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Posts Tagged ‘Greens’

When we got married, we had the most adorable woman catering our wedding.  She was hilarious and so sweet.  In one of our conversations, she started talking about Tyler Florence, and referred to him as “a little slice of heaven.”  A couple weeks ago, I caught an episode of his, and he made a salad that looked just incredible.  I mentally added those ingredients to my next farmers market list, determined to make it.  And when I did, OMG.  If it’s possible for a salad to be a little slice of heaven, well, this is it.

Like most recipes anywhere, but especially for salads, the original is way too complicated.  I skipped a lot of steps and ingredients.  It was still delicious.   The basics are beets, greens, and toasted bread.   The ingredients all taste good together, and none are so delicate as to be overpowered by the others.  So, just play around with proportions and just work with what ingredients you have.  Because this was my dark days meal, I skipped a few things (goat cheese, balsamic vinegar) that wouldn’t have been local, and nothing was missed.

Winter Panzanella Salad
adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients
Beets
Greens (recipe recommended arugula, I used baby chard.  Radicchio would probably be amazing.)
Pancetta
Italian bread, cut into crouton size pieces
Dates
Orange
Honey
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions

Spread the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake on 350 until they start to become dry and crispy, like croutons, about 10-15 minutes, depending on how big your cubes are.  When they are done, add to a large salad bowl.

Scrub the beets and cut them in half.  Cut the shallots in half.  Place on some tin foil, drizzle with oil, and wrap up.  Roast in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes or until the beets turn soft (mine took about 40 minutes).

When the beets are done, pour off the juices into a bowl (this is why you should wash the beets first).  Peel the beets and cut in to 1 inch chunks and put in a large salad bowl with the bread.  Mash up the shallots and add those to the roasted beet liquid.

Pit the dates and chop them into smaller chunks.  Add to the beets and bread.  Chop of the salad greens if needed and add those to that mixture.

Juice the orange or whatever citrus you have, and add that to the beet liquid.  Add a bit of honey and some vinegar if you’d like.

Dice the pancetta, and cook in a skillet.  When it’s cooked, pour that and the fat into the beet liquid with the citrus and honey.  Whisk together, pour over the salad, and toss.  If you want, add goat cheese.  Blue cheese would be good too.  But even without the cheese, the salad was incredible and made for a super delicious weeknight dinner.

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I’m cheating a bit here because my husband made the hard part of this.

In case you couldn’t tell by my infrequent posts lately, I’ve had a hectic few weeks.  Crazy deadlines at work, trip to Sonoma with friends, more chaos at work, and friends from out of town.   Somewhere in the middle of that, I managed to flip through the current issue of Saveur, saw this amazing Lidia Bastianich recipe, and realized I had everything I needed to make it.  Unfortunately, the night that I had planned to make it, I was buried in work, so my amazing husband made the bread.  When I finally pulled myself away from my laptop to make the filling, that came together easily and dinner was ready.

So, I can’t really speak to how easy the bread was, but it didn’t look too difficult and it was delicious.   It was simple and delicate and would probably go well with a variety of fillings.

If you can’t find broccoli rabe, I think Swiss chard would probably go well here.

Umbrian Flatbread Sandwiches with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Recipe by Lidia Bastianich from Saveur

Ingredients

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
4 cups broccoli rabe
1 1/2 lbs pork sausage (I used sweet Italian)

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together yeast and 10 tbsp. water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Combine flour and salt in a food processor; pulse to blend. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to yeast mixture and, with food processor running, pour in yeast mixture. Process until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead for 6 minutes. Form dough into a ball; transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours.

Punch the dough down; divide in half. Lightly flour one piece of dough and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 9″ disk. Place disk on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover dough with a damp towel; let sit for 15 minutes. Heat a 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, cook each dough disk, flipping occasionally, until light brown, about 10 minutes.
To cook the sausage, fill a skillet with some water, add the sausage, and simmer until the sausage is cooked through.  Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.   Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in the skillet.  Add the garlic and chile flakes and stir for a minute.   Add the broccoli rabe and cook until hot, about 3-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the sausage and return to the skillet.  Stir in with the broccoli rabe until the rabe is cooked and everything is incorporated.

Slice each flat bread in half horizontally to create two rounds – this is easier than it sounds!  Arrange broccoli rabe and sausages on bottom half of bread, drizzle with a little oil if you’d like, and top with other half. Cut sandwiches into wedges and serve.

