Pan Grilled Strip Steak with Spicy Dandelion Greens and Quinoa

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We don’t eat beef very often but every now and then I crave steak.  This NY strip steak in particular weighed in at over a pound and was nearly 2 inches thick.  A quick rub with garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil and it was ready to go.

Method:  Oven heated to 450 degrees along with our Le Creuset grill pan Le Creuset Square Skillet Grill Pan.  Once hot, the steak was placed on the hot pan and cooked, flipping and rotating every 5-6 minutes to get the grill marks.  Cook until internal temperature reaches 135F or more (I like medium rare).  Rest for 5 minutes and slice/cut as needed.

I served this on top of a bed of spiced dandelion greens made with onions, garlic, and red pepper flake.  At the very end I tossed in a few golden grape tomatoes and a few drops of 14 year old balsamic vinegar for brightness.

The quinoa was made with chicken stock and topped with a blend of oregano, basil, and pepper.

Giada + Bacon: Fettuccine with Arugula Pesto

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http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/linguine-with-avocado-and-arugula-pesto-recipe/index.html

I’ve never been a fan of arugula by itself due to the fact that the smell always reminded me of a skunk.  When I saw this recipe where it was blended with avocado, lime juice and basil to form a pesto, I was intrigued.    The recipe is above and I followed it exactly until the final step.  In addition to the cheese I added some fried bits of bacon (really, bacon does make things better!) and omitted the almonds.  I love almonds, but I scorched them.  Last but not least I added some freshly chopped heirloom tomato for color contrast.  This recipe is a keeper and was wonderful again the next day for lunch.

The side dish is an old stand by:  2 cups chopped carrots boiled until just starting to get tender.  Drain the water, put the carrots back in the pot, add 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp vinegar (your choice – I used balsamic last night) and an aromatic herb (I used Fines Herbes).  Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Cheers!

Salad – The Perfect Lunch

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What’s the easiest way to plow through a ton of vegetables?  Build a salad.  This version features baby lettuce, carrots, and radishes from this week’s CSA box.  In addition I’ve added heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced yellow onion, half an avocado, and some Habanero Jack cheese from Safeway.

Southwest Salad Dressing:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Pepper
Salt
Dash of White Wine Vinegar
Herb Blend (Ancho chili, garlic, onion, cumin, cayenne, oregano, cilantro, chives, bay, and chipotle pepper)

I was out of beans, but this would be a perfect place to add some black or kidney beans for extra protein.

Grilling in the Poconos – Early April, 2010

The weather had finally worked out and I could finally get outside and do some grilling.  The weather in the Poconos at this time of the year can be fairly awful, so I was determined to take advantage of the mostly sunny weather in the mid 60’s.

Our first night there we made lobster salad sandwiches and had some homemade coleslaw.    We got a 2 lb lobster from the grocery store and I boiled it for about 6 minutes before splitting it in half and finishing it on the grill.  Once it was thoroughly cooked I removed the meat and chopped it into bite-size pieces and let Brie work her magic with the dressing.  Long story short:  It was delicious!

The second night featured grilled vegetables (asparagus, eggplant, onion, and mushrooms) and garlic-lemon marinated shrimp.  One of my favorite things to use are the awesome metal skewers that my parents brought back from Turkey.  Each one has a different handle featuring a different animal or character.  The only problem?  They get incredibly hot and you have to make sure you have enough layers between them and your fingers.  The vegetables were cooked perfectly and the non-stick grill basket is one of the coolest things I have used.  The only issue was that the asparagus was so thin they occasionally worked their way through the holes in the basket!

On the final day we had marinated london broil.  For the marinade I used garlic, rosemary, cracked pepper, hot pepper flakes, and olive oil.  After marinating for about 10 hours I shook off the big bits and put the meat on a hot grill and cooked them to medium-rare.  After they were done I let them sit for about 10 minutes before slicing them in thin strips across the grain.  With this I served an appetizer of roasted golden beets with feta cheese, topped with a lovely vinagrette that Brie put together.  For side dishes I made mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.

As with all of our trips to the Poconos, the weekend wouldn’t be complete without a few encounters with some wildlife.  This trip featured a very hungry red squirrel at the deer trough, and a black bear doing the same thing. Now that the weather is warming up my parents have vowed to stop feeding the wildlife in hopes of preventing the bears from hanging out permanently.

And finally, we moved the bar and stools from the basement up to the sun room.  It looks fantastic!  I look forward to many cocktail hours out there this summer.

Door to Door Organics Delivery – 03/02/10

This week’s delivery included the following:

5 – Grapefruit
6 – Navel Oranges
1 – Bunch Spinach
1 – Butternut Squash
6 – Bosc Pears
6 – Braeburn Apples
2 lbs Bananas
1 lb Carrots
1 – Bunch Red Kale
2 lbs Yellow Onions
3 – Roma Tomatoes
1 – Head Green Leaf Lettuce
5 – Avocados
1 – Celery

Since we are headed to the Poconos for the weekend we are going to have to take a bunch of this stuff with us.  We’ll see what we end up cooking!

