Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Locally Grown Summer Food Is Just The Best

Last year's post, but am I the only one ready for summer to get here? You can still find these ingredients, at least organic from Whole Foods for now...

My bowl may not be pretty, but it taste great. Lets face it, for the past four weeks as more and more locally grown produce and foods come to our farmers markets, you can't beat it. I have discovered to beat my boredom with raw salads lately, I have grilled the vegetables and throw in the arugula at the last minute.

Dress some chopped vegetables with olive oil, heat up a skillet or grill, toss the vegetables on, and cook them. A squeeze of lemon or lime, break some bread and open a good (or locally made) bottle of wine with friends and enjoy the simple life.

In this bowl? Arugula (great sauteed, and smoked), local spinach, onion, squash, mushrooms, and a few other goodies cooked in a large basket strainer over the grill- let the veggies smoke.

TIP: Buy the largest strainer you can find, and keep it on hand for grilling or smoker. This was something I saw on Anthony Bourdain's new show, Lay Over while he was in Spain. Large enough grates to let the heat and smoke come through, but small enough to keep veggies from falling out, and it doesn't stick. Keep oil in a spray bottle and spray veggies and strainer before placing over the flame.

I saw the chef Anthony was visiting a cook who was smoking many things over the grill in his large strainer basket.


Add grilled seafood, beef, pork or chicken, some local made breads (farm butter) and its a filling meal.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kale Chips

They were so easy to make, I am surprised it took me so long to make them.

I had seen Kale Chips all over the food blog net, and on ChowandChatter's site not that long ago.

I made roasted root vegetables and while I had the oven on, I simply cut up the kale, after letting it dry out in the fridge for a few days. Yes, I am saying that laughingly. Not on purpose, but don't we all forget about some of the things we buy.

They were yummy and a great side dish to a steak, and another night with Asian pork strips and veggies.

I simply tossed the pieces of Red Kale leaves and stems* with a light drizzle of oil (I know they look wet, but they are not drenched) most of them crunch!

Bake in a 325 degree oven about 20-30 minutes. I honestly did not look at the clock when I pulled them out, but you should keep an eye on them.

*Recipes call for stems to be removed and you can use them for a saute or soup, but I dressed them in the same manner with sea salt and baked them. They were a bit like semi-hard Kale jerky, but wonderful!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Golden Beet/Goat Cheese Salad

Look Familiar? It's from another dish I made a while back.

Even in the cold months this salad could be perfect.

Roasted Golden Beets with Goat Cheese medallions, Yum!

The whole salad is made up of roasting unpeeled whole golden beets in the oven covered until they are soft. Then add mandarin orange segments, pistachio encrusted goat cheese medallions (breaded and pan sauteed, and served warm), arugula, and an orange vinaigrette.

Toss the arugula with the vinaigrette and set aside early on. Slice the beets and plate, set aside. Bread the goat cheese medallions and warm oil in pan. IMPORTANT: cook these while still cold, easier to handle. If cheese sits out too long these will melt somewhat in hot pan. Once they brown on both sides set them aside on paper towels. Add medallions to plate around beets and arugula salad and drizzle orange vinaigrette around plate.

I made a roasted pan of root vegetable, including more beets. Yikes, my grandmother must be dancing. I detested beets growing up. She grew them, so we had more than our share.The vegetables are great cooked ahead and used as side dishes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NYE Part 2- Grilled 'Dry Rub' Chops

See how these rib chops look? It's the one thing I miss about eating cooked meat in a restaurant, they don't use a real flame, well a coal flame grill. The charred outside is my favorite, besides the flavor and tender inside. Nicely smoked and cooked medium rare, but a good crisp crust on the outside.

The flame and temperature of the grill is important, but I have been cooking this way for so long I have forgotten the tech end of grilling. Let's just say hubby and I were licking our fingers after every bite of these chops.

These are a blend of rib chops and loin chops. We had discussed grilling lamb for New Year's but arrived at Whole Foods on Friday to find they were all out of, but two rib chops, so I chose nice fat loin chops, thick cut.

That night I cleaned and patted them all dry, figure about three per person. And I rubbed them with some cilantro pesto, placed them in a container, and covered them over night. The next evening after getting my charcoal and wood fire started outside I set the chops out to warm up a bit.

I made a dry rub similar to a blackening seasoning, but used vanilla bean and cayenne pepper as the main flavoring. Pat the chops on all sides in the dry rub and place bone side down first. Then grill on each flat side for four minutes each. Using the middle, the hottest part of the heat source. Shut lid, but be careful not to forget them or you will have made your own charcoal.

Salad: Arugula tossed with a cilantro pest vinaigrette along with smoked sundried tomatoes and grated Parmesan.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!

I posted last week about Pearl Pirie's 'Merry Christmas' Grilled Potatoes and decided to make them for our New Year's Eve dinner. Nibble Me This has posted about grilled potatoes numerous times, and they also can make a person drool. Go over and check out his Grilled Potato Salad recipe.

Simply select your favorite red bliss or white potatoes (leave skin on), select similar size and roundness, clean and get your skewers ready!

Slice them in half and soak them for about thirty minutes in cold water (to me it helps keep them from drying out, and makes for a crispier outside), and then pat dry. I par-cooked, or microwaved them for about three and half minutes covered with micro-lid, due to being thicker than Nibble's. Toss them in olive oil and skewer them I took some of my rib chop dry rub mixture and pressed them cut side down before skewering).

The dry rub was a seasoning I made the day before of vanilla bean, cayenne pepper, brown sugar and a few other ingredients. It gave them a crisp glaze, therefore they had a bite.

Grill them on both sides for about ten minutes each, and I set the skewers on the outer edges of the fire so they wouldn't burn. But get the great smoke off the wood and coals, yet finish cooking through. The flavor and crunch was incredible with the chops and the salad we had.

I am taking the time to make these more often when I light up the grill.

We wish you all have a Happy New Year in 2012!