June 26, 2009

CSA Box #2

In the box this week:

Garlic scapes (the curly looking things on the right)
Green garlic (looks like green onions--sitting next to the green onions in the box)
Green onions
Redleaf lettuce

Aren't these strawberries cute?

June 24, 2009

Lentil Walnut Burgers with Yogurt Cilantro Sauce

I've made a few veggie burgers in the past, and they've been OK. The main issue is they fall apart. Fall apart when forming them. Fall apart when frying them. Fall apart when eating them.

Then I found this recipe. They stay together--no problem. And they taste great.

Lentil Walnut Burger
adapted from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

3/4 c lentils, picked over and rinsed
3/4 c walnuts
1/3 c plain dried bread crumbs
3 cloves garlic, through the garlic press
1 t ground cumin
1 t coriander (I used lemon pepper)
1/2 t red pepper flakes
4 T olive oil
1 large egg

Place lentils in saucepan and cover with 1" of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape--about 20 minutes. Toast the walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant.

Combine walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, lemon pepper, red pepper flakes and S+P in food processor and process until finely ground. Add the lentils and 1 T oil. Pulse until coarsely chopped but some lentils remain whole.

In large bowl, whisk the egg. Add the lentil mixture and mix well. Form in to patties (4 to 6). Heat the oil in a fry pan over medium low heat and fry burgers until crisp and browned--8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.

Serve with Yogurt Cilantro Sauce
3/4 c plain low-fat yogurt
2 T chopped fresh cilantro (or more)
1 T fresh lemon juice

The bright taste of the yogurt/cilantro/lemon balances the lentil/cumin.

June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Baked goods make great gifts. They're fun to make and you get to (hopefully) sample!

So for Father's Day? Macaroons for my Dad who loves coconut.

This recipe is so easy and it delivers amazing macaroons. No mushy-is-there-coconut-in-this macaroons. Real deal macaroons.

Sally's Coconut Macaroons
Courtesy of The Splendid Table's How to East Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift

2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c sugar
generous pinch salt
1 t almond or vanilla extract
3 c sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking sheet or use parchment paper. In large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt and almond or vanilla extract. Blend in the coconut until completely incorporated. Don't worry when it doesn't look like your typical batter. Drop generous teaspoonfuls (or tablespoonfuls!) onto the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

I LOVE almond flavor, so I always use almond extract. You've got to try these!

June 14, 2009

Technicolor Potatoes and Umami Greens

Smashed Purple Potatoes
recipe adapted from Michael Anthony’s Fork-Crushed Purple Majesty Potatoes

3 or 4 medium blue potatoes
4 green onions, minced
1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped

Boil potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain. Smash potatoes with oil, salt, pepper, onion. Squeeze on a bit of lemon (watch it change the color of the potatoes--they get brighter in front of your eyes!). Top with rosemary and serve immediately.

The lemon gives the potatoes a wonderful fresh flavor.

Want Umami? Try Sauteed Kohlrabi Leaves
1 Kohlrabi, stems trimmed and bulb reserved for another use
Salt and Pepper

Chop kohlrabi into larger than bite-sized pieces. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the kohlrabi and saute until softened and crispy around the edges. Season with salt and pepper.

June 11, 2009

CSA Box #1

It arrived! Our first box from Driftless Organics.

There was an overwhelming amount of greens floating around the apartment tonight. Here's what was in the box:
  • Arugula
  • Green Garlic (they are things that look like green onions but bigger)
  • Purple Kohlrabi (the leaves and the bulb are edible)
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Blue Potatoes
  • Radishes (the leaves are also edible--the farmer's even kept it under a row cover cloth so the bugs wouldn't eat them)
  • Spinach
  • Rosemary

So, that above is kohlrabi. Here's the ongoing conversation I had with my husband tonight:
he: "What's this?"
me: "That's kohlrabi."

then later:
"What's the purple one?"

again, later:
"What's this one again?"
"Kohl... RABI!"

Now he knows what it is!

Kohlrabi and Apple Salad with Creamy Mustard Dressing
adapted from Gourmet 1992, found on Epicurious

1/2 c heavy cream
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T coarse-ground mustard
1 T fresh rosemary
1/2 t sugar
1 bulb kohlrabi (bulb only), peeled, julienne cut
1 granny smith apple
1 head green leaf lettuce

In a medium bowl squeeze lemon juice over the kohlrabi and apple. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks. Add the sugar, pepper, mustard and rosemary. Then toss in the kohlabri/apple. Serve over a bed of lettuce with bread.

Have fun!

June 09, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

T minus 2 days until our first CSA box!

My husband and I signed up for a CSA this year. We have never done this before and are so excited to experience it.

