Tag Archives: Healthy

Summer Corn Salad with Toasted Grains

1 Jul

QuinoaAbove

CORN! Hello there, you sweet crunchy yellow temptress.

I don’t know about you, but even this rain–which is an understatement to refer to it simply as “rain”--is not enough to get me down…I’m on full Summer  mode. Chilled soups, raw veggies, fruit as dessert, beer drinking as much as possible, weird sports bra tan lines from running, random bug bites that you can’t imagine how they got to that part of your body….mmmm yeah, drink it all in!

So naturally I’m trying to emulate this fresh season in my culinary escapades, so when I came across this recipe I knew it was meant to be

Summer Corn Salad with Toasted Grains – Food52 }

Summer? Good. Corn? Great. Toasted Grains? Where do I sign up! Salad? Well, this probably the least exciting word in the title…

Let’s take our corn

Corn

And strip it of it’s dignity by cutting off it’s kernels. Now that your corn is down to it’s skivvies, you’re going to do the unthinkable: milk the cobs. I know, what the hell is that supposed to mean? Picture this: when you eat corn on the cob (with your face) many times when you bite into the cob you get the whole kernel, so the cob looks a little skeletal…however when you cut off the kernels the bottom portion is still on the cob. This “milking” process involves taking the back of your knife and sliding it along the shaft (I’m sorry) and “milking” the last morsels of kernel into a bowl. Think of it like corn pulp. It’s messy (I got corn pieces all over my microwave). I felt dirty the whole time (I’m milking the cob….filthy).

CornMilk

Now add enough milk to this to make up 1.5 cups (I just added 1 C plus a good additional “glug” and hoped for the best). Meanwhile, heat a dutch oven over medium heat and cook up some bacon

Bacon

(the original recipe involved 2 strips of bacon…pshhht, I made it 5). Cook these up until they’re nice and crispy and remove with a slotted spoon, reserving the sweet sweet bacon grease. Now add some chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeño (seeds and all), and some Maple Syrup

Jalapeno

And all that de-cobbed corn (not the milk, we’ll get to the milk)

Corncook

Cook for about 5 minutes, or enough time for the onion to cook. Remove from dutch oven and set aside. Prepare yourself: the corn mixture at this point is one of the best thing ever. It’s spicy, it’s sweet, it’s crunchy, it’s savory. Just don’t eat it all before you need finish the dish! Now add 1 C quinoa and 3/4 C brown basmati rice (or in my case, hey there’s the last of a big bag of brown rice in the back of my pantry, let’s just use that up) to the dutch oven. Stir for about 5-6 minutes to toast the grains.

QuinoaToast

Add 1 3/4 C water and the corn/milk mixture, give a nice stir and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 30-40 minutes until the liquid is absorbed

QuinoaCook

Now add back in your bacon and corn mixture. Chop up some cilantro and toss that in too.

Quinoa

Now the original recipe calls for a Mexican cheese called cotija cheese, which is similar to a mild feta. I couldn’t find it, and was told I could substitute a hard aged cheese, so I opted for Parmesan. While it wasn’t “bad” necessarily, it was really overpowering and covered up some of the other wonderful sweet and spicy notes. Next time I’d go cheese free.

QuinoaAbove

Now, never underestimate how much 2ish Cups of dry grains will make. I’ve been eating this for 2 meals a day for about 5 days now (hey, no complaints here, I love it!)

 

Adapted from { Summer Corn Salad with Toasted Grains – Food52 }

  • 5 strips of bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (with seeds and membranes – you want a little heat)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a large knife
  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 2% Milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1.5 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cups basmati rice (or however much is left in your bag in the back of the pantry)
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup snipped cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cut the kernels from your corn and set aside.
  2. Milk your cobs (tee hee hee) by scraping the cob with the backside of your knife into a large bowl/piepan. Continue on all sides of the cob. Add some milk to make 1.5 Cups all together.
  3. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and fat has rendered. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Add onion, flattened garlic, corn kernels and jalapeno to bacon drippings in dutch oven. Add a some salt and maple syrup. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring pretty frequently, until onion is cooked. Remove and set aside.
  5. Return Dutch oven to heat and immediately add quinoa and basmati to begin toasting, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Toast until grains are fragrant and golden/golden brown, about 6 minutes.  Add water and corn-milk, and bring mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low to simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until liquid is completely absorbed and grains are tender (quinoa will be more cooked than rice, but this offers a nice toothiness to the texture)
  6. Gently fluff grains with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.
  7. Once the grains have cooled a bit, fold in bacon, corn-onion-jalapeno mixture, and chopped cilantro.
  8. Top with additional cilantro, and some fresh black pepper.
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Zucchini Jam with a Fried Egg: Breakfast of Champions

