Cilantro Dill Pesto

cilantro

Cilantro!

This pesto is packed with flavor and can be spread on crackers or veggies, or mixed with a pasta dish.

1 jalapeño pepper (or substitute pickled jalapeño pepper slices)
3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup canned white beans, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup water
Pinch ground cumin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat grill. Grill jalapeño pepper until charred. (You can use pickled or simply jarred jalapeño slices in place of the grilled jalapeño.) Cool, peel off skin and remove all of the ribs and seeds from the inside of the pepper. Note: Seeds and ribs can also be left in to increase heat of pesto.

Toast sunflower seeds on a tray in a toaster oven for 5 minutes or until golden. Place all ingredients except olive oil in a blender container and puree. Slowly drizzle in olive oil after pesto has been pureed.

Recipe adapted from canyonranch.com.

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Lemon Tahini Kale Salad

lacinato kale

Kale didn’t earn its reputation as a superfood for nothin’!

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
2 pinches salt (more to taste)
1/3 cup tahini
1 small lemon
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons warm water (more if needed to thin)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Salt the kale and massage with your hands. Let the prepped kale sit while you prepare the dressing. Combine tahini, juice from lemon, soy sauce or tamari, and water and mix well with fork. Add more water to thin as desired. Mince garlic and add to dressing along with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. Pour 3/4 of dressing over kale, mix, and add more if necessary, or reserve for a vegetable sauté or salad dressing for later use.

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Basic Aioli

Two Garlic Bulbs

Aioli is also known as garlic sauce.

4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped fine
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon cold water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Put garlic and salt to a mortar bowl and grind slowly with the pestle, moving in one direction only,. You can also use a food processor, then transfer the mixture back to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the mustard first, then the egg yolks.

Add half the oil as you whisk very slowly or the oil will not emulsify and your sauce will not thicken. Once it is incorporated, add the water and the lemon juice, whisking or stirring constantly. Then slowly add the rest of the oil. The mixture will thicken as you continue to blend it. It should be slightly thinner than commercial mayonnaise. If it becomes too thick you can add a bit more warm water, one teaspoon at a time.

We thank gourmetsleuth.com for this recipe.

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Simple Sautéed Fava Beans

fava beans

Fava beans are fun and delicious!

3-4 pounds fava beans
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt

Shell the fava beans from the larger pods. Bring 2 cups water to boil, and cook the fava beans for 2 minutes, strain, and rinse with cold water. Pierce the outer shell of the bean with your fingernail, and slip the bright green beans out of this second layer into a bowl.

Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add beans, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add diced garlic and sauté for 2-3 more minutes. The beans should be just browned. Remove from heat, add lemon and salt. Serve as a side dish or atop a salad.

We thank Virginia Newman for this recipe.

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Spinach Salad with Pickled Onions and Fresh Strawberries

Strawberries in pints without hulls

They’re here, they’re here! It’s STRAWBERRY season at last!

Dressing
1 red onion, sliced thinly
Red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
Pinch of sugar

Salad
2 bunches Nash’s spinach, stems removed and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Handful of fresh sliced strawberries
Toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional)

In a bowl, place the red onion slices and cover with the vinegar. Add the salt and sugar and toss. Leave for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, covered. This step can be prepared up to one week ahead of time.

Place the spinach in a large serving bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Whisk together until fully incorporated and pour over the greens (pour in 3/4 of the dressing and then toss, and then add the rest if needed).

After that time, add about half of the pickled red onions (the rest will stay for beyond 1 week in the fridge) and the sliced fresh strawberries. Serve immediately with extra fresh pepper, if desired, or sprinkle with toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

We thank Virginia Newman for this original recipe.

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Hoisin-Glazed Pork Chops

Hoisin sauce can be made 4 days ahead; cover and chill. Thin with water if needed before using. Pork can be marinated 1 day ahead; keep chilled.

Makes 4 servings.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons Sriracha
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 x 1 1/2″-thick bone-in pork rib chops (about 1 pound each), patted dry

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, honey, vinegar, tahini, and Sriracha and whisk until smooth. Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Season hoisin sauce with salt and pepper; let cool.

Season pork chops all over with salt and pepper. Place in a large resealable plastic bag and add half of hoisin sauce (reserve remaining sauce). Seal bag, pressing out air, and turn to coat pork. Chill at least 30 minutes. Set remaining sauce aside.

