Friday, May 28, 2010

New Co-ops

I am trying out a new csa this month. It's csacalifornia.org if you're in the area. Yesterday was my first pick up and I have to say I was impressed. The bag didn't look like a lot of food, but all spread out, I think it may actually last the week for us. We'll see. Top to bottom, we have green onions, angelos, zucchini, asparagus, brussel sprouts, strawberries, carrots, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, cherries, corn, grapefruit, broccoli, and tomatoes. Yum.

Also, my sister has been really happy with a csa in Sandy, UT if you're in that area. It's at Cy's Market. She picks it up once a week. I believe the quote was, "This is the first head of lettuce I've bought that I haven't had to pick a single wilted leaf off of!" A picture of her csa bag is below.

Pictures Can Be Deceiving


This quinoa salad looks so yummy in the picture, but it actually didn't taste like anything. When I read other people's food blogs, I always think everything looks so yummy, but sometimes when I try a recipe, I'm left wondering if they just take really good pictures. Also, since the main point of this blog is to have all my recipes in one place, I don't really post meals I didn't end up liking. But I do want to state, for the record, that plenty of my meals end up as flops - even if they're pretty. The fava bean recipe below was from the new Mario Batali cookbook I gave to V for his bday. Our previous experience with MB's recipes has been solid, so I'm left to conclude that maybe I just don't like fava beans. I am giving brussel sprouts another try tonight tho, in hopes I can free up the slot of 'vegetable I don't ever want to eat again'.

Chili and Cornbread


My big success this week was the chili and cornbread. I have been looking for a chili recipe forever. V likes Nally and hasn't approved of any of the homemade versions I've tried. Until now. Thank you internet. I can now forever cross off Nally from my shopping list :D

http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2008/04/chili-cornbread.html

Monday, May 17, 2010

Collard Greens

I finally made a batch of collard greens. I've shy'd away from them for a long time, but I got a ton of collards in my csa box, so it was time. I used the recipe linked below from Paula Dean with a few cheats. I walked thru my grocery store's meat section and did not find any ham hocks. I'm honestly not entirely sure I would recognize them even if they were there tho. So I subbed bacon. Since I didn't think boiling bacon was a good idea (as you boil the ham hocks in the water in the recipe), I just poured some liquid smoke in the boiling water and added the greens about 10 minutes later. I fried the bacon separately and sauted them together for a bit before serving. Obviously, what I made didn't taste a lot like the original recipe but I think it still worked. They were a bit spicy for me but the texture was definitely successful. I'd add more bacon next time. Um, bacon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yogurt with Berries


Sometimes I forget about easy, delicious options - like yogurt with berries. It takes ten seconds to put together and the Monkey is always wanting seconds. And thirds. Use some good quality, plain yogurt. Grab a small handful of berries from your freezer and run under cold to warm water for a few seconds. The heat of your hand will do it, but I'm not very patient. Dump the berries in the yogurt bowl and stir. If it's not sweet enough for you, add some honey. It's also delicious with my honey sweetened strawberry jam mixed in instead of the berries.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kale and Potato Hash


I am really loving this kale and potato hash. We've had it a lot lately because of all the kale that's been in our csa box. The foofy ketchup really compliments it well. It's served here with broiled mahimahi. 

2-3 cups potatoes
1-2 bunches kale
3 TB chopped onion
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup oil
salt and pepper
splash red wine vinegar (opt)

Both the potatoes and kale need to be partially precooked. If you want 'hash' instead of 'mash', boil whole potatoes until a fork barely goes thru them. Peel skins, cool a bit, then grate the potatoes before putting them in with the saute. Personally, I'm way too lazy for that so I just chop the potatoes into bite-sized (or smaller) pieces and boil with the skins on if they're red potatoes, or peeled if they're bakers. When the potatoes are getting close to done (by done I mean still a little firm), I toss the kale into the boiling water with the potatoes and cook for about 3 minutes or until kale is soft but not mushy and potatoes are fork-able but not falling apart. Alternatively, you could saute the kale in a separate pan while the potatoes are cooking. 

Heat oil in a big non-stick skillet. Saute onion and garlic until fragrant and starting to color. Dump in drained potato/kale mixture and stir well. Saute for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes start to get a nice crust on them. The less you stir, the less time this will take. I have a hard time leaving it alone tho cause I'm always worried it's burning. Season with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and add a splash of red wine vinegar, if desired. Serve with foofy ketchup.

Note: To prep the kale, tear out the ribbing that goes thru the center of the leaf. You should only be cooking with the leafy portion, not the stem or center ribbing. Wash kale thoroughly before precooking.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spinach is Delicious... in Eggs


I tend to use spinach in our scrambled eggs. I like the combination and it's a really quick, easy meal. Just rinse the spinach well, then throw it into a frying pan and sautee until soft. Add your eggs, salt and pepper and scramble. When it's cooked, I top the eggs with some cheese and put the lid on the pan (off the heat) for a minute or two or until the cheese is melted.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Soaked Oatmeal


After reading Nourishing Traditions, I've started soaking my oatmeal. It's actually the best tasting oatmeal I've ever had. Convenient since it's also better for me.

2 cups warm water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 cups oats
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the warm water and yogurt. Stir in the oats. Cover and let sit on your counter overnight. In the morning, boil 1 1/2 cups new water with the salt. Stir in the oat mixture and simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. Notes: This oatmeal tends to scald the pan easily so be sure to stir it. Also, the original recipe adds an extra 1 cup of water the morning of, but I like my oats less mushy. Bob's red mill gluten free oats are the least mushy of any oats I've found. We serve the oatmeal with butter, real maple syrup and raw milk because I appreciate indulgence in the morning. It's also fantastic as-is. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Salad Toppings

I've spent a lot of my life being a boring salad person. Lettuce with ranch and maybe some tomatoes. Add cucumbers if I'm feeling really fancy. Well, recently I actually read the label on my bottle of ranch dressing and it has msg in it. So I've started making my own salad dressings - mostly vinaigrettes. The homemade dressing has inspired me to start adding more delicious things to my salads and I'm amazed at how much of a difference it makes. I started with a bottle of marinated Artichoke Hearts and a bottle of Kalamata Olives (from Costco). They've lasted a really long time because I don't use much to get a pretty big flavor impact. Now I also have a go-to bottle of Sundried tomatoes and I like to add an avocado if I have one since they're in season and so yummy right now. Sometimes I toss on roasted sesame seeds or flax seeds. Those really kick it up a notch too. I still usually include my cucumber slices but we don't do carrots or tomatoes because V doesn't approve and I don't love them enough to bother making mine separately. Do you guys have any other favorite salad toppings?

Strawberry Jam


So I've been making Jam. It's the first time I've ever done it for real - not the freezer version - all by myself. This is mostly because I finally made the leap to getting my own canner. I also went with a no sugar version (honey only) and it actually turned out great. I've had problems with it setting up in the past. I read online to add a little more no-sugar pectin than the package insert calls for. I was really happy with the results. And now we've got 24 pints of Strawberry Jam - hopefully that will last us until the strawberries come back next year - or at least until the raspberries show up :)

For an 8 pint batch:
10 1/2 cups mashed berries (about 1/2 a flat or 6-1lb containers)
2 1/2 cups organic, unfiltered apple juice
3 boxes no-sugar Ball pectin
2 cups honey (probably could use less next time)

Follow the instructions in the package for cooking and processing. The basic idea is that you cook all but the honey until it comes to a hard boil. Then add the honey and bring back to a hard boil for 3 minutes. Then pour in your sterilized jars and process 10 minutes (or more depending on altitude).