Beets & Carrots with Beet Greens

My soon to be world famous Garam Masala Scented Chicken Torte with Bacon, Pear, Pama and Chestnuts, although wickedly rich and wonderful, is decidedly beige. This lack of color concerned me and I pondered what type of vegetable could perk up the plate when seated next to a slice of this Torte. I also had not been to the grocery store for a week and so was seriously limited by my near empty vegetable drawer in the fridge.

A simple Arugula Salad, tossed with Goat Cheese Feta, Craisins, EVO and Champagne Vinegar sounded good, but would have required going to the store. Thus, this option was eliminated.

The contents of my vegetable bin turned out to be quite colorful, though slim and what I ended up with turned out to be a perfect accessory for my beige, quite long named, Chicken Torte.

Ingredients:

3 Red Beets

10 Baby Carrots

1/4 small Red Onion, finely chopped

Shredded Leaves removed from stems of Beet Greens

1 1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1/2 Tsp Garam Masala

1/2 Tsp Rogan Josh

1 Tsp Kosher Salt

1 Tbsp Sugar

1 Tbsp Pama

Preparation:

Start with 3 lovely medium sized Beets, peel them and cut them in eighths. Insert the Grater Blade in your Food Processor and place the cut beets in the Feed Tube. Follow the beets with 10 Baby Carrots.

Tear the leaves off the Beet stems and wash them well to remove the grit that always accompanies them home from the store. Finely chop 1/4 of a small Red Onion.

In a medium size skillet heat Coconut Oil over medium heat. Add the Garam Masala and the Rogan Josh and stir for a minute or two, until fragrant. Add the red onion and continue to cook until soft, stirring often.

Add the Beets and Carrots and stir for a couple of more minutes.

Now add the greens and the Pama. Sprinkle with Salt & Sugar and cook until greens get soft and dark, stirring often.

How’s that for color? Quite Christmasy, no?

And look how it glams that Beige Torte:

Warm Spinach Breakfast Salad

Salad for breakfast?  Why not, my trainer says that before a workout, you should have a ton of protein and adding veggies doesn’t hurt.  I did look on the Internet for breakfast salads and there were some really great ideas.  Deciding to move forward with my own idea, I knew that my salad had to include an egg or two, some additional protein, and one of my favorite things on the planet….lightly wilted spinach enhanced with some lemon, garlic and balsamic vinegar.  OK pretty but not pretty enough, red is one of my favorite accent colors and I just happened to have half a red pepper left over from another recipe.

Bacon makes my mouth water but I tend to avoid it, so I decided that smoked turkey would be a great substitute and the dish would still have a nice hearty flavor.  To my surprise it worked beautifully.  If you’re a hardcore bacon fan, by all means go with that instinct and let me know what happens.

Warm Spinach Breakfast Salad

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1/2 sweet onion finely chopped

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I like spicy)

1/2 large red pepper chopped

2 large portobello mushroom caps chopped into bite sized pieces

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

4 oz smoked turkey torn into small chunks

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1-2 poached eggs

1/4 cup of parmesan or cheddar cheese grated

Carmelize the onions and garlic in the olive oil (medium heat about 1-2 minutes).  Add vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and pepper and stir into onion and garlic mixture (about 1 minute to blend flavors)

Add red peppers and cook until tender adding mushrooms while the peppers are still crisp.  Allow both to cook until tender but not mushy.  Add turkey and allow to warm.

Add fresh thyme and stir so that it’s evenly distributed.  Add spinach and allow leaves to wilt but not become mushy.

Top with a poached egg and grated parmesan or grated cheddar cheese.

This salad is colorful, nutritious and above all tasty!  Three of my favorite things in a dish!

Any special healthful breakfast recipes you want to share….I’d love to hear them!

