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Showing posts with label spinach and greens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spinach and greens. Show all posts
15 July 2014

Maplelicious Chops With Chard

These chops soaked overnight in a marinade is based on a recipe I found in a recent issue of Taste of Home. I wasn't smart enough to copy down the recipe (or take a snap with my phone), but I remembered it was a simple mix of equal parts maple syrup and balsamic vinegar plus some salt and pepper. I used four tablespoons each maple syrup and fig balsamic vinegar plus one teaspoon sea salt and a half teaspoon sriracha. I used four thick six-ounce chops and they took about twenty minutes to grill, flipping twice -- first at eight minutes and then at sixteen minutes.


I had forgotten to hold back any marinade to baste the chops as they grilled, but still found the flavor to be quite good -- a little sweet, a little spicy, and plenty porky. As per the marinating tips at AmazingRibs.com, I had scored one side of the chops in a crisscross pattern before plopping them in the marinade and I do think that helped. The cuts increase the chops' surface area and help the marinade penetrate deeper into the tissue.

Apparently, I don't own any plain balsamic vinegar and it was toss up between the fig and blackberry. (I actually own four bottles of flavored balsamic vinegars, but neither the peach nor the coconut white balsamic seemed remotely appropriate). Fig won the toss, but I'll definitely try this marinade again with the blackberry balsamic, holding back some of the marinade to baste the scored chops!


The chard was simple. Just heat a little broth, onion, and garlic in a pan until the alliums are fragrant. Add as much cleaned chopped chard to your pan as will fit and cook it, stirring regularly, until wilted. Toss with your balsamic vinegar of choice (fig, again) and a little sriracha. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Eat. My intention was to make enough chard to have leftovers to take to work ... but I gobbled it all up with the chops, instead. Good thing the garden is full of chard!
23 March 2014

Cheesy Spinach Scramble

I had some bruschetta topping leftover from this month's Improv Challenge and, oh my god, I've discovered it's good on pretty much everything -- pasta, burgers, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, etc.

Breakfast

To make these yummy and mostly-good-for-you eggs:

Sauté baby spinach in a little olive oil until tender. Add two eggs beaten with a little milk. Cook over medium low heat, stirring gently, until curds start to form and the eggs are still wet but not runny. Top with a little light cheddar (Cabot, obviously) and pop the pan under the broiler until the cheese is all melty and doubly delicious. Top with a little leftover bruschetta (salsa would also be tasty) and eat!
23 January 2014

Italian Pasta Salad

I'm not really sure that mozzarella and salami necessarily an Italian salad make, but I didn't know what else to call this dish. Everything-That-Needed-Eating-Up Salad? That would certainly be true, but also very prosaic.

"Antipasto" salad

Italian Pasta Salad
Serves 3 as lunch with fruit

Ingredients
5 oz mini farfalle pasta
4 oz baby spinach
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 small red onion, chopped small
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
6 Tbsp sun-dried tomato vinaigrette
[Organicville]
3 oz thin-sliced uncured salami, sliced into strips
5 leaves fresh basil, rolled and sliced thin
Fresh ground black pepper, as desired

Directions
Cook pasta as directed by package. Drain. Toss warm pasta with spinach so the leaves wilt a bit. Add in remaining ingredients and toss well. Serve while still warm.
Ingredients like chopped canned artichokes, chickpeas, and olives would make tasty additions to this salad.

"Antipasto" salad
15 October 2013

Eating the Alphabet: S is for Sorrel

I tend to think of sorrel as a spring green as it usually dies back at the onset of hot weather and does not return again until the following spring. However, this year my sorrel came back with a burst of green in early September and has been going strong ever since.

While sorrel (also known spinach dock) looks a bit like young spinach, it tastes very bright and sharp and green -- the long lost love child of spinach plant and a lemon tree? While sorrel can be eaten raw in salads or just on its on, I prefer it cooked with other ingredients to balance out its distinctive tang.

Unfortunately, cooked sorrel tends to turn a singularly unattractive shade of gray-green. I've no idea how to keep this from happening -- I think lemon juice usually keeps cooked greens from changing color, but sorrel's so tart already that adding lemon seems inadvisable. The color is not such a big deal in a brothy soup where the sorrel is mixed with chunks of potatoes and other vegetables, but it is a bit off-putting by itself.

