Monday, January 28, 2013

Radishes Braised in Cream with Garlic and Thyme

Radishes are the last of the new vegetables we're trying in January.  My husband and I have both eaten radishes lots of times, and love them crunchy and raw on salads.  My kids also tried them raw and liked them quite a bit.

But none of us had ever had them cooked.  This recipe looked delicious, and didn't fail to satisfy.  We served it with Fauxtisserie chicken and root vegetables, and it was a great addition to the mix.  Also, they're pink, which might make for a good addition to your Valentine's Day meal!

Radishes Braised in Cream with Garlic and Thyme
Recipe by Cook's Illustrated

1 T butter
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
20 medium or 16 large radishes, preferably with their greens still attached to insure freshness
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the butter sizzles, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add radishes and cook 1 minute.  Add broth, cream, and thyme.  Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until radishes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove cover and cook until liquid thickens, about 1 minute longer.  Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Roasted Beets with Spinach, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad

Beets are the second vegetable my children picked to try this month.  I must admit, I had never tasted a beet.  I'd seen them at salad bars and always steered clear of the jiggly, purple vegetable.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted them.  They're quite good when you cook them yourself, and the texture is not at all jiggly.  They actually taste a bit like broccoli.  They were good on this salad, and soon we'll be using the leftovers to make borscht.  You can also serve the beets on their own, if you'd like.

Roasted Beets with Spinach, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad
Beet recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Salad recipe by Holly Beal

2 medium beets (about 1/2 lb)
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups baby spinach, washed
1/4 cup walnuts
2 T herbed goat cheese
1/4 cup mixed salad sprouts (such as alfalfa, broccoli, radish, etc.)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Trim all but 1 inch of the stems from the beets.  Wash beats well and remove dangling roots.  Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place in a shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until a skewer inserted into a beet comes out easily, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove beets from oven and carefully open aluminum foil.  Allow to cool until cool enough to handle.  With paper towels in hand, rub the skin from the beets.  Slice 1/4-inch thick.  Toss beets with oil and salt and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the salad, combine spinach, walnuts, sprouts, and goat cheese.  Arrange sliced beets on top of salad.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Honey Mint Lamb Chops

I love lamb meat.  Unfortunately in beef and poultry-driven America it's not nearly as plentiful as many other countries, which is why most of our lamb comes from Australia.  However, every now and then I still splurge for it.  This recipe is easy and combines honey and garlic, both my favorite things.  It makes a great fancy meal or a weeknight dinner.

Honey Mint Lamb Chops

One bone-in rack of lamb chops (about 8 rib bones), or 8 lamb chops
1/4 cup honey
1 T minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried mint
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a small bowl, combine honey, garlic, and mint.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over meat, to taste.  Brush on honey mixture until fully covered on all sides.  Place in roasting pan and bake at 400F for 15-25 minutes, or until meat registers 155F.  Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beef with Bok Choy

Beef and Bok Choy. Sorry for the phone photo, I couldn't find the real camera.

As promised earlier, my kids and I are trying new vegetables this year.  I now present our first one: Bok Choy!  Ta-Da!  I have eaten bok choy before at various Asian restaurants, but had never cooked it myself.  However, it was easy to cook and got good reviews from my kids (more about those later).  The recipe I was looking at was only for the bok choy itself, so I added to the recipe to include some beef.  You could just as easily use chicken or pork and not change anything else, so feel free to substitute. 

First, about buying bok choy.  There are a few varieties of bok choy, but the major difference you need to know about is the difference between regular bok choy and baby bok choy.  The baby kind is small (about 6-inches tall) while the regular bok choy is much bigger (mine was about 15-inches!).  For this recipe you'll want to buy the big kind.  If you buy the little kind you won't have anything to cut off and it will cook totally differently.

And with that, the recipe...

Beef with Bok Choy
Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 lb steak, chicken, or pork
1/2 cup soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons peanut oil (or you can use canola or vegetable oil)
1 medium head bok choy (1 1/2 - 2 lbs)
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger root

First, to prepare the meat, slice against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  In a ziplock bag combine all but 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with the minced garlic; add meat and let marinate about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the bok choy.  Chop off the bottom inch of the bok choy, then separate and wash all the leaves.  Pat each leaf dry, then cut the green leafy part away from the white stalk part.  Slice each stalk in half lengthwise, then crosscut into 1/4-inch thick pieces.  Set aside.  Pile all the green leaf parts on top of each other and cut into 1/2-inch wide strips.  Cross cut if desired.  Keep the chopped greens and stalks separate.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 Tbs soy sauce with 1 tsp sugar and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add meat, discarding the remaining marinade, and stir-fry until just cooked, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove meat into serving bowl and wipe skillet with a paper towel.  Pour remaining 2 Tbs oil into skillet and heat until almost smoking.  Add the bok choy stalks and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the leafy part of the bok choy, meat, and the soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until leaves are wilted, about 1 minute.

Serve immediately, over rice or noodles.
Serves 6.

My husband and I liked this dish pretty well. 
My kids rated this dish as follows:
E (age 7): Bok choy stalks, 9/10;  bok choy leaves, 10/10; meat, 10/10; everything together, 10/10.
J (age 6): Bok choy stalks, 19/20; bok choy leaves, 19/20; meat, 18/20; everything together, 19/20.
E (age 4): Bok choy stalks and leaves, yuck; meat, good; everything together, no thank you.
G (age 2): Chocolate, please?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


This year one of my resolutions is to try new vegetables.  There are some things that I've never eaten, and others that I've eaten but never liked.  There are some things that I eat all the time, and with those I'd like to try them a completely new way.  My kids, who are pretty good at trying new things (whether or not they eat more than one bite!), have agreed to try three new vegetables a month.  So look for that in this coming year.  On schedule for January are beets, bok choy, and radishes.  I'll post recipes and results as they come through.

What are your goals for this year?  And do they have anything to do with eating?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Seasoned Pork Chops

These are easy and delicious, a sure-fire hit!

Seasoned Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops, 3/4"-1" thick
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 clove garlic, minced
Applesauce, to serve

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

In a small bowl combine thyme, sage, tarragon, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and garlic.  Rub herb mixture evenly over all sides of pork chops and place meat into a 9 x 13" pan, or other roasting pan.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until pork registers an internal temperature of 150-155 degrees F.  Let sit five minutes before serving.
Serve with applesauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Home Fries

Home Fries, or sometimes they're called hash browns, are ridiculously easy to make and are so homey and delicious.  They are good for breakfast or dinner, with pancakes or pork chops.  They're really just potatoes that are pre-cooked, then seasoned and browned.  Easy-peasy, and sure to please everyone!

Home Fries

3 large baking potatoes (Russets are the best!)
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash potatoes and stab a few times with the tines of a fork.  Place in a microwave oven and cook on high for 12-15 minutes, or until potatoes feel tender when you squeeze them (use a hotpad!).  Alternatively, you could use leftover baked potatoes.  Remove potatoes from microwave and carefully slice the skins off using a paring knife.  Discard skins, then cut potatoes into 1/2" cubes.

Combine butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir potatoes carefully with spatula to coat all sides in butter/oil mixture.  Let brown, stirring every 3-4 minutes, until potatoes are slightly crisp and browned on all sides, about 15 minutes total.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.