Monday, November 30, 2009

Portland Eats, Part 1 - Nov 30, 2009

Portland Highlights, Part 1

Nick and I just got back from visiting family and friends out in Portland, OR over the Thanksgiving holiday. We had so many delicious experiences that I have to break them into multiple posts. Up first are pics from various restaurants we visited. Sausage pizza from Apizza Scholls; sweet breads from a Guatemalan bakery in Hillsboro; sandwich board from Kenny and Zuke's; sesame bagel with lox cream cheese from Kenny and Zuke's; Roast beef on rye from K & Z's; Voodoo Doughnuts!; the O.D.B. (like the rap artist) doughnut with chocolate frosting, crumbled Oreos, and peanut butter drizzle; oysters on the half shell from Andina.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Sweet Potato Biscuit Sliders - Nov 20, 2009

Ham and Dijon on Sweet Potato Biscuits with Caesar Salad

I thought I would sneak in this entry today before I head to Portland for Thanksgiving week. This biscuit recipe was in December's Bon Appetit (via Molly Wizenberg) and as soon as I read it I knew we had to make it. They turned out pretty well, although not as puffy as I expected. They were super flaky, however, and excellent with the dijon and ham. Since Thanksgiving is a pot-luck affair this year, I will be making these, sans ham and mustard, instead of dinner rolls for the big meal. How perfect is that? And, the Caesar salad was delicious as well. It's our latest trick for incorporating Omega-3's into our routine (anchovies are loaded with them!). Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Candied Lemon Peel - Nov 19, 2009

Candied Lemon Peels

I found the instructions for this in December's Bon Appetit, and I was so excited. While I've been crystallizing my own ginger for the past several months (when I make ginger infused simple syrup for homemade ginger ales), I kind of just made that up, so it was good to find a real recipe. Every year I make traditional German cookies at Christmas, things like schokoladenlebkuchen, spitzkuchen, elisenlebkuchen, and zedernbrot, which I learned at a class at Kitchen Window taught by Anita Teigen, and which, in addition to being delectable, are really fun to say out loud. It was a great class, full of Anita's family cookie recipes, and ever since, I've been baking them at Christmas. Usually I have to pick up my ingredients at several places around town, Kitchen Window, Bill's Imported Foods, Kramarczuk Sausage Company, and I've even ordered special items from Bavaria Sausage Company in Madison. This year, however, I'll be using my own, homemade candied lemon peel. I will also do a batch of orange peel using the same method, and more ginger so I am stocked up for December cookie baking. And just a little the citrus infused simple syrup from this recipe and use it to add to sparkling water for a homemade lemon soda, or to holiday cocktails. Yum!

*I hope everyone has a very happy and delicious Thanksgiving! I won't be blogging next week since I'll be out of town (Nick might post a few, but I can't promise anything). I'll have extra posts when we return to catch you up on our Thanksgiving cooking.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fresh Veggies - Nov 19, 2009

New CSA Veggies

Yum! I picked up these beauties this afternoon and can't wait to dive in. These almost make me sad that we will be out of town for Thanksgiving...maybe I can squirrel some away into my carry-on bag. On the plus side, many of these will keep for a long time with the proper storage, so we'll have something fun upon our return home. Squash, turnips, radishes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions and garlic are all great storage veggies. We'll focus on eating the savoy cabbage, tat soi, and chicory first. A big thank you goes out to the Harmony Valley crew for yet another beautiful box! And a special shout out to Chef Bri...thanks for all the great recipes and tips this year and good luck on your next endeavor.
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Roast Squash and Lentil Soup - Nov 18, 2009

Festival Squash Roasted with Butter and Brown Sugar

Lentil Soup with Collard Greens and Bacon

We had both of these for dinner last night and they each were amazingly delectable. This is Nick's favorite way to prepare squash and he's right. It's simple, but the full flavor of the squash comes through, it's creamy sweetness heightened by the butter and brown sugar. The lentil soup is a favorite of mine. I used to fix myself canned lentil soup over rice in my college days and my love of it stems from those cozy meals. Once I found out how easy it was to make from scratch, I've never returned to the canned version. Last night I sauteed onions in olive oil and added a little chopped bacon to the pot to infuse flavor. Then I simply added the lentils and chicken stock, a couple of tablespoons of cumin and two handfuls of chopped collard greens and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes. It's rustic and comforting and oh so good for you.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Smoked Salmon Salad - Nov 17, 2009

