Grill Me Something, Mister, with Salad on the Side!

Grill Me Something, Mister, with Salad on the Side!

It’s that time…. Father’s Day! To all you Dads out there, enjoy your day. To all you moms and kids old enough to know your way around a kitchen, here’s a fresh farmer’s market salad, WITH an amazing easy to put together dressing.  Trust me, it’ll be the only side dish you need to go with perfectly grilled steak, pork or chicken. I’ve included a few extra photos in the cooking instructions to show you what a scrumptious possibility this salad actually is – but before I get to it…

DADS, here’s a foolproof way to create a flavorful grilled dish.

It’s a simple technique of using a board sauce! On your cutting board, chop several cloves of garlic and use the flat side of the knife to smush (a grown up cooking term) the pieces into the board. Choose your favorite herbs like thyme and rosemary, and finely chop these on your board. Drizzle the herbs and garlic with olive oil and dot the board with pieces of butter. Sprinkle kosher salt and coarse black pepper over everything. Now, your board is ready.

Remove your cooked steak (or pork or chicken) from the grill and place it onto your board. Use tongs to flip the steak several times, coating both sides with melty, buttery, garlicky goodness. Cover the steak with aluminum foil, and let it rest in the “sauce” for several minutes. The steak will absorb the flavors of the board sauce, as well as all its juicy goodness. After 4 to 5 minutes, remove the foil and cut the steak into slices right on the board.

You can serve the steak with your favorite side dish, but for all of you Moms out there, here’s an adaptable farmer’s market salad. It’s the perfect way to utilize all the fresh ingredients you’ve piled into your basket at the market. This recipe (like most) is only an inspiration and a guideline. Use whatever veggies you have on hand, and flavor them with your favorite herbs and spices. It’s all good!

Farmers Market Salad

With Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Dressing

serves a crowd

1 hour cuisine

 

Prepare the veggies:

10 baby red potatoes, halved

2 or more tablespoons olive oil

1 or more teaspoons kosher salt

1 or more teaspoons coarse black pepper

2 tablespoons garlic scape pesto

3 bulbs garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bunch baby carrots

1 bunch purple spring onions, green tops removed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into strips

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into strips

2 beets, roasted, peeled and sliced into rounds

1 bunch radishes, tops trimmed and cut into rounds

½ cup white balsamic vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus a smidge

1 lemon, cut in half

1 bunch haricot vert

1 pint baby tomatoes, cut in half

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

For dressing:

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh chives

I head red leaf lettuce, torn into large pieces

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the baby potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the potatoes are golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Drizzle the warm potatoes with pesto and toss to coat. Cool to room temperature.

Cut the top ⅓ from the garlic bulbs. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Place the bulbs onto a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the garlic leaving an opening at the top of the pouch. Bake until the garlic is soft, and the cloves begin to crawl out of their skins, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Place the carrots, onions and peppers onto a baking dish. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the veggies are just crisp tender and beginning to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Whisk ½ cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Place the beets and radishes into the bowl and toss to coat. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the veggies from any excess liquid.

Bring a pot of water to boil over medium high heat. Squeeze the lemon and place into the pot. Add the haricot vert and blanch until just crisp tender and dark green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a bowl with ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove the green beans from the ice water bath and transfer to a dish lined with paper towels.

Place the tomatoes into a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of granulated sugar. Toss.

Place the buttermilk and sour cream into the bowl of a food processor or into a blender. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the cream. Add in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Puree the dressing.

Line a large platter with lettuce leaves. Lay the veggies onto the lettuce in bunches. Serve the dressing on the side. You can arrange the salad several hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap. Bring the salad to room temperature before serving.

 

My First Supper from Farmer’s Market Opening Day!

My First Supper from Farmer’s Market Opening Day!

My friends, the farmers, are all over social media promising the fruits of their spring labors – I start drooling and reaching for my tote bags every time I go online. I couldn’t wait to get to my favorite place in the mountains, Watauga Farmers Market, which opened for the season on May 4th.  Over the last few weekends, I’ve gotten my hands on those lovely purple spring onions and the coils of garlic scapes, painted and cooked a lot within the pages of CANVAS & CUISINE: the art of the fresh market.

Watauga will have early (greenhouse) tomatoes this year and the tender leaves of baby greens. Here I come, and will continue to come through October!

After my first visit this year, I created a dish that pulls together some of my favorite farmer’s market finds: tender collard greens and rich pork belly. It makes for a lovely first course or a wonderful side dish…once you’ve chopped up the belly and stir it into the greens. Either way, it’s sure to delight and perhaps motivate you to find a fresh farmer’s market opening near you. If you find a new one in your neighborhood, please share the experience with us! I love posting scrumptious possibilities to my social media @jorjmorgancooking.

