Tag Archives: garlic

Salmon Spread

28 Aug

On Sunday my mom loaded up a bag of goods for me that included a few leftovers and a big pile of lovely produce from her garden.  For two days now I’ve snacked on mostly tomatoes with an occasional cucumber or green bean thrown in for variety.  After a few days of all tomato meals, I decided I better dig into some of the other items she sent my way – and that included some smoked salmon.  I know that I’m in the minority on this one, but I really hate leftovers.  The only way I like to consume them is if I turn them into something new.

Like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, leftover salmon transforms into delicious salmon spread. Really, it’s practically that poetic.

There’s hardly anything easier than making salmon spread.  Take all the ingredients, mix them together in a bowl, and serve.  The spread is good on crackers, bread, bagels, and with veggies.  Because I care about you very much, I feel that I should tell you that the combination of salmon and garlic will give you POWERFUL BREATH.

Salmon Spread
Serving size: 1/4 c.
Serves: 8

8 oz. grilled or smoked salmon, cooled and flaked
4 oz. whipped cream cheese
1 T. mayo
1 T. Red Hot
1 t. prepared horseradish
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors come together.

Serve on a bagel, with crackers or bread, or with veggies for scooping.

Estimated calories:  82 cal/serving

Print it: Salmon Spread

Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce

2 Aug

I LOVE lamb and am lucky enough to have a pretty good supply of it in my freezer.  Right now, I have quite a few packages of ground lamb and they are practically burning a hole in my apron pocket.  Last week, I gave lamb burgers a try.  While I found the flavor delicious, they did not hold a nice flat patty shape, and instead puffed up like giant meatballs.  They were tasty, but a little hard to eat.  So this week when I decided to give it another go, I thought dude, why fight it.

Let them be meatballs.

This recipe is super easy, takes just a few minutes of prep, and only a few more to cook.  I served the meatballs with a some sides – pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and kalamata olives – and a healthy serving of Herbvocado Sauce.  The meatballs make a tasty dinner but would also be great to serve as appetizers.  Everybody loves meatballs!  Well, not my kids, but that might have more to do with the MEATBALL OVERDOSE OF 2007 more than anything else.

Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce
Serving size: 5 or 6 meatballs + 1/4 c. sauce
Serves: 6

1 lb. ground lamb
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T. light mayo
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl combine together ground lamb, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, until the herbs and garlic are evenly distributed.  Form meatballs about the size of a small superball (little bigger than a quarter in diameter).  This should make about 30-32 meatballs at this size.

Over medium heat, place meatballs in a large skillet and partially cover.  Cook for about 5 minutes and turn.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 5 minutes, then turn.  Cook for another 1-3 minutes until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.  Take care not to overcook or they will get a bit dry.

Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set on a paper towel covered plate to soak up some of the grease.

While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.  In a food processor add avocado, garlic, mayo, and lemon juice.  Pulse until starting to blend together.  Add Greek yogurt and pulse until smooth.  Remove from food processor and add herbs, stirring until well mixed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve meatballs with a side of sauce.

Estimated calories:  204 cal/serving

Print it: Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce

Roasted Lamb with Sweet Potatoes

16 Apr

Considering that we’re just coming out of winter (today’s puny snowflakes notwithstanding), I really didn’t make very many traditional comfort foods this winter.  Sophie’s lack of interest in red meat has put a damper on the slow-roasted recipes I often make in the wintertime.  But yesterday, when it was sort of gloomy and gusty, it felt like the kind of day that called for something slow-roasted and aromatic in the oven.  Digging through the freezer, I uncovered a lamb shoulder roast, and set it out to thaw.  Channeling my inner Lynne Rossetto-Kasper, I whipped up a marinade using ingredients I had on hand and let the roast sit for a few hours in the refrigerator, flipping it every now and then while daydreaming about how awesome it was going to taste later.

And I was right.  This low effort meal was as delicious and flavorful as I had expected.  After letting the roast marinate for a few hours, I stuck it in the oven, left it alone, added sweet potatoes, left it alone again, and then served it up.  Everything was perfectly done and delicious.  To me.  However, if you were my kids, the review would have been slightly different.

Sophie’s Report: The lamb was fine.  For someone else to eat.
Martin’s Report: The lamb was really good, the potatoes were tasty, but he could have used a tweezers to remove every piece of rosemary from the plate.  Rosemary is INEDIBLE.

Unless you’re having them over for dinner, I’d highly recommend it.

Roasted Lamb with Sweet Potatoes
Serving size: Lamb + Sweet Potatoes
Serves: 4

1/2 c. lamb stock (beef or vegetable stock if lamb stock not available)
2 T. olive oil
2 T. onion, minced
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. cider vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. kosher salt
10 turns freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lbs shoulder of lamb roast
1-1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

In a large ziptop bag mix together stock through salt and pepper.  Close the top, shake well to mix thoroughly.  Add lamb and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°F.  In a casserole dish, add the lamb and marinade.  Cover, and cook for 1 hour.  Add sweet potatoes, stir to mix in with the marinade, cover again and cook for an additional 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.

Slice lamb across the grain and divide between plates.  Remove sweet potatoes from liquid and divide between plates.  Drizzle lamb and potatoes with cooked the juices from the pan.  Serve.

