Entries from blogs tagged with “Sarah Henning”
So, last week was our first week of the year without a CSA. Which stinks, but which is also inevitable when living in our neck of the woods (stupid hard winters). That said, one of the questions I consistently get when blogging weekly about what my family eats is this:
"Does your kid REALLY eat that?"
Well, yes and no.
Truth be told, my little guy (who is nearly 3) is just as picky as any other toddler out there. There are days when he would give any college student a run for his or her mono-mealing money. Yes, he'll request cheese morning noon and night. He ate dried cranberries at every single meal last Sunday. Whenever we eat out he'll eat nothing but French fries, no matter where we are.
But, at the same time, he does tend to make pretty good choices (French fries aside). And one of his favorite choices is also a really sneaky way to keep his fruit and veggie intake high, no matter how much cheese he ate in the last 24 hour period: smoothies.
If you've checked out the other smoothies (and juices) on this blog, you may have noticed there's not much to them. They're usually just fruit and water, maybe some spinach thrown in for color or protein powder for an extra kick. I don't like to add a bunch of bells and whistles because then I become accustomed to them and so does my little guy, who will drink nearly anything we give him as long as he gets to "pick his straw" (we use the "decorative dots" from Glass Dharma).
So, generally, anytime I make a smoothie, he'll drink it. And yes, there is photographic evidence of him drinking:
So, Saturday, before a trip to the Lawrence Farmers' Market, I made a double version of one of my favorites, the Cherry Chocolate Bomb Smoothie from my friend Kristen.
And he drank all of his, plus half of mine. Such a hoss (as you can see from the first photo). Try it on your kids and you might just have them thinking they're getting a treat when really they're getting super nutrition.
Cherry Chocolate Bomb Smoothie (Recipe by Kristen Suzanne)
1 cup filtered water
1 frozen banana, chopped
1 cup frozen cherries
1/4 cup hemp protein powder (I rarely use it)
2 tablespoons hemp seeds (Not necessary, but they have a bunch of good fats!)
2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder
Splash vanilla extract
Blend this goodness up, and enjoy it as it helps make your day one of the best days ever!
So long, summer, it was nice knowing you! Last Monday was our final CSA pickup of the season. There were fewer bags from Rolling Prairie than last year because of our unbearably hot summer, which stinks. But hey, we're lucky to have all these vegetable farmers around in the first place. And, it'll be easy to get some very yummy stuff at the Lawrence Farmers' Market for the next few weeks before everyone packs it up and calls it a season until spring.
That said, I promise I won't pack it up until spring. I'm planning to blog weekly on local/healthy/family eats on roughly the same schedule I've been keeping with Bye-Bye Bounty. If there's any topic you specifically want me to cover, let me know by messaging me at email@example.com.
So, on to this week's goodies.
During our final week with Rolling Prairie, we got sweet potatoes, potatoes, Swiss chard, peppers and two bags of salad mix.
The potatoes went in storage, the Swiss chard became wraps, and the peppers and salad mix contributed to, well, salad.
On Thursday night, we'd planned to have sweet potato medallions, so I was in for a surprise when I came home from my weekly girls' run and not only had my guys made the sweet potatoes, but they'd also made a yummy-looking new salad.
It's from the same book as the butternut squash and apple soup we made a few weeks ago, and it's just about as awesome. And as a bonus, it uses super cheap and super hearty ingredients (quinoa and chickpeas) as well as some things that can be found locally this time of year (basil, onions and romaine). Oh, and it makes a ton, so chances are, you'll have it for lunch the next day.
The combination of the sweet potatoes and the salad was absolutely perfect and hit the spot after running 10 miles at the end of a long workday. I highly recommend you try it (whether you have a long run planned or not).
Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad (By Isa Chandra Moskowitz, “Appetite for Reduction”)
2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Optional add-ins: roasted garlic, baked tofu or tempeh, shredded carrot, sprouts, fresh basil
1 recipe Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the salad ingredients together. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Keep chilled in a tightly sealed container for up to three days.
1/4 cup cashew pieces
2 tablespoons chopped shallot (or onion)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon agave nectar
3/4 teaspoon salt
A few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
First place the cashews and shallot in a food processor and pulse to get them chopped up. Then simply add the rest of the ingredients. Blend for at least 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides often, until completely smooth.
It’s really important that you blend for the full time, otherwise your dressing may be grainy. Transfer the dressing to a sealable container (a bowl covered with plastic wrap is just fine) and chill until ready to serve.
Well, we're almost to the end of the road. On Monday, I picked up my very last CSA haul of the year from Rolling Prairie. It's so sad to me because it signals the end of the summer. The days are getting cooler and pretty soon the Lawrence Farmers' Market will be a goner too. Sigh. But, I do feel a bit lucky, because I know from talking to friends that other CSAs have ended earlier than ours.