Smoked Salmon and Sunchoke Salad

We've made this recipe before with yummy, yummy smoked trout from the farmers' market. It's one of our favorites from 'Asparagus to Zucchini.' This time we subbed in smoked salmon since farmers' markets are sadly over for the season. It wasn't as good, but still a decent dish and full of Omega-3's. We're working hard on making sure we get those in our diets.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fusilli with Roasted Squash - Nov 16, 2009

Fusilli with Roasted Delicata Squash, Onions, and Collard Greens

This is another recipe adapted from "How to Eat Supper." I switched out the bow-tie pasta for fusilli (I have a weird aversion to bow-tie pasta) and used delicata instead of butternut. The recipe calls for Escarole for the green, but we didn't get any in our CSA box last time, even though it was on the list. We did, however, get collard greens, so I used those instead. I love that all the veggies, including greens, roast together in the oven before adding them to the pasta. The roasting made the greens nice and crispy instead of mushy and wilted. They really hold their own in the dish.
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Sauteed Cannellini Beans with Tuna - Nov 15, 2009

Cannellini Beans Sauteed with Garlic, Spinach and Tuna

This is a recipe we've made often, from "How to Eat Supper." It's really quick, simple and delicious. This time we modified it by adding canned tuna to get our Omega-3's. The tuna was a great addition and I think we'll add it every time now. Between the huge amounts of fiber in the beans, the folic acid in the spinach and the Omega-3's in the tuna, this is one nutritionally packed meal. Just a quick pantry tip, buy tuna packed in olive's tastier!
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Port and Chocolate - Nov 10, 2009

Port and Dark Chocolate Squares

I like to post something sweet on Fridays, kind of a dessert for the week. I didn't do any baking this week, but we have been enjoying some dark chocolate that my Mom sent us for Halloween along with a glass of Port wine after our meals lately. It's a classic combination and tastes so rich and warm this time of year. Port is good with any chocolate...cake, brownies, Snickers bars. I remember the first time I was introduced to it was at a wine tasting somewhere in California. The winery produced a Port-style wine and had us taste it first, then take a bite of a brownie, and taste again. It was amazing to notice the differences between the two tastes. If you've never tried it, set up a little mini tasting at home. Oh, and since Port is fortified with hard liquor, it keeps longer than wine, so don't feel the need to finish the bottle too quickly. You can savor it over a few weeks.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Leek and Potato Fritter - Nov 9, 2009

Leek and Potato Fritter with Green Salad and Parsnip Fries

Nick found this recipe to use up some leeks and potatoes (and I don't know where he found it, but when I find it I'll link it). I had been planning on throwing together a quick potato leek soup, but these sounded more interesting because they were fried. While we were at it, we decided to fry up another batch of parsnip ribbons. The green salad is an attempt to freshen up the meal a bit. All in all, everything was yummy (especially the parsnips) and it was warm enough for us to open windows so the house only smelled like a poorly ventilated fast food restaurant for a day or two.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lasagna - Nov 8, 2009

Veggie Lasagna with Green Salad

I had some shredded zucchini left over from baking zucchini bread last week and decided to toss it, along with some shredded carrots, into a tomato sauce for lasagna. It turned out to be really tasty, with a little extra sweetness from the carrots balancing the acidity of the tomatoes nicely. This version is meatless, but I added some fennel seed and smoked Spanish paprika, which are spices that I add to ground pork to make sweet Italian sausage, to give it a 'meaty' flavor. For the cheese, I just used what we had on hand, chevre and some grated pecorino-romano. The beautiful green salad was dressed simply with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and was a perfect accompaniment.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicken Dinner - Nov 7, 2009

Chicken Breasts with Parsnip Ribbons and Green Salad

These fried parsnip ribbons are incredibly tasty. We just used a vegetable peeler to peel the parsnips into 'ribbons' and then fried them until crispy in vegetable oil. We added a pinch of salt right at the end. Also, the big green salad was extra tasty with shredded carrots and beauty heart radish added in. Both were lovely accompaniments to the pan fried chicken.
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Monday, November 09, 2009

