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July 30, 2017 / Chris Blum

Steak with Padron Salsa

This dish was inspired by a recipe in the latest issue of Bon Appetite. I swapped Shishito peppers for padrons – so good!

1½-inch-thick boneless rib eyes (1¼ pounds or so)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 lb Padron or shishito peppers
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tbsp sherry vinegar

Season steak generously with l salt and pepper.

Prepare a grill for medium-high, indirect heat. Grill steaks over direct heat, turning once, until nicely charred, about 4 minutes per side. Move steaks over indirect heat and continue grilling, turning halfway through, until browned all over, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 20 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat. As soon as oil starts to smoke, add peppers to cover bottom of pan in a single layer (don’t crowd). Cook, tossing occasionally, until blistered in spots but still green, about 3 minutes. (You don’t want them to collapse or soften too much.)

Transfer to another cutting board and repeat with remaining peppers. Let sit until cool enough to touch. Coarsely chop peppers and place in a small bowl. Mix in garlic, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 cup oil; season with salt.

Serve the steaks topped with the salsa.

Serves 2 – 4.

July 26, 2017 / Chris Blum

Hard Cider Rarebit


This one from Diana Henry is the ultimate British Comfort Food! Toasty bread, creamy sauce, topped with a fried egg! Yum!

2 thick slices white bread
2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 c dry cider
1 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp mustard, preferably Colman's (not powdered)
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Pepper
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons apple brandy or Calvados
2 fried eggs

Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler.

Meanwhile, toast the bread. Place each slice in an individual gratin dish.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a roux, then remove the pan from the heat just long enough to gradually whisk in the cider until smooth.

Return to the heat; once the mixture is bubbling, reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cheese, mustard and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and season generously with the pepper.

Crack the egg into a liquid measuring cup. Add the apple brandy or Calvados and stir until lightly beaten. Whisk a few spoonfuls of the cheese mixture into the egg (to temper it), then pour it all into the saucepan, whisking until well incorporated.

Pour the cheese sauce over the toast

dividing it evenly among the gratin dishes. Broil for a minute or two, watching closely, just until lightly browned on top and bubbling. Place a fried egg on top.

Serves 2.

July 24, 2017 / Chris Blum

Tomato Ricotta Tartin


The combo of creamy ricotta on crunch toast topped with perfectly vine ripened tomatoes is delightful! I had some chopped green onions in fridge so I added those too.

1 slice sourdough bread, toasted
1/4 c ricotta
1 tomato, sliced thin
Salt
Espetlette pepper
Green onion, sliced thin

Spread ricotta on toast, top with tomato, season with salt and pepper and scatter a few green onions on top.

serves 1.

July 24, 2017 / Chris Blum

Grilled Okra with Curried Yogurt Dip


This goes great with Chicken Curry with Mangos.

1/2 lb small okra
Olive oil
1/2 c Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp curry paste
1/2 tsp salt

Heat grill on high heat.

Snip okra from the bottom about half way up (vertically). Toss with a little olive oil and grill until nicely charred on all sides.

Stir together yogurt, lemon juice, curry paste and salt.

Toss okra with a little salt and serve with yogurt.

July 24, 2017 / Chris Blum

Curry Chicken with Mango

This one is from Diana Henry with a few slight modifications. It has a wonderful flavor and makes great leftovers for lunches.

6 skinless chicken thighs, each cut in half 
Salt and pepper 
1 tbsp butter 
1 tbsp peanut oil 
2 medium onions, sliced thin
3 cloves of garlic, crushed 
1 28 oz can tomatoes, chopped 
3 tbsp curry paste (Patak’s)
2 tsp ground ginger 
1 chicken stock 
1 can light coconut cream 
1 just ripe mango, peeled and sliced 
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 c toasted coconut flakes
Brown rice, cooked

Heat the butter and oil in a saute pan, add the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, seasoning it as it cooks. (You only want to colour the outside, not cook the chicken through). Remove to a plate. 

Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook over a medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Stir in the curry paste and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes, until the spices have released their aroma. Add the stock, bring to the boil and boil until the liquid has been reduced by about half.