So making a sorrel sauce for September's Eating the Alphabet Challenge? A delicious idea, certainly, but the results were not aesthetically pleasing.

Tilapia w/ Sorrel Sauce & Sorrel-Smashed Potatoes

Yes, that sauce is baby poop green. But it's yummy -- bright, tart, creamy -- and went surprisingly well with the baked tilapia. I'd half expected the sauce would overwhelm the mild tilapia, but the fish held its own. Still, I think the sauce would be awesome with something like baked salmon. Or with steak, as a substitute for chimichurri sauce!

(Of course, supper might have looked a smidge more attractive if I hadn't left the plates in our warm oven for two hours while a salesman successfully sold us a bridge).
Sorrel Sauce
Serves 2 plus leftovers

Ingredients
4 oz sorrel leaves, stemmed and washed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp half and half
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Roll the wet sorrel leaves up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons (chiffonade).

Chopped Sorrel

Add to a saucepan with olive oil, thyme, and garlic powder.


Chopped Sorrel

Cook, covered on medium, for about 5 minutes or until sorrel is greatly reduced and gone an unattractive baby-gak green.


Wilted Sorrel

Remove from heat, add a splash of half and half, and puree until smooth. Add a little more half and half until desired thickness is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Try not to dwell on the color.


Sorrel Sauce

Serve over fish or meat.

Because I had chopped more sorrel than I needed, I decided to make sorrel-smashed potatoes to go with the fish! The sorrel's flavor was, obviously, much more subtle than in the sauce, but still gave the potatoes a slight lemony tang that was really quite nice.

Sorrel-Smashed Potatoes
Serves 2

Ingredients
12 oz small unpeeled red potatoes
1½ oz sorrel leaves
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter, melted
⅓ cup half and half, warmed
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Cook your potatoes however you like (I steamed mine whole in the microwave).

Meanwhile, roll the sorrel leaves up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons (chiffonade, again). Place sorrel in a small saucepan with the oil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sorrel is completely wilted.

Add sorrel, butter, and half-and-half to potatoes. Mash until desired texture is reached, adding more half and half if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
(Another way to do this would be to stir any extra sorrel sauce into your already mashed potatoes).



11 October 2013

Soup Makes Space

Last Saturday, I opened the freezer to get out some tilapia fillets and a precariously-perched container of blueberries hurled itself onto the floor, scattering berries around the kitchen. And then the bananas tried to escape and it was clearly Time To Do Something About The Freezer.

Bet you're thinking I made another banana bread, right? Well, I didn't! Not yet, anyway. I corralled all the loose frozen bananas into a gallon storage bag, shuffled the vegetables and meats around so they were once again grouped by like, and tossed some unfortunate freezer burnt ice cream cups. And then I made a big pot of soup from all the open vegetables packages.
Vegetable Barley Soup
Serves many

Ingredients
9 oz frozen chopped swiss chard
8 oz frozen diced butternut squash
3 oz frozen chopped onion
3 oz frozen chopped peppers
2 oz frozen corn
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Salt-free Italian seasoning, as desired
32 oz low-sodium chicken broth
[Pacific Organic Free Range Low Sodium]
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup quick-cooking barley

Directions
Whack the packages of frozen vegetables against your kitchen counter to loosen. Dump the frozen vegetables, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning into the slow cooker insert. Stir. Add bay leaf and broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Stir in quick-cooking barley, cover, and cook on LOW for 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Taste. Season as desired.

Soup will thicken as it sits so you may need to add a little more broth when you reheat the leftovers, if you want a properly soupy soup.
Overall, this was a pretty good soup. Hearty and rich with vegetable goodness, it made a week's worth of filling breakfasts and lunches. (I admit that, on a few cold and sleepy mornings, I spiked my breakfast bowl with a little sriracha).
19 September 2013

Improv Challenge: Pasta & Cheese

My participation in the 2013 Improv Challenge has, sadly, been a bit sporadic. Many of the 2013 ingredient pairings have struck me as more sweet than savory and I just haven't been in the mood for sweet. Happily, September's ingredients are "Pasta and Cheese." Other than a lokshen kugel (noodle pudding), I don't know how pasta and cheese could be anything but savory! (Prove me wrong, Improv-ers).

