Pork and Kimchi Sliders

While perusing through my pile of recent magazine recipes I came across one from Food and Wine for “Crunchy Pork Kimchi Burgers” and I thought well, this sounds weird, but oddly good at the same time.  Then I went to the Northampton Tuesday Market  and there was a vendor sampling fresh kimchi which was nothing like the shelf-stable stuff that I had eaten in the past- a little less crunchy, a little less bitter, more sweet, and simply lovely.  Just a hop-skip-and jump up from her stand was Mockingbird Farm who had ground pork for sale and I just knew that I had to give this recipe a try.   I grabbed some baby spinach from Enterprise Farm and now had the makings for this lovely sounding dish, locally sourced.  Since I was on a roll, and they looked fantastic, I grabbed some white turnips too (from Old Friends Farm)- I figured they’d be great for roasting.

Since I’ve eaten primarily grain-free since the beginning of this year, I adjusted the recipe to omit the flour and panko and obviously had a different end product than what was advertized in the magazine.  I really loved the dish the way that I made it and will definitely make it again this same way.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 large garlic clove, pressed

2 scallions, chopped

1 lb. ground pork

3/4 cup finely chopped kimchi (I ran it through the food processor rather than hand-chopping)

Sprinkle of Kosher salt

Vegetable oil, for frying

10 oz. baby spinach

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

sesame seeds (for garnish)

Directions

  • In a bowl combine the ginger, garlic, scallions, pork and kimchi with the salt

ginger, garlic, scallions, pork and kimchi with salt

  • Form the mixture into eight small patties, about half an  inch thick (to get these all a uniform size, I used a number 2 scoop)

Add the patties and fry over moderate heat...

  • In a large skillet (cast iron if you’ve got it), heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Add the patties and fry over moderate heat, turning once only, until you have a beautiful crisp on each side and there is no more pink visible from the outside(you want them to be cooked through)
  • Set aside to drain on paper towels and let the juices finish distributing
  • Pour off all of the vegetable oil from the skillet and add some toasted sesame oil and the baby spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over a medium-high heat until wilted (about 1 minute)

baby spinach wilting in toasted sesame oil

  • In a small dish, mix the mayonnaise, sesame oil and soy sauce
  • Pile the spinach on plates and top with the sliders, drizzle with the sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy

Pork and Kimchi Sliders over wilted sesame spinach with roasted white turnips

I will admit to eating two left-over patties the next day, straight out of the fridge.  A different experience, but good still.  The sauce is a bit salty, so be sure not to over-do it.

J

Spinach, Red Lentil, and Green Bean Curry

If you’re in the market for a warm vegetable stew with luscious spices which will reheat well, then I’ve got a dish for you. This is a very mild curry (which you could heat up with some cayanne and/or crushed red pepper if that’s your preference) and it has notes of cinnamon from the garam masala. If that’s not your thing, you could use your favorite pre-made curry spice mixture rather than what’s listed here. This dish can easily stand on its own as a vegetarian main, or be served alongside some lovely spiced yogurt chicken (as Neil and I had it).

Ingredients:

 

1 cup red lentils

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon ground dried turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 cup mushrooms, sliced thickly

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, grated

4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

 

Directions:

 

  • Rinse the lentils well and place them in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Drain and set aside
  • In a bowl, stir together the tomato puree and yogurt. Season with garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and chile powder
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat
  • Add the onion, green beans and mushrooms; cooking until the onion begins to brown
  • Add in the garlic and ginger and stir for a minute- until you really begin to smell them
  • Stir in the spinach; cook until it’s dark green and wilted
  • Add the yogurt mixture and stir until incorporated
  • Mix in the tomatoes and cilantro
  • Stir the lentils and garbanzo beans into mixture until well combined and heated through, about 5 minutes
Curry

The inspiration for this dish came from this recipe.

Baked Spinach

I would like to start off by saying that I love spinach.  I love it raw in salads.  I love it wilted in chicken broth, heavy on the freshly-cracked pepper.  I love it slightly cooked and drizzled with olive oil, especially when a clove of two of fresh garlic has been pressed into it.  So I believe that it goes without saying that when I saw this recipe posted for a baked spinach dish (a casserole, really), I simply couldn’t help but try it.

The ingredients in my version of the recipe below aren’t too horrible.  A tiny bit of butter, and a decent amount of cheese, and the result is a rich and densely flavorful gratin that will pair well with the likes of a steak, or some lamb chops, or a white fish, or a loosely poached egg.

