Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Fest- Pork, Kale and White Bean Soup

It’s time for Fall Fest. The leaves are changing and the weather is turning crisp and cool.  In other words: soup weather!  This week’s star veggie is kale.  Now I didn’t grow up eating kale, but my husband did. He made the suggestion of making kale soup.  I think it’s important that you know your ingredients, what other veggies go with them and what spices will compliment them so after some research I came across a recipe that called for everything that I had in my fridge and pantry.  Most kale soups call for a sausage like chorizo but I had boneless pork chops which I browned in the pan first. The rest of the ingredients were almost the same. 

I had found a ham bone in my freezer a few days before and had made ham stock from it.  The fat from the ham stock melted into the soup giving it a richer flavor. A great compliment to the kale. But if you don't have a ham bone or ham stock then you can use chicken stock as the recipe below calls for.  But I think the extra effort was worth it.  The result was a hearty, tummy warming, stick to your ribs soup that is perfect for a cool fall night.

After this post check out all the other kale recipes from Food Network’s  fall fest participants. I bought an extra bunch of kale so I can try some out!

To Make Pork, Kale and White Bean Soup you’ll need:

3 medium sized boneless pork chops, trimmed of excess fat and diced
Olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons paprika, smoked if you have it otherwise plain paprika will work fine
1 cup crushed tomatoes or you can use 4 fresh roma tomatoes, diced. Or diced canned petite tomatoes, drained.
5 cups of chicken stock or 4 cups chicken stock and 1 cup white wine
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves rinsed and chopped
1 can of white beans, rinsed

In a soup pot cover the bottom with olive oil. Season pork with salt and cook in the olive oil until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and place on a plate. Set aside.  In the same pot add the onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and paprika and cook until fragrant.  Add the wine (if using) and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and scrap the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken stock, then add the kale and cook until it wilts.  Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the kale is tender, about 4 minutes.   Add the cooked pork and any juices that have accumulated on the plate along with a can of white beans. Heat until the pork and beans are heated through. Then enjoy this simple, quick and delicious soup. It's even better the next day! Oh yeah and don’t forget the crusty bread!

Now as promised here's even more ways to use kale from the FN Dish Fall Fest bloggers:

Jeanette's Healthy Living Kale Kimchi

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer Fest- Easy, Crispy Fried Potatoes

Potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables. Not only are they versatile but very tasty too.  I know that potatoes get a lot of bad press but for a side dish for any meal of the day they can add texture and nutrition.  They are full of potassium and other vital nutrients.  They also pack a punch when it comes to saving money – they are one of the most affordable vegetables.

I love to pan fry up a batch of crispy hash browns for a weekend breakfast. Serve them with some ham or bacon and some eggs cooked any way and you have a traditional breakfast that will satisfy anyone.
Looking for more potatoes recipes? Check the list at the end of this post for all the recipes from the rest of the Summer Fest bloggers! 

Cooking potatoes can take a long time.  Here’s a tip: before you add them to the pan put your peeled and diced potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and microwave them for about 4 minutes per potato.  They will be hot when you take them out so be careful!  Then add them to the hot pan with about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

To make crispy fried potatoes here’s what you’ll need:
To make 4 servings
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the peeled and diced potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for about 16 minutes.  The bowl and potatoes will be hot so beware.  While the potatoes are in the microwave, chop the onion and heat the oil in a large skillet.  Cook the onion until soft.  After the potatoes are cooked in the microwave pour them carefully into the skillet and cook until the potatoes are crispy.
Season with salt and pepper.  You can serve them the traditional way - eggs and bacon.

<TIP> Remember that potatoes need a lot of seasoning so don’t be afraid to use salt liberally. 

<TIP> This is more of a method than a recipe.  Don't be afraid to experiment with ingredients to add to your crispy fried potatoes.  One of my favorite dishes adds ham, green onions, egg whites and cheddar cheese.

More potato recipes. With these choices, you can't go wrong!

