Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Colorful Salad

For some reason, I had red cabbage in the fridge. I am at a loss as to why I bought it. But there it sat; a little bag of shredded red cabbage.

I must have had some plan for it, but that plan has gone from my brain long ago it seems. So I needed a new plan. I bought some fresh spinach and an avocado and dug around the pantry to find a can of mandarin orange slices. Pow! Salad.

The Colorful Salad

1 cup sliced red cabbage
3 cups torn fresh spinach
1/4 cup mandarin orange slices (canned)
1/2 avocado, diced
1/4 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp Mandarin Orange Balsamic
1 tbsp Blood Orange Olive Oil

The instructions are pretty vague here. It's a salad. Just toss it all together. My white beans were stubbornly sunk to the bottom of the bowl and didn't want their picture taken. I advise a shallow dish to serve this in. The avocados want to slide away too. Don't give any of the ingredients a chance to chicken out. You want them all present when you eat this!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cheesy Pasta with Mushrooms

I needed a quick meal the other night. This was great and provided enough leftovers for the whole week!

Cheesy Pasta with Mushrooms

1/2 lb curly pasta
2 pints mushrooms, sliced
1 bag, 16oz shredded cheddar
1/4 cup milk
2-4 tbsp sour cream
4 diced plum tomatoes, or 2 medium regular tomatoes
4 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil
good pinch Himalayan Pink Salt

Pour the olive oil and the mushrooms into a saute pan and heat over medium heat. Sprinkle with a bit of the salt. Cook slowly about 10 minutes, stirring often. The mushrooms should be reduced by at least half. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and put back in the pan over low heat. Stir in the mushrooms and the milk. Slowly add in the shredded cheese. Add in two tablespoons of the sour cream and stir. If you like the consistency, leave it be, if you want it thinner, add in the extra 2 tbsps of sour cream.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sesame Pork with Leeks

So I've had this bunch of leeks in my fridge for about a week. They were starting to look sad and shrivel-y so I really had to use them quickly. Then yesterday when I went shopping, pork loin was on sale! A match made in heaven. I got right home and cooking!

If you have no leeks, add in extra onions. Red onion, yellow onion, green onion bunches... leeks are related. It's all good. If you have no pork....also works with chicken.

Sesame Pork with Leeks

1 pork loin, 2 lb
1 large bunch of leeks
     or a little bit of leeks and a small onion
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
2 tbsp, plus 1 tbsp White Honey Ginger Balsamic
Sesame Seeds
2 chilies, seeded and diced
1 bunch parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the pork roast in a non-stick pan and rub down with 2 tbsp Honey Ginger Balsamic and garlic paste. Roast, uncovered for 35-40 minutes. Let cool.

Slice the leeks thinly white parts and non woody green bits, and the onion if you are using. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add in the leeks and the Toasted Sesame Oil. Saute slowly until the leeks are soft and fragrant stirring occasionally.

Dice the pork roast and add it to the pan. Raise the heat to medium high and saute, stirring often. Add in the chilies and the parsley. Cook until everything is warmed through and the parsley is well wilted.

Now add the remaining tablespoon of White Honey Ginger Balsamic and serve. Top with sesame seeds.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Red Beans and Rice

While red beans and rice is a very traditionally creole/New Orleans type of food, beans and rice are found all over the world in combination. I needed a side to go along with some tacos, so I added a little tex-mex flavor to a basically creole recipe. I think it worked out beautifully. And I'm having the leftovers for lunch today. Yay!

Day old rice is important here. Nice fresh fluffy rice soaks up more oil and sauce, making the final product stickier and tending towards the soggy side. If you don't have day old rice, make some fresh, spread it out on a large platter and stick it in the fridge to cool and dry out a bit.

Red Beans and Rice

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups day old white or brown rice
2 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil
2 tbsp Persian Lime Olive Oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
a pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
     or 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 medium onion, finely diced

Heat the Garlic Olive Oil to medium in a large saute pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring often until the onion is translucent. Four to five minutes. Add in the rice, salt, spices and the tomatoes.

Stir well. Cook, stirring often for another 3-5 minutes. If the rice starts to stick, add in the Persian Lime Oil. Add in the kidney beans and the rest of the oil. Stir to combine and cover. Let cook 1-2 minutes more, or until everything is heated through.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


For the potato cakes recipe, I made quite a lot of mashed potatoes. I really did. Bunches and bunches. I really like mashed potatoes, but this was going a bit far...

I made a bunch of potato cakes. We ate those. I served them with my last chicken post. We ate that. But I still had about 4 cups of mashed potatoes left over. What was I supposed to do with that?!

Ah. The internet. Thank you internet.

Skordalia. A Greek dip made with loads of garlic, and mostly, potatoes. Oh, and a TON of olive oil. What could be more perfect? Oh, if you don't have Garlic Olive Oil, I would suggest using Greek Olive Oil, like our Salonika, and 3-4 extra garlic cloves. Or more. This is a garlic dip after all. One recipe I saw called for 16 cloves. That may be too much. Use your own best judgement there.

As I already had the mashed potatoes, I didn't have to go through the trouble of cooking more, but here is the full recipe, because, unlike me, you do not have an insane amount of mashed potatoes in your fridge. Unless you do, then we can be best friends.