Kabocha Squash Bake

Tis the season to indulge and you want to  balance this with healthful delicious vegetarian options a few nights a week. Kabocha Squash are way beyond delectable when roasted and the rich velvety cheese sauce only enhances this. You may find yourself making this 5 minute dish more than one night a week……

Ingredients:

1 Kabocha Squash

EVO in a Canister Mister

S&P

4 cloves Garlic, crushed

3 Tbsp Panko

3 Tbsp Part-Skim Ricotta

3 Tbsp Shredded Parmesan

¼ chopped Red Onion

1 Tbsp Capers

1/3 Cup Bulgarian Style Pepper & Tomato Spread (If unable to find some, just use a thick Tomato Sauce)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 (I used Convection Roast on my oven)

Cut out top of squash as you would for a Jack-O-Lantern and clean the inside and the top by removing seeds and stringy stuff.

Spray the cleaned inside of the squash with EVO, sprinkle with Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper and rub with crushed garlic.

Sprinkle Panko into the squash and press into the bottom and sides.

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients and pour into the prepared squash. Place top back on the squash and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. You can omit the parchment, but it will make clean up far easier.

Bake for about an hour or until soft to touch.

To serve, scoop the meat of the squash out with a spoon and mix with the cheesy sauce.

Serves 2 as a meal or 4-6 as a side dish.

Bon Apetit!

Rack of Pork Roasted with Herbs, Vegetables and Potatoes


As of late I have been noticing a number of recipes for a Rack of Pork. I had never heard of this cut, but I love Rack of Lamb, so I found myself intrigued. While surveying the offerings at the Cotsco Meat Counter today, I decided to pick one up and give it a try.

In reading about the cut online, I discovered that it is simply a Pork Loin Roast, with the bones. Rave reviews described it as being infinitely more tasty and succulent than a traditional Pork Loin Roast, which can often be dry and bland. The more I read, the more excited I became to give this a try.

I actually cut my rack into three as it is only the Brit and I for dinner tonight. I do want to make something special for him, as this is his last night of teaching for this semester, so it is a call for a celebration of sorts. Anyway, I gave Margo one of the three Racks after self butchering, and I am anxiously awaiting her rendition of said Rack of Pork.

I began mine with a marinade:

Marinade Ingredients:


Whisk together:

1/3 cup Zinfandel Wine Vinegar

1 TbspDijon

¼ cup EVO

1 tsp Wildflower honey

1 sprig fresh Rosemary, pulled apart

1 sprig fresh, Thyme, pulled apart

Put the Rack of Pork in a Freezer Bag with the marinade and marinade at least 3 hours.

Vegetables & Potatoes:


You can really use any vegetables you think will roast well: Brussel Sprouts, Turnips, Fennel, Acorn Squash, Zucchini, etc. I also think Fingerling Potatoes would be fun and the multi-colored ones very pretty. I used Yukon Gold because I previously purchased a lifetime supply at Cotsco!

2 Potatoes, quartered

1 Parsnip, peeled and cut into 3-4 inch pieces

2 Carrots, peeled and cut into 3-4 inch pieces

¼ Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 3-4 in cubes

2 Beets, peeled

4PearlOnions

4 Baby Bella Mushrooms (again, these are a staple in my kitchen and I get a large basket each trip to Cotsco)

Preparation:


Preheat oven to 450. I used convection roast.

Toss the vegetables and potatoes with 1-2 Tbsp EVO, Sea Salt, Pepper, Fresh Thyme, Rosemary and fresh, shredded Sage leaves in the bottom of a small roasting pan.

Place the marinated Rack of Pork on top of the vegetables and potatoes. Set aside the bag with the marinade.

Finely chop 4-5 cloves of garlic and a 4 inch piece of peeled, fresh horseradish. Press this into the pork, both on top and on the sides. Some of this will fall off into the vegetables; this is ok.

Put roasting pan in oven and immediately turn oven down to 350. Roast for about an hour or until the internal temperature is 145. Remove from oven, transfer meat to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Remove vegetables and potatoes to a serving bowl and place roasting pan on stove top over medium heat. Deglaze pan juices with the marinade and reduce marinade by half. In a small saucepan, make a roux with 1 tbsp butter and 1 ½-2 tbsp flour. Add to reduced marinade and serve over meat.

