Thursday, December 30, 2010

Homemade Salsa (in winter)

During the winter I sincerely miss the fresh salsa from the summer, especially with garden fresh, heirloom tomatoes. Excuse me while I drool. But storebought just doesn't come close.

Taking a que from the Pioneer Woman, I looked into my cabinet to make my own salsa. I made a much smaller batch, and mine is probably mostly different from hers, at least enough to call it my own recipe. I often look up recipes for a basic outline of ingredients and measurements, then go for it on my own. Only with cooking though, I tried that with baking and it just doesn't work very well.

Homemade Salsa

1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can rotel diced tomatoes with habaneros (the hubs likes it spicy- feel free to use one of their milder versions)
1/4 of a medium to small sized onion
1 small clove of garlic
4 cubes frozen cilantro (in frozen foods section at trader joes- wonderful!) or 2 T fresh, chopped
2 T lime juice
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t cumin
Dice up the onions and add to a blender, crushing the garlic into it as well. Drain the tomatoes of most of the juices, then add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, blend until desired consistency. (I don't like chunky salsa, so this turns out great!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recipe Organization

I took some time today to organize my recipes and I am working on another page organized by season. Take a look! Any other thoughts? I have some time on my hands as of late since I finished my degree work, and would love to spruce this thing up! Not to mention do more posts...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pear Jam

My first attempt at making any kind of preserves. It went, well, ok. They turned out goopy despite my best efforts to follow the recipe and added cooking time. I am convinced it is the recipe's error (insert humility here).

I began getting Food and Wine Magazine for free a few months back through a survey website I participate in. Their selections for free magazines was less than appealing, but better than their other offers, so I ordered Food and Wine for myself (funny because we don't drink wine at all), and Men's Fitness or something like that for the hubs. I get food (often not figure enhancing food) and he gets fitness (filled with supplement and gross pre-packaged food advertisements). I must say though, that the recipes in Food and Wine are marvelous, and I, the vegetarian, can often find quite pleasing recipes within that I am willing to try out. Next up on the que: yellow split-pea daal. Most likely tonight.

Back to the jam...the recipe is here for those of you interested in trying it out.

This was my first try and tester time so that when I give it as a gift I can be sure of it's goodness. Overall, the flavor was fabulous! and was enough to convince me to try it again.
I did use vanilla bean instead of cardamom, and will likely use 2 when I make my real batch next week. I love that this jam does not need to go through the canning process and says it can be good for up to 2 months if stored in the fridge.

This will *hopefully* be Christmas presents for some family friends this year. I bought some lovely jars from the grocery store to give them, and will likely wrap it in a cute ribbon. I will post photos once that day arrives, and if I can get the jam to be a more jam-like consistency.
So, the verdict: make some biscuits and try this one out!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Brussel Sprouts Throw Down

Last week I got in the mood to try brussel sprouts again. I have had them once, many years ago, and didn't think they were that bad. The hubs on the other hand, thinks they are dreadful. I bought a bag of fresh ones from Trader Joe's since they had none on the stalk, and brought them home with the intention of using Heidi from 101 cookbooks recipe in which she claims even the utmost of brussel sprout hater would like.

While in the kitchen prepping the brussel sprouts, the hubs came in to get a glass of water and noticed me halving the sprouts. This sight was proceeded by various complaints about how gross they were and something reminiscent of Ralphie's little brother's complaints in A Christmas Story, "Meatloaf, shmeatloaf, double beatloaf, I HATE meatloaf." I promised him that he would like them. Now, the hubs doesn't not like much, in fact, sitting here, I can't think of something he really doesn't like. Even on nights when I try a new recipe and it is so bad that I throw it away, he often finishes it off not to be wasteful. But brussel sprouts, watch out!

The golden crusted brussel sprouts were a hit. He loved them. And they were really easy. And the carmelized tofu I made with them was equally delicious, as well as the simple butternut squash and apple soup from Tasty Kitchen.

Last night, I made Bobby Flay's brussel sprouts from the Throwdown he did with Ree from The Pioneer Woman. I am glad she kicked his butt (sorry if you haven't seen it yet). But the hubs, after trying Heidi's sprouts, has since been asking for them, and really wanted to try Bobby's (yes, he watched Throwdown with me!).
So, last night, I trekked around trying to find pomegranate molasses and ended up buying a pomegranate juice blend and boiling it down. It never really boiled down, and after 1 hour and some change, I gave up. I made the vanilla pecan butter using up my last precious vanilla bean. Then I de-seeded my pomegranate in a bowl of water. And I sliced the sprouts off the stalk, sliced them in half, and baked them up with some carrots and tofu to round out the meal.

Throwdown results?

Heidi kicked butt. Bobby's were way more work than they were worth, and too buttery (even with only using half of the vanilla pecan butter). In addition, the overall total price of Bobby's sprouts was ridiculous. Pomegranate juice, vanilla bean, pecans, you get the point. Yet, for a special occasion like Thanksgiving, ok, perhaps. I still think Heidi's tasted better anyway.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Produce Shopping in the Winter

Sadly, the produce boxes have stopped flowing. Last week was our last week, and the box was still quite abundant with greens and squash and such. I have been brewing over how to produce shop this winter while my share is no more, though one plan I certainly have is to stop by Red Hill to purchase some crops available to members during the winter. After that, I hope to make it out to Gentille's to buy whatever is in season, local, and at the cheapest rate. This way, I can still keep up with a similar menu planning style instead of reverting back to my, "Whatever I feel like eating," habits. I will continue to try to eat seasonally and locally, building my menus around those foci instead of my own whims and pleasures. Slowly, I think this way is becoming more fun and healthier. Though I must admit that my meals this past week have been carb-loaded and veggie-less. I did make a carmelized tofu with brussel sprouts and a butternut squash soup one night though, yum. Post to follow on that. I have realized how without the box, I depend more on my pantry, no good! I intend on making my meals at least 1/2 a plate of veggies, and use less dairy. We shall see how that goes!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best Collard Greens Ever

I have never had collard greens until probably last year. I love them! Well, at least I love these ones. They have 4 ingredients and couldn't be simpler. I could probably just eat these for dinner and be completely satisfied, for a while at least.

With our last box being this week, I will try to post mostly seasonal veggies and my quest to find affordable and local veggies continues this winter.

Printer Friendly Version

Be on the lookout this week for another commonly disliked veggie: brussel sprouts. Even the hubs who whined and complained while I was cooking them liked them!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chili Verde

Once again, having way too many green tomatoes for comfort (and after not exactly loving the fried ones), I sought after an alternative for my green tomatoes. I thought about doing a salsa verde, and then moved on to the idea of a green chili. After scouring the cooking websites for a veg friendly green chili, I found there were none, at least none that I could find. So, I took what little cooking saavy I had, looked at a bunch of non-veg recipes, and created my own.
This recipe is a bit ad-hoc, which is really how I cook. Sometimes this leaves me in a lurch, but this time it turned out rather well. It was a shame there wasn't more leftovers though. I do however have additional salsa verde in the freezer to use.
**Note on the recipe**
* the salsa verde makes about 4 cups, use 2 and freeze the rest.
*I did not count/measure how many tomatoes I used as they were all different sizes and when they come from the farm, I have no weight measurement. I used a large baking sheet and simply filled it to the brims.
Chili Verde (printable recipe)
1 t oregano 1/2 t smoky paprika 1 t cumin 2 t garlic powder 16 oz veg broth 2 c salsa verde (see below) 1 can green chilies 2 T flour 2 T oil 4 quorn chicken breasts
4 T cilantro, chopped
2 T lime juice Cook quorn chicken breasts according to directions. Heat oil in a pan and add flour, making a roux. Slowly add vegetable broth. Then add spices, green chilies, and salsa verde, mixing in cilantro and lime juice right before serving . Shred chicken once cooked through and add to the chili. Top with sour cream if desired. Salsa Verde 1/2 vadalia onion 2 cloves garlic 2 poblanos 4 green peppers green tomatoes to fill pan (2-3 pounds)
2 T olive oil salt pepper place all ingredients on a large baking tray, toss with olive oil, and roast at 375 for 45 minutes. Blend together after letting cool slightly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup

