Saturday, January 30, 2010
Drain two small cans of chunk white albacore tuna. Using a folk to break up chunks, mix together tuna, 1 stalk of diced celery, 1 heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Place about 3 tablespoons tuna salad mixture on half of a split toasted whole wheat english muffin. Place a tablespoon of Lemony Dill Carrot Salad mixture on top. Next top with diced avocado, and finally sprinkle a tablespoon each of shredded part skim mozzarella and Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese. Place on a baking sheet and heat under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 2 to 4 minutes.
This is one of the best bone in chicken recipes I have ever tried. We were skeptical at first about the four whole cups of onions! But believe me, this recipes is tried and true. Do not doubt it. Once again, this was inspired by the Braised Paprika Chicken recipe from Eatingwell.com, but of course adjusted and improved by the Early's to the resulting goodness below. Our homemade chicken stock and locally purchased goats milk yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery helped take this recipe from delicious to divine. (Note: photo is not an exact replica as our camera was temporarily out of service!) We served with a roasted parsnip salad to be posted in the future.
Braised Paprika Chicken with Mushrooms
- 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, (thighs, drumsticks and/or breasts), skin removed, trimmed (see Tip)
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cups finely diced onions
- Pinch of sugar
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, halved
- 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, halved
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup goat milk yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
- Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Heat oil and butter in a large heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and light brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in mushrooms, tomato paste, paprika and crushed red pepper. Add the chicken and stir it gently into the onion mixture. Sprinkle with marjoram and add broth. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is very tender, about 50 minutes.
- Just before the chicken is done, whisk yogurt, flour and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until smooth.
- When the chicken is done, remove it to a plate. Stir the yogurt mixture into the sauce; return to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the spoon. Reduce heat to low, return the chicken to the sauce and reheat, about 1 minute. Serve garnished with parsley, dill and/or chives, if desired.
I set to work on a fresh Lemony Carrot Salad with Dill from EatingWell.com which afforded me the rare and fun opportunity to play with my Cuisinart. My Cuisinart has quickly become my preferred method for shredding root vegetables - four carrots in less than 30 seconds! Of course, if you want to burn the extra calories, be my guest and grate them by hand. The recipe combines shredded carrots, chopped scallions, fresh dill, and a refreshing vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. The simplicity of the salad is refreshing and the flavors marry well for a tasty cold treat. I can't wait to try the salad as a tapenade on some tuna melts later today as suggested on the website.
Meanwhile, Don set out to master our own gourmet burgers, another Eating Well Recipe called Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Burgers. For the full recipe, please visit their website. Here fresh ground turkey is combined with fresh chopped scallions, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, grated lemon zest, oregano, salt and pepper, and then stuffed with shredded part skim mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. The recipe recommends grilling, but Turkey is hard to hold together on a grill so we cooked in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, about 5 minutes on each side to brown and then baked at 350 for another 10 minutes in the oven to be sure the thick turkey patties get cooked all the way through. The recipe is served bunless with a homemade marinara sauce of onions, garlic, fresh chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper and, of course, more basil!
The awesome results were declared "definitely better than Boomers" and well worth the effort. We will likely make both recipes again, although I think the marinara sauce would greatly improve when tomatoes are more in season.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Spicy Shredded Pork with Not Quite Mole Sauce
2.5 Pound Salmon Creek Farms Pork Butt Roast
2 T Peanut Oil
1 Yellow Onion Diced
3 cloves Minced Garlic
2 to 3 Fingerling Potatoes, peeled and diced
8 ounces canned Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Chipotle Chili Powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Anaheim Chile, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
1 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar
1 Tablespoon Maranatha Organic Peanut Butter
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Sliced Great Harvest Challa Bread
1/2 cup shredded Medium Tillamook Cheddar Cheese (optional)
Pat meat dry with paper towels. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil until very hot. Add the roast and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to roast to the slow cooker. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet.
Add onion and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add to the slow cooker along with diced potato, tomato sauce, chipotle chili powder, oregano, cumin, and anaheim chili. Add just enough water to cover roast. Cover and cook on LOW until the pork shreds easily when pressed with a spoon, 8 to 10 hours.