So, next week will be my last CSA blog until next spring, but I'm cooking up a weekly something to keep all of us foodies busy in the in-between.
But, until then, I had a lot of fun whipping up different items this week with last week's goodies.
Including sweet potato medallions...
A salad for work with our lettuce mix (plus local apples and walnuts)...
And Swiss chard wraps based on a recipe by my sweet friend Natalia.
Inside, that's a mixture of Natalia's "eggplant bacon" (made from local eggplant!), avocado, local tomatoes, and a cilantro-lime sauce/dip that made the whole thing have the same salty/sweet level as a BLT.
I highly recommend checking out Natalia's book if those wraps look like something you might want to try.
So, the recipe I'm going to share is the one for the sweet potato medallions. It's a recipe my dad gave us a few years ago and its a total staple for our family. I've blogged about it before, but because of some sort of glitch, that recipe (and a few others) is missing from my past blogs. But it's really too good not to share again.
Now, I do it with the amount of seasoning listed, but my dad — the recipe perfecter, as it were — will sometimes double the amount of seasoning and coat the potatoes a second time after flipping them. If you think that's your cup of tea, go for it.
Sweet Potato Medallions
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds (about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Olive oil/olive oil spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray two cookie sheets (lipped ones are best) with olive oil. Place the sweet potato rounds on the cookie sheets.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt and pepper.
Spray the sweet potatoes with oil, or put a little olive oil in a small bowl and coat each round with oil using a basting brush. Once all the rounds are coated, sprinkle on the sugar and spice mixture.
Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the rounds and put them in for another 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
What'd we get in our last week from Rolling Prairie? Two bags of salad greens, more chard leaves, potatoes, sweet potatoes and peppers.
If you’ve read this blog since fall last year, you know I’m a total sucker for Nancy O’Connor’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burritos. I think they’re the perfect fall dish. And I had them this week, but I’m not going to write about them. Instead, I’m going to write about a dish we made for the first time that we just absolutely loved: Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Butternut-Apple Soup.
Now, I’m a veteran of sorts when it comes to butternut squash soup. I feel like I’ve made every single one out there (including Nancy’s great one from “The Rolling Prairie Cookbook”), but I can tell you this one was absolutely fabulous. And a total surprise, sort of.
First of all, I had no idea I was going to have soup the night we had it. I went for a 10-mile run with my running group and came home to a house that smelled heavenly. My boys had made dinner — which is always awesome to come home to. My hubby had found the recipe in Isa’s newest book, “Appetite for Reduction.”
Now, why was it so awesome? Because, besides the fact that it has just 200 calories per serving, it has quite a different taste than other butternut concoctions. It’s sweet because of the apples, and a bit sour because of lime juice and apple cider. Plus, there’s ginger, red pepper flakes and garlic in there to add quite the latent kick. Really, really excellent. Plus, the six servings are generous, and perfectly proportioned when shared with a crusty Wheatfields' baguette. Heaven.
And it used CSA squash, CSA onion, CSA garlic, local apples and local apples cider. Win/Win.
Butternut-Apple Soup (Recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, “Appetite for Reduction”)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, diced small
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 pound red apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 cups apple cider
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions in the oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent.
Add the ginger and garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and salt, and sauté for a minute more. Add the squash, apples, apple cider and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat just a bit and simmer briskly for about 20 more minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Puree the soup using either an immersion blender or by transferring half the soup at a time to a food processor or blender in batches. If you prefer, you can leave the soup a little chunky by only pureeing half or so. If using a blender, be sure to let the steam escape so that it doesn’t build up in the blender.
Add the lime juice and season to taste. Serves 6.
So, what’d we get this week — our penultimate week of the CSA season?
Apples, basil, greens, salad mix, peppers and sweet potatoes.
The end of the CSA is near.
Normally, we’re able to get our weekly goodies from Rolling Prairie clear through to Halloween. Not the case this year. Because of weeks of high heat and little water, the season is ending early. On Monday, I got an email from my pick-up site coordinator, Bob Lominska, saying that because of “the challenging weather” (he’s being nice) my last CSA pick-up as a regular customer will be Sept. 26.
I'm not sure other CSAs will be ending as soon, but I think pretty much every farmer/home gardener/container gardener had the same problems this year in Northeast Kansas. So, chances are, even if your CSA hasn’t given you an end date, you probably won’t be getting goodies very late this year.
The good news? Even after our CSAs have finished for the year, we should still be able to get local produce at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market for a few weeks. They haven’t announced as to if the season will end earlier than its usual mid-November date, but chances are we can still pick up something through November. So, there’s our silver lining. Plus, the local goods will still be coming through our groceries. The supply might not be the best, but chances won’t be totally out of luck.
