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Posts Tagged ‘Entree’

Today’s dish is one of the most-satisfying, healthy salads around.  It combines several healthy food pyramid components– protein, vegetables, and grains, so in a sense it’s a ‘one-plate meal’.  It has the added benefit of being convenient and delicious, not to mention looking gorgeous, too.  The centerpiece of this salad is the salmon.  In this dish, it’s simply prepared.

Now it’s time for a little story.  Radd and I have had an ‘on again/off again’ relationship with salmon over the last few years.  Have you ever eaten one particular food so often that its no longer appealing?  That’s what happened to us.  You see, during both of my pregnancies we ate a ton of wild salmon.  It’s loaded with omega 3’s, which are important for a baby’s developing brain.  So…we went overboard.  I’m sure my memory is tricking me now, but I swear we ate salmon three to four times a week.  It got to the point where it was almost torturous to sit down to a nice grilled meal.  After Aria was born we swore off salmon for awhile.  That ‘awhile’ turned into nearly two years, so our kids never really got to try it.  Well, we finally came around, gave it a try, and remembered all those things that we love about the fish.  And as luck would have it, turns out our kids love it too.

Along with the salmon, this salad has those wonderful Spring fava beans and radishes.  The beans add a nice ‘pop!’ of color along with their firm texture, while the radishes give the dish a healthy crunch.  Another ingredient is black rice.  Not familiar?  You can read about it here.  Aside from looking pretty cool, it’s loaded with fiber and iron.  It’s also an anti-inflammatory and great source for antioxidants.  I used ‘forbidden’ black rice in this dish.  The texture is the same as a firm white rice, but the flavor is a bit more ‘nutty’– kind of like wild rice.  If you can’t find black rice, you can use wild rice, quinoa, or wheat berries.  All will work well here.

The final ingredient is a mustard tarragon vinaigrette, which brings all of the flavors together.  It’s worth experimenting with tarragon vinegar, if you can find it– it’s so interesting.  Tarragon has a strong anise-like flavor, so make sure it suits your palate before you add it to the vinaigrette.  And if you don’t have it, a nice white wine or champagne vinegar will work just fine.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Wild Salmon with Black Rice, Fava Beans, and Spring Radishes

(Serves 4)

1 pound wild salmon

1 cup forbidden black rice, rinsed

1 bunch Spring radishes, sliced

1 head boston, bibb, or romaine lettuce, torn

1/2 – 1 cup shelled fava beans

olive oil, for drizzling

Mustard Tarragon Vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon shallot, chopped

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar, or white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, more if you like it more potent

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

sprinkle of red pepper flakes

kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste

To begin:  Place the rinsed black rice in a medium sauce pan with a scant 1 3/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil uncovered.  Then cover and reduce heat to low and cook for about 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.  If the rice is tender, yet a bit of water remains, just drain it off.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 375°F.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place the salmon on it along with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until it just barely flakes when you twist a fork into it.  Keep in mind that it will continue to bake after you remove it from the oven from the residual heat, so be careful not to over-bake.  Remove from oven and break apart into chunks, when cool.

Prepare the fava beans by placing the shelled beans into a small saucepan of boiling water.  Boil for about 2 minutes.  Drain water and place beans in a bowl of ice water.  Remove the light green peel.  Set beans aside.

To make the vinaigrette:  place the garlic, shallot, Dijon, vinegar, salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes into a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

On a large platter, place the torn lettuce, black rice, salmon, radishes, and fava beans.  Pour the mustard tarragon vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss.  Ricotta salata cheese also works very well with this meal.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  See you next week!

Laurie

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I seems like I’ve been preaching the ‘Spring vegetable gospel’ for the last few weeks.  I can’t help it.  That’s how excited I get about them.  For this dish, I decided to incorporate one of those Spring gems– fava beans.  They aren’t available for very long, so I grab them when I can.  Preparing fava beans is a little out-of-the-ordinary.  They need to first be shelled, then peeled.  Once you’ve removed the shells, boil for a few minutes and place them in an ice bath.  The light green peel then comes off easily.  It’s a bit of a process, but it’s worth it.  Fava beans are soft and delicious, and again, they’re versatile.  They’re perfect mixed into sauces, tossed into salads, or mashed into a fantastic bruschetta topping.

Fava beans are a great addition to the typical meat sauce like this one.  Here, they add an interesting texture, and pair wonderfully with the sweet Italian sausage and tomatoes.  I buy a local sausage that has plenty of seasoning, so I didn’t add much.  In fact, I didn’t use one grain of salt– the sausage and grana padano cheese added enough.  Test your sauce as you go, add seasonings and salt as you see fit.  I also didn’t have white wine on hand, but would have added a glug or two if I did.  Even my freezer wine stock was empty.  As an aside, you can freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays and add them to sauces as you need them.  Slick, huh?  For the pasta, you can use dry pappardelle, or if you want that silkiness of fresh pasta, use this recipe.  It’ll be more time-consuming, but the texture is amazing.  If you make it fresh, note that you’ll need to cut the pasta a bit wider than shown in the recipe.  Hope you give this pasta with fava beans a whirl.

