Lemon Quinoa and Chickpea Salad // @2souschefs

“My least favorite foods are olives, raw carrots, and raw celery, and Andi’s are quinoa, pineapple juice, and any type of melon. We all have our least favorite food quirks, but with these despised selections come new opportunities to make dishes that just may turn your least favorite foods into a beloved ingredient.

We first focused on quinoa. Quinoa is a grain that is high in protein, moderate in carbohydrates, and low in calories, thus earning it the moniker of a superfood. However, even with all the health benefits, Andi still does not wholeheartedly enjoy the slightly earthy taste and unique texture of the grain. The first task to tackle was the taste; lemon, shallots, and garlic were the ingredients that we added to boost the taste profile. Next we addressed the texture. When quinoa is cooked correctly it should be soft, but slightly al dente. When I cooked it as such, Andi loved it. I suspect that the other times she has eaten quinoa, it was under done.

This recipe will make enough for four as a side dish.

A microplane looks like a tool pulled out of a carpenters’ toolbox. In the kitchen it takes the work out of grating a variety of foods. They come in all shapes and sizes, but we recommend this one.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 0.5 cups quinoa

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 shallot – small diced

  • 2 clove garlic – minced

  • 1 lemon – zested

  • 1 12 ounce can chickpeas – drained

Directions

  1. Place a medium sized sauce pot with a lid over medium heat on the stove.

  2. Add two tablespoons of olive oil, followed by the shallots and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, or for about five minutes.

  3. Add the quinoa and water and bring to a boil.

  4. Cover the pot with the lid and turn the heat down to low.

  5. Allow the quinoa to cook for 15 minutes. It should be nearly dry once fully cooked.

  6. Remove the sauce pot from the heat.

  7. Add the lemon zest and chickpeas and season with salt and pepper.

  8. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients.

  9. Transfer the quinoa into a serving vessel.

Mustard Grilled Pork Chop // @2souschefs

“The unofficial start of summer has passed. Consequently, grills all over the nation have been fired up and ours was no exception. We wanted to take the traditional grilling of burgers and brats up a notch by upgrading to mustard marinated pork t-bone steaks. These steaks are revered by chefs and home cooks alike for having both tenderloin and a portion of the loin attached by a single ‘t’ shaped bone. Apples are not usually associated with late spring cooking but trust us, adding it to a spring cabbage (like a Napa cabbage) will take this dish to the next level. A bunch of fresh asparagus will offset the apples back into summer territory. This recipe will make enough for two for dinner.

You’ll hear us talk about organic olive oil often in our recipes. Aside from the heart benefits, the effects of hand-picked, cold pressed organic olive oil can be tasted in every dish you create. We love using it from everything from searing our salmon filets to using it in a dressing for a salad for lunch.” – Joe

Ingredients

For the Pork Chops:

  • 2 T-bone pork chops
  • 2 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon thyme – chopped
  • 2 tablespoon organic olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For the Napa Cabbage:

  • 0.5 head Napa cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 0.5 each yellow onion – medium diced
  • 1 each Golden Delicious apple – cored and medium diced

For the Asparagus:

  • 1 bunch asparagus – woody stemmed removed, cut in half
  • 2 each shallots – sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high.
  2. For the pork chops, mix the whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, thyme salt, pepper and oil in a bowl. Spread evenly on the pork chops and set aside to grill.
  3. Grill on the first side for about four minutes or until grill marks start to show on the pork.
  4. Flip and continue to cook for another four to six minutes for until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit or desired doneness.
  5. In a skillet over medium high heat, place the bacon in the pan and start to render out the fat.
  6. Once a small amount of bacon fat starts to form at the bottom of the pan, add the apple and bacon and continue to cook for three to four more minutes.
  7. Add the sliced Napa to the pan and continue to cook for two minutes or until the cabbage is fully cooked and soft.
  8. In a second skillet on medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and combine the asparagus and shallots. Cook the asparagus until soft and tender, about five to seven minutes.
  9. Place the asparagus down first, the Napa cabbage mix on top of the asparagus, then the pork on top to plate.

