Fall Salad with Kale, Eggs, and Spiced Almonds

 

kale salad-3Here’s a super-food recipe to balance out the decadent Matchstick Potatoes that I gave you a few days ago.  This salad is healthy and full of flavor and texture.  You get the chew from the fresh kale, creaminess from the minced egg and a spiced crunch from the almonds.  Kale salads are ideal for times that you need a make-ahead fresh dish or something that will travel well…this will last a couple of days without wilting.  But this egg/almond combination is also good with arugula or spinach if you want a more delicate salad.

Fall Salad with Kale, Eggs, and Spiced Almonds

Serves 4
By author Margaret Bryan French

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale (center ribs removed, torn into small bite sized pieces, about 8 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 hard cooked eggs (peeled and minced)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Place the prepped kale in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the minced onion, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add olive oil and whisk well. Pour the vinaigrette over the kale and toss thoroughly (best to toss with your hands to make sure all leaves get coated) Add the minced eggs and toss again lightly. Set aside to marinate while you toast the almonds.
3. In a small skillet, toast the almonds with the 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and the paprika, stirring constantly until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stir most of the spiced almonds into the kale, reserving a tablespoon or two to sprinkle over the top just before serving.

 

Crispy Parmesan and Pepper Matchstick Potatoes

Matchstick Potatoes with Parmesan and Black Pepper

If I’m going to splurge on a big plate of crispy fried anything, it’s got to be amazing, otherwise it’s not worth the calories.  And if I’m going to fry up a big batch of something in my kitchen, it’s got to be easy and quick, otherwise it’s not worth the mess.  Luckily these wonderful seasoned matchstick potatoes fit the bill on both counts.

As you may know, traditional french fries have to be fried twice, at different temperatures, to get the right combination of fluff interior and crispy exterior.  But matchstick fries are so thin that one quick trip to the hot oil is all it takes, saving lots of time and clean up.  A simple mandolin, pictured below, can shred 2 Idaho potatoes in seconds and is great for making homemade potato chips as well.

Try offering this deal to your family. “If you’ll cook the chicken (steaks, burgers, fish, fill-in-the-blank) and make a salad…. I’ll make Matchstick Potatoes”.   A little teamwork is a lot of fun!

 

Crispy Parmesan and Pepper Matchstick Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Idaho Potatoes
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley (minced, optional)

Directions

1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/8 inch matchsticks using a mandolin or other julienne slicer. Place potatoes in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration.
2. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large deep skillet or other heavy pot. (I like to use my wok) While oil is heating, remove a couple of handfuls of the potatoes from the water and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. This is an important step to keep them from splattering when added to the hot oil. When the oil reached 350 degrees (you can use a thermometer or test with one piece of potato…it should sizzle immediately) fry the potatoes until golden brown. Remove to drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
3. Season the potatoes with Parmesan cheese, black pepper and minced fresh parsley. Add salt to taste and serve immediately.

 

 

Always Perfect Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Always Perfect ChickenSo here’s what I know about chicken.  Smaller is easier to cook, more tender and juicer.  Free Range is tastier.  And bone-in skin-on is far better than the boneless, skinless variety.  So why have I so often used “naked” chicken breasts?  Convenience would have been my answer, had you asked.  And I have lots to marinades and cooking techniques to add flavor and texture so I can usually pull it off.

But this recipe is a game changer.  Nothing could be easier to prep or faster to cook, and if you buy decent chicken, season it ahead of time to let the flavor soak in, and use this cooking method, the results will be delicious!

If you need to make this in larger quantities, just multiply the seasoning ingredients accordingly and cook as follows:  While you are browning the skin side of the breasts stove top, put a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat.  When all the chicken is ready, place it on the hot baking sheet, skin side up and roast until done.

Note:  This chicken is Bell & Evans, from Whole Foods.  I have also used Joyce Farms and other free-range and organic birds with excellent results. Try to avoid the very large chicken breasts from the major chicken producers that are so often found in the grocery store.

