Tag Archives: Healthy

recipe goodness :: spicy balsamic and fennel fish stew

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

When most people think of stews, they think of hours of braising meat and heavy, fill-your-belly bowls of wintry goodness. Can a stew be made quickly and with a lightness that still satisfies the desire for deep flavor complexity? The answer is yes. Enter the fish stew.

This recent creation received a table full of ooohs and aaahs and pleas for seconds, so next time you’re looking for an inspired mid-week meal, visit your local fishmonger and produce-stand and stew it up. Why is this such a praise-worthy recipe? The combination of subtle spice {which you can add to if you prefer more} with the sweet balsamic and fennel really hits on all those taste buds and takes the mild fish to a new level. Bonus: the fish only takes 3-4 minutes to cook and is added at the end, so you can easily make the base of the sauce ahead of time, leave in a covered pot, and reheat just prior to dinner, bringing a great meal together in a matter of minutes. Dare I say it’s healthy too? Nah, who really cares about that.

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

Serves 8 | 40-50 minutes total time

1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced, frawns reserved
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 can of water
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs flounder, skin and bones removed {or other white fish}
2 cups rice {I used brown for more flavor}
Aged balsamic for drizzling
Fennel frawns for garnish

  1. Dice all your veg, setting aside the garlic to add later. Heat oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add carrots, celery, fennel, red onion, cooking 10-15 minutes until tender and not brown {lower heat or add more oil if starts to brown}.
  2. Prepare your rice according to package instructions in a separate pot.
  3. After the veg cooks for 10-15 minutes, add garlic and a little more oil if pot is dry. Cook 2-3 minutes to release the garlic fragrance.
  4. Add white wine and let simmer 3-5 minutes. Turn heat to high and add the diced tomatoes and fill the can 3/4 full with water to add as well.
  5. Season with anchovy paste, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20-30 minutes uncovered, reducing the amount of liquid by about 1/4. Once the sauce is thicker, taste and add additional seasoning as desired. Note: you can make the sauce ahead of time up until this point and reheat prior to adding the fish, making this a quick meal that can be prepared in minutes.
  6. Slice each fish filet into 2-inch wide strips. Season with salt and pepper and add to the simmering sauce. Fish will cook fairly quickly, so check a piece after 3-4 minutes to make sure it is firm and no longer translucent in the middle.
  7. Add a generous scoop of rice to the bottom of a bowl, top with fish stew, drizzle lightly with aged balsamic and top with chopped fennel frawns. Enjoy!
Home-Tested, 8.ate@eight Approved

Chock Full of Flavorful Veg

Fish Stew

Wintry Wonders:
Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup

Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta
Irish Steak & Guinness Puff Pastry Pie

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: farro salad with steamed kale and roasted pinenuts

Farro Salad w/ Steamed Kale and Roasted Pine Nuts

I was at the farmer’s market recently and with the winter veg dwindling, I grabbed a bunch of kale and thought I would experiment with a green that I don’t normally cook with. Kale is one of the veggies that I want to add to my “I need more of this in my life” list. It has cancer-fighting properties is great for detoxing the body — just what I need after a late Saturday night. Everything else I just grabbed out my cupboard and fridge and threw together a lovely nutty and bright dish that is great on a cold winter’s night or as a cold salad on a warm day.

Farro Salad with Steamed Kale and Roasted Pine Nuts

Serves 4 | Time: 20 minutes

1 cup farro
1 bunch kale, stems removed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 lemon
olive oil {equal parts to lemon juice}
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan for grating

  1. Pour farro into medium saucepan and cover with cold water until an inch above the grains. Let soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain farro and recover with cold water. Add a generous amount of kosher salt and bring to boil.
  3. Lower heat to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes.
  4. While farro is cooking, wash and dry kale. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Juice half a lemon into a glass measuring cup and add the same amount of olive oil. Add salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste. Set aside.
  6. In a small dry pan, toast pine nuts until light brown and remove from heat.
  7. After farro has cooked for 10 minutes, add kale to the pot on top of the farro and recover for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. After 5 minutes, turn off heat and check to be sure kale is bright green and tender and farro is cooked, but still has an al dente bite. If more time is needed, cover the pot off the heat for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  9. Drain farro and kale and transfer to a large bowl.
  10. Pour lemon and olive oil over salad and toss to mix. Serve in a bowl with grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top. Enjoy!

I Need More of This in My Life:
Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Savory Cauliflower Fried Rice
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table

1 Comment

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

Gone Fish. ‘in Sausalito

 

Fish. Dungeness Crab Sandwich

Fish., a sustainable seafood restaurant and fish market in Sausalito, shows sometimes nature’s simplicity is all you need. The chalkboard menu hung over the open kitchen lists the selections of the day and features “f/v” beside each dish, prominently naming the fishing vessel responsible for your fresh catch. Well that’s a glowing idea.

The doors opened for lunch at 11:30am and it was not long before the line was easily 20 people strong and continued to grow with the lunch hour rush. People will wait for good food and Fish. {so says the name} is good food period.  It’s crab season in San Fran, so it didn’t take much reflection to decide to bite into the dungeness crab roll.  This delight was served on a slightly sweet and fluffy brioche roll that was no doubt swiped generously with butter and toasted face down on the grill, before being stuffed with perfectly seasoned crab that did nothing more than slightly accentuate the sweet, natural flavor of the main catch. With a Ball jar of pinot grigio and a side of salty fries, I had the makings of a fantastic mid-week lunch with my brother. As it turns out Fish. was also the location of my brother’s first date with his now wife – I guess they don’t say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach for nothing.

The Skim: Looking to clear out of the food fog? Head on out to Sausalito for a taste of what fresh food should be all about. Weather permitting you can enjoy your catch at one of the picnic tables overlooking the marina – just be aware of jealous seagulls who want a bite of Fish.

Other SF Catches:
SF Best: Nopa
SF Best: RoliRoti Rolls Out Revolutionary Rotisserie
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time

3 Comments

Filed under Eat Here!, SF Best

recipe goodness :: roasted cauliflower with gremolata bread crumbs

Stunning Graffiti Cauliflower

“Say it with cauliflowers.” Because I love you, one great cauliflower recipe begets another this week. For a couple years I’ve had a photo I took of a purple cauliflower hanging on the limited wall space of my NYC kitchen.  And while I was walking through the farmer’s market this weekend, I saw him again. The most stunningly royal purple “graffiti cauliflower.” Let me be clear — this graffiti cauliflower is not purple because of some lame carnation-in-dyed water method, this is the color nature intended! So I bought him, brought him home and consulted one of my favorite food websites Food52 for some inspiration from their week 6 recipe contest: “your best cauliflower recipe.” Just today the recipe below was announced as the winner — and I concur with the crowd!

