Grilled Portobellos + Creole Tomato Sauce

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There's a restaurant in Ithaca, New York called Maxie's Supper Club that I am obsessed with.  Their margaritas come in pint glasses and there are things like tasso gravy and mighty mighty gumbo on the menu.  They also have chicken fried tuesdays.  (And who doesn't need a little fried chicken on a tuesday?)  

I'm getting carried away.  The reason I bring up my beloved Maxie's is that they have something on the menu that is grilled portobellos with creole tomato sauce.  While I've never seen or ordered it I've haven't stopped thinking how good it sounds.  Cam and I decided to give it a go.

We had sauce leftover and ate it over roasted spaghetti squash.   

(If you are vegetarian, omit worcestershire sauce.  It contains anchovies.)

Serves 4. 

Grilled Portobellos + Creole Tomato Sauce

splash olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, diced

2 green onions, diced, white and green separated  

1 28 oz tin tomatoes

3 bay leaves

4 thyme sprigs, stems discarded

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splash worcestershire sauce 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

pinch sugar

8 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned, stems removed

In a medium pot, on medium high heat, cook onion in splash of oil until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add bell pepper, celery, garlic, green onion whites and thyme, cook, stirring, 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, bay, thyme leaves, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir in parsley.  

While sauce is simmering, cook mushrooms on medium high heat in a grill pan on the stove.  About 5 minutes on each side.  Mushrooms can also be roasted in 425 degree oven, loosely covered with foil for 35 minutes.  

Once mushrooms are done, top with warm tomato sauce.  Garnish with green onion greens.  We served ours with kale sauted with garlic.  yum. 

Simple Root Vegetable Side

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I'm new to baby turnips.  They are delicious and now I can;t get enough of them.  This root vegetable medley is easy and full of flavor and pleasing textures.  And it satisfies my new turnip needs.  

Makes 1 large pan.

Simple Root Vegetable Side

2 carrots, peeled, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

1 lb baby turnips, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, chopped

3 thyme sprigs, stems discarded

splash olive oil

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Heat oven to 375.  Toss carrots, red onion, turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and thyme in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread over large baking sheet.  Roast in oven 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  

Saffron + Mixed Vegetable Risotto

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I love, love, love risotto.   We make it on all special occasions, including valentine's day so for me, it must be served with champagne.  It's so satisfying I don't need any appetizers or side salads or anything.  (Maybe just dessert!)  

Makes 2-3 servings.

Saffron Risotto with Vegetables + Sausage

4 cups vegetable stock

10 asparagus spears, chopped

4 oz green beans, chopped

8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, diced

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 scant teaspoon saffron threads 

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup grated asiago cheese

1 fresno chile, seeded, diced

2 link precooked sausage, sliced (I suggest applegate's fire roasted red pepper poultry sausage)

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Blanche asparagus and green beans in boiling water for 60 seconds.  Drain and place in ice bath to shock the vegetables.  Set aside.  (Separately reserve asparagus tips for garnishing if you like.)

Saute mushrooms in a small splash of olive oil for 3 minutes.  Set aside with vegetables. 

In a large pan, melt butter.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes.  Add rice, stir to coat in rice, cook 1 minute.  Add wine and cook until evaporated.  Stir in saffron.  Begin adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time.  Stirring constantly until each 1/2 cup has evaporated.  Then add another cup, stir, evaporate, repeat.  Continue until there is no more stock and rice is soft.  This should take about 20 minutes.   

Stir in cheese., vegetables and sausage.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with asparagus tips.

Turkey Breakfast Sausage

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My lovely friend Miranda from Hundred Mile Table gave me a jar of home made breakfast sausage seasoning that is so good, I went into panic mode wondering what I would do when it was gone.  

Luckily, I figured something out.  

Makes 6 servings.

Turkey Breakfast Sausage

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 lb ground turkey breast

In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper, sage, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and marjoram together until well combined.  Sprinkle over ground turkey and mix in with a knife or your hands.  Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to portion and mold into patties.  

Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat and cook turkey patties about 8 minutes on each side.  

