February 15, 2021 at 2:34 p.m.

New discoveries

By Natalie Schmitt- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

    There are different types of draws for people to pick up a magazine. For some, it is the articles. Others, it is the pictures. For me, it is the recipes. I bought the October 2019 Rachael Ray magazine, intrigued by the types of recipes they were highlighting. I ripped out the pages of interest and threw them in my stash of collected recipes to try someday. Well, someday arrived this winter. These are some of my new favorite recipes. They are quick, easy and make me feel like Mark and I are eating out at a fancy restaurant. Just one where we forgot to bring money and had to wash dishes. Luckily, these recipes reuse pots and pans so not a very big bill for a great meal.
    One of my finds that I am excited about is agrodolce. It is Italian for a sour (agro) and sweet (dolce) condiment. It is actually a fancy name and some extra ingredients for something I have been making for years. Who knew. Because the recipe makes more than Mark and I could eat in one meal, I saved some back to top off our hamburgers the next night. Delicious. The original recipe called for hanger steak, which is a cut from the plate. I have never heard of it so I substituted different cuts of meat. I sliced medallion steaks from a venison roast for Mark and formed some hamburgers for me. I could also use beef tenderloins or flank steak.
Flank steak with agrodolce and pan roasted cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
¼ cup raisins or dried cranberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon drained capers (find in grocery store by canned tuna)
2 plum tomatoes (8 ounces) seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
1 ½ pounds flank steak, tenderloin steak or venison medallion steaks
6 cups cauliflower florets (1 small head)
Fresh flat leaf parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onions; cook, stirring often until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the raisins, vinegar, sugar and capers; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the liquid is syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes; cook until softened, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the agrodolce to a bowl. Season the steak. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add the steak; cook, turning once, until browned about 6 minutes. The steak will not be fully cooked. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet. Add the cauliflower; cook stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 6-7minutes. Season with salt. Remove from heat. Move the cauliflower to the sides of the skillet. Place the steak in the center. Transfer to the oven. Roast until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and an instant read thermometer inserted horizontally into the thickest part of the steak registers 130 degrees, about 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer the steak to a cutting board; let rest for 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into one-half inch thick slices. Top with the agrodolce. Serve with the cauliflower. Garnish with parsley.

    This recipe looked so good in the pictures that I just had to try it out. Well, I could not find any Bok choy but know it is from the cabbage family, so why not substitute a small head of green cabbage? It worked and looked just as good as the magazine picture. I made some other adjustments and tweaks. I love wild rice with chicken so I added half a cup of wild rice with the white rice. I discovered I should have simmered the wild rice in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes to soften up before adding to the recipe. I also put the chicken and marinade in the slow cooker on high heat for about an hour. I have learned the dark meat (thighs and legs) need extra time at low temps to be tender. By adding this step, the meat just fell off the bones.
Hoisin and marmalade chicken with Bok choy
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece) or 1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 chicken (4 pounds) cut into eight pieces
1 cup long grain white rice (or ½ cup white and ½ cup wild rice softened)
3 carrots, cut on an angle into ½-inch slices
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil
4 baby Bok choy, halved lengthwise (or cabbage)
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup orange marmalade
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the scallions, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the chicken and toss until coated. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature or put in slow cooker on high temp for an hour. Meanwhile, spread the rice on the prepared baking sheet. In a measuring cup, mix 2 ½ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt and pour over the rice. Bake the rice for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, toss the carrots with 2 teaspoons canola oil; season with salt. Stir the rice and smooth it into an even layer. Top with the carrots and chicken. Roast for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, add the Bok choy to the empty bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil; season with salt. In a small bowl, mix the hoisin and marmalade. Brush the chicken with half the hoisin and marmalade. Place the Bok choy, cut side down, on the rice. Roast for about 10 minutes. Brush the chicken with the remaining hoisin and marmalade. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breasts registers 160 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes more.
    Here is the perfect dessert to top off these main courses. It is so light and springy. It is also easy to make. Frozen berries work well too. You could probably even substitute blueberries for the raspberries. Even though it serves 18, Mark and I ate the whole pan. We will try and share next time.
Raspberry-lemon cheesecake bars
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups (12 ounces) raspberries, divided
1 tablespoon each zest and juice from 1 lemon
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
    Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-by-13 pan with foil or parchment paper with ends extending over sides. Combine graham crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar and butter; press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Reserve ½ cup raspberries and 1 teaspoon lemon zest for later use. Beat cream cheese, lemon juice, remaining zest and remaining sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gently stir in remaining raspberries; pour over crust. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate four hours. Top with reserved raspberries and lemon zest. Use foil handles to remove cheesecake from pan before cutting into bars.    
    Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minn. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at [email protected]


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