Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Caribbean Black Beans and Rice
This is another meal idea from my Cooking Light cookbook. I had the beans cooked and frozen, and the rice in the refrigerator. All I needed to do was chop some veggies, namely onions, celery, peppers and tomatoes and saute everything together for a bit with some cumin and red pepper flakes. I added garlic at the last minute and topped with cilantro and mozzarella cheese. The best part was the limeade I made to sip alongside my dinner. So refreshing!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Greek Salad with Cucumber Yogurt Dressing
Even though I love Greek salads, I've never actually made one before...until now, that is. We found inspiration while flipping through our trusty Cooking Light cookbook over the weekend. The dressing is super easy and so tasty...just some plain yogurt and a cucumber pureed together and seasoned with some Penzey's buttermilk ranch spice blend. For the salad, we piled tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese on top of some greens. It was delicious and refreshing, perfect for a hot, humid late summer day.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
New Veggie Delivery
Check out these day-glow veggies. I just picked them up and had so much fun photographing all these amazing colors. First up we have some raspberries. Our raspberries are also producing so right now we have a bunch. These will either go into a smoothie, or get crushed and frozen until I have enough to make jam. Next are the red-skinned potatoes; a lovely orange pepper; a fun little tomatillo...I can't wait to make some salsa verde; some gorgeous horticultural shelling beans; some fuzzy edemame; onions with their crinkly skin; beautiful purple eggplants; a bursting at the seams tomato; more gratuitous horticultural shelling beans (they're so pretty I couldn't resist); a nubby cucumber next to a smooth zucchini; and another lovely pepper...this one's a roaster I believe.
Veggies not pictured include beets and salad mix.
The zucchinis are definitely going into some Thai zucchini bread. The eggplant will be made into some baba ghanouj, perhaps. With all of these peppers we will for sure have to make some chilies rellenos this weekend. Also, now that we are at the height of tomato season, it's time to make some pizza. I'm going to have to look back through some of our foodie magazines to see if I can find anything new and exciting to try with our stash.
As always, a big and hearty thank you to our friends at Harmony Valley Farm for such beautiful and delicious bounty!
Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille Sandwiches with Fresh Mozzarella
It must be sandwich week here in our kitchen. Last night, inspired by a recipe containing smoked Spanish paprika mayo in the new Bon Appetit, I made these sandwiches. First I mixed up the mayo using a dash of smoked Spanish paprika and mixing with some mayo. Next I roasted a big pile of CSA veggies including onions, peppers, summer squash, garlic and green tomatoes from our yard. To finish, I toasted some bread, added sliced fresh mozzarella, the paprika mayo, some fresh basil leaves and the roasted veggies. I wrapped up the sandwiches in foil and put them in a 350 deg oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese. These were super tasty and last night was the perfect night for warm sandwiches, what with the slight chill in the air. The cheese made everything quite gooey and I actually needed a fork and knife to help me eat this meal.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Brown Sugar Roasted Bacon with Tomatoes, Saute Greens and Basil-Chive Mayo
Sorry for my lack of posts over the past few days, Dinner Clubbers. Nick and I were out of town on a work related trip and I sadly forgot my camera. Nick has some cell phone shots, so if they look good enough, I might put a few up. I know, I'm kicking myself. Anyway, to catch you all up to speed on our dinners of late, check out this BLT. We used tomatoes from the CSA as well as the back yard, a mix of greens labeled as 'saute mix' from the farm, and some honey whole wheat bread from Great Harvest. I chopped up some chives and basil leaves from the yard and mixed them in with the mayo for a little extra kick of flavor. And, the bacon I dusted with brown sugar and cracked pepper and roasted it in a 400 deg oven on a cookie sheet for 25-30 minutes. The brown sugar caramelizes and makes the bacon extra delicious (a little trick I learned from Rima). These were some tasty sandwiches, friends.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Farro Salad with Summer Vegetables
This recipe was posted over at 101 Cookbooks just last week. It was perfect timing for me to use up some of our super fresh CSA veggies. I substituted as needed and ended up with veggies including broccoli, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and fennel. This reminded me so much of those pasta salads my Mom used to make all summer. You know the ones...present at every summer pot-luck, family reunion, and neighborhood party. This one is just a little healthier, replacing pasta with hearty farro. The recipe is said to be inspired by a salad at Portland's Clyde Common, which was appropriate considering we shared this meal with Anna, Dinner Club's Portland delegate.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
After picking up our CSA share last week, this meal practically made itself. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion, garlic...all chopped, half pureed, and mixed with some olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Gazpacho is one of my all time summer favorites and I was so happy eating a cool, refreshing bowl of it. Countless recipes exist for this summer soup. I worked loosely off of this one. Find one that sounds good to you and make yourself some.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sweet Corn Salad with Green Beans, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Basil
We spent the weekend with Anna and her family in Northern Wisconsin. Between our CSA veggies and a stop at the local farmers' market Saturday morning, we had the supplies we needed to make this colorful salad. We blanched the corn for about 3 minutes and cut it off the cob. We chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans and added them to the mix. For our dressing we splashed a little olive oil and some raspberry vinegar in, along with salt and pepper and gave everything a good toss. This was an incredibly fresh and delicious lunch.