The Recipe:  Pappardelle with Italian Sausage and Fava Beans

(serves 4)

1 pound fresh or dried pappardelle pasta (you can use this recipe for fresh pasta)

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 1/2 cups shelled fava beans

1/2 medium white onion, chopped (about 3/4 scant cup)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

cracked black pepper

grated grana padano or parmesean-reggiano, for garnish

To begin, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Once it is boiling, add the fava beans that have been shelled.  Boil for 1 1/2  to  2 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain, and immerse the beans into an ice bath (a bowl of cold water with ice in it).  Let cool in the water for a couple of minutes.  Next, remove the light green “peel” from the beans using your hands.  The fava beans will be dark green in color.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.  Meanwhile, begin making the sauce.  Heat a large skillet and add the Italian sausage to it.  When it is cooked, drain and discard any grease.  Add the onion and garlic to the pan of Italian sausage and continue to cook for a few minutes over medium-high heat until the onions start to become somewhat tender.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and cracked black pepper.  Cook for a few minutes until the flavors have combined a bit and the sauce has thickened.  Add the fava beans and cook a few more minutes.  Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings.

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water when the sauce is nearly done.  Cook pasta until al dente.  Reserve a bit of the pasta water, in case you need to loosen your sauce with it.  Drain pasta and combine with the sauce.  Serve sprinkled with generous amounts of grana padano cheese!  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend — do you have any big plans?  I’m looking forward to having some fun with my family and hopefully getting a chance to do some relaxing and a little cooking/baking.  See you next week!

Laurie

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As a blogger, I try not to write about dishes that other bloggers have recently covered.  Obviously, many of us are cooking with seasonal produce, so there’s going to be some ingredient overlap.  For other, more random foods that can be made everyday, I try to avoid imitation.  But every once in awhile, I come across something like these amazing tacos.  I first encountered these beauties on Pinterest, and knew I had to make them right away.  Aaand…they were incredible.  Really, really incredible.  So good that I figured I had to share them with you.

One of the strange paradoxes of Spring and Summer is that as the days get longer, our amount of free time for preparing meals gets shorter.  More time spent driving kids from one practice to the other.  More time trying to squeeze every last minute of fun out of warmer days.  These tacos are a nice solution to that time crunch.  You can put the meat in the crockpot in the morning or the night before.  As an aside, I find it odd that so many people think the crockpot is for winter cooking.  Who wants to turn on the oven in the middle of the summer heat?  I use mine as much, if not more, during the warm months.  And again, if you don’t own a crockpot, throw all the ingredients into a Dutch oven and braise.

These Asian-inspired tacos taste amazing. The ginger and garlic mixed in with the subtle, sweet flavors pair perfectly with the beef.  I made these mildly spicy  for my kids, but feel free to add extra sriracha sauce for more of a punch.  I love the pickled cucumbers and red onions.  It’s a quick extra step that shouldn’t be avoided.  The pickled flavors are the final perfect touch to this  meal.  Hope you enjoy!

The Recipe: Asian-Inspired Beef Tacos with Pickled Vegetables

2 – 2  1/2 pounds of grass-fed beef chuck roast

1/2 cup water

3  1-inch knobs of ginger, finely chopped

4 – 6 cloves of garlic, rough chopped

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

For the Garnishes:

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

cilantro or green onions

lime wedges

about 1/2 cup white vinegar

To make the tacos:  In a small bowl, combine the water, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sriracha sauce, brown sugar, and orange juice.  Place the chuck roast in a crock pot and pour the mixture over it.  Set the crockpot to low and leave on overnight.

In the morning, remove the chuck roast,  place on a plate, and wrap in aluminum foil.  If time allows,  place the liquid from the crockpot into the refrigerator or freezer for about a half hour.   The fat will harden and be easy to remove.  Otherwise, spoon out as much fat as you can.  Place liquid (don’t strain) into a small sauce pan and simmer until it has reduced a bit.  Re-season, if necessary.

Meanwhile,  place the sliced cucumbers and red onion into a small bowl.  Pour enough white vinegar over them so they are covered and let them sit for a bit to “pickle”.  After a while,  use two forks and shred the chuck roast.  Pour the reduced sauce over the meat.  Serve with tacos shells,  pickled cucumbers and red onions, cilantro, and limes.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!  See you soon.