Thai Sweet Chili, Citrus, and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps // @2souschefs

“Last year Andi perfected a recipe for chicken taco lettuce cups. It is a dinner that has become so desired by myself that I ask for it at least once a week when we do our weekly dinner menu planning. After my latest attempt to get this into our weekly dinner menu was denied, I thought aloud, “What else can we wrap into lettuce cups?”

To which Andi replied, “Well, we have shrimp in the cooler.” That was the lightbulb moment.

We wanted to make the dish fresher and lighter to correspond with the warmer weather in the mountains, so we added fresh orange juice, cucumber, and avocado to the crisp iceberg lettuce cups. I would have to say, this dish will absolutely be making its way into our weekly dinner menu.

When working with iceberg lettuce and trying to make cups, the easiest way to make the perfect cup is to remove the core of the lettuce from the bottom then remove the leaves from the bottom. Some of the leaves will be larger, but you can tear them in half to make a perfect cup.

This recipe will make enough for two for dinner

We were given our first AllClad twelve inch sauté pan with a matching lid by a close friend when we were just but interns living in central California. It has served us well over the years and has cooked everything from braised chicken to seared shrimp. We love it and with a little care, it will last us an entire lifetime.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces shrimp – shell removed, de-veined

  • 6 leaves iceberg lettuce

  • 1 shallot – small diced

  • 1 green pepper – small diced

  • 0.5 cup Thai sweet chili sauce

  • 0.5 orange – juiced

  • 1 lime juiced

  • 0.5 cucumber – medium diced

  • 1 Roma tomato – medium diced

  • 1 avocado – medium diced

  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds – toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. In a twelve inch skillet on medium high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the shallots, pepper and shrimp.

  2. Continue to cook for two to three minutes or until the shrimp are almost completely cooked.

  3. Sprinkle with toasted white sesame seeds (optional).

  4. Add the juice of the orange and lime and add the chili sauce to the pan and bring to a boil.

  5. Remove the pan from the heat.

  6. Split the six lettuce cups between two plates.

  7. Split the shrimp in between the six lettuce cups.

  8. Layer the remaining ingredients among the cups and serve.

IPA Mustard Dip // @2souschefs

On a recent weekend, we were invited to a potluck party to celebrate four birthdays in the month of May. The main dishes and veggie sides were already spoken for by other guests, so we were asked to bring something along the lines of an hor d’ourves. Work and other commitments prevented us from pulling out all the stops and creating something off the wall but we were not going to bring a store bought fruit platter either.

I have been playing around with this recipe for some time now and thought it was the perfect time to unveil my IPA mustard dip. Beer, mustard, and pretzels have been a mainstay in bars and restaurants all across the nation for decades. There is a reason for it, the combination is delicious! Instead of enjoying a beer and eating a mustard-dipped pretzel, we wanted to add the beer to the mustard. Hazy or ‘juicy’ IPAs are the perfect match for this recipe, as the bright citrusy nose and piney taste adds a complex layer to the mustard. Other beers will work for this recipe; I just prefer IPAs. This recipe will make enough for an appetizer for a crowd of twenty.

Bigger is not always better. A twelve-inch sauté pan is great for searing a filet of salmon, but when you simply just want to sweat down a shallot it’s just too much space. Our AllClad eight-inch copper core sauté pan has come to save the more than once when a large pan is just too big.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 0.3 cup Dijon mustard

  • 0.3 cup whole grain mustard

  • 0.3 cup IPA

  • 1 shallot – very small diced

  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Directions

  1. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and shallots in a small sauté pan and lightly cook over medium heat for two minutes.

  2. Add the IPA and allow to reduce by half.

  3. Add both types of mustards and rosemary into a bowl.

  4. Add the shallot and beer mixture to the bowl and stir well to combine.

  5. Pour into an appropriately sized serving bowl and serve with your choice of pretzels.

Soft Shell Po Boy // @2souschefs

“As a traditional southern girl, I will say my favorite homemade condiment of them all is a decadent remoulade. I will put remoulade on anything and everything.

