A Bit Of Strawberries

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Seasonal strawberries are a wonderful addition to many spring dishes. I used it both in the dish and as a fresh pitcher of strawberry lemonade. I was happy to make this dish for the BREADA pop up mobile market last Wednesday. I decided to take my own advice and make some chicken salad to go on top. Everyone has their own recipe and I’ll admit, I’m guilty of modifications depending on my mood. 🙂 I previously shared a chicken salad recipe and I modified the dish with oven baked chicken. See the ingredients and recipes below. The goat cheese can be substituted for blue cheese or any other preferred. Feel free to share your thoughts if you try it.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:

6 cups of fresh spinach
1 cup sliced white onion
½ cup of water
2 tbsp. chocolate raspberry balsamic vinegar (Miletello’s)
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. coarse black pepper
1 cup of sliced strawberries
1/4 cup of chopped pecans
2 tbsp. goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

1. Wash spinach by filling a large bowl or sink with water and covering the leaves for 5 minutes. In an even layer, place leaves on a bed of paper towels or strain with a salad spinner. Set aside.
2. Cut the ends off and peel a small white onion. Cut the onion in half and slice each half into thin strips.
3. Place the onion in a pan over medium heat with the water and stir every 3-5 minutes for 12 minutes. Onions will begin to caramelize.
4. While onions cook, add balsamic vinegar and rice wine vinegar to a medium-sized bowl and whisk in the olive oil until well mixed. Season with the salt and pepper.
5. Stir onions and turn off heat before slicing the spinach into ribbons and adding it to the dressing. This helps to break down the spinach and is easier to eat. Toss the spinach with a gloved hand or tongs until evenly coated.
6. Thinly slice strawberries and toss with the spinach. Plate the mixture and add ¼ of the onions to each plate and add a tablespoon of chopped pecans to each plate. Add ½ tbsp. of goat cheese to each plate if preferred.
7. Enjoy.

Note: To make this a full meal, add chicken salad, grilled chicken or a protein of choice.

A Bit Of Tradition

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While Monday is the traditional day for red beans in the South, it’s always better the second day and is all about the sides. I decided to pair my leftover beans with a sweet and spicy glazed pork chop.  You can always add a side steamed or sautĂ©ed vegetable of choice.  I had sautĂ©ed rainbow Swiss chard that I kept simple with a few seasonings and steamed. I know most people have family recipes for red beans so this is more of an idea for an alternative. I sometimes add additional pork and skip the bell pepper but it really depends on what I am in the mood for. I also made a pitcher of fresh strawberry lemonade that is a great pairing with vodka for the adult version. I’ll save that recipe for a summer cocktail post. 🙂 Below are the ingredients and directions for the beans and the pork chops.

Ingredients Red Beans:

  • 1lb Camilla red beans
  • 1 lb. sausage of your choice
  • 3 large bay leaves
  • 12 cups of water
  • 1 large yellow onion (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 small green bell pepper diced (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of rice

Ingredients Pork Chops:

  • 2 thin pork chops (if four, double the dry ingredients below)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. honey per chop

 

Directions:

  1. Peel and dice onion. Wash and dice bell pepper. Add to a pot over medium heat.
  2. ­ Stir once the onion and pepper begins to sizzle and add the red beans. Add a ½ cup of water to prevent sticking and let top to contain heat. Once the beans begin to wrinkle, add 4 cups of water until beans are covered in water and bay leaves. Let cook for 1.5 hours.
  3. Once beans have been cooking for an hour and a half, you should be able to smash some of the beans with the back of your spoon against the side of the pot. This makes the beans creamy. Add another 4 cups of water.
  4. Slice sausage into ½ inch slices and add sausage and other seasoning.
  5. Let cook for another hour.
  6. With 20 minutes left of the hour for the beans, remove chops from fridge and let sit for 10 minutes to remove chill.
  7. Add the cup of rice to a small pot and rinse and drain with cool water. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, add a pinch of salt, top it and reduce to low heat. Set timer for 20 minutes.
  8. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Season one sider with half of the seasonings excluding the honey and flip over to season the other side. Drizzle honey on top.
  9. Broil in the oven for 10 minutes. (you can also pan fry it on the stove over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.) Remove from the oven and turn off oven and stove.
  10. Plate and enjoy! (You can add 1 tsp. of chopped green onion for garnish if preferred.)