This winning recipe is just another reason to fall in love with cauliflower, and while most people turn the other way from the boring, colorless white cauliflower, let me remind you that this veg is packed with cancer fighting nutrients and vitamin C. So when you can cook up a recipe with lots of other great flavors and find a beautiful variety like this one, you not only create a heathy dish, but one that looks and tastes spectacular. If you can’t get your kids to eat this, I don’t think there’s any hope for them! This recipe is so tasty I recommend following the quantities below so you have leftovers, but you can easily cut it in half if you only want to make enough for 2-3 servings.

Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Bread Crumbs
Courtesy of: TheThinChef

Prep Time: 5 mins. | Cook Time: 20 mins | Preheat Oven 425°
Serves 6

2 large heads cauliflower {I used purple grafitti}
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp coarse salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup panko {Japanese bread crumbs}
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 TBS roughly chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425°F. Trim tough stem and core from cauliflower and discard. Using a paring knife, cut cauliflower into smaller spears. Place in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; toss to combine. Spread cauliflower out on 2 large, rimmed baking sheets. Roast until edges start to brown, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add panko and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to coat in oil. Cook, stirring constantly, until bread crumbs are golden. Add lemon zest and garlic and toss until mixture is very fragrant and bread crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Place in a medium bowl and add parsley, stirring to combine. Set aside. Remove cauliflower from oven and place on serving platter. Top with bread crumbs and serve immediately.

The Goods-Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Bread Crumbs

Toss with Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper and Spread on Baking Sheet

Add Fresh Chopped Parsley to Toasted Bread Crumbs

Take Lots of Pictures and Enjoy

My Fall Harvest

Fall Harvest Fare:
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries
Savory Cauliflower Fried Rice

4 Comments

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

Do This!: EAT DRINK LOCAL week

Second Annual EAT DRINK LOCAL week
Brought to you by edible magazines and GrowNYC
September 26-October 6, 2010

This harvest-time celebration of the local food chain, in collaboration with Edible magazines across the empire State, celebrates the restaurants, wine shops and wineries, breweries and beer bars, farms and food artisans, cheesemakers, bakers and everyone who feeds us.

Co-produced by Edible magazines and GrowNYC, the aim is threefold:

  1. To raise awareness about the bounty of products grown in the region.
  2. To drive customers to the restaurants and other businesses that support local food and drink
  3. To raise funds for a charitable partner dedicated to promoting regional agriculture.

Some major events planned during the week:

  • September 23. An Amish style heirloom vegetable auction to be held at Sotheby’s
  • September 25. A Long Island wine auction.
  • September 27. The Edible Institute at the New School, a public discourse on urban food issues.
  • October 6. The annual, unforgettable, Taste of Greenmarket.
  • Throughout the week. Edible programming at the New York Botanical Garden.
  • Throughout the summer, the Union Square and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets will feature cooking demos from partner chefs, New York wine pourings and other happenings.

Find out more HERE

Leave a comment

Filed under Do This!

A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Apologies for my absence for a few days, but I have been busy shopping and chopping for what was the last 8.ate@eight supper club of the outdoor season. You wouldn’t think preparing “cafeteria” food would be such a distraction, but when you’re hand selecting figs and prosciutto from Italy for your pizza, catching red snapper off the east coast for your tacos, hunting bison out west for your mini sliders and hand frying potatoes for your truffle-rosemary chips, then there isn’t much time for blogging. Well maybe I wasn’t actually doing all of those things {except the hand frying – look out Frito Lay!} but the menu is accurate. As several friends had kids heading back to school, I thought it would be fun to relive the nostalgia of new sneakers, trapper keepers and the best of school cafeterias — only better! Here’s the full report card…

The Syllabus:

Starter
3 Grilled Pizzettes:
{1} Arugula, Fig & Proscuitto w/ Grated Parmesan Cheese
{2} Greek Olive Tapenade, Pickled Red Onion & Feta w/ Lemon Olive Oil
{3} Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Fennel & Fresh Mozzarella
w/ Grandma’s Sauce & Fresh Rooftop Basil

Mini Lime-Chili Red Snapper Tacos
w/ “Fruit Punch” Sangria

Salad
Roasted Corn & Vegetable Medley w/ Chipotle Bacon & Queso Fresco
w/ Bodegas Valdesil Godello Valdeorras Val de Sil Montenovo (Spain)

Entrée
Mini Bison Sliders w/ Buffalo Mozzarella and Olive Tapenade
Homemade Truffle Rosemary Parmesan Chips
w/ “P.S.” Local 2 Brooklyn Dark Ale

Dessert
Coconut “Twinkies” w/ Lemon Curd Filling
w/ Kahlua-Rum Chocolate “Milk”

It was just like showing up to a new classroom — some old friends and some new faces to get to know. This is why I started 8.ate@eight and what I love about my table. People can come together to enjoy good food and drink and easily fall into conversation with an unfamiliar group.

Pablo is the Principal at his own school he started -- how awesome is that!

As the 8.ate@eight-ers filed in, I was busy at work grilling pizzas on the BBQ. Not an entirely new concept, but a new twist on school lunch favorite — wasn’t pizza day a must?! With dough and toppings on hand, I grilled up three different versions: an Arugula, Fig & Proscuitto w/ Grated Parmesan Cheese Pizza, a Greek Olive Tapenade, Pickled Red Onion & Feta w/ Lemon Olive Oil Pie and a crowd-pleasing favorite, Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Fennel & Fresh Mozzarella w/ Grandma’s Sauce & Fresh Rooftop Basil.

Fresh Figs

Served alongside the pizza were some Red Snapper Tacos with a Lime-Chili Marinade and Avocado Sauce. I’m pretty sure the lunch ladies didn’t fill our shells with anything better than greasy ground beef, but I wanted to keep it light. Both of the appetizers were served with an adult version of fruit punch: sangria! With a winning combination of spanish vino, brandy, triple sec and lemonade, I soaked a combination of lemon, lime, orange slices and cherries overnight and topped each cup off with a little club soda — every party is better with bubbles!

Red Snapper Tacos

Sangria "Fruit Punch"

Probably the least eaten items on those styrofoam trays were the vegetable medleys and fruit cup cocktails, so I decided to do a combination of both with a modified version of my friend Nora’s delicious corn salad. There are several things that are great about this salad and its a recipe for success that I have written about before: sweet, spicy, citrusy, savory and salty. I roasted several ears of sweet jersey corn, removing the kernels and adding to a combination of grapes {strange, but sweet and amazing}, red bell peppers {peppery and colorful}, red chilis {that subtle spicy kick that I love}, cilantro {a polarizing ingredient for many, but even I converted a hater at the table}, scallions and lime. So that’s the regular combination, but I also decided this salad would do well with a few bits of chipotle bacon crumbled on top with some queso fresco — if only school veggies were always this good.