This recipe originated from my old sous chef from California and friend of ten years, Ken Naron. He, being from Mississippi as well, makes the best remoulade around. It is so good that it is shocking that he has not sold it off yet a la Skinny Girl cocktails. After tasting Kens”s remoulade, I was inspired to develop my own recipe. I am quite proud of it because it tastes nearly as good as Ken’s…almost.

Pairing wine with any type of Cajun food is tough. Do you go sweet to tackle the spice? Do you go acidic to counter the richness? Do you go red and freak everyone out? We love a slightly crisp, nearly dry Pinot Gris, particularly the Acrobat. Easy drinking with hints of peach and citrus, and enough body to hold up against any Cajun dish.” – Andi

Ingredients

For Sandwich:

  • 4 soft shell crabs

  • 3 tablespoons Cajun seasonings

  • ½ cup flour

  • 1 loaf French bread

  • 1 cup arugula and spinach mix

  • 4 to 8 slices of tomatoes

For Remoulade Sauce:

  • ¼ red onion – minced

  • ½ stalk of celery – minced

  • ½ red pepper – minced

  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced

  • 1 cup Dukes mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoons of ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 to 3 dashes of hot sauce

  • 2 tablespoon green onion sliced

Directions

For Crabs:

  1. Make a mix of flour, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.
  2. Dust the crab in the flour mix and shake off any excess.
  3. Put a pan on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan.
  4. Place soft shells gently in the oil.
  5. Sear for four minutes on one side or until brown.
  6. Flip the crabs and sear the next side for four minutes.
  7. Pull the crabs out of the pan and set on a paper towel.

For Remoulade:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Let the mixture marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

To Assemble:

  1. Cut the French bread in thick slices.
  2. Spread remoulade on both sides of the bread.
  3. Add the soft shell crab on the bread.
  4. Add a layer of arugula and spinach mix and sliced tomatoes.
  5. Top it with the other French bread piece.

Grilled MahiMahi with Herbed Grits and Grilled Corn // @2souschefs

The arrival of sunny spring days has me eyeing our gas grill. The thought of firing it up and laying plump green asparagus or the first of the years corn, then a nice juicy ribeye while enjoying a cocktail out on the deck brings a smile to my face.

The steak is going to have to take a back seat for this weeks recipe, because we found these absolutely beautiful mahimahi filets at our local specialty grocer. Mahi and other sport fish like swordfish or wahoo have large enough filets to cut nice steaks; however, since they are warm water carnivorous fish they have a higher chance of microorganisms and consequently, they need to be cooked well.

Stone ground grits from Anson Mills are a wonderful product, rich in taste and a wonderful texture that can hold their own while being paired with the grilled mahi. Adding herbs brings the grits to a whole different level. You can choose to add butter and cheese to them to make the grits more ‘southern’ but we thought it was fine without.

It is my opinion, it is too early in the season to appreciate corn, but we were far too impatient to wait for July to enjoy some corn. Simply seasoning the corn with salt, pepper, and olive oil and grilling will bolster the flavor of early ears of corn. 

Over the course of my culinary career I have melted more then a few spatulas. A lot of cheaper, run-of-the-mill spatulas claim to be heat resistant but melt and deform after one use. This fish style heat resistant spatula is great for flipping burger or fish on the grill or in a pan.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 2 – 6 ounce filets of MahiMahi
  • 0.25 cup Anson Mills grits
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon thyme – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 0.5 cup white cheddar – shredded (optional)
  • 2 ears corn – peeled, rubbed with olive oil and seasoned
  • 1.5 cup shiitake mushrooms – stem removed and sliced
  • 1.5 cup snap peas – tipped and tailed, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic – minced