So, everything they say about this cut of meat is true. The pork was flavorful, tender and moist. I like pork anyway, but I know I will lean towards a Rack of Pork from now on, in lieu of a boneless tenderloin. Yes, it is more fatty, but it is not terribly fatty and I would easily trade my portion of potatoes to enjoy this tasty treat.

As for the Brit….

Well, if the clean plate doesn’t say it all, I will quote him. “Probably the 5th greatest meal you have ever made me.” Considering I have cooked for him most nights for two years now, I’d say that’s pretty darn good!

Chicken Roulette’s with Bosc Pear, Smoked Fontina and Prosciutto in a savory Mushroom, Shallot and Vermouth Reduction

So Margo mentioned that she had a plethora of Bosc Pears left from her massive Cotsco pre-holiday shop yesterday. As we pondered the possibilities of recipes we could make to use up her pears, we also recognized that it had been quite some time since we had had ourselves a girl’s dinner. We had planned on getting together to work on this blog today anyway and it just so happens that the Brit is teaching tonight, so we decided to finish off our afternoon with kitchen experimentation culminating in a lovely dinner for two.

We had to run to Whole Foods to pick up some shallots and as we gathered the shallots, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted some parsnips that I had wanted to make a soup with later this week. As I approached the parsnips I noticed that in the neighboring bin was fresh horseradish root. I have never cooked with this before and thought perhaps we should try so I broke a 4 inch piece off of one of the rather large roots in the bin and tossed it in our cart.

Here’s what we came up with, and I must say, it was pretty darn good.

Chicken Roulette’s with Bosc Pear, Smoked Fontina and Prosciutto in a savory Mushroom, Shallot and Vermouth Reduction

Ingredients:

2 Organic Free Range Chicken Breasts (pounded until they confess or are ½ in thick, which ever comes first!)

4-6 Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

1 large Shallot, finely minced

1 Tbsp EVO

2 Tbsp Butter, divided

¼ Cup Flour, for dredging and thickening

2 Slices Prosciutto

About ½ Bosc Pear, thinly sliced

2 Slices Smoked Fontina

S&P

1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Thyme

1 Cup Low Sodium, no MSG Chicken Broth

½ Cup Extra Dry Vermouth

3 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 Convection, 375 if using traditional bake setting

Salt and Pepper breasts and then dredge with flour, shaking off excess. Top chicken breasts with a layer of sliced pear, then fontina cheese, and finally topping with prosciutto. Roll the chicken breast and secure with toothpick.

Melt 1 Tbsp Butter, with 1 Tbsp EVO over medium heat in a large skillet. Add chopped shallots and sliced mushrooms and cook until soft, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add Lemon Thyme.

Add chicken to pan and brown on all sides, making sure to brown ends as well. I use a fork and hold the ends to the pan to accomplish this. Remove chicken to an oven proof pan. If using a convection oven, place on rack in the pan. Put chicken in oven.

Deglaze the skillet, scraping the bottom to get all of the browned bits dislodged and stir in chicken broth, vermouth and champagne vinegar. Increase heat to bring to a boil and then cover, decrease heat to low and simmer to reduce liquid by one half. This will take about 15 minutes.

Siphon about 1 Tbsp or so of the liquid from the skillet into a cup. Add about 1-2 Tbsp flour to make a thick roux. Add roux to the skillet and stir to combine and thicken the sauce. Once this is accomplished swirl in the remaining 1 Tbsp butter and season to taste with S&P.

Remove chcken from oven and reintroduce to the sauce in the skillet.

Serve and enjoy, being careful not to ingest the toothpick.

Asparagus steamed with Garlic and Lemon Rind

We used skinny Asparagus and trimmed the ends off. Place in skillet with about 1 inch of water. Add a smashed garlic clove and a piece of lemon rind. Cover, bring to a boil and cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Serve with melted butter or not!

 

Yukon Gold Smashed Potatoes with Ricotta and Fresh Horseradish

Ingredients:

4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8’s

2 Tbslp Butter

2 inch piece of Fresh Horseradish, peeled and very finely chopped

¼ cup Part Skim Ricotta (I used this because I had in the refrigerator. You can use this or cream cheese, or sour cream or milk or cream, depending on your preference or what you have.)