Roasted Corn & Vegetable Medley

Roasted Corn Salad

It’s not only important to eat your veggies, but a good healthy protein also tops the food pyramid. I keep speaking the praises of bison to anyone who will listen {recipe here}, so I thought if I put them in slider form I could win the hearts of my table too. So let’s reiterate some important facts — please take notes.

Bison tastes very similar to beef, but is slightly richer, so I complemented that flavor with a spread of salty olive tapenade on the mini buns and melted some creamy buffalo mozzarella on top for a better take on a kiddie craving.

Mini Bison Sliders

And just like PB&J is a match made in heaven, so are burgers and chips. So I carried out the dutch oven, a few pounds of potatoes and got to work slicing, rinsing, drying and frying the makings of my Homemade Truffle, Rosemary Parmesan Chips. A lot of work, but there is something very satisfying about putting Frito Lay to shame from your own kitchen {recipe to follow}.

Toss in corn starch to remove moisture and create crispier results

Toss in 375 degree oil 4-5 minutes until golden blond

Strain and Season with Fresh Rosemary and Truffle Salt

Season with Rosemary, Truffle Salt, Parmesan Cheese and Try Not to Eat Too Many

While everyone settled in for the Ferris Bueller classic, Naerim also made a guest appearance and served her Coconut “Twinkie” with Lemon Curd filling and I blended up some Kahlua-Rum Chocolate “Milk” just in case  everyone didn’t have enough to drink.

Coconut "Twinkies" with Lemon Curd

As usual, we cleared the plates, handed out some blankets as the night started to cool and fired up the projector for our guest visitor: Ed Rooney. No better end to another memorable 8.ate@eight supper club.

Ed Rooney Was Our Guest Visitor

Thanks!

Thanks to Naerim again for all the help serving drinks and food and ending the evening with a great new take on an old lunchbox treat! Thanks to Kristin for snapping some pics while I was manning the grill. And I of course want to thank everyone who grabbed a seat at the table — it was lovely to have you all!

I’m ruminating on some future indoor events for the fall and winter, so stay tuned. If you aren’t on the dinner distribution list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com to be added. See you at the table!

Recipe Goodness:

Homemade Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries

Prep Time: 1 Hour | Cook Time: 20-30 Minutes
Serves 4

2 1/2 # russet potatoes  (about 4 large)
3 QT. peanut or canola oil

Peel and cut potatoes into either long sticks or 1/2-inch thick circles for fries or use a mandolin to thinly slice flat or waffle cut circles {using the waffle blade} for chips. Rinse cut potatoes in large bowl under cold running water until water turns clear. Cover with cold water and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.

Pour off water,spread potatoes onto towels, and thoroughly dry {important for crispiness}. Transfer to large bowl and toss with cornstarch until evenly coated. Transfer to wire rack set on rimmed baking sheet and let rest until fine white coating forms, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large, heavy bottomed dutch oven, fitted w/clip-on candy thermometer, heat oil to 325.  Add half of potatoes a handful at a time and increase heat to high.  Fry, shirring with mesh spider until potatoes start to turn from white to blond, 4-5 min.(oil temp will drop). Transfer fries to paper towels to absorb oil and cool. Return oil to 325 and repeat with rest of potatoes. Let potatoes cool.

Heat oil to 375. Add half of fries or chips, a handful at a time, and fry until golden brown, 2-3 min. Transfer to paper towels & repeat with remaining fries. Season immediately with chopped rosemary, truffle salt and shaved parmesan.

Read About Past 8.ate@eight Events:
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

What are you still doing here? It’s over. Go home.

5 Comments

Filed under 8.ate@eight, @home {recipes to love}, Do This!, Eat Here!

recipe goodness :: lemon herb roasted chicken

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

Want to make your own version of RoliRoti’s ridiculously good rotisserie chicken at home? You don’t need a truck and you don’t need a rotisserie to make a deliciously herby and juicy chicken from the comfort of your own home — with or without a BBQ! It’s one of the simplest things you can throw together for a mid-week meal or for a crowd and with a few herbs you’ll take an ordinary chicken to a new level.

As a health conscious society, we tend to reach for the boneless, skinless chicken breasts when rolling down the poultry section at the grocery store, but having the skin on and bones in helps retain moisture and adds to the flavor more than you would think. Even if you want a leaner meal, try this recipe with the skin on while you cook and remove the skin later if you prefer — just see how much juicier your dinner is!

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

Prep Time: 3 Minutes | Cook Time: 25-30 Minutes
Serves 4

Preheat Oven 425° or BBQ @ Medium Heat

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1/2 lemon
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 small bunch fresh rosemary
1 small bunch fresh sage
olive oil for drizzling
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts on a cooking sheet. Feel with your finger for an opening in the skin and gently run your index finger between the skin and the breast meat to separate the skin partially {but not removed} in order to create a “pocket” for your herbs. Insert 2-3 small sprigs of thyme, 1 sprig of rosemary and 2-3 leaves of sage between the breast meat and the skin in the “pocket” you just created. This will both flavor the chicken, secure your herbs and look pretty through cooked, translucent skin when done cooking.

Generously sprinkle each breast with coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper {this will help crisp the skin and will cook off on the grill, so don’t be afraid to be liberal}. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and lightly drizzle olive oil over the chicken.

Oven Cooking: Put tray in oven skin-side up for 15 minutes. Flip each breast over and rotate tray 180 degrees to ensure even cooking and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

BBQ Cooking: Place chicken breasts on medium hot grill skin-side up for 5 minutes. Continue cooking, flipping chicken every 5 minutes for a total of 25-30 minutes.

NOTE: Size of chicken, oven and grill temperatures often vary. 25-30 minutes is an approximation of cooking time, but with chicken you want to make sure meat is not pink to ensure doneness. Make a small cut in the thickest part of your breast meat to make sure juices are running clear and meat is white, not pink. Extend cooking time if necessary.

