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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Goat Cheese Stuffed Burgers with Grilled Radishes

It's use up the Bossy basket at our house this week. The challenge today was to get Ray to eat radishes. He doesn't care for them. I love them, so I would have been perfectly happy to eat every last one of the happy little radishes we received in our CSA basket, but you know I love a challenge. 

I remembered reading that you could roast radishes, and it would stand to reason that would take some of the bite out of them. Since I had burgers on the menu anyway, I tossed them on the grill with some diced sweet potato. They were really amazing, and the flavor was not at all what I expected. Ray actually enjoyed them, and he ate them ! SCORE one for the home team ! We also used some of the greens for buns instead of bread, so we had a super healthy dinner.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Burgers with Grilled Radishes
For the burger:
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning
4 ounces goat cheese
Mix the first three ingredients together in a large bowl, and form into 8 patties of equal size. Slice goat cheese into one ounce discs. Place one piece of goat cheese on a beef patty, top with another, and seal edges well. Set aside until you are ready to grill.

For the radishes:
10-12 medium size radishes (depending on how many people you are feeding!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Slice radishes in halves or quarters, so they are bite size, and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Preheat grill to high, and place radishes in a grill pan, or on a piece of foil. Grill and stir regularly for approximately 20 minutes, until the are slightly charred, and tender. Add burgers to the grill at about the 10 minute mark, and cook burgers 5 minutes on each side, until they are cooked through and cheese is melted. Remove items from grill, and top burgers as desired.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Grilled Chicken and Joi Choi Slaw with Beer Vinaigrette

I was SO excited to get my first box from our Bossy Acres CSA. I had no idea what was going to be in the box, so I just took out some chicken for dinner (chicken goes with everything, right ?). I truly wasn't prepared for the massive box of greens that we received. What to make now ? And then I realized I didn't have a lot of other things with which to make dinner. I love to improvise, but this was going to be a challenge ! 

The joi choi was big and fresh, and rather than doing a stir fry, I thought a slaw sounded good. I like my slaw with a vinegar based dressing rather than a creamy one, so that part was easy. I had part of a bottle of some super hoppy beer in the refrigerator from last night. I asked Ray, "Do you think I could make a beer vinaigrette with that leftover beer ?" He thinks it's too hoppy, but I say 'Game ON!" 

It's a nice mix of sweet and bitter, and what a quick dinner this was to put together. I wanted another crunchy, toasty element on the salad, so I added the pecans toasted with Five Spice powder, and it was super good !

Grilled Chicken and Joi Choi Slaw with Beer Vinaigrette 
For the vinaigrette:
1 cup India Pale Ale
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Blend all ingredients together well, and set aside until ready to serve.

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup ponzu
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Mix marinade ingredients together, and let chicken marinate at least 1 hour or overnight. Preheat grill to high, and grill chicken 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked completely. Let rest 4-5 minutes.

For the pecans:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon Five Spice powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a small saute pan, warm pecans until you can smell them begin to toast. Add spice powder and olive oil, and continue to toast until oil is completely evaporated. Remove from heat.

To assemble salad:
1 large Joi Choi, chopped
1/2 cup Vidalia onions, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Five spiced pecans
Grilled chicken
Beer vinaigrette
Toss the joi choi, onions and vinaigrette together, and layer on your dinner plate. Top with cranberries, pecans and chicken. Enjoy ! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Honey Ginger Rhubarb Crisp

It's the time of year when my little rhubarb patch is bursting with freshness, and we love our crisp ! I make this a lot, so of course you know I wanted to change it up a little. Since we always have honey from our bees, I wanted to add honey, but I had never tried this with rhubarb. And somehow I decided that ginger would be a good addition with the honey, but I honestly had no idea about proportions. So, I just started chopping and tossing. I think this recipe is about right for our tastes, as we don't like our desserts overly sweet, it would lose the wonderful tartness of the fresh rhubarb, and the spiciness I love from fresh ginger. So here it is ! There was a nice, honey, ginger, rhubarb syrup that formed at the bottom, because the honey didn't thicken like sugar would have, but I am OK with that, just scoop it out, and pour it over the top of the ice cream. 

