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Mussels with White Wine, Leeks & Chorizo

October 30, 2021

 

I love ordering mussels at restaurants. Fortunately there are so many restaurants near us in Portsmouth NH and Portland Maine that have them on their menus. They are sort of an interactive food, since you are eating the sweet, meaty mussels and then using the shells or some crusty bread or a spoon to scoop up the aromatic broth they are cooked in which tastes like heaven- acid from the wine, aromatic garlic and leeks, and the earthy taste of the ocean from the mussels. I love the spicy kick from the chorizo so much that I love adding it but they are good without it if you don’t have it or don’t love spice.

They are also really easy to make at home. Once you find a good fish monger who carries them like Whole Foods or specialty stores all you need to do is sort through them to make sure you are only cooking healthy, living mussels (aka the ones that are tightly closed and smell briny and not fishy). Then find some yummy base flavors like onions, leeks, garlic, wine, herbs, and you’ll end up with something delicious.

Then put a lid on them and they cook very quickly.

They are easy, fast and cheap to make at home, but they feel like a bistro/restaurant quality meal. I think the main reason home cooks shy away from them is the difficulty in figuring out if they are good or not. So here is a quick guide to help and once you do it a few times you get the hang of it (adapted from this post here if you want to learn more).

I hope you get to make them soon! Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

BUYING FRESH MUSSELS

  • Prime mussel season is from October to March.
  • Mussels are alive and are kept on ice at the market. They will often come in a mesh bag with a tag indicating harvest location, date, and use by date. If the mussels are loose in the case, you can ask your fishmonger to show you the tag.
  • Let your nose be your guide! Mussels should smell like the ocean and sea air: briny and fresh. They should not smell overly fishy.
  • The shells should be closed tightly. If you find any mussels in your bag with open shells, gently tap them on the counter, wait a minute, and see if they close. Discard any mussels don’t close, or those with chipped or cracked shells.
  • Transport mussels home from the market in an open-topped bag that can breathe. Tightly tying them up in a plastic bag without air circulation will risk smothering and spoiling them.

 

Mussels with White Wine, Leeks & Chorizo

Ingredients:

2 pounds of mussels

1 Tablespoon butter

2 leeks, light green and white parts washed and sliced

3-4 garlic cloves

1 cup chorizo, sliced lengthwise and then in 1/2 inch sliced or crumbled

1 cup white wine

2 cups stock (chicken, seafood or vegetable all work)

3 stalks fresh thyme leaves

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Sort mussels, removing any that are open. Soak in a bowl of water with a 1/4 cup of flour for 10 minutes.

Melt butter in wide pan, then add leeks. Saute for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add chorizo and cook 2-3 minutes, then add white wine and cook a few minutes, then add chicken stock, thyme, parsley and mussels and cover. Cook 8 minutes. Remove lid and stir in cream, then pour into a serving dish. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

 

 

Apple Kale Salad with Honeycrips, Cheddar & Cinnamon Vinaigrette

October 14, 2021

I first saw this salad on How Sweet Eats and it is just so pretty I had to try it. And it was so good I had to blog it! It is the perfect fall celebration and since we just went apple picking last weekend we have lots of apples to make more. Its the smokey pepita clusters that do it for me. If you are having any trouble finding the pepitas try the bulk section of your local grocery store.

The smokey-sweet-salty combo is so good I’m thinking of trying it on everything. And the pecans are good enough to make for the holidays.

And I love getting my kale already washed and sliced. It made this salad come together so quickly.

The earthy kale, sweet apple, cinnamon vinaigrette all come together with a delightful crunch from the toppings. It feels amazingly healthy and a symphony of fall flavor at the same time.

This fall has been totally glorious, and after the fresh, easy cooking of summer I am craving having time to cook cozy cold weather meals. But it has been so warm this salad works perfectly. This is definitely happening again soon at my house, and I might even mix it up with some goat cheese or sliced chicken breast on top. I hope you get to try this one because it is going into our annual fall recipe pile.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Apple Kale Salad with Honeycrips, Cheddar & Cinnamon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

SMOKY HONEY PEPITA CLUSTERS

  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt

SWEET AND SPICY TOASTED PECANS

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

CINNAMON SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

SALAD

    • 4 to 6 cups chopped tuscan kale
    • 2 honeycrisp apples thinly sliced
    • 3 ounces freshly grated sharp white cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

SMOKY HONEY PEPITA CLUSTERS

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave the coconut oil and honey together until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir the pepitas in a large bowl with the honey mixture, salt and smoked paprika. Place them on the baking sheet and smooth them out with a spatula – you still want them clustered so you can break them apart after baking!
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and toss slightly. Let cool completely before breaking apart.

