Friday, April 19, 2013

Jaime's Spring CSA Share #3

The highlight of this week's share are these beautiful multi-colored eggs. So pretty, I almost don't want to eat them!

The bag was otherwise fairly light. All the over-wintered produce is gone and the spring stuff is slower than normal this year.

We got some rosemary that made the car as I drove home smell so divine, although that is a bit like bringing coals to Newcastle as my potted plant is quite prolific and keeps us in more rosemary year round than we know what to do with. We also had some lovely green garlic, another big bunch of green onions (oops, I'm falling behind on my green onion consumption - we only just finished the first bunch and now have two in the fridge!), some more kale, a head of romaine lettuce, a bag of mixed leaf lettuce, and some delicious goat feta from Lovers Retreat Farm & Dairy in the cutest little box.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Sirloin Steak and Mustard Greens - April 7, 2013

Dear mustard greens,

It's not you, it's me...

I wanted to like mustard greens. I tried. I researched recipes, I chopped shallots and garlic, I sautéed. And I even ate about half of what you see here on my plate before I dropped my fork and said, "These do not taste good." And so we broke up. Sorry, mustard greens. There must be someone out there for you, but it isn't me.

In happier news, this weekend I made grain free and refined sugar free doughnuts that are legal for my diet. And they were delicious!

This was the recipe. Definitely a keeper!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Jaime's Spring CSA Share #2

I took a brief business trip to Arizona this week and was greeted at the airport by Richie and Lily, and this bag of fresh goodies in the car! What could be better than that? I was anxious to get home and take a nice picture before the natural light was all gone but rush hour traffic from Dulles made that hard.

This week's bounty included a dozen pastured eggs, green onions, sweet potatoes, purple top turnips, red Savoy cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, mustard greens, kale, and some local honey.

I am especially excited for the Brussels sprouts and turnips. Going to be incorporating both of those into the meal plans for the next couple days, probably roasted.

Not sure what to do with all of the greens.. I don't digest them well when raw, so I am on the lookout for some good recipe ideas. As part of my menu planning, I've started a Pinterest board of ideas called "What I'm Eating This Week"... Feel free to follow me!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Ramen Bowl with Braised Pork Belly - March 26, 2013

This colorful bowl is only semi-homemade.  On my last visit to Trader Joe's, I found 'spicy seaweed ramen' packets, complete with the "fresh" noodles, a sauce packet and a seaweed seasoning package.  I picked them up thinking they'd be great for a quick, weeknight dinner.

As chance would have it, Nick and I were grocery shopping about a week later and came across some pork belly at the co-op meat counter.  I immediately thought of the ramen packets at home and knew this would be the fun addition needed to make the dinner a little special.

I did a little research online and quickly found out that people who make their own ramen at home tend to be religiously devoted to their craft.  Homemade ramen bowls were a two to three day project, minimum.  That's even with store bought noodles. I could see my plan of a quick weeknight dinner evaporating.

In the end, I did spread this out over two days, but still took every possible short cut, and this still turned out to be quite edible, very good, even.  I followed these directions to make my braised pork belly the day before (Sunday, so a weekend when I had a little extra time).  It worked out fine, although made the house smell of greasy pork smoke for several days (not as great as it might sound).  The pork wasn't transcendently tender, so described as the result of this method, but it was acceptably toothsome.  Since my pork belly was already cut into small slabs, I couldn't make the fancy roll of pork needed for the second method to work, though to me it seems preferable.  Perhaps next time.

Once the pork belly was cooked, this became a quick and easy dinner.  Since I wasn't making homemade stock, but rather just using the enclosed sauce packet, I saved myself quite a bit of time.  Especially compared to this broth recipe.  All I really needed to to was "soft boil" some eggs. I did this by putting two eggs in a pot with cold water, heating the pot to boiling, turning off the heat, and letting the eggs sit for five minutes before running them under cold water and peeling off the shells.  They sat in the pork braising liquid to marinate while I cooked the noodles.  We topped the bowls with the pork belly, eggs, sliced scallions, and the seaweed and kimchi from the seasoning packet included with the packaged ramen.

It was good, and Nick and I enjoyed it.  I'm sure ramen snobs would turn up their noses, but it worked for us.  By the way, this marks the thousandth post here on the old Dinner Club blog.  THOUSANDTH.  Not bad for a little hobby blog with a minuscule following.  Things have changed a lot since those early posts, texts really, back and forth to each other.  I'm happy that we're still cooking, still enjoying good food, and still good friends.  I hope we see a thousand more dinners posted here.
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Monday, April 01, 2013

Christmas 2012 Baking - December 2012

Okay, let's do this. Time to get the Christmas baking from 2012 off of my "to blog" list. These first two you should recognize from last year. Peppermint bark and Cardamom Crescents. They are delicious and fairly easy to make. Perfect for the busy Christmas season (and it was BUSY this year!).

Next up is this lovely Orange Cardamom Bundt Cake.  We received the most beautiful box of citrus from Greg and JJ this year.  When it arrived at our doorstep, I nearly cried I was so excited.  Our box had a lovely organic assortment, including stem and leaf clementines, satsuma mandarins, rio star grapefruit, and fukumoto navel oranges.  I can't think of a more luxurious gift to get in the middle of a cold and snowy Minnesota December than a box of warm and sunny California citrus.  Along with the fruit, a newsletter with the recipe for this cake was included.  I replaced the canola oil with coconut oil, but otherwise kept everything the same.  We brought this with us to Madison (unglazed) to share with Greg and JJ on our December visit.  It was amazing.

This delectable Scandinavian recipe is from the December 2012 Bon Appetit magazine and I had the perfect opportunity to make it for Anna and Tom's New Year's Eve visit.  Fyrstekake is a Norwegian Cardamom-Almond tart and I can tell you that it is crazy good.  After a brief and chilly cross country ski outing to Theodore Wirth Park, the four of us returned to our house for cassoulet, and fyrstekake by the fire, complete with a New Glarus beer tasting flight.  A perfect way to ring in the New Year, if you ask me.


And finally, these are the Butterfinger truffles that I never got around to making last year.  I am happy that I made these up this year.  Truffles are great because they offer a decadent and elegant chocolate option on your cookie plate, but they are no-bake, and thus require very little effort.  In other words, they are a good bang for your buck.

Whew, I feel better now that this is blogged.  Thank you for indulging me in this tardiness.  Even though this is way past due, I like to have it chronicled here so I can check back and see what I did "last year" for the holidays.  


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