Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Colors; Red, White, and Greens.

Greens overflowing from the box.
Vegetables beneath the greens.

A new box has arrived filled with more winter greens, some of them the same as before, and some new ones added to the mix.  There is something about beets that make me think of Christmas. Perhaps it's the deep crimson color, or that they have a sweetness to them. Or maybe because they are a winter vegetable, but feeling festive I decided to make Beet Risotto with Mustard Greens and Goat Cheese. Instead of using all the red mustards I used the beet greens as well. The recipe also says to just throw everything in a pot and let it reduce which is not how risotto is made normally. I opted to make it the real way, adding a little bit of broth
at a time. The end result has a nice sweet earthy flavor and the goat cheese gave it a good tang   This would go good with a nice roast chicken.
The finished product

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thankful For Greens and Vegetables

This is a picture of what I was calling the Thanksgiving Pillow.
Over the past few years, at Thanksgiving, we add a new dish into the mix along with the traditional sides  that go along with turkey. This year I made the new dish, which was Curried Greens with Golden Onions and Cashews using the plethora of  greens that I had. It was a good spicy mix sandwiched between the other salty, crunchy, mashed, flavors that come together to make up a plate of Thanksgiving food. I don't know if it will become part of the regular rotation of sides, but I would make it again. The greens would work well with any type of roast meat.
Curried Greens with Golden Onions and Cashews

I also had a small bunch of turnips. With them we made Winter Vegetables With Horseradish Dill Butter. Which is a great dish that pairs well with roasted meat or a Thanksgiving meal. The recipe calls for steaming the vegetables but we always roast them. All in all it was a Thanksgiving filled with wonderful food.

My little turnips, magically turned into this wonderful vegetable dish. It was a Thanksgiving miracle.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Know Your Greens

The new box, look at the two little avocados. They are from DeBusschere Family Ranch.
A new box has arrived that is Heavy on the greens. Winter is in full swing. Greens are so easy to use because they can be added too so many dishes and  instead of a salad just warm up a plate of your favorite leafy greens.   So here is a little runway vegetable show of  all the different greens
Blue Kale

Siberian Kale
Red Mustard Greens
Curly Mustards

 I am always trying to add greens to any kind of recipe, using the Siberian Kale I combined a recipe from  Chez Panisse Cooking and my favorite lemon risotto from Nigella Lawson (this recipe everything is in the metric system). I love risotto, I even love the process of making it. I think that the adding of kale to the risotto didn't accentuate either one, even though it came out delicious.  It is however a good warm meal to split on a brisk November eve.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Delicious Black Bean Chili

This is the latest box as of November 7th
I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago and knew as soon as a new box came I would be making it. As the temperature has slowly dropped  I have been wanting to make chili.

The kale and butternut cut up.

I loved that this one included butternut squash and greens which I would not normally think of  putting with chili. I used kale instead of chard and I substituted one of the cans of black beans with a can of Cuban Style Black Beans from Trader Joe's. As I started to cook I realized I didn't have chili powder, so I put in a tablespoon of cayenne and a tablespoon of paprika. So there might have been a little bit more of a back end heat than there should have been. I loved that the kale added a good crunch and it still held up reheated in leftovers the next day. It was so good that we each went back for seconds. And it's completely vegan  or enjoy with a square of cornbread and a little onion and shredded cheese on top.
Black Bean Chili in all its glory. Even the colors look like fall.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Everything Good Inside a Pumpkin

I've been staring at my pumpkin hoping it would give me inspiration. I knew I was not going to carve it for Halloween and making a dessert seemed like an easy way out. I found a recipe on epicurious for Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good and I was sold. On the way to the grocery store to buy ingredients we heard the same recipe on NPR. It was fortuitous.
We did change some things. We eliminated the bread and added some cooked rice making it a loose risotto. I also added tasso ham, which is a Cajun ham with a bit of a kick. Everything else was about the same as the recipe. Within a half hour of being in the oven it immediately started smelling amazing. After two hours of waiting and impatiently switching the oven light off and on to watch for bubbling and browning, the pumpkin was done.

