Steak & vegetables. And more vegetables.

all good things

Grass-fed & -finished beef with red chimichurri over a raw kale salad. My Paleo lunch did not suck in any way. At all. Big thanks to the folks at Walnut Grove Farm who made this gorgeous bit of sirloin possible. (They’re only at the market once a month, so I’ll be stocking up next time I see them. They’re a good source for leaf lard, too, once I get through the three cups of rendered lard still sitting in my fridge. It’ll be a while.)

The steak was so juicy and beefy, it didn’t really need the chimichurri, but I’d already made it a couple of hours before, just in case. You never know. It’s really my favorite sauce for steak, with bold flavors that somehow don’t overpower (or get overpowered by) beef, but it’s great on potatoes, eggs and probably a lot of other dishes I haven’t yet thought of, too.

vegetables

Like many chimichurris, this one uses lots of parsley. I stopped my preparations to take a picture because, really, doesn’t this look like a bouquet? You could wrap the base in florist’s tape and ribbon and sell this to a bride for an outrageous price.

vegetarian breakfast/brunch

I was beginning to feel a little left out of the annual “What am I going to DO with all of this zucchini/squash?” discussion, so I picked up a metric shit-ton at the market. I already had plans for most of it, though — Summer Squash with Baked Eggs from The Kitchn. This is one of those recipes, like that amazing ratatouille from a few years ago, that becomes so much more than the sum of its parts, helped in no small measure by a liberal dose of smoked paprika. I plan to make this a regular feature for the next few weeks, while summer produce is still around.

Continue reading “Steak & vegetables. And more vegetables.”

From the Market — Week 2

This weekend’s farmers’ market was a great example of the early bird getting the worm. We lazed around Saturday morning instead of hitting the market when it opened and by the time I got to the vegetable booth (15 minutes before closing), the only produce available was potatoes and spring garlic. Good thing I overloaded last week and have a crisper drawer that really works; I was still set for a couple of meals this weekend.

Yes indeed, what you see up there is more pizza, but in my defense, I’ve been looking for the definitive gluten-free pizza crust and now have two in my arsenal. The batch from last weekend was featured on Shooting the Kitchen, a blog well worth your time if you’re into gorgeous food photography. The crust had a rich depth and could fool just about anyone into believing it’s the real thing, but it requires a two-hour initial rise and it’s best after spending a full day in the fridge. It’s great for the weekend, but maybe not so practical on weeknights (unless you get home far earlier than I do).

This week’s crust was from Jules Gluten-Free, and took less than an hour to make, but relies on a starchier flour combination and the taste is a little one-note. Still, if you need to turn your pie around right away, it’s a great option.

The toppings were cobbled together from last week’s market haul with minimal grocery store supplementation — sautéed broccoli rabe with garlic and red pepper powder, paper-thin lemon slices (which turned sweet under the high heat of the oven), drained ricotta, grated parmesan and the remaining garlic confit that needed to be used up this weekend. I just love throwing together lunch with whatever’s on hand.

with bacon/cider vinaigrette and toasted slivered almonds

Speaking of, that’s how Sunday’s lunch came about, too. The spinach was robust, but already a week old, so I tossed it together with the juiciest strawberries you can imagine, some toasted slivered almonds and a bit of minced shallot. For the dressing, I heated some of the rendered bacon fat from the bacon jam weekend, added a little neutral oil, cider and sherry vinegars and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s a perfectly delicious and light salad that really lets the seasonal produce shine.

From the Market: Week 8

Or, corn week

And we’re back with another weekend of cooking, fresh from the Ringwood Farmers’ Market. Despite temperatures that reached the triple digits a couple of weeks ago, it didn’t really feel like summer to me until this weekend, when I first spied corn at several booths at the market. And because corn heralds the arrival of tomatoes (thus my favorite food weeks of the year), I’m a happy, happy girl.

So with a full bag of corn and some adorable baby eggplants, I set my sights on grilling this weekend. The only question was what slant to give the meal, and after some consideration (Mexican — lime & cotija? Italian — balsamic vinaigrette? Cajun — loads of paprika, oregano & pepper?), I decided to go for Middle Eastern with a harissa rub/dressing since the cumin, coriander and paprika would play so well with the flavors of the grill.

There are lots of ways to grill corn and I’ve tried most of them. Rolling the shucked ears in foil with a little butter and spice is where I started years ago, but that only takes advantage of the grill’s heat and doesn’t capture its essence. Grilling already-shucked ears bare on the grate is a little more satisfying, but the kernels tend to dry out and turn rubbery, no matter how attentive you are. So I’ve turned into an unshucked griller. I remove some of the outer husks, peel back the rest and keep them attached at the base, then strip the silk from the cob. At that point, it’s really simple to season the corn however you like, re-cover the ear with the husks and tie them at the top with one of the detached husks. Some people like to soak the cobs, but I prefer not to so the outer husks burn and char, and infuse the kernels with the smokiness of the grill.

