Pumpkin Spice Granola

I have often wanted to make granola but always thought the stuff from the store is good enough, why bother. Well now I get it. Before I even tasted the granola, I was won over while the granola was baking by the heavenly smells of the pumpkin spices, roasting nuts, and oats permeating through my house. This was enough to convince me that I will never buy packaged granola again! Give it a try and feel free to substitute types of nuts/dried fruit that you prefer and spices that you prefer or that are seasonal. Thank you to Jen Jones of Sweet Green Kitchen for the recipe. I only made very minor adjustments.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

  • Servings: 5 cups of granola
  • Difficulty: easy
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Healthy and savory homemade granola with pumpkin spice.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of rolled oats (I like thick old fashioned rolled oats)
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw pistachios
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds, shelled)
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 1/8 cup ground flax
  • 1/8 cup psyllium husk (ground)
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 -2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ginger or just 2 teaspoons cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar (I have read don’t use honey because the delicate enzymes will be destroyed by the heat)
  • 1/2 cup of no sugar added, 100% fruit jam (apricot or strawberry is recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit-sweetened dried cranberries

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Line a large 12″x17″ rimmed baking pan with parchment paper (or grease the pan). Set aside.
  3. Mix the coconut oil, sugar and jam in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until well combined.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and water, stir and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients (oats through salt) in a large bowl.
  5. Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are fully mixed with the wet. Add additional water if necessary.
  6. Press granola mixture into the pan, press mixture down so it all sticks together. Press hard (with a back of a measuring cup for example).
  7. Bake the granola in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir the granola and re-press into pan. Cook for 10 more minutes and stir again adding the chopped cranberries and re-press into pan. Place back into the oven for 15 more minutes, but make sure not to let it burn, granola can be perfect one minute and burned the next!
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan. It may cook a little longer after you take it out. When cool store in a large airtight container. Enjoy!

Notes: updated 11/9/17

  • Don’t add dried fruit right away, it tends to take on a burned flavor. I have had more success adding it in the last 15 minutes of cooking, although a lot of recipes say add it after cooking, but then it won’t stick to the granola and I like my granola chunky. 
  • I have tried both cooking the wet ingredients and not cooking them and I see the logic in cooking them, the ingredients emulsify that way, but I am not sure the end result is any different. I re-wrote the recipe to include the cooking of the wet ingredients step, but I am still on the fence about this.
  • Overall cooking granola is pretty tricky! I am finding that it can burn very quickly, so cooking it low and slow is my mantra. I have experimented with cooking it at 280 degrees, but maybe that is too conservative, seems a little raw, so I think 300 is better.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

October 30, 2017, updated 11/9/17

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Granola before baking
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Granola after baking
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Finished product in my storage jar.
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Braised Santa Fe Chicken Bowl

I braised the chicken and vegetables in a ceramic dutch oven, but the inspiration recipe cooks it in a crock pot. Either way, this is a pretty easy and healthy recipe that you can throw together the night before or in the morning and cook all day in a crock pot or for a couple of hours in a dutch oven. I made this very mild so the spice phobe will eat it and the rest of us can add chopped chili peppers at the table, but if you don’t have any spice phobes it would certainly be better with spicy peppers cooked in it!

Braised Santa Fe Chicken Bowl

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy chicken breast braised with onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and corn for an easy make-ahead meal .

Credit: adapted from Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken on  www.skinnytaste.com 

Ingredients

  • 1 quart of no-salt or low-sodium chicken stock (or broth)
  • 1 small sweet onion chopped (or half a large onion)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large bell peppers (whatever color you like) chopped
  • 2 jalapeños chopped (seeded if you want less heat)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, shucked and cut off the cob
  • 1 – 14.4 oz. can of no salt added roasted tomatoes with the liquid
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or fresh, use a few sprigs and pull the stems out before serving)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast meat, sliced in quarters (can leave whole if you are willing to cook a longer time or are putting in a crock pot all day)
  • 1 – 14.4 oz can of no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • chopped romaine lettuce (about 1 cup/person)
  • *Mexican brown rice (or whatever you prefer)
  • approx. 1 cup of shredded mixed Mexican cheese blend (or cheddar) –  Optional
  • guacamole, diced tomatoes and a few pieced of chopped cilantro as a topping — optional

*Mexican Brown Rice:  Cook rice with 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken broth, 1 tsp of chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin and a shake of oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook according to rice package directions (I like to use a rice cooker).