We stayed at the most adorable cabin, complete with awesome mid-century orange chairs, atomic ranch ceiling panels and wall sconces, and a darling (and useful) aqua blue blender. We took the pontoon out on the lake for a relaxing afternoon and great scenery. It was so much fun. A big thanks to our delightful hosts!
Friday, August 13, 2010
Elderflower Ginger Ale
How's this for a Friday treat...Anna is visiting from Portland! To celebrate we mixed up these cocktails, sans alcohol, for a fun afternoon libation. Instead of my usual homemade ginger ale (one part ginger simple syrup to 3 parts soda water) I tried a fermented recipe that can be found here (via Craftzine.com). The result definitely has a different taste from my usual...it's less sweet, more tangy. Anna says it tastes like kombucha, and I think it has a slight vinegar flavor. It's definitely a grown up ginger ale. For our drinks we used half ginger ale and half soda water with a tablespoon of elderflower syrup added, along with a lemon slice. Very refreshing. Cheers!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Our latest delivery has arrived and I am so, so, so excited for our first tomatoes and melons! Pictured above are the crackled skin of a melon (either a Sweet Sarah or a Butterscotch variety), some peppers, green beans, broccoli, summer squash, yellow onions, tomatoes, edamame, Italian garlic and a zucchini. Veggies not pictured above include sweet corn, saute mix, and Italian basil. Excuse me while I go and make a big batch of gazpacho for dinner tonight.
Thank you Harmony Valley for this lovely delivery on such a hot day.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Garbanzos with Tomato Fennel Sauce
Last night I made this tasty sauce. I wish I could say that I used some home-grown tomatoes, but ours aren't ripe quite yet, so I opened up a can and they did the trick. In addition to some canned tomatoes, I chopped up two small fennel bulbs and half an onion. These last two ingredients I sauteed a bit first with olive oil, fennel seeds, oregano, salt and pepper. After 5 minutes or so I tossed in the tomatoes and let everything simmer for about 30 minutes. I pureed all but a half a cup of the resulting sauce and then combined the pureed and un-pureed sauces back together. We had this over garbanzo beans with a healthy dose of Pecorino-Romano cheese and some fresh basil sprigs from the yard. The fennel gave the dish a nice 'sausage' flavor without the addition of any actual sausage. Fun trick.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Grilled Zucchini Sandwiches with Fresh Mozzarella, Onions, Olives and Pesto
Inspired by this recipe in the new issue of Food & Wine magazine, but limited by our pantry, I made these sandwiches last night. This is the first zucchini I picked from our plants in the back yard! I tossed thick slices of it, along with onions, in olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and grilled them on our grill pan. I toasted the bread and layered one side with slices of fresh mozzarella and the other with some homemade basil pesto. The grilled zucchini and onions went inside along with some finely chopped green olives. The sandwiches were so tasty and made for a perfect dinner.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Grilled Tilapia with Corn and Green Pepper Salsa
Last week I made a fresh corn salsa using the three ears of sweet corn from our CSA box. In addition to the corn, which I boiled for 3 minutes, I added chopped green peppers, onions, and cilantro. I mixed all the veggies with a splash of white wine vinegar, olive oil, and some lemon juice. We had this salad alongside some lovely grilled tilapia for a quick and fresh weeknight dinner.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Rhubarb and Sage Infused Gin and Tonic