Because we are supposed to be eating more healthfully here at Chez Savory Tart, I did not whip up a beautiful bacon-wrapped meatloaf stuffed with macaroni and cheese, but made a pretty (and decidedly more healthful) warm pasta salad using whole wheat pasta, blue cheese, beets, arugula, and pecans.

Warm Pasta & Arugula Salad

While I recommend using a mild blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola or Danish Blue, feel free to substitute fresh goat cheese if even the merest thought of blue cheese gives you the horrors.

If you don't have flax seed oil, olive oil will do fine. I just find flax seed oil gives greens a lovely nuttiness.

And, yes, feel free to go Martha and roast your own beets!
Warm Pasta and Blue Cheese Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients
4 oz whole wheat penne
3 oz fresh arugula
1 oz mild blue cheese, crumbled
[Gorgonzola or Danish blue]
Half 8 oz pkg cooked beets, drained and diced [Melissa's or Love Beets]
1 oz pecans, crushed
1 Tbsp flax seed oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Put the arugula in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook pasta until al dente (or however you like your pasta). Drain pasta and pour, still hot, over arugula. Toss until arugula wilts a bit. (If your arugula looks like it isn't wilting, cover the bowl with a tea towel and go away for a few minutes).

Add blue cheese, beets, pecans, olive oil and balsamic, and toss again.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two plates. Nom.

Warm Pasta & Arugula Salad




21 August 2013

Cheesy Chard & Pasta

Many of the chard recipes I make use only chard leaves so I usually have a bunch of stems hanging about. While they're yummy pickled or simply used as a celery substitute, there usually comes a point where I have so many stems on hand I just want to chuck them all in something and be done. So, yay for pasta! The ingredient that disguises many garden excesses.

Steak w/ pasta & chard

In an oven-safe skillet, I sautéed chopped chard stems and minced red onion in olive oil until the chard was tender, then stirred in a generous splodge of tomato paste, grated Parmesan, salt-free Italian seasoning blend, and two servings of cooked whole grain pasta. I covered it all with shredded low-fat mozzarella and broiled everything until melty.

Overall, I think this pasta bake was a good start. Next time, though, I'd add garlic and cherry tomatoes to the chard-and-onion sauté as it definitely needed a little something more.
16 August 2013

Chard Slaw, Because I Can

We had my parents up for a picnic and I wanted to serve a slaw with the turkey burgers and pasta salad, but I had far more chard on hand than cabbage and it seemed a good idea to use the chard I grew rather than go buy someone else's cabbage, but I didn't want to do a hot dish ... so I made a chard slaw.

Chard Slaw

I used Better Homes and Gardens' "Vinaigrette Coleslaw" recipe as my base (what would I do without my red-and-white gingham standby?) but tarted it up a bit with sriracha and whatnot.
Chard Slaw
Makes at least six side dish servings

Ingredients
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
[Katz Sauvignon Blanc Agrodolce Vinegar]
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp sriracha
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground caraway
½ tsp mustard powder
4 cups chard sliced into thin ribbons (save stems for a later use ... like pickles)
1 cup coarsely shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
½ shallot, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Whisk together vinegar, honey, oil, sriracha, ground caraway, mustard, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl combine chard, cabbage, carrots, and red onion. Pour vinaigrette over cabbage mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Chard Slaw

I'd recommend eating this within a day of making it, because the chard started to get a bit soggy by the second day.

I think the slaw came out pretty well for a first try -- my mother certainly liked it -- and I will make it again but I might add chopped toasted almonds (or hazelnuts) and dried cranberries (or cherries). Also, maybe a little crumbled blue cheese? But would it even be a slaw then?
15 July 2013

Eating the Alphabet: K is for Kale

July's Eating the Alphabet letters are K and/or L. I was leaning toward "L is for lemongrass" when I saw a recipe for kale salad on Whole Foods' website where an avocado was mashed into kale to form a dressing!

