greek_pork_sm.jpgAlthough the dill-yogurt sauce and tomato salad give the dish a unique Greek flavor, the super easy marinated pork was the real star. It is so delicious and versatile I plan on using it for my go-to pork chop recipe with many other sides, like cheese grits and okra or rice pilaf and green beans.

Pork:
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
3-4 thick cut boneless pork chops
Cooking spray
Combine the vinegar, oregano, olive oil, and garlic in a zip lock bag. Add the pork to the bag and seal. Marinate the meat for 20 minutes at room temperature, turning after 10 minutes.Heat a grill pan or frying pan coated in cooking spray over medium high heat. Remove pork from marinade and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Add pork to pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan and let it rest for 2-3 minutes.

Dill Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup of Greek style (or regular) plain yogurt
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp fresh dill weed, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Combine all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until mixed thoroughly. Place in the refrigerator until needed.

Tomato Salad:
2-3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bunch of green onions, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
optional: chopped cucumber and kalamata olives
Combine all ingredients.

Original recipe

peach_salad_sm.jpgA simple oil-free salad that relies on juicy summer peaches. Great with some grilled or sauteed chicken on top.

Lettuce or spinach
1 peach, chopped
red wine vinegar
honey
salt and pepper
toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts
shredded cheese (something like feta or Parmesan)

Put the chopped peach in a bowl, drizzle with red wine vinegar and honey to taste (about a 1-1 ratio worked well for me). Toss and allow to sit a few minutes while the peach juices get combined into the dressing. Add lettuce or spinach, toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, grated cheese, and toasted nuts to taste.

In Oregon there is a chain of German restaurants called Gustavs that makes amazing cabbage rolls. These aren't them, but they're still delicious. They are quite a bit of work, though, so allot 1 1/2-2 hours total cooking time.

1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/2 lb. pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2/3 c. water
1/3 c. uncooked long grain rice
1/2 tsp dried oregano or thyme, crushed
8 medium to large cabbage leaves
1/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese (1 oz)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano or thyme, crushed
1/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese (1 oz)

In a large skillet cook meat and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, water, uncooked rice, 1/2 tsp. oregano, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Trim veins from cabbage leaves. Immerse leaves, 4 a a time, into boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until just limp.

Stir 1/4 c. Swiss cheese into the meat mixture. Place about 1/3 c. of the meat mixture on each cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, carefully roll up each leaf, making sure folded sides are included in the roll.

For the sauce: in a small bowl stir together tomato sauce, sugar and 1/2 tsp oregano. Pour 1/2 of the tomato mixture into a 2-quart. square baking dish. Arrange cabbage rolls on the tomato mixture. Spoon remaining tomato mixture over cabbage rolls. Bake, covered. in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, bake until cheese is melted.

4 servings: 353 cal, 16 g. fat per serving

From: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Carmelized onion, sliced garlic, and soft and tender kale make a wonderful light and flavorful pasta topping, perfect for a fancy side dish with a formal meal or by itself for a light dinner. My hands-down favorite use for fresh kale.

1 pound lacinato kale (about 2 bunches), large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 pound spaghetti or linguine
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Finely grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse kale. Drain; transfer to bowl with some water still clinging.

Heat 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add sliced garlic and sprinkle with salt; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in medium pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add cooked spaghetti to kale mixture in pot. Add lemon juice and 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Sprinkle spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Original recipe

turkey_kale_soup_sm.jpgThis soup was ad-libbed into existence through so many substitutions and tweaks to a recipe that it was completely different at the end. But the final result, I think, is better than the original.  The slightly bitter kale is nicely balanced by the sweet potatoes and red pepper, and the ground turkey pushes it over into the category of comfort food. Ingredient amounts and cooking times are approximate.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch (or more) kale (or other leafy green such as chard), stems and large veins discarded, leaves chopped into bite size pieces
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth (low sodium)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, and chopped into bite-size cubes
salt, pepper
herbs (suggestions: oregano, basil, sage, rosemary)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes until tender but not mushy.

Saute ground turkey in large soup pot until cooked through. Remove, drain. Heat a little olive oil in the same pot over medium heat, add onion, saute until soft and transparent. Add red pepper and kale, cook until kale is well wilted and pepper is tender. Add turkey, tomatoes, broth, and herbs. Simmer 10 minutes or so to allow flavors to meld. Add sweet potatoes, cook a couple minutes until heated through.
Focaccia is a fairly flat yeasted Italian bread that is great as an appetizer with some olive oil. It's also my go-to bread to accompany brothy soups that aren't hearty enough for cornbread.

4 to 4 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. warm water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 c. warm water
1-2 tsp salt
1 tbs. olive oil
Coarse salt and/or Italian herbs
For the sponge: in a bowl combine 1/2 c. of the flour, the 1/2 c. warm water, and the yeast. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand overnight (or at least 2 hours) at room temperature to ferment.

Gradually stir in the 1 c. warm water, the salt, and just enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once. Cover, let rise in a warm place until double (~1 hour)

Turn dough out onto a baking sheet or pizza peel WELL covered with flour or cornmeal (you'll have to slide the dough off of it, so make sure you can move it easily). Place an extra large bowl upside down over the dough to cover it; let rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven and baking stone to 475 degrees.

Shape dough on baking sheet into a circle about 11 inches in diameter by pulling and pressing with your fingertips. (Don't stretch dough too roughly or it will deflate; you want to keep air bubbles intact.) Make 1/2-inch-deep indentations every 2 inches in dough. Brush dough with olive oil; sprinkle lightly with salt and/or spices. Carefully slide focaccia from baking sheet to preheated bread stone.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden, checking after 8 minutes and popping any large air bubbles with a sharp knife. Remove foccacia from bread stone with large spatulas. Cool on a wire rack ~15 minutes. Serve warm.

