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Archive for May, 2010

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This week has been an incredibly busy one for us, we are getting ready for the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn next weekend where we will be vendors, selling our wares. I love all the wonderful trips we get to take throughout the year, but the two weeks leading up are always very hectic. We have been working 12 hour days, are working this entire weekend including the holiday on Monday and we still have so much to do next week before we leave. I have still been cooking dinner each night, even if it is just a salad, some steamed spinach or a fresh veggie burger from the farmer’s market and I have been keeping up with my yoga routine. I know for me, the busier and more stressed I am, the more important these things are to my health and mental well being, than any other time. Though the meals have been much more thrown together and more about quickness and ease than anything else, it still makes me so happy to sit down to something I made totally from scratch with all fresh ingredients. It calms me and allows me to have a relaxing end to my day.

I decided after hitting up the farmer’s market, planting the veggie garden, printing a poster and sewing (among many other things today), I deserved to take an hour break to cook and enjoy a more put together meal. Sometime during the week, I saw these Wild Rice Patties from fresh365 and decided I would make some variation of it, as I had just about everything on hand and it looked to be a simple and tasty meal. I had a decent amount of spinach from the farmer’s market so I thought rather than the morels, which aren’t easy to find locally, the spinach would be a wonderful substitution. These patties had so much flavor and were so satisfying. Wild rice has so much going on, there is a nutty, sweetness that you won’t find in usual white or brown rice. The mint and chives, that I grabbed fresh from the garden, were perfect, I added more mint than the recipe called for as I really wanted to get that flavor. I guess I had forgotten how great mint was in things other than mojitos, the clean and crisp taste totally blew me away and stole the show. Also, we had bought some spicy yogurt sauce today at the farmer’s market and I tried it on a few bites of these patties and it was a great compliment.  I will most definitely be making these again and I am excited to try out some different variations. These would be great with a crisp green salad on the side.

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Wild Rice and Spinach Patties
makes 8 small patties
adapted from fresh365

1 egg
2 c cooked wild rice, brought to room temperature (leftover rice works great)
2 c chopped fresh spinach, cleaned and stems removed
3 T finely chopped chives
3 T chopped mint
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 T olive oil

Prepare the wild rice according to the package. When fully cooked, turn off heat and add the spinach, stir to combine and return the lid, allow to sit 10 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add rice and spinach mixture, chives, mint, salt and pepper. Stir well, and form into 8 patties. In a large grill pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Transfer patties to the pan, press down with a spatula, and cook 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Flip patties over, press down with a spatula, and cook 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

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It was unseasonably hot in Buffalo today, mid-eighties and muggy. I am certainly not complaining, I love it. However, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook, it was far too hot for that. So, I took out a bunch of the beautiful asparagus that we grabbed on Saturday at the farmer’s market and made this delightful raw Spring salad. I served it with a piece of gluten-free focaccia and it perfectly complimented this bright and beautiful, sunny Spring day.

Shaved Asparagus and Parmesan Salad
serves 2

1 lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup walnuts
1 pound bunch of asparagus spears, trimmed
1 bunch fresh chives, snipped
wedge of Parmigiano-Regiano cheese, for shaving

In a small bowl whisk together the juice from one lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined. Set aside, whisk together again just before serving. In a dry pan over medium-high heat, toast the walnuts until they are lightly browned, set aside to cool. Using a mandoline, set over a cutting board, shave the asparagus lengthwise. Add the dressing to the asparagus on a large platter, let sit 5 minutes. Just before serving, top the salad with the toasted walnuts, chives, shavings of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy.

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This is one of my favorite meals, so light and so fresh.  The perfect summer-time meal and it was the best thing for our first patio dinner of the season. We were able to do all the cooking outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. I love the sneak up heat from the chipotle cream and the freshness from the grilled corn and the fresh pico de gallo, these three ingredients should not be skipped, they set these tacos apart from most that I have had. We served this with a small dollop of organic refried black beans and a few fresh corn chips from the farmer’s market on the side.

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Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream
serves 4

Chipotle Cream
via Ellie Krieger, Food Network

6oz of lowfat greek yogurt (if you cannot find greek yogurt, drain regular yogurt using a strainer and a paper towel)
2 tablespoons of mayo
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce (use just sauce if you want it less spicy, include a chopped pepper or two if you like the spice)

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Fish
1 pound white flaky fish, such as cod, tilapia or halibut
1 tablespoon of olive oil
freshly squeezed juice, from 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

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For the tacos
8-12 fresh homemade corn tortillas
chipotle cream (see recipe above)
shredded lettuce or cabbage
freshly grilled ear of corn, taken off the cob after it cools
cilantro, chopped
green onions, thinly sliced
avocado, diced
pico de gallo (I usually make by own from scratch, but we found some delicious homemade fresh pico de gallo at the Farmer’s Market)
lime wedges

To make the chipotle cream, add the yogurt, mayo and chipotles into small bowl and stir to combine. This can be made ahead of time and chilled until you are ready to eat.

