Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Olive-N-Grape Goes to Italy!

Yes, we are going to Italy!

No, we aren't opening a store there. No, I don't get to go.

But the owner's do! There is a food show in Milan to visit and some growers in Sicily, plus the whole rest of the country to see.

As they send me back pictures, I will set them up here for you too. But don't worry, it's not all just going to be travel shots this month. I have a couple recipes planned as well.

I wouldn't leave you hanging like that.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Customer Recipe: Beet Salad

Thanks to Beverly for this great recipe! It looks so beautiful, maybe I'll actually eat beets....

The beets are medium sized, about 2 1/2 inches across.  Cut off the tops if they are still on the beets, but leave a little of the top, about a 1/2 inch on so beets don't bleed out any of their flavor.  Wash and wrap in foil.  Roast in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Stick each beet with meat fork at end of cooking time to make sure the beets are done.  If they are still a little hard, continue cooking for about 10 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.  When they are able to be handled, open the foil, and rub each beet hard enough to remove the skin and the remaining top.  You may want to wear a pair of disposable rubber gloves so you don't stain your hands.  The top leaves that are cut off can be washed and chopped and sauteed for a side dish later.  Just cook them in a little flavored oil, for about fifteen minutes.  After the beets are skinned, put them in a plastic bag and cool in refrigerator until you want the beet salad.  It only takes one beet for each salad.  Dice the cold beets, put on a dish, add some chopped walnut, or black walnuts, Gorgonzola Cheese crumbles, and Black walnut vinegar.  Delicious. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pork with Black Beans and Escarole

I know that pork and beans are a classic pairing. Add greens and you have a perfect soup. But I find that that works best with ground pork or sausage and I had a couple pork steaks still in the freezer from last week. So instead of soup, I sliced up the pork and made this awesomeness!

Pork with Black Beans and Escarole
serves 2-4

2 pork steaks
1 sm head of escarole, rough chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper
1 tbsp Basiks, Southwest Blend

Heat the olive oil to medium high heat and add the pork steaks. Cook 2 minutes each side, or until you get a good sear on them. Remove from the pan and let cool a little. Slice into strips and return to the pan. Add the Southwest Spices(optional) and the salt and pepper. Finish cooking now, give them 2-4 minutes a side. 

Add the black beans and the escarole and stir to combine. Cover and let simmer together about 3 minutes, or until the escarole is well wilted and the beans are heated through. Stir in the Vanilla Balsamic and serve!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Eat Your Veggies Sauce

I bought some zucchini and a can of asparagus last week for a couple recipes I never made. So I pulled out a bunch of veggies that I had on hand and realized that everything was green.

I sauteed everything up and tasted it, and hey, this would taste great on pasta! Where's my blender!

I love this dish. So springtime. And even if it's not Monday, it's good to eat one meat-less day a week right? Or more than one day. So tasty!

Eat Your Veggies Sauce

1 can pigeon peas
1 large zucchini, rough chopped
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 can asparagus, drained
1 lb pappardelle pasta

Saute the onion with the olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and continue to cook until the peas are nice and soft, about 7-9 minutes.

I let this cool for about 10 minutes before putting it in my blender. I used the interval to cook my pasta and drain it. If your blender has a steam vent, make sure it is open. If you have a Vita-mix  I'm jealous; and you probably don't have to worry about any of this. 

Blend the sauce until it is smooth. Add a little extra Olive Oil if it isn't thin enough, but you should be okay.

Serve over the pasta.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stuffed Portobello Caps

I had some of my friends over this past weekend. One of them is vegan, so I picked up some things to make stuffed mushroom caps for her. While I was at the store, I picked up some crackers and things for appetizers too, but I kept circling back to the vegan 'meats'. 

I found vegan chorizo crumbles. And I figured, what the heck? Lets try that.

This was awesome! You can always unvegan it. But either way, it can feed all your friends and you won't be sad if there are leftovers. And you can size this recipe however you like it. This is set up for 4 people.

Stuffed Portobello Caps
serves 4

4 portobello caps
1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup 'Cheddar Cheese' shreds
1/2 lb 'Chorizo' crumbles
1 onion, finely sliced

Preheat your oven to 400degrees. Clean your mushrooms and chop the stems. Brush them with some of the olive oil and set aside on a baking tray.

Heat the olive oil to medium high heat in a large pan. Add the onion slices and the mushroom stems and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add in the 'chorizo' and stir to combine. Most of the vegan 'meats' are precooked, check your packaging on this. I just browned mine for about 3 minutes, but if yours needs to cook longer, please follow your package directions.

Turn the heat to low and stir in the rice and 'cheese'. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the mixture onto each mushroom cap. Bake for about 10 minutes. The mushrooms should be tender and everything should be nice and brown.

Drizzle with Traditional Balsamic before serving.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cilantro Lime Chicken

I'm so glad it's sunny today! After the recent chill, I'm in the mood for spring foods. And lime and cilantro speaks spring to me. To get really full of spring, I'd use lamb chops for this. But my husband doesn't care for lamb, so chicken it is! And the side portion of this is really good stirred into rice. (I'm out of rice right now, but I recommend it!)

