Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Greens in Homage to Carrie

I should be continuing on my pumpkin posts but since Thanksgiving is still fresh I'm going to forgo pumpkins and skip right to the greens. Each year we add a new dish to the traditional Thanksgiving fare. I knew the dish I would make had to include greens, because if I didn't use them right away they would be forgotten among the Thanksgiving  leftovers.

I found a recipe for Kimchi Creamed Collard Greens. I thought this looked great. This recipe appealed to me also because my sister is in Korea for a year, and we were celebrating Thanksgiving with out her, so I also decided to make it in homage to Carrie.

Turnip greens and kale
 For the greens, I used turnip greens, kale, and at the last minute I added a lovely bunch of bok choy. I am always amazed that no matter how many greens I have it always looks so much smaller in the end.

 I really loved this dish it's similar to creamed spinach but has a nice kick and flavor. How could you go wrong with greens paired with heavy cream and bacon. The kimchi was a nice spicy addition and if you have an aversion to fermented cabbage it tastes just as good without it. I am really impressed with the way that this turned out and might even work it into Christmas dinner as well.
Kimchi Creamed Greens
 This a salad my mom made but she used some the nice peppery arugula from the box.
 It was a roasted root vegetable salad with pears and roasted parsnips and carrots, and it was great. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with wonderful food.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

A Cornucopia of Pumpkin

I love Thanksgiving, and in celebration of this week of prepping turkeys and peeling potatoes, I've decided to make a post about all the things I've been making with pumpkins. I had been wanting to make pancakes, pumpkin, to be more specific and made a regular sweet breakfast pancake and made a savory one as well.

For the breakfast pumpkin pancakes I used Bob's 10 Grain pancake mix and added three quarters of a cup pumpkin puree and a little bit of cardamom and cinnamon. For the savory pancakes I found a recipe in the The New Moosewood Cookbook for sweet potato pancakes and adapted it for the use of pumpkin.

 Savory Pumpkin Pancakes adapted from The Moosewood New Classics Cookbook
1 1/2cups of pureed pumpkin
 1/3 of onion coarsely grated 
2 tablespoons of lemon juice 
salt and pepper to taste
2 beaten eggs
1/3 cup flour 

1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. 
2 Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet until it is very hot. 
3. Spoon batter and form thin pancakes patting the batter down, frying on both sides until brown. 
4. Serve hot with sour cream or applesauce. 

These were both wonderful treats. I think I am more partial to the savory pancakes, I was really impressed with the way they turned out. and I don't know why I had never thought of a doing a savory pumpkin pancake. But it is definitely not going to be the last time. Maybe next time some green onions or chives or bacon would be really good.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Zucchini Couscous Salad

I was told to bring a salad to my friends Sunny and Peter's for dinner. Looking at the vegetables that I had left in the box it was either something with chili peppers, a pumpkin (which I didn't have time to roast), and zucchini. Zucchini it was.  I scoured Food52 for a salad recipe with zucchini and found a Squash couscous with mint, pistachios, and golden raisins. This was a wonderful recipe that I think next time I would probably double the ingredients, for more generous servings per person. There is minimal cooking, sauteing the zucchini and shallots for a couple of minutes at the most, and boiling vegetable broth for the couscous. I can see why this salad would be so appealing to make in the summer because it can be thrown together so easily. There are lots of different flavors going on a little bit of sweetness, freshness from the mint, and lemony goodness from the dressing. This salad also travels well too, which is always nice when bringing food to someones home. It was gobbled up along with the delicious pork stew and smashed potatoes.
These photos were taken with my phone because I apparently  like to leave my camera on  and let the battery drain. 

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Roasted Kale Salad

Here is the newest box, I realized that I haven't been showing them lately. I'm so excited about the pumpkin, I'm already making a mental list of things I can make. At the bottom of everything there is a small pile of chile's more than enough to take me through the new year. And I am at a loss of what to do with them.