SWEET AND SPICY TOASTED PECANS

  • Heat the pecans in a nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasty. Stir in the honey, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Let the honey bubble and stir for a few minutes, then transfer the pecans to parchment paper and let them cool completely.

CINNAMON SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • Whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, shallot, garlic, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. This keeps great in the fridge for a few days!

SALAD

  • Massage the kale with a tablespoon or so of the dressing and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. I like to season the kale at this point with salt and pepper too. Slice the apples and combine the apples, cheese, pecans and pepita clusters with the kale and toss well. Serve with the vinaigrette!

Recipe reposted from How Sweet Eats 

French Onion Chicken Meatballs

October 6, 2021

 

Recently someone asked me what my food philosophy is, or my POV. And I thought about it and realized it is somewhere between that romantic rustic country kitchen – one with a fire going, with some dogs and a bowl of rising bread nearby – and ‘I have 20 minutes in between getting home from the grocery store and leaving for football practice to make dinner’. What do we call that POV? Old world meets new world? Classic meets modern? Anyone else feel that way?

Either way, this dinner perfectly fits this food philosophy. The feel of a slow cooked french onion soup with the stick to your ribs in a healthy way chicken meatballs? Yes please. I actually wanted to make this recipe because it combined my husbands two favorite things and let me tell you, he was thrilled with the leftovers.

But the best is that it is a pretty quick recipe since it has you bake the meatballs while the the onions are cooking, cutting your cook time in half. Multitasking is the middle name of whatever we’re calling my food perspective. Can I get an amen?

Our crew was split down the middle for a carb vehicle for these meatballs – team egg noodle vs. team mashed potatoes. I was part of the later and loved how the gravy soaked into the potatoes, but both teams pretty much won since everyone loved this dish. This would also be AH-mazing in between some crusty bread for a twist on a meatball sub.

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If you haven’t already memorized your favorite meatball recipe, may I suggest that it is a huge help when you are rushing and you just need to get food on the table? We put meatballs into our favorite simmer tomato sauce, into soups, and into the oven to bake so frequently that it helps to memorize certain ratios – for every 1 pound of the meat of your choice, it is 1 tsp. salt, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/4-1/2 cup cheese, 2 cloves of garlic (use that garlic press and it is so easy) and a handful of chopped parsley. This is also pretty close to how I make mini-meatloaves too. So whether you are making chicken, turkey, beef or other meatballs, it is always the same format, and once you have it down it goes really fast. Also, stale bread in the Ninja blender makes the best breadcrumbs.

This is the perfect busy night, crowd pleasing dish. We’re so excited to add this to our dinner rotation, hope you get to try it soon!

French Onion Chicken Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE MEATBALLS

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, for baking sheet

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 c. shredded Gruyère

1/4 c. bread crumbs

2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

1 large egg, beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

FOR THE SAUCE

4 tbsp. butter

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 c. low-sodium beef broth

2 tsp. freshly chopped thyme, plus more for garnish

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 c. shredded Gruyère

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a large baking sheet with foil and rub with oil.
  2. Make meatballs: In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, Gruyère, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 16 meatballs, then place on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden and cooked through, 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile make sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook until very soft and golden, 25 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add broth and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.
  4. Add meatballs to skillet and sprinkle with Gruyère. Cover and cook until meatballs are warmed through and cheese is melty, 5 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with thyme.

Recipe from delish.com

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Salad with Radishes and Arugula

August 12, 2021

imageI know I already wrote about my summer salad love in my last post. But it is still going strong. We’ve been growing fresh romaine and red leaf lettuce in our back yard, and I’ve been making big batches of this homemade Panara Greek Dressing.

