Pretty warm day here in the Bay Area. I decided I would make crab cakes Crab Cakes and a tomato, corn and avocado salad. This was based on what looked fresh at the grocery store today. Just a quick salad that I threw together, no actual recipe, but I tried to capture it the best I could in the recipe below. Enjoy!
Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata
1 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters depending on size
1 avocado, diced and soaked in lime juice
1 tablespoon lime juice (approx)
2 ears of fresh corn, cooked and sliced off the cobb
2 tablespoons ricotta salata cheese, very small dice
freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Combine the tomatoes, avocado with lime juice, corn and ricotta in a medium bowl. Try to add the corn while it is still hot or warm, it warms up the rest of the salad and makes the flavor more intense. Mix well.
Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and olive oil and mix well.
So easy and so delicious! I got the recipe from Feed Me Phoebe and I have made it several times. The first couple of times I used Great Northern beans instead of Garbanzo beans and I have also used marinated artichokes instead of water-packed artichokes, but I think it is healthier with the water-packed artichokes. I have also added a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach in the past, which I would have done today, but I am out of spinach! The hummus is great any of these ways. Below is the basic recipe, pretty much unchanged from Phoebe Lapine’s recipe.
The only one who usually eats pasta in this house is my son, and frankly he can eat enough of it for all of us if I let him! We call him a “pastaterian.” I came across a Food and Wine recipe entitled Spaghetti with Mushroom Bolognesethat I based this recipe on. I changed several things, most importantly I added ground beef and a little chicken breast sausage to 3/4 of the the recipe to satisfy my son who was craving a meaty Bolognese sauce but still left lots of vegetables in to make it healthier than a traditional almost all beef sauce. I also left 1/4 of it vegetarian to satisfy my daughter. The original recipe also called for eggplant but since I added meat I left out the eggplant. Overall we all really liked how both the meat and the vegetarian versions tasted. I noted where you can add the meat or leave it out depending on your preferences. Note: The quantities may look large in the pictures because I doubled the recipe so I can serve it again for a kid party in a couple of days.
3/4 lb lean grass-fed ground beef –IF it will not be vegetarian.
1/4 lb mild ground chicken breast sausage —Note: This may be hard to find, at Whole Foods they made this up for me, just ask you butcher, or just use plain ground chicken breast or pre-made chicken sausage or lean ground beef. I think spicy chicken sausage would be really good except for my spice phobe… so I used the mild sausage.–IF it will not be vegetarian.
1 lb cremini mushrooms, small dice
½ lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps diced
fresh ground pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon mild white miso (this is surprising but turned out to be worthwhile)
one 2-inch chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus grated cheese for serving
one 14.5 oz can crushed peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
one 14.5 oz can chopped peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
3 thyme sprigs (or 1 tablespoon of dried thyme)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I probably add more, but I don’t measure)
½ teaspoon sugar (or honey, to cut the tomato acidity)
1 package of fresh tagliatelle pasta (or pasta of your choice)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil (I think fresh is important here, dried basil really doesn’t taste the same, but do what you can)
In a small bowl, cover the porcini mushrooms with 1 cup of boiling water; soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Finely chop the porcini mushrooms, discarding any tough bits. Drain mushrooms, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms finely.
In a large pot (I like to use an enameled cast-iron casserole, it cleans up easily) heat 1–2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes. Add additional oil if needed and then add the ground beef if using, chicken sausage if using, cremini, shiitake and chopped porcini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and miso and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chunk of cheese, tomatoes and their juices, thyme, oregano, sugar and reserved mushroom soaking liquid, and bring to a simmer.
Halfway cover the pot and cook over low heat so it simmers gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 1–1.5 hours. Discard the thyme and oregano sprigs (if using fresh herbs); season the sauce with salt and pepper and more oregano and thyme if needed.
In a pot of boiling water (salt optional), cook the pasta until al dente. Drain
Add the pasta and chopped basil to the sauce; toss to coat. Serve in bowls, topped with grated cheese.
