Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Kale and Cilantro Birthday Party

I just celebrated my birthday, and had a little impromptu cocktail hour. What goes better with fancy drinks than some vegetable treats.

Bouquet of Cilantro

I've been getting large bunches of cilantro in the box for a while and usually make salsa. This time when I saw the cilantro, I had thoughts of turning it into some sort of a birthday cocktail. I found this cocktail that I used as inspiration. When I found the recipe I didn't realize that one drink requires one cup of cilantro, which consequently I ran out. Instead of tequila we used Bacardi Limon but mixed with simple syrup, lime, strawberries, and cilantro, while tasty, was really syrupy. We than opted for a champagne (sparkling wine) cocktail mixed with everything (except the rum) and it was delightful.

The muddled cilantro, strawberries, and lime.

The drink came out a pretty light pink color and the cilantro gave a nice surprise amongst the sweetness of strawberry and sugar. I would make this again during the summer and forgo the alcohol and use sparkling water or make a strawberry cilantro lemonade. That sounds delicious right now. I did realize that in this new year I will not become a mixologist, I am going to leave that to the pros, but it was fun to experiment.

I also made some kale chips, which I have made plenty of times before but somehow have never put them on the blog. They are easy to make, crunchy and delicious. All you do is take your destemmed kale and coat in a little bit of olive oil. Put on two baking sheets in a single layer at 250 degrees and let them crisp for about a half hour. One of the sheets got a little more brown then the other because we were sharing oven space. They are not as pretty as the others but they still taste just as good.
Kale chips in their crispy glory.

This is the latest box. It if full of lots of dark greens and purples. If you read this and live in Long Beach consider joining the CSA. There has been low turnout of late and it would be disappointing to have the Long Beach drop off stop. If interested please go to South Central Farms.
The box of pretty purples and green.

Other Post You Might Like
Braised Late Lunch 
Delicious Black Bean Chili

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Salad With A Little Bit Of Everything Including Radish

These are the radishes, for some reason I cut one of them out
Our friends Brian and Vennice invited us to dinner and asked us to bring a salad. I had in mind this salad from the start, one because it uses radishes, in which I used chinese rose radishes. The second reason was  because it just looked so pretty. I love how this salad while having lots of ingredients, they all worked together, giving a new flavor combination with each bite.

 I was also intrigued by this salad because it used different grains, and I am a sucker for all those bulk bins at the market, there are just so many possibilities.
For the salad I used wheat berries and pearl barley, both of which are really hearty filling grains. The recipe calls for 1/2 a pound of pecans, which is a lot of pecans. I decided to just put a half cup of pecans, which seemed to be efficient.
The dressing uses a  combination of olive oil, walnut oil, and sherry vinegar.  I discovered that the sherry vinegar we had was expired and tasted like nothing, I instead used some pomegranate balsamic vinegar but regular balsamic would work too.
The nice thing about this salad is that there are so many different variations you could do. I loved the crunch from the radish and pecans. The mint, parsley, and arugula, gave such a nice fresh taste. And it's another way to use radishes.
Finished Product

 Other Posts You Might Like
Potato Party 
Confetti Slaw 

Monday, March 21, 2011


Did you know that black kale can also be called Dinosaur kale
It seems that for St. Patrick's Day everyone celebrates by eating corned beef and cabbage. While I love having the house smell like cabbage for days on end, my favorite side dish is colcannon. Colcannon is mashed potatoes mixed with traditionally kale, or cabbage. I've made various versions over the years some involving lots of different kinds of greens, but I knew black kale would be making an appearance this year.  The version I made this year had a couple of shallots, half a leek, some milk and the kale. After you mash the cooked and peeled potatoes, slowly add the warmed milk and shallot mixture. Then throw in the kale and let it wilt. Season with salt and pepper, add some butter if feeling decadent, eat along with corned beef sandwiches.  Leftovers can also be made into little potato cakes and browned in a pan, also known as bubble and squeak.

Check Out These Posts
Easy Side 
Split Pea Soup With Mixed Greens 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Pizza With Spinach

Spinach that has been washed and dried
Pizza is such a great meal allowing for just about anything to be put on top and having a successful tasty outcome. This pizza we created used items that we had in the fridge and the pantry, the only item I knew I wanted to use was spinach.
 I had some cornmeal that I thought would make a really great crust. Using the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics  I used their recipe for dough, substituting 1/2 a cup of cornmeal for flour. I am a fan of making my own dough. I like the process of  kneading the dough, and letting it rise, it's something that I could see as being intimidating, but it's worth conquering the fear.
These are the pizzas, they both have the same ingredients except the squarish one has bacon on it. I've been a fan of bacon on pizza ever since my friend Megan made her amazing Meg-herita. It is a treat to look forward to in the summer when heirloom tomatoes and basil are a plenty.
As for  the Kitchen Sink Pizza we put;
Shredded Parmesan
Sliced onion
A sprinkling of canned sliced olives
A few cloves of  thinly sliced and browned garlic
Some grated Iberico cheese, left over from co-hosting a baby shower
On one pizza a couple slices of cooked bacon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
And spinach

After putting everything on the dough, except the spinach, I let it bake for about 15 minute, just until the bottom of the crust had a light brown color. Then I put the spinach on, letting it cook for another 4- 5 minutes. I didn't want the spinach on for the whole baking period because it would have gotten brown and wilted. Just before cutting  I sprinkled a little olive oil on top.
This pizza was great. The crust came out nice and crispy, the onion and spinach gave a sweetness to the pizza that worked with the salt of the cheese, olives, and bacon. I have to say I think I liked the baconless pizza a little bit more. This morning I had the last two pieces warmed up with a fried egg on top, so good.

Here is the latest box. Look at those turnips and radishes, they are giant.

Other posts you might like
Cooking in a Green Year A Visit From The CIA

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Delicious Cabbage Side

Half of a head of Red Cabbage came in the last box and I've been trying to find something to make with it. My first thought was some sort of slaw, as I am a fan of coleslaw in any flavor or form, but I feel it's not really weather appropriate. I found this recipe on Food52 aptly named Delicious Cabbage. This is a flavorful recipe that includes garlic, onion,  and a little ginger. The recipe calls for letting the cabbage caramelize (did you know that cabbage can caramelize?). And then you add a little heavy cream and it has been proven that heavy cream makes everything better. The recipe calls for green cabbage, but the purple works just as well, it's just not as attractive when browned and covered in cream. We ate the cabbage on the side with pork chops, I was feeling German that night.

Other Posts You Might Like Easy Side  Beet Week