You know what has never disappeared from the boxes this whole year? Kale. I have become so used to it that I stopped writing about it because I felt like it's ubiquitous presence was taking away from the other vegetables in the box. Then I saw a roasted kale salad in Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen which is fast becoming one of my favorite books. This salad could not be more easier. It's tasty, it's filling, makes a great leftover lunch, and it's vegan.  Who knew that toasted coconut and kale would work so well together. I put it over farrow but I'm sure any type of hearty grain would would work well.
The second time I made this salad I decided to roast these three little deseeded Santa Fe chili peppers along with the kale and coconut. The peppers were an interesting addition it was good with the toasted coconut but it was a little to much heat. Not overly spicy but just assertive enough to make it's presence known. Chili peppers and Kale maybe not the best pairing, but it was worth a try.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

One Giant Pizza Post

Since I just did a post on pizza I decided I should just continue with the theme and show the other pizzas that have been consumed as of late. My room mate and I made a pizza with eggplant, with store bought pizza crust. For some reason I don't have any pictures of it, I must have been really hungry and just forgot to take a picture of the finished product. But here's a photo of an eggplant.

Not baked
The next pizza that was made I made with my friend Billie. We put zucchini and bell peppers on top and it kind of looks like Christmas in pizza form. We sauteed the zucchini and then just threw on the raw bell peppers along with the cheese. I made the crust with a little bit of cornmeal in it which gave a nice crunch to the loaded squash pizza. And Billie has a great pizza stone which gave a nice golden color to the crust and cheese.

There have been these lovely bunches of basil arriving in the box with the flowers still attached. They kind of remind me of bouquets of flowers, maybe because I stuck this one in a vase. Basil pairs well with tomatoes and that brings me to my last pizza endeavor.
The last pizza I made was with heirloom tomatoes. My friend Anna has the most amazing garden in her backyard, I would go so far as calling it a tiny organic urban farm. She generously gave me a large amount of gorgeous heirlooms. I made pizza crust and sprinkled it with a layer of cheese and then baked it for about 15 minutes, give or take.  I then sliced up tomatoes and layered them sprinkling salt, pepper, olive oil, and pureed basil on top. I didn't want to bake the tomatoes because they are so amazing in their pure form. This was definitely eaten with a knife and fork because the tomatoes kept falling off but, it was a nice reminder of a summer gone quickly by.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Curried Eggplant Pizza

In Long Beach one of my favorite places to get pizza is Dean's. This is not your normal red sauce pizza, they use Thai curry sauce on a wonderful doughy crust, that combined with tofu, pineapple and cheese is a wonderful treat. I know Dean's in the true Italian style of pizza is blasphemous but that is the beauty of pizza, you can put just about anything on it.
Inspired by Dean's Thai curry pizza I was inspired to make an Indian style curry pizza. Using similar ingredients from the curried eggplant with a little variation, a pizza was made.

My friend Jillana, who has a fabulous blog called Ovenhappy, and I cooked and chatted away a Friday evening  hungrily awaiting the outcome. We sauteed the eggplant, and onion together adding curry powder and red pepper flakes. At the end we threw in some spinach and let it wilt.
On the pizza dough we spread a layer of labneh, and then spread the eggplant, onion, spinach mixture on top. We were in debate if cheese would be a good addition to Indian style eggplant, so we sprinkled some only on half.

I loved this pizza. Using the labneh as a sauce/base gave a nice tangy flavor to the eggplant. I really liked the addition of the cheese, but I think I favored the one with out cheese a little more. This delightful meal once again proves that just about anything can be put on a pizza and the outcome will be delicious.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Burnt Okra

Look how cool this okra is. I didn't even know okra could be purple, but aesthetically appealing as okra is, I am at a loss of what to do with it. I know it's used in lots of different types of cuisine and one of the most popular ways to prepare it is fried. I knew I wanted to prepare the okra but I also knew frying was not one of them.

