Monday, August 31, 2009

Saturday Breakfast - Aug 29, 2009

Steel-Cut Oats topped with Yogurt, Granola, Frozen Raspberries, and Brown Sugar

I froze the last of the raspberries from the CSA delivery this week to preserve them for just this purpose. Also, I like that the frozen raspberries help to cool off the hot oatmeal to an edible temperature. We love regular rolled oats at our house too, but the steel-cut are usually a special weekend treat due to the longer cooking time. The dollop of yogurt added the creamy, granola the crunchy, and brown sugar the caramel-ly. Perfect for a slightly chilly August morning!
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Eggplant and Chevre Pasta - Aug 28, 2009

Creamy Chevre, Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Pasta

Cute Eggplant Hat

Friday night's dinner featured a darling little eggplant, some caramelized onions, chevre, fresh garden herbs, and unfortunately, a whole lot of salt. Sadly, a case of too many cooks. The recipe is out of my Foster's Market Cookbook (my go-to for brownies and cookies), and was a bit fussier than I usually choose to attempt... lots of ingredients, lots of steps, that sort of thing. Nick asked if he could help and I happily accepted. His task was to whip up the 'Italian vinaigrette' to dress the pasta. Unbeknownst to me, the vinaigrette was seasoned with a healthy amount of salt. As I tossed everything together, I realized that I had not added any salt, and proceeded to do so. End result...too salty. Nick was a trooper and ate it anyway. I could only get through half a bowl.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Sweet Corn Salad - Aug 27, 2009

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salad

In an attempt to honor my pledge of pulling out all my summer favorites before it's too late, I made this salad last night. I originally got this recipe from my sister Kate. It's so lovely...sweet and tangy and perfect as a summer side-dish. To convert to a main course, I added about a half can of black beans and served it with our favorite tortilla chips. The basic recipe is as follows: 2-3 ears of sweet corn, boiled for 1-2 minutes and cut off the cob, half a chopped red onion, a diced tomato, fresh parsley to taste, 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, a dash of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also put in a splash of hot sauce of your choice (or maybe even add a chopped jalapeno if you like things spicy!). Best served room temp or chilled. Enjoy.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pasta Plus New Delivery - Aug 26/27, 2009

Papparadelle with Summer Veggies and Sweet Italian Sausage

In preparation for our new CSA delivery, last night's dinner was an attempt to use up as much of our remaining produce as possible to clear out the fridge. To the pasta, I added three varieties of sauteed summer squash, sauteed green bell pepper, a fresh tomato, chopped fresh basil and oregano, sweet Italian sausage and some grated pecorino-romano cheese. Heavy on veggies, light on pasta and sausage. Good, simple, summer flavors and we made lots of room in the fridge for these beauties...

Close-up of Today's Veggies

Here's the Whole Pile of Goodness

I am super excited about all the melons, and I have already tossed a good handful of the raspberries into my smoothie. Also, lots of peppers and tomatoes and another lovely bunch of amaranth greens. So many fun possibilities! I plan on revisiting some of our favorite recipes of late, trying to cram in as much of the summer flavors as possible. I'll throw in some new stuff too, to keep it interesting. Thanks to everyone at Harmony Valley Farm!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Potato Pancakes - Aug 25, 2009

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Yogurt Chive Sauce

I have been struggling to find uses for the beautiful potatoes we've received in our last two CSA deliveries. I love potatoes and have tons of great recipes that I like to make in the fall and winter, but I have very few summer potato recipes (I despise potato salad in all of it's forms, so I've limited myself). Needless to say, I was very excited to come up with this idea. I stuck pretty closely to this potato pancake recipe, I just substituted chopped chives for the grated onion, because we are out of onions. We topped the cakes with some smoked salmon my parents gave me last time I was home. Smoked fish is my new favorite easy summer meal. Then I whipped up a quick yogurt chive and lemon sauce to finish. Yum!
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dinner at G and JJ's - Aug 20, 2009

Yummy Fresh Green Salad

Pasta with Cauliflower and Anchovies

OK, here's some dinner picks to tide us over until tomorrow. Last Thursday we got treated to dinner at Greg and JJ's house. We had a great summer veggie salad, chocked full of ripe and tasty veggies. The main course was an excellent pasta, recipe courtesy of JJ's sister's Italian friend. Everything was so tasty, including the wine...another bottle of my favorite Wollersheim Prairie Fume. Thanks so much for hosting a fun weekend guys!
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The Wedding - Aug 22, 2009

Scenes from the Wedding

Nick's cousin got married just outside of Galena, Illinois this past Saturday, which was the whole reason for our little road trip. This doesn't have much to do with food (I failed to get pictures of the cupcake cake, dinner, or drinks served), but it was such a beautiful day, and such a delightful setting, that I am posting about it anyway. Congratulations Devin and Tim!