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Rub the filet of Mahi with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring the water up to a boil in heavy bottomed pot. Once boiling, add the grits, salt, and pepper, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low.
  4. Cook for approximately an hour or until soft, add the herbs and the optional ingredients.
  5. Once the grill is hot, place the corn and fish (skin side down) on the grill and cook. Rotate the corn every minute or so until all sides are lightly charred.
  6. Flip the fish after about four minutes and cook for an additional four or until the fish is flaky and cooked through.
  7. Take the corn inside and cut it off the cob, and set aside.
  8. In a large skillet on medium high heat, add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic and mushrooms, roast the mushrooms until golden brown stirring occasionally, about five minutes.
  9. Add in the snap peas and cook for another four minutes. Add the corn and take the pan off the heat.
  10. Scoop a portion of grits into the bottom of a bowl, add a generous amount of the mushroom and corn sauté, then place the fish on top to plate.

Arugula and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thigh // @2souschefs

“When Andi and I are developing dish ideas for new menus, we try them out at our house before we present them to Chef for approval. To make sure we can execute it at the restaurant, we take the core concept of a new dish and adjust it as necessary. Often the dish is just too complex to effectively prepare for over two hundred guests in a night; however the creative process is a great way to keep things exciting in our own home kitchen.

This recipe is delicious and fun to make at home, but just not a dish we could see in a future menu for the restaurant. Arugula and goat cheese are delicious together; to stuff them inside chicken thighs makes a dish that looks like something from a Parisian café. With the addition of nouvelles pommes de terre violettes (new purple potatoes) and pois mange-tout (snap peas), you will be wanting to reach for a glass of Bordeaux while sitting on your terrace.

Eagle eyed readers may notice that anytime we slice, portion, or prepare any type of raw meat we use a plastic cutting board. This is for sanitary reasons. I love our wood cutting board; however, as a porous material, wood is not the best when bacteria is involved. Plastic cutting boards are versatile tools and very easy to clean with little risk of bad microbes sticking around.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 cup packed arugula

  • 4 ounces goat cheese

  • 2 spring onions – bulb cut in half, green and white separated and sliced

  • 5 new purple potatoes – sliced

  • 8 ounces snap peas – tipped, tailed, and cut in half

  • 12 toothpicks

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Lay the chicken thighs skinless side down, on a plastic cutting board and season with salt, pepper, and any poultry seasoning you like.

  3. Evenly distribute the arugula and goat cheese between all the thighs.

  4. Roll the thighs burrito style and skewer with the toothpicks.

  5. In a large skillet on medium high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil.

  6. Once the oil is hot, add the thighs to the pan skinless side down first and sear for four to five minutes.

  7. Flip the thighs and place the pan in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes for until the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

  8. In a medium sized skillet, add two tablespoons of olive oil and set to medium high heat.

  9. Once hot add the sliced potatoes and sliced spring onion bulb.

  10. Continue to roast for about five minutes or until the potatoes start to turn golden brown. Place the pan in the oven and cook for another eight minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.

  11. Once cooked add the sliced whites of the spring onions and season with salt and pepper.

  12. In a third medium sized skillet, place on medium heat and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the snap peas and sauté for five minutes, stirring regularly.

  13. Once cooked the onions will still have a small amount of ‘crunch’ to them. If the peas start to caramelize add splash of water.

  14. Add the greens of the spring onion and season with salt and pepper.

  15. To plate the dish: place a spoonful of snap peas on the bottom of the plate, stack the roasted new potatoes on top of the peas, and place two halves of the roasted spring onion on either side of the peas. Place the chicken thighs on top of the potatoes.

Caramelized Shallots and Strawberry Salad with Spinach, Bacon, and Toasted Almonds // @2souschefs

“This past weekend we were set to task to come up with ideas for dishes for a blogger who had just went strawberry picking. The picking of the sweet berries was the easy part; the big question looming is what to do with the spoils of the harvest. The two recipes we were inspired to create are a strawberry and white balsamic vinaigrette to go along with a caramelized shallot and strawberry salad with spinach, bacon, and toasted almonds.

