Figgy Meat

This original recipe is the result of making a very nice recipe a few weeks ago, something with ground beef seasoned and made into meatballs, and then a sauce that – and this is all I remember for sure – included chopped figs and balsamic vinegar, simmered & reduced.  I don’t remember what else was in the fig-vinegar dressing/glaze, and I decided afterwards that making meatballs was an unnecessary step when cooking for one person, but I did like the flavor combination.

Then this weekend, I impulse-bought some more figs at the store, but when I got home, I couldn’t find/recall the recipe I used.

So I decided to improvise!  It turned out pretty well, in my opinion, so I want to keep some sort of record of what I did… but I was improvising, which meant I didn’t measure anything.  Soooo…. here we are, at this probably-not-very-helpful recipe.

  • some figs (I had about 10 oz)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • rosemary
  • ginger
  • mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • handful finely chopped onions

Prepare figs – cut off the tip, then quarter vertically.  Cut each quarter in half or in thirds, depending on size.

In small saucepan, combine fig chunks and balsamic vinegar.  I emptied out what was left of my bottle, then added a little water until the figs were mostly submerged.  I would estimate 1/3 or 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar and 1/4 c. water.  Bring to a (very) low boil, then reduce heat and let simmer.

Add about Tbs brown sugar, Tbs rosemary, 1 or 2 tsp ginger, 1 or 2 tsp mustard, and any other spices you think would be complimentary.  Stir well, mashing the fig pieces slightly (they should be pretty soft after coming to a boil, but you don’t want to pulverize them, just mush), and leave at low heat.

In preferred pan (I always use a certain skillet when browning a pound of ground beef), begin cooking ground beef.  Stir in a handful of finely chopped onion and salt & pepper to taste.  (Feel free to incorporate other veggies that you need to use up; bell pepper was a nice inclusion, for example.)

By the time the meat is nearly finished cooking, the fig sauce should have reduced somewhat.  Empty fig-vinegar sauce into beef; stir well.

Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until sauce is reduced as much as you’d like.

…so you end up with, basically, just flavored ground beef – but it’s fantastically flavored ground beef!  I put a serving of it on salad, or serve with sautéed zucchini & carrots, or anything else that’s handy.  ¡Fantastico!

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Nutty Broccoli

  • 1 lb broccoli, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp zested (or finely shredded) orange peel
  • 2 Tbs fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs pine nuts or chopped pecans, toasted
  • orange wedges (optional)
  • egg (optional)

If desired, cut broccoli stem pieces lengthwise in half.

Place vegetable steamer basket in a 3-qt saucepan.  Add water to just-below-the-bottom-of-the-basket height.  Bring water to boiling.  Add broccoli to steamer basket; cover and reduce heat.

Steam 8-10 minutes or until broccoli stalks are tender.  Transfer broccoli to a serving dish.

Meanwhile, in 8″ skillet, dry roast nuts, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.  Add butter and heat until melted.  Then stir in shredded orange peel; cook and stir 1-2 minutes.  Carefully add orange juice and cook for 10 seconds.  Remove from heat; stir in desired salt.  Pour over broccoli; stir well to lightly coat broccoli in butter.

Serve with orange wedges.  I often also fry up an egg in the butter-orange skillet and call it a complete breakfast. 😀

This makes multiple servings of broccoli, though, obviously.  An entire pound, jeez, I shouldn’t have to specify this. But some of that broccoli becomes breakfast for that morning, that’s all I’m trying to say here.  Maybe I’m over-thinking this.

Corn Pudding

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c. fresh corn kernels
  • 2 tsp minced onion
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • cayenne
  • nutmeg
  • 4 Tbs (1/2 stick) melted butter, cooled
  • 1.5 c. half-and-half
  • stand mixer
  • 1.5 quart glass baking dish, and a larger pan (any material) to nest it in

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat the eggs in electric stand mixer (with whisk) until frothy, then stir in the corn and onion (with paddle).

Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and the cayenne and nutmeg to taste in a small bowl.  Add to the corn mixture while stirring constantly. Add the butter and half-and-half and mix well.

Pour the mixture into a well-greased 1 ½ quart baking dish, place dish in a large roasting pan, place pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into pan to come one-quarter up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes, pull oven tray out, and stir gently with a fork to re-distribute the corn as evenly as possible.

Close oven and bake 30 minutes more or until top is golden and a knife inserted into the center emerges clean.

Source: grandmother

Sunflower Raisin Broccoli Salad

  • 3 bunches broccoli flowerets
  • 2 c. white raisins
  • 2 c. sunflower seeds
  • 2 c. finely chopped red onion
  • 1 ½ c. fried, crispy, crumbled bacon
  • 1 ½ c. mayonnaise**
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Cook bacon until it’s crumbly-crisp.  When bacon is finished cooking, crumble into bits approximately the same size as the raisins.

Wash broccoli and cut into small flowerets and finely chop the red onion.

In large bowl, toss broccoli with raisins, sunflower seeds, and chopped red onion.  Set in refrigerator to cool.

In medium bowl, mix mayonnaise (do not attempt to substitute salad dressing) with sugar and vinegar; blend until smooth.

Just before serving, add mayonnaise dressing and bacon bits to the large bowl.  Stir until all ingredients are coated.

Makes a large (party- or potluck-sized) bowl, but is easy to divide recipe into thirds.

