Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lemony Green Beans

I got this recipe out of a Rachael Ray cookbook. It's simple and tasty.

1 lb. green beans, topped and tailed
Lemon juice (a couple tablespoons or so)
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring an inch or two of water to boil in a skillet with a lid. Place the green beans in the boiling water. salt the water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the beans are just tender. Drain and dress the beans with a drizzle of olive oil, the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

These green beans are quite good. They taste bright and fresh, and they still have a little crunch to them, which is the way I like my green beans. The only thing I notice is that if you don't eat them right away, they get a little brown. I have a hunch that's some sort of reaction with the lemon juice. It doesn't make them taste any worse, though; they're just not as pretty.

Friday, July 29, 2011

CSA, Week 9

Tomatoes are here! In this week's share:

Sorry about the backlighting; there's nothing I can do about it at that time of day.

Berries (choice of marionberries, raspberries, strawberries, and/or tayberries--we chose rasp and tay)
Green WWS Onion (see this post for an explanation of the name)
Herb Choice (we chose cilantro, because it's yummy and because we already have pretty much all the other choices growing in our own garden. In fact, we also have cilantro, but ours has long since gone to seed.)
Shelling Peas

Thanks for all your hard work this week, Jan and Dean Pigman! We know you already have a lot on your plate with your daughter's wedding this weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lemon Raspberry Jam

My mom and I have made this jam together for the past two years. We use Pomona's pectin because it works well with recipes that use less than the standard amount of sugar (typically 6 cups or more). Trust me--you won't miss the added sugar in this jam. And isn't 4 cups more than enough, anyway? You could probably even use a lot less than that and still have very tasty jam. The lemon balm is optional; it does add a little lemony brightness, but this would be great raspberry jam even without it.

Yield: approx. seven 8-oz jars, with a little left over

5 half-pint baskets of raspberries (we used a mix of red and golden raspberries)
4 c. sugar, divided
1 t. butter
3 t. Pomona’s Universal Pectin
3 t. Pomona’s calcium water (calcium powder is included with Pomona’s pectin; instructions are in the box)
1 bunch lemon balm (optional)

Sort out any stems, leaves, and mushy or moldy berries. Crush the berries in a large pot (a potato masher works well). You want them fairly uniformly crushed but not lumpless. Add the butter and calcium water to the berries. Mix ¼ c. of the sugar with the 3 t. pectin and add to the berries. Tie lemon balm with string and place in mixture. Bring mixture to a full boil over high heat, stirring often. When mixture is at a full boil (one that cannot be stirred away), quickly stir in the remaining 3 ¾ c. sugar. Return mixture to a full rolling boil and continue boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and test to see if the jam is setting properly (see below). Remove lemon balm. Skim off foam if necessary. Ladle jam quickly into sterilized jars (see below), filling to within ¼-inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads to remove any jam remnants. Cover jars with hot lids (see below) and rings. Tighten rings (not too tight). Place jars in canning rack. Lower rack into canning pot filled about half-full with almost-boiling water (you'll need more water if you're using large jars). Top off with hot water if necessary to bring water level 1 to 2 inches above jar tops. Start timing when water comes to a boil. Remove canning rack full of jars after about 5 minutes (10 minutes max). Place jars on a towel to cool. After a couple minutes, press the center of each lid to check for a true seal. The lid should not flex at all in the center if you’ve got a true seal.

To test if the cooked jam is setting properly: Put a metal spoon in a glass of ice water. When the spoon is cold, use it to scoop up a little of the cooked jam. Let that sit for a minute and then check if it seems set to a jam-like consistency. If not, add more pectin to the jam and bring to a boil again.

A note on jars: Avoid 4-ounce jars, because they tend to fall out of the canning rack. It’s also best to use a uniform jar size.

To heat lids: Place lids in a pan of hot water over low heat. Do not let the water come to a boil. The point is to help the sealing compound get soft and gummy.

This jam is delicious.

Roasted Cauliflower with Meyer Lemon Mayonnaise

I got this recipe off the back of a jar of Spectrum Organics mayonnaise a couple years ago. I am not a mayonnaise fan. At all. Steve, on the other hand, loves it. So when I saw this recipe, I figured it'd be a nice thing to make for Steve and I'd probably be able to tolerate it due to the addition of lemon, which I love.

