Sausage & Lima Bean Stuffed Portabello Mushroom

Portobello mushrooms were just 1.99 per pound at the grocery store last week, so I picked up a couple, knowing how much I love them stuffed. Then I went and used the spinach I planned to stuff them with for something else and had this crazy idea I would try lima beans. I have some frozen lima beans from Harvest Share and thought why not? After all, lima beans are not super moist, so they might be great stuffing.

I preheated the oven to 350° F while I mixed the following in a bowl.

  • 1 cup of lima beans (thawed in microwave for 1 minute)
  • 4 links of half-cooked breakfast sausage, peeled and cut (I heated in microwave for 1 minute and drained off the fat, peeled off the skin and cut into small pieces.)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • stems from 2 large portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg

Mix all this together and stuff into the cleaned caps of two large portobello mushrooms. I had some left over, I will use it with scrambled eggs.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

You can shred some parmesan cheese on top if you like, but it’s not needed. Lima beans are a great choice for stuffing as they don’t lose their shape or substance when cooked, so the stuffing does not become overly mushy. All the ingredients in the stuffing were chosen to remain their constituent selves while holding together. They worked. The stuffing was completely cooked, but not the least bit soggy or mushy…thanks to draining off the sausage grease and using ingredients with low water content. Paprika seems to be made for mushrooms and works well, too with lima beans and sausage. This is a very satisfying meal that takes care of all your umami longings while remaining relatively light and fresh. This makes two stuffed mushrooms which would serve two if accompanied by salad or soup, or one meal on their own.

Roast Pork & Asparagus Sandwich

This was a delicious sandwich that took just minutes to make. Of course, I already had some pork roast in the fridge from supper the other night. I made Earl Grey roasted pork, but this would work with any good roast pork.

For Earl Grey Roast Pork, preheat oven to 450° degrees. Pour 4 or 5 packets of Earl Grey tea ground for steeping and roll the pork roast in the tea, coating all sides lightly. Roast until 140° (about 30 minutes for a 1.5 pound roast) and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The roast for this sandwich, though, was cold, but it need not be.

Turn the oven to broil

I took one hot dog bun. You could use a ciabatta or sourdough, too, but I used what came from Harvest Share. Spread some butter and sprinkle with garlic salt (or crush one clove of garlic and mix with the butter), slice parmesan cheese thinly and lay down on layer of parmesan, Put four stalks of fresh, young asparagus on each side and broil. Keep a close eye, you do not want it to burn. It took about 4 minutes to broil with the rack at the middle.

While the sandwich was broiling, I cut two slices of roast pork and mixed up a quick spread with chopped parsley, chopped red onion, and mayo in equal portions (about 1.5 TBSP of each) and seasoned with a bit of garlic salt and pepper. I spread it on one side, laid the pork on the other, put them together and had a delicious, fresh tasting sandwich.

The mayo helped bind all the flavors together. I like the aromatic flavor of the Earl Grey pork, the bite of the onions, the fresh and tender asparagus and the earth grace notes from the parmesan and parsley.

Roasted & Fresh Brussel Sprouts & Bacon Salad with Parm & Mustard Vinaigrette

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

Make the Mustard Vinaigrette first – at least an hour before serving. This makes enough dressing for several salads.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Stir mustard and vinegar together with a whisk, add oil slowly, whisking it int o emulsify. Add salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Let rest for at least an hour. Keep refrigerated.

Salad

Lay four strips of bacon on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400° until browned. Remove when finished (about 8 minutes) and set on a paper towel to cool.

While the bacon roasts, cut 2 cups of brussels sprouts in half, pulling off some of the outer leaves. Set the leaves aside.

Turn the oven up to 450°, toss the brussels sprout halves with 1 TBSP of bacon grease, salt and pepper and lay on a baking sheet to roast. These will be just roasted until done, not charred, so about 10 minutes max.

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

See that the brussels sprouts are only lightly browned.

Slice small pieces of parmesan and chop a bit of parsley.

To assemble the salad, lay down the brussels sprouts, the bacon, the parm, the loose, fresh brussels sprout leaves, the parsley and then add the dressing. Toss lightly.

Asparagus Pear Couscous Salad

DSCN6395.png

I made the couscous using the leftover broth from cooking farro just to add the richness of the vegetable broth to give it a deeper flavor. I made the farro and couscous at the same time and after the couscous was done, I stuck it in the fridge overnight to make a salad for lunch the next day.