Transfer the meat to a platter and shred with a fork. Pour off excess broth until you are left with about 2 cups of liquid in the slow cooker. Add chocolate and peanut butter and stir to combine until the chocolate melts. Season with salt and pepper, return the meat to the slow cooker, and stir to blend. Serve over slices of sweet challa bread from Great Harvest Bakery. Sprinkle shredded medium Tillamook Cheddar over the top if desired.
And the results from the peanut gallery are....
In addition to carving our own bird, the added benefit of buying bone in meat products is the ability to make your own stocks. This is a bit of a new experiment for us as well but again something that couldn't be easier. All I did was save the carcas and extra chicken parts that did not get carved up into usable material. I put the chicken parts in the crockpot along with some leftover vegetables from my pantry (onion, garlic, couple of varieties of potato, carrot, celery and parsnip.) I decided not to add much salt or other seasonings since these could always be added later and I would rather be able to control the flavorings in whatever recipe I decided to make later out of the stock. Add just enough water to the crockpot to cover chicken parts and vegetables. And brew on low overnight for 8 to 10 hours. This is a great way by the way to use up vegetables that have started to wilt but still have a lot of good flavor left in them. Although I'm still not an expert stock maker, I'm told that you should avoid adding leafy greens as they will turn bitter and other strong vegetables such as peppers and celery that will dominate the flavor. The celery seemed to be fine in mine though.
All together from my chicken bones and leftover vegetables I was able to produce about 6 to 8 cups of delicious homemade stock. Unfortunately, I tried to pour it out into a storage container a little too soon while the crockery was still hot and lost a fair chunk of it down the drain! I popped the airtight storage container into the freezer where it should keep for several weeks.
Last night I had the opportunity to use my stock for the first time and it was quite a fun adventure. I came up with the following soup recipe which was another delicious compilation of items in my pantry that needed to get eaten up. Unfortunately, the camera charger is lost so I was unable to get any photos which is too bad because the colors were amazing! Do no fret, a new one has been ordered and will be here shortly.
Tri-Color Potato Soup with Spicy Sausage and Kale
1 Yellow Onion Diced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
6 Cups of Homemade Stock
1 Cup Chuckanut Ridge Chardonnay or other dry white wine
Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Salt to Taste
1 Purple Potato cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 Small German Potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Yam (or Sweet Potato) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 Fully Cooked Andouille Sausages sliced into 1/4 inch discs
3 Cups Red and Green Kale, roughly chopped
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
In large stock pot, stir onion in olive oil and red pepper flakes until they start to soften. Add stock, wine, seasonings, and potatoes and cook about 15 - 20 minutes until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat sausages until lightly browned and carmelized on all sides. When potatoes are done cooking, add sausage and kale. Stir well and heat for another 2 minutes until kale is a vibrant color and slightly wilted. Serve in a bowl and top with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.
The finished product was delicious! Since our stock had turned out a little on the sweeter side due to the large parsnip we had added, it played well with the yams, which also were a great contrast to the spicy andouille sausage. The Kale both tasted great and added beautiful colors to the soup which made for an excellent presentation. I recommend serving with a hearty dark and slightly sweet bread on the side.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Our move back to Bellingham was motivated by many factors and one of them of course, was the opportunity to be closer to family. With my older sister, Kristy, now living in Seattle (a somewhat recent transition for her as well), we gathered that we have not lived this close to one another since my freshman year in college (over ten years!) So we of course are super excited about getting to spend some time together. The first opportunity was the long Martin Luther King Jr weekend and not only did we have a great time visiting, but we ate like kings.
Since Kristy was driving up Friday night after work and after traffic, we anticipated a late dinner. With plenty of time to prepare the meal, I figured a nice slow roasted bird would hit the spot. I also had some fresh whole yams to use up from my Dandelion Organic Delivery, so I decided on a delicious recipe called Maple Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes. For the whole recipe, visit http://www.myrecipes.com/recipes/.
