mini quiche’s:  pour egg mixture into muffin pan and cook on 375 for 25 minutes.  Great for a quick morning breakfast throughout the week.


From the Kitchen of Kevin English

9 Mar

What’s for dinner?

Dinner Menu

Grilled Pork Chops with Ancho Chili Coffee Rub
Gourmet Brussel Sprouts
Mixed Green Salad with sliced pears, golden raisins and toasted pecans.

RECIPE: Gourmet Brussel Sprouts

This recipe has converted more than one person who has said “I hate Brussel Sprouts”

Ingredients:

2 pounds Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup drained brined capers
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 oil packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 tsp.  red chile flakes
1/2 lemon

Preparation:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add brussel sprout and cook just until tender and bright green, about 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, blot capers on a paper towel. Heat oil in large frying pan over high heat.  Add capers and cook, stirring carefully (mixture will splatter), until capers start to open and are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer capers to a paper towel to drain.
  • Add garlic and anchovies to pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add brussel sprouts and chile flakes and stir to coat with oil.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with capers and a squeeze of lemon.
  • I usually chop bacon or pancetta and saute until crisp, remove to paper towel to drain, and use some of the grease with the olive oil to saute the garlic and anchovies.  Then add the bacon/pancetta pieces at the end along with the capers.

Shrimp Cakes with Spinach Slaw and Coconut Almond Dressing

10 Feb

Shrimp Cakes
Makes 16-18 bite size cakes; 3-4 servings

Ingredients:
1 lb raw shrimp, shelled, deveined and roughly chopped
1 C coconut milk
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced jalapeno or red chili pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
*Raw Virgin Coconut oil or olive oil for browning cakes

In food processor, pulse shrimp and coconut milk until slightly chunky.  Add cilantro, pepper, and green onion and pulse until mixture is combined (approximately 10-15 pulses).  Heat several tbsp of coconut or olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  For bit-sized shrimp cakes, use a tbsp measurement to scoop shrimp batter and drop it into the pan.  Will yield 16-18 bite size servings.  Cook each side approximately 2-3 minutes, until nicely browned.  Set shrimp cakes aside.

Salad & Coconut Almond Dressing

Salad Ingredients:
4 ounces fresh spinach leaves (2 massive handfuls)
1 C shredded purple cabbage
2 carrots, grated or finely chopped
1 cucumber, finely chopped
1 lb brown bella mushrooms, chopped

Dressing Ingredients: 1 c per serving approx
2 tbsp lime-juice
2 tsp almond butter
1 C coconut milk
1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint, finely chopped
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Celtic Sea Salt/Fresh Ground Pepper

Mix limejuice and 2 tsp of warm water with almond butter until almond butter has a slight liquid consistency.  Whisk in the remaining ingredients.  Add salt and fresh ground pepper (and additional red pepper flakes if desired) to taste.

Mix the salad ingredients together in a bowl and toss with coconut almond dressing.  Garnish with shrimp cakes and mint leaf.  Enjoy

Winter Minestrone

11 Jan

Overflowing with vegetables and brimming with nourishing and wholesome fats, this winter Minestrone makes for a nutrient-dense supper during the darkest days of the year.

Ingredients for Winter Minestrone
•    1 cup dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over – optional
•    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
•    1 cup dried brown rice macaroni noodles – optional
•    ¼ cup lard, bacon fat or ghee
•    1 yellow onion, finely chopped
•    3 garlic cloves, minced
•    3 carrots, chopped
•    3 celery stalks, chopped
•    2 tablespoons dried basil
•    1 tablespoon dried oregano
•    1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
•    2 quarts homemade roast chicken stock or homemade beef stock
•    1 cup pureed or crushed tomatoes
•    1 bunch Swiss chard, de-veined and sliced into 1/2 –inch strips
•    Unrefined sea salt to taste
•    Unrefined extra virgin olive oil, Italian flat leaf parsley and parmesan cheese to serve

Method for Winter Minestrone

If you choose to include the cannelloni beans in the soup:

1.    The day before you plan to serve the soup, prepare the cannelloni beans by completely submerging the beans in a mixture of very warm and 1 tablespoon cider vinegar.  Cover and place in a warm spot to soak for approximately twenty-four hours.

2.    After the beans have soaked for one day, drain and rinse them. Boil them in water until they’re tender and soft. After they’re thoroughly cooked and tender, about 60 to 90 minutes, remove them from heat drain, rinse and set aside.

If you choose to include the brown rice pasta in the soup:

1.    Boil the brown rice pasta until tender, but somewhat firm and set aside.

Directions:

1.    Heat lard, bacon fat or ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot over a medium-high flame until melted and sizzling.
2.    Add chopped onion and fry until fragrant and translucent.
3.    Add minced garlic, chopped carrots, chopped celery and cubed butternut squash to the onion and fry until fragrant.
4.    Stir the dried basil and oregano into the vegetable mixture .
5.    Pour two quarts chicken or vegetable stock into the pot, taking care to stir and scrape the pot with a metal spatula to dislodge any flavorful bits of vegetables that may be stuck to its bottom.
6.    Stir in crushed or pureed tomatoes.  Freezing retains more nutrients than canning, and avoids the risks associated with BPA, which is a plasticizer with endocrine-disrupting effects.
7.    Simmer the broth, pureed tomatoes and vegetables together for thirty minutes or so.
8.    Remove the minestrone soup from heat.  Stir in the cooked cannellini beans (optional), cooked brown pasta (optional) and sliced Swiss chard.
9.    Season to taste with unrefined sea salt.
10.    Cover the soup allow it to sit (removed from heat) for approximately five to ten minutes, which melds the flavors and allows the Swiss chard to wilt slightly.
11.    Serve with chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, unrefined extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan or Asiago cheese.

YIELD: Approximately 8 to 12 servings
TIME: 24 hours (soaking) plus 2 hours (preparation and cooking time)

NOTES: This recipe is fabulous with or without the brown rice pasta or cannelini beans.  If you choose to include them, brown rice is very low in phytic acid; an antinutrient that binds minerals preventing their full absorption, which is why I’ve included brown rice pasta in this recipe. For this reason, do not substitute whole wheat pasta unless you prepare it yourself using a sprouted flour or a recipe for sourdough noodles. I encourage you to cook the beans separately and add them to the soup later because doing so improves the flavor of the soup.

Recipe adapted from The Nourished Kitchen (www.nourishedkitchen.com)

Butter Nut Snow Balls

6 Dec

A wintry holiday treat!

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325º

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Shift flour and salt into creamed mixture.  Add chopped nuts and mix well.  Shape into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 325º for 20 minutes (do not brown).  Cool and roll in powdered sugar.

Makes 6 dozen

Mama Nina’s Zucchini Bread

6 Dec

Ingredients:
*3 eggs
*2c sugar (yes – plain white sugar)
*1 tsp vanilla
*1 c olive oil or vegetable oil (personally use Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Olive Oil)
*3c fresh, grated zucchini
*3c flour (white, unbleached)
*1 tsp salt
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp baking soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325
2. Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla with wire whisk.  Add oil and mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients with wooden spoon.  Lastly, stir in zucchini (and any other dried fruit/veggies ie. carrots, raisins, cranberries, nuts) that you’d like to include.
3. Bake in greased bundt pan at 325 for approximately 1 hour.  Remove and let cool for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 Baby Loaves.