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight! Chicken Tonight!:
SF Best: RoliRoti Rolls Out Revolutionary Rotisserie
Roasted Chicken Salad w/ Dried Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Gourmet Grilled White Truffle Corn

Leave a comment

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: tomato, basil & feta salad

Fresh Tomato Salad

I went to the farmer’s market and bought the most perfectly imperfect tomatoes from a New Jersey farmer. They had big brown spots where the sweet fruit previously hung from the vine, they were not perfectly round, nor perfectly red on the outside, but when you cut into them, all their glorious perfection was revealed. Redder than any red I have seen before {especially from a store-bought tomato} and that red persisted throughout — there was no big seedy, liquidy center or even an ounce of that white flesh so common in a tomato these days. It’s at moments like this, that I am convinced of the merits of buying locally grown farm fresh produce — this tomato tastes far superior to anything you will find while strolling the air conditioned aisles of your grocery store. And while we have been conditioned ourselves to expect perfection on the outside of our shiny, clean, bruise-free pyramid of produce, I think we have also all experienced that piece of fruit or vegetable that tasted nothing like it looked…or didn’t taste like anything at all. So do not be afraid of buying that unwaxed, slightly gnarly produce from the farmer at the market — you may be surprised by what you find inside!

Farm Fresh Tomato

So with my perfectly imperfect red tomato in hand, I made a stop at a local artisan cheese maker, Ardith Mae {you may remember them from 8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!}, to pick up some fresh goat’s milk feta and came home to make a salad so simple, but so fresh and flavorful. Here it is:

Farm Fresh Tomato, Basil & Feta Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves 4

3 large, ripe field-grown fresh tomatoes
1/2 lb fresh feta
1 sprig fresh basil
4 TBS olive oil
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Wash and cut tomatoes into equal size wedges and then cut in half again to get pieces approximately 1 inch in length.  Season lightly with salt {you can add more later, but the feta will add salt to the dish as well} and pepper and gently toss. Crumble feta on top of tomatoes. Chiffonade basil by removing basil leaves from the stem, stacking 5-6 leaves at a time and rolling tightly lengthwise and then slicing with a paring knife perpendicular to the roll — this will give you delicate ribbon-like basil to sprinkle across the salad which will look pretty, but will also make sure you don’t have to chew on a full basil leaf! Drizzle olive oil over salad and gently toss. Taste and add more salt, pepper or basil as you like .

Tomato Feta Basil Salad

Looking For More Farm-Fresh Inspiration?
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Gourmet Grilled White Truffle Corn
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops

3 Comments

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

Michael Pollan Agreed With Me, $8 Eggs Are A Good Idea

You may remember the post I wrote in June called:

Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table

In that post I attempted to make a case that paying $8 for a dozen free-range, organic, local eggs was not crazy. Yes, it may be double, even triple what you COULD pay for eggs at the grocery store, but there is a vast difference in how those egg-laying hens were likely raised, fed and bred, directly impacting the consumed end product: your egg.

So imagine my delight when I came across a WSJ article yesterday called “A Dozen Eggs for $8? Michael Pollan Explains the Math of Buying Local.” Upon reading this article I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Michael Pollan, the author of Omnivore’s Dilemma, read my blog.” I mean come on, we both bought $8 eggs and were delighted enough to make a case for all their glory by simple math: $8/12=$0.66 per rich, golden egg and a meal cheaper than any item on McDonald’s value menu. Coincidence? I think not.

It is a beautiful thing when life comes full circle. I read Pollan’s book this past winter and it changed my outlook on food shopping immensely. I was previously completely ignorant to thinking about where the food on my table originated and why some uniformly similar looking products can vary in price so drastically. Isn’t a chicken just a chicken? And then there’s the marketing behind organic, free-range, all natural — what does it all mean? Ok, so a chicken is not always just a chicken. There are certainly a range of farm sizes and approaches to raising what will one day be packaged and purchased by the unknowing consumer who picks up that standard yellow styrofoam tray, inspects the plump pinkish, skinless, boneless, veinless cutlet and goes on her merry way. Often we are unable to know anything about the origins of our dinner, other than perhaps one or two word details distinguishing its grade — so we shop based on price.

So what is the point of all this? Certainly not to encourage you to spend $8 when you can spend $4. No, the point of my post and the point of Michael Pollan’s published works and life mission is to advocate for the local-food movement. To spend more time buying from local farms where you can not only see the freshly harvested goods, but often speak to the farmer directly about how they grow their product — whether it’s an egg or a zucchini. And by visiting a local greenmarket you also know that what you’re buying is fresh and has not had to travel far to reach you — that’s good for you and for the environment {you don’t have to wear tie-dye to appreciate that}. Yes, we all have budgets we need to consider, but when shopping locally and buying what’s in season, it’s often not hard to spend the same amount of money for a higher quality product. And when should you be willing to spend more for a premium, locally grown or organic product? When it’s something you consume frequently. Counterintuitive? Perhaps, but if you eat something regularly, that just means there is a greater health impact to you or your family, so spending a little extra money now to buy local, organic or antibiotic / hormone-free of those select items will be better for you in the long run.

I challenge you: go out to a local farmer’s market this weekend. See if you can find a farmer selling pullets {the first eggs to come from a hen, which are small, rich and delicious} or any locally raised, free-range, organic eggs. They may not be $8, but give ’em a try if they are, and let me know if your meal for $1.50 didn’t taste delicious. Click HERE to find days/locations of NYC greenmarkets.

“Eight dollars for a dozen eggs sounds outrageous, but when you think that you can make a delicious meal from two eggs, that’s $1.50. It’s really not that much when we think of how we waste money in our lives.”
-Michael Pollan

Read More about my $1.50 breakfast:
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
recipe goodness :: how to cook the perfect sunny side-up egg

The Perfect Egg

Color IS an indication of flavor.

1 Comment

Filed under Do This!

Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar

Mermaid Oyster Bar Selection

The ancient Romans prized oysters for being aphrodisiacs. The 18th-century lover Casanova, in particular, is said to have eaten fifty oysters for breakfast every morning to make him virile. Is there any truth to these mollusks making mermaids sing? Oysters do contain a high amount of zinc, a lack of which has been linked to male impotency, but there is no scientific evidence that these pearl-producing friends can produce much more than a tasty meal and perhaps a little sex-appeal as these slippery little suckers get slurped out of their shell.

Mermaid Oyster Bar

August 5th is National Oyster Day, so what better day to suck down some summer seafood and see where the evening takes you. One of my favorite tiny seafood shops is Mermaid Oyster Bar {sister restaurant to The Mermaid Inn}. This quaint little joint has a clean white-walled New England feel to it, with an open air front, high bar stools and booth seating that lines the fish-framed wainscoted walls. It’s great for a casual evening out to enjoy some really fresh and spectacular shuckin’.