1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
Minced fresh parsley or dried parsley flakes (I've used both, and they both work fine)
Coarse salt

Mix the mayonnaise with the zest and juice of the Meyer lemon. Ideally, refrigerate the mixture for a while, though you can use it right away if need be. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put the cauliflower pieces on a foil-lined, lightly oiled baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes or so. Dust the roasted cauliflower with coarse salt and parsley. You can drizzle the mayo/lemon mixture over the cauliflower, or you can serve it on the side for dipping.

This far surpassed my expectations in deliciousness (which is probably why it's still the featured recipe on Spectrum's mayo label two years later). We make it pretty much any time we can get our hands on a Meyer lemon. I suppose it also would be good with a regular lemon. If anyone tries that, let me know!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Swiss Chard and Bacon over Soft Polenta

I got this recipe from an article in The News Tribune--the same article from which I got the Quick Beans and Greens recipe. Thanks again for sharing your newspaper, Mom! The original recipe called for pancetta and shaved Parmesan, neither of which I had, so I just used thick-cut, uncured bacon and grated Parmesan instead. The original recipe also called for twice as much polenta, which I dutifully made, and it was way too much. We're happy to use the leftovers as a few days' worth of breakfast mush, but I've halved the polenta recipe here so it's a more reasonable amount for this meal.

The photo shows chard stems around the edges of the polenta. The original recipe didn't use them,
but I didn't want to waste them, so I sautéed them in butter and added them to the meal.
Steve and I both think they detracted from the finished product;
next time I'll use them in something else instead.

For Chard:
6-ish slices of bacon or 2 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-in. pieces
Freshly pressed garlic (I used about 6 cloves)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (I made this with Better Than Bouillon organic chicken base)
1 T. chopped fresh thyme, or 1 t. dried thyme (I used dried, because it's what I had; it was good, but fresh would be even better)
8 c. coarsely chopped chard (stems removed and saved for another recipe)
1/4 t. coarse salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
Shaved or grated fresh Parmesan

For Polenta:
1 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
1/2 t. salt
4 c. water

Cook bacon or pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp (about 10 min.).

Meanwhile, put the cornmeal and salt in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the water (whisk constantly while pouring in water so the cornmeal doesn't get lumpy). Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low (original recipe says medium, but that's too hot). Cook for 15 minutes over low heat, whisking often.

When bacon/pancetta is crisp, remove it from skillet, but leave drippings. Add garlic to the drippings and sauté for 30 sec. Add broth and thyme, and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reduces to about 3/4 c. Add the chard, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Cover and reduce heat to low. After 3 min., remove chard and liquid from skillet so they stop cooking. Serve chard and liquid on a bed of polenta. Top with bacon/pancetta and Parmesan.

This was very good. It wasn't what I'd call a quick and easy meal, nor was it light on pot-and-pan usage, but it was tasty. As the original recipe stated, this also would be good made with some other type of bitter green, like kale, broccoli rabe, or mustard greens. The article also said that greens like this are great in wintertime. I would agree--at least for this recipe--because standing in front of that many hot stove burners for that long isn't my favorite activity in an 80-something-degree house. Nonetheless, yummy result!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry

My friend Lori added this to our recipe box when she visited us shortly after Liam was born. The recipe is actually the brainchild of her brother, Ryan. We love it and make it often. Thanks, Lori and Ryan!

Wow. This meal is not photogenic--especially considering I forgot to take a photo until after the leftovers 
had been in a container in the fridge for a couple hours. But it sure is tasty.

1 lb. (give or take) boneless, skinless chicken, sliced into strips
1 lb. (give or take) veggies (I used broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers, because that's what we had, but you could use any stir-fryable veggies)
Cooked rice (to serve)
Canola oil or other cooking oil (a couple tablespoons)

1/3 c. white vinegar
1/3 c. canola oil or other cooking oil
2 T. peanut butter
3 T. shoyu (soy sauce)
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. ginger
1 t. granulated garlic

Mix marinade ingredients together. Add chicken and marinate for a few hours or overnight. When ready to cook, heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brown it in the skillet (reserve the marinade). When the chicken is cooked through, add the veggies and reserved marinade and stir-fry for a few minutes--until veggies are cooked but still somewhat crisp. Serve over rice.

Great as always.

