Spicy Beef Strips and Chard

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  • 2 TBSP of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 6 oz beef round steak sliced thin
  • 4 stalks of red chard, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • Rice Vinegar.

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet a medium heat. Add the red chili flakes, they will flavor the oil so the heat permeates all the ingredients. While that heats, chop 1/2 a yellow onion, and toss in to sauté with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until softened.

While the onions cook, take the beef round (it was on sale for 1.99/pound) and slice in thin strips of about 1/4 inch. Toss into the onions, add salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally. Let it get some nice char.

While the meat cooks, clean and chop the red chard. Toss into the pan with the meat, add some salt and pepper, and stir. Put a lid on the pan and let cook for two minutes or so, add 1 TBSP of rice vinegar. Put the lid back and let everything soak up the vinegar.

This is a delicious, meaty dinner with the rich flavor of beef and kale, the heat from the red chili peppers and the bite of vinegar are delicious.

 

 

Bacon, Egg, Pear, Parm Sandwich with Caramelized Onions & Apricot Cabbage Slaw

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I don’t know what got into me today, but I was about to make a roast pork and slaw sandwich and I thought about all the pears I need to eat and ended up making the most delicious sandwich ever.  It began with the Apricot Cabbage Slaw I was going to make for the sandwich.

I got ambitious and decided to make slow caramelized onions. To do that, I thinly sliced 1/2 an onion on a mandoline. I heated a cast iron skillet to medium high (7 of 10), added 1 TBSP of saved bacon drippings (but you could use olive oil or butter) and melted it. I added the onions and cooked quickly, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until browned, then I lowered the heat to medium-low (3 of 10) and let cook slowly while I prepared the Apricot Cabbage Slaw. Be patient, the longer the onions cook, the more tender sweet they are, almost like a jam.

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Turn the broiler on before the onions are done to heat up.

When the onions were done, I removed them and set them in a small bowl. Any leftover onions can be used in a sauce or another sandwich.

I then cooked two slices of bacon in the same pan, rendering the fat and saving it for another day. I removed the bacon and set it aside.

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While the bacon was cooking I broiled 2 slices of bread on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes. Just to get some strength from drying, it did not get toasted. Between broiling on one side and then on the other, it was time to cook the egg.

I wiped the fry pan clean of any bacon, and put a dab of butter in the middle of medium hot pan and cooked one sunnyside up egg, adding some salt and pepper.

While the egg was cooking, I broiled the other side of the bread.  On one piece, I shaved parmesan cheese. On the other piece, I layered thin slices of pear to caramelize sightly. I put them back under the broiler for a few more minutes until the parm was melted.

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Assembly

On the side with the melted part, I stack the two slices of bacon, cut into 4 pieces. I added the sunny side up egg. On the side with the pears, I stacked caramelized onions, and the Apricot Cabbage Slaw. Then I put the two pieces together with a bit of hard push to break the egg yolk so it spread through the sandwich and sliced it in half.
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Believe me, this is worth spending 40 minutes to make. The pear and caramelized onions are dream. And of course, bacon, eggs, and parmesan are delicious. A good sweet/sour slaw is a perfect balance to the sweetness and the creamy egg marries everything together. This is the most delicious sandwich I have ever concocted. This made one sandwich, but I have some caramelized onions and slaw left over. I had thought to make a vinaigrette with the onions, but now I think I will be making this sandwich for supper.

Potato Salad with Green Beans

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So, I started out making a potato sad that I intended to use rocket in, to use up some of the rocket I have, but then I got around to adding the rocket and changed my mind and added green beans instead. I am glad I did because the freezer was just starting to extract the liquid from the beans and would have soon dried them out.

This is a pretty standard potato salad. I boiled 4 potatoes in salted water and hard-boiled 4 eggs. I use Martha Stewart’s method to boil eggs and it never fails me. I am not going to reinvent boiling eggs. When the potatoes were done I ran cold water on them to chill. I also chilled the eggs. I then boiled some salted water and blanched the green beans. I did not want them mushy and wanted them to stay bright.

