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Monthly Archives: May 2011

After living in North Carolina for a few years, I’ve grown quite fond of pimento cheese! Though it is quite nutritionally dense, there are many ways to lighten it up including eating less of it, using low-fat mayo and adding veggies. I’m a huge fan of “ciolo” jalapeno pimento cheese, which is made exclusively for Whole Foods; though I suspect it is only available in certain areas of the country, such as Austin–where I’m visiting now. For lunch today, I had pimento cheese on toasted crusty white bread, cucumbers and sliced mango. Yum! This lunch inspired me to adapt a recipe to try when back in NC.

Jalapeno pimento cheese (Makes lots)

1 lb Cheddar Cheese, grated (Try a mix of extra sharp yellow and white cheddar, also Cabot low-fat cheddar might work OK too)
3 Tb Mayonaisse, low-fat (Add more or less depending on your taste)
2 Roasted red peppers, diced
2 Jalapenos, seeded and diced (Add more or less depending on your taste)
2 Green onions, chopped
1/4 cup Red onion, diced
1 7 oz. jar of pimentos, drained and rinsed
2 cloves Garlic
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on crusty bread or with crackers. Also, you can serve it like a grilled cheese sandwich. This is my favorite at Parker and Otis in Durham, NC! Keeps safely in the refrigerator for a few days.

I love kale! So lately I’ve been trying to think outside of the Kale Pasta box… Here is my first attempt.

Kale and Carrot Gnocchi (Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:
1-2 bunches kale
2-3 large carrots, diced
1 Package of gnocchi, fresh or freeze dried
4 Tb Olive oil
2 cloves garlic (I use dorot, frozen crushed garlic from Trader Joes!)
Salt
Pepper
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1) Prepare gnocchi according to package directions.

2) While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil and garlic in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Rinse the kale under cold water in a colander. Shake off excess water and place in pan. Add carrots and then add salt and pepper to taste and cover pan so the kale can wilt.

3) Once the kale is cooked down, add the diced tomato and cook for a minute. Add Parmesan, more olive oil (if desired) and cooked gnocchi. Enjoy!

Sorry for the delay, Joey Joe Joe had to get emergency surgery while in California so I had to go meet him and now we’re in Austin..earlier than expected for a friends wedding. Anyhow, I went strawberry picking a few weeks ago with friends. We picked over 10 lbs of berries; thus we froze many of them and also made freezer jam!

First, freezer jam.We followed this recipe as we bought Sure Jell Pectin (http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/30-minutes-homemade-surejell-50137.aspx). Next time, I think we’ll try to find a recipe with less sugar because the jam is a little sweet.

Ingredients:

5 Jelly Jars
2 cups Strawberries, crushed
4 cups Sugar
1 box Pectin
3/4 cup Water

Rinse jelly jars, lids and seals with boiling water and let dry on a clean towel. Rinse strawberries, cut off tops and cut in half. Place strawberries in a bowl and crush. Measure 2 cups of the crushed strawberries and place into bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar and stir. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small saucepan, mix pectin and water. Over high heat, bring to a boil and stir constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute stirring continuously. Add pectin water mixture to strawberry mixture and stir until sugar is dissolved. Immediately fill jelly jars to 1/2″ from top. Wipe off tops of jars and place lid on top. Leave jars on counter for 24 hours and then place in freezer. Jam stays fresh in the fridge for 3 weeks and in the freezer up to 1 year. Enjoy!!

As we picked boatloads of strawberries, we had a lot left over for freezing and eating. To freeze strawberries, follow the following steps. Cut tops of strawberries. Rinse and let dry. Place wax paper on a cookie sheet or lasagna pan (shown here). Place strawberries point side up on the wax paper with space between each strawberry. Cover with wax paper and place in freezer. It will take about 15-24 hours for the strawberries to freeze. Once frozen place in a  freezer bag, and then back in your freezer. Another option is to  slice strawberries and mix with sugar, place in freezer and then use as a yogurt or cereal topping! When you are crazing fresh strawberries, place frozen strawberries in your refrigerator to defrost. Use to make pie, just eat, or top with yogurt–and enjoy!

This is my favorite way to eat kale, which is my favorite vegetable. I make this at least once a week.. and you should too, as Kale is one of the most nutritious veggies around.

Pasta with kale, tomatoes and parmesean

Serves 3 (or more)

Ingredients:
1-2 bunches kale, stems removed and torn into medium sized pieces
1 medium heirloom tomato, diced (non-heirloom tomatoes are OK)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tb Olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
1/2 lb Pasta (linguni or penne)

1) Prepare pasta according to package directions.

2) While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil and garlic in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Rinse the kale under cold water in a colander. Shake off excess water and place in pan. Add salt and pepper to taste and cover pan so the kale can wilt.

3) Once the kale is cooked down, add the diced tomato and cook for a minute. Add Parmesan, more olive oil (if desired) and cooked pasta.

According to my friend Melissa, everyone should have a good pot rack. Though sadly, I am without a pot rack of my own. Some of my friends have kitchens and pot racks that are quite awesome. And this is one of them… This is my friend Catherine’s kitchen in Cincinnati, OH. I love how versatile it is with the small space. And of course.. I love the pot rack too!

I have made this recipe more times than I can remember. It is a no fail way to turn a brussel sprout hater into a brussel sprout lover! I’ve made it with fresh and frozen brussel sprouts, especially the petite frozen brussel sprouts from Whole Foods. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and also freezes well. Thanks to the Romanos for sharing the epicurious recipe that inspired this masterpiece (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Brussels-Sprouts-with-White-Beans-and-Pecorino-233160).

Brussel Sprouts with white beans, Parmesan and orzo

Serves 8 main dish portions

Ingredients:
2 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved (2 packages frozen brussel sprouts)
2 Tb olive oil
2 cloves garlic, choped
1 16 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed to remove salt
1 Tb butter
1 cup orzo
1/2 cup vegetable stock (or water)
3/4 cup grated Parmesean

1) Prepare orzo following the package directions, drain and set aside.

2) Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the first half of brussel sprouts and cook until brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan and put into a bwol. Add garlic and second half of brussel sprouts and cook until brown, stirring occasionally. Add stock and brussel sprouts from bowl. Continue cooking until brussel sprouts are tender, but still firm and crispy. Add butter and cannellini beans and stir until the sauce thickens and is glaze like consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3) Combine the brussel sprouts and orzo. Stir Parmesan (or Pecornio) into the dish and serve.