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Category: Lunches

Bacon Braised Kale

Bacon Braised Kale

Bacon Braised Kale

Ah, bacon braised kale. There’s nothing I would rather be eating to start my February off the right way. Someday maybe kale will lose its moniker of the “healthy green”. Maybe it won’t create a multitude of eyerolls when it’s referenced. Maybe not. I’m just glad it’s here currently in abundance and that I have the joy of finding a bunch or two whenever I so please. One of the best parts about kale is how hearty it is, and how long it can sit tight in your fridge without going bad or looking sad. Compared to other greens, such as arugula, those tiny mixed baby greens, or spinach, all of which show their age through wilting, weeping and other less-than-crunchy life stages, it soon becomes apparent that kale can even be considered a more efficient use of your grocery store trip. There is something else in my fridge that is similar in this manner to kale; and lo, what could it be? This glory that is… bacon. Bacon, just like its friend kale, can camp out in the fridge and wait for the night you want to encounter it. So thankfully when your night is late, your brain offline, and your don’t want to think about one more thing, then this rustic combination will perhaps speak to you tonight. Or tomorrow night. Or one night, two weeks from now. There is no time rush. Kale and bacon work for you however you see fit. Now that’s a power green.

Bacon Braised Kale

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch
  • 1/2 cup bone broth, veggie broth or water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt and black pepper (optional)

In a large sauce pan, render your bacon over medium heat until the fat is released and the bacon becomes crispy, about 5 minutes. Take the bacon pieces out, leaving the fat in the pan. Set the bacon pieces aside to use soon! Keep the pan over medium heat and add the chopped kale, gently tossing it around to wilt the leaves and allow all the kale to fit inside the pan. Once all the kale has been added, add the chicken broth, cover with a lid, turn the heat up to medium-high and allow to braise for an additional 5 minutes. Once the kale leaves are tender, remove the lid and add the lemon juice, tossing the kale so the extra liquid cooks off, about 1 minute. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed (bacon is naturally salty and the salt content will vary depending on the brand, so tasting here is most helpful!). Serves 4 as a side.

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Roasted Cannellini Beans with Thyme

Roasted Cannellini Beans with Thyme

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Pan roasted, of course! No ovens this month, or next month if I can help it. Too hot. Too steamy. I made some banana bread yesterday due to the cooler, less humid morning that fell in my lap, but now? Stove top or bust, my friends. And look! Beans. Yes, beans. The magical fruit. Another beautiful, real food. Here’s to getting older, because I just attempted to write “beans are fun!” and we all know that young, vivacious people don’t label beans as fun. Maybe it’s time that changes. In the meantime, here’s a fu–nice recipe.

Roasted Cannellini Beans with Thyme
2 cups cannellini beans, cooked (of your own doing, from a can, from a tetra pak, you know. options!)
2 tablespoons bacon fat (or fat of your choosing–coconut oil, butter, lard, etc.)
4 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt (depends if the beans you are using are already salted)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped bacon bits (not pictured, though they were delicious) (and optional)

Heat the fat in a large skillet over high heat. While that’s heating up, rinse your beans and lay them out over a dishtowel, and gingerly move them around and pat them so they’re a bit drier. Place thyme sprigs in hot fat–watch out! They will sputter a bit briefly. Then add the beans to the pan, and don’t move them. Turn the heat to medium high. Don’t move them still. Let them cook on that one side until nicely browned, about 2 or 3 minutes. Then shake the pan and add the garlic, taking care not to crush the beans, yet making sure the garlic is hitting the hot fat to cook. Let cook for another minute or so, until nicely colored on the other side and the garlic is no longer raw. Take off heat and add the salt and pepper. Serve warm. Serves 4 as a side.