Now, please excuse me while I simmer my greens…

Collard Greens with Slow Roasted Pork Belly

serves 6 or more

30 minute cuisine plus slow cooking

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 (1 ½ pound) piece pork belly

3 bunches collard greens, stemmed, rolled and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

3 to 4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Mix together the onion, garlic and chili powder with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the pork belly with some of the seasoning. Reserve about a tablespoon for the collards. Heat your slow cooker (or Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Place the pork belly into the cooker and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the pork and brown on the second side, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork belly to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook on low heat (about 275 to 300°) for several hours until the meat falls apart when pulled with a fork.

Place the onion into the bottom of the slow cooker and cook until soft. Add the chopped collard greens and stir. Season with the remaining spices. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Set your slow cooker on high and place the lid on to top. If you are using a Dutch oven, place the lid on top and move it into the oven with the pork belly.  Continue cooking adding more liquid as needed to produce soft, syrupy greens. Before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Serve the collard greens on a plate with pieces of tender pork belly on the top. Drizzle the juices from the pork belly pan over the top.

What to Feed Your April Fool? How About Dinner for Breakfast?

What to Feed Your April Fool? How About Dinner for Breakfast?

There are so many savory breakfast classics that seem better suited to dinner, am I right? Steak and eggs, Quiche Lorraine, a mound of white grits that could be your April Fool’s Day mashed potatoes in the right light….

I wasn’t sure how to usher in the first Monday of this month. To help me brain storm, I got out my bullet journal. Bullet journals are trending lately. It differs from keeping a regular old diary, in that you just make lists and outline your goals in fun colors, adding little drawings in the margins.

Ideal bullet journal entries are grocery lists and recipes. When I embarked on note taking for Jorj.com’s Monday offering, I drew a Spanish sun first. Light was streaming through my kitchen window, warming my skin. I thought of the chapters in my new cookbook that were inspired by mine and my co-author, Sue Fazio’s trips to Spain.

I then decided that a perfect, savory dinner for breakfast is the Tortilla Espanola. In Spain, it’s just a tapa, but on April Fool’s Day in my house, it’s dinner!

You can make it in a cast iron skillet – any skillet – but be warned. It’s HOT!!! There are a lot of fiery bites on tapas plates. I guess the thought is the more blazing your taste buds, the more you require a swallow of chilled aperitif to put out the flames.

SANGRIA, anyone? Oh, and April Fool’s Day Tip – maybe make one side of the tortilla extra spicy and tell people to take their chances, wink, wink…

And remember – all days of the year, not just 4/1/19, this is a terrific dish for a pot luck. It’s good old-fashioned comfort food!

Tortilla Espanola

(Potato Torte)

serves a crowd

40 minute cuisine

5 to 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Vegetable oil for frying

2 large yellow onions, diced, about 3 cups

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 3 tablespoons

6 large eggs, beaten

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Chopped, fresh parsley

Use a mandolin or very sharp knife to slice the potatoes into thin rounds. Place the potatoes into a colander and toss with salt. Pour enough oil to come halfway up the side of a deep skillet. Heat the oil over medium high heat. You will know that the oil is ready when you place the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and you see bubbles. Fry the potatoes in the oil until they are tender in the middle and just beginning to brown on the edges, about 5 to 8 minutes. You can do this in batches so that you don’t crowd too many slices into the pan. Use a slotted spoon or wire skimmer to transfer the potatoes onto a paper lined baking sheet.

Carefully add the onions and garlic to the oil. Lower the temperature to medium low and cook until the onions are soft and beginning to turn golden, about 5 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or wire skimmer to transfer to the baking sheet holding the potatoes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully pour all but 2 tablespoons of the oil into heat resistant bowl. (When cooled, you can strain and re-use the oil for another recipe.)

Place the eggs into a large bowl using a fork to blend.  Gently slide the potatoes, onions and garlic into the bowl. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and gently blend trying not to break the potato slices.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium high heat. Pour in the potato and eggs using a spatula to spread evenly in the pan. Cook for 30 seconds to brown the (soon to be top) of the torte. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the center is set, about 5 to 8 minutes. Use the spatula to gently loosen the edges from the pan as it cooks. Shake the skillet to make sure the center is setting. Turn off the heat. Take a plate, that is large than the skillet and place it upside down over the skillet. With one hand on the plate and the other on the skillet handle, invert the pan so that the torte comes out and onto the plate. There might be a little loose egg around the edges. Use your spatula to scrape any bits back into the torte. Gently slide the inverted torte back into the pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook until a tester inserted into the center of the torte comes out clean, about 5 to 6 minutes more. Transfer the torte to a clean platter and keep warm. The torte can be served warm or at room temperature.