But this salad is AH-mazing. Get ready for a flavor blast of lemon, garlic, and feta along with a texture explosion of crunchy radishes and nuts, creamy avocado, and meaty shrimp. You can make this for a party, or you can make it for yourself and halve the recipe. Either way, you’re going to wanna make it. Because it’s change-your-life good.

I think I was laying by a pool while my kids swam when I dreamed it up. Most likely it was the lingering effects of Tamara Adler and her urge that a salad have something crunchy, creamy, acidic, and oily. Plus I totally crave shrimp in the summer for some reason – it cooks so fast so the kitchen doesn’t get hot and the lighter protein is my jam.  If your people don’t love shrimp you can totally substitute two cubed chicken breasts. 

I was having lunch with my mom and sister the next day, and had a bottle of my favorite Sancerre and wanted to bring something to go with it.

The garlick-y lemony dressing, and the crunch, not to mention how pretty it is, made us so happy.

image

I used some of the flavors from the dressing to marinate the shrimp. (A garlic spicy kick on shrimp makes me swoon). I made a marinade from the juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. I put the raw shrimp in a zip lock bag with this and let it sit for a half hour. (You can do longer).

I started the dressing right after since it is very similar, and the longer the garlic hangs out with the lemon the more flavorful it will be so you want to give it some time to mingle. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, minced shallot, 1 small grated (or minced) garlic clove. Let it hang. Go listen to some music. 

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When you are ready to start the salad, put some sliced almonds (or whole almonds or another favorite nut) in a pan and toast them. For some reason, I feel compelled to toast nuts in my cast iron skillet. It heats them so evenly.

Here is where you can choose your own adventure: I kept feeling like couscous would be a great texture to this salad. But when I assembled it, it looked too pretty to add it! So I served it in a bowl with a bed of couscous underneath and it was amazing. So experiment! Maybe put it under the arugula in a big bowl if you were taking it to a party. Or leave it out. The couscous does such a great job of soaking up the yummy dressing so it is a thumbs up, but the salad is great on its own too.

While everything is marinating and toasting and couscous is (optionally) fluffing up, start slicing your radishes. I can’t get enough radishes these days, so in they went. And I wanted a creamy element, so in went avocados too.
imageimage

This dish comes together fast, because although there are a lot of steps you can do them at the same time. The only thing that this salad requires one you get past cooking the shrimp is assembly. Yay for some easiness.

Whether you are headed to a big Labor Day bash, or some relaxed get togethers with friends and family, delight everyone and make this. (But even if you eat it at home with Netflix, it’s still pretty great.)

image

You will thank me when you make this! I promise.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Salad with Radishes and Arugula (Printer Version Here):

For the Marinaded Shrimp:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ lb. raw shrimp, peeled

For the Salad:

2 cups arugula, thinly sliced

1 avocado, sliced lengthwise

1 cup radishes, sliced

½ cup toasted almonds

½ cup crumbled feta (I used low fat)

For the Dressing:

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

2 teaspoons chopped parsely

½ teaspoon salt, pinch of black ground pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

If shrimp is frozen, soak in warm water until it is thawed (about 5-10 minutes.) Peel and removed tails. Mix marinade ingredients together, then pour over peeled raw shrimp in a ziplock bag. Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes-4 hours.

Start the dressing by mixing all the ingredients except the olive oil. Let sit to allow flavors to blend.

If serving with couscous, prepare according to package directions.

Toast almonds by pouring into skillet or pan, shaking to evenly distribute in one even layer in pan so they toast evenly. Checking for doneness every few minutes (set a timer if needed) shaking pan to toss and redistribute nuts. Repeat as necessary until toasted. (Note: you can tell when they are done by noticing when there is a toasted nut smell, but the timer is more reliable, which is helpful since they burn easily). Remove from heat when done and let rest until use.

When shrimp is done marinating, heat large pan on medium-high heat. Pour shrimp in pan, give one small sprinkle of salt and pepper, turning after cooking 1-2 minutes or when pink. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, then transfer to a plate to cool.

Meanwhile, place arugula in large bowl. Slice radishes and scatter around the top. Slice avocado, squeezing with lemon juice to prevent browning, then lay on top of salad. Scatter evenly the feta, nuts, and shrimp around top.