Laurie

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This is one of my family’s favorite weeknight meals.  It’s quick, easy, pretty healthy, and best of all it tastes fantastic.  The pea and mint combination is so refreshing– it’s perfect for this time of the year and will remind you of Spring.  Ideally, I like to use fresh peas in this dish, but frozen ones make an exceptional alternative.  And the little salty bites of crisp, smoky bacon are a nice contrast to the fresh flavors.

Now I love a good, rich carbonara– really, I do.  But this dish is not thick and creamy.  This is a much lighter version that contains very little cream and only one egg.  Despite this, it works remarkably well.   I reserve the heavy version for an evening when I feel like being a bit more indulgent,  but for our everyday meals, I cut back significantly.  The key to this recipe is to remember that it’s really just an outline.  Use as much bacon, mint, peas, and parmesan cheese as you like- it’s a matter of personal taste.  My family loves peas, so we use an entire package.  You can certainly add more parmesan, as well.  Just remember to loosen the pasta with reserved pasta water to get the level of creaminess that you want.  And most importantly, be ready to eat this dish immediately.  The creaminess will not last long, so it’s best served right away.

One last thing:  be sure to enter my cookbook giveaway I’m having to celebrate Relishing It’s First Anniversary– enter here!

The Recipe: Whole Wheat Pasta Carbonara with Bacon, Peas, and Mint

(Makes 4 servings)

1  pound of whole wheat spaghetti or linguine

1 10 ounce package of organic sweet peas

6-8 slices bacon, or more to taste

handful of grated parmesan or grana padano cheese (about 1/2 cup)

about 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1 large organic egg lightly beaten with 1/4 cup organic heavy cream

a few grates of fresh nutmeg

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove from pan and wipe pan clean with a paper towel.  Chop the bacon and set aside.   In a small bowl lightly beat the egg, cream, and nutmeg together.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions on package.  Add the peas into the hot water when the pasta is one minute from being “al dente”.  Reserve one cup of the pasta water.  Drain pasta and peas and pour into the skillet the bacon was cooked into.  Pour the egg/cream/nutmeg mixture over the hot pasta and toss with thongs.  The hot pasta will cook the egg.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta more, if you desire.  Sprinkle the parmesan over the pasta.  Top with the chopped bacon and chopped mint.  Eat immediately!  Enjoy.

Source:  Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners

Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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I finally went on a full-scale cleaning and organizing mission.  I love my kitchen, but I could always use more space– just one more cupboard.  The focal point of my organizing was the food pantry.  There was a time, not long ago, when I got excited everytime I looked in the pantry– so many possibilities!  So many dishes to create!  Lately, opening that door just led to me being annoyed.  Plastic bags with twist ties, hiding all of those beautiful grains/legumes/dried fruit/and nuts that I buy in bulk.  Random boxes half-full of dried pasta.  I needed a better system, and mason jars were the answer.  They stack beautifully and best of all, I can see all of those beautiful dried goods– including these amazing lentils.

I love lentils: red, french, green, brown– they all have fantastic flavors.  Lentils are high protein and fiber and low fat.  They’re also convenient, since they don’t take long to prepare, so they’re perfect for when you need to get a quick weeknight dinner on the table.  Even better, they’re inexpensive.  I like to prepare them with an egg on top (because eggs make everything better), or made into simple, flavorful soups like this one.  They’re brilliant!

The flavors in this lentil soup mingle perfectly.  The ginger, curry, cardamom, and cumin are stand-outs.  They give the soup an identity.  And the lemongrass adds that little zing that really brightens things up.  Depending on where you are, lemongrass may be difficult to find.  If so, just add a bit of lemon zest and a healthy squirt of lemon juice before serving.  The coconut milk is the backbone here,  it ties all of the other wonderful flavors together.  It is rich and creamy, and envelopes those warm spices.  I use a whole can in this recipe, but if you want to reduce the calorie count, add just a half can.  If you do so, make sure to compensate for the loss of liquid by adding a bit more broth or water.  And don’t buy the ‘lite’ versions of coconut milk– they’re not particularly good.  Pair this soup with a nice piece of crusty bread drizzled in olive oil, and enjoy!