Kiwi Cooking Class: Learning in New Zealand

Kiwi Cooking Class: Learning in New Zealand

Chef Grant Allen

 

Tucked into the countryside of KeriKeri, in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, is a local farmstead with herb and vegetable gardens, and state-of-the-art kitchen (pictured above). The transplanted Canadian owners of the homestead offer cooking classes from local Chef, Grant Allen. Allen’s philosophy on Kiwi cooking is that it’s similar to New Zealand cooking and based on our English, Scottish and Irish traditions.

“Our ‘culinary culture’ reflects our colonial history; as we travel, we become more aware of our Pacific and Asian neighbors, and their ingredients and cooking methods; like, New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Maori.” said Chef Allen.

Grant also believes that Kiwi cuisine is evolving. It has its origins in the food of their “European Grannies” and Maori cultures, while it is absorbing the influences of Pacific and Asian cuisine. To demonstrate these tastes and flavors, Grant offered an expansive menu that included a multi-coarse luncheon meal.

It started with the local delicacy of white fish bait fritters, a delicate crepe made up of whipped egg whites and whole, baby, salty white fish. He added Iki Mata, a ceviche of snapper cooked in citrus, with finely diced veggies and herbs.

Another starter, showcased beetroot chips stacked with crème fraiche and smoked salmon. Mussels, one of New Zealand’s most prized crops, were topped with coconut cream, ginger and diced chili, then broiled and served warm.

The main course featured a whole leg of lamb, simply prepared on an outdoor grill served with an herb-fresh salsa verde alongside buttery, garlic hasselback potatoes and a most delicious salad of fresh lettuces and herbs plucked from the garden, with crisp corn, avocado, pear and orange segments.

A secret ingredient to Grant’s salad were baby, sweet tomatoes that had been marinated in balsamic vinegar and honey, which later turned into the salad dressing. Dessert was made by a local cookbook author who whipped up a stone-fruit crumble which perfectly finished the meal.

As cooking classes go, this one was not only informative, but ABSOLUTELY DELISH!!!!! The meal was totally indicative of the food we explored in New Zealand. I come away with two words that for me, define the experience… fresh and simple.

Check out Grant Allen’s cooking tips on Facebook @grantcooks. What you see below is, in his own words, The Making of a Good Salad:

Remember these principles when composing:
Use what is fresh and in season – be inspired by what you find at the market.
Contrast colors and textures
Contrast shapes and size
You need “Crunch”
Build your ingredients to create a vibrant picture .
Dress with flavors that compliment or contrast with your ingredients.
Classically a vinaigrette has a 2/3 oil and 1/3 acid ratio but it’s over to you – use different kinds of oils , vinegars, citrus juices, pomegranate juice, verjuice, honey, mustards.
Season very well – remember your dressing is being carried by a lot of unseasoned ingredients.
Wash and spin your greens, wet leaves will wilt when dressed.
Dress just before serving.

A BOUNTIFUL SUMMER SALAD

Cos lettuce leaves
Ice burg lettuce leaves
Watercress

Blanched corn kernels
Fine sliced red , white or spring onions ( scallions )
Fine diced or ribboned cucumber
Fine diced or sliced peppers

Orange segments – save the juice for the dressing
Pomegranate seeds – save the juice for the dressing
Baby tomatoes – marinate in balsamic and liquid honey – save the marinade for the dressing
Nash Pear – slice finely with the skin on and dress with a little lemon juice to stop browning

Avocado – split, remove the stone a slice, leave the skin on if you wish, this stops the avocado getting mashed.

Mix together the citrus juice etc and blend in avocado oil to your taste, season well with S+P

A Dinner Party, Featuring Recipes from CANVAS AND CUISINE

A Dinner Party, Featuring Recipes from CANVAS AND CUISINE

You know I LOVE to entertain, and you know I live to share recipes and cooking skills. What’s better than to combine my loves into an evening of dining and shared cooking? Nothing.. nadda.. this is the best FUN!

We started with cocktails and some appys that covered the bases from bacon wrapped crackers (hey who doesn’t love bacon?) to roasted shrimp with avocado green goddess dressing. I also offered a lovely tuna tartar that was spiked with bits of ripe pear. Delish!