Cilantro Lime Chicken

4 chicken breasts
6 tbsp, divided, Persian Lime Oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small nub ginger, finely shredded
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 can pigeon peas
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 lime, for garnish
1 tsp Salt Free Spice Blend

In a large pan heat 4 tbsp of the oil to medium high. Add the chicken breasts and sprinkle with the Basik's seasoning blend. Cook, about 7 minutes each side. Before you flip, add about half of the cilantro. Reduce the heat if they are getting too browned.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of the Lime oil in a medium pan to medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and add the zucchini and pigeon peas. Add in the other half of the cilantro and stir to combine. Simmer the zucchini and peas until the zucchini is tender.

Serve with a squeeze of lime juice.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fridge Soup

I had leftover chicken in the fridge from something my husband made, and a lot of escarole from the pork chop dish earlier this week. The chicken was so good I couldn't throw it away, and I never got to get a picture of it either! He just has to make it again.

Clean Out the Fridge Soup

2 cups leftover chicken, shredded
4-6 cups greens, escarole or spinach
1/2 onion
2-3 shallots
4-6 cups broth
1 pkg mushrooms
2 stalks celery
2 tbsp White Truffle Garlic Olive Oil
2 tbsp seasoning blends

In a large soup pan, heat 2 tbsp Olive Oil and add the chicken. Saute for a few minutes.

Chop the celery to a fine dice. Slice your greens into thin ribbons, and rough chop the mushrooms and onions. Add them and the broth to your pan. Increase the heat to a simmer.

Everything is already cooked for this soup, what you are doing is letting all the flavors really meld. You could let this simmer until everything is just warmed up, or you can let it go for awhile.

I simmered mine, uncovered for about 45 minutes.

The most important ingredients to this soup are the chicken, greens and broth. I used beef broth, because that's what I had on hand. And I had some of the Hunter's Blend spices, but original would be nice. If you used the Italian Herb or Basil Olive Oil, I think that the Italian Table Blend spices would be nice. You could also make this spicy if you want. Use the Zesty Onion or Citrus Habanero Oil and some of the Southwest Spices to really clear your sinuses. This is just what I had in my fridge. If you have other stuff, go for it! Small pasta would be great, also carrots. Mmmm, carrots.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pork Chops with Hot Slaw

Pork chops can be very boring, unless you cook them in a flavored oil! So that's what I did today. I was in the mood for some spice, so I used the Zesty Onion Oil and tossed some of our red pepper paste in the slaw. No boring pork chops here!

Pork Chops with Hot Slaw

1 pkg (4) pork chops or pork steaks
2 tbsp Zesty Onion Olive Oil
1/2 head escarole, rough chopped
2-3 carrots, cut in matchsticks
1 apple, diced
1/2 cup raisins
2-3 tbsp fresh dill
2 tbsp red pepper paste

Preheat your oven to 350degrees. Heat the oil to medium high in an oven safe pan large enough for all the meat. Season with salt and lightly brown each side. Cover lightly with a sheet of foil and place in the oven for 30-45 minutes.

Remove the chops to a plate and put the pan back on the stove top. Toss all the slaw ingredients together with the pan juices and warm through until the escarole is wilted down. About 5 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shrimp in Ginger Butter

It's Spring! Brrr.....

In an attempt to bring some spring flavors to this still chilly area, I've tried to take advantage of the fresh herbs that have been rolling in to the markets. The dish feels really fresh and spring-y. Even if you feel as frozen as your shrimp. Enjoy!

Shrimp in Ginger Butter

12 oz frozen, precooked shrimp
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp fresh garlic
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
1 tbsp fresh tarragon
Lime juice, to taste
Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil to medium in a saute pan. Crush the ginger and garlic together in a garlic press. Add to the warm pan and cook for a minute or two, until it starts to get extremely fragrant.

Chop the cilantro and tarragon pretty finely and if you got shrimp with shells, peel them. I like to take off the tails too, but you could leave them on if you like.

Add the shrimp and herbs to the ginger/garlic mixture. Raise the heat to medium high and cook about 1 minute per side, just to warm them through completely and give them some color. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Savory April Fools!

Happy April Fools Day!

I was going to make surprise cakes, ya know, mini cakes with things like candied cherries or nuts hidden in the centers... But it's April Fools Day. You would be expecting something like that.

Instead I went literal. Ful, pronounced Fool, is Egyptian for a kind of fava bean dish.

Now, when you think fava bean, pop culture being what it is, you probably hear Hannibal Lecter talking about liver and Chianti.

I have nothing against Chianti, but lets agree that it is just too creepy to put these things together anymore. I'm getting as far away from that as possible here and giving you a breakfast recipe.

This is, from what I read, a popular Egyptian breakfast. I thought it was fantastic! And healthier by far than French Toast.

So Happy April 'Fuls' Day. Lets Eat!

And Happy 1st Blogiversary to me as well!

This is easiest to make with canned beans, but if you can't find them, use dried.

Ful Medames

1 can fava beans, rinsed and drained - 
or, about 1 cup dried, soaked and boiled according to package directions
1 lime
2 tsp garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger

Crush the garlic and the ginger together to make a paste. Add to the beans and olive oil. Mash together with a fork and add the salt and cumin to taste.

Serve with warm flat bread, an egg and a squeeze of lime.