With a menu featuring 13 different types of Oysters native to both the East and West coast, you can choose from a variety of sizes with a range of sweet and briny characteristics. My favorite {no joke} was called the Naked Cowboy. This Long Island Oyster was sweet and smooth and actually one of the most inexpensive options on the menu {hooray for local fishermen}.

There are plenty of other delicious options on the menu if oysters don’t appeal to you. The Shimp Po’ Boy is spicy and generously sized and the Lobster Roll is a classic served on a sweet brioche bun that won’t disappoint. And if you’re looking for a side, don’t forget the Old Bay Seasoned Fries, which are the  perfect crispy, salty and spicy accompaniment to a cold beer and tray of oysters.

The Skim: As if the tray of lovin’ oysters isn’t enough of an enticement for a good night out, at the end of the meal you’ll also get a special little treat — an espresso cup portion of chocolate mousse and a fortune telling fish. Perhaps he can reveal the future of a shuckin’ good time???

Map: {79 MacDougal Street & Bleecker}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-260-0100

2 Comments

Filed under Eat Here!

recipe goodness :: grilled thyme-cumin vegetable kabobs

You can easily add chicken, lamb, beef or whatever favorite grill meat you choose to this kabob recipe, but when it’s mid-summer and vegetables are at their peak, I just enjoy focusing on the fresh farmer’s bounty with this vegetarian grilling recipe. To spice this up a little I like to add some fresh thyme, a little cumin seasoning and make a yogurt sauce to drizzle over the sweet, blistered veg. It’s very easy to make and only takes a few minutes on the grill before you can enjoy this meal.

Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves 4

12 crimini or button mushrooms
1 pint grape tomatoes or 2 large ripe tomatoes
1 green, red or yellow pepper, cut to 1-inch squares
1 medium onion, quartered {I like Vidalia as they are sweeter}
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. cumin seasoning
1/4 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Sauce
8 oz plain yogurt
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium heat. If using whole tomatoes, cut each into quarters and then cut each quarter in half again so you have pieces about 1-inch in size. If using grape or cherry tomatoes, leave whole. Cut pepper into 1-inch pieces, removing the stem and seeds. Quarter the onion and separate the layers. Toss all vegetables in a medium bowl with olive oil, fresh thyme, cumin, salt and pepper until thoroughly coated. Take a skewer and alternate colors and vegetables so you get a good variety.

Once the grill is hot, place skews on the BBQ and cook for ~10 minutes, turning frequently to make sure to get a good charred edge on each side. This will add to the overall flavor! While the kabobs are grilling, add the cumin, salt and pepper to the yogurt and stir well to mix evenly. Once the kabobs are done, drizzle with the yogurt sauce and either serve alone, as a side or inside a fresh pita.

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

Other Great Grill and Summer Recipes:
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops

2 Comments

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: creole roasted fresh corn-tomato salsa

Creole Roasted Corn-Tomato Salsa

It’s not very difficult to make your own salsa and it’s fresher, cheaper and often solicits a lot of “mmmmms” from anyone you share it with. Plus, a really good salsa can not only  make a good app, but goes really well with something like grilled fish, chicken, burgers, nachos, you name it, adding a more interesting and flavorful accompaniment than anything you’ll find in a plastic bottle.

Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa

2 ears of corn, shucked
butter or olive oil for  brushing
Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning for dusting
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
2 scallions, chopped
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 jalapeno or red chili, finely chopped
small handful of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Light the grill and while that warms up, shuck each ear of corn and brush with butter {or olive oil if you prefer} and sprinkle a generous amount of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning on all sides of the corn until covered. Wrap each ear of seasoned corn separately and cook on the grill for  10 minutes, rotating every 2-3 minutes. While the corn is cooking add the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl. {Tip: Use only half a jalapeno or chili if you prefer a milder salsa}. Once the corn is done, let it cool slightly and then stand on the flat end of the cob and take a sharp knife down length of the corn to remove all the kernels. Add the bowl and toss well to break up the corn and mix all the flavors together. Serve in a bowl or to jazz it up a bit, take a tablespoon and fill tortilla chip “scoops” individually on a plate.

Creole Roasted Corn-Tomato Salsa and Chips

If this sounds appetizering, you might also like these recipes:
Pink Fizzy Lemonade Cocktails Beat the Heat
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into

6 Comments

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: orzo summer salad

Orzo Prep

Whew! It’s HOT out there! If you’re looking for a great recipe to cool down with, this is the one. Not many people haven’t had this salad at one of my BBQs. It’s always a huge hit and on the rare occasion that there is actually any leftover, it’s even better the next day. The orzo summer salad is extremely easy to throw together and makes a large amount, so this recipe is perfect for a big gathering and can be made ahead of time so all you have to do is toss a spoon in the bowl and put it on the table. Yay for delicious and easy crowd-pleasing recipes!

Orzo Summer Salad

Serves a lot!

1 box orzo
1/2 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 lb fresh feta
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook orzo according to package instructions (approx. 7 minutes). While the orzo is cooking, roughly chop baby spinach and add to a large bowl. Juice and zest 1 large lemon and add 1/4 cup olive oil to a separate small bowl and whisk together. When orzo is done cooking, drain thoroughly and add to the large bowl, pouring over spinach leaves. {TIP: Adding the orzo while warm will slightly cook the spinach so you get softer, brighter spinach leaves} Pour the lemon-olive oil dressing over the orzo, crumble the feta and add the green onions and halved grape tomatoes. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately or cool in the fridge to serve chilled {TIP: Remove salad 15 minutes before serving if chilled to allow the olive oil to come back to room temperature}.

Orzo Summer Salad

Try the Orzo Summer Salad with one of these great entrees:
Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into
Pistachio-Encrusted Spring Lamb w/ Pickled Red Onions & Cumin Yogurt Sauce
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops

5 Comments

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

Do This!: FRESH the movie

What: Screening of Award Winning Independent film, FRESH
When: July 13th, 2010, 7:00pm
Where: Jersey City Food Coop 1 McWilliams Plc, Hamilton Park, Jersey City

The Jersey City Food Coop Initiative is screening FRESH the Movie. FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet. Be a part of our movement to create a better environment for and watch FRESH the Movie at Art House Productions in downtown Jersey City. Light refreshments and popcorn will be served.

Not in NYC? Find a Screening of FRESH near you HERE


Leave a comment

Filed under Do This!

Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Affordable & More Flavorful Food on Your Table

Greenmarket Groceries

Happy Father’s Day to my dad and all the other great dads out there. It’s on holidays such as these, that we are reminded of the people we love and want to do the best to take care of them and ourselves so we’re together as long as possible.

