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Tuesday

10

September 2019

0

COMMENTS

Kale and Farro Salad with Bacon

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fruit, Grains, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Pork, Quick and Easy, Salads, Vegetables

I have eighteen kale plants in my garden. That’s a lot for a family where only one of us likes kale. I’ve got everything from huge three foot wide plants, to a couple that I transplanted later in the season that are still pretty small. It was definitely the most successful thing I planted this summer.

I have plenty of uses for kale on here. Some of my favorites are: Massaged Kale and Tuna Salad, Hearty Kale and White Bean Quesadillas, and turning it into pesto to go alongside Spicy Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes. I prefer it when it’s smaller, tender, baby kale. Tim, I believe, prefers it when it’s not served at all.

Today, I’m craving bacon, but feel a bit guilty about how much kale I have grown and not eaten. So, I’m gonna use them together. They’ll go alongside farro and some apples from our tree to make a quick lunch.

The dog is reverse hiccuping. Anyone else have a dog that does this? It freaks me out, even though our vet says it’s not dangerous.

I got advice for farro cooking from Bon Appètit. Their technique treats it like pasta. I can do that. I started with six cups of water, added a good amount of salt, and brought it to a boil. I toasted the farro in a dry skillet while the water heated. It ended up taking five minutes. Oh, and I rinsed the farro, before I toasted it (just gonna work backwards for a sec). I’m not sure if I was supposed to. But, I think that’s a thing with other grains, so I did it. I’m quite the authority on food.

I may not know a lot about farro, but when it comes to bacon, I know what I like: Mazzeo’s Danish bacon, cut pretty thick. Prefect for BLTs or cutting into lardons, like I did today. I totally didn’t cook enough though. I made two slices. I should have done six. What even was I thinking?!

I cooked the bacon and left about a tablespoon of the grease for the kale. I know that kale will wilt down considerably, but still I second guess myself when I add the whole salad spinner’s worth of kale to the pan. It will work. Right?!

Yes. It will.

Here’s what I like about this salad: the kale is bitter. Wait, I don’t like that. But, bitter kale, when accompanied by sweet apples, nutty farro, and salty, crispy bacon, mellows. And then I do like it.

If I’m honest, I mostly just want to eat the bacon. But, the rest of it is pretty good too. Ok, really good.

Top it all with Sir Kensington’s Golden Citrus Vinaigrette and, well, you’re golden… (are puns still allowed?). If you can get your hands on Sir Kensington’s products, I’d strongly recommend them. If you can’t, I’d whisk together some lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. I’d add a splash of maple syrup, a plomp of dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt. That’s my go-to dressing and I think it would taste great here too.

Sometimes after I eat a meal like this I feel so healthy that it makes me want to eat a huge pizza. You know, for balance.

Happy Eating!

Kale and Farro Salad with Bacon

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 C rinsed farro
  • 6 C water
  • 1-2 T salt
  • 2-4 bacon slices, cut into lardons
  • 6-8 C kale, stems removed, leaves washed and torn
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 C Sir Kensington’s Golden Citrus Vinaigrette
  • (Or whisk together some lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Add a splash of maple syrup, a plomp of dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt.)
  • 1 chopped apple, for topping

Directions

  1. Bring the 6 cups of water and 1-2 tablespoons salt to a boil. While it’s heating, toast the farro in a dry skillet until it gets a bit nutty smelling, about 3-5 minutes. Add the farro to the boiling water and cook until it tastes good, about 15-30 minutes (yeah, it can vary a lot – for me, 15 minutes was perfect). Drain the farro and set it aside.
  2. While the farro cooks, cook the bacon. Then drain on a paper towel lined plate. Reserve 1 T of the bacon grease and leave it in the pan.
  3. To the grease add the kale and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss it until it wilts down (it will, I promise) and gets darker green and tender.
  4. Toss the kale with the farro and 1/4 cup of dressing. Top with bacon and apple slices.

Tuesday

23

July 2019

0

COMMENTS

Summer Daze – Scrambled Egg Tacos

Written by , Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, Cheese, Condiments, Dinner, Eggs, Gluten Free, Herbs, Lunch, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Summer is a season I just want to get through. It’s hot and muggy and buggy and I don’t like any of that. I’m trying to enjoy it as much as a person like me can. But, if I’m honest, I’m really just waiting for fall.

