Month: July 2013

tasty tuesday: baby kale and arugula salad with herbed steak, sweet tomatoes, and blue cheese

Light and yum.

Light and yum.

The temperature and weather in the Macon area has finally become what I recognize as summer, so it was time to rock a nice summer salad. I am aware that this is the second tasty tuesday in a row with a salad, but these are totally different animals.

Today’s salad is with a nod to Smitten Kitchen who I went to for inspiration (still suffering from post New Orleans exhaustion and moving offices means my brain functions are lower than usual). Where she uses skirt steak (which is what I wanted to use in the first place), I used flank steak because my non-local grocer had no skirt steak. Flank steak works similarly, but it needs to be cut a couple of times to get to a proper thinness for a good char-doneness-flavor ratio. Another departure was the use of baby kale, something I’d not seen at the grocery before, but I found it to be delightful.

This meal was also fairly economical. The steak, which made more than enough, only cost five dollars and the rest of the ingredients were fairly cheap. Two could eat for 10-15 dollars.

Anyway, to the cooking!

I started this meal with a herb marinade for the steak. It was roughly:

3 cloves garlic
1 small shallot
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp spicy oregano
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Process in a food processor until it forms a pastelike mix.

While that’s sitting, cut the steak into three length-wise thirds, essentially making three long, thin steaks. Place the steaks in a bowl and pour the marinade over the steak and stir to cover. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

This is a good time to make a dressing. Using Deb’s recommendation I made a dijon vinaigrette consisting of:

1 tbsp dijon mustard
1tbsp pomegranate balsamic vinegar
1/2 lemon’s juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp worcherstershire sauce
Salt and Pepper.

Mix all ingredients and adjust to taste. Place in refrigerator until ready.

Grill the steak on a range grill for roughly 3 minutes on the first side and two after a flip. Remove and slice thin.

Assemble the salad by mixing the greens and lightly dress. Halve some small sweet tomatoes and top to taste. Place as much steak as you’d like and go to town with this:

Sweet Cheesus!

Sweet Cheesus!

All told, a nice summer meal. Quick, cheap, good. Happy Eating!


meatless monday: roasted zucchini, black bean, and goat cheese enchiladas


Greetings from your favorite year-round teacher!  Last week I returned from my happy place: the Magic Square (aka the Governor’s Honors Program).  Those of you who know me well know that I’m absolutely in love with the work we do with gifted and talented students, and if you don’t yet know, allow me to treat you to a beverage at happy hour so that I can wax nostalgic about my beloved summer program.  Last Thursday I returned to the land of real school, and while I’m finally getting in that new-school-year-spirit, a piece of me is still in West Hall with my SocStuds and in Brown Hall with the ping pong mafia of my fellow faculty members.

There is no doubt, however, that I certainly missed our kitchen.  Dining hall food, while economical, is certainly not my favorite.  Tonight’s dish was so, so yummy and will definitely be recreated.  This is a great example of a hearty meatless dish that packs a big nutrition punch, and the cool and crispy toppings definitely help brighten up the meal!  Enjoy!

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean, and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Serves 4

3 zucchini, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

4 oz. chevre (soft goat cheese)

1 can black beans, drained

4 green onions, finely chopped

8 enchilada tortillas (corn or flour; I used a corn/flour hybrid)

12 oz. red enchilada sauce (I use Trader Joe’s--my favorite)

For topping: cubed avocado, chopped cilantro, chopped cucumber, squeeze of lime

Heat oven to 425 F.  Toss zucchini pieces with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder and place evenly on a roasting pan.  Roast for 20 minutes, set aside, and let cool to room temperature.

Turn oven temperature down to 375 F.  Mix the zucchini, 3/4 of the goat cheese, black beans, and green onions in a bowl.  This is the filling for the enchiladas.


Using your gas or electric stovetop, lightly scorch the 8 tortillas on each side.  Pour half of the enchilada sauce into a 9×13 baking dish.  Fill each tortilla with filling and place them seam-side down in the baking dish.  Cover the middle 1/3 of the enchiladas with the remaining half of the enchilada sauce and top enchiladas wit the remaining 1/4 of the goat cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

I served these with some chopped romaine thinly dressed with some leftover enchilada verde sauce and the cucumber, avocado, lime, and cilantro.


tasty tuesday: grilled romaine salad with pancetta and smoked provolone with crumbled pepper bacon and a honey hot bacon dressing

This is such a quick, delicious meal!

Marginally healthy?

Marginally healthy?

Grilled salads have been popping up on menus everywhere lately. I had one in Savannah at a place called Noble Fare that was truly great. This is an attempt to recreate and better by the addition of bacon!

So, how long does this supper take? About 10 minutes. If you have your whole romaine on your board, go ahead and heat a stove-top grill plate on high heat. In a bowl, mix 1 large, two smaller cloves of garlic with a teaspoon of kosher salt and enough olive oil to cover. Brush on the outside of the romaine.

In a separate pan, fry 3 pieces of pancetta until the color turns slightly and remove. Place two strips of pepper bacon in the pan and proceed to cook to render the fat and crisp the bacon.

Place the romaine on the hot grill pan and grill for about 1 minute per side (4) and turn off heat. Let rest on pan for another minute and place on plate. Remove the hard end with a knife.

Layer the pancetta and super thin slices of the provolone on the bottom end of the romaine.

Remove the bacon from the pan. In a bowl mix 1 teaspoon honey, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, and cracked pepper until the honey is fully integrated into the vinegar. Pour mixture into the hot pan with the bacon fat. Stir for 1 minute and remove from heat. Chop bacon and some extra cheese and sprinkle over the top of the lettuce. Drizzle the hot bacon dressing over the dish and add more to the side of the plate.