Jeanette's Healthy Living Crock-Pot Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes
Feed Me PhoebeRoasted Potato and Green Bean Salad With Almond-Chive Pesto
Dishin & Dishes Shakin' Hash Browns
Made By Michelle Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese
Napa Farmhouse 1885 Red Chile Breakfast Potatoes
Virtually HomemadePotato Onion Bread With Poppy Seeds
Sweet Life Bake Tacos de Papa Potato (Potato Tacos)
Thursday Night DinnerMashed Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Oil
FN Dish The Multipurpose Potato

Be sure to check out Food Network's Pinterest board -- Let's Get Seasonal

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summer Fest- Spiced Apple Dutch Baby

Have you ever heard of Dutch Baby? Me either but when I saw the recipe in the CIA cookbook and saw how simple it was I thought why not try it.    According to Wikipedia a Dutch Baby is a German pancake or popover baked in a metal pan that is traditionally served for breakfast.  There is no leavening in the pancake so it falls almost as soon as it’s taken out of the oven.  The CIA cookbook recipe called for whipped cream topping, yogurt or sour cream and spiced peaches with it being served immediately out of the oven.  As usual I had to tweak it.  I caramelized some apples with cinnamon and brown sugar for the topping and I did serve it with sweetened fresh whipped cream.  I did make it ahead of time and served it as a dessert.  I didn’t bake mine in a cast iron skillet, but in a stainless steel sauté pan which I buttered.  If you do chose to use a sauté pan the more butter the better, since mine did stick a little.
In the directions it says to bake the Dutch Baby for 20 minutes without opening the door then to lower the heat and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  There was an element of surprise when I finally took it out.  It was puffy around the edges, not at all what I expected. The pancake itself was crispy on the edges and a little doughy in the center. The basic pancake gives off a enticing aroma once it’s drizzled with fresh lemon juice. It’s then finished with the spiced apples and softly whipped cream.   For a first attempt I have to say it was tasty and not overly sweet for a dessert.  I can see it being delicious with a steaming cup of coffee on a cold autumn morning.
Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this post for more amazing apple recipes from all the participants in Summer Fest.

To make Spiced Apple Dutch Baby you’ll need:

½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted
2 ¾ cups peeled and sliced apples
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Powdered sugar as needed
¼ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 tsp. lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Sift flour and salt together in a small bowl.
Put the eggs in a blender and blend at low speed.  Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately, in thirds.  Scrape down the sides of the blender and continue to blend until smooth.  Blend in 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.

Pour the batter into a well-greased 10 inch cast iron skillet or an ovenproof sauté pan.  Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door.  Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 10 minutes longer.
While the Dutch baby is baking, prepare the spiced fruit.  Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter in a medium sauté pan over high heat.  Add the apples, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Continue to cook until the apples are soft and browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove the Dutch baby from the oven and drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Fill the center of the Dutch baby with the hot, spiced fruit mixture. Top with whipped cream and lemon zest and serve at once.

Jeanette's Healthy Living:  Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake
Virtually Homemade:   Apple Pie Muffin
Daily*Dishin:  Easier-than-Pie Creamy Apple Bake
Chez Us:  Baked Apples With Creme Anglaise
Made by Michelle:   Pear Apple Crisp
Napa Farmhouse 1885:   Apple, Fennel and Cheddar Cheese Panini
Thursday Night Dinner:   Apple Bread Pudding
Devour:   7 Apple Desserts Beyond Pie
Healthy Eats:   Marrying the Apple With New Flavors
FN Dish:   Let's Go Apple Picking

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer Fest- Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleon

I’m not a beet fan. I’m not sure why they just have never been my favorite vegetable.  Whenever possible, my dad would always ordered pickled beets and its funny my husband is the same way.  This like in all my recipes I take something familiar and give it a little twist.  Instead of pickling the beets, I roasted them which gives them a more intense, sweeter flavor.   And to give them a little more flavor I tried the classic combination of goat cheese and beets.  As my husband describes it, salty goat cheese and sweet beets are a great combination.