What a wonderfully warming and hearty Winter dish, that truly exceeded my expectations (and I think my husband’s as well)! I haven’t attempted risotto in years, but I came across a roasted butternut squash risotto recipe and decided that it would be a fun project to make today. Be warned, this takes time, but not the traditional standing over the pot and stirring for hours kind of time. For much of the time the dish was minding itself in the oven baking, which is not too bad for risotto! I based this off of a recipe by Cookie and Kate, but I made a few changes: I added a little more water, I added shiitake and cremini mushrooms in the risotto, added crispy mushrooms as a garnish and I skipped the butter. I also roasted the squash whole before cutting it because I really dislike cutting into hard squash – so worried about cutting off a limb! Risotto with only a cup of cheese and no butter, as well as brown rice for added nutrition! Pretty healthy and still so creamy and comforting.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto
5 large cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (plus 2 more below for the garnish)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups of vegetable broth, divided
2 cups water, divided
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
1 tablespoon thyme
Crispy Mushrooms and Crispy Sage
2 cremini mushrooms, paper thin slices (if you are short on time skip this, it will still be delicious)
20 sage leaves
freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place washed whole butternut squash on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until skin starts to brown and shrivel. Turn once or twice while baking. Let cool until you can touch it long enough to peel it.
While squash is baking, heat a large dutch oven or pot on medium heat with some olive oil. Add chopped onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes or until mushrooms begin to shrink and soften. Add some salt and pepper while cooking. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes or until garlic is fragrant.
Add 3 cups of broth and 1 cup of water to the onion mix, cover, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake in the 375 degree oven for 60 minutes. It may seem pretty dry when you remove the lid but don’t worry you will add more liquid soon!
While the risotto is baking peel the cooked squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into a small dice. Place the diced squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes or until the squash begins to brown around the sides. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.
To make the crispy mushrooms and sage place the paper thin slices of mushroom and the sage leaves on a baking sheet sprinkled with olive oil and a little salt. Bake the sage for 5 minutes or less, you just want them a little crumbly. Bake the paper thin mushrooms for around 30 minutes, turning once, until they become crispy but not burned. Check them often. When crispy remove from oven and set aside.
Remove the risotto from the oven after one hour and place on the stovetop over medium heat. Pour in the wine and stir for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of broth, thyme and parmesan and stir vigorously for 3 minutes. Add more water if needed. You can keep it on low heat at this point if not ready to serve, adding water periodically to keep it from drying out and to keep the consistency creamy.
Serve in shallow bowls with a pinch of cheese, crispy mushrooms and sage. Tastes great with a dry chablis.
This is pretty much a straight-up Food and Wine/Andrew Zimmern recipe. Really easy and really flavorful! Original recipe included 2 scallions, thinly sliced and did not include the mushrooms or tomatoes that I added. I think some chopped avocado and/or hardboiled egg would be really good in this as well. I served this with Quick Brined Roasted Salmon with Lemon Garlic Oil and some simple brown Jasmine rice. Very easy and delicious meal. My son could not get enough of the salmon and the salmon’s savory sauce.
Note: This is actually an older post from my original Medium Blog site.
My daughter has gone back to boarding school and my husband has a work dinner, so tonight I am cooking for just my son and myself. I wandered up and down the aisles of Whole Foods for a while drawing a blank. I almost never go to the store without a list or at least a plan in my head for what I need. Today was different for some reason, I was just completely drawing a blank! After running into a friend who suggested I grab something in the meat department that is half-way prepared since there are only two of us (great idea!) I settled on a lemon-herb marinated piece of salmon (the hubby is not really a fish fan so this is a good thing to eat without him) and some really big and beautiful looking organic Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale). I decided I will also make some plain jasmine rice in my rice maker, to make things easy.
Below is the recipe for kale chips that I made out of the kale. They are a really yummy way to eat kale and my kids love them (but another thing my husband doesn’t care for). They are crunchy, a bit salty (depending on how salty you like them) and tangy from the vinegar. Yum, flavor explosion! Sometimes they are almost gone before the rest of dinner is made (but I have no idea where they go?).
Such an incredible crunchy way to eat kale. Delicious and healthy alternative to a potato chip when you are craving some crunch and savory flavors.
1 large bunch of Lacianto Kale (aka Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan Kale)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced (Recently I have been leaving this out)
Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
Wash kale thoroughly and pat dry. Remove the center ribs so you just have the dark green leafy part. Slice the kale leaves in half.