So then I chopped up one whole yellow onion, the potatoes, the eggs and the green beans and tossed them together. I drained a can of black olives and crushed about 1/3 of the can.

In a bowl, I missed 3 TBSP mayo, 1 tsp of mustard, 3 TBSP of apple cider vinegar and a 1/2 tsp of sugar, salt and pepper. I made it to taste and added to the salad and blended.

This made 4 to 6 servings and was better the next day. It’s nice and tangy with the mustard, the olives add an earthiness that I love.

Bok Choy and Mushrooms over Rice

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Heat a dry cast iron pan to medium and add 1 cup of sliced mushrooms. Cook them just a bit, because that keeps them from getting mushy and deepens their flavor.

Remove from the pan and add 1 TBSP of olive oil. Slice 1/4 yellow onion and crush 1 clove of garlic and add to the pan. Add 1 tsp of fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp of dried ginger, salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are transparent, make sure the garlic does not burn. Then add back the mushrooms.

Take three stalks of bok chop and chop into inch long pieces. Cut about 6 cherry tomatoes in half, Add and cook until tender. Add salt and pepper and toss in about 2 tsp of soy sauce.

Serve over rice. Makes one generous serving. The mushroom flavor is deep and rich and they are toothsome, not mushy. The tomatoes add some sweetness, the boy chop a bit of crunch. Delicious and filling.

Spinach Pear Salad with Hazelnuts

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My best friend came over for dinner last night, so I whipped up a lovely salad. Those pears I got from the Food Bank last week are ripe and I need to be using them up quickly, so I decided on a salad with pears.

First I sliced 1/2 of a yellow onion on the mandolin so I could get super thin slices. Then I cut up 5 of those mini peppers. (A 4 pound package of mini peppers costs less than 3 regular red peppers.) into thin strips, removing the seeds. I also corned and sliced three Bosc Pears. I put all of this in a plastic container with a lid. I added 1/3 cup rice vinegar, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of dry mustard powder.I put the lid on and shook it all as much as I could to mix it together. Then I added about 6 cups of baby spinach. Put the lid back on, shook some more and put it in the fridge for about an hour.

I toasted some hazelnuts (about 1/4 cup) with tajín (a spice mix of lime and chilis) in a dry pan.

To serve, I put the salad mix on the plate, added some hazelnuts and slice some asiago cheese on top.

The flavor is a wonderful blend of sweet, sour and a bit of heat. The hazelnuts are a great crunch and it was one of the best salads I have come up with this year. Service two.

Grilled Egg Salad and Cream Cheese

Grilled Egg Salad with Cream Cheese

I love a grilled sandwich, especially on rye bread. Rye bread has such a rich, nutty taste and grilling only enhances that unique rye flavor. I buttered two slices of rye bread. I spread the butter as thinly as possible. I laid the two pieces of bread on a medium high griddle and toasted them on one side. While it the first side was toasting, I buttered the other side of the slices. I flipped them over when the first side was crisped and then grilled the other so they were both nice and crispy. I could have toasted the bread, but it would not have the same nutty flavor that gets brought out by grilling buttered bread.

Grilled egg salad

To make this sandwich filling, I chopped and mixed up 1 TBSP each of yellow onions, celery, red pepper, cucumber, 1/2 tsp of mustard, salt, pepper and just enough cream cheese to hold them together in a spread (about 1.5 TBSPs. This made a thick, creamy spread. I also sliced up two hard-boiled eggs. When the bread was grilled, I laid it on a plate, spread the cream cheese and veggies on one slice and laid some romaine and sliced hard boiled eggs on the other with a dash of salt and pepper.

To make good hard boiled eggs, put them in a cooking pot with about 1 inch of water over them. Bring them to a boil and remove from the heat, putting a lid on top to hold in the steam. Let them rest 6 to 11 minutes depending on how much you want them done. I like mine well done.