Then in my Google reader an okra recipe appeared. Burnt okra sounded intriguing enough and is a really easy, not very involved cooking process.
 This is kind of like an okra hash, the potatoes and okra work well together with a nice garlicky presence. I really liked the texture of the okra as well, with a name like burnt okra it can be a little alarming, but mixed with the texture of the crisp potato it was good. The recipe calls for basil at the end but I opted to not use it. We put our burnt okra in tortillas and made tacos. It was really filling and I am on the watch for more okra to arrive so I can make it again.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Curried Eggplant

 Eggplant seems to be one of those foods that you either love or hate. I happen to think that it's great. I can't believe I have never blogged about this recipe. This is a cheap, easy recipe that takes little to no time to assemble, depending on how well you can chop an onion, and peel an eggplant. It's nice and filling, and makes for a  great leftover lunch.  I have made it multiple times and enjoy it with a side of naan. This is also a great way to use spinach during the winter or maybe substituting the eggplant with a squash of some sort. Hmm.. the wheels are turning, but here is the link so you can try the recipe out for yourself.

Eggplant curry with a side of  naan. Please ignore the conspicuous placement of the can opener. 

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Laborless Watermelon Treats

 This is a blog post long overdue. A summer has once again come and gone super fast, and with the passing of Labor Day and the crispness of fall around the corner, I thought a post about sweet, cold, watermelon would be appropriate. This past week has been hot, the kind of stifling hot, that makes it hard to do anything. The latest box delivery was so heavy because of the watermelon. Labor Day being a day of no work I decided an easy watermelon salad for dessert would be cooling and satisfying treat.

The watermelon while not very large was so heavy with juice, that I could already  tell it was going to be good. Upon cutting into the melon, it made a satisfying popping sound. It was so sweet and perfectly ripe, not mealy at all and not even a lot of seeds. The salad I made is a combination of various recipes but mostly adapted from Super Natural Every Day: 
Taking one half of the melon I rubbed ginger all over it. Then I cut the melon into bite size pieces periodically rubbing the ginger on the smaller slices. Once the melon was cut up I added 4 pitted and sliced Medjool dates, a handful of roasted pistachio meats, some mint, and the juice of one lime. Together this makes the easiest dessert you can make and eat. There is nothing like eating a cold piece of melon on a hot day. The ginger and the lime add a nice tang to the sweetness of the watermelon. And the crunch of the pistachios, mixed with the date slivers gave a nice variety of textures. A salad that is refreshing and easy is always a great way to end a meal.

The other half of the melon was used to make a watermelon granita. This is even easier to make you just need to be patient because you need to allow time to allow it to freeze. Pureeing the melon with a little sugar and lime, we poured it into a 9x9 pan. While making space for the granita we decided to add a package of mango puree in as well. After a few hours, we scraped the shavings into a bowl. This was so good and much needed on a sweltering hot day. The mango puree didn't really add anything except a yellow orange tint. This is the best natural snow cone you can make, and tastes fresh at the same time. I think next time some basil or mint might be added in as well.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Out of the Box and On the Road

I am having the hardest time writing this post, I got back from Seattle/Canada on Monday night I am back from a blissful and enjoyable vacation. I had such an enjoyable time hanging out with people I love and eating lots of fun things. Washington during the summer is a glorious time to be visiting, everything is a lush green and people are out and about everywhere enjoying the warmth of the sun. Growing among all the greenery are blackberries, and they grow everywhere. This is such a novel treat to me but they can become an overgrown thorny sweet weed if you let them take over a backyard.
I expected to see super ripe plump blackberries to be ready to be picked and plentiful but because of such a long winter they were just coming into the season there were green berries everywhere. We managed to find a  nice little spot of ripe berries and picked enough to make some blackberry compote. I was given Heidi Swanson's new cookbook Super Natural Everyday and have become totally obsessed with it and what better place to make blackberry compote than in Seattle where the blackberries are wild and free.

This is the shortened abridged version of her recipe. You really could put this on top of anything or just eat it by the spoonful.
2 cups of blackberries
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of sugar
 juice from half a lemon
a little salt
Combine one third of the berries along with the maple syrup and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Gently simmer for three minutes. Drain the syrup through a strainer and press down on the solids to get as much of the juice out. I was pretty liberal with this part because I didn't have a fine sieve. Pour the syrup on the uncooked berries adding the lemon and salt. 

