Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

On August 7, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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We are on vacation in Michigan enjoying not going out for every meal, so I’ve been making quick, easy vegetarian dishes that help us enjoy vacation even more.  Eating good, healthy food helps too.  This salad is a great example of something easy to make with just a few ingredients.

This morning was the Northport Farmer’s Market where I found some great purple kale for this salad and the bread too!

Kale, Apple and Pine Nut Salad with Maple Vinaigrette 
Serves 4

1 bunch purple kale
1 apple, diced into small cubes
1/2 red onion, diced into small cubes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Chop kale into thin strips and place in bowl along with the diced apple and red onion. Meanwhile heat a saute pan on medium heat with the olive oil in the pan. Add the pine nuts and sugar and let it cook for a couple minutes just before they begin to brown. Remove from heat and add to bowl with kale.

To make the dressing combine the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and maple syrup in a bowl and add the olive oil a couple tablespoons at a time whisking each time to combine.  Continue until all olive oil is added and then season with salt and pepper. Taste to make sure you are good with the mix. If too acidic, add some more olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the kale salad and mix to coat.  Serve with some fresh bread.

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Chicken in Wine & Dijon Reduction

On July 28, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’ve been hotel living now for over two weeks and this recipe is my most adventurous to date. It also presented me with a bit of a dilemma in the middle of cooking when I suddenly realized I didn’t have a wine bottle opener. Fortunately, the hotel provided serrated knife which I then used to not pop the cork, but rather to plunge the cork into the bottle.  Oh well, I did get the cup of wine I needed plus enjoyed a nice Riesling with my meal.

I have also found that my $6 purchase of Ziploc plastic containers was a brilliant decision.  They work well as mixing bowls or in this case when I needed a small bowl to hold some dijon mustard I needed to “brush” on the chicken pieces.  Brush is sort of what I did, but with no brush I improvised using a the back of a spoon to spread the mustard over the chicken pieces.

This was the first time I used the Extend Stay’s pan since it had sides that worked well for a liquid reduction instead of using my sauté pan or 4 quart pot.

A little about the ingredients…

I bought some pasture raised chicken from the Studio City Farmers’ Market a couple weeks back at the Dey Dey’s Best Ever Chicken stand. They sell half chickens which is a good choice for this recipe, since there is not a lot of room in the cooking pan.  Cooking times are a bit longer at the hotel with an electric stove top and the thin pan, but the results are great as you can see in the photo with the browned skin and meat falling off the bone.

In the end, this was a great success that didn’t really take any special tools other than a wine bottle opener.  My spoon “brushing” method worked well too.

Chicken in Wine & Dijon Reduction
Serves 2

1/2 whole chicken, bone-in split
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 shallots, finely diced
1/3 cup dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

If your breast is thick be sure to add 3 or 4 slices with a knife into the thickest area to help reduce cooking time. Brush the chicken pieces with the dijon mustard. Heat olive oil in pan at medium-high heat adding chicken pieces when hot.  Cook each side for about 15 minutes turning often being careful not to burn.  When flipping the chicken brush some more dijon mustard on to coat fully before turning. Meanwhile dice the shallots.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and add the shallots cooking for 1 minute then deglazing the pan with the wine.  Add the chicken stock and return the chicken to the pan.  Let this cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat letting the liquid reduce by half.  Turn the chicken throughout to coat the sauce over the chicken pieces.

Finally remove the chicken from the pan and finish the sauce by adding the butter and some salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken and serve with a side dish or two.

Hotel Burger with Goat Cheese

On July 21, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I am still at in my Extended Stay America hotel room with its quaint kitchenette. Tonight I came home after a long but enjoyable week of work, now only two weeks away from reuniting with my wife and kids.

This morning, before leaving to work, I thawed out some grass-fed ground beef I purchased at the Studio City Farmers’ Market last Sunday from Best Beef Ever. It was my first local grass-fed meat purchase since arriving in Southern California and sure enough it was pretty damn good. The only negative was due to my lack of options having to cook the hamburger patties in a sauté pan over an electric burner instead of on a grill, since my grill is currently in storage.

I also used some of the excellent goat cheese I bought from Soledad Goats at the La Canada market last Saturday.

Hotel Burger with Goat Cheese
Serves 2

1 lb ground beef
2 hamburger buns
handful of arugula or lettuce
4 half-moon slices of onion cut thin
4 tablespoons of goat cheese
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Form the ground beef into two patties being sure to salt and pepper them as you get them shaped. Add the beef patties to a medium-high heat sauté pan, preferably non-stick and let them cook for about 8-10 minutes on each side to get a nice burn on each burger’s side.  Cooking time will vary depending how thick you make your patties and how hot your burner gets.

Drain the fat from the pan halfway through before turning the patties over and continue to cook the other side.  This will help the burgers brown instead of boil in grease.

Prepare some thin half-moon slices of onion and wash your lettuce.  Place the dijon mustard on one of the buns using 1 tablespoon per burger.

Place the burger onto the bun and spread half the goat cheese on each patty and top with lettuce and onions.

Note: I only made one burger tonight and put the other fully cooked burger in a small container to save for tomorrow’s lunch. 

Tip: While staying in a hotel room it is definitely worth $3 to buy some plastic containers to store some food in for leftovers. This way you don’t need saran-wrap or aluminum foil. 

Lentils with Turnip, Leek, and Carrots

On January 30, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This dish is adapted from a recipe found on Barefoot Contessa’s website.

Last week a friend shared how she made the original version along with some grilled salmon.  I love lentils and had been looking for something new to do with them. Plus I really like the use of a turnip, which is a neglected yet delicious vegetable.

I served this dish as a main course and added some sautéed bok choy  as a side to give the meal some added texture and flavor.

Lentils with Turnip, Leek and Carrots
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup good olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 carrots, scrubbed and ½-inch-diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup green lentils
1 medium red onion, diced
1 white turnip, peeled and cut into small bite-sized cubes
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the leek and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute and set aside.

Cook the lentils in 4 cups of water with the onion, turnip, and ground cloves in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender. Drain any little amount of water left in the saucepan.  Now add the leek and carrot mixture to the saucepan with the lentil mixture.  Add butter and combine until melted. Turn off heat.

Whisk together the ¼ cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the vinaigrette to the lentils saucepan.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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Pork Tenderloin and Mustard-Wine Sauce

On October 17, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Simple ingredient recipes that are full of flavor are a great way to end a long weekend.  This pork tenderloin will be a big hit as the sauce is amazing benefiting from the juices of the roasted pork.

Pork Tenderloin and Mustard-Wine Sauce
Serves 4

1 lb Pork tenderloin
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Whisk the wine, water and mustard together. Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides.

Heat a 12-inch ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat; add oil. Brown pork all around turning the pork every few minutes.  This should take about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and add mustard-wine mixture. Transfer pan to oven.

Roast the pork, spooning the sauce over meat about halfway through.  Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes to finish cooking through. Slice and drizzle sauce.

 

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Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula

On June 1, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Continuing our tradition of moving to a more vegetarian balanced diet this recipe for Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula was a welcome addition to this quest to find good, easy to make vegetarian dishes.

What is most enjoyable about this recipe is how fast it is to make. It was literally 15 minutes from ingredients to plate. In the time it took to cook the pasta, the mustard vinaigrette dressing, washed arugula, drain cannellini beans, and crumbled goat cheese where ready and waiting for the drained pasta to complete the dish.

The pasta salad is great for a summer dinner or even for a dish to pass at a potluck or to bring to a family event. Simple, quick and enjoyable. We will definitely be making this one again as the boiling hot Dallas summer months are upon us.

For the Recipe: Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula.

 

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