Tomorrow's post will be food centric, I promise.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Madison! - Aug 20-22, 2009

Madison Highlights

Nick and I have returned from a whirlwind tour of the 'upper Mid-west.' We hit four states in four days and enjoyed every minute. Our hands-down favorite spot from this past trip is our beloved Madison Wisconsin. Highlights include a classic Madison scene on State St., Brats at State Street Brats, real Magic Coffee and an Almond Marzipan Croissant from Cafe Soleil, a beautiful sunny morning for the Dane County Farmers' Market, the Harmony Valley Farm stand at the market, the stately Wisconsin Capital as the perfect backdrop, and colorful zinnias for Chip and Nan's anniversary. Ahhh, it's always good to have a dose of Madison!

I'll have other pics up from the trip...there are too many good ones to cram into one post.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mmmelons - Aug 19, 2009

Melon Bacon Salad with Sweet Toasted Sesame Dressing

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have had this recipe sitting out on my counter for two months while patiently waiting for some melons. 'Better Homes and Gardens' published it in their July issue (which of course comes out in June) and I knew this would be a hit at our house. I used a bed of salad greens, topped with the melon, some cucumber and crispy bacon and poured the sweet toasted sesame-ginger dressing on top. What a fun bowlful of flavors! When we get more melons, this will definitely get made again.

Darling Little Melon (French Breakfast Melon, I think?)

Yellow Watermelon

Watermelon Aguas Frescas

We had some leftover yellow watermelon and it was too delicious to waste. I pureed what was left, added some ginger simple syrup, a couple scoops of yogurt and ice, blended, and topped with lemon bubble water. The perfect light and refreshing dessert.

Nick and I head to Madison shortly (yay!) to spend a couple days en route to a wedding in Illinois this weekend. We'll have fun Madison pictures to share upon our return!
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pepperpot Soup - Aug 18, 2009

Pepperpot Soup

The last time we got amaranth greens from our CSA, we did a bunch of research and found a handful of recipes we wanted to try. One of them was pepperpot soup. I found quite a range of recipes for this soup online, some completely omitted amaranth or any other greens, some contained tripe, some various cuts of beef. I finally settled on one that I thought would work for us (and then tweaked it to account for what we had on hand). Three really strong elements came through with this soup: the earthy, almost dirty (in a good way), flavor of the amaranth, the creamy sweetness of the coconut milk, and the spicy heat of the pepper (jalapeno in our case). The rest of the ingredients, in my opinion, could be interchanged depending on one's taste, the season, and availability. We added potatoes, carrots, and onion. I think this soup works well as a vegetarian dish, but also would be tasty with meat, although maybe not tripe.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stuffed Peppers - Aug 17, 2009

Bell Peppers stuffed with Shredded Chicken, Jarlsberg and topped with Salsa Fresca

Last night we decided to make some stuffed peppers. I've had trouble in the past getting all the topping into the often irregularly shaped peppers. So, this time, I cut the pepper in half the long way and stuffed it on it's side, like a boat. Problem solved. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. I used up some of our grilled chicken and mixed up a tomato, onion and jalapeno salsa fresca to put on top. We served the meal with our favorite local tortilla chips from Whole Grain Milling Co. and opened a New Glarus Raspberry Tart. With the exception of the Jarlsberg (the only cheese we had in the fridge...I would have preferred a local sharp cheddar), everything on our plates was local, from either Minnesota or Wisconsin.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Eggplant Caviar - Aug 15, 2009

Eggplant Caviar with Wisconsin Belgian Red

Saturday afternoon, while Nick took in "District 9," I whipped up a batch of eggplant caviar to have for dinner when he got home. I found this recipe in 'Asparagus to Zucchini,' but I think there are lots of recipes for this dish, or something like it, out there. We ate it on slices of fresh baguette that Nick picked up on his way home from the movie. And, as a special Saturday treat, we opened our bottle of New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red cherry ale that Nick got while in Madison a week or so ago. The Belgian Red is made with cherries and has a strong, sweet-sour cherry flavor. While described as both an ale and a lager, I think it tastes like a fruit lambic. It was a perfect light dinner.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Panzanella - Aug 14, 2009


I found this recipe while flipping through the tomato section of 'Asparagus to Zucchini' the other day and decided it was a must make. That was the right decision. I was not familiar with panzanella, but after making it, I think of it as the Italian version of Gazpacho...tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bread (not all gazpacho recipes call for bread, but I've seen a few), and olive oil, served cold. The main differences are the texture, panzanella is much more rustic, and the basil, which makes panzanella taste like a sunny bowl full of Italy. It's a great dish for hot summer days.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Cauliflower Salad - Aug 13, 2009

Creamy Cauliflower and Carrot Salad with Cold Grilled Chicken

Our new CSA delivery yesterday spurred me to try and use up veggies from the last delivery, 2 weeks ago! The head of cauliflower was taking up a lot of space in the fridge, so I decided it had to be the main ingredient. I made up a salad recipe inspired both by a broccoli salad my mom makes and by a recipe I found in 'Asparagus to Zucchini.' I chopped up the head of cauliflower, some carrots, and dried apricots, threw in a handful of sunflower seeds and a little bacon, and tossed with a yogurt vinaigrette. It was crunchy and cold and tasted quite yummy. I also pulled out some leftover grilled chicken and served that on the side, cold.
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New CSA Delivery - Aug 13, 2009

