Collard Greens Soup

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Ingredients

1/2 lb. stew beef cut into small pieces (or other cut that will render lots of flavor- I used some leftover braised short ribs)
1 large bunch collard greens
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup white beans (cannellini or northern beans) or 1 can, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup coarse grits
1/4 cup corn flour
7-9 cups of water
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions

Brown the beef in the pot you will use to make the soup in.  It does not necessarily need to cook all the way through as it will be added back later.  Once browned, set aside.

Wash the collards to get all of the gritty bits out. Chop the stems finely and cut the leaves into square pieces.  Set aside.

Boil 2 quarts of chicken stock in a large pot.  Add the collard greens and grits, paprika & pepper flakes. Cook until soft (20-25 minutes).

Add the beans and the corn flour: be sure to keep stirring while adding it to prevent lumps.

Add the beef back to the pot.  Turn the heat to low and cook for half an hour to let the soup thicken, stirring every few minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Almost Turkish Recipes.

Honey Garlic Chicken in the Slow Cooker

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Ingredients:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup blackberry jam
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 sliced scallions
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Directions

Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker with no overlapping bits.

In a small dish, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, blackberry jam, hoisin, olive oil, garlic, onion and crushed red pepper flakes, and pour the sauce over the chicken.

Put the cover on the slow cooker and cook on a low heat for 5 hours.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker (reserving the liquids) and put it on a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken, then set the shredded heap aside in a bowl.

In a small dish, whisk together the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry.

Transfer the liquids from the slow cooker to a small saucepan set over a medium heat and whisk in the slurry. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook it until it reduces and thickens a bit (about 3 minutes). Pour the sauce over the chicken, and stir to combine.

Serve the chicken topped with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

Recipe slightly adapted from Just A Taste.

White Bean Chicken Chili

Ingredients

2 slices bacon, chunked (my personal favorite these days is Vermont Smoke & Cure)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon smoky paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked cannelini beans (I prefer to soak & cook my own, but if you do canned, 1 can will suffice)
2 cans (4 oz.) diced green chiles (hot or mild, depending on your personal preference)
1/2 cup Cotija cheese
chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

In a hot Dutch oven, cook the bacon to render its lovely fat and brown the meat up.  Next remove the bacon and set it in a dish to the side.

Season your chicken breasts with salt, pepper, cumin & paprika and brown them in the bacon fat.  At this point you need not cook them all the way through, just make them easy to chunk up.  Once  browned, remove the breasts and let them rest on a cutting board while adding the onion to the pan and reducing the heat, and cook the onion until it begins to be translucent.  When it’s almost there, add the garlic.

Add the bacon back to the pan. Cut your cooked chicken into bite-sized chunks and add it to the mix.  Stir  in the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, white beans, and green chiles. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a slow boil and cook, uncovered, stirring as needed until the liquid has reduced to your level of preference.

Serve with crumbles of Cotija cheese and fresh cilantro on top (and maybe a piece of bacon.

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen.

Miso-ginger wild rice with carrots, cabbage, daikon and turnip

New Year’s Day provided us with a freebie day off in the middle of the week.  Besides random household chores, I decided that the best use of this time would be to cook a few dishes that we planned to eat in the coming week so that we buy ourselves time in the evenings for the next few days by having dinner already prepared.  The bigger benefit being that these dishes are ones that get better with time- the kind that soak up dressings, and age with grace.  A soup, some roasted vegetables, a dressed rice dish….

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 medium carrots, quartered and sliced thin
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 1 leek, sliced thin
  • 1 3-inch piece daikon, halved and cut into thin strips
  • 1 small purple-top turnip, peeled, halved, and cut into thin half-circles
  • 1 cup thinly cut cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower (or other mild) oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon barley miso (we found a great 3-year dark handcrafted right in Conway, MA by South River.  Organic too!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions

  • Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium pot, add the rice and return it to a boil
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through, about 50 minutes
  • Meanwhile, bring a large fry pan up to a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and all of the sesame oil, then toss in the carrots, celery, leek, daikon and turnip and get a nice brown on them.  If they begin to get too dark, turn down the heat and cook them until they’re al dente
  • When the veggies are cooked, add in the cabbage.  It’s cut nice and thin so it should soften up quickly
  • While that’s cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, remaining tablespoon of sunflower oil, ginger, miso and crushed red pepper until blended
  • When the rice is cooked, add it to the pan with the vegetables (or, if you’re out of space in the pan you can do this in a large serving or mixing bowl) and pour in the dressing, stirring to incorporate all ingredients
Miso-ginger wild rice with carrots, cabbage, daikon and turnip

Miso-ginger wild rice with carrots, cabbage, daikon and turnip

Carrot Cake Cookies

One recent weekend Neil and I were invited to a small gathering where the theme of the night was soup.  The basic idea being that the hostess makes two or three varieties of soup to choose from, someone brings bread, someone else brings handheld nibbles, and we eat, drink, and are merry, then run outside into the cold New England evening to watch the annual Torchlight Parade (several towns trim their fire trucks out in Christmas lights and parade down the main thoroughfare).

Since bread had been accounted for, as had corn muffins, southern style red beans & rice, and three varieties of soup, I decided to bring cookies.  While at lunch that afternoon Neil commented “I wish that there were such a thing as carrot cake cookies.” and it was decided that was what we’d make.  What I did to create this recipe was look at existing carrot cake cookie recipes, then cross some of my favorite elements with our family recipe for carrot cake which includes the likes of shredded coconut and fresh pineapple.  The result was a chewy cookie with a creamy and not-too-sweet filling that was very well received by party-goers.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I like to use a variety: Thompson, red flame, and golden)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple, diced (see note if using canned pineapple)
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Whisk together flour, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, baking soda, and salt in a bowl
  • Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until pale and fluffy
  • Mix in carrots, and raisins, shredded coconut and pineapple at a low speed, then add the flour mixture and beat until just combined
  • At this point the dough will be a little too wet to scoop, so add in the 1/8 cup of coconut flour a little at a time until the dough just tightens up
  • Drop walnut-sized balls of dough for each cookie cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, about 12 minutes
  • Pull the baking sheets out and flatten each cookie with a fork in a manner similar to that performed on a peanut butter cookie, then pop them back in the oven for 1 minute to finish
  • Cool cookie sheets on racks for a  minute, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely
  • While the cookies are baking, blend the cream cheese, honey and lemon zest until smooth
  • Sandwich the flat sides of the cookies together with a generous helping of cream cheese filling

*Note: if using canned pineapple, your dough will be more wet.  To offset this, add up to 1/4 cup coconut flour at the end to tighten it up to the appropriate consistency.

You could also add walnuts to the cookie dough for depth of flavor.  A great alternative to cream cheese would be a soft goat cheese.  Feel free to omit the lemon zest if it’s not to your liking.

 

Carrot Cake Cookie

Carrot Cake Cookie