Main Dish

Tuscan Tuna with Beans & Kale

What came out of my garden today?

Sage

and Kale.

What came out previously?  Sun-dried tomatoes.

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Add cannellini beans, tuna, grape tomatoes, celery and olives and you have a bright, colorful and healthy dinner…

There was some discussion in the family about the need for the celery – or lack of need.  My daughter thought the celery was out of place, my husband was ok with it, but didn’t think it added, I found the celery added crunch – textural variety to what would have otherwise been a totally soft mono-texture dish.  So, you could substitute in something different for crunch if you would like, perhaps toasted almonds or pine nuts.

Tuscan Tuna with Beans & Kale

slightly adapted from Food Network Kitchens Tuscan Beans with Tuna

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

16 fresh sage leaves (8 chopped, 8 whole) (from the garden)

2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans

3/4 pound kale, stems and ribs discarded, large leaves torn in half (from the garden)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup grape tomatoes, thinly sliced

3 inner stalks celery, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

1/2 cup chopped Sun-dried tomatoes 

1 12-ounce can solid white albacore tuna in water, drained

Directions

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped sage and cook until the garlic just starts to brown, about 4 minutes.

Add the beans (including the liquid from the cans) and 1 cup water. Increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender and the liquid looks creamy, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes, celery, olives and roasted peppers in a medium bowl.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, then fry the sage leaves until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes; drain on paper towels. Reserve the oil.

Break the tuna into large chunks and divide among shallow bowls. Spoon the bean mixture around the tuna and top with the olive salad and fried sage. Drizzle with the reserved sage oil and season with salt. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Categories: Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes | Leave a comment

Wheat Berries with Asparagus, Kale, Peas, Feta and Fried Egg.

Yes, it’s that time again… Kale bouquets!

If you are new to my blog, let me explain… I harvest my kale in the morning when it is cool and stick the leaves in a vase or glass of water to keep the kale fresh and crisp. And, it is fun to look at in my kitchen all day.

The other stars of this dish are the asparagus, the wheat berries (I love wheat berries) and, of course, Farmer Kim’s eggs. Each gets cooked on its own and then are brought together to make a delicious light and fresh dinner.

Oh, of course, I shouldn’t forget the feta.  We all agreed that our favorite part was when we would get a burst of feta flavor – it brightened everything!

Wheat Berries with Asparagus, Kale, Peas, Feta and Fried Egg.

Inspired by Yasmin Fahr’s Warm Farro Salad with Asparagus, Peas, and Feta

8 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (from Fifer Orchards)

Pinch dried red chili flakes, or more as desired

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup wheat berries

1 quart vegetable stock

1 cup frozen peas (or fresh if you can get them)

1 bunch kale, center stalks removed and cut into 2-inch ribbons (from the garden)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup slivered almonds (or chopped, blanched almonds)

4 scallions thinly sliced, white and light green parts only

1/2 cup crumbled feta

4 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven until shimmering. Add 2 cups of asparagus and chili flakes, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, add the wheat berries and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until wheat berries are tender, about 20-30 minutes (check them after 20 minutes, you don’t want to overcook them and end up with mushy wheat berries).  Drain the wheat berries and transfer to a large bowl.

While the wheat berries are cooking, in a medium bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons olive oil along with the lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

Put the peas and kale in the pot with about a teaspoon of olive oil and cook over medium-high heat tossing, until the kale is wilted and peas are tender.

Fold vinaigrette into wheat berries, add the kale, peas, asparagus, almonds, scallions, and feta. Let stand while you cook the eggs.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the last 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Fry the eggs until the yolks are just cooked.  To help the yolks cook a bit faster, you can spoon some of the hot oil from the skillet onto the yolks. Serve the wheat berry salad topped with an egg and enjoy!

Serves 4.