It sounded interesting, but I never have avocados on hand. I do, however, quite often have Whole Foods or Wholly guacamole on hand. I wondered why couldn't I mash my kale with guacamole? And then I thought, since I was using guacamole, maybe I'd like to toss in some black beans? Roasted corn? Chopped tomato? A little lime juice? Blackened chicken strips? And, lo, "Southwestern-Style Kale Salad" was born.

Making Kale Salad

Southwestern-Style Kale Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients
Double handful of chopped kale
½ cup drained and rinsed black beans
½ cup thawed frozen roasted corn
6 chopped grape tomatoes
Guacamole, as desired
Lime juice, as desired
1 cup diced cooked chicken

Directions
Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and toss until the kale is evenly coated with the guacamole.

Making Kale Salad

Squeeze a bit of lime juice over it, if desired, and toss again (lime juice is a great "brightener" and, if you are not serving the salad right away, will also help keep the guacamole from discoloring). Portion out into two bowls. Top with chicken. Eat!

Making Kale Salad
How did it taste? Quite fabulous, really, and I felt totes smug eating it since it was packed full of good-for-me ingredients.



05 July 2013

Slow Cooked Kale "Stuff"

In a hurry to use up the last of the kale and a few wrinkly bell peppers before they went weird, I made this ... stew ... in my slow cooker. It was surprisingly good for something so off the cuff and I was quite happy to eat big bowls of it all week for breakfast. Sopped the broth up with a dry toasted mini bagel and it was omnomnomilicious. And, as The Husband does not eat kale, I did not have to share.

Slow Cooked Kale Stuff

Slow Cooked Kale
Serves 4-6, depending on appetite

Ingredients
2 red and yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 14-oz cans Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
8 oz Irish back bacon, chopped
Chopped kale, as needed

Directions
Dump the first four ingredients into the slower cooker and stir. Top with as much kale as will fit. Cover and cook 2 hours on High. Stir pot. Continue to cook 3 more hours on High. Stir well and taste. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Fill a bowl and eat.
While I used Irish back bacon, Canadian bacon or lean ham would work just as well. Or sliced links of smoked sausage. Or omit the meat and throw in some beans, instead. Or beans and meat!
28 June 2013

Kale Knows No End

The giant bag of kale knows no end! I've eaten kale twice a day all week and there's still so much left. I think I'll have to break down and make soup. Or kale chips? Mmm, kale chips.

I did make a snazzy kale scramble twice this week, it was that good. Sautéed chopped kale in coconut oil with red onion and garlic until it was wilted and tender (about ten minutes) and then I added two eggs (beaten with a splash of milk) and gently stirred everything 'round until the eggs had formed lovely big curds. A little salt, pepper, and sriracha and it was good to go.
Kale Scramble

I also made a Waldorf-style kale salad. Twice. I'd forgotten how much I love Waldorf salad and, while mine pales before my uncle's traditional version, I liked mine enough to eat it for lunch and supper two days running.

Kale Waldorf(ish) Salad

Kale Waldorf(ish) Salad
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 packed cups chopped kale
1 apple, diced and tossed w/ lime juice to prevent discoloration
½ cup halved seedless grapes
½ cup roughly chopped dried cherries
¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp slivered almonds

Directions
Toss dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Add to salad and toss well. Let sit until ready to serve. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with slivered almonds, if desired, just before serving.
24 June 2013

My First Kale Salad

I know kale's been the hot green for ages now, but (slow boat that I am) I only just discovered the deliciousness that is raw kale. I like kale in soups, stews, and casseroles, but raw kale? In a salad? I don't know. Might be a bit ... chewy? Bitter? Weird? Didn't help that many of the recipes I saw instructed me to blanch the kale leaves or, godloveaduck, massage them. When it comes to salads, all I want to do is throw ingredients in a bowl and go "yum!" So I've been making kale salads sans blanching and massaging ... and they're fine. Maybe even a little bit fabulous.