Eating better is one way we can certainly make an effort to do that, so I made a trip to the Columbus Ave Greenmarket this morning to pick up some things for breakfast and dinner and thought I’d share a little encouragement to make your own trip to a local farmer’s market. I may not be able to convince you of the wonders of the greenmarket meal over a blog, but I will do my best to paint a picture for you as to why it’s at least worth trying. Once you taste the meal prepared with farm fresh ingredients, I hope you will agree that it’s worth every penny and can taste far superior than a meal you’re willing to tip someone for.

Affordable:

First things first: cost. You look at the price at a local stand and think “some of this stuff is more expensive than what I pay at the store.” It’s all relative. Compare the cost of farm fresh food to all your dining options, as well as the quality of ingredients.

  • Brunch OUT at my favorite UWS joint: $12.88 {food, tax, tip, no drinks}
  • Egg on a roll DELIVERED from the local deli: $4.72 {food, tax, tip, ignoring min. delivery requirement}
  • Breakfast COOKED with deliciously farm fresh organic, antibiotic and hormone-free greenmarket ingredients: $1.77

Let’s break this down even further. This is what I bought:
1 Loaf ‘Not Just Rugelach‘ 7-Grain Bread (~20 slices): $4
1 Quart NJ Organic Strawberries (~40 berries): $6
1 Dozen Grazin’ Acres truly Free Range Pullet Eggs: $8
Grocery Total: $18
Cost / Breakfast: $1.77-$2.43

Assuming you make 12 breakfasts out of what I just bought (1 egg per meal), that $18 turns into  $1.77 per meal. And if you’re the kind of person who likes 2 eggs in the morning, it’s still only costing you $2.43!

Flavorful:

Ok, the math works, but $8 for a dozen eggs you scream! $6 for a quart of strawberries?! I can buy a dozen Free Range, Organic eggs for half that cost at the grocery store and 2 quarts of strawberries for the same cost as what you just spent and lower the cost/breakfast even further than that. True, you can. But do those same purchases taste anything like what I just bought? NOT EVEN CLOSE.

Here’s why. The strawberries are field grown, with absolutely no pesticides or unnatural fertilizers. What that means is they grow with nature, at the speed nature intended.  Often when chemical fertilizers are used, the growing process is accelerated and produce retains more water, diluting the sweet, natural flavors of a plant that is allowed to grow without these additives.  I can’t let you taste how sweet these strawberries were through the power of the Interwebs {at least not yet}, but take a look at how RED they are all the way through each berry and you will get a sense that this is no ordinary store bought fruit. Buying from a local market allows you to talk to the farmers {who woke up at the crack of dawn to bring you this goodness} and ask them about the size of their farm and growing methods. The bigger the producer, the more “help” they need to maintain the volume required to supply grocery chains. Buying local and buying from smaller farms often means there is more attention given to what is being produced and what ends up on your table.

Color IS an indication of flavor.

And the eggs. Oh, the eggs! Yes, I admit, $8 for a dozen eggs sounds crazy. BUT, if you have read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, these are the happiest little egg-producing chickens out there. These gals live in an eggmobile {love it} and follow around Grazin’ Acres Grass-Fed Cattle, munching on nutrient-rich larvae from the cow poop {mmm!}, fertilizing the grass that the 100% Grass-fed beef eat and contribute to a finely tuned symbiotic relationship from grass to cattle to hens to us. Read more about it here, if you’re interested. The bottom line: truly free range, organic, antibiotic- and hormone-free eggs that results in yolks a shade of orange you have never seen before, with a nutrient rich flavor I could never even begin to convince you of on a computer screen. Try them, if only once for curiosity sake.

Smarter:

No chemicals, no added hormones. Period. There are plenty of experts out there arguing the negative health impacts of industrial farming where pesticides, chemical fertilizers and added hormones make things grow bigger and faster. I won’t bring those arguments in here, but I’d prefer take a bite out of something that hasn’t been tainted with potentially harmful chemicals, wouldn’t you?

The Skim: I’m not getting all tree-hugging hippy on you, I’m just telling you that the breakfast I had tasted better than any $50 brunch you could throw at me from any high end, place-to-be-seen NYC hot spot.  By visiting the local market, you can pick up some seriously premium tasting ingredients without spending a fortune {and hey, it’s better for you too}. So tell your friends to bring the mimosas, cook up some ridiculously good $8 eggs and give Pastis a run for it’s money. Who knows, maybe you’ll even earn some tips.

Like This? So Does Michael Pollan:
Michael Pollan Agreed With Me, $8 Eggs Are A Good Idea
How to cook the perfect sunny side-up egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg
How to Cook the Perfect Poached Egg {with Ramp Butter!}
Cumin & Dill Dijon Egg Salad with Radish Sprouts
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
 

1 Comment

Filed under Do This!, NYC Best

NYC Best: Falafel @ Ruthy’s, Chelsea Market

I’ve decided to share one of the best kept secret’s in NYC: where to find the BEST falafel. This may stir up some debate, so please bring it on. Nestled inside the artisanal food haven of Chelsea Market, is Ruthy’s, an otherwise standard bakery and cafe where at first glance you can grab a bagel, panini sandwich or side salad that is probably not too different from any other lunch-crowd driven sandwich and salad counter. But if you know what to order, you’re in for one of the most delicious, best value-for-money falafel sandwiches in all of NYC.

Once you discretely ask for the under-promoted falafel sandwich {which can’t be found among all the pre-made paninis and salads in the cooler} grab a seat and be prepared to wait a few minutes as one of the workers jets to the back to cook the falafel to order and begins stuffing the pita with all the other key, smile-inducing ingredients. When you get your sandwich I suggest you find a dark corner where no one can see you devour the goodness, because I guarantee you will have sauce dripping down your elbows and veggies falling into your lap, and hey, we can’t have you worried about looking good in the midst of this delightful experience.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So what makes this the BEST falafel? Once you open the double-wrapping of foil and parchment you will see that this is no ordinary stuffed pita. At first glance you will see what looks like typical sandwich filling — tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber. But as you start to chip away at the sandwich you will soon discover new and exciting accompaniments that have been stuffed between the bread — roasted eggplant, sweet yellow and red peppers, jalapeno, diced pickles, tahini, hummus all contribute a range of spicy, sour, sweet and creamy flavors that are the perfect complement to the crispy falafel found at the base of all this goodness. About half way through this sandwich you will wish you had more napkins, and unless you are really talented at keeping it all together, it will be time to inevitably move into fork mode as all the juice from the veg and sauce starts to seep into the pita {or on to your lap}. The best thing about all of this: it only costs $4.95. Any other pre-made or specialty sandwich on the menu goes for twice that! I challenge you to find me a better falafel sandwich.