Estimated calories:  729 cal/serving

Print it: Roasted Lamb with Sweet Potatoes

Pesto Cubes

1 Sep

We’ve had a lot of rain this summer, and while that has been terrible for a lot of produce, it has been terrific for my herbs.  I have tons of herbs and have been adding them into just about every dish we eat.  But now that cooler nights are getting closer, I’m worried about what it will do to my basil.  Basil is a tender herb and is super sensitive to cold weather.  So, before the basil reaches its impending demise, I want to save as much as I can for use throughout the winter.

My favorite way to save basil is in pesto cubes.  This is the best way I’ve found to retain much of the fresh flavor that usually is reserved for the summer growing season.  My recipe for pesto is a basic one – basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper – finely chopped and frozen into individual cubes.  Traditionally, most recipes include parmesan and toasted pine nuts – I leave them out due to allergies, then add them back in later on individual servings if I decide to use them.  I consider these to be the base for many recipes – here’s how I use them:
1. One cube per person (assume that for all the suggestions below)
2. If you’re going to serve pasta, cook the pasta, drain it, and add a cube to the pan.  The warm pasta will melt the cube, then stir and serve.
3. After steaming veggies, add a cube of pesto to the top, cover, and stir just before serving.  The steam provides a quick way to melt the pesto.
4. After cooking shrimp or chicken in a pan, reduce heat to low and add a pesto cube.  Stir and serve.
5. Melt a few cubes in the microwave and spread on top of flatout flat bread for a pizza base (in this case, you’ll want more than one cube per serving).
6. Set at room temperature for a few hours to thaw, then mix with cream cheese for a really delicious topping for a bagel or to use as a sandwich spread.
7. Throw into a batch of mashed potatoes.
8. Add toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan, serve on top of diced tomatoes and zucchini for a flavorful side.

Pesto Cubes
Serves: 6

2 c. fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
4 cloves garlic (or two large cloves), quartered
2 T. olive oil
1 t. kosher salt
20 turns freshly ground black pepper

Place half of basil and all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until reduced, then add remaining basil (in batches if necessary).  Pulse just until no large bits remain.

Spoon into an ice-cube tray, approximately 1-1/2 to 2 T. per cube.  Place in freezer and freeze overnight.  Remove each cube and place in a ziplock bag or freezer container.  To help avoid freezer burn, wrap in waxed paper or tinfoil before placing in the container.

Estimated Calories:  45 cal/serving

Print it: Pesto Cubes

There are two things I use a lot in the kitchen, and especially when I make pesto – I love them, and I think you might too. 

Garlic Peeler: Basically a rubber (or maybe silicone) tube that makes peeling garlic a breeze.  Simply place the garlic clove in the tube then roll it on a flat surface pressing down with your hand.  With a tap on the countertop, the clove rolls out and leaves the garlic paper behind.  So slick.  They can be found at all kinds of kitchen stores, and here.

Stainless Steel Soap: After making anything with garlic, the smell can stick around on your hands for a while.  This stainless bar of soap works scent-removing miracles simply by using it to wash your hands as if it were an actual lathering bar of soap.  Run your hands under water and wash your hands with this bar, and the scent GOES AWAY.  Also, it feels like you’re “playing washing hands” because it is weird to wash up without any lather, but dude it works.   Also found at kitchen stores, and here.

Deep Green Pesto

15 Aug

A few years ago, my friend Jessy came for a visit and brought me pizza as a gift.  I was so excited to eat it, I barely waited until she was out the door before I started warming the oven.  For days after her visit, I daydreamed about the delicious pesto topping, the mixture of caramelized onions and sun-dried tomatoes, the rich goat cheese.  I wanted more, and Moose & Sadie’s, the restaurant where she worked at the time, was too far for me to just stop in to get some.  So, with the memory of delicious pizza firmly in my memory, I set out to recreate the pizza.  The results were delicious, but there was one terrific benefit I had not anticipated – the deep green pesto turned out to be a versatile way to add rich flavor to lots of things.  Plus, it has the added bonus of giving me another way to consume a large quantity of vitamin rich dark leafy greens without feeling like I was on the rabbit fast-track.

Deep green pesto uses a combination of basil and a dark leafy green.  I’ve tried this recipe with both spinach and kale, and have decided that while I liked the spinach version, I preferred the kale.  In order to lighten it up and make it Sophie friendly (no nuts or dairy), I’ve left out the parmesan and pine nuts that might be traditionally used in a pesto. 

There are lots of ways to put this pesto to good use (calories vary based on other ingredients, duh):
1. Pizza: Make your favorite (or buy your favorite) crust, spread a layer of deep green pesto, top with caramelized onions, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese.  Bake and devour.
2. Baked Quesadilla: Consider this loosely named.  Using Flat-out flatbread or large tortilla, spread a layer of pesto on one half, add some caramelized onions, goat cheese, fold over and bake.  Cut into fourths, top with diced tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic.  Devour this one too.
3. Mashed Potatoes: Stir a healthy scoop of pesto into mashed potatoes.  Taste often, then serve whatever is left to your family (assuming they’ll eat GREEN).

Deep Green Pesto
Serves: 4

8 oz. spinach or kale (stems removed from kale)
1/4 c. fresh basil
1 T. lemon juice
½ t. kosher salt
15 turns freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic (or 1/3 c. garlic scapes)
1 T. water
2 T. olive oil

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, quickly blanch greens for 1-2 minutes then drain and transfer to ice water. After cooled, drain and set aside.

In a food processor, add greens and all remaining ingredients until smoothed and well combined.

Estimated Calories:  76 cal/serving

Print it: Deep Green Pesto