Saturday, July 2, 2011

Potatoes & Tomatillos.

Added a couple of tomatillos to potatoes this morning. Mmm-mmm!  Here's the recipe and a picture:
  • baby potatoes
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 or 3 tomatillos
  • sea salt
  • 1to 2 tsp olive oil
Slice baby potatoes.  Cut celery crosswise. Toss potatoes & celery with olive oil.  Salt to taste.  Cook over medium heat in a skillet, tossing frequently, until cooked through. Slice tomatillos and add for the last 3 to 5  minutes of cooking.  Enjoy another simple, fresh dish!

Black Sheep Pizza. Cutest. Sheep. Ever.

Had amazing pizza at Black Sheep last night. Garlic, cheese, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes, and CAPERS.

Quite certain capers are now one of the natural wonders of the world. Expect some recipes with capers coming soon.
Had amazing pizza at Black Sheep last night. Garlic, cheese, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes, and CAPERS.
Quite certain capers are now one of the natural wonders of the world. Expect some recipes with capers coming soon.

Collard Greens. Olives. Polenta.

Sounds like a curious combination, I know. Try it.
Collard Greens with Olives on Polenta
  • collard greens, chopped with tough ends and veins removed
  • polenta (prepared is easiest), sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Kalamata olives, pitted & chopped
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • lemon juice
Cut the collard greens into 1-2 inch pieces.  Boil in water for 15 minutes, then transfer greens to a saute pan with 1 T olive oil and saute for 5 minutes. While the greens are in the saute pan, heat another 1 T of olive oil, and saute polenta.  Sprinkle the top side of polenta with salt & pepper. Turn once after 2 to 3 minutes and cook on other side.
When polenta & collards greens are cooked, place slices of polenta on individual plates. Top each with a teaspoon of chopped olives, some of the cooked greens, and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on top.
Curious. But tasty.
A note on quantity: For three servings, I used just less than 1/2 a tube of polenta, about 4 cups of cut collard greens, and a couple dozen small kalamata olives.  There is no science to the measurements here. If you like olives, use more. If you don’t leave them out.  If you’re making this as a main dish (which I would do), make more polenta and double the greens.  When it’s assembled, it looks right.  Fancy, even.

Potatoes & Leeks.

I’m having a love affair with leeks.  In this recipe, I toss the leeks in with some colorful baby potatoes, saute in olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. It’s an easy dish to make as you’re preparing a main course, as long as you stir it occasionally.
Potatoes & Leeks
  • 1-2 pounds potatoes*
  • 1-2 leeks, trimmed about 2 inches into the green**
  • 1 T olive oil
  • sea salt
Scrub potatoes and cut into small pieces.  Heat olive oil in saute pan; toss potatoes in oil over medium heat.  Wash leek(s) thoroughly. Cut lengthwise, wash some more, if needed, then slice crosswise into thin slices.  Toss leeks in with potatoes.  Cook over medium heat until potatoes are slightly browned.  Turn heat down to medium low and continue cooking until potatoes are cooked through.  Depending on how the potatoes are cut, this should take 12-15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Turn down the heat if the potatoes are getting too crispy.  Just before serving, sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Enjoy!
* Potato Note:  Lately I’ve been buying these little gems:  
They’re scrubbed, cook quickly, and offer a variety of potatoes in one package. However, you can use any potato for this recipe. I just like the colorful variety and the flavor of these.
**Leek Note:  If you haven’t cooked a lot with leeks, you might not know that even when the outside looks clean, the inside can be full of dirt. I’ve found the best way to take care of that is to scrub the outside, then slice the leek lengthwise.  When you do this, you can usually see where the dirt is, so you can wash it out by gently separating the layers under running water. Then, you can pack the layers back together and slice it for your recipe.

Steak Salad.

