Sausage, chard and lentil soup

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Sometimes, I think I should rename this blog, “Things I tried to feed my husband.” It’s a long list, and each item on it has been received with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Kil’t kale, for example, was immediately embraced and adapted to work with the metric crap-ton of chard I grew in our garden this summer. The white bean, ham and leek soup has been in regular rotation since the first time I made it, because it’s so easy, inexpensive, and hard not to like.

But a lot of other things I’ve made over the past few months since posting have utterly failed. I made a zucchini rice gratin from Smitten Kitchen that was delicious, but immediately rejected. I bought some amazing kielbasa at a farmer’s market only to realize that apparently the man I married has no Polish blood in his veins. None. (Who is this man?!)

All this is by way of halfway explaining why I haven’t been posting, because I have been assuming that if my husband doesn’t like something, you won’t, either. But you know what? I don’t think that’s true. Mostly because I fell in love with this soup, while he pretty much refused to eat it. Lentils, apparently, not being an acceptable source of protein.    Continue reading

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Kil’t Kale

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I don’t want to suggest that the only way to eat kale is when it’s smothered in bacon grease and bourbon. But I think it probably is the best way.

This is a recipe originally available from Garden and Gun (online here), passed on to me by a coworker who, like me, was sick of kale salad after kale salad. Again, not that there is really anything wrong with kale salad, but every once in a while, you want something a little more tender, more meaty, something easier to convince your loved ones to eat.

The foundation of the dish is something called “bacon jam,” a concoction of bourbon, bacon, bacon grease, vinegar, and a little bit of sugar. Once you’ve got that mixture, you toss in your chopped kale and wait for it to wilt. It practically melts into the bacon jam, leaving you with an amazing sweet/sour/bitter combination. Remember how I said that all flavor is a combination of fat, salt and acid? This is a perfect example of a good balance among the three. Continue reading

Asian Coleslaw

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My husband recently bought a new grill/smoker hybrid thing called the Pit Barrel Cooker. The good news is, it makes the best ribs and tri-tip I’ve ever had in my whole life. The bad news is, now I need to come up with enough sides that go with barbecue to keep us from getting bored.

I did make Deb Perelman’s latest pasta salad recipe, and it was incredible, pairing well with plain chicken. But what makes pork ribs so good — the rich, fat-covered meat — also makes them hard to pair with anything involving a starch. Or mayonnaise. Or pretty much any traditional barbecue sides.

So I went on the hunt, and accidentally came up with this amazing Asian slaw recipe that is light enough to go with anything. but soooo flavorful. And, since it actually doesn’t include soy sauce, it’s one of those rare Asian-inspired dishes suitable for people with soy and wheat issues.  Continue reading

Greek Summer Salad

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Vegetables can be a struggle for me. I know, I run a healthy food blog — coming up with creative ways to use veggies and seasonal produce should be second nature to me, right?

Wrong. The vegetables we actually eat in my house are pretty repetitive. Brussels sprouts, sometimes with bacon. Kale. A salad. Sometimes chard, if my garden is going gangbusters. Zucchini on the grill, if my husband feels like taking that on. Asparagus.

I got sick of salads the other day and needed to find something new. A quick flip through my Gourmet cookbook was disappointing. Really? No vegetables section? But a more detailed look revealed that a lot of the “Salad” recipes were not just lettuce at all, but a variety of vegetables thrown in a bowl with dressing, which was exactly what I was looking for.  Continue reading

Asparagus with Butter, Lemon, and Chives

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Nothing says spring like asparagus. Pasta primavera, tender spears wrapped in prosciutto and oven-roasted, asparagus served with eggs Benedict for a Mother’s Day brunch…yes. Asparagus is the first taste of spring.

I didn’t realize it until I worked with the Idaho Department of Agriculture on an ad last month, but asparagus grows like a weed here in Idaho. Old-timers can remember picking it from where it grew in irrigation ditches alongside the highway, cutting big bundles of the stuff and then eating their fill.

Today, it doesn’t grow wild so much, but it does grow well in southern Idaho. Continue reading

Small things and asparagus pizza


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I was listening to NPR the other day when a familiar voice came on. It was the voice of Melissa Arnot, one of the most amazing mountain climbers in the world. She was speaking with Robin Young from a satellite phone at the base of Everest, preparing to summit yet again. She’s already hit the top several times, but now she’s attempting to be the only American woman ever to do it without supplemental oxygen and without the help of a team of sherpas assisting her with gear. She’s doing this in part to raise awareness of the dangerous conditions sherpas endure on a daily basis and to raise money for the families of six sherpas who died in an avalanche last year. Continue reading

Peanut Veggie Stir-fry

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I knew my upcoming trip to Austin was going to involve meat, fried things, queso, and more meat. I wanted to eat salads for a week or so to preemptively make up for the damage I was about to do to my body. But…it’s March. In Idaho. Even though it has been sunny and the snowpack has melted off, it’s not the kind of warm yet when you’ll have a carrot for dinner and call it good.

Plus, I have a husband to feed. And despite my best efforts, “vegan” is a four-letter word to him. He will balk at any dinner that too blatantly seems to be made entirely of vegetables and microwave a frozen lasagna instead, which makes me feel like a total failure and like trying to make a nutritious meal is a waste of time. So. I try to stave this off.

It immediately became clear that stir-fry was the only option. Continue reading