Spice Things Up

IMG_8087

Every now and then, I get a craving for some good curry and I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone of yellow curry and try something new. Curry is a wonderfully complex flavor profile that mixes different spices and herbs and it works well with just about any meat or seafood out there. Since I am also a fan of red and green curry dishes, I decided to give red curry a try with ground pork. This was simple and quick and full of flavor. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.

Red Curry with Pork

1 lb ground pork
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh garlic (8-10 medium cloves)
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup diced carrot (2 medium or 1 large carrot)
2 tbsp. red curry paste
1 cup of torn fresh basil
1 14oz can coconut milk
7 oz water
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder

Directions:
1. Place a large pot over medium heat and warm oil.
2. Add pork to oil and break apart with a spoon.
3. Peel and dice onion and peel and mince garlic. Add to pork with onion powder and half of the salt and pepper and mix well. Cook until pork is browned.
4. Rinse and chop bell pepper and peel and chop a large carrot. Add both to the pot and stir well.
5. Add red curry paste and mix in well. Add coconut milk and fill can halfway with water and add water. Rinse and roughly chop basil and add to the pot.
6. Add remaining seasoning and stir. Reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
7. Serve with 1/2 cup of rice and top with fresh basil.

A Bit of Pesto

IMG_8077

Pesto is an incredibly flavorful addition to pasta. I love a nice bowl of pesto alfredo pasta with shrimp or chicken and colored myself inspired with the lovage pesto that I saw at the farmer’s market on Saturday. Though, I love a good bowl of pasta, I wanted to try my hand at zucchini pasta to see what all the fuss was about. I found a nifty, hand held veggetti spiraler for $9.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond and was sold. Now if you’re thinking, the pesto and pasta alternatives are too much change for one dish, you can always stick to traditional pesto, and mix the zucchini pasta with traditional or whole wheat spaghetti. As I am frequently touting the perks of separating shrimp or other proteins ahead of time, this dish is where that’s super helpful. I pulled out a couple of serving bags for this dish and defrosted the shrimp in the bag in lukewarm water for 10 minutes while I cooked everything else. If you are not a fan of shrimp, I’d recommend cubing chicken breasts or thighs and sautéing it with diced onion until cooked before adding to your pasta. I also picked up some purple long beans from the farmers market which made a great side to my creamy bowl of pesto alfredo zucchini pasta. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
2 medium zucchini
1 cup whole milk or 2%
1/2 packet (4oz) of low fat cream cheese cubed
1/2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. pesto
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. onion powder
1tbsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 tbsp. parsley (optional)

 

Directions:
1. Add frozen shrimp to a bowl or sink of lukewarm water to defrost.
2. Over low heat, add milk to a medium pot.
3. Cube cream cheese and butter and add to the pot. Let melt for 1 minute, then mix with a fork or whisk until dissolved.
4. Add flour and mix until dissolved. Add seasoning and pesto and mix well.
5. Wash spiraler and zucchini. Spiral zucchini and add to the pot.
6. Add defrosted shrimp. Let cook for 5 minutes until shrimp are cooked and zucchini tender.
7. Chop parsley for garnish. Serve and enjoy.

 

A Bit of Comfort

IMG_8038

Sometimes, a bit of comfort is called for and smothered steak, mashed potatoes and spinach certainly does the trick in my book. This was an easy dish to simmer slowly while I did house work as I ended a travel season. I do enjoy eating out on occasion, but there is something to be said about a home-cooked meal and this dish popped into my head. I picked up some sliced beef shoulder steak and beef round steak since they were both small packages and seared and braised them slowly in a thickened beef stock with onion and bell pepper. You can always use any cut of beef you like, but braising works better for tougher meats to help break the meat down and make the steak tender. Also, both cuts of beef were inexpensive and became perfectly tender. Whether with rice or potatoes as I had them, the smothered steak will be tasty both ways. Also, though I cooked spinach, I also brought a bag of mixed greens for a couple of easy salads during the week. Check out the recipe for the steak below.

Ingredients:
1 pack of shoulder steak (1/2 – 3/4 lb.)
1 pack of beef round steak (1/2 lb.)
1 can beef stock
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup water.

