mustard green gratin (and mashed potatoes)

I made Alton Brown’s mustard green gratin last night. I saw his show on greens yesterday and it made me feel guilty about eating so many non-veggies lately. I figured greens would redeem me.

I made a few substitutions. I used low-fat ricotta rather than regular, egg beaters rather than whole eggs, and corn flakes rather than crackers on top. But same basic idea.

First, on the show, he makes it seem very easy to chop and wash the greens. Since the recipe calls for a pound of greens after destemming, that’s a lot of chopping and washing and rinsing. I used three big bunches. It took a while. He suggests putting the greens in a pillow case and then tossing that in your washing machine’s spin cycle for a few minutes to dry everything, but I just put handfuls in paper towel and squeezed. My washing machine was occupied with laundry.

After all that work, I started to remember that I don’t really like mustard greens. Kale, chard, yes; mustard greens? Not so much. But after all that work, I figured I should see it through.

I made some mashed potatoes to go along with it. I just peeled and cubed some yukon golds, boiled them until tender, then used a potato masher to mash them with a little low-fat butter, low-fat buttermilk, and fat-free sour cream. (I melted that all together in the microwave first.) I tossed in a little salt and pepper and some chopped chives. I meant to add roasted garlic also. But I had some issues. I didn’t want to wait the hour or so roasting garlic normally takes, so I separated the head into cloves. I baked it at 450 for maybe a half hour. That’s way too long. They came out hard as rocks. So, I don’t really recommend that part.

Anyway, once it all was done, I tasted it and sure enough, the greens were a little too bitter for me. What to do… I looked in the pantry for inspiration and spotted the molasses. I drizzled a little on top of the greens and suddenly, I had a delicious gratin! So, if you want to make this, but fear the mustard greens will be too bitter, maybe add some molasses or other sweetener in with the ricotta mixture. It makes a lot of difference.

A blurry picture:

spinach and chickpea salad

This salad was really good. Exactly what I was wanting to make. And seriously easy. I based it off of Rachel Ray’s recipe and then changed it up a bit.

1 bag baby spinach
1 can chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 small tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced

I tossed all that together and then mixed together a quick dressing of:

juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl water

I poured the dressing over the salad and then added a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. It probably makes 4 servings, or 2 servings for a standalone lunch.

kobe beef burgers

Last night, we grilled Kobe beef burgers that P. picked up at Exotic Meats. I think it was the best burger I’ve ever had. We first tried Waygu beef fairly recently, although this was our first encounter with Waygu from Kobe.

I knew the burgers would be good, but I didn’t know they would really be that much better than the burgers we normally make. We generally grind the beef ourselves and grill it up. Lately, we’ve been using beefalo since it’s so much lower in fat than beef. But Kobe has half the saturated fat of regular beef, so although it may not be as healthful as beefalo, it’s still a good choice.

P. asked me, “is it worth $12 a pound?” Um, yes, I think it is. We had ours on toasted buns, with lettuce, red onion, tomato, and slices of avocado I had brought back from California. I put some delicious aged white cheddar on mine.

I think we as well give up our quest to find the best burgers in Bellevue and just stick with these.

Giada De Laurentiis book signing at Pike Place Market

P. and I were wandering around Pike Place Market last weekend and we popped into Sur La Table. Turns out, Giada De Laurentiis is going to be there for a book signing on April 12th from 12-2pm. She has a new book out (called, not surprisingly, Everyday Italian). They had plenty at the store when we were there, but the flyer I picked up notes that you can call and reserve a copy (206-448-2244). I imagine they might sell out at the signing.

If it’s anything like the Alton Brown book signing at Elliot Bay Bookstore, it’ll be a good idea to get there early.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I’m going to be in town that day. Hopefully, I will be. There’s not much room in that store though. I bet it’ll be crazy.