Always Perfect Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 Large lemon (zested)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 4 small chicken breast halves (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1. On a cutting board, combine and mince together the garlic and the lemon zest. Add salt and pepper and combine well to create the seasoning mix for the chicken.
2. Place the chicken breasts, one at a time, in a gallon zip lock bag and, using a heavy cast iron skillet or a meat mallet, pound the chicken to an even 1/2 inch thickness. (This will only take a couple of good whacks and the bones will break as the breast flattens)
3. Rub the chicken on all sides with the seasoning mixture, being sure to get a little bit under the skin as well. Place seasoned chicken on a plate or tray and refrigerate uncovered for 2 hours or up to overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large cast iron skillet (or other heavy oven proof skillet) over high heat. Add the olive oil. Add 2 of the chicken breasts, skin side down, and cook over high heat until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and repeat with remaining 2 chicken breasts. When they are ready, return the first 2 breasts to the pan, making sure that all 4 are skin side up now, and roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until just cooked through. (Time will vary depending on size of chicken breasts, cook to 160 degrees or until juices just run clear) Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Carrot Salad with Miso Peanut Dressing

miso carrot saladIt occurs to me that while a handful of shredded carrots on a green salad just screams tired salad bar, a whole salad made out of sweet fresh carrots can be a jewel of a side dish. This one is especially flavorful with a miso peanut dressing, fresh cilantro and the added crunch of the salty peanuts.

Carrot Salad with Miso-Peanut Dressing

Serves 4-6
By author Margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1lb medium carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper (cut into fine julienne with a sharp knife)
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoon water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted peanuts (chopped)

Directions

1. Peel the carrots then shred them with a julienne peeler or adjustable blade slicer.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, miso paste, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and soy sauce. Add 1-2 tablespoons warm water to make a thick yet pourable dressing. Taste and season with pepper and salt, if needed.
3. Add carrots and the red bell pepper to the dressing and toss well.
4. Top with cilantro and chopped peanuts just before serving.

Best Braised BBQ Shortribs

short ribsI’m not a master-griller, but this recipe sure makes me feel like one! These short ribs are braised indoors then grilled and glazed outdoors.  The result is a an amazingly tender interior with a wonderful crispy exterior.  Since most recipes call for browning the meat before braising, I found this method to be somewhat of a revelation.  And taking the time to chill the ribs and the braising liquid before finishing the dish makes removing the fat from both a breeze.

This is slow food, but it’s not complicated food, so give it a try next time you want to impress some barbecue fanatics. And everything except the final grilling and glazing, which takes 10-15 minutes, can be done way ahead of time.  Recipe adapted from Weber’s Smoke by Jamie Purviance.

Best BBQ Braised Shortribs

Serves 4
By author Margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (chopped with seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 bottles lager beer
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 5lb beef short ribs (look for large meaty ribs)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • optional: hot pepper sauce, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for brushing ribs before grilling
  • kosher salt and black pepper for seasoning ribs before grilling

Directions

Braise the ribs
1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño and cook until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the oregano, cumin seed, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Pour in the lager and add the bay leaf. Place the ribs in the braising liquid, meaty side down, and add just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the ribs are barely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1½ hours. Transfer the ribs to a sheet pan to cool. Remove and discard any bones that may have fallen off the ribs in the liquid. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl and discard the solids. Cover and refrigerate the cooled ribs and the braising liquid (separately) until chilled, about 2 hours (or overnight if you wish).
Make the sauce
2. Skim the fat from the surface of the liquid. Pour the liquid back into the stockpot (now clean) and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer the liquid until reduced to ¾ cup, 1 to 1½ hours. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Stir in the ketchup, molasses, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and season with hot pepper sauce, if desired. Set aside at room temperature.
Finish the ribs
3. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and cut off any large pieces of exterior fat; this will minimize any grill flare-ups. Brush the ribs with the oil and season evenly with the salt and pepper. Preheat the grill to medium and brush the cooking grate clean. Grill the ribs over medium heat until warmed through and the exterior is beginning to turn crispy, turning several times, about 10 minutes.

Brush the ribs generously with the sauce. Turn the heat up and continue to cook until the meat is glazed, about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the grill and serve warm with the remaining sauce.