Posts from November 2013

Kale Salad with Candied Pecans

11/29/2013

kale.salad

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The day is centered around two of the most important things: loved ones and the dinner table. Although we couldn’t get back to the Midwest to be with our family, we shared turkey, stuffing, wine, and pies with our dear Florida friends.

Among other things (that will probably get blogged on here soon), I brought a kale salad with candied pecans. Our Dinosaur kale (or Lacinato kale) is growing strong with the “cooler” temps here at night. Dino kale is slightly sweeter and more delicate than the curly kale, so it can be eaten raw. I amended a Food and Wine recipe, and omitted the pancetta to make it a little healthier.

Ingredients:

2 c pecans
1/2 c confectioners’ sugar
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 1/2 t Kosher salt
1/4 c EV olive oil
1/4 c white wine vinegar
2 T caper brine (from a jar of capers)
3 T pure maple syrup
1 Granny Smith apple
1 8 oz bunch arugula
1 8 oz bunch kale, stems discarded, leaved chopped
3 T snipped chives
2 oz. shaved pecorino cheese

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, pour the pecans in a bowl and cover them with water. Let sit for about a minute. Drain, and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the sugar, cayenne, and salt together. Add the wet nuts to the mixture and coat well. Put on a baking sheet that is either lined with parchment paper, or oiled. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

To make the dressing, I like to use a mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Add the vinegar, caper brine, maple syrup, olive oil, and S&P. Shake well. Chop the arugula, kale, and apples, and toss. Once the nuts are cool, you can add them to your salad, along with the grated cheese. Dress the salad when you’re ready to serve.

Sauerkraut Casserole

11/27/2013

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Last week I made a brief trip back to the Midwest to visit my family since I couldn’t be there for Thanksgiving. My grandparents and parents joined us at my sister’s place where we had a feast of pork chops, applesauce, squash, and other good cold-weather foods. My grandma, who is a fabulous German cook, brought a sauerkraut casserole that is so delicious my 2 ½ year old nephew even loved it. How do you get picky eaters to eat kraut, you ask? Add the magical ingredient that makes everything better: bacon.

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I used my homemade sauerkraut, but of course you can use store bought kraut.

Ingredients:

8 slices of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
Sauerkraut, homemade, or one 16 oz. can
2 c crushed tomatoes, drained
1 c brown sugar

Instructions:

Cook bacon until lightly browned. Add onions and saute until golden. Spoon off the excess fat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Pour into covered casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

I made it at home and paired it with venison brats and beer. It’s a little taste of Germany.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

11/23/2013

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Gary’s parents grow an abundance of sweet potatoes every year. And because we don’t have enough space in our garden beds for potato vines, they send us packages of their sweet potatoes wrapped in newspaper through the good ‘ole US mail. Melvin’s potatoes are quite legendary; I’ve even given one to my sister and brother-in-law as a Christmas present one year. The whole 3 lb vegetable was devoured and enjoyed.

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{Melvin, and one of his prized potatoes.}

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{Kate and Lee enjoying their sweet potato before it was eaten.}

This chili recipe omits some of the beans for sweet potatoes. They add great flavor and color (and the results produce a little less gas as compared to the full-bean recipes.)

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil
2 red peppers
1 large onio
1 jalapeno (optional)
3 cloves garlic
2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 c cilantro
8 c chicken or vegetable broth (preferably homemade)
1-2 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into chunks
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, plus juices
Sour cream, pickled jalapenos, lime wedges for serving

Instructions:

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the peppers, onion, jalapeno, and garlic, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion is clear. Add S&P, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, and half of the chopped cilantro. Cook for one minute. Next, add the broth, chopped potato, beans, and tomatoes. Keep on medium-low heat for 40 minutes to an hour or more. Serve with pickled jalapenos, like I did, or sour cream and lime wedges. It’ll warm your soul on a cold day.

Lettuce Cup Appetizers

11/15/2013

lettuce

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I needed an appetizer for a gathering the other evening, and wanted to bring something from my garden. Our Tatsoi Mustard greens have the perfect rigidity that I thought would hold some cheesy goodness. I got the idea for this recipe from Erin Gleason’s The Forest Feast blog–her recipes are fabulous, and they’re beautifully photographed, too. She used Romain lettuce, which will work just fine.

Ingredients:

1 bunch Tatsoi mustard greens (or Romain leaves)
1 c cottage cheese
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
Sriracha (optional)
S&P

Instructions:

Assemble and enjoy!

