Category: Veggies

Chorizo and Brussels or Brussels and Chorizo

Another successful tax season in the books. I’m ready for a change of pace, and I’m ready to get back into the kitchen. Latest bookmarks include: Chicken and Pesto Stuffed Sweet Peppers, Jerked Sriracha Roast Pork Tacos, and Kale White Bean and Farro Salad. I want to eat ALL.THE.FOOD. that isn’t catered.

I made this blueberry slab pie with rye crust for a pie contest at work a couple of weeks ago. [Sidenote: I was originally going to say a week ago, but then I remembered I have no idea how much time elapses anymore. It was at least two, going on three. Time flies!] We were having a Thanksgiving themed dinner and thought it a good idea to have people make pies. Mine didn’t have a lattice top because the dough turned out a little too dry for that. Besides, it looked like a giant pop tart. Way cooler. It was really good. The rye had a savory note that played off the sweet, mellowing it out. I really liked it. It didn’t win because frankly giant blueberry rye pop tart doesn’t win. Chocolate cream does. I really just wanted an excuse to make the pie. It all got eaten that night except for one piece, which I happily ate for breakfast the next day.

This bowl of brussels and chorizo is a dangerous one. If I’m not careful, I can easily eat the entire pan. I was thinking about these brussels this weekend. There are still brussels in the grocery store. We live in a world where we have year-round produce, and I’m still surprised. The original recipe calls for cured Spanish chorizo sliced thin. I went with the ground chicken chorizo for a little more of a spicy kick and I wanted the brussels to bathe in the rendered chicken fat. Using a cast iron skillet to do the dirty work leaves a nice char to the brussels. They’re super tender on the inside and a bit spicy — a winning combination. I put them on a bed of couscous for something different, but really they’re just fine on their own. I could go for a bowl of them right now. And a piece of pie.

Inspiration: Saveur

Ingredients

  • 1lb brussels sprouts, halved or quartered depending on the size
  • 1/2lb ground chorizo
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the brussels and cook until tender, about six minutes. Transfer them to an ice bath to stop them from turning to mush. After about five minutes, drain them and set aside.

Heat a skillet on medium high heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Toss the onion into the pan. Stir occasionally. Once it’s soft and translucent, add the chorizo and crumble. Once it’s almost cooked, add the brussels and garlic to the pan. Toss to coat in the rendered fat. Cook until heated through. Taste for salt and pepper.

Roasted Broccoli, Fennel, and Sausage

I don’t show fennel nearly enough love as I want to. I really like it a lot. Roasting it was new. It’s a refreshing sweetness.

This whole combination is nothing short of wonderful. Make sure you get a sausage you really like since that’s really going to be the star of the show. I went with a spicy Italian -and- added the extra pepper. It shouldn’t be that surprising at this point. The broccoli and fennel compliment it nicely.

The couscous was kind of an afterthought for a filling addition. I could eat roasted vegetables and sausage for days otherwise. There’s never enough, so I needed something else.

It doesn’t really need to be said, but this is ridiculously simple to make. It’s quick, easy, and full of flavor. The trifecta of awesome when you’re in a hurry.

Inspiration: Food52

Ingredients

  • 12oz pork sausage, casings removed and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 fennel bulb, white part thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Couscous, rice, mixed greens for serving

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil or a Silpat.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets and fennel slices with the olive oil, mustard, lemon juice/zest and red pepper flakes. Spread it in an even layer on the baking sheet. Evenly distribute the chunks of sausage among the vegetables. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the sausage is cooked and the broccoli is starting to darken at the edges. Turn on the broiler for a final couple of minutes to crisp up the sausage.

Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Pork Fajita Loaded Baked Potato

If I ate a baked potato every time I wanted one, I would eat them a lot.

Impatience is usually the culprit behind the lack of baked potatoes because who has time to roast one properly? I don’t. I’m also the worst meal planner of all time. Maybe someday that will change. Until then, I much prefer choosing what to eat on a whim, fully catering to what I’m feeling right at the moment. Sometimes that’s good [hello Sen Yai Noodles, I’m looking at you] and sometimes it’s a pain. That’s when I end up mindlessly throwing together whatever I can find in the pantry [like the time I boiled some pasta and tried to make a pseudo-carbonara which really turned into some weird gummy noodles and scrambled egg and red chile flakes which was…gross].

You can microwave a potato to get the same baked-potatoesque qualities [guilty as charged], but it’s really not the same. The skin usually ends up leathery and the innards a little dry.

Taking the time to bathe the skin in olive oil and sea salt, wrap them in foil, and slow roast them in an oven or on the grill makes such a difference that they really shouldn’t be allowed be called the same thing. The flesh is so steamed and fluffy, the skin so tender and salty. It’s pretty much an experience and a half.

I wanted the potato to be the star of the show when I finally decided I would take the time to make one, so loading it up seemed like the only real option to do the potato justice. So load it up, I did. Pork and fajita vegetables aren’t exactly a common occurrence, but it seemed to make sense. Realistically I just wanted the potato and guacamole, the rest was just an excuse. We happened to have a little queso fresco on hand to go with the Mexican-inspired potato, so I highly suggest getting some if you can. That salty, creamy cheese melts like butter into that potato flesh.