Friday, July 22, 2011

CSA, Week 8

In this week's share:

Berries (choice of strawberries and/or raspberries; we chose one of each)
Green Beans
(Green) Red Onion (hee hee. confusing enough name?)
Shelling Peas

A good portion of the berries will be incorporated into our Yogurt-Berry Saturdays tomorrow. The rest we'll eat as is. We won't even bother cooking the peas; they're too wonderful straight out of the pod. I'll keep you posted about the rest!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

These are so deliciously sweet straight out of the pod.

Tuscan Carrot Top and Rice Soup

When I saw our first bunch of carrots in our CSA share this week, I knew I needed to find a way to use the carrot tops. I mean, they're so pretty that they have to be edible, right? (Yes, I know oleander is pretty and poisonous, but it's not as pretty as carrot greens are!) While searching online, I found several recipes that I'll be trying over the next weeks. But I found the recipe for this soup (with slight variations) over and over. So I decided it would be my first foray into the culinary world of carrot tops. It starts with a trusty mirepoix and builds from there.

Olive oil (a couple tablespoons)
1 onion, chopped
Celery (1 or 2 stalks), chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Freshly pressed garlic (a few cloves)
Salt (not much)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 c. broth (I used beef broth that I made with Better Than Bouillon, but you could also use vegetable or chicken broth)
1/2 c. short-grain rice
1 bunch carrot tops, chopped
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (a few tablespoons)

Heat the oil in a biggish pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes (about 5) until the onions are somewhat soft. Add a little salt and some pepper, then add the broth. Bring everything to a boil, then add the rice. Cook for 15 minutes or so until the rice is almost fully cooked (see comments for more info on rice choice). Add the carrot tops and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the rice is truly cooked. Garnish each serving with some Parmigiano-Reggiano

The finished product was quite good (read on). Ricewise, I used brown basmati (which is not short-grain), because that and sushi rice are all I keep on hand, and I thought basmati would be better in this recipe. In retrospect, I would highly recommend using short-grain rice or precooked long-grain rice, because long-grain rice takes so much longer to cook than short-grain (as in 45 minutes rather than 15) that the soup is significantly reduced--and consequently extraordinarily salty--by the time the long-grain rice is close to cooked. I ended up having to add 3 c. of water to the finished soup to desaltify it. But it was quite tasty!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kale Chips

It was a tough decision to make something other than Grilled Coconut Kale with this week's kale, but I knew I should branch out. I got the idea for kale chips from my friend Jessica at Oly Momma, who said they were tasty. Then a few weeks later, my friend Kiley mentioned kale chips to me and said she thought they were utterly mediocre. With those two divergent opinions, I knew I had to try them for myself.

Kale (1 bunch)
Olive oil (a couple tablespoons--be sparing!)
Coarse salt or seasoned salt (be sparing!)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Wash the kale and remove as much water as possible. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I imagine you could also use foil). Cut the center ribs out of the kale and compost them. Cut the kale leaves into smallish pieces (2-inch or so). Divide the kale between the two baking sheets and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to distribute the oil. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt and toss again. Spread out so the kale is in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes, then toss the kale a bit and rotate the two baking sheets from top to bottom and bottom to top. Bake for another 12 minutes or until the kale is crispy.

I thought these turned out pretty well--tasty and crispy. Next time, I would use a lot less oil and salt, because the kale reduced a lot during cooking; the chips, while good, are rather greasy and salty. I wanted to taste the difference between kale chips with regular coarse salt and those with seasoned salt, so I made one pan of each. Both were pretty good, but I think I prefer the chips with seasoned salt.

Friday, July 15, 2011

CSA, Week 7

Raspberries are here! In this week's share, we got:

Berries (we could choose 2 containers; there were strawberries and raspberries, so we chose one of each, since raspberries will probably be around for a little while, and we're near the end of strawberry season)
Green WWS Onions (apparently, you can't call them Walla Walla Sweet unless they were grown in Walla Walla--very Champagne-esque)
Lettuce (there was a choice of lettuce or cabbage, but by the time we got there postnap, the cabbage was gone)
Shelling Peas

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sautéed Beet Greens #3

This recipe is a hybrid of the previous two beet-green recipes. The other two were great, but I decided to try combining them to see if the result was even better.

Beet greens
Olive oil (a couple tablespoons)
Freshly-pressed garlic (a couple cloves)
Finely chopped onion (a couple tablespoons; I used dried because that's what we had on hand)
Crushed red pepper flakes (just a pinch)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dill or another herb (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon (or about 2 T. lemon juice)

Remove the big stems from the leaves and compost the stems. Tear the leaves into 3-inch (or so) pieces. Put the olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes while the skillet is still cold, and cook over medium heat until garlic is slightly brown. Add the beet greens and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add dill sprigs or another herb if desired. Sprinkle with lemon juice or serve with lemon wedges.

