Corn is probably one of my favorite things about summer. When its in season my family picks up at least a few ears each week. We generally eat it lightly boiled and topped with a sprinkle of fleur de sel, but lately I’ve been incorporating it more as an ingredient in other dishes. Good corn has so much to add in terms of a fresh, sweet taste and crunchy texture. Note how I say “good corn,” because this dish, or any similar dish that calls for fresh corn, will not taste close to how it should if the corn used is out of season or some shrink-wrapped, flavorless stuff that looks and tastes more like it’s from a factory than a farm. If its local and you run into at least one or two worms while your husking the ears then your probably on the right track.
- 16 ounces orzo
- 1 Tablespoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
- kernels from 4 ears of corn
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- freshly ground pepper
Bring 5 quarts water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and stir in orzo. Cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.
While the orzo is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until sweated and colored, about 5 minutes. Set aside the onion and add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the corn, season with salt, pepper, and 3/4 Tablespoon thyme, and cook for just a few minutes until the corn is slightly tender and has released some of its juices, but still crunchy.
For the nuts, toast on a dry skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, tossing frequently. Add butter and stir to coat. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme and continue cooking until slightly softened, a couple minutes.
Combine orzo, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, corn and onion, nuts, and remaining thyme and parsley in serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
This is my second time making this balsamic-port reduction sauce and I have to say it was pretty fantastic with the duck. Not too difficult of a sauce either. Just sauté some shallots, add the port and balsamic, simmer off the alcohol for about 20 minutes, and add some fresh herbs and a dab of butter and you have a flavorful, light sauce. For this recipe I made two duck breasts and then halved the balsamic glaze recipe from a previous post.
- 2 duck breasts (then halve the balsamic glaze recipe linked to below)
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Rinse the duck breast and trim off any connective tissue, leaving just the breast meat and the long strip of fat on top. Cut shallow slices down the length of the fat just to open it up but stopping before puncturing the meat below. Cut about 4 shallow slices down the length of each strip of fat and then rotate 90degrees and repeat down the width so the fat is punctured by a checkerboard like pattern. Wrap in a paper towel until the meat is dry and then coat with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat canola oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, but not smoking, at least a minute and a half, add the duck breasts fat side down. Sear until the fat appears golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the breasts and place them fat side up in a glass dish or roasting pan. At this point you will want to use the rendered duck fat to begin the sauce. Start by tossing out some of the fat so that only a Tablespoon or so remains. Add the minced shallot and follow the directions for the Balsamic Glaze.
While the sauce is simmering, check the meat periodically and remove it from the oven once it reaches an internal temperature of 130F, about 20 minutes. Pour the sauce over the sliced duck breast and serve.
Black cod is a flaky white fish that simply melts in your mouth with its tender texture. It can have quite a few bones which can be a pain but certainly worth it for the flavor and texture. The sweet and spicy sauce that I paired with the fish is made primarily of hoisin (a Chinese dipping sauce available in many grocery stores) and soy sauce and flavored with scallions, ginger, and a few other ingredients. The recipe comes together in a matter of minutes actually, so for me its just a matter of having all the ingredients on hand, which is a problem I often encounter with any sort of ethnic cooking. I have found though that gradually building a collection of unique, ethnic ingredients, like hoisin and sesame oil has proven to be very rewarding and has allowed me to discover a number of fabulous recipes that I wouldn’t have been able to experience otherwise.
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh peeled ginger, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped green onions
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 2 7-ounce Alaskan black cod fillets
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together first 9 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Clean and debone the fish. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a heavy, ovenproof pan (I used a cast-iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Add cod, skin side up and cook for 2 minutes. Flip cod and spoon sauce evenly over the fillets. Allow to cook for only a minute or so after flipping.
Finish cooking fillets in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is opaque. After they have finished cooking you may want to gently turn the fillets onto their sides to remove the skins or you can serve as is over a bed of brown rice.
