Grilled Pear Sandwich with Caramelized Onion Jam & Tomato Jerk Jam

Grilled Pear Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a grilled sandwich? I discovered that pears are delicious on a grilled rye sandwich. I don’t have a grill nor a yard for grilling, but if you turn your stove fan on high and pay attention you can grill thinly sliced pears on the electric burner. Just don’t try to do more than three slices at a time.

To make this sandwich, I heated my griddle to medium heat and buttered two slices of rye bread. I spread some caramelized onion jam on one side and some tomato jerk jam on the other. I layered 1/2 of a pear thinly sliced and grilled on top of both slices of bread and let them cook on the griddle until toasted, putting the sandwich together after it’s done.

Grilled Pear Sandwich

The char on the pear gives it such a delicious flavor, sort of sweet and smoky. The onion jam is deep and herbaceous with the flavor of bay and thyme lifted by balsamic vinegar. The tomato jerk jam is bright, sweet and earthy. Together they all come together into a burst of flavor that is bright, fresh, and satisfying. If you spread the rye bread with olive oil instead of butter, you could make a vegan version.

 

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Caramelized Onion Jam

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers a bit. Add the onions and stir so they are all coated in oil. Add thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Let cook until starting to turn transparent, reduce heat a bit and keep cooking until they begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Add sugar and let cook another 5 to 10 minutes until they are a deep brown color and the sugar is all melted and caramelizing. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or so until soft and melty. Add Balsamic Vinegar and stir, continue stirring on simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the bay leaf, let cool, and place in a container (about 1 cup). It will keep a week.

  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 quart of thinly sliced onions, broken apart
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegarMakes 1 cup of caramelized onions.

Cauliflower, Date, & Pecan Salad

Cauliflower, Date, & Pecan Salad

This is a slightly decadent salad with a lush sour cream dressing. It was inspired by the produce in my box of Imperfect Produce. Except for the pecans, everything else was from my produce order.

I started with a medium size head of cauliflower. I intended to make a smaller salad, but in the middle of cooking, I decided use the entire head and make one big salad. So sue me.

  • 1 med. head of cauliflower, cleaned and chopped into florets (makes about 6 cups of florets)
  • 10 Medjool Dates. Remove the pit, cut into strips lengthwise, then cut then down to small 1/4″ bites. Makes about 1 cup of chopped dates.
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts. (Pecans don’t have the bitterness of walnuts.)

I tossed them in a plastic container, put a lid on it, and shook it to distribute evenly.

For the Dressing I mixed

  • 1 cup fat free sour cream
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice for 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • salt (to taste)

Add to the bowl of salad, put the lid back on and shake it until it’s distributed.

When serving a bowl of salad, chiffonade and chop a leaf of fresh mint.

Don’t add the mint to the salad because then every bite would be minty and the flavor would overwhelm it. Instead, this gives you the unctuous creamy salad and occasional explosions of mint with the creamy salad. There’s a hint of sweetness from the dates and syrup, but it’s very subtle. The cauliflower is such a sturdy earthy flavor that it easily handles the sweetness. The texture mix is lovely with the different crunchy elements of the nuts and cauliflower with the chewy dates.

This is an addictive salad and really one serving is not enough.

Nutrient
Amount
% of Daily Target or Limit
Total Calories 192 12% limit
Protein 4 g 9% target
Carbohydrate 25 g 20% target
Dietary Fiber 4 g 20% target
Total Sugars 15 g No daily target or limit
Added Sugars 1 g 2% limit
Total Fat 10 g No daily target or limit
Saturated Fat 1 g 5% limit
Monounsaturated Fat 6 g No daily target or limit
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g No daily target or limit
Linoleic Acid 3 g 26% target
α-Linolenic Acid 0.1 g 13% target
Omega 3 – EPA 0 mg No daily target or limit
Omega 3 – DHA 0 mg No daily target or limit
Cholesterol 3 mg 1% limit
Minerals
Calcium 75 mg 6% target
Potassium 443 mg 9% target
Sodium 213 mg 9% limit
Copper 236 µg 26% target
Iron 1 mg 11% target
Magnesium 39 mg 12% target
Phosphorus 112 mg 16% target
Selenium 3 µg 6% target
Zinc 1 mg 13% target
Vitamins
Vitamin A 24 µg RAE 3% target
Vitamin B6 0.2 mg 13% target
Vitamin B12 0.1 µg 4% target
Vitamin C 37 mg 49% target
Vitamin D 0 µg 0% target
Vitamin E 0 mg AT 2% target
Vitamin K 13 µg 14% target
Folate 53 µg DFE 13% target
Thiamin 0.2 mg 14% target
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 13% target
Niacin 1 mg 6% target
Choline 46 mg 11% target