I think this hybrid recipe is the best of the three, though they're all delicious.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Barbecue Chicken Salad

This recipe is based on California Pizza Kitchen's BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad. I haven't had theirs for years, but I always really liked it, so long ago, I took a stab at replicating it at home. It's been a long, long time since we've made it, but Steve suggested it this week. We used cilantro, basil, and chives from our garden and lettuce and beets from our CSA share.

This is less a recipe and more a list of ingredients and assembly instructions.

And it definitely doesn't abide by the use-only-ingredients-you-have-on-hand rule.

Chicken breasts (1 for every 2 people)
Canola oil or other neutral-tasting cooking oil
Barbecue sauce
Lettuce, torn
Carrots, shredded (I actually used raw beets sliced into thin strips this time, because I had some on hand and wanted to try it.)
Jicama, peeled and sliced into thin strips (I suggest using a paring knife to peel jicama. A veggie peeler is hopeless.)
Bell peppers, chopped (I like the visual appeal of yellow peppers in this salad. I actually used mixed mini peppers this time--yellow, orange, and red.)
Green onions, chopped (I used chives instead)
Basil, shredded
Cilantro, chopped
Canned black beans, drained and rinsed (you could also prepare your own from dry beans if you like)
Corn (you can use canned or you can thaw some frozen corn. I supposed you could also cut some off the cob, but I've never done that with this recipe.)
Shredded cheddar or jack cheese (I used cheddar)
Ranch dressing (you could probably use vinaigrette instead)
Tomatoes, chopped (or you can use cherry or grape tomatoes. I used grape tomatoes this time.)
Tortilla chips, crumbled (I used blue corn tortilla chips)
Lime juice

Cut the chicken into strips. Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add the chicken. Cook until no longer pink. Add some barbecue sauce and cook for a bit longer. Put the lettuce into a large bowl. Add the veggies and herbs (except the tomatoes) and toss well. Add cheese and toss again. Add ranch dressing and toss once more. Arrange tomatoes around the edge of the bowl. Sprinkle crumbled tortilla chips over the salad. Add chicken on top of the tortilla chips. Drizzle with barbecue sauce and lime juice.

This was tasty; it always is. The beets worked well in it.

Singapore Noodles

This is one of our family favorites. I got the recipe from a book called Toddler Menus. I'm not sure I'd recommend the book overall, because it has a lot of recipes that don't make any sense and don't work (grilled mozzarella shish kebabs, anyone?), but we've found a few winners. This is definitely one of them. I made some changes to the ingredients this time to incorporate what was in our CSA share this week. I have no idea how Singaporean this noodle dish actually is.

This is not a photogenic dish, but it is delicious.

Sesame oil or canola oil (a few tablespoons; sesame has a more distinct flavor, but canola works just fine)
2 dried red chiles, finely chopped (optional; they do add some spice, but everyone in this household is fine with that. You could also use fresh peppers or pepper paste.)
2 cloves freshly pressed garlic
1-inch piece of freshly peeled* and grated ginger (a microplane works well for grating; grate the ginger lengthwise)
8 green onions, chopped (we typically use chives from our garden instead and increase the amount accordingly)
2 skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2 packages of ramen (you can also use an equivalent amount of chow mein noodles, but they're more expensive)
Beansprouts or bok choy (if using bok choy, slice the leaves away from the stems and chop the stems)
2 eggs, beaten
Shoyu (i.e., soy sauce; a few tablespoons--to taste)
Lime juice from 2 limes (or about 4 tablespoons--to taste)

If you're using ramen, throw away the seasoning packets. You don't want them for this recipe. Seriously. Start heating some water in a pot for the noodles. Put the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the chiles, garlic, ginger, and green onions/chives while the skillet/wok is still cold. Cook over medium-high heat until the garlic is slightly brown. If using bok choy, add the stems (not the leaves yet) and the chicken and cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in the pot of boiling water. Subtract one minute from the package-suggested cooking time. This probably means you'll end up boiling them for two minutes or so. Drain the noodles immediately. Once the chicken is cooked, add the noodles, beansprouts or bok choy leaves, and eggs to the skillet/wok. Cook for a couple minutes. Remove from heat and add shoyu and lime juice to taste.