Brown Sugar Mojito

11/13/2013

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Our citrus trees are almost ripe, thus here begins the first of many holiday citrus recipes! So, I know that mojitos are considered warm weather drinks, and not something you share around the Thanksgiving table, but when the limes are ripe (and our friend Sam has mint in his garden to spare), mojitos are welcome in November in this house.

Ingredients:

8 mint leaves plus more for garnish1 T brown sugar
1 lime
2 1/2 jiggers of dark rum
Splash of seltzer

Instructions:

In a glass, muddle the mint leaves, half the lime, and the sugar in a glass. Add the rest of the juice from the remaining half of the lime, pour in rum, add ice to fill the glass, and top with seltzer. Add a sprig of mint leaves for garnish, and pretend like it’s summer!

Three Bean Salad

11/10/2013

bean.salad

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Our green beans seemingly grew out of nowhere; I looked a couple of days ago, and not a bean was present. Then I checked a couple of days later, and they were already past their prime. Blast! The curse of a gardener: when things are growing, don’t forget about them for a minute.

The sautéed beans I made the other night were just muh. But this three bean salad–Gary’s mom’s recipe–turned out just fine. The nice thing about this recipe is that just about any kind of beans work just fine.

Ingredients:

1 lb green beans
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 bunch chopped parsley
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Instructions:

Because I was using fresh green beans, I chopped them into sections and then cooked them in boiling water first for about 5 minutes. I put them in an ice bath after to stop the cooking process. If you want to expedite this, you can substitute the fresh beans with canned cannellini, navy, or wax beans.

Combine all the beans, onion, and the parsley in a bowl. Combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, and S&P into another bowl. Mix well. Dump the vinaigrette over the veggies and mix. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let the flavors mix.

Fajitas with Radishes and Feta

11/06/2013

radish.fajitas

Our radishes are ready! We planted an heirloom variety called Easter Egg Radish because they come up in a variety of colors: pinks, magentas, and whites. Ever since our summer trip to France, I’ve been obsessed with all things radish. Their tangy crunch adds so much to salads and dishes. And they proved to compliment fajitas quite well, too.

radish

Ingredients:

1 package flour tortillas
1 lb chicken thighs (or a can of black beans, if you’d prefer vegetarian)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T coriander seeds
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T olive oil
1/2 t dried pepper flakes (or to taste)
S&P
6 radishes, chopped thin
Feta cheese
Lettuce

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Next add all the spices: coriander, chopped garlic, and pepper flakes. This flavors the oil. Next, add the chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the chopped onions. At this point, heat another skillet that you can use to warm up the tortillas. Once the chicken and onions are cooked, and the tortillas are warm, put your fajita together. Add the chopped radishes, lettuce, feta, and if you have salsa, it’s good on them, too. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

11/04/2013

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Yesterday, a group of seven wonderful ladies gathered to make Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic, a spiced vinegar tonic that is said to be a healing drink used when one feels the onset of the flu or a cold. Now that we’re approaching winter, and those flu bugs are more rampant, this seemed like an appropriate thing to make.

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We all brought one or two ingredients, enough for seven people, our own mason jar and cider vinegar, and we gathered together to make the tonic. We sipped wine, caught up with each other, and chopped ginger, turmeric,  grated oranges, and picked basil and rosemary off their stems.

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Next, we filled mason jars almost to the top with cider vinegar. The vinegar that still has the live mother in it is preferred. We all put spoonfuls of ingredients into the cider vinegar. Once finished, the lid was closed.  In about six weeks, it will be ready.

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Tia, our friend who has deep connections to astrology, lead a prayer to bless the healing drink. She noted that it was made on the night of a solar eclipse, which adds to the power of our drink.

According to the instructions, 1-2 tablespoons can be taken throughout the fall and winter seasons to induce warming, support the digestion, and help the immune system. Knowing that we made this together, and thus it was imbued with love and strength, even if it doesn’t heal the common cold, it just might heal the heart when needed.

Ingredients (From Kiva’s Gilas Harvest Cider recipe):

1/2 to 3/4 c fresh Turmeric (roughly chopped)
1/2 to 3/4 c fresh Ginger (grated or finely chopped)
1 head fresh Garlic (minced)
2-3 T fresh Rosemary (roughly chopped)
1 small handful Sundried Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
2 T coriander
1 small handful dried Hawthorne berries
2 T fresh grated Orange Peel
3/4 c fresh Basil
1 whole Red Chile
approximately 3 c Apple Cider Vinegar
raw honey to taste
1 quart canning jar

Instructions:

Pour about 3 c of cider vinegar in your jar. Add all other ingredients expect honey. When ready to drink, mix 1-2 T tonic to as much honey as you like. After six weeks, it’ll be ready to drink.

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