When read to eat, pour dressing evenly over top. Serve immediately.

Rustic Marinated Greek Salad (aka My Everyday Salad)

July 29, 2021

It seems like every summer I find one salad that I make over and over. They tend to be simple, made with the season’s best ingredients, and delicious. Last year it was a simple tomato, avocado, balsamic salad similar to this one. A few years ago it was David Lebovitz’s Corn, Tomato, Avocado and Basil salad. 

But this summer I have had a huge container of this Rustic Marinated Greek Salad in my fridge. I made it a few days ago when I made my Sheet Pan Lemon Greek Chicken for a family get together (also something I have made a lot this summer at the lake because my kids love couscous).

The beautiful thing about this salad is it gets better the next day or two as the veggies marinate in the dressing.

It makes me so happy to have a big container in the fridge. I just took some of the leftovers to a picnic with my kids at a park, three days after I made it, and it was so good. It’s easy (just some chopping!), refreshing, and I feel great after I have it. And it is so fast to make. 

 

Rustic Marinated Greek Salad

Ingredients:

2 large tomatoes

1 English cucumber

1 pepper

1/4-1/2 cup kalamata olives (I love them so I use a lot)

http://thehumbleonion.com/wp-admin/admin.php?page=sg-cachepress6 oz. feta cheese, cubed (use the kind sold in brine if you can)

For the dressing:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon dried oregano, more for sprinkling

¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients for the dressing well, then set aside.

Cut cucumber in half lengthwise, then in big diagonal chunks. Cut the tomatoes and peppers in big chunks also.

Toss dressing well through veggies, then gently stir in the feta and olives. Add seasoning to taste. Refrigerate up to 4 days,  taking care to drain off any excess water.

Sheet Pan Greek Lemon Chicken Bowls

June 25, 2021

We are sliding into summer with trips to the pool and popsicles, and are busy getting kids ready for sleep away camp. It still feels a little busy and we are looking for all the short cuts in the kitchen.

Enter this great sheet pan dinner which transforms into totally customizable bowls that our kids loved (thanks to the couscous and the tzatziki).

First you start with a lemon & Greek seasoning marinade, and toss the chicken into the fridge before you leave for the pool or fun outing.

When you get back, dinner is ready in a half hour. Preheat the oven, and roast the chicken with potatoes and lemon slices at 425 for 25-30 min. or until the potatoes blister a little bit.

While this is roasting, prepare the couscous which is also known as ‘boiling water’ because that is all you have to do, then stir in the couscous and seasonings and cover for 5 min. My little kids love couscous and I love that it only takes 5 min. to make.

This dinner is so great for entertaining! You could easily grill the chicken instead of roasting it, and lay out all the toppings for people.

And those potatoes? They could be their own appetizer or side dish:

Dipping these into the tzatziki sauce with their lemony goodness is so good. And for sure squeeze those roasted lemons onto these and the bowls for a flavor bomb. Ridiculously good.

You can buy your tzatziki (I did!) but it is really easy to make too. Here is a great recipe for tzatziki sauce.

When you assemble the bowl, layer the couscous on the bottom, add the super flavorful chicken, and then pile all of your favorite add ons. Then add these potatoes and tzatziki.

Easy, healthy, pretty and delicious.

Summer,  we’re coming for you.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Sheet Pan Greek Lemon Chicken Bowls

Ingredients:

  • 4 T. of Greek seasoning (or Souvlaki seasoning)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 lb. chicken
  • 4 potatoes, halved and sliced
  • 1 lemon cut into slices
  • olive oil

Bowl Options: 

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 packages couscous, cooked according to package
  • Tzatzkiki
  • 2 packages Naan Bread
  • Feta
  • Olives
  • Humus
  • Baba ganoush

Directions: Mix olive oil, lemon and Greek seasoning together to make the marinade. Put chicken (I used breast & drumstick) in a ziplock bag and pour marinade over it. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 425.

Arrange chicken and potatoes on sheet pan. Cook for 30 min. or until potatoes are brown.

Cook couscous, cut up veggies and Naan bread, and arrange bowl components on a platter. Serve into bowls, squeezing lemon slices on top.