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Archive for October, 2009

I have been cooking this week – not just playing with Squash and Pumpkin.

Tea thyme!

Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Thyme is a wonderful surprise! It tastes almost like black tea – maybe even better. (Now can we grow it with a little caffeine?) I had a cup with a few hyssop flowers one afternoon and really enjoyed it.

Onion soup

We had onion soup the other day with CSA onions and garlic but no good beef stock – only boullion. Some day, I’ll be mature enough to make real stock  like this recipe calls for.

The recipe is a good weekend one. While it takes some time in the kitchen, you don’t have to watch it too closely. And any recipe that starts with caramelizing onions for 30 minutes is going to be good. That’s something you can’t rush and is totally worth it. Smells great, too.

The real reason I made the soup was to complement the beer bread. (more…)

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Squash and Pumpkin bundle up.

Squash and Pumpkin bundle up.

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After yesterday’s CSA report, Squash and Pumpkin wanted to have some more fun.

Squash and Pumpkin stare out the window.

Squash and Pumpkin stare out the window.

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This week’s stuff 10-14

  • baby squash, baby eggplant, and squash blossoms
  • mixed “braising” greens
  • apples
  • arugula
  • (very large) green cabbage
  • eggs
  • coffee
  • Asian eggplant
  • garlic
  • herbs

VLGC and other planetary objects

OMG! Check out my VLGC! Lucy got one as well and christened it Audrey II. I’m sticking with more scientific naming principles. A few weeks ago I got a VLNC (Very Large Napa Cabbage). I’m hoping the story of the VLGC will go better than the saga of the VLNC.

What? I forgot to share the saga of the Very Large Napa Cabbage? Prepare for a tale of fried rice, multiple cooked cabbage recipes, and, finally, cole slaw. But not until next time; I want to get this posted right away.

This week’s plans

Aren’t the baby squash adorable? Here’s a close-up.

babysquash

I cut up these babies up and roasted them  according to this recipe for lunch today. They’d also make yummy stir-fry.

If any of your yellow squash has a little hole on the outside, check for a grub on the inside. I found two grubs while cutting up the little yellow squash. I threw them in the fish pond where they were snatched up  immediately. Joys of organic produce, babe. (That’s my Detective Neil Washington impression, by the way. The first three seasons of Hill Street Blues are on Hulu.com, and we’ve been devouring them along with our local produce.)

Last night, we made a salad with the beautiful wild greens and arugula.

field peas, beer bread with radish-green artichoke dip, and racy salad

field peas, beer bread with radish-green artichoke dip, and spicy salad

Warning: These greens make NC-17 salads – too spicy for younger eaters. Especially the wasabi mustard greens. (I’m not sure if that’s what they are called, but that’s what they taste like.)

Powerful though they were,  we enjoyed our salads and plan to make more. Adding toasted nuts and an overly-sweet vinaigrette tames the raw power somewhat. My kingdom for some goat cheese! Goat cheese would make these salads perfect.

I’m missing a winter squash according to the list taped to my box. No big deal because I’ve got a butternut squash from a couple of weeks ago and a sugar pumpkin from Trader Joe’s. (Couldn’t resist trying one.)

Squash and Pumpkin hang out on the table

Squash and Pumpkin hang out on a table

I’ll drop Patricia a line, and I bet she’ll hook me up next week.

So this week, I’m dreaming of broiled butternut squash slices, spicy greens, toasted walnuts, and goat cheese. (Oh, drat –  no goat cheese! I’m going to have to find some somewhere.)

Here’s a close up of the herbs.

anise hyssop, catnip, spearmint, lemongrass, and Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Thyme

anise hyssop, catnip, spearmint, lemongrass, and Pennsylvania Dutch tea thyme

The lemon grass is great. I may use the stalks for cooking, and the grassy parts dry really well in the fridge. I made a pot of tea with a couple of dried fronds from my last batch of lemongrass, and it was plenty fine. So I’ll save these fronds for later.

Last night I made spearmint tea because spearmint doesn’t seem to last as long as the other herbs. I added a little catnip and hyssop, too. I’m going to try spearmint and tea thyme tonight.

Eggplant-okra trade

I traded my Asian eggplant for Lucy’s okra.

lucysokra

I want to try frying okra sliced longitudinally like fried eggplant. You can make Okra Parmesan, too. Here’s one recipe.  Lucy made some a while back. Said it looked awful but tasted pretty good.

When it comes to making Eggplant Parmesan, I usually wuss out and just serve the fried eggplant with a side of marinara sauce. I’m guessing the same thing will happen with the okra. Maybe something other than marinara, though. Have to wait and see.