Taste and enjoy. We had ours over vanilla ice cream and it was amazing.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Blogging Vacation

I've been taking an unexpected blog vacation, due to a lot of things going on, I feel like I'm not cooking as much as I would like to be. I also just recently broke my camera, bad. I will be back to normal blogging activity soon, with some photos to illustrate but as of today I am taking a literal vacation for a couple of weeks and who knows how much I will be blogging. In the mean time cook a fun meal and share it with people you love, enjoy the warm summer days, and the fruits and vegetables that are a result of them.
These are from my friend Anna's yard, I think they are amazing and are a perfect gift of brightness. 
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cucumber Mango Salsa

One of my favorite tomato less salsas is from The Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook. With the abundance of cucumbers I decided to make a salsa adapted from  the Black Bean Mango Salsa recipe.

Cucumber Mango Salsa
2 cucumbers 
1 mango
1 can of black beans
about a 1/4 of cup of chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 large jalapeno
salt and pepper

Dice the mango and cucumbers. Chop up the jalapeno including as many seeds as you want for as spicy as you want. Add a drained and rinsed can of black beans, along with the cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
This is a great summer side We ate it with tortilla chips, and it's also quite delightful on top of fish. It's amazing how a little cucumber goes a long way. The cucumber gives a nice cooling fresh crunch that will relieve any warm day. I wish I had had more mango because the cucumber was more abundant but that didn't stop us from diving in with a tortilla chip in hand. 

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Little Roasted Tomatoes And Zucchini For Breakfast

With the remaining cherry tomatoes, I woke up this morning thinking about roasting them. I love roasted tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are perfect because they don't take to long to roast and the roasting adds another depth of flavor to their perfect sweetness. I cut them in half and quarters and put them in a 400 degree oven, on a foil lined pan,  somewhere between 15-20 minutes until they get nice and soft and a little brown on top. While the tomatoes roasted I sauteed the two zucchini in a little olive oil and one slivered garlic clove until they had a nice tan color. Setting the veggies aside, I scrambled the eggs and then added the zucchini and tomatoes to the eggs when they were just about done. An easy filling breakfast.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

E.T. Phones Home For A Beach Potluck

Summer allows for lots of outside entertainment and a good part of the time it is free. In Long Beach we have Movies on the Beach, showing a free movie at a different part of the beach Monday through Thursday. It's a great way to get together and watch a cult classic like Pee Wee's Big Adventure with a bunch of people on a big screen. The last week of August they're playing Jaws all week, which is an appropriate way to end summer.

Last night we saw E.T which I probably have not seen in at least 15 years. It's such a great film to enjoy on a large screen and to be able to see it with a bunch of friends. All while enjoying a shared hodgepodge of food. In planning of what to bring I knew I wanted to make a dent in the cucumbers because I had so many, and use some of the  purple basil because it does not last long.

I found an caprese inspired salad that uses tomato, nectarine, and basil  but because it had to be something that traveled well I decided to just to throw everything together in a bowl. This could not be easier and the nectarines were so perfectly sweet that they complemented the tomatoes and basil.  The purple basil gave a dark contrast to the red, yellow, and white. This turned out really well and now I'm curious as to what other items I can add to a caprese salad.

I also made an elderflower cucumber drink that is really refreshing and not to sweet. I found elderflower syrup at Ikea yesterday, I had to return something, and thought it would be good mixed with the cucumber. Using 6 parts mineral water to one part syrup plus one cucumber.  I now might just start adding cucumbers to everything I drink. This is a great crisp drink that would cool any summer night especially in the company of friends and good movies.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Has Landed

I've been on a little blog break lately. I am now ready to cook and enjoy the fruits and vegetables of summer. This is the newest box, I don't know if you can see them but, there are a ton of cucumbers. I am looking through lots of recipes and getting ideas of things to make with them. Along with all the various greens, there are nectarines, squash, and the first of the tomatoes.  I love all the different colors that have arrived and I can't wait to show you what I did with them.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pickled Chard