 

Cam's Berry Granola

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I've been bugging Cameron to make his granola or at least write down the recipe for awhile now and I'm so pleased he did.  Cam makes great granola.  I find home made granola to be better than any store bought and I like knowing exactly how much sugar and oil are going in and in what form.  

This recipe makes a ton of granola.  About 10 cups which didn't sound like much but is much more than we can eat.  Luckily, this stuff freezes really well.  

Cameron's Berry Granola 

1/4 cup flax seeds

6 cups (18 oz) old fashioned oats

2 cups (8 oz) raw, blanched slivered almonds

1 cup (5 oz) raw, hulled pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup pistachios, unsalted, roasted

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup agave

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep 2 half pans with parchment paper.  

Grind flax seeds in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder.  Combine ground flax seeds with oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, salt, oil and agave.   Toss until evenly coated.  Spread over each baking sheet.  Bake 10 minutes, stir granola and check for any burnt bits.  Return to oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes more or until deep golden brown.   Toss with cherries and cranberries.  

Buffalo Maitake Sliders

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One more vegetarian mushroom slider for your super bowl party!  I'm really having a mushroom moment.)  

Hen of the Woods or Maitake mushrooms are a great stand in for chicken.  Although, I'll eat just about anything if it's slathered in wing sauce.  To clean them, gently dust with a soft brush.  Pulled chicken may also be used for those who prefer meat.  

Makes 8 sliders.  

Buffalo Maitake Sliders

for the slaw

1 small carrot, peeled, shredded

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles

1/2 tablespoon mayonaise

1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds

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for the buffalo mushroom

8 oz fresh maitake mushroom, separated into slider size pieces

4 tablespoons Franks Red Hot Sauce (or whatever type of hot or wing sauce you like)

8 slider rolls

Mix carrot, cabbage, celery, bleu cheese, mayo, mustard, vinegar, caraway seeds, salt and pepper together until evenly combined.  Set aside.  

In a pan, over medium heat, saute mushroom in a very light splash of oil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and coat with hot sauce.  

Layer bottom slider bun with slaw, mushrooms and bun.  Secure with toothpick and serve.

Veggie Melt Sliders

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Is everyone excited for super bowl sunday?  I don't really care about football but I do like sliders, and super bowl time is slider time around here!   Make these for your favorite vegetarian guest.  

Makes 6 sliders.

Veggie Melt Sliders

1 portobello mushroom, stem removed

1 red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise, seeded, sliced

2 oz gruyere cheese, grated

6 slider rolls (I prefer San Francisco style rolls)

Place oven rack to highest position and set broiler to lo heat.  Place mushroom and pepper slices on baking pan and broil 8 minutes.  Toss.  Bake 8 minutes more.  Remove from oven.

Layer each slider bun with broiled vegetables, generously pile on grated gruyere.  Return to oven and broil 3 minutes more.  Sandwich with top bun and secure with toothpick.  

 

 

Detox Brownies

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I wasn't sure if I wanted to call these natural brownies, gluten free brownies, detox brownies, food cleanse brownies or paleo brownies.  I'm going with 'detox' because they are made with natural, minimally processed ingredients.  I've been making an effort recently to eat better but I still need a sweet treat every now and again.   

These are moist, almost cake like brownies that have a mild coconut flavor.  There's no added sugar, the medjool dates and dark chocolate provide enough sweetness.  

Almond meal/flour is made from almonds and can be found in most natural food and well stocked grocery stores.  Bob's Red Mill is probably the most easy to find brand and Trader Joe's carries one of their own as well.  

Makes 16 squares.  (117 calories each)

Detox Brownies

7 mendjool dates, pitted

pinch baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 oz dark chocolate, 85% of higher

2 eggs

1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed

3/4 cup almond meal/flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8" x 8" baking pan.  I like to line mine with lightly greased parchemnt paper for easy clean up.  