For this weekend’s meal, I brushed the kernels with olive oil, then sprinkled them with dry harissa. I like to keep the dry rub around because I’m never quite sure how long the paste will keep with fresh garlic in it. Using powdered garlic and leaving out the water solves that problem, and it’s easy enough to turn it into a paste later. The corn roasted over a hot fire for about 20 minutes while I turned the ears frequently. The outer husks charred to black and began to crumble away after a time, but we were left with smoky, tender corn cooked through perfectly. Just before we dug in, I drizzled it with some harissa sauce (more on which later):

SUMMER'S HERE!

Although I’d be perfectly happy making an entire meal of grilled corn, Gil probably wouldn’t be, so I threw together a quick salad as well. While the corn was grilling, I placed the baby eggplants in the in-between spaces and let them cook until they were charred and had just enough form to escape going all Bruce Davison in X-Men. Once off the grill, I sliced them in half lengthwise, slathered them in harissa sauce mixed with lemon juice and honey and let them marinate till they’d cooled down and were shot through with spicy-sweet-tart flavor. They were perfect over a simple salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette, and damn if this isn’t going to be a go-to recipe for me this summer. The flavors just marry so well.

a fine side dish

Last weekend, I was fooling around with some basil and decided to use it in a green apple sorbet, but never got around to posting it here because the recipe isn’t quite where I want it to be yet. It’s awfully refreshing on a hot summer day, but is just a little too reminiscent of frozen applesauce for my liking. Once I find the appropriate level of tartness I’ll share, but for now, here’s a picture to serve as a placeholder.

refreshing!

Hope you all had a great weekend and managed to stay somewhat cool.

recipes after the jump

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From the Market: Week 5

gluten-free

Right off the bat, I’ll admit that yes, I cheated a little here. Asparagus hasn’t been seen at the Ringwood Farmers’ Market for the past two weeks, but 1) I had a craving and 2) didn’t it make for a pretty — if slightly pornographic — shot?

Because I operate under the assumption that pretty much everything is better when topped with a fried or poached egg (especially the super-fresh ones we get from Nina), I went with a variation on a shaved asparagus salad from the pages of Food & Wine for Sunday’s lunch:

The ricotta salata I substituted for the Parmesan was creamy and subtle, but I think I’ll try the recipe as written next time for even more of a punch.

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Because I eat yogurt with fruit every weekday for breakfast, I like to change things up a little on weekends, so we had gluten-free pancakes before hitting the market Saturday morning. I’m still playing around with flour combinations for breads and pie crust, but this pancake recipe was perfect as written. (By the way, I have no plans to turn this into a blog about dietary restrictions, but if you’re looking into a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend the Gluten-Free Girl blog. It’s an amazing resource.)

But back to the pancakes. I cooked them in only about 1/2 teaspoon of butter each, but they were so rich-tasting and slightly sweet on their own that they only needed a dollop of the raspberry jam I picked up recently from B&B Jams to put them over the top.

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I didn’t really load up on fresh vegetables this weekend because I went overboard last week and still had quite a bit hanging around in my vegetable drawers. I’ve been on a leftover kick all week long, but only yesterday did I finally get around to using up the last bit of the smoked beef tongue (courtesy of Snoep Winkel Farm) I made last weekend. Of course, on that first day, we had it in tacos as we always do, but during the week it made appearances sliced on crackers with Dijon mustard or just nibbled out of hand straight from the cutting board.

But my plan for Saturday’s lunch included my latest favorite way to use leftover bits of meat and vegetables: Vietnamese bun, a refreshing salad served with cold rice noodles, and the perfect thing on a hot summer day.

This was made entirely with odds and ends from the refrigerator: Tatsoi, cabbage, carrots, red bell peppers, radishes, green onions, basil and cilantro, all tossed with a sweet-sour-salty-spicy dressing, funky with fish sauce and garlic. And hit with a lot of Sriracha, naturally. I’ve found that if you get the sauce right (I used the one from this Vietnamese Chicken Salad), the rest of the salad just falls into place.

It’s been a migraine-y day for me, so I have nothing more to offer at the moment, but I’m hoping to get around to an apricot & goat’s milk frozen yogurt sometime this week. Hope you have a great one!

recipes after the jump

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From the Market: Week 4

Veggies, veggies, and more veggies from the Ringwood Farmers’ Market … and I actually didn’t include everything in the picture above. Of everything I picked up, I was most excited to get my hands on some golden beets from Bialas Farms, as it’s been almost a year since I last had them.

Instead of torturing the beets in an over-the-top recipe (as I’ve been known to do), I treated them simply, roasting in a medium oven until cooked through, tossing with freshly shelled peas, and lovely lettuce and dill from Nina’s Red Barn Farm, then lightly dressing it all with a sherry-shallot vinaigrette. When food is this abundant and delicious, it makes sense to savor the flavors as nature intended.

