Lisa on October 30th, 2014
Coffee Ice Cream

Coffee Ice Cream

Having recently landed an article assignment for a magazine about cold-brewed coffee, as you can imagine, I’ve been trying cold-brew in various ways. First I tried it as a sparkling beverage (mixed with plain sparkling water and a slight drizzle of vanilla) and thought it was surprisingly good — it reminded me of chocolate pop. Then I tried blending it 50/50 with chai tea, which was also a hit. I haven’t tried adding cold-brewed coffee to batters yet, but I did make coffee ice cream with cold-brewed coffee, and it turned out to be perfectly coffee-flavored: just enough and not too much. Also, because cold-brewed coffee is a cold infusion and is never heated, it tastes a lot less acidic and therefore sweeter … which again makes it all the more suitable for ice cream. I added some cinnamon, too, and used maple as a sweetener. Three very complementary flavors!

You could simply blend your ingredients and freeze them in an ice maker without simmering them into a custard first, but the custard method results in smoother, richer-tasting ice cream. Just be sure that the custard is completely cooled before you pour it into the ice cream maker — if it isn’t chilled, the freezer won’t be able to churn and freeze it, and your ice cream will be crystallized and rock-hard once it’s been in the freezer for a few hours. Forcing air into the ice cream as it freezes (which is what the churning action of the ice cream maker is doing) gives the ice cream a lighter, more pleasant consistency.

Coffee Ice Cream
Makes about 2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) of ice cream.

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, preferably from grass-fed cows
4 egg yolks, preferably from pastured hens
1/4 cup + 1 T.maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup cold-brew coffee*
1 shot good-quality, unflavored rum, optional (this will lower the ice cream’s freezing point and make it less likely to turn rock-solid)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the cream, yolks, maple, and cinnamon in a medium pot. Heat mixture over medium-low for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally. When tiny bubbles form, continue to cook gently for another 5 minutes, whisking more often and keeping a close eye on it. You don’t want it to come to a full simmer since that could overcook the egg yolks and make your ice cream chunky.

Remove from heat and scoop into a cool bowl. Whisk in coffee, rum (if using), and vanilla. Taste and see if you’d like it sweeter; if so, add a touch more maple syrup. When mixture is completely cool, place in an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer instructions. If you want to cool the cream quickly, fill a larger bowl with ice water and place the bowl with the ice cream inside the larger bowl, being careful not to get any water into the cream. Whisk for several minutes to rapidly chill the cream, testing occasionally to see if it’s chilled yet.

Freeze churned ice cream in as small a container as you have — headroom will make the ice cream crystallize all the more quickly, and you don’t want that. If I know I’m not going to serve all of the ice cream at once, I like to freeze it in several small containers to minimize air space at the top. Try to eat your homemade ice cream within a week.

* Cold-brewed coffee is made by letting fresh coffee grinds sit in cool water for 12 to 24 hours. The resulting batch is considered “concentrated” and is always diluted before serving, whether with ice cubes or milk or cream. In this case, the coffee is obviously diluted by cream, yolks, and maple, so you want to start out with the concentrate, not cold-brewed coffee that has already been diluted.

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Lisa on October 27th, 2014
Creamed Spinach with Yogurt & Bacon

Creamed Spinach with Yogurt & Bacon

It’s fall, and that means it’s time for cool-weather crops like spinach and other leafy greens. But because it is fall and not winter, you might still have a few tomatoes on the vine, too. This fall-friendly version of creamed spinach combines savory spinach and bacon with still-sweet cherry tomatoes. The “creamy” part comes from whole-milk plain Greek yogurt, but you could also stir in some cream if you like, especially if you want a smoother texture. (Yogurt tends to form tiny curds when you stir it into hot foods.) Or you could run the cooked spinach through a food processor.

Creamed Spinach with Yogurt & Bacon
Makes 4 side servings.

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 to 8 strips of cooked bacon, chopped
10 oz. curly spinach (not baby spinach)
7 oz. plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
Double handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered

Melt a generous knob of ghee or pat of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onions are turning translucent. Stir in garlic and bacon and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or until the garlic is softened and fragrant.