Place sliced kale leaves in a large bowl. Add enough olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice to coat the leaves. Add the salt and using your hands massage the ingredients into the leaves so they are all covered.
Spread the coated kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes to start. I often use a silicon baking mat (Silpat) to bake these on.
After 7 minutes check to see if any leaves have become crispy (but still GREEN), if so remove them from the baking sheet and put in a serving bowl. Turn over the leaves that are still wet (most will still be wet) and return them to the oven and cook for a few more minutes.
Every 3 minutes (or so) re-check for crispy pieces, removing them from the baking sheet and putting the rest back into the oven. This may seem tedious, but the kale can burn quickly and then it is ruined (even slightly brown kale tastes burnt), it took me a few tries before I understood I needed to keep the heat LOW and check on the kale constantly so I don’t burn any of it. When it is all crispy you are finished!
May be served warm from the oven or at room temperature, but don’t make it too far ahead of time as it may lose its crispiness over time.
I haven’t written for over two weeks and I am feeling bad about that. Sorry! Life has been quite busy, so that is part of the reason but the other reason is that my dear husband gave me a week-long class at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa as a holiday gift and I went to my classes last week. Such an amazing program! I went to the Basic Training Boot Camp and I feel like I learned a lot about the “why” we do certain things when we are cooking. I also learned many traditional French techniques, that I still need a lot of work to master and I am interested in tweaking to make the dishes more healthy.
Unfortunately I didn’t use my new skills/knowledge for today’s dinner. It was a very spontaneous choice as I was at the Grocery store and saw lobster tails on sale and decided that it was hard to pass up lobster, so I bought a few and made up a simple Asian-style sauce to put on them. Very simple and quick. I served it with some kale chips (which I thought I posted here but apparently I have not so you can get the recipe on my Medium site-I will have to post it on Word Press in the future) and a little leftover chicken soup from yesterday. Yum!
Very flavorful and simple lobster recipe that can come together quickly on a weeknight.
Unfortunately I didn’t really measure my sauce ingredients so they are very approximate – use your judgement with the quantities.
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated or minced
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons light sweet miso
4-8 lobster tails (their size can vary so much!)
fresh ground pepper
small drizzle of olive oil (or sesame oil for a stronger flavor)
In a very small sauce pan mix the Mirin, soy sauce, and ginger and then bring to a boil.
Turn down to simmer and reduce the sauce in half so it is thickened.
Take sauce off the heat and stir in the miso. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
With kitchen shears cut the lobster tail shells lengthwise through the top cutting through the shell but not through the lobster meat. Gently pry open the shell exposing the meat and gently loosen the lobster from the shell (but keep the meat in the shell).
Place the tails on the baking sheet meat side up. Sprinkle a little pepper and sauce on the tails and then cook in the oven for 7-8 minutes for very small lobster tails and up to 15 minutes for larger ones, or until the meat turns opaque and feels firm.
Serve the lobster with additional sauce and vegetables. Enjoy!
This is pretty similar to my pumpkin spice bread recipe, with a few modifications. This recipe and the bread recipe can actually be made into muffins or bread, you just cook it for different amounts of time. I decided to make these because I had a carton of organic pure pumpkin in my pantry so I used half of it for pumpkin waffles and half for these muffins. For both the waffles and muffins I will freeze half of them so with the waffles they can be a quick morning breakfast and the muffins can be popped into my son’s lunch box for a little treat at school. As an experiment I used a combination of whole wheat, buckwheat and almond flours to add some extra nutrients and flavors and I also used coconut palm sugar for the sweetener, which I think made for a really flavorful muffin. The buckwheat flour added a lot of nuttiness. Yum!!!
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or approximately 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use non-fat, but use what you prefer)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large egg
1 cup plain pumpkin puree (canned is what I use)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries, juice sweetened or unsweetened (watch out, these can have a lot of sugar added)
optional: 1/4 cup of nuts of choice (today I used pine nuts – roast for a few minutes for extra flavor)
parchment paper muffin liners
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk.
In a small bowl mix with a whisk the yogurt, oil, egg, pumpkin and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the cranberries and nuts (if using). Stir gently.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, stirring just until moist. Will be pretty thick.