Turn the heat down, add the coconut and put the chicken back. Cook over a medium-low heat – don’t boil the dish – for 15 minutes. Add the mango so it can cook for the last 5 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. Simmer for about a minute to heat through, then add the cilantro and toasted coconut and serve with rice.

Serves 4 – 6.

July 23, 2017 / Chris Blum

Egg, Avocado and Tomato Rice Bowl

I am so falling in love with rice bowls! This one is super satisfying with a poached or fried egg, just make sure the yolk is nice and runny.

3 c cooked brown rice, warm
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 chopped scallions
Salt and pepper
4 eggs, poached or fried
2 avocado, sliced
1 tomato, halved and thinly sliced
Hot sauce, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the rice, cilantro, scallions, and ¼ tsp of the salt.

Divide the rice mixture among 4 shallow bowls. Top each with an egg and arrange the avocado and tomato slices on the side. Sprinkle the tomato and avocado with a pinch of salt, and serve right away with hot sauce.

Serves 2 – 4.

July 23, 2017 / Chris Blum

Zucchini and Basil Pasta

This is great for a healthy weeknight dinner. It is ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

1/4 c olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs small zucchini, quartered lengthwise, sliced
Salt
1 tsp Aleppo pepper
12 oz pasta
•2 oz Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c basil leaves

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until very lightly browned around the edges, about 4 minutes. Add squash; season with salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until squash begins to break down, 12–15 minutes. Toss in 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente.

Transfer pasta to skillet using a slotted spoon or spider and add 1/2 c pasta cooking liquid. Cook pasta, adding 2 oz. Parmesan in stages along with more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente. Toss in lemon juice and most of the basil.

Divide pasta among bowls and top with more Parmesan and Aleppo-style pepper and remaining basil.

Serves 4

July 22, 2017 / Chris Blum

Bay Shrimp and Avocado Salad

This is a quick and easy salad for a busy weekend! The creamy avocado and citrusy shrimp are perfect together.

8 oz Bay shrimp
Juice and zest of 1 like
Zest of 1 orange
4 tbsp chives, snipped
1 avocado, sliced thin
Salt
Olive oil

Toss shrimp with zest, juice, chives and a pinch of salt. 

Spread Avocado across plate, top with shrimp and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Serves 2.

July 17, 2017 / Chris Blum

Strawberry Avocado Toast

This version of avocado toast from F&W takes things to the next level. So good!

6 scallions
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 avocado cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
Four 1-inch-thick slices rustic bread
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
1 garlic clove
8 ounces burrata, cut into bite-size pieces
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Flaky sea salt and torn basil, for garnish

Light a grill. Grill the scallions over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, 3 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool, then cut into 1-inch lengths. Leave the grill on.

In a medium bowl, mix the scallions with the strawberries, avocado, lemon juice and crushed red pepper. Season with kosher salt and black pepper and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush the bread with olive oil and grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and rub with the garlic clove.

Top with the burrata and the strawberry salad. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Garnish with flaky sea salt and torn basil.

Serves 4.

July 17, 2017 / Chris Blum

Bahn Mi Bowl

Another winner from Skinny Taste! I love the bowl – easy one dish meal packed with lots of flavor!

1 lb pork tenderloin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 c soy sauce*
1 tbsp brown sugar

For the pickled carrot:
6 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 c shredded carrots
4 radishes, cut into matchsticks

For the bowls:
3 c cooked brown rice
1 c romaine, chopped
1 c thinly sliced English cucumbers
1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced
1/4 c cilantro leaves

Season the pork with salt and pepper and place into the slow cooker. Combine the garlic, jalapeno, soy sauce and brown sugar and stir to dissolve, pour over the pork. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours until the pork is very tender, turning once half way through. When the pork is ready, shred the meat. Reserve the sauce.

Meanwhile, while the pork is cooking, make the pickled carrots and radish: In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Add the carrots and radish and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Drain well and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the bowls, place 3/4 c rice in each bowl, top each with about 2 1/2 oz pork, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce then top with the 1/4 c shredded cabbage, 1/4 cbpickled carrots, 1/4 c cucumber, sliced jalapenos and cilantro.

Serves 4.