Strawberries, bacon, and spinach salads have graced restaurant menus time and time again and as such we were hesitant to present this, as some may say, tired idea. However, the more Andi and I discussed this idea of “cliché salads,” the more we discovered there is a reason people love Caesar salads, wedge salads, and even spinach, bacon, and strawberry salads: they simply taste amazing. A strawberry vinaigrette underscores the wonder that is this salad combination. The addition of white balsamic vinegar, caramelized shallots, and toasted almonds sounded too good not to add to the dish. This recipe will serve two as dinner.

Blenders are vital to any professional or home kitchen, from mixing the salad dressing in this recipe to pureeing soups to crushing ice for the next round of margaritas. While our current rental came fully furnished, we brought some of our personal tools we deemed necessary for our cooking style. One necessary item is our KitchenAid blender.” – Joe

For the Strawberry and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 pint strawberries – stems removed and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 0.25 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 0.5 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Place the strawberries and agave in a one-quart sauce pot and place on medium-low heat.
  2. Cook the mixture for about ten minutes, stirring regularly, until the berries are completely soft.
  3. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
  4. In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and a quarter cup of the strawberry puree.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Spinach Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pint strawberries – stems removed and quartered
  • 4 strips bacon – cut into half inch pieces
  • 3 medium sized shallots – papery skin removed, cut into round slices
  • 0.25 cups almonds – toasted
  • 2 to 3 cups spinach – washed and dried

Directions

  1. Place the bacon into a skillet on medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Discard almost all the rendered bacon fat, leaving some in the pan, add the shallots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly caramelized.
  4. Remove shallots from the pan and place on the same paper towel lined plate as the bacon.
  5. Place the spinach at the bottom of the serving bowl and top with the quartered strawberries, bacon, caramelized shallots, and toasted almonds.
  6. Drizzle the vinaigrette atop the salad or serve on the side.

Tricked Out Chicken Burger // @2souschefs

“The inspiration for this recipe an unexpected source. I saw Chef making a special course of beef tartar for a guest that was celebrating a birthday. Lucky for Joe and I, he happened to have to leftover tartar patties. Joe grilled them off and we ate them for staff meal. They were perfectly seasoned and moist enough that you didn’t need to put anything on them. That is when I had a lightbulb momement.

I wanted to make perfect chicken burgers with all the things I love to put of a hamburger (pickles, ketchup, mustard, onions). As I expected, they turned out great, albeit larger. Learn from my mistake and make smaller patties.

A few notes from our kitchen:

  • I originally made two massive chicken burgers; however, they were just too big. I do believe it would be way better if you form the mixture into four burger patties.
  • The chicken should hit an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Always test any chicken you are cooking with a meat thermometer. We don’t need anyone getting salmonella!
  • For the burger garnish, I went with the tried and true guacamole recipe (as written about here). Add some crispy thick cut bacon and spicy arugula and spinach mix to round out an awesome tasting burger. 

A proper glass of wine goes great with any meal. The right style of glass will make the wine! Joe bought us a set of Luigi Bormioli’s Atelier Collection Wine Glasses and they go great with any varietal. The glass was designed specifically for Merlot; however if you are willing to bend the rules a bit you can pour any varietal and still get all of the  characteristics that your favorite wine has to offer with a stylish and modern angular look.” – Andi

Ingredients

For the burger patty:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced dill pickle
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • I/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 splashes of Worstershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (I like the Webster’s ‘Kicking Chicken’ seasoning)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumb
  1. Preheat the oven to 350* Fahrenheit.
  2. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Form burger patties using approximately one cup of the mixture and set aside.
  4. Put a large sauté pan on the stove on medium high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
  5. Place the patties carefully into the hot oil and sear the patties until brown on one side, about six minutes.
  6. Carefully flip the patties. Sear the patties on the other side for three minutes.
  7. Place the pan in the oven to cook the patties all the way through or about ten minutes.
  8. Once the chicken hits 160 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the oven.