Spoon the batter into a muffin tin lined with parchment paper muffin liners. The parchment liners don’t require any oil, they are non-stick and are an incredible find! If you don’t have these then lightly spray your muffin tins with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
I usually freeze half the batch to put in a lunch box or enjoy at a later date.
Major umami! Sea Bass with miso sauce. I am sort-of obsessed with miso lately. I don’t think I have posted all the miso recipes I have been making lately, maybe because they are not always successful or pretty, but I have been experimenting with it quite a bit lately. In my fridge today I have four types of miso: light sweet miso, mellow white organic miso (nice that it is not very salty), organic shiro miso, and dark aged miso. Crazy, who knew that there are so many different types of miso! They really are very different, and I suppose they have different uses, but I am still learning…
So this recipe is inspired by a New York Times Cooking recipe entitled “Miso-Glazed Sea Bass.” I made some modifications, the big thing being that I didn’t add an egg yolk to the miso mix and glaze the fish, I just used the marinade in the recipe. My family liked it, no raves, but they never rave about fish, they just eat it and move on with life. I thought it had a lot of complicated umami flavor, which I really like and I hope you like it too. I served the fish with some Trader Joe’s Japanese Fried Rice and some cauliflower roasted with olive oil, fresh garlic, a little white balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, a little tiny bit of panko, and salt and freshly ground pepper. Yum! Besides my obsession with miso, I am also currently obsessed with roasted cauliflower.
Here in the Bay area it has been cold (by our California standards) and SUPER RAINY so I thought a hearty soup would be nice. I made this soup yesterday and I have to admit it took quite a bit of time but it was really worth it. The soup was very rich, warm and nutritious (I need to work on adding nutritional stats to my recipes!) and it got a thumbs up from both my husband and son. This is after I made a disastrous meal last night with chicken, vegetables, lemon and herbs that was difficult and laborious and just turned out incredibly BLAND! So disappointing, but that happens. Toss it and watch my husband and son make quesadillas because they were still hungry (no joke- that is what they do when they don’t like dinner or if I really under-fed them).
For this soup I started with a Food and Wine recipe and added more vegetables, a little wine, more herbs and a leaner cut of meat. The recipe called for chicken stock, which I found strange, but followed it anyway, and I regretted it. I think beef stock would match the beef and farro much better. Nevertheless, the soup was still very tasty, I just think the beef broth would be better so I am recommending it for anyone following it. Vegetable broth would also be good (I added some vegetable broth at the end since I cooked it ahead of time and the farro had absorbed quite a bit of the broth). I also think that the beef can be left out completely and with some vegetable broth instead of beef broth it would be a very lovely vegetarian meal as the farro has quite a bit of protein and the soup is full of vegetables. I love the addition of the miso, it gave the soup a lot of extra flavor and excitement!
1 1/2 pounds beef (I used grass-fed flat iron steak), cut into 1 inch pieces.
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 cups of beef stock (I used chicken stock, but I think that was not a very good idea, beef stock I think would have tasted much better)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 whole head of garlic, cut off the knobby top that was attached to the plant and pierce in several places with a knife.
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and cut in thirds
4 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 leek, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon dry thyme (or fresh)
1 cup uncooked farro
1 small bunch of Tuscan kale, chopped (3 cups)
2 tablespoons of white miso
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish
Heat a dutch oven on medium-high heat with some canola oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off the fat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Pour out any extra oil/grease in the pot and then add the wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Add the broth along with the meat, garlic, onion, 2 carrots cut in thirds, fresh thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, arrange the cut tomatoes, leeks, celery and carrots on a lightly greased pan. Sprinkle a little olive oil, freshly ground pepper, salt, dry oregano and dry thyme on the vegetables and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and soft. Set aside the cooked vegetables.
After the soup has cooked for 1 1/2 hours, remove the garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and carrot chunks (I actually like to keep the soft carrots). Stir in the roasted vegetables and the uncooked farro and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over moderate heat, or until farro is tender. Add the kale, miso and paprika and cook uncovered on low heat for 10 minutes. Add any additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in bowls with a garnish of the cheese.