Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cheesy Rice with Chicken and Green Beans

This is easy comfort food, born of leftovers. Feel free to mix it up with other vegetables - cooked broccoli, cauliflower, or summer squash would be obvious substitutes for the green beans. You can, of course, make rice and chicken specifically for this dish if you like. It lends itself to having the ingredients made ahead.

2 Tbsp butter
2 large shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
6-7 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
3-4 cups cooked chicken
3-4 cups cooked green beans in 1-inch lengths
4 ounces shredded cheddar, or to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the shallot or onion and saute over medium high heat for a couple minutes. Add the rice and the chicken broth. Mix well to thoroughly combine and moisten the rice. Reduce heat to low-medium and cover the pan. Cook until the liquid is largely absorbed and the rice is quite tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the rice has absorbed most of the broth, stir in the chicken and green beans and continue to cook until heated through. Add the cheddar. You can sprinkle it over the top and let it melt or stir it in.

Serves about 6.

Vietnamese Kale and Tomatoes

Lots of kale - and tomatoes - coming in from the garden these days. Here's a quick and easy combination of the two that is a little different from the usual. And did you know that a few Valley farmers actually grow ginger here? I got some fresh Lionsville Farm recently.

Canola oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
6-8 cups chopped kale leaves
1/2 - 1 tsp fish sauce

Heat a little canola oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium high heat until fragrant, about a minute or so. Add the tomatoes and saute for another couple minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted. Add fish sauce to taste and serve hot.

Serves 3-4.

Low and Slow Roasted Plum Tomatoes

There are many different approaches to making and using roasted tomatoes. Here's another one, optimal for plum tomatoes - small to medium sized and not excessively juicy. The result is excellent ground or pureed into a pasty sauce and applied to pasta, roasted meat, or vegetables. Alternatively, you can freeze the roasted tomatoes for later use.

4-6 cups plum tomatoes or similar
Good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dried herbs: optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and core and seed. Spread them out cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. You may wish to line it with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Drizzle the tomatoes generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, generously but not to excess. If desired, you may also sprinkle with one or more dried herbs: basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, and/or thyme would all work well.

Roast the tomatoes for an hour, or a bit longer if they are on the large side. When they are done, they will have mostly collapsed and slightly caramelized; they will still be somewhat moist but not juicy,

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Thai Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

This salad is a medley of shredded vegetables with a tangy, peanut-y dressing. Add any type of cooked meat, or broiled or fried tofu, to make it a main dish.  I used leftover pork, but chicken or steak - especially if grilled - would be great, too.

2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 medium summer squash, shredded
1 medium cucumber, shredded
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or Thai basil, or mint, or a combination)
3 cups cooked meat or tofu
1/2 cup toasted peanuts
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 tsp fish sauce
1-2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp minced ginger
Water as needed

Cheesy Summer Squash with Bacon

This was an inspired variation on my standard Cheesy Summer Squash Saute on a night when I had lots of squash, and an open package of bacon, but no basil on hand. The addition of bacon, along with the cheese, makes this substantial enough to serve as a main dish if you like.

4-6 ounces uncooked bacon, chopped small
1 large onion, sliced
3-4 large summer squashes or zucchinis, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds (or half or quarter rounds)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Cook the bacon most of the way in a large skillet. Pour off excess fat if there is a lot, leaving a generous amount for sauteing the onions and squash.

Add the onions and squash to the pan and saute over high heat for a few minutes, until they begin to brown on the bottom, then lower the heat to medium and saute, stirring periodically, until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from heat and top with cheese. Cover until the cheese melts. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Potato Salad with White Beans and Herbs

This is another simple salad where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It disappeared very quickly at the table. I used a mix of parsley and basil for the herbs, which worked well, but you could also try dill, mint, or oregano.

1 pint new potatoes (ideally small ones)
2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini (or one can)
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces if needed (leave the skin on). Boil then in a pot of salted water until tender but not too soft. Drain.

Combine the vinegar and olive oil and carefully dress the potatoes, ensuring they are all well coated but not mashing them. Refrigerate until cool.

Combine the cooled potatoes with the beans and herbs and toss gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves about 4.

Chickpea Feta Salad with Dill

I got some great aged feta from Upinngil Farm that I used in this salad. Regular feta would work well, too, but I liked that the aged feta was firm enough to dice and had a slightly milder flavor. This salad is simple but hearty, satisfying, and delicious. It can form the basis for a good hot weather dinner when paired with one or more additional salads or alongside some bread, salami, and olives.

3 cups cooked chickpeas
4-6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small dice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or more to taste
2-3 tsp lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.

Serves 4-6.