Fall Cobb Salad

I was debating whether or not to make a salad or soup for the blog this week... This harvest themed salad just kept popping into my head, so here we are! 

Some of my favorite fall foods are roasted squash, pumpkin seeds, and roasted beets. (Diced Honeycrisp apples might also be a good addition to this as well, but my husband would have thrown a fit, so... I'll live vicariously through you if you add them.) I was running out of room on the actual salad, so I decided to toss the beets in the blender and make a vinaigrette from them. SO GOOD! It's thick and creamy, slightly tangy, and a touch sweet all while being healthy and packed full of nutrients! 

This salad DOES have a fairly long list of ingredients to prep, but it's worth it! Once you have the mis en place assembled, it comes together really fast, I promise. I actually roasted the beets and garlic on one sheet pan (each wrapped individually in foil) and the butternut squash on another pan all in a 425 degree oven. The squash took 20 minutes. The beets and garlic were in there for forty. Simple! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 small (2 pound) butternut squash, peeled and large diced 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • Seeds from the squash (or 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 Head Boston Bibb Lettuce
  • 4 oz mixed greens (baby kale, spinach, salad greens -anything you have works)
  • 8 ounces of bacon, cooked and crumbled 
  • 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, sliced in half 
  • 1/2 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, medium dice
  • 2 cups cooked steak, cut into thin strips 
  • 1 avocado, large diced
  • 2 oz crispy roasted fava beans (I used these from Nuttee Bean Co.- they're one of my favorite snacks. High protein, high fiber, vegan, and delicious!)

Dressing: 

  • 2 small beets, roasted, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 1 head of garlic (roasted at the same time as the beets)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat the oven to 425. Spread the squash out in a single layer and toss with the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. 

(This would be a good time to roast the beets and garlic if you don't have them already roasted.)

When the veggies come out of the oven, set the squash aside. On the same sheet pan, toss the seeds with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and toss them in the 435 oven for 10 minutes, or until crispy. 

Spread your chopped lettuce and greens in a thin layer on a large serving tray or sheetpan. (I couldn't find a serving dish long enough to show all the salad layers, so I went with the sheetpan myself.)

Starting on one end of the lettuce, spread the salad topping ingredients over the top in rows. 

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Toss the roasted beets, garlic cloves, the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and salt in the blender. Blend until smooth. If it's too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it's a smooth and pourable consistency. Set this on the side of the salad and enjoy! 

I will also add that while this salad feeds four, my husband and I ate 2/3 of it. He took the remaining third to work with him. It holds up fairly well as far as salads go and makes great leftovers! 

Paleo Beef Stroganoff Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I love mushrooms and I love steak! Beef Stroganoff is one of my favorite dishes, but I don't ever feel like the noodles are very important. The noodles seem to be there only to soak up the delicious mushroom sauce; so why not just skip them and use MORE mushrooms to soak up that umami-packed goodness!  

Ingredients:  

  • 2 tbsp butter  
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced  
  • 1/2 onion, small dice    
  • 20 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced  
  • 1 tbsp cassava flour  
  • 1 tbsp paprika  
  • 5 oz kale, roughly chopped  
  • 2 c mushroom (or beef) stock  
  • Salt and pepper to taste  
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • 4 portobellos 
  • 1 pound of steak, thinly sliced  
  • 1/2 pound cauliflower rice

Melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 8 minutes. 

Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and thoroughly stir. 

Repeat this with the paprika. 

Add in the chopped kale and broth and cook until kale is wilted and well-combined, about 3 minutes. 

Taste it and add salt and pepper. 

Stir in the fresh thyme. 

Grill the portobellos and the steak until the mushrooms are soft and juicy and the steak is done to your liking. (I would error on the side of less-done as the steak will be added to the mushroom mixture and potentially cook more.)

When the mushrooms are done, transfer them to a plate and set them aside. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes uncovered. 

Add the cauliflower rice to the mushroom mixture and give it a good stir. You can check here for seasoning again and add more salt or pepper if needed. (Remember the meaty steak may add some salt, so don't over-season.) 

Thinly slice the steak. This was seriously the hardest part of the whole process. Who can resist slices of juicy, seasoned steak sitting on a board and NOT want to pile them straight into your mouth. Try not to eat all the steak! It's worth it for the end result, I promise! :) 

Stir the steak into the mushroom, kale, cauliflower mixture. 

To serve, take one portobello and use as a bowl. Spoon the mixture evenly into the four mushrooms and dig in! 

Scotch Eggs

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I love scotch eggs. They're like the best of everything I want in a breakfast or brunch, all rolled (literally) into one! Who doesn't want a hardboiled egg rolled in tasty sausage and fried until hot and crispy? I know you do! Yes; I understand that these may not be the HEALTHIEST of recipes, but once in a while, they're SO worth it. The next time you have a brunch or breakfast/brunch for dinner, whip these babies out and everyone will love you. (And don't forget to send me an invite...!)