Categories: Asparagus, Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | 2 Comments

Slow Cooker Chicken Marrakesh

We became very well acquainted with our slow cooker during my campaign. A love-hate relationship developed. When a dish worked, it was wonderful. But there were many days when I threw in a whole lot of string spices only to end up with flavorless meat. I was so confused and disturbed. But, we studied the dishes that went well and those that went awry and we learned a lot.

Key #1 (and the focus of why this dish worked well) – ratio of spices to liquid. More spice & herbs, less liquid.

This dish filled both our house with wonderful smells and our mouths with great flavors.

Slow Cooker Chicken Marrakesh

by KCOOPER78 on Allrecipes.com

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced 

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (from the garden)

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley (from the garden)

1 teaspoon salt

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

Directions

Place the onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, and chicken breast pieces into a slow cooker.

In a bowl, mix the cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, parsley, and salt, and sprinkle over the chicken and vegetables.

Pour in the tomatoes, and stir to combine.

Cover the cooker, set to High, and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened, 4 to 5 hours. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Serves 6 – 8

Categories: Carrot, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Sweet Potatoes | Tags: | 1 Comment

Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes and Eggs with Pomegranate Molasses

Can you believe I STILL have sweet potatoes from my garden?! Whether it really was a good harvest or just the fact that I took 8 weeks off from cooking during my campaign, I am not sure.  But here is what part of the harvest looked like.

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We got some nice brussels sprouts this week, so I decided to make a roasted veggie and egg dish inspired by Ree Drummand’s Beautiful Brussels Sprouts.

Roasted vegetables with olive oil fried eggs is probably the favorite comfort food in our house. Adding the pomegranate molasses and chili powder added some new and interesting flavors. I ended up liking it more and more with each bite. Don’t go too heavy on the pomegranate molasses, all it needs is a drizzling. And then….happiness in our mouths and bellies!

Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes and Eggs with Pomegranate Molasses 

inspired by Ree Drummand’s Beautiful Brussels Sprouts

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (from the garden)

2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved

4- 6 Tbsp olive oil, separated

Chili powder

pinch Kosher salt

pinch freshly ground black pepper

8 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

Pomegranate molasses

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Divide the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts between 2 baking sheets.

Drizzle 2 – 3 Tbsp olive oil on the vegetables, sprinkle with chili powder (heavier if you want more kick, lighter if you want just a touch of heat), salt and pepper. Toss to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Place in the oven a roast for 15 minutes.  Stir the vegetables and roast for another 15 – 20 minutes.

In the last few minutes that the vegetables are roasting, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) over medium-high heat.  Fry the eggs, spooning oil over the yolk for a few minutes til cooked to your preference. You will likely need to fry the eggs in batches.

Divide the vegetables among 4 plates and top each with 2 eggs. Drizzle the pomegranate molasses over the top. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serves 4.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Quajado

Our Spanish Passover continues…

Lauren is home, so we needed a vegetarian dinner option and opted for a Quajado, an egg, cheese and vegetable dish. For tonight, we used zucchini, feta and cheddar. The combination was simply delicious. Salty, rich and slightly sweet.

To complete the dinner we added a Spanish spinach dish with pine nuts and raisins. The combination was served on my grandmother’s beautiful depression glass plates.

Quajado

from Chabad

1 medium onion, diced

1 Tbsp olive oil

6 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

6 cups zucchini, grated and left to drain in a colander

1 cup creamy feta cheese

1 cup grated cheddar

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft.

Squeeze any excess moisture out of the grated zucchini.

Combine zucchini, onions, eggs, parsley and cheeses. Add salt and pepper to taste. Feta cheese is extremely salty so it may not need any salt at all.

Spoon into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for approximately 1 hour, until set.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Serves 8.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Passover, Recipe, Vegetarian, Zucchini | Leave a comment

Persian Sweet Potato Stew

It feels so good to be cooking again. Making dinners and baking breads really does serve to center me. Especially when I get to use foods I grew. Even though I am planning and preparing my garden for this season, I still have lots of sweet potatoes that I harvested in the fall.

