January 30, 2017

Watermelon Radish and Cara Cara Orange Salad


1 large (like tennis ball sized) watermelon radish, thinly sliced
2 Cara Cara oranges, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 tablespoons Prosecco vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Toss the radish, orange and feta together in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly distribute. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I love getting the local box in our weekly produce delivery. Winter can be sort of depressing produce wise in the mid-Atlantic but this week they had my favorite kind radish: watermelon! I admit, the pretty color is a good bit of the appeal but as my husband pointed out, it starts out sweet and then has that peppery radish bite. This makes them a great candidate for salads like this one. The favor is a wonderful contrast with the sweet Cara Cara oranges and the dressing and cheese add a salty, savory note. A great winter salad that stands up to richer foods.

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January 26, 2017

Za'atar Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Onions


8 chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb)
2-3 tablespoons Za'atar
1 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
2 medium onions, cut into large wedges
superfine flour (like Wondra)
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.
Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet. Lightly oil or spray with cooking spray a 8x13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with Za'atar, salt and pepper. Flour the top (skin-side) of the chicken. Place the chicken skin-side down in the pan.

Cook about 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp, lightly browned and much of the fat has rendered into the pan. DO NOT FLIP THE CHICKEN!

Meanwhile, arrange the potatoes and onions in single layer in the baking pan. Top with the chicken, skin-side up.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the potatoes are tender. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I am so excited I came up with this method of cooking chicken thighs last year. I love Maryland-style fried chicken but that is a bit much for every day. This method gives me crispy chicken that is still very moist and flavorful without the hassle of frying. The trick is cooking it skin-side down to crisp the skin and render most of the fat (the "bottoms" are virtually fat-free)--you can even crowd the pan because you don't have to flip the chicken! You end up with way crispier chicken then you can hope for with simple baking and since most of the fat has rendered, no greasy vegetables on the bottom.

I've made Crispy Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower, Artichoke and Olives and Crispy Chicken Thighs with Portobellos, Zucchini and Potatoes in the past but this time I veered away from making it a total one dish meal and just cooked the chicken over potatoes and onions.  I served it with a simple salad.  The best part is that since you seasoned the bottom of the chicken, you don't have to season the potatoes and onions, it just naturally coats the potatoes. The result is succulent chicken, flavorful potatoes in just about 10 minutes of hands-on time. You can't beat that!

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January 13, 2017

Hipster Salisbury Steak

1 slice of bread (I used sliced brioche)
1/3 cup milk
1 1/3 lb lean (93%) ground beef
1 small bunch kale, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 small onion, grated
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 onion, chopped
8 oz sliced button mushrooms
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 2/3 cup beef stock
2-3 tablespoons superfine flour (like Wondra)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Soak the bread in the milk in a small, shallow bowl. When fully soaked, squeeze out the excess milk and then break into small pieces. Mix with the meat, grated onion, kale, 2/3 of the garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Form into 4--6 small, flat patties. Heat oil in the pan. Cook until quite browned on both sides and nearly cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover in foil.

 Add the remaining onion, garlic and mushrooms and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the stock, spices and whisk in the flour. Return the patties to the pan and cook until the sauce has reduced and the patties are fully cooked. Serve immediately over potatoes or noodles.

My thoughts:
Why "hipster"? I snuck some kale into the meat. Why? Simply, I hate making side dishes. This recipe is relatively quick and certainly easy but it does require a bit of chopping and multiple steps and I just couldn't bring myself to make anything else. So my husband chopped the kale up super fine and I mixed it in. It added a bit of a peppery bite and alleviated my side-dish guilt. I also served it over turnip-potato mash so that added some extra veg to the meal. Besidesthe kale, the Salisbury steak is fairly traditional, ground beef patties swimming in onion and mushroom gravy. So homey, retro and satisfying!

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January 10, 2017

Broccoli "Stamppot"

2 carrots, in 1/8 inch coins
1 medium-large turnip, small dice (I used a purple top turnip)
1 large broccoli crown, cut into florets
2 lb Russet potatoes, small dice
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the vegetables and cook until fork-tender, 10-20 minutes. Drain. Return to pot. Add butter and milk and mash until mostly smooth. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
Stamppot is a Dutch mashed potato dish. Normally leafy things like endive, kale or cabbage OR carrots and onions Or sauerkraut are mashed into potatoes. Who doesn't love mashed potatoes? For this version, I decided to toss broccoli in instead. I used turnips for a bit of texture.

Normally stamppot is served with sausages but since it is January and people are looking for leaner dishes, feel free to serve vegetarian-style. It is a great way to use up all those seasonal vegetables left languishing in the fridge.

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