13 May Stir Fried Beef, Broccoli and Sweet Potato

Can also be made with kale. Serve with rice.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 3 T oyster sauce or fish sauce
  • ¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb flank steak, cut in half lengthwise then crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 1 ½ T flour
  • 2 ½ T sesame oil
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 peeled sweet potato, cut in half lengthwise then in 1/3 inch thick slices
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

Directions:

1.  Stir first four ingredients in small bowl until sugar dissolves.

2.  Place beef in large bowl and sprinkle salt and pepper, then add flour and toss to coat.

3.  Heat 1 ½ T oil in large wok over high heat. Add beef and stir fry until no longer pink outside, about 3 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl.

4.  Heat 1T oil in same skillet. Add broccoli, sweet potato and ginger. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add sauce. Cover, reduce heat and cook until vegetables are tender, about five minutes. Add beef, tossing until sauce coats beef, about one minute.

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06 May Smothered Yellow Squash with Basil

This also works well with zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Directions:

1.  Heat 1 T oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add half of squash and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.

2.  Transfer browned squash to a bowl, then heat remaining tablespoon oil and sauté remaining squash in same manner. Return squash in bowl to skillet. Add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.

3.  Add water, salt, and pepper and simmer briskly, covered, until squash is tender and most of liquid is evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in basil.

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29 Apr Radishes with Mozzarella

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces mozzarella or burrata cheese, torn into pieces
  • 2 thinly sliced radishes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped chives and finely grated lemon zest (for topping)

Directions:

1.  Tear cheese into pieces and place on a platter.

2.  Toss 2 thinly sliced radishes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

3.  Arrange radish mixture over cheese and drizzle with any remaining dressing.

4.  Top with chopped chives and finely grated lemon zest

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22 Apr Shrimp Scampi with Green Onions and Orzo

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup orzo
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) butter, divided
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 8 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

Directions:

1.  Cook orzo in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

2.  Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic for 10 seconds. Add shrimp and sauté 2 minutes. Add green onions and toss until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 1 minute longer. Add wine and toss until wine boils, about 1 minute. Mix in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3.  Drain pasta; transfer to large bowl. Top with shrimp and onion-garlic butter.  Serve with sautéed spinach or other greens.

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15 Apr Sweet Potato & Spinach Breakfast Strata

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, divided
  • 2 cups spinach, shredded
  • 1/2 lb. stale sourdough bread, cubed
  • 4 oz. shredded fontina or other cheese, divided
  • 1 T minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 T minced chives
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

Directions:

1.  Prepare the night before you plan to serve it. Roast sweet potatoes and onions in olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

2.  Place the spinach in a large bowl and scoop hot sweet potatoes and onions on top. Stir, letting spinach wilt just slightly. Add bread, along with 2 ounces of cheese, the rosemary and the chives, tossing until well combined.

3.  Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking dish. Scoop the bread mixture into the pan, evenly distributing the spinach and sweet potatoes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over the bread mixture, pressing down on the bread to submerge it completely in the egg mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

4.  In the morning, bake the strata for 45 minutes at 350, covered. Remove the foil, sprinkle with remaining 2 ounces of cheese, and continue to bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes until the strata has puffed and the cheese is browning. Serves 4-6.

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10 Apr Sausage, Greens, and Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds sausage
  • 1-2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1/2 pounds red skinned potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bunch spinach, kale, or other greens, washed and chopped
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 rind Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (optional, but so good!)

Directions:

1.  Heat 1T olive oil in large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté sausage rounds for a minute or two, until they are nicely browned. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.

2.  Add 1T olive oil to the pot, along with the minced garlic and onions. Sauté over medium ‐low heat for 4‐5 minutes until onions soften and start to get transparent.

3.  Add broth, water, potatoes and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a steady simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

4.  Using a potato masher or immersion blender, mash half the potatoes right in the pot, so you have a creamy broth with some chunks of potato remaining.

5.  Add the cooked sausage, greens, beans, thyme, oregano, and rind. Cook until the greens wilt and the soup is heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 5-7.

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03 Sep Tomato-and-Corn Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 3 small Tomatoes, sliced

  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly Ground Pepper

  • 1 (14-oz.) package prebaked Italian Pizza Crust

  • Parchment paper

  • 1/3 cup refrigerated Pesto

  • 1/2 cup fresh Corn Kernels

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 teaspoon Sugar

  • 8 ounces fresh Mozzarella, sliced

  • 3 tablespoons fresh whole or torn Basil Leaves

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450°. Place Tomato slices on paper towels. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper; let stand 20 minutes.