Colorful Veggies and Fruit

Such a pretty assortment of healthy treats! I am so excited about the melons - I have been craving them all summer. Also our first eggplants and another bunch of amaranth greens have me inspired to get cooking. Thanks to all the hard workers over at Harmony Valley Farm.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chicken Hoecakes - Aug 12, 2009

BBQ Chicken Hoecakes with Carrot Slaw

Yes, hoecakes is what they are called, at least according to the recipe in this month's Bon Appetit. I found the recipe while flipping through the magazine and decided to attempt it last night despite the questionable name. I took a few short-cuts, namely using a prepared BBQ sauce as apposed to the recipe for brown sugar and coffee BBQ sauce the magazine article called for and omitting the soaked wood chips smoking method for preparing the chicken (I just grilled it) . Also, I didn't have any fennel, so the slaw turned out to be just carrot, onion, and parsley with a white vinegar dressing. With the short cuts, it turned out to be a pretty convenient weeknight meal. I would, however, like to try both the BBQ sauce and the wood chip smoking method at some point. We had some delicious chilled Prairie Fume from Wollersheim Winery to accompany the meal.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Visitors - Aug 8-11, 2009

Highlights from Kate and Scott's Visit

Whew! Sorry it's been awhile since I've posted. We've had a busy extended weekend with Kate and Scott's visit. Some highlights include a 'cock and balls' donut brought carefully on the plane all the way from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, pool time at my parents, a visit to the Mill City Farmers' Market (with photo op at Gold Medal Park), Tillamook Country Smoker beef nuggets (another present from OR), Wisconsin treats from New Glarus Brewery and Wollersheim Winery (Nick was in Madison with friends and to attend a family wedding and the camera stayed with me or we'd have more pictures for the collage), summer beers with friends, more poolside shots plus a cookout at my parents', mint, colorful napkins, and Natalie's super yummy zucchini chocolate bundt cake made with home-grown zucchini!
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Egg and Bacon Salad - Aug 5, 2009

Mixed Greens with Dijon Vinaigrette topped with Bacon and Hard-Boiled Eggs

Our take on a frisee salad with poached egg and bacon, we modified things slightly by using different greens. I used a mixture of mustard greens, which have a delightful bite reminiscent of horseradish, arugula, and red mizuna. I tossed in some chopped fresh herbs to add flavor and doused the whole thing in a Dijon vinaigrette to compliment the mustard flavors in the greens. We sliced the last, lonely hard-boiled egg and put it on top along with our favorite, bacon.
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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Grilled Veggie Tacos - Aug 4, 2009

Grilled Summer Squash and Fresh Herb Tacos

This was an idea that I adapted from one of the recipes in this month's "Better Homes and Gardens." They grilled veggies and used them in sandwiches, but I thought it would work even better on tortillas. For having so few ingredients, these were very flavorful. I grilled zucchini and patty pan squash with an onion, added minced fresh garlic and some chopped basil, oregano, and thyme, and topped with cheddar. Yummy and healthy and quick. Liz brought us these lovely block printed napkins from her trip to Jaipur, India. Thanks Liz, they're getting put to good use!
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Gazpacho - Aug 3, 2009

Green Gazpacho

We got a little tease of tomatoes in our CSA delivery this week, along with cucumbers, onions, peppers, garlic and zucchini (among other things). Those ingredients scream "GAZPACHO" to me. So, even though we didn't have enough tomatoes to follow a traditional gazpacho recipe, I figured I'd use what we had and substitute extra cucumber and zucchini. Mmmm, a very refreshing green gazpacho was the result. The best part, you ask? We have leftovers. This soup only gets better the longer it chills.
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Monday, August 03, 2009

Bean Salad - Aug 2, 2009

Bean and Avocado Salad

I meant this to be a side dish for the pulled pork sandwiches up at the cabin, but we had so much food, including another bean salad, that I saved it for Sunday's dinner after we got home. This is a recipe I got from Natalie. It was perfect after a rather meat-heavy weekend. Fresh and tasty, we served it with a side of Whole Grain Milling Co. organic tortilla chips, made right here in Minnesota.
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Weekend at the Lake - July 31-Aug 2, 2009

Highlights of the Weekend

We had a fun weekend up North. I found it to be an interesting coincidence that we stayed in the town of "Cook." Highlights include speed scrabble, a pit-stop in Cloquet to see the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright designed service station, roasted marshmallows, colorful signage, colorful foliage, sleeping in the gazebo, and a fun lunch at the Montana Cafe.

Saturday night's dinner was tasty and well received by the group. The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, while good, had unplanned hints of dill throughout. I think a little of the dill I kept on the counter after we made our pickles last weekend got into my mixer bowl (also kept on the counter). Not a great flavor combo, but a funny story, and luckily the cookies were still edible.

Thanks so much to our gracious hosts!
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