Wednesday, June 24, 2015

RECIPE: Salmon in Sorrel Sauce

Difficulty Level: Intermediate 

Serves 4

Prepare the Sauce:
-3 tablespoons butter
-Prepared Salmon - see below
-2 cups fresh sorrel leaves, chopped rough
-1/4 cup chervil
-1/2 cup chives, with flowers if possible
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-salt and pepper

1. Adjust an oven rack to be at the very top of the oven. Preheat the broiler. Warm the plates (very important) in a sink of warm water, your extra oven (ha), or remove them from the just run dishwasher.

2. Prepare all ingredients and stage. This dish comes together quickly and you don't want to be scrambling. Hold back the chive flowers, if you have them.

3. When the oven is ready, start the sauce. In a large, wide skillet, melt the butter until it starts to toast. It should be golden brown. At this point, put the salmon under the broiler.

4. Add the sorrel, chervil and chives to the butter and coat quickly. Allow them to wilt a little, and then pour in the cream. Bring to a boil and reduce just until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, remembering you have seasoned the fish.

5. The salmon should now be ready. (2-3 minutes) Watch it carefully the entire time it's in the oven -- it could take you as little as 30 seconds, depending on your oven.

6. Dry the warm plates. Place four medallions per person on each plate and decorate with the sauce, being very generous. Sprinkle chive flower petals and serve with crusty bread.

Prepare the Salmon:
-1 pound beautiful, wild, center cut salmon (Alaskan King is my preference here, but any wild caught salmon will do)

1. Slice the salmon into thin medallions. A flexible salmon slicing knife is my choice, but any long thin knife will work well. It must be very sharp. Slice on a slight angle cutting away the skin as you go. Aim for 16 pieces.

2. Place the salmon on a sheet pan lined with parchment and very lightly oiled. Brush the tops very lightly with oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish.

3. PS I like to put the salmon skin under the broiler, too. Salt well. It's a delicious cook's snack.

RECIPE: Dandelion Egg Salad

Difficulty Level: Easy
- bunch of dandelion greens (the entire bunch from the distribution)
- 8-12 hard-boiled eggs (depends on whether you like more green in your egg salad or not)
- mayonnaise (2-3 tablespoons depending on individual preference)
- 2-3 garlic cloves (depends on individual preference)

Wash dandelion greens thoroughly and chop finely. Chop up hard boiled eggs. Combine in a bowl with squeezed garlic cloves and mayonnaise. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.  It goes really well as a spread on toasted pumpernickel or rye bread.  If it's breakfast time, spread it on a toasted croissant.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2015

RECIPE: Spinach-Chive Pesto

Difficulty Level: EASY

Ideal for pasta, on eggs, spread on a cracker... 

1 cup spinach leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 (1-ounce) package fresh chives, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides.  Enjoy!

One way to keep your berries longer

It might seem counterintuitive to wash your berries before you're ready to eat them. One of the cardinal rules of keeping berries mold-free is to leave them unwashed until the moment before consumption.  

But by washing your berries in a solution of white vinegar and water, you can extend their shelf-life by days (sometimes even weeks!). In a large bowl, make a diluted vinegar bath—1 cup vinegar, 3 cups water—and give your berries a dunk. The vinegar will eliminate any pesky mold and bacteria.

Next, drain your berries in a colander and rinse them under cool running water. This guarantees that you won't be able to taste any lingering traces of vinegar later on.

Now that you've washed your berries, it's time to dry them as thoroughly as possible. Do not be fooled: Moisture is still the enemy. The same salad spinner you use to dry off greens can be used to wick the water from your berries. Line it with about 3 layers of paper towels in order to create a pillow for your berries, then spin your berries for about 15 seconds, or until they are completely dry.

Instead of putting the berries back into the container they came in, where they will crowd each other, upgrade their digs. Place them in a sealable container lined with paper towels and leave the lid partially open as to avoid trapping moisture.

RECIPE: Korean Greens Side Salad

Difficulty Level: Easy
(note some unusual ingredients)

1 bunch dandelion, arugula, and/or sorrel, washed and chopped
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds

Throw everything in a bowl and start massaging with your hands.  The greens should wilt and be thoroughly mixed with the dressing.  Taste and adjust the salt or sugar level to your liking.  Serve with short grain brown or white rice. 

One Bowl Meal Variation: place over rice in a bowl, top with a fried egg - runny yolk a must! Mix everything together and enjoy.

Friday, June 12, 2015

RECIPE: Vegan Detox Salad (with Variations!)

Difficulty Level: EASY

1 raw beet, scrubbed, peeled, and grated
1 bunch radishes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 small bunch spinach, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1 bunch kale, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
1/2 bunch of cilantro, washed (leaves only. save the stems for flavoring stews or soups)
small handful of grape tomatoes
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs dulse flakes
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
salt to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cajun spice mix (optional)

Throw everything into a big salad or mixing bowl - you need enough room to toss everything really well - and toss thoroughly (I find tongs work best).

If you like things a bit spicy, feel free to add the cajun spice mix just before tossing.

This salad can take a lot of variation and is a great way to use up veggies.  Some additions/substitutions I like: mixed greens, romaine lettuce, sprouts, dill, sun-dried tomatoes.

If in the mood for a non-vegan salad, this recipe makes a great base for various proteins such as crumbled cheese, chicken, tuna, shrimp, or salmon.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

RECIPE: Swiss chard tips and tricks

To store and prep your chard:

•Remove any elastic bands and store chard in a bag in your fridge.  Chard’s length makes it awkward to store (sometimes the fridge door shelves work well). If space is an issue, you can separate the leaves from the stalks before storing.

•Keep chard away from the coldest spots in your fridge -- when the leaves get too cold, they turn black and wither.

•To clean, soak the chard in a large bowl of cold water for at least five minutes to allow the dirt to settle. If you are going to eat it raw, spin it dry; otherwise, just give it a shake or allow it to drain in a colander. A little water will help the chard steam a bit when you cook it.

•Because each cooks at a different rate, you'll need to separate the stems and leaves: With one hand, grasp the leaves where they meet the stem, grasp the stem with the other hand, and gently pull the stem away from the leaves.

•Chard will keep well in the fridge for about a week. Revive tired-looking leaves in a bowl of cold water with a splash of vinegar. After 20 minutes or so, the leaves should perk up.

•Raw chard can also be added directly to soups and stews or thrown in a quiche: For a quiche baked in standard 9- or 10-inch pie plate or tart pan, coarsely chop a cup of chard and add it directly to the custard.

•Chard is delicious simply sautéed with olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté sliced onions with chopped chard stems until tender, add garlic and pepper flakes, then add chopped greens and a pinch of salt to the pan. Cover the pan for a few minutes to allow the leaves to wilt, then uncover and allow any liquid to cook off. Finish with a squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar. This makes a nice side dish, or can be added to pasta, lasagna, strata, etc. To spruce up sautéed chard, add sautéed apples, toasted pine nuts, and raisins, Catalan-style.

RECIPE: General Vegetable Storage Tip

When you have whole vegetables, remove the stems and leaves before storing. They keep longer when stored separately. Beet and turnip greens are great sautéed. Celery and radish leaves are great in salads. Celery leaves also make a delicious pesto! Cilantro stems and roots make great broths and stir fries in Thai and Vietnamese recipes.