As with every Summer Fest installment there will be LOTS of beet recipes that follow after this post from more Summer Fest participants. So check 'em out!

Cooking beet greens was a first for me.  I guess I should have paid more attention to my mother in law when she made Sunday supper, but I didn’t.  I checked a couple of cookbooks for recipes for beets greens (they came with the beets and I didn’t want to waste them!) and all the recipes sounded pretty straightforward.  Take the leaves off the stems, wash them and sauté them.  Straightforward, right?  Not sure what I did wrong but the greens were bitter and tough.

To top off the Napoleon I decided to make a balsamic and orange reduction as sort of a sauce.  I thought it tasted pretty good but my husband really didn’t taste the orange.  Maybe he just needed more sauce on his Napoleon.

Beets and goat cheese are a classic and unbeatable combination, even without the greens and the balsamic reduction.  Roasting the beets make them even sweeter but there are a few tips I would like to share.


Beets stain everything!  Place the beets in a casserole dish, like a Pyrex or Le Creuset with a little water in the bottom.  This will make clean up easier.

Be sure to clean your beets thoroughly.  I think one of the reasons I never liked beets is that they always smelled like dirt to me. 


When peeling the beets (after they are cool enough to handle) hold them the stem and use a fork or knife to help you peel the skin off.  It will save your hands turning a magnificent shade of pink.  You can also use kitchen gloves. Either way you'll be happy you protected your hands.

For the beet greens, cut them off from the beet and leave about an inch.  This will make it easier to hold while peeling, as explained above.  Be sure to wash the greens thoroughly and take them completely off the stem, so they will be tender after they cook.  If you have a favorite recipe for collard greens it will work great for beet greens too.

If you want to make Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Napoleons you’ll need:

1 pound of beets, about 4 med.
4 ounces or one small log of goat cheese
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
1 large orange, juiced and zested.

Wash beets thoroughly and remove the leaves, leaving about an inch of stem.  Place the beets in a casserole dish and add about 1 inch of water.  Season the beets with salt and pepper.  Cover the dish with foil and place in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until the beets are fork tender.  Remove from the oven and let them cool enough to handle, then peel them.

To make the balsamic glaze:
In a non-reactive pan on medium heat, warm the vinegar and cook until it reduces by about half.  Once the vinegar has reduced, then add the orange juice and cook for about another 3-4 minutes.  The reduction should be a sweet and sour sauce with just a hint of orange.

To cook the beet greens:
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  Add ½ cup chopped onion, sauté the onion until soft.  Add the washed and dried beet greens to the pan and cook until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.

To make the Napoleon:
Place some of the cooked beet greens in the bottom of a shallow bowl.  Slice one of the beets into 3 pieces. Place a slice of beet on top of the greens, then place a slice of goat cheese on top of the beet. Repeat topping with the last slice of beet.  Spoon some of the balsamic glaze over and garnish with orange zest.

Whenever I develop and write about a recipe I like to give as many variations as I can. I like to use the ingredients so that you can make it all or just part.  So if you're not a fan of the greens, that's okay.  If you don't want to try the balsamic glaze, no problem.  But if you do make any part of the recipe, I really suggest roasting your beets.  After you try them like this, you'll be a fan for life!

If you're looking for more beet recipes, check out the list below:

Jeanette's Healthy Living:   Roasted Beet and Apple Walnut Salad With Honey Yogurt Dressing
What's Gaby Cooking:  Beet, Corn and Quinoa Salad
Chez Us   Pickled Beets
Feed Me Phoebe:   Spaghetti With Beet Greens and Blistered Tomatoes
Virtually Homemade:  Orange Roasted Chicken With Beets and Green Beans
Napa Farmhouse 1885:   Roasted Beet and Avocado Salad With Meyer Lemon Marmalade Vinaigrette
Thursday Night Dinner:   Beet, Carrot and Ginger Soup
HGTV Gardens:  Garden-to-Table: Beets
Cooking With Books:   Roasted Beets, Carrots and Goat Cheese Tartine
FN Dish:   Better Beets

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