Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kale Chips

I’ve always been wary of kale. I’ve tried to like it. I’ve smothered it in garlic (which, in my book, makes everything delectable), but still had a problem with the texture. In my experiences kale is tough, like a fruit roll-up, but not nearly as tasty.

Deb (of Smitten Kitchen) agrees with me:

“But I still couldn’t warm to kale. Because I didn’t like the way it tasted. And I don’t care if something is chock-full of vitamin A, C and calcium, I don’t care if it makes you live longer or feel stronger or fixes the budget deficit, I’ve got this hang-up wherein I won’t eat food if it doesn’t taste good to me…And kale just didn’t.”

Or she did—until she made kale chips.

Kale chips? Wouldn’t that be like making lettuce chips? Yes, but no. I decided to give kale one last shot with the kale chip recipe in the Laughing Stock Farm Cookbook and you know what? They’re awesome.

Olive oil (or canola oil)
Shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Chop and stem the kale. (Be aggressive. The stems are the tough parts so get them outta there!)

2. Preheat the oven to 350º.

3. Line an edged baking sheet (or two) with foil and brush (or spray) the foil with oil.

4. Spread the kale on the baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes, stir the kale, bake for 3 minutes, stir it, then bake for 2 minutes.

5. Sprinkle the shredded parm over the kale and bake for 10-15 more minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes. Cook until the kale is crispy, but don’t let it burn!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Buns

YUM! These are absolutely positively scrumptious, but the glaze needs a little work. I like the glaze that comes with Pilsbury cinnamon buns. It’s gooey and delicious and probably completely unnatural. This glaze was too, umm, healthy(?)

(Adapted from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.)

Chunk of gluten-free brioche dough (the size of a small cantaloupe)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar plus extra for dusting
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp skim milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature

1. Grease an 8-inch cake pan or pie plate.

2. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over a silicone mat and plop the dough on top of the sugared mat. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle (about ¼-inch thick). Remove the plastic wrap.

3. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl, breaking up any chunks with the back of a spoon.

4. Sprinkle the filling over the dough and then roll the dough into a log.

5. Cut the log into 12 equal-ish pieces and place the pieces in the pan (swirled edge up). Cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for about 1 hour.

6. Preheat oven to 350º and place a rack in the center of the oven.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are lightly brown.

8. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, milk (adding 1 tbsp at a time) and butter in a medium bowl. Mix well and spread the glaze over the buns while they’re still warm. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chard with Feta

We’ve been searching for the perfect CSA (that stands for Community Supported Agriculture…click here for a more thorough explanation) since we moved to Maine. Our first CSA was perfect—but the timing and location of the pick-up was a pain in the a**. Last year’s CSA was bad. It wasn’t their fault. It was a rainy summer. They lost the broccoli and the tomatoes and all the other good stuff. We got lettuce—lots and lots of lettuce…so much lettuce that I tried (unsuccessfully) to convince Pete that we needed a bunny to help us eat it all.

This year, we’ve joined the CSA at Laughing Stock Farm and I think it might be the one. So far, we’ve gotten chard, kale, baby bok choy, basil, broccoli raab, hakurei turnips, mesclun greens and a cookbook to help us figure out how to cook things we’d never even heard of (like hakurei turnips).

This speedy, delicious (and kind of lemony) dish is our adaptation of a recipe from the Laughing Stock Farm Cookbook.

1 bunch chard, washed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Crumbled Feta

1. Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium heat.

2. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds).

3. Add the chard stems. Cook, stirring for about 1 minute.

4. Add the chard leaves and cook, stirring, until the leaves are wilted (1-2 minutes).

5. Add feta and remove from heat. Cover the pan and let sit for a couple minutes, until the feta begins to melt.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lemony Chicken, Potato and Green Bean Salad

Simple yumminess. Delicious warm or cold. That’s all I have to say.

(Adapted from Everyday with Rachel Ray.)

red potatoes, quartered (about 1 ½ pounds)
green beans (lots)
¼ cup EVOO
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup brown rice flour (or all-purpose flour for wheat-eaters)
¼ cup chicken broth
dried parsley
2-3 skinless boneless chicken breasts (pounded) or chicken cutlets or chicken tenders (you just need thin chicken)

1. Fill a large saucepan halfway with water. Add the potatoes and bring the water to a boil. Cook about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tenderly poke-able, but not crumbly.

2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a colander and add the green beans to the boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes.

3. Dump the green beans and water into the potato-filled colander.

4. Combine ¼ cup EVOO, the lemon zest and half of the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and green beans and toss to coat.

5. Set up two shallow dishes. Place the beaten egg in one dish and the flour in the other.

6. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.

7. Dip the chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the flour, then the skillet. Cook, turning once, until the chicken is golden (about 8 minutes).

8. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut into strips. Add the chicken to the bowl of potatoes and green beans.

9. Add chicken broth to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, scraping up any brown bits, for about a minute.

10. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the rest of the lemon juice. Pour the pan sauce over the chicken, potatoes and green beans. Sprinkle with dried parsley and toss.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gluten-Free Brioche

Brioche. Brioche. Brioche. It’s kind of fun to say. The bread itself isn’t that thrilling. It’s tasty and it’s especially yummy toasted and topped with jam, but we have bigger plans for brioche—I’m thinking French toast, bread pudding and hamburger buns. But first, the brioche:

(Adapted from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day.)

*We made 2 loaves of brioche and 2 batches of gluten-free cinnamon buns (recipe coming soon) from a single batch of dough.

For the dough:
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
3 ¾ cups cornstarch
2 tbsp granulated yeast
½ tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp xanthan gum
2 ½ cups skim milk
1 cup honey
4 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract

for the topping:
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water)
natural granulated sugar

1. Whisk together brown rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, yeast, salt and xanthan gum in a huge bowl.

2. In another bowl, combine the milk, honey, eggs, canola oil and vanilla.

3. If you have a food processor (14-cup) or stand mixer, transfer the dry ingredients to the bowl of the processor or mixer. Gradually, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until everything is moist and there’s no sign of flour.

4. Cover the dough loosely (ie. not airtight) and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

5. Choose your own adventure: use the dough now or refrigerate it in a lidded (but not airtight container for up to five days.

6. When you’re ready to turn the dough into brioche, grease am 8 ½ x 4 ½ loaf pan and break off a chunk of dough the size of a small cantaloupe.

7. Pull the dough into a long oval and plop it in the loaf pan. Let it sit, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 40 minutes if it’s fresh (90 minutes if it’s been refrigerated).

8. Preheat the oven to 350º.

9. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes (until the top is caramel brown and firm).

10. Extract the brioche from the pan and let it cool on a rack before slicing and eating.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Portabella Eggs Benedict

Real eggs benedict consists of Hollandaise sauce-topped poached eggs on ham and an English muffin. The only thing this dish has in common with eggs benedict is the presence of eggs, but, because the idea for this dish came from “grilled portabella benedict” in Ellie Krieger’s So Easy cookbook, we decided to keep the benedict in the name. Portabella eggs benedict has a little more in common with grilled portabella benedict than it does with real eggs benedict (but just a little). Both recipes include portabella caps, eggs and pesto and that’s where the similarities end.

If you make roast the tomatoes and make the pesto ahead of time, you can throw this dish together in a matter of minutes.

4 portabella mushroom caps
olive oil
4 eggs
roasted tomatoes (click here for the recipe)
Nino’s pesto (click here for the recipe)
Shredded parmesan cheese

1. Preheat grill or grill pan.

2. De-gill the portabellas (gently scrape the dark gills out from inside the cap with a spoon) and coat them with olive oil.

3. Grill the portabellas over medium-high heat until they’re tender, 7-10 minutes per side (they're ready to go when they soften and start leaking clear liquid).

4. Fry the eggs.

5. Fill each portabella cap with as many roasted tomatoes as you can fit. Top with the fried egg. Drizzle with pesto and sprinkle with shredded parm.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes

I don’t have much to say about these. They’re easy and delicious and they make the house smell great. We throw them in pasta, on pizza and in the middle of this slightly wacky Portabella eggs benedict recipe I’ll be posting soon.

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
EVOO (about ¼ cup)
1 tsp dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 375º and line an edged baking sheet (or lasagna pan) with parchment paper.

2. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Scatter the sliced garlic over and around the tomatoes. Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with thyme.

3. Roast for 30-40 minutes and then jack the temperature up to 400º and roast for 10 minutes. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Honey-Butter Glaze

We roast sweet potatoes all the time (slice ‘em thinly, spritz ‘em with a little canola oil, roast, flip, spritz the other side with canola oil and sprinkle with lemon juice, roast). They’re totally delicious and pretty darn healthy. Now that it’s grilling season, we’ve moved the sweet potato operation outside and experimented with a slightly less-healthy variation. The verdict? Totally delicious!

Sweet potatoes
Unsalted butter

1. Preheat grill.

2. Wash sweet potatoes and slice into rounds (about ¼-inch thick).

3. Combine butter and honey (you choose how much) in a microwaveable bowl and microwave until the butter melts. Stir to combine.

4. Brush one side of the sweet potato rounds with the honey-butter glaze and plop glazed-side-down onto the grill.

5. Cook until grill marks appear, then brush the glaze on the other side of the sweet potato, flip and cook until grill marks appear and the sweet potato is tender enough to bite into.