Eat. Nom the bacony, sweet, smokey goodness.

For Detail. You want good grill marks.

For Detail. You want good grill marks.

tasty tuesday: tandoori chicken, saffron and garam masala rice pilaf, curry lentils and mushrooms

Tastes so much lighter at home.

Tastes so much lighter at home.

A little Indian flair never hurt anyone, right? I sure hope not, because tonight’s meal was quite delicious and light. You’ll notice that the Tandoori chicken pictured is not red because I didn’t use any red food color. Turns out, a lot of restaurants use food color to make tandoori chicken bright red.  Fascinating, no?

I stayed pretty close to Emeril’s recipe for Tandoori Chicken, using all the spices, adding some black pepper and using greek yogurt. Processing everything in the Ninja was a lot of fun.

For the Rice Pilaf, I stuck close to Alton Brown’s recipe, but used shallot and garlic at the start in the butter. Brown basmati rice replaced the long grain white and garam masala (about a teaspoon) was added along with the saffron. No orange zest, but instead thai basil. Turned out well.

The lentils were a little different creation. I started them out like rice pilaf, melting soon butter and glazing the lentils in the butter with curry powder and turmeric before adding 1 cup chicken stock and two cups water. They boiled about an hour before I added the mushrooms which were sauteed in olive oil, curry powder, garlic, and turmeric.

Put it all together and you have one tasty, involved meal!


meatless monday: cavatappi with sauteed kale and baby portabellas with garlic and shallot in a tomato basil bechamel and garlicky grilled green tomatoes

… or simply pasta!

Look at the pretty colors

Look at the pretty colors

Yes, this is a pasta dish you can make if you want to use all the words. It was surprisingly easy to pull together, as well. Sometimes big words don’t have to be complicated.

The pasta was the easy part this time since I didn’t make it myself. Nonetheless, for this dish, starting the water is the first step.

Once your pot is on and heating, mince a medium shallot and three cloves of garlic. Heat a deep frying pan with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes while you slice up a mountain of kale.

It starts out so big...

It starts out so big…

Toss the kale in aromatic oil and prep about 4oz of mushrooms. Toss them in the pan as well and toss to coat. Allow to cook until the kale has fully cooked down and the mushrooms have begun to sweat. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, melt 1/2 stick of butter over medium high heat. Once melted add 1/4 cup of flour and whisk until a full roux has formed. Cook for a couple minutes and then slowly add 2 cups of whole milk, whisking the entire time. Once the mixture becomes smooth, add the remains of the milk and whisk until the sauce begins to boil. Add three cloves of minced garlic and boil about three minutes and keep stirring. Reduce to a simmer and add 1/4 cup of chopped basil, and 2 teaspoons of oregano and 1/2 cup or parmesan. Add 1 can of roma tomato paste, and stir in:

Red velvet?

Red velvet?

Stir until well mixed and add the kale and mushrooms. Keep warm.

Your pasta should be ready by now, so kindly drain it.

Now, for the tomatoes. I pulled some small green tomatoes off of Bungalow Garden’s massive tomato plant and sliced them up. I mixed 1 minced clove of garlic, some olive oil and salt in a bowl and brushed the slices and grilled about 4 minutes on each side over high heat on a grill pan.

Toss the pasta in the sauce with the veggies and top with parmesan and tomatoes. Garnish with fresh parsley and eat it all up.

There is lots of room to play with the béchamel flavors, but there is no reason to be intimidated. It is few ingredients, just needs a little extra attention, but way less than a risotto. And, with all these flavors, you won’t miss meat.

Roll that beautiful mater footage.

Roll that beautiful mater footage.


meatless monday: roasted potato and caramelized onion frittata

Close Frit

Tonight’s meatless monday is a lesson in leftovers. Not the type of leftovers where you have extra cooked items, that’ll be tomorrow, but rather for those extra scratch items that are sometimes present after you’ve prepared a proper feast as I did last night.

A feast of beef! This is what roast beef is supposed to look like.

A feast of beef! This is what roast beef is supposed to look like.

So, I found myself with a half dozen eggs, a handful of multi-colored new potatoes, and an onion. With just a little work, those things can become a delightful and fluffy frittata!

Start my heating and pan with some oil. Make sure it is big enough to hold all of your ingredients. While it is heating, chop about 1/2 the onion into strips. Add to the pan over medium heat and stir occasionally until the are completely brown and soft. Add some sugar for color if you’d like.

Next, heat the oven to about 450 and chop the potatoes into small pieces. I tossed them in olive oil with smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Roast for about 20 minutes and then add to the pan with the onions. Stir the onions and potatoes together and cover for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat on the oven to 350.

While that is cooking, crack your eggs into large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of parmesan and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and beat together.

Uncover the pan and give another stir, being sure that the bottom and sides of the pan are coated in oil. Pour the egg and cheese mix over the potatoes and onions and and give a light stir. Cook in the pan for 2 minute so the bottom can set. Place the pan in the oven and cook until the top is browning and the middle is set. Top with cheddar cheese and melt. Remove from oven and cut.

I served the savory frittata with leftover kale salad (I’m hooked on the stuff) and I was lucky enough to have this leftover, too:

Southern Swiss Ice Cream!

Southern Swiss Ice Cream!

That would be citrus honey peach cake from this Curtis Stone Recipe. So good.

An easy meatless monday. Try it out!