Monday, August 29, 2011

Sauteed Collard Green Ribbons

Our bi-weekly CSA basket was delivered today. Shelby and I have made a ritual out of opening the bag and taking all the produce out. We ooh and ahh over the (sometimes) funny-looking fruits and vegetables [Side Note: If you hold artichokes on top of your head, 2-years may think you look like Minnie Mouse].
I get a preview email of what's to come in the basket. I saw collard greens on the list for the week and my heart sunk a little. I am not a native Southerner. I have cooked greens once - for New Year's this year - because you're supposed to on New Year's! I attempted greens, and people, it was not good. All that braising and cooking and waiting for nothing. But, since the greens were a-comin' this week, I needed a plan.
I found a greens recipe on Bitten Word that seemed to fit my criteria: quick, addressed the "tired old greens" issue, and super-quick (did I mention that already?) I tweaked on their recipe a bit to our family's taste (namely: add bacon). I will tell you, this recipe is a keeper! I went back for seconds! I will make this recipe again if I see greens in my basket!

Sauteed Collard Green Ribbons

1 Tbs. malt vinegar
2 tsp. maple syrup
1-1/2 lb. collard greens (about 30 leaves)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon, diced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

In a small bowl, whisk the malt vinegar and maple syrup.

Trim the stem from each collard leaf with a sharp knife, dividing the leaf completely in half lengthwise as you cut away the stem. Discard the stems; wash and dry the leaves.

Stack half of the leaves and roll them up tightly crosswise into a cigar shape. Using a very sharp knife, cut the collard “cigar” crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Use your fingers to unfurl the slices, which will be tightly curled together. Repeat with the second half of the leaves.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pepper flakes, stirring to distribute in the hot oil. Add the bacon and cook until just crispy. Add the collards. Using tongs, stir and toss the collards until they’re coated with the oil, and continue tossing until they are slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Most of the greens will have turned a bright green, with some beginning to turn a darker green. Do not overcook, as they will become tough. Take the pan off the heat, drizzle on the maple-vinegar mixture, stir well, and transfer to a shallow serving platter. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week 83 Menu

Sunday: Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken with roasted asparagus
Monday: Veggie Meatballs and marinara with Sauteed Collard Ribbons
Tuesday: Squash pancakes
Wednesday: Dinner at church.
Thursday: Mushroom Slow Cooker Roast Beef with Pan-Roasted Artichokes
Friday: Cheese steak sandwiches with leftover beef
Saturday: Out.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Orange Beef

Back in the day before kids and before I started cooking a lot, we liked to go to PF Chang's. The food was pretty yummy and we just loved the crispy, honey shrimp and the orange beef! After we got married, I started to cook a lot more. One of the first dishes I made was an orange beef. I think the recipe might have been in a Rachael Ray magazine.

I made it a few times and we fell in love with the home version of this dish! It amazing how the zest and juice of just one orange can permeate the whole dish so well. Half the price and a quarter of the fat and calories of the restaurant version.  I don't think we've been back to PF Chang's since!

Photo courtesy of Scott

Orange Beef
adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe

- Zest of one orange
- 2.5 T olive oil
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1 T vinegar
- 1 lb. skirt steak, thinly sliced
- Peanuts, scallions (optional garnish)
- Assorted stir fry veggies (optional)

1. Place zest, juice, soy sauce olive oil and vinegar in bowl. Stir in beef.
2. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min.
3. Over high heat, cook meat (~2.5 min per side). Set aside meat and reserve any cooking liquid in a small bowl.
4. Wipe skillet clean and prepare ginger fried rice. Use reserved cooking liquid for rice flavoring.
5. Add in your favorite stir fry veggies: mushrooms, onions, peas, red peppers
6. Serve the beef over the rice. Garnish with peanuts and scallions.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 82 Menu

Sunday: Orange Beef with fried rice
Monday: BLTs
Tuesday: Chicken Pad Thai (thanks for the link last week, Mommy Chic!)
Wednesday: Dinner at church
Thursday: Orange-scented lentil ragout with seared polenta
Friday: Homemade pizza with lots of veggies!
Saturday: Out.

Monday, August 15, 2011

CSA Goodness

One of my 2011 New Year's Resolutions was to increase our veggie intake by joining a CSA. Well, I finally got off my butt. Apparently, it was just too hard to manage in the first half of the year! :)

One of our friends in our Bible Study group runs a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) in the Daytona area. They buy fresh, organic, locally grown produce, assemble baskets, then deliver the produce to their customers. Unfortunately, they do not operate in the Jacksonville area. But, she pointed us to several companies that do serve our area! We chose Palmetto Organics. They have a lot of options for the size of the basket as well as a weekly or bi-weekly delivery option. Since I didn't want to be overwhelmed at first, we chose the "Small Harvest" delivered bi-weekly. All we have to do is leave a cooler with ice packs on the porch and we have fantastic produce ready for dinner!

Shelby really likes opening the cooler and bringing the veggies in the house. After we lay them out on the counter, she gets her camera and takes a picture.....just like Mommy!

This was our second basket. And, it has a lot of great fruits and veggies. I'm kind of a nerd, but I rub my hands together and channel my inner-chef to incorporate them into our meals for the week! I'm looking forward to a rhubarb crisp, a greenbean/celery salad, and some roasted garlic mushrooms. Yum!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Week 81 Menu

Sunday: Steak, potato, veggies
Monday: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos (GoodLife Eats)
Tuesday: Red Beans and Rice in the slow cooker (PW)
Wednesday: Dinner at church
Thursday: Homemade, oven-baked Chicken Nuggets
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Week 80 Menu

It's kind of a crazy week - Grandparents in town, business trip Wed - Fri. So, I guess I'm not really doing a lot of cooking. But, I'm trying to have meals prepared for Scott and Shelby while I'm out of town.

Sunday: Out for Mexican with the Grandparents!
Monday: Family decided on Italian Beef in the slow cooker (PW)
Tuesday: Going away dinner for a friend
Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie filling over rice
Thursday: "Curly Noodles" (fusili with butter and parmesan)
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Date night!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Newest Chef

We went out to eat on Saturday night and the table next to us ordered one of those fabulous brownie desserts where they pour the flaming hot caramel over the brownie table side. Shelby decided she must have one. We were full and didn't want to be a small fortune for the dessert. So, I blurted out,

"We can make brownies together tomorrow." Wait......What?! What was I thinking? Making brownies with a two-year old. Well, I put it out there....guess I have to own it.

Shelby insisted we both wear our aprons and she was a very apt and eager student. She was very careful with each step and just wanted to be a good helper. She was great! And, she was so proud when we took that pan of cooked brownies out of the oven.