With our first pumpkin of the season, I made 101 Cookbook's Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup, and it was might tasty. I could go for adding a bit more salt to the recipe, but I may not have measured exactly the first time (or maybe i just shook in salt without measuring at all), so don't take my word for it. As displayed by my constant use of Heidi's recipes, I have yet to be disappointed ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recipe Review: Egg Salad Sandwich

Now generally I abstain from things drenched and dressed in mayonnaise. Mayo just does not appeal to me one bit. I have always called it fat in a jar, the consistency mostly weirds me out and the flavor I detest. I do use mayo when cooking, but very very rarely and only if the flavor is obviously going to be masked by many more overpowering flavors.

That said, I was looking for a protein heavy sandwich to have with a fall salad that I eagerly planned for my menu, and 101 cookbooks had a sandwich entitled, "Egg Salad Sandwich (the only one I'll eat)." Score. After looking over Heidi's post, I realized that she and I were likely kindred spirits when it came to traditional egg salad sandwiches. And when I saw the idea to substitute greek yogurt for the mayo, I was sold. (I am finding more and more uses for greek yogurt as of late and am loving it- by the way.) So along with our salad topped with apples, pomegranate seeds, feta, and a balsamic vinaigrette, we had egg salad sandwiches.

I won't go into too much more detail and invite you to read Heidi's post, but a good trick is to not overcook your hard boiled egg. Sorry no veggies from the farm other than the mesclun. But this was a great meal for an evening in which we had to be out the door by 7 after getting home at 6.

Beets and Greens Pizza

This one is unique, and I am not even sure that "pizza" is the right word, though none more fitting come to mind. Utilizing the lentil and beet salad from earlier this year, I took the flavors that about 75% of the beet recipes I could find used. We love feta, and the only other cheese often paired with beets was goat cheese, and no matter how hard I try, I just can't get into goat cheese.
The great thing about swiss chard is that it is not as moist as spinach after cooking so there is much less of a need to drain the excess fluid. This makes it a great pizza topping.
This pizza has subtle yet deep flavors. When describing it I was torn between saying the flavors were muted and the fact that you could taste each ingredient. Perhaps it could have benefited from a dash of acidity, but the feta helped with that. I loved it just as it was, the earthy, briney flavors complemented each other well.

Beet and Greens Pizza

2 pizza dough balls

4 T olive oil (split)

2 tsp garlic powder

dash of thyme

1 bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped

1/2 block of feta cheese

4-5 roasted beets, sliced

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat a pan with 2T olive oil over medium heat, add swiss chard and wilt.

Roll out dough and brush with 1T olive oil per pizza. Sprinkle with 1t of garlic powder and a dash of thyme. Layer beets and swiss chard over dough, topping with a sprinkle of feta cheese. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top to taste.

Cook in oven for 8-10 minutes or until crust browns. (vaires widely by oven)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Awful

I am awful, I know it. It has been over 2 weeks since my last post, and it wasn't even a recipe! I have been cooking, trust me. And I have been taking pictures, trust me. But the photos all are still languishing on my camera, yet to be downloaded to anything. Our laptop at home has a battery that is seeing it's last days, it drains within 5 minutes of unplugging it. Up until this point, I have grabbed my laptop from the office, my camera from the bar table in our parlour, and plopped down on the couch to watch food network while downloading my photos and posting at least one post. Well now, I would have to grab the power cord as well, which includes crawling on hands and knees under our massive desk in the office and unplugging the cord, then dragging both items downstairs and then getting the camera. Sound like a lot of work? It is. Now, why could I not just bring my camera upstairs you ask? Well, because there is no tv upstairs and I am slightly addicted. And honestly, it is not all that much work to lug the power cord downstairs with my laptop, but I can be lazy on weeknights. I apologize. But what have I been up to lately? I recently discovered the Pioneer Woman and her plothera of websites. She has been recommended to me before by many a friend, but I have always avoided her website, honestly, solely based upon name prejudice. I expected lots of red meat, butter, and pork fat drippings. And there is a lot of that, but there is a reason that people make those recipes: THEY TASTE AMAZING! She has many other less fat recipes, great food photography tips, and is a wonderful writer that inspires me to be more dedicated to this blog. But I must admit that the zero commenting dashes my spirits. Oh well, I cannot hope to be a good blogger followed by hoardes of drooling foodies by only posting every other week. I cannot attempt to be oh so lovely of a blogger, but one can dream right?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Menu Planning

I have not been making a lot of new dishes lately, hence my lack of posting. The drought and then heavy rains made our shares a bit small recently, though we still had plenty to eat. I have been incredibly busy and thus spent less time menu planning (which generally includes piles of magazines and cook books searching for new recipes) and less time in the kitchen. This week I have a bit of an interesting menu planned, well, at least I think so. I thought I would share it with you. Swiss Chard and "Beef" Enchiladas (with frozen enchilada sauce from earlier this summer) Fried Green Tomatoes with jalapeno cheddar grits and steamed collard greens with leeks Chile Verde (using green tomatoes in place of tomatillos) (V) "Sausage" and Peppers and Onions with Potatoes and Salad (V) Beet Salad with Fried Green Tomato BLT Vegetable Dumplings (take on Chicken dumplings) Vegetable Fried Rice (V) We have been trying to have a vegan meal at least 3 times per week, which initially was really difficult. But as time wears on it is getting easier and we are realizing areas that we have some type of dairy where it is not necessary and mostly unhealthy- often cheese is the culprit. I also track my nutritional intake on MyPlate, a portion of the LiveStrong website, and am always amazed on my vegan days how much less fat and cholesterol I intake! If not for any other reason, try going vegan a little more often. My meal yesterday was a rice salad with red wine vinegar, peas, chickpeas, and tomatoes- a great and easy lunch using leftover rice. So a taste of the many veggies we got this week: leeks swiss chard, spinach, collard greens green peppers (A LOT of them!) potatoes green tomatoes (plus more from my garden) red onions garlic bok choi (2 varieties) lettuce butternut squash If you are thinking about joining a CSA next season, why? If you are hesitant, why? I would love some good conversation on this blog!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Orange Glazed Tempeh- Chinese Take-out

