How to Roast a Pepper

For this demonstration, I’m using poblano peppers for my chiles rellenos casserole, but of course, this method can be used with any type of pepper.

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1.  Preheat your broiler to high.

2.  Cut your peppers in half and remove the stems, seeds and pith (white parts).

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3.  Place the pepper halves skin side up on a parchment covered cookie sheet.

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4.  Roast peppers until they’re quite charred — roughly 5 – 10 minutes (be sure the oven rack is close to the top of the oven — directly under the broiler — and check the peppers frequently after the 5 minute mark).

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5.  Remove tray from oven, turn peppers, return tray to oven and roast for about 5 minutes longer.

6.  Remove tray from oven and set aside to cool.

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7.  Once peppers are cool enough to handle, simply peel off the skin with your fingers (once cooled, the skin will become baggy and this will be easy to do).

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Storing Greens for Ease

turnipgreens

I’m not always in the mood (or don’t always have the time) to wash, stem, and chop greens on the fly.  For busy days, a home cooked dinner can only happen if I have a few things on hand that I can grab and just toss into a pan.

When I came home from the farmer’s market last week with 2 beautiful bunches of fresh kale and 2 bunches of beets (w/ greens attached), this is what I did to make life easy for the rest of the week….

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I removed the stems (simply lay each leaf down with the stem facing right & the leaves facing left to do this with one easy slice).

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Then I used my hands to roughly tear up the leaves and tossed them into a large, over-the-sink-colander.  After rinsing the leaves thoroughly in cool water, I spun them in a salad spinner to remove most of the water (you can also gently pat them down with a clean towel or paper towels).

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I then lined a gallon sized storage bag with paper towels (use 2 paper towels – still attached to each other).

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And then, of course, I placed the leaves in the bag for easy use throughout the week.

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1 large bunch of kale will yield roughly two 6 oz bags of greens, so including my beet greens, I ended up with 5 bags of greens — stemmed, chopped, washed, dried, and ready to go.

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A few ways I’ve recently used my “just toss ’em in a pan” greens…..

roastedpotatoes&greens


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How to Prep a Leek

Years ago, I was very stand-of-ish with leeks, as I didn’t quite understand them. What I failed to realize back then is that they’re pretty much just big, fat scallions, and thinking of them this way made them a lot less intimidating. They have a mild, sweet, onion flavor when sautéed, and pair really well with eggs (try adding sautéed leeks to an omelette or frittata), are great in soups/stir fries, or as a topping for home-made pizza. You can really use them any way you’d use regular onions. Interestingly enough, my daughter will not go near an onion (unless it’s pureed and visually undetectable), but likes leeks. Go figure.

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DIRECTIONS:

  • Trim and discard the stem ends, dark green tops, and tough outer leaves.
  • Halve the remaining core, lengthwise.

  • While holding under cool running water, gently spread apart (but do not separate) the inner layers to remove all traces of soil. If the leeks are particularly dirty, you can soak them in several changes of clean water if that’s easier.

  • Shake off excess water and slice the cleaned leeks crosswise to desired thickness.

  • Saute in butter or coconut oil and use as you would onions.

 


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New to Eating Meat?

TO PREVENT AN ICKY MESS….

Long time meat eaters might already be aware of this, but I thought I’d forewarn any unsuspecting vegetarians considering a shift in diet.

When you defrost meat in the refrigerator, take a few seconds to double (or triple) bag the product, and/or set it inside a rimmed dish.  Sometimes there is a pin-prick of an opening in the plastic, allowing the “liquid” (eww) to leak all over the refrigerator as it defrosts.  This happened to me several times before I learned my lesson, and it’s an annoying/disgusting mess to clean up.  Perhaps this is only a problem with local meat products from small, family farms.  Big factories might have the means to package their items more securely – I don’t know – I don’t use them myself so have nothing to compare to.

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Other things to consider for those new to MEAT ETIQUETTE:

~  Never defrost meat on the counter at room temp.  Best is in the fridge overnight.

~  If you’re defrosting a whole chicken, it will take about 3 days in the fridge (give or take), so plan accordingly.

~  If you’re in a hurry, you can place frozen meat completely submerged (in a sealed plastic bag) in a bowl of cold water on the counter (or in the fridge) for several hours.  I don’t think this would work well for a whole chicken (don’t know – never tried).  This method seems to work best for chop meat, steak, stew meat, cutlets, fish filets, shrimp…etc.

~  If you’re in a super hurry, use the above method (bowl of cold water) but leave it in the sink under gently running, cold water, and the product will defrost much faster (in as little as 20 minutes).  Think of an ice-cube – it will defrost much faster under running water as compared to sitting at room temp.  Of course this method is not ideal, as it wastes water, but hey, it works in a pinch & sometimes that’s as good as it gets  =)

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I will update this page as I continue to figure stuff out!

Long time meat eaters:  Please feel free to comment on this page with any info you can share – Thanks!  =)


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Ways to use up Milk

If you find you have an abundance of milk on hand and are looking for ways to use it up before it turns, here are some tasty options:

SMOOTHIES-&-MILK-SHAKES
RICE-PUDDING
PANCAKES
BAKED-MAC-&-CHEESE
OATMEAL/PORRIDGE/CEREAL
CREAMY-CORN-SOUP
CREAMY-CARROT-SOUP
CREAMY-POTATO-CHEDDAR-SOUP
CREAMY-TOMATO-SOUP
CREAMY-ROASTED-PARSNIP-&-PEAR-SOUP
FETTUCINE-ALFREDO

Keep in mind, freezing milk is also a viable option.  When I do so, I freeze in specific portions.  For example, I’ll freeze 2 & 1/2 cups of milk in a large, glass mason jar which is the exact amount I need to make a big batch of breakfast rice pudding.  For the record, it’s easiest to use frozen milk to cook with, as it won’t be completely smooth after thawing (and therefore probably an unpleasant consistency for drinking).  Although, if you’d like, you can just give it a quick whirl in the blender and it should be good as new – in smooth, drinkable condition.

Be sure to thaw milk in the refrigerator.  It will take about 2 days to thaw (at least, this is the case with a volume of 16 oz), though you don’t need to wait until it’s completely thawed if you’re cooking with it.  As long as it’s melted enough to pour into a pot, you’re good to go.  You can always use a butter knife to break up the last big chunk of ice if you’re having trouble getting it out of the jar.


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