Preheat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, or grill pan over medium heat. Remove pork from bag, shaking off excess marinade. Cook pork chops until bottom side is golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on other side about 1 minute, then turn again. Continue to cook, turning about every minute, until chops are deep golden brown and charred in spots and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135 degrees, 15-18 minutes. (Cooking time will depend on thickness of the chops.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes. (Pork will come to 145 degrees as it sits.) Serve with reserved hoisin sauce spooned over.

We thank the March 2016 issue of Bon Appetit for this recipe.

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Skillet Huevos Rancheros

Eggs1/2 onion, diced
Olive oil
Bell pepper, kale, zucchini, mushrooms (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cups cooked, rinsed beans (black beans, pinto, cannellini, or heirloom beans)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons water
4 x 6-inch tortillas
4 eggs (1 per serving — you can add more if you want)
Cracked pepper

Optional:
1/2 cup crumbled cotija, queso fresco, feta or goat cheese (optional)
1 large avocado, sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Hot sauce
Additional fresh diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté onion in a little olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes (if you are adding optional veggies, do it now, cooking until tender). Add garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add half of the diced tomatoes (saving half for garnish) as well as the beans, spices, salt and water. Let simmer on medium low for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Brush large cast iron skillet with olive oil, coating the edges too. Lay tortillas down and brush tops of tortillas with oil.

Divide bean mixture, making little indentations with the back of a spoon for the eggs to rest in, so they stay in place. If using a large skillet, layer the tortillas so they come up the sides of the skillet a bit (you may need a couple extra), and spread all of the beans evenly over the tortillas, making indentations for the eggs.

Carefully break the eggs and place them in the indentations. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper and, if you want, crumbled cheese, and place in the hot oven.

Check after 10-12 minutes. Cook until egg whites are white and yolks are to your desired done-ness. Serve with avocado, lime, cilantro, hot sauce, and fresh tomatoes.

We thank Feastingathome.com for this recipe.

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Leeks Braised with Garlic and Wine

leeks

This dish is a nice transition from winter to spring. Sometimes we still need comfort food, especially when we’re tired and not quite ready to embrace longer, warmer, sunnier days. This dish can be tossed with pasta or with hearty greens.

4 big leeks, well washed and patted dry
4 big cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
6 tablespoons butter
2 wineglasses of white wine
1 cup chicken stock
Half a lemon, sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Trim the brown ends of the green leeks off and discard. Then cut the rest of the fresh, green part of the leeks away from the round white bulbs. Finely slice the green parts and reserve. Rinse the white parts well and slice into 1-inch rounds.

In a large shallow frying pan melt the butter over medium heat. Slowly fry the garlic in the butter with the dark green leek tops until the garlic is softened but not colored. Go slow and let the garlic infuse the butter.

Add the pieces of white leek and toss them in the flavored butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss as well. Pour into a baking pan, squeeze the lemon over and toss it in, then pour the wine and stock in and cover with a square of baking parchment.

Bake in the oven at 350°F for 35 minutes or until tender and tasty. The butter should emulsify with the stock and wine to create a slightly shiny broth. Pour over a batch of pasta, or eat directly from a bowl with a large spoon!

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com.

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Parmesan Polenta with Sausage Ragù

Cornmeal, different grinds

Both the polenta and the ragù can be made ahead of time, for a quick, easy, yet delicious weekday meal.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound Nash’s Italian sausage
1 red onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups Nash’s medium-grind cornmeal (use the coarse grind if you like a more rustic texture)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; add sausage and cook, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and boil; simmer until thick, 20 minutes. Add basil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring sea salt and 5 cups water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Slowly add cornmeal and cook, stirring constantly, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining oil, Parmesan, and salt. Divide between bowls and top with ragù; garnish with more Parmesan. Serves 4.

We thank Saveur.com for this recipe.

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Kidney Bean Sloppy Joes

Kidney beans

We are rolling into picnic season, so we thought we’d offer a meatless version of this classic. It makes about 8 servings.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup dried Nash’s kidney beans, soaked for 12-24 hours, drained, and cooked
8 rolls of your choice

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and green pepper and sauté until tender. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Prepare cooked kidney beans by roughly chopping before adding to the skillet. Once added, cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Spoon bean mixture evenly into rolls of your choice and serve immediately. Enjoy this childhood classic!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

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