Lay the fish flat in a glass baking pan, cover in olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Start your grill and after it reaches a medium-high heat add the corn and cook until done, about 15-20 minutes. We put the corn right on the grill in the husk after we soaked it a bit, you can also take it out of the husk and cook it in foil.

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Meanwhile, chop and prep all of your ingredients for the tacos and place in bowls for serving.

Make the dough for your corn tortillas, press and cook them, store in a warm oven or in a tortilla warmer until you are ready to eat.

Remove the fish and add it to a foil lined grill pan on your hot grill, cook for approximately 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through, opaque and flaky. Set fish aside for 5 minutes. Flake the fish with a fork.

Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of chipotle cream. Top with fish, lettuce, corn, cilantro, green onions, pico de gallo, avocado and/or any other items that you would like. Serve with lime wedges.

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This was a delicious and quick weeknight dinner, it was full of so many different levels of flavors and textures. If you have never tried red curry, you really need to. It has a very subtle heat and it is made up of a variety of different spices, I really love the hint of lemongrass that it brings. Look for jars of red curry paste in the Asian aisle at the supermarket. These noodles have a lovely creaminess from the peanut butter, that subtle spice from the red curry and so many great textures with the green onions, carrots, cucumber and peanuts. We served a few grilled shrimp atop the noodles, but it definitely doesn’t need it, so you can go without for a great vegetarian meal.

This would also make the perfect side dish for a summer-time picnic. I rinsed our noodles in hot water to keep the dish at a warm temperature but you could easily rinse the noodles in cold water to make it a completely cold dish. You could even make the noodles and chill them up to a day ahead of time, just make the sauce the day-of and toss it together to make a quick cold noodle salad. You could use any noodle you like here, regular fettucini, whole wheat spaghetti, etc.

I didn’t think this was too spicy by any means, but if you aren’t a big fan of spicy, take the red curry paste to 1 tablespoon and leave off the red pepper flakes at the end.

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Curry Peanut Rice Noodles
serves 4
adapted from Food Network Magazine, June 2010

Kosher salt
12 ounces gluten-free rice noodles, I prefer Tinkyada’s pad thai style brown rice fettucini
2/3 cup organic crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for serving
1/3 cup of fresh cilantro, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup water
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thing strips
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 cup of dry roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed
Red pepper flakes

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid, drain the noodles and rinse. Shake off excess water.

Meanwhile, puree the peanut butter, curry paste, vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, 1/2 cup of water and   of salt in your food processor until smooth. Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce, green onions, cucumber and carrot in large bowl until coated. Season with salt and stir in some of the reserved cooking liquid from the pasta to loosen the sauce, if necessary. Serve on plates, topped with more cilantro, green onions, crushed peanuts and pepper flakes, if you like a bit of heat. Serve with lime wedges. We topped our noodles with a few pieces of shrimp that we grilled up quickly, it added a nice taste.

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Last night after we left the studio, we had planned on throwing together something quick and heading to the grocery store to grab what we needed for the next week. By the time we got home, the sun was still shining and neither of us felt like grocery shopping, so instead I decided we could make do with what we had at home and put the grocery store off one more night. I am glad we did.

We had a bag of baby potatoes and some delicious handmade veggie burgers from the Farmers Market, so I decided we would be able to do something amazing with these plus some frozen organic peas.  Both my oregano and chives came up on their own from last season and they are growing out of control, taking over my herb box, so I have been trying to take advantage and use them in almost everything I make. Since we were firing up the grill for the brown rice and spinach burgers, this sounded like the perfect way to make a side dish with the potatoes. They really turned out great. There was so much flavor from the fresh herbs and the crispy smoke flavor from the grill was perfect. I think we will be making this a lot this summer.

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Grilled Herb Potato Salad
serves 4

30 baby potatoes, halved
coarse kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, halve two of the cloves, mince the third
olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 bunch of fresh oregano, chopped
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Start by precooking the potatoes. Add the halved baby potatoes, a tablespoon of course salt, two cloves of garlic (halved) and enough water to cover the potatoes by 1-inch to a medium-sized pot over high heat. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender.

Drain potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water to cool quickly and stop the potatoes from cooking.

Start your grill, preheat with the cover on for about 10 minutes on high. Lightly spray a grill pan with cooking spray to keep the potatoes from sticking (if you do not have a grill pan, you can also thread the potatoes onto skewers).

Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the diced shallot, minced garlic, the chopped fresh herbs, plus 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix the mixture to combine the ingredients and then remove half of the mixture to a small bowl, set aside. Add the potatoes to the large mixing bowl, and toss to coat the potatoes with the oil and herb mixture.