There are some perks to summer. My garden is thriving… Ok, my kale is thriving and the potatoes went crazy. Everything else is still mini. I dunno why. I’ll take the kale though. I have plans for a kale pesto on some savory pancakes. The garden provides a place for simple summer meals. At this time of year I feel like I need less food and more drinks. Makes sense. The produce that’s available right now is more water-laden than its winter friends. Think zucchini compared to butternut squash. Both delicious, but who’s craving winter squash right now?!

Last week I made Tired Spaghetti. It was a simple and easy meal for a tired workday. It had burst grape tomatoes, garlic, chickpeas, pasta water, cream, Italian Hot Salt, Kosher salt, and pepper. I cooked the pasta while the tomatoes did their thing in some olive oil. Then I added some pasta water to the tomatoes and other saucy ingredients. I drained the pasta when it still had a bit of a bite, and let it finish cooking in the sauce. It was exactly what we needed that night.

Today, I’m sitting at the kitchen table to work. On days like this, lunch needs to be quick and filling enough that I don’t need a snack break twenty minutes after I eat. Our fridge is stuffed with food… but it’s mostly condiments. I don’t know if we really need a whole shelf of jars of mayo, pickled veggies, and different varieties of Asian sauces. But, somehow we can’t bear to part with any of them. So we shrug our shoulders and use them up bit by bit.

I have some mayos by Sir Kensington’s that I really love. I eat the Sriracha and Chipotle mayos most days. Usually I stand at the counter and shove fistfuls of corn chips dipped in both mayos into my face. If we don’t have dinner planned and started as soon as we get home from work, this is what I eat. And I usually eat so much that I’m not hungry when dinner is ready. It’s a problem.

This morning I planned our menu for the next two weeks. But, I forgot to plan something for today’s lunch. I almost gave in and just ate corn chips and mayo. It would have tasted so good. But, I saw the eggs and corn tortillas and figured that with a little bit of effort I could make something a little bit more substantial.

It was really good. I’ve got the basic recipe below. But, it’s more of a use what and however much you want kinda thing. So, do that.

Happy Eating!

Scrambled Egg Tacos – Serves 1

Ingredients

  • pat of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • pinch of grated cheese for each taco
  • Sriracha mayo
  • Chipotle mayo
  • 1 French breakfast radish, very thinly sliced
  • chopped chives or scallions
  • Maldon salt

Directions

  • Heat the tortillas.
  • Heat a skillet and add the butter. Whisk the eggs with a bit of salt (you can add a splash of water/milk/cream to them too). Add them to the hot pan and cook until they’re softly scrambled. Don’t overcook them!
  • Top each tortilla with a scoop of eggs, some cheese, either or both types of mayo, some radish slices, the chives, and a few Maldon salt flakes.

Wednesday

3

July 2019

0

COMMENTS

Shaved Kohlrabi Salad and Thai Sausage – A Cooking Show with Rachel O – Ep. 2

Written by , Posted in A Cooking Show with Rachel O, Condiments, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Herbs, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Poultry, Quick and Easy, Salads, Sausage, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Do you ever have one of those days where it feels like all the things are piled on your shoulders? Where the budget doesn’t balance, there are spiders in the kitchen, and you need a haircut, but remember that budget? It means you’re gonna DIY that summer do. But then you look outside and take a breath (you don’t actually go out because bugs, plus it’s hot). You scratch the dog’s chin and have a moment of clarity. It frees you to be here, typing away, not worrying about whether the sourdough bread will rise, or if the tomatoes will ever sprout (why even haven’t they?!), or why the wasps like your yard so much. Those things will be dealt with, in time. But, they don’t all need attention right now.

This is what I’m learning these days.

If I’m too far ahead, I’m not in the now. I’m missing out on the good, while I try to muddle through the mediocre and sometimes bad stuff. But, sometimes, out of the bad comes something sweet. Not always. But, often.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed I get caught up in my worry and spin into an endless cycle of too many quesadillas (ok, there can never really be too many) and not enough solid and nutritious meals. I get stuck in remembering the work it takes to put a meal on the table, especially if I’ve just finished an 8 hour day dealing with tourists. Sometimes I just need someone to make food for my face hole so I can eat it while watching Heartland or Schitt’s Creek. But, if I can take a step back once in a while, and this summer is affording me the time to be able to do so, I can remember how much I love to cook. How much joy I find in the monotony of slicing veggies the mandoline. How good cooked food smells. How a well paired beverage completes a meal.