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Braised Kale with Lemon and Anchovies

Braised Kale with Lemon and Anchovies

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I’m an anchovy FREAK. I really noticed it when I was about 13 years old and went gaga for a certain restaurant’s Caesar salad. When I was 17 and saw Jamie Oliver throw anchovy fillets into some hot olive oil and watched them dissolve and flavor that oil, the freak got geek. When I ordered pizza with extra cheese and saw I could get anchovy fillets for a few cents more, I solidified the fact: anchovies. are. the. bomb. So when I put anchovies in butter, when I sneak them into persillade, when I feel happiness knowing there’s a tube of them in the fridge (perfection), and a tin of them in the cupboard (amaze), I revel in letting my freak flag fly. And then I remember–it’s really not that freaky at all. It’s incredibly wholesome, eating a tiny fish. It gives me all those tasty nutrients just like the big catches. I think that’s what keeps me coming back, what I realize–you crave what they can give you. There’s nothing fancy about this dish. There can’t be. It is what it is. Thank goodness.

Braised Kale with Lemon and Anchovies
1 head kale, any variety, stems removed and leaves roughly torn
2 tablespoons fat of choice (I used duck fat–butter, lard or coconut would be great, too)
1 tablespoon anchovy paste (or 4 anchovy fillets from a tin)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped and smashed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon

In a large skillet, heat your fat of choice over medium high. Add in the anchovies, stirring around the hot fat until the anchovies have melted and incorporated themselves. Add in the torn kale leaves, gently tossing as they wilt from the heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Turn the heat up to high and cook for another minute or two, until some of the kale leaves get crispy. Take the skillet off the heat, then add the lemon juice and zest. Toss to evenly coat. Serves 4. It might not hurt to sprinkle some toasted and finely chopped nuts over this, but I’m not in charge here.

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Tahini Dressing

Tahini Dressing

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This summer as I was prepping what felt like boatloads of meals for myself to get through each week, I realized I needed something other than my Dijon, garlic and olive oil vinaigrette. And something other than my other olive oil and balsamic combo. Something just a little bit more… enticing. Don’t get me wrong! The classics are just that, classic. But don’t they need a break, too? I’ve added this dressing into my rotation and I’m so glad I did. Hey, you, c’mere (I say this in my head to the dressing. We’re kind of a thing these days)!

Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons warm water
1 garlic clove, grated
1 piece ginger root (comparable to the garlic clove in size), grated
1 teaspoon fermented chile paste (or other heat source of your liking)
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
pinch of sea salt (add only if you’re dressing a salad that doesn’t already contain salt, see recipe below)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Add more water if necessary to create a pourable dressing. The pictured salad is massaged kale, quick-pickled onion and cucumber.

Massaged Kale
1 bunch kale, stems removed
1 teaspoon sea salt

Gather a few leaves of kale, roll together as best you can, and finely chop. Repeat until all kale has been shredded. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt. Now use your hands and massage the kale for about a minute, until slightly wilted and delicate.

Quick Onion Pickle
1 small onion
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
few slices of a beet root (optional, not pictured)

Cut the onion in half from tip to root. Remove the papery skin. Finely slice both onions halves and place in a small bowl. Cover with the apple cider vinegar (use more if necessary). Gently massage (oh, yes, again) the onions in the vinegar. Allow to sit for at least five minutes. Squeeze excess liquid from the onions before plating. As another option, place the sliced fresh onions in a small glass jar, cover with apple cider vinegar and place the beet root in as well. Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for up to two months; your quick pickled onions will become pink, and you can continue to top off the vinegar as needed and add fresh onion slices as you see fit.

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The Easiest Baked Potato

The Easiest Baked Potato

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Looking for the perfect baked sweet potato? The Freckled Foodie has got your back. Looking for the perfect baked potato? Well, hello! When you find yourself with pounds of potatoes, a cool rainy day and a week of meals to prep, these could fit right in. There’s a lot you can do with a baked potato once cooled–peeled and grated for hash browns, cubed for hash, reheated, peeled and mashed with butter and cream, mashed and mixed with an egg for potato pancakes… or sliced and fried in the fat of your choice. Starchy options = endless.

