Posts from June 2015

Sweet and Sour Stirfry with Beans

06/26/2015

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I planted some heirloom variety beans awhile back, and didn’t know what would erupt. Turns out I had Yardlong beans! These crazy things are voracious growers; I’ve staked them up on 10ft bamboo poles, and they’re reaching way past that. The beans seem to grow right before your eyes, too. One day it’s a bloom, the next day a 4 inch tiny bean, and the following day it’s two feet long! Let the harvest begin!

Ingredients:

1/4 c orange juice
2 T hoisin sauce
2 T rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1 T cornstarch
2 T vegetable oil
1 lb beef, sliced thin (or tofu)
1 onion, chopped thin
2 carrots, chopped
2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 head broccoli
1 bunch beans, tips cut off (cut yard-longs into 2 inch pieces)
Cooked rice, for serving

Instructions:

First, start cooking your rice. Next, in a small bowl, stir together the orange juice, vinegar, hoisin, soy sauce, and cornstarch. In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 T oil over high heat. Cook beef (or tofu), in two batches, until well browned on one side, about 2 minutes; transfer to a plate. To the skillet, add all the vegetables. Cook, stirring, until peppers are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the beef back to the skillet. Whisk the sauce and add to skillet. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring, until broccoli is warmed through, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve with rice.

Passion fruit Cocktail

06/22/2015

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Our neighbor, Omar, is from Jamaica. Whereas our yard grows carrots and lettuce and beets, Omar planted pomegranate trees and plums, and one time even dug up his entire front yard to grow sweet potatoes. He’s a fantastic cook–he owns two great restaurants in town–so he’s always giving Gary and I interesting ingredients that often leave me stumped for what to do with them. We’ve gotten Jamaican spinach and scotch bonnet peppers; the other day he gave us passion fruit from his vine.

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Omar actually gave us a passion fruit vine a year ago, which we planted. He’s given us a number of little plants; he claims that Jamaicans often get two plants, and give one to the neighbor to plant just in case theirs dies. I love that tradition! Well, both our plants are thriving, but Omar’s decided to put on about 100 or so little fruits while our vine remains empty. (We’ve been paying Omar back in tomatoes, which are not nearly as much fun.)

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Since I had never had passion fruit off the vine, this was another thing that falls in the category of “interesting ingredients from Omar” that had me flummoxed. Fortunately, he gave instructions on how to eat it: cut a hole in the top, and scoop out the seeds. I can’t begin to tell you how delicious this strange little fruit tastes. It transports you to a tropical island.

Ingredients (makes 2 drinks):

1 passion fruit
3 oz rum
1 oz lemon juice
2 T sugar
3 oz water

Instructions:

In a cocktail shaker, add the water and sugar first, and shake vigorously to mix. Next, scoop the seeds and pulp out of the fruit. Add the lemon juice and rum to the sugar/water mixture in the shaker. Add ice, shake well, strain, and serve. Garnish with mint or a slice of lemon.

Trout with Green Chilies

06/17/2015

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Soooo, my last post about a fish recipe was five weeks ago, and this was not due to lack of trying. Gary and I have been out there with our boat on the Gulf nearly every weekend, making that hour trip, buying bait, sitting in the hot sun, and coming home empty handed. I know I said I would work on attempting to become a good and patient fisherwoman, but try as I might, I am not about the enjoying the experience thing; I’m in it to catch dinner.

That said, this past weekend, since admittedly I’ve been an antsy co-fisherwoman, Gary passed right over me with an invitation and instead brought along his friend Pat and his two boys. And low and behold they came home with a cooler full of nice fish. Moral of the story: I think my place is growing the vegetables.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs trout or mild fish fillets
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T olive oil and 1 T butter
1 ripe tomato
2 fresh green chilis or 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
1 handful of green olives
1/4 cup dry white wine
S&P

Instructions:

If you’re using fresh chilis, first turn on the broiler. Wash the peppers and put them on a baking tray very close to the broiler. Broil each side for about 5 or so minutes, or until the skin begins to blacken and blister. Once every side has cooked, remove from the oven and set them aside to cool.

Next, get a skillet hot to medium-high heat. Put in the olive oil, and then the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 or so minutes, or until they’re translucent. While these are cooking, remove the skin and seeds from the blackened peppers and chop. Add the chopped peppers, tomato, olives, and wine to the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove everything from the pan and set aside. In the same uncleaned pan, put in a tablespoon of butter. Dry off the fish and salt and pepper each side. Put the fish in the skillet for a nice sear. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Plate the fish and put the vegetable and olive mixture over the fish and serve with polenta, rice, or beans.