This was a wonderful alternative to Chinese take-out. For those of you who don't know, tempeh is an amazing and cheap meat alternative that is minimally processed. It is originally from Indonesia and is made from pressed and fermented soy beans and often other whole grains. There are different types of tempeh, and Trader Joe's near me carries it for under $2 for 8 oz. One 8 oz. package acts as 4 servings generally for us, and has good levels of b12 and protein. It is great also as an alternative to ground beef in things like chili or lasagna. One of my favorite ways to use it is as an open-faced smothered tempeh sandwich. Lately I have been craving chinese take-out and the hubs refuses, saying that our local options are worse than anything I would make. Quite the compliment ;) But it means I still need to cook. When in the mood for chinese, I am also a big fan of Aida Mollenkamp from food networks stir fry in which I generally substitute tofu or tempeh for the beef and often use whatever veggies I have. Her sauce is to die for. Chinese food is full of vegetables and generally quick to prepare, we often have some type of stir fry or curry once a week. This recipe was similar to a dish we enjoy at Pei Wei and much much cheaper. The recipe is from 101 cookbooks, though I did substitute brown rice from my rice cooker. The kale did in fact richly compliment the sweetness of the orange glaze and I happened to have a hearty portion from the farm. Orange Pan Glazed Tempeh

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Early Fall Veggie Fritatta

I got this idea after having a wonderful dinner at a friend's house last weekend. It was phenomenal and I wanted to try it. I always put quiche on the menu and never quite get around to making one as I have always been disappointed in the texture of my quiche. Even when following a recipe and tips for a good quiche. This is a much easier version of a quiche without the butter heavy, carb adding crust. And much faster to boot.
I also was encouraged by the Minimalist who made a veggie heavy fritatta that simply used eggs as a binder for the veggies. GREAT way to eat more vegetables. And, I found out that my wok is oven safe up to 350 degrees: Score!
I apologize for the poor picture quality, the leftovers are my lunch today over my fail of a roasted ratatouille last night and improvisation of a smothered tempeh that had to be tofu because Trader Joe's was out of tempeh. Major fail of an evening that I had hoped would be lovely. Thank goodness for leftover fritatta. And my smart phone that emailed me a photo. This fritatta was beautiful and used all parts of the swiss chard, an idea often encouraged by G. The gorgeous yellow and red hues from the rainbow chard added such a depth, plus the lovely purple, orange, and yellow cherry tomatoes. Another plus, it took me a grand total of about 20 minutes to prepare. And every single vegetable, down to the garlic and onion, was from Red Hill farm. Enjoy! Early Fall Veggie Fritatta (printable version) Early Fall Veggie Fritatta 1 small red onion, diced 1 T oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 large bunch swiss chard, leaves and stems separated, stems diced, leaves chopped 1/2 c cheese (cheddar, feta, mozarella would all be good) 4 thyme sprigs 8-10 basil leaves (purple used) handful cherry tomatoes, halved 6 eggs, well whisked together Preheat oven to 350. In a pan, heat oil and add onion. Saute for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add minced garlic and saute for an additional 1 minute. Add swiss chard stems, saute for another 3 minutes. Add swiss chard leaves and saute until wilted. Spread contents evenly in pan and add cheese. Add eggs, topping with salt, pepper, thyme, basil, and cherry tomatoes. Let saute for 2-3 minutes then place in oven for 10 minutes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lentil Soup with Chili Oil

This soup is the hubs favorite soup and he regularly requests it during cold weather. Now, for the hubs to request a soup is a big deal. He is not fond of soup and always asks, "We are having soup and...?"
It has very few veggies in it, though I am sure the addition of a leafy green couldn't hurt. But is is super tasty, super easy, and a great pantry recipe. It can also be easily vegetarian and/or vegan. I am posting the original recipe for it out of convenience from Food network (mario batali), but I generally halve the recipe as it is way too much for only 2 people and we end up eating the soup for days to come if I forget. I also use vegetable broth in place of chicken, and that is about all the changes I make. It tastes great topped with some parmesan, or not, if you are trying to cut back on cholesterol or go vegan a little bit more as we are. The chili oil gives such a great flavor that the cheese is not really even necessary. disclaimer: if you are serving children or do not enjoy spicy food, cut back by at least 1/2 the amount of chili pepper flakes used in the oil.
Lentil Soup with Chili Oil (printable recipe)
Ingredients
3 cups castelluccio lentils (or french) 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 medium red onion, chopped into 1/8-inch dice 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced plus 2 whole cloves 4 cups vegetable broth, hot Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 pound Tuscan or Umbrian country bread 1 cup pasta shells Chili Oil, recipe follows
Directions
Wash and drain the lentils, carefully picking through them to take out any pebbles. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the 6 tablespoons oil until just smoking. Add the onions and sliced garlic. Cook until softened but not brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the lentils and the hot chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower then heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, keeping the level of the liquid just over the lentils by periodically adding more water. Add the pasta shells during the last 6 minutes of cooking. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. In the meantime, preheat the grill or broiler. When the soup is ready to serve, grill or toast, slices of the bread until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Rub each slice with a cut garlic clove.
Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Place a slice of garlic bread on top of each soup serving. Drizzle the bread and the soup with the chili oil and serve immediately.
Chili Oil: 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin 2 tablespoons chili flakes 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a small hot saute pan, add extra-virgin olive oil and garlic. Saute until golden and add chili flakes and salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let infuse.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Burrito Salad

The hubs and I had a picnic to go to, and I wanted to make something that could survive a morning trip and hold out until lunch time. Hubs never says no to Mexican food, and I was hankering for some avocados, so this salad was born. I called it burrito salad out of a lack of a more creative name, and due to the fact that the ingredients all belong in a burrito even though it does not have rice. I packed it up in a bowl, paired it with some chips and a blueberry black iced tea, put all of that into a freezer bag and off we went. I did make a naked burrito for our Labor Day picnic which is pretty similar except that it actually had rice. This meal is so cheap and so filling (with or without the rice) that it is a great family meal for those on the go or those needing to trim their budget a bit. I was a huge fan of the salad, it could have used a bit more heat though. If you do not have access to green zebra or heirloom tomatoes for the salsa, any medium sized tomato would do. This also really depends on how tomato-y you like your salsas. I am still a convenience cook at times, and enjoy just being able to throw together a salsa in about 3 minutes. This is a rough version of what I do every week when I get a fresh batch of tomatoes from the farm. Taste, taste, taste. That is the best advice I can give about throwing together recipes. And never forget a bit of salt, even if you are trying to cut back. A pinch of salt added to homemade salsa is still substantially less than if you purchase salsa. Burrito Salad (printable version) Burrito Salad 2 avacados, diced 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed handful cherry tomatoes, sliced 1/3 c cubed manchego cheese 1/2 -3/4 c salsa (recipe as follows) Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and serve with chips. Salsa: 4 green zebra tomatoes, cored and seeded 4 heirloom tomatoes, cored and seeded 2 small jalapenos, sliced and seeded 1 lime, juiced 1 medium shallot 1 generous handful cilantro 1/2 t sea salt Throw all ingredients into a blender, putting the onion and jalapeno in first. Blend until desired consistency. Pour into a fine mesh sieve and let the water drain out, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour into a bowl.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bahn Mi

The hubs and I went to Newark, DE to Home Grown Cafe for our anniversary. We are big lovers of finding new restaurants, and have a tricky time sometimes being veg. We are often disenchanted with the lack of options at vegetarian or vegan restaurants. Our mantra is basically if we could make it just as good/better at home, why go there? This tends to rule out italian, lots of tofu options, and some other types. We also look for menus with a couple options as we want to leave room for our mood once we get to the restaurant. Many veg friendly places have 1-2 options, which is not all that exciting.