Mushrooms and Egg on Toast - Nov 6, 2009

Sauteed sherry Mushrooms with Poached Egg on Whole Wheat Sourdough

These mushrooms are so easy and so incredibly tasty that they consistently rank as a favorite meal at our house. Just toss them in a pan with butter, sherry (Oloroso or Amantillado are best), shallots, and thyme and when the kitchen starts to smell so good you can hardly stand it, they're ready. Pile them on some toast and top with a poached egg and you have a meal that's hard to beat. They would also be good on pasta, risotto, get the idea.
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Green Tea Biscuits - Nov 4, 2009

Matcha Shortbread Cookies

I think I originally purchased matcha powder to concoct matcha nutella when Nick stumbled across a recipe for some such thing. I never got around to it, but did have this matcha sitting around, burning a hole in my pocket. When I found the recipe for matcha shortbread cookies, I knew I had found my answer.

It's a very simple recipe, so these additional pictures don't explain anything, they're purely gratuitous. Such a lovely green, so cutely uniform in appearance...I just couldn't resist. Oh, and they taste delightful. Mildly sweet with an edge of bitterness from the tea, almost a cross between a cookie and a cracker. A biscuit, if you will. Irresistible.

Here is an additional recipe for matcha cookies that uses almond meal, just in case you have any left over from making horchata.
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

New Veggies! - Nov 5, 2009

Latest Veggies

I just picked these up this afternoon. Lots of good stuff, as usual...fresh leafy greens and a wide assortment of root veggies with a couple a squash thrown in for good measure. I think a salad will have to accompany tonight's dinner for sure. Thank you Harmony Valley!
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Salmon in Spicy Broth - Nov 3, 2009

Salmon in Spicy Broth with Bok Choy and Glass Noodles

I took a continuing education class earlier this week on using food as medicine, which is an idea near and dear to my heart. It highlighted the published research involving the health benefits of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, soy, caffeine, and plant sterols and stanols. It was interesting and informative. Overall, Nick and I do a pretty good job of eating a balanced diet, but one of the areas where we consistently fall short is our fish intake. In order to get the oh-so-important omega-3's it is currently recommended that we eat fatty fish (preferably chosen from Monterey Bay Aquarium's list of safe and sustainable fish) at least two times per week. Thus, the inspiration for this meal. We used the 'cheater's Asian broth' recipe from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's 'How to Eat Supper,' and threw in some bok choy, mung bean noodles, and a chunk of Alaska wild salmon. It was very tasty, and I feel better already.
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Sausage, Squash, and Kale - Nov 2, 2009

Sweet Italian Sausage Meatballs on Roasted Butternut Squash Puree, and Sauteed Kale

This meal idea came from the half a squash and bag of purple kale sitting in our fridge, needing to be eaten. I roasted the squash with salt, pepper, and a little brown sugar, and then pureed it. I sauteed the meatballs, and then kept them warm while I sauteed the kale with shallots in some of the rendered sausage fat, water and a little apple cider vinegar. The flavors were good, especially the sausage and kale together. The squash added a nice bit of creamy richness, plus a hint of sweet, that complimented everything nicely.
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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pumpkin Pizza - Nov 1, 2009

Pizza with Roasted Squash, Caramelized Onions, Currants, Pinenuts, Bacon and Chevre

We made this decidedly fall flavored pizza Sunday night. It was a perfect light dinner after a weekend of treats. Also, I have to brag a little, because the crust turned out about as good as possible...

Showing Off the Crust

Super thin and cracker crisp! I wish it would turn out like this every time. But, even if it gets a little soggy sometimes, it's always tasty.
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Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween Weekend - Oct 31- Nov 1, 2009

Halloween Weekend Treats

We had exactly 0.00 trick-or-treaters this year at our house, making for a very uneventful Halloween. We never get very many, but I think this might be the first year we didn't get a single one. That leaves the 3 bags of HFCS laden candies for Nick and I to eat, and we've already been doing a good job. We also carved our pumpkin that Sol picked out for us when we were at Harmony Valley's Harvest Party, and roasted it's seeds with rosemary, basil and kosher salt for a savory treat. And just for a little extra treat in an already treat-riddled weekend, Nick picked up pastries at Patrick's yesterday. Hope you all had a great Halloween!
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