Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Green Cabbage with Bacon over Pierogi

I had wanted to make something a bit lighter and more summery with the cabbage we had, but I was really, really trying to avoid going to the grocery store this week. (I've been successful so far!) And since I had a big bag of pierogi and a package of bacon in the freezer, I decided to turn to my trusted cabbage-over-pierogi recipe.

I've made this many times in the past and it is incredibly easy to throw together. It also makes delicious leftovers! It is probably more appropriate for a cold winter day, but it tastes just as good in the summer!

Green Cabbage with Bacon and Pierogi
(serves 4)

4 slices of bacon

1/2 large white onion, sliced

1/4 cup of water
2 Tablespoons of white sugar
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of caraway seed
pinch of salt and black pepper
1 large head of green cabbage, roughly chopped

12 frozen pierogi, such as Mrs T's

1/2 cup of sour cream (fat free is fine)

Directions: In a large saucepan, fry bacon over medium heat until cooked. When done, remove the bacon from pan and place on paper towels. Keep bacon drippings in the pan, and add the onion to the same pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, and then add the water, sugar, garlic, caraway seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Add cabbage to pan, keep at medium heat, and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove lid and stir to combine, especially scraping up any browned onions from the bottom. Re-cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare pierogies according to package directions. Pulse bacon in a food processor, until it is chopped to large crumbs. When pierogies are done, place on a plate and ladle the cooked cabbage on top of them. Top with a dollop of sour cream and fresh bacon bits. Enjoy! 

Adapted from, original recipe here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Romaine and Purslane Salad with Tomatoes

I was searching for a different way to prepare the purslane that we had in our produce basket this week. I knew I wanted to saute it, to see what kind of flavor that gave it. When I found the recipe for this salad and saw that it also used zucchini, I knew it was going on the list to make!  

I loved the flavor in this salad, and the combination of the warm vegetables over the cold lettuce! It was very filling, and would even be perfect for a light, summer meal.

Spinach and Purslane Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini

1/2 of a medium white onion, diced finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup of olive oil, plus extra for greasing pan
3 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of parsely
pinch of salt and black pepper

1 large zucchini, sliced
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch of purslane, washed and thick stems removed
1 large head of romaine, washed and chopped

Directions: Pour a little bit of the olive oil into a saucepan, and heat to medium. Saute onions until mostly soft, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and saute for about another 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley in a salad dressing bottle. Shake well to combine. Add onions and garlic from pan, and shake again.

Heat a bit more olive oil in the pan, add zucchini, cover, and cook until soft and slightly browned (about 5-7 minutes) and when it's done, place it in a large bowl.

Add purslane and chopped tomatoes to the pan vacated by the zucchini, and saute for about 1-2 minutes, or until purslane is slightly wilted. Then add to the bowl with the zucchini and stir to combine. Spoon tomato/zucchini/purslane mixture on top of romaine, and drizzle with the lemon Dijon dressing. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Adapted from, original recipe here.

CSA Basket- Week Three

This week's basket was very similar to last week's basket- lots of greens! We received two zucchinis, rainbow chard, baby bok choy, half of a green cabbage, purslane, and mizuna (a type of Asian green).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kale and Kidney Bean Enchiladas

Since we had been getting a lot of kale in our produce baskets recently, I have been on the lookout for new and interesting ways to use it. This recipe definitely had what I was looking for! I loved the flavors in here, and was actually a little surprised at just how perfectly everything went together. It ended up being a hearty and filling meal- the kale flavor was almost subtle and it is definitely a different way to use such a bountiful ingredient this time of year!

Kale and Kidney Bean Enchiladas

1 large bunch of kale, washed and chopped (I used dinosaur kale)
1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 3/4 cups of kidney beans (equal to one 15.5 oz. can)
1 Tablespoon of hot sauce
1 teaspoon of cumin
dash of salt
12 oz. of enchilada sauce
8 whole wheat tortillas at room temperature
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and salt. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add the kale in handfuls, and stir occasionally as it wilts. Add kidney beans, hot sauce, and 2 Tablespoons of the enchilada sauce. Mix until everything is coated and remove from heat.

Pour enough enchilada sauce in an oven-safe 9 x 13 dish to just cover the bottom. Add filling to the tortillas and wrap tightly. Place seam down in the pan, and repeat until they're all filled. Top with remaining enchilada sauce cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Adapted from Branny Boils Over, original recipe here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Rosemary Cream Sauce

One of my all-time favorite restaurants is Beau Monde, a creperie in Philadelphia. As much as I usually like to order different things when I visit a restaurant multiple times, I always always always end up getting the coq au vin crepe with Swiss cheese and herbed butter whenever I go there. It is absolutely to die for. So when I had some gouda to use up and some Nutella in the cupboard, my mind immediately went to crepes. Don't worry though, I'm not planning on using those two ingredients together.

Where my mind did NOT go (until I was about to pour the batter, at least) was "Hold up, what are you thinking? You have trouble flipping pancakes sometimes, and here you are attempting crepes? This is totally not going to turn out well. I suppose you could make some pasta to toss with the chicken and mushrooms so your dinner isn't totally ruined." But luckily, all turned out well and we were able to enjoy an amazing meal.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Rosemary Cream Sauce
(The recipe for the batter makes 6 crepes, while the recipe for filling makes enough for 4 crepes. I used the two extra for dessert.)