And we’re lucky to have anything, honestly. Think about all the crops ruined by flooding, drought, storms and disease this year across the Midwest and we’re doing pretty stinking well.
So, what did we do with the bounty we picked up on Labor Day (above)? Actually, not that much. We stored the squash, ate the tomatoes and basil out of hand and juiced the cucumber. The okra we still have and are hoping to use this week.
And the eggplant, well, the eggplant went into a wonderful eggplant Parmesan that the hubby slaved over. We used Mark Bittman’s recipe, and the hubby loved it. But that’s all I can tell you because, well, I have no photographic evidence.
I took photos with my personal Droid, which I lost this weekend while helping out with the Hawk 100. We’ve searched high and low for it to no avail, which makes me think some goober picked it, wiped it clean and is hoping to sell it, since it’s relatively new.
So, in a word, no pics of the yummy eggplant parm. Very sad, indeed.
This week from Rolling Prairie, we got a true mixed bag of summer/fall treats: More eggplant, melon, basil, garlic, golden potatoes, sweet potatoes. (Notice how different the photos look, this photo was taken with my lovely work-issued iPhone 4).
So, this week I’m not going to do the typical “Here’s what I ate” and one recipe routine. It’s not that I’m feeling lazy after the long weekend, it’s just that we had so many great things with CSA ingredients last week.
Last week’s haul included grapes, basil, tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, onion and a cucumber.
Lot’s of variety, right? Totally. Lots of possibilities and not enough room in a single blog. So, I’ll describe the week in pictures. Because, honestly, they’re probably more taste bud-satisfying than any words I’d type. If you want specific recipes, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get them to you ASAP.
So, the second I took that picture of our entire week's haul, a certain little monster stole some grapes so fast he’s a blur.
But he didn’t eat them all, so the next morning the rest went into the blender with strawberries and peaches from Hiawatha that we bought at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. Smoothie time!
Next, I used some of my tomatoes in a veggie-heavy take on tabbouleh:
... And on a pizza made with the whole-wheat flour we received previously from our CSA. (That’s the kid holding up the peppers and some CSA onions, pre-chopping in the first photo).
The basil and cucumber made it into some more green juice and the squash went in the pantry for later use. All in all, a tasty week, for sure.
This week, we got quite the end-of-summer haul too: eggplant, tomatoes, squash, okra, cucumber, basil and melon.
When I was in high school, I picked up a vintage Dr. Pepper shirt from some random place (Friend’s closet? Garage sale? The drama department at school?) that said “Soy un Pepper” on it. I was taking high school Spanish and thought it was funny, so I wore it around, even though it was more than threadbare and smelled like a mothball-filled basement no matter how much I washed it.
I have no idea what the heck happened to that shirt beyond probably disintegration, but this week it came back to me in a vision. Why? Because of a sudden influx of peppers. You know how I love peppers, but suddenly we had little room in the crisper for anything else.
How’d we come to get such an awesome collection of peppers? Well, we combined leftovers from our CSA, garden and the Lawrence Farmers’ Market, with some peppers gifted to us from our sweet neighbors, Eric and Tracie. Seems their cupboards and fridge were overflowing too, so they brought us a big old haul:
So, you know what we made, those pepper fajitas/quesadillas, of course.
What’d we do with last week’s veggies?
That’s garlic, butternut squash, cucumbers, potatoes, whole-wheat flour, basil and pears — plus the green juice I made with some of the cucumbers, pears and basil from the CSA. I made that juice a few times last week with our CSA ingredients, stored the potatoes, flour, garlic and squash, and we just ate the rest of the pears outright. Yum!
As for the juice, the recipe is super easy ... if you have a juicer. If you don’t, you could cut everything up and blend it with some water and then strain it.
Garden Green Juice
1 pear or apple (optional)
1 handful basil
1/2 head of celery
1 lemon or lime
Run everything through the juicer!
What’d we get this week? Grapes, basil, tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, onion and a cucumber. A pic:
I’m kind of sad because I know there are only about 10 more weeks to my CSA. Yes, that’s almost three months, but I’m still in mourning. Good thing I’ve got these beautiful fruits and veggies to cheer me up.
So, those are my fruits and veggies from last week: A melon (intact!), pretty bell peppers, tomatoes, an onion, potatoes and cucumbers.
I wish I could tell you I did something new and fantastic with it this week, but, um, no. It was just a summer week. You know, tomatoes washed and eaten as a work snack, melon inhaled by the kid, potatoes and onions in storage for another round of last week’s potato pancakes.
And the peppers? I thought about making my friend Laurie’s lovely fajitas, but instead fell back into making my very favorite kale salad with the pretty peppers, the CSA cucumber and the tomatoes I didn’t plow through at work.
This week we got: Garlic, butternut squash(!), cucumbers, potatoes, whole-wheat flour, basil and pears, as you can see, below. In the pic, there's also a glass of green juice that I made with one of the cucumbers before I took the pic. (We also had more pears, but the kid tore into those.)
