Category Archives: main courses

Shirataki Sausage Lasagna

may 29, 2015

shirataki sausage lasagna

 

Lowering your carbohydrate intake doesn’t mean you have to give up lasagna, not when shirataki noodles take the place of pasta. Besides, some of us like lasagna for the gooey cheese and meat sauce, viewing pasta as simply the vehicle for those ingredients.

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Spicy Ham Spread

 

april 3, 2015

spicy ham spread

After you’ve carved the Easter ham to your satisfaction, you’re likely to have some tasty leftovers. One can only eat so many sliced ham sandwiches, so I’m offering a spicy ham spread that’s nothing like the canned versions you had in your formative years.

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Slow Cooker Pork Pozole

february 20, 2015

slow cooker pork pozole

We have been waiting patiently in Richmond for the first snow of the season.  Not flurries, but real snow with accumulation and temperatures that ensure it will remain beyond a fleeting moment.  Wishes came true this week with a magical snowfall of half a foot, making kids and grownups alike giddy with the prospect of play followed by snuggling by the fire enjoying comforting meals and hot beverages.

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Jambalaya with Cauliflower Rice

february 6, 2015

jambalaya with cauliflower rice

Sometimes I think proponents of the Paleo Diet are on to something.  These folks eat the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors purportedly did, grain and dairy free, with a diet mostly composed of animals proteins, vegetables and fruits.  There is no sugar, and therefore no wine or alcohol,  and  no legumes,  thus no beans, lentils or peanuts. Bummer.  I am simplifying things a bit, but if you want a good read, Wikipedia is a good place to start.  Also no coffee.  Double bummer.

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Citrus Napa Cabbage Salad

january 23, 2015

citrus napa cabbage salad

 

It’s not always easy to eat “clean” in chain restaurants.  Even relatively upscale chains may offer foods that are pre-breaded or bathed in a flavor enhanced sauce, or chopped in a distant city and transported in brine to your town.  In short, chains are often loaded with processed foods.

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Flounder with Balsamic Fall Vegetables

november 7, 2014

flounder with balsamic fall vegetables

Living close to the Chesapeake Bay means access to fresh seafood all year long and when the flounder are running, go with the flow and thank your lucky stars.

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Parmesan Spoonbread Souffle

september 26, 2014

parmesan spoonbread soufflé

 

Spoonbread is the ultimate Southern comfort food.  Served hot from the oven with a generous dollop of soft butter, it satisfies.  Creamy and hot, and quite possibly made from locally milled cornmeal, spoonbread  can be made plain jane, with sweet milk or buttermilk, studded with kernels of fresh corn or with any number of variations like the pumpkin spoonbread currently on the fall menus of The Good Eats Company.

The word soufflé can strike fear in the heart of even the most dauntless chef or home cook. Failure to rise.  Lumpen appearance.  Gritty texture.  Their mercurial nature makes soufflés poor candidates for make-ahead prep; they must be served right away, and like all things that go up, they must come down, and sometimes before they are presented.

I don’t miss soufflés on restaurant menus because I never much cared for super fluffy foods that lack a certain heft – too airy for my taste.  But I do love a good spoonbread,  and retooling my favorite vintage recipe to resemble a towering soufflé, while bringing it down to earth with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, suited me (and my tasters) just fine.

Today’s spoonbread features not only colorful pastured eggs from Teal Brooks’ Pine Fork Farm, but also fragrant white cornmeal from historic Woodson’s Mill in nearby Nelson County, Virginia.

Woodson's Mill white cornmeal and pastured eggs from Pine Fork Farm in Quinton, Virginia

Woodson’s Mill white cornmeal and pastured eggs from Pine Fork Farm in Quinton, Virginia

Fine in texture and nutty in flavor, it makes the perfect cornbread (I use it to make the skillet cornbread for Little House Green Grocery’s Sunday Suppers) and heavenly spoonbread.  Since the late 18th century, the millstones of Woodson’s Mill have used water power from the Piney River to grind corn and other grains, providing sustainable, preservative-free products sold locally and beyond. This quick and easy bread (don’t be put off by the electric mixer) makes a great breakfast entree and would make a fine accompaniment to entrees like chicken with wild mushrooms and carrot and chorizo sausage with lentils and tomato.