2.  Place Pizza Crust on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; spread with Pesto. Stir together Corn, Parmesan, and Sugar. Top Pizza with Corn mixture, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella Slices.

3.  Bake at 450° for 14 minutes or until Cheese is melted and golden. Remove from oven, and top with Basil Leaves.

Note: Tested with Boboli Original Pizza Crust.

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27 Aug Tips for Okra and Garlic Okra

Tips:

Look for smooth, unblemished pods. Green okra should be bright green with a bit of fresh, even dewy fuzz on its surface. Purple or red okra should similarly look fresh. The brighter and greener the ends are, the fresher the okra is. Avoid pods with significant brown spots, dry looking ends, or any shriveled bits

Most okra is harvested when the pods are between 1 and 4 inches long. Pods longer than 4 inches tend to get into the tough category, which can be fine for stewing and gumbos but not ideal for quicker cooking.

Okra is best fresh. Eat okra within a few days of buying it. Store okra loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator

Okra contains a clear, somewhat thick liquid that is how it stores water in the hot climates where it thrives. Leaving okra whole and quick cooking methods – sautéeing, grilling, frying – bring out the crunchy, rather than the slimy, side of okra. Cooking okra with plenty of acid – vinegar, citrus juice, tomatoes – is another way to keep its slippery nature in check.

Garlic Okra

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Okra
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 2 tsp. Canola Oil
  • Sea Salt to taste

Directions:

1.  Trim, rinse, and pat Okra dry. Set aside. Peel Garlic Clove, cut in half lengthwise, and slice as thinly as possible.

2. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add oil and heat until it shimmers, about 30 seconds. Add Garlic and let sizzle until just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add Okra, stir to combine, and cover. Cook, shaking pan frequently, until Okra is starting to brown on the edges and tender to the bite, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with Salt to taste and serve.

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20 Aug Cantaloupe Salad with Basil, Fresh Mozzarella & Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium Cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 10-20 leaves of sliced Basil, (reserve a few whole leaves for garnish)
  • 10 Green Olives, sliced
  • 1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh Mozzarella Balls, sliced into quarters
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Lime Juice, from 1 Lime
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, toss the Cantaloupe, Basil Strips, Olives, Red Onions and Mozzarella Balls together. Lightly dress the salad with a long pour of Olive Oil and even longer drizzle of Red Wine Vinegar. Toss with the Lime Juice. Generously Salt and Pepper the salad and taste.

2.  This Salad is great straight away but even better chilled for a few hours before serving, to allow the flavors to really meld.

 

Choosing a Cantaloupe:

Look for a fruit that is light tan with green lines across it. Avoid melons with mostly green or white underlying color. The melon should be heavy for its size, and firm but not rock hard.

Sniff the spot where the melon was severed from its stem. The melon should smell fresh and fragrant with a hint of sweetness. If you can’t smell anything, it’s under ripe. An unpleasant smell means it’s no longer good to eat. Push your fingers on the round section where the vine was attached. It should be slightly soft.

Shake the cantaloupe next to your ear. If you hear seed rattling about inside, it’s ready to eat.

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14 Aug Watermelon Cooler

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups (1/2-inch) watermelon cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger ale
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (6-oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate

Directions:

1.  Place watermelon cubes in a single layer in an extra-large zip-top plastic freezer bag, and freeze 8 hours. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.

2.  Process half each of watermelon, ginger ale, water, and limeade concentrate in a blender until smooth; pour mixture into a pitcher. Repeat procedure with remaining half of ingredients; stir into pitcher, and serve immediately.

 

How to Choose a Watermelon

Look for uniform shape. Look for a firm, symmetrical watermelon free from bruises, cuts or dents. If the watermelon has any lumps or bumps, this may mean that it received irregular amounts of sunshine or water during growing, causing dryness or inconsistency

Lift it up.The watermelon should be heavy for its size, as this indicates that it is full of water and therefore nice and ripe.

Look for the field spot. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot, known as the field spot. This is where the melon sat on the ground and ripened in the sun, so the darker it is the better.

Inspect the color. A perfect, ripe watermelon should be dark green in color and dull in appearance, rather than shiny. A shiny watermelon will usually be under ripe.

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