4/9/18

Spinach, Feta, and Caramelized Onion Toast

spinach, feta, and caramelized onion toast

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Small Plate | Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1 seeded baguette
  • butter or olive oil
  • ½ cup caramelized onions
  • 5 ounces spinach
  • ½ cup feta
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to broil (if you have multiple broiler settings, choose the lower one).
  2. Cut the baguette into slices that are approximately ½-inch thick. Smear one side with a little butter, or brush on a little oil.
  3. Place the bread slices on a cookie sheet, place in the oven with the door slightly ajar, and toast, checking every minute or so, until the bread is crisp and golden. Flip and toast the second side. (If you like your toast toastier, cook it a bit longer. If you’re only making a few pieces, you could use a toaster oven, instead). Turn off the oven, and set the toast aside, with the buttered/oiled side up.
  4. Wash the spinach, if needed, and chop it roughly. Heat 2 teaspoons of butter or oil in a medium pan over medium-low heat. When the fat is hot, add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, but still bright green. Remove from pan and set aside. Taste the spinach for seasoning. Does it need more salt? How about pepper?
  5. Remove the feta from its brine, and crumble it into a small bowl. Reserve the liquid, which can be used in salad dressing, or added to soup.
  6. To assemble the toast: Place a small scoop of caramelized onion on the toast, and spread it into an even layer. Top with a layer of spinach. To finish, sprinkle on some feta.  

Essential Vinaigrette

IMG_1482.jpg

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Condiment - Dressing | Diet: Vegan

  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 cup oil (this can be 1 full cup of a slightly nutty or neutral oil, such as sunflower or grapeseed, or 2/3 cup neutral oil plus 1/3 cup stronger-flavored oil, such as olive, sesame, or walnut)
  • 1/3 cup vinegar or another kind of acidic ingredient, such as citrus juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel shallot, cut in half through the stem ends, and cut. If you will be mixing the salad dressing in a blender or food processor, you can chop the shallot roughly. If you’ll be whisking the dressing by hand, you’ll want to mince the shallot.   
  2. If you’re using a blender, combine all of the ingredients, and purée. The mustard will act as an emulsifier, which means that it will allow the oil and vinegar to mix, and it will make the resulting dressing seem creamy, even though it isn’t.
  3. If you’re making the dressing by hand, you could combine all of the ingredients in a jar, cover it with a lid, and shake it. Or, you could combine everything except the oil in a bowl, and drizzle in the oil while whisking.
  4. When you are dressing a salad, start with less dressing than you think you’ll need, add it to the bowl with the greens, and toss gently with tongs. Taste a leaf, and add more dressing, or salt, as needed. 

Caramelized Onions

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Leisurely | Season: All | Type: Condiment - Savory | Diet: Vegan/GF/DF

Ingredients

  • 5 yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, or another oil you prefer
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water at room temperature, plus more if needed
 

Directions

  1. Peel the onions, halve them through the stem ends, and slice them into half-moons, making the slices as thin as you can. (When you can no longer make thin slices, set the end pieces aside, and save them for stock. You can make a “stockpile” in the freezer, with meat bones, onions ends, mushroom stems, corn cobs, and trimmings from other veggies).
onion
sliced onions
 
onions in a pan

2. Place the oil in a large, heavy pan over medium heat, and when it’s warm, add the onions, and sprinkle with salt. The salt will help the onion’s cell walls begin to break down.

 
onions

3. Cook, stirring every few minutes, as the onions sweat, and begin to caramelize. If that is happening too quickly, you can reduce the heat.

 
onions are browning

4. Partway through the process, you’ll notice that there’s some buildup on the bottom of the pan. In French, this is called “fond.” To keep the fond from darkening — and to help the onions along — you’ll want to start regularly adding liquid to the pan, a couple tablespoonfuls at a time, and stirring to release the browned bits from the bottom. This process is called “deglazing.” You can deglaze with water, but you can also use other liquids, including beer, wine, cider, and hard cider.

 
IMG_1494.jpg

5. The onions are done when they are tender, dark brown, and consistent in texture. This usually takes up to 45 minutes, but can take longer, depending on the temperature you choose.

 

6. When the onions are ready, deglaze the pan one last time, and cook just until the liquid has evaporated enough to cling to the onions, but not enough to stick to the pan. Scoop the onions out, and let cool.

7. Caramelized onions can be used on sandwiches, in omelettes, as a garnish for roasted meats, and in quiche. You can also purée them with sour cream to make onion dip, with oil and vinegar to make a salad dressing, or with stock to make French onion soup. The possibilities are endless. 

 

Seared Pork Chops

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Average | Season: All | Type: Main Dish | Diet: Omnivore/DF/GF

Ingredients

  • Pork chops
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, or another oil you prefer
     

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
     
  2. Remove pork chops from packaging and pat dry.
     
  3. Season each side liberally with salt and pepper.
     
  4. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over high heat (make sure the pan is all metal, with no plastic parts, as it will be placed in the oven, later). When the pan is hot, add oil.
     