  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Bosc pear
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 4 stalks asparagus
  • 2 TBSP chopped parsley
  • Seasoned rice vinegar

To make the couscous, I poured 1/2 cup of hot broth on top of 1/2 cup of couscous in a plastic container and put the lid on it for 5 minutes. Then I stirred it so it did not stick together. I put the lid back on and left it in the fridge overnight.

To make the salad, I took four thin early asparagus and cooked them in simmering water just long enough to be tender. I cut into chunks. While the asparagus was cooking, I chopped up about 1/4 of an onion, chopped up a 2 tbsp of parsley and cored and cut up a Bosc pear. I added a bit of salt and pepper. I added 1 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar. I shook it on so that is a guess. I added enough to add dress the salad lightly.

This is was light, fresh and delicious. The pears and asparagus are amazing together with the seasoned rice vinegar. The onion adds a bit of bite, the parsley a bit of freshness and then the couscous is a great foundation.

 

 

 

 

Apple, Celery & Celeriac Puree

DSCN6386

Since this will be pureed, there is no need to dice or chop finely. Big chunks are just fine, so long as they can cook evenly and will fit in blender or Magic Bullet.

Heat 3 TBSP of butter (or olive oil for vegan option) at medium low (4 on a 10 point electric dial) in a large stock pot. Add 2 yellow onions and a bunch of celery, all chopped. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have sweat and are translucent.

While that’s cooking, chop up 4 large or 6 small apples. I used some Galas and a Pink Lady. Eating apples, not cooking apples because we are not adding any sugar. Crush and peel 3 cloves of garlic. Add the apples and garlic to the stock pot. Add tsp of thyme. Add salt and pepper. Put the lid on a let cook about five minutes.

Meanwhile peel and chunk the celeriac. Add to the crock pot with 1 quart of vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper.  Bring heat up to medium. When everything is tender, remove from heat and let cool.

After it’s cooled down, puree with an immersion blender, blender or Magic Bullet. Serve hot with a bit of chopped parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds and, if you’re feeling ambitious, some thinly sliced pear grilled on a hot burner. I accidentally spilled enough pumpkins seeds to two servings in this picture. They were delicious, though.

The soup is a smooth, mildly tart puree with a delicious, rich flavor. There’s a nice bit of bitter heartiness from the celery that is lightened and balanced by the apples, the onions adding some bright notes and of course, celeriac is always delicious.

This makes about 8 servings, but it also tastes better as leftovers. In fact, it’s so much better the next day that I didn’t eat it the day I made it but let it wait overnight. Unlike most celeriac purees, I don’t add any cream so it will keep several days and can also be frozen.

 

 

Turnip and Pineapple Salad

DSCN5890

This is a simple, but tasty, salad that only gets better the next day.

Peel one turnip and dice into small rectangles or squares. Chop 1/4 of a Spanish onion. Chop up 1 cup of pineapple chunks and chop about 3 TBS of fresh parsley. Mix together with a bit of salt and 1 tsp of cayenne and let settle so the pineapple juice marry the ingredients together.

The cayenne blends perfectly with the sweetness of the pineapple and its acid is a good counterpoint to the earthy turnip. The onion brightens the flavor and the parsley adds color and freshness.

This makes 2 servings or 4 small servings the size of the one in the picture.

Salad with Chicken, Grapes and Pear with Tarragon Pear Vinaigrette

Pear & Chicken Salad

I made the vinaigrette while chopping the ingredients for the salad.

In a small sauce pan, I added 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced. I let the onions sauté until they were tender. Meanwhile, I cleaned and chopped 4 leaves of romaine lettuce, 1 small stalk of celery, a handful of green grapes (1/2 or so) and about 1/2 cup of cooked chicken (removed from a roast I made earlier in the week).

I also chopped up a Bosc pear. It had ripened unevenly, so only a portion was ripe and the rest was not. This happened to inspire the dish. I had planned to just chop the pear up on the salad and add some oil and balsamic vinegar. But now I needed to do something with the stubbornly unripened part of the pear. I put the ripe chunks of pear on the salad. The rest I reserved for the salad dressing. I added a bit of pepper and finished up the vinaigrette.

So now my onions are nice and soft. I added the stripped off leaves from two tarragon stems. Then I added the chopped up pieces of pear. I let them sauté for a bit before adding the fresh-squeezed juice from 1 lemon and a bit of salt. I continued to let them simmer until tender and then mashed the pears up with my fork. I thought about pureeing the mix, but was too hungry to get my Magic Bullet out and puree. So, i just mashed a bit with a fork and added 2 TBSP of white wine vinegar – I went by taste more than volume, adding until it was light and fresh. Then, just for a bit of color and earthiness, i added about 1 tsp of finely chopped fresh parsley.