Place dates in small bowl and sprinkle with the pinch of baking soda.  Pour in hot water and let dates soak for 2 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  

Melt chocolate and process with softened dates in a food processor 1 to 2 minutes.  Add eggs, process 1 minute.  Add coconut oil, process 1 minute.  Add almond meal/flour, salt and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, process 2 minutes.  

Pour into prepared pan and spread around with a spatula to even out surface.  Place in oven and bake about 16 minutes.  A toothpick poked into the center will come out clean.  Cool about 1 hour.  

A Classic Lentil Soup

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Aka Cam's favorite lentil soup.  (It's so easy having a food blog when your husband is a brilliant cook.)  Our weekend routine includes plenty of of time in the kitchen.  Part of it is developing and shooting recipes for Meats + Sweets and the other part Cameron making delicious soups and salads for us to eat during the week.  They are always excellent and healthy, and I'm pleased to share this one.  It is one of our personal favorites.  

For a heartier meal, serve over rice, grains or whole grain pasta.  We usually eat it over a pile of farro.  (Have you tried Kamut pasta? I have a box of it in the pantry that I'm pondering what to do with.)

Makes 8 servings. 

Cameron's Favorite Lentil Soup

splash olive oil

3 medium carrots, peeled, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 poblano pepper, seeded, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 quarts vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups french green lentils

4 sprigs thyme

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons cumin 

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon red chile flakes

2 bay leaves

2 cups cremini or shitake mushrooms, chopped

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lime juice or red wine vinegar (optional + to taste)

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large soup pot and add carrots, onion, celery, poblano and garlic.  Stew over medium high heat, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  

Add stock, lentils, thyme, cumin, coriander, curry, chile flakes and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and add mushrooms.  Let simmer until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.  

Season with salt, pepper and lime juice/vinegar.  

Kale + Potato Salad

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A new salad from Cameron.  It's delicious and makes great use of seasonal ingredients.   Also, how often do you eat potatoes and pomegranate seeds together?  Probably not enough, right?

Kale + Potato Salad

1 large sweet potato, chopped

2 white potatoes, chopped

olive oil

1 bunch kale leaves, stems discarded

juice of 1/2 lemon

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seeds from 1 small pomegranate

1 cup pecans

splash basalmic vinegar

Heat oven to 425.  Toss sweet potato and white potatoes in a splash of olive oil.  Place onto a baking sheet and roast 45 minutes until done, tossing once. 

While the potatoes are roasting, saute kale in a splash of olive oil, for 5 minutes until wilted.  Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  

Toss roasted potatoes, kale, pomegranate seeds and pecans together in a large bowl and drizzle with a tiny amount of basalmic vinegar.

 

Peanut Noodles + Tofu + Vegetables

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In an attempt to eat more vegetarian, vegetable heavy meals I made this.   (We've been making alot of soup and I just need a break.)  To make the zucchini and carrot noodles, use a vegetable spiral cutter or a julienne vegetable peeler.  

The peanut sauce would make a tasty salad dressing, vegetable dip or smear for grilled chicken so if I were you I would consider making double and saving it in the fridge. 

Dry tofu can be found in asian markets or baked tofu can be used as a substitute. 

Makes 4 dinner size servings.

Peanut Noodles with Tofu + Vegetables

For the sauce

1 inch ginger, peeled, sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled

2 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

2 tablespoons very hot water

For the noodles

6 oz buckwheat noodles

1 bunch broccoli, peeled, chopped

splash high heat oil

1 shallot. sliced

8oz dry tofu, sliced

4oz snap peas, sliced

1 carrot, peeled, cut into long thin noodle like strips

1 zucchini, cut into  long thin noodle like strips

Blend ginger, garlic, peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, chile flakes and hot water.  Add more hot water to thin sauce out if needed.  Set aside.  

Cook noodles to package instructions, generally boiling for 4 minutes.  Drain.  Set aside.  

Blanche broccoli in boiling water for 60 seconds.  Drain and shock in ice bath to stop cooking.  Set aside. 

Over medium high heat, in a large pan or wok, saute shallot in a splash of high heat oil for 3 minutes.  Add tofu, snap peas and carrot, saute 5 minutes or until crisp tender.  Add zucchini, stir and cook 2 minutes.  