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?
So, when a certain 2-year-old butterfingers dropped our yellow CSA watermelon this week, we made a smoothie.
Just take a halved small watermelon (above, already prepared, as it stands) and scoop the flesh into a blender, seeds and all. Add a little water (enough to get the blender going) and blend. Once all frothy and juicy, pour into a large glass or mason jar — running it through a metal wire strainer to get rid of the seed gunk — and wallah! Instant smoothie:
So, what else did we do with the beautiful veggies we received from Rolling Prairie last week?
Well, the tomatoes, basil and cucumbers all made it into various forms of salad, while the potatoes went to a dish we’d never tried before from Nancy O’Connor’s fabulous “Rolling Prairie Cookbook.”
It’s kind of amazing we’ve never made this recipe because it seems like we’ve tried nearly everything in this cookbook. (FYI: I won’t treat you to a current pic of the cookbook because it’s got the stains and smells of being VERY well-loved … which is probably slightly disgusting in a cooking blog.) But we did finally try them while having friends over for dinner and they were awesome, even if my photography is not.
Green Onion and Potato Pancakes (From Nancy O’Connor’s “Rolling Prairie Cookbook”)
1 pound potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
12 green onions, bulbs and greens, chopped
¼ cup minced parsley
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup lowfat sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons oil for frying
Wash potatoes, cut into big chunks, boil, and mash — no need to peel, the skins add nice texture and color to the pancakes. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and sauté for 3 minutes, until just tender. Combine potatoes, onions and remaining ingredients, except for frying oil. Stir well. Heat 1 tablespoon of the frying oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop pancake mixture onto hot skillet, approximately 2 heaping tablespoons per pancake. Flatten with a spatula. Fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Repeat for rest of mixture. Makes 12 to 14 pancakes.
So, what'd we get this week in our CSA bag? Tomatoes, cucumber, onion, potatoes, baby melon and assorted peppers.
So, my friend Laurie has been staying with us for a little while before moving out of Lawrence. I’m super bummed about her leaving, but I must say that while she’s been staying with us, I’ve been eating WELL. (Good thing she’s my running buddy, too.).
Laurie’s great in the kitchen, even if it’s my kitchen. And she was sweet enough to share with us her top-secret fajita quesadilla/taco recipe while staying in our house. She was also nice enough to make it once and then basically make it again so I could “practice” and get it right. That way, after she moves I won’t be calling her in a panic at dinnertime wondering why my fajita seasoning wasn’t thickening right.
And, you know what, that fajita seasoning was just perfect for the mountain of peppers we’ve amassed from our Rolling Prairie CSA and my own impulsiveness at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. I really can’t turn down a pretty purple pepper or a mellow yellow one or the bright orange ones in my garden.
Seriously. I need to be stopped. I actually posted a Facebook message with just this picture of a pepper because I was so proud:
Yeah. So, thanks to Laurie’s cooking skills and my hoarding, I bring you Fajita Quesadillas/Tacos.
Fajita Quesadillas/Tacos (recipe from Laurie Euler)
4-5 small bell and/or frying peppers
1/2 large onion
1 recipe Fajita Seasoning Mix (below)
Cheese or Cashew Cheese
Fajita-sized flour tortillas
Fajita Seasoning Mix (adapted from Food.com)
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Mix seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Slice bell peppers and onions into sticks or squares, whichever you prefer. Throw them in a saucepan or large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sauté until the peppers are soft.
Next, add all the seasoning mix and add about a 1/4-1/2 cup water to the pan. Continue to sauté until the sauce thickens and coats the peppers and onions (this should take a few minutes).
Set peppers aside to cool. In a separate frying pan, warm two flour tortillas, one on top of the other. Flip them and once they’re warm take the top one off, put peppers and cheese on the bottom and then top with the other tortilla. Flip and heat through — 15 to 20 seconds. Put quesadilla on a plate, cut into four pieces and serve. To make the taco version, warm the tortillas in the pan and then put them on a plate. Stuff full of fajita peppers, cheese and whatever else you might want. Enjoy!.
What’d we get this week — my first without my buddy Laurie around? (Sniff). Tomatoes — both regular and cherry — potatoes, basil, cucumbers and a little yellow watermelon.
First, I apologize for my opening photo. Not the sexiest food photo known to man, I must admit. BUT, the meal depicted in the photo is absolutely lovely.
That, my friends, is the Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte. Why I say “THE” is because if you’re a follower of the blog you know my love affair with this torte began last year.
I love it for several reasons. Firstly, because it uses two of the summer’s most abundant veggies, whether you find them at the market or are a member of a CSA like Rolling Prairie: summer squash and potatoes. I also have it on our family meal rotation because it’s hearty and goes well with when paired with a salad made of our seasonal, local ingredients and some local or homemade bread. It’s also fabulous reheated, which makes for an easy lunch. Bonus: The hubby/executive chef of the household loves it.