Stir in spinach, adding it in handfuls to allow it to shrink and fit into the skillet, tossing it often with a large spatula or tongs. You want it to wilt evenly rather than having the bottom layer wilt and burn while the top layer remains unwilted. Constantly shifting the leaves will ensure that there is no “bottom” or “top” layer. After a few minutes, the spinach should be wilted and it should all fit into the skillet.

Stir in the yogurt and remove from heat. Continue to stir constantly to coat all of the spinach. At this point, you can stir the tomatoes into the spinach or garnish individual servings with them. Serve immediately. Leftover spinach can be refrigerated for 5 days.

Enjoy!

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Lisa on October 23rd, 2014
Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Chocolate Cookies

Buckwheat flour  has become my go-to flour for everything from cakes to crepes to cookies. It’s actually a seed, not a grain, and is consequently much less starchy than grains are. Roasted buckwheat flour is called kasha and has a darker, more nutty flavor than raw buckwheat does. Whenever I tried buckwheat pancakes as a kid, I thought I didn’t like buckwheat … but that was because I’m not so keen on the roasted flavor. Raw buckwheat is much milder and lends itself to nearly any dish. (Whole simmered groats make an ideal stand-in for bulgur, which is especially great if you’re a gluten-free fan of tabbouleh. Buckwheat to the rescue again!)

The only tricky part about using buckwheat flour is finding it in unroasted form — most buckwheat flour is made of kasha. If you have a flour mill or high-powered processor like a Vitamix, though, you can grind raw groats into flour in about 20 seconds. Such mills ain’t cheap, but if you’re a big baking fan, you’ll wind up saving a lot of money by grinding your own flours. Buckwheat groats, for example, are about $3/pound; pre-ground buckwheat flour is twice that. And you can’t beat the convenience of being able to grind flour on the spot whenever you need it. So perhaps a flour mill should be on your holiday list this year! Especially considering that buckwheat is low-glycemic and alkaline, which means your holiday baked goods made with buckwheat flour will taste better AND be more nutritious.

Double Chocolate Cookies
Makes 32 cookies.

3/4 cup buckwheat flour (preferably raw buckwheat flour, although if you prefer the flavor of roasted buckwheat flour, use that)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably non-Dutched
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup sucanat or palm sugar, depending on how sweet you like your cookies
1 stick butter, preferably from grass-fed cows (you’ll note that grass-fed butter is soft enough to beat right out of the fridge; conventional butter will have to sit at room temp for an hour to be soft enough)
1 egg, preferably from pastured hens
1 tsp. vanilla
3.5 oz. (100 grams) 85% dark chocolate, melted*

Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and sucanat. In a large bowl, cream the butter for at least a full minute or until it’s fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then beat in the melted chocolate. Add the dry ingredients and beat well to combine.

Scoop the batter into small mounds (about a tablespoon-sized dollop) and place on the baking sheets, making 4 rows of 4 cookies on each sheet. Bake sheets one at a time for 12 minutes each. Let cool on wire racks. Completely cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container for several days on the counter or for a week in the fridge.

Enjoy!

* To melt chocolate, break it into pieces and place in a small pot over the lowest heat setting. Melt, stirring occasionally, and remove just before the chocolate is completely melted. Continue stirring with a fork to finish melting it. That way, you won’t risk scorching the chocolate.

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Lisa on October 20th, 2014
Pumpkin Milkshake

Pumpkin Milkshake

Are you a fan of pumpkin lattes? Pumpkin pie? Do you have a hankering for pumpkin ice cream at this time of year? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you’d enjoy a pumpkin milkshake. It’s pretty much made of the same ingredients you’d use to make ice cream … so it’s not surprising that it tastes like melted pumpkin ice cream. Or you can include an ice cube or two and a shot of espresso with your milkshake to make your own pumpkin frappé. Pumpkin-flavored beverages taste a lot better when you make them yourself using actual pumpkin!

Pumpkin Milkshake

Pour 1/2 cup whole milk (preferably from grass-fed cows) and 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin into a blender. Add 1 tsp. maple syrup, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, several hefty shakes of cinnamon, and a small dash each of allspice and cloves. Blend well and taste it to see if you’d like it any sweeter or spicier. (In which case add another splash of maple or dash of the spices.) If you’d like it thinner, add more milk. I topped my milkshake with a splash of cream and another dash of cinnamon as garnish. This recipe makes an eight-ounce milkshake; feel free to double or triple the recipe as you like.

