Archive for ‘garlic’

September 21, 2011

At the buzzer!

With only days to spare I am going to get this Gazpacho post up while it is still in fact summer! Gazpacho is one of my absolute favorite things about the summer season… there is something about it that is just so refreshing. Cool, fresh and delicious, it is the perfect way to beat the summertime heat.  I also love eating a dish that is completely raw – no cooking required!

I have been meaning to post this since July, prime Gazpacho time, but things got crazy. Don’t despair, there is still time to enjoy this wonderful summertime soup one more time before the highly anticipated transition to heartier soups. I cannot wait for fall soup season!

This is the kind of ‘recipe’ that all you recipe-lovers hate, because it isn’t one. Everytime I make gazpacho I do it a wee bit differently and adjust ingredients to taste. So what you’ll need are the ingredients below and a good food processor to smush it all together! Add, remove and adjust ingredients to your liking! Mine typically includes extra bell peppers, scallions, and some fresh jalapeno.

Ingredients:

lots of ripe tomatoes, cored (seeds and guts removed)
colored bell peppers – chopped
scallions – chopped
red and white onion – chopped
cucumbers – peeled and chopped
fresh jalapeno – diced
garlic – diced
stale bread crumbs – chopped, included to add texture (not necessary)

I blend all of the above in a food processor and then add (to taste):

olive oil
hot sauce
parsley
cilantro
tomato juice
fresh lime juice
salt and pepper – very important with gazpacho!

Also important, let the gazpacho sit at least 12 hours, if not a full 24 hours. The flavors really need to blend together in order to come out perfect!

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May 23, 2011

Kale and Broccoli Pizza

Yes, kale even makes a wonderful pizza topping!

Boston has seen nothing but rain for what feels like weeks and weeks, so at the end of a particularly dreary and rainy day, homemade pizza was the perfect dinner! Whole wheat pizza dough topped with fresh mozzarella, grated parm, broccoli and crispy oven-roasted kale chips makes for a nutritious meal that still fulfills the cheese quota so needed after a cold and rainy day. The pizza was served with a mixed greens salad with lots of veggies.

To make the pizza:

  • Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough
  • Trader Joe’s pizza sauce (I added chopped fresh basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and dried oregano)
  • fresh mozzarella, 8 oz
  • shredded Parmesan cheese, I didn’t measure… about 3/4 cup or so?
  • chopped broccoli
  • minced fresh garlic
  • kale, chopped into small pieces

1) roll out Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough on a cutting board with lots of flour, I made two smallish (about 8 inch) pizzas. With enough time I would have preferred to make the pizza dough from scratch- my dad makes an amazing sourdough pizza dough, but Trader Joe’s had to do on a work night.
2) chop broccoli crowns into small pieces, steam lightly in a vegetable steamer
3) chop kale and toss (lightly) with olive oil, salt and pepper. place on a cooking sheet and cook at 375 for about 10-12 minutes or until crisp. They will turn a darker green… my kale chips ended up getting a little extra crispy (almost burned), but were still delicious, they literally melt in your mouth.
4) add pizza sauce to pizza dough and top with chunks of fresh mozzarella and shredded parm cheese. Then add broccoli and fresh chopped garlic.
5) bake pizza for about 15 minutes, until edges of crust are lightly browned and crispy. Add kale for last 1-2 minutes of baking just to re-heat.

For the salad:

  • romaine lettuce and fresh spinach
  • grape tomatoes
  • cucumbers, chopped
  • shredded fresh Parmesan
  • stale bread for homemade croutons (or fresh if necessary, hamburger buns, rolls, etc. work too)

1) toss lettuce, spinach, grape tomatoes, cucumbers and parm together
2) take bread and cut into bite size pieces. Coat lightly in olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and any extra spices – I used dried oregano and parsley- bake in oven or toaster oven until crunchy, about 5 minutes.
3) for a salad dressing I recommend a to-taste combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, pepper and fresh chives… a simple dressing works for this relatively simple salad, and the end result was fresh and delicious!

April 13, 2011

Welcome to Spring!

Spring is finally here! Over the past few weeks we’ve had quite a few sunny days, and I do have to say that there is nothing like a bright blue spring sky to uplift spirits. I’ve started to see leaves on trees and colorful flowers beginning to bloom all over the city. With the onset of warmer weathers things begin to get exciting in food again – I’m (almost) done with squash, root vegetables, and potatoes, and I am ready to move on to lighter fruits and vegetables.