From: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
cherry_salad.jpgThis is a nice non-dessert way to use ripe summer cherries. Crushed cherries and balsamic vinegar combine to make a nice, light dressing for peppery arugula and crusty olive oil croutons. Like most salad recipes, the measurements are approximate.

A few pieces of rustic bread, preferably a day old
olive oil
1/2 pound cherries, halved and pitted
1/8 tsp pressed or crushed garlic
balsamic vinegar
salt
black pepper
arugula
crumbled strong white cheese (feta, goat cheese, Parmesan, or other)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Trim crust from bread, and discard the crust.  Tear the bread into rough, bite-size pieces (you should have about 4 cups, total). Dump the bread onto a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle (or spray) it with olive oil.  Toss to coat and sprinkle with salt (and garlic powder if not using fresh garlic). Bake until crispy and golden in spots, shaking the pan once, 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put about one-third of the cherries in a large bowl and mash them lightly with a fork to release their juices. Add 2 tsp balsamic vinegar and mix. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch or two of salt and mix again. Add a few handfuls of arugula and toss. Taste, and adjust the vinegar, oil and salt as needed. Sprinkle with a tsp. of sugar if it needs more sweetness.
When the bread is nicely toasted, turn it into a bowl. While it is still hot, add the crushed garlic and toss well.  Set the bowl aside to cool for a minute or two, add to the salad, and toss. Finish with a generous amount of crumbled cheese and a few grinds of the pepper mill, and serve.

Original recipe

stovetoproastchicken.jpgA rare easy and fairly quick (~30-40 minute) recipe from Cook's Illustrated. True to form, the chicken is cooked in a three step, sear-steam-crisp process, but in happens pretty fast and with only one pan. The pan sauce only takes a few minutes and is well worth it.

Chicken:
3 1/2 lbs bone-in, skin on chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and/or drumsticks)
salt and pepper
1 tbs. vegetable oil, divided
1 c. low sodium chicken broth
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken pieces skin-side down and cook without moving until golden brown, 5-8 minutes.
Flip chicken skin-side up. Reduce head to medium-low, add 3/4 c. broth to skillet, cover, and cook until thermometer in thickest part of chicken reads 155 degrees for breasts and 170 degrees for legs and thighs, 10-16 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate, skin-side up.
Pour off liquid from skillet into 2-cup measuring cup and reserve. Using tongs, wipe skillet with paper towels. Add remaining tsp. oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Return chicken pieces skin-side down and sook undisturbed until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and it reaches 160 degrees for breasts and 175 degrees for legs and thighs, 4-7 minutes. Transfer to serving platter and tent loosely with foil.

Lemon-Herb Sauce:
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium shallot or small onion, minced
1 tsp. flour
1/2 lemon, juiced (~1 tbs.)
1.5 tbs. fresh parsley, minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1.2 tbs fresh chives, minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves)
1 tbs. butter (optional)
salt and pepper
Skim fat from reserved cooking liquid and add enough broth to measure 3/4 cup.
Heat oil in now-empty skillet over low heat. Add shallot (or onion) and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, add reserved cooking liquid, and bring to simmer. Simmer rapidly until reduced to 1/2 cup, 2-3 minutes. Stir in any accumulated juices from resting chicken, return to simmer and cook 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in lemon juice, herbs, and butter (if using). Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce around chicken and serve.

Derived from Cook's Illustrated, Nov-Dec 2008

Piled high with fruit, this pie is perfect for summer peach season. The oat crumble topping is light and sweet, and the only time consuming step is cutting up all the fruit. Best served warm topped with ice cream.

1/2  (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
2/3  cup  packed brown sugar, divided
3  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
8  cups  sliced peeled ripe peaches (about 3 1/2 pounds or 12 peaches)
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped (optional)
1/3  cup  regular oats
1/4  cup  flaked sweetened coconut (optional)
1 1/2  tablespoons  butter or stick margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 425°.

Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with a piece of foil, and arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Remove pie weights and foil. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Cool crust on a wire rack.

Combine 1/3 cup sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over peaches. Toss gently. Spoon into prepared crust. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, oats, coconut, and butter; sprinkle over peach mixture. Shield edges of crust with foil. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

8 servings
Calories: 320 (30% from fat)
Fat: 10.6g (sat 5.1g,mono 4g,poly 1g)
Original recipe

This is a easy, light-ish coffeecake with a distinct almond flavor. Other berries could also be used such as frozen cherries, raspberries, etc. 8 servings is a little optimistic, we got around 6 out of it.

1  cup  all-purpose flour
1/2  cup  granulated sugar
3/4  teaspoon  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
1 1/2  cup  fresh blueberries, divided
2/3  cup  low-fat buttermilk
2  tablespoons  butter or stick margarine, melted
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1/4  teaspoon  almond extract
1  large egg
Cooking spray
1/4  cup  sliced almonds
1  tablespoon  brown sugar
1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add 1 cup blueberries, and toss well. Combine buttermilk, butter, extracts, and egg; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until flour mixture is moist.

Spoon batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray, spreading evenly. Top with 1/2 cup blueberries.

Combine almonds, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over blueberries. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

8 servings (serving size: 1 (2-inch) square)
Calories: 188 (27% from fat)
Fat: 5.7g (sat 2.4g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.6g)
Original recipe

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