This is a subtly flavored vinaigrette. The pear adds a mellow sweetness, the onion a bit of heat, the lemon brightens it up and the tarragon is just heaven brought down to earth and infuse in a plant. The white wine vinegar just marries all those flavors into a wonderfully light vinaigrette. This made enough for 4 large salads, so i dressed the salad I made and stored the remaining vinaigrette for some more lovely salads.

 

 

Chickpea Chop Salad

Image

 

So this makes a big salad, closer to a dozen servings than a single one, but it needs to marinate and gets better with time, so that’s okay.

Chop one yellow onion. Mince three cloves of garlic and salt the minced garlic to bring out a mellower, sweeter flavor. Let it sit for 10 minutes with the salt before mixing with the onion in a large storage bowl. It will get nice and juicy and blend in better. Chop 3 carrots and 4 celery into small pieces about the size of a chickpea. Add 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (2 cans rinsed and strained). Add 1 cup of chopped parsley. Mix well.

For the dressing, mix 2 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TBSP of tahini, 1/2 tsp of thyme, 1/4 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of oregano. Stir well so tahini breaks down completely into the olive oil. Squeeze the juice of 1 fresh lemon and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. You want it to be intense because it will dress the entire salad. You might need to add 1 TBSP or so of cold water, depending on how thick your tahini is. Mix the dressing well, pour into the bowl of veggies and stir. Cover and shake and marinate overnight.

This is a delicious mix of mellow and bright flavors, some heat from the garlic, sweetness from the carrots, tang from the onions and lemon, earthiness from the celery and cumin and all held together by the chickpeas. There’s lots of crunch and chewy toothsomeness.  It’s better every time you serve it.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

DSCN5468

I saved the bones from the roast chicken and used them to make a rich chicken broth. I have a pasta cooking kettle, one of those huge kettles with an insert full of holes for straining water. I never make enough pasta to use it, but I do like it for making soup and in particular, for making broth. I just put all the bones, herb and mire poix i there and when the broth is done, I can lift it out and have beautifully clear broth. Since I have explained how to make broth before, I will go forward from there.

I put about 1 TBSP olive oil in the bottom of a sauce pan. I added 1/2 of a leek (chopped), 4 mushrooms (cleaned and chopped), 1 stalk of celery (chopped), some celery seed, thyme, salt and pepper and sautéed until done. Then I added 3 cups of broth, 1 chopped carrot. After 10 minutes, I added 1 chopped yellow squash, 10 brussels sprouts cleaned and cut in quarters. After about 5 minutes I added about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley.

This was a rich flavorful soup with a lot of chicken flavor. Very hearty and thick with vegetables in every spoonful. It made 4 large bowls of soup – each one delicious.

 

 

 

 

Rutabaga & Pineapple Salad

Rutabaga & Pineapple Salad

The idea for this salad came to me while I was coring a fresh pineapple yesterday. The bromelain in the pineapple did such a good job of macerating the skin on my thumb it occurred to me that it might tenderize a rutabaga (swede) as well. Well, that turned out not to be true as bromelain breaks down proteins not cellulose. I produced a delicious salad, but it was not quite right. The pineapple did not break down the rutabaga enough, but the delicious zest of raw rutabaga blended so well with the sweet tang of pineapple I had to try it again. I considered parboiling, but was afraid I would lose that subtle spiciness of raw rutabaga. So, I tried salt which is often used to tenderize vegetables such as cabbage and kale. It worked perfectly.

I took one rutabaga, peeled it (not just the thin colored peel but that 1/4 inch of thicker sort of rind) and diced it into small cubes. I put it in a plastic container with a lid and sprinkled about 2 tsp of salt on it. I shook it a few times and let it sit overnight to soften. I shook a few times, just whenever I happened to walk by the fridge. By morning it was tender, but still with the crunch and the delicious raw flavor. I put the rutabaga in a strainer and rinsed the salt away.

Putting it back in the container, I added 1/4 cup of chopped leek greens and 2 TBSP of chopped parsley. I added about 1 cup of fresh pineapple cut in small pieces. I mashed the pineapple lightly with a force to express some of the juice since that is the only dressing on this salad. I added just a touch of salt. Then I let it rest for an hour for the flavors to marry.

This makes 4 servings of salad. It’s got a satisfying crunchiness and the flavors are intense with the rutabaga’s heat, the sweet and tangy pineapple, the bright onions and the mellow earthiness of parsley blending into a rich, multi-layered flavor. The only downside I can see tot his salad is that it could get addicting and that would mean coring and cleaning more pineapples.