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Friday, August 30, 2013

Garlic Green Beans with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

We are almost to the next CSA drop off, and I am trying like crazy to use up the massive amount of vegetables we received from the last box. I planned this dinner with the idea I could squeeze in three different kinds, all grilled, and make a really interesting meal.
I think the ultimate compliment for me is when my husband says he would pay for this kind of meal in a restaurant, it was that good ! The beautiful side dish here was simply some grilled beets, peeled, diced, and marinated in Serrano honey vinegar. Simple, elegant and delicious.
I topped the green beans with some grilled chicken, because we are kind of carnivores, we like our meat ! But you could absolutely serve this without it, and it would be just as tasty.
Garlic Green Beans with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
For the beans:
1 pound fresh green beans, washed, trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat grill to high, place grill pan on grates. Toss beans with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in grill pan, and grill 10-15 minutes, until beans are tender, and slightly charred. Remove from grill, and toss with garlic.

For the sauce:
1 pound cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a small stone cooking vessel, and place on top rack of grill. Let them roast while the beans are cooking, they will start to burst and char, which is how you will know they are cooked. Remove from grill, and scoop into a bowl. Add balsamic vinegar, and blend with immersion blender until sauce is smooth. Spoon over top of the green beans.

If you want to add meat to the dish, layer the meat on top of the green beans, then spoon the sauce over the top.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Poached Swai with Bruschetta Style Tomatoes

Yep, it's summer. And it's hot. And our garden has completely exploded with tomatoes of all shapes and colors. We canned all weekend last weekend, and the last thing I wanted to make was a complicated dinner. 

This one is super simple, and really highlights the fresh tomatoes from the garden. And, with the house so warm from all the canning, I was happy I could do most of it on the grill. I "poached" the fish by putting the filets in foil packets, technically "en papillote" if you use parchment paper in the oven. Cooking the swai this way leaves it very tender and moist, and it cooks very quickly. 

Poached Swai with Bruschetta Style Tomatoes 
For the tomatoes: 
3 very fresh Roma tomatoes, diced 
1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced 
2 cloves garlic, finely diced 
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut chiffonade 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
Mix all ingredients together gently in a bowl, and set aside. 

For the fish: 
4 six ounce swai filets 
1 lemon, thinly sliced 
1 small onion, thinly sliced 
Olive oil 
Old Bay Seasoning 
Preheat grill to approximately 400 degrees. Lay out one piece of aluminum foil for each filet. Layer lemon slices and onion slices on each piece of foil, then place one piece of fish on each one. Drizzle olive oil on fish, and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and Old Bay Seasoning. Seal foil packets loosely around fish, and place on grill. Grill for 12-15 minutes, no need to turn the packets. Remove from grill, and cut open, letting steam release. Serve fish on top of rice or greens, and top with bruschetta tomatoes. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hawaiian Venison Tacos with Ground Cherry Salsa

I love ground cherries, but they sure can be difficult to find ! I discovered them last year, and made a really excellent chutney with them, but I wanted to do something different this year. 

To me, they taste a lot like mango, so I decided I could sub them into any recipe where I would normally have mango, so here I made a sweet and spicy salsa to top my "Hawaiian" tacos. I call these Hawaiian because of the soy based marinade for the steaks, and I used pineapple in a previous version as a topping. They still have that tropical feeling, with the ground cherry salsa, and the flavor combination is stunning. 

Hawaiian Venison Tacos with Ground Cherry Salsa 
For the Salsa; 
2 cups ground cherries, husked and sliced in half 
1/2 cup purple onion, diced finely 
3 small jalapenos, diced finely 
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice 
1 teaspoon salt 
Mix all ingredients together, and let rest while you prepare the rest of the tacos. 

For the meat: 
1 1/2 pounds venison steaks 
1/4 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 
1/4 cup honey 
1/4 cup water 
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes 
Mix all marinade ingredients together, and immerse steaks. Let marinate overnight. Remove from liquid and pat dry, and let come to room temperature before cooking. Heat grill to high, and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, until steaks are medium rare. Remove from heat and let rest 3-5 minutes, then slice thinly and assemble tacos. 

For the tacos: 
Flour tortillas 
Grilled, sliced venison steak 
Ground cherry salsa 
Crumbled queso fresco 
Assemble tacos as you like. Enjoy ! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Grilled "California" Vegetables with Carrot Green Pesto

I think everyone has tried that frozen bag of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I throw it in soups sometimes in the winter, when fresh vegetables are scarce here in the frozen north. But, I happened to have all three fresh in my refrigerator this week (rare, I know!), and decided it would be interesting to make something with my own "California" blend of vegetables. 

It has been relentlessly hot here this week, so cooking anything inside has not been appealing. Grilling is really the only way to go. And who doesn't love grilled veggies ? Topping these with some pesto made with the carrot tops means I didn't waste anything, which I totally love ! I got the idea for the pesto from a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and I just used what I had on hand to create it. Simple, easy delicious, what's not to like about that ? 

Grilled "California" Vegetables with Carrot Green Pesto
For the pesto: 
2-3 cups of fresh carrot greens (tops) 
1/2 cup fresh basil 
3-4 cloves garlic (depending on size and how much you like) 
1/4 cup almonds 
1/4 cup olive oil 
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan 
1 teaspoon salt 
Place all ingredients in food processor, and blend until smooth. 

For the vegetables: 
3 large carrots, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces 
1 head broccoli, just the tops 
1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon salt 
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat grill to medium high. Toss vegetables with olive oil and salt. I use a grill pan, and grill vegetables on medium high for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Remove from heat, and toss with pesto and goat cheese while still warm. Serve with your favorite grilled meat, or it is a robust main dish on its own. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Garden Veggie Pasta

I was out of town for a week, and Ray didn't use any of the vegetables that we had stacked up from our CSA and garden, so I needed a recipe that would use up a bunch of them, and FAST ! 

I love this recipe, and use it over and over because you can put almost any vegetables in, and it is always delicious. All it requires is some chopping and a little cooking time, and you have dinner ! I usually call this Irish Veggie pasta, only because it was inspired by a dish I originally had on a visit to Ireland many years ago. Technically, there isn't anything truly Irish about it except that name. So, now it's just Garden Veggie Pasta. Enjoy ! 

Garden Veggie Pasta 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 large onion, diced 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded 
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into one inch pieces 
1 green pepper, diced 
2 small zucchini, sliced thinly 
3 large tomatoes, diced 
2 cups beet greens, cut into strips 
1 fifteen ounce can garbanzo beans, water and all 
2 teaspoons salt 
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less, to taste) 
3 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into thin strips 
Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Fresh linguine, or your pasta of choice
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add cabbage, and saute until it starts to become soft. Add other vegetables one at a time, ending with the garbanzo beans. Add seasonings and simmer over low heat 10-15 minutes until everything is cooked through. Start your pasta water while you are simmering your sauce, and cook pasta according to package directions. When pasta is done, drain and toss with sauce. Serve, topped with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.