In fact, there’s only two real downsides to the torte:
It requires a lot of chopping. Not that that’s a problem when your favorite meal is kale salad.
The recipe is REALLY long. So, if you want to make it, I’ll do what I did last year and send you to the original post.
So, what’d we get this week? Basil, tomatoes, potatoes, honey, peppers and the cutest little yellow watermelon you ever did see:
So, now we’re getting into the spoils of summer. My CSA is churning out great stuff, my garden is hopping, and, unless this 100-degree heat continues to bake everything, August looks even tastier.
Last week at the CSA, we got one huge onion, two cucumbers, kale, yellow squash, new potatoes, blackberries and a HUGE bag of basil (below).
The second I saw that bag of basil I knew I’d have to do some caprese salad (top) with the Cherokee purples I’d just picked that weekend from my garden. Seriously, I know everyone has their own favorite tomato, but I’m not sure how anyone can pick against the Cherokee purple in any category. They’re juicy, plump and pretty with their purple-and-green coloring. ’Nuff said.
That bag of basil was massive, though, so one little salad couldn’t take care of it. So, I knew I’d be making pesto.
Specifically, avocado pesto.
And I'll tell you why. One chef I really love is Chloe Coscarelli. She’s a cute, spunky California girl who happened to win an episode of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” with a vegan cupcake. Yeah, she’s that good. Anyway, Chloe’s food is simple, fresh and tasty and she’s studied nutrition, so she takes health into account. Plus, she’s just delightful and will actually respond to you on Twitter (as long as you’re not creepy and stalkerish) and seems really happy to hear you tried one of her recipes.
So, Chloe’s Avocado Pesto Pasta it would be. With more caprese and a side of kale chips (made in the dehydrator the night before, as to avoid more oven time):
As for the rest of my CSA haul, the potatoes, onion and squash went into storage (I have a plan for them, mwah-haha!) and the blackberries became a really yummy smoothie:
That’s just a tub of blackberries, 2 bananas, 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1-2 cups water blended together.
But the real star of the week was the pesto. Though not very photogenic, as you’ll see in a second, it’s still pretty tasty. Now, I will admit that it lacks a certain kick. Possibly it needs more salt, so make sure to taste-test it and add accordingly (and I’m not really a salt person, so this is really saying something). I added a pinch of salt and a large splash of balsamic to mine to give it a little more flavor. It’s also good with a portion of caprese salad tomatoes dumped on top.
What’d we get this week from Rolling Prairie? Sweet corn, more new potatoes, basil, summer squash, tomatoes.
Avocado Pesto Pasta (Recipe by Chloe Coscarelli, www.chefchloe.com)
1 pound linguine
1 bunch fresh basil, reserve some leaves for garnish
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 avocados, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or sliced sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Toss pasta with pesto. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with cherry or sun-dried tomatoes. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish each serving with a basil leaf.
OK, so, a confession. I love cheese, it just doesn’t love me.
It’s a sad state of affairs that has included a lot of back and forth over the years, but right now it’s safe to say that though I pine wistfully over goat cheese, eating it is a nasty proposition. My stomach freaks out and it’s just a nightmare to get it to calm back down.
So, no, I won’t die if I have cheese. I don’t have an allergy. It just hasn’t liked me ever since the little one came along. GRRR.
But that’s not a problem, because after a while, it’s true that you don’t miss it. Don’t crave it. Don’t really think much about it unless your husband is digging in to some ooey-gooey, hot and melty pizza right next to you (sigh). But, truth be told, it’s worth it to grit my teeth and deal.
Thus, I’ve become pretty good at making my own “cheese,” thanks to the “Stir-Well to Heaven” cookbook from Sandi Corder-Clootz, the executive chef of my longtime favorite restaurant, Eden Alley Cafe. I love making her “Mexican” cashew cheese — it’s quick, easy, tasty, cheap and is actually really good on pizza with the cheese scraped off (Yes, the hubby gets double the cheese — lucky him.).
But I hadn’t really had it on much besides pizza crust and sandwiches. So, when I got sweet corn last week from our CSA, and had a hankering for Mexican food, I thought I’d try my beloved cashew cheese on something a bit more involved than bread and crust.
The result is this dish that is one part salad, one part Mexican feast. It has the feeling of a taco salad without the heaviness. Plus, it’s super easy to make on a night when a toddler is at your legs begging you for MORE BLUEBERRIES NOW MOMMY.
If you followed this blog last CSA season, you know I like to avoid turning on the oven at all costs in the summer (Heat, yuck!), so it should not surprise you that you can make this without heating anything up.
