Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Begin by cooking 3 1/2 cups organic egg noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoons butter in a large dutch oven. Saute 2 cups smoked diced ham about 5 minutes until well caramelized.
Add diced carrots, onion, celery, red bell pepper, crushed garlic, and dried thyme. Stir and saute another 5 minutes until vegetables are just softened.
Add greens and stir constantly for 60 seconds (Collard Greens is recommended but we used Kale.) Add 4 cups homemade organic chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Add egg noodles, freshly ground black pepper, stir and heat through. Serve immediately.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
One of the best things about Oysters, I have decided is the easy clean up! Aside from a few plates, these little guys come in natures own serving platters so clean up was a breeze.
And the winner is Ian! He beat my King/Jack Two Pair with a surprise Diamond Flush on the River. Way to go Chaotic Neutral!
Seumas getting into the Party Mode during the BBQ! Cordy on the other hand, little miss trouble maker, hid under some logs she had been obsessing over and didn't come out until after we had walked all over the neighborhood searching for her. Won't be letting her off the leash any time soon.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thai Shrimp Stir-Fry with Basil
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Water
2 Teaspoons Fish Sauce
1 Teaspoon Red Chile Flakes
4 Teaspoons Organic Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Peanut Oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon ground fresh ginger (we use the refrigerated kind from the jar)
1/2 Cup Diced Yellow Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into one inch pieces
1 Bunch green onions, cut into one inch pieces
1 Jalapeno, minced
3/4 Cup Fresh Torn Basil Leaves
1/4 Cup Fresh Torn Mint Leaves
Juice of one lime
Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and chile flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until pink but still translucent in the middle, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon.
Add the onions, pepper, and chile to the skillet, and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Return the shrimp to the pan along with the soy sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, and stir-fry until the sauce glazes the shrimp, about 1 minute more.
Add the tomatoes and stir until coated with sauce, about 15 seconds. Remove pan from the heat, stir in the basil, mint, and lime juice. Serve over Jasmine Rice.
This was definitely a hit as Don ate two huge bowls! Probably best anyway as shrimp doesn't usually make the best leftovers.
While Don worked on the pork dish, I undertook the Zucchini Pancakes. Here we have another awesome Ina Garten recipe from the Food Network. Talk about a great way to use up an abundant harvest of zucchini. These make a great side dish. Think of these little cakes as a great substitute any time you would think to serve cornbread with a meal. They're just as tasty (even better in my opinion) and have far more nutritional value in them then a box of starch. Eggs, Flour and Baking Powder bind together the freshly grated Zucchini and Red Onion, just like a traditional pancake. These could be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner and they toasted up quite well the next day so they make even better leftovers than stale cornbread. For a full printout of the recipe, please visit http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/zucchini-pancakes-recipe/index.html.
Our Organic produce deliveries from Dandelion Organic Delivery continue to be a huge source of inspiration in our kitchen. Nevertheless, with the season opener of the Bellingham Farmer's Market the other week, I decided it couldn't hurt to get out their and check out the competition. The idea of mass fresh foods available with the ability to hand pick my own order was a little intriguing. After parousing the market one Saturday morning in the rain with Don, I am even more impressed by the Dandelion deliveries than I was before. Seeing everything layed out and displayed that is grown here locally, I can see that Dandelion really has done a tremendous job of capturing a very accurate and fair sampling of what is available here, while still getting a great discount on things shipped in for variety. Not only that, but they do a great rotation and with them I am sure to continue to get a balanced variety of root vegetables, leafy greens, colorful veggies, fleshy fruits, citrus, etc. than I would if I were simply driving my own destiny.
It's also been a great way to discover new produce. All winter long we received various forms of hearty greens such as kale, collard greens and swiss chard. I'd never cooked with these items before and just assumed I would not like them. Mostly because they're typically served braised and wilted and I did not think I liked my greens cooked. Since the only thing I had to compare it to was spinach which becomes a limp soggy sludge if heated more than a few seconds, I expected similar results. However, I had no idea that these much sturdier, much hardier vegetables can stand up to the heat, retain their structure and taste and even absorb some amazing flavors without breaking down when cooked correctly.
