Recently, I added another bacon/greens combo concoction to my
growing list of greens recipes.
One quick note before I get to the recipe, I should put in a
quick note about identifying the greens. If you are one of those
people who didn’t get the benefit of asking or forgot to ask the
farmer what on earth all that green stuff was you had in your bag,
a couple websites offers some help identifying greens. About.com
has a decent list of greens with pictures and tips for uses. I’m
looking for others, but that seems to be the most complete. PCC
Natural Markets also has a
basic primer on greens.
Also, while I was out in Internet land, I found a few other
greens recipes and added them to my Food
And now to the recipe, or rather “recipe” because it’s an
approximate of proportions I used to make the dish on the fly:
When I decided to join a CSA, I was prepared for what food
bloggers and other folks said would be an onslaught of leafy greens
in the spring, (and summer, and fall). I saw it as a challenge, an
exercise for my budding creative culinary skills.
I saw this onslaught as an opportunity to get all the wonderful
vitamins and good-for-you things greens provide, and envisaged a
sudden turn to a healthy-eating lifestyle.
And then I got my first bunches of beet and mustard greens.
Actually, I didn’t even know what they were, and failed to ask
before happily and proudly skipping away with my bagful of fresh
It seems that while I was contorting to pat myself on the back,
I failed to look up what “greens” actually meant and in what
variety they come.
But this is not a story of a food failure.
In fact, it’s more of a food rescue.
So with the first batch, I made salad. It was … interesting. Not
that bad the first time around, but not regular, tender-lettuce
salad. It got better the second and third days after I beefed it up
with boiled eggs, bacon and other things that I’m sure negate all
the good-for-you qualities fresh greens provide.
I used to laugh at my friends from the South (land o’ collard
and many other kinds of greens) who regaled me with stories of
things like fried lettuce. I’d just about be on the floor, “You FRY
lettuce? You have got to be kidding,” I’d said. Yeah, it was
But all this was in my head as I chopped up a heaping helping
from my second batch. I fried it in bacon grease then
scrambled in some eggs and topped it all with crumbled bacon.
I will NEVER laugh at my Southern friends again.
It. Was. Good.
And then, on my third trip to pick up goods, a friendly farmer
at Pheasant Fields FarmRed Barn Farm gave me some
tips and the weekly newsletter included a great recipe of garlicky
greens with Andouille and onions to my weekly newsletter. The
recipe came courtesy of Shannon Harkness of , who says she acquired
it from a Cook’s Country magazine.
I made the recipe from the newsletter with mustard greens and
instead of cider vinegar, I used red wine vinegar (it’s what I had
in the house) and keilbasa (because the grocery store was out of
Andouille). I overcooked the greens a little bit, so they weren’t
quite bright green, and they were a touch bitter, but not
overwhelmingly so, just enough to make it interesting.
So, it seems, I’m coming to love the greens in a multitude of
varieties. If any of you have additional greens recipes, please,
please pass them on.
Garlicky Greens with Andouille and Onions
(From Cook’s Country magazine)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 ounces Andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into
half-moon shapes (substitues include kielbasa or chorizo)
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds greens, chopped
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
Brown sausage: Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until
just smoking. Cook sausage until well-browned, about 5 minutes. Add
onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic
until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add greens and vinegar, cover and cook until greens are wilted,
about 3 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high to evaporate
the liquid, about two more minutes.
Kebabs have to be one of my all-time favorite barbecue meals.
They allow you to dress up an otherwise bland piece of meat and
make something spectacular out of it. And it’s on a stick. I mean,
who doesn’t like food on a stick?
Shish Kebabs, or marinated meat roasted on a stick, have been
around for centuries. The food is said to come from Turkey,
according to research from
foodtimeline.org and reference librarian Lynne Olver.
The phrase comes originally from Turkish words meaining “skewer”
and “roast meat”.
Three main types dominate: ones with a dry rub, marinated and
ground meat pressed on a stick.
I’m a bigger fan of the marinated type, though I’ve had some
great dry-rub types. A friend once made this delicious dry rub with
cinnamon, cumin and other spices. Kabul’s on 45th Street in Seattle
comes to mind when thinking of places to get great kebabs without
making them yourself.
But Sunday was a stay-at-home kind of night, so I went hunting
online for recipes.