Everyone sat down to a first course of jalapeno corn chowder and freshly baked focaccia bread; both recipes are in Canvas and Cuisine. I then asked the ladies to join me in the kitchen where we created the salad, AND a stack of heirloom tomatoes on a toasted crouton, with a dressing of lemon and white balsamic vinaigrette and a garnish of warm panko crusted goat cheese. Yumm, oh yumm!

After we enjoyed our salads, the guys, divided into two groups, joined me to grill marinated pork tenderloins that were rested in an herb and garlic board sauce, and then smothered with caramelized onions and a cilantro vinaigrette.

Team two prepared green beans and new potatoes cooked with sun-dried tomatoes and lemon. (These are also recipes from Canvas and Cuisine.)

Dessert was my decadent tropical carrot cake, slathered in cream cheese frosting and a few just-baked chocolate chip and hazelnut biscotti. The absolute piece de resistance was my after-dinner treat: a take on a White Russian cocktail. Mine had glasses rimmed in black walnut bourbon sugar and included a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.

Yes, we did it up, and I can confidently tell you that everyone had a great time. I can tell you this, because it was me that had the most fun of all!

Enjoy the scrumptious possibilities by incorporating dishes like these into your future dinner parties…

 

 

Fe, Fi, Pho, FUN!

Fe, Fi, Pho, FUN!

I traveled to Vietnam a couple of years ago, and was delighted to sample the local cuisine. I drifted toward foods with French influences, like their Vietnamese pancake: extremely similar to a French crepe, but with thinly sliced green onions and small pieces of shrimp. I also loved their eggplant stew, slowly cooked in a clay pot with lemongrass, turmeric, tomatoes and basil; this dish is going into my new cookbook, CANVAS & CUISINE – the progress of which, you can follow via Scrumptious Possibilities on Facebook. “Like” my page @jorjmorgancooking and I’ll sign you up!

But back to Pho…

You can find all sorts of variations of this popular Vietnamese dish. Pho appears on menus in trendy restaurants, in street fairs and food halls all over the world – it’s as good as it is ubiquitous. Some serve Pho with chicken or shrimp, some leave out the broth entirely! But, if you want to experience the real thing, you need to find a Vietnamese restaurant, or work your way around an authentic recipe. I gave it a try and found that my Pho recipe was VERY SIMILAR to my Grammy’s beef and veggie soup recipe. She too, roasted beef bones and veggies in the oven to intensify the flavors in her broth.

You can find recipes all over the internet for Pho. I particularly like this one on JenReviews.com. It takes advantage of a couple of shortcuts that work well for busy cooks, and better yet, it can be enjoyed any time of day. In Vietnam, they eat it for breakfast. Try Pho soon, and let me know what you think!

Pho
Vietnamese Broth with Beef and Noodles
serves 4 to 6
30 minute prep plus 1 ½ to 2 hours to simmer the broth

For Broth:
4 meaty beef shanks (plus any beef bones you have hanging around)
2 large onions, cut in half
1 large palm-size piece of ginger, cut into pieces
1 large palm-size piece of turmeric, cut into pieces
2 whole heads of garlic, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 quart homemade beef stock, or prepared low-sodium beef broth
1 cinnamon stick
2 to 3 star anise
1 teaspoon peppercorns
½ teaspoon whole cloves
⅓ cup fish sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For Pho:
6 ounces uncooked flat rice noodles
Bean sprouts
Chopped, fresh cilantro
Thinly sliced jalapeno pepper
Thinly sliced red onion
Lime wedges
Hoisin sauce
Dark sesame sauce

Preheat the oven to 450°. Place the beef shanks and (any other bones), onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric and garlic onto a baking sheet. You don’t have to peel the veggies! Drizzle with olive oil. Roast until the veggies and beef begin to char, about 30 minutes. Transfer everything into a large soup pot. Add the beef broth and 3 quarts of water to the pot. Dunk in the cinnamon stick, star anise, peppercorns and cloves. Stir in ⅓ cup fish sauce. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the broth for 1 ½ to 2 hours. The liquid will reduce by half and absorb all of these lovely flavors. If the broth reduces too quickly, add more water and reduce the heat as low as you can.

Pour the broth through a colander, and into a large bowl. Return the broth to the pot. Taste and season with salt. Reserve the meat from the beef shanks and discard everything else. Use two forks to shred the meat into very thin pieces.

Bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Cook the noodles in the broth according to the directions on the package. Remove the noodles from the pot. Reduce the heat to keep the broth warm.

To serve Pho, place some of the beef into a shallow bowl. Lay some of the noodles beside the beef. Ladle the broth over the top. Garnish with any or all of the bean sprouts, cilantro, jalapeno slices, red onion, lime wedges, and a drizzle of either hoisin sauce or dark sesame oil.