¼ cup Organic Half and Half

S&P

Moist Mango Meatloaf

One thing that I pride myself on is my ability to cook. I know I am a great cook, as I get a tremendous amount of feedback, in the way of praise, from EVERYONE I cook for, with the exception of my husband. The Brit and I have been married just under two years now and his lack of enthusiasm for the meals I lovingly create for him has made me keenly aware of the fact that marriage is about thinking about your partner, in every way, including menu preparation!

When I have asked Colin how he feels about my cooking, he tells me that if he has eaten all the food on his plate then that is a good indicator that he liked the meal. I attributed this at first to his being British, but now I know that this is not so. I lean towards Pescatarian, with a small amount of poultry thrown in for good measure, but it appears that my husband is a carnivore. It is not that he dislikes fish or chicken, he just LOVES MEAT!!

My decision not to eat meat has never been a moral one, but rather one of health. I actually enjoy beef occasionally and by using organic, grass fed beef (http://www.dakotabeefcompany.com/) I created an area of compromise in my relationship! Last night I made an adulterated version of Amy Reilly’s “Moist Mango Meatloaf” from her cookbook “Fork Me,SpoonMe.”

( http://www.amazon.com/Fork-Me-Spoon-sensual-cookbook/dp/0977412008 )

Not only did the reserved Brit groan and exclaim “Well done” between every third bite, but he woke up this morning extolling the virtues of last night’s dinner!

Here is my Adulterated Version of Amy’s Moist Mango Meatloaf:

Ingredients:

2 lbs Dakota Organic Grass-Fed Beef (available at Cotsco)

2 tsp salt

2 tsp Green Curry Paste (available locally in Denver at H-Mart)

2 eggs

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 Tblsp Golden Plum Sauce, plus a little more to glaze loaves

1 mango, peeled and diced

¼ cup Panko Bread Crumbs (Japanese Bread 

 


 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with Green Curry Paste and Golden Plum Sauce

Mix meat into Egg Mixture to blend, then stir in Onion, Panko and Mango. Mix thoroughly with hands and then fill loaf pans with meatloaf.

Brush with Golden Plum Sauce.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before baking for one hour.

You can vary the amount of Green Curry Paste depending on your affinity for heat. I love spicy foods and Colin really enjoyed this, however, he mentioned it was at his outside comfort line for heat!

I paired the meatloaf with a Simple Roasted Cauliflower:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut a head of cauliflower into 1/8th chunks and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with Olive Oil, sprinkle with Kosher Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper, and Oregano. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (I used the Panko because they were already out, but you could use Seasoned Bread Crumbs, or evenRye would be nice) and Grated Parmesan Cheese. Drizzle a tad bit more Olive Oil over the bread crumbs and cheese. Roast for about 40 minutes.

Bon Apetit! If you do try this recipe, please write back and let me know how you like it. Thanks!

Panko, Mustard and Mushroom Crusted Rack of Lamb

The Thanksgiving rush is upon us now: menu planning, cooking, shopping, cleaning and yet life does not stop. All the more reason to find delicious, easy, fast non-poultry dishes to make.

So tonight, in between trying to figure out how to drive more traffic to this blog ( I need to believe that someone out there is reading this), preparing a dish for Saturday’s Environmental Learning for Kids Potluck and creating and procuring a list of things to bring for our Thanksgiving trip to Tahoe, I made this sumptuous Rack of Lamb:

Ingredients:

Rack of Lamb (mine was 1.2 pounds and was more than enough for two)

S&P

Bouquet Garni

3 cloves Garlic

3 Baby Bella Mushrooms, finely chopped

3 Tbslp.DijonMustard

½ Cup Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)

¼ Cup Grated Parmesan

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400- I set mine to Convection Roast

Rub Lamb Rack with Salt & Pepper.

Slice garlic into slivers (resembling slivered almonds) and with a small paring knife create slits into the lamb meat in which to insert the garlic slivers.

Heat a small broiling pan over medium heat on the top of the stove. Brown the garlic studded Rack of Lamb for about a minute or so on each side. Hold with fork to brown ends. Remove from heat.