For the garnish:

  • 4 strips bacon
  • 4 tablespoons guacamole
  • 2 cups spinach and arugula mix
  • 2 whole wheat buns
  1. Cook the bacon to the desired crispiness.
  2. Spread two tablespoons of guacamole on the bottom bun.
  3. On the bottom guacamole-clad bun, layer the chicken burger patty, two strips of bacon, one cup of the spinach and arugula mix, and the top bun. Repeat for the second burger.

Brunch at the Houstons’ // @2souschefs

“Brunch is easily our favorite meal to go out to eat and explore new restaurants in the local dining scene. However, we also like to stay in and make brunch for ourselves. When we do not feel like venturing into public on Sunday, we split the cooking duties and collaborate on a delicious biscuit breakfast sandwich with roasted red bliss potatoes and fresh berries.

We will not judge if your biscuit preference is Bisquik, but we enjoy making them from scratch. New red bliss potatoes are just now making their way onto market shelves along with spring onions. Naturally the two spring ingredients make a perfect flavor match. If spring onions (onions that have yet to form the brown papery skin and still have their green stalks still attached) are not available in your area, scallions can easily be substituted. This recipe will make enough for two to enjoy, with enough biscuits to serve four. Alternatively, they can be frozen in Ziplock bags.

When dealing with eggs or searing fish, having a quality non-stick Teflon pan is essential in any kitchen. As we have stated before, go with one that is stainless steel. Aluminum just cannot keep up with stainless steel, as the former has a tendency of producing hot spots while cooking and have a high likelihood of warping.” – Joe

 

Ingredients & Directions

For the Biscuits:

  • 1 pound flour – sifted
  • 0.25 ounce salt
  • 1 ounce sugar
  • 0.75 ounce baking powder
  • 5 ounces butter – room temperature
  • 11 ounces buttermilk
  1. Preheat over at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients for the biscuits in a bowl and crumble in the room temp butter with your hands until the pieces of butter are approximately the size of peas.
  3. Mix in the buttermilk until fully incorporated. Add more flour if needed.
  4. On a table spread out some flour and roll out the dough to ¾ inch.
  5. Punch out with a ring mold and place on a cookie sheet
  6. Bake and baste with butter every five minutes for twenty minutes.

For the Fruit:

  • 1 package raspberries – washed
  • 1 package blueberries – washed
  • 1 package strawberries – washed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and allow to sit for one hour before serving.

For the Potatoes:

  • 4 medium sized new red bliss potatoes – medium diced
  • 1 spring onion – trimmed of any brown leaves, sliced
  • 1 medium shallot – very small dice
  • 2 clove garlic – minced
  1. Place a medium sauté pan with olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add the potatoes and allow to brown all sides, or for about five minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook for another five minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to rest.

Spring Salad with Young Beets, Haricot Vert, and Goat Cheese // @2souschefs

“The spring equinox may have come and gone, but Mother Nature still has the majority of the country thinking the warmer weather is still be months away; however, the longer days have us chomping at the bit for spring ingredients. Very soon restaurant menus will be filled with dishes containing ramps, morels, fava beans, and a wide array of fresh produce. There may still be some time before this transition happens in full force but you will start to notice the first signs of spring vegetables in the local groceres. Delicate spring lettuces, tender yet spicy radishes, and even a few types of French green beans are popping up on store shelves. The aforementioned produce are the perfect ingredients to assemble an early spring salad with rich goat cheese crostini. Green beans, or haricot vert if you want to sound fancy, are typically considered a summer ingredient, but some specimens sprout early enough for people to enjoy as early as now.

Young golden beets are rich and earthy, the perfect counterpoint to the bright homemade vinaigrette, but take a considerable amount of time to cook. A piece of advice for the young beets: trim the greens off and cook them early, once cooked they may be peeled, chilled, sliced, and stored until the remainder of the salad is complete. In kitchen talk, to ‘blanch’ a vegetable is to cook the ingredient in salted water, then quickly place the ingredient in ice water to abruptly stop the cooking process, thus preserving the nutrients and color of the vegetable.