My first kale salad

The above is my first salad and, while it's pretty simple, it's also ridiculously delicious and I strongly recommended this combination of ingredients. I didn't measure anything, mind you, but just went by "feel" so it's very possible the next time I make this salad, it may taste very different.
Ingredients
kale
grated carrots
apple, diced fine & tossed w/ lemon juice to prevent discoloration
slivered almonds
red onion
dried cherries
ginger-sesame dressing

Directions
Combine all (including dressing) and let sit until ready to eat.
04 April 2013

Red Cabbage, I ❤ You

I've made the Vegetarian Slow Cooker's "Bavarian Red Cabbage (Sauerkraut)" twice now and I am just thoroughly enamored with the dish. Sweet, tart, savory ... yum!

Easter Dinner 2

Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to tweak the recipe a little bit each time. The first time, I used a red onion instead of yellow and added a tablespoon of ground caraway. The second time, I kept those changes and also reduced the sugar and added a bay leaf.
Bavarian Red Cabbage

Ingredients
1 small head red cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, peeled, diced
1 cup very hot water
2 tsp salt
½ tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp ground caraway
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Directions
Add all ingredients except butter to the slow cooker insert. Stir. Dot with butter. Cover and cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours.
Next time, I'm inclined to try swapping out the white vinegar and sugar for cider vinegar and honey ... I might also throw in some unsweetened dried cranberries or sour cherries.

It's spring and I'm in love with cabbage.

(The peas and carrots dish shown in the above photo was made using Chow's "Herbed Peas and Carrots" recipe. I threw fresh thyme in with the peas and it was really good -- way better than the frozen stuff).
11 March 2013

The Eating O' The Greens

There was a bit of ham, cabbage, and peas leftover from other recipes and I had the idea to sauté them together in a pan with olive oil and seasonings. The idea, I think, was a sound one ... but the application left a little to be desired. Definitely a (delicious) work in progress!

Cabbage, Peas, & Ham

I used my food processor's shredding disc to prepare the cabbage and that was not the best idea as the disk turned the cabbage into itty-bitty confetti pieces similar to what you'd fine in KFC cole slaw. Not what I wanted at all and, because the cabbage was so finely shredded, in the pan it went from crisp-tender to squishy in the blink of an eye. That was disappointing and I was prepared to be displeased by the whole dish, but the broth created by all the vegetable and ham juices was phenomenal and redeemed it all.

(If I made this again, I'd definitely use the slicing disk).
Sautéed Cabbage, Peas, and Ham

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups Napa cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 cup baby spinach, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cooked smoked ham
Zest of half a lemon
Dried savory, to taste
Ground caraway, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat until hot; add peas, cabbage, spinach, ham, and zest. Sauté, stirring occassionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until cabbage is wilted and tender.

Cabbage, Peas, & Ham

Remove pot from heat and stir in caraway, savory, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve over brown rice or buttered noodles.
08 December 2012

Healthy Breakfast Still Tastes Good

Now that we're in The Season of Eating, I'm trying very hard to eat healthfully and stick with Weight Watchers. I'm not forswearing any Hanukkah/Christmas goodness, mind you, as December without latkes or home-baked cookies would be a terrible thing indeed. I'm just trying to eat more sensibly the rest of the time.

So what does this "more sensibly" look like when it's at home? Well, for breakfasts, I've been doing this excellent egg white and spinach bake:

Egg Whites & Spinach

Egg Whites & Spinach Bake

Ingredients
16 oz carton All Whites 100% Liquid Egg Whites
7 oz package Nature's Promise organic baby spinach
3 oz fat free feta, crumbled
¼ diced dehydrated red & green bell pepper
1 Tbsp sriracha chili sauce
Salt and pepper, as desired

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Microwave baby spinach 1-2 minutes or until wilted. Stir in all other ingredients. Transfer to a greased pie plate and bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Serves 4. (2WWP+ per serving, but ymmv).
You could bake these in four individual ramekins, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted.

I eat this egg bake with two tablespoons of garlicky Green Mountain Gringo salsa (0) and a satsuma mandarin (0) or banana (0) and I feel righteous. If I'm extra hungry, I'll add a fat-free Chobani Greek yoghurt (3) and still feel righteous.
05 December 2012

Doubleplusawesomewithknobson Chard & Chicken

Now that it's December and snowed twice, I must accept there will be no fresh chard coming from my garden until spring. What to do? Frozen chard! Yes, you can find bags of chopped chard in the freezer section of the grocery store. What do you do with it? I'm guessing you can use it in pretty much any cooked dish. I made mine with tomatoes and white beans, because chard + tomatoes + beans = doubleplusawesomewithknobson.