My main criticism of most kebab recipes out there are the calls
to alternate meat, onions and peppers or other veggies. While on
the face of it, having those flavors mix in the cooking wouldn’t
seem like a bad idea, but I’ve never had much success getting them
all to cook at the same pace. My onions usually end up fairly raw
while the meat blackens. So, I generally cook them separately.
But I came across a meat-only recipe that even tasted good
reheated (recipe below). Continue reading →
I’m such a sucker when it comes to mentions of food. When I see
photos or video shots of good food, I almost inevitablly end up
with a craving for it. I am the person for whom the rule “don’t
grocery shop while your hungry” applies.
So it was while I was grocery shopping — hungry —
when I saw a magazine photo of a stuffed green pepper.
I’ve never tried to cook a stuff pepper, and with the image in
my head, I committed myself — while still in the grocery
store — to making some.
Now here comes another sometimes wasteful mistake I tend to make
in the grocery store. I think I can just try to whip something up
with an ingredient that catches my eye. In the process of learning
to cook better, it’s a fun challenge to pull off something new with
existing or new-to-me ingredients. For the most part, it’s a good
thing, but I’ve sometimes bought myself into a trap of not really
knowing what to do with the thing when I get home and letting it
sit until it spoils or not understanding enough about how to cook
the ingredient and making something inedible.
I’ll write more at another time on how I’m working to remedy
that. For now, back to the peppers.
While at the store, I also tossed some Italian sausage and fresh
basil into my cart and dreamed of using up some pearl barley in my
pantry. Several days later, I managed to actually follow up on my
craving and made stuffed red peppers.
Below are the ingredients and portions I used and some notes on
how it turned out. Would love suggestions for improvement.
Somehow, I managed to hold on to a half pound of crab meat
without eating it immediately! For those who know me, this
is quite a feat. I can barely wait for a crab to cool before I
start ripping the thing open, let alone let shelled meat wait to
become part of a cooked dish.
But I’d decided on making crab cakes.
My past attempts have been OK, variations on some flour, egg,
maybe a few herbs and, of course, crab. The best I’d previously
done was one that included very few of the former and a whole lot
of the latter. It was basically crab meat loosely held together by
some stuff you couldn’t taste at all over the crab.
But I wanted to do it up right and fancy. Plus I’d recently
thumbed through Seattle culinary icon Tom Douglas’
“I Love Crab Cakes!”, 50 recipes that examine
different cake styles, different crabs and recipes from all
And then I happened upon a recipe that included another one of
my favorite food-like substances: beer.
So it ended up being not exactly a crab cake, it’s
technically a deep-fried fritter.
It turned out well, though I could have used a little more crab
for my personal tastes. I used a pilsner so as not to overpower the
flavor, which also ends up being a great leftover to pair with the
fritters afterward. I lack a hot oil thermometer, so I probably had
it a little too hot, not cooking the inside quickly enough before
getting a deep browned outside and allowing the whole thing to
crisp. I paired it with a garlic-y remoulade dip, that was OK, but
not spectacular so I’m not adding the recipe here. The book has one
that I’ve yet to try. I also served a side salad and a corn
I’ve been taking to heart some meal-planning and time-saver
suggestions given by
readers. There were some great tips, some of which I’ll
elaborate on in the future.
One of the things that helps when faced with a late night and
the need for a quick meal is having a well-stocked kitchen. I read
through simple food guru Mark
Bittman’s suggestions for core supplies.
Among the suggestions (and one I was a fan of anyways) is a bag
of frozen shrimp. It’s really a versatile little critter than can
be cooked quickly in a million different ways.
In the past couple years, I’ve seen several variations of
recipes including shrimp and my favorite tiny pasta, orzo. A couple
weeks ago, I threw together my variation based on what I had in the
house. I made double what I noted below because if you
really want to save time, you eat leftovers. Let me know
if you try this out and if you make or should make any variations:
Continue reading →
I have a little pile of handwritten or memorized recipes in my
daily dinner arsenal that I call my “go-to” meals. They’re things I
can make that don’t take a huge amount of preparation, but that I
wouldn’t be ashamed to serve to guests.
The list grows as I learn to cook better and find new
With the sun shining today, I’ll likely go to one of my
favorites that works well for either a grill or a broiler:
This is really no recipe at all, just a throw-together kind of
thing. I make use of the now gigantic rosemary bushes in my
backyard and a pretty forgiving fish. Plus it’s a really easy
after-work kind of way to
break out the grill.