For the batter:
4 eggs
3 teaspoons of honey
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of non-fat milk

For the filling:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 sprigs of rosemary

2 Tablespoons of butter
12 oz. of button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of half and half
1 Tablespoon of flour
1 Tablespoon of chopped rosemary

extra butter for greasing pan (about 1-2 Tablespoons)

4 oz. of gouda cheese, shredded

4 sprigs of rosemary to garnish

Directions: Whisk together eggs, honey, and salt. Add flour and stir to combine. Slowly add milk, lightly whisking until smooth. Refrigerate batter for 30 minutes.

Place chicken breasts in a small pan so they fit snugly, but not overlapping. Cover with water, and add rosemary sprigs to the water. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to just barely a simmer and keep partly covered for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, and allow chicken to sit in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken, shred/cut into pieces, and set aside.

Melt half of the butter in a saucepan over medium high, and add mushrooms. Saute until cooked, remove, and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, melt the remaining half of the butter, and add garlic to the pan. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add half and half and chopped rosemary, stirring frequently as it reduces.

Whisk flour and 1 Tablespoon of water together to form a roux, and add to the cream sauce, stirring to combine. When sauce is thickened, add chicken and mushrooms, and stir enough to coat. Remove from heat, mostly cover, and set aside.

In a new pan, with a large, flat bottom, melt a bit of the extra butter over medium heat. Slowly ladle crepe batter into the pan and spread until it is a large circle and reaches the edges of the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until edges start to look cooked. Gently flip crepe, and then add a spoonful of filling to the center of the face-up side and top with gouda. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, and bring edges up so that they wrap up the filling. (my pan wasn't big enough to get them properly wrapped, so mine looked more like enchiladas than crepes. Totally worked though!) Hold in place with a spatula if needed, and cook for another minute or so. Scoop onto a plate, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a bit more cheese. Repeat for the 3 remaining crepes. Enjoy!

And use up the remaining batter for dessert crepes! I cooked them the same way, spread Nutella on them, covered with sliced bananas, rolled them up, and topped with powdered sugar. Yum!

Different pieces of the recipe were adapted from Poor Girl Eats Well, Healthy Hedonista, and About . com.

CSA Basket- Week Two

This week in our produce basket we had dinosaur kale, green cabbage, boston lettuce, romaine, zucchini, and purslane. I was especially excited to try the purslane, because it was something I've never had before. We tossed a bit in the salad last night, and it gave it a nice bite- it has a slightly salty and sour flavor. I think I'm going to find a way to cook up the rest of it. 

And remember the strawberry plant I mentioned last week? The one where that darn bird was getting to all the strawberries before we could? Well, guess what bird- we win! We got one (one!) strawberry to ourselves (yes, we each took a tiny bite) so far. And boy, was it delicious. Perfectly juicy strawberry goodness.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kale and Soba Salad with Salmon, Edamame, and Avocado

Week one of the CSA produce basket included a lot of kale, so this recipe is one of the ones I found to use it all up!

It had a rich, nutty flavor from the tahini and was very filling and delicious.

Kale and Soba Salad with Salmon, Edamame, and Avocado
(serves 4)

12 oz. of salmon fillet
dash of Kosher salt
dash of black pepper

1 large bunch of kale, washed and chopped

2 Tablespoons of tahini
2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons of honey
dash of red pepper flakes

8 oz. of soba noodles
1 1/2 cups of shelled edamame

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped

Directions: Preheat broiler. When it's ready, place fish skin side down and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork. Remove from oven and tent with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, mix tahini, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Place chopped kale in a large bowl and pour the sauce on top. Mix kale and the sauce with your hands for about 5 minutes, or until kale is wilted down.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, and add soba and edamame. Let boil for about 5 minutes, and then drain. Add soba noodles and edamame to kale mixture and stir to combine.

Separate into 4 bowls and top with chopped avocado and flaked salmon. Enjoy!

Adapted from Cara's Cravings, original recipe here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CSA Basket- Week One

H and I have what some call a black thumb. Last year's garden didn't fare too well. It didn't get enough sun, and all the work I did to try and critter-proof the area didn't exactly keep them out.

This year we amped up the critter-proofing, and while that seems to be going well, the new, "sunnier" area we chose for this year isn't as sunny as we thought it would be. In our defense, the new spot was extremely sunny when we dug the garden (in March), before any of the trees had leaves! The soil doesn't seem to be as good in the new spot either, and nothing is really growing. We do have a strawberry plant in a separate pot that's doing well, but every time a strawberry starts growing, a bird gets to it before we do. I guess no one ever said gardening is easy!

So in order to get my fill of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the summer and fall (since they certainly weren't going to be coming from our garden), H and I decided to join a CSA. For those who aren't familiar, CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically, you invest in a local farm by paying a fee early in the year and then get a share of the crops throughout the harvest season.

We were really excited for it to start, and this week brought our first basket of fresh produce. Our basket included red and green chard, a large bunch of kale, two heads of romaine, bok choy, a bunch of scallions, and two zucchinis. Luckily, the farm's website had the week's produce listed before we picked it up, so I was able to have all my recipes planned out!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

It's that time of year again, time to get out of the kitchen and outside grilling! I am always looking for new, lighter sides to bring to a big barbeque or just to make with an easy weeknight meal.

This one tastes great, is very healthy, and so easy to prepare. I can see us having it many times this summer, especially after tomato season is in full swing!

Tomato and Cucumber Salad
(serves 8)

10 italian tomatoes, quartered
2 cucumbers- skins left on, sliced thinly
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
dash of fresh ground pepper

Directions: Mix cut veggies together in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, prepare the dressing (olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper). Drizzle dressing over vegetables, and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving cold. Enjoy!

Adapted from Rachael Ray for, original recipe here.