Last summer I raised kale in my garden and, unfortunately, the bugs LOVED it. I decided not to plant Kale again this year but Mother Nature took a different turn. Several volunteer kale plants popped up in my garden and it was beautiful and…no bugs! Mother Nature, are you telling me I need to try Kale again next year?
Recently at our book club potluck, a friend made a delicious collard green dish and this sounded similar. It is very tasty but next time I would cut back on the crushed pepper. This could easily be vegan by skipping the bacon.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced garlic
10 cups loosely packed chopped kale (about 2 pounds)
1 cup fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (too hot for me–I would reduce to 1/4 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 10 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
- Add kale, broth, 1 cup water, and red pepper; cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt, and black pepper.
My vegan menu continues and I wanted to have wilted spinach but with the protein of nuts. It’s easy to forget how much spinach wilts down when cooking. I used a 6 ounce box of spinach and the wilted spinach would serve 2 people as a side dish.
WILTED SPINACH AND PINE NUTS
1 large bunch spinach, about 12 cups leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
- Sort through spinach, discarding stems and bruised or yellow leaves. Wash spinach in plenty of cold water; if it’s sandy, wash a second time, then spin dry.
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and lemon juice and sauté for 1 minute.
- Turn the heat to high and add the spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper. Wilt the spinach, tossing with tongs to coat the leaves with the hot oil and garlic. (The water left on the leaves after washing will help it to wilt quickly.)
- Toss in the pine nuts and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Recipe from: Whole Foods website
What is spring without fresh asparagus? Asparagus and fresh lemon and a drizzle of good olive oil and, voila, you have lemon asparagus!
Healthy, easy, yummy!
One pound fresh asparagus
2 Tbsp olive oil
sprinkle of sea salt
- Thinly slice the lemon. Arrange in one flat layer on a baking sheet.
- Toss the asparagus with the olive oil until evenly coated.
- Arrange asparagus over the lemon slices. Sprinkle with salt.
- Broil for approx 6 minutes (in our oven) or until asparagus spears get a few browned and crispy areas.
Recipe from two-tarts.com
Caprese Pasta? With smoked mozzarella? OMG…I had to try this recipe found on Iowa Girl Eats. I rarely eat wheat pasta but this was worth the splurge!
8 oz. bow tie pasta (or pasta of choice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sungold (cherry) tomatoes, halved
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons pesto (reference Pesto recipe or purchase)
1 cup cubed smoked mozzarella cheese (or mini mozzarella balls)
extra basil leaves for garnish
- Prepare pesto and set aside. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until just under al dente then drain and set aside. Place an oven rack to the very top, then preheat broiler.
- Heat oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then toss and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add cooked pasta and pesto then toss to combine. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top then place skillet under the broiler until cheese melts. Using a pot holder, remove skillet from oven then sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
Slightly adapted from Alexandra Cooks; and Iowa Girl Eats
My first recollection of asparagus was slimy canned asparagus served with school lunches. Yuck! My Mother would occasionally gather wild asparagus in the spring, but it was not a regular visitor to our home dinner table.
As an adult, I’ve learned to love asparagus and the many ways it can be prepared. I ran across this recipe AND I had all of the ingredients. This recipe is so simple and quite elegant. Tonight I paired it with salmon, always a wonderful combination.
Next time I try this recipe, I may use chopped pecans for a little different twist.
ASPARAUS WITH CRAISINS AND PINE NUTS
1 bunch asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 up dried cranberries (Craisins)
pinch of salt
- Break off or trim the woody ends from the asparagus and discard. Set the spears aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Stir in the pine nuts, cranberries, and salt.
- Cook and stir until the pine nuts start to look translucent, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the asparagus spears to the skillet and cook, adding a little more olive oil if needed, until stalks are bright green and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Serve on a platter and top with the cranberries and pine nut mixture.
Adapated from allrecipes.com, Asparagus with Cranberries and Pine Nuts
Portobello Mushrooms are an adult favorite. I enjoyed button mushrooms and morels growing up but the Portobello Mushroom is my Filet Mignon of mushrooms. They are so hearty and delicious I use them as my entrée. This is just one of many ways to cook them. Experiment with your favorite ingredients!
STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
4 large portobello mushroom caps
Grated/crumbled goat cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse mushroom caps under cold water and pat dry.
- Brush mushroom caps lightly with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet cap side down. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
- Put crumbled goat cheese in mushroom cap. Top with a handful of baby spinach.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until the mushroom is cooked, cheese has melted, and the spinach is wilted.
Roast Pork was a staple on the farm, most often served with mashed potatoes, gravy and our beloved sauerkraut. I don’t make it as often any more, but thoroughly enjoyed roasting this beautiful pork loin, prepared with olive oil and Bohemian Forest Rub from our local spice shop, Savory Seasonings.
SAVORY ROAST PORK LOIN
4-5 pound pork loin
Bohemian Forest Rub (Savory Seasonings) or rub or choice
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Rub Pork Loin with Seasoning.
- Roast pork, uncovered, for 3 hours or until internal temperature is at 180 degrees.
- Let roast sit for 10-20 minutes before slicing.
Brussel Sprouts did not make their way into my kitchen until last year. My early experiences with Brussel Sprouts left me scarred..they were always very bitter and tough. My older daughter, Megan, set out to convert me starting with roasted Brussel Sprout chips. From there I graduated to roasted Brussel Sprouts and NOW, I make Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts.
The tender Brussel Sprouts, purchased at Costco, are delicious roasted and the balsamic vinegar/olive oil glaze allows the sprouts to roast to a luscious golden brown. The final product is a taste bud party!
BALSAMIC ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
3 cups brussels sprouts, washed and sliced in half
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoon olive oil
fresh ground sea salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Slowly add the olive oil until the well blended.
- Put the brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the oil and vinegar mixture over the sprouts and gently toss to coat.
- Bake for 25 minutes, turning once. Sprouts are done when they are lightly browned.
Have I told you I love pesto? Fresh ingredients and CHEESE…what’s not to like? My basil did well this year and I’ve enjoyed a few batches of this tasty delight. This year I tried a recipe from Iowa Girl Eats blog. After all, a recipe originating from a cook in my home state of Iowa gets my attention. I like her recipe because it’s small in proportions but you can double, triple, etc. based on your desired volume.
25-28 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
salt & pepper to salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper in the food processor.
- Pulse until finely ground.
- Slowly stream in the olive oil and pulse until smooth.
Adapted from Pesto by Iowa Girl Eats
Udi’s GF pizza crust (or precooked crust of your liking)
Thinly sliced zucchini
Slow roast tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes
Turkey or chicken (or omit for vegetarian pizza)
Shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or Mozzarella)
- Layer the ingredients on the pizza crust in the order given.
- Bake per crust instructions until pizza is hot, cheese is melted. YUMMMMM.
PESTO CAPRESE SALAD
Fresh sliced tomatoes
Fresh sliced buffalo mozzarella
salt & pepper
- Layer in order above and enjoy!
Where have I been with slow roasting my own tomatoes? After discovering two over-ripe black krim tomatoes in my garden, I wanted to make use of these as well as a few roma, green zebra and sungold tomatoes. I found several recipes online but decided to try a combination of recipes.
There is one big problem with this recipe…they are absolutely, overwhelmingly, delicious. While my plan was to roast them for future use…I devoured several as soon as their cooled to the touch. Can’t wait to roast more!
SLOW ROASTED TOMATOES
- Preheat oveN to 225 degrees.
- Place a sheet of greased wax paper (or parchment paper) on cookie sheet.
- Slice large tomatoes into thin slices. Halve roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, lengthwise. Place tomatoes on the baking sheet.
- Place 2-3 unpeeled garlic cloves on the sheet with the tomatoes.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (I used sea salt) and pepper.
- Bake for about 3 hours. When done, the tomatoes will be shriveled and dry. I found the romas took longer and left them in the oven almost an hour longer.
You can use immediately or store in the frig with additional olive oil.