Steak Salad has never been at the top of my list. Today I decided to change that. And it worked! I think the key is in having really good steak and a simple, yet amazing salad under it.  Here’s my recipe.
Steak Salad
  • boneless New York Strip Steaks
  • steak seasoning*
  • mixed greens
  • handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • green onion, chopped
  • bleu cheese crumbles, to taste
  • mixed Greek olives, to taste
* I use a fabulous dry-aged steak rub from my favorite grocery. It’s a mix of sea salt, ground black pepper, and spices.  Any steak seasoning that brings out the flavor of the meat will work.
Season both sides of the steak liberally and grill to your liking. (I’m a medium girl.) While the steak is on the grill, prepare plates with the salad.  Cover plate with mixed greens.  Add a few grape tomato halves, a sprinkle of green onion, bleu cheese, and a few mixed olives.  When the steak is cooked, slice it and add a few pieces to each salad.
You’ll notice there is no dressing on this salad, nor is there anything sweet in it. The olives and bleu cheese add a savory, tangy flavor that accompanies the meat perfectly. Anything more would be a distraction. Serve with fresh baguette and real butter. Mmmm.
That’s it. Simple. Fresh. Yum.

12 Swimmers. Fruit. Lots of It.

I did a mental tally of the fruit I bought for my 12 swimmers last week. They ate all but a handful of clementines that we couldn’t take on the plane.
  • 16 pounds of seedless grapes
  • 12 boxes of raspberries
  • 8 boxes of strawberries
  • 4 restaurant-prepared fruit platters
  • 3 pounds of clementines
  • 3 pounds of Rainier cherries
  • 2 dozen bananas
  • 2 boxes of blackberries
  • 1 watermelon

Panera's Pay-as-You-Can Model.

Panera’s pay-as-you-can model. I LOVE this. In my next life, I want to build a sustainable program that provides good, healthy food choices (and education about why such choices are essential for healthy living) that are affordable for everyone. Good food for everyone.

BUSY Girl. GOOD Food.

This week I am responsible for making sure 12 athletes have the necessary nutrition and hydration to successfully train in the pool 5 hours a day, in sun and heat unlike they have experienced in almost a year.  Talk about Busy Girl needing to provide Good Food, under pressure.
Lots of fruit. Lots of lean protein. Lots of carbs.  And lots and lots of liquids. I lost count of the number of my shopping trips.  It would have been far easier to trust their meals to campus dining choices, but part of their learning is about nutrition and how it impacts performance, so I have a responsibility to provide them with healthy choices.  Busy Athletes, Good Food.
All in a day’s work.

(from believe-to-achieve)

The Ocean.

Being at the ocean makes me not want to eat much. I think it’s the sea air that does it to me. I could spend my days sitting on the beach, breathing deeply, and sipping something icy. Today I’m all about iced tea.  Full bodied, brewed tea, lots of lime.
Lunch today was at H2O Cafe, right on Fort Lauderdale Beach.  Seemed the right place to go the day before M races 5K in the Atlantic.  Went there last month when we were here for the training trip. They make guacamole to order. We agreed last time on exactly what the guac needed: light on the jalapenos, extra red onion, extra lime. Add a glass or three of the above mentioned iced tea, and lunch was serv

Oysters. Just Oysters.

Realized that I am away from home for the next 11 days and at the mercy of someone else’s kitchen.  That means that I don’t have my own recipes to share for a bit, but I certainly do have food experiences to share.  Including tonight’s oysters.
Oysters. Just Oysters.
I love raw oysters and good ones never fail to please. Tonight, we enjoyed some perfectly gorgeous oysters from Virginia.  A little vinegar and horseradish, topped with a a squeeze from a fresh lemon slice.  Mmmmm.  Perfect.  I wonder where tomorrow’s will be from?

Mixed Fruit & Lemon.

Mmmm. I learned from my mom to make my meals look as good as they taste. This little fruit salad hits both criteria. You can use any combination of fruit you like that gives a balance of texture, flavor, and of course, color. Here’s my version from tonight:
Mixed Fruit & Lemon.
  • watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • blueberries
  • nectarines, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 to 5 fresh mint leaves, chopped
Mix together and enjoy!
Oh? How much fruit to add? Well, it depends.  What do you like? What do you have? What’s your color balance (I’m not kidding about this!)?  Tonight, I used 1/2 of a large “personal” watermelon, a pint of blueberries, and 3 nectarines.  Tomorrow I may use more of the watermelon, a couple of boxes of raspberries, and a mango.  By the way, lime juice works just as well as lemon. And fresh mint just brings it all together.