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This stew was fabulous. It was very reminiscent of Qormeh Sabzi, yet different. And it was and easy. And best of all, unusual for Persian dishes, it is ready an hour after you start chopping the onion.

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It is a flexible dish; as we were eating it, we though of various other possible additions: green beans, kidney beans, other greens, etc. It is only limited by your creativity.IMG_5841

Persian Sweet Potato Stew

inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s Iranian Vegetable Stew with Dried Lime

1 Tbsp grape seed oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
½ tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp dried fenugreek
1 Tbsp dried dill
1 1/2 lbs waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2″ chunks
1 1/2 lbs sweet potato peeled and chopped into 1 1/2″ chunks (from the garden)
3 dried limes, pierced 2-3 times
1 whole anaheim chilli, slit on one side from stem to tip
Salt
5 medium tomatoes, quartered – or 6 canned tomatoes, crushed
5 oz spinach leaves

Directions

Heat the oven to 350F. Put a large dutch oven on medium heat and sauté the butter, onion, turmeric and cumin for 10 minutes.

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Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for two minutes.

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To the pot, add the fenugreek, dill, potatoes, squash, limes, chili, tomatoes, a teaspoon and a half of salt and 4 cups of water.

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Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are semi-cooked.

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Stir in the spinach, crushing the limes gently as you do so, to release some of the juices inside.

Transfer to a large roasting tray and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a little and the vegetables are soft.

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Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes, remove the limes, serve with rice and enjoy!

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Serves 6 – 8

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Slow-cooker Beef Ragu

During my Levy Court campaign, pretty much the only type of cooking I did was in the crock pot – slow cooking.  The only free time I had was at the very beginning of the day, and that only for about 15 minutes. So, that meant it needed to be recipes with very little preparation before going into the crock pot.

This beef ragu was a great meal that, served with pasta, provided us with hearty meals for several days.

I was able to pick up some locally raised beef (flank steaks) at the butcher. Yes, we are lucky to have a butcher near our home.

And look at the colors (and flavors) that went into the sauce. The herbs all came from my garden.

Slow-cooker Beef Ragu

from PinchofYum.com

1 teaspoon olive oil

6 garlic cloves, smashed slightly

1½ pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 4 pieces (locally raised)

salt and pepper

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

¼ cup reduced sodium beef broth

1 carrot, chopped

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme (from the garden)

16 ounces pappardelle pasta

Parmesan and parsley for topping

Directions

In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

Pour the tomatoes and broth over the beef and add the garlic from step one, carrots, bay leaves, and thyme.

Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Discard the herbs and shred the beef in the pot using 2 forks.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and add the sauce from the slow cooker. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the pasta and sauce are combined, about 1 minute.

Divide among 8 bowls and top each with Parmesan, ricotta, and parsley. Serve hot!…Yum!

Serves 8.

Categories: Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Lentil Loaf with Maple Balsamic Glaze

As we ate this and I was so surprised at how delicious it was, our daughter laughed and said, “What did you expect, of course it would be bad, you were making it. pause. Of course it was going to be good!” Now, you have to realize how amazing this is – growing up the girls pretty much lived on Zatarains and dreaded when I would “cook.” They still tell war stories about some of the big failures.

The change came really came about 8 years ago when I had a slow time with my business and dove into my garden and cooking for real. They started looking forward to coming home for dinner. They now tease my 7 year old that he never had to eat “bad” food (I even made just about all of his baby food).

To me, this loaf was still a shot in the dark because it was not my recipe and I have always had mixed experiences with vegetarian loafs. But this was a big hit, we all loved it, so its a keeper! (but next time I will use a narrower loaf pan, it will look prettier)

It was very reminiscent of a good meatloaf. Even the texture working with it felt like meat.

And the glaze added a nice interest and even extra flavor to an already flavorful loaf.