The crunchy bread and crispy celery with the creamy sauce, tender cucumber and eggs all mixed together in a wonderful blend of flavors and textures. Makes one serving.

 

Sweet & Sour Cabbage Slaw with Roast Pork, Dried Apricots and Sesame Seeds

Cabbage, Roast Pork & Apricot Slaw

This is insanely delicious. When I was thinking about this salad, trying to decide what to add, I knew I want to balance sweet and sour. Pork really likes sweet and fruit and cabbage is the kindest, most generous salad ingredient there is. It will work with just about anything. It is the universal donor of the vegetable kingdom.

For this salad, i started with left over Earl Grey Roast Pork. I love this for salad because it adds a rich aromatic flavor – adding a depth to salads that regular roast pork does not have. However, I think a good roast with a flavorful dry rub like for barbecue would work, too.

  • 1/4 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz of roast pork, thinly slice
  • 1/4 cup of yellow onions, diced
  • 8 dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBSP of sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan on medium heat.
  • 1/4 cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP of sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Mix together all the ingredients except vinegar and sugar, mix then separately and then add them to the salad. Add salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and let rest in the fridge for half an hour before serving.

This has a bright tangy sweet and sour flavor, rich and bright. This made two servings.

Linguiça with Cauliflower, Kale and Grape Tomatoes

Linguiça with Cauliflower, Kale and Tomatoes

This was a delicious and hearty casserole that took very little effort and about 20 minutes to make. I sliced 1 piece of linguiça sausage (about 6 oz.) into 1/4 inch pieces. Then I chopped up 1/4 of a yellow onion. I tossed them together into a medium low sauté pan, since the linquiça has plenty of fat for the dish without any additional oil.

I then chopped up 2 cups of cauliflower and added the cauliflower, and some salt and pepper, to sauté for a bit. Meanwhile, I cleaned 5 pieces of kale, removing the stems. I rolled the kale up and sliced in ribbons and then did a quick chop cross-wise of the ribbons. This made about 4 cups of kale. Kale cooks down a lot, so when cooking you always want to add more than you think you want.  I added the kale, another bit of salt and pepper to the pan. While that cooked, I quartered grape tomatoes – until I had 1 cup of them. When the kale was about half done, I added 2 TBSP of red wine vinegar and the tomatoes and let cook for about 4 more minutes.

The vinegar is critical to elevating the flavors. It helps the flavors blend. The linguiça is spicy and adds rich flavor to the vegetables. This made 4 servings of delicious casserole.

Earl Grey’s Roast Pork with Root Vegetables

Roast Pork with Earl Grey Crust and Roasted Vegetables

Winco had roast pork for $1.66 per pound, so it seemed like a good time for pork roast. While trying to decide what to serve with it, I came across a recipe for Earl Grey-Crusted Pork Loin with Fennel and Apples. I didn’t have a pork tenderloin and wanted to use some dried cherries, not fresh apples. I like raw apples better than roasted ones, but I thought the recipe gave me something to work with.

I preheated the oven to 450°. I cut one small yellow onion in slices and lined the bottom of my paella pan which doubles as a roaster for me. I cut the tops off four Earl Grey tea bags and poured them out onto my cutting board. I added 1 tsp of salt and a tsp of pepper and mixed them together and then I rolled my pork roast in it. It was a three pound roast and was completely coated by the tea, salt and pepper blend. I have never seen anything stick so completely or so well as this tea, it was much easier than doing a pepper coating.

I stuck the roast in the oven and let it cook at 450 for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I peeled and cut 1 yam, 1 turnip and 2 red potatoes into chunks about 1 inch square or so.

Now it was time to take the roast out and add the vegetables. I added  1 TBSP of olive oil to a small bowl, added some salt and pepper and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Then a handful at a time, I tossed the root vegetables in the oil to coat them and then spooned them into the pan around the roast. I added a handful of dried cherries at the end, putting them into the oil, salt and pepper first as well.