This Shaved Kohlrabi Salad and Thai Sausage is just perfect for this. It’s quick enough to not be a burden. But, there’s a bit of prep required. Barely any, but enough to make you take a second to quiet your brain and just slice for a minute. Then enjoy the shock as you submerge your hands in the ice water to swish the veggies around. It’s hot out. The cold feels good.

This is one of those meals that can be adapted and made a thousand different ways. I was in the mood for Mazzeo’s Spicy Thai Sausage and it paired perfectly with the crispy veggies and their citrusy dressing. Switch things up if you have something different growing in your garden or if you have a favorite kind of sausage. Grill the sausage if you want to get outside. When tomatoes are in season, serve them still warm from the sun, drizzled with dressing. In the colder months, roast some veggies (like carrots, beets, and broccoli) and toss them with the same dressing. You could add a pilaf or quinoa salad on the side. You could serve warm fruit crisp for dessert.

This dish is a reminder to be present, to live simply, and to breathe deeply as you savor the aroma of a good meal.

Happy Eating!

Shaved Kohlrabi Salad and Thai Sausage – Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 pound Mazzeo’s Spicy Thai Sausage
  • 1 carrot, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 2 Armenian cucumbers, very thinly sliced
  • 3 kohlrabi, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • ice water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • 1/4 C chopped chives
  • Maldon salt, for serving

Directions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot add the sausage, cut side down. Cook, turning once or twice, until it’s a bit browned and is cooked through and reaches a safe temperature, about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  • Submerge the cut veggies in ice water and let stand for about 15 minutes.
  • Whisk together the lemon juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, and maple syrup until it has emulsified, then stir in the chives. Toss the veggies with the dressing, using your clean hands.
  • Serve the salad topped with Maldon salt, alongside the sausage.

This episode has been sponsored by Mazzeo’s Meat Market.

Wednesday

29

May 2019

4

COMMENTS

Udon and Spicy Pork – A Cooking Show with Rachel O – Ep.1

Written by , Posted in A Cooking Show with Rachel O, Condiments, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Herbs, Main Dishes, Meat, Pasta, Pork, Quick and Easy, Sauces, Vegetables

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this space. I’ve missed it. I’ve been dying to be back.

A month ago, I made the decision to make the best of a situation that was beyond my control. It allowed for some time to be spent working from home. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to start doing the cooking show again. So, I’m gonna try. The format is similar, just set in a different kitchen, in a different state (did you know we moved across the country?).

You with me?

This episode is a better than takeout Udon and Spicy Pork. It’s easy. So easy. The featured ingredients are red cabbage, scallions, udon noodles, and ground pork. Umm, that’s actually most of the ingredient list. I mentioned that it’s simple, right? Yeah. I wasn’t joking. 

I cooked the pork. Easy. I added cabbage. Delicious. I found some scallions that had survived the winter and tossed those in too. Then the sauce is a quick whisk together of tamari, Sriracha, Hoppy Valley Sweet and Hot Pepper Jelly, and rice vinegar. I whisked it with cornstarch and cold water, then added it to the cabbage and pork. That’s it. Dinner without having to wait for delivery.

It wasn’t as spicy as I wanted it to be. So next time I’m adding a whole teaspoon of Sriracha and more of the hot pepper jelly. For my vegan pals, I think you could substitute immature jackfruit (drained from the brine that it’s packed in) or crumbled tofu in place of the pork. For my gluten-free friends, rice noodles would be perfect. Make it however you want. You do you.

I can’t figure out how to add the recipe plugin that I used to use. It’s been one thousand years since I’ve done this. So for now, just take a screen shot and print out the recipe. Do people still print recipes? I don’t know. I’m going to have a glass of wine and watch Schitt’s Creek.

Happy Eating!