Tomatoes. Again.

Anne’s Caprese Salad has some extra ingredients that make it a special treat. It packs well in a lunch box and there are never leftovers.
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into smallish chunks
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 to 8 ounces Mozzarella Ciliengine (small mozzarella balls)
  • 2 basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 T red wine or balsamic vinegar
Gently mix ingredients together and enjoy!
Tomato hint: I like to use different kinds of tomatoes, including yellow, cherry, grape, and tiny heirloom varieties. All work well in this recipe, and the more color in the tomatoes, the more visually appealing the final salad.
Mozzarella hint: I used small mozzarella balls so I don’t have to slice a large ball into bite-sized pieces. Use what you can find. Fresh is always best, and as with many of recipes, I add enough mozzarella it until it “looks right.”

Toasted Brussels Sprouts.

Have to watch these little tasty treats carefully so they don’t get too toasty. But so worth it.
Toasted Brussels Sprouts
  • 16 oz fresh brussels sprouts, washed & cut in halves
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss brussels sprout halves in olive oil & balsamic vinegar. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle salt over the sprouts and bake for 16-20 minutes, turning at least once.

(From YumYum Blog)
One day I will learn to make these. For real. Or I will just move to Paris. There’s a thought.

Almond & Lime Noodles.

Sometimes inspiration hits at the most unexpected moment. Tonight it came while standing in the grocery store. I was looking for agave nectar when I remembered I was out of almond butter. Next thing I knew, this recipe was hatched.
Almond & Lime Noodles
  • 1/2 package of whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • 3 T almond butter
  • 1/4 c orange juice (plus 1 T if needed)
  • juice of 1 lime (cut lime in 1/2, then cut one half into wedges)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
Cook the noodles according to the package. Drain and set aside.  Melt almond butter in warm pan with orange juice and the juice of 1/2 the lime.  Turn on low burner if needed.  Pour this concoction over the noodles and toss.  If the noodles get sticky, add a little more orange juice.  Toss in the green onions. Serve with the remaining lime half cut into wedges; squeeze the juice onto the noodles and enjoy!

Grilled Perfection. Rosemary Steaks. Mushrooms with Artichokes.

The grill has not typically been my domain, but I’ve recently decided to make it so. Two new favorites, both twists on recipes from Whole Foods Market, have made me the new grilling diva around my house. Simple, fresh, and so full of flavor. These two combined with some fresh bread make a perfect dinner.
Rosemary Grilled Steaks
  • 1/4 c rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 4 to 6 petite sirloin steaks
Whirl the rosemary, oil & vinegar in a blender until smooth. Place steaks in a shallow container and pour most of marinade over them, reserving a couple of tablespoons for basting. Turn meat to coat; refrigerate for 2 or more hours. When ready, grill 6 to 8 minutes per side, basting once or twice with reserved marinade.
Grilled Mushrooms Stuffed with Artichokes
Tastes elaborate but is super easy and has less than five ingredients.
  • 1 can artichoke hearts - whole or halved
  • equal amounts of olive oil and vinegar (rice, white wine, balsamic all work well)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 16-20 large mushrooms, stems removed
Cut artichoke in half and put cut side up in a container. Stacking is just fine.  Mix oil & vinegar so there is enough to cover the artichokes. About 1/2-1/3 cup of each works well, depending on the size of your container. Salt & pepper the artichokes. Pour oil & vinegar over the artichokes and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Just before grilling, brush marinade on the outside of the mushrooms.  Stuff an artichoke heart in each mushroom cap. Grill artichoke side up for 8-10 minutes.  Continue to brush with marinade while grilling. Yum!  Another simple and tasty treat!