21 Jun

Final1

A few years ago I was in search of something hearty, comforting, and grilled-cheesey. I found all that and more in this recipe from one of my favorites, Big Girls Small Kitchen

{ Golden Zucchini Sandwich – Big Girls Small Kitchen }

While that recipe is just divine, it’s not what I’m going to be talking about. There is a part of this recipe that literally blew my mind, and has now become a staple in my kitchen anytime I need something cheap/healthy/tasty/light/heavy/warm/cold/dark/light/you get it right? It’s just an all-around satisfying item. Zucchini “jam”.

This is literally one of the easiest things you can make, and it’s SO good on it’s own, with eggs, in a sandwich (such as grilled cheese…), whatevs. So here, today, I’d like to share the easiest, tastiest thing you can make with 3(ish) ingredients, and 20 minutes.

You’ll need: garlic, olive oil, zucchini (+and fresh herbs you may have lying around, dill and basil work really well here).

Thinly slice your garlic, I used 3 cloves (think Italian mafia guys in prison slicing garlic with a razor blade)

Garlic

Heat about 1 Tbs olive oil in a pan over medium heat (if you’ve got a 1-10 heating knob on your stove, I’d got with about a 4-5), and add garlic. While this is happening, grate your zucchini, I used 4 small…and don’t worry about holding your camera steady, people like a blurry picture

Grate

Add the zucchini to the now kind-of-golden garlic

ZucchiniPan

Give a heavy-handed sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper, and stir. Now walk away. Do it!

Over the next 15-20 minutes, exercise all the strength you have to only go over and give it a stir about 3 times. This gets the zucchini nice and caramely, and reduces it down to a nice, jam-like consistency. A few times when you go over you’ll see a lot of liquid released…DON’T PANIC! It’ll cook away.

Let’s make this interesting and add a fried egg.

Egg

Now add some freshly chopped herbs to your jam-like zucchini, I used dill

ZucchiniAfter

Now marry the two and add some hot sauce, because variety is the spice of life, my friends.

Final

Oh yeah, my yolk popped while I wasn’t looking, so that’s why it looks like whatever that is. This is just a delightful meal, and the best way to start any day.

Zucchini “Jam” Adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen

  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 4 Small or 2 Medium Zucchini
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Dill
  • 1 Fried Egg (yolk preferably runny)
  1. Heat oil over medium heat. Thinly slice garlic and add to oil to brown slightly.
  2. Grate zucchini, add to garlic. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, stir 3-4 times. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Once zucchini is cooked through take off heat, and stir in freshly chopped herbs.
  4. Top with fried egg.

A Song of Berries & Nice: Pt 1

5 Jun

 

Salad

Tis the season, my friends. Produce aisles are brighter, more opulent, and brimming with tasty little gems. I’m going to consume all of it.

New Entering Flavor Country Strawberries

Sidenote: I have recently gone through somewhat of a drastic work change (long story), but I’m in essence working two jobs, both marketing related, both food related, and I have the pleasure of having at least one “home office” day. These are the best days of all my friends. I’ve opted to go Ann Arbor coffee shop exploring by choosing a different location each week to do my work from. The only downside is about an hour into work when that coffee and [whatever type of pastry said coffee shop offers] runs through your system, you need to use the facilities and your computer is all sorts of hooked up. Stranded. The first time I asked the barista to “keep an eye on my stuff” while I ran off, only to come back to see her no where near my stuff. The second time I opted to just wait….the full 4 hours…until I was done. The upside to this approach is that the payoff is immense, if ya know what I mean. But back to food. I was doing my “home office” work at Babo last week (they gave me a free yogurt sample, it was delightful), and during my walk back home for lunch I decided to stop in Literati, the new book store on Washington. That place is dangerous….I could spend a LOT of time and money there. They have a great selection, and a few of the books have hand written reviews and notes about them, which of course made me want to buy all of them. After having this sequence happen in my mental shopping cart–no books, 4 books, 2 books, 6 books, 1 book, no books–I decided to pick up the newest Bon Appetit and come back when I didn’t have 2 books on deck at home. I ATE up this issue. I have about 10 recipes dog-eared to make (I’ve already made about 4 of them) and whoever is doing their layouts (kissing fingertips), très magnifique. Which brings me to…