*A regular dinner spoon works great for peeling ginger. Try it!

This turned out great, as it always does. We used chow mein noodles instead of ramen this time, and the noodles were more substantial--neither better nor worse, just different. The bok choy is also a deviation from the norm for us, but it was good. The stems added some crunch that sort of reminded me of water chestnuts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CSA, Week 6

This week, we got:

Beets (huge! I wish they showed up more in the photo so you could see what I mean)
Choice of Cabbage or Bok Choy (we got bok choy)

The strawberries this week are particularly sweet and delicious. We're going to use the broccoli to make more broccoli purée. I know that's boring, but when Steve saw that there was broccoli, he said, "We're making more purée, right?" We'll marinate and grill the asparagus, like we always do. I'll let you know how we use the other stuff.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Broccoli Purée

I just came across the Seasonal Eating blog, which is remarkably similar in focus to this blog. In fact, it even uses the same template. Anyway, the broccoli in our garden just reached its peak, so I was happy that Seasonal Eating suggested an unusual way of preparing it. I was even happier after I tasted it.

Broccoli (about 1 lb.), roughly chopped
Half a yellow onion, roughly chopped, or 1 bunch green onions (including an inch of the green), roughly chopped
Bay leaf (1)
1/4 c. butter (you could also use cream, but I didn't have cream)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice (a tablespoon or so)

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add a little salt and the bay leaf, then add the broccoli and onion. Boil for about 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve the liquid. Remove the bay leaf and compost it. Purée broccoli and onion. (I used an immersible blender for this, and it worked beautifully. But you could also use a food processor or a regular blender.) Stir in the butter or cream. Add a little of the cooking liquid if the mixture seems too thick. Add nutmeg, pepper, lemon juice, and salt to taste.

This is amazing. AMAZING. I suppose the fact that it has a truckload of butter in it contributes to the amazingness. The nutmeg and lemon juice are also key to the spectacular flavor. Please make this and eat it. As soon as possible.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stir-Fried Bok Choy

This is the first time I've ever prepared bok choy. I got the recipe from the Steamy Kitchen site. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except that I omitted the sesame oil because we don't have any right now. It would be a tasty addition to the dish.

Bok choy (root end trimmed off)
Neutral-flavor cooking oil (a couple tablespoons; I used canola)
Freshly pressed garlic (a couple cloves)
Freshly grated ginger (a microplane works pretty well for this)
Broth (a couple tablespoons; I made mine using organic Better Than Bouillon beef base)
Wine (a tablespoon or so; alternately, you could use another tablespoon of broth)
Coarse salt
Sesame oil

Put the cooking oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the garlic and ginger while the skillet is still cold, and cook over medium-high heat until garlic is slightly brown. Add bok choy and toss/stir quickly to coat with the oil mixture. Once coated (this should only take a few seconds), add the broth (and wine, if using), stir, and cover skillet immediately. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from skillet right away. Add salt to taste and drizzle with sesame oil, if you have sesame oil (we didn't).

This was pretty good, but I think the next time I stir-fry bok choy, I may separate the leaves from the stems, then chop up the stems and cook them for a while before adding the leaves. It wasn't bad, and the flavor from the garlic, broth, and wine was good, but I just found the difference in level of doneness between the stems and the leaves a little jarring. The presentation wouldn't be as pretty if everything were chopped up, but I think it might taste even better.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Roasted Turnips and Radishes

Last time I made roasted radishes, I thought they were okay but not worth making again. Steve thought they were repeatable. I decided to make them again but try a lower cooking temperature to hopefully preserve more nutrients and flavor (the last recipe called for cooking them at 500 degrees F). I also added turnips; this is the first time I've ever cooked turnips.

Olive oil (a couple tablespoons)
Lemon juice
Coarse salt
Dill (optional, but I would recommend some sort of herb for a flavor boost)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Wash the turnips and radishes. Remove and compost the stem ends and the roots. The turnips and radishes should all be similar in size. If you have some that are significantly larger than the others, cut them in half or in quarters so all of them will be cooked through at the same time. Put all the veggies in a baking dish. Add the olive oil and toss to coat the veggies. Cover the dish and bake for about 35 minutes. The turnips and radishes are done when you can fairly easily pierce them with a fork. Add lemon juice and salt to taste. We also sprinkled fresh dill on ours. While this is optional, I would recommend adding something to heighten the flavor of the dish, because it's rather disappointingly mild on its own.