The prep takes about all of 10 minutes. Here’s what you need
(base the amount of everything else on the size of your salmon
sweet onion (like Walla Walla or similar variety)
lemon, thin sliced
fresh rosemary sprigs
salt & pepper
Rub salt and pepper on the salmon, layer lemon, onion and
rosemary sprigs on the fillet and close over with foil. Broil or
grill until firm in the center and fish flakes (about 10-15 min.
under the broiler, depending on the thickness of your fillet).
I play around with it, and have added garlic salt and a touch of
cayenne to the rub. The foil helps seal in the moisture, and I
don’t always layer the ingredients in the same order. I think
having the onions closer to the fish gives them a better
high-fiber recipe that was pretty simple to make. I made
it while my
cassoulet was baking this weekend and froze some for
giving away and for later in the week.
I’ve copied their recipe below, but I made my own additions
while it cooked because the original recipe seemed a little tart
and lacked some depth. I added about two tablespoons of brown sugar
and a heaping tablespoon of cocoa to the mix. I also simmered it
about 10 minutes longer than recipe called for.
Serving size is about two cups, and each serving has about 16
grams of fiber. It’s only supposed to have 294 calories (and it’s
pretty filling for having that much), but if you add the sugar like
I did, that’ll obviously add up.
The idea of something wrapped in lettuce does not on the face of
it always sound like a main meal to me. But lately, I’ve been
craving a concoction I first had at PF Chang’s, and made some this
My husband was pretty dubious about a food wrapped in lettuce.
He didn’t say it, but I”m sure he thought: “Isn’t that salad?” But
I think I made a convert this weekend.
If you’ve never had one, they’re pretty simple things. Bibb or
Boston lettuce leaves are filled with marinated meats, veggies,
crunchy things and topped with a savory sauce. You can be pretty
flexible about what you put inside. The key is to making a sauce
that has a lot of flavor that you like.
Places like PF Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory and others serve
these as appetizers, but I thought they worked well as part of a
multi-plate meal (I also served up some stir-fry bok choy and a
plate of my grandma’s-style fried rice), and would probably be fine
eating just these for dinner. Actually, if I was more carefully
watching what I ate, I would just have the wraps as meals. They’re
relatively filling, and depending on what you put in them, they can
be relatively fat-free.
For my lettuce wraps, I included marinated and stir-fried
chicken slices, some thin-sliced, marinated shitake, bean sprouts,
julienned carrots that I briefly stir-fried,
and deep-fried maifun sticks.
So, like I said, the key is in sauce, something blending
salty-sweet-savory-spicy. I’ve seen variations on Thai style chili
and lime, various soy-based sauces and more. You just have to find
what you like. I happen to love big ginger taste and Hoisin sauce, so below I’m offering up
one to my tastes. I’m also including the marinade I used for the
chicken. Continue reading →
The alternate title for this blog entry was: What I made from
all the stuff I had to use up in my ‘fridge. Thursday night, before
a five-day vacation (I’ll be back next Wednesday) I found
myself faced with some stray veggies and meat in the refrigerator
and found myself faced again with the stray food still sitting on
my shelves, a testament to poor pre-vacation planning.
This happens more than I should admit, but there was good news
in this one. It seems like all those recipes and food blogs I’ve
been reading are starting to pay off. I managed to open the fridge,
pull out a few of the things in there and make a meal, no recipes,
and for the first time, didn’t end up with something I’d
rather toss out or feed to the dog (note: I don’t
actually feed people food to my dog).
It was even something that I think was shareable, though it
probably needs a little work (crowdsource recipe-making anyone?).
Not all the proportions aren’t precise, because I’m not so good at
pre-planning the packing part either. If any of you try it, let me
know how it came out for you and what changes you make.
Chicken and Fennel in Sherry Cream Sauce
1.5-2 ilb chicken thighs (skinned and trimmed)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
About 1 Tbs dried thyme
2-second pour (1/2 to 3/4 cup) of dry sherry
About 1 cup vegetable stock
About 1/2 cup cream
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Brown chicken over
medium-high, remove from skillet and set aside. Saute fennel, onion
and garlic until onion begins to wilt. Add thyme, sherry and
vegetable stock to skillet, stir. Add carrots and lay chicken on
top. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
Add cream and truffle cream. Stir and simmer about 1 minute
more. Serve over rice.