Home Grown peaked my interest because it had cheaper and pricier options, varied cuisines, and about 75% of their menu could be made veg or vegan! Now, not only could it be made veg or vegan, but you had options for your protein. When I read that I nearly fell out of my chair. And boy did they deliver, as often does not happen, we had a hard time choosing not because of lack of appealing options, but because of an abundance of appealing options! I ended up with a Bahn Mi on flatbread (which i failed at trying to recreate the great punchy flavor here), and the hubs got some sort of grilled tofu with a grilled pineapple topping and purple mashed potatoes. This place was beyond fantastic! Wish we would have stayed for dessert instead of going to the overrated cupcake place. Next time. Anyone wanna go? We need an excuse...

Anywho, that evening made me want to try to make my own Bahn Mi. This recipe was nowhere near as flavorful, starting with the slaw. Now, in my defense, I do not have an appropriate slicer and dicer to julienne veggies, this changes the texture a lot. But it was pretty tasty, nice and cool, and a great way to use up some veggies.

Slaw: (based on recipe from foodnetwork)

1/2 c water

1/4 c sugar

1/4 rice wine vinegar

1/2 julienned carrot

1/2 c julienned daikon radish (or double the carrots)

salt

Tofu:

1/4 c soy sauce

1 T chili garlic sauce

1 pkg firm tofu

Sandwich:

1 baguette, sliced

1 cucmber, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno. thinly sliced

bunch of cilantro

mayonnaise mixed with a touch of siracha (optional)

Preheat oven to 400.

Drain tofu and wrap with a towel, topping with a heavy item to get moisture out, at least 10 minutes.

Once tofu is done, place in a baking dish and top evenly with the soy sauce and chili garlic sauce. Bake for 40 minutes or until firm.

While tofu is baking, marinate carrots and radish. To do so, in a small saucepan heat up water, sugar, and vinegar to a boil. Transfer mix to a bowl and cool. Add veggies, mix, add salt, and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

To assemble the sandwich, spread the bread with the mayonnaise mix. Add tofu, top with cuke, jalapeno, and cilantro, finally with the slaw. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes

Mmmmm oatmeal pancakes. Top it with some leftover cinnamon whipped cream, oh yeah.
I tried Rachael Ray's oatmeal cookie pancakes minus the raisins and walnuts. They were pretty good, a bit too sweet for me and I think I will stick with my oatmeal pancake recipe from Vegetarian Times though both of them leave room for improvement.
Topped them with blueberries that simmered on the stove for a couple minutes with about 1/4 cup of maple syrup. And oh that whipped cream. Anything is better with whipped cream.

Beet Ravioli

Simple yet complicated. Savory yet sweet.
(I forgot to take a photo until I put the leftovers into a plastic container for lunch the following day- sorry for the poor quality)
I wanted something daring, something new, something unexpected for my beets languishing in the bottom drawer of the fridge, mildly forgotten. I searched the web and scoured all of my favorite spots, including some sites that generally make me cringe a bit. Then, an old favorite revealed this wonderful recipe.
Certainly it will not be a recurring menu item for these two reasons: time and fat content. This meal is chock full of butter, whew, butter. But as a random special meal, it is great.
The filling could not have been more simple. Roast some beets, peel 'em, and mash 'em up. Add some ricotta (i added the entire container) and voila! (i neglected the milk on accident).
I did cheat and just use wonton wrappers, which I suggest for those of us not wanting to spend 3 hours preparing dinner. I had dinner guests and was going to be arriving home later than they would be arriving at my house so I filled the ravioli the morning of, and made the filling the night before. All in all it was not any more work than any other ravioli, perhaps more simple, just time consuming.

Crepes with Cream Cheese and Blackberry Raspberry Sauce

Berries do not last long.
I wish they lasted longer.
This was my attempt to use the berries and hope to mask the tartness of the blackberries. I just couldn't eat them on their own they were so tart.
Natural reaction to tart: need some sweetness! I put the berries I had from the farm into a small pot with about 1/4 c of sugar and turned it on medium. I let the berries cook for about 5 minutes till they cooked down a bit.
Meanwhile, I made some crepes and a cream cheese filling. Man, this was a wonderful Saturday morning breakfast. Ok, so perhaps it was more of a brunch as the crepes took long enough to push the morning along. But well worth the wait.
Vanilla Crepe Batter (f/ Crepe Cookery) 3 eggs 1/2 t salt 1 1/2 c flour 2 c milk 1 T sugar 2 t vanilla extract 2 T melted butter Combine eggs and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in flour alternately with milk. Then add sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a whisk until smooth, then beat in melted butter. Refrigerate 1 hour. Spoon a small amount into a well greased pan and immediately swirl around the bottom of the pan. Cook until bottom is slightly browned, flip. Cook for a few seconds on other side and slide out of pan onto a plate. Be sure when moving along that the pan is well greased. Cream Cheese Filling 1 pkg cream cheese 3 T honey 2 T milk Whip together on a high setting until well mixed. Blackberry Raspberry Sauce 3/4 c blackberries 1/2 c raspberries 1/4 c sugar Place in a small pot over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes or until berries just begin to break down.

Broiled Tofu with Blueberry Peach Salsa

Wow.
This recipe was so good I had to post if first. I am attempting to set up some posts so that I can post a meal a day or so. We shall see if it works out in my favor. But for today, I tried a recipe from Fat Free Vegan that sounded so tasty, I bought the extra fruit even though blueberries are back to being quite expensive.
This recipe kept unfolding in your mouth. It had so many layers of sweet and spicy that you just wanted to keep eating it to figure it out. But you can't.
I also had some cabbage that looked like it needed to be used right away. So I chose a quick recipe that I thought would meld, and it so did not. It was tasty, but probably better with a good texmex veggie burger or some tacos. I should have known, it is a Bobby Flay recipe. I did add a bit of parsley in an attempt to meld the two dishes. The parsley worked here, though it did not meld, no melding.
As far as for a hot summer day, which it was, these are pretty good recipes, though not together. I did use my oven because we have no grill, so my kitchen did get a bit hot, but by no means must you even touch your oven for this. But try this salsa!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ground Cherry Pie

No picture, sorry. I have been completely forgetting on a few recipes lately like my spicy eggplant and tofu. Whoopsies. But it was good nonetheless, despite the fact that I fell well short of the amount of cherries designated for in the recipe (by perhaps a cup). It was a hit at the house-show that I brought it to as well, and by the time I remembered I needed a photo, it was gone! Made for great small talk conversation with strangers as it looked odd, but tasted a lot like apple pie.

Ground cherries look like tiny tomatillos, are wrapped in a husk, but then remind you most of a tiny green tomato when husked. When raw, the initial flavor is cherry with an aftertaste of tomato. The hubs did not like it, neither did G's, though we found it intriguing. You pick them from the ground, hence their name. They are green while on the stem, but turn a yellow pinkish color once they fall. Somewhat messy to pick and husk, but a good marriage task that gets you talking ;)

I got the recipe from AllRecipes, apparently it is a Mennonite recipe. Now, I had lots of people ask me where to buy them. That is a whole different ballgame, I have never seen them, not even at my local farmers market. I would venture to say to those in the Philly area should check out The Food Trust and ask around at the local farmers markets listed or on their blog.