Bacon & Garlic Infused Kale Raab
1 Slice Bacon, roughly chopped
4 Minced Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3-4 Cups Roughly Chopped Kale Raab
Salt and Pepper
Heat nonstick skillet over Medium High Heat. Add Bacon and saute until browned, add Garlic and olive oil and saute 60 seconds stirring frequently being careful not to burn. Add Raab, toss to cover in garlic and bacon and saute a few minutes until tender. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Sweet Onion & Feta Risotto with Braising Kale
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Sweet Onions, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio Rice
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
2/3 Cup Crumbled Feta
1/4 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper
2-3 Cups Braising Kale (tender dark green velvety leaves)
Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute one minute. Stir in rice. Mix together chicken broth and wine. Add 1/2 cup of broth mixture at a time, stirring constantly until fully absorbed before adding the next batch of liquid. The whole process will take about 30 to 40 minutes. Once rice reaches the desired consistancy (you may not need all four cups), add cheese, salt & pepper to taste and stir in chopped kale. Remove from heat and serve. Making risotto can be a very labor intensive process but the flavors are amazing. It's well worth the effort if you can spare the time. The leftovers typically hold up quite well too as opposed to other rice dishes.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 Bunch Asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
1/2 Cup Canadian Bacon, Diced
5 Large Free Range Eggs
2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
1 Large Clove Garlic, Crushed
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Shredded White Cheese Blend (such as Gruyere, Parmesan, and Mozzarella)
Preheat Broiler. Heat Olive Oil in a Cast Iron skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and saute three minutes until soft. Add Peppers, Asparagus, and Canadian Bacon. Lower heat to medium low and cook, covered for 6 minutes until asparagus is just barely tender.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, crushed garlic, salt & pepper. When the six minutes is up, remove lid and pour egg mixture evenly over vegetables. Turn heat back up to medium and cook about 5 minutes until eggs start to set but are still runny on top. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and place under broiler. Broil a few minutes until cheese melts and starts to brown in spots. Remove from oven, slice into wedges and serve.
Start with two large chicken breasts. Place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until chicken is an even 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick through out. Then cut each breast in half so that you now have four servings. Pounding the chicken to a thinner thickness will allow it to cook faster and ensure even cooking throughout. We do this whenever we cook chicken on the stove top as it's very difficult to get the thicker breasts to cook all the way through to the center without overcooking the outside leaving it tough and dry. This way the meat cooks quickly all the way through and stays nice and moist. Another thing we do is pat the meat dry with Paper Towels before cooking it. Getting rid of the excess moisture will help it to brown properly and give you that really nice carmelization with lots of flavor that you are looking for.
For the rub, Don did not read the proportions correctly so we had extra spice to flour mixture ratio, but we loved it. Overall, if we were to make again we suggest the following recipe for the seasoning dredge. Sorry Emeril, but ours is better!
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1/2 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
After dredging in flour mixture, brown the chicken for about three minutes on both sides. The Paprika and Cayenne Pepper seasonings will give it a gorgeous red and brown coloring. Remove chicken from heat, then in the same pan, saute sliced mushrooms until golden brown, add Marsala Wine, Butter, Chicken Stock, Salt and Pepper and cook until sauce is reduced by about half. Add the chicken back to the broth and continue to cook until meat is cooked through and sauce has thickened. Service chicken drizzled in mushroom sauce.
This recipe goes extremely well with sauteed greens. We had a mixed bag of greens leftover from our Dandelion Organic Produced delivery to inspire this quick recipe.
Sauteed Greens with Red Bell Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion Diced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper Diced
2 Large cloves of Garlic, Minced
5 Cups Mixed Dark Greens such as Kale
2/3 Cup Homemade Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Begin by sauteeing onion and and bell pepper in olive oil for about 5 minutes until softened. Add Garlic and stir fry another 60 seconds stirring constantly so that garlic does not burn. Add Greens and stock and toss gently. Cover and cook for five minutes stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain excess liquid and serve immediately.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
We could have given into the last minute chaos and used the "special occasion" excuse to side track our goals, but we didn't and I'm feeling quite proud. We took a quick stock of our kitchen, managed to come up with a tip top gourmet recipe of Chicken Marsala with Braised Greens (recipe to follow). It was a bit of a dine and dash getting dinner on the table and out the door by 6:00 p.m. but with a bit of teamwork in the kitchen we made it work and it was delicious! I also had the foresight to pack a couple of protein bars in my purse knowing that there would be restaurant festivities to follow in case we were hungry and tempted. Tempted we were but the protein bars helped. Instead of spending lots of money on food and alcohol at the restaurant, we simply ordered coffee (decaf) and still were able to enjoy a great evening with friends. I'm actually glad this opportunity came up as I now have a great feeling of accomplishment that we were thrown a curve ball and able to adapt to the situation without getting off track (no pun intended).
Here are a few fun pics from the Go Kart Racing. Happy Birthday Chris!