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COOK OF THE WEEK - WENDY LENSING

Favorite menus for this week’s cook, Wendy Lensing, include lots of summer vegetables and anything on the grill; and her recipes reflect that. Wendy grew up in Iowa and Pennsylvania and is the Executive Director of the Iowa Firefighters Association. She and her husband, Dave, moved to Humboldt in 2006 from Vinton. Dave, a Minnesota native, is the Energy Center Manager for Corn LP.
Wendy and Dave have been married for 18 years and are the parents of three children and the grandparents of six. They attend Zion Lutheran and St. Mary’s Churches. Besides cooking, Wendy enjoys gardening and bicycling and is a member of Master Gardeners. Dave also enjoys gardening and bicycling.
Wendy says, “We grow lots of vegetables in our gardens. In the summer I love to cook with fresh vegetables. One of our new healthy favorites is kale.”

Green Beans and Kale
3 strips bacon or bacon bits
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1-1/2 pounds green beans,
trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black
pepper
1/4 cup white wine (I use
chardonnay)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
(or to taste)
1/2 pound kale, rinsed, stemmed
and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely grated
Parmesan
If using bacon, fry until crisp. Set aside and when cool crumble into bacon bits. Drain excess bacon grease from pan and add olive oil. Warm over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add green beans, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until green beans are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, kale and bacon bits and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, about 4-5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Kale-Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing
For dressing:
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
For coleslaw:
1 pound flat-leaf kale
2 medium apples (I like to use
Braeburn)
Place vinegar, honey, mustard, poppy seeds and salt in bowl. Season with pepper and whisk to combine. While whisking constantly, slowly add the oil until all of it is incorporated. Add the onion, stir to combine.
Wash and dry the kale. Cut out and discard tough stems. Arrange leaves into stacks and slice crosswise into 1/4” ribbons. Add to the bowl with the dressing. Core the apples and cut into 1-1/2” long matchsticks and add to the bowl. Toss to combine. Let the coleslaw sit for at least 15 minutes at room temperature or a day in the fridge to let the flavors meld. Toss again before serving.

Pico De Gallo
10 large tomatoes (chopped)
5-8 Roma tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2-3 jalapeno peppers (chopped)
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
Cilantro to taste
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons black pepper (or
to taste)
Mix in large container and let sit in the fridge for 1-2 days, stirring occasionally

Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup
4 cups diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1
tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil or 1/4
cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil and bay leaf to a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup of hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back in to slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Add additional basil and oregano if needed to taste. Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Sautéed Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
(divided)
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup water (or white wine)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1-1/2 cups halved cherry
tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
to taste
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans and cook, stirring often, until seared in spots, 2-3 minutes. Add water, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes for tender-crisp or 5 minutes to tender. Push the green beans to the side. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, stir everything together and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper.

Bacon Brussel Sprouts with Brown Butter Vinaigrette
1-1/2 pounds brussel sprouts,
bottom trimmed, cut in half
4 slices bacon
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus
more to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Several tablespoons of fresh
thyme and/or parsley for
garnish
Sea salt to taste
In a wide pot or sauté pan with a lid, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and let cool and then chop into bits. Pour bacon grease into bowl. Add olive oil or melted butter to total 4 tablespoons.
In same pan used to cook bacon add back 1/2 the fat and warm over medium heat. Add the shallot to the pan and arrange half the brussel sprouts (or as many as you can fit in the pan in one layer) by setting them flat side down.
Put lid on and cook the sprouts 5-8 minutes. Texture should be slightly crisp but tender (not mushy). They should be deeply browned on one side. Take the lid off and stir, scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of pan. Sauté a few minutes and then spoon into serving bowl.
Cook remaining sprouts the same way: add about 2 tablespoons bacon grease/olive oil/melted butter to the pan, set sprouts in pan in one layer flat side down put lid on and cook at least 5 minutes before removing the lid and sautéing a few more minutes.
While second batch is cooking put the lemon juice in a small bowl. Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a pan until it turns golden brown. (Butter moves from browned to burned quickly so watch carefully.) When golden brown remove from heat and pour into the bowl with the lemon juice. Whisk together with a pinch of sea salt.
Pour over the Brussel sprouts and top with bacon bits and herbs. Add more lemon juice and sea salt to taste.

Poblano Potato Salad
2 pounds baby red or new
potatoes, cut into 1/2 - 1”
pieces
3 ears fresh corn, husks and silks
removed
2 Poblano chilies, charred,
peeled, stemmed, seeded and
chopped**
(I also add a jalapeno, done the
same way, for a little more
heat)
1 cup chopped scallions (white
and pale green parts only)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
leaves
Salt and freshly ground black
pepper
Put potatoes in a large pot and add salted water to cover. Bring to boil over medium heat and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, 20-25 minutes. Drain potatoes and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Add the corn to the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Put the potatoes in a large serving bowl. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the kernels off the cobs and add them to the bowl. Add the Poblano chilies, scallions, sour cream, mayonnaise and cilantro and fold together. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
**To char the chilies put over a gas flame or underneath a broiler and cook until blackened on all sides. Enclose in a plastic bag and let stand 10 minutes to steam, which makes them easier to peel. Peel, stem and seed the chilies. Once peeled they can be chopped, sliced or stuffed.

Apple Caramel Bars
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/3 cups oil
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts
3-3-1/2 cups diced apples
Cream the sugar and eggs together. Add oil. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Spread onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Bring sugar, margarine and milk to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Stir in nuts and drizzle over warm apple bars.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.