Pasta with Kale and Portabello Mushrooms


Earlier I took a hike across my little canyon and up the hill where I plan to build a fence so people will not drive where they are not supposed to drive.  Driving there causes rather bad erosion.  Walked back to the barn, fed the horses, and returned to the house, then noticed hunger.  This afternoon I bought some Tuscan kale and wanted to try it out.  Here’s my creation:

Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3-4 medium size portabello mushrooms, sliced

3 large Tuscan kale leaves, center stem removed and chopped

Pasta–your choice.  I used rigatoni but my favorite is conchiglie from Montebello Monastery in Italy which has been doing this since 1388 or so they claim

Greek oregano

Ricotta cheese

Cover bottom of a skillet with the olive oil.  Add the onions, mushrooms, and chopped kale stems.  Saute until the onions are translucent and the kale stems are cooked but still crunchy.  While this is cooking, tear the kale leaves into bite sized pieces.  Take two dried oregano stems and lightly remove and crumble the leaves and florets into the skillet.  Discard the stems.  Add the kale leaves to the onion mixture and saute.  When done, kale leaves will be tender but still a bright green.  Pour over the pasta and place a dollop of ricotta cheese on top.

Note:  I grow my own Greek oregano and dried a bunch on my counter top this week–I live in a dry climate so this works.  I took two stems with the dried leaves and flowers still attached and stripped off the leaves and flowers and crushed them with my hands directly into the skillet.  Greek oregano is very mild.  You might want to use less of other oregano.  Without the ricotta, this recipe is vegan.  I used whole milk ricotta; I never buy low fat anything.  I tried to learn to like whole wheat pasta but gave up.  Quinoa and corn mixed pasta is ok, but give me the real thing from Italy.

 

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This photo illustrates the dried Greek oregano.  I will have to decide whether to store like this or take it all off the stems and crush it.

Teriyaki Salmon with Red Chard and Cassia Cinnamon (for two)


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The red chard leaves, chopped.

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Just after adding the salmon.

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The finished product.

 

2  6 oz. servings of wild salmon

1/2 medium red (purple) onion, chopped

1/2 large poblano pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 large red chard leaves and stems

1/2 to 1 tsp. cassia cinnamon

1/8 cup teriyaki sauce mixed with 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

Olive oil

Marinate the salmon in the teriyaki/Worcestershire sauce while you prepare the rest.  Using a sharp knife, destem and devein the red chard.  Coarsely chop the stems and veins.  Chop the leaves into pieces as indicated in the photo above.  Cover the bottom of a medium sized skillet with olive oil.  I love extra virgin olive oil and use a lot of it, but not absolutely necessary.  Saute chopped onions in the olive oil until translucent.  Add the poblano pepper and red stems of the chard.  When the peppers and chard stems are slightly cooked, add the salmon and marinade and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Turn the salmon and place the chard leaves on top.  Scatter the cinnamon on top of the chard leaves.  Saute until the chard leaves are wilted.

Serve with mixed grain rice (khao-pa-som in Thai) which can be found at Asian markets.  It is a mixture of brown, black, and red rice with various grains including what appears to be barley.  I cook it exactly like rice: sauté in olive oil with finely chopped garlic for a minute or so, add water, and stir in 1 tsp. concentrated bouillon. Turn heat to low, cover pan with several layers of paper towels, and put on lid.  This, like red and brown rice, takes about twice as long to cook as white rice.  It is more nutritious than white rice. If you want the health benefits of cinnamon, it is necessary to use cassia cinnamon, not Ceylon cinnamon.

Chicken with poblano peppers, sun dried tomatoes and pasta


This recipe is posted as a tribute to Klara Kamper, from Austria.  Klara is an exchange student and nearly every week she has come over to ride my horse, Rosie.  After riding, I fix dinner.  Of all the different dinners I have fixed, this is Klara’s favorite.

4 pieces boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

2 large poblano peppers, deseeded and diced into bite sized pieces

1 large purple onion, chopped

5-6 pieces sun dried tomatoes, chopped into a large dice

Olive oil

Herbs de provence

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil.  Saute the onions until done.  Add chicken and more olive oil if necessary.  With your fingers sprinkle herbs de provence over the onion/chicken mixture.  When the chicken is nearly done, add the poblano peppers and sun dried tomatoes.  Saute until the poblano peppers are cooked but still a nice bright green.  You may also add mushrooms if you like.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  My daughter does not like herbs de provence so when I cook this for her, I use a  mixture of oregano, basil, and marjoram.

I am very, very picky about pasta.  My favorite is organic Montebello pasta produced by Monastero Di Montebello, Isola del Piano, Italy.  I especially like the conchiglie.  However, I use their spaghetti and other shapes as well.

This is Rosie.  She will really miss Klara who leaves for home on June 25.

