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Recipes

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For the Love of Food: Grilled Free Range Chicken, Salad and Eggplant

Posted on by Alycia

This one’s super-simple to prepare, although it does require a few extra pre-cooking steps.  First, head to Reading Terminal Market, or anywhere else that sells free range, locally grown chicken parts ( thighs, breasts, legs). The ones that we used in this recipe were only $2/lb at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.

(NOTE: An in depth look into all of those buzzwords you here these days, like “free range”, “grassfed”, will be in an upcoming post)

Marinate a bunch of chicken overnight in a plastic bag in the fridge with Newman’s Own Family Recipe Italian Dressing if you’re strapped for time, or make your own dressing with 1-2 T each of Italian spices (oregano, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper) with 2/3  cup of olive oil and a few teaspoons of vinegar ( white or balsamic. keep adding and testing, until you get the amount you like). Save the leftover dressing in an airtight container in the fridge.   The Newman’s Own version is one of the best store-bought options, but it does include some non-foods in there.

Where was I? Oh yeah, so marinate that overnight. The next night, remove from the fridge and fire up the grill.  While the grill is heating up….

Rinse and chop up some baby spinach and/or arugula and pat dry. Chop up a bunch of salad toppings (red onion, red peppers, baby bella mushrooms,  broccoli, cucumber, or whatever you want!). Combine the greens with the toppings, and add some sundried tomatoes on top, or a little of that Italian dressing that you made the other day ( no, not the stuff that’s at the bottom of the chicken bag). Toss and set aside.

Put the chicken on the grill on a low temperature. Continually check it and flip it. Some good tips are not to let it catch on fire, and to cook it all the way through  :) . For more grilling tips that are specific to the type of grill you have, use Google.

During the first 5 minutes of the chicken on the grill, turn on the oven to 375. ( or, you can skip this part and just use the grill for double duty, if there is room on it).

Slice a purple Italian eggplant into rounds, season with olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Lay the pieces out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 min, flip the pieces, then cook for another 15 minutes or so. OR, put them on the grill with the chicken, and flip occasionally. Cook until the edges start to get a little crispy and the middle is really soft.

While the eggplant is cooking, continue to flip the chicken every 5 minutes. The chicken should be done cooking after about 20-25 minutes on the grill. The skin should be crispy and golden brown.

Start with the salad, continue to check on the eggplant in the oven, and when it’s done, enjoy the meal!

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For the Love of Food: Cooking White Eggplant

Posted on by Alycia

How the heck to you cook white eggplant, you ask?

The same way as purple eggplant!

Same vegetable, different color.

You can drench it in olive oil and bake in the oven for 20 min. You can grill it. You can saute it with chicken. You can slice it super thin, add some salt and olive oil and bake them into eggplant chips….the possibilities are endless, really!

For this dish, I resisted the urge to add the holy grail of meats, bacon, to the recipe. A vegetable as flavorful as eggplant doesn’t really need any help. :)

For this dish, here’s what I did:

Wash the white eggplant, and cut off the top part with the green leaves and stem.

Cut the eggplant into round pieces, trying to keep the thickness of each slice relatively consistent.

Cut half of a white onion into thick, long slices.

Saute both in a large saute pan for with some olive oil or coconut oil, turning frequently.

While those are cooking, wash and chop a bunch of kale, removing the thick parts of the stems. Chop the kale into bite sized squares or so. Also chop a small red tomato into bite sized pieces.

When the white eggplant starts to turn a little brown and translucent, add the kale and the tomatoes to the pan and saute for about 3-4 minutes, or until the kale just starts to wilt.

Enjoy!

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For the Love of Food: Cooking Kohlrabi

Posted on by Alycia

Cooking WHAT??!!

Kohlrabi is a root vegetable. It looks like a bunch of beets, and tastes like something in between a turnip and a potato. Our member, Beth, asked if I had ever made it before, and I admitted that I had never even HEARD of it before! It’s available at the Wegmans up on Route 38, but I have yet to find it at the one on Route 70.

After finding it at the store,  and not really knowing what it would taste like, I was decided to turn it into a side dish that involved a little more  than just boiling and seasoning the pieces, which is what we would normally do to sweet potatoes, turnips or parsnips. Instead, we decided to turn it into a hash. This is what we did:

Remove the kohlrabi from it’s leaves and remove the outer layer of skin with a vegetable peeler.

Chop each bulb into small sugar cube-sized squares (no need to be exact with the cuts) and drop them into a pot of boiling water for about 15-20 minutes.

While that’s cooking, cook two strips of (nitrite and nitrate free) bacon on the stove in a frying pan. Turn as needed, and drain out some of the bacon fat ( but save it!) so it gets nice a crispy in the end.

Meanwhile, dice about 1/4 of two different types of pepper and 1/4 of a red onion. For this dish, we used a small organic pimento pepper, and part of a ‘purple beauty’ pepper, both of which we got from the Haddonfield Farmer’s Market.

After the bacon is done, pour all of the bacon fat into a large saute pan, and start to cook the onions and peppers.

By now, the Kohlrabi should be just about done. Drain and add that to the saute pan.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add a few (or many) shakes of Frank’s Red Hot, or your hot sauce of preference.

Add in the bacon, just as the onions and peppers get soft.

Serve and eat for breakfast or dinner!

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For the Love of Food: Oven Roasted Pork Loin with Asparagus and Peppers

Posted on by Alycia

Justin turned 30 this past June and we had some friends over to celebrate. Among his favorite gifts was an enormous 16 lb. pork tenderloin. It was giftwrapped and presented to him with care by his good friend, Bob, who obviously knows him well.

We decided that the best use of the meat would be to chop it up into 4 equal parts, and cook each 4lb section on a different day, and in a different style.  The first three variations all started in the crock pot. For the last piece, however, I decided to use the oven to cook the meat, hoping that it would still retain it’s juiciness. It did. :)

To prepare for this recipe, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place the pork loin ( about 3-4 pounds) in a baking dish. If there is a layer of fat on the meat, position it so that the fat layer is facing up. It might be helpful to use a roasting pan that has a rack. If you don’t have one, some twisted up tin foil will do just fine.

Season the meat liberally with a mix of olive oil, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. The first three spices should equal up to about 1T, and the salt and pepper should be another Tablespoon, combined. Mix those spices and the olive oil in a small dish and create a paste. Then, slather it on the top and sides of the meat.

Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 250 degrees and cook for an additional 50-70 minutes. It’s done when the center is slightly pink, but not fleshy. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before eating.

While the roast is cooling down, chop up some thin asparagus into halves, cut up half of an orange or yellow pepper, and about a quarter of a red onion. Steam the asparagus and peppers by cooking them in a large saute pan with a few teaspoons of water, and covered with a lid. After 5 minutes, uncover and add in the onions.  Season it simply, and let the water boil off. Serve and eat!

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For the Love of Food: Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Mash

Posted on by Alycia

Kale and raisins. Brussels sprouts and bacon fat. Thai food leftovers and eggs. Every so often, an unlikely, but truly delicious combination of foods will make its way into our normal dinnertime rotation. These mash-ups are noteworthy because they make new use of commonplace ingredients, and help us to expand our food and flavor horizons to discover new flavors we didn’t even know we liked.

This particular ‘familiar food mash up’ was handed down to us from Justin’s parents, and manages to sneak two totally different vegetables into one delicious side dish.

In a large pot, boil a head of cauliflower and a large, peeled sweet potato that has been cut into 2 inch chunks.

After 15-20 minutes, or when the sweet potato and cauliflower are both soft, drain the water and place the veggies in a colander. Press down on the cauliflower to remove some of the excess water.

In the original pot, place 2-3 pads of Kerrygold butter and a splash of heavy cream, and pour the veggies on top.

Sprinkle some Italian seasonings on top (oregano, garlic powder, pepper, thyme) and mash with a potato masher or a large slotted spoon and enjoy!

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For the Love of Food: Curry Chicken with Vegetables

Posted on by Alycia

If you’re a beginner to intermediate level cook, you’ve probably found out by now that there are certain regional dishes that are best left up to the experts. Sure, there are a handful of international standards that are easy to replicate, or to add your personal touch to and call your own – a great meat sauce, perfectly seasoned taco meat, grilled lamb, to name a few. There are other sauces, marinades, cooking techniques, and complete dishes that will remain as foreign to most as the land from which they hail. Many of these said dishes come from the East, and contain specific spices, oils, and cooking methods that aren’t easily procured here in the US, or are to intimidating to even try in one’s own kitchen. Try as we might to replicate the aroma, consistency or taste of Asian and Indian dishes, they tend to turn out ‘good’, but a little ‘off’ in one way or another.

It’s for these dishes that we turn to prepared sauces or spice blends to help us capture the true essence of international cuisine. We’ve recently discovered Patak’s Original sauces and have had great success with every type that we’ve tried! Not only are they delicious and sooo easy to make, they also don’t contain artificial colors or flavors, and little to none of the unpronounceable chemicals that often accompany many conventional  jarred or canned sauces. While they are a departure from our normal mantra of ‘only eat real, whole foods’, they are a close second choice.

The preparation and cooking is so simple.

1. Choose a sauce that you think you’ll like. Take a look at the ingredients, and pick up a few different types, if you are undecided.

2. Dump the whole jar of sauce over some boneless chicken breasts or thigh cutlets ( cut them into small chunks)  and store in the fridge overnight in a resealable container.

3. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, put the sauce and the chicken into a pot with a lid. Let it heat up on high for about 5 minutes, then lower to simmer for an additional 20-25 minutes.

4. For a complete meal, serve with some vegetables. Pictured here is some kale that we chopped, tossed in olive oil and sauteed in a pan with some diced red peppers, as well as some parsnips that we boiled while the chicken was cooking, and seasoned with pepper.

These delicious sauces can help you to savor the flavors of Indian cooking without venturing too far from our dietary recommendations, and without spending $$$ on a meal prepared at a restaurant. Try one this week!