Chard with leaves. 
If you eat a lot of leafy greens a majority of the time the stem gets tossed into the trash. I found a recipe that uses the stem in a great innovative way and there is no cooking involved, just an exercise in patience. In the last issue of Bon Appetit  I found a little blurb about fridge pickles, using the stems of chard. I love just about anything pickled and I liked that this used an item that is not used very often. I doubled the recipe because I had about 3 cups of chard stems.
I did however add 1 less cup of sugar, mainly because I thought it was too much.
Here is the doubled recipe:
Swiss chard Stems
2 cups of white vinegar
3 cups of sugar
1 thinly sliced onion
6 Tablespoons of Sriracha
1 teaspoon of celery seed
Mix the vinegar, sugar, onion, Sriracha, and celery seed. Pour it over the chopped chard stems. Let hang out in fridge for a few days and then eat. 
Pickled chard

These are really good sweet and slightly spicy because of the Sriracha. We've just been snacking on them periodically but I think they would be really great in a sandwich. This is a great item to have on hand now that summer is in full swing, something that is easy to make, eat, and is great for the summer get together, beach party and lazy evenings ahead.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Birthday Beach Quiche

 We were going to celebrate my mom's birthday in an early evening beach picnic and I wanted to make something that would travel well, could sit at room temperature for a while, and would be easy to eat at the beach. I also wanted to use collard greens because nothing says birthday beach picnic like collard greens.

 Looking through collard green recipes, a common pairing is collards with bacon. I've been avoiding this combo just because I wanted something else to make that was a  little bit more exciting. Then  I found a recipe on Food52 for a Beloved Greens Quiche.
Quiche might just be the perfect food. It can be eaten for any meal, it is good warm or at room temperature, and just about anything can be put into a quiche. Quiche is actually pretty easy to make as well, the most time consuming process is letting the dough chill.
I followed the recipe pretty closely, making my dough early in the day and then assembling the rest later. This recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked collard greens but I added an extra cup just because I wanted to use all of the greens. In the ingredients it lists cheddar cheese but I didn't add it. When I pulled the quiche out of the oven it was big giant egg poof. It looked really cool. This tasted great, no wonder collards and bacon are paired together so much.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Lima Bean Veggie Burgers

This is a picture of the newest box. Summer is making an appearance with the arrival of peaches and zucchini. The peaches are amazing, I didn't have the patience to make anything from them and ate them up. The  recipe for Peasant Beets also was made from the contents of this box. The little bag of dried Lima beans has had me thinking. Thinking as in what am I going to do with them. I usually buy my beans already cooked contained in a can with the goopy bean water.

 After finding the best method to soak the beans, which is to pour boiling water over them and letting them soak for about an hour and a half. The beans are still firm but have grown in size by half.
Dried Lima Beans from DeBusschere Ranch
Soaked Beans, they do look bigger

I thought a veggie/bean patty would be the best way to utilize the beans, having not made a veggie patty I found a recipe from 101 Cookbooks and used it as a guideline.
Lima Bean Veggie Patties 
2 1/2 -3 cups of soaked Lima beans
one medium sized zucchini
3 eggs
a good sprinkling of salt
one onion chopped
1 cup of breadcrumbs
zest and juice of 1 lemon
about a handful of cilantro

Combine the beans, eggs, zucchini, and salt in a food processor, mix until it is a consistency of a chunky hummus. Put your zucchini bean mixture in a separate bowl and add onion, cilantro, and lemon. Add the breadcrumbs and let them soak the moisture up for a couple minutes. My mixture was moist but not liquidy, 
Bean patty cooking.
Using a cast iron skillet and coating it with a fair amount of olive oil I formed my bean patties and let them cook for about 7 minutes per side, I wanted them brown on each side. I know that I was turning them to soon when they didn't stay in one piece. The mixture made about 10 patties. 

This was a good experiment. They kind of tasted a little like falafel but lighter, probably because it wasn't deep fried. I now want to make everything into a veggie patty. I would also like to try to make a vegan version, one without eggs, but I don't know what would make it stick together. These were good with a little salad on the side and reheated nicely for an easy lunch to take to work.

This was the first finished batch.

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