Thursday, July 30, 2009

New CSA Delivery - July 30, 2009

Beautiful, Beautiful Veggies

New delivery today! Check it out. We'll be bringing some of these up north with us this weekend to a friend's cabin to share the bounty. Yes, that's right, we're heading to Northern Minnesota this weekend to hang out at the lake. Nick and I are responsible for Saturday night's dinner, so since I've been cooking like a mad woman to pre-prepare everything, I thought I'd put up a sneak peek. I seriously don't know how people do this every weekend.

T-Rex as a dry rubbed Pork Shoulder. I had better pictures of this, but none that looked quite so much like our prehistoric friend.

Post 4 1/2 hours in the oven and shredded. Not so much of a resemblance anymore.

More Homemade Buns

We'll have Carolina BBQ sandwiches (thanks for the suggestion Betsy!) with spicy slaw. I'm also going to make that yummy bean salad that Natalie brought over to our house a few weeks ago. To round out the menu, I baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and we'll do more green salads with the CSA goodies.
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Working with Yogurt - July 29, 2009

Curried Chicken Salad with Almonds and Grapes

Plain Frozen Yogurt

I know I've extolled the virtues of yogurt in previous posts, but I'm really digging this making my own yogurt thing. Yesterday was a bit yogurt heavy. First, I made yogurt. Then, half I put in the fridge to be used for smoothies and salad dressings and the like. The other half I placed in a cheesecloth lined sieve and let the whey drain off for a thicker consistency. After about 2 hours, I added sugar and froze it in my ice cream attachment. All I can say is, Oh Yum! I might be done with ice cream for awhile and do yogurt instead (JJ, you were right!). Nick whipped up the chicken salad for dinner using some of the unfrozen, unsweetened yogurt. Also tasty.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pickles - July 26, 2009

Dill Pickles

Nick has been choosing pickles as his snack of choice lately and so, when we saw all of the cucumbers for sale at the Kingfield Farmers' Market on Sunday, we decided to buy some and try our hand at home pickling. After purchasing three dollars' worth of cucumbers, and a dollar's worth of dill, we headed home with a Sunday project.


Reading up on cucumbers in our 'Asparagus to Zucchini' book, I found out that, while not the most nutritious of veggies, they do have a really high Vitamin E content. I'm not sure what happens to that content after pickling.


Dill, turns out, is named based on the derivative of a Norse word dilla or dylle, meaning 'to sooth or lull.' Apparently this is in reference to it's know carminative properties. Upset stomach and bloating? Try some dill.

Water bath

Since this is the first time we've pickled anything, I read up on the process a bit. The acetic acid in the vinegar that we used creates a high acid environment to prevent microorganisms from growing within the jar. The water bath ensures that the lids form a tight seal and that any microorganisms are destroyed. Our lids seem to be on nice and tight. So, now we just have to wait for 8 weeks with the jars in a cool dark place and hope for the best.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Broccoli and Sausage Ragout - July 27, 2009

Cannellini Beans, Broccoli, and Sweet Sausage Ragout

Saturday morning we tuned into Jacques Pepin's cooking show (he's such a cutie...I love him!) on PBS. He made many delicious looking things, but this dish caught my eye because we had some broccoli in the fridge. Now, on the show, Jacques added canned clams to this recipe, and we (Nick especially) would have loved to do that, but we didn't have any in the pantry and thought the dish would be good without as well. It was, but today at the co-op I made sure to grab a can of clams for future use.
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Cafe Rushmore - July 25, 2009

Grilled Brats with Sauerkraut and Coleslaw

Saturday we hosted friends for dinner (hence the Cafe Rushmore designation). Liz, visiting from Hong Kong, Allison, baby Owen (who technically didn't eat anything), and Ben joined us for various grilled meats and assorted cabbage products. In preparation, I made homemade buns using the dough setting on the bread machine.

