Posts made in March, 2013

First Lettuce Mix of the Ohio Spring Season

 

lettuce

Spring is days away, which means fresh lettuce is starting to appear at the central Ohio farmers’ markets again. And there is really nothing like fresh picked lettuce. Northridge Organic Farm (currently partnering with Swainway Urban Farm at the Worthington Market) had their first lettuce mix of the season at the market today. It’s so delicious and wonderful that I had to feature it here.

salad

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Kale Pesto

kale pesto pasta

I love basil pesto during the summer but never, until recently, thought of trying other types of pestos during the winter. This recipe is based off one I found in Andrew Weil’s cookbook, True Food (which, if you haven’t seen yet, I highly recommend). I made some modifications. He uses pine nuts, which is traditional in pesto but expensive. Instead I used cashews. He also uses black kale, which I didn’t have. Instead I did a mixture of green kale and spinach, both of which I had on hand and needed to use. My modified recipe looked something like this:

4-5 cups of kale and spinach (though simply kale would be wonderful as well)

1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4-1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of cashews

1 clove of garlic, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

Andrew Weil boils the kale for 3 minutes and then transfers it to an ice bath for an additional 3 minutes before draining it and squeezing out the water. I did this as well, though I suppose if you wanted to use raw kale, it would work. Otherwise, it’s a simple matter of putting all of the above ingredients in a food processor and pureeing until smooth.

Though this pesto could be used for so many things, my favorite way to eat pesto is on pasta. In the above photo you can see that I used pappardelle noodles, which are one of my favorites. No, in this case they are not homemade (though I love making pappardelle).  These noodles I bought frozen at Carfagna’s store. And if you live in Central Ohio and have never been to Carfagna’s then, well, you’re really missing out. Even I can’t make my own ravioli and pasta all the time, so Carfagna’s is my go to for frozen pasta.

To make the dish complete, toss the pasta and pesto with any seasonal sauteed or roasted vegetable(s) you have on hand. Eat. Savor. Enjoy.

 

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Tandoori Salmon: Round One

A couple of months ago I had Tandoori Salmon for the first time and loved it, and whenever I taste something in a restaurant that I love, I always try to copy it at home. Tandoori is an Indian method of cooking in which a protein (traditionally chicken) is marinated in Indian spices and yogurt and then baked in a clay oven called a Tandoor. Most of the recipes I looked at assume that people in the US don’t have a tandoor laying around and instead suggested either broiling or grilling the meat (or in this case, fish). I broiled my salmon and it was delicious. I’m not going to post the recipe yet, though, because I thought it needed even more spice. Once I perfect the recipe, I will post it, but for now, I simply had to share a photo of the salmon, for I’m quite proud of how it came out.

Tandoori Salmon

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Sweet Potato Wedges

Sweetpotatoes

I’m obsessed with sweet potatoes during the winter and fall months, and this is, by far, my favorite way to eat them. And sweet potatoes are so good for you! I would live off of them if I could.

I’ve tried many different spice mixes on sweet potato wedges, and I have two favorites.

My first favorite spice mix:

  • ground turmeric
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper (not too much! it’s strong.)
  • paprika 
  • cinnamon (just a little)
  • salt and pepper

Turmeric is believed to have cancer fighting properties, and, well, it tastes quite good in this mix. A fair warning, though. It will turn your hands and cookie sheet yellow (as seen in the above photo). To save time, I use an empty spice jar and mix all of this spices together in the jar. Then I don’t have to dig out all of the spices every time I want some wedges (which is often). They’re all ready to go in one jar.

My second favorite spice mix:

  • Fresh rosemary, chopped
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper 
  • salt and pepper

As for the sweet potato wedges, they are fairly simple to cook. Take one or two large sweet potatoes (keep the skins on) and cut them lengthwise into fat wedges. You should be able to get 8 to 10 wedges per potato. Sprinkle the wedges with a spice mix of your choosing (don’t forget the salt!), drizzle with olive oil and toss with your hands so that each wedge is equally covered with spice and oil. Spread them out on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes (flip half way through). Try not to eat them all as soon as they come out of the oven.

And if you really want to have a feast, mix 1 cup of Greek Yogurt with 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise, 1 small fresh garlic clove (finely chopped or grated), and salt and pepper, and you have a wonderful garlicky dip for your wedges. But really, they are quite good on their own.

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Pea Shoots

grilledcheese

I’m always on the lookout for new things to try at the farmers’ market. Currently Ohio is between seasons, and there are few, if any, vegetables available at my local markets, so I was really excited to see something green on a farmer’s table. Turns out they were pea shoots. I had never tried them before, but the lady behind me in line said how much she loved them and that even her daughter (who looked to be around 7) liked snacking on them at school. I, of course, had to try them.

So what are pea shoots? They are the soft leaves and tendrils of a pea plant. They taste just like peas, which seems weird at first since they look nothing like a pea. Plus the are nutritious and full of antioxidants. They are wonderful raw, but, as shown in the photo above, I decided to try them in a grilled cheese sandwich. I called it an old fashioned grill cheese sandwich. My mom informed me that an old fashioned grill cheese wouldn’t have goat cheese and pea shoots in it. I suppose she is right, but it was excellent on my homemade rye bread.

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