Pickled Brussels Sprouts

DSCN5923

These were tasty when warm, but cold the next day they were so much, much better. They are very flavorful so just a couple satisfies your taste buds and make a good snack between meals.

First clean about a pound of brussels sprouts and cut off the stems. Put in a cooking pot with a liquid that is 1/2 white wine vinegar and 1/2 water – just enough to cover the sprouts. Add 1 thumb of ginger roots sliced into small toothpick size sticks, 1 jalapeño cut into strips about thumb length, add 1/2 of a yellow onion. I diced them, but next time I will cut into sections so they can be picked up with your finger or a toothpick. I cut a lemon into 1/4s and tossed it in. I added about 1/4 cup of sugar and salt and pepper and brought it to a boil. I let it continue to simmer until he sprouts were tender.  After it cooled, I poured into a storage container and let chill.

It’s spicy with great heat and flavor but not the least bit uncomfortably hot. The lemon and vinegar make is nice and tart for a fabulous sweet, sour and hot blend.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

 

This was a simple sauté made to go with a small pork loin chop. I put a 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan and heated to medium. I then added just a pinch of anise seed and let it heat until the perfume filled the air. I added 1/2 of a small leek, sliced thinly and chopped in half. I sliced 2 mushrooms, 1/2 a jalapeño and 1/4 of a red pepper and also added them. Lastly I added about 6 brussels sprouts sliced and chopped. I stirred the veggies together and when it was nearly done squeezed half a lemon on top. I served with a 2 oz piece of pork loin fried in another pan.  The veggie sauté  would work well with anything or on its own for a vegan meal.

This made one serving. It’s very flavorful with heat from the chili pepper, sweetness from the red pepper, umami from the mushrooms and tang from the lemon. The anise seed give it a rich aromatic flavor and the brussels sprouts add their hearty magic. If you don’t have leeks, just use onions.

 

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

I made the rice ahead using 1 cup of rice and 1.5 cups of water with a dash of salt. I rinsed the rice, added it to the water and brought it to a rolling boil in a solid saucepan. As soon as it hit a rolling boil, I put a lid on it and removed it from the heat. 20 minutes later it was done to perfection.

I put some peanut oil in a saute pan (I don’t have a wok.) and set it on medium heat. I added 2 TBSP of yellow onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic and about 1.5 inches of fresh garlic, minced. Next I cleaned and minced 1 jalapeño pepper. While they sautéed, I cleaned and sliced 2 mushrooms, 1/2 stalk of celery and 1/4 of a red pepper. I tossed them in. I then chopped a 6 oz piece of boneless pork loin and added that in to cook. I put a lid on the pan for about 2 minutes.

I had a container with about 1 cup or so of fresh pineapple. I added 1/4 cup of white vinegar and let it blend with the pineapple juice. I added 1 tbsp of soy sauce and swirled it around. When the pork was nearly done. I added the pineapple and liquids to the pan and stirred it all together. It took about another minute to warm the pineapple.

I dished up a half cup of rice and put half the sauté pan full of sweet and sour pork on it. This made two large servings.

I don’t like breaded, battered sweet and sour pork and don’t care for the sweet and sour dressing that tastes sort of like ketchup and honey. This is a very light taste of sweetness from the pineapple more than balanced by the sour of the vinegar and soy. There’s plenty of heat from the jalapeño and ginger. The strong flavors balance each other perfectly without dominating.

 

Pork Loin Chop with Sauteed Vegetables

Pork Loin with Sautteed Veggies

I picked up lots of peppers at the grocery store, the yellow and orange peppers were on sale at the same price as the red peppers, making the idea colorful pepper dishes irresistible. There was also a great price on baby bok choy, which is always delicious with pork, so I decided to make a pork chop and veggie dish.

I began by marinating 2 loin chops in a marinade of 1 TBSP peanut oil, 2 tsp tamari sauce and 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger for about 4 hours. When it was time to cook I began chopping everything up since they all cook relatively quickly.

mise en place

I chopped up 1/4 of a yellow and a red pepper, 3 baby bok choy, about 1/4 of a red onion, 1 large garlic clove, 1 inch of fresh ginger and 1/4 of a jalapeño pepper. I also had a lemon cut in half and ready for squeezing.

I fried the pork loin chops in my cast iron skillet, about 5 minutes on one side and 3 on the other. I then removed the skillet from the heat and heated my saute pan with 1 TBSP of peanut oil. I added the ginger, garlic and jalapeño with some salt and pepper and stirred them together and let them cook about a minute before adding the red onions. When they began to soften slightly I added the peppers. I let them cook about 2 minutes before adding the bok choy.  I added some salt and pepper and a dash of sriracha sauce and let cook until tender. Then I squeezed the lemon on top and stirred it in.

This made 2 servings. The flavor blend was delicious, the dash of sriracha a nice bit of heat in a rather mild blend of veggies that served as a delicious backdrop to a tasty chop.

 

 

Chicken Melt Sandwich & Cuban Bean Salad

Chicken Melt Sandwich and Cuban Bean Salad

This is a slightly modified version of the vegan Cuban Bean Salad I make quite often. First I opened a can of black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas and rinsed and drained them. I then chopped up a yellow onion, two red peppers, three roma tomatoes, three stalks of celery, a bunch of cilantro and about 10 small baby dill pickles and mixed them altogether. In another bowl, I mixed a small can of diced jalapeños (I usually use 2 fresh ones but forgot to buy them when I went grocery shopping) with juice from 3 squeezed lemons, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano and salt and pepper. I mixed all that together and dressed the salad and let marinate for a day before serving.