This time around, Steve and I both agreed that we're not making radishes and turnips like this again. They're not bad; they're just mediocre, and we don't make mediocre things twice. (What's the point?) Maybe with other seasonings and/or butter they would still be roastable, though. Ideas, anyone?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Turnip Greens and Radish Greens with Garlic and Lemon

Oftentimes, greens recipes are interchangeable, meaning that you can substitute a different type of green leafy vegetable and the recipe will still turn out well. In fact, most of the sautéed greens recipes I've made so far are just slight variations on the basic but tasty greens-cooked-in-oil recipe. Here's one variation:

Turnip greens
Radish greens
Olive oil (a couple tablespoons)
Freshly pressed garlic (a couple cloves)
Lemon juice
Coarse salt

Put the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic while the skillet is still cold, and cook over medium-high heat until garlic is slightly brown. Add the greens. Toss and stir for about a minute until greens are cooked but still bright green. Remove from skillet immediately. Add lemon juice and salt to taste.

This reminded both me and Steve of a dish we used to eat at our favorite Chicagoland Chinese restaurant, Fabulous Noodles. In English, the servers called it water spinach. I know how to say the Chinese name (with poor intonation, I'm sure), but I'm not going to attempt to type it. Anyway, this tasted very much like it, and that's a good thing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Yogurt-Berry Mondays

These yogurt-berry sundaes are our typical Saturday breakfast, so we usually call them Yogurt-Berry Saturdays. But we decided to have them today instead. It's a holiday, after all. In retrospect, perhaps I should've included blueberries to really get into the red-white-and-blue spirit of the day.

Today we used Pigman's strawberries, but we typically use thawed frozen raspberries and blueberries. Most berry varieties will do, and fresh are even better if you can find (and afford) them. Fresh peaches are also good in this. We make our sundaes/Saturdays/Mondays with homemade yogurt, which I highly recommend. It's easy, healthy, and very tasty. We go through three quarts of the stuff every five days or so. If you're using store-bought yogurt, make sure you use plain yogurt. Yes, even if you don't like plain yogurt. The flavored stuff will make the sundaes icky sweet.

Honey (optional)
Wheat germ (optional)
Ground flaxseed (optional)

Layer granola, yogurt, and berries in a tall glass. Repeat layers twice or three times. We also add wheat germ and ground flaxseed with a couple of the granola layers to boost the nutritional value. We usually drizzle the top with a little honey--particularly when we use frozen raspberries, which are a bit tart. But the honey is definitely optional and not needed at all with berries that are really sweet.
This is always yummy.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Spinach with Nutmeg and Lemon Juice

Olive oil (a couple tablespoons)
Fresh-pressed garlic (a couple cloves)
Crushed red pepper flakes (just a pinch)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Lemon juice
Coarse salt

Remove tough stems from spinach. Compost the stems. Put spinach leaves in a large bowl of cold water. Let sit briefly, then swish to remove dirt. Dry the spinach as well as you can (I used a salad spinner). Put the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes while the skillet is still cold. Cook over medium-high heat until garlic is slightly brown. Add the spinach. Flip and stir the spinach until it wilts. This will probably take a minute or less. Remove spinach from the pan immediately. Add nutmeg, lemon juice, and salt to taste.

This was tasty, as expected. Steve said he doesn't think there's any better way to eat greens than sautéed with a little garlic, olive oil, and some seasonings.

Garlic-Scape Pesto Pasta

Tonight we finally had some of the Garlic-Scape Pesto on pasta.

Pasta (I used about 8 oz. of fusilli)
Garlic-Scape Pesto (I used 1/2 to 2/3 of a single recipe)

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta and return it to the pot. Add pesto and stir gently but thoroughly.
This was good, but I feel like the pesto lost some of its superstar flavor when mingled with pasta. I liked it better on ciabatta, and I think it will be especially good with tomatoes come tomato time. I've still got four containers in the freezer!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

CSA, Week 5

In this week's share, we got:

Bok Choy
French Pink Garlic

We'll probably eat the strawberries as is, but I'll keep you posted on what we do with everything else. I'm happy we have bok choy and turnips this week, because I've never cooked with either before. The garlic needs to dry a little more before we eat it, so it might be a while before I get to that.