Homemade Buns

Even though the bread machine did half of the work, I'm still tickled at how well these turned out. They look as good as store bought, but tasted better...sweeter and fresher. Cheers!
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Beet Salad - July 24, 2009

Roasted Golden Beets with Chevre, Hazelnuts, and Onions on Spinach with Dijon Vinaigrette

Nick and I adore roasted beets in or on almost anything. We were very excited to receive these lovely golden beets in our CSA delivery. Aren't they such an amazing color? Beautiful! And I know at this point the whole beet/goat cheese combo has become ubiquitous, but, in my opinion, it's with good reason. Oooh, so yummy. We adapted a recipe found in 'Asparagus to Zucchini' and had a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Thai Chicken Slaw - July 23, 2009

Thai Chicken Slaw

This dinner was 'crazy tasty' according to Nick. By which he meant not that it tasted crazy, but that it was highly flavorful. I concur. I found the recipe here, via the Kitchn. Instead of bagged coleslaw, I chopped up some of our cabbage and carrots from the CSA box. I had to make one substitution. Since we didn't have any peanuts in the house, I used roasted and salted sunflower seeds, which worked just fine. Oh, and those 6 or 8 chopped mint leaves added the perfect cool balance to the astringent vinegar and bit of heat from the jalapeno.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Latest Smoothie - July 22, 2009

Fresh Raspberries and Mint

Raspberry-Mint Smoothie

Awhile back I posted about my obsession with mint-green tea smoothies, so I thought I'd should update you with my current concoction. My raspberry shrubs have started churning out beautiful and delicious ripe berries. I get about a handful per day. I think perhaps I should be freezing them until I get enough to make jam, but I have absolutely no will power and they end up right in my smoothie (sometimes I can hold myself back long enough to let Nick have some on his oatmeal in the morning...sometimes). My recipe is pretty much the same minus the green tea, plus the raspberries: 1/2 -3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I use home-made), a handful of raspberries, 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh mint, 1 banana (I freeze mine in slices), a couple of ice cubes, and 1/4-1/2 cup each of vanilla almond milk and horchata (cinnamon spiced rice milk). Mmmm...yummy!
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Bacon and Egg Sandwich - July 21, 2009

Bacon, Spinach, Avocado and Hard-Boiled Egg on Whole Wheat Sourdough

The sourdough in the cupboard had turned a strange gray-green color, so it was time to bake a new loaf yesterday. Since bread is always best the day you make it (and definitely inedible a week and a half later), I wanted to incorporate it into dinner. We also had half an avocado that didn't make it onto our salad the night before and needed to get used. So, with those two ingredients as our starting point we decided to pull out the spinach from the CSA, and our omnipresent bacon to make sandwiches. The hard-boiled egg was a last minute addition and fit in quite nicely.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Salad, Nicoise-Style, July 20, 2009

Min-nicoise-ta Salad

I hesitate to call this a straight-up Nicoise salad due to the lack of certain key ingredients. It is, however, definitely inspired by the original. Our plate contains arugula and spinach with a dijon garlic vinaigrette, kalamata olives, carrots, radish, summer squash, Martha's Joy Pickles, green beans, tuna, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs. Nick and I discussed it and we like this meal for four good reasons: 1) it's easy to prepare, 2) it's tasty, 3) it's beautiful, and 4) it's healthy. Actually, because most of the veggies were grown in Wisconsin, we should probably call it a Wisco-nicoise salad.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Soup in July - July 17, 2009

Cauliflower Blue Cheese Soup with Sesame Roasted Green Beans

Just because it was so chilly here in Minneapolis on Friday, we decided to make a soup with our CSA veggies. This recipe is from Asparagus to Zucchini and is very similar to the Potato Leek Soup I like to make in the fall. Instead of potatoes, this recipe uses cauliflower and in addition to tarragon, adds a bit of blue cheese to punch up the flavor. It was yummy and perfect on a 55 degree day. The beans were Nick's project...he found the recipe online and whipped these tasty goodies up for a side dish.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Juanita's Redux - July 16, 2009

Fish Tacos at Juanita's in Encinitas, CA

On our Family trip out to California last month, we had the best fish tacos at this authentic and charming little dive right on the main drag in Encinitas. My only regret was that we were only able to eat there once. Then, as sheer luck would have it, Kat and Matt over at A Good Appetite posted a recipe for fish tacos just last week!

