Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dandelion Greens with Fried Egg

So, last night was my personal training night...(OK for the record I realize that I sound like an absolute snob, what with my organic produce delivery and my personal training but I eat a lot of butter...and frankly these two things are very important to me - I don't walk around in Christian Loboutin's...I wear flip flops...so you can see where the trading up takes place....) Anyway - I get home fairly late on training night, so I usually cook up something fast and easy-- or just eat leftovers.

In my Organic delivery last week I received some dandelion greens. I had never eaten these before - and they were about to go bad....so I did what anyone with wilting dandelion greens in her fridge would do: I did a search on gourmet.com. Here is what I found.

http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2009/06/kemps-egg-on-toast-with-dandelion-greens

Now, I know breakfast for dinner can be kind of polarizing...but for me, it's absolutely comfort food. My family always ate dinner together...and my father is allergic to eggs. Whenever my dad went on business trips, my mom would make me breakfast for dinner so we could have eggs! I remember these times pretty fondly, mom and I eating dinner in our jammies. In hindsight, it probably was the easiest/fastest dinner in the world to make...scramble some eggs, make some toast...throw a piece of fruit on the plate and its dinner.

My mom also introduced me to the delight that is the sunny side up (or once over easy or soft-boiled or poached) egg. I know this is also polarizing (the boyfriend hates a runny yolk), but it really can't be beat.

This was delicious - but I gotta say - I did screw with the recipe just a smidge. I took a piece of bacon and chopped it into pieces, then fried it over medium high heat...once it was browned and crunchy I removed the bits from the pan, along with most of the grease (I left about a teaspoon since bacon grease is yummy) then turned the pan down to medium/low. I then added the garlic to the oil and pretty much followed the recipe from there-- added the crispy bacon to the greens as I was plating.

I was starving after this was complete - so I apologize for the lack of picture...but I am telling you this is tasty - and I am sure you could use any green...so if you like greens and runny yolks, this is for you...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maple Glazed Carrots

I am lucky enough to work among a group of very tech-savvy individuals. They all know what blogs are, and twitter, facebook, etc. So I have a very captive blog reading audience (I'm still trying to get my mom to add my blog to her "favorites" - she's trying). It's exceptionally hilarious when I'm walking through the halls on my way to a meeting, or printing up a PowerPoint, to have a co-worker yell across the room "hey, great chicken last night!" For anyone at work that doesn't know about the blog - they probably think I'm absolutely nuts, or am hosting tons of dinner parties to which they are never invited...

This particular post is a virtual shout-out to one of my blog readers - I know for a fact that he's elevated my blog to a "fun stuff" category on his RSS feed. He recently mentioned that I have a lot of recipes on here that use TONS of butter...and he's right. So David, here are some veggies, just for you. And nary a pat of butter in sight....

As I've mentioned numerous times, I receive bi-weekly deliveries from Boston Organics. During the winter and early spring, the produce relies pretty heavily on wintertime staples. Squash, kale, potatoes and carrots come nearly every delivery. For a while I was cutting my carrots up as carrot sticks with my lunch...then I made a couple soups. Finally I tired of them and they were forced to the back of the fridge where I could ignore them....

Once I had 3 pounds of carrots and it was difficult to ignore any longer, I decided I needed to do something with them. *** As a side note, after years of buying those little baby carrots, only to have them turn to mush in a week or so in that gross slimy bag, I was amazed at how crisp the carrots remained during their lengthy stay at the back of my fridge...another testament to reducing the amount of processing in food I suppose...I mean, what is that slimy stuff anyway?***

I decided that I would make a big batch of carrot coins - then freeze them in little batches to reheat as a side-dish for dinners...Green Giant has nothing on me.

I started by peeling the carrots, then slicing them into coins. I put them all in a 3 quart sauce-pan with a tablespoon of olive oil (no butter!), a 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 1/2 cup chicken (or vegetable broth), salt, pepper, and a 1/2 tsp of ground ginger (you could use fresh here too - just a little bit less since fresh is so much stronger)


Once everything was in the pot, I brought the liquid to a boil, then covered and reduced to a simmer. This cooked until the carrots were tender and the liquid reduced slightly to create a glaze. This made a TON - so I froze them in little 1 cup containers for easy re-heating.



