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Friday, July 25, 2014

Baby Kale Saute

Baby Kale Saute



3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 0.6 ounce)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about 2.2 ounces)
1-1/2 pounds baby kale
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-1/2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar



Heat a 12-inch deep skillet or large dutch oven over medium-high heat (8.0 on induction cook top). When skillet is hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and swirl around bottom of pan. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and cook until garlic and shallots are beginning to brown. 


Taylor Farms brand 1.5-pound package Organic Baby Kale can be purchase at Costco.


Working in batches, add several handfuls of baby kale to the pan at a time. Using 2 spoons, toss the kale to mix with the garlic and shallots. As kale begins to wilt down, add more handfuls of baby kale to the pan.


Continue to cook and toss with 2 spoons and adding more baby kale to the pan as each batch wilts down. When all the kale is added to pan, add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until kale wilts down completely, adding more olive oil, if needed. If pan still seems dry, add just a splash of water. When kale is cooked, toss in vinegar and remove from heat.


Transfer to a serving dish.


Yield 4 to 6 servings

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Simple Turmeric Rice

Easy Turmeric Rice

This is a very simple recipe for "Yellow Rice" or "Turmeric Rice" that goes well with seafood and poultry. Most recipes will require mincing garlic and finely chopped onions, measuring out herbs and spices...I just didn't have time for mincing, chopping and sauteing. I just made a very simple rice with ground turmeric and it worked out very well. Of course, adding garlic and onion will improve the flavor, but this will be my go to recipe for turmeric rice on a rush.

3 cups medium-grain brown rice, washed well and drain (1:3.8 pounds)
One 14.5-oz. can Swanson brand 33% less-sodium chicken broth AND add water to the chicken broth to measure 4-1/2 cups (36 ounces chicken broth/water combined)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (1.0 ounce)
1 bay leaf

In a medium-size (3-quart) pot, add all ingredients to the pot. Bring to a full boil. Give a good stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low heat and cook for 45 minutes. When done, remove from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Fluff rice, remove bay leaf and rice is ready to serve. If desired, garnish with minced Italian parsley or finely sliced chives and/or toasted pine nuts or pistachios.

Yield 6 to 8 servings

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shiitake Mushroom and Scallion Frittata

Shiitake Mushroom and Scallion Frittata
Adapted from Martha Stewart, Everyday Foods


1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms*
12 whole scallions (aka green onions), including green parts, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces (about 5.7 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper as specified in direction
8 extra-large eggs (about 15.3 ounces)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces, then set aside about 1-1/2 tablespoons for topping)

*NOTE: Baby bella or cremini mushrooms can be substituted for the shiitakes, but will release a lot of liquid during browning. Saute until browned and all liquid have evaporated before proceeding with rest of recipe. Shiitake mushrooms are most reasonably priced at Asian food markets. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack to center position.


Wipe shiitake mushrooms clean with a damped cloth or paper towel. Cut off entire stems and discard (too woody to consume). If mushroom caps are large, cut in half and then sliced, crosswise, 1/4-inch thick. You will now have approximately 7.6 ounces of sliced mushrooms. Set aside.


In a medium-size bowl, mix together the eggs, about 1.5 ounces (or about 3/4 portion) of the Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon salt with a fork or whisk. Set aside.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof non-stick skillet on medium-high heat (8.0 on induction cook top). Wipe some olive oil around bottom and sides of pan. Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and swirl around the bottom of the pan. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute until browned, about 8 minutes. Add more olive oil if pan becomes dry. When mushrooms are browned, transfer to a dish and set aside.


In the same skillet, add another 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl around the bottom of pan. Add the scallions and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Saute until browned, about 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium (5.0 on induction cook top). Return mushrooms back to the pan with the scallions and cook together for another minute.


Add the egg mixture to the pan and gently give a brief stir to evenly distribute the eggs.When the edges are starting to set, sprinkle with remainder 1-1/2 tablespoons (about 1/4 portion) Parmesan cheese.


Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.


Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before servings or transferring to a serving dish.



Yield 4 to 6 servings

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Roasted Broccolini

Roasted Broccolini

Broccolini is a hybrid between broccoli and Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan). I first tasted broccolini when Earthbound Farm came out with "Broccolette." I purchased a 2-pound bag of "Broccolette" at Costco for $5.99 (now $4.99), where it is the most reasonably priced. I roasted the broccolini in the oven the same way I roast broccoli, only at a slightly lower temperature. Since then, it's been my favorite roasted vegetable. I prefer broccolini over broccoli. There is no trimming/peeling necessary in broccolini. I only trim away very little of the stalk ends because it looks dry (but that is not necessary). Just wash, dry, and cook. Broccolini is very versatile to cook with. You can boil, steam, saute, grill and roast broccolini, which roasting is my favorite way to prepare broccolini. Each stalk has a broccoli floret and a few long leaves. Some stalks will be thicker than others, so I vertically cut the thicker stalks in half for even cooking. It's that simple. Broccolini is very nutritious: high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, iron and fiber.


1 pound broccolini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position oven rack to the center of the oven.

Trim very little of each stalk ends if it looks dry and ugly. Cut thicker stalks in half, vertically, for even roasting. Plunge broccolini in a very large bowl of cold water to wash well. Drain well and towel dry. In a very large bowl, toss broccolini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place broccolini in one even layer on a shallow-rim baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. I like to roast mine for exactly 22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly in the pan. Transfer to a serving dish and ready to eat.

Yield 2 to 4 servings

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spicy Sausage Potato Kale Soup

Spicy Sausage Potato Kale Soup
Adapted from The Candid Appetite

This soup is very simple to make and tastes delicious. This is another soup recipe I will be making quite often. This recipe does not require a lot of seasonings because most of the aromatics comes from the turkey sausages. This soup is practically a complete meal in itself with the turkey sausages, potatoes and kale. The heavy cream adds a nice richness to the soup without being too heavy. With some crusty whole-wheat French bread, it's a very satisfying meal. And makes a good breakfast soup.