In a small mixing bowl, mix Mustard, Panko, Parmesan and chopped Mushrooms. Sprinkle generously with Bouquet Garni (I probably used 2 tsp.) and mix to form a paste.

Cover the Rack of Lamb with the Panko, Mustard, Mushroom Mixture, pressing it lightly with your fingers to adhere and smooth.

Roast in preheated oven for about 20 minutes (will be medium rare)

 I served this with thick Eggplant slices, which I rubbed with EVO and Crushed Garlic and then sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese. I also roasted some Baby Beets, rubbed with EVO and sprinkled with Sea Salt and Baked Potatoes.

I put the potatoes in first, an hour prior to serving time, then put the vegetables in 20 minutes later and finally the Rack of Lamb 20 minutes after the veggies.

Delish….

Roasted Root Veggies for Thanksgiving & Rainbow Trout Stuffed with Fennel, Lemon, Onion & Garlic

These days we are testing recipes for my favorite holiday (Margo’s is Halloween): Thanksgiving. I will be cooking with my BFF Betsy and doing so in her oh-so-fabulous, my-dream kitchen, which, sadly for me, is located in her gorgeous house in Lake Tahoe, not mine inDenver. Anyway, I get to cook in it and that’s always a treat. Of course, there will be plenty of pics to follow.

Anyway, this getting ready for Thanksgiving has necessitated two things: one that I create my meals around side dishes we are experimenting with for our holiday meal and two that I make entrée’s that are fast and healthy.

Today we decided to experiment with roast veggie varieties for a healthy side and threw this together:

Roast Root Veggies with Anjou Pear, Fresh Rosemary and Thyme, EVO & Balsamic

 

Preheat oven to 400                                     

 

Ingredients

1 medium Celery Root, peeled and chopped into 2-3 inch chunks

3 small Red Beets, quartered

2 medium Parsnips, cut into 2-3 inch chunks

2 medium Carrots, cut into 2-3 inch chunks

1/3 Anjou Pear, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch chunks

¼ medium Red Onion, Sliced

Kosher Salt

Pepper

EVO

Balsamic

Fresh Rosemary & Thyme

Preparation

Place a layer of Celery Root in the bottom of an oven proof dish

Sprinkle a layer of Beets over Celery Root and then top with a layer of Parsnips

Sprinkle 2 Tblsp EVO and Salt & Pepper over veggies, be generous with the salt.

Spread Carrots on the top of the vegetable pile, then sprinkle the Pear and Red Onion on top.

Sprinkle with 1 Tblsp Balsamic and 1 Tblsp EVO

Sprinkle top of dish with Fresh Rosemary Sprigs and Fresh Thyme

Roast in preheated oven for 40 minutes, stirring to toss ingredients every 10 minutes.

So, after spending hours pondering recipes, procuring the items we will need for our tasty experiments and determining that we are truly inept when it comes to the world of WordPress, we decided that we also should spend some time watching online video’s describing how to create what they call a menu. Now I understand menus, but not these types and so, to economize on time and to compliment the Roasted Vegetables I prepared:

Roast Rainbow Trout Stuffed with Fennel, Lemon, Onion, Garlic and Wine

Ingredients:

 3 small Rainbow Trout

1 large lemon, thinly sliced

1 Fennel Bulb, thinly sliced

1 Red Onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves Garlic, chopped

½ cup White Wine (I used a yummy Chilean Chardonnay)

S&P

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400

 

Clean and dry trout, place on a large sheet of parchment laid across a roasting pan. Open the first fish and place a layer of lemon slices on top of the fish, top that with a layer of fennel, then onion, and finally 1/3 of the garlic. Do this to the remaining fish as well. Pour wine over the fish and wrap the stuffed fish in parchment to create a package.

Bake about 20-25 minutes. Cut open the parchment and serve.

While this dish was easy, delicious, fat free and healthful, I must admit that (a) neither Margo nor Colin appreciated having the fish staring them down and (b) not only did I have to remove the head and tails for them, but I also needed to assist them with deboning the fish.

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