Baked Potato
10 large russet potatoes, clean and dry
butter, olive oil or bacon fat
flaked sea salt
black pepper

Take oven rack out and set on counter, then preheat oven to 400. Pierce the skin of each potato a few times on each side with the tip of a knife or the tines of a fork. Rub potatoes all over with the fat of your choice (oh, and don’t let me limit you. Did you save those chorizo drippings? Lard? Duck fat?) and set on the oven rack. Sprinkle generously with flaked sea salt and grind profusely with black pepper. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven, and bake for 1 hour.

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Crockpot Chicken Thighs

Crockpot Chicken Thighs

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Listen. Nothing about this recipe is avant-garde. Nothing has been recreated with a minor, special twist. Nothing. These thighs are purely utilitarian. These get me through the week, my belly content and full. The only reason I snapped a photo with my phone was because I was by myself and they were really, really good and I wanted to share. No photo styling, no image uploading, resizing and editing. They are unctuous and you don’t need many brain cells to make them happen–my kind of recipe these days!

Crockpot Chicken Thighs
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari (or coconut aminos if you are fermented soy free)
2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice (this batch included sriracha)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup filtered water

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Stir and coat the chicken. Set on low for 8-12 hours. Flip thighs halfway through the process if you want. After cooking, and with forks, pull meat apart and remove bones. Eat with abandon.

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Beet Carpaccio

Beet Carpaccio

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Lucia here: today’s post is co-written by my good friend Amy K, a practicing acupuncturist who is very knowledgeable in traditional Chinese medicine. I’ve learned a lot from her and we have a three-part series of posts we’ve written together to welcome springtime!

As the days get a little longer and the sun shines a bit brighter, signs of spring are popping up all around us (well, aside from that pesky snowstorm the other day). Little green shoots of plant-life are peeking up and out from the earth, awakening from their long winter slumber, and starting to stretch their leaves to the sky.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), springtime is ruled by the wood element. (What are the five elements? Find out here!)

Think of the wood element as new signs of life. The energy of the world is rising up and out, ready for a fresh start – a rebirth if you will. This energy is reflected in all of us this time of year – that undeniable urge to go outside and get your hands dirty in the garden, start a new project, or get the dust-rag out for some spring-cleaning.

While all that rising energy is great when you have a to-do list the length of your arm, it can sometimes rise too quickly and lead to trouble. Typical signs of an over controlling wood element are:

  • perpetual irritability or anger
  • migraines
  • insomnia
  • red, painful eyes

On the other hand, if the wood element in a person isn’t strong enough, they might exhibit any of these signs:

  • mild dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • muscle twitches
  • light menstrual flow

The wood element is energetically related to the liver. The liver not only rids our body of toxins we ingest and inhale, but according to TCM, the liver also does the heavy lifting of detoxifying our emotions–what a powerhouse! Wanna know one of my favorite ways to balance the wood element and give my liver the help it so truly deserves?

Eating beets!

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All foods have different energetic properties that help categorize them into one of the five elements. Have you ever noticed the beautiful pattern of rings in a cut beet? The similarities between the cross-sections of beets and tree trunks are astonishing. Beets are practically shouting their association with the wood element from the rooftop!

To help keep your wood element in balance this spring, Lucia and I will be sharing with you three delicious and nutritious recipes over the next few weeks using the grandmother of all wood element foods: the mighty beet.

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Beet Carpaccio with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Salad Ingredients
1 medium beet
1 grapefruit
2-3 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 tablespoon green onions
freshly cracked black or white pepper

After washing and peeling your beet, use a mandoline to very, very thinly slice the beet into delicate wafers. Set aside slices. Now, cut both ends off the grapefruit and sit the grapefruit upright. Using your knife, cut away all the rind and white pith. With care, you will now supreme the grapefruit, cutting along the side of each segment until all have been released from the core. Squeeze the remaining grapefruit innards into a bowl–this will be for your vinaigrette. On a large plate, begin arranging your beet slices, topping with the grapefruit segments. Drop dollops of the goat cheese on top, drizzle the vinaigrette (see below) and scissor or chop some fresh dill tops and green onions over as well. Finish with a crack or two of fresh black pepper.

