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

Bison Bacon Burgers

paleo gluten-free bison bacon burger oh manBear with me. I promise, you want to make these, you just might not know it yet. Bison is maybe a little unusual for people who are not living in rural areas where people regularly shoot and kill and eat everything from snow geese to antelope.

That’s not to say that there are actually wandering bison where I am, but when you live in a place where people regularly throw game dinners and eat moose, elk, venison and doves, you get to be more open-minded. The standard beef, pork and chicken triumvirate is demolished. Continue reading

Black Beans and Cheesy Polenta

DSC_0048You know how I said that sometimes food is just about love? That’s true. And sometimes, it’s just about slapping something on the table and making sure everyone is fed.

I cried the other night about dinner. And not welling up, not just a single delicate tear tracing across my perfect cheekbone. An ugly, horrible, can’t-breathe, burying-my-face-in-the-dog’s-tummy-while-she-cleans-my-face kind of cry. There was heaving, sobbing and mucus. It was awful.

Ostensibly, I was crying because I was supposed to make dinner, but a series of miscommunications sent my husband storming off in search of a burger as I sobbed and threw a spinach omelet in the trash. But at its heart, the sobbing spell had everything to do with being on week eight of the most stressful period we’ve had in our entire relationship — buying a house and trying to move at a time when both of our jobs have heated up.  

These are good things, and we’re very lucky. It’s also been incredibly overwhelming, and the cumulative effects of weeks of miscommunication and frustration and exhaustion and selfishness on both of our parts welled up and spilled over when I couldn’t do something as simple as get dinner on the table.

I could have staved off that crying jag by throwing this meal on the stove, and in 30 minutes, all of my problems (well, most of them) could have been solved. Both of us could have been sitting down to a delicious, gluten-free meal that is good for the soul. Everything looks better once you’ve eaten.

This meal has its roots in a story I read in one of my favorite books on food, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant. One writer describes how he’d make black beans every night, simmering them with garlic and then serving them over homemade cornbread.

It sounded great, but I am not one of those people who just randomly has cornbread sitting around, nor am I the type to throw together a batch on a weeknight. So I tried it with polenta (infused with cheese, of course) and lo! This 30-minute meal was born.  You can skip the cheese for a yummy vegan option.

Black Beans and Cheesy Polenta
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • salt to taste
  • 1 can black beans and juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • cilantro, sour cream, any other garnishes for serving
Instructions
  1. First, put the polenta and broth on to simmer. Stir very frequently and cook, uncovered, until thick and the general consistency of grits (this will take about 30 minutes). Stir in butter and cheese, allow to melt, then taste and add salt as necessary. Remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the beans and their juices over medium heat until they start to boil. Lower heat slightly, add garlic, cumin, cayenne and Frank’s and simmer, uncovered, until the polenta is done.The juices should thicken into a sauce. Stir in lime juice and remove from heat.
  3. Spoon polenta onto serving plates; top with beans and whatever accoutrements you desire.
 

 

Orange-Ginger Beef Stir-fry

gluten-free orange ginger stirfry

Whenever I go to any sort of Asian restaurant, I am always dying to order orange chicken. I never actually do, choosing instead something with vegetables and without the fried stuff and the gloppy, wonderful sauce that I could eat by the bucketful. But that orange chicken is always in the back of my mind.

This stir-fry is a compromise between my wants and my needs. See all of those carrots? A need. Carrots are really good for you. The baby bok choy adds crunch, plus the feeling of virtue that comes from eating something green. The beef? Protein, of course.

But it’s all enveloped in this sweet, salty, deliciously orange-y stir-fry sauce that’s a definite want. If you don’t love the idea of orange and beef, feel free to use chicken instead, but the orange and ginger play perfectly with the sweetness of the carrots. Plus, I mean, aren’t you sick of poultry by now? You can, if you like, replace the beef with a crown of broccoli if you need even more vegetables.

Best of all, this reheats beautifully, making it the perfect packable lunch for this week. Enjoy!

Orange-Ginger Beef Stir-fry
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
A delicious 30-minute orange-ginger stirfry with tons of veggies and a touch of sweetness. Gluten-free, and can be made vegetarian by replacing the beef with broccoli.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound top round or ribeye, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 medium carrots, spiralized (you can also just use a normal peeler to peel thin noodle-like strips, or a julienne peeler)
  • 1 bunch baby bok choy, thinly sliced
  • juice and zest of one orange
  • 2 Tbsp honey (less, if you like)
  • 3 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • white rice, for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add meat strips, and cook until browned on all sides. Remove to plate and set aside.
  2. Add onion to the pan, still over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the rice vinegar and continue cooking onions until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, honey, tamari and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. When onions are soft, add carrots and bok choy to the pan and cook, stirring, until the green parts of the bok choy are soft. Add your stir-fry sauce and continue to sautee until the carrots are starting to become more tender. Add beef and stir until the beef is heated through.
  5. Remove from heat and serve over white rice (or the grain of your choice). Store in the refrigerator for up to two days.