Monday, January 30, 2012

Demo Day - Creamy Kale & Artichoke Dip

Kale has been growing in full strength this season, and members of Urban Oasis have been lucky enough to get a bit each week. Yet, I still hear the question "What can else I do with kale?"  The truth is, you can get tired of the same old thing all the time, so I set out each growing week to come up with something different to put on your plate.  As I slowly walk though the rows of kale, recipes swim wildly in my mind.  Eventually, I settle on an idea - A dip - and just in time for the Super Bowl! 

We go to gatherings, hang out in bars or just end up on the couch somewhere to watch the big game. Regardless of where we find ourselves, there's usually some form of junk food around. I'm betting a healthier option, like the one here - served with fresh Urban Oasis broccoli or carrots, might make you feel a little better while you're drinking that extra beer.  

Creamy Kale & Artichoke Dip
by Chef John N Carminati

6 mustard green leaves, stems removed
6 kale leaves, stems removed
6 artichoke hearts
2 medium radishes
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup, equal parts parsley & cilantro
8 oz block cream cheese, room temperature
lemon juice
olive oil
salt to taste

  1. Blanch and shock kale and mustard greens, squeeze out all liquid.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except cream cheese, to blender or food processor and blend until combined.
  3. Add cream cheese and blend.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beef & Cabbage

As I sit here typing up tonight's dinner recipe, I noticed this would make two posts about cabbage in a  row - and I'm perfectly ok with that.  Farming is seasonal work.  I know these cabbages will only be around for a short while, and I'm taking full advantage!  As consumers, we're used to heading on over to the grocery store, at any time of year, and find pretty much every type of produce imaginable.  We forget, winter produce like cabbage shouldn't be readily available all year long - and especially not in the middle of the hot Florida summer!

Beef & Cabbage
by Chef John N Carminati

Cabbage Mix
1 white onion, sliced thick Julianne
1 medium cabbage, chopped
1 bok choy bottom, chopped (separate from leaves)
1/2 cup scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
salt to taste

Beef & Marinade
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
2 generous pinches Kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp hot sauce
3/4 - 1 lb thinly sliced beef

  1. In a medium bowl, combine beef marinade ingredients.  Add beef slices, and let marinate. 
  2. In oiled saute pan, sweat onions until translucent and slightly caramelized.
  3. Add cabbage, bok choy and butter to the pan and cover.
  4. Stir every so often.  When bok choy and cabbage are tender, remove pan from heat and keep covered.
  5. In a hot pan, sear the beef until cooked through.
  6. Fold scallions into cabbage and add salt to taste.
  7. Serve beef over cabbage

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Demo Day - Bacon & Cabbage

Bacon & Cabbage
by Chef John N Carminati


3 strips of your favorite bacon, sliced thick Julianne
1 medium cabbage diced
1 medium bok choy diced, separate top from bottom
½ bunch chopped mustard greens


  1. In a large saute pan, over medium high heat, render out bacon until it starts to crisp up.
  2. Add in cabbage and cover for about 10 to 15 minutes, mixing often.
  3. Add the bok choy bottoms then cover again for about 5 min.
  4. Add mustard greens and bok choy tops, wait 5-7 min longer and taste.

This was a very simple dish to cook, one you can come back to every so often while you’re working on other things in the kitchen. The best part of this dish (aside from its amazing flavors) is you only need four ingredients. The bacon was just salty enough, and gave off just the right amount of fat to help steam out the cabbage and wilt down the mustard greens to our desired consistency.

I wanted to use mustard greens so much in this dish to prove they’re not as scary as most people think. In fact, mustard greens are off-the-charts high in nutrition and so flavorful - once you bite into them, you definitely know you’re eating a mustard.  Please don’t be afraid of the unknown.  Lessons are learned though trial and error.  You’ll never know if you don’t like something until it’s on your plate.

Keep in mind, and I’ve said this many times before, recipes are always open to interpretation by the one behind the knife.  In your kitchen, you are the chef. There are times during my demos or at home, cooking for my girlfriend, when something in a recipe just doesn’t feel right for the moment.  Change it up a little, and the dish will take on a life of its own.

Food is good.

Parsley & Tomato Salad

At Urban Oasis, we have many different varietals of tomatoes.  Varying in size, color, sweetness and acidity, these different characteristics all play a large part in food paring.  I really wanted to showcase the quality of the farm’s fresh vegetables, so I chose a simple lemon juice dressing. Bringing in the green flavor of celery leaves and the earthiness of parsley gives this salad just what it needs to hold its own on any fine dining room table.

This tomato season has had its ups and downs.  The plants put up a fight early on, but due to farmer Dave’s amazing knowledge and skill, we ended up growing more than we ever hoped for.

Thanks, Dave!
During the demo, I wanted to show these tomatoes off a bit.  Not because I happen to work out there (and think they’re the best ever),  but because I love food. I also love sharing my passion with others, and this was one way to do just that.

Parsley & Tomato Salad

by Chef John N Carminati


1 1/2 cup halved tomatoes
1 cup packed picked parsley leaves
1/2 cup celery leaves
Juice from one large lemon, roughly 5 tbsp
2 1/2 tbsp walnut oil
Red onion, julienned
8 nasturtium leaves chiffonade and chopped stems
Salt to taste

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add tomatoes, onions, nasturtium stems and lemon juice.  Let the flavors marry together a few minutes.
  2. Add nasturtium leaves, oil & salt.  Toss together and serve.  
  3. Garnish with nasturtium flowers.