That is, of course, unless you want to have it with real honest-to-god, gooey cheese. And if you don’t? I’m sharing Sandi’s cashew cheese recipe.
Yes, it sounds weird, but if you’re lactose shy and give it a try, you’ll not only be saving yourself some money over the stuff you buy at the store, you also may stand at the counter eating it by the spoonful like my son.
Um, yeah. He does that.
What’d we get in our bag this week? A huge onion, 2 cucumbers, kale, yellow squash, new potatoes, blackberries and a HUGE bag of basil.
Summer Weather Mexican Bowl
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 avocado, chopped
1 ear of raw sweet corn, corn removed and cob discarded
1-2 dollops of queso fresco, melty colby jack or Creamy Mexican Cashew Cheese (recipe is below)
1 squirt lime juice
1 squirt hot sauce (I use The Boulder Hot Sauce Company’s Smokey Serrano)
Salsa, to taste (I use Green Mountain Gringo’s mild)
Mix all in a bowl and enjoy! Best eaten with a spoon.
Mexican Creamy Cashew Cheese (Recipe by Sandi Corder-Clootz, “Stir-Well to Heaven: The Eden Alley Cafe Cookbook”)
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 12 hours
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3/4 cup filtered water
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Put all ingredients in a food processor and run for 5 minutes. You can add more water for a thinner consistency or less for a thicker cheese. Makes 2 cups. Store in an air-tight container. Try to use within 10 days (sometimes I halve the recipe because it makes a lot.)
OK, so I promised two potato recipes this week, right? Right. Well, I’m not going to blab on too long because with the amount of new potatoes coming in, it’s no secret you people need these recipes. And fast.
We’re swimming in potatoes between our CSA and our garden. I love spuds and all, but man, there are just SO MANY of them!
This week at the CSA, we had a choice and ended up not picking spuds, just because we have so many waiting for us in their own garden bed. Instead, this week we picked up honey, pesto, kale, yellow squash, sweet corn and green beans. Quite the haul, even without a bag of potatoes.
So, the potato recipes I’m sharing were made within the last two weeks, both using local potatoes from Rolling Prairie. New potatoes are very versatile, so one dish was a cold salad and the other was a more hearty hot dish. New potatoes also happen to be adorable, so the kiddo was quite happy helping us clean them, as you can see from the picture above.
And cleaning them also meant he was much more interested in eating them, as evidenced by the picture I previewed last week — the kiddo leaning in for a big bite of broccoli mashed potatoes with cheese:
And honestly, he usually ignores broccoli, even when it’s this pretty and local, so score one for the parents on the broccoli front! (Even if we did cover it in cheese and potatoes.)
Broccoli Mashed Potatoes with Cheese (adapted from “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several pinches freshly ground black pepper
Handful grated cheese (we used Alma colby jack, but probably any cheese would do)
Place the potatoes in a 4-quart pot in enough cold water to submerge them, making sure there are about 4 inches of extra water on top for when you add the broccoli. Bring the potatoes to a boil. Once boiling, add the broccoli and lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes and broccoli are tender.
Drain them in a colander, return them to the pot, and use a potato masher to mash them a bit. Add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of broth, and the salt and pepper, and mash a bit more. Use a fork to make sure all the seasonings are mixed well. If needed, add another 2 tablespoons of broth. Add cheese, if using, and taste for salt. Serve warm.
Summer Potato Salad (adapted from www.allrecipes.com)
1 3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
5 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Handful chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add potatoes; cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Place eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring water to the boil. Cover, remove from heat and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water and cool. Peel, chop and add to potatoes.
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and black pepper; mix well. Blend in mayonnaise. Pour lemon dressing over potatoes and stir to coat.
Mix in spring onions, celery and parsley. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.
So, we’re a day late this week and here’s why: My CSA pickup is on Mondays. Because Independence Day was on a Monday, our pickup was moved to a Tuesday. So, I had to wait a whole extra day before I could get a bag full of blackberries, potatoes, onions, kale, beets and zucchini. YUM.
Now, you already know the kale salad recipe (Yes, I’m a woman o’ ruts). You’re probably wanting that potato bake recipe because those new potatoes are so cute and hearty. But I’m going to make you wait, because in next week’s post we’re going to have a potatopalooza.
Two potato recipes in the same post, can you believe it?!
Okay, yeah, I’m a little excited about the potatoes, but really that’s just because I have a huge garden bed of them and more coming in from our CSA each week. It’s going to be a starchy summer.
So, instead, I’m going to share a simple smoothie recipe. This one used up the black raspberries we got last week, but you could probably use 6 ounces of any berries, really. In fact, I would’ve made it again this morning with this week’s blackberries, but the kiddo got to those the second we got home. Two seconds after that, they were gone and he was holding the empty container. (Figures)
Berry Protein Smoothie
6 ounces black raspberries (or other berries)
2 scoops chocolate-flavored protein powder (I use Sun Warrior) or plain protein powder plus 2 tablespoons cocoa
1-1 1/2 cups water
Blend! Ooooh, pretty:
For those of you wanting a potato/broccoli/cheese bake preview, here’s a photo of the kiddo chopping down on daddy’s version. Mooch.