Lentil Loaf with Maple Balsamic Glaze
very slightly adapted from Eating Bird Food‘s Lentil Loaf with a Maple Sweetened Glaze

 

½ cup dry brown (green) lentils

1⅓ cup water

1 bay leaf

1 Tablespoon olive oil

½ large onion (about 1 heaping cup), chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup rolled oats

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (local)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon dried thyme (from the garden)

1 teaspoon dried oregano (from the garden)

1 teaspoon dried basil (from the garden)

8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Maple Sweetened Glaze
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1½ Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
pinch of sea salt
Directions
Heat oven to 375°.
Prepare lentils by rinsing them and adding to a pot with water and a bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat down and simmer covered until all the liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf and set the lentils aside to cool. This step can be done in advance (it helps with time management).

In the meantime toast walnuts by spreading them onto a baking sheet and toasting in the oven for about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic, carrots and celery until they’ve softened and become fragrant. About 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Add lentils (reserve ½ cup for later), cooked veggies, toasted walnuts, oats, soy sauce, tomato paste, ground flaxseed, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, thyme, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, ground pepper and sea salt to the food processor.

Pulse until mixture is just combined and the texture is to your liking. You want the mixture to be combined enough to stick together, but you don’t want it to be completely pulverized. It should look and feel like ground beef texture.

Stir in the reserved lentils

Press mixture into parchment lined loaf pan.

In a small bowl stir together glaze ingredients.

Spread the glaze over top of the loaf.

Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 8 more minutes. Let the loaf rest 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Serves 6.

Categories: Carrot, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 3 Comments

Spaghetti Squash Latkes

Spaghetti squash latkes, who would have thought? Zakah Glaser, that’s who; and I thank her for the recipe I found on Chabad.org.

I have to say that these were good the first day, but they were excellent as leftovers.  I have no idea why this was true, but that bodes well for making these in advance for a party or other gathering and then warming them up for serving.

Spaghetti Squash Latkes

Zakah Glaser on Chabad.org

1 spaghetti squash (from Highland Orchards)

1 onion, grated

2 eggs (from Highland Orchards)

1/4 oat bran

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper, to taste

Directions

Slice the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, place face up in a baking pan and bake for 1 hour at 450ºF.

Let squash cool, then scoop out squash and mix with remaining ingredients.

Coat skillet with vegetable spray or oil and drop mixture by spoonful into pan. Brown well on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve and enjoy!

Categories: Hanukah, Jewish Holiday, Main Dish, Recipe, Spaghetti Squash, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Kotlet Latkes – Persian Beef & Potato Patties turned into Latkes!

I really enjoy when I can blend my husband’s Persian foods with Jewish holidays. We found a perfect combination with Kotlets.  Kotlets are a small beef, potato and onion patty that is fried to crispy goodness. As my husband described them to me, his mom made them with potatoes that were mashed. But I have also seen them with grated potatoes.  Next time I will make the mashed potato version, but for our Hanukkah version – grated potatoes it was!

I used advieh and turmeric to get the flavor we wanted. If you do not have advieh, cinnamon is similar, but use less of it.

We ended up with enough to serve 6 – 8 people as a main dish. It was a fun way to start Hanukkah and celebrate our diverse household.

They were gobbled up before I got a good picture of a plate – but we ate them with parsnip fries, cucumber tomato salad and torshi (gardiniera).

Kotlet Latkes

1 – 1 1/4 lbs potatoes

1 large onion

1 pounds ground beef

½ tsp advieh

1 1/2 – 2 tsp turmeric

1/2 – 1 tsp Kosher salt

4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup oil, more if necessary

Directions

Peel the potatoes and boil in salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool until you can easily handle them, then grate the potatoes.

Peel and grate the onion, squeeze out the excess water.

Mix all the ingredients (except the oil) together in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix them together really well.

Form the patties by take a handful of the meat mixture, about the size of a large egg, and form it into a flat oval (or egg-shaped) patty. It should be 1/3 – 1/2 inch thick. Repeat until all the meat mixture is made into patties.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the patties on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, then about 3 minutes on the other side.

Drain on paper towels. Enjoy!

Serves 6 – 8.

Categories: Hanukah, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | 2 Comments

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