The Skim: Forget that you’re in a rush to get back to your desk and take an extra 5 minutes to order one of the best falafel sandwiches NYC has to offer. For $4.95 you will no doubt get your money’s worth and might not even need to order dinner after you down this very generously stuffed deep pita. {75 9th Avenue @ Chelsea Market}

Check out other Chelsea Market good eats:
Ronnybrook: Why Buy the Cow, When You Can Get the Milkshake for Free?

Leave a comment

Filed under Eat Here!, NYC Best

Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Weekend=brunch. Sunny long weekend=outdoor brunch. There is no better place to settle in for a delicious cup of joe and ‘egg’cellent sunnyside-up-something, than my favorite UWS-get-your-morning-going hot spot, Community Food & Juice. Usually buzzing with Columbia students and adventurous eaters willing to explore a 3-digit neighborhood {located @ 112th/broadway across from the Tom’s, the infamous Seinfeld diner}, C F&J lures brunchers with seasonal, local and organic fare that is simple, yet unique.

Orange Juice sound good? Try blending it with their freshly squeezed carrot juice for an ultra-orange, vitamin C-packed morning refresher that will help clear away the fuzzy head. Or if you’re more of a hair-of-the-dog kind of person, I highly recommend the Wasabi Prairie Mary that features house made bloody mary mix and wasabi powder for that extra kick that any good Mary requires. As for the more substantial part of the meal, you really can’t go wrong. The blueberry pancakes with maple butter syrup are one of the most popular dishes and have diners sopping up that liquid gold and asking for more. My favorite dish is a slightly new twist on an old classic. The B.E.L.T. is what a true breakfast sammie should be — double cut applewood bacon, a runny sunny-side-up organic egg, lettuce, tomato & mayo served on sourdough toast with a side of carrot hash browns. Is there really anything more you need to start your morning out right?

The Skim: Forget the breakfast sandwich from the cart guy on the corner and treat yourself to fantastic, fresh fare at Community Food & Juice. While most restaurants consider brunch a money making complement to their main dinner menu, C F&J’s brunch is the standout favorite meal of the day. So go on and get Juiced! {2893 Broadway, btw 112th/113th}


8.ate@eight Favor8
Seal of Approval

Leave a comment

Filed under Eat Here!

recipe goodness :: avocado & tropical fruit salsa

Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa

Memorial Day is right around the corner , which means I break out the American flag and fire up the BBQ. Anyone who knows me knows my biggest weakness is tortilla chips with fresh salsa — not the jarred kind that tastes like bland tomato puree or the ‘fresh’ salsa that comes prepackaged at the grocery store, but the pull-your-knife-out and start chopping fresh salsa. I usually do some version of a grape tomato-corn-jalapeno-lime blend, but my cousin recently introduced me to a truly unique recipe with a blend of fruit, citrus and avocado that was both delicious and beautiful — it’s worth the effort of chop, chop, chopping and if you don’t finish it off yourself before it gets to the table, you will definitely impress your guests with something new and unexpected.

Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa

2 cups finely diced tropical fruit such as kiwi, pineapple, mango, and papaya
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into ¼-inch dice
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 TBS fresh lime juice, plus zest
2 TBS fresh squeezed orange juice

Let the chopped onion soak in the orange juice for 10-15 minutes while you chop the rest of the ingredients {TIP: this will help take the bite out of the raw onion}. Gently toss together all ingredients in a medium bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Goes great with lime tortilla chips or with grilled fish, chicken, as a topping for a burger, whatever! The flavors are so fresh it’s hard not to love this salsa with anything.

Speaking of burgers, why not try bison?

Leave a comment

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: bison, a better burger worth biting into

Bison: A Better Burger

What if I said you could have your burger and eat it too? All this talk about Americans getting too fat might have you second guessing whether or not to grill up that beef patty next time you have a craving for the All-American classic. But what you may not know is that there is a healthy alternative that doesn’t have anything to do with tofu or veggie patties. Bison {you know, those big wooly mammoth-looking creatures) actually tastes much like premium beef, if not richer, but with a far superior nutrient profile. Bison is a highly nutrient dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids to its caloric value.  Okay, what does that all really mean? Take a look at the chart here and see for yourself.

Shocked? I was too when I first had a bison burger and thought it was beef. It wasn’t until after I took down the last bite that I decided to do a little research and learned just how much healthier bison is than what are seemingly low-fat proteins, such as chicken or salmon. In fact, Whole Foods recently started promoting what they call ANDI, or “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index,” which scores food based on an extensive range of micronutrients, including but not limited to: vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities, and Bison nabbed the top 2 spots in the ANDI Top 10 Meat list.

1. Bison, top-sirloin (39)
2. Bison, chuck roast (36)
3. Pork Tenderloin (34)
4. Flank Steak (27)
5. Chicken Breast (27)
6. Turkey, light-meat (25)
7. Turkey, dark-meat (24)
8. Pork Chops (24)
9. Ground Beef, 85%-90% lean (20-23)
10. Beef, top round (22)

So next time you’re rolling down the aisle of the grocery store, picking up the spread for your next BBQ {Memorial Day is only a week away}, throw a little bison in the basket and just see if you and your friends don’t fall in love.

Bison, A Better Burger

1/4-1/2 lb. per patty
Fresh Rosemary
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
Lettuce
Tomato
Olive Tapenade
Italian Bun

In a mixing bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over the bison {not required, but helps keep the burger juicy since it is so lean}, add salt and a few good cranks of black pepper to season. I also like throw in rosemary from 1-2 sprigs depending on how much you’re making as I think it adds a nice fresh, herby flavor to an otherwise standard quarter pounder. Gently mix all together and form into equal sized patties to serve your crowd.

Tip: Place the patties on a tray and put a thumb imprint in the center of each patty about halfway through the thickness of the meat. Since meat contracts when it cooks, this will allow the center of the burger to cook to the same doneness as the outer edges and prevent your final product from looking like a football.

Cook the burgers over medium heat until desired doneness. Note: because there is VERY little fat content in bison, it is best to cook low and slow to maintain the moisture and prevent the meat from drying out. Once you flip the burgers, add a slice of fresh buffalo mozzarella on top to melt and lightly toast the buns on the grill. Remove the toasted bun, slather on some olive tapenade, stack the lettuce, tomato and newly loved bison burger, hold on tight and enjoy! The saltiness of the olive tapenade is a perfect complement to the creamy, mild mozzarella and lean, rich bison. I think you’ll find these flavors truly spectacular!