Other than the fact that we decided to try our hand at purchasing a whole bird and cutting it up into pieces ourselves to save on costs (something I think we'll be doing more commonly from here on out), the recipe couldn't have been simpler. All you do is arrange eight chicken pieces in a baking dish, rub with olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper, top with onion wedges and 1 inch cubed yams, about a dozen whole sprigs of thyme, and drizzle with about 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup. Then pop into a 400 degree oven and roast for about an hour and fifteen minutes, stirring vegetables once. I couldn't have timed it better as I was just pulling it out of the oven as she arrived. We served with a cold crisp broccoli apple salad which was the perfect accompaniment.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
This recipe is an old favorite from one of our first cooking light cookbooks. I love to serve this on a cold winter day. The flavors smell so delicious as it cooks and the colors are just breathtaking. For the full printable recipe, please visit the link for Myrecipes.com.
Start by cutting four roma tomatoes into 8 wedges each. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes on a single layer of a foil lined baking sheet.
Next, stir fry one diced yellow onion in butter. When onions begin to soften, add 1/2 cup israeli couscous, 1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder, and 1 clove of minced garlic. Isreali couscous is larger than moroccan couscous and really makes a difference in this recipe. When cooked, it has more of a pasta consistency than a grain in my opinion.
Next add roasted tomatoes and one quart of free range organic chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 7 minutes. Add 2 cups of fresh torn spinach leaves. Cook another two minutes until spinach wilts. Serve immediately.
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon (generous) Asian sesame oil
2 to 3 Satsuma Oranges, peeled and sectioned.
4 to 6 cups of fresh spinach, rinsed and torn
Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
Combine Spinach and Orange Sections. Add dressing and toss to coat.
Tonight's dinner was a bit of a fun adventure. It was inspired by an interesting recipe from Real Simple on MyRecipes.com called Grilled Shrimp Tacos. But we made so many changes and adjustments, I think we pretty much have our very own new recipe here.
Start by quartering a couple of limes and mincing a clove of garlic. Season 12 to 16 jumbo prawns with a prepared seafood rub by shaking gently in a sealed ziploc bag with spices. Stir fry all of the above in a hot cast iron pan until shrimp are light pink and no longer translucent.
Meanwhile shred some green cabbage and warm some 6 inch flour tortillas.
Prepare white sauce by mixing 1/2 cup plain yogurt with a Tablespoon of Horseradish and a Tablespoon of mayonnaise. Add a dash of yellow curry powder and a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin. Whisk together with a tablespoon or two of milk to desired consistency.
To prepare tacos, layer with 3 to 4 cooked shrimp, shredded cabbage, white sauce, green tomatillo salsa, and a squeeze of grilled lime.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
For me, the foreign produce item this week was Kale. My family of origin was an iceberg lettuce family. As I got older and grew into my own kitchen, I came to love and embrace the variety of salad greens that exist out there including spinach, arugula, romaine, spring mix and other leafy greens. But I still have never ventured into the darker greens such as kale, mustard, and collard greens. Maybe it's because they are most often served warm and wilted which for the unexceptional cook translates pretty quickly into soggy. So I was excited this week to be challenged in the kitchen by getting familiar with this new (to me) vegetable.
Since I had never prepared Kale before, I decided to start with some recipe websites and researched recipes that had already been tried and reviewed by other readers. I found a basic recipe with a rather favorable rating and adopted some of the comments and my own ideas to come up with an even better version than the original. Below is the creation we arrived at - a nice steamy bowl of sausage, tomatoes and kale, served over white rice for the perfect winter luncheon. I was excited at the amount of flavor that the kale was able to absorb and retain without becoming the soggy wilted mess that I had feared it would.
For sausage, we used Uli's Famous Cajun Brand Andouille Sausage from the Community Food Coop. Uli's is based out of Seattle, Washington and all of their meats are Preservative free and MSG free with no artificial coloring or hormones. Don and I were big fans of the Andouille which paired perfectly with the tomatoes and Kale. Besides a little olive oil and a minced clove of artichoke garlic from our produce box, Don added a little bit of sea salt but I really didn't feel any extra spices were needed.
The recipe itself cooks up in only minutes so get started early on the rice. We are looking forward to our next delivery of Kale to make this special winter treat again!
Sausage, Kale and Tomatoes over Rice
1 cup white rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 links sausage of your choice (recommended Uli's Famous Cajun Brand Andouille Sausage)
1 clove artichoke garlic (or regular garlic), minced
14 ounce can diced plum tomatoes
2 cups kale leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper
Prepare rice in rice cooker or according to package directions.