Here is your weekend recipe for southern comfort, y’all. Enjoy!

parmesan spoonbread souffle

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes four servings                                                            parmesan spoonbread soufflé

ingredients

four eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 cups milk, preferably whole
1 cup white cornmeal
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons baking powder
directions

  1. Preheated oven to 350 degrees and butter four 10 ounce oven ready ramekins.
  2. In heavy two quart saucepan, bring milk to scalding (just to the boiling point) and gradually whisk in cornmeal to avoid lumps.
  3. Over low heat, whisk frequently and cook until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in butter, salt and sugar.
  5. Off heat, whisk in egg yolks.
  6. With electric mixer, beat egg whites just until peaks begin to form.
  7. Whisk parmesan cheese into cornmeal mix, then gently whisk in baking powder just until incorporated.
  8. With spatula, gently fold in about one third of the beaten egg whites, then gently add the rest until just combined – okay to see a few streaks of egg white.
  9. Working quickly, divide mixture between the ramekins and bake 20 minutes or until puffed and very lightly golden.
  10. Serve immediately with lots of good butter.

cook’s tips

  • eggs are easiest to separate while still chilled, but room temperature whites whip better
  • have all ingredients at room temp to avoid shocking or stiffening the cornmeal mixture
  • whip the egg whites just until they begin to hold peaks – overbeating gives a grainy texture
  • add part of the whites gently to lighten the cornmeal mixture, then gently add the rest, folding with a spatula and avoid whisking
  • baking powder, your leavening agent, is called double acting because it starts working when liquid is added, and when heat is applied; work quickly once baking powder is added to your recipe – letting mixtures sit on the counter will decrease rising power

 

Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp with Spring Vegetables

june 13, 2014

vietnamese grilled shrimp with spring vegetables

Long before I received any formal culinary training, I purchased some fish sauce at a market near my apartment in “Little Hanoi”, in what is now cosmopolitan Clarendon, Northern Virginia.  I am embarrassed to admit that after taking one whiff, it was returned to the shop where a kindly proprietor urged me to reconsider, telling me “fish sauce smells bad, but tastes good”.

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sausage baguette with caramelized onions and lemon tahini sauce

Sausage Baguettes with Caramelized Onion and Lemon Tahini Sauce

…and a visit to Harmony Hill Farm

may 9, 2014

sausage baguette with caramelized onion and lemon tahini sauceThe day began with breakfast tostadas and ended with Italian sausage baguettes with caramelized onion and lemon tahini sauce, tomato orange soup and a simple, colorful salad of red cabbage, asparagus and carrot.  The afternoon was spent touring Harmony Hill Farm in nearby Glen Allen, Virginia, the source of my breakfast eggs and dinner sausage.

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stuffed swiss chard with chocolate balsamic tomato sauce

Stuffed Swiss Chard with Chocolate Balsamic Tomato Sauce

april 11, 2014

stuffed swiss chard with chocolate balsamic tomato sauce

All winter long I made stuffed cabbage with sauerkraut tomato sauce.  For other people.  The aroma drove me to distraction but somehow I never got around to making it for myself and loved ones.  The vibrant hues of spring here in Richmond – periwinkle blue sky, butter yellow of daffodils, lime green of tender leaves on twiggy shrubs – inspired me to remaster the dish with rainbow Swiss chard, handily  found at my local market Little House Green Grocery, which also had organic ground beef from Polyface Farms.  The arrival of the chard marks a new collaboration with the owners and Amy’s Organic Garden in New Kent County, making it super convenient to travel the few blocks for dinner fixings on the fly.

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