The Recipe:  Lentil Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger

(Serves 4 comfortably)

5-6 small/medium carrots, chopped (1 1/4 cup)

1 medium red onion, chopped  (about 1 cup)

1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and discarded, finely minced

1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 cup dried brown or green lentils, rinsed

1 can (13.5 ounces) organic coconut milk

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 quart organic chicken broth

pinch of salt

lemon, cilantro, and sour cream for garnish, optional

In a large Dutch oven placed over medium heat add the olive oil.  When hot add the carrots, red onion, lemon grass, ginger, a sprinkle of salt and sauté  for about 7- 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.  Then add the curry powder and cardamom and  toast for just 30 seconds, or so.  Immediately add the tomatoes, chicken stock, coconut milk, and lentils.  Raise heat and bring to a small boil.  Immediately lower heat to low/medium and cook the soup covered for about 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are your desired consistency.  The amount of time will vary depending upon how high your flame is.  Taste the soup and adjust salt accordingly.  Take note that this is a soup that will thicken as it sits, so leftovers may need a splash of broth or water to loosen it up.  Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and lemon, if desired, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Laurie

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If you’ve taken a spin through my recipe section, you know that I pretty much love any and all types of food.  But meatballs are one of my favorite bites.  Last year I wrote this post, where I confessed that when we get together back in North Dakota, my mother often makes four different styles for our family holiday meal.  I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I certainly have the experience.  These meatballs were a huge hit with my family.  My kids (gasp!) even loved them, and they are proving to be borderline vegetarian lately. I served them with a simple quinoa side dish, but couscous, rice, or polenta would also be wonderful.

For this particular meatball, I wanted to use non-tradional flavors– at least non-traditional for a German-Hungarian from the Great Plains. I was in the mood for an ethnic twist.  Here, I made lamb meatballs infused with beautifully fragrant spices.  The toasted cumin– which smells amazing, by the way– and the coriander really stand out in this dish.  And the vibrant fresh herbs are heavenly.  I also made a red-wine sauce, and simmered the meatballs to add richness.  Turns out, I like the sauce enough that I could drink it by the ladleful.  Finally, I topped the dish with a bright chimichurri.  It adds a nice zing that really makes every bite ‘pop!’

These meatballs are very easy to make.  And they’re loaded with flavor– not just some bland lump covered in sauce.  For this recipe, I used a technique that makes perfect meatballs every time– I bake them in the oven.  The result is a firm, evenly browned meatball that is succulent.  Not dry, but perfect.   Buy the best ground lamb you can find.  The quality of your meat will always be reflected in your dish.  Also, buy whole spices if you can.  Toast them, as it enhances the flavor.  Once they’re toasted, crush them with a mortar and pestle, or anything else that ends up giving you mostly-ground spices.  In a pinch, even placing them in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin will work.  If you only have ground spices and don’t want to buy whole ones, don’t worry.

The Recipe:  Lamb Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce with Mint Chimichurri

(Serves 4 comfortably)

For the Meatballs:

1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon whole coriander seed, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 pound ground lamb

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons toasted white bread crumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

Red Wine Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon whole cumin seed, toasted and ground

2 cups crushed tomatoes

kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

1 heaping tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

Mint Chimichurri:

1/4 cup packed fresh mint, roughly  chopped

1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

about 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt,

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon (a bit of lemon zest can also be substituted)

water to loosen chimichurri a bit, if necessary

(Note:  To toast the cumin and coriander seed, place them in a small skillet on medium heat.  Stir or toss frequently and toast until the seeds become very fragrant, a few minutes.  Be careful not to burn the seeds.  Remove from heat and let cool on a plate.  Then use a mortar and pestle to grind them.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a 12-inch skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil until hot and add the chopped red onion and garlic.  Saute for a couple of minutes until tender.  Add the tomato paste,  red wine, ground cumin, chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, and salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring to a boil, then immediately turn heat down.  Simmer for about 50 minutes with the lid on.

In a large mixing bowl, add the ground lamb, ground cumin and coriander seed, mint, parsley, red onion, feta cheese,  bread crumbs, egg, garlic, kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  Gently mix with your hands.  Make sure to get everything incorporated, but being sure to not over mix.  Doing so will lead to a tough meatball.  Using a small scoop or form into balls with your hands,  drop onto the prepared baking sheet spacing them an equal amount of distance apart.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the edges of the meatballs are a deep golden brown.

Remove meatballs from oven and place in the red wine sauce.  Simmer together for about 20 more minutes so the flavors can incorporate.  If the sauce is too watery, leave the lid off and increase the heat, so the sauce can reduce.  If the sauce is a nice consistency already, simmer with the lid on.  When it seems to be done and the sauce is perfect, stir in the chopped parsley and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, using a mini-food processor (a blender or knife can also be used), add the mint, parsley, lemon, garlic, vinegar and salt.  Pulse a few times to incorporate.  Slowly add the olive oil — use more if you see fit.  Or add a bit of water to loosen the chimichurri.  Blend until smooth.  Taste.  Add more salt, if necessary.  Serve along with the meatballs and red wine sauce.  Enjoy!

I’m always delighted that you stopped by Relishing It  — thank you!  Have a wonderful day.

Laurie

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