Udon and Spicy Pork – Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 red or green cabbage, chopped (should yield about 2 C)
  • 1 bunch scallions, green and white parts, chopped
  • Udon noodles (enough to serve four people)
  • to taste, salt
  • 2 T tamari/soy sauce/liquid aminos
  • 1/4 t (or more like 1 t) Sriracha
  • 3 T (or 1/4 C) red pepper jelly
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 C cold water
  • Crispy onions

Directions

  • Cook the udon noodles, reserving 1/2 to 1 cup of the starchy cooking liquid for your sauce.
  • Cook the pork over medium heat until it’s mostly cooked through. This should take a few minutes. Then add the cabbage and cook until it’s tender, but still has a bit of crunch, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and cook for 1 minute more.
  • While the pork and cabbage cook, whisk together the tamari, Sriracha, red pepper jelly, rice vinegar, cornstarch, and water. Add it to the pork and cabbage mixture and let it thicken. Add the reserved pasta water too. Toss it a few times, then add the cooked udon and toss some more (enough to get everything nicely coated). Taste and add salt if you need it.
  • Top each bowl with some crispy onions (you know, the kind from a jar).

Saturday

15

July 2017

0

COMMENTS

Sunday Afternoon

Written by , Posted in Dinner, Pasta, Short Stories, Thoughts

CarrotPasta-3

The smell of garlic burning brought her out of her daydream. She swore and clicked off the flame. She dumped the scorched garlic into the compost, wiped out the cast iron skillet and set it back on the stove. She minced a few more cloves, setting aside their papery skins to use in veggie stock. The carrots were in the oven already. They’d soon be browned at the edges and sweetened by honey, with a touch of salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of cayenne. The bread had come out just before the carrots had gone in. When she leaned in close she could hear it crackling as it cooled. She inhaled and closed her eyes.

Freshly baked bread took her back to childhood. Mom pulling out the fresh loaves of her signature bread, read to be slathered with butter (or margarine, it was the 90’s). It took her to early memories, hazy enough that they could have been a dream. Oma’s hands showing how to shape the Zwiebach buns, her little hands trying to mimic the motion. Praise from Oma, her gentle voice encouraging her young granddaughter as she learned a generations old recipe. Her eyes flitted over to the framed recipe on the wall. Written by Oma’s hand. She would make them again soon aided only by memories this time.

She turned the stove back on and added a bit more oil. She loved the way it rippled when it got hot. She added a big pat of butter and then another and watched as they sizzled and began to brown. She threw in the garlic and the smell wafted up to her nose. She breathed deeply. The garlic just needed thirty seconds. This time it wouldn’t burn. She added some white wine and turned the heat down to low. It would reduce into a simple sauce, perfect to coat the homemade pasta she’d spent the afternoon rolling and cutting. She didn’t mind. That kind of work was good for the soul.

She opened the screen door and the dog shot past her. Hopping and barking at the tree where he’d seen a squirrel earlier. Then running over to her husband at the barbecue. She smiled. She bent over her garden box to see what was growing. The beans had popped up, some squash plants were flowering, and the tomatoes were getting tall. She snipped off some garlic chives and plucked a big handful of basil leaves. The smell was intoxicating. No wonder the bees wouldn’t leave the basil flowers alone. She walked over to the barbecue. Her husband pulled her over and hugged her tight. He smelled like campfire. “Chicken’s almost ready” he said. She smiled and called the dog to come back inside and keep her company.

She washed and dried the herbs, chopping them with her sharpest knife. They’d be passed around the table for people to sprinkle on the pasta as they wished. The salted water was boiling. Huge rolling bubbles, sometimes jumping over the edge of the pot and making the flame sizzle. She added the pasta, stirring so it wouldn’t stick. It would only need a minute. She tasted the browned butter sauce. It had reduced nicely, but still needed to be seasoned. Just salt and pepper this time. She added a bit of the starchy pasta water to the sauce before draining the pasta, then added the pasta to the skillet. She stirred it gently then tasted it. She sighed. It was good. She took the carrots out of the oven. They needed a pinch more salt. The best way to bring out the flavors of a dish.

She pulled the parmesan cheese out of the fridge and scraped it along the grater, transparent curls falling and melting over the hot pasta. The dog ran over, eyes begging for a taste. She laughed and tossed a chunk of the rind that bounced off his nose and fell to the floor. Her smile widened as she shook her head. As she sliced the bread she heard children laughing outside. Not hers. Maybe someday. Her heart ached a little at the thought. For now, this was enough. She walked to the stove and took another taste of pasta. The cool breeze through the open window mingled with the smell of the sauce. They were like refreshment to her soul. She heard voices outside. These she recognized. Their family away from family. The doorbell rang. She took a breath and walked over to open the door.