Ingredients: 

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c flour 
  • 1 cup panko or coarse ground almond meal 
  • 12 oz fresh sausage, casing removed (I used chicken sage, but use whichever sausage you love)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I used sage and thyme, rosemary, parsley and tarragon would also be perfect)
  • 1/4 cup ghee or olive oil for frying 
  • Good quality Dijon for serving 

 

Set four eggs in a pot of cold water. Bring these to a boil, remove from the heat, cover and let sit for three minutes. Once three minutes are up, remove the eggs from the hot water and immerse in an ice bath until cool. (You can always do this step a day ahead- you just run into the issue of someone in your house eating all your eggs!) Carefully peel your eggs under cold running water and set them on a paper towel to dry. 

Line up three bowls side by side. In the first bowl, add the flour. Whip the two remaining eggs and pour them into the second bowl. Pour the panko or almond meal into the third bowl.

Take the sausage and mix in the chopped herbs. Divide the mixture by four. Take one of the sections of sausage, and flatten it in your hand, like a pancake. Place the dry egg in the middle, and fold the sausage mixture around the egg to fully encase it. You should not be able to see any egg through the sausage. 

Take each sausage-covered egg and roll it first in the flour, then dip it (with a different hand or you will get the "claw", an awful gummy paste on your hand of liquid and sticky flour/crumbs!) into the egg mixture. Finally, with your dry hand, roll the egg in the bowl of crumbs. Set each of the four eggs on a plate next to the stove. 

Heat the butter or oil until slightly smoking. To see if the oil is hot enough, toss a tiny piece of panko into the pan and see if it sizzles. If it does, you're ready to go! Place each egg in the pan with enough space between to make sure they don't touch and stick together. Watch them closely, and roll them around every thirty seconds or so to make sure the sausage cooks but nothing burns in the butter. You may need to add more butter depending on the size of your pan. You ideally want a quarter inch of fat to be coating the bottom of your pan. 

When the eggs are fully cooked, set them on a paper towel lined plate to drain for three minutes. (I use this time to pour mimosas and set the table!)

Serve each egg with a dollop of the mustard and eat while warm. Enjoy! 

Cauliflower Rice Sushi

Cauliflower sushi was something I have been thinking about making for ages (along with cauliflower "paella"...) I wasn't sure if the moisture in the cauliflower would seep through the seaweed and essentially explode the rolls. It didn't. It was perfect.

This recipe cannot be rushed. The actual rolling of the sushi takes a little while. There was nothing tedious about it; it was actually really fun! I bought a cute little sushi rolling mat and some wasabi paste on my way home. (Go now! Go buy seaweed, wasabi, and a rolling mat!)

I love making rice from cauliflower. I actually discovered that you can buy such a thing from Trader Joe's, and it's less than $2 AND it's organic. Winning! (Except for right now, where they seem to be having an issue stocking cauliflower-fresh or frozen. I was told it's being addressed, yet has been going on since the beginning of December. #Bringbackthecauliflower.)

How you come by your cauliflower is no business of mine. Just find one. :) Actually... I bought a Romanesco instead last night and it would be a wonderful substitute! I didn't have the heart to rice it, as it was gorgeous, but it may be my new favorite cruciferous veggie this winter! 

I'm sorry, I keep getting off point. BACK TO THE RECIPE! :) Get some Cauliflower somewhere, somehow. Pulse that bad boy in your food processor until you have tiny little niblets of "rice". (I have sent the florets through the grating attachment and pulsed them with the regular "S" blade. I actually prefer the blade and the pulsing- it's a finer texture.) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • 1 pack of nori (seaweed wrappers) 
  • 1 carrot 
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cucumber 
  • 4 oz salmon fillet 
  • wasabi 
  • mayonnaise
  • sriracha 
  • coconut aminos or soy sauce 

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat with a glug of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cauliflower and cook for about five minutes. If you have a lot of cauliflower, do this in batches so it doesn't steam. Once the cauliflower is cooked, put it in a bowl and set it in the fridge. (I was impatient and hungry, so I put mine in the freezer to cool faster.) 

While the cauliflower is cooling, get your ingredients ready. I sliced the carrot by using a vegetable peeler, and just wound up with a pile of carrot ribbons. (These would be am amazing Moroccan carrot salad! I must remember to try that...) I cut the cucumber into small sticks and the avocado into wide chunks. Set these aside on a plate where you can easily reach them. 

Using the same pan the cauliflower was in, sear the salmon. (You could just leave it raw, but for some reason I wanted to cook it.) I skinned my fillet and after I pulled the salmon from the pan, I cooked the salmon skin. Crispy salmon skin rolls are the best! 

Pull the cauliflower from the fridge and stir in the rice vinegar. 

To assemble the rolls, take out one piece of nori and put it on your sushi mat. (If you don't have a mat, I'm sure a dish towel would work perfectly well.) Spread some cauliflower over 2/3 of the seaweed and layer on your roll ingredients.

Making sure to keep the roll very tight, start rolling them away from you. Before you get to the end, wet the end of the nori. This will essentially "glue" your roll together so it doesn't combust. 

Slice each roll into bite-size pieces. I had some break open, which I happily ate. These will be your snacks as you're rolling the others. Embrace it- they're delicious!

Arrange the sushi on a platter however you see fit. I made all ten rolls different, some were spread with sriracha mayo and wasabi and some were mild for the kids. My favorite combos were spicy salmon with crispy skin and avocado cucumber. Have fun with them! 

I served mine with coconut aminos and more wasabi. Some pickled ginger was a great addition as well! Dig in! (I'm embarrassed to say that my family ate all ten rolls, they were that tasty!)