Enjoy!

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Lisa on October 16th, 2014
Slow-Cooked Lamb Stew

Slow-Cooked Lamb Stew

When the days turn crisp, it’s time to haul out the slow-cooker! (I saw a recent survey in Allrecipes that said 19% of Americans use a slow-cooker in any given two-week period. Surprising, but a good trend.) It’s ridiculously simple to make a succulent leg or shoulder of lamb with extremely minimal effort. My slow-cooker is just big enough to fit a three-pound shoulder into it, which means I wind up with plenty of lamb so tender that it practically shreds itself. You could make this entire stew in a slow-cooker, but I think it’s easier to make the stew in the slow-cooker and then add the shredded lamb to warm it through. That way, you can better control exactly how crisp or soft your veggies — carrots, potatoes, onions, etc. — wind up being. And if you also have a six-quart slow-cooker, you may not have much extra room for much other than the lamb, either. I opted for boneless lamb shoulder so that it was easier to maneuver into the cooker.

The slow-cooked lamb already has herbs and flavorings like garlic and rosemary, so I flavored the stew with dried Italian herbs, which includes sage, basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano, and yes, rosemary. If you’d prefer to stick with just one of two of those, feel free to do so. That’s the other nice thing about simmering stew on the stove — you can keep tasting and adjusting it as you go.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Stew
Makes a big pot of stew, plus you’ll have leftover lamb to use in a variety of dishes (or freeze to make stew again later).

For the slow-cooked lamb:
3 lbs. of boneless lamb shoulder
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. rosemary
1 tsp. sea salt
4 cups (32 oz.) chicken broth

For the final stew:
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups (32 oz.) chicken broth
1 T. Italian herbs
4 small purple potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 oz. chopped sun-dried tomatoes (look for tomatoes sold dry, not packed in oil; the oil is almost never of good quality)
Sea salt to taste

Place lamb, garlic, rosemary, and salt into a 6-quart slow cooker. Pour in the broth and cook on high for 5 hours. The meat should start to shred into pieces when you lift it up. Turn off cooker, uncover it, and pull out the meat with tongs.

Let the lamb cool until you can comfortably touch it, then use your fingertips (or two forks, if needed) to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. If you’re not going to use it all, you might want to leave the leftover meat as hunks rather than shredded — that way, the leftover meat will be more moist. And don’t discard the cooking liquid! Once it has chilled, you may wish to break the fat off of the top and discard that, but the broth you’ve created will be lovely in this stew, and it’s best to stash away leftover lamb in its broth, whether you’re refrigerating or freezing it for later use.

In a large soup pot, cook the onions and carrots with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until veggies are fragrant and softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring a bit more often, or until garlic is fragrant.

Stir in broth, herbs, potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes,  and at least a cup of the reserved lamb broth. Simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes have reached their desired tenderness. Add as much slow-cooked lamb as you’d like, salt to taste, and heat through. (I’d aim for about 3/4 pound of shredded lamb.) Serve immediately. Leftover stew can be refrigerated for 5 days, or you can freeze it for 3 months.

Enjoy!

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Lisa on October 13th, 2014
Pecan Pumpkin Muffins

Pecan Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin, pecan, and maple — that pretty much sums up the flavors of fall. Why not put them all into a muffin? All you need is a dash of fall spices to complete the impression. And although coconut is decidedly not a fall flavor, I made these muffins with a combo of coconut and buckwheat flours since both rank low on the glycemic scale and therefore make an excellent start to the day. (No sugar rush, no ensuing crash, no desperate run to the vending machine.) And another nice thing about these muffins is that they’re easy to customize: swap out the pecans for walnuts, play with the spice blend, use different kinds of oils. You could even add chopped apples or pears if you want fruit-themed fall muffins.

Since muffin cups made of parchment paper are sturdier and more heat-safe than traditional versions, if you use parchment, you can pop these muffins into a toaster oven for a few minutes to warm them. They’re best served hot with a generous pat of butter on top. And unlike a microwave, a toaster oven will create a slightly crisp top, so the warmed muffins will seem like they’ve just come out of the oven for the first time.