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The best thing about spring is that I get to make this salad.  I adore it.  Fresh peas are absolutely amazing, and this salad has lots of them.  Freshly shelled and left raw, they are sweet and crunchy and perfect with the spinach, feta, and lemony dressing.

The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef cookbook.  Like most Jamie Oliver recipes, it’s pretty relaxed and not very precise.  Just toss a few handfuls of baby spinach with a handful of fresh shelling peas and crumble some fresh feta over it.  To dress, mix one part lemon juice with two parts olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper and whisk together.  Toss the dressing over the salad and you are good to go.

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I had an insane week, running around to meetings all over the place.  When Friday came, I just wanted some good food and a giant glass of wine.  There wasn’t much in the house, but I had a head of escarole crammed in the back of the fridge that I had forgotten I bought last weekend at the farmers market.   Still good!  My lucky day.  With a bit of pancetta and a couple of leeks on hand, I figured I could toss a quick pasta dish together.

I really think you can’t go wrong by just tossing a bunch of spring produce into a pot, and this dish proved to be no exception.  Yum.  Best of all, I could prep and cook the vegetables in the same amount of time it took to boil the water and cook the pasta.  After just 20 minutes, I was eating my yummy spring dinner and drinking my wine.  The bonus was lots of leftovers for easy weekend lunches. 

Pasta with Pancetta, Escarole, and Leeks

Ingredients
1 pound pasta (I used linguine)
1-2 heads of escarole (1 was fine, but next time I’ll do two because I like lots of greens in my pasta)
4 ounces finely diced pancetta
2 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of dry white wine
olive oil
salt, pepper, and grated parmesan to serve

Directions
Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Meanwhile, wash the escarole and chop into thin ribbons, and prepare the leeks and garlic.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and the pancetta.  Saute for a couple minutes and add the leeks, sauting for another 5 minutes or so until they start to get soft.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so.

Around this point, the water should be boiling, so add your pasta.

Add the wine to the leeks, scraping up any brown bits from the pancetta from the bottom of the pan.  Add the escarole, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Stir every three or four minutes or so. 

Just before you drain the pasta, take the lid off, add a half cup or so of the pasta water to the escarole, and continue to simmer.  Drain the pasta and add it to the escarole mixture, mixing well.  Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and serve with grated parmesan.  A glass of wine too – I went for St. Supery’s sauvignon blanc, perfect with the dish.

 

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I don’t really have that much to say about this dish, except that:

1. It’s really good, really easy, and you should make it.  And quickly, because spring is almost here (exhibit A – asparagus at the farmer’s market last week). 

2. It makes a ton and reheats relatively well.

3. Between this and the sweet potato gnocchi with arugula I made a few months back, I’m now convinced that arugula and orange vegetables go together like ramma lamma lamma ka dinga de dinga a dong.

4.  Leave out the cheese and it’s great for the vegans.  Or, go the other direction and add bacon. Which, since I’m not a vegan, would be the way I’d go. 

Penne with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, and Bitter Greens
Recipe by me

Ingredients
1 pound of penne
1 1/2-2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, and cut into a 1 inch dice
1/2 cup of walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
A few large handfuls of greens.  I used arugula and radicchio, probably about 5 or 6 cups.
Olive oil, salt, and pepper
Grated parmesan to serve

Directions
Preheat oven to 425.  Toss the squash cubes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss in a roasting pan.  Roast for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice, until squash is soft and lightly carmelized around the edges.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil and cook the pasta.  Return the pasta to the pot.  Slowly mix in the squash, along with any juices from the pan.  Add the greens in bunches, stirring until just wilted.  Add the toasted walnuts and stir to combine.

Serve with grated cheese.

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I was having friends over for pizza, and I wanted something not too cheesy or bread based for an appetizer.  I have seen kale chips popping up in the blogs lately and thought they might be just the right thing.  There’s, s a few different recipes going around, but this one by Dan Barber of Blue Hill Farms, which appeared in Bon Appetit, seemed like the way to go.   

They are super easy to prepare.  I whipped them up and they tasted like a potato chip, only more vegetal.  Light, crispy, and a faint vegetable taste to them.  Very crunchy and addictive. 

But, 10 minutes before people arrived, I freaked that they were just a little too hippie to serve to people.  

How would people react to burnt leaves?  