This is what it looked like when we removed it from the oven
As we ate, we discussed the various ways of how we could make this again. Even a sweet pumpkin was discussed, a sort of pie without the crust. It was decreed that stuffed pumpkin would be on the menu for Thanksgiving. I wonder how stuffing in the pumpkin would work?

This is the pumpkin carcass. As you can see we didn't like it at all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Vote For Eggplant

On a day where I find myself checking the Huffington Post every 2 minutes, I decided to make something that is easy and I could eat with one hand, while still checking for election updates with the other. This is a picture of the latest box.
I am really excited about my pumpkin and have not yet figured out what do to with it yet. Fall also brings the return of the daikon, which I never know what to do with. Maybe I will start pickling it. But back to eggplant. As it is November in typical southern California fashion we have come full circle and are walking around in warm 80 degree weather. While all I want to do is make stews, curries, and celebrate autumnal squash the warm weather won't allow for it. I found this eggplant sandwich on the Huff Post, and thought this would be a great easy meal. Roasting the eggplant and onion together gave me plenty of time to check up on midterm election status. I normally don't use premade pesto but opted for a jarred one, and made the white bean spread. I was afraid that they would both be too strong and cancel each other out, but all flavors came through. This is also a sandwich that tastes good warm or can be eaten cold the next day for a workday lunch.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zucchini Cake

Carrot cake has become a tried and true favorite but, what happens when you replace the carrot with zucchini? I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit Granted adding cream cheese frosting helps the flavor of anything but the cake itself was moist, nutty and with a few modification's turned out quite good. I added half a cup of orange marmalade and finishing a container of orange juice, which was maybe about 2/3rds of a cup. I also used 2/3rds vegetable oil instead of olive, in which the recipe calls for.  I made this for a dinner party and it was devoured pretty fast. I am thinking about next time foregoing the frosting and making an orange glaze or maybe an icing. So next summer when you are in the midst of a zucchini glut, try making zucchini cake, you will not be disappointed. 
This is what I came home with I forgot to take a picture of the whole cake

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A visit from the CIA

My brother is currently at the Culinary Institute of America (the CIA). On a break from school he came over and cooked for us using all sorts of veggies  from the box.
Here are some roasted tomatoes and grated zucchini sauteing.

Watching him wield his knife, we stood around the kitchen as he chopped, sauteed, roasted and crumbled. Pizza being one of the most versatile foods, and  is good for any meal we gorged ourselves on Breakfast Pizza. What is breakfast pizza, you ask? Pizza with any type of ingredient and then half way through the baking eggs are cracked on top. It's a little like an omelet baked on pizza dough.
Breakfast pizza, somewhere among the bacon and eggs there are vegetables.
To see what he is doing at school check out his blog at

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day Stew

Labor day brings around the symbolic close of summer. While in southern California we may continue to have warm weather for a while but as an early celebration of the fall equinox I made a Chilean Bean Stew courtesy of
Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.   Which is one of my favorite cook books. The reason why I picked stew is because of this early fall visitor, the butternut squash.
 Still using the summer produce available such as fresh corn and using the very autumnal butternut squash, this a perfect in between seasons recipe. The recipe calls for 4 cups of butternut cubed but I think there was more than that, or I just need to work on my cubing skills.
The stew was full of flavor with sweetness from the squash and corn, had a little spice from the cayenne, and  a good amount of protein and fiber. I am a huge fan of colorful food and it evokes the colors of fall and summer. It has a good amount of crunch and is completely vegan. My only problem is that in using fresh corn I cut a little too close to the cob and got the weird root kernel part of the corn in the stew. Aside from that I am definitely going to make this again because it was delish.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tomato Toast