I put the roast back in the oven at 350° for 40 minutes. I checked the temp and it was 140° which is what I wanted. I removed the roast to rest for 15 minutes and put the veggies back in to finish cooking. I turned it up to broil for the last 5 minutes just to get a nice dark brown crispiness on a few of them.

The vegetables were magnificent as roast vegetables always are. The juice from the onions and the pork blended with the dried cherries for a delicious liquid that the vegetables drank up. The real revelation, though, was the pork. The Earl Grey’s sweet and tart bergamot flavor permeated the meat, but with delicacy so it was not overwhelming at all. it was extraordinary, so delicious and so fragrant. I will definitely make this again. After all, it turned a $1.66 per pound cheap roast into something fit for fine dining.

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Broccoli, Asparagus, and Mushroom Pilaf with Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

Broccoli Asparagus Mushroom Pilaf with Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

This recipe took a few extra steps to prepare some of the ingredients in advance. To be fair, the pilaf I made in advance was for a different meal. I just made extra so I could use it for another meal. However, I did roast chickpeas in the morning to use for this meal in the evening.

Pilaf:

1//2 TBSP of olive oil, salt and pepper. I heated the olive oil to a low medium heat and added 1/2 yellow onion, chopped. I let that cook until it turned translucent. I also diced up 1 clove of garlic and added that about the same time as I added 1 cup of basmati rice that I rinsed thoroughly to remove all the starch. I stirred the rice and garlic into the olive oil and let it all cook about 3 to 4 minutes. The heat was low enough the would not burn, but just toast a bit. I then added 2 cups of cold water and turned the heat up to high, bringing it to a boil. Then I put a lid on it, removed it from the heat and let it steam cook. It was done perfectly in 15 minutes.

Roasted Chickpeas.

I pre-heated the oven to 325° Fahrenheit. While it heated, I opened a can of chickpeas and rinsed them thoroughly. i spread them on paper towels and dried them before putting them in cast iron pan. I sprinkled them with some olive oil and roasted for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to let them cook evenly. When they were crispy and brown, I removed them from the oven, sprinkled them with some salt and a dash of Jamaica  Jerk seasoning. I patted them with paper towel again to remove any oil and let them cool.

Veggies:

I put 1 TBSP of olive oil in a sauté pan with about 1/3 tsp of anise seen, 1/2 tsp of cumin, salt and pepper and let it heat on a low medium burner. Meanwhile I chopped up a small yellow onion and added it to the oil and let them cook until tender. I diced 2 cloves of garlic and added to the onions when they were nearly done. (Burned garlic ruins everything it touches.)

While the onions sautéed, I cut down a small head of broccoli, separating the florets and peeling the stems. I added them to the onions and then chopped up 4 stalks of asparagus, cutting off the tops and adding them and cutting the long stems in half before cutting them into 2 inch long pieces. I added the asparagus next since they cook a little faster than broccoli. Then I cleaned and sliced 4 mushrooms and added them and let them all cook for a bit, adding about 1/4 cup of water after about 3 minutes of sautéeing. I let them cook until the broccoli was nearly tender, squeezed the juice of one large fresh lemon into the mix and let it simmer a bit so the veggies absorbed the juice. Then, I added the pilaf and stirred it in, cooking just until heated.

To serve, I put the pilaf and veggie mixture in a bowl, sprinkled some feta cheese on it and topped with a few roasted chickpeas.

The flavor blend is amazing. Anise seed really brings out the best in veggies and, of course, works beautifully with feta. The flavors of lemon, feta, anise and veggies were extraordinary and the addition of the crispy, crunchy and spice roasted chickpeas made it blissful.

For a vegan option, just don’t add the feta at the end. It is still delicious.

This made four servings. I imagine that my lunch tomorrow will be even more delicious!