It was too late to change my mind, though. I had nothing else to serve, so the hippie food stayed out.  Thankfully, my risk taking paid off.  While one guest did say, “you can eat those?!”, everyone loved them and the double batch I made was completely gone.  People liked them enough that these may become a party staple of mine.

Tuscan Kale Chips
Recipe from Bon Appetit

Ingredients
12 large Tuscan kale leaves, rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half, center ribs and stems removed 
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 250°F.  Toss kale with oil in large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange leaves in single layer on 2 large baking sheets.  Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes for flat leaves and up to 33 minutes for wrinkled leaves.  Transfer leaves to rack to cool.

At this point, you could break them up and have them more chip size, but I liked the presentation in Bon Appetit.  Into a vase they went to be nibbled on with wine, marinated olives, and quick salt and sugar radish pickles

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A couple weeks ago, I signed up for a meat CSA program through Marin Sun Farms.  Once a month, we’ll get a random assortment of braising and roasting cuts and ground meat from grass fed, pasture raised, humanely treated animals.   Our first shipment arrived February 11 and the meat looked amazing.  We celebrated Valentine’s day by cooking up these beef back ribs, which were included in our first shipment.

To go with it,  I decided to try my hand at homemade pasta.  This was the first time I’ve made homemade pasta and it was much, much simpler than I ever imagined.  I’ve got a Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment, bought ages ago with a William Sonoma gift card.  It had languished unused in the box for over a year, but I’m happy to report that its maiden voyage was a smooth one.  I used the recipe that came with the roller and I had no problems whatsoever.   I bought some beautiful mushrooms at the farmers market, but unfortunately, the name of them escapes me.  I sauted those with kale and served that with the beef over the pasta.  Fantastic, especially with a nice bottle of cabernet from Jessup Cellars in Napa.

I didn’t have time this week to prepare a completely local meal, so I’m counting this as my Dark Days contribution for the week.  Everything here is local, except for the flour I used in my pasta.  I realize that’s a pretty substantial exception, so this isn’t the my best work.  But, it is what it is.  For next year’s challenge, I’ll hopefully own a car and I can drive around in search of local flour.  Until then, I’ll just count my local blood, sweat and tears in making it myself.

Braised Beef Back Ribs with Mushrooms and Kale
Recipe by me

Ingredients
1.5-3 pounds of beef back ribs
4 cups of red wine
3 or 4 carrots, sliced in three inch chunks
One onion, cut into large chunks
A few sprigs of thyme
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
1 small bunch of Tuscan kale, thick stems removed, and chopped into 1 inch ribbons
1 large shallot
1 tablespoon of butter
Olive oil, salt, and pepper
1 pound of pasta, preferably a wide, flat noodle such as pappardelle

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a dutch oven or oven safe pan, heat up a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Place the rack of ribs in and brown all over, about 5 minutes.  Add about 3 cups of wine, the carrots, onions, and a few sprigs of thyme.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper, cover and put in the oven for about 1.5 hours, checking after an hour or so to see if more liquid is needed, and if so, add a bit more wine or some water. 

When the meat seems tender, take the pot out of the oven, remove the meat, cover, and set aside.  Remove the thyme springs.  Transfer the vegetables and cooking liquid to a blender or food processor, pureeing until smooth.  Add a little more wine if the mixture seems too thick. 

Pour the liquid back in the dutch oven and put the meat on top.  Cover again and put it back in the oven.  If the meat is done enough for you, just set it on warm.  Otherwise, keep it at 325 or so until you are ready to eat.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add one tablespoon olive oil and one tablespoon butter.  When the butter melts, add the diced shallot, and slowly cook until it begins to carmelize.  Add the kale, tossing to coat.  Add one cup of wine and cover.  Simmer over medium low for about 10 minutes, until kale starts to soften.  Add the sliced mushrooms, cover again, and continue to cook another five minutes or so.  Add salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta.  When draining, reserve a cup or so of the water. 

To put everything together, take the meat out of the oven and slice the ribs.  Add a bit of the pasta water to the vegetable puree if needed.  Toss the pasta with the kale and mushrooms, adding a bit of pasta water if needed.  Serve the pasta in bowls, with a rib and some vegetable puree spooned over it.

We cooked a pound of pasta because that’s what the recipe called for, but we only had three beef ribs.  So we just tossed the vegetable puree in with the rest of the pasta and ate it without the meat for leftovers.  But doubling the amount of meat would probably result in 6 hearty portions.

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