Kohlrabi Salad

2014-06-29 15.46.43

If you have ventured through the farmers markets lately or joined a CSA, you are probably looking at a few bulbs of Kohlrabi to use up.  The first time I tried kohlrabi I grilled it with onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  It turned out good but nothing to rave over.  My friend suggested just eating the slices raw with olive oil and salt/pepper to taste.  She was right, raw is the way to go with this.  The flavor is similar to broccoli stem or cabbage, but more delicate.  This simple salad uses up these strange looking orbs in a fresh way.  I didn’t fully skin the bulbs before thinly slicing, but I did scale down some of the thicker portions of the skin to avoid any woody or tough pieces in the salad.  The leafy greens are edible too, I plan to pulverize those in my morning smoothie.

2014-06-29 15.05.55

Ingredients:

1-2 bulbs of kohlrabi cleaned and sliced thin
1/2 red onion, diced
1 handful of fresh herbs (I went with parsley and thyme)
1-2 Tbsp of good quality olive oil
Generous dashes of salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Slice the kohlrabi, onion, and herbs.  Mix in a large bowl with olive oil and salt/pepper until evenly coated.

Note: If you want to take it up a notch, some crumbled feta and bacon would be delicious mixed in as well.

Advertisements

Pork Rub

2014-06-29 12.33.57

A smoker is to summer as the crock pot is to winter.  Slow and low cooking of affordable meats yielding moist and delicious results.  Whether you choose to smoke over coals or go the electric route as we have, you are in for a treat.  Our outside setup has driven us the electric route, and we have not been disappointed over the ease and quality of results.  It is now part of our regular Sunday routine, making enough meat or fish to eat for lunch and dinner all week long.  Today we are smoking a pork shoulder-butt with a homemade rub.  I wanted to share this rub recipe as it is easy and flavorful for a summer of grilling or smoking.  Starting out a little spicy and salty there is a hint of sweet that is perfect for pork.

2014-06-22 14.07.33

Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp Paprika (hot or sweet based on preference, I used a mix of the two)
1 Tbsp ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Cayenne Powder
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

2014-06-29 12.40.10

Directions: 

Mix all ingredients together and use liberally over meats 20-30 minutes before cooking.

2014-06-29 12.36.33

Dill Potato Salad

2014-06-24 18.16.36

Summer is all about salads, and potato salad is no exception to the list.  While I love a healthy and fresh salad devoid of cheese and creamy dressing, sometimes a little creamy potato salad is just what the meal needs.  Especially when you are serving a main course straight off the grill.  I have an abundance of dill left over from our CSA this weekend and I needed a side to bring to dinner tomorrow night.  Potato salad is the best crowd pleaser I could come up with.  I started with a simple base and a combination of yukon and red potatoes to make this creamy and tangy masterpiece.  With the 4th of July coming up, I would recommend this as an easy and cost effective side.

Ingredients: 

3-4 medium size red skin potatoes
2 medium size yukon or golden potatoes
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
2-3 Tbsp light cream
1/4 cup of red onion, diced
1/4 cup of green onion, sliced green and white pieces
1/4 cup of dill, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

1. Bring the potatoes to a boil, whole, let boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5-10 more minutes until just fork tender but not completely cooked.

2. In a bowl combine mayonnaise, cream, red and green onion, dill, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Drain and dice potatoes into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes based on preference.  Allow to cool and mix with mayonnaise mixture.  Serve that day or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

2014-06-24 18.12.23

Note: You may want to change out the dill for another herb of choice, but I think the dill is perfect.  You can also add some diced bacon for a meat lovers option, I think this is called German Style.  If you notice the potatoes absorb all the moisture on day 2, make up a little more mayo mix and add to potatoes.

Enjoy!

Tangy Herb Vinaigrette

2014-06-22 19.04.51 Our summer CSA has been full of greens for salads, which means I was in the market for a new dressing to spice things up a bit.  This dressing is tangy and using the Vitamix makes it smooth and creamy without adding any dairy.  I adapted this vinaigrette from a recipe for pasta salad, but it pairs well with a classic summer salad topped with fish, chicken, or just veggies.

