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Crispy Bacon Brussels Sprouts

13 Jan

brussels sprouts - cut in halves

Brussels sprouts and bacon pair perfectly together, and we love them roasted to crispy perfection in the oven!  My favorite bacon to use for this dish is the Whole Food’s brand of uncured applewood smoked bacon — it is thick cut with a good meat to fat ratio, and has a slight but not overwhelming smoke quality to it.

brussels sprouts - bacon

The key to roasting Brussels sprouts is to get the crispy exterior without overcooking the sprouts on the inside — mushy Brussels sprouts are no fun.  Here’s how to roast your Brussels sprouts to crispy bacon-y perfection (caution: you will be hooked!):

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Sauteed Enoki Mushrooms w/Spinach

9 Dec

enoki spinach - serve

Seven years go, David and I lived for a couple years in the Upper Eastside.  A time long before our gluten-free days, our favorite neighborhood place for Chinese food delivery was Café Evergreen (which, it seems, has now closed).  One dish in particular remains in my mind, mostly because it was so simple yet surprisingly satisfying: sauteed enoki mushrooms with spinach.  I recently had 2 bunches of enoki mushrooms and spinach sitting in my fridge that I needed to use, so I decided to make my own interpretation of the Café Evergreen dish.  This veggie dish is very simple, quick, and delicious.  The enoki mushrooms almost feel like “noodles.”  I didn’t have any fresh ginger on hand, so I used ground ginger, which worked fine — but next time, I’ll probably use fresh grated ginger instead. Continue reading

Sauteed Black Tuscan Kale w/Red Onions+Garlic

8 Dec

kale - tuscan kale

‘Tis the season for winter greens!  I recently found on sale these these little bunches of black Tuscan kale, locally produced by Satur Farms.  They are smaller than your more typical kale, and have a bumpy, crinkly surface.  In the past, David hasn’t been the biggest fan of kale — he finds kale bitter and its stems too tough.  I thought I’d give the black Tuscan kale a try anyway, mostly because they looked pretty.  Surprisingly, David LOVED the black Tucan kale and couldn’t get enough of it!  The black Tuscan kale has an earthier, almost sweeter flavor than the large type of kale, and the texture is lovely — the leaves are soft but not mushy .  After blanching the kale, I cooked the leaves very simply with sauteed red onions and garlic — a perfect pairing with a pork chop.

Here’s how: Continue reading

Grilled Shishito Peppers

28 May

I love grilled shishito peppers, and am able to eat great quantities of them in one sitting.  Grilled shishito peppers appear to be trending at restaurants these days, which is understandable as they make for great bar snacks.  If you come across good looking shishito peppers (I found some at Fresh Direct recently), it’s super easy to make them at home.

Here’s how I grill them:

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Garnet Yams+Japanese Sweet Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat

23 Feb

Duck-fat-fried anything is delicious.  Rich, yes.  Probably not ideal for your waistline, yes.  But occasionally?  Fabulous.  Often, when I sear duck breasts, I strain out the fat and keep it refrigerated in a glass jar.  Recently, I came across organic garnet yams AND organic Japanese sweet potatoes on Fresh Direct.  David had wanted to have more sweet potatoes available for snacking purposes, and so I thought this was a good time to try…yams and sweet potatoes cooked in duck fat.

Here’s how I went about cooking the gorgeous yams and sweet potatoes in duck fat:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Peel the yams and sweet potatoes — I used 2 yams and 3 sweet potatoes.  Chop them into pieces, about 1 inch cubes.  Finely chop one onion.

In a skillet on medium-high heat, heat about 2 tablespoons of duck fat.  Once it melts, stir in the potatoes, making sure to coat them in the fat.  Salt and pepper.  After a few minutes, add the onions.  Stirring frequently, cook the potatoes until the sides begin to sear and turn brown.

Put the skillet in the oven to finish cooking.  (Note: I discovered that the Japanese sweet potatoes cook faster than the yams, which I didn’t expect.)  Stirring occasionally, cook until the yams are cooked and a fork goes easily through it.  You might want put it under broil it for a few minutes to brown the potatoes a little more.  Adjust the seasoning if needed.

The result was more like a chunky hash than “fried” potato pieces — which suits us fine.  The caramelized onions go nicely with the sweet potatoes.  The duck fat definitely adds the flavor, but the potatoes do not come out greasy at all.  Savory and sweet at the same time, this yam/sweet potato concoction turned out delicious!