Ground Cherry Pie Ingredients

2 1/2 cups ground cherries

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons water

1 (9 inch) pie shell

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Wash ground cherries and place in unbaked pie shell. Mix brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour and sprinkle over cherries. Sprinkle water over top. Mix together 3 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut butter in until crumbly. Top cherry mixture with crumbs.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and continue to bake for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hungarian Hot Peppers


This is a food blunder type of post. I got a handful of Hungarian hot peppers, thought they were called Italian hot frying peppers for some reason, and cooked them in entirely the wrong way. Just a reminder to you who read this blog: I am no chef, I am no culinary master. I am simply using this blog as a way to hopefully help others feel more bold in exploring seasonal cooking and CSA's and perhaps expand their cooking menus. I am a novice and just love creating in the kitchen, so do not think that my recipes are fail-safe, even though many of them are really just recipe reviews from actual chefs.
Anywho, I made the most spicy dinner the other night. I literally yelled when it only touched my mouth! I sauted some onions and hungarian hot peppers, adding some pepper and italian sausages. This is an easy meal we have often, though usually with bell peppers. This time I thought it would be nice to have some heat, and thinking that most italian peppers are just a tad spicy, I could use 4! Bad idea!!! It was so hot that I did not even eat them and the sausage still burned my mouth. I have a better use of them forthcoming in this week's menu.
BUT, the tomatoes on toast with cheese were fantabulous! I took good bread and toasted it, spreading Boursin (a soft french spreadable herb cheese found in most supermarkets) on top. Then I topped it with some of my wonderful heirloom tomatoes. So good I have bought 3 more packs of Boursin and had that for dinner about every Tuesday night. And Wednesday for lunch. It is addicting, I am forewarning you.

Pasta Salad

The hubs raved about this recipe. Funny that those recipes I throw together because I don't know what to make and have no desire to make what is actually on the menu are the recipes that he loves the most. This may have been one where I did not plan enough ahead and happened to buy ravioli because it sounded good during a recent trip to the store. He ate it for lunch for 2 days afterward and each day texted me to tell me how much he liked it. Guess it is a keeper ;)

This is a great way to use up all of the cherry tomatoes that are not all that good for salsas or sauces due to their skin. I simply did not have fresh peas or spinach or I would have used them.

Pasta Salad (printable recipe)

1 pkg cheese ravioli

1 c frozen peas (or fresh)

1 c frozen spinach (or fresh)

2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

dressing:

3 T white wine vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

2 T honey

1 t dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Cook ravioli according to directions. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add peas and spinach. Drain.

Toss with tomatoes and dressing and chill for at least an hour. Mix dressing ingredients well. Toss with dressing before serving.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tacos!

Tacos! This is one of our staple meals, the hubs asks for it just a little bit less than he asks for burritos in our house. It is a bit easier as there is no need to think ahead and make the rice, a great last minute meal! I did make the salsa for these tacos too, but I have not posted a recipe as I am still refining my methods. Biggest problem faced: no food processor. And I am lazy so I just throw everything into the blender instead of chopping. This has generally led to watery salsa, though I do like the consistency mostly. It could be a bit chunkier, but I tend to like smoother salsas. I have tried seeding the tomatoes (a pain in the but), and using my small holed-strainer (holes were still a but too large, I need a mesh strainer I think). We shall see how this most recent endeavor has worked out shortly. In general though, I take tomatoes, a jalapeno, juice from a lime, 1/2 an onion, and a large handful of cilantro to make my salsa, add salt and pepper, and taste. My tacos turned out nicely, despite the watery salsa. And the lighting in my kitchen was oh so nice I just had to post 2 photos. This is one of the fastest, best meals in our repertoire. Tacos 1 pkg Tempeh 1 T olive oil 1 can black beans, drained 1 t smoked paprika 1 T chili powder 1 T cumin 1 t oregano Heat olive oil in a medium pan on medium high heat. Break apart the tempeh into crumbles into the pan and saute until slightly browning. Add black beans and seasoning along with 3 T of water or so. Saute until water evaporates.

Flowers

Just thought I would share a photo of the gorgeous flowers we are getting every week from the farm:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ratatouille Crepes

While not my best attempt, this recipe is one of our staples. Now, staple in my household generally means it may make an appearance once a month. I perhaps should think of another word as there are things that occur much more frequently and this includes burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and probably pasta of some sort.

I found a book on crepes at a rummage sale last year that the hubs and I always come home from with a stack of books about half as tall as me. I love it. And I love this book. It is called "Crepe Cookery" and it is by Mable Hoffman who looks a bit like a pudgier Julia Child with huge 1970's glasses. Makes sense since the book was published in 1976. This book has numerous crepe batter recipes and tons of filling options, 168 pages chock full of crepe ideas! I have yet to be too adventerous with them though, perhaps this blog is a cause to broaden my crepe horizons. I did miss my nutella and banana crepe that traditionally follows a crepe main course as I was out of nutella. Next time perhaps.

What follows is the general recipe that I sometimes stray from depending on what I have, and I think that is completely allowable for ratatouille as I am sure the recipe was developed as a way to use up the fruits of the harvest.

Crepe Batter(Printable Recipe) 
3 eggs
1/4 t salt
2 c flour (i use one white and one whole wheat)
2 c milk
1/4 c melted butter or cooking oil

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and salt. Gradually add flour alternatively with milk, beating with a whisk until smooth. Beat in melted butter or oil. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

To cook, place a non-stick pan over medium high heat. I still grease my pan with spray as I find it easier, but I am sure it depends on your pans. Pour in 3 T of batter and while lifitng pan, swirl batter around pan until it completely covers the bottom.
Cook until bottom is slightly browned, then flip. Cook another minute or so. My most common problem for crepes is the outside edges getting crispy. If this happens, your batter is too thin, thicken it up by adding 1T at a time of additional flour until you reach the desired consistency. Your pan could also be too hot. If you are having trouble swirling the batter around before it cooks too much, reduce the heat.

Ratatouille
1 lb zucchini
1 small eggplant
1 onion
1/4 c evoo
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green pepper
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 t salt       
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t basil (more if fresh- use 8 or so leaves)
1/4 t thyme (more if fresh- use 3 or so sprigs)

Dice the vegetables all a uniformed size. Here a food processor or vadalia chop wizard come in handy. The more uniform the size, the more uniform they cook. I prefer smaller cubes, about 1/4 inch in size as they produce a great texture for crepes.

In a large skillet, add the vegetables except for tomatoes and oil. Saute for 5 minutes before adding tomatoes, garlic, and spices/herbs. Cook covered for 10 additional minutes or until veggies are tender. Top with feta cheese if desired.