Sugar Demo

I know a lot of people are on a "diet" in the beginning of the year. I typically don't do the whole "diet" thing, but choose to focus instead on eating real food that's nourishing and delicious ALL year long. The one thing I will say if I am completely, 100% behind a sugar detox or the Whole30 concept. 30 days of no wine you ask?!?! Yes- It's a serious commitment. (And one I feel you will not regret.) This is very close to the way I normally eat. If anyone asked me, I would very readily state that I eat extremely healthy; I genuinely love vegetables and rarely crave or want excessive carbs or sugar. YET... These things sneak into your diet without you even realizing it! Look through the labels on your sausage as you throw them on the grill. Almond milk is generally sweetened with something, as is tomato sauce and even chicken stock. So, while I say I am healthy, and consume very little sugar- I DO get some in ways I don't even mean to. 

I recently did a display at my local Whole Foods with a bunch of products and the sugar cubes that corresponded to the sugar in each product. There were a few eye-openers. The 300 calorie, full-fat yogurt I feed my children is LOADED with sugar. (Does anybody besides myself seek out full-fat yogurt? There aren't many on the market. I don't WANT nonfat for my kids, I want them rolling in cream and whole milk!) Anyhow... This display showed everyone shopping that day just how much sugar was in each vitamin water, protein bar, and juice box they are feeding themselves/their kids for breakfast each day. Some shockers were tomato sauce, bacon, and salad dressings. That's why I continue to do a complete overhaul a few times a year and embark on a Whole30. The teeny, tiny bits of sugar you consume (even being a health coach and knowing not to eat sugar) add up. 

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Even when you try and live the most healthy version of your life that you can, sugar sneaks in. It's more addictive than cocaine. It's hidden in everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Salad dressings are my personal favorite. SO many people are making the responsible choice; they're ordering a salad with a vinaigrette (rather than the fat-laden Caesar so dear to my heart) and gobbling up immense amounts of sugar smeared all over their romaine and carrot slices. This is truly sad. People are doing the right thing and they're being tricked. The simple answer here is to make your own dressing. If you're traveling or out at a restaurant, simply ask for oil and vinegar (as in separate carafes) on the side. 

I have no end to my annoyance at hidden sugar, but I don't hate all sugar. I love a good meringue, or a fresh, golden, crispy, hot-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. I would never tell someone to cut out all sugar forever. There SHOULD be sugar in those foods! Nothing is hiding; you eat a cookie knowing full well that you're consuming sugar. It's the products that should NOT contain sugar that are hurting us. Read through five boxes of chicken stock the next time you're grocery shopping and see what I mean. It took three boxes of almond milk at the grocery store today before I was able to find one without sugar or carrageenen. I'm happy to notice more and more products being made "cleanly" and without the added sugar. So continue to support products that do try. I'm sure it costs them more, as sugar is a preservative. I personally would rather eat my six grams (the amount of added sugar the American Heart Association says is alright for women) of sugar in a dessert than my salad, soup, or daily vitamin. 

The far left is the amount of sugar considered alright for the average American man. The middle stack represents the average daily intake of American adults. The far right stack represents the amount of added sugar the average American child consumes daily. (Per the American Heart Association)

The far left is the amount of sugar considered alright for the average American man. The middle stack represents the average daily intake of American adults. The far right stack represents the amount of added sugar the average American child consumes daily. (Per the American Heart Association)

Olive Oil and Sea Salt Kale Chips

Kale chips are one of those things that are so expensive to buy and SO easy to make. I typically make at least two heads of kale at a time when I make them, as my children alone can eat a batch in half an hour. Use this recipe as a template to add or subtract as you please. In the past, I posted another kale chip recipe using nutritional yeast and a bunch of spices. Those are delicious too, but this recipe is three ingredients. It's SO simple. Even if you do not like to cook I promise you can make these! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 bunch of kale- leaves washed and dried (stems discarded or frozen for juicing)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sprinkling of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 300. If your oven has a convection setting, this would work wonderfully. If not, it is not a problem! I did half of my kale with it on, and half off to see the difference. The convection chips were slightly crisper, but both ways were crispy and delicious! 

Make sure your kale leaves are very dry. If they are not, the chips won't be as crispy, and you may end up with a chewier kale leaf. 

Rip them into large pieces and put them in a bowl. Pour over some olive oil and massage very well. You want each part of each leaf to be covered and coated to ensure even crispiness. 

Spread them over two parchment-lined baking sheets. You don't want to overcrowd them. (They will steam then, and once again, you will end up with chewy, rather than crispy chips.) Sprinkle with a little sea salt. 

Bake the chips for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans and flip any large leaves over. Bake another 15 minutes or until crispy. 

Once you pull them from the oven, let them sit for 5 minutes to firm up a bit. 

Put them in a large bowl and dig in! 