Mediterranean-style Salsa

9 Feb

We’ve found gorgeous organic, heirloom mini-tomatoes here in Stockholm — perfect for making my “Mediterranean salsa” even more colorful!  This “salsa” is great alongside meats (pork chops, steaks), as a dip (with gluten-free crackers, for instance), or with eggs (fried or scrambled).  Very simple to make, and tasty.  In a large bowl, mix together: chopped up the tomatoes; a small red onion, minced; finely mince jalapeno pepper (less or more depending on your tolerance for heat); a big handful of basil, chiffonade; and 2 tablespoons or so of capers (depending on how much you like capers).  Squeeze in the juice of one lemon.  Drizzle some olive oil, and season with salt to taste.

P.S.> No need to use heirloom mini-tomatoes, of course.  Any delicious, preferably organic tomatoes would make a great Mediterranean-style salsa!

Festive Coleslaw with Mango

30 Jan

I made this coleslaw to go with the spiced ribs.  I wanted to infuse some sweetness to the salad to complement the spicy ribs — and had the idea to add mango into the mix.  The mango adds a faintly sweet, slightly tart quality to the coleslaw, and brightens the salad.  It’s colorful and flavorful, and pairs very nicely with the spicy ribs.  This coleslaw was a big hit at the birthday party — what a great way to get a solid vitamin C boost from the cabbage!  The coleslaw is excellent the next day.

INGREDIENTS

  • Half a head of cabbage, finely shredded (**I use a knife to thinly cut the cabbage.  Make sure to take out the core, and cut the half cabbage in yet another half — quartered — and thinly cut the sections.)
  • 1 large carrot, finely shredded (**I cut the carrot into thirds, then slice thinly length-wise/vertically; then I finely chop them into thin “match sticks.”)
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 mango, finely chopped into “matchsticks”
  • 1 stalk of scallion, finely chopped

DRESSING

  • 2 tbsp organic mayonnaise (made of free-range eggs)
  • 3 tbsp good quality white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup organic olive oil

Chop all the vegetables and place in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and white vinegar.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil, mix until smooth and silky.  Season with salt.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Sunday Roast: Roasted Garlic/Onion Parsnips + Roasted Leg of Lamb

25 Jan

Roasted parsnips are a new vegetable dish in our home.  I’d never cooked parsnips before, but turns out they are quite easy to roast.  A little sweeter and nuttier than carrots, parsnips pair very nicely with slow-roasted lamb — and together, they make a great Sunday dinner!  My favorite recipe for a slow-roasted lamb is Jamie Oliver’s “Incredible Roasted Shoulder of Lamb” — although the recipe calls for the shoulder, you could also apply the roasting method on a leg, which is what I did.

As for the parsnips, here’s how I  cooked them:

Preheat the oven to 400F (or about 200C).  Peel the parsnips and cut them into approx. 1/2 inch slices; lay them out in a baking dish.  Chop up a red onion (or 2, if you like red onions); peel and halve 6 or so cloves of garlic.  Add some sprigs of thyme or rosemary.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and mix.  Add about 3 tablespoons of water.

Cover tightly with foil, and put in the oven.  After about 20 minutes, take off the foil.  Toss the parsnips/onions/garlic, and continue to roast for another 20 minutes or so, until tender.  I like to keep moving the vegetables, so that they brown evenly.  If you want to crisp up the edges, broil for 5 minutes at the end.

The turnips keep for several days and make for a delicious sweet-ish veggie snack!

Simple Veg: Grilled Japanese Eggplants

15 Jan

I found these beautiful, organic Japanese eggplants at the supermarket the other day.  Japanese eggplants have thinner skin than the more typical, large purple variety, which make them easier to grill skin-on.  The only problem was that I didn’t buy more of them, because I LOVE grilled Japanese eggplants and I should have been more honest about how many eggplants I could consume in one sitting.

Trim the top and bottom of the eggplants, and cut into about 1/2 inch slices, skin on.  Score the eggplant slices, making sure not to cut through to the other side.  Salt generously, and set aside for about 30 minutes.  The eggplants will “sweat” and soften.  When softened, rinse the eggplants under cold water and pat-dry with paper towels.  Toss in olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper.

In a heated skillet, grilled the eggplants until browned on both sides and the eggplants are extremely tender.

These grilled eggplants were AMAZING.  Melt-in-your-mouth tender, and we ate them in a flash.  Next time, I will make sure to buy more eggplants!

Simple Veg: Orange-Thyme Roasted Carrots

15 Jan

Here’s a simple, delicious way of roasting carrots.  Preheat the oven to 200C (or about 400F).  Peel and chop carrots in about 1/2 inch thickness (I used 4 large carrots), and lay them out in a roasting pan.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and juice of one orange, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.  Throw in a a few garlic cloves (skin on), and a some thyme.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put in the oven.  Roast for about 30 minutes, or until a fork easily goes through the carrots.  Take off the foil and  broil for about 5 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.  The fresh orange juice gives the carrots a nice brightness.