Pecan Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins.

1 cup raw buckwheat OR sorghum flour*
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 T. baking powder
Dash sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup cooked pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup maple syrup (or 1/2 cup if you prefer sweeter muffins)
1/4 cup unrefined hazelnut oil OR extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 cup whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a muffin tray with 12 parchment paper cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, spices, and pecans. In a smaller bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, starting with 1/4 cup milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. If the batter looks too dry, stir in an additional 1/4 cup milk. (If you’ve used 1/2 cup maple syrup, you won’t need that extra milk, but if you’re making less-sweet muffins, you might need more liquid. Coconut flour is incredibly absorbent, so sometimes you need to add more liquid to recipes containing coconut flour.)

Scoop batter into muffin cups and bake for 22 minutes or until muffin tops are turning golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean and warm. Muffins can be refrigerated for a week, but they’re best eaten warmed and with a pat of butter.

Enjoy!

* Sorghum flour ranks much higher on the glycemic scale than buckwheat does. Both are gluten-free flours.

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Lisa on October 9th, 2014
Smoked Trout with Purple Potatoes & Parmesan

Smoked Trout with Purple Potatoes & Parmesan

Smoking fish and meat is an age-old way to preserve valuable foodstuffs. Nowadays, though, you’re more likely to find cured fish and meat, whether the curing was done via salting (gravlax), brining (pickled herring), or air-drying (jerky). That’s a shame, because smoked fish is incredibly flavorful. The smoked trout in this recipe is so flavorful, in fact, that it benefits from a little gentling in the form of mashed potatoes and milk. But the smoky flavor also pairs well with the savoriness of Parmesan, olives, and capers. (Not surprising when you consider that the olives and capers are pickled.) Smoked trout — or salmon, for that matter — would also make an excellent pâté when blended with whole-milk plain Greek yogurt and a dash of dried herbs. You don’t need many ingredients when you opt for such flavorful ones!

Smoked Trout with Purple Potatoes & Parmesan
Makes an 8″x 8″pan.

6 purple fingerling potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled, cut into 1″ cubes
About 8 oz. smoked trout
Handful of pine nuts, toasted or raw
Handful of firm pitted green olives, chopped (Picholine — a.k.a. Lucques — are quite nice)
1 T. drained capers
1/2 to 3/4 cup whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows
Parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 400F and thoroughly grease an 8″x 8″ pan. I like to save my butter wrappers and use them for greasing pans. So easy!

Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain well.

While the potatoes cook, tear the trout into small pieces, removing any visible bones as you go along. Put the drained potatoes in a large bowl and use a potato masher to mash well. Stir in the trout, pine nuts, olives, capers, and milk, starting with 1/2 cup milk. If the mash looks dry, add another 1/4 cup milk.

Transfer potato mixture to the greased pan and spread out evenly. Top generously with Parmesan cheese and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until Parmesan is turning golden brown and is starting to bubble. Let cool slightly before serving — that hot cheese can burn! Leftover potatoes can be refrigerated for 4 days.

Enjoy!

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Lisa on October 6th, 2014
Buckwheat Blintzes with Spiced Ricotta & Mascarpone

Buckwheat Blintzes with Spiced Ricotta & Mascarpone

Blintzes, blini, crêpes … they’re all ultra-thin pancakes. Russian blinis tend to be thicker than blintzes (which came by way of Eastern Europe to the U.S. via Jewish immigrants) because blinis are made with a yeasted batter that’s left overnight to rise, whereas blintzes — like crêpes — are made of flour, milk, and eggs. Both blintzes and crêpes are usually wrapped around a filling or topped with additional ingredients. Street fairs in Europe, for example, typically feature Nutella-topped crêpes the size of a giant skillet. (Although my favorite topping in Germany is Eierlikör, which is a creamy apertif based on egg yolks. Probably sounds a bit odd, but it’s lusciously wonderful — it tastes like rum-spiked custard.)