2014-06-22 18.59.51

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup of Avocado oil or another vegetable oil
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp of chopped dill
1 clove of garlic
dash of salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

1. Add everything to the Vitamix and blend increasing to high until smooth and creamy.

2014-06-22 19.10.27

I used fresh parsley and dill, however I am looking forward to trying out other herbs to change the flavor profile: basil, thyme, cilantro, oregano, chives or whatever you are growing in abundance.

Enjoy and Eat Well!

Easy Summer Chicken Salad

2014-06-21 14.11.30

Chicken salad is such an easy and seemingly fancy meal to serve at a picnic or pack for lunch.  With a good quality and flavorful chicken, keeping the recipe simple is better.  Today I used a bunch of the beautiful dill we got in our crop share and leftover smoked chicken to make this quick lunch.  I will be starting to post a few of our smoker recipes in the near future, as it is our newest cooking obsession.  If you don’t have homemade smoked chicken you can use grilled, roasted, or even baked chicken for your salad.  This is a great way to recreate your leftovers into an entirely new meal.

2014-06-21 14.13.21

Ingredients: 

1/2 smoked chicken, pulled and diced
1/3 cup of mayo (more or less for desired consistency)
handful of dill chopped
1/8-1/4 cup of red onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste

2014-06-21 14.03.28

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients together and serve over a salad, on bread, or wrap!

2014-06-21 14.06.33

NOTE: You can substitute other herbs if you don’t have dill on hand, such as thyme, cilantro, basil, parsley, chives even mint.  Green onions are a nice addition to this in a wrap and of course some tomatoes and avocado to get some extra vegetables on your plate.

2014-06-21 14.13.46

Lemon Rainbow Chard

2014-06-01 18.12.54

This summer we have opted to join a crop share to see what all the fuss is about.  You know, supporting local farmers, eating fresh, choosing organic, and my favorite part which is eating what is in season.  We are proud to have chosen Genesis Growers Farms (www.genesis-growers.com) with our pickup at the Saturday morning Green City Market.  Along with the medium size box of farmer’s choice fruit, produce, and herbs we have also elected to get 1 dozen eggs.  So far I have to say the eggs are my favorite thing.  The taste of fresh eggs over store bought is almost criminal.  Especially for me who would put an egg on anything.  In our first box we got some Rainbow Chard that was just beautiful.  Interestingly enough I have never bought chard before, so I needed to do a little research before making a dish.

2014-05-31 10.36.10-1

Chard is in the same family as beats and is similar to kale and spinach in flavor/cooking options.  Typically chard is cooked to soften some of the bitter flavor of the greens, but can be eaten raw.  I found the greens to be more flavorful than spinach when cooked and softer than kale.  Chard is a nutritious little green to add to your life, rich in vitamins A, K, and C as well as a minerals, dietary fiber, and protein (according to Wikipedia).

A lot of the recipes I looked at sauteed the chard with lemon or garlic, and quite a few used fresh ginger.   This got me thinking, as I have a robust amount of lemon thyme already growing in my “garden” I went the lemon and garlic route.

2014-06-01 18.00.07

Ingredients:

– 1 large bunch of Rainbow Chard (stems and greens separated and diced)
– 1-2 cloves of Garlic, minced
– 1 Tbsp of fresh Lemon Thyme with center stem removed, use regular time if you don’t have lemon thyme
-1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)
– 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil, or sauteing oil of choice
– 1/4 to 1/2 Lemon, juice

Directions:

1. Cut the chard stems into 1/2 to 1/4 inch pieces, separated from the greens.

2. In a heavy skillet on medium heat, saute the chard stems in olive oil with the garlic, half of the lemon thyme, and red pepper flakes.

2014-06-01 18.05.56

3. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until stems are soft and fragrant.

4. Add the diced chard greens to the pan and stir in.  Cover and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring as needed.

2014-06-01 18.08.44

5. Spritz with fresh Lemon, garnish with remaining lemon thyme, and serve hot.

Enjoy and Eat Local!

Growing Basil

2014-06-01 15.10.56

For the first herb in the herb series I feel compelled to pick Basil.  It is easy to grow, packs a big punch, and generally is an approachable herb to both grow and use.  I have found however that most people do not have a clue as to how to grow basil and how to keep it up for a summer of use.  I cringe every time I hear someone say in May (or ever really) that their basil is already flowering, or that they were so excited to pick off one or two huge leaves from the bottom of the plant.  When you are growing herbs, it is always important to cut them so the plant is stronger from the harvest, not weaker.  With basil this is so easy to do and easy to mess up.