Chanterelle and Swiss Chard Frittata

I was lucky enough to go chanterelle mushroom foraging a few times this year. I equate it to Easter Egg hunting for grownup. You frolic about with a basket and search high and low for your treasures. And at the end of the day, rather than jelly beans (I mean who actually LIKES jelly beans? I despise them...) you wind up with these delicacies. I was almost drowning in them- We had more than twelve pounds on our second trip out. This frittata came about because I was worried they were going to go bad, so I started incorporating them into any and every meal we had for a week. (Chanterelle posole, chanterelle meatloaf, chanterelle and creme fraiche mac and cheese, the list goes on...) I always have eggs on hand, so this turned out to be a fairly fast, easy to whip up breakfast. 

Below are some photos of the actual hunt. It took us about two hours to find these, and if I hadn't been MADE to go back to reality, I could have stayed all day. (Other than the point where we found Eloise trying to hunt her own mushrooms and decided the forest wasn't the BEST place for a one-year old to explore...) I had a blast and learned a lot about what to look for and what to avoid. I cannot wait to go again! 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound Chanterelles roughly chopped (or any mixture of mushrooms you have available) 
  • 1 head swiss chard, washed and roughly chopped 
  • 10 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup parmesan shreds 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Heat a 10-12 inch frying pan over medium high heat. Add the butter and allow to melt. Saute the shallots and garlic until softened, about three minutes. 

Add in the mushrooms and continue cooking until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the chopped chard and cook two minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While the mushrooms and chard are cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Pour the eggs over the mushrooms and stir once to make sure it is well-mixed. 

Sprinkle with the parmesan and set in the oven until the middle is set and the edges are slightly browned, should be about 20-25 minutes. 

Let the frittata sit for five minutes before slicing. 

Whatever is leftover from breakfast will make an excellent lunch or dinner. One of the greatest things about a frittata is it can be eaten hot or at room temperature, making them an idea leftover to take to work the next day. Enjoy! 

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Chipotle Soup

I love squash. Butternut, acorn, delicata, spaghetti- you name it- I love it. My husband on the other hand, is less than enthusiastic when the bags of produce keep rolling into my house. I load up on squash, sweet potatoes, pears, brussels sprouts, big leafy greens- I wait ALL YEAR for this produce to arrive! 

One of my favorite, fast, weeknight meals is butternut squash soup. It's loaded with vitamins, relatively low calorie, and keeps you warm on a cold winter night! This particular soup can be made vegan with the substitution of mushroom or vegetable stock rather than the chicken I had on hand. It would be delicious either way. I finished the soup with some cashew cream, but if REAL cream is okay for you, go for it! This soup contains all sorts of fall bounty. I added a butternut squash, an acorn squash, onions, garlic, and an apple for a touch of sweetness to balance out that smoky spiciness from the chipotle. The best part about it? It's made in the slow cooker! So you can peel, chop, and dice your heart out, dump it all in and head out for the day. When you come home you will be greeted by not only the wonderful aroma of fall, but a tasty and satisfying meal! 

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 butternut squash 
  • 1 acorn squash 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced 
  • 1 apple, diced (no need to peel) 
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 quart of stock (I used chicken because I had it on hand)
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme 
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, roughly chopped 
  • 2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds (for garnish) 

Cashew Cream: 

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 

(Soak cashews for at least 3 hours in the water. Drain, rinse, and add to a mini food processor bowl or blender. Add salt and lemon juice and pulse until creamy and smooth) 

Peel and deseed your squash. I find it easiest to cut the butternut in quarters and use my chef's knife for this. If you're more comfortable with a vegetable peeler- use that. 

Cut the squash pieces into one inch cubes. 

Tie the thyme stems with a small piece of twine (so it's easier to fish out the woody stems when the soup is cooked). Finish cutting the remaining ingredients and all them all to your slow cooker. Add the spices and stock and cover. 

Cook for 6 hours. When you check the vegetables, they should be fork tender. Working in batches, scoop ladles into a blender and blend until smooth. (Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender in the actual slow cooker and save yourself washing the blender and a second bowl...)

Ladle some into a bowl. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and cashew cream. Enjoy! xo

Bacon-Wrapped Tapenade Pork Tenderloin

Pork on pork? Why yes! 

We eat a lot of pork tenderloin in my house. It's fairly lean, cooks quickly, and can be made in a variety of ways to enhance the flavor. It's extremely versatile and cooks in under 40 minutes.

This tenderloin is rubbed in olive tapenade (I used a black olive and anchovy blend) and then wrapped in bacon. Pork tenderloin has a tendency to dry out very quickly, so the bacon acts as both a flavor booster as well as an additional way to keep things juicy! As the pork cooks in the oven, the bacon gets crispy and continually bastes the pork underneath. At the end of the day, it's pork on pork- how could it be bad!?!? If you do not like olives, this would also be delicious rubbed with a whole-grain or Dijon mustard. (I can honestly think of ten things right now to rub pork in...) Give this a try and let me know what you think! 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 pork tenderloins (1-1.5 pounds each)
  • 2 tbsp Tapenade 
  • 6-8 oz bacon (I used Wellshire Farms no Sugar Bacon, but a thick cut pepper bacon would be delicious as well!)
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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the tapenade on top of the pork tenderloins. Rub the tapenade all over, making sure to coat the tenderloins on all sides. 

Place three pieces of twine underneath the pork, making sure to leave enough room at both ends to tie them in the middle once the bacon has been layered on top. 

Nestle the pork tenderloins in close together so they're touching. 