When rice is about 10 minutes from completion, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once pan is heated through, add olive oil. Remove sausage from casings and crumble into pan. Cook stiring occasionally 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in garlic and heat another 60 seconds until golden. Add tomatoes and kale and heat another 3 to 5 minutes or until the kale is tender.
Serve sausage and tomato mixture over steamed rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Root Vegetable Hash with Horseradish Cream
This first recipe is from the Food Network website. Surprisingly there were no reviews or ratings on this one so it was a complete unknown for us trying this one out. The hash was delicious and I really cannot wait to eat the leftovers for my breakfast tomorrow. But the horseradish cream sauce is just amazing! Don doesn't like sour cream so we used plain organic yogurt instead. Also we added some fresh graded horseradish root to the hash itself that we had leftover in the fridge. I'm quite happy with our substitutions as I think they were an improvement on the original recipe. Also, trying to press the hash into individual cakes didn't really work so I left that part out. A simple standard hash is fine for this recipe. Below is the recipe as we made it and recommend.
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1/2 cup plain organic yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch freshly ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter, diced
- 1 onion, sliced thinly, 1 cup (4 ounces)
- 2 springs fresh rosemary
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound Yukon gold or other waxy potatoes, skin on
- 1 large carrot (2 to 3 ounces)
- 1 large beet, peeled (4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup fresh grated horseradish root
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the horseradish cream, whisk the prepared horseradish into the yogurt and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (10-inch) nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add the onion and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic to the onion and cook another minute.
Meanwhile, with the shredding blade of a food processor, or with a box grater, grate the potatoes into a colander. Rinse and pat very dry. (Giving them a turn in a salad spinner helps, too.)
Stir the potatoes and grated horseradish root into the vegetables in the skillet. Cook the potatoes, undisturbed until they get crusty on the bottom. Then, stir the crispy bottom into the tender potato, and continue to cook to re-crisp the bottom. Continue this browning and periodic stirring until the potatoes are almost cooked through, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the carrot and beet.
Remove the rosemary sprigs. Stir the carrot and beets into the potato hash, and cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in bits along the sides of the skillet, and then brown the hash over high heat. Turn the hash in large sections with a spatula to brown the other sides, another minute.Divide the vegetable hash among 4 plates and serve warm with the horseradish cream.
Mustard-Roasted FishSo very good and so very simple! It's hard to do wrong with this recipe. The sauce is light and flavorful and appeals to a broad range of pallets. Make with just about any white fish fillet. We made with fresh Dover fillets from Vis Seafood in Bellingham. The recipe was inspired by the Food Network with our own modifications. The fish not only cooked well on the parchment paper but cleanup was a breeze so we were able to conserve water during dishwashing.
- 4 (8-ounce) fish fillets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 teaspoons drained capers
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Combine the cream, 2 mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it's barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it's done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top.
By the way, in case you were wondering, the Root Vegetable Hash with Horseradish Cream tastes excellent the next morning with a Fried Egg on top (Organic Free Range of course!) and Crispy bacon on the side. Finish it off with a half a banana and a glass of Orange Juice. The breakfast of champions!
So, those of you who know me by now, know that with new adventures comes a new blog. Our new blog, appropriately titled, "BellingHome," will be dedicated to the ideals and philosophies that called us back to this place which could pretty much be summed up in the phrase Local Organic Living. Environmental Stewardship is at the forefront of our thoughts these days. We've recently converted to organic produce and pasture raised, hormone free meats and dairy products by the extremely well done documentary movie called "Food, Inc." Watch it! You deserve to know the secrets corporate foodies are trying to keep hidden about our daily food supply.
We're also trying very hard to be conscious of our own waste and conservation of resources. And whenever possible, our aim is to buy local and support local businesses. We've signed up for weekly deliveries of organic produce from Dandelion Organic Produce and have decided to buy all of our meat and dairy products from the Community Coop. We've also started a wine tasting group on Meetup.com dedicated to the exploration of Northwest Washington wines and wineries. We are also planning to get out and explore this gorgeous habitat through it's numerous parks and nature trails and eagerly look forward to some spring and summer camping posts.
We hope you enjoy our new blog for our new life. While these adventures represent our life in Bellingham, these principals can be adopted wherever you live. Enjoy!