There are may varieties of basil, I have always stuck with the traditional sweet basil that is commonly found in Italian cooking.  The plant is fast growing, enjoys high heat and lots of water and sunlight.  Basil is also a bit finicky, if it starts to dry out the leaves will quickly start to wilt and droop (in the matter of a day or hours).  But don’t worry, it will respond quickly to a good watering.  If you don’t get a lot of sunlight, or notice the temperature dropping too sharply at night time you may want to change the location of your plant or bring it in for night time early in the season.  Basil is actually a tropical plant, so northern cold temperatures and shade are not going to result in much bounty.

2014-05-25 19.10.44

Believe it or not this top picture is my basil about a week after planting.  I put them outside and the wind and cold really wilted and damaged the plants.  I had to stake them up to keep them from drooping all the way over.  With careful watering, protection from the high winds, and sunlight they turned into the picture below in just 2 more weeks.

2014-06-01 14.02.29

Some ways to retain moisture without opening the door to fungus or mold (which basil can be prone to) are to put a layer of mulch around your plants and be sure to not over crowd the plants when you have several in a pot.  It’s also important to water at the base of the plant, don’t get the leaves all wet.  On a hot sunny day the water on basil leaves can actually damage the fragile leaves.

2014-06-01 14.03.05

When it comes to picking your basil for use, be sure to avoid picking the biggest yummiest looking leaves from the bottom of the plant.  Those leaves are the primary solar panels that are powering your plant.  If you pull them off you risk losing the entire plant, especially if it is young.  You always want to pick by pinching off from the top 1 to 2 inches of growth just above a split.  You will find that once you do this, you will get two big shoots out of the joint you picked above and essentially will double the growth.  When this grows up high enough you can do the same thing to this new growth…this is how you get a basil plant that is 1-2 feet high and bushy.

2013-08-26 19.37.14

My basil plant from last year at the end of the season

If your plants starts to flower on the top it is “going to seed” or “bolting”.  You want to stop this, as this is your plant getting ready to shut itself down and prepare for next year.  The rest of the leaves will get bitter tasting, and lose that magical sweet quality.  You need to get ahead of the flowering by pinching off the plant a few inches below where the flowering started.  The more you use basil the more energy it will put into making delicious leaves for you to use, which is what you want.

As I mentioned in the last post, make sure you fertilize your soil however you feel most comfortable to keep the soil in the pot nutrient rich.  Yellow and flavorless leaves are often a sign that you need more nitrogen in the soil, which you can replenish regularly with fertilizer.

Now that you have a beautiful and healthy basil plant, you can start putting it to work in the kitchen.  Basil is extremely versatile, you can add it to salad, smoothies, cocktails, sauces, pizza, fish, poultry, the list goes on and on.  You can dry it, freeze it, or make it into a pesto when you start to have too much.  I can’t wait to start sharing more recipes with basil over the summer.

2013-08-18 18.41.51

Check out some of my previous recipes that involve fresh basil:

Pestohttps://seasonsforcooking.com/2013/09/14/end-of-summer-pesto

Basil, Lemon, and Jalapeno Pestohttps://seasonsforcooking.com/2013/09/05/basil-lemon-and-jalapeno-pesto

Coconut, Strawberry, and Basil Smoothiehttps://seasonsforcooking.com/2014/01/04/coconut-strawberry-and-basil-smoothie

Mango and Mint Smoothiehttps://seasonsforcooking.com/2013/09/22/mango-mint-smoothie

Whole Trout Dinnerhttps://seasonsforcooking.com/2013/08/26/whole-trout-dinner

Spinach French Toast with Tomato Topping  – https://seasonsforcooking.com/2014/04/08/spinach-french-toast-with-tomato-topping

Light Spinach and Artichoke Diphttps://seasonsforcooking.com/2013/10/26/light-spinach-and-artichoke-dip

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce with Turkey Meatballshttps://seasonsforcooking.com/2013/10/11/spicy-spaghetti-sauce-with-turkey-meatballs

Meaty Lasagnahttps://seasonsforcooking.com/2013/09/18/meaty-lasagna

 Enjoy and Cook Well!