Step by step help: 1. mix crepe batter as it needs to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 2. chop veggies and begin ratatouille 3. once ratatouille is cooking, begin making crepes 4. cover crepes and place in the microwave in between to help maintain heat

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Masala Tofu

This one was a new one, though I was a bit hesitant to try indian cuisine again. The last time I tried to make palak paneer and it did not go well, it was trash worthy. Recently I was intrigued by Ethiopian cooking as I went for my first 2 times within the same month. So good. So, in an attempt to expand my cooking repotoire, I went online and bought their main spice: berbere. It was cheaper in bulk, so I bought an entire pound. Now, after trying to find additional recipes to use the spice, I found that most were stews that I did not want to make during summer heat. But by searching the web for recipes, I stumbled across a page that stated the history of Ethiopian cuisine and said that it had roots in Indian cuisine. Hmmm...And further, berbere spice was a good substitute for garam masala as the spices were extremely similar. Oooh, even better. Now my ability for using the berbere spice was greatly expanded.
This past week I tried to find recipes to use the vast quantity of tomatoes we had acquired. This recipe called for canned diced tomatoes, so I thought that my fresh ones could do the trick. This recipe was so tasty, and very similar to perhaps a korma sauce, that it is a keeper to go into my recipe booklet that is reserved for only our favorite recipes. Be warned: it is spicy! It fools you at first, with just a nice heat in the back of your mouth, but just wait, it builds. And builds. So, I would recommend for those less heat loving palates to decrease the amount of berbere spice a bit and drop the cayenne alotgether.
Masala Tofu
Spice Blend: 1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning (or berbere which is what i used) 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Sauce 3 tablespoons butter 2 T veg oil 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup) 2 teaspoons jarred minced garlic 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice 1 pkg tofu, pressed and cubed
8-10 leaves swiss chard, torn from the stem and into pieces 1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas, placed in a colander and run under hot water to thaw 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream Hot basmati rice, for serving Pita bread, warmed according to package directions, for serving
Directions
To make the spice blend: Stir the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Drain the tofu, press out extra water, then cut into 1/2" cubes. Saute tofu in skilled with a pinch of the spice blend and 2 T veggie oil. Saute on high heat (preferably in a wok) until the outside is browned.
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the pieces just begin to turn gold, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste and spice blend, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. The spices will be fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir will. Add the tofu, spoon the sauce over the top and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the tofu is warmed through and the sauce is flavorful, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the swiss chard towards the 5 minute mark to allow to wilt.
Shake any excess water from the peas. Add the peas and cream to the sauce in the pan, stir well and heat through. Do not boil. Serve with rice and warmed pita bread.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Caprese Salad and Margarita Pizza

With the new abundance of tomatoes and my hubs general aversion to just plain ol' tomatoes, I have resorted to some simple recipes that pack on the flavor and bring out the juiciness of garden fresh tomatoes. I am resolved to think that his general aversion is really to mealy store-bought tomatoes that are picked way before their prime, not the real tomatoes that grow in your backyard or local farm. These recipes are great, super easy, and use little else than what you find in your garden. G likes some balsamic vinegar on her caprese salad for some extra kick.
Caprese Salad
2 tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
8 medallions of fresh mozzarella cheese
8-10 basil leaves, chiffonade style
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and layer. Drizzle with good quality olive oil (improves the taste oh so much). Sprinkle with some of the basil as well as salt and pepper to taste. To slice the basil prettily, pile the leaves atop each other and roll. Then take a sharp knife and cut into thin slices. You can nix the salt, it is not all that necessary due to the abundance of flavor.
Margarita Pizza
2 dough balls 3-4 thinly sliced tomatoes
1 c shredded mozzarella
5-6 T olive oil
2 t crushed garlic
8-10 basil leaves, chiffonade style
pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400.
Roll out the dough using a bit of flour or cornmeal on the counter. Heat the olive oil over medium heat with the crushed garlic until the garlic is slightly golden colored. Brush olive oil over the crust, and sprinkle pepper over top. Layer the tomatoes on the dough (use more if so desired), then sprinkle with mozzarella or use fresh sliced mozzarella (which i was out of). I put the basil on here, though I think it would have been better to put in on after baking, up to you. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crust is brown.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest Blogger: Fridge Drawer Croquettes: Eggplant Parmigiana meets Zucchini Fritters

So creative! Enjoy...
Fridge Drawer Croquettes: Eggplant Parmigiana meets Zucchini Fritters While I was pondering how to make lunch using half an eggplant, the kids were emptying out the produce drawers of my refrigerator in preparation for today's farm pick-up. Turned out we had a squash hiding in there, and a lot more carrots than I knew about. Still had a bit of that tasty summer onion, too. We chopped those veggies all up and fixed some croquettes, loosely following a recipe at All Recipes for eggplant croquettes.

I served them with leftovers of last night's balsamic caprese salad. I ate more than I should have, and even the one year old cleared his plate. I'm not sure these are technically croquettes, since I think the breadcrumbs go on the outside for those. I also don't usually use store-bought bread crumbs, but I happened to have some and they sure were tasty!

I'd like to try an Asian flair version with some water chestnuts and mushrooms, and maybe some with corn for sweetness.

Vegetable Croquettes

4 cups finely diced vegetables (I used 1/2 eggplant, 1 large squash, and 2 small carrots)

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs

1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella)

salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano to taste

oil for frying

Microwave (or steam) the diced vegetables for two minutes, then stir and cook another one to two minutes. Drain off liquid. Add the onion, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, and seasoning. It will be messy!

Heat a very thin layer of oil in a nonstick pan. I imagine you'd need more oil in a regular pan, but I got away with not even covering the bottom of the pan.

Drop tablespoons of mixture gently into the pan, and immediately reshape into pancakes using the spoon or (carefully!) your fingers. Cook until golden to medium brown, then flip and repeat.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BLA and Gazpacho

Wow. This was my favorite of the week, and the hubs loved it. He loved it so much that he asked for another sandwich once we got home from a tumultuous Ikea trip. Picture desk top strapped to the top of a VW flapping in the wind. Yeah, it was fun. I have been wanting to make gazpacho all summer and finally got a good crop of tomatoes from the farm to make it, though luckily I had some cucumbers left over from the previous week because they did not arrive in last week's box. Add some jalapenos from the garden, nice. Now, this is not a traditional gazpacho, it is a "what do I have in my cupboard and fridge" gazpacho. The hubs is not entirely fond of gazpacho, though was willing to give it another shot as I had not made it in a couple years. I knew that he needed a hearty dish to go along with it, so I put my thinking cap on and got to work. We had some crusty french bread leftover from our french cheese and pear night a couple days before, generally always have guacamole in the fridge, and a nice head of lettuce from the farm. Throw in some fake bacon, and voila! This meal was so light and refreshing, and the best part: no oven! And i only used the stove top for about 3 minutes to cook up the bacon. They always say on the cooking competitions I watch that adding bacon to something gives you an unfair advantage...

BLA

4 slices of bacon (we use fake meatless bacon from morningstar, still pretty tasty and cheaper)

2 large sections of french bread

2 pieces of lettuce, washed

few slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese

6 T guacamole or a couple slices of avocado (hence the A)

Melt the cheese on top of the french bread by placing it on a flat frying pan as you cook up the bacon. It helps if you put a lid over them.

Spread the guacamole on to the bread opposite the cheese, top with lettuce and bacon, enjoy!

Gazpacho

5-7 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered

2 medium cucumber mostly peeled and quartered

3 T white wine vinegar (or more to taste)

3 T cilantro, chopped

1/2 onion, halved

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/4 c olive oil

2 jalapenos, seeded and quartered

salt and pepper to taste

Blend ingredients in blender in batches, then mix together in a bowl and chill for several hours. Makes a great dipping sauce for the BLA's! Or as a fresh salsa with a cuke coolness!

