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Caramelized Onion and Pepper Relish

We are all still basking in the fading glow of summer. Grills are still being called into service on a regular basis. Chicken, pork, fish, and beef proudly take to the grill. We all know that grilled protein is delicious, but sometimes it can feel a bit under-dressed on the plate.

There are lots of ways to make them feel a little more complete and this relish is one colorful alternative. It can be viewed as the bright colors of summer or the tones of the changing leaves of fall. Whatever your perspective it is a tasty addition to a meal.

I must confess that this came about as a result of a refrigerator clean-out mission. Mini bell peppers, and started red and sweet onions were all languishing in the crisper. The slow and aromatic caramelizing process came to mind. This does take some timeĀ ; 40 minutes give or take, but the depth of flavor is definitely worth it.

I brought some other bold flavors to the mix in the form of garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and sherry vinegar. I also added several serious glugs of dry sherry and a dollop of honey. Salt and pepper were added throughout the process. The acidity created by the vinegar gave it enough bite to qualify as a relish in my book and the petite sirloin it topped was very happy indeed.

 

Carmelized Onion and Pepper Relish
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Carmelized Onion and Pepper Relish
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and spread over the bottom of the pan. Cook for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Toss to combine and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the dry sherry and the thyme sprigs to the skillet and continue to cook for another 5 - 10 minutes.
  4. One everything looks beautifully golden, stir in the vinegar and honey and allow it all to cook a few minutes more.
  5. Remove the thyme sprigs (many of the leaves will remain in the relish) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with your grilled protein of choice.
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Artichoke and Mushroom Rice Pilaf

Artichoke and Mushroom Rice Pilaf
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This recipe uses a package of pre-cooked rice. you could cook your own, but do it early in the day and let it chill before adding it to the vegetables. Use any type of rice that you like. You could even do this with quinoa, farro, or barley.
Servings
3
Servings
3
Artichoke and Mushroom Rice Pilaf
Print Recipe
This recipe uses a package of pre-cooked rice. you could cook your own, but do it early in the day and let it chill before adding it to the vegetables. Use any type of rice that you like. You could even do this with quinoa, farro, or barley.
Servings
3
Servings
3
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Swirl the olive oil into a large heated skillet. Allow the oil to get hot. Add the artichoke hearts, mushrooms and shallots to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until everything is lightly browned and tender. Add a little chicken stock if things seem too dry.
  2. Squeeze the package of rice to break it up. I used a Long Grain and Wild Rice Blend, but brown rice or any other grain would work. Open the package and add the rice to the skillet.
  3. Remove the thyme leaves from their stems by sliding your finger from the top to the bottom. Add the leaves to the skillet
  4. Toss to combine the ingredients and use a wooden spoon to separate the rice if necessary. Cook over medium heat, adding the chicken stock as needed. You want things to move around easily and to be a bit juicy.
  5. Continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the rice is tender and the flavors are well blended. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. drizzle with a little olive oil.
  6. Serve with grilled meat, poultry or fish.
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Springtime Ham Soup

Springtime Ham Soup
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Springtime Ham Soup
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the leeks carrots, and garlic tossing to coat them with the oil. Add a pinch of salt and cover the pot. Allow the vegetables to sweat for 5 - 7 minutes.
  2. Add the Ham Broth and the thyme leaves to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. At this point you can remove the thyme sprigs as the leaves have probably fallen off and the sprigs have done their flavor magic. Add the sweet potatoes and corn and simmer 20 minutes more or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  4. While the soup is simmering, blanch the snow peas and haricot vert. Put them in boiling water briefly, then remove them to a bowl of ice water. When they are cold drain them well. This will leave them tender crisp and bright green. Set them aside.
  5. When the soup is done, taste it and add salt and pepper as needed. Place a few haricot vert and snow peas into each soup bowl. Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve.
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Stock in a Box on Steroids

Stock in a Box on Steroids
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Stock in a Box on Steroids
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Chop off the root and and the dark green top of the leek. Cut it in half lengthwise then slice thinly into half moons. Place the pieces in a bowl of cold water and let them sit for 5 - 10 minutes without disturbing them. Carefully scoop the pieces out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium low heat. Add the leeks, garlic and herb sprigs (count them). Sweat until the leeks are very soft and the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Pour in the box of stock and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil. reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or so. The stock should smell wonderful and the herb stems should be bare of their leaves.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and fish out the herb stems. Make sure you have the same number of stems you put in (your immersion blender will thank you).
  5. Using an immersion blender process the stock until it is smooth (how smooth is up to you and there will be some herb flecks)
  6. Your "bulked up" stock is ready to use in your recipe.
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Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Bacon

Combine these tasty ingredients to create a side dish that goes with anything.
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Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Bacon
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Bacon
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook the Spaghetti squash in the microwave until it gives when touched. You can also bake or boil it. Times will vary based on the size of the squash. A squash weighing under 2 pounds takes 7 - 10 minutes or so in the microwave.
  2. When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds. Using a fork, scrape the flesh. It should come out in thin ribbons. Remove all the flesh and set aside.
  3. Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until just beginning to crisp. Remove the bacon and let it drain on paper towels. Remove all but a teaspoon of the drippings from the pan.
  4. Add the peppers and garlic to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes until the peppers begin to soften and the garlic is fragrant. Add the spinach and cook for several minutes until it is wilted.
  5. Add the squash to the pan and cook and stir everything for another 3 minutes or so. If things seem too dry, add a little chicken stock.
  6. Return the bacon to the pan along with the herbs. Toss to combine. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until everything is heated through. About 3 minutes.
  7. Serve as a side dish with grilled chicken, pork or fish.
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