I’m going to try and not wait so long before having my next baked potato, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Ingredients

  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 1 red [or any color] bell pepper, seeds and white flesh removed, cut into strips
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced into strips about the same as the pepper
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • guacamole
  • queso fresco, shredded

Preparation

Preheat your oven or the grill to about 400°. Scrub the potatoes under fresh cool water. Stab the potato all over with a knife. Cover the potatoes in a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Wrap them in aluminum foil. Place in the oven or on the grill. Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of the potato. The flesh should be easily pierced by a fork or butter knife.

When the potatoes are nearly done, brown the ground pork. Use a skillet on about medium heat and sprinkle the pork with the red pepper flakes. Once the pork is cooked through, remove from the pan. Leave the grease in there and add the onions and peppers. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, really letting the onions darken and get soft. The vegetables will soak up the pork grease like a champ. Return the pork to the pan. Stir to combine.

When the potatoes are done, remove them from the heat source and allow them to cool a bit so you can actually touch the aluminum foil to take it off. Slice the potato with a butter knife to open. Scoop the fajita filling into the opening. Top with shredded queso fresco and guacamole. Serve.

Spring Potato Salad with Horseradish Aioli

I leave tomorrow.

It wasn’t until I printed my boarding pass that I started to get excited. Portugal and Spain. Three weeks. Ahhh! I’ve been planning and catching up on life since the end of tax season. It hasn’t been a bummer. The weather is turning towards summer just in time for me to leave. It’s [partially] why I wanted to go in May. Summer in Portland is just so nice. It’s hard to leave. Some cities on the very loose agenda — Lisbon, Porto, Seville, Madrid, Barcelona. Everything else is a bonus. I expect day trips, lots of food and wine, football, and more food and wine. No grapes are safe!

I finally checked a culinary ‘to do’ off my list — aioli. I love it. I have a secret love affair with it. It’s a more mature version of my unhealthy love of jarred mayo as a kid. Once I had a taste of aioli, I would never go back. I was am also super intimidated by it. I mean, c’mon. You have to whisk everything super slowly or it breaks and you have to start over [or I hear you can “fix” it, but yeah that’s not happening]. This springy potato salad called for it, and since the rest of the dish is pretty foolproof, I figured I could give it a whirl.

Six egg yolks, 2+ cups of oil, and Andrew’s help later, we had a cup or so of aioli for the salad. I was so pumped. Almost travel pumped. In my excitement, I poured all of it into the salad, not thinking. Thankfully the salad held up to it, but you should probably start with half to 3/4 of the batch before deciding you want to eat all the aioli. Damn it was good, too. This is one of those things that tastes better just because you made it. Blood, sweat, tears, and all that. Few foods do that for me. I always think your version tastes better than mine [critical, much]? This, though. This was perfection. I could have easily spooned it straight into my mouth.

Inspiration: A Thought for Food

Ingredients

  • 2lbs small potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 20 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, halved lengthwise
  • 1 handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish [or more if you’re into that]

Preparation

In a pot large enough for all the potatoes, cover them with cool water until they’re just covered. Heavily salt the water and bring it to a boil. Boil them until they’re about fork tender [15 minutes] and drain.

To make the aioli, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt. Then, drop by drop [seriously, I’m not exaggerating], start whisking in the oil. You want it to be fully dispersed amongst the yolk before adding more. Eventually it’ll get thick and velvety. If it starts looking like egg yolk and oil, you’ve added too much oil too quickly. This video should help. Once all the oil is whisked in, stir in the horseradish.

Toss the vegetables together with the dill. Pour in half of the aioli and stir well to cover all of the vegetables. Add more aioli as you see fit. Season with salt and paper before serving.

Asparagus and Quinoa Salad with Crumbled Feta

Things that I’ve been eating that I haven’t made myself:

>Smoked salmon fish tacos from Salmon Fusion, a food cart downtown. The salmon itself was awesome, as was the spicy sauce on top, but the tortilla, cabbage slaw, and saffron rice left a little to be desired.

>Chef Rick’s Favorite Burger at Bistro Marquee, before going to a lecture by Hillary Clinton. The burger had pork belly, pimento cheese and fried onion straws. SO GOOD.

>Pad Khee Mao at My BoonKrong Thai, a food cart downtown. A different set of veggies than I’m used to in mao, some tender slices of chicken, and spice that wasn’t a joke. I love when my spice tolerance is taken seriously.

Otherwise it’s lots of Kure Juice Bar and catered food at the office. Sunday was another purposeful trip to the store to make dinner. I crave the grocery store. Is that weird? It’s been nice, and light out, so grilling is a given. I’m really liking making a nice salad with some grilled meats. This was a super comforting salad. Feta melts into that quinoa turning it creamy, but not too rich. It felt very Mediterranean with the currants, olive oil, balsamic and lemon zest. I served it along side some rosemary garlic lamb shoulders. Tender lamb is the best.

Inspiration: William Sonoma

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups + 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed and chopped into pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 4oz feta, crumbled

Preparation

Bring 2 cups of chicken broth and the quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Add the currants and reduce the heat to a simmer before covering. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Leave the lid on, but remove from heat.

In a large pan, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Season with a heavy sprinkling of salt and pepper. When the onions start to brown, about 5-6 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes before adding the asparagus. Pour in the rest of the chicken broth so it cooks the asparagus until its tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, half of the feta, parsley, and lemon zest. Remove from the heat, and taste for seasoning. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and top with feta before serving.