Transfer to a bowl and toss with broccoli, noodles and peanut sauce. 

 

 

Mango Fruit Leathers

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These bring me right back to my childhood brown bag lunches which always included a fruit roll up.  I had a fruit roll up, leather, snack obsession and I still do.  

These mango fruit leathers are made with only mangos so I can eat them guilt free.   

Makes a 12" x 17" sheet. 

Mango Fruit Leathers 

2 ripe mangos

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.    Prepare a 18" x 13" sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper.  If using the parchment paper, cut it so it fits the base of the pan without over hang.  

Peel mangos and cut flesh from pit.  Discard peels and pit.  In a food processor blend mango until very smooth and chunk free.  Pour mango puree onto prepared sheet pan.  Smear it out to the edge of the parchment or silpat with a flat sided spatula to even thickness.  (The evenness is important so it all cooks right so take your time with this part.)  

Transfer to oven and bake 4 to 5 hours until a deep yellow color, dry to the touch and not mushy.  Remove from oven.  Let cool and set.  If you used parchment paper, cut into strips.  If a silpat was used, carefully peel whole fruit leather off silpat and place on a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper.  Cut into strips.  

Store in airtight container.  

Oven Braised Lemon Chicken + Mushrooms

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Served this with wheat berries and sautéed kale.  The citrus really brightens the dish.  Chicken legs or thighs maybe substituted.  They are better for braising but I prefer chicken breast as it is leaner.  Dark meat will need a little longer to cook, about 45 minutes in the oven.  

Serves 4.

Oven Braised Lemon Chicken + Mushrooms

splash high heat oil (grapeseed, canola..)

2 Whole bone in, skin on chicken breasts, halved

1 small yellow onion, sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon chile flakes

10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 a lemon, peel and pith removed, sliced

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

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Heat oven to 350.  In  a dutch oven or heavy pot on the stove, heat a splash of oil over medium high heat.  Brown chicken very well.  About 4 minutes on each side.  Transfer chicken to plate.  Pour out any chicken grease.  

Lower heat to medium and brown onion, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, chile flakes, mushrooms and carrots.  Sautee 3 minutes.  Add stock, scraping bottom of pan.  Boil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken, skin side up.  Add lemon, bay leaves and thyme.  

Cover and braise in oven 30 minutes.   Remove from oven, skim off any fat and serve.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie

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Satisfy your sweet tooth and your pre or post workout protein fix with this smoothie.  I like Whey to Go protein powder but use whichever chocolate one you prefer.  

If you have the time, I recommend peeling the banana and freezing it before blending for a colder smoothie.  

Makes about 8oz.  

Peanut Butter + Chocolate Smoothie

1 banana, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup fat free milk

1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  

 

Paper Dinner

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Around here we call these fish packets.  Either way, it's great.  Healthy and easy.  You can use any vegetables you like.   Asparagus, broccoli, green beans,  zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and carrots are always great.  

Fish and Vegetables en Papillote

Serves 2.  

1 stalk brocoli

2 carrots

1 yellow squash

5 mushrooms

olive oil

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2 fillets of firm white fish (we used flounder) 

1 lemon, quartered for squeezing

several sprigs fresh thyme

 

Heat oven to 375.  Divide vegetables between two large sheets of parchment paper.  Lightly brush fish with olive oil on both sides and salt and pepper.  Place flsh fillets on vegetables.  Place 2 sprigs fresh thyme in each packet, squeeze some lemon juice over fish and vegetables and fold up. Place on rimmed baking sheet in case they leak.  Cook 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from oven. 

Let rest 1 minute or so before opening.  

Coconut Chickpea + Mixed Vegetable Curry

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Be prepared to have a lot of soup on your hands.  This recipe makes about 5 quarts.  I like to have huge amounts of healthy things like this around for a quick lunch or dinner during a busy week.  

A quick note on curry powder:  not all curry powders are created equally.  Look for one with fenugreek in it.  This  makes a big difference in flavor.  