Strawberries! Yvette Van Boven (of one of my favorite cookbooks Home Made) has a special spread in this issue with about a half dozen recipes centered around strawberries, complete with beautiful photography and creative illustrations (done by the Chef herself….I think she just made my list of people “dead of alive” I need to meet). I chose 2 of her recipes, along with an additional mini-recipe featured in the front of the magazine to create quite the day of culinary delights. The second recipe of hers will be featured in the next post, so consider this a cliffhanger (I’m not going to post the recipes here because I’m already getting long winded, so feel free to click on the links to follow along):

Green. Bean. Slaw. Where do I sign up? Green Beans are an under appreciated workhorse in my opinion. They’re the go-to for restaurants to accompany meat and potatoes, or as a french fry swap out. Sadly, they’re often slathered in too much butter or oil, or over cooked to a sad mushy side. Don’t get me wrong, a nice soft melt-in-your-mouth green bean is alway appreciated while incorporated into a great casserole, but while on it’s own I like the vegetable to sing, to snap, to still have a semblance of it’s original self. This slaw not only offers a stage for the Green Bean to really belt it out, but it also brings along it’s friends radish, onion, and olive (how selfless, Green Bean).

First, prepare a mixture of feta, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper as your slaw binder (yes, it looks like cottage cheese)

Feta

Slice up your veggies

Greenbeans Radish

Add them to the feta mixture

Slaw

Toast some bread, and put heaping spoonfuls on it (I’m talking’ spill over, messy plate amounts)

Sandwich_Slaw

Top with some hard boiled egg slices (I like a good 6-7 minute egg, with the yolk still gooey, john is a fan of the 8-9 minute egg, with the yolk solid. Will we ever be able to make this relationship work?)

Sandwich_Egg

Now put that other piece of bread on top and set aside while you prepare your salad

Sandwich_Complete

For the salad, I was originally going to shell the peas, but look how many 10 pods (and 3 minutes of effort) produced

PeaShelled

So I went a different route

PeaCut

Now all you do it layer arugula, sliced strawberries, and almonds on a plate. Top with freshly grated parmesan, and a delightful vinaigrette that you just whipped up (oil, vinegar, sugar, whole gran mustard, poppy seeds. Classic.)

Salad

Select a delightful beverage to accompany your fresh FRESH and delicious lunch (we opted for 3 Floyds Jinx Proof and 3 Floyds Robert the Bruce because an afternoon of slicing and dicing can work up an appetite for a good beer)

Meal

Meal1

Now dig in.

Salad_Eat

This meal continued with a delightful Strawberry-centric dessert, which will be featured in the next post, so say tuned!

Also…I apologize for the lame attempt to name this post in a Game of Thrones-esque manner. 

Chicken and Asparagus with Green Goddess Dressing

15 May

The first time I had Green Goddess dressing it was a vinaigrette with an olive oil base. Seeing as this was the first time I was trying it, I assumed no further investigation needed to take place as far as how authentic what I was putting into my mouth was. I noticed items adorned with Green Goddess dressing a few times after with a creamy version of this herby sauce. Well I guess that’s a way you can present it, if you want to muddy the waters I thought. After a few years of seeing this repeated offense, and coming across a tasty-looking recipe for a Green Goddess Chicken and Asparagus Salad this past weekend, a thought creeped into my head that stopped me dead in my tracks: what if I was the one who was wrong, and not society. It couldn’t be. Finally, after exhaustive research (read: a quick trip to wikipedia) I was hit with the harsh truth: Green Goddess Dressing is a cream-based sauce. I was operating under false pretenses for years. I had no choice but to man up, and follow the crowd.

[ That was a Dramatic Reenactment for entertainment purposes, certain liberties were taken for exciting embellishment ]

Asparagus

So guess what? It’s asparagus season! I was about to barrel into a story about how I don’t smell Asparagus pee, but guess what, I’ve already talked about it. I am charming. This time of year I try to eat AT LEAST a solid pound of Asparagus a week because it’s delicious, it’s fresh, and the price is right. See that picture above? I took that at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market and all I wanted to do was get on that vendor table and start rolling around. But I digress…. I was flipping through some handy books of cooking, and came across a recipe that not only utilized my favorite speary Spring vegetable, but also was heavy handed with my favorite herb: Dill (…I feel a Dill post coming on soon…)

{ Green Goddess Dressing with Chicken and Asparagus – Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool }

PlatterClose

Here’s the jist: Take some asparagus and blanche it for 2-3 minutes (I like mine with a little snap left in it), take some chicken (I opted for a grocery store rotisserie chicken, de-skinned and shredded), put them together to await saucing.