One of my favorite breakfasts using tomatoes is what I'm going to call Tomato Toast. It's easy, healthy, and delicious. 
 All you need is bread, your slices of tomato, labneh, a little basil, salt and pepper, and olive oil.
Lebneh is yogurt that has been strained, it has a really thick consistency and is in between yogurt and cheese. It is available at middle eastern or specialty markets. If you can't find it Greek yogurt works as well.
I prefer English muffins but any bread that tastes good toasted works.
Just toast your bread, spread the lebneh, and place as many tomato slices as you like. Add your basil, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy throughout the day, as a summer snack or start your day with  a simple light breakfast.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Sloppy Joes

We're just in the beginning of summer, and I am trying to find creative ways to use the abundant amount of summer squash, that is in peak season. I found a recipe on Epicurious for Summer Squash Sloppy Joes,

 Growing up we were never really ate sloppy joes and it's only within the last couple of years that I've come to appreciate this messy sandwich. These ones are not sweet, have a little bit of a crunch because of the zucchini, and are a fast, easy, summer meal. I used beef but I think these could be made vegetarian pretty easily.
We enjoyed these with a slice of cheese melted on the bun, and some baby roasted potatoes and a side salad.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Confetti slaw

On Thursday we went to a vegetarian potluck, the theme being Latin America. Being resourceful and trying to use vegetables from the produce box I made a Mexican inspired slaw. Carrots and a large golden beet were part of my inspiration.

Confetti Slaw
A head of purple cabbage 
Carrots peeled and julienned 
Golden beet peeled and julienned
Jicama Cut and julienned
Two deseeded and finely chopped jalapenos
Lime juice from two limes.
Using a mandolin I sliced the jicama, beet, and carrots. Then I added the cabbage, I don't have an exact amount of how much I used of any of the ingredients, I just eyeballed it until I felt that every thing was proportionate. I added the two jalapenos, and lime juice. Then I added cilantro, I didn't even chop it up just adding leaves whole until I felt that there was enough. The dressing I made up an olive oil balsamic dressing adding a little bit of lime.  I think a creamy dressing would work as well, perhaps one with chipotle or cilantro.  

I was really pleased with the way it turned out. I am a big fan of colorful food and the golden beet in this definitely popped. It had a great crunch and tasted fresh, perfect for a late spring evening and went along well with the other foods at the potluck. The leftovers are good rolled up inside of a taco or served on the side with fish.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tomato Plant

In the last produce box along with vegetables, there was also a little tomato plant. I am excited and determined to not let it end up like other brown shriveled plants.
I am going to try and show the progress of the little tomato plant and hopefully will be able to enjoy its fruit later.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beet Week

This is the latest shipment from South Central Farms. It is becoming less heavy on the leafy greens and moving into spring vegetables. Fava Beans anyone?
With the addition of this last box, I now have a small beet collection in the crisper drawer, taunting me. I've decided that this week will be a celebration of all things beet. I feel a little like Dwight from "The Office".

On Monday we went to our friends Sunny and Peter's for dinner. Wanting to make a side dish that would go well with Lamb. I found this recipe for Crimson Couscous from Martha Stewart
The recipe makes two servings but I multiplied everything by four, mainly because the beets were so large. I was a little afraid that this was going to be sweet, due to the adding of currents, orange juice, and dried apricots but it turned out great. The addition of cumin and coriander really come through and the color of the couscous is definitely crimson.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Swiss Chard Souffle

While the easiest thing to do with good hearty greens is to cook them with a little olive oil and garlic, I'm always searching for an alternative use.
While souffle's are just puffy omelette's, and just as versatile, I don't know if I would have ever thought of using Swiss Chard. I found this recipe in a Food & Wine cookbook. Here is the link">

As I had never made a souffle before I was a little nervous as how it would turn out. Thanks to my Grandma Clark we had a large souffle dish, that was put to good use.

The result was delicious. The mushrooms and the Romano cheese were so complementary to the flavors of the chard. As souffle is not an item that is good later the four of us gobbled up all of it, along with a little green salad. It was such a great Monday afternoon meal.