Coconut Lime Mussels

Coconut Lime MusselsI only started eating mussels in the past few years, and have become a total sucker for them. They are easy to prepare, delicious, and a nice (affordable!) departure from typical fish dishes on nights we want seafood. My go-to mussel dish is on the heavier side, served with pasta and a rich, spicy sauce. With the weather being so warm, I decided to try a lighter approach to mussels!

Using this recipe as a point of inspiration, I set about whipping up some Coconut Lime Mussels!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh Mussels
  • 1 small piece of fresh Ginger, grated
  • 2 Shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, pressed
  • Zest from 3 Limes
  • Olive Oil
  • ¾ cup White Wine
  • Fresh Basil (and Cilantro if desired), torn for garnish

Coconut Sauce:

  • 2 cups Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • ½ cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Lime Juice
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce

Step One:  Clean the mussels in cold water (more on cleaning mussels in this post).

Cleaning Mussels

Step Two: Combine all the ingredients for the sauce and blend well (I used my immersion blender, but a food processor would work well also). Set sauce aside.

Step Three: Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add the grated ginger, shallots, garlic, and lime zest, and sauté over medium high heat for 3 minutes.

Ginger Shallots Lime

Step Four: Add the white wine and mussels to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring well. Reduce heat to simmer, cover with a lid, and allow to steam for another 3 minutes (or until all mussels have opened).

Mussels in White Wine

Step Five: Remove lid and add the sauce to the mussels, stirring well. Remove from heat, top with torn basil leaves, and serve immediately.

Finished Product

The coconut and lime make this dish feel light and summery. I loved the flavor the sauce added to the mussels; I would recommend serving with a baguette to sop up the excess sauce, because it was too good to let go to waste!

Happy Cooking!
~ Megan

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Chicken Fettuccine Fauxfredo

A few years ago, my dairy-loving husband developed a lactose intolerance (poor guy), and we’ve since tried to limit the amount of dairy in our diet. Not long ago, he mentioned to me how much he missed being able to eat alfredo, which prompted me to hunt for a good dairy-free alfredo recipe. Using this recipe for inspiration, I set out on an adventure to make some “fauxfredo”!

Fauxfredo IngredientsChicken Fettuccini Fauxfredo

  • 1 package of fettuccini
  • 1 lb. of diced chicken breast
  • 1 can of Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast (we had a hard time finding this in a store, so we ordered it online)
  • 1 tbsp. minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried Basil
  • 2 tbsp. torn fresh Basil
  • Salt (I used course, kosher salt) and fresh ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Step One: Prepare pasta according to package directions. While your pasta is cooking, begin to prepare your chicken. Pour some olive oil in a large pan or skillet and heat until shimmering. Add your chicken and your fresh basil, season with some salt and pepper, and cook on medium high heat.

Chicken Cooking

Step Two: Put the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, dried basil, and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Blend (I used an immersion blender) until well mixed. My sauce stayed pretty liquid-y at this point, so I poured it over the chicken (which was done at this point), added a tbsp. or cornstarch dissolved in a tbsp. of warm water, and stirred over low heat until heated through and creamy.

Fauxfredo Sauce

Step Three: Strain your pasta and pour into a serving bowl. Pour your chicken and sauce over the pasta, toss to coat, and enjoy!

Chicken Fettuccini Fauxfredo

While this didn’t taste *exactly* like alfredo, it was pretty stinking close! Best of all? It not only got the “husband seal of approval” for satisfying his alfredo craving, but it’s much healthier than regular alfredo! Win/Win! Do you have any favorite dairy-free recipes?

Happy Cooking!
~ Megan

Farm to Table Friday: Tomatoes, Corn, Peppers

Tacos and CornAs soon as we saw corn, tomatoes, and green peppers on our CSA list, we were inspired to head south of the border for this week’s Farm to Table dinner! This meal ended up being perfect to enjoy on a hot summer day. On the menu this week:

Carnitas Tacos
Fire Roasted Salsa
Sauteed Corn & Pepper Salad

From Bailey
Carnitas Tacos & Fire Roasted Salsa

To start we made Carnitas Tacos. This slow cooked pork is one my favorite items to order at a Mexican restaurant. Instead of going slow and making this on a smoker, I have a great recipe to make carnitas in a crock-pot.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3-4 Bay Leaves
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 lb. boneless Pork Shoulder

This is very easy to assemble. Combine all the dried spices, pat them all over the pork shoulder. Put the shoulder in your crock pot, cover it with the chicken broth and drop in the bay leaves. I usually do this at night, then stick it in the fridge. Before I leave for work the next morning I pop it onto low and when I get home in the evening the meat is ready to go. I take it out of the crock pot and shred the meat with tongs or a fork.

IMG_1374 IMG_1376 IMG_1380

Fire Roasted Salsa

  • About 2 lbs. assorted Tomatoes (preferably small or medium)
  • About 1 lb. assorted Peppers (I use the small sweet peppers)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Onion
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro
  • 3 cloves Garlic, diced or minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Special Materials: A food processor or blender

Step One: Clean the peppers and tomatoes, then put them on a preheated grill. Turn them every few minutes to get a good char on each side.