For the sandwich, I heated 2 tsp of olive oil in a small saute pan. I cut off a 1/4 inch slice from a medium onion and chopped it fine and minced on small garlic clove and sauteed them until brown. I cut off 1/4 of a red pepper and 1/2 of a large crimini mushroom and chopped them up and added them and let them cook until nearly done. Then I added some cold chicken that I had reserved from making chicken soup, chopped into small pieces (about 4 oz) and about 2 oz of pepper jack cheese shredded up. I just heated them long enough for the cheese to melt. Meanwhile I toasted a ciabatta bun and spread it with a little sandwich spread I make ahead that is 2 parts mayo, 1 part, mustard and 1 part chopped dill with a dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper all mixed together.

The sandwich was rich with a hearty umami flavor that was beautifully balanced with heat from the pepper jack and garlic.  The salad is a luscious, fresh tasting mix of tart, spice and veggie freshness.

Southwestern Bean Salad

  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 16 oz. pkg of frozen corn
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, sliced thin and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 3 zucchini
  • 2 jalapeño or a can of diced green chiles
  • 3 lemons, reamed
  • 3 TBSP of olive oil
  • 1 TSP cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mix together and let sit overnight before serving. This makes a lot, but it keeps very well as it’s acidic and has no dairy or meat in it. The flavor is spicy and tart with the fresh taste of lemon giving it a lovely bite.

    Ground Turkey with Apples, Mushrooms & Pecans on Herb Fettucini

    Turkey, Apples, Mushroom & Pecans with Herbed Noodles

    I noticed an apple in the crisper that was no longer crisp. It was a bit old and wrinkly and sure to be not a crispy, juicy snack, so I decided I needed to cook it up with something. One apple wasn’t enough for a tart and I don’t care for applesauce or cooked apples on Swedish pancakes, so I decided to add it to a savory dish. Now this will make two servings, but I was not going to use only half an apple. It will make a nice lunch to reheat at work.

    I put 1 TBSP of olive oil in a saute pan on medium. I added 1 crushed garlic clove and 1.4 cup of diced onions. I cooked until tender. I chopped up one small jalapeño and tossed that in with some salt and pepper and a bit of cardamom. I then chopped up two crimini mushrooms and added them. I let them get about half cooked and added 7 ounces of ground turkey and let it all cook together.

    Meanwhile I started some water boiling with a bit of salt. When it hit a rolling boil I tossed in some fresh herb fettucini (it was on sale at New Seasons).

    I chopped up the apple and tossed it in with the meat and mushrooms along with 1/4 cup of pecans. I added 1/4 or so of white wine and let simmer until the apples were tender, but not soft.

    I strained the pasta and served the turkey and fixings on top. It has a great flavor mix. The heat from the jalapeño is very mild, but nicely balances the sweet tendency of the apple. The pecans and mushrooms provide a nice earthy flavor that is well-balanced by the wine and the cardamom lifts the ground turkey, giving it some zest. I will definitely be making this again.

    Veggie Couscous

    This is my clean out the fridge cous-cous casserole as basically it’s a quick cook up of everything that was left in the vegetable drawer before going shopping.

    couscous & veggies

    I heated 1 TBSP of olive oil and tossed in 1/2 of a small onion, diced and 1 jalapeño pepper, diced. I  chopped up some zucchini and red peppers and tossed them in. I added some salt, pepper and cumin ad let them cook. I tossed in some Israeli couscous and water to cook it in, turning up the heat so it simmered. I chopped up some black olives and tossed them in right before it was done. I served with some fresh cilantro on top.

     

    Beef-Zucchini Sautee with Apple-Celeriac Puree

    Apple-Celeriac Puree with Sauteed Beef and Veggies

    I took two slices from a beef roast (about 3 ounces) and cut it into smaller pieces. I tossed the beef in a skillet on medium low with some about 1 TBSP of onion, 1 TBSP of minced jalapeno and 2 TBSP of red peppers. I counted on there being enough juice and fat on the beef to not require any additional oil. I added 1 zucchini sliced and put a cover on it to let it all cook up. The zucchini is nice and juicy and the liquid, giving me enough saucy juiciness. I added 1 tsp of curry powder and a dash of dry mustard. I mixed it all up and cooked uncovered for another minute or two until everything was caramelizing beautifully. I grated a bit of parmesan on top for some extra yum. I served it up with some of the Apple-Celeriac Soup I made a few days ago that I just reheated in the microwave.

    Cuban Bean Salad

    Okay, this is not my recipe and not a single serving. I use the Kraft Cuban Bean Salad recipe and just cut the dressing in half. They make too much dressing and it’s a bit oily with all the olive oil. By cutting the sauce in half, I get a tasty salad that is not overdressed.

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup  chopped cilantro
    • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp.  white wine vinegar
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1   fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
    • 1-1/2 cups  chopped Dill Pickles
    • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
    • 1 can  (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
    • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
    • 1 stalk  celery, sliced
    • 1/2 red pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
    • 2   green onions, sliced
    • 1 tomato, chopped
    Mix oil, cilantro, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, jalapeno pepper and oregano in large bowl until well blended. Add the other ingredients, stir and refrigerate. You can serve in a couple hours, but it gets better and better. Makes about 3 pounds of salad. You can double the beans and still have a tasty salad.