Last week, I talked about how it took me allllllllll week to use my veggies. It’s true, things happen, most notably leftovers and life. This week, we had a major #FailWhale of a different kind: dinner.
On Tuesday, my dashing head chef tried out a new recipe. We had the perfect local ingredients for it — carrots and broccoli — and we had nearly all the other ingredients too for this dish that shall be known as “chickpea casserole.” Now, I hate casserole of most any sort (even the name makes my skin crawl), but the recipe was from one of my favorite cookbooks, and we had most of the ingredients, and the chef was gung-ho about it, so we went for it.
Except for one tiny problem. We didn’t have enough chickpeas for the “chickpea casserole.” So, the hubby improvised with the beans we did have in our pantry. Thus, the “chickpea casserole” turned out to be the “chickpea and black bean casserole.”
Um, it didn’t work. Though the chef was proud of it when it came out of the oven.
Thus, I won’t be sharing that recipe with you this week. I really don’t want you all to have to trash your dinners on account of little old me.
But, I’ll tell you what else we made with our local offerings: juice. I have a very basic Breville Juicer, and I like to use it not only for the juice, but also for the pulp it produces for my compost pile.
Sunday night was the season premiere of “True Blood,” so I decided to whip out the beets and (leftover) carrots from our CSA, plus cucumbers I bought from Stephanie with Spring Creek Farm at the Farmers’ Market and make some bloody good juice.
It turned out a pretty pink, and cleaned out my fridge quite well, as you can see from that ingredient spread.
The kiddo liked it too, drinking about a third of that big ol’ mason jar, though I wasn’t able to get photographic evidence.
‘True Blood’ Juice
1 bunch celery
4 carrots (peeled)
4 small cucumbers or 2 big ones
6 small beets
3 Fuji apples
Run it all through a juicer!
What’d we get this week? Kale, beets, pink mushrooms, black raspberries, new potatoes and white onions.
You are what you eat, right? We all know this, but do we adhere to that bit of wisdom? Probably not. Two out of every three of us are overweight, many dangerously so. Yet we live in one of the most advanced civilizations on the planet. How could it be that we're killing ourselves with food?
"Forks Over Knives" strives to answer that question. The film, which has taken its grassroots campaign to theaters across the country, examines how we got this way and discusses research that indicates that not only can we prevent the "diseases of affluence" we can reverse them too.
Honesty is the best policy, especially in blogging, so I must tell you: Life and leftovers sometimes get in the way.
When we picked up our CSA bag last week from Rolling Prairie, I had all these designs on more stir-fry and a few other tasty treats. We’re getting to a really flush season local produce-wise and the getting is good with my CSA.
But did I get to use all of it last week?
In fact, I didn’t have the time or the fridge space (thanks to a giant watermelon we cut up and then had to divvy between every big piece of Tupperware we own) to make anything other than my favorite kale salad with my veggies until Monday night. As in last night.
Now, I could have lied and said we made these during the week and for separate meals, but what’s the point in that? I’m not perfect and neither is my meal planning. We had a friend in town from my days at The Palm Beach Post in Florida and ended up eating pizza, Thai and barbecue for dinner while she was here.
So, no, the chef and I didn’t get to make dinner with our CSA ingredients until a week after we picked them up. Is that a problem? No, not really, because unlike veggies from California, Florida or other countries, my CSA veggies didn’t have to get on a truck or a plane to make it to this corner of Kansas. This is good for several reasons including one that’s perfect in this case: local veggies are freshly picked and haven’t been sitting on shelves and therefore last longer.
This isn’t a myth, it’s true.
The stir-fry and potatoes we made last night were pretty darn fresh considering most of the ingredients were at least a week old.
So, if you have some old Chinese cabbage, peas or potatoes (picked a week ago from our garden), don’t fear. Just take a look and see if they’re still good. Chances are you won’t have to relegate anything to the compost pile just yet.
This week, I hope to be more on top of things with our goodies: kale, beets, carrots(!), eggs, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. But if I’m not? I’m not going to beat myself up about it (too much).