Vegetable and Chorizo Frittata

The Frittata is one of the easiest things to cook when you are short on time.  For example, I didn’t get back from the gym until 6:45 this evening, but by 7:15 a delicious homemade meal was ready to go.  For this frittata I ended up scouring the refrigerator and came up with the following recipe from the ingredients I had on hand:

Vegetable and Chorizo Frittata

6 eggs (I used 3 full eggs and 3 egg whites)
2 inches of Spanish Chorizo, cut into 1/4″ pieces
8-10 stalks of asparagus
1/2 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups whole leaf spinach, rinsed
1 shallot
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup romano/parmesan blend
1/8 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp chives
1/8 tsp terragon
salt and pepper to taste

Steam or saute the asparagus and set aside.  Quickly saute spinach until JUST wilted and set aside.  Beat eggs and herbs until blended, adding a bit a few tablespoons of water to the mixture.  Mix in cheese to the egg mixture.  In a medium sized skillet saute onions with olive oil until just starting to become translucent.  Add shallots, garlic and chorizo and cook until fragrant and onions are soft.  In a small oven-safe pan, place the spinach and onion/chorizo blend and bring the heat up to medium.  Stir in the egg/cheese mixture until well mixed and then let cook over medium heat until almost set.  Press in the asparagus spears until just visible.  Place in the oven on a high rack and broil until the top is golden brown.

**NOTE**  Be sure you cook the eggs long enough on the stove before transferring to the broiler!!

Door to Door Organics Delivery – 02/16/10 – Curry Parsnip and Carrot Soup

This week’s delivery included:

1 – Leek
2 – Cucumbers
6 – Valencia Oranges
6 – Braeburn Apples
1 lb Bananas
1 – Broccoli
6 – Bosc Pears
1 – Bunch Spinach
3 – Avocados
2 – Mangos
2 lbs Yellow Onions
1 lb Carrots
1 – Head of Red-Lead Lettuce (not shown since Brie had already shredded it for salad)

I used the parsnips from last week with the carrots and leek from this week to create a delicious winter soup.  My recipe:

Curried Parsnip and Carrot Soup
1 lb Parsnips, peeled, roughly chopped
1 lb Carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 leek, rinsed, white part only, roughly chopped
2 tsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
3 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp olive/vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450F.  Toss vegetables in oil.  Place vegetables and garlic in oven-safe pan and roast at 450F, stirring/rotating vegetables every 10 minutes, until lightly browned and soft.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Place vegetables, spices, salt, and broth in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into pan and bring to simmer over LOW heat.  Once heated through, place in preheated bowls and serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream/yoghurt and some parsley flakes.

Door to Door Organics Delivery – 02/09/10

This week’s delivery includes:

6 – Red Delicious Apples
2 – Leeks
6 – Valencia Oranges
1 – Parsley Bunch
1 lb Mushrooms (in the brown bag)
1 lb Red Potatoes
1 lb Carrots
1lb Parsnips
1 lb Bananas
2 – Avocados
2 – Tomatoes
1 – Bok Choy
1 – Green Leaf Lettuce Head
1 – Orange Cauliflower

Due to the leeks and potatoes I believe a soup is in order.  I think we might throw together a pizza tonight and put the mushrooms on that.  Oh the myriad of choices!

5 Spice Broccoli, Baby Bok Choy and Chicken Stir Fry

The refrigerator is full of delicious organic vegetables from this last weeks D2D delivery and it is about time they get put to use.  I decided to throw together a stir-fry featuring the baby bok choy and broccoli.  Whenever I make stir-fry it is always just thrown together with ingredients on hand.  For this dish, I will write out what I used and how I cooked it.

Ingredients:
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced (2 thighs also works, and I think it tastes better, but that’s another story)
2 heads of broccoli, cut into larger bite-size pieces
4 heads of baby bok choy, bottom thick stem parts removed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 zucchini squash (I used sunburst squash this time), chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno (or any hot pepper), finely chopped
~2 TBSP peanut oil
Salt
Pepper
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
1/2 Tbsp Sriracha Hot Sauce

Step 1:  Stir-fry Round 1
Spread the 5-spice over the thinly sliced chicken and toss with your hands to evenly spread.  Heat Wok on HIGH until water droplet vaporizes when dropped in the middle of the pan.  Add 1/2 TBSP peanut oil (or whatever you like to use), and add thinly sliced chicken.  Cook until just starting to brown (about 2 minutes), moving constantly.  Remove and keep warm.  Add a tablespoon of water to the pan and quickly deglaze, then quickly wipe out to remove any browned bits so you can continue to use the wok for the upcoming steps.

Step 2:  Prepare the garlic.
In a separate small pan, quickly saute the garlic in a small amount of oil until fragrant.  Scrape garlic into a bowl and save for later.

Step 3:  Stir-fry Round 2
Heat wok on HIGH until water vaporizes.  Add 1 TBSP peanut oil and quickly add onion, squash, and jalapeno/hot pepper.  Moving the food constantly, cook until the onion is just opaque, about 4 minutes.  Add sauteed garlic and cook for another minute.  Remove from heat and place in a bowl.  Deglaze pan if needed, or at the very least wipe the wok clean of any debris.

Step 4:   Stir-fry Round 3
Heat wok on HIGH again.  Add 1/2 TBSP peanut oil and then add the broccoli and the bok choy, stirring constantly until the bok choy starts to wilt.  At this point I added a few tablespoons of water to help steam the veggies, covering for a minute, tossing again, and then covering.  Be careful so it doesn’t burn.  Once the broccoli just starts to be tender, reduce the heat to medium, add the onion mix, chicken, Sriracha.  Stir to blend.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice or noodles.  Easy and delicious!

–Broccoli and Bok Choy–

–The Final Product–