A Bit Of Hash

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I meant it when I said that I like to use my leftovers. I went to the farmer’s market Saturday and picked up some fresh red potatoes, spinach green onion and egg to make a hash with my leftover steak from my steak dinner. I typically like to keep leftover reheating of items like steak or seafood to 1-3 days. When I say this was delicious and hit the spot after kickboxing and Krav Maga, I do not jest. While  I was prepping the potatoes for this dish, I also decided to make two single-serving bags for breakfast during the week or weekend brunch. Essentially you would expand the potato portion of the recipe below for the number of people you are cooking for, prep the onion and potatoes in the same way and put it in a Ziploc bag and then the freezer until ready to use. You can also add white onion and bell pepper if desired. See the ingredients and recipe below for this easy breakfast brunch or dinner. As always, feel free to share your thoughts.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 small red potatoes (1/2 cup)
  • ÂĽ cup of chopped green onion
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of oil or butter of choice
  • Leftover steak (4-6 oz)

 

Directions:

  1. Wash potatoes. Cut in half longwise and then dice each half by slicing each half into strips and then dicing into smaller pieces. You want them small so that they cook faster.
  2. Rinse and chop green onion. (Reserve a tbsp. of onion for eggs.) Smash garlic gloves to remove skin with the flat of your knife, cut off ends and then run dice until fine.
  3. Use half of the oil of your choice and heat over medium heat until pan is hot.
  4. Add potatoes, green onion, garlic and half of seasoning. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes before adding water topping it and reducing to medium-low heat. Let cook for 8 minutes.
  5. Rinse and chop spinach while potatoes are cooking. After 8 minutes stir the mixture and then add the spinach and the other half of seasoning. Let cook for 5 minutes.
  6. While spinach is cooking, cube the remaining steak. Reduce heat on potatoes and add steak to pan. Let cook for 2 minutes then cut off heat. The steak will continue to cook in residual heat.
  7. In a separate pan, heat the other half of the oil and drop in the 1 tbsp. of green onion. Once heated add eggs and cook to preferred temperature.
  8. Plate hash and top with the eggs. Enjoy!

A Bit Of Steak

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A good steak is an easy go-to dish during the week as it’s quick to prepare and can be paired with any sides such as onion mashed potatoes and a veggie dish of choice. I simply season my steaks with salt, coarse black pepper and onion powder on each side and it is good to go. It’s also great because leftover steak is a breakfast dream. I am a fan of breakfast steak tacos or a steak and potato hash with eggs. Of course the temperature that your steak is cooked to will determine what can be done with the leftovers if you don’t eat it all. I prefer to cook my steak to a medium temperature because I find it more tender and leftovers heat nicely to well done without being tough. There are many online references for time to cook different cuts of steak and thickness. One guide that I have found useful is www.allenbrothers.com/cooking-guide/grilling-guide/  for cooking varying temperatures for different guests. The real stars of this dish are the caramelized onions and mushrooms and the asparagus which I roasted with balsamic vinegar, honey and a few simple spices. Typically I will start the cooking the steak once I’ve started the toppers and have the asparagus in the oven so that everything finishes cooking around the same time. The recipe for each is listed below and I hope is as enjoyable to you as it certainly was to me. Please share your thoughts and feedback if you try the recipes. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients steak topper:
1 cup of sliced baby Portobello mushrooms
1 cup sliced yellow onion
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tbsp. butter

Ingredients asparagus:
1 bundle of asparagus (1 lb.)
1 tbsp. of balsamic or sherry vinegar
1 tsp. of honey
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
2. Rinse asparagus and bend one spear near the end until it breaks naturally. Use that as a ruler to cut the other spears evenly before placing the asparagus on the baking sheet.
3.  Mix vinegar and honey with a fork until combined in a small bowl or dish. Add vinegar mixture to asparagus and rub in an even coat with a gloves hand. Add seasoning in an even layer. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Set the timer.
4. Wet a paper towel and wipe excess dirt from mushroom caps. Do not run under water as that makes them rubbery.
5. Heat butter over medium heat in a non-stick skillet.
6. Thinly slice mushrooms and onion and place into hot butter. Add seasoning and cover. Let cook on medium high heat for 5 minutes, then add water, reduce heat and let cool for another 6-8 minutes.
7. Remove asparagus from oven and turn off mushrooms and onion.
8. Plate with steak and enjoy.