Tomatoes and Peppers Veggies on the Grill Roasted Veggies

Step Two:  When the peppers and tomatoes are roasted, put them in a food processor bowl, You will easily be able to pull apart the peppers to remove the stems and seeds. Add the chopped onion, juice of the lime, the cilantro, garlic, and as much jalapeno as you want to control the spice level. Fire up the food processor and work the ingredients until you get a salsa consistency.

Salsa on the Stove

Step Three:  Move the salsa from the food processor to a pot and heat it on the stove to meld the flavors, serve warm.

**If you don’t have a food processor you can use a blender or just chop everything by hand. You will end up with a chunkier salsa, but it will still taste delicious!

We used gluten free, corn soft-shell  tacos for the Carnitas Tacos, and topped out tacos with the Fire Roasted Salsa, avocado slices, cilantro, and lime juice. Delicious!!

From Megan
Sautéed Corn and Pepper Salad

Since we had already made corn on the cob, I wanted to try something new that could also incorporate the green pepper. I came up with this Mexican-inspired sautéed corn and pepper salad. It’s easy to make and has a great flavor. I liked it so much, I ended up making it again to bring to a cookout later in the week!

Corn IngredientsSautéed Corn & Pepper Salad

  • 6 ears of Corn
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ cup of fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Lime Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Step One: Using a sharp knife, remove the corn from the cob. I found it easiest to hold the ear of corn in a large bowl while I cut it, so the kernels did not fly everywhere.

Step Two: Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Once heated, add the corn, green pepper, and red onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Add a small pinch of red pepper flakes, stir once, and remove from heat.

Saute Corn

Step Three: Pour the corn, pepper, and onion into a bowl. Add the cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Enjoy!

Mixing Corn

Chicken and Pasta in Chardonnay Tomato Sauce

Have you ever been in the mood for pasta, but the thought of red sauce just seemed too heavy? Sure, you could use a different sauce, but then you’d miss out on that yummy tomato flavor. Never fear – I have the solution to your pasta dilemma!

When I’m looking for a lighter take on traditional tomato-based pasta sauces, I like to make a Chardonnay Tomato sauce to serve with chicken and pasta! This dish still has the richness of the tomato flavor, without the weight of a traditional red sauce. The wine adds a freshness that makes this dish perfect for warm weather!

Chardonnay Tomato Pasta with Chicken

  • 1.5 lbs of cubed Chicken BreastIngredients
  • 1.5 cups of quartered Campari Tomatoes (or whole grape tomatoes)
  • Minced Shallots (to taste)
  • Minced Garlic (to taste)
  • 187mL of Chardonnay
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Concentrated Chicken Stock
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pasta

Step One: Add olive oil, shallots, and garlic to a pan. Heat until fragrant, then add the chicken. While you are doing this, begin boiling a pot of salted water for the pasta of your choice.

Garlic and Shallots

Step Two: Add the wine to the chicken, and cook until the wine reduces by half.Chicken and Wine

Step Three: Add the tomatoes and the condensed chicken stock (I used two stock packets), and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the stock has dissolved and the tomatoes are mostly disintegrated. Your sauce should have a deep pink color.

Tomatos and Chicken Chicken Stock Gel White WIne Tomato Chicken

Step Four: Remove the tomato/chicken/wine mixture from heat and set aside. Strain your pasta and place in a bowl. Pour the tomato/chicken/wine mixture over the pasta and stir to coat.

    White Wine Tomato Pasta

Step Five: ENJOY!

For a different take on this, use whole grape tomatoes instead of quartered Campari tomatoes – the sauce will be lighter, with the chardonnay and chicken really taking the spotlight. The tomatoes will hold more of their shape for satisfying bite-sized pops of flavor.

Happy Cooking!
~Megan

Farm to Table Friday: Kohlrabi, Peas, and Garlic Scapes

Welcome to our first farm to table dinner post! This year, the lovely ladies of Common Plate (that’s us!) decided to split a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) share from  Strites Orchard in Harrisburg, PA. We plan to use items from the CSA each week to make an original Farm to Table dinner.  Below are the recipes we used to create our first installment of our new weekly series: Farm to Table Friday!

Farm to Table DinnerPenne with Garlic Scape Pesto and Peas
Sauteed Kohlrabi
Grilled London Broil*

*The London Broil has nothing to do with the CSA, but we marinated it and grilled it to medium rare. It was delicious!

From Bailey:
Penne with Garlic Scape Pesto and Peas

Our CSA box included some interesting items this week. We got got fresh shelled peas and garlic scapes. I had never even heard of a garlic scape, but through my research about it I learned that it’s best used to make pesto or hummus. I decided to go with pesto.

Pesto StuffPesto Ingredients
Please note that all amounts are estimated.  You may need to adjust as you go

  • About 6 garlic scapes
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmiaggiano reggiano cheese
  • 1/3 cup roasted unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

When I made this pesto I first tried to do it in the blender which did not work. I currently only own a 2 cup food processor, so I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it all fit, but I found it was better to work in the processor in small batches than the blender blunder.