1 to 1.22 pounds sweet or hot Italian TURKEY sausages, casings removed
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 9.8 ounces)
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced (about 0.6 ounce)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 bunches of Lacinato kale, stemmed and thinly sliced (about 14.4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 medium-size or 2 large-size Yukon gold potatoes, UNpeeled and thinly sliced; then soaked in water to cover until needed (about 2 to 2.25 pounds)
8 cups Swanson brand 33% Less-Sodium Chicken Broth (64 ounces)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (8 ounces)

Heat a 6-quart stock pot over medium-high heat (8.0 on induction cook top) until hot. Brown the turkey sausages in a tablespoon of olive oil until browned, breaking up sausages as it is browning. If there are a lot of liquid released from the sausages, turn up heat to high heat and continue cooking. When all the liquid have evaporated, reduce heat back to medium-high heat. When sausages are done cooking, transfer sausages to a colander to drain. Set aside.

Using the same pot and over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot. Add the onions and garlic. Continue to cook on medium-high heat, stirring frequently and scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook until onions are soft and lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the kale in 3 batches, allowing each batch to wilt down as it cooks. Stir in the nutmeg. Continue to cook the kale for another 3 minutes or until it turns bright green and completely wilted down. Stir in the sliced potatoes (drained) and turkey sausages.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring soup to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer (gradually 4.0 to 2.6 on induction cook top) and continue to simmer, covered, for about 20 to 25 minutes or when potatoes are cooked tender. Taste to add more seasonings to your liking. For my taste, I only added another teaspoon of ground black pepper and no additional salt was necessary. Stir in the heavy cream. Increase heat to medium heat (5.0 on induction cook top). When soup starts to come to a boil, immediately turn off heat. Soup is ready to enjoy with some whole-wheat French bread smeared with some coconut oil.

Yield 6 to 8 servings

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine


The first time I baked these Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins from Cooking Light, it turned out to be the ugliest muffins I ever baked. They were dry and very dense. I knew these muffins would be a disaster once I mixed together the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. The muffin batter was the consistency of a cookie dough. I continued to bake these muffins anyway just to see what would be the outcome. When they were done baking, they were really small, ugly, dense, and dry. I couldn't understand how these muffins got such outstanding reviews. I wanted to throw them out immediately, but I decided to taste them first. Surprisingly the muffins were moist on the inside, but very dense. Had a good chocolate flavor, but lacked the coffee flavor. They were very dry on the exterior, but remain moist and dense brownie-like on the inside. These muffins had potential and with a few of my own modifications, the muffins are now light, tender and very moist with great chocolate/coffee flavor. Another plus... it's 100% whole wheat.

2 cups WHITE whole wheat flour (8.5 ounces)
2/3 cup unrefined natural cane sugar (4.6 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (3.4 ounces)
1 large egg (1.8 to 1.9 ounces) 
1 cup carton UNSWEETENED coconut milk (8 ounces)
5 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted (2.5 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-1/2 tablespoons NesCafe Clasico Dark Roast Instant Coffee (about 0.5 ounce)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position oven rack to the center of the oven. Spray 11 standard-size muffin cups with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.


In a large-size mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir together with a wire whisk until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Set aside.


In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Whisk in the next 4 ingredients, one at a time, until well blended. 


Add the coffee mixture to the flour mixture. Using a pastry fork or wire whisk, gently stir and fold the flour mixture with the coffee mixture until just until dry ingredients are moistened and finish folding with a rubber spatula just until incorporated. Do not over mix. Batter will be quite thick.


Divide batter among 11 muffin cups.


Bake for 18 minutes or until muffins feels firm on the top when lightly touched.


Let muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Yield 11 muffins

Monday, November 18, 2013

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
Adapted from Everyday Foods


I really love this vegetarian version of split pea soup. This soup has so much flavor on its own without having to depend on smoked turkey drumstick (or smoke ham shank) for flavor. This recipe will make a very large quantity. You can either cut the soup recipe in half or you can make the full recipe, portion it into containers and freeze it. Since this soup is vegetarian, I even have this soup for breakfast, and again for dinner the same day. It's that delicious and good for you!

2 pounds dried split peas, rinsed well and drain
4 quarts water (16 cups)
2-1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 extra-large potatoes)
1 pound carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
3 medium-size red bell peppers, seeds and membrane discarded and finely chopped (1:3.1 pounds)
2 large yellow onion, finely chopped (1:6.0 pounds)
2 large celery stalks, finely chopped (5.1 ounces)
4 large garlic cloves, finel minced (0.8 ounce)

2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 large dried bay leaf
3 to 4 teaspoons salt or to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper or to taste


Combine all the ingredients, except the salt and ground black pepper, into a 10-quart or larger stock pot. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat (Pb on induction cook top). Reduce heat to a simmer (2.4 to 2.0 on induction cook top) and cook for 3 hours, covered, stirring occasionally and skimming away foam from the surface as needed (I don't bother with the skimming, if you stir occassionally, the foam will eventually cook out). During the last hour of cooking time, continue to stir occasionally and smashing a few chunks of potatoes against the sides of the pot each time you stir.


When cooking time is up, the soup will become thicker and peas will be cooked down. Add the salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Remove from heat. Ready to serve. Let soup cool completely before portioning soup into containers and storing in the freezer. Soup will thicken even more as it is cooling and stored in the refrigerator/freezer. You may need to add water to thin it out if it becomes too thick.

Yield about 7 quarts