Fish Tacos at Our House

So, we very excitedly made their fish tacos and whipped up sides of Mexican rice and re-fried beans, just like Juanita's! And, both for attention to detail and because I love it, creamy and ice cold Horchata to drink (I used vanilla almond milk with a little cinnamon infused simple syrup and it was very close to the fountain drink we had at Juanita's).


If you haven't already, you should check out A Good Appetite for all of the inspirational stuff that Kat and Matt make.
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CSA Delivery - July 16, 2009


Wow...I cannot wait to use up all of these incredible veggies. The weather might not feel like it today, but this picture screams summer! All of these were grown with love over at Harmony Valley Farm.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chard Frittata - July 15, 2009

Chard and Black Bean Frittata

I bought a big bunch of rainbow chard at the co-op the other day because we were out of CSA veggies (we get more today and chard is on the list!). As I was looking around for inspiration, I noticed a lot of recipes combined chard with black eyed peas. I am totally down with BEP's but we didn't have any, so I thought black beans would work just as well. I decided to make a frittata, or as the Spanish call it, a tortilla, and top it with the fresh tomatoes and avocado I had also purchased at the co-op. We modified this recipe, obviously to include black beans, but also I added about 3 times as much chard as it called for. It wilted down nicely and was a great use for the chard, and would work with any other bitter greens as well.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cherry and Mazipan Turnovers - July 14, 2009

Sour Cherry and Marzipan Turnovers

To celebrate Bastille Day I decided to make pastries. Actually I didn't make the pastry, I bought it pre-made and frozen, to which the French would probably (and rightfully so) turn up their epicurean noses in condescension. To redeem myself, if only in the eyes of the French, I made my own marzipan.

Marzipan pre-kneading

Marzipan post-kneading

The marzipan turned out very well, considering it was my first attempt. I love when I find out something I thought to be mysterious and complicated actually turns out to be relatively simple to make at home. OK, on to the cherries.

Hand Pitted Meteor Cherries

Aren't they lovely? Worth their weight in gold, these ones. Grown right in our own front yard. I am waiting for the day I can say to friends and neighbors, "Please come and take some of these cherries off my hands, I have more than I care to use." But until then, I guard my little harvest like a jealous lover. JJ assures me that as the tree matures I will get more fruit. I dream of that day, my friends.

Turnover filling

I used the sour cherry turnover recipe from Food and Wine that you can find right here. This recipe is fantastic as is, but of course I meddled with it. Instead of flavoring the cherries with vanilla, I used almond extract. Also, I omitted making the lemon butter filling because I used marzipan instead (recipe linked above). I substituted in direct proportions and kept everything else the same. Thus, I bring you Sour Cherry and Marzipan Turnovers, or as Nick cleverly and snarkily suggested, Sour Cherry and Marzipan Surrenders, in honor of France. Hmm...I don't think the French will forgive that, no matter how much marzipan I make.

This little project took me all day, so we went out for dinner to our favorite little French bistro, Cave Vin, for gazpacho and Mussels with Pomme Frites. Vive la France!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Squash Pasta - July 13, 2009

Fusilli with Summer Squash, Bacon, and Chevre

We have very little left from our last CSA delivery (nearly 2 weeks ago), but we still had one beautiful summer squash to use, and last night it went into this pasta dish. Nick looked up a bunch of recipes and most paired the squash with sausage, but since we didn't have any, we substituted bacon. I don't know if you've noticed, but we always have bacon on hand. We cooked the bacon first and then used a little of the fat to saute the summer squash. For the last 30 seconds of cooking, we threw in some minced fresh garlic and fresh thyme. We mixed the bacon and the sweet, nutty squash with cooked fusilli noodles and a little chevre, topped with pecorino romano and a thyme sprig and ate like kings.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Cafe Rushmore - July 10, 2009

Summer Squash and Prosciutto Pizza with Garden Fresh Herbs

Natalie's Yummy Summer Salad/Salsa

So, as you may have discerned from the title, we had a guest for dinner Friday night (Cafe Rushmore is code for when Nick and I play host). Natalie came over bearing a bowl of salad creativity and we made pizza, using our summer squash from the CSA and a bunch of home-grown herbs. It was a very satisfying meal with good conversation in addition to good food.
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