May 30, 2015

Kumquat Ginger Vinaigrette

2 cups kumquats, halved and seeds removed
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup avocado oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into an air tight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

My thoughts:
I was excited to be selected to try out OXO's new GreenSavers. They are made to keep produce fresh longer; apparently 25% of fresh produce we buy is thrown away. I know getting a weekly produce box means that I sometimes get a backlog of vegetables if we end up going out eat more than expected so I am always looking for a way to keep the food as fresh as long as possible. These have coconut fiber, activated charcoal packets in the lid; vents and an elevated basket to keep the produce in top condition. OXO was kind enough to send me two 1.6 quart keepers and kalettes and kumquats from Melissa's Produce to try them out. The kalettes really stayed fresh, as did the kumquats.

Since it is now summer-hot if not actually summer, I turned the kumquats into a light, sweet-tart salad dressing. It was great on a green salad but it was also an unexpected taste sensation drizzled over fresh berries.

From OXO:

There are three main reasons produce rots and spoils:
- Ethylene Gas: Fruits and vegetables give off ethylene gas. Exposing produce to ethylene gas speeds up the ripening process, causing it to over ripen and go bad.
- Improper Airflow: When produce rests against the walls of containers, bags or crispers, moisture can build up and cause rotting.
- Uncontrolled Humidity
: Fruits and vegetables require the perfect balance of humidity to keep them crisp and prevent wilting. To make things more difficult, different kinds of produce require different humidity levels.

Check out how the GreenSaver helps stop these reasons from ruining your produce here

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May 28, 2015

Grilled Corn, Asparagus and Crab Salad

1 1/2 cup blue crab meat (I used leftover meat from steamed crabs)
3 ears' worth of grilled corn kernels
1 lb asparagus, grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 small onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon ghost pepper flakes
3 tablespoon minced chives
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar*
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Place all ingredients in a medium bowl, toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Serve immediately.

*I used the fancy Gingras Extra-Old Apple Cider Vinegar I bought a while back but regular apple cider vinegar would work too.

Notes: Ghost pepper is pretty intense. If you are a spice-phobe try subbing in 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes. I brushed the corn and asparagus in olive oil prior to grilling so no additional oil was needed in the finished dish. If using "dry" vegetables, drizzle some olive oil over the salad to help the spices adhere.

My thoughts:
We had a ton of crabs over the weekend and were left with a sizeable amount of leftover crab meat. I had planned to make potato salad for tonight's dinner, but I switched gears and made this light yet flavorful salad instead. It has a touch of heat thanks to the pepper but not enough to overpower the sweet crab and shrimp. Bonus: it was super easy to put together. I mixed together the crab, spices, onion and chives while the corn and asparagus grilled with the sausages we were having as our main. I love dishes like this when it is warm!

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May 26, 2015

Rainbow Chard-Sweet Onion Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 sweet onion (Maui, Walla Walla or Viadila), diced
1 bunch rainbow chard, stems and leaves roughly chopped
1 packet Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix
1 1/2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt

Heat oil in a skillet. Add the onion and saute 2 minutes. Add the chard.

Continue to saute until the chard is soft and wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Drain off excess liquid.

Scrape the chard and onion into a food processor. Pulse twice. Add the Greek yogurt and Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix. Pulse until a fairly smooth dip forms. Refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving.

My thoughts:
You guys all know how much I like dip! Over the last eleven years I've posted a ton of dip recipes on this blog and enjoyed every one. What you might not know is that when I'm not making a dip to post, I often make a little single serving size dip using Hidden Valley® Hidden Valley Ranch mix (in a jumbo shaker I buy at Costco) and other spices for my lunch. So when Popsugar on behalf of Hidden Valley asked if I wanted to develop a new recipe using their new Hidden Valley® Greek Yogurt Dips Mix I couldn't see why not. Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream is a great way to cut extra fat out of your dips while staying rich and creamy tasting. I'm not a big fan of non-fat sour cream but non-fat Greek yogurt is still delish and has all the positive probiotic properties of yogurt and is full of protein. This makes dipping seem like less of an indulgence to me even if I wasn't dipping veggies! This dip mix was specially formulated to use with Greek yogurt and both my husband and I felt like it quieted some of the tang of the yogurt and really made it taste the like original, sour cream-based dip. I mixed in rainbow chard (Swiss chard would be fine too!) and sweet onion as a nod to my favorite spinach caramelized onion dip. They added a fun texture and flavor and even more nutrition to dip. Just take care to squeeze or drain the excess water out of the cooked vegetables so the dip isn't watered down. I served it with lightly steamed sugar snap peas but anything dipable would be divine

Check out other recipes using Hidden Valley Ranch mixes here.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Hidden Valley through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Hidden Valley, all opinions are my own.

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May 22, 2015

Mole Beef Summer Veggie Lettuce Wraps

2 portobello mushroom caps, cubed
2 zucchini, diced
1 Vidalia onion, diced
1 long hot green pepper, diced
1 ear's worth of corn kernels
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1/4 cup green mole sauce*
10-12 leaves green leaf lettuce

In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, zucchini, corn, onion and pepper until soft. Add the meat and continue to saute until nearly fully cooked, breaking up any large chunks with your spoon. Stir in the mole sauce and cook until the meat is cooked through. Divide into lettuce leaves and serve.