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large dutch oven combine chicken stock, onions, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeños, corn, tomatoes with their liquid, and spices. Mix well and then add chicken.
  3. With the lid on the dutch oven, put the chicken mixture into the the oven for an hour and stir it occasionally.
  4. After the first hour check that it has not become too dry, there still should be plenty of liquid in there. Add the black beans and cook another 30 minutes without the lid, or until the chicken is falling apart and the liquid has mostly evaporated and the dish looks more like a stew and less like a soup.
  5. Remove pot from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  6. Serve by first layering a cup of chopped lettuce, a 1/4 – 1/2 cup rice, 1/4 to 1/2 cup  of the chicken mixture, a sprinkling of cheese, a dollop of guacamole, a sprinkling of diced tomatoes and a few sprigs of cilantro.
  7. Enjoy!

Note:  This can also be put into a tortilla and eaten like a taco; or put into corn tortillas with a spicy red Mexican sauce and melted cheese to make it enchiladas; or spread chicken mixture over tortilla chips and melt cheese over it for nachos. It would also be very nice as a vegetarian dish with extra vegetables and sub the chicken stock for vegetable stock and leave the chicken out. The possibilities are endless!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

October 24, 2017

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The vegetables and broth
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The chicken mixture after cooking.
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Ready to serve!

MUSHROOM (AND BEEF) BOLOGNESE

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 Bolognese that 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. 

Mushroom (and Beef) Bolognese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce that can also have lean ground beef and mild chicken breast sausage added to it for a more traditional but vegetable-laden bolognese sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • extra virgin olive oil or oil of choice
  • one small onion, small dice
  • 2 carrots, peeled and small dice
  • 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
  • kosher salt
  • 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)

Procedure

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In a pot of boiling water (salt optional), cook the pasta until al dente. Drain
  5. Add the pasta and chopped basil to the sauce; toss to coat. Serve in bowls, topped with grated cheese.

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March 16, 2017

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Onions, carrot and garlic
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onions, carrot, garlic and mushrooms

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ground beef and chicken sausage

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Finished product! yum!

Beef and Vegetable Bourguignon

This is a project, I have to be honest, but well worth it, it came out AMAZING! The beef was so tender and the vegetables were so full of flavor! Last night my husband and I had dinner at Zola, a French bistro here in town. The food was really good, very rich, but in portions that one can handle the richness. My husband and I like sharing our food so we can try more things that way and generally control the large portions that most restaurants dish out. We have been to this restaurant one other time so I knew the portions were normal human sized, so we shared a beet salad, which was delicious, and got a scallop dish and Short Rib Beef Bourguignon. The beef dish was so delicious that my husband requested that we try to recreate it at home. “We,” hah! Anyways, the cooking thing is my new hobby, so I said why not try it.

I made this following a recipe by Melissa Clark on the New York Times Cooking site. I added twice as many vegetables, much less bacon and a pound less beef than the original recipe. I also decided to throw the mushrooms into the stew while it was cooking instead of the traditional method of sautéing the mushrooms with additional onions in butter and adding them when serving. This way I saved some calories (no butter) and an extra step that I won’t miss! If you want it richer, then go ahead with this step. I also added some baby potatoes to the stew, so it can be a complete one pot meal and will hopefully feed us for the next two nights (because now I am tired).

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Beef and Vegetable Bourguignon

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Lighter and healthier version of the traditional French Beef Bourguignon with added vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef (beef chuck is most common, but can be very fatty – today I used organic grass-fed chuck eye steak and beef ranch steak), cut into 2-inch cubes and patted dry.
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 strips of applewood smoked bacon, thick cut (or any bacon)
  • 1 large yellow onion, medium dice
  • 3 large carrots, large dice
  • 3 celery stalks, large dice
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on the size (I also had some trumpet mushrooms in my fridge so I threw those in)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tomato, medium dice
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine, preferably a light young red such as Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup beef stock or low sodium beef broth
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 3 large sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • 2 cups of mixed color baby potatoes (or large potatoes cut in 2 inch cubes)

