Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mustard Greens

This weeks new thing is mustard greens. Being a southern boy, I had greens available a lot, but I didn't enjoy them. I was very picky when I was young (still am a little), but something about them didn't seem appetizing. Perhaps it was that they were overcooked, perhaps it was all the other stuff added, perhaps it was the bitter taste. But it was time to give them another try.

Now I made a mistake here. Things were not in proportion when I cooked. I'll give what I think should be the correct recipe, but I used only 1 bunch of greens, so there was way too much sausage for the greens.

Mustard Greens
1 link of sausage, diced relatively small, or a couple of strips of bacon, diced
2 large or 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
red chili flakes to taste
3 bunches of mustard greens, washed, prep follows
1/4 cup diced onion
pepper to taste
splash of vinegar (white, rice, cider, whatever you have handy)
sprinkle of sugar
salt if needed (my sausage had plenty)
1-2T olive oil

Take the mustard greens and remove bad leaves. Trim off the hard stem sections (with little or minimal leaf area). Wash and stack the leaves.. make sure to have a large one on the bottom.. you may need to do this in batches. Roll up the leaves and with a sharp knife cut into ~1 inch strips, across the stem of the leaf. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the sausage. Once it begins to brown, add the garlic and red chili flakes. Cook briefly being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add a handful of the greens, allow them to wilt, tossing with the garlic and sausage. Once partly wilted, add more greens, making sure you can still toss them without them spilling everywhere. Repeat until all the greens are added. Once wilted, add a splash of vinegar and sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. If the greens are still not completely cooked, add a little water and cook until the water cooks off.


Like I mentioned earlier, I used only one bunch of greens, so some of my bites were mostly sausage with only a tiny bit of greens.. good, but not what I was after. :)

Friday, February 10, 2006

New goal

I have a new goal for myself. I want to buy something new at the farmer's market every week (or the store) and then figure out what to do with it and write about it. I figure I can do this for a couple of months, and then maybe mix it up with doing new things to old favorites.. for instance do I always have to steam the green beans? Can I roast them? What about braising them?

This past week

Because I haven't posted in a while, I thought I would touch on a few things I've been cooking recently (or not cooking):

Really simple chicken. I bought some boneless skinless chicken breasts with the thought that I was going to make Jambalaya last weekend. Well, that didn't happen, so I had a lot of left over chicken and sausage. For the chicken, I frozen over half of it, but I took two chicken breasts and sprinkled (liberally) cajun seasoning on both sides. I placed them in a casserole dish and into a 425 oven for ~30-35 minutes until done (poke at them, they should be firm). I ate it with a huge pile of steamed sugar snap peas. I was planning on eating the left over chicken breast with a salad, but I never bought the salad mix. Perhaps tonight. :)

Speck and bread. I heart speck, it is my favorite Italian meat. It is basically a smoked and spiced prosciutto. I found a local store which sells it (the price is ridiculous though). I also usually have my favorite bread which is a round of toasted onion bread. I sliced two pieces of the bread (relative thin) and placed a slice of speck (well, two slices) and it was delicious. I ate with a little smoked Gouda and some steamed green beans. I had this two nights last week.

Pasta and vegetables. Basically the same recipe as below (2 posts ago), but I added asparagus and a lot more of the other veggies. I used a precooked smoked sausages which I cut into small-ish pieces and heated with a little oil. I then removed the sausage and drained off some of the fat. I then added the veggies (onions, peppers, and garlic first, the the asparagus, then the peas and spinach) except this time I used a lot more of them. I also used more red pepper flakes then I did that time. It turned out great, and I have left overs for at least 2 more meals, if not three.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Chicken with Baslamic and Mustard Marinade

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken. I was inspired by a recipe in Everyday Italian, but I use more vinegar, no lemon juice, no garlic, I added herbs de province, and a lot more pepper.

Chicken with Baslamic and Mustard Marinade

1 cut up chicken, or several of one part
1/2 balsamic vinegar
2-3T mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2t salt
1T pepper
pinch herbs de province (optional)

Place all ingredients except the chicken into a gallon zip top bag. Close the bag and mix vigorously to combine. Add the chicken and squeeze (or suck) out all of the air that you can and close the bag. Let the chicken marinate for at least 8 hours, 24 is better.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting excess marinade drip off. Arrange in a single (but usually tight) layer in a 9x13 baking dish. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes.