Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Miang Kam Packets
Our favorite Thai snack is traditionally served in betel leaves, but since we had some beautiful green leafy lettuce from our CSA delivery, we thought it would make a perfect substitution. Also, as you may have guessed, fresh betel leaves are hard to come by in the US. We hadn't made this since Anna was in town in early April, so it was way past time.
Miang Kam Toppings
It's difficult to explain these little guys and do them justice. Each leaf is filled with a combination of toasted coconut, peanuts, lime, dried shrimp, shallot, ginger, and if you're adventurous, Thai chilies, and then topped with a sweet tangy sauce of dissolved palm sugar, Thai fish sauce, galangal and toasted coconut. All those flavors combine in your mouth in the space of one to two bites. This dish does a good job of representing the essence of Thai cuisine, containing the essential four elements of salty, sweet, spicy and sour all in one mouthful. We found a good recipe here, if you'd like to try for yourself.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Green Curry with Chicken, Eggplant, Potatoes, and Peppers
Yum! Saturday's dinner was indeed a happy melding of our fresh local CSA veggies, and several items imported from Thailand that I picked up at New Orient Market, one of my favorite ethnic markets in town. When Nick and I visited Thailand last year, we took a cooking class at the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA) and learned how to make proper Thai green curry paste (kruang gaeng kiaw waan), and to use it to make this dish, called gaeng kaiw waan gai, or green curry with chicken and potatoes. Since I have all kinds of Thai ingredients in my kitchen right now, we are going to be eating many Thai themed meals this week. I think it's a fun and delicious way to transition between summer and autumn cooking.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Highlights from the Harmony Valley Farm Harvest Party
Yesterday Nick and I drove to the scenic Driftless Region of Southwestern Wisconsin to visit our CSA farm and take part in their Harvest Party. Greg, JJ, and the kids met us there for a day of farm fun. It was great to get a chance to see where our veggies grow, and get to meet many of the people that grow (and, for that matter, eat) them. We took a tractor-pulled tour of the farm and got to appreciate both the natural beauty of the valley and the hard work that goes into tending, and protecting it. Some highlights include: our trusty steed; sunshine on the corn field; the burdock crop tucked in near a bluff; scenic red barn peeking out of the sunchoke field; squash blossom; a lesson on digging up sweet potatoes; view from the back of the tractor; and a souvenir to bring home. Thank you so much to our gracious hosts!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
New Veggie Delivery
So colorful! I am really excited by the parsley root and the romanesco cauliflower. I already have plans for many of these delights. Thanks Harmony Valley Crew...and congrats on your county fair ribbons!
Thai Pantry Stocking
Switching gears to the exact opposite of seasonal and local, I also went to one of my favorite ethnic markets today. I love shopping at ethnic markets...it's like traveling around the world without the hassle of airports! Today's stop was the New Orient Market for all things Thai (and then some). I picked up supplies for making green curry paste (kruang gaeng kiaw waan) including fresh kaffir lime leaves, fresh Thai chilies, lemon grass, and galangal. While I was there I also stocked up on palm sugar, fish sauce, dried shrimp, and they sell white glutinous rice ('sweet' or 'sticky' rice) in bulk! I am going to make some green curry loaded up with a bunch of the fresh veggies from the CSA farm in a happy marriage of local and decidedly not local ingredients.
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Apple, and Bacon Salad with Creamy Yogurt Vinaigrette
I have had this recipe bookmarked in 'Asparagus to Zucchini' for awhile now. I like that it uses both cauliflower and broccoli (and bacon). We served it with some grilled chicken last night for dinner. It was crunchy and creamy at the same time. The bacon, and sunflower seeds I added, made it perfectly salty. Also, it helped to clear some room in the fridge for today's CSA delivery, which should be arriving shortly.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Chevre, Apple, Radish, Cucumber and Onion on Whole Wheat Sourdough
We've been doing lots of sandwiches lately, so I thought I'd put a particularly tasty one up. It's hard to go wrong with home-made bread and goat cheese, but the fresh veggies, or fruit, as the case may be, piled on top made this one extra yummy. I like that each veggie has a similar crisp and juicy texture even though the flavors are very different. This would be a fun mix in a salad too, each cut into matchsticks and almost indistinguishable from one another until they hit your tongue. Hmm...I might have to experiment.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
All summer now, JJ and I have been monkeying around trying to concoct our own home-made version of our favorite Cafe Soleil treat. It's been a pleasant experiment, especially those times I've been able to sample the real deal in Madison. Well, to my excitement, I found out today (thanks JJ!) that the Isthmus has published Cafe Soleil's recipe for, wait for it...Magic Coffee! No more guessing needed. Here's the recipe:
Cafe Soleil's Magic Coffee
For a 4-Cup pot (serves 4 with ice)
Brew a pot of your favorite dark roast coffee. Once it is brewed, transfer to a pitcher and add 1/2 cup dark brown sugar , 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup cream and 1 shot of espresso. Chill overnight, or cool and ice it down. Serve over ice.
taken from September 18, 2009 * Volume 34, No. 38 The Isthmus
Methinks it's the brown sugar that makes it magic!
*here is a link to the article
Monday, September 21, 2009
Coconut Sticky Rice with Mangoes and Thai Basil
Finally, an answer to my cryptic post from last week. After talking with JJ, I was inspired to make this dessert. I found a recipe, did a bit of research into the type of rice needed, made my grocery list, and went out to pick up supplies. I ran into a bit of trouble as none of my usual haunts carried 'white glutinous rice.' I did manage to find brown short grain rice, and in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods, a mix of purple glutinous rice and white jasmine rice. Since the recipe had alluded to this purple rice and because it was the only thing I found actually labeled 'glutinous,' this is what I ended up using. Pretty, huh? After not so patiently waiting for my mangoes to ripen, I was finally able to sample the fruits of my labor, so to speak. Yum! I can't wait for my second helping after dinner tonight.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Sweet Corn and Chickpea Salad, Undressed
Dressed with Yogurt Avocado Dressing
Avast me hearties! 'Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and we be celebrating in kind. This recipe be pillaged from here, and it be full o' summer booty. Thar be lemon juice in the dressing, good for preventing scurvy. Get ye to the galley and make some for yer self before it be too late. Arrrrgh, thar be good!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Grilled Zucchini, Onion, and Pepper with Tomatoes and Cheddar
Fast becoming the favorite quick summer meal at our house, grilled veggie wraps are always tasty. We had toyed with the idea of going out to dinner last night, but decided against it and instead whipped these up.
The sharp cheddar, minced garlic, oregano, and tomatoes are mixed in after everything else is grilled, and add a fresh punch of flavor. These always turn out slightly different because we always have different veggies to use. They are, however, always yummy.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Spigarello and Sweet Italian Sausage Pasta
We received an interesting green in our CSA delivery this past week. Spigarello is in the broccoli family and has some similar flavor notes, but it's a little more bitter. I sauteed it and tossed it with sausage, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, and some freshly grated parmesan cheese for a tasty weeknight meal.
Chestnut Crab Apples
Nick and I bought these tiny apples at the Mill City Farmers' Market over Labor Day weekend. They were so cute, I just couldn't pass them up. When I asked the helpful woman at the Ames Farm booth what these particular apples should be used for, she got a big smile on her face and said without hesitation, "caramel apples!"
A Perfect Autumn Lollipop
It was a great suggestion. The apples' size turns the finished product into a very fun lollipop. Here's to gearing up for fall!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Zucchini and Onion Pakoras with Tomato Raita
I had some shredded zucchini left after making my zucchini bread and knew just what to do with it. I used another dinner club recipe (Anna's again) and mixed up the zucchini with some onions, cayenne, cumin and garbanzo flour and fried up these tasty little fritters. The tomato raita was a perfect cool and creamy accompaniment and used up a half a tomato that I had sitting around. Yum!
Also, we got a new delivery yesterday!
Look at all the beautiful color! And I couldn't resist a close-up of our lone purple carrot.
Thanks Harmony Valley Crew!
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Tuna, Cannellini Bean, Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Pepper Toasts
Doing a bit of house cleaning here. This is a post that I didn't get to last week. Please forgive the procrastination...
A quick summer meal that's perfect when you need to use up that cucumber in the fridge. A little fresh parsley, and using the tuna packed in olive oil make this a fresh and delicious meal despite the pantry shelf ingredients. Nice for busy weeknights. Even nicer over some fresh greens.
Natalie gave me a rather large zucchini from her garden last week. Here I have to pause to give props to Nat for tending a garden when her lack of yard would seem to deter such activities...way to be resourceful! Just in time for me to do some more baking, as I had finished up my chocolate zucchini bundt cake. I did a quick online search, and this recipe piqued my interest.
I made my own crystallized ginger because I had ginger left-over from making my ginger simple syrup, which I use to make 'ginger ale', and thought it would be an efficient use. I just strained the ginger pieces out of the syrup, coated with some additional sugar, spread on a baking sheet, and baked at a low temp for 10-15 minutes, checking often.
Pecans, Ginger, Poppy Seeds, and Lemon Zest
A pretty bowl of mix-ins...
...plus some reserved for the top
This made the house smell fantastic! The finished product has a nice warmth from the ginger, and subtle hints of Indian spices from the curry to give it depth, in addition to all the other classic yumminess of zucchini bread. Plus, I love any excuse to use poppy seeds. This is well worth a try.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Labor Day Highlights
We stuck around home this holiday weekend enjoying the beautiful weather, the US Open Tennis Tournament, farmers' markets, and of course cooking and eating. Some highlights include a Margherita Pizza with friend-grown tomatoes and basil, Star Prairie Smoked Trout, watermelon, chestnut crab apples from Ames Farm, homemade hummus with crudites, and a grill out. I hope everyone had a safe and tasty holiday!
A Celebratory Bottle
Eight years ago today, six friends met (some for the first time) in a basement kitchen in Madison, Wisconsin for the first official* meal of what was to become the Madison Dinner Club. To commemorate this momentous event, Nick and I decided to pull out the recipes from that very first meal and make one of them for dinner. Anna hosted that night in 2001, and as usual her recipes were seasonal and delicious...eggplant moussaka, sweet corn and red pepper soup, never fail popovers, and blueberry cobbler. We decided to make the sweet corn and roasted red pepper soup, and, as I'm sure Anna did, we picked up our corn and peppers at the farmers' market.
Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Cuban-Spiced Pork Chops
We had also picked up some pork chops at the farmers' market and grilled them up along with the soup. And, in true celebratory fashion, we cracked open our last bottle of New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, an extremely fitting and perfectly paired way to mark this special occasion.
Dinner Club Forever!
*This was the first meal with all six members present. An earlier meal with four of six did occur, but can't be called official due to lack of a quorum.