 

 

 

 

Rosie, who "adopted" Star after Miracle died.

 

A friend joined us to see the horses and for dinner.  Apparently, she took this photo just before I served dinner.

Flame Kissed Chicken and Lentil Salad


This week what I thought was going to be a culinary disaster resulted in the best chicken I have ever eaten.  Twelve people were coming for dinner–a teachers’ sorority.  One of the women gave me the chicken half frozen in marinade to take to my house–we work together.  She planned to come to my house early and grill the chicken.  Because she was unexpectedly late, I had to grill the chicken myself.  Now, to tell the truth, even though I cook a lot and blog about food, I had never grilled chicken before.  My daughter had grilled steaks several days earlier, but it never occurred to me to clean the drippings pan under the grill.  Here is what happened:

I heated the grill to about 450 degrees, took the still slightly frozen chicken out of the marinade and placed it on the grill.  It took only about 30 seconds and flames were shooting up about 6-8 inches and the chicken  was turning a grayish color.  I was concerned about two things:  the flames getting totally out of control and starting a real fire (my grill is propane) and the chicken being totally inedible.  I turned the heat down, pulled the grill farther away from the wall, turned the chicken over, and hoped it would be ok in the end.  After all this commotion, a half hour or so later, and after cooking the hamburgers as well, we tried the chicken.  It was the best chicken I have ever eaten.  It was even good left over cold out of the refrigerator–I normally refuse to eat leftover, cold chicken, reheated or otherwise, because I think it tastes dreadful.  People also told me the hamburgers were cook perfectly.

If anyone can tell me how to duplicate this delicious chicken result without all the flames and fire dangers, please comment on this post.

Several weeks ago a fellow food blogger, The Hungry Irishman, posted a lentil salad.  Here is my promise to him to post the lentil salad I make.  The original recipe is from one of my oldest and most favorite cookbooks, The Silver Palate.  However, like most everything I cook, I modify to suit myself and  never really follow the recipe, except maybe for cake, but I rarely bake cake so…

LENTIL SALAD

Cook two cups dried lentils in water with several carrots, 1 medium onion, chicken or vegetable stock, cloves, and 1 bay leaf.  Be sure not to over cook.

While the lentils are cooking, combine 3-4 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 teaspoons dried thyme (you can use fresh also, but will require more thyme), and black pepper to taste in a blender and blend until creamy.  You may also add 2 teaspoons ground cumin for a slightly more  Middle Eastern taste.

When lentils are done, drain, and remove the carrots, etc.  Place in a serving bowl and stir in the blended  mixture.  Refrigerate overnight.  Just before serving add 1 cup scallions, chopped, and 1 cup chopped walnuts.  You may adjust vinegar and olive oil to suit your taste.

If you use regular onions chopped rather than scallions, this salad will keep well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Vegetarian Chorizo Casserole and Roasted Vegetables


Last night 12 people were at my house for dinner, including a friend who is Muslim so no pork.  I created this dish in order to feed both my Muslim and vegetarian friends. You could use regular chorizo, but after trying soyrizo, I quit using anything else and even my Mexican friends love it.  Tastes the same, but not so greasy so probably healthier.

I package soy chorizo, removed from casing

Enough small red potatoes to cover the bottom of a 13 X 9 casserole dish when thinly sliced

3 large poblano peppers, deseeded and sliced

1 medium purple onion, chopped

10 cherry tomatoes

2 cups half and half

4 TBS flour

1 TBS chili mild chili powder

Several TBS olive oil

Cover the bottom of the casserole with olive oil.  Layer the sliced potatoes so that they totally cover the bottom of the dish.  Remove the soy chorizo from its casing and crumble it over the potatoes.  Layer the sliced poblanos over the chorizo.  Sprinkle the chopped onions over the top of the peppers.  Scatter the cherry tomatoes on top of the onions.  In a blender, combine the half and half, the flour, and the chili powder.  Pour evenly over the casserole.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees until the potatoes are tender.  You may uncover the casserole and continue baking for the last ten to fifteen minutes if you would like the top a bit browned.

I served this with roasted vegetables seasoned with cumin and ground coriander and Egyptian basil:

Cover the bottom of a heavy casserole with olive oil. Place thinly sliced potatoes–I used purple ones–to cover the bottom of the pan.  Continue layering your choice of vegetables, spices, and olive oil.  Bake at 400 degrees until the potatoes on done, stirring occasionally.  About ten minutes before the casserole is done, add kale leaves. The potatoes take longer to cook than any other vegetables I have ever used.  Last night I used these vegetables:  purple potatoes, yams, baby carrots, brussel  sprouts,  chopped onions, beets, kale, red jalapeños (seeded and halved), and whole garlic cloves.  This is also good with garbanzo beans added just before the kale.

I was going to take photos but was too busy entertaining to take them.