Coconut Chickpea + Mixed Vegetable Curry Soup

Splash olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 inch fresh ginger, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, peeled, chopped

1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed, chopped

1 14oz tin diced tomatoes

1 14 oz tin LITE coconut milk

6 cups vegetable stock

2 potatoes, diced

4 teaspoons curry powder

1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded, chopped

1 14oz tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, chopped

lime juice, to taste

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In a large (at least 5.5 quart) pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and saute 5-8 minutes until soft and clear.  Add garlic and ginger.  Saute 2 minutes more.  Add carrots and cauliflower.  Cook 2 minutes more, stirring frequently.  Add tomatoes, coconut milk, stock, potatoes and curry powder. Stir.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Add bell peppers.  Simmer 5 minutes more.  Add chickpeas and kale.  Season with lime juice, salt and pepper.  

 

Broccoli + Brown Sauce

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This was the side to peking duck we made a few weeks ago.  To make it a meal, toss with cooked tofu and serve over brown rice.  

Serves 4 as a side. 

Broccoli + Brown Sauce

2 heads broccoli, sliced

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Splash of oil

1 teaspoon corn starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

1 inch ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 long red hot chile, seeded, sliced

Blanch broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute.  Drain and transfer to ice bath.  Once cool, drain.  

In a small bowl, mix soy, oyster sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.  Set aside.  

Heat a splash of oil in a skillet or wok over medium high heat.  Add broccoli, ginger, garlic and chile.  Cook 2 minutes stirring frequently.  Add sauce.  Bring to a boil and add corn starch slurry.  Cook until thickened. Serve.

Green Smoothie

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 Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a delicious holiday season.  (I know I did!)  So I'm back to the gym and trying to eat healthy.  January should will be full of healthy, vegetable filled meals and snacks around here on Meats + Sweets.  

Here's a smoothie to start your year out right.  I've been craving green juices like crazy but have no juicer so this is my solution.  (Those of you with a vitamix blender, I envy you.) 

Makes 20 ounces.  Enough for 2 smoothies. 

Green Smoothie

1 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup seedless cucumber, chopped

Leaves of 2 stalks kale, ripped into small pieces

juice of half a lemon

1 cup coconut water

1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt 

Blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth.  Drink and enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Dates + Olives

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Serve these tasty little bites at your next party.  (Like maybe a new years eve party)  They will be a big hit.  Everything is better when it's wrapped in bacon, isn't it?

The dates are stuffed with almonds.  Add bleu cheese and you have devils on horseback.  

Bacon Wrapped Dates + Olives

12oz package of bacon (should be about 12 strips)

8 oz dried medjool dates (about 13 dates)

13 almonds (as many almonds as dates)

2 oz blue cheese (optional)

12 large green olives, pitted

Heat oven to 350.  Slice bacon strips lengthwise and set aside.  Slice each date lengthwise, remove pit and stuff with almond and the optional bleu cheese.  Wrap each stuffed date with bacon and secure with toothpick.  Wrap each olive and secure with toothpick.  

Place everything on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in oven about 30 minutes.  Flipping once for even cooking.  

Peppermint Candy Cane Ice Cream

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Cameron made this last year and it had to be made again.  This and roasted chestnuts are my two new holiday traditions.  It's hard to not open the freezer and take a bite every time I walk into the kitchen.  

Makes about 3 cups.

Peppermint Candy Cane Ice Cream

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups milk

1 cup heavy cream, divided in half

pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/3 cup coursely crushed candy canes

Whisk egg yolks and sugar together.  Set aside.  

In a small pot, heat milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream until steaming but not simmering or boiling.  Slowly whisk hot milk/cream into eggs.  

Return to small pot and over medium high heat, stir until mixture is thick and coats back of a spoon.  Do not let mixture boil.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining heavy cream, pinch of salt and peppermint extract.  

Chill in fridge.   Once mixture is cold process in ice cream maker.  (Mine took 20 minutes.)  Add crushed candy canes and process until just mixed in.  Serve or transfer to freezer.