This delicious burger would also would go great with a side or topping of Tropical Fruit & Avocado Salsa or Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa.

More on The Great Burger Debate:
It’s All About the Bun @ Zaitzeff
5 & Dime: 10 oz. at Five Napkin Burger, that is

1 Comment

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness :: spinach, strawberry & halloumi salad to knock your socks off

Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad

One of my favorite flavor combos is sweet and salty — what’s better than chocolate covered pretzels or PB & J?! This is one of the reasons that this is such a standout salad. Halloumi generally comes from Greece and is a distinctly salty cheese made of goat’s and sheep’s milk. When you combine that with the sweetness of the strawberries and the bright, citrusy dressing, you get all of the taste-buds jumping for joy. If that sounds exciting, then get ready for more — Halloumi has a very high melting point enabling you to grill it {redefining grilled cheese!} so when your guests are expecting a nice cool, refreshing salad, the element of surprise from the warm, slightly softened cheese will really knock their socks off. Opa!

spinach, strawberry & halloumi salad

1 bag of baby spinach, washed
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 lemon
1/2 as much olive oil as lemon
1/4 tsp salt
a few cranks black pepper
1-2 packages Haloumi cheese

Tip: People usually fight over the last of the cheese, so you might want to be nice to your guests and buy 2 packages of Halloumi!

Wash and dry your baby spinach leaves thoroughly. If you can only find large spinach leaves, tear them roughly with your hands so they are bite sized pieces and remove any long stems. Cut all of the strawberries into quarters or long slices depending on your visual preference and toss on top of the spinach in a large bowl.

In a separate container with a tightly sealing lid, squeeze the juice of one lemon and add 1/2 as much olive oil as the juice {exact measurers need not apply}. I prefer this to be quite lemony to contrast the sweet strawberries, salty cheese and very full bowl of Popeye’s favorite green. Add 1/4 tsp of salt and several good cranks of black pepper to the liquid. Set aside.

Grilled Halloumi Cheese

RIGHT before serving you want to grill or fry your cheese. If grilling, slice into 1/4 inch slices and place perpendicular to the grates on your hot BBQ {while this is a very firm cheese, you don’t want to lose any through the slits to the charcoal gods!} Once the cheese gets a light brown color on the downward facing side, turn carefully with tongs and brown the other side. If you are doing this stovetop, you can easily do in a non-stick pan with a small drizzle of olive oil, browning both sides until done. When the cheese has a nice toasty color, remove from the grill or pan and place on top of the salad.

Vigorously shake the dressing you set to the side to emulsify the lemon and olive oil and pour over the top of the beautiful green, red and white salad. Gently toss and serve.

This Crowd Pleasing Salad Also Goes Well With These Recipes:
Bison, a Better Burger Worth Biting Into
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops
Pistachio-Encrusted Spring Lamb w/ Pickled Red Onions & Cumin Yogurt Sauce

3 Comments

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness: roasted chicken salad w/ dried cranberries & sunflower seeds

Roasted Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds

What came first, the Chicken or the Egg?

Well in the case of my blog, the egg salad recipe, but I actually created the chicken salad first. This is another great alternative to a boring sammie and I actually recommend you eat it sans bread only because there are so many good flavors you should enjoy!

Roasted Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds

3 Chicken Breasts
Dijon Mustard
Sprinkle of Dill
Crank of Black Pepper
1 Stalk Celery
1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
2 TBS Sunflower Seeds (no shell)
1 TBS Mayo
1 TBS Dijon

Tip: Making with 3-4 chicken breasts will give you enough for 3-5 servings depending on how hungry you are — easy lunch for a few days that week or lunching with the ladies.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay the 3 chicken breasts on a cookie sheet with sides.  Spread a thin layer of dijon on both sides of each chicken breast, then sprinkle with dill and crank a little whole black pepper on both sides. Put the chicken in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes flip each chicken breast and return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove and let cool.

Meanwhile, dice celery stalk. When chicken is cool, roughly chop into bite sized pieces and add to the bowl with celery. Add dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, a dollop of mayo and dijon and another crank or two of black pepper. Toss to mix ingredients thoroughly and enjoy. This is another great salad to sprinkle a few radish sprouts on top for an surprising fresh, peppery flavor.

5 Comments

Filed under @home {recipes to love}

recipe goodness: cumin & dill egg salad with radish sprouts

That's lunch! Egg Salad with Grilled Asparagus and REAL carrots

In the spirit of sharing good meals, I thought I would also share recipes from my own kitchen that I promise are EASY to make. You can find all recipes in the “@home” Category link on the side of 8.ate@eight, so if you’re looking for a little inspiration, I hope you find it there and who knows, maybe it will kick off your own kitchen experiments!

I’m not usually one for lunch meat on a regular basis, and since I have the benefit of preparing most of my lunches at home, I’ve been experimenting with a few standards. Your momma’s egg salad + my love of herbs = cumin & dill egg salad with with radish sprouts. Nothing was measured exactly and I encourage everyone to break away from measuring spoons and cups and just start tossing…here is my attempt to recipetize my creation:

cumin & dill egg salad with with radish sprouts

4 eggs (preferably small farm / free range)
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tsp Capers
1 TBS Mayo
1 TBS Dijon Mustard
Dash of Ground Cumin
2 Dashes of Dill
Coarsely Ground Black Pepper

Tip: Hard boiling 4 eggs will make enough for 2-3 servings depending on how hungry you are or if you want to share with a well-deserving friend. Nice to share, but also nicer to have lunch made for a few days in the fridge!

Put eggs in a pot and cover with 1-in of water. Bring water to a boil and then lower to a very slow simmer, cover with a lid and let it dance for 20 minutes. In the meantime, chop celery. When eggs are done simmering, put pot in the sink and run cold water until the eggs are cooled. This method should prevent that unsightly green rim from forming around the yolk. Peel, roughly chop and add to the bowl with the celery.

Tip: If you are trying to be a bit more healthy, only use 2 of the egg yolks and 4 egg whites. You will still get all the good flavor and bright yellow goodness.

Toss the rest of the ingredients in the bowl with the eggs and celery. Dollop of dijon & mayo. Sprinkle of cumin & dill. Crank of black pepper. And capers (no need to add any salt — capers and dijon are plenty salty.) Mash away with a fork to blend thoroughly and enjoy. My favorite addition — toss a few radish sprouts on top. Alfalfa sprouts always confuse me — I find them tasteless and like getting a hair in your mouth. But radish sprouts are peppery like a radish and tend to be a bit more leafy. Nice touch!

Leave a comment

Filed under @home {recipes to love}