Roasted Tomato & Ricotta Pizza

06/12/2015

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It’s tomato season here! And here is another pizza permutation made to celebrate summer.

I cooked this on the grill with a pizza stone, but cooking it in an oven works, too. You do have to roast the tomatoes separately, since all the water cooks out of them and that would soggify your beautiful crust. This was amended from Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:

Dough:
1/2 c warm water
1 1/4 t dry yeast
1 1/2 c bread flour
1 t salt
olive oil for coating bowl

Pizza:
1 c whole-milk ricotta
1/4 c grated Parmesan
S&P
1 large egg
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 ear of sweet corn, cut off the cob
Sprig of rosemary
2 oz prosciutto, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

Mix all the dough ingredients either by hand or with a dough hook on a mixer for 1 minute. Let stand for 5 minutes. Kneed with your hands on a floured surface for 5 minutes or so. Form into a ball, put in a bowl coated with olive oil. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let sit in a warm-ish place for at least 1 hour. (Or you can skip this and just buy store-bought dough, too.)

When the crust is ready, preheat oven to 500 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds, having a pizza stone on the lower part if you have one. Combine ricotta and Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, and stir in egg. Set aside. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cherry tomatoes and corn with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper and rosemary. Bake vegetables on bottom rack and until tomatoes are soft and skins have burst, for 30 minutes.

While they’re cooking, roll out your crust either on a baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone in the oven (or on a flat surface to then transfer to a baking stone in the oven if you do have one.) Put the crust in the oven while the tomatoes are cooking and bake for 3-4 minutes, or until the crust is slightly hard. Remove from oven and spread ricotta mixture on dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Return to oven, and cook for a remaining 10 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are brown.

Once both are finished, remove from oven. Spread the tomato/corn mixture on the ricotta pizza. Top with chopped prosciutto, and enjoy!

Wild Boar & Kale on Polenta

06/06/2015

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Our temporary neighbor Ryan & his wife Jen are moving to Seattle, so we had him over for dinner one last time before he sets out on an epic road-trip adventure with our friend Sam. Their car trip will take them from Florida to Washington state. (Simultaneously, my brother Thomas and his wife are moving and road-tripping the other US diagonal: NY –> LA.) Both road-trippers make me pine for seeing the country through car windows.

We used the *last* of our chorizo boar, sadly. But our garden kale is still going strong. This recipe was amended from the NYTimes.

Ingredients:

1 lb chorizo boar sausage (or spicy sausage)
1 bunch fresh kale, deveined and chopped
2 T olive oil
1 c chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 c tomato sauce
½ c dry red wine
1 c beef broth

Instructions:

First, cut your sausage if it’s in links (ours is in casings, but it’s like ground when it’s chopped. Whatever works best for you.) Next, trim heavy stems from kale and discard. Rinse, then chop kale leaves. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy skillet, sauté pan or casserole. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, over medium heat until softened. Add sausages to the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown. Add about a third of the kale and when it has wilted, continue adding kale until all has wilted. Stir in tomato sauce, broth and wine. Simmer over low heat about 20-30 minutes, season with salt and pepper, covered.

The NYTimes article recommends serving this over pasta, but I served it over polenta.

Salmon with Cucumber Tzatziki

06/02/2015

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I just returned from NYC where Gary and I met my family in order to watch my brother Thomas graduate. As one of the speakers at his commencement said, “Hell is other people’s graduations”. I, however, will happily take watching siblings graduate (and even move them out of 5th-floor walk-ups) if it means a fun-filled weekend full of NYC, good food, and family.

One of the many delicious meals we had was at Fraunces Tavern, a building built in 1719. It was the location of George Washington’s farewell speech in 1783. It’s always amazing to envision a 17- and 18th century Manhattan full of lush farmland instead of the island of concrete it is today.

Unrelated to Washington, I had a salmon sandwich with tzatziki there that was delicious and summery and fresh. Coming home to our cukes waiting to be picked, I recreated it sans sandwich at home.

Ingredients:

1 lb salmon
1 t dill
1 c plain yogurt
2 T lemon juice
1 small cucumber, grated
S&P
Olive oil

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a pan, place the salmon skin down. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/2 t of the dried dill (you’ll need more if you’re using fresh) and S&P. Put in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until your fish is the desired done-ness.

While it’s cooking, mix the tzatziki sauce. Combine the yogurt, rest of the dill, lemon juice, grated cuke, and S&P. Serve on the salmon.

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