Recipe adapted from The KitchWitch
During the holidays my family makes a few special meat purchases from D’Artagnan, a New York supplier of gourmet meats. This year I put in a word for these wild pigeons based on the particularly tender and flavorful squab I ordered in a restaraunt this past year. They did not disappoint and they paired amazingly well with the sage and balsamic-port reduction in this recipe. Because squab isn’t readily available, feel free to replace the pigeons with cornish game hens which are available in everyday supermarkets. Also consider pairing the balsamic glaze with duck breast, which I am sure to do in the future.
- 4 whole pigeons
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup port
- 3 teaspoons sage (additional for garnish)
- 3 teaspoons parsley (additional for garnish)
- 1/2 Tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean and gut the pigeons and dry thoroughly. Stuff each bird with 1/2 teaspoon sage each. Place the pigeons breast side down in an oven proof pan (I used a cast iron skillet). Brush thoroughly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
While the pigeons are roasting, in a saucepan heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot, season with salt and pepper, and heat on medium-low until lightly golden. Once the shallots are golden and have absorbed the olive oil, add the balsamic and port. Heat on a low simmer while you roast the squab.
Turn the birds over and roast for another 10 minutes, then turn the heat up to 500 degrees and cook for 10 more minutes to brown the skins. While the birds are finishing up, add the butter and remaining (1 teaspoon each) sage and parsley to the glaze.
Remove the birds from the oven, checking for doneness with a thermometer (internal temperature should be at least 160 degrees). Place the birds on a serving dish and strain the pan drippings through a sieve. Add 2 Tablespoons of the strained cooking sauce to the balsamic glaze. Pour the mixed glaze over the pigeons, garnish with salt, sage and parsley.
This simplified version of the classic Spanish paella dish, substitutes brown rice for the traditionally used Spanish rice, and limits the protein to chicken breast and chorizo sausage. Paella can often include a wide array of meats, including shrimp, prosciutto, rabbit, squid, mussels, and clams. I chose to flavor my paella with a number of different spices, including saffron. You can substitute the saffron with turmeric for color, but it will not provide equal flavor to the saffron, as it is naturally more bitter and less fragrant.
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ chunks
- 2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1/8″ slices
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 1 teaspoons paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 (12oz) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
- salt and pepper for seasoning the chicken and veggies
In a Dutch Oven (or large pot), heat 1 Tablespoon canola oil over medium-high heat. Once the pot and oil are hot, add chicken chunks and chorizo sausage. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper and cook until chicken is browned on both sides and sausage is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in the Dutch Oven and add garlic. Once sizzling, add onion and bell peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until veggies are softened. Add rice, spices, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes.
Lay chicken and sausage pieces on top of rice-veggie mixture. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes. After the rice and meat have cooked together for 10 minutes, stir in the peas and simmer until rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes.
Serves 4 to 6
Although fairly straight forward, egg salad sandwiches can vary significantly with minor adjustments. This recipe calls for the inclusion of fresh herbs and shallot, which add a fresh burst of flavor to the classic sandwich. Different methods of cooking the eggs can also affect flavor and texture. For all my hard boiled eggs, I prefer the gentle cooking method described below, as it leaves the eggs vibrant and at the perfect consistency.
- 5 eggs
- 1-2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (Greek yogurt would work also)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons shallot, minced
- 1 Tablespoon parley, minced
- 1 Tablespoon tarragon, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
Place the eggs in a pot and cover with 2 inches water. Heat until water reaches a gentle boil, then remove from heat and let sit for 12 minutes. Gently place the eggs in bowl of cold water and let rest for a minute or so. Pat the eggs dry, then peel and dice them into a bowl. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, shallot, herbs, and freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Bulgar wheat is one of my favorite whole wheat grains to cook with. It is extremely simple to prepare, requiring less than 20 minutes, and provides a nutritionally dense, high fiber backbone for a wide variety of dishes. Bulgar has a subtle nutty flavor and natural texture that lends itself particularly well to fall dishes such as this one.
- 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 3 teaspoons canola oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup bulgar
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1.5 ounces goat cheese
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 bell pepper, diced
- 5 mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a baking sheet with 2 teaspoons canola oil and spread evenly with butternut squash pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 30 to 35 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, add the bulgar and 1 cup water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the bulgar is light and fluffy and has absorbed all the liquid.