Starting on the bottom side of the roast, start layering the bacon all the way up the pork. I switched the way I faced the bacon every turn to ensure both ends of the roast were equally covered.

Gather the twine and pull it tight around the pork. Make a knot and trim any ends that are very long. 

Place in the preheated oven and roast for 40 minutes. Check the doneness with a meat thermometer, and if it says 140 degrees, pull the pork from the oven. 

Let it sit for ten minutes. 

Slice the pork into thin slices, making sure to save any accumulated juices. 

Serve at once! I served mine with cauliflower mash to absorb all the pork juices and roasted broccoli. (My children seem to be on a broccoli kick lately. We've eaten broccoli every. single. day... for the past two weeks. Good thing I love broccoli!) 

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Smoked Paprika Deviled Eggs

So I actually made these eggs for a bookclub. In September. And I've been struggling with writing the post since then. Every week, I open my "drafts" folder, scan it and go in a different direction. You see, this recipe almost bested me. ALMOST! And I'm here to teach YOU to learn from my mistakes so you don't have to make the same ones. (And to spare your kitchen the six dirty bowls, dirty whisks, aioli dripping all over the floors and counters, and various blending instruments distributed all over haphazardly. At least you can emerge with your sanity in place.) 

Somehow as I was making the aioli, it broke. Twice. I've never had this happen! I've made countless sauces, dips, aiolis- all sorts of emulsions. The key is blending them in a way so the oil and other ingredients don't separate. I'm honestly not sure what happened here, but I was left with a soggy, drippy, oily mess with garlic, vinegar, and egg on the bottom of the bowl and a slightly orange hued oil layer on top. After searching, texting, and crying to the culinary gods above, I finally sourced my answer: Dijon. Thank you, thank you, thank you Dear Ms. Julia Child! Of course you know the answer! You know every answer to a culinary predicament! (It was so very simple. Add a tablespoon of dijon to a large bowl, and slowly dribble in the oil/egg mess, whisking constantly and fervently. This allowed the entire mass to become one shiny, airy, fluffy, delicious dip. (Actually, because I had started over a few times, I was left with a few QUARTS of aioli. Sean was eating it on salad, chicken, chips - it was our go-to sauce for a week!) 

I have rewritten my original aioli sauce recipe using the addition of the dijon. This will spare you any embarrassing experiences like mine. I'm not used to such epic disasters or failures in the kitchen! This was a great reminder that we're all a work in progress, and we're all constantly learning. I feel as if now I'm in on a little secret, and I too know a little more of "Julia's kitchen wisdom".

So this week and this month, I am grateful for the opportunity to fail; to start over and emerge victorious and better equipped for next time!  I wouldn't change the whole experience for anything. Now I know... 

Aioli Ingredients: 

  • 3 clove of garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar  
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Mash the garlic and salt together using the side of your knife until a thick paste forms. Set this aside. In a large mixing bowl, add in the egg yolks, vinegar, and Dijon and whisk until an emulsion forms. VERY slowly, (I know your arm is getting sore. I know you're becoming impatient. It's worth it! I promise!) pour in the olive oil a few drops at a time. If it starts to look oily, stop adding oil and continue whisking. Once all of the oil is added, fold in the pimenton and season to taste with the salt and pepper. 

Deviled Egg Recipe: 

  • 1 dozen eggs 
  • 1/2 cup Pimenton Aioli (Or mayonnaise with pimenton mixed in) 
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce 
  • 1/4 cup capers for garnish 
  • Pimenton for garnish 

Start by putting the dozen eggs in a saucepan and cover them with room-temperature water. 

Bring to a boil over high heat. Once water starts to boil set a timer for 8 minutes. Cook the eggs for precisely 8 minutes.

 When the timer goes off, drain the eggs and rinse under cold water.

Let the eggs cool completely. (If I'm actually organized, I like to hard boil them the day ahead. That rarely happens though...) 

Slice each egg in half lengthwise. (As a side note, if there is a green layer around the yolk, this shows that the egg was overcooked. Not a big deal, but it's prettier to keep that away.) 

Scoop the yolks into a bowl and set aside. 

Arrange the whites on whichever plate you want to serve the eggs on. 

Pulse the yolks, aioli, mustard, mustard powder and Worcestershire sauce in a mini Cuisinart or by hand. 

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Taste the filing and season with salt and pepper. If necessary add more Worcestershire Sauce. 

Either spoon the filling into the whites or pipe it in. To make a piping bag, put the filling into a ziplock bag, squeeze it all to one end and snip off the end of one corner. Garnish each egg with some capers and sprinkle over some pimenton. 

Try not to eat them all before your guests arrive. I satisfied my egg needs by eating those that "didn't fit on the plate" or "looked damaged". Both were loose definitions. : ) My husband was the bigger culprit. He can somehow manage to eat four or five of these without me even noticing. Put your eggs somewhere safe until you're ready to serve them. Enjoy! 

Pork Cooked in Milk (Maiale al Latte)

I know it's been awhile since my last post, and I'm sorry for that! We recently bought a house, moved across town and are currently in the wonderful unpacking process. We LOVE our new home and couldn't be happier! There's a big fenced backyard for the kids, an amazing open-kitchen (with gas!) for me, and not only one, but TWO gas fireplaces for intimate dinner parties. And a man cave in the basement equipped with a monstrosity of a TV, surround sound, a separate kitchen, and soundproofed walls for those Seahawks games. So that's where I've been (the kitchen, not the man cave!). Now that we're here, mostly unpacked, and I'm down to my last three weeks of health coaching classes, I promise to devote more time to recipes and blogging. I'm baaaack! 

I love garlic. And any excuse to use entire HEADS of garlic is always great in my opinion. In the fall and winter, with so many people getting sick, I try and eat as much garlic and ginger as possible. It not only helps your immune system fight off colds, but it taste delightful and warms the body! 

This recipe came about because I opened the fridge and saw I had a big piece of pork waiting for me that had to be cooked. And almond milk. And fresh thyme. And obviously I had garlic. One quick search through the freezer later, and I was set with my parm rinds. Ready to go! These are often my favorite meals- ones that are completely accidental and you have absolutely no idea if they will work. This one did! I assure you that your house will smell amazing, and your family will love eating this. 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 pound pork loin (or shoulder)
  • 6 cups almond milk 
  • 2 parmesan rinds
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 heads of garlic, with the top 1/4 inch cut off

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put all ingredients in a dutch oven. PLace this on the stove and bring it to a simmer. 

Cover the dutch oven and place it in the middle shelf of the oven for three hours. 

Once the pork is cooked and easily flakes apart, pull it from the oven. Throw away the parmesan rinds and the bunch of thyme (mostly stems by this point). Cook down the milk sauce until reduced by half. Strain this if it's lumpy and season with salt and pepper. 

Break off chunks of the pork and arrange them in a bowl. Pour some sauce over and dig in! I served mine over mashed cauliflower and a side of wilted spinach. Yum!

Kale and White Bean Soup

With the official start of fall, I have been really craving soup! This one is healthy, easy, and fast. (It's also delicious!) I prefer this with lacinato kale, but really, you could use any leafy green. I also used double smoked bacon, but any bacon or pancetta would work well. You could even substitute a smoked ham hock, or leave out the meat altogether and have a vegetarian meal! 

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bacon, roughly chopped 
  • 2 medium yellow onions, medium diced 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock 
  • 2 parmesan rinds
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2 heads of kale, ribs discarded, washed and roughly chopped 
  • Parmesan, Pecorino or other cheese for garnish (I actually used a triple cream Saint Angel and it was amazing when it melted in! Made the whole bowl creamy!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Saute the bacon pieces until the fat has melted out and the bacon is slightly crispy. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and continue cooking until soft about five minutes. 

Add the chicken stock, parmesan rinds, beans and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Continue cooking for fifteen minutes. 

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Add the kale and continue cooking until the kale is tender, about ten minutes. 

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cheese. This would also be great with a crusty piece of garlic bread! 

Italian Stuffed Chicken with Marsala Mushrooms

Ingredients: 

  • 6 chicken breasts, butterflied if your butcher will do it
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 12 slices provolone cheese 
  • 18-20 thin slices of spicy salami (Calabrese, Sopressata, etc)
  • 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms wiped clean
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 cup dry marsala wine (sherry or vermouth would work if you don't have marsala) 
  • 2 cups chicken stock

If the chicken is not already butterflied, take your knife and run it along one side. The goal here is to open it like a book so the surface area is twice as large but it is half as thick as a whole chicken breast. Take parchment paper or plastic wrap and cover the chicken pieces. With the flat side of a meat mallet gently pound out the chicken until each breast is 1/4 inch thick. Season liberally with salt and pepper. 

Layer two slices of provolone and 3 or 4 slices of salami onto each piece. 

Roll them tightly and grind some more pepper over them. Set them aside on a plate. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Get a large pan out for the mushroom sauce and a large frying pan out for the chicken. 

If your mushrooms are large cut them into halves or quarters. Mine were very small, so I left them whole. 

Melt the butter over medium high heat for the mushrooms.

In the other pan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken and brown on all sides. Once all the chicken is browned, place the whole frying pan into the oven to finish cooking the chicken. It should take about 10 minutes. Check for a internal doneness of 165. Let the chicken rest for ten minutes while you finish the sauce. 

When all the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and stir well. You want to make sure each one is coated in butter. (Because butter makes everything better!) When the mushrooms have released their juice, go ahead and deglaze the pan with the marsala. After this cooks down a bit, add in the chicken stock and cook until reduced by 1/2. 

Slice the chicken on a diagonal and serve at once. This is also awesome as leftovers! There's four of us in our household and we ate the remaining two for lunch with salad the next day. It was just as delicious! 

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Easy Mushroom and Red Wine Meatloaf

Meatloaf is always a great one pot meal to serve your family. I boosted the flavors in this one by sauteeing mushrooms and deglazing the pan with red wine. As the wine cooks down, the flavors intensify and pair perfectly with the mushrooms. All you need to serve this with is some mashed cauliflower and a glass of red wine and you're set!