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For the Love of Food: How to Cook Baby Bock Choy

Posted on by Alycia

How to Cook Baby Bok Choy:

1. Rinse 2-4  well and pat dry

2. Chop a very little bit off the hard end

3. Slice each baby bok choy in half, lengthwise

4. Melt a big pad of butter ( Kerrygold Irish Butter) in a saute pan

5. Place each bok choy half in the pan, face down. Sprinkle black cracked pepper on top

6. Cover and cook on medium for 5-6 minutes

7. Flip each piece carefully, trying not to break the halves into smaller pieces

8. Cook for another 5-6 minutes or until soft

EAT!

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For the Love of Food: Whole chicken on the grill with roasted asparagus and mushrooms

Posted on by Alycia

Chicken is a great source of protein, it’s mild enough for picky eaters, it’s easy to tell when it’s done, and there are a ton of recipes for it. The problem with chicken, though, is that it’s pretty boring and it often dries out if you saute or bake it.

Thankfully, I found a great new recipe for chicken that’s flavorful, juicy, and looks like a leaping frog! I first heard about the recipe when I heard an interview on NPR radio with Maricel Presilla, a food historian ( best job EVER?), who discovered the recipe in Argentina. The recipe is listed here at Gourmet.com.  Since the recipe isn’t one of our originals, I refrained from posting it here, but I did include a helpful tutorial about preparing the chicken for the grill ( also from Gourmet.com) , and some photos from our experience.

“(1) With the drumsticks of the chicken facing you, cut between the body and one drumstick, leaving the drumstick attached. (2) Widen the area around the thigh joint and bend the leg back until it pops out of joint but still remains attached. It’s not difficult to do; it’s actually a matter of feel. You’ll see, the next drumstick will go much faster. (3) Exchange your knife for kitchen or poultry shears. Lifting up the breast, cut through the ribs all the way to the shoulder joint, first on one side, then on the other. Now the bird is essentially in two pieces that are hinged at the shoulders. Turning over the chicken so that it is skin side up, open it so that it’s splayed out on the work surface. (4) With the heel of one hand, press down hard on the breastbone to crack and flatten it. (5) Stand back and admire your work.”

We also roasted some asparagus with mushrooms, black pepper, oregano, olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Combine all ingredients on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes, turning the pieces over at about 8 minutes in.

If you have any questions, or if there is something that you don’t understand from the recipe listed on Gourmet.com, post them below! If you make this recipe, post your thoughts!

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For the Love of Food: Quick and Easy Escarole

Posted on by Alycia

Escarole is awesome. It’s a member of the endive family,  looks pretty similar to green leaf lettuce, and can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. It’s a great source of vitamin A, K , folic acid and dietary fiber. It tastes great, and is super-easy to prepare. We think it should be added to your food repertoire TODAY!

Rinse about 10-12 ‘baby bella’ or crimini mushrooms ( cut the large ones in half, if necessary) and toss them with olive oil in a deep pot.

Add 1/4 of a white onion cut into slivers, and some chopped garlic ( about 2 cloves) into the pot. Season with black pepper and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Cook these on medium heat until the mushrooms turn a darker shade of tan, and the onions soften.

While the mushrooms and onions are cooking, rinse and chop one head of escarole into 2 inch squares. Dry the leaves in a salad spinner, or place on paper towels until they dry. Add them to the pot, stir to mix the olive oil and veggies into the leaves. Cook just until the leaves start to soften. Don’t overcook.

And that’s it! Just another super-simple recipe to remind you that yes, you can cook.

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For the Love of Food: Almond Crusted Spicy Pork Chops with a Hot Salad

Posted on by Alycia

Some people, when given a plate full of salad topped with chicken, will say “its not enough. I won’t get full”, or “I don’t like salads”. But if you put a plate of chicken, broccoli, zucchini, squash, cooked spinach, and cauliflower infront of them, they’ll gladly eat it and consider it a meal. Other than containing slightly more variety of vegetables than a salad, the only difference between plate 1 and plate 2 is the temperature and seasonings on the vegetables.

For most people, ‘cooking’ a salad is an easy way to show them that they do, in fact, like vegetables!

On a plate, combine some almond meal (Trader Joe’s has this pretty cheap) with some cayenne pepper, chili powder, cilantro and garlic powder. In a bowl, mix together two eggs. Drag 4 pork chops through the egg, then the almond meal, coating them on all sides.

Cook the pork chops in some olive oil on the stove.  Turn over carefully about halfway through. These were thick, so they took about 12-15 minutes total.

Meanwhile, gather some ingredients that you might put into a salad ( any veggies, really) and chop into small rounds. Rinse and chop a head of green leaf lettuce. I used carrots, zucchini and eggplant, as shown in this picture.

“Roast” some garlic in the microwave by peeling and poking 2 or 3 cloves, setting them on a plate with some olive oil, and putting them in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Add them to the sliced veggies and cook in a deep pot, with some coconut oil and Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning.

Once the veggies have softened, add in the green leaf lettuce.

At this point, your pork should be done.

Put it on a plate and eat it. ( The audible “nom,nom,nom” is optional).

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