Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CSA Share #2

In this week's share: Curly Kale, Scallions, a Beet, Radishes, Garlic Scapes, Spinach, Sweet Basil, Purslane, Strawberries, and Salad Mix.

I'll be back with more recipes once I figure out what Purslane is and how I use it...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Kale, Chard, and Olives

What can I say, I'm on a kale kick. It's also in season in Michigan, so it's been in our CSA share every week (new pictures of share #2 tomorrow!!). And it's healthy, so you should eat it! Aside from the fact that when you mix it with a bunch of fatty things it obliterates the bitterness and leaves you with a creamy, tender, healthy side dish! And it just doesn't get much better than that.

This recipe was originally from Thomas Kellar's Ad Hoc at Home and it calls for several things that I didn't have: fennel, fresh thyme and bay leaves. So, I did changed it up. It's what I do. Deal.

Instead of fennel, I used the newest bunch of kale from the CSA and the last of the Swiss chard from the garden. It's what we had, but you can probably use whatever greens you have on hand. Instead of thyme, I used rosemary and in place of the fresh bay leaves, I grabbed a few fresh basil leaves from the garden. I was a little worried about all of my substitutions, but it was great! (If I do say so myself.)

Mmmmm taters and garlic.

Dinner from last night: Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Kale and Chard, Roasted Garlic and New Potatoes from The Pioneer Woman, John's Homemade Bread and wine.

Crispy Braised Chicken with Kale, Swiss Chard, and Olives
Originally seen in Ad Hoc at Home

7 Chicken Thighs
Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Bunch Kale
1 Bunch Swiss Chard
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
4 Slices of Lemon Peel (Use a Vegetable Peeler)
1 Cup Green Olives
4-5 Sprigs of Rosemary
3-4 Basil Leaves
1 Cup Chicken Broth

Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Choose one that is large enough to fit all of the chicken in a single layer. Once hot, add chicken thighs, skin side down and cook for 4 minutes. Flip chicken and sear on the other side for 1 minute. Transfer chicken to a cookie sheet and place into the oven to keep it warm.

Add the onion to the hot pan and cook for about 1 and 1/2 minutes. Next, add garlic and let cook for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. In batches, add the kale and chard to the pan and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring. Add lemon peel, olives, rosemary and basil to the pan. Stir, then add chicken broth. Once the mixture comes to a boil, return the chicken to the pan, skin side up and nestle it into the greens. Cook for a few minutes, then transfer the entire pan to the oven. Cook until chicken is done, about 20-30 minutes. Turn the broiler on and cook the chicken for 2 minutes to get the skin crispy. Serve immediately.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Creamed Kale and Swiss Chard

I've never cooked with Kale. I don't think I've ever seen Kale before it appeared in our CSA box last week. But there it was, begging us to eat it. So, I used a no-fail solution to any dish: cook it in butter and add cream. Yuuummmmm! And guess what?!?! I'm pretty sure all that butter and cream practically obliterates any of the health benefits from eating Kale. But I can still tell myself that It's good for me. And believe me, I will. We ate this with a giant salad, all from the CSA and our garden, and Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin.

Mmm Kale.

Swiss Chard from the garden.

Me choppin' up some tasty onion, Kale and Chard before, Kale and Chard during, Kale and Chard, the end.

Creamed Kale and Swiss Chard
1 Tbs. Butter
1. Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Small Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 bunch of Kale, washed and torn into pieces
1 bunch of Swiss Chard, washed and torn into pieces
1/2-1 Cup Whole Milk or Cream
1 Tbsp. Flour
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Heat butter and oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add onion and cook until soft, 4-5 minutes. After the onion has softened, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to release some of the flavor. In batches, add the kale and chard to the pan and, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and the cream to keep lumps from forming when you mix with the greens. After all the greens have cooked down, pour the cream mixture into the greens and stir. Let the creamed greens cook over low heat until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spanish Tortilla

One of my favorite memories from our honeymoon was being really lazy and at cafes in Madrid sipping Sangria and sharing some kick-ass tapas. We ate (and drank) practically everything on the menu, but what we kept coming back to was Spanish Tortilla. I mean, how can anyone go wrong making a giant, pan-sized pancake out of potatoes, onions, and eggs. Seriously. Yum. It's a little tough to get the hang of flipping the thing without dripping hot oil over your hands. Trust me, I've done it. Ouch. But after you get the hang of things, your family will be asking for it on a constant basis. John asks for it at least every month. Usually more like every two weeks.

I can't remember where I first read this recipe, hence the lack of a reference. Usually, I just throw in as many potatoes as I have left in my pantry and add enough eggs to get the right consistency. I like my tortilla a little more on the potato-y side (John claims it's the Irish heritage), so dial the eggs and potatoes up or down to get exactly what you like best!

Spanish Tortilla
5-6 Potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 Onion, diced
4-5 Large Eggs
1/2 - 1 Cup Olive Oil*
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper

Heat enough oil over medium-low heat in a 9-inch nonstick pan so that it measures about 1/2 inch up the side of the pan. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the potatoes and onions. Let the potatoes cook until they are starting to fall apart, 10-15 minutes. We're not trying to fry the potatoes, just let them absorb as much of the Olive Oil flavor as they can and get good and soft. Set a strainer into a bowl and pour the potatoes into the strainer, allowing the oil to drip into the bowl.

From the strained oil, add about 1 tsp. back into the pan and let it get hot. Traditionally, you should let the potatoes cool so they don't cook the eggs too fast, but I'm usually too impatient to do something like that. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add salt and pepper. Pour potatoes into eggs and mix until just combined. Quickly, pour the egg-potato mixture into the hot pan. Shake the pan a little to get the eggs into all the crevices between the potatoes and to smooth the top. Cook, shaking the pan every couple of minutes, until the eggs are almost set at the top, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover your hands in pot-holders (see earlier comment). Place a large plate over the pan and flip the tortilla onto the plate (this is best done over a sink). Quickly slide the tortilla off the plate and back into the pan (you shouldn't need to add any more oil to the pan, but if it looks too dry, add a little bit from the reserved oil.) Cook the other side for a few minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Slide the tortilla onto another plate and serve! Enjoy!

*You must Must MUST use Olive Oil. The higher quality oil you use, the better this dish will come out. Because really good Olive Oil can get a little pricey, I tried using Vegetable Oil once. I've regretted it ever since. It was that traumatic. In this dish, the potatoes soak up the flavor of the oil and it definitely comes out in the dish. Vegetable, Canola or any other kind of oil just doesn't give the tortilla the right flavor. Trust me, and don't make the same sad mistakes I did.

CSA Box #1

This year in our attempt to eat locally and be "green" (also because one of John's friends asked us if we wanted to join) we joined a CSA! I'm so excited about it, I can't even begin to explain. Picking up the first box felt like my birthday. Apparently when you get into your mid-20's your birthdays are a little less exciting if you liken them to picking up a box of produce. Or they are really awesome if you get as excited as I do about food.

Anyway, check out our loot!

Yay!!! We'll be posting what we make with all this grub throughout the summer. Stay tuned!