**nomnompaleo’s good homemade mayo: In large bowl, mix 1 large egg yolk, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard, 1.5 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp white vinegar until homogeneous.  Then, stirring continuously, add 1/4 c. avocado oil in a steady stream, and whisk ~30 seconds.  Then add the last 1/4 c. avocado oil all at once and whisk to emulsify the mayo completely.

Source: grandmother

Grandmother’s Jalapeno Jelly

I’ve seen/heard of/tried multiple versions of “Jalapeno Jelly” but this one is always my favorite… 🙂

And in case you’re wondering, no, it’s not very spicy.

  • 1 c. red or green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 c. cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c. jalapenos, drained, rinsed, de-stemmed, and with NO seeds
  • 1.5 c. finely chopped dried apricots
  • 6 c. sugar
  • 1 3-oz. liquid pectin, or 1 packet powdered pectin
  • 5 drops red or green food coloring (to match bell pepper you used)
  • jars and sterilization setup

Chop pepper strips, jalapeno, and dried apricots finely (or chop in food processor with cider vinegar).  Combine with cider vinegar and sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, skim off any foam. Cool 2 minutes, then add pectin and food coloring.

Pour into sterilized jars and fasten lids.  Place in boiling water bath in large pot (without glass jar bottoms touching the hot pot directly) until lids ‘pop’ down.

Source: my grandmother, obviously

Fruity Chicken & Pasta Salad

  • 2 c. mini pasta (bowties or whatever you want)
  • 1.5 c. cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (white and green)
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • coconut oil (just a little)
  • 1 c. mayo**

~the next day~

  • 8 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained (optional: save juice for Pineapple Bread)
  • red grapes, halved (as many as you can bother to halve)
  • 1 large or 2 small apples, diced about the size of the pineapple tidbits
  • 1/2 c. cashews (pieces, not halves – NO SALT)
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts
  • 2 Tbs sweet relish

**nomnompaleo’s good homemade mayo: In large bowl, mix 1 large egg yolk, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard, 1.5 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp white vinegar until homogeneous.  Then, stirring continuously, add 1/4 c. avocado oil in a steady stream, and whisk ~30 seconds.  Then add the last 1/4 c. avocado oil all at once and whisk to emulsify the mayo completely.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Boil chicken breasts or shred leftover chicken – do whatever you need to prepare the chicken.

In small skillet, caramelize shallot in coconut oil.

In small skillet, dry roast the cashew pieces and pine nuts.  Stir frequently.  When finished, set aside for tomorrow.

Mix cooked pasta, cooked chicken, green onions, shallots, and mayo.  Stir well.

Refrigerate overnight.  Stir in grapes, apple, pineapple, sweet relish, and roasted nuts.  Add more mayo of necessary.

Adapted from caramelpotatoes.com.  I’m not a big fan of the Hidden Valley Coleslaw dressing they use, along with a few other changes.
http://www.caramelpotatoes.com/2012/02/17/chicken-pasta-salad/

Zucchini – Sweet Potato Frittata

Fritattas are easy and fun and simple and good for leftovers.  I’m linking other versions of the all-purpose “fritatta” at the bottom, but this recipe is my own version. 🙂

  • sweet potatoes (3 small or 2 large)
  • zucchini (3 regular-sized)
  • onion (1 or 2)
  • shallots (2 or 3)
  • eggs (around 6)
  • milk (cow or coconut or almond or none at all if you don’t want any)
  • minced garlic (as much as you feel like)
  • rosemary (a big shake)
  • basil (a small shake)
  • salt & pepper (a bit)
  • coconut oil (some)
  • optional!! – meat (Italian spiced sausage is nice, or leftover whatever)
  • skillet and large glass baking pan (because I don’t have a cast-iron pan that works for stovetop and oven baking)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

(If cooking meat, then cook it now in a large skillet.)

Thin-slice zucchini and sweet potatoes on mandolin or other chopper (or do it as thinly as you can with a regular knife). Cut thin slices in half to make thin semi-circles.

Chop onion into medium-sized pieces; cut shallots into small chunks.  Chop garlic as small as possible.

In large skillet, heat coconut oil (or, if you cooked meat, re-use that skillet and grease).  Add onions, shallots, garlic, and sweet potato slices.  Let sit long enough to start to brown/caramelize, then stir/flip to allow other pieces to brown/caramelize.  Continue until most onions are browned and most sweet potatoes have turned from orange to a lighter orange-yellow.

In large glass baking dish, layer sweet potato / onion / shallot / garlic mixture, then zucchini layer, (and meat if you want) and repeat until all veggies (and meat) are used.

In medium bowl, scramble eggs with a splash of milk (optionally).  Add salt, pepper, rosemary, and basil to taste (and/or other available herbs — if you used flavored meat like Italian sausage or something, reduce quantity of herbs).  Pour eggs over vegetables in glass pan.  Tips of veggies should stick above the egg-line, but the veggies should be mostly submerged.  Add another egg if necessary, and stir it into the glass dish.

Place in preheated oven and bake 15-17 minutes, then crank the heat up and bake another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, and serve! 😀

This recipe can be modified all over the place – replace the veggies and meats with other things you have available.  Or use this recipe to utilize leftovers from other meals.  It’s all good.

Here are some other people’s frittata recipes:

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/1983505174/easy-paleo-frittata

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/frittata-recipe/index.html

http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/eggsdairy/r/spinbacchedfrit.htm

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