As the squash and bulgar cook, prepare the veggies by first heating 1 teaspoon canola oil in a pan over medium heat. Add shallot and let sit for about 30 seconds, until the pieces sizzle slightly. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sage. Sauté for about 4 minutes, until the vegetables are a desired tenderness.
Combine the bulgar, squash, and vegetables. Top with walnuts and goat cheese and serve.
Serves 2 to 3
These quinoa burgers are really easy to make. You just throw all the ingredients into a blender (or you could even blend them up by hand) and voilà, a protein packed, vegetarian meal. Now don’t get me wrong, these veggie burgers are delicious whether you’re a vegetarian or not. Rather than viewing veggie burgers as a replacement for meat alternatives, I see them as an entirely distinct category. And there are so many delicious and creative options within this category!
My roommate, Britta, and I decided to serve our quinoa burgers plain, with some fresh heirloom tomatoes, sprouts, and the yogurt – parsley dressing described below. For a hand-held meal, consider wrapping it all up in a pita or whole wheat tortilla.
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup garbanzo beans
- 1/2 can roasted bell pepper (8oz can), chopped
- 1 egg white, lightly whisked
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oats (rolled oats would work as well)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Yogurt – Parsley Dressing
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2-4 Tablespoons parsley
Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Let cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
Place garbanzo beans in food processor and blend until no whole beans remain. Add all other ingredients except the oats. Blend until ingredients are mixed well. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the oats.
Shape the mixture into patties. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and drizzle with 1 teaspoon canola oil. Place 1-2 patties in at a time and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. For each set, consider adding a few more drops oil to the pan in order to avoid burning the patties.
Serve with tomatoes, sprouts, and yogurt – parsley dressing. For the dressing, simply whisk together all three ingredients.
Makes 4-5 patties
Recipe inspired by Once Upon a Cutting Board.
In addition to being extremely delicious, salmon also provides a great source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It pairs particularly well here with a fresh fruity salsa and parsley garnish. My goal in searing the salmon was to achieve a nice crust on the outside (produced by high cooking temperatures), while keeping the fish fleshy, slightly pink, and highly flavorful throughout.
- 1-2 6-oz salmon filets
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 mango, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
- chili sauce, to taste
- 1 teaspoon parsley, minced (plus extra for garnish)
- 1/4 teaspoon honey
Rinse and debone the filets. Pat dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with a thorough coating of salt and pepper. Heat a 10-inch skillet for 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil and swirl to coat. Allow the oil to heat for about 30 seconds, then add the filets skin side down. Cook without moving the filets for 4 1/2 minutes, until the skin is throughly browned and crispy. Flip the filets and cook on the other side for 3 – 3 1/2 minutes.
While the salmon cooks, combine the mango, lime juice, chili sauce, parsley, and honey in a small saucepan. Grind some salt and pepper onto the mixture for extra flavor. Heat on medium-low until the mangos excrete juice and the mixture takes on a sauce-like texture, about 4 minutes.
Once cooked, plate the salmon and top with the fresh mango salsa and extra parley.
Packing in a variety of vegetables and other ingredients, this Mediterranean-inspired pasta dish provides great flavor and nutrition. The pesto is nice in this dish, but not essential. If you don’t have any pesto on-hand then feel free to leave it out entirely or substitute with a light vinaigrette. A dressing comprised of a little olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice would do the trick.
- 1/2 lb whole wheat fusilli
- 3/4 cups broccoli florets
- 3/4 cups thinly sliced potatoes (I liked using a handful of multi-colored baby potatoes)
- 3/4 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, roughly chopped (I used the variety that are marinated and canned)
- 1/4 cup feta
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2-3 teaspoon pesto (for veggies)
- 1 scallion, sliced
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. While it is cooking, heat the oil in a pan and add the potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork tender. Add the broccoli and cook for about 7 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are a desired tenderness.
While the vegetables are cooking, combine the red peppers, artichoke hearts, feta, olives, and pine nuts in a bowl. Once the vegetables are done, combine them with the cool ingredient mixture and 1 teaspoon pesto.
Drain the pasta and then toss with 1 to 2 teaspoons pesto in a serving dish. Add the vegetable mixture and combine. Top with the scallions and serve.