ChickenAsparagus

Take yer greens (parsley, dill, garlic, green onions) and whizz them around in a food processor

Herbs

ChoppedHerbs

Got some Basil or spinach or anything else fresh? Go ahead and toss it in. Everybody in the pool! Now add and mixture of sour cream/buttermilk/yogurt and some salt and pepper. Give it another whizzing.

CreamyDress

Now coat those your Chicken and Asparagus, and serve over some chopped greens (for me: Red leaf lettuce).

PlatterSide

Since there is raw garlic and raw green onion in the dressing get ready for a blast of fire with your first (and subsequent) bites. Oh boy, just delightful. The perfect fresh, Springy, filling-yet-light meal I could have hoped for.

While I won’t post the exact recipe here, I found a recipe adapted from the original here.

Platter

Happy Asparagusing!

 

Soubise: Rice Cooked in Onion Juice

14 Jan

Onions have a bad rep, am I right? Yes they sting your eyes (unless you’re cunning like me and wear contacts), they’re quite…um…fragrant, and they can overpower most other ingredients. However, they’re sweet, give the right amount of tang to a dish, and have so many different qualities based on how long they’re cooked and the way in which they are prepared. They are a versatile root, complete with different varieties: green, sweet, yellow, spanish, others. Some people put salt on a culinary pedestal–and with good reason–for its ability to wake up the palate, and add that special extra “something” to take a dish from good to punch-yourself-in-the-face-great. I feel the same way about onions. The addition of thinly sliced raw onions to a sandwich adds a new complexity of flavors. Slow cooked or caramelized onions with any meat brings out a sweet and sultry duet of flavors. Oddly enough, I’m not a huge fan of fried onion rings. I mean, I’ll eat them of course, but they’re not my favorite.

OnionzNowEnteringFlavorCountry

Why all the talk of onions? Well they’re the highlight in today’s dish: Soubise. Soubise is a French casserole-like dish where the juice from cooked onions becomes the liquid to cook the rice. Did your head just explode? Explode with thoughts of being knee-deep in flavor country? Because mine did.

I’ve actually made this dish before, with the help of Stephanie Izzard’s Girl In The Kitchen. I found a similar recipe (read: it explains the dish, but is not the same) here, if you want to create your own. I have to stress again, buy this cookbook. If you make one dish out of it, you’ve already gotten your money’s worth.

Now there is a very simple method to this dish: cut onions, cut tomatoes, par-boil rice, strain rice, add all to dutch oven or lidded pot, add some butter/salt/pepper, bake, stir every so often, enjoy the hell out of.

Now Stephanie Izzard’s version utilizes tomatoes in the cooking process which gives it the perfect amount of acidity. I love tomatoes about as much as I love onions (I won’t go into a whole big tangent about it though, you’re welcome), so for these two flavors to marry in slow cooking is just…the tops.

OnionRiceTomatoes

But I wanted more in my meal. What to do. Poach an egg and serve it on top of garlic-sauteed spinach you say? I accept your ridiculous challenge.

It’s almost comical how much spinach cooks down. John picked up one of those big square plastic containers full of spinach, and the entire thing cooked down to about…maybe 3/4 Cup worth of mass. But hey, that’s a stacked 3/4 Cup full of iron.

Spinach

SpinachPan(I liked both Spinach-shots, so I used them both. Which one is better? We may never know)

SoubiseNowEnteringFlavorCountry‘Twas the Dinner of Champions. Or at least of tasty delights (since technically we didn’t triumph over anything…not even adversary). Let’s take a closer look:

SoubiseNowEnteringFlavorCountry1

It’s topped with Cashews, did I mention that? Because that extra little crunch is just the tops (I haven’t used that term in a while, hence the using it twice in this post). My only complaint: there were no leftovers. I may double the recipe next time…but probably not since my dutch oven isn’t big enough (will “Dutch Oven” ever not be funny?)

Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower

10 Dec

Show of hands, who likes Indian food? Hopefully everyone’s hands are up, and if they’re not, that just means you’ve never had it. Just delightful. I came across this recipe last week, and I almost ruined my computer by drooling all over my keyboard. Cauliflower? Good. Tandoori? Gooooood.

Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower – My New Roots (Any hey-o, a new food blog site to start pulling recipes from! It was quite the day of discovery, to say the least)

I did have some slight trepidation embarking on this recipe since I had to purchase some new spices for the blend: Whole Cinnamon sticks and Turmeric. Now, I’m all about new spices, however I’m all about them when I know that I will be making use of the $3-$8 glass viles, not when I’m thinking “Cinnamon sticks, what else do you use with these other than fancy hot chocolate and elaborate spiced wine/cider?” but I bit the bullet, and made the purchases anyways (mainly because the entire aisle of spices were on sale when I went shopping, high five). I did encounter a surprise at the checkout when the HUGE cauliflower I purchased rang up for $12. Twelve dollars is so much money! I could get two $5 foot longs and a $2 customer appreciation 6 inch from Subway (I watch a lot of tv commercials…). I froze and all I could think was “THIS IS LIKE THE SCALLOPS ALL OVER AGAIN, I’M LIVING A NIGHTMARE” as I saw dollar signs with wings flying away furiously. But once I got the attention of a nice young cashier, she said I just selected the wrong produce item (bulk cauliflower vs Michigan cauliflower…of course, how could I be so blind?), and it ended up being a nice and tidy $2.99. Whew.

TandooriCauliflower

Full disclosure: I had all the other 10000 or so ingredients ready to add into this AWESOME gif photo shoot, but as I was placing cumin, I kicked the tripod, and therefore compromised the whole project. So enjoy the first 5 (overandoverandoverandover)

Now the cauliflower needs to marinate for at least an hour, so I figured I would make it, pop it in the fridge, and go for a nice dark and lonely evening run. Well, wouldn’t you know it, preparing food in your heated apartment while in your WINTER running gear isn’t super comfortable, considering all your clothes are made from space age material designed to hold heat in. So with each spice grind

I use this for grinding BOTH far-away spices and coffee, so all my beverages and spice blends have a similar flavor. Are you jealous of my elevated palate?

I use this for grinding BOTH far-away spices and coffee, so all my beverages and spice blends have a similar flavor. Are you jealous of my elevated palate?

…and garlic/ginger mash

Never get a wooden mortar and pestle, it doesn't do much. But it sure looks cool

Never get a wooden mortar and pestle, it doesn’t do much. But it sure looks cool

I was red faced, and slightly sweaty.

I began the yogurt marinade once the spices and mash were ready, and a slow panic started to slowly fill through my body. I have never had any success with yogurt sauces. For some reason the lemon/salt ratio I can never master, and I always end of adding more of one to counterbalance the other, and it just ends up being an unedible bitter/salty mess. So I assembled it, with the 10000 spices and potent additions, and then added the lemon, yogurt, and salt. This thing is just a flavor powerhouse. I took a deep breathe, and  cautiously dipped my pinky tip into the sauce. After careful sight and smell evaluation, I slowly placed the sauce-swabbed finger into my mouth. Yikes.

Then of course I get offended when John doesn't eat it, although this is what happens when placed in the mouth.

Then of course I get offended when someone (John) doesn’t eat whatever salty/bitter concoction I make, although this is what happens when placed in the mouth. I hope your jowls hurt just thinking about it.

I tried not to freak out too much because baking mellows things out right you guys? Right. I placed it in the fridge and set on my run (where a dog scared me, a guy running past me scared me, and I almost fell throat first into a wooden spike…which of course scared me as well, all in the first 2 miles! Sidenote: according to John to scare/startle me all you need to do is exist in 3 dimensions. Apparently I’m jumpy?). I came back, and it was oven time!

BeforeandAfter

Do you think it looks like a brain? It totally looks like a brain.

Well now doesn’t that just look delicious?! And now to prepare a plate:

TandooriCouliflower

We slice, just like a…..heavily spiced and savory cake?

After consulting the recipe for presentation, I noticed a glaring error in my efforts: I did not purchase anything for the mint chutney!!! I dropped to my knees, fists in the air, and cursed this wretched world. Well, not really, it was more of a “damn, scroll down FURTHER next time Erica!” I did have some cilantro in my fridge, so I garnished the slice and added a drizzle of some olive oil.

Hmmm, for an Indian dish, this sure looks Christmas-y...

Hmmm, for an Indian dish, this sure looks Christmas-y…

Well, don’t worry, the marinade was delicious. It does have a very powerful flavor, but it balances VERY well with the cauliflower. What I would change net time: the brain I picked out was SO big, that even after an extra 15 minutes of baking the middle was still a little al dente (not bad though), so next time I would perhaps cut it into quarters and then toss in the marinade so after baking the middle will get to that great creamy cauliflower consistency. All in all, a lovely evening with my sweaty clothes and baked cauliflower (and not wooden spike-impaled throat!)

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