CSA is basically purchasing a share of the farm's bounty for a season. By purchasing a CSA, we take the reward and the risk. Risks? Floods, storms, pests... anything that may destroy a crop. Rewards? Wonderful food--some of the usual and unusual.

For instance, this is what the farmer said might be coming this week:

Blue Potatoes
Green Garlic
Green Leaf Lettuce
Rosemary -or- Oregano

Blue potatoes?! Green garlic?! And yes, I've heard of kohlrabi, but I've definitely never prepared it.

Hearing from the farmer about what's going in the ground, what's getting harvested, etc. is really fun. It feels great to support an organic and local farm. Check them out: Driftless Organics.

In the meantime, I am frantically searching for recipes. As you may have guessed, part of the fun is making sure nothing gets wasted.

June 08, 2009

Heating Things up on a Cold Afternoon

For some odd reason it's freezing out. And yes, it's June.

So it was time for a warming dinner. On goes the oven!

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce
adapted from Everyday Food

1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 t crushed dried rosemary
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
salt + pepper
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 ramekins (the larger the better) and place on baking sheet.

In saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic and rosemary. Stir until garlic is lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and 2 T parm. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Cook 2 to 4 minutes until a bit thickened.

Add a spoonful of sauce to each ramekin. Then crack two eggs in each ramekin. Top off with salt, pepper, remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Bake 20 to 28 minutes or until the whites are set. It's great when the yolks are still a tad runny. This recipe has a great fresh flavor. The garlic gets nice and roasty too.

This recipe serves 2 but can easily be doubled to serve 4.

One of my favorite warming foods? Homemade biscuits!

Baking Powder Biscuits
adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour (or you can do 2 cups all purpose and skip whole wheat)
1 T sugar
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c shortening
3/4 c milk

Heat oven to 450. In large bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like crumbs. Stir in the milk until just barely blended.

Dump dough on to lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times.

I like my biscuits with a rustic look. If you want yours more pretty, pat it out and use a biscuit cutter. Or, do like I do, and cut off bits of dough and shape lightly with your hands. Place about 1" apart on the baking sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until just lightly browned. Remove from the baking sheet right when they come out of the oven. Serve warm. No butter needed!

Biscuit tips:
  • Add a little whole wheat flour to make it more healthy. You can do 75% to 25%, half and half or even more.
  • Once you've added the milk (or any liquid in a baked good, for that matter) mix as little as possible. You don't want to develop gluten, which makes the biscuit tough.

June 06, 2009

Julie & Julia Are Back!

By some strange twist of fate I have become a huge fan of Julia Child. It may have begun with my read of Julie & Julia (read my post about it). That book is about a true-life experiment by Julie Powell to try every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days. Wow.

Anyway, the book was fun. But the main reason I liked it is it introduced me to Julia Child. Since then I've read My Life in France (wonderful!), watched many The French Chef episodes and now I'm knee-deep in the biography Julia Child.

Now I'm ecstatic that the Julie & Julia book is going to be a movie (of the same name)--coming out August 7, 2009 (calendar is officially marked). I'm pretty sure the movie also uses content from My Life in France. Meryl Streep plays Julia and Amy Adams plays Julie. This is going to be fun. Check out the trailer:

June 05, 2009

Edamame and Smoked Tofu Succotash

This recipe is from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Yea--I really enjoyed it. It's fresh and different!

1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 t balsamic vinegar
2 T chicken or veggie broth (or water... but then bump up the salt)
1 small red onion, cut into 1" chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
one 6- to 8- ounce block of "smoked" or "savory flavored" tofu cut into 1/2" dice**
1 1/2 C fresh cut corn kernels or one 9 oz box frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1 c cooked shelled edamame (available frozen, may need to look in "natural/organic" section of store (that's where I found it)
1 large tomato, diced
3 whole scallions, diced
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

1. Mix soy sauce, vinegar and broth in small bowl.

2. Lightly film the bottom of a large skillet w/ olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, tofu and soy sauce mixture. Saute for about 3 minutes more. Be careful not to fully reduce the cooking liquid. If you run out, add a bit more broth to keep things moist.

3. Turn the heat to low and stir in the corn, edamame, tomatoes and scallions. Saute, stirring gently for 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for a few more moments, until there is a slight golden glaze in the bottom of the skillet and the flavors are rich and concentrated.

4. Season to taste with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowl.

**Note on tofu: I couldn't find the "savory" tofu until I shopped at my local co-op. It's worth finding! FYI, this tofu is not packed in water. It is packed in air-tight package.

This tofu is easy to cook with so it's a good way to start, I think.
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