Summer is my favorite food season – grilling, fresh fruit, seafood, and my favorite part – farmer’s markets! Boston is lucky to have an abundance of wonderful farmer’s markets throughout the city neighborhoods, and I plan to visit as many as possible this summer and feature them here.

So, in honor of a new season, this week’s edition of What’s in Season Wednesday is dedicated to spring! A variety of fruits and vegetables are in season in New England throughout spring and into early summer. I have listed a few of my favorite spring produce items below and included their individual harvest seasons:

Arugula – mid May – late September
Asparagus – late April – late June
Beets – mid May – late September
Broccoli – mid June – late October
Cabbage – early June – late October
Chard – mid May – mid September
Collards – mid May – mid November
Fava beans – May – late June
Garlic greens – mid May – late June
Mint – early April – early September
Onions – early June –  September
Parsley – mid May – October
Rhubarb – mid May – late August
Spinach – April – early July
Strawberries – mid May – mid July
Thyme – mid May – September

March 29, 2011

Panko crusted salmon with roasted potatoes and garlic kale

This dinner was AMAZING. It was one of those nights where you don’t plan to cook, but a little window of time opens up  and you get creative and fresh and delicious and are so glad you did!

There isn’t much too much follow for this one – its simple.

For the salmon:

I covered the flesh side of the salmon with a little spicy mustard and added panko bread crumbs – panko is a flakey light bread crumb often found in Japanese cooking, it tends to be more crunchy and crispier than regular bread crumbs because it is baked without crusts. Because its easy to find, I recommend McCormick Crusting Panko Blend, with garlic, lemon and rosemary – especially if its your first time cooking with panko, you can always explore after that. Keep in mind – it also goes very well as a crust on baked chicken.

Then I added the salmon filets, skin side down, in a saute pan that had about 1-2 tablespoons of hot olive oil in it. I let them cook about 4 minutes, then threw the entire pan in the oven at 375 for about 10 more minutes – your kitchen will begin to be filled with the wonderful aroma of rosemary and garlic.

In addition, I chopped red bliss potatoes, added parsley and garlic and olive oil, and baked them for about 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes were done.

And of course the garlic kale you’ve seen before. In case you missed it the first time, simply heat up 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, add chopped garlic and shallots and the kale. Let it cook down for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how much you cook.

Simple, fun and healthy!

nutritionally speaking: excellent source of vitamins A*, C, B6, B12, Niacin
great source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate

*one serving of kale is 354% of your vitamin A!

January 24, 2011

last night’s dinner – a collection of sides

sometimes a great meal can be found in a bunch of side dishes. too often its assumed that a meal must have a meat portion or fish portion, but some delicious meals can be made out of a collection of what would usually be considered sides!

last night’s dinner was just that. kale, rosemary roasted butternut squash and onions, and trader joe’s vegetable rice came together extremely well.

sauteed garlic and kale
kale is the king of nutrients! use an entire bunch of fresh kale. as its cooked it will wilt and one bunch can easily be eaten by 2-3 people (and it is great re-heated for leftovers). while heating 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, wash and chop the kale into smaller strips. add kale and stir every minute or so. add diced garlic and shallots after about 5 minutes and cook for another 12-15 or so. taste the kale to see if it is done – it should be cooked and easy to chew, but still slightly crisp.

rosemary roasted butternut squash and onions
first step, selecting a good butternut squash – the squash should feel heavy, and the skin should be firm and clear, no large indents or bruises. the skin should be a yellow/gold/orange color and when you tap the squash you should hear a hollow sound.


second step, preparing the squash.  peel away the skin of the squash with a traditional peeler until the orange flesh of the squash is visible – usually 2-3 layers under the skin. next, scoop out the seeds and flesh. chop the orange flesh of the butternut squash into cubes. in a large bowl add chopped onion,  a few diced garlic cloves, 2-3 diced shallots, lots of rosemary, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. mix together well to coat all ingredients with olive oil and bake in the oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.

although there are many dishes that could be included with the two above to make a complete meal i used trader joe’s vegetable rice to tie it all together. if you haven’t had this rice yet (and live near a tj’s) you have to pick some up on your next shopping trip -its in the frozen food section. in addition to being delicious and simple to prepare, i think it adds a healthy, warm and comforting food to bring the entire dish together.

nutritionally speaking – excellent source of vitamins a, b6, c, e, and k, manganese, copper, iron, calcium, dietary fiber, lutein, and potassium.
rosemary is an anti-inflammatory herb that increases circulation, stimulates the immune system and improves digestion. in addition, both garlic and onion have properties that help prevent colds and winter illnesses, and help strengthen the immune system.