Meatloaf is amazing served hot, right out of the oven for dinner. BUT... If you're anything like my husband, meatloaf is BEST served cold the next day in sandwich form with extra mayonnaise. This would be a great healthy school lunch for a child as well. Mine think meatloaf is only made for putting on bread. : ) Either way, this is the best meatloaf recipe I've made yet. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 pounds of ground beef 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, small diced 
  • 5 stalks of celery 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound Cremini mushrooms
  • 1.5 tbsp Dijon Mustard 
  • 1.5  tbsp Worcestershire Sauce 
  • 1 cup red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec- any dry red you have open)
  • 1/2 bunch finely chopped parsley 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp freshly grated black pepper 

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the ground beef, the onion and garlic in a large mixing bowl. You want one large enough that you can easily get your hands in there and thoroughly mix it all up. (Don't mix it yet. You actually want to handle the meat mixture as little as possible. It's a lot like over-mixing cookie dough: the more you work it, the tougher it will be.) 

Cut your celery ribs into 1/4 inch lengths.

Chop them in a uniform, very small dice. Add this to the bowl as well. No mixing yet: : ) 

Get your mushrooms ready. I don't wash mine, but I do rub them with a damp paper towel to remove the bits of dirt. (When you wash them, they can take on water and become more difficult to saute.) Chop them into quarters. 

Add the olive oil to a saute pan over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, go ahead and add the mushrooms. Stir them up to ensure they're all coated in the oil and cook evenly. 

Continue cooking them until they release all their juice and are about half their size. (This should take about ten minutes.)

Add the wine and continue cooking. Stir occasionally. 

When the wine is evaporated and the pan is mostly dry, pull them off the heat and set aside to cool. 

Add in the chopped parsley and give it a good stir. 

Add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce to the meat mixture. 

Add in the eggs, salt, and pepper. Make sure your hands are very clean and take off your rings (only because ground beef stuck to your wedding band is less than romantic). 

Gently work all of the ingredients together, making sure not to let the meat mixture fall out of the bowl. 

Once cool enough to handle, add in the mushrooms and mix these in as well. 

Form the meat into a "loaf" on either a rimmed baking sheet or a roasting pan. I prefer my enameled pans because they make cleanup such a breeze. One sponge wipe and everything is clean! 

Place this in the oven and bake until a meat thermometer reads 160. Let the meatloaf sit untouched for 15 minutes before you slice it. 

Enjoy! And be sure to leave some for meatloaf sandwiches tomorrow. 

Kale Minestrone with Parmesan Broth

It's FINALLY started raining here in Tacoma. It's been months of solid, clear, perfect sunny days. I thought I'd miss the sun, but I realized that I do indeed love the rain. It's comforting and romantic and makes me want to hole up in my house with my kids, husband and dogs in front of the fireplace. Add to this the fact that we're in the process of purchasing our first home, I'm feeling VERY cozy and warm. I pulled out my fall boots and sweaters and then all of my stock pots and dutch ovens. Fall food commence! 

One of the tastiest, easiest fall dishes in existence is soup. I'm a soup person- I could eat soup seven days a week and be very happy. It's comforting, warm, fills your body with healthy veggies and stock, and tastes amazing when done right! Minestrone is a simple soup loaded with vegetables, the salty flavor of bacon and parmesan rinds, and rich stock. My husband has started curing his own bacon for me at work (sugar free!) so I was easily able to purchase a large chunk unsliced. If you cannot find a big slab of bacon, opt for either thick-cut bacon and chop it very large or buy pancetta and cut that into one inch cubes. You just want salty, fatty pork any way you can get it. 

Ingredients: 

  • 8 oz bacon (slab or thick cut)
  • 3 russet potatoes 
  • 2 white onions 
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 carrots, washed but not peeled
  • 3 ribs of celery, washed but not peeled
  • 2 28-0z cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • 1/4 pound or two parmesan rinds 
  • 1 bunch kale (I used lacinato because it was on sale and pretty, you could use any kale) 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • Parmesan for grated garnish

Pull out your favorite soup or stock pot. Cut the bacon into one inch cubes and cook them over medium high heat until the fat starts to render and melt. 

While the bacon is cooking, slice the potatoes into one-inch cubes and set them aside.I left the skin on but washed them very well. A lot of the vitamins and nutrients are in the skin, so I generally try to keep them on. They're also very tasty and make this soup more rustic and homey. 

Cut the onion into a medium dice.

Smash the garlic and give it a rough chop. 

Cut the carrots and celery into 1/2 inch pieces. 

Continue cooking the bacon until it is slightly browned and starting to get crispy. 

Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pan with the bacon and stir well so everything is evenly coated in bacon fat. 

Continue cooking until the vegetables start to soften. 

Add the tomatoes, the chicken stock and the parmesan rinds to the pot and bring it to a boil. 

When the soup comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium low and add the potatoes. Continue cooking uncovered for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. 

When the potatoes are cooked thoroughly, roughly chop the kale leaves (discarding the thick stems) and add this to the pot as well. 

Be patient... 

Stir the soup and season to taste. I didn't need to add any salt due to the parmesan and bacon, but I added quite a bit of pepper. 

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Ladle the soup into big bowls and sprinkle over some freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy! 

Hatch Chile Chicken Chili

Hatch chiles are everywhere in the Pacific Northwest right now! You go to a grocery store and there are these large roasting ovens out front. The entire parking lot and store front smells of smoky, pungent chiles. I cannot get enough! It's sort of like playing Russian Roulette with them too, which is always a great experience for me. You take a small nibble and wait. Either it's fine and you take another or your eyes well up with tears as you resist the urge to sneeze again and again. So much fun!