Pour the potatoes into the grill pan and set onto your hot grill, we got a bit of smoke because of the little bit of oil dripping, but it gave the potatoes a great smokey flavor. Give the potatoes a stir every few minutes to make sure they aren’t sticking. Once you are sure they aren’t sticking, you can stir them last which will allow them to get crispier. Cook them over a high heat for approximately 15-20 minutes until they are fully cooked and starting to brown and crisp up a bit. (This time will depend on how hot your grill is, we couldn’t get our grill super hot so it took a bit longer, it may only take about 10-15 minutes on a very hot grill). Remove the grill pan from the heat, and add the potatoes back to your large mixing bowl, add the remainder of the oil and herb mixture, the pine nuts, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine. Enjoy.

(This can also easily be made by roasting or broiling the potatoes in shallow baking pan in your oven. The potatoes can also be boiled 1 day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Bring them to room temperature before boiling)

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This was a recipe I came up with this morning while I drank my tea, after doing a quick inventory on the refrigerator and pantry and thumbing through my Flavor Bible. I wanted to use some of the goodies we got at the Farmer’s Market this weekend and make something Springy and tasty. The wild rice had a beautiful earthy and nutty flavor. The spinach and fennel had a lemony tang and the perfect amount of that fresh crisp that I crave. The little bit of fresh country bacon brought a salty and smokey flavor and the toasted almonds brought a robust, toasty sweetness that really enhanced the flavor of the dish as a whole and finished it off nicely.

If you wanted to make this a vegetarian dish, you could easily leave off the country bacon and the dish would be equally delicious. I rarely cook with bacon, but when we saw this beautiful fresh bacon at the Farmer’s Market, that we bought directly from the farmer, I knew I would find the perfect dish for it to compliment. The country bacon was a cross somewhere between traditional bacon and ham, not too salty and not too greasy. This is the first time I have ever cooked with it and I most definitely will again.

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Wild Rice with Spinach, Fennel & Toasted Almonds
serves 2

4 cups of fresh spinach, stems removed and washed
2 cups fennel, chopped
3 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup whole raw almonds, unsalted
2 slices of local farm fresh country-style bacon, diced
1/2 lemon
2 cups wild rice, cooked
salt
freshly ground pepper

Prepare 2 servings of wild rice, according to the directions on the package. While it is cooking, over a medium-high heat, toast the whole almonds in a large dry non-stick saucepan. Remove the almonds from the pan once they begin to brown up and make slight popping sounds. Set aside. Once cooled, crush the whole almonds to your desired size.

Add the diced country bacon to the pan and brown it up over a medium-high heat (if the pan is too dry, add a drizzle of olive oil). After the bacon is browned up and heated through, remove it from the pan, cover and set aside.

Using the little bit of grease in the hot pan from the bacon, add the garlic and fennel, sauté over medium-high heat, stirring often, being careful not to burn them. Once the fennel is beginning to soften and brown up a little, about 6 minutes, add the spinach. Stir to combine the ingredients. Add a dash of salt, freshly ground pepper and the juice of half of lemon. Once the spinach has cooked down but still has a slight crisp, about 5 minutes, place 1 cup of wild rice on each plate, top it with the spinach and fennel mixture, then the bacon, crushed toasted almonds and freshly ground pepper. Serve.

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I had some asparagus and leeks in the refrigerator that I really needed to use up and I was contemplating what to do with them as I laid awake in bed this morning (yes, I think about food when I am waking up). Since I woke up pretty early and wasn’t falling back asleep, I decided I would get up and make a hearty Sunday morning breakfast for me and the hubby. An Asparagus and Leek Frittata sounded like the perfect Spring weekend wake-up to me and it was. The subtle crisp from the fresh asparagus, the oniony bite from the leeks, the creamy cheeses and the tasty farm fresh eggs that we grabbed at the farmers market were all so perfect together. This recipe would also make for a great dinner.

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Asparagus & Leek Frittata
serves 4-6

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
1 bunch of thin asparagus, cut diagonal into 1-inch pieces
7 large eggs
1 cup fontina cheese, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup grated fresh parmigiano-reggiano

Preheat the oven to 400° F

Melt butter in heavy cast iron skillet (9 or 10 inches in diameter) over medium heat. Add leeks, sauté 4 minutes. Add asparagus and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk eggs, fontina cheese, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Add egg mixture to the skillet, fold gently to combine. Allow the eggs to begin to set. With a spatula, lift up an edge of the frittata and tilt the skillet to allow the uncooked mixture to flow to the bottom of the pan. Continue to lift until the egg on top is no longer runny. Sprinkle some freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano on top and slide the skillet into the oven. Bake the frittata until it is firm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with a bit more fresh parmigiano-reggiano when it comes out of the oven. Cut into wedges and serve.

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