Two (not really CSA-related) discoveries

Yesterday morning, I really wanted some peppermint tea to calm my stomach but was out of fresh mint. So I steeped two Altoids in two cups of hot water. Not better than real mint but works great for emergencies.

Last night, I finally made a bread recipe from MotherEarth News.  It’s called Dutch Oven Beer Bread, or Bread Even Susan Can Make. The recipe is as user-stupid as they come.

  • 3 cups of self-rising flour (or 3 cups all purpose + 1 ½ tbsp baking power and 1 ½ tsp salt)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 bottle of beer
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a Dutch oven (if it’s not well-seasoned)
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Pour in the beer. Don’t over mix. White streaks are okay.
  4. Dump the dough in the Dutch oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
before baking
before baking

after baking

after baking

No kneading, no rising, no nothing. And the results were awesome. That’s what Chris kept saying over supper: “This is awesome.” The bread is a little crunchy on the outside and wonderfully chewy on the inside. The beer and sugar add just enough flavor. I used an amber ale  although it’ll be fun to experiment with different beers. I could easily see us making this bread once a week this winter. Great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An epic win, as the kids say.

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We started eating our produce late this week with Friday’s lunch. But it was worth the wait.

sausage, squash muffin, sweet potato, crowder peas, and salad (lettuce, sorrel, radishes, and sprouts)

squash muffin, sausage, crowder peas, sweet potato, and salad (lettuce, sorrel, radishes, and sprouts)

The sausage is incredible. It has so much flavor; it’s what little sausages dream of becoming some day. If I can’t develop a weekly sausage habit, maybe I can develop a monthly one.

The sweet potatoes are really flavorful, too. The flesh is rich and creamy, and you can eat them right down to the skins.

Back to the grind

My new food processor finally arrived!

newtoy

It’s much bigger than the one before, and I’m very happy with it.

It fits on my blender, which I think was my grandmother’s. And I know the mixer was my great-aunt’s. It’s amazing how well these appliances hold up.

vintage

So today I (finally) made pesto and baba ghanoush. In addition to the basil from a couple of CSA deliveries ago, I pulled up the couple of plants I had left in the garden.

mybasil

With my new processor, I’ll be able to make the pesto in one batch instead of three.

And why must little creatures eat 10% of each and every leaf? Couldn’t they just eat 10% of the leaves instead? Or even 15% – I’m willing to negotiate.

Three little suppers all in a row

Saturday we had salad and Things You Can Spread on Thinly-sliced Garlic Bread.

What is baba ghanoush, pesto, and radish green artichoke dip.

What is pesto, baba ghanoush, and radish green- artichoke dip, Alex.

Sunday night we had fried okra, garlic shrimp and grits, and sweet potatoes.

(The fried okra never made it to the table. We ate it all while it was draining by the stove.)

The fried okra never made it to the table. We ate it while it was draining by the stove.

Tonight’s supper was leftovers but surprisingly satisfying. With the salad, we finished up the lettuce and bean sprouts and purple radishes. (There are still some red and pink ones left.) I’m going to miss those little bean sprouts. We also had field peas and linguine with pesto.

10-12supper

The dangers of unproven herbal teas

Chocolate mint tea is wonderful for late night sipping. And lemon verbena is soothing, too. But I’d never had rose geranium tea. I googled “rose geranium tea” to see what to do with the leaves, and none of the results gave directions for tea with just rose geranium leaves. All the teas described were made of rose geranium plus mint or lemon herbs. So last night I made lemon verbena with one rose geranium leaf. And it was delicious – very light and lemony.

Still I wanted to know what rose geranium tea would taste like. So tonight, I made tea with just rose geranium leaves. It didn’t taste nearly as good as the lemon verbena combo and gave me a headache and a scratchy throat. (Or I’m catching a cold. Or tired of sitting at my desk.)

Guess I’ll go back to lemon verbena tea with one rose geranium leaf. And believing in the wisdom of Google crowds.

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Here’s what we got this week.

10-7

  • radishes
  • apples
  • field peas
  • lettuce
  • braising greens
  • eggplant
  • sweet potatoes
  • herbs: lemon verbena, chocolate mint, and rose geranium

I also got a half-dozen eggs and some herbed goat cheese. One of the eggs cracked in the carton. (This is the first time this has happened in two years of egg deliveries, and I’m not sure when it happened. It totally could have been on my watch.) The funny part is the egg white leaked into the other sections of the carton. So when I opened the carton this afternoon all the eggs were stubbornly affixed to the carton. It took some careful prodding and carton cutting to pry out the remaining five eggs intact.