The classic blintz is stuffed with fresh fruit, soft cheeses like ricotta and cream cheese, and perhaps a touch of honey or spices. It’s easy to spoon some filling onto the blintz, then wrap it into a neat bundle. The final step is to sauté the blintz in plenty of butter to make a warm, melt-in-your-mouth breakfast or dessert. And the best part? Since you can make crêpes in advance and stash them in the fridge, blintzes are surprisingly simple and quick to make. Once made, you can refrigerate or freeze the blintzes, then re-warm them in a skillet or toaster oven.

Buckwheat Blintzes with Spiced Ricotta & Mascarpone
Makes about 12 blintzes.

For the crêpes:
1 cup raw buckwheat flour*
1 1/2 cups whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows
2 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
Dash of sea salt
Butter or ghee for cooking the crepes, preferably from grass-fed cows

For the filling:
About 6 ounces (3/4 cup) ricotta cheese, preferably made with milk from grass-fed cows (I adore Serra brand’s ricotta)
About 6 ounces (3/4 cup) mascarpone, ditto on the grass-fed milk (I used Bel Gioso’s mascarpone)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves

Maple syrup or raw honey for topping

To make the crêpes, whisk all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Get out a (or two or three) 7″ nonstick crêpe pan and place a dab of butter in the pan. Heat over medium heat — I go with mark 4 out of 10 on my electric burners — until butter has melted and is sizzling. Pour in 1/4 cup of the batter and cook for 2-3 minutes or until crêpe is set on top and browned on the bottom. Use a heatproof spatula to flip over the crêpe and cook the second side for another minute or two or until equally browned. If you’re adventurous, by all means go ahead and flip that sucker up into the air to turn it over. Just don’t do that directly over the burner! It’s much easier to rescue a misdirected crêpe from a cool element than a hot burner.

Place the cooked crêpe on a wire rack. (If you put it on a plate, it’ll collect condensation and get soggy.) Make a second crêpe in the same pan using the same technique. I find that I have to put a fresh dab of butter into my pan every other crêpe to keep them from sticking. Leftover crêpes can be stacked in a sealed container and refrigerated for a week.

To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, using a fork to mash the ricotta and mascarpone to blend them thoroughly. Spoon the filling onto the crepes. Don’t overdo it on the filling — you need to be able to gently fold up two opposing sides of the crêpe, then fold up the last two sides to make a neat package. If you’re having trouble folding up the crêpe due to too much filling, simply unfold it and take out at least one-third of the filling and then re-fold the crêpe. A rectangular-shaped blintz looks more elegant than a square one — and it stays together better — so spoon the filling onto the crêpe in a line and then fold it to be long and tall rather than square.

In the same skillet(s) you used to make the crêpes, melt another dab of butter or ghee over medium-low heat. Add the blintzes two at a time with the seam side down. Cover and cook for a few minutes to heat the filling through.

Serve blintzes piping hot with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, accenting with a dash of cinnamon if you like. Leftover blintzes can be refrigerated for 3 days if the ricotta is super-fresh (ricotta doesn’t last long; it’s the limiting factor here in terms of time) or frozen for 2 months.

Enjoy!

* Raw buckwheat flour is not only mild-tasting, whole-grain, and gluten-free, it ranks low on the glycemic scale, much lower than other grains. (That’s because buckwheat is actually a seed, not a grain, but it’s treated like a grain in terms of how it’s used.) If you can’t find raw buckwheat flour and you like the stronger flavor of toasted buckwheat flour — also called kasha — use that. Or use brown rice or sorghum flour, although those are higher on the glycemic scale.

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Lisa on October 2nd, 2014
Fresh Ahi Tuna with Carrots & Onions

Fresh Ahi Tuna with Carrots & Onions

While I’m a fan of canned tuna — and wild salmon and smoked herring and all manner of conveniently packaged sustainable fish and seafood — I must admit that a fresh tuna steak beats canned tuna every time. Oddly enough, lots of people don’t think to make a tuna steak (perhaps because it’s so readily available canned), but it’s just as simple to make as any other fish. Easier, actually, because you can easily cut tuna into strips. Much like beef and chicken strips cook more quickly than entire steaks or breasts, strips of tuna only take a few minutes to cook. It’s easier to cook them to your liking in terms of doneness, too, because you don’t have to guess at the interior color and texture — rather than flaking the center, you can cut a strip in half. It’s neater, too.