Ingredients:

3 pounds fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons panko

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Wash your spinach but do not spin or pat it dry
  • Place spinach in a large pot over high heat and cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, until wilted
  • Shock the spinach in cold water to stop the cooking and drain again
  • Squeeze a small amount of the spinach at a time in your hands to extract as much water as possible. Chop the spinach coarsely. You should have about 3 cups of chopped spinach
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over moderately high heat and stir in the spinach. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the moisture from the spinach has boiled off
  • Lower the heat and sprinkle with flour, then stir for 2 minutes to cook the flour
  • Add 2/3 of your broth, simmer for another minute or two, and watch out that the spinach isn’t sticking to the pan
  • If needed, add all or part of the remaining broth. Season with salt and pepper
  • Lightly spray/butter/oil a shallow 1-quart baking dish
  • Stir 1/2 cup cheese into the spinach and pour the mixture into the baking dish
  • Mix the remaining cheese with panko and sprinkle it on the spinach
  • Spray the panko topping with olive oil pan spray
  • Bake until heated through and slightly brown on the top, about 30 minutes

grilled fillet mignon, baked spinach, and egg noodles with a mushroom pan sauce

Inspired by this post on smittenkitchen.com

J

Cucumber Chili Salad

I love growing my own fruits and veggies.  This year I started all of the plants for the garden indoors, from seed, and just got them transplanted to small pots this past weekend.  I can’t wait until they’re in the freshly tilled garden plot.

The raspberry bush has been trimmed back a bit as have the grape vines.  Blueberry bushes have been fed spent coffee grounds.  Radishes and beets, pole beans and herbs have been sewn into huge pots and placed throughout the property according to sun requirements.  Strawberries which had spread too far out of their assigned area have been transplanted to hanging baskets and hung over budding azalea bushes.

And the Northampton Tuesday Markets begin again today for the season.  This means that I can take an afternoon break from work and walk over to pick up fresh, local produce, eggs, bread or anything else that I may have missed in the weekend’s marketing adventures.

This week’s marketing found us a beautiful piece side of salmon.  With the warmer weather moving in, my food cravings are switching over to lighter dishes and fresher ingredients so I went looking for a recipe that would pair well with the fish, and be light and crisp and tasty.  I found that in this cucumber chili salad.  Crunchy cukes, savory scallion, buttery cilantro, sweet jalapeño- yum!

cucumber chili salad

Ingredients:

3 cups thinly sliced, washed cucumber, with the peel on

2 tsp minced jalapeño pepper*, seeds and stem removed

1/4 cup chopped scallion

3 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of one fresh lemon

1 TBS soy sauce

1/4 cup chopped greek yogurt

Dash of cayenne pepper

salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • whisk together lemon juice, yogurt, jalapeño, scallion, cilantro, cayenne, salt and pepper
  • toss the cucumbers with soy sauce
  • dress the cukes with the yogurt mixture and serve

salmon on a bed of garlic spinach, whole wheat cous-cous, and cucumber chili salad

J

Recipe adapted from “the world’s healthiest foods“.

Indian-style Broccoli Rabe

Need a new way to prepare winter greens that are lingering in the fridge?  Or do you have some frozen peas to use up and aren’t quite sure how to go about making something interesting with them because if you serve plain ol’ peas again you’ll be banished from meal planning forever?  Look no further.  This dish is simple and it provides plenty of pop for the taste buds.

sarson ka saag

This dish (also known as “sarson ka saag”) really can be made with any type of greens, be they broccoli rabe or spinach, collards or chard, or even peas and mustard greens.  The way that it’s outlined below makes for a stiff sort of side dish, but you could certainly water it down a bit with water or chicken or vegetable broth for a creamier consistency and then serve it over rice.  Personally, I served it along side panko-crusted white fish and we had naan dipped in Greek yogurt too.

naan with spiced yogurt

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds broccoli rabe

1/2 pound spinach

2 tablespoons cornmeal

3 garlic cloves

1 jalapeño, seeded

One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

1 red onion, chopped

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Salt

broccoli rabe, ginger, jalepenos, red onion

fresh, local spinach

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for 2 minutes (to blanch)
  • Add the spinach and cook for 30 seconds
  • Drain the greens, transfer to a food processor and puree
  • Sprinkle the cornmeal over the greens and pulse, to combine
  • Set the pureed greens aside

if the recipe came in a box we'd call this the "season packet" 😉

  • Add the garlic, jalapeños and ginger to the food processor and pulse until you have a fine chop. Add the onions
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic-onion mixture and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned
  • Add the pureed greens and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally; add about 1/4 cup of water if the greens look dry
  • Season with salt and serve

panko-crusted cod with Indian-style broccoli rabe

J

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine