Kale salad please…

It is really simple and really good. Kale lasts a lot longer in the fridge than lettuce so during the winter, I especially like to keep it. The picture above show radicchio which I added because I happened to have it and it gave pretty color.

  • 1 bunch Kale (thick stems removed) laciano, purple whatever looks best and tender
  • 2-3 Tbs Pine nuts or small handful walnuts, lightly toasted in oven or stovetop, chop walnuts if using
  • 3-4 Tbs dried currants or cranberries
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or shallots)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 3 Tbs rice wine vinegar (or any light white vinegar)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Grated Pecorino, Parm or crumbled blue cheese.

Stack the kale leaves on top of each other (this is a very loose interpretation of stacked). Roll it best you can then slice very thinly across the “log” of kale.

On med heat warm the olive oil until little bubbles show up (4 min), add garlic, turn off heat, stir let sit.

Put kale, nuts, fruit into salad bowl. Add vinegar to oil, add pinch of salt, few grinds pepper. Take a piece of Kale taste dressing, it may need more vinegar. Add 1/2 dressing to the salad and toss, taste, adjust with more dressing or salt or pepper. Add cheese last. Serve.

Depending on the bunch of kale and how many people, you’ll need to add/subtract a little. Hope it is great!!!

Cucumber and avocado salad, Japanese-style with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy

Cucumber, avocado, soy sauce, pickled ginger

At around 8:45 p.m. in Millbrook it was 9ºF outside and I was staring into the refrigerator. I closed it and stared at the door where my my shopping list was hanging (see below). I saw that eel was still on the list – obviously I’d forgotten to take the list with me on my last trip to Adams because there were things crossed out like cereal and red onion* and chocolate – I thought, “Gee, I wish I’d remembered to pick up frozen eel. All my food problems would be solved with a bowl of eel and sushi rice.”

I stared at the collage: the sloppy  list, the dog, the cheese labels, Douglas dressed up as a dancing woman, the weird homemade magnet Dean made and I fantasized about Zutto’s eel hand roll: I’m dipping the roll into the little tub of soy and wasabi and then taking a bite of pickled ginger. Oh! (the little surprised voice from the Wii machine went off in my brain). I was really craving a soy-wasabi-ginger combo. I had a cucumber and avocado so why not make a salad version without the seaweed and rice and eel? So I did and it was good.

Vegetables

  • Cucumber, peeled and diced
  • Avocado, small dice
  • cabbage (optional), slivered
  • onion, thin slivers (what ever variety you like)

Sauce:

  • wasabi in a tube, small squeeze
  • soy sauce, 2-3 T
  • rice vinegar, 1-2 T
  • vegetable oil, 1-2 T

Topping

  • sesame seeds, toasted
  • pickled ginger, chopped

Method

  • Put all the salad vegetables together in a bowl. Add oil and mix.
  • Mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, wasabi together in a small, blue and white, Asian bowl bought in Chinatown. Add sauce to the salad and toss.
  • Add the picked ginger and toss
  • Add the sesame seeds to top

Eat

*Are Red Onions Getting Stronger?

Maybe my tolerance for raw red onions is dropping. I thought they’d add color to the salad and, while they can be really good in a salad, be conservative in application. I had them in my Japanese-style salad but put in too many and now I’m an onion head. Haaaaaaaaaaaa.

Brussel sprouts and whole wheat pasta, a happy-go-lucky couple

Who knew that whole wheat pasta and cabbage like substances are perfect partners? I love this pasta because it is super fast and cheap. If I have a cabbage, I use it instead of the b-sprouts. If all I have is soba, I use that.

I like my pasta dishes that have a greater ratio of vegetable matter to pasta. So you can adjust accordingly. Sometimes I get inspired and I add stuff to the dish, like dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. But you don’t have to. You can make this a super simple dish. I guess you could also asianify* it, that will be for another day.

For two people.

Ingredients:

7-9 Brussel sprouts, ends cut off, sliced fairly thin or quarter of a large white cabbage sliced in long 1/4″ strips
Garlic, 2 cloves or more, minced
Salt and pepper
3-4 oz Whole wheat pasta (see serving amounts on package)
2 T Olive Oil or butter
Pecorino Romano (or Parmegiano)
Toasted walnuts (or pine nuts), chopped up
Dried cranberries (optional)

Prep:

  • Boil water, add salt, add pasta.
  • Heat the fat over medium, add the cabbage and the garlic and saute until lightly browned and cooked. If you need some liquid in the bottom of the pan because it is getting too brown, take some a tablespoon of the pasta liquid and add it to the center of the pan. Add salt and lots of black pepper.
  • Reserve a little pasta liquid.
  • Drain the pasta, add to vegetables, toss around and add the cheese. Toss in a few dried cranberries. Add a little olive oil. Divide between dishes and top with walnuts.