Directions:
1. Set out steaks 10 minutes before ready to cook to let meat rest.
3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. While heating, season one side of the steak with 1/4 of the seasoning.
4. Add season-side down and season other side with a fourth of salt and pepper. (If all of the steaks don’t fit in one layer, brown in two batches.) Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes.
5. Remove meat from pan to s large plate and add water to deglaze pan. Add butter and flour and whisk until light brown. Add stock and remaining seasoning and mix well.
6. Peel and thinly slice onion. Rinse and slice bell pepper before chopping it large and adding both to the pan.
7. Place steak of top of vegetables, top and reduce heat to low or simmer.
8. Let cook for 30-40 minutes. Cook potatoes or rice in the last 20 minutes of cooking so it is ready at the same time.
9. The salad or spinach can be prepared in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
10. Plate and enjoy.

A Bit Of Green Onion Sausage

IMG_8028.JPG

With the dreary weather expected this week, I was in the mood for some jambalaya. I’ve posted before about my preference for traditional New Orleans styled jambalaya with seafood, sausage and a red sauce to boot. I decided to highlight some local green onion sausage that I picked up at Soprano’s supermarket in Livonia parish which is about 30 minutes or so from Baton Rouge on Hwy 190. My dad loves to find gems off the beaten path and Soprano’s green onion sausage certainly makes the list. The sausage is made in house and the store offers both fresh and smoked options as well as other flavor combinations. Green onion sausage is tasty and pretty easy to find, so try a brand that you like and give it a try.

I also picked up some fresh turnips, green onion and red potatoes from the farmers market to make a quick soup with some of the sausage as a second option for meals this week. With a little help from a kohlrabi salad mix (kohlrabi, kale, shredded golden beets) from Trader Joe’s and a quick pickle of shaved turnips and thinly sliced yellow onion, that will be a nice side to my soup meals. For some added sweetness, you can also grate or thinly slice a small red apple into the salad mix. Since I have previously posted a jambalaya recipe, check out the soup and salad recipes below.

Potato, turnip and Sausage Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup diced red potato (2 medium)
1 cup diced turnip root (2 medium)
2 cups chopped turnip greens
1/4 lb green onion sausage
1 small yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 14.5oz can of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. Peel and thinly slice onion. Add to a medium pot over medium heat with olive oil. Once it begins to sizzle and brown (2 mins) add 1/2 cup of water to carmalize the onions.
2. Remove green tops from turnip roots and soak tops in water in a bowl or the sink to remove dirt.
3. Using a potato peeler, peel turnips until dirty skin is removed. Cut off skinny end and green stem end. The cut in half and dice into medium pieces. Add to the pot with onions and add remaining water and bring to a boil.
4. Rinse potatoes and dice into medium pieces and add to the pot.
5. Cut sausage in half long-wise before slicing thin and add to the pot. Add seasoning.
6. Rinse and chop turnip greens and green onion and add to the pot.
7. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Enjoy.

 

Kohlrabi and Kale Salad
Serves 1

Ingredients:
1 cup salad mix
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp. local honey
1 tbsp. thinly sliced onion
1 tbsp. thinly sliced turnip
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Directions.:
1. In a bowl, add vinegar and honey and mix with a fork until dissolved. Add seasonings.
2. Peel and thinly slice a small onion (About two cuts worth). Add to the vinegar.
3. Peel dirty skin from turnip. Rinse peeler and then use to peel thin pieces into the bowl.
4. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then add salad mix and toss well with a fork.
5. Enjoy.

 

A Bit Of Flavor

IMG_8009.JPG

It was great to celebrate summer produce with a food demo yesterday at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market. With beautiful seasonal corn, tomatoes and cucumber in abundance, it served as a great base for a shrimp bowl. Thanks to Anna Marie Seafood Company, Lena Farm, Chenier Farm and the Fekete Farm for great produce and homemade jelly for the dish.

Not only was this a simple dish, but one that was easy to make with two different flavors to mix things up. This is an easy dish to make before hand and store as individual servings in the fridge for go-to lunch or dinner meals during the week. Depending on your preference, you can make the shrimp all at once and either warm the shrimp separate, or eat cool bowls. I prefer to cook the shrimp two servings per person at a time by making individual and double serving-sized ziploc bags of shrimp that I stock in the freezer. Mix and store the dressings in mason jars or small containers and add 1-2 tbsp. to each serving before eating. The base ingredients are for 8 servings and each dressing is for 4 servings. Check out the two recipes below.