Peas in ShellThe first thing we did was shell all the peas, then steam them until they were done. Then we put them to the side.

To make the pesto don’t use a blender like I started out, just go right to the food processor.

Start with the almonds and get them well ground, add in the salt, pepper and basil. Chop a few times, then add in the garlic scapes. To use the scapes chop them up into smaller pieces before adding them in.

Garlic Scapes     Diced Scapes

Next, after grinding the scapes a few times, add in the olive oil, then finally the Parmesan cheese. It’s okay if the mixture is kind of thick, because when the pesto is heated it will cover the pasta well.

Pesto in Food Processor 1 Pesto in Processor 2

To make the final pasta, start with the pasta of your choice, long or short. I chose Trader Joe’s  Gluten Free Corn Pasta. Boil the pasta according to the directions, drain, then set aside. Start by putting some olive oil or butter in a large saute pan. Add the peas, then add the pasta and the pesto. Turn gently until all pasta is covered, and voila! There you go, a delicious side dish! Cover it with grilled chicken or sauteed shrimp for a great entree.

Peas in a Pan IMG_1195 Pesto Pasta

From Megan:
Sautéed Kohlrabi

Raw KohlrabiI had never seen, eaten, or prepared kohlrabi before… heck, I’m not even sure if I had ever even heard of it before it showed up on our CSA preview list! But part of the fun of belonging to a CSA is getting to try new things, so I determined to make a kohlrabi side dish. How hard could it be, right?

Once it arrived, however, I realized that I REALLY had no idea what I was doing. The thing looked like an alien. Several Google searches and helpful Youtube videos later, I decided to tackle sautéed kohlrabi. Thankfully, it’s surprisingly easy to prepare once you realize that it is not, in fact, an alien life form.

Cutting KohlrabiStep One: Remove any leaves from the bulb (ours came pre-removed). From what I’ve learned, the leaves can also be prepared, but the bulb seems to be the most popular part.

Step Two: Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the tough, pale green skin on the bulb. Then cut the bulb into thin, matchstick-like spears.

Step Three: Boil the kohlrabi in salted water until softened (about 5-10 minutes), then drain, pat dry, and set aside.

Step Four: Melt enough butter to cover the bottom of a frying pan. Add some minced shallots, and heat until fragrant.

Saute KohlrabiStep Five: Add the kohlrabi to the frying pan, and sauté until it begins to turn golden. Sprinkle a pinch nutmeg on top, and toss to combine.

Kohlrabi has a texture similar to a potato, and the taste is what you might expect if a broccoli and a parsnip had a (very tasty) lovechild. The mildness of the kohlrabi plays well with the butter, and the nutmeg gives it just enough of a kick to pull out some the earthiness of the flavor. New favorite vegetable? I think so!

~ ~ ~

We hope you enjoyed the first installment of Farm to Table Friday!
Happy Cooking!

Tortellini with Kielbasa and Edamame

I don’t know about all of you, but I am a BIG fan of quick & easy weeknight dinners… especially if they are healthy… and even more so if they don’t taste like a quick & easy dinner (no offense, EasyMac!).

I like to have some basic recipes that I can improvise and change depending on what ingredients I have around. One of my favorites is Tortellini with Kielbasa and Edamame! I use this recipe as a base, and I like that I can use any kind of sausage, swap the tortellini out for gnocchi, switch up the pepper, or add another veggie. The only ingredient I really need to make this dish is edamame… prompting my husband to dub this dish “Edamame Surprise!”

Photo 2013-05-17 11.18.12 AMThis time I used the following ingredients:

– One package of refrigerated Tortellini (tri-colored!)
– One Kielbasa
– One bag of frozen, shelled Edamame
– One Orange Pepper
– Olive Oil
– Minced Garlic (I usually prefer fresh, but prepared works in a pinch!)
– Italian Dressing

Start by boiling salted water for the tortellini. While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat olive oil and minced garlic in a pan. Use as much garlic as you want – I’m a garlic-loving gal, so I use a heaping tablespoon, but I won’t judge if you’re more of the scant teaspoon type.

As the oil and garlic is heating, cut the sausage into buttons and add to the pan. Next, cut up the pepper and add that to the pan. Cook all until the sausage is browned and the pepper is softened.

Photo 2013-05-17 11.18.32 AM Photo 2013-05-17 11.18.52 AM Photo 2013-05-17 11.19.13 AM

By the time you add the peppers to the pan, your water should be boiling. Add the tortellini and cook until almost tender, then add the frozen edamame. Bring the water back to a boil for about 2 minutes, then remove from heat and drain.

Photo 2013-05-17 11.19.58 AMRemove the sausage and the peppers from heat and mix wit the drained edamame and tortellini. Add some Italian dressing, toss to coat, and there you have it! An easy weeknight dinner in under 15 minutes!

I hope you enjoy this dish – I’d love to hear how you adapt recipes for quick & easy dinners!

Happy Cooking,
Megan