I didn't bake anything this week due to the oppressive heat and humidity. I did, however, want to share a treat nonetheless. Matt and Nikki brought us a huge bunch of lovely rhubarb from their yard last week. By now, Dinner Clubbers, you know my favorite thing to do with rhubarb is to use it for infusing vodka. Since that's old hat, I thought I'd try something slightly new and use gin as my base liquor. Also, I thought it time to experiment with layering some flavors along with the rhubarb. Sage got the nod due to the fact that it is overtaking my yard and I don't have many other uses for it. I followed the same procedure as the vodka, just replacing it with gin. I grabbed a handful of fresh sage leaves and chopped them roughly, throwing them into the rhubarb mix after removing it from the heat. The combination turned out great and we enjoyed a homemade happy hour last night.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Farro-Stuffed Green Peppers
Stuffed peppers are such a useful dish, especially for using up copious amounts of peppers. You can stuff them with all sorts of things, and we did earlier this week. Nick made the comment that the combination we ended up with in our stuffing had probably never been used before simply due to the infinite number of possibilities out there. In fact, I'm not sure if I can even remember exactly what we threw into the mix. We used farro as our base, added onions (which Nick chopped wearing our new onion goggles, compliments of Matt and Nikki), chopped pepper, dried currants, slivered almonds, salsa, cheese...you get the idea. These were quite tasty and made a significant dent in our pepper supply.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Roasted Green Bean Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Scrambled Eggs
Nick made this for one of our weekend breakfasts. I found the recipe in Asparagus to Zucchini and it sounded tasty. We had never roasted green beans before, but we found out that it's a fun method. Simply toss the beans with olive oil and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and pop them in a 425 deg oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once roasted, Nick tossed the beans with garlic, white wine vinegar, roasted pine nuts, parmesan, and salt and pepper. All those strong flavors played off of one another nicely and the salad was delicious alongside our eggs.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Celery and Smoked Trout Salad with Olives and Feta
This was an idea found in Asparagus to Zucchini, where they recommended this salad with pieces of tuna. I decided to use up one of our smoked trout fillets from Star Prairie Trout. To make the salad, I simply chopped several stalks of celery, including the leaves, and mixed it with some kalamata olives, feta cheese and flakes of smoked trout. The dressing is olive oil, lemon juice and a splash of white wine vinegar. It was simple and refreshing with a good mix of flavors.
Monday, August 02, 2010
Chorizo Pasta Salad
This was our fun Dinner Club collaborative meal while Matt and Nikki visited. I had picked up the recipe awhile back at a great shop in Madison called Vom Fass, where you can sample all kinds of casked vinegars, alcohols, and oils. It's a really fun place and I highly recommend you stop there next time you are in Madison (or near one of their other locations)*. I purchased a bottle of Waldburg Balsam Apple Cider Vinegar and this recipe came with it. The recipe doesn't appear to be on their website, but a lot of others are and they all look delicious.
Since Matt and I got to play a bit during the visit, I took him to our favorite local butcher shop, Clancey's, and we picked up supplies to make our own chorizo for the recipe. Everyone at Clancey's had great advice for us and the thrifted meat grinder that I got Nick for his birthday worked great. On Saturday, Nick, Matt and I made chorizo as well as the pasta salad (and several cocktails) and we all had a great dinner after Nikki got home from her conference.
Cheers to Dinner Club!
*For those of us in Minneapolis, there is a great shop called Vinaigrette that is similar in concept. They don't have the alcohol, but they do have many oils and vinegars to choose from, all of which you can sample in the store.