Chicken & Chard

Chard with Tomatoes & White Beans

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
9 oz bag frozen chopped chard
14.5 oz can Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp Penzeys Tuscan Sunset (salt-free Italian-style seasoning blend)
Juice of one lemon half, or more to taste
15 ounce can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper, as desired

Directions
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes or until onion is translucent and very fragrant. Reduce heat to medium, add tomatoes with juice, chard, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning blend.

Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until chard is tender. Add beans and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serves 4. (5WWP+ per serving, but ymmv)
I ate the chard for lunch/supper at work with four ounces baked boneless skinless organic chicken breast and it was made for an unbelievably yummy meal. Going to hit the grocery store this weekend and buy all the frozen chard I can fit in my shopping basket!
Easy Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts

Ingredients
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Penzeys Tuscan Sunset (salt-free Italian-style seasoning blend)
1 tsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon half, or more to taste
¼ cup low-fat reduced-sodium chicken broth

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray.

Season both sides of chicken with salt, pepper, and seasoning blend. Transfer chicken to pan and drizzle with oil and lemon juice. Pour broth around chicken to coat bottom of pan.

Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 4. (3WWP+ per 4 oz serving)
So many times in the past, I've baked chicken breasts and they've come out dry or flavorless, but with this recipe, the chicken came out really well -- moist, tender, and flavorful. Definitely worth repeating.
15 November 2012

Eating the Alphabet: W is for Watercress & Walnuts

November's Eating the Alphabet Challenge was to use U, V, and/or W ingredients. I knew I wanted to use peppery watercress when I saw beautiful green bunches of it piled in with the mint and dill at Shoprite. Not only is watercress delicious, it's full of nutrients like iron, calcium, and Vitamin A and C. I like to eat it in cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, but that's not really exciting and the Alphabet Challenge is all about excitement and pushing boundaries, you know.

So needed a new spin on watercress. Why not salad? Something light and filling and green? I was first tempted by Patti LaBelle's recipe for "Out-of-This-World Watercress Salad," but tomatoes aren't in season, anymore, and I didn't want to ruin what sounded like a perfectly lovely recipe with questionable tomatoes. So I turned to Martha Stewart and she did not disappoint. Her recipe for "Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes" is delightfully simple and seasonable. If my family was comprised of more adventurous eaters, it's the kind of dish I might start Thanksgiving dinner with. It's very clean-tasting and just looks, to me, like autumn on a plate.

DSC_0028
From all this ...
DSC_0035
... to this!
Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Slightly Adapted From Martha Stewart
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long sticks
3 Tbsp + ½ tsp olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper
½ cup walnuts
¼ tsp sriracha
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
12 oz watercress, stems trimmed
4 oz fat free feta crumbles

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 °F, with racks on upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast on upper rack, until tender, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently. [Stewart's recipe cooks them longer with less stirring, but mine started to burn so ...]


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Remove potatoes from oven and set aside. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss walnuts with sriracha and ½ tsp oil. Bake on lower rack, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 5 minutes).

DSC_0029

In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, honey, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. [Or put it all in an old jar and shakeshakeshake your dressing]. Toss watercress and dressing together. Serve topped with sweet potatoes, walnuts, and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

DSC_0034

This salad best served while the sweet potatoes are still warm -- otherwise they just go kind of cold and chewy and that's not a good thing!

Overall, I really liked this salad.  It was easy, elegant, and completely yum! I'd definitely make it again, but I'll keep a close eye on the oven as some of my sweet potato sticks charred a bit!

If you can't find watercress, I'm sure baby spinach would work fine. Ohhh, baby spinach and blue cheese and sweet potatoes and pecans ...



15 October 2012

Eating the Alphabet: S is for Spinach

October's Eating the Alphabet Challenge is S and/or T ingredients. Being pressed for time, I rolled the Alphabet Challenge up with homework for my online Italian cooking class and made "Stracciatella" (Italian egg-drop soup with spinach). I only began appreciating spinach once I reached adulthood and, even as recently has three years ago, I would only eat it raw in salads. Now I love it prepared pretty much anyway imaginable!

