Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Russian Front

The farmer's market this week had some interesting finds, including the nicest looking Russian kale I've ever seen. Well, the only Russian kale I've ever seen. I had to have it. Then came the obvious dilemma - what to do with it.

I decided soup. Soup seems to be the easiest way for me to test out new things, to mix their flavors with old familiars, maybe creating new familiars in the process.

If you don't have Russian kale handy, any kale will do.

Bean and Russian Kale Soup

1 large bunch Russian kale (about 1 1/2 cups), chopped
2 small carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 can Great Northern beans (or your favorite), drained and rinsed
1/2 can diced tomatoes or better yet, 1 fresh tomato, diced
2 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

In a soup pot, heat a scant amount of cooking spray. Add celery and carrots and saute, adding water to keep the lot from burning and to keep the fat low. Cook about 4 minutes. Add beans and kale and stir. Then add the remaining ingredients and cook about 20 minutes, covered, until all is soft. Place in bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

Monday, June 15, 2009

That's Bulghur!

I admit it - I hate the word "bulghur." It's the sound. Love the stuff, but hate the word. I'm the same way with "house finch." It sounds so ... common. In my world, they're linnets.

Anyway, we cooked some of that unmentionable stuff tonight for dinner. What to do with cups of bulghur? Burgers. Bulghur burgers. Here's what I did -

Bulghur Burgers
1 cup cooked lentils (if you have them lying around, as I did. If not, skip them.)
1 cup cooked bulghur
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped red/green pepper (red gives it nice color)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 carrot, diced

Spray some oil in a skillet. Heat on medium and fry carrots and peppers until soft.

In a bowl combine bread crumbs, lentils if you're using them, bulghur and eggs. Add fried veggies. Mix in eggs, olives and spices. If you need to, add more bread crumbs until the mixture holds a solid shape.

Fry in skillet until brown and "crispy" on both sides, about five minutes each side.

I served this with corn and fried new potatoes (those itty bitty potatoes) - Here's how I did that:

1/2 pound new potatoes, cut into quarters
1 Tbl. chili powder
1 tsp. Adobo seasoning

Put all in a bag and shake until it's all coated. Cook, covered, in a skillet. I add a little spray oil and a little water to help steam cook the potatoes and keep the fat content down.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I'm a huge fan of a sammich. My old favorite used to be a bologna and mustard sandwich on white bread, washed down with a Coke. Alas, no more. My new favorite is ten times more flavorful and doesn't require any Coke to digest it.

Portabello Sandwiches
2 whole portabello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1 Tbl. red wine
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, sliced very thin
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced thin

In frying pan, saute onion until clear. Set aside. Using a potato peeler or cheese slicer, slice the potato wafer thin. Fry over medium heat on both sides until soft (crisp on the edges). Set aside.

Saute mushrooms in wine on both sides four minutes or until liquid is reduced and mushroom caps brown. Assemble burgers by placing a slice of your favoirte cheese on a kaiser roll (I used Swiss). Put the mushroom on top, then the potato, tomato, onion, lettuce and top with the following sauce:

2 Tbls. chopped roasted red pepper (mine mashed easily)
2 mashed avacados
1 Tbl. chili powder
1 tsp. horseradish (I used my dad's home-grown stuff)
1 Tbl. Ranch dressing

Mix all and spread on rolls.