*I used Mole Verde Almendrado by La Paloma Gourmet which was awesome and flavorful

My thoughts:
When I received a huge, oddly flat, oval shaped head of green leaf in my produce box, I was trying to think of the best use for it. I had never made or had anything wrapped in a lettuce leaf before but they were so big, they reminded me of cabbage leaves and cabbage rolls sprung to mind. Why not wrap up another filling? I had a ton of other veggies and ground beef so I threw them together and came up with these satisfying wraps. Tons of flavor, little effort thanks to the  Mole Verde Almendrado. The leftovers made a great lunch over rice the next day.

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May 20, 2015

Goose Egg Quiche with Beet Greens and Bacon and a Parmesan-Pepper Crust

for the crust:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2-4 tablespoons ice water
freshly ground black pepper

5 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieced
2 goose eggs
1 1/4 cups (2%) milk
1 bunch beet greens, greens and stems finely chopped*
1/2 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup shaved parmesan
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Place the pepper, butter, flour and cheese into a food processor. Add water one tablespoon at a time and pulse just until mixture sticks together. Form the dough into a ball. Roll out into a crust and place in a pie plate or quiche pan or tart pan (I just use a Pyrex pie plate). If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, try rolling it out between two sheets of parchment paper.  Prick with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes or until just browned. Turn oven down to 325.

Meanwhile, saute the onion and greens in a small amount of oil or bacon grease until the onion is soft and translucent and the greens are wilted. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, whisk together** the milk and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Pour into the prepared shell.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until fully cooked.

*I am not the best chopper. Since the food processor was out anyway, I tossed the cooled greens and onion into the food processor and pulsed a couple times so they were more finely chopped. No one likes a big chunk of beet green sticking out of their quiche!

**It seems silly and old fashioned but I love my hand egg beater. The eggs and filling get so fluffy with so little effort!
My thoughts:
I was so excited to see goose eggs at the Chincoteague farmer's market, I had to buy some even though I had no idea what to do with them. The woman selling them said they had big yolks and could be treated as you would duck or chicken eggs so I thought a quiche would be the perfect use.

goose eggs next to a large chicken egg for scale

Each goose egg is roughly the equivalent of 2 large chicken eggs so I only needed two to make this quiche. And what a quiche it is! Creamy and custard-y and rich tasting despite only using 2% milk. It cut like a dream too, no craggy edges. The crust was crisp but light, not brittle at all and did not stick to the pan. An aside: it sounds nuts but I swear my pie plate came out cleaner and shinier after I made this quiche. Pinkie swear.

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May 11, 2015



for the sauce:
1 sweet onion (I used a Vidalia)
1 tablespoon curry powder
3/4 tablespoon hot paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
sea salt

to serve:
4 German pork sausages (like bratwurst), cooked and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
frites or chips or (in my case, tots)
cute paper or plastic serving boats (found at cooking/bakeware stores)

Saute the onion in a small amount of oil in a skillet until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until it bubbles and starts to reduce and thicken, 5-8 minutes. Pour into a blender and puree. Drizzle the hot sauce over sausages. Sprinkle with additional curry powder, if desired. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
We've bought bottles of Hela brand Curry Gewurz Hot Ketchup at our local German store and while tasty, it doesn't beat the freshly made sauce I've had at currywurst stalls. I thought I'd try my hand at making my own at home. Better than American ketchup, currywurst sauce isn't nearly as sweet and is much richer flavored. We like it hot, so I made sure I put in plenty of hot paprika. If you like yours more on the sweet and tangy side, cut back on the paprika and add a bit more vinegar. It is easy to tweak and make it your own! In fact, there is a lot of debate about the what makes the best currywurst sauce, I've seen recipes that call for everything from Coca-Cola to orange juice to soy sauce! I think this one comes the closest to the best food stall currywurst I've had so far. If you liked trying currywurst at Epcot in Disney World, try this!

Interested in learning more about currywurst, the German street food most likely invented by a housewife? Check out this story.

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May 07, 2015

Rote Bete Salat (German Beet-Horseradish Salad)

6 medium beets, greens removed*
1/4 cup finely grated fresh horseradish
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the beets and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, use roasted beets.  Remove from water and cool. Rub the skins off with a paper towel. Thinly slice the beets. Place in a non-reactive, stain proof container (like a glass jar) and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the beets and refrigate at least 3 hours prior to serving.

*Don't toss the greens! Try them in these recipes.

My thoughts:
It is horseradish season! I picked up a huge root at the farmers market in Chincoteague, Va and brought it home with us to make something fun. It is pretty pungent but paired with sweet beets, it makes the best, slightly pickle-y refreshing salad. The perfect side dish to serve with heavier German fare (as I did) or well, pretty much anything!

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May 04, 2015

Crab-Feta Zoodle Salad

1 medium zucchini, spiralized*
1 pint cherry tomatos, halved
4 oz crumbled feta
1- 1/2 cups blue crab**
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Toss all ingredients together until evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate 20-40 minutes prior to serving.

*I used this handheld tool I bought very cheaply on Amazon.

**I used leftovers from steamed crabs

My thoughts:
I'm a little late to the zoodle game (zucchini "noodles") but I needed to make some for a project I am working on that requires some healthy subsitutions so I broke down and bought a simple spiralizer. I was impressed with how quick and easy (and LONG) the zoodles were. They are so thin, they don't need to be cooked, making this the perfect make-ahead, no-cooking warm weather dish. I served it as a side dish but it would also serve as meal. Just make sure you let it sit a bit to let the zoodles absorb some of the dressing for the best flavor. I think this would make a great, unusual dish to bring to a picnic or potluck in the warmer months. Tomatoes aren't in season yet so I used cherry and grape tomatoes from NatureSweet which I think are your best choice this time of year. If it is tomato season, feel free to used diced fresh whole tomatoes.

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