Vinaigrette Ingredients
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed (this will depend on the sweetness and acidity of your grapefruit).

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Roasted Cabbage with Cracked Caraway and Coriander

Roasted Cabbage with Cracked Caraway and Coriander

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Oh, “whoops”… it’s another cabbage recipe. This time the big ol’ thing is sliced into large rounds, pampered with oils and spices and shown to the oven. Allow myself to… introduce myself, sweet roasted planks of veg. You are so good to me!

Roasted Cabbage with Cracked Caraway and Coriander
1 head cabbage
3-4 tablespoons oil or fat of your choice (I… again… used melted bacon fat. olive oil, coconut oil, butter or lard are all options!)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges

Preheat the oven to 400 degree. Lightly oil two baking sheets with the oil/fat of your choice. Either in a spice grinder, a ziplock baggie or a pestle and mortar, gently grind the spices, salt and pepper until all the spices are cracked. With a large knife and steady hand, slice the head of cabbage into large rounds, from top to bottom (so each slice has a bit of the core at the bottom to help it stay together). Place rounds on the baking trays and oil each. Generously sprinkle each round with the spice mixture and pop the trays in the oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with the lemon wedges and allow your dining patrons to take fate into their own hands. Serves 4.

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Fresh Ginger Applesauce

Fresh Ginger Applesauce

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Mealy, spotty and beat up apples. I won’t tell you how much money I shelled out for a bag of organic apples only to be disappointed by the poor taste and texture. Bummer yuck! Anyway, little brother (well, little is ironic seeing as how he’s 6’5″) suggested applesauce and this Sunday I did just that. Oh, how it had much too long since I’d made applesauce! Can I call up all the local co-ops and ask for their worst apples? Could I get them free if they have a worm or two in ’em? Because bad apples make the best applesauce.

Fresh Ginger Applesauce
3 pounds apples, peeled cored and chopped into big hunks
1 cup water
3 inches fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large stock pot over medium heat, add the apples and water. Cover and allow to simmer and soften for about 30 minutes. Mash in the pot with a potato masher or immersion blender, or allow to cool a bit and blend to a smooth puree in a food processor or blender. Allow to cool completely. Meanwhile, squeeze the grated ginger into a bowl. Combine the ginger juice and vanilla extract into the room temperature applesauce. Now, for the spoon. Serves 6-8.

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Smokey Cabbage

Smokey Cabbage

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Oh, hi blogkin! My icy little heart is melting along with the real stuff outside and I’m back in the kitchen, feeling less stressed and happier. Why? I don’t quite know. Last week I was coming home and as I walked up the front steps of my house the smell of a charcoal-y and smokey fire stopped me in my tracks (hard to do while standing on a step covered with ice). I inhaled deeply and varying moments rushed back to me. Times on the farm, sitting around a fire, tired and sharing the dumbest jokes with friends. Memories from the family cabin, sitting around a fire again, making s’mores and finding the right stick to impale my marshmallows. Grilling chicken with my mom. September birthday parties in parks with bacon sizzling away. The olfactory system leads directly to the brain, and last week that burning caught me off guard and there I was, just breathing, taking the biggest breaths of fresh air. Here’s hoping that fire was intentional, wherever it was, and thanks for bringing some intention to my breath.

Smokey Cabbage
1/2 medium head of cabbage, core removed and finely shaved
1 tablespoon smokey seasoning (see below)
2 tablespoons fat of your choice (coconut, butter, lard)

Heat the fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When quite warm, toss in the shredded cabbage (the finer the slices of cabbage are, the more quickly they will caramelize, yep). Stir and allow to wilt and pick up some nice, toasty color. Sprinkle over the smokey seasoning and toss to combine. Eat. Now.

Smokey Seasoning
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried basil (optional, but nice)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Briefly toast the coriander and fennel seeds over medium heat in a small pan. Allow to cool, then combine with the remaining ingredients in a spice grinder and whiz dat thang until finely ground. Makes 1/4 cup of seasoning–you can easily double, triple or quadruple this recipe for more smokey moments.

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