Eat.

*Abuse of language alert!

Red Snapper Ceviche, guacamole and blue chips

ceviche

A few days before we arrived in Naples, FL, our friends Cari & Rex, took a break from training horses and went fishing in Captiva. FL. They caught lots of grouper and some snapper. Fully intending to take it back to Amenia, NY they froze it, packed it into a cooler, put some duct tape around it and tried to check it with Jet Blue. But Jet Blue said, “No, no, no. You can’t check that frozen fish because it is not professionally packed.” So they wrote my name on it, left it in the care of Jet Blue and called me to tell me to go get it. So I did. When I got there, I waited in line to get to an agent and told him I was there to collect my cooler full of fish. When he returned with it I asked if he wanted to see ID. The Jet Blue agent’s response was, “No, that story is strange enough that I don’t think any one would make it up.”

And today, I had my first taste of their catch and it was terrific.

Ceviche / Guacamole Ingredients

  • 1 fillet Fresh Red Sanpper, skin removed and cut into small pieces
  • 10 key limes
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (you decide if you want the seeds in it)
  • very small piece of fresh ginger, grated through a microplane (1/8 tsp)
  • handful cilantro, washed and chopped
  • ½ medium white onion finely diced
  • 1-2 avocados
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ lime
  • salt

Method

  • Take out two medium bowls
  • Squeeze out all the key lime juice into one medium bowl
  • Add ginger to key lime bowl
  • chop cilantro and jalapeno together so they are well integrated
  • Add half to bowl with key lime juice and half to other bowl
  • Add ¾ onion to the key lime bowl, other portion to second bowl
  • Add 1/8 tsp salt to each bowl
  • Add snapper to key lime bowl and toss, put into the fridge for 10-15 minutes
  • Slice avocados in half and holding one half in hand at a time, cut into dice while inside the skin then squeeze out into extra bowl
  • Squeeze 1/2 lemon, ½ lime and toss it all together

Serve with blue corn chips and any Dogfish Head beer you like… we had Raison D’etre.

cevichefinished

Venison loin wrapped in sage leaves

venison

We invited our fellow wild game-eater friends Bill and Leslie to dinner last night to share in this spectacular venison loin. Cooking this makes me very happy because it takes about 7 minutes of cooking time so it falls into the Fast Food category… even faster than the McDonald’s drive thru. I think I’ll create a category on my blog called Big Al’s Fast Food.

Venison loin
Sage leaves, big handful
Cracked Pepper
Salt
Olive Oil
Sunflower Oil

  • Wash and dry venison loin
  • Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over both sides
  • Sprinkle crushed pepper
  • Wrap sage leaves around both sides
  • Sprinkle with salt
  • Heat 1-2 T Sunflower oil over medium high heat. Once near smoking, add venison, cook for 3 minutes. Flip, cook for another 2 1/2 minutes then with tongs brown the sides of the meat for 1 minute turning from one side to the next over 1 minute.
  • Let rest 5 minutes, slice and serve.

See and appreciate what you are eating. This 6-point deer running across my property did not become not our dinner, but with hunting season coming up, he most likely will end up on someone’s plate and wall.

deer

Searinated duck breasts

duck_searinated1Searinated? No such word, but for my dyslexic brain it made lots of sense to me when Dean created a nice new descriptive word: searinated. Seared after marinated. I like it, like I said, I’m dyslexic, so I don’t care if the seared part of the word comes before the marinated part of the word. “Sear” being in the prefix position is the most recent thing that happened to the duck, “inated” happened earlier there for takes the suffix position. Anyway….

On a fairly regular basis we get game meat from a local Hunting Preserve. The meat has always been terrific. On Dean’s last trip, he picked up duck breasts (skinned), whole ducks, pheasant breasts (skinned),  whole chukar, whole quail and some venison tenderloins.

Yesterday I created a quick marinade of:

olive oil
cider vinegar
soy sauce
salt
pepper
garlic
ginger

Mixed it all up and stuck duck breasts and marinade into a plastic baggie, into the fridge and a day or two or three later, eat. Eat by heating up a pan on medium high heat, a little canola or grapeseed oil and stick them on there for 2 1/2 minutes first side, 1 minute second side. Let rest and slice. See plated food below.

duck_plated