Dissapointing Recipes

I thought I would post some dishes that I was not too fond of, but something to get the ol' noggin''s juices flowing for future ideas. Lots of people who have mentioned reading my blog say that they enjoy it for new ideas to spice up their weekly rotation. I have never really been a weekly rotation kind of person, though I did grow up in a house like that. I do not have kiddos though which probably lends itself better to exploration menu planning. So these dishes are posted to serve as more of a jumping off point, not a "make this for dinner" type post.
With my abundance of beets I thought the sweetness of beets would go nicely with the spicyness of curry. So I googled beet curry, which only brought up about 3 recipes. I kind of freestyled it, throwing in an onion and garlic, added curry paste, then my veggies and some powdered ginger (out of the real deal). It came out flat, a bit too one note, and the sweetness of the beets were not highlighted. If I make this again, I may likely add some apple juice or try it with coconut milk, though I think the apple juice or a cider may work best.
The next meh recipe I made this week was a Swiss Quiche. I made up the name myself because I used swiss chard and swiss cheese. I used a pre-made crust which was too small, and used up 8 egg whites that I had leftover from making french vanilla ice cream. I added half and half, thyme, salt, pepper, and rosemary. The flavor was fantastic, the cheese was a great compliment, and the beet greens I threw in were tasty. The texture however was another story. I always have a hard time getting a cohesive texture in my quiche, I have tried changing the milks to include a higher fat content, refrigerating it for a few hours, etc. and I still get a quiche that falls apart and is kind of mealy. Anyone have any suggestions? I have had much better quiche so I know it exists out there, I have even been to a tart restaurant in France where they were parfait!
The next few posts will have actual recipes that worked. Not always exciting, but I try to be different.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guess What's in the Box

Woohoo! The box is going through some changes, and I must confess I am quite glad of it. Once the dreaded, "I am sick of vegetables" came out of my husband's mouth 2 weeks ago I became a bit apprehensive about the remainder of the summer. There are MANY more weeks left of food boxes, so we have a lot of vegetables to go through. G lovingly told me to remind my husband that he is in fact a vegetarian and so being sick of vegetables may prove to be a problem. Good thing he was really only talking about squash. And good thing the following box contained only 2 1/2 squash (that I still haven't used yet and we get another box tomorrow!).
This week's box was so colorful and fun I decided to take a photo of the contents. My favorite part: blackberries! Bigger than a quarter! I took a photo of the hubs eating one of them for a frame of reference.
In addition, tomato season has begun! I am excited about it, though the hubs will be much more apt to be sick of tomatoes long before he would ever be sick of squash. Good thing he practically drinks salsa and I have a jalapeno plant in my back yard bursting with jalapenos! I love to roast my tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers and then blend them. Recipes for that are sure to follow.
Now, looking at these contents, imagine them times 2! G and I have talked about photographing our entire box one day before we divide it up, it just has never happened. And yes, you do see a cantelope there! We got swiss chard, beets, cantelope, blackberries, green beans, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, escarole, lettuce, carrots, and I think I missed an item or two.
Wonder what is going to be in the box next week?

Zucchini Parmesan

More Zucchini! And More and More and More! This may be one of the last zucchini recipes for a bit, except for the ratatouille in a few posts. I have so many recipes I am so far behind in posting. Attempting a different approach to posting, we shall see if it works. We love eggplant Parmesan, and had such an abundance of zucchini and summer squash that the hubs and I pondered making zucchini parm. Because Why not? After thinking up this grand idea and looking later in the week for recipes, I came upon the fact that it was not such an original idea after all. I should have known.
I sauted the escarole again, using more garlic this time and a bit of olive oil. It was disgusting. After two times I am hesitant to try it again. The hubs wants to give it a go if we get more, though I can't stomach that bitter taste again. Any suggestions would be welcome. It is a minor crime I think to dislike a vegetable that much. I mean, even brussel sprouts are bearable and even good with the right seasoning. Hopefully this is the case for escarole.
Well, I went about the task about the same as with eggplant and it was tasty, I may have even liked it better than with eggplant. Zucchini Parmesan 2 c Italian bread crumbs 2 medium sized zucchini, sliced into 1/4" discs 2 eggs 1 T water 1/2 c flour 1 t cornstarch 1-2 c spaghetti or marinara sauce 1 c mozzarella or Parmesan cheese Get 3 shallow bowls and in one place the breadcrumbs, another the egg and water, and the third the flour and cornstarch. Slice the zucchini, sprinkle with salt and let sit at least 1/2 hour. Blot dry with paper towels. Heat 1/4 inch or less of oil in a frying pan (i used our large electric to keep the heat at bay) to 3530 degrees. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees as well. Dip the zucchini into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs (for extra crispy dip into egg again and then bread crumbs again). Place in the frying pan. Repeat. Repeat. Flip the zucchini when browned, about 2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels when done. After all of the zucchini is fried, place into a large baking dish. Cover with sauce and then cheese, bake for 20 minutes. To get cheese crispy, broil for no longer than 1 minute, keeping a close eye on it. Bon Appetite!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Food Blogs, Websites, and Recipe Storage

I am running out of good resources for healthy and seasonal recipes. Especially for some of the more odd/less popular vegetables like beets and escarole. What is your favorite recipe website or book?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oatmeal Carob Chip Pancakes

I have been craving pancakes, and I know there are NO vegetables in them, and they are pretty dang sweet, but I thought I would mix it up a little bit.
I mixed up some oats and milk last night for my oatmeal pancakes today. Lovely Saturday morning treat. I have a few friends who make them every Saturday morning with their family, it sounds like such a great family tradition memory, though I rarely do it. Perhaps I can start...
Oatmeal Pancakes
2 c rolled oats 1 1/2 c buttermilk
1 1/2 c low fat milk
3 large eggs (feel free to use 1 banana in place of each egg, or one egg if desired- or 1 T of flax seed meal in 3 T of water in place of 1 egg)
3/4 c unbleached flour
3 T honey
2 t vanilla extract
2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c carob or chocolate chips (optional of course)
Mix oats and milks in a large bowl, refrigerate overnight or 8 hours.
Whisk remaining ingredients into the oat mixture.
Heat skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 batter onto skillet, cook 3-4 minutes or until the outsides appear quite set. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes more. Be patient, they take longer than normal pancakes, and if you don't allow enough cooking time, they will be ooey-gooey in the middle, not a nice texture for a pancake.
*I upped the flour in the recipe to 3/4 c because I found the batter to be too liquidy with the 1/2 c called for. Up to you, but I made the recipe the way I do it. Based on a recipe from Vegetarian Times*

Zucchini Fritters

I accidentally posted these out of order, hence the "sick of zucchini fritters" post before the actual zucchini fritters recipe. I was hesitant to make the fritters because I pictured them being made in a vat of oil, adding to our week before of fried in a bit of oil falafael week. Well G told me about making some zucchini fritters using a small amount of oil and it tempted me to make some myself with our abundance of zucchini and summer squash.

They turned out ok, needed more salt and perhaps a bit more spices. But they we so so tasty the one morning my husband made them topped with a lightly fried egg and some feta cheese. As I have said before, I think feta makes everything taste betta. And they were tasty made the same way with some parmesan cheese. The cheeses helped to balance the need for more salt in the fritters.

Zucchini Fritters

1 large zucchini, finely chopped

1 small onion, chopped

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

1 cup 2% milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

onion powder to taste

dried parsley (optional)

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, onion, eggs, Romano cheese, milk, and flour. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of shortening in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop 1/4 cupfuls of the batter into the skillet, and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula. Turn fritters over when the center appears dry. Cook on the other side until golden brown. Set aside and keep warm. Add more shortening to skillet as needed, and continue with remaining batter.