I took the herbed goat cheese and last week’s jalapeno pepper jelly to my friend Tatiana’s house. Her mother is visiting and makes delicious bliny, a common Russian food that’s kind of like thin pancakes. They are so good, and I ate so many of them! The jelly was great on the bliny – not really hot, but just enough to be interesting. At home, I’d put the jelly on toast with cream cheese.

The herbed cheese was very Italian and delicious.

herbedgoatcheese

I’d put it on toast points brushed with olive oil or perhaps on top of broiled eggplant or tomato slices. Triscuits would be good, too!

I returned home with three gorgeous eggplants from Tatiana’s garden.

krivosheeveggplant

Susan’s big cooking day

I’m hoping to have a big cooking day tomorrow. It’ll be even bigger if my food processor arrives in the morning mail. Here’s the plan:

  • trim and blanch radish greens,
  • shell and cook field peas,
  • walk the braising greens over to Lucy’s house (I’ve just got too much food around to do right by these this week.),
  • roast eggplant for baba ghanoush,
  • make baba ghanoush and pesto (if the processor shows up),
  • bake sweet potatoes,
  • make squash muffins, and
  • chop okra

Tomorrow we’ll have sausage (ordered from the online store), salad, field peas, sweet potatoes, and squash muffins for lunch. Chris and I play badminton on Friday evenings, so we eat a big late lunch and a little supper when we get home. For supper, we’ll have Pioneer porridge or cereal. Chris loves his Bob’s Red Mill muesli and milk. It’s practically a line item on our budget.

For the rest of the week, we’ll be eating

  • mixed green alfredo with last week’s kale and this week’s radish greens,
  • field peas and fried okra,
  • baba ghanoush,
  • sausage,
  • baked sweet potatoes, and
  • salad with sprouts and radishes.

Leftovers

I finally made the edamame-radish salad. It was delicious! I didn’t have any cilantro, but I threw in some bean sprouts. Here’s a picture.

a nice vegetable plate... followed by burgers at Five Guys

a healthy plate of vegetables... followed by burgers at Five Guys

That baby squash and zucchini made excellent stir-fried squash. Some time this week, I’m going to stir fry my remaining Zephyr squash and video the process. If the video (and the squash) turn out well, I’ll post it here.

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Our food and meal planning is backed up because my two biggest eaters have been MIA. James is  off at college, and Chris has had a stomach bug. But we’re catching up now.

Saturday night we had a nearly all-CSA supper. We had scrambled eggs with fresh chopped tarragon, baked acorn squash, and a salad with sorrel, radishes, and bean sprouts. Mighty tasty, but, alas, no pictures.

I do, however, have a picture of Sunday’s supper.

10-4supper

I chopped up some leftover fried catfish and added it to reheated pasta with chopped summer savory and basil. Then I added some olive oil and tossed it all together.

Baked apple rings and acorn squash

Sometimes I eat an apple everyday and can’t wait for the next one. Then I’ll go a few days without craving one, and I wind up with some aging apples. Which means it’s time to make baked apple rings!

I peeled, cored, and sliced four apples, and sprinkled them with cinnamon.

bakedapplerings1

Then I baked them at 250 for about 45 minutes, turning them over once.

bakedapplerings2

They’re so good, and they go so fast. Chris and I ate all of  them sitting in front of the television that same night.

The green apples we got this week, we’ve eaten raw. Guess I’m back on the raw apple wagon for now.

I tried to bake the acorn squash along side the apple rings. But, at 250, the squash never baked enough. I threw it in the microwave for 3 minutes, and it came out fine.

Porridge!

This morning we had our first bowl of Pioneer Porridge. I added salt at the beginning and raisins at the end. That was all the porridge needed for us. It’s got a very satisfying and chewy texture. We’ll definitely make it again soon.

  Chris no longer feels sorry for children in English novels who only get porridge for supper.

Chris no longer feels sorry for children in English novels who have to eat porridge.

The recipe on the bag calls for ½ cup porridge to 2 ½ cups water. I doubled both ingredients for two, and I think that was mistake. Then next time I make it, I’ll use 1 cup of porridge and 4 cups of water and watch it closely.

I also made edamame-radish-bean sprout salad and served it for an early supper along with stir-fried squash and zucchini and more salad.

10-5supper

We just had vegetables because we went to Five Guys later.

Tomorrow we’ll have tuna on a salad, squash muffins, and fried okra for lunch.

Then for supper maybe we’ll have more porridge!

And I’ve ordered a food processor attachment. Hope it arrives soon so I can get on with the pesto and the baba ghanoush.

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