Monday, February 27, 2012
Greens are so good for you, but I have such a hard time eating them. It's that bitter dirt taste that turns me off. After tasting my friend, Paul's, kale salad recipe, I realized kale is very different from its collard cousin. The bitterness is less intense and can be cut with lemon juice and salty Parmesan. Now, when I make a giant bowl of this, it doesn't last longer than the one meal. One step closer to Pop-Eye!
Lemony Kale Salad
20 Stems of Kale
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1/8 Cup Shaved Parmesan
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
1/8 Teaspoon of Chili Flakes
Cut the stems away from the leaf of the kale and discard. Roughly chop the leaves and place into a steamer. Steam the leaves for 6-8 minutes until just softened. Meanwhile prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Once cooked, drop the kale into the ice bath. Once the kale is cooled, strain and pat dry excess water or spin in a salad spinner. Place the kale in a large mixing bowl and stir in the other ingredients with tongs until thoroughly combined. I like to put this salad into the fridge and let it marinate overnight, since the flavors seem to age well together, but it's great straight away, too!
Monday, February 20, 2012
The first year my husband and I moved into our house, I very ambitiously tilled up a 400sqft bit of earth to grow vegetables in our tiny backyard. Next, I carefully transplanted about 40 plants which I had babied from little tiny seeds into delicate seedlings. Somehow, though, I failed to pay attention to the giant pecan tree which prevents the backyard from getting enough sun to ever produce a lovely tomato or pepper. I gave up on the vegetable garden out back and moved it to our even smaller front yard. While I have accepted that my vegetables are going to be in a more non-traditional location, I kept waiting for the pecan tree to actually produce. Two years went by, but we finally have pecans this year; a gorgeous, giant bowl of pecans (the squirrels were good enough to leave us a few) that came from our own pecan tree.
I have been making pancakes from the Joy of Cooking recipe since I was 4 years old. The recipe is so simple and adaptable. You can include almost any item into the batter: nuts, fruits, etc. This local pecan version might be my favorite yet, but maybe that's the locavore excitement I'm tasting.
Vanilla Pecan Pancakes
1-1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1-1/2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1/2 Cup of Chopped Toasted Pecans
1/8 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
1-1/2 Cups of Milk
2 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Paste (or Vanilla Extract)
3 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
Butter for the Griddle/Pan
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, spices and pecans in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla paste and melted butter together, then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Don't over stir. On a griddle or a saucepan, greased with butter, on medium heat, pour 1/2 cup of batter per pancake. You may be able to do more than one at a time with a griddle. Cook until the center of the pancake's bubbles pop and lift the edges to see if the center is golden brown. This may take around 5 minutes or so. Slide a spatula underneath the pancake and flip it. The second side will take much less time. Remove the pancake when both sides are lightly browned. Serve with syrup and more butter!
Monday, February 13, 2012
At this time of year, my brain starts whirring with ideas for the year's garden. I gather my seed catalogs, Seed Savers Exchange and Territorial Seed Company winning favorites for this year, along with my boxes of leftover seeds from last year. I carefully catalog what I have and then I get to shop for new fun things that I might be missing. I cannot wait to try some rhubarb plants this year. I know they don't do very well in the hot south, and that my space in the garden is so limited, but I just can't resist the idea of having that gorgeous fruit in my very own yard! I'm also so excited to grow some fava beans this year. From the moment I watched Jamie Oliver crush raw favas, fresh from his garden, on Jamie at Home, I've longed to repeat the experience. So, now that I have placed the orders for the new stuff, the fun begins...I have to figure out where to squeeze everything in! I find a glass of wine helps!
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Last weekend, my husband and I felt we needed to venture out for a proper Sunday brunch. Looking for something a little more interesting than the usual french toast institutions and we were super excited to see that One-Eared Stag, one of my favorite dinner spots, serves a delicious brunch. One-Eared Stag opened last year in Inman Park, John Kessler gave it a great review here. I really like the innate "southernness" of the place; maybe "new southern" would classify it correctly.
We started brunch with a kimchi bloody mary. At first, I wasn't sure if the bitterness of the cabbage worked in the sweetly, salty, tang of a bloody mary, but one more sip and I was sold. I like the new layer of flavor, combined with the spiciness that defines kimchi.
As a sort of appetizer, we ordered the black pepper biscuits with peach marmalade. I've never had a black pepper biscuit before, but I am going to make them this way every time from now on! They were so good, especially with the sweet tart flavor of the peaches on top.
For our main courses, we shared the hanger steak with chimichurri over potato hash with fried eggs, and fried chicken and waffles with sorghum syrup and marrow butter. It was honestly hard to choose which was the favorite. The fried chicken and waffle were cooked to perfection. The chicken's golden crust was crunchy and salty, the meat was almost buttery, which was a gorgeous compliment to the sweet sorghum syrup and bready waffle. The steak was equally delicious, set off by the parsley and garlic in the chimichurri, and the creaminess of the runny egg yolks.