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pecan Crusted Sole

Dinner last night was on-the-fly. I wanted to make something delicious - but I wanted to do it without going to the grocery store for any special ingredients. I had some Dover sole from Trader Joe's, and I wanted to make something special. There is an enormous bag of pecans in my freezer (I love them in my oatmeal). So I decided to pecan-crust the fish. I did some research, and finally decided how I would go about it.I ground up the pecans into a coarse meal, mixed with salt, cayenne pepper, and about half as much fresh breadcrumbs (I had been very diligent lately about saving old heels of bread loaves, stale artisan breads, etc...I toasted the bread then ground it myself in a food processor). I dredged the fillets in milk, then in the nut breadcrumb mixture. In the meantime I melted a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet.

I then layed the fillets in the pan in two batches. I pan fried each side for about 3-4 minutes until they were golden brown.
While they were cooking, I started on my first ever beurre blanc.


I also did some research on the 'traditional' beurre blanc. I made substitutions based on what I had in my pantry/fridge. Since many recipes asked for shallots - I subbed about 1/4 of a small vidalia (sweet) onion. I had white wine, but no white vinegar - so I used rice wine. I did possess about 6 sticks of butter in my fridge, so I was fine on that front. I chopped the onion very fine and cooked it until translucent. I then added the wine and vinegar and let the alcohol cook out for a minute or two. I then shut off the heat and let the mixture begin to cool. Once almost totally cooled, I started whisking in pats of butter, about 6 tablespoons (I know that sounds like a lot, but I assure you, only a little bit of sauce was used per serving), then I threw some chives in at the end.


I plated the fish with some brown rice and roasted asparagus, then topped the fish with a drizzle of the beurre blanc.
I plan on working with this fish recipe a little more before I post the exact recipe. I think the flavor was great, but some elements of the dish still need work. The sole was delicious and tender, but was kind of flimsy and fell apart easily when flipping. I would like to try a slightly firmer white fish like tilapia or cod. Also, I ground the nuts in my Magic-Bullet blender, which made for an uneven grind. I'll suck it up and pull out the cuisinart food processor next time and see if that gives a more even chop.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My New Toy

I was recently gifted with a 4-in-1 countertop grill. It is a combo grill/griddle/panini press/waffle iron. Needless to say I was VERY excited to bring it home. Once I persuaded 2 coworkers to help me carry it out of the office, and stuff it into a cab - I was on my way to griddled glory.

First night home with the grill, I looked for anything that I could possibly cook up on my new toy. I was low on the produce, since it had been a week since my Boston Organics delivery - but I realized I did have a couple zucchini, and some red onions. I fished some mis-matched bread from different loaves from the freezer, and found some premade pesto and herb cream cheese (no regs sliced or brick cheese in the fridge). I proceeded to grill and panini. The first result was a mess, although delicious.

I have refined my process immensely, so I give you my first panini creation.
Again, it all begins with zucchini and red onion (because its spring and Boston Organics is all about the seasonal produce I anticipate a lot of zukes in my future). I sliced the zucchini then made a quick marinade for the with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic powder, and let it soak up the delicious for about 10 minutes....I pre-heated my grill and slapped the squash on ....sizzzzzzzle



I then sliced my onion in very thick slices. Once the zucchini became floppy and transparent, I removed them to a plate, then put down my onion slices.

Now, as I mentioned, the first panini attempt was rather messy. I have found that there is a real talent to stuffing the sandwich so it is well filled and tasty, but also so it does not get soggy or fall apart. For this particular sandwich I employed a Trader Joe's Ciabatta roll. I sliced it in half, and removed the insides of the roll - to give more room for delicious sandwich toppings. The insides of several of these rolls are currently in a Ziploc baggie in the freezer - awaiting an opportunity for fresh breadcrumbs....mac and cheese or some sort of gratin...?

I then stuffed the cavity with some of the grilled zucchini, onions, and fresh tomatoes. For ultimate panini melti-ness and I chose a spicy pepper-jack cheese. After assembling the sandwich, I placed it into the panini press and smushed.....

5 minutes later - a delicious dinner. Apparently however, 5 minutes was not quick enough because I immediately dove into the sandwich before I could take this (somewhat blurry) picture.

For someone like me - with an itty-bitty kitchen, this grill is a great way to branch out and do something a little different. It's also a great way to cook up my extra organic produce so I can have leftovers throughout the week - or freeze to limit waste. Expect some more panini's to come - and perhaps some waffles as well!!!!!