Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese

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These ooey, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches use four (count ’em, four) types of cheese: shredded mozzarella, shredded provolone, fresh mozzarella, and Parmesan. They’re sandwiched between toasted brioche with a vibrant basil-kale pesto. Embrace your inner kid and dunk the sandwiches in the warm marinara sauce (that’s exactly what we did).

Adapted from Plated.com
2019

Serves 2

Ingredients:
olive oil
2 ounces curly kale
1/4 ounce basil
1 lemon
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
One 8-ounce jar marinara sauce
4 slices brioche
1 ounce shredded mozzarella
1 ounce shredded provolone cheese blend

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Rinse all produce. Roughly chop or tear kale leaves, discarding long stems. Pick basil leaves, discarding stems. Halve lemon. Thinly slice mozzarella. Mince garlic.

To make kale pesto, add to a blender or food processor, combine pine nuts, kale, basil, half of garlic, 1 tablespoon water, and 2 tablespoons olive oil; pulse until smooth. Stir in half of Parmesan, 1 squeeze lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Set kale pesto aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium high-sided pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add oregano and remaining garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to medium high and add marinara sauce. Simmer, stirring, until warmed through and flavors have melded, 6-8 minutes more. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Remove pan from heat; cover and set aside until ready to use.

While marinara simmers, drizzle olive oil over 1 side of bread slices. Arrange oil-side up on a baking sheet and bake until beginning to crisp, 2 minutes, then flip. Spread kale pesto over plain sides of bread slices and top with shredded mozzarella and provolone, then remaining Parmesan, then mozzarella slices. Return to oven and bake until cheeses are melted and bread is golden, 3-4 minutes more.

Close sandwiches, pressing to adhere. Return to oven and bake until tops of sandwiches are golden, 1-2 minutes.

To serve, cut kale pesto grilled cheese in half on a diagonal. Divide marinara sauce between small bowls and serve with sandwiches for dipping.

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Roasted Red Pepper, Chickpea, and Spinach Curry

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Photo Credit: One Green Planet, 2018

 

Sometimes we need simple food to fill our souls. For a Meatless Monday, this Indian inspired curry is to die for! Chickpeas and spinach are blanketed in a rich, red pepper and coconut sauce. Not only is it spicy and fragrant, it is also good for you. If you’re looking for something that is rich in iron, look no further. What more could you want in a dish that will delight your palate and fill you up at the same time?

Adapted from Sonia Trurnit
One Green Planet, 2018

Serves 4

Ingredients
3 to 4 large red bell peppers
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/3 cups coconut milk
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
A pinch of smoked paprika
1 1/4 cups  canned chickpeas
1 cup baby spinach, washed and dried
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the bell pepper on the foil. Put the bell peppers in the oven for about 30 minutes and roast until charred. Place the bell peppers in a plastic bag and allow to cool until they can be easily handled. Remove skin, seeds, and stems, then set aside.

While the bell peppers are roasting, heat up a pan on medium high and sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until golden brown Season to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside.

To a blender add the peppers, onion and garlic, coconut milk, cornstarch, and smoked paprika; blend until well combined. Adjust the seasoning, if needed with salt and pepper.

Heat the oven to at 390°F.

Transfer the vegetable mixture to a medium sized Dutch oven or a large cast iron skillet. Add chickpeas, spinach and halved tomatoes and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir.

Serve with rice or freshly baked naan.


Clementine, Fennel & Potatoes

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Photo Credit: Cocoa Bean, the Vegetable, 2017.

 Inspired by one of a recipe from the Jerusalem Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, the dish comes together in just a few minutes and is loaded with healthy seasonal ingredients. The mix of flavors in this dish is absolutely wonderful. The Potatoes, citrus fruit, fennel, thyme, mustard and a generous dose of ouzo (an anise-flavored aperitif) makes a perfect accompaniment to chicken, fish or even chickpeas. An added bonus is that  the potatoes, clementines and fennel all deliver a nice boost in fiber, potassium and iron, not to mention vitamin C, that is much needed during the winter months.

Recipe Adapted From
Cocoa Bean, The Vegetable
April 20, 2017

Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons ouzo
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon grainy brown mustard
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
3-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1  1/2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes
1 fennel bulb
2 clementines, whole and washed
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.

In a small non-reactive bowl, mix together the ouzo, oil, juices, mustard, sugar and fennel seeds to make the marinade. Set aside.

Using a chef’s knife, cut the fennel bulb in half, and then cut each half in four quarters.

Slice the clementines thinly and crosswise, keeping the skin on.

In a 9 x 11-inch baking dish, combine the potatoes, fennel wedges and clementine slices. Pour over the marinade, stirring gently to ensure everything is coated. Toss in the sprigs of thyme, and season with salt and pepper.

Place the baking dish and bake in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until cooked through and vegetables are golden. Add a bit of extra color by putting on the broiler for the last three minutes being careful not to burn the vegetables.

Remove from the oven and transfer the vegetables to a serving platter. Garnish with extra thyme leaves if desired.

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