The season is extremely short; running from mid August to the beginning of September. If you can't find fresh chiles, use two cans of the green chiles. (Or Anaheim peppers- they have a similar flavor profile and are more readily available. They tend to be less spicy, so if spice is your thing - add a dash of cayenne.) Enjoy! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound freshly roasted hatch chiles 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 white onions, medium diced 
  • 1 tbsp coriander  
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin  
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 red bell peppers, medium diced 
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped (save some for garnish) 
  • 1 bunch scallions, washed and roughly chopped (save some for garnish)
  • 1 28-oz can fire roasted tomatoes 
  • 1 quart chicken stock 
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, quartered 

Optional garnishes: Guacamole, sliced scallions, or shredded cheese (I actually found a Hatch Chile Cheddar that was perfect here!)

Peel and seed the hatch chiles. 

Roughly chop the chiles and set them aside. Heat a stockpot over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and saute for three minutes until softened. Add the spices and stir until aromatic, about one minute. Add the bell pepper and continue cooking another five minutes. 

Add the chicken thighs and stir well. Add the cilantro stems and scallions. 

Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock. Add in about half of the chiles. You can taste this as you go along, adding more until you get the desired level of heat. I ended up using almost all of mine.  (It's hard to say "use the whole pound" because some chiles are SO much hotter than others.) Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and let simmer uncovered for an hour. 

Add the quartered mushrooms and stir well. Let simmer for another half hour, stirring from time to time. 

Pull the chicken thighs out of the chili and set them on a cutting board. 

Roughly chop the meat and return it to the chili pot. Thoroughly mix it all back in and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Set the chili out with whichever garnishes you like. Invite all your friends over and dig in! This easily fed eight hungry people. I even had enough left over to eat it for lunch the next day. I will make another batch of this this week and freeze it. Hatch Chiles are just that good! Let me know how YOU use hatch chiles - I'm always open to new ideas! 

Roasted Heirloom Tomato, Habanero, and Green Onion Salsa

I was driving in Arlington this weekend to attend a friend's wedding and stopped at a local organic farm stand. Among my finds were these baskets of AMAZING Heirloom tomatoes. For some odd reason rather than eating them raw in salads (my go-to) these particular tomatoes were begging me to turn them into salsa. This salsa is SO good. I've been putting t on everything. It was also so easy that I'm thinking from now on, I may just make all of our salsa. (It's spectacular on eggs, as a salad dressing, or eaten with kale chips. I've tried all of those in the past 12 hours...) You need this salsa in your life. 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 pounds Heirloom Tomatoes 
  • 1 bunch scallions, washed and cleaned 
  • 1 red onion, chopped into 2-inch chunks 
  • 1 white onion, chopped into 2-inch chunks 
  • 1 head of garlic 
  • 3 jalapenos 
  • 2 habaneros 
  • 1 tbsp salt 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed -leaves and stems intact 

Turn the broileer on high and place the oven rack on the top shelf. Spread the tomatoes, scallions, onions, garlic, and peppers on a baking sheet. Toss them with the salt and olive oil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. 

Take all of the roasted tomatoes, scallions, onions, garlic, 2 of the Jalapenos, and 1 habanero and place them in a Cuisanart. Pulse for three second intervals until well blended. Add the cilantro and pulse until well mixed. Taste for heat and seasoning. I added the third Jalapeno but left 1 habanero out. Mine was hot enough without it. If you like it HOT, add that in as well. 

Scoop some salsa into a bowl and dig in! I had about two quarts, which I stuck in the fridge. This will keep in the fridge for a week. (Sean assured me it would be eaten well before that, we'll see!) 

Ribeye, Pluot, and Baby Kale Salad

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound of pluots (or any other stone fruit - a pluot is half apricot and half plum)
  • 1 pound ribeye steak 
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 pound bleu cheese 
  • 5 ounces baby kale (or spinach, arugula, or any green you may have on hand) 

Salad Dressing: 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste 
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Wash and slice the pluots in half, removing the pits from each as you go. I only had to sacrifice one to my sous chef Ellie - as you can see from the above images. She felt she needed one for a pre-dinner snack. : ) 

Let the steak come to room temperature and season liberally with sea salt and black pepper. 

Heat a cast iron pan over high heat. Once the pan gets really hot, add the pat of butter and let is melt. Swirl it around the pan to make sure the whole pan is coated. (You can always add more butter if your pan is too large.)

In a bowl, whisk the salad dressing ingredients together. Add the kale and onion slices in and toss until the greens are well-coated. Put this on two plates. 

Add the steak to the hot pan. Place the pluots cut-side down around the steak. As they start to caramelize, the juices will run out and onto the steak, creating an easy pan sauce. 

Once the steak has browned on one side, flip it over. I like mine medium rare so I cooked it about three minutes a side. Cook to your desired doneness. The pluots took about two minutes each. 

Crumble the cheese over the salad. Slice the pluots into thirds and place them on the salad as well. Let the steak rest for five minutes and then slice it against the grain. (Try not to eat all the slices. This was the hardest part of this whole recipe...)

Place the steak onto the plates, grate some more pepper over the whole salad and dig in!