Procedure

  1. Season beef with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium  heat and cook the bacon until browned and crisp. Remove bacon to a paper-towel line plate and pat off as much grease as you can. Wipe out at least half of the bacon grease left in the pan, leaving a little grease and all the browned bits for flavor.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Raise the heat under the dutch oven to medium-high. When pot is fully heated, add the beef in a single layer in the pot, leaving space between each piece. Cook until well browned on all sides and transferring pieces to a plate as they brown, about 10-15 minutes. Repeat with remaining beef.
  4. Crumble or chop the crisped bacon into a small pieces. Set aside.
  5. Reduce heat to medium to prevent burning and stir in onion, carrot and celery. Add a pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper grinder and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add garlic, tomato and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Stir in flour, cook for 1 minute and then add wine, stock, bay leaf, thyme and parsley, scraping up browned bits at bottom of the pot.
  9. Add the browned beef and bacon back to the pot, along with two cups of mixed baby potatoes and then cover with tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Let cook in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is very tender.  Occasionally stir the beef mixture while it is cooking in the oven.
  10. When finished cooking taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Fish out the bay leaf, parsley and thyme sprigs and discard. Serve in  individual casserole dishes or in shallow bowls with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Bon Appétit!

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March 4, 2017

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto

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

  • Servings: 4 mains or 6 sides
  • Difficulty: medium
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Healthy and savory vegetarian risotto that bakes in the oven.

Credit: Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto by Cookie and Kate

Ingredients

Risotto

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • small yellow onion or sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 large shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 5 large cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (plus 2 more below for the garnish)
  • olive oil
  • 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
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve in shallow bowls with a pinch of cheese, crispy mushrooms and sage. Tastes great with a dry chablis.

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February 22, 2017

 

 

 

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Creamy and rich risotto in the pot!
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Garnished and ready to eat.

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Kale Salad with Miso and Pistachios

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 avocado (or sometimes tomatoes) that I added. I think some grilled shrimp 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.

Kale Salad with Miso and Pistachios

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick and savory kale salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds kale – stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon brown miso
  • 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cremini mushrooms, thinly slices
  • 1 cup of baby tomatoes, sliced in thirds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, roasted  and chopped

Procedure

  1. In a large bowl, toss the kale with the lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the sesame seeds, miso and sugar. Gradually whisk in the oil.
  3. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms to the kale and then add the dressing and toss. Add the pistachios on top and serve.

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February 21, 2017

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Here is it with the tomato and as a side dish with salmon.img_3976IMG_4552

 

Kale Chips

img_3421What to Make for Dinner…

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?).

Kale Chips

  • Servings: varies
  • Difficulty: medium
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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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.

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February 9, 2017

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Remove the hard ribs.
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Ready to start baking.
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Baked to perfection!
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Close-up of a perfectly crispy piece of kale. Mmmm!
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I originally made this in the late summer when tomatoes were at their peak.
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The pre-seasoned salmon from Whole Foods. Can’t always make everything from scratch.

Ginger Soy Lobster Tail

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!

Ginger Soy Lobster Tail

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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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.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 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

Lobster:

  • 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)

Procedure

Sauce:

  1. In a very small sauce pan mix the Mirin, soy sauce, and ginger and then bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down to simmer and reduce the sauce in half so it is thickened.
  3. Take sauce off the heat and stir in the miso. Set aside.

Lobster:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Serve the lobster with additional sauce and vegetables. Enjoy!

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February 9, 2017

Sea Bass with Miso Sauce

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.

Sea Bass with Miso Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fairly easy Asian-inspired sea bass.

Credit: Food and Wine Miso-Glazed Sea Bass

Ingredients

  • 1 -1 1/2 pounds Sea Bass (or other white fish)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1 tablespoon red miso
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (or sake)
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or sugar of your choice)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • cooking spray

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the miso through salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on the fish and marinate for 20 minutes or longer.
  3. Bake the fish with the marinade for 15 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. I tend to cook my fish a little more than most people, so less time might be right for you.
  4. Serve with vegetables and rice.
  5. Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

January 19, 2017

 

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Raw cauliflower.
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The Sea Bass before cooking.
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Mushrooms with miso sauce before roasting
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Miso sauce.
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Cauliflower after roasting.

Vegetable, Beef and Farro Soup

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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!

Vegetable, Beef and Farro Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Hearty vegetable and beef soup for a healthy cold evening meal.

Credit: Food and Wine Beef and Farro Soup

Ingredients

  • canola oil
  • 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
  • olive oil
  • 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

Procedure

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

January 19, 2017

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Adding the fresh thyme
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Slicing the leeks
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Browned beef

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Garlic ready to add to the soup
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Carrots, celery, leeks ad tomatoes
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Getting ready to roast the vegetables
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The roasted vegetables
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The finished soup.