Tex Mex Squash Casserole

The night before I made this the hubs made a dreaded announcement: He was sick of vegetables.
Now this is an amusing statement as we are vegetarians, we eat A LOT of vegetables. Especially now that we have our CSA box delivered weekly thanks to G and her kiddos. Upon further review, he was really just sick of squash and zucchini, or even more specifically, zucchini fritters. We had zucchini fritters for dinner two nights in a row, and then for breakfast for about 4. And there are still 4 in the fridge that may very likely be tossed. I do confess, I have tossed some vegetables that I just never got to in time, or forgot about, or got shoved behind the eggs in the fridge.
Anywho, this recipe passed the "sick of squash" mentality, mostly because it was mexican themed, or "mexican inspired" as they so often say on Top Chef. I took a recipe from Living Well on Food Network, and added some of my own pizzaz to it. It was very tasty, and we used medium salsa so it had a nice kick to it.
Tex Mex Squash Casserole
10 c of summer squash, halved and then sliced crosswise
2/3 c finely diced onion
1 can green chilies
1/2 t salt
2 1/4 c grated cheddar cheese (divided)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c salsa
4 scallions, sliced for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine squash, onion, chiles, beans, salt and 3/4 cup cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour; toss to coat.
Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.
Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the squash is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Spoon salsa over the casserole and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese.
Bake, uncovered, until golden and heated through, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and red onion (optional).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our First Guest Blogger: Salads

Please welcome our guest blogger, my farm share share-er, G. She has some great, kid-friendly recipes to share with us.
Wow, am I ever thankful for the wonderful harvest this year, and for kids who have been cheerful about trying new vegetable recipes. With three small kids underfoot, our trips to the farm and my time in the kitchen have been a challenge, but the enjoyment of eating good, fresh food is a piece of cake... or maybe I should say cucumber! Here are two busy-mom-proof, kid-friendly salads, but I'm pretty sure other people would like them, too! Cucumber & Watermelon Salad Several cups chopped watermelon Several cups peeled and sliced cucumbers (remove seeds if they are large) 1/4 cup or less balsamic vinegar with sugar and salt to taste Combine melon and cukes gently. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar mixture to taste (perhaps less for kids, more for the adventurous). I think a sprinkle of feta on top would be tasty, but I skipped that idea as this salad was making the trip to a picnic in the heat. Also, I wouldn't make this TOO far ahead since the melon and cukes both expel LOTS of their water over time. "Duke" (Dill + Cucumber = a salad version of tzatziki sauce) 2 Peeled, sliced cucumbers 2 Sliced green onions, just the white and light green parts Lots of fresh dill Sprinkle of salt About 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (or sour cream) Mix & serve!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Falafels!

Mmmmm falafel's! I love falafel's, and I made dinner without touching my oven/stove! I used my electric large frying pan, which is great for 105 degree days. I went to the farm today with G and the kiddos, and let me just say it was hot. The kiddos and I picked raspberries and ended up drenched in sweat when we were done. We were offered another woman's 1/2 pint if we wanted to pick them and it was so hot we opted not to. It was that hot.
Tomatoes are finally here! I am sure in a few weeks I may be sick of them, but for now, I am stoked. I whipped up a semi- Greek salad with a cucumber (imagine that!), 2 heirloom tomatoes, 1/4 of an onion, and feta cheese. I topped it with the dressing I used on the beet salad a few posts ago. Mmmm.
I used a box mix for the falafels. For the tzatziki I free styled it, it came out tasty. You are supposed to drain the yogurt with a cheese cloth, but I did not take the time to do it. I also served it atop of a flatbread instead of a pita, it stayed together much better than a pita would.
Tzatziki
2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 container greek yogurt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon juice
2 T dill
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
Dinner was so light and refreshing, a great meal for a summer night.

Unique Stir Fry

We had a hodge podge of veggies not delegated for the menu already, and so I made a unique stir fry with a recipe I adapted from an Ask Aida recipe.
Stir-Fry Sauce
1 T chilie garlic sauce
1 T sweet chili sauce
1 t honey
2 T orange juice
2 t sesame oil
2 t cornstarch
Whisk ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
15 oz tofu, cubed or 1 pkg tempeh, cut into 1" pieces
2 T veggie oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T ginger
veggies, I used:
2 carrots, sliced
4 turnips, sliced
1 summer squash, halved then thinly sliced
a handful of green beans, sliced into 1" pieces
beet greens, roughly chopped
Saute veggie oil and tempeh until brown. Add ginger and garlic, saute for 1 additional minute. To get some nice crisp on the tempeh, add a t or so of the sauce to the veggie oil.
Add turnips and carrots, saute for another 2 minutes. Then add green beans and squash, saute for another 2 minutes. Stir in beet greens and saute until wilted.
Stir sauce into veggie mixture and enjoy! The turnips added a nice crunch and flavor, reminded me of water chestnuts with a bit more flavor. The odd mixture was not very odd after all ;)

Refrigerator Pickles

Our farmers graciously forewarned us that we had a ton of cucumbers and sent out a few recipes for pickles. I decided, why not? And then...I got 15 cucumbers. That finalized the decision, pickles it is. And even after making the pickles, I had 8 or 9 leftover. I gave away 2 jars and brought 2 to a picnic, and still have 3/4 of each left. What can we eat with pickles? Looks like some veggie burgers this week!
Refrigerator Pickles (from myrecipes)
Yield: 7 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup) Ingredients 6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds) 2 cups thinly sliced onion 1 1/2 cups white vinegar 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Preparation Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.
Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beet City

We have gotten plenty of beets lately, and my food box share friend has graciously given me most of her share as I love beets and she is not so fond of them. I made two dishes, a beet salad and borscht. The borscht was underwhelming, though very crisp and light. I used another minimalist recipe, and perhaps could have used a bit more seasoning. The beet salad was simple, using a homemade salad dressing that is fantastic, and as always, adding a bit of feta makes it over the top. Beet Salad Dressing 1/4 c flax seed oil 2 T red wine vinegar 4 sprigs fresh dill, roughly chopped salt and pepper Mix together and drizzle over top of salad when ready to eat. Our salad was mesclun, beets, and feta with the dressing. Simple, easy, and such a strong flavor. Borscht (as found on http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/09/dining/the-minimalist-the-best-a-beet-can-hope-for.html?ref=the_minimalist) Time: About 1 hour, plus chilling 2 pounds red beets, peeled 1 large onion, peeled 1 bunch fresh dill, stems removed and tied in a bundle Salt and pepper to taste Lemon juice to taste 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered, optional 1 firm medium cucumber or half an English cucumber, peeled if necessary and diced, optional 4 medium red or white new potatoes, boiled until tender and kept hot, optional Sour cream. 1. Grate beets and onion together on a box grater or food processor outfitted with basic blade (pulse carefully) or grating disk. Place mixture in large saucepan with dill-stem bundle and 6 cups of water to cover. 2. Bring to a boil, then adjust heat so liquid simmers steadily but not violently, until beets are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper, remove dill stems, and chill. 3. When soup is cold, taste and add lemon juice, salt and pepper as necessary. Chop as much of the dill fronds as you would like for garnishing. Serve borscht in bowls, with garnishes of your choice and the dill. Pass sour cream at table. Yield: 4 servings. Still not sure what to think of the borscht. Very light, and perhaps a great appetizer, and perhaps the cucumbers we got were not a good mix as the skin was a bit bitter compared to the sweet beets.