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 7 minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups of fresh corn (4-5 ears)
2 cups diced tomato (2-4 small tomatoes)
2 cups of diced cucumber
1 cup micro greens (optional)
1/2 cup green onion

Shrimp ingredients:
2 lbs shrimp (5-6 pieces per serving)
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

Dressing 1 ingredients:
2 tbsp. Lena’s hibiscus and bishop crown pepper jelly
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper

Dressing 2 ingredients:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped fresh orange mint
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. If cooking shrimp all at once, add peeled and deveined shrimp to a large ziploc bag, add seasoning and oil and close it. Massage or shake shrimp to distribute seasoning evenly. Let sit so Flavor soaks in.
2. Shuck and rinse corn to remove strings. In a large bowl, cut corn off of cob into bowl, one at a time.
3. Peel cucumber in one-inch strips leaving some skin for additional nutrients. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut the fourth of cucumber in half horizontally, then into strips before dicing to get a small dice. Repeat with remaining three pieces.
4. On a cutting board score and dice tomato and add to bowl.
5. Rinse and chop green onion and add to bowl. Mix with a spoon and add evenly to individual containers.
6. To make dressing one, add jelly and vinegar to a mason jar or small container and mix with a fork until jelly is dissolved. Add oil and seasoning. Store until ready to use.
7. To make dressing two, chop mint and onion and add to mason jar or container. Add vinegar, oil and seasoning and mix well. Store until ready to use.
8. Heat a large skillet over medium- high heat for two minutes. Add shrimp to skillet in an even, flat layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side. *If all of the shrimp doesn’t fit into the skillet, lower heat for the second batch to prevent over cooking shrimp.
9. Add dressing and shrimp to a pre-made bowl and enjoy!

 

A Bit Of Eggplant

image

Eggplant is one of those misunderstood vegetables. It grows in many varieties with varying levels of sweetness and is easy to incorporate in a roasted vegetable medley, ratatouille, or made creole style with seafood and ground meat. I decided to give it some Asian flavor with a little sesame oil, ground ginger and a healthy hand of green onion. Since I keep shrimp on hand, that was a simple protein to add atop my sautéed eggplant. Check out the recipe below and let me know your thoughts.

Sautéed shrimp and eggplant
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant
1 small onion diced
1 small bell pepper diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp. onion powder
10 medium shrimp
1 medium lime

Directions:
1. Rinse eggplant and cut off ends. Cut in half longwise, then cut each half into thirds in slices. Keep slices stacked and cut into strips before dicing. Repeat with second half.
2. Rinse bell pepper then cut in half and remove seeds and stem. Cut into strips then dice. Repeat with second half.
3. Cut one end off the onion then cut in half and peel each half. Cut into strips up to the remaining end then dice. (Keep to stabilize the onion while you dice). Repeat with second half.
4. Peel and dice cloves of garlic.
5. Heat sesame and 1/2 the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables once hot. Add half of the seasonings and stir well. Add a splash of water to prevent sticking. Let cook for 5 minutes.
6. While mixture continues to cook, peel and devein shrimp and season with remaining seasoning.
7. In a small skillet, heat remaining olive oil and add shrimp, seasoned side down once hot. Cook for three minutes, stir vegetable mixture then flip shrimp. Cut lime in half and squeeze a half over the shrimp. Let cook for 2-3 minutes then turn off heat.
8. Plate and enjoy.

A Bit Of Peaches

image

With summer upon us, lighter dinner options are a must. I am a fan of salad because it’s versatile and a great way to try out new vegetables and incorporate new flavors. Peaches are in season and a great pop of sweet to a summer salad. I also like to pull a few herbs from my planters and go to town in salads and summer cocktails. In this case, it would be great to pair the two together. If you did not give the adult popsicles a try, this would be a nice dish to enjoy it with or a glass of wine. 😉

Peach and basil salad
Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
2 cups of chopped arugula
1 cup of chopped lettuce
1 small peach diced
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 cup tomato
2 tbsp. feta cheese
1 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. chopped pecans (optional)

Dressing:
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. local honey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. Rinse and chop lettuce and arugula.
2. Peel cucumber if preferred, then cut in half horizontally, then make three vertical cuts longwise (scoring the cucumber), then dice.
3. Rinse and slice tomato in preferred size.
4. Rinse peach and score it as if cutting off slices. Then cut in small chunks by cutting horizontally around the peach and removing chunks from pit.
5. Add ingredients to bowl, then top with feta cheese and pecans.
6. Rinse basil leaves then stack and roll to cut them into ribbons. Add to salad bowl or plate.
7. Add ingredients for dressing into a small bowl and mix until honey is dissolved.
8,. Add to salad and enjoy.