  5. When the oil is hot enough to shimmer, place the pork chops in the pan. You should immediately hear a sizzle.
     
  6. Cook until the chop is brown on one side, and release themselves from the pan. Flip the chops and cook for two minutes on the other side.
     
  7. Turn off the burner and move the pan to the oven.
     
  8. Pork chops can be eaten medium-rare (145-degrees), and are most juicy when they’re pink inside. Using a digital meat thermometer, check the temperature of the chops every few minutes. Remove them from the oven when they hit 140-degrees, and let them rest for 5 minutes, which will allow them to rise to the correct temperature.
     
  9. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can press on the meat with your finger to estimate the internal temperature. If it feels super squishy, it’s still rare. If it’s springy, it’s probably around medium. If it’s firm, it’s well done. You can also cut into the meat to see, although that will allow the juices to leak out.
Searing pork chops
seared pork chops

Baked Apples with Custard and Caramel

Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Leisurely | Season: All | Type: Dessert | Diet: Vegetarian/GF

Ingredients

  • 5 apples, cored

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 egg

  • ½ teaspoon teaspoon cinnamon

  • Salt to taste

  • Caramel (preferably goats milk caramel from Fat Toad Farm!)

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
 

2. Using a paring knife or a butter knife, remove the core of the apples, leaving ½-inch at the bottom (you’ll be filling the hollows with custard). Stand the apples in a small baking dish.
 

3. Blend milk and sugar in a small saucepan, and heat until just below simmering.  
 

4. While milk is heating, thoroughly whisk the egg.
 

5. When the milk is warm, slowly pour it into the beaten egg, continuing to whisk throughout (this is called tempering). Make sure to do this slowly so as not to scramble the egg.

 

6.Add cinnamon and salt.
 

7. Pour custard mixture into the hole in each apple. The custard will expand a little in the oven, so do not fill all the way to the top.
 

8. Bake for 50 minutes. Custard should appear set when you jiggle the pan. If it still looks undercooked, return to the oven.
 

9. Drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon.

cored apple
whisking custard
apples in baking pan with cinnamon and custard
baked apples with custard, caramel, and cinnamon

Honey Roasted Sweet Potato with Raisins and Walnuts

Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Average | Season: All | Type:  Starchy Side | Diet: Vegetarian/GF

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, or another oil you prefer
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar to make it vegan)
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • ½ cup flame raisins
  • Salt and pepper

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
  • Wash sweet potatoes, cut in half from stem to stem, and cut into cubes.
  • Wash carrots, cut into thirds, and cut each third in half lengthwise. Slice the pieces into half-moons.
  • Place carrots and potatoes in a large baking dish. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, stir, and return to the oven, checking every 15 minutes until the sweet potato chunks are tender.
  • Remove from oven, and add honey, raisins, and walnuts. Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper, if desired.
  • Finish in the oven for another 5 minutes.
honey roasted sweet potato with Raisins and Walnuts

Apple, Carrot, and Kale Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs and Homemade Vinaigrette

Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type:  Salad | Diet: Omnivore/Vegetarian/GF

Ingredients

Apple, Carrot, and Kale Salad
  • ·      1 bunch kale
  • ·      2 carrots
  • ·      2 apples 
  • ·      ½ cup raisins
  • ·      Basic vinaigrette, to taste (click for recipe)
  • ·      Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ·      ½ cup feta
  • ·      4 hard-boiled eggs (click for recipe)

 

Directions

1.     Strip the kale leaves from the stems. (You can compost the stems, or save them for another purpose).

2.     Wash the kale and tear into bite-sized pieces, placing the finished pieces into a salad bowl.

3.     Wash the carrots, cut off the very tip, and grate them on a box grater — using the largest sized hole — directly into the salad bowl.

4.     Wash the apples, cut them into quarters, chop out the cores, and cube. Place the cubes in the salad bowl with the kale and carrots.

5.     Add the raisins.

6.     Drizzle in just enough dressing to coat the fruits and veggies, and toss with tongs until the greens are evenly coated. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper, or more dressing, if desired.

7.     Sprinkle on feta.

8.     Peel and quarter the eggs, and place the quarters atop the salad.

9.     Serve.

Hard Boiled Eggs

hard boiled eggs

 

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Basic | Diet: Vegetarian/GF

A great option for breakfast, snacking, or to add protein to a fresh green salad

Ingredients

·      4 eggs, at room temperature, if possible

 

Directions

  1. Fill a medium pot with enough water to cover the eggs, and place over high heat. When the water boils, add eggs, cook for one minute, and then reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.   
  2. Pour off the boiling water, and fill the pot with cold water to “shock” the eggs.
  3. When cool, you can peel the eggs and eat them, or store them in their shells, for later.