Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Octoberfest - Sept 29, 2010

Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Nick and I attended an Octoberfest themed party this weekend at Ben's to celebrate local beers and German inspired food. I made a roasted potato salad with some of our HVF potatoes. The idea for roasting the potatoes instead of boiling them was in the CSA newsletter and Nick found a recipe online. I omitted the bacon for our vegetarian friends but otherwise followed the recipe pretty closely. The mustard vinaigrette was delicious and the fresh parsley added a nice bit of brightness. Being a non-vegetarian myself, I ate mine alongside an expertly grilled brat.

Homemade Pretzels

Ellen made these super yummy pretzels, which were great dipped in mustard. They were the perfect snack to accompany our afternoon of beer drinking.

New Glarus Gueuze

Nick and I brought along one of the bottles we got on Greg's recommendation when visiting New Glarus Brewing Company a few weekends ago. This particular beer was spontaneously fermented, similar to Belgian Lambics. It was sour but delicious.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Udon Soup - Sept 27, 2010

Udon Noodles in Spicy Broth with Mushrooms, Bok Choy and Sprouts

Last week we had some wet and windy weather that really made me want to make soup. Since we had some Bok Choy in the fridge from our last veggie delivery, I decided to make this version. I picked up some mushrooms, sprouts, and noodles from the new Linden Hills Co-op (which is super lovely). The 'cheater's Asian broth' out of How to Eat Supper is a great, quick standby. In addition to the cloves, allspice, ginger, garlic and onions, I also added some fresh lemongrass (also from HVF) to scent the broth. I cooked the noodles, which were packaged delightfully, and sauteed the mushrooms. The bok choy I cleaned and put in the bottom of our soup bowls, piled the noodles on top, and the mushrooms on top of that. I poured the broth over everything and topped with bean sprouts and cilantro.

Beautiful Noodles
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Latest Veggies - Sept 23, 2010

Fresh Veggies

I picked up the latest CSA delivery yesterday afternoon. Some lovely items were in the box, including: Parsley root; celeriac (celery root), Hong Vit radish greens; red leaf lettuce; cauliflower (a fun surprise!); and festival squash. Veggies not pictured include onions, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and salad greens. All these root veggies make this a definitive autumn delivery. I must say I am quite excited for a season of roasting to begin.

As always, a huge thank you goes out to our Farm!
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cornbread with Arugula Salad and Poached Egg - Sept 23, 2010

Parmesan-Thyme Cornbread with Arugula Salad and Poached Egg

This meal was a bit of a cheat. I spent the majority of my day getting some yard work finished before the rain started, and come dinner time, was uninspired. Luckily, poached eggs are always a good stand-by. I tossed the arugula with olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese and made little nests for the eggs. Also on hand was the leftover cornbread, which I put in the toaster oven to warm up a bit and then added it to the bowl as well. Not very fancy, but always delicious and good in a pinch.
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Roasted Veggies and Cornbread - Sept 22, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers and Onions with Thyme-Parmesan Cornbread

I made a batch of skillet cornbread two nights ago because I felt like baking something. Fall weather always motivates me to turn on the oven. I stuck to a basic recipe and added a little fresh, chopped thyme from the backyard and a dusting of cheese on top to make it a bit more savory. To accompany the bread, I roasted a batch of tomatoes, red peppers and onions tossed with olive oil, a splash of balsamic, fresh summer savory and salt and pepper. It was a tasty combination with the hints of sweetness in the bread and veggies playing nicely against the fresh herbs.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gnocchi - Sept 21, 2010

Potato Gnocchi with Simple Tomato Sauce and Fresh Basil

Here in the Midwest, we are in the height of tomato season, while potatoes are also starting to show up, signaling the inevitable transition from summer to fall. I decided to embrace the shift in seasons with this meal. I made the potato gnocchi from scratch, having fun with my thrift-ed potato ricer and using a recipe from The New Basics cookbook. It's a great kitchen reference and has been on Nick's shelf since long before we met. Nick made a simple tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes, onions and a little salt and pepper. That simmered for about 15 minutes before I tossed it into a pan with the cooked gnocchi. I let the sauce and gnocchi inter-mingle over low heat for 3 or 4 minutes and then served it up in pasta bowls with some fresh basil and Pecorino-Romano cheese for garnish.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Pacific Northwest - Sept 10-18, 2010

Oregon and Washington Highlights

Sorry for the long absence, Dinner Clubbers. Nick and I just returned from a week long trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit family and friends. We had an amazing time and took full advantage of the food and drink opportunities to be had. We started our week off right with a trip to Willamette wine country and a picnic at the lovely Domaine Serene Winery, complete with local delicacies including Tillamook cheese (we visited the creamery); a bowl of Bob's Red Mill (we visited the factory) Steel(er) Cut Oats decked out in full Steeler colors including black blackberries and yellow bananas, along with some toasted hazelnuts in honor of Dennis Dixon's start (he's from Oregon), that we ate while watching a Steeler victory; a Mighty-O doughnut from our Seattle excursion; crabs at Pike Place Market; a honey lavender ice cream sandwich with lemon cookies from Ruby Jewel in Portland; the line-up of our beer sampler at Bailey's Taproom; and a shot of the Oregon Coastline at Cape Meares. Other highlights not pictured include coffee cupping at Stumptown Coffee; tasting brandy at Clear Creek Distillery; and beer tasting at Ambacht Brewery in Hillsboro which has exclusively Belgian style faves!

We had so much fun seeing my sisters and their respective SO's, plus Dinner Clubbers Anna and Rima! Thanks to everyone for making our trip so memorable.
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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Happy Anniversary Dinner Club! - Sept 8, 2010

Raspberry Apple Crisp with Wisconsin Belgian Red

Nine years ago tonight was the first official meal of the Madison Dinner Club, with all six original members present and accounted for. Nine years! It's hard to believe, I know. Thus, in celebration of a most fortuitous meeting, dessert is served! A raspberry apple crisp (inspired by breakfast at Greg and JJ's), with a hint of thyme and Chinese Five Spice Powder, and a dollop of yogurt, is this year's homage to the Club. Alongside it, a glass of New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red with which to raise a toast:

To my dear friends, may we share many more delicious days together, both in person and in spirit.

Dinner Club Forever.
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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labor Day Weekend in Wisconsin - Sept 4-6, 2010

Weekend Highlights

Nick and I headed over to Wisconsin this past weekend. We did a bunch of really fun stuff including visiting an apple orchard to buy apples, pick grapes, and pet sheep. I also snagged myself some wool for future knitty projects. In addition to our orchard visit, we drove to New Glarus to check out one of my favorite Wisconsin breweries. New Glarus Brewing Company has moved into some beautiful new digs. While visiting we took a self guided tour, sampled some delicious brews, and picnicked in the lovely autumn sunshine.

We also managed to attend a wedding reception at Capital Brewery (another favorite) and swing by Wollersheim Winery for a tasting and a picnic in the wine garden.* All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable weekend!

*not pictured
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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fried Tomatillos with Corn and Bean Relish - Sept 2, 2010

Fried Tomatillos with Corn and Bean Relish

Nick and I made this last night. The recipe is again from my Cooking Light cookbook. I had to modify a couple things, substituting tomatillos for green tomatoes and Horticultural beans for Lima beans. Other than that I stuck to the directions. Tomatillos are excellent when crusted in cornmeal and parmesan and fried. The frying brings out a sweetness that I don't otherwise notice with tomatillos. The beans were pretty fun too.

Shelled Horticultural Beans

These guys were a delicious substitution for Lima beans.
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