February 23, 2015

Snow Day Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, Spinach, Beans and Mushrooms


Ingredients:
1 large spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
10 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
3/4 (loose) cup baby spinach
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken breast
14 oz canned black beans, drained
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash cut side down on the parchment. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. Scoop out the insides. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Cook the onion, garlic and mushrooms until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook 1-2 minutes or until wilted. Add the chicken, beans, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through and all ingredients are evenly distributed. Serve immediately.


My thoughts:
We had/have a serious block of ice on our street this week right where I would have to drive over to get back to my house. I'm from Baltimore, we don't drive in the snow or ice. Matt advised me not to go out if I could avoid it so he went to Costco after work and picked up a rotisserie chicken, suntan lotion for our trip to Orlando for Food Blog Forum this week, mushrooms, Irish foods and other odds and ends. We had planned just to get cheap takeout for dinner (classy!) on Saturday but the 2-3 inches of evening snow predicted turned into 8-12 inches of morning and afternoon and evening snow so I had to scramble to make dinner. Luckily I had spinach leftover from Thursday night tacos and spaghetti squash from my produce box so I was able to cobble together this. I wasn't going to post this but it turned out really, really good! Matt had some on rice but I thought it was fine as-is. Matt is always amazed at my ability to turn random things we have on hand into a good meal. I'd make it again, even if I wasn't snowed in. The spaghetti squash adds some bulk without pretending it is actual pasta (which I appreciate) and the beans and chicken turn it into a complete meal.


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February 20, 2015

Cauliflower & Radish Microgreen Salad with Lemon-Caper Dressing



Ingredients:
1 large head cauliflower, lightly steamed and cooled
1 1/4 (loose) cup red radish microgreens
2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
1 teaspoon Dijon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:
Toss together the cauliflower and microgreens. Set aside. Whisk together the juice, olive oil, capers, Dijon, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad, toss again.

My thoughts:
I know Baltimore doesn't have it as bad as say, Boston but I am over snow and cold and winter. So I decided to throw together this bright little salad to cheer me up. Cauliflower is always good this time of year and microgreen taste spring-like but are grown hydroponically indoors, year-round so I thought it was the perfect pairing. I used a super juicy (also in season) lemon and my perennial favorite, capers to make a light, zippy dressing. The result? A fresh tasting, "winter salad" that makes one dream of a day without a windchill.


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February 11, 2015

Velvety Beet Soup


Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 lb Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 lb beets, peeled and quartered
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


to garnish: plain yogurt


Directions:

In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredient and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes or until beets and potatoes are tender. Use an immersion blender to fully blend the soup until smooth. Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt.


My thoughts:
Initially, this was going to be a beet-turnip soup but the turnips that were just fine at midnight were squishy (ew!) the next day at 5 pm when I went to prep them. Luckily I had plenty of potatoes on hand so I used them instead. Looking back, I might have gotten lucky, the turnips plus beets might have been a little too strong tasting, in this the potatoes gave a lot of body to the soup and cut some of the "earthiness" of the beets. The balsamic and ginger add a nice zip that perked the soup up. A great alternative to more beet-heavy soups like borscht, which I love but is a bit more work and really for beet lovers; even the beet-wary should love this technicolor soup.

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February 09, 2015

Gubbröra (Swedish Egg Salad)


Ingredients:
8 hard-boiled eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise, creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons Kalles Kaviar (aka smörgåskaviar, smoked cod roe)*
3.5 oz Grebbestads Ansjovis (aka anchovy style sprats)*, drained
1 teaspoon minced dill
1 1/2 tablespoons minced chives

Swedish rye or crisp bread to serve

Directions:
Slice 2 eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place the yolks in a food processor or mini chopper. Set aside. Chop up the remaining whites and the rest of the eggs. Place in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place the mayonnaise, Kalles Kaviar, Grebbestads Ansjovis and dill in the mini chopper with the yolks. Pulse until smooth. Pour over the chopped eggs. Add the chives and stir to combine. Serve on crisp bread or Swedish rye.


*Both of these ingredients can be found at any Swedish food store or Ikea. At Ikea the Grebbestads Ansjovis are labled as "SKARPSILL")


My thoughts:
My love of Swedish food continues with this one. The ingredients are easy to find if you have an Ikea or the internet and the final result is worth a bit of effort! This is not your American egg salad! It is salty and slightly sweet and terribly creamy. In Sweden it is sort of a salty bar snack (or midnight snack!) but I mostly serve it for lunch. It is quick to make. There are many versions of gubbröra but this is the one I like best. I love the slight smoky flavor from the roe and the spice from the Grebbestads Ansjovis. Even if you don't love egg salad, this is a must try!


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February 04, 2015

Avocado-Carrot Top Dressing


Ingredients:
1 avocado, halved
1 bunch carrot greens
1/4 cup avocado oil
1/2 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic
salt
freshly ground black pepper



Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender, pulse until smooth.


My thoughts:
I had some carrots with beautiful tops and I didn't want them to go to waste so I transformed them into this easy dressing. The avocado added a ton of creaminess and the grapefruit juice (some pulp made it in too) gave it a lovely tang. Perfect for a salad or over steamed vegetables.

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January 30, 2015

Broccoli Green, Beet Green and Mushroom Sauté



Ingredients:
1/2 cup bread crumbs or matzo meal, toasted
1 bunch broccoli greens, chopped
1 bunch beet greens, chopped
stems from 1 bunch beet greens, diced
8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the shallot, stems, mushrooms and garlic and saute until the shallot and mushrooms have oftened. Add the greens saute until the greens have wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Serve immediately.


My thoughts:
Broccoli farmers must be pretty clever. First they shred the stumps that used to get tossed and sold them to us as "broccoli slaw". Now they are selling us the leaves of the broccoli plant! Luckily for us, broccoli leaves are tasty! They are more tender than kale or collards and have a light broccoli flavor. I recieved both broccoli leaves and beets with the greens attached in this week's product box. I was excited because I hadn't had broccoli greens before! I love beet greens too (and their delicous red stems) so I thought I'd do something that would bring the two together. A simple sauteed side dish seemed perfect. I didn't cook the greens too long so they still had a bit of bite and sprinkled them with matzo meal for a bit of texture interest and a toasty flavor.


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January 28, 2015

Chorizo Tacos with Mushrooms, Zucchini and Potatoes



Ingredients:
2 lb Mexican chorizo (casings removed)
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 serrano peppers, diced
8 oz crimini mushrooms, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
4 cups diced Russet potato, parboiled
1/2 cup water

to serve:
warm tortillas (corn or flour)
favorite taco toppings (tomatoes, salsa, avocado, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream, crema etc)


Directions:
Saute the meat in a nonstick skillet, breaking up any chunks with a spoon. When nearly fully browned, drain off any excess fat. In a second skillet, cook the remaining ingredients EXCEPT water until the potatoes, zucchini and onions are softened. Pour into the drained chorizo pan. Add the water, continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated. Serve immediately in tortillas and top with desired toppings.


My thoughts:
My favorite combination when ordering out is chorizo con papas (chorizo and potatoes). This time when making my own tacos, I thought I'd add some zucchini and mushrooms to I could eat just tacos for dinner with no guilt. Adding vegetables makes it a complete meal, right? I wasn't sure if I'd like it but while it lacked the simplicity of chorizo con papas, the zucchini and mushrooms blended right in and while they added some texture interest they weren't overpowering.

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