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Another dish I’ve been looking forward to since this time last year was this light and tasty chilled soup, which gets its fresh color from an unlikely source — pea pods:

What a great way to recycle. Because if you’re going to go to all the trouble of shelling a bunch of peas, why throw away the pods until you’ve wrung every last bit of usefulness from them? I got the idea/recipe from the innovative Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini, making only one change to the recipe by deleting the nutmeg because I simply don’t care for it. The peas were shelled in two batches with the pods from last week spending some time in the freezer until I could make up the difference with this week’s haul. This soup is the very essence of a warm spring day and the most refreshing lunch you can imagine. Do give it a try the next time you’re up to your elbows in peas; you won’t regret it.

Happy Bastille Day

We spent a very busy weekend with family, celebrating niece Sela’s SIXTH BIRTHDAY. Plenty of pics to come, but I couldn’t let this date go by without posting a French (ok, Cajun/Creole)-inflected dish from Saturday: Shrimp boil seafood salad.

090713_seafood_salad

See, my parents sent me a lovely care package a few weeks ago, and that Zatarain’s had been taunting me every time I opened the pantry, so I decided on a shrimp boil seafood salad, using good gulf shrimp and lump crabmeat liberated from my parents’ freezer when I was home last month. Since Gil and I were the only two eating, I didn’t fire up the crab pot, but kept the whole thing indoors. I boiled water, salt and Zatarain’s seasoning together for a couple of minutes before tossing in 4 small yellow onions and a whole head of garlic to season the water to perfection. Once they were cooked through, I fished them out and added baby red potatoes, then shrimp in the last couple of minutes. I turned off the heat as soon as the shrimp went in, and when they floated to the top, the salad was ready to assemble.

I diced the potatoes along with carrot, avocado and red bell pepper, added some of the boiled garlic, salted capers (soaked in water and chopped) and the seafood, then tossed everything with a gorgeous Creole remoulade from Chef John Folse. Shame I didn’t make more, but there were tacos and cake to look forward to at Sela’s party and it would’ve just put us over the top.

But if you’re looking for something more properly French on this date, you could take a gander at my Paris pix from our seven-month anniversary. What I wouldn’t give to go back…

Lentil salad

lentils.jpg

Just last week, Gil and I started pondering healthier eating and adopting a mostly vegetarian diet. Gil’s decision was prompted by the bypass surgeries his father and uncle have endured, while my concern was a healthier diet overall coupled with some not-great dental work that’s left me nearly unable to truly enjoy eating a nice hunk of meat. I’ll see what can be done about that, but moving to a more grain- and vegetable-based diet can’t be a bad thing, right? (Don’t worry. Bacon will never be off the menu completely. I consider it more of a seasoning than a meat.)

But because I’m pretty inexperienced with eating this way, it’ll be a slow progression to our ultimate goal of mostly meatless weeks. I know I won’t garner any sympathetic coos with this revelation, but I’ve abandoned vegetarian diets in the past because I’ve dropped too much weight on them; a girl like me needs all the calories she can get, and meat’s a pretty efficient way of getting them.

So I foraged in our regular grocery spots (two hallway closets and one small corner cabinet in the kitchen) for something to make last weekend and came upon a bag of Puy lentils bought on my last trip to Kalustyan’s. It just so happened that I was reading The Bacon Show earlier that day and ran across a recipe for lentil salad that was very similar to something I’d thrown together before, so I knew it’d be something we’d like. After triple-checking the amount of red wine vinegar called for and (gasp) using about half the bacon, I threw this meal together in less than an hour, which left us plenty of time to do more greyhound research.

lentils_cooked.jpg

recipe after the jump

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A rainbow in your bowl

chicken_salad.jpg

R – red bell pepper
O – carrots
Y – yellow bell pepper

G – green cabbage, cilantro, basil, mint, lime juice, green onions

B – OK, the conceit breaks down a little here
I – yeah, yeah, so sue me
V – purple bell pepper! Ha-HA!

To look at this site, you’d think we only eat brown or red food around here. I guess my weekday meals are more multi-hued than the dishes I make (and post about) on weekends, but still: They say you should eat the rainbow to get the most nutritional benefit from foods, so I thought I’d give it a go in one dish last weekend with a Vietnamese chicken salad from the pages of my beloved Cooking Light.

For once, I didn’t really depart from the recipe much, except to use a little less chicken and a little more veggies than called for. I might use the proper amount of chicken next time, but this salad already was delicious with its balance of salty, sweet, and sour, with unami thrown in for kicks. In fact, it was Gil’s favorite dish of the weekend!

Goooo, Roy G. ‘v!

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “A rainbow in your bowl”