Monday, October 24, 2011

Melon Balls

I randomly decided to use my cookie scoop to make melon balls the other day. It turns out it is WAY faster to prep a cantaloupe that way. I had no idea. I always thought it was just to make it look fancy. But no - I did a pretty good job of getting all the fruit out of it and it was a ton faster than slicing the rind off. 

If you're leaving the rind on when you slice, that's definitely the fastest method. But if you're cutting the rind off anyway, try the cookie scoop. I'm totally sold on the method. And it's pretty fun to eat that way too.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vegetable Broth

I'm not sure why but I've never made this before and I felt completely magic doing it. I was trying to make a broth for my risotto so it wouldn't taste like chicken bullion. I read a few recipes online and decided that the basic idea was to just use up all the random veggies in the fridge. So I just sort of went for it. 

I started by sauteeing the onions in some olive oil. Then I added in carrots and celery just to feel like I had a good, solid base. The rest was mostly squash I didn't know what to do with and a random turnip made it in too. I sauteed that all a bit longer, then added salt and water (about 2/3rds full). Bring to a boil, then simmer for as long as possible. 

After cooking about 6 hours, I decided it was done. I strained the broth out and then had a brilliant idea to put all the cooked veggie pulp in my blender. It worked brilliantly and I was really proud of not wasting all of that like I normally would. Alice and I liked the soup but V didn't. It was pretty bland but I had low expectations so maybe that's why I liked it. Plus, a little pepper and Parmesan grated on top makes anything pretty good. haha. And it was a by-product anyway. I still got my veg broth for my risotto.

Teriyaki Salmon

This was a quick meal that went over really well. I based it on this recipe but added a bunch of extra ginger, left out the red pepper flakes, and cooked it on the stove instead of broiling it. This will probably be on the regular rotation as we add more fish into our diet.

Risotto with Chard and Fried Okra

For some reason I was really excited about risotto last month. My first effort was a complete disaster - stir risotto - put the binky back in - stir risotto - comfort child with stubbed toe - stir risotto - put the binky back in. Seriously - disaster. Anyway it ended up tasting like rice-a-roni and the whole ordeal was pretty tragic.

Then I got a TON of okra in my csa box. Having no idea what to do with okra, I consulted epicurious and found this fantastic recipe. I made a vegetable broth to use instead of the chicken broth so that it wouldn't end up tasting like bullion again and we were both really happy with the results. And the okra really enhanced the dish.

Note: for future reference, I'd like to try a barley risotto either here or here. It's a way to use a whole grain for risotto. Honestly though, I don't think the result is worth the 45 min of hands-on cook time. At least not as a regular occurrence during my current stage of life.

Best Brownies Ever

Seriously, the best brownies we've ever had. Huge thanks to JL and CD for steering me to this recipe! Make sure to use the fancy high fat cocoa powder. It does make a difference. And really, you should just make a double batch in a 9x13 if you want them to last more than 10 minutes. I leave out the nuts.