Thursday, July 21, 2011

Simple Pork Kebabs and Lovely Sauted Greens

Just finished the most lovely meal.  This morning I was feeling uninspired so I wanted something simple and healthy.  My expectations where exceeded...

Simple Tuscan Inspired Pork Kebabs
Serves 2 -3

  • 300grams/12 ounces pork sirloin, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • fresh herbs, oregano, thyme, rosemary
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4-6 large cherry tomatoes

  1. Toss the pork in a glass bowl or casserole dish with the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, herbs, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper.  Let marinate 6 - 12 hours.  Turn occasionally
  2. About an hour before cooking add in the zucchini, onion and tomatoes to the marinating pork and toss well.
  3. Load the pork, zucchini, onions and tomatoes onto skewers.
  4. Preheat a grill to high heat.
  5. Grill the kebabs on each side for about 4 - 6 minutes each until the meat is browned and cooked through.

Lovely Sauteed Greens
Serves 2 -3

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 -6 cups of greens, I used beet greens and some spinach
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat
  2. Saute the onion until soft and lightly browned
  3. Toss in the garlic and saute for about 20 seconds
  4. Add in the greens, reduce heat to medium, tossing the greens until they are wilted
  5. Toss in the red wine vinegar
  6. Season with Salt and Pepper as necessary (to taste) and serve sprinkled with a bit of Parmesan if you wish.

I could not believe how awesome these greens were.  I usually need cheese on my greens but these were great without any cheese....  Even my mom loved them and she doesn't typically enjoy bitter greens.  The red wine vinegar really balances out the flavours of the bitter greens.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jacques Pepin - The Apprentice, My Life in the Kitchen

I have just finished the most lovely book, Jacques Pepin's The Apprentice, My Life in the Kitchen.  I realize I may be late coming to the table since Jacques Pepin's memoir was published in 2003 but better late than never.  Not only is his approach to food and cooking so sincere and passionate, his ability to storytell is fantastic.  I'm only sorry I've finished the book.  Typically I believe in passing books on to friends, family or the second hand store but this one is staying in my libary, my cookbook libary to be exact.  He ends each chapter by sharing a wonderful recipe out of his repetoire.  I've already incorporated his New England Clam Chowder recipe when making my own last week.

Jacques, like most french cooks (well all good cooks really) appreciates eating local and seasonal.  Funny how the rest of us are just getting that message now.  Years of watching food television programming certainly tained me as I recreated the recipes shown, fussy and with ingredients typically not local or in season.  But I have always noticed how I make different types of recipes in the different seasons because I feel like eating different things depending on the weather.  Some people actually make the same things all year around!  I get excited when the seasons' peaking produce hits the markets and stores.  I would like to mention that I cut my teeth on old PBS cooking shows of the late 70's and early 80's, the good ones that showed technique for bringing out the best in food and respecting the ingredients, which programming is thankfully getting back to these days.  I saw more than one Julia Child and Jacques shows back in the day.  I used to then hit the kitchen and try to emulate what they had done or how they had done it, putting on my own cooking show for the dog.  I was about 9....  Thanks Julia and Jacques.

One thing that stuck out in this book for me was the love Jacques has of living off the land, foraging and growing what you eat.  There is nothing I love more than heading out into the yard to snip some lettuce and fresh herbs for the days meals.  And next year?!  Well I'll be trimming off those dandelion leaves in the early spring now that I know when best to harvest them courtesy of Jacques directions.  (I have a ton on my side lawn!) Then I'll open up Jacques' book and make his Dandelion salad.  Not sure I can say the same for the snails/slugs in my garden that he liked to harvest around his home.  My North American palate is just not that adventurous I'm afraid to say....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smashed Potato Salad

A simple twist on potato salad!  I started with smashed potatoes which are one of my grill time favorites.

Smashed Potatoes
  1. Simply micro a few potatoes until just undercooked.  You can boil them with the skins on or bake them if you don't want to nuke them. 
  2. Let the tatties cool until you can handle them.
  3. Take the palm of your hand an smash each potato until it's about an inch thick or so. 
  4. Drizzle each potato with olive oil and your seasonings of choice.  I like Ms. Dash Herbs and Garlic. 
  5. Turn potato over and season the other side.
  6. Grill on high heat until crispy on the outside, on both sides. 
  7. Be sure to make extras to save for potato salad later!

Now on to the potato salad!

Smashed Potato Salad
Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp creamed jar horseradish
  • 4-6 smashed potatoes (see above), diced
  • 3 green or spring onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, thyme, oregano, chives, rosemary, basil, parsley, or whatever combo you have on hand

  1. Mix the mayo, mustard and horseradish together.  I follow a rule of 3 parts mayo, 1 part Dijon and 1/2 part horseradish.  Taste and adjust the dressing mix to your liking
  2. Toss the potatoes, onions and herbs.
  3. Blend the dressing mix with the potato mix.