Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jalapeño Cheeseburger Salad

Don't judge me. It's not like I put potato chips on it (though that would be genius.) You can add or take away whatever sound good to you. Bacon would be great or even corn or olives or avocado. And there's no need to make your own quick pickles like I did - I just happened to be out of the jarred variety.

Jalapeño Cheeseburger Salad
* Serves 3

Olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3/4-1 pound ground beef
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or more to taste
1 medium tomato, chopped and lightly pressed with a paper towel to remove excess moisture
1/2 cup chopped whole pickles or 'quick pickles' - 1/2 medium cucumber chopped and mixed with a couple splashes apple cider vinegar, small pinch salt and large pinch sugar - allow to sit 15 min

1/3 cup mayo
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard, or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeño (from a jar or can)
pinch salt

How To:
If you don't have jarred pickles on hand, now is the time to make your quick cucumber pickle (above) and set aside.

Add a splash of olive oil to a nonstick skillet and put over medium heat. Add the shallots and season with a pinch of salt, sauté for a few minutes until they soften. Add the beef to the skillet along with another pinch salt and pepper, break up with a wooden spoon and cook until brown stirring frequently - about 12 minutes.

Next prepare your dressing by mixing together the mayo, mustard, jalapeño and salt. Set aside.

To a large bowl, add the shredded lettuce, cheese, tomato and pickles. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss. Add the meat and shallots and toss again, then a couple tablespoons of the dressing and repeat. Taste and make any adjustments necessary per dressing, salt or pepper. More cheese never hurts.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Zoodles with Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Walnuts and Fresh Mint

I bought a Spiralizer a few months back convinced I was going to get my shit together. You know - eater better, workout, read poetry. But we all know how the story ends. For now I'm content I finally pulled it out of the drawer, dusted it off and put it to use.

It's really kind of genius. Easy to use and as fast as an electric gadget. I made zucchini 'zoodles' this morning before work, stuck them in the fridge and pulled them back out again to use in a dinner I pulled together in less than 20 minutes.

Recipe-wise this is like a cross between a veggie soup and pasta. A little brothy-er than pasta because there's no starch to thicken the sauce plus the salt needed to season the zoodles makes them release more liquid. But it's delicious. Satisfyingly toothsome with a delicious broth you'll want to slurp. And while the mint sounds weird - don't skip it if you have it on hand. It really makes it.

Zoodles with Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Walnuts and Fresh Mint

1 tablespoon olive oil, or enough to just coat a medium dutch oven, plus more for finishing
1/2 cup chopped onion
small pinch kosher salt
3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage (ground and loose)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, rubbed between your fingers
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
Scant 1/2 can (of tomato can) dry white wine
3 oz goat cheese, or more for a 'creamier' broth
3 large, or 4 medium zuchinni, 'spiralized' on the smallest setting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
Handful of fresh mint, finely chopped

How To:
Add the tablespoon olive oil (or as much as needed to coat bottom of pan) to a medium dutch oven and bring over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and a small pinch kosher salt and sauté, stirring frequently until soft - about 4 minutes.

Add the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and cook another 10 minutes stirring often until cooked through. Season with garlic powder, nutmeg, and thyme and stir to incorporate. Stir in the tomatoes (and juice) and white wine. Bring to a boil and boil for 60 second. Reduce heat to low/medium and stir in the goat cheese. At this point add the zoodles and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover for 4-5 minutes to help steam, then slowly stir them into the sauce until all is incorporated.

To serve, portion into bowls (you'll need to spoon additional sauce from the pan as it will be runny) and top with toasted walnuts and chopped mint. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil to finish and eat right away.