Fennel, Cucumber, and Grapefruit Salad

A bold and fresh-tastic salad for summer made with the tasty vegetables and fruit from Imperfect Produce.

  • 1/3 of a cucumber, quartered, seeds removed, and sliced
  •  1 grapefruit, supremed. (Cut away peeling, and slice the segments into wedges.) Cut over the bowl, squeeze out all the juice you can into the bowl to dress the salad.
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, sliced thinly on a mandoline.
  • 3 asparagus spears, sliced thinly using a vegetable peeler
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • Handful of Roast Almonds
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tsp of maple syrup and 2 tsp of seasoned rice vinegar

I just made this right in the bowl. Mixing things together as I cut them. I blended the maple syrup and vinegar before adding it to the salad and stirring it all in.

The bit of syrup is the perfect complement to the grapefruit. The salad is fresh, vibrant, and full of flavor. Fennel is a flexible vegetable that really needs to be used far more often. Makes one salad entree.

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

This is a light, fresh dressing for a delicious salad. This makes enough dressing for a large dinner salad or four side salads.

The salad in the picture has romaine, feta, cucumbers, and grapefruit with a few almonds on top. To make the dressing, I used a magic bullet to blend

  • 3 fresh strawberries
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP diced onion
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

The salad is a lovely mix of sweet and sour, the balsamic adds a deep richness that makes any salad a treat.

Rutabaga Slaw

Rutabaga Slaw

  • 1 large rutabaga, peeled and grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage

Mix together in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and let rest for an hour or more. Then, add

  • 3 green peppers, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds

Mix all the vegetables together. To make the dressing, mix 1/4 cup Sweet & Sour Mango Fig Sauce with 1/4 cup plain rice vinegar and stir into the salad.

This is a delicious, light, and fresh tasting salad. It’s crunchy and delicious. It’s delicious with pork and chicken on a sandwich. It’s good on a cracker or on knackebröd.

 

Sweet & Sour Mango and Fig Sauce

Mango Chutney

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 mangos, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated ginger
  • 2 fresh lemons, zest and juice
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
  • 12 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Put everything into a heavy saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for two hours or more, stirring occasionally until a thick paste. Remove from heat, cool, and puree in a blender.

Makes 3 jars of chutney which is also a fabulous sauce for steaks. As a lifelong addict to knackebröd, a little chutney, flat parsley, plain yogurt and sliced raw asparagus is a tasty, flavorful breakfast. Last night, I used the chutney on a steak .

This is a sweet, sour, and spicy sauce. It’s based on Major Grey’s Mango Chutney, but I substituted dried figs for raisins. (I like nearly every other dried fruit more than raisins.) I left out the garlic and used seasoned rice vinegar rather than cider vinegar. That was because I was out of cider vinegar, but it does add a deeper flavor. I pureed in a blender rather than leave it chunky, which is the more traditional way to serve it. This is because I was thinking of using it as a base for a salad dressing, which you can see in my next recipe.

Mango Chutney

Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam

Ever since I read the words tomato jam in some book about the South, I have been thinking I need to try it. When there were two freah tomatoes in my Imperfect box this week, I knew its time had come.

  • 2 tomatoes, remove the core and chop
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 small lime, use zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Put all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring steadily. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 90 minutes, checking and stirring every 15 minutes or so until reduced to a thick jam texture. Store in a covered container in the fridge. It will keep for a couple weeks, but it won’t last that long as it’s so good. This makes about 1 cup of jam.