Fresh tuna has a less pronounced flavor than canned tuna, so nearly any spice or blend is compatible with a tuna steak. I chose a blend of Italian herbs and coriander punctuated by sweet/tart sun-dried tomatoes. The onions and carrots added a welcome caramelized undertone. If you like, you can add some chopped olives for a salty/briny kick. Just be sure to look for pole-/troll-caught U.S. tuna if you’re concerned about sustainability issues. (Click here for more information about tuna from the folks at SeafoodWatch.org.)

Fresh Ahi Tuna with Carrots & Onions
Makes 4 servings.

About 1/2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
4 carrots, cut into thin rounds
1 T. Italian herbs
1 tsp. coriander
Freshly ground peppercorns
1 lb. ahi tuna, preferably troll-/pole-caught in U.S. waters, rinsed and patted dry, cut into strips that are about 1/2″ thick
1 T. sherry vinegar OR apple cider vinegar
Handful of crisp green pitted olives, chopped (optional)

Place the tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with hot water. You want to let them soak for at least 20 minutes, so get them started before prepping the remaining ingredients. Drain the tomatoes before using them.

Drizzle a generous swirl of oil into a large skillet and add the onions and carrots. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onions have turned translucent and soft. Stir in the herbs, coriander, peppercorns, and tuna strips. Add the vinegar, olives (if using), and drained tomatoes.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 3 minutes or until you see that the tuna has turned opaque along the bottom. Gently flip each strip of tuna and continue to cook for another 2 minutes or until the tuna has reached its desired doneness. If you want it cooked all the way through, you may have to keep cooking it for another 3 minutes or until each strip is opaque when cut in half, or you may want it to look like “medium”-cooked beef, in which case the tuna strips will be a little pink in the center. Serve immediately. Leftover tuna can be refrigerated for 2 days.

Enjoy!

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Lisa on September 29th, 2014
Ethiopian Spiced Collards with Poached Egg

Ethiopian Spiced Collards with Poached Eggs

Looking for a way to enliven your side dishes and breakfasts? It might seem like an odd combination, but these Ethiopian spiced collards make a lovely accompaniment to dinner, and when topped with a poached egg, the collards make a great breakfast, too. It only takes 3 minutes to poach an egg, which means you can be warming the already-made collards in a skillet while you poach the egg. (If you choose to double-duty the collards.)

You can make your own Ethiopian-style berbere spice blend, or you can go with a Mexican flair and use chili powder instead of the berbere. If you opt for the latter, bacon drippings make a lovely cooking fat for the greens. For the eggs, all you need is a pot of boiling water.

Ethiopian Spiced Collards with Poached Eggs
Makes 4 side servings or breakfasts, plus you’ll have extra berbere spice mix to use in other dishes.

For the berbere spice mix:
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon fenugreek
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of cayenne pepper

For the collards:
1 bunch collards
Ghee for cooking
1 large yellow onion
5 cloves garlic, sliced
4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens

To make the berbere, place all ingredients in a clean spice jar and shake well to combine. If you don’t have one of the spices in the list, simply omit that spice. Or use chili powder instead of the berbere blend.

To make the collards, sort through the collard leaves and discard any yellowed leaves. Rinse leaves well and whack them a few times against the side of the sink to dry them. Rip away the tough stems and discard, then chop the leaves to create ribbons.

Melt a generous dollop of ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in collards, cover, and cook for 5 minutes undisturbed. Uncover and stir in garlic and 1 tablespoon of the berbere spice blend.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the collard ribbons have wilted and the garlic has softened. Serve immediately, with or without poached eggs. Leftover collards can be refrigerated for 4 days and warmed in a skillet.

To poach the eggs, fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, crack your eggs into the water. Immediately reduce heat to medium. With a heat-proof slotted spoon, gently swirl the water to make sure the eggs aren’t sticking to the pan. Let the eggs cook for 3 minutes, now and then skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the surface. When the eggs are ready, lift them out of the water with the slotted spoon one at a time, hold each one up for several seconds to let it thoroughly drain, and nestle it onto the collards.

Enjoy!

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