Honey Ginger Rhubarb Crisp 

9 cups fresh rhubarb, diced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups honey
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the topping:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9 by 13 pan with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, mix together the rhubarb, honey, ginger and cinnamon, and spread evenly into the bottom of the pan. Mix together the topping ingredients, and spread evenly over the top of the fruit mixture. Place in oven, and bake 45-60 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool 15-20 minutes before serving with a scoop of ice cream.

Note: You can cut this recipe in half and make in an 8 by 8 pan, bake 30-45 minutes. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Steak Salad with Grilled Peaches and Bacon Vinaigrette

I spent the last week at a leadership retreat, which was really transformational, educational and inspirational...except for the food. I respect the fact that they had to feed a large number of people with varying schedules, and different dietary needs, but it was honestly just a step above cafeteria food.. 

Most of the meals were high carb, low flavor and not very nutritionally balanced. Since I cook my meals from scratch at home, by the time my week was over, I was dying for some fresh, uncomplicated ingredients. 

This grilled steak salad was just what I needed to welcome me home. The peaches gave it a nice, bright flavor, and the bacon vinaigrette always reminds me of my grandma and her wilted lettuce salads. Served with some grilled jalapeno poppers on the side for some spice, it made me happy to be doing my own cooking again ! 

Steak Salad with Grilled Peaches and Bacon Vinaigrette
For the steaks:
2 six ounce sirloins (I used venison, but any sirloin will do) 
2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon grill seasoning 
Place steaks in a zip lock back, and pour in marinade ingredients. Mix together and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before grilling. 

For the vinaigrette: 
6 pieces of bacon 
3 tablespoons bacon drippings, reserved 
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard 
Fry bacon until crispy, remove from pan and let cool on paper towel. Crumble and set aside for salad. Remove 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings, and combine with the vinegar and mustard until emulsified. Set aside until the salad is ready to assemble. 

For the rest of the salad: 
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves 
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled 
6 pieces bacon, crumbled 
1 large peach, cut into sections 
1 large Roma tomato, diced 
Arrange spinach leaves, bacon, goat cheese and tomatoes on plates. Preheat grill to high, and start steaks. Depending on the thickness of your steaks, grill 4-5 minutes on the first side, turn, then put peach sections on the grill (you may need to spray non-stick on the grill, depending on what type of grill surface you have). Frill an additional 3-4 minutes until steaks are the desired level of doneness, and peaches are nicely charred. Remove from grill. Let steaks rest 5-7 minutes before slicing, then place on top of salad. Top with grilled peaches, and bacon vinaigrette. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Morel Risotto

Morels are a rare treat, we splurge on them once a year when they are in season here in Minnesota. I suppose we could try to forage for our own, but when time is short, it's just so easy to go pick them up at the Farmer's Market on the mall over my lunch break !
Usually, I just sauté these with some butter and a little white wine, so I can highlight their rich, delicate flavor, but I bought extra this year so I could try something different. We love risotto, and it seemed like a perfect way to use the extras. This is a traditional preparation of risotto, just with the addition of the morels.
Morel Risotto
1/4 pound morel mushrooms, rinsed well
1/4 cup shallots, finely diced
1 tablespoon butter, plus one for sauté later
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I used a pinot grigio here)
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
2/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Slice morels, and divide in half. Start chicken stock simmering in a pot over very low heat. Place a large sauté pan oven medium heat and add butter and olive oil to pan. Melt together, and add shallots. Saute until soft, and then add until rice. stir until coated with butter, then add wine. Cook down until wine is mostly absorbed by rice. Start adding chicken stock one half cup at a time, stirring constantly. Add additional cup only when previous addition has been mostly absorbed by rice. Continue this process until all of the stock has been used up. Remove from heat, and stir in parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and half of the morels. In a separate, small sauté pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter and quickly sauté remaining morels. Place risotto in serving bowls, and top with the sautéed morels,