This recipe will make enough for entrées for two people.

Everyone needs a set of stainless-steel bowls in their own kitchen. We bought our first set of three bowls when we first moved to the west coast. We have since added two bowls to the set, but the original three bowls are still in rotation. When picking out your set look for one that can be stacked within each other to save cabinet space.” – Joe

For the Goat Cheese Crostini:

  • 4 ounces goat cheese – fresh, left out at room temp for one hour
  • 2 tablespoon chives – sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons shallots – diced very small
  • 2 small clove garlic – minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Slap Ya Momma chili powder
  • 8 slices French bread
  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the goat cheese, except for the bread, in a bowl.
  2. Spread the mixture on the bread slices and toast in the oven on the broil setting.
  3. Set aside

For the Homemade Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon chives – sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon shallots – diced very small
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  1. Place all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.

For the salad:

  • 2 cups fresh spring mix lettuce
  • 1 cup green beans – trimmed cut in half and blanched
  • 2-4 young beets – cooked, peeled and sliced
  • 3 radishes – washed and thinly sliced
  1. Place the beets in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil for about one hour or until it is easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Drain, cool slightly, and peel beets while warm.
  4. Split the greens into two bowls and toss with the homemade dressing,
  5. Split remaining garnishes between the two bowls.

Peanut Chicken with Soba Noodles // @2souschefs

“Growing up in Vermont, the local restaurant scene was limited. We had a single pizzeria run by a local Greek family, a single Chinese restaurant, and a handful of locally owned moderately priced Americana restaurants. Classing it up meant driving for just over an hour to the nearest Olive Garden. Because of the lack of dining options, I have vivid memories of trying all the different types of cuisines of which I did not have previous access. I can tell you that the first meal I had at an Indian restaurant was a rich goat curry with my first taste of a mango lassi in the heart Fresno, California. The first time I had pad Thai was we had traveled to San Diego’s Gaslamp District. We were just interns living in Vero Beach, Florida the first time I had an authentic Cubano.

One of our favorite things to do is take a dish and put a spin on it. Adding an ingredient to dish that evokes a memory of a specific time in our lives or of a location we once lived is a game we play. This dish of peanut chicken with soba noodles is a mash up of different cultures, but it brings us back to the time we spent in the foothills of the Sierras. The green vegetables add a complexity to the dish and the lime juice lightens it against the peanut butter’s richness.

What you plate your food with is just about as important as what you put into the dish itself. Our cupboards are filled with all sorts of shapes and sizes of plates, bowls, and serving platters collected over a lifetime of traveling and eating. Coupes bowls and plates are not only beautiful but exceptionally functional. They force your attention to the center of the plate and focus on the food.” – Joe

 

Ingredients

  • 0.5 head Napa cabbage – sliced thin
  • 1 medium crown of broccoli – florets removed and stem chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini – cut in half and sliced
  • 0.5 yellow onion – sliced thin
  • 1 pound skinless chicken breast – fat trimmed off and sliced
  • 1 bundle sobas noodles
  • 0.5 cups cashews

For the peanut sauce:

  • 2 clove garlic – minced
  • 0.5 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoon Tamari
  • 1 lime – zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

Directions

  1. Set a medium sized pot of salted water on to boil.
  2. Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium high on a second burner. Once hot add the chicken and brown on all sides and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the chicken to a plate lined with paper towel.
  4. Add in all the vegetables and cook until the broccoli is tender or for about four minutes.
  5. In a small bowl add all the ingredients to the sauce and mix well to combine.
  6. Add the soba noodles to the boiling water and cook as until tender or for about three minutes. Drain, toss the noodles with olive oil, and set aside.
  7. To the skillet, add the chicken and the peanut sauce. Stir to combine well.
  8. To plate, add the noodles first, a generous helping of chicken and vegetables, and garnish with cashews.