Indeed, I've grown to love leafy greens of all kinds and can only shake my head at childhood me who would only eat lettuces and cabbage for leafy greens.

Of course, childhood me would be appalled by many of the things I eat now.

Italian Egg-Drop Soup (Stracciatella)

Beginners Stracciatella

Ingredients
10 cups chicken broth or stock [I used half broth, half stock]
1 bag fresh baby spinach
2 large eggs beaten with ½ cup of cold water
¼ cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg [I used mace]
1 cup orzo, uncooked

Directions
Heat chicken broth in a large pot over medium/low heat until simmering, add pasta and cook for five minutes, lower heat. Sauté garlic with the olive oil over low heat in a skillet until garlic is fragrant.

Coarsely chop spinach and add to broth. Add the garlic & oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to the pot. Stir well. Make sure the broth is hot, but not boiling. Slowly drizzle the beaten egg into the soup as you briskly whisk it so that thin ribbons of egg form. Cook and stir for one minute. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Serves 4 generously.
Peppery and rich, this soup will definitely chase your Monday blahs away!



20 June 2012

More Chard Goodness

Turns out sriracha does make my chard scramble recipe even better. I added a half teaspoon sriracha and two diced seeded tomatoes and, wow, it was delicious! (And two servings of vegetables at breakfast time is a pretty neat feat).

Spicy Chard Scramble

If you don't have chard, I'm pretty sure this recipe would work just as well with spinach.

Thanks to all the scrambles I've been making, I've finally amassed enough chard stems to make Bon Appetit’s easy "Sriracha Fridge Pickles" today. Based on the amount of chard I had and my general taste preferences, I tweaked the ingredient amounts somewhat.

Chard Stems

I chopped my stems into bite-sized pieces and dumped them in a glass storage container with a small, thinly sliced, onion.

Making Sriracha Chard Pickles

I mixed together 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 6 tablespoons sriracha, and 1 tsp celery seed. Poured that over the vegetables, snapped the lid on the container, and gave everything a good shake.

Sriracha Chard Pickles

Then I put the container in the fridge and told myself to leave it alone for a few days rather than do what I usually do with fridge pickles -- obsessively check the container, wondering if pickle-ization is happening.

They should be ready for taste-testing on Friday ...
17 June 2012

Chard for Breakfast!

Last year, I made scrambled eggs with chard and, while it was good, I knew I could do better. And I have! Oh, dear gods of egg and leaf, yes.

Scrambled Eggs w/ Chard & Cheddar

Scrambled Eggs with Chard & Cheese

Ingredients
5 large-leafed stalks of chard (each leaf was the size of my hand or bigger)
1 large shallot, minced
1 tsp olive oil
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp whole milk
1 .75 oz Cabot 50% light cheddar snack bar, diced small
Salt & pepper, to taste
Sriracha, if desired

Instructions
Gently wash chard to remove any soil. Remove stems and set aside for another day. Roll leaves up into a cigar and slice thinly. Set aside.

Whisk eggs with milk and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they go translucent. (The olive oil is here more for flavor than for it's lubricative powers so use a "tasty" one -- right now, I'm loving Lucero Arbequina Three Star Blend Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil).

Add chard and cook, stirring, until chard is wilted. Pour in eggs and cook, stirring gently, until eggs begin to set.

Top not-quite-cooked eggs with diced cheese. Cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and remove from heat. Let sit until the cheese is melted.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Add a little sriracha if you like your mornings spicy).
I’m thinking this will be nice topped with some fresh chopped garden tomatoes when they’re in season. Or, instead of using scrambled eggs and cheese, I bet this would be good with a nice soft-poached egg nestled in the chard. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to master poached eggs so I’ll stick with scrambled.

Seriously, this is yum. I would happily eat it every day until the chard gave out. I’m wondering, though, if I could cook the shallots and chard ahead of time and then reheat them, adding the eggs and cheese, the next morning?

And what do you do with chard stems? I’m using mine in Bon Appetit’s easy "Sriracha Fridge Pickles." Mmm. My spicy, crunchy, pickle-love.
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