1 lb russet potatoes
2-6 cloves garlic
3/4 cup Garlic Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
crushed and toasted walnuts or almonds, optional
fresh herbs to toss in, not traditional, but awesome

Boil the potatoes in their skins in salted water until they are cooked through. You should be able to slide a knife or fork into them with no resistance.

Mash them really finely. They should be very smooth.

Crush the garlic and salt together and mix into the potatoes. Beat in the olive oil and the lemon juice. The mixture should be as thin, or a little thinner than hummus. Taste for salt and pepper.

Add the herbs and stir through if you are using them. And sprinkle with nuts, if you are using those. (I did not)

Serve with chips, veggies, a spoon...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Honey Butter Chicken

This is a recipe that was originally going to happen with pork chops. But that was before I spotted chicken breasts on sale at my grocery store the other day. So feel free to mix this up. I think it would be nice with a turkey breast too.

Honey Butter Chicken

4 tbsp Butter Olive Oil
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 lb chicken breast
3/4 cup water or low sodium chicken broth
big pinch of black pepper
big pinch Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
1 tbsp smoked paprika

Heat the oven to 375°.

Arrange the chicken in a large casserole pan. In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, honey, water, salt and spices. Pour over the chicken. Flip the chicken around to coat.

Roast uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Irish Potato Pancakes

Irish Potato Pancakes

2 cups mashed potatoes
1/3 cup flour
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil
1 tsp garlic paste
1/4 cup fresh herbs, I like chives and parsley
Salt and pepper

Up to 1/4 cup Garlic Olive Oil for frying

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir very well to combine. This is best made with leftover cold mashed potatoes, they are easier to handle. Knead everything out and divide into individual portions. Shape into rounds. I like to make them thinner, but you can make them thicker if you like.

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of the frying oil up to medium high heat. Place the rounds in the pan and cook about 4 minutes a side, until they are golden brown. If they start to stick, drop more oil in by the teaspoonful. If you make them thinner, you will probably need the whole 1/4 cup of oil to fry with, potatoes do absorb it, but if you made them thicker, you'll probably only need half that.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Walnut Basil Pesto Chicken

We recently got a little bit of this neat balsamic called Chocolate Walnut. We don't have very much of it, and when we run out, we are out. It's like our Black Walnut, but with a chocolate hint. That being said, you could make this recipe with the limited Chocolate Walnut, just the Chocolate, or just the Black Walnut.

It's just tasty any way you serve it.

Walnut Basil Pesto Chicken

6-8 boned chicken thighs
1/2 cup Basil pesto with walnuts (recipe at the end)
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Chocolate Walnut Balsamic

Preheat your oven to 375°. Place the chicken in an oven proof casserole with high sides. Arrange in a single layer. Combine the pesto and the wine and pour over the chicken, making sure to cover every bit.

Place in the oven uncovered and bake for about 20 minutes flipping the chicken halfway through. Remove from oven and brush the balsamic all over the chicken. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes. Serve with a nice scoop of sauce. (You don't have to flip the chicken, I just think it lets the sauce really get all over everything better)

Basil Pesto with Walnuts

3 cups fresh basil*
1/2 cup Basil Olive Oil
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 clove garlic
Sea Salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, optional

Roughly chop the garlic and walnuts. Mash them together with a sprinkle of the sea salt and add to a food processor with the basil and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Pulse until everything is finely chopped, then turn it on and gently stream in the olive oil until everything is nice and smooth. Add Parmesan now if using and pulse to combine.

Instead of all basil, you could use half spinach or arugula. We also have a jarred pesto available in the store made with arugula and walnuts that is good as well.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tomato Basil Sausage Soup

Now this dish turned on the thick side for soup. Your could call this a pasta dish with sausage, or a nice thick stew. I'm calling it soup. I'm eating it with a spoon and that's all there is to that. A nice slice of crusty garlic bread wouldn't go amiss either.

Tomato Basil Sausage 'Soup'

1 can (28oz) tomato puree
1/2 - 1 lb mild italian sausage
3-4 carrots, finely diced
2-3 ribs celery, finely diced
small handful fresh basil, chopped
4 tbsp Basil Olive Oil
1/2 lb small pasta
1 can white beans
1 box (32 oz) vegetable or chicken stock

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add the tomato puree and the stock. Heat until it reaches a low simmer, then add the celery and the carrots. Cook about 10 minutes. Increase the heat until you have it just under a boil and add the pasta. Cook for 6 minutes then lower the heat to a mild simmer again.

In a separate pan, heat the olive oil to medium high and add in the sausage, casing removed. Cook until done through, making sure to break into very small bits. About 10 minutes. Pour the contents of this pan all into the soup.

Open the can of white beans, drain the water off, but do not rinse. Add along with the fresh basil.

Bring the soup up to a mild simmer again and cover loosely. Allow a bit of the steam to escape, you don't want your pan to explode.

Let simmer 5-20 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan every once in awhile. It's thick and things may stick.

Top with a little roasted garlic sea salt and you're good to go. Just in time for it to snow. Again.

For a thinner soup: add one more box of stock, cook the pasta separately, rinse the beans before adding them and only use 1/2 lb of sausage.