So wow! This is so good. It’s got this amazing sweet and sour flavor that would be good on just about anything. There’s some great heat from the ginger and red pepper flakes, there’s this aromatic oomph from the cloves and cinnamon and truly, my house smelled like tomato heaven.

Tomato Jam Sandwiches

Here are a few sandwich options. I toasted and yes! those are heels because I like how crispy they get when toasted. It makes me think this may be really delicious on knäckebröd and makes me want to go to Ikea. On the left, toast, tomato jam, sliced cucumber, and grapefruit. On the right, tomato jam, feta cheese, and a sprig of fennel.

Tomato Jam

Here I used knackebröd with tomato jam. On the left, I added feta and on the right, I used sauteed kale, fennel, and onions from the grilled cheese.

Grilled Cheese with Fennel and Kale

Grilled Cheese with Fennel and Kale

My Imperfect box came yesterday and I got a fennel bulb. I love fennel and want people to cook with it a lot more so it becomes more common and less expensive. This time I made a grilled cheese sandwich using some of the 5 pounds of kale I got from the Oregon Food Bank’s Harvest Share.

So what did I do?

Fennel, Onions, and Kale
I put a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat and added 1 tbsp of olive oil. While it heated, I used a mandoline to thin slice a medium-sized yellow onion and the small fennel bulb. I tossed the thin slices in the skillet, added a bit of salt, and sauteed until tender. Meanwhile, I chopped up about 2 cups of raw kale. I pulled the leaves off the stems, rolled to chiffonade. When the onions and fennel began to caramelize, tossed in the kale and covered to let it cook for about 5 minutes.

I removed the veggies from the skillet and dropped some butter, putting down one slice of whole wheat bread, I added thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese and then forked some of the veggies on top of the cheese. When it was toasted and ready to flip, I added some more cheese on top of the veggies and added the second slice of bread and flipped the sandwich. In a few minutes, it was beautifully toasted.

So, this has an unctuous kind of savory deliciousness. People think of fennel as sweet, but it’s not and when it’s cooked it mellows even more. Kale is best with strong contrasts and fennel is ideal.

 

Kale Salad with Rutabagas, Apples, and Carrots

Kale, Rutabaga, Carrot, and Apple Salad

I went to Harvest Share at the Ortiz Center yesterday and took home a huge bag of kale, sacks of carrots, rutabagas, and onions and thought this sounds like salad.

I stripped the kale leaves off the stems and chiffonaded the leaves. I put a big plastic container on my scale to set the tare weight to zero and added the chopped kale until I had a half pound of prepared, chopped leaves. It was sort of heaping over the top of the container, but that’s okay. Kale is one of those duplicitous vegetables that lose their volume when you cook with it…even if all you do is massage oil, vinegar, and salt into it. That heaping over the top kale will be just over half full in no time.

So, once I measured the kale, I added 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TSBP of apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Using my fingers, I worked this into the kale, massaging it toward tenderness. It lost about 1/3 of its volume. I covered the container and set it aside, unrefrigerated, to continue “cooking”.

While it “cooked”, I made the dressing and chopped my veggies and fruit.

In a bowl, I zested one lemon before juicing it, To the zest and juice of one lemon, I added 1 TBSP of soy sauce and 1 TBSP of maple syrup, and some pepper. I stirred and set aside. There’s no oil in this dressing because it will get plenty from the kale.

I peeled an apple and diced it into pieces about 1/3 inch squares.

I peeled and chopped a medium-sized carrot – 1/3 inch squares.

1 diced 1/2 a yellow onion.

I peeled a rutabaga and chopped it into 1/3 inch squares. Peel deeply into the rutabaga, not just the outer skin, but also that heavy, woody rind. It’s usually just easier to cut it away.

All the pieces should be about the same size, as though making a chopped salad.

Add the vegetables to the kale. Toss with the dressing. I put the lid on and shook and shook and shook to distribute it evenly. Ideally, the salad will be fully dressed, but there won’t be any liquid gathering in the bottom.

The kale has that earthiness that makes for a great foundation for salad. The carrots add sweetness and the rutabagas and lemons add a bright tang. You get just a bit of sweet and sharp from the onions. The maple syrup does not make this sweet but instead add this wonderful note for the aftertaste.