Spicy and Sweet Chinese Cabbage (Recipe from “Rolling Prairie Cookbook” by Nancy O’Connor)
1 tablespoon peanut oil (we used vegetable)
1 1/2 pounds Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced (8 to 10 cups)
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger root
Crushed hot pepper flakes (to taste)
1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in a 1/2 cup warm water, then drained
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oil in a deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add Chinese cabbage, ginger, and hot pepper flakes. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Mix sweetener and vinegar. Pour over cabbage mixture. Toss in raisins, season with salt. Cook for approximately 3 more minutes, stirring often. Cabbage should be wilted but still slightly crunchy. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Smashed Peas with Potatoes with Miso (Recipe adapted from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” by Mark Bittman)
2 medium potatoes (we used the equivalent in new potatoes from our garden)
2 cups snap peas (or edamame)
2 to 3 tablespoons miso mixed with 1/4 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped scallion for garnish
Boil the potatoes in water to cover until soft, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another pot, bring about 1 quart water to a boil; add the peas and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the peas, transfer to a blender or food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped (do not purée).
Drain the potatoes when done (reserve a bit of their cooking water), add the peas and the miso, and smash the potatoes with a masher or wooden spoon (it should be fairly chunky). Add a little of the reserved potato water if the mixture is too dry. Taste and adjust the season, adding salt and pepper or more miso as needed. Garnish with scallion and serve. Serves 4.
Well, I finally outwitted the strawberry thief and got my hands on some local strawberries! I was able to use Rolling Prairie strawberries not only in my fruity breakfast last week (above), but also in a lunch salad (below) that featured not only CSA strawberries, but also CSA spring mix. There are walnuts, apples, blueberries and honey mustard dressing in there too, by the way.
Besides strawberries, we also got some other yummy things in our weekly CSA bag, including butter lettuce, salad mix, kale, broccoli, snap peas.
And for some reason, all that sang "stir-fry" to me. Maybe it was because we also had a lot of garden bok choy and kale to use:
By the time we finally got around to harvesting the bok choy and kale from our garden, I'd already eaten the CSA kale in Rockin' Kale Salad fashion. But not to fear, we had plenty with which to make stir-fry.
The hubby consulted with Mark Bittman, he of the "How to Cook Everything" line of cookbooks and came up with a stir-fry recipe that ended up pretty tasty, too. It featured not only our garden kale and bok choy, but also CSA snap peas and broccoli, among other ingredients that soon will be easy to find locally. We enjoyed it with a couple of slices of Megan Paisley's bread from Double J Farms.
CSA and Garden Stir-fry (Recipe by Justin Henning)
1 red pepper
1 pound snap peas
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
2 tablespoon garlic
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 heads bok choy
1 bunch kale
1 head broccoli
1/2 large zucchini, chopped into half-moons or quarters
1 cup cashews (we used raw)
Sauté garlic and ginger in wok for one minute, add vegetables until slightly brown.
Then add broccoli, kale and bok choy. Keep on heat until leaves reduce slightly. Remove and enjoy.
Okay, so I’ll admit it, I usually don’t do the cooking. Gasp! Yes, I’m a food writer, but I’m much more of a baker or a salad maker than a true “cook.”
Rather, the cook’s apron in our household definitely goes to my husband, Justin. He loves to tackle new recipes and even gets excited about the old ones (I’m a rut-type person, and thus, we eat a lot of the same things repeatedly). He especially likes the recipes of Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who has several cookbooks out there, including one I blogged about regularly in this space last year.
So, when we got snap peas and onions in last week’s CSA bag from Rolling Prairie, he decided to try something new. Add a few springs of mint from our garden, and a few pantry items, and he was ready to try his hand at Isa’s version of an Indian food favorite: samosas.
These little dumplings are a staple as an appetizer or a side for those of us who like Indian food. My husband loves them with some chicken tikka masala. But he’s never made them. So, why not try on a Sunday night when he’s got the time?
It all seemed easy enough, until he’d prepped all the ingredients and started reading the directions. You see, this is another wonderful thing about my husband: He jumps in with two feet. The problem is, sometimes he ends up with seaweed in his waders.
This was one of those times. The recipe actually ends up taking awhile, so if you do plan on making it (which you should), start EARLY.
You’ve got to make a sauce, a filling and roll out the dough like so:
But it’s totally worth it, and, apparently, it’s pretty customizable. Remember how I said my hubby is fearless? Well, he decided to turn his samsosas into empañadas. The recipe calls for you to make 36 tiny balls. Instead, Justin made six BIG ones and doubled the cooking time.
And it turned out beautifully. And, I should mention that this move of his plays in perfectly with our family history of turning “appetizers” into one-stop dinners. You’ve probably noticed we eat a lot of salad as a meal. This is the same sort of thing. Instead of having samosas as part of the meal, he went big with them and called it a meal. Don’t be afraid to do this, especially when using up local ingredients.
Now, I'd give you the recipe, but I totally forgot to type it up last night from the cookbook. And I can't find it online. Soooo, if you want the recipe, email me at email@example.com and I'll hook you up once I have time to type it all out. Bad Blogger, I know.
In this week's Rolling Prairie bag: strawberries, butter lettuce, salad mix, kale, broccoli, snap peas.