Gettin' fresh … in Northern Nevada

Posts tagged “cilantro

The First Harvest

wpid-20140531_094625.jpg

The weather here is still all over the map but my mini-greenhouses are doing pretty well.   I had to cover everything recently for a flash flood-type of thunderstorm that, in reality, only lasted a few minutes, but would have devastated my tender little plants if they had been exposed.   The overnight temperatures haven’t been too bad.   However, it does flirt with the freezing mark on a regular basis despite hitting near 90 the other day.   I live in a crazy dry … and very wide ranging little climate zone.

So, every little success must be celebrated.   Today, we celebrated GREENS.   Mmmmmm.     There were just enough greens for me and the Fresh Hubs to each have a big, green salad for lunch today.   Lucky us.

wpid-20140531_094550.jpg

Mesclun, not to be confused with Mescaline … completely different fruit of the desert.

Blue kale.   Take that, Whole Foods!   Boom.

Blue kale. Take that, Whole Foods! Boom.

Green beans, almost ready to climb

Green beans, almost ready to climb

the peppers are still in their milkjug greenhouses, sensitive little boogers

the peppers are still in their milkjug greenhouses, sensitive little boogers

Grow, DAMN YOU, grow!

Grow, DAMN YOU, grow!

In all it's glory. and hard earned, GREENS.

In all it’s glory and hard earned, GREENS.


The Sprouts Keep Growing

It has been a couple of weeks so I thought I would check in and let everyone know how the sprouts are doing.    Current status:  pretty darn good.

The weather here is fairly unpredictable and, in between snow showers, it has hit the 90 degree mark.   ( Ya, I know.   Too weird.)

We made a bird netting system to keep the big pests out and take the tops of the mini greenhouses off when it gets hot.   It’s a pretty simple cover rig so we can switch it right back when the weather flip flops and we need the greenhouse lids again.imageI am happy to report that I have three kinds of lettuce, kale, carrots, green beans, cilantro and chives all doing their sprout-y business.

image

I’m pretty proud of my pepper sprouts in the milk jug greenhouses.   They are coming along but I haven’t braved cutting the tops all the way off just yet.   Maybe, next month.   In the meantime, I take the top lids of the milk jugs off on the hot days for extra ventilation.    Otherwise, they get steamy little saunas all day.   I think they like it.   The nights are still pretty cool here so they are getting the full range.   (And, that’s why they are so hard to grow from seed here.   Wish me luck!)

imageSoooooo, tell me … how are your gardening adventures coming along this year?


Chicken Wing Showdown Chowdown

 

 

I have been wanting to try a recipe that I saw on another blog for a very long time.   A special chicken wing recipe that, in my opinion, deserved a special day.   I gave those chicken wings:   Super Bowl Sunday, the true religious holiday of all chicken wings.   Here’s to Peppermeister’s Sweet and Spicy Asian Wings with Crema de Peppermeister!

I actually followed the recipe as close as I could.   If you’ve been reading me for very long, you understand what a challenge this can be for me.    Click on the links above for the full list of ingredients, it’s not a tough recipe to follow but the processing can be a little time consuming.  Was it worth it?   Ooooh … yaaaa …

image

 

The sauce for these wings was a little bit tedious to make  (chop, chop, blend, blend) and VERY GREEN.  It made for a cool macro photo, though.

image

 

I do have to say that it looked pretty gross.   But, the smell of the spices and peppers was fantastic even when it was all still raw.   The house smelled incredible while these were cooking in the oven.   INCREDIBLE.

image

 

I am so glad that I lined the pan with foil before baking these bad boys.   What a mess!

image

 

These are the fixin’s for the Crema de Peppermeister.   I actually doubled the recipe because I wanted extra for salad dressings or something else later in the week.    Yum.

image

image

 

The Peppermeister wings were awesome and a great food experiment for me.   I’m glad I made them.   But, I do have to admit that they did not steal my heart away from my one true chicken wing love.    I’m still loyal to the traditional, buffalo-hot style.    And, I have the heart burn to prove it.

image


Banh Mi Inspired Lettuce Wraps and A Cooper’s Hawk

It’s slim pickens here in the high desert for CSA veggies so today’s recipe was purchased entirely at the regular grocery store.   It was quite tasty.   Don’t judge.

Last summer, I had a Vietnamese-style banh mi sandwich from a food truck.   The light vinaigrette with the sweet crunch of veggies inside of a sourdough baguette and then, the after-kapow of a little bit of hot serrano peppers was enough bliss in one bite to create an immediate addiction.   I was hooked.   Yum.

Today, I was craving some banh mi, dammit.   And, here’s what I came up with …

banh mi lettuce wrap

My not-so-original recipe ideas came from searching the internet, HERE.   Being a total non-conformist, I made one up and it came out pretty darn good.   Especially, when you consider that I didn’t have a sourdough baguette in the house and got a little crafty with the lettuce wrap idea.   (Watch out, P.F. Chang’s, I’m gunning for ya!)

Now, don’t kid yourself.   Cutting up a bunch of veggies into cute little pieces is a pain in the ass.   I have a kitchen mandolin but I am slightly afraid of it.   I will thin slice a few things on it but the whole ‘julienne’ idea seemed pretty dangerous to me today.   This kind of cutting requires more patience that I generally have.   I did get lazy toward the end and just chopped up the cucumbers.   Shoot me.

Cucumber, carrots, radishes, red bell pepper, serrano peppers and cilantro

Cucumber, carrots, radishes, red bell pepper, serrano peppers and cilantro

Indoor chicken grillin' with the grill pan

Indoor chicken grillin’ with the grill pan

Basically, I marinated the veggies in some ginger-soy salad dressing with a little bit of extra rice wine vinegar and then added some grilled chicken.   We had some baby romaine lettuce heads and just peeled leaves off to wrap up the mixture.   Lettuce burritos!

Dinner must have smelled good because we were visited by a Cooper’s Hawk.    He literally flew into our front window and freaked the F@#K out of us.   Excuse the crappy picture quality … I wasn’t prepared.   This was an impressive dinner guest.

What the Cooper's Hawk?

What the Cooper’s Hawk?

Based on the stare he is giving us, I think we should just give him our plates.    YIPES!

 


Thai-Spiced Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Chicken Peanut Satay

The force is strong in the spaghetti squash.   When the green beans waged the flavor war on them, it wasn’t really fair.   The green beans had bacon on their side.   And, well, bacon is known for its Jedi mind tricks, especially at my house.  If you have no idea what I am typing about … there was a vegetable war at my house a while back.   Read all about it HERE.

Now, let it be known that if you make the spaghetti squash gods mad by calling it boring, they will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger.   Thai-spiced vengeance and anger.   Tonight, the veggie war was on … on like Donkey Kong!

It all started to come together back at the CSA box pick-up last week.   I have mentioned before that I love the volunteer that is there every week.   She is super friendly and helpful.   This week, she was looking through one of those freebie magazine things that they give out at Whole Foods, Delicious Living.   She pointed out this awesome thai-inspired recipe and pretty much commanded to me that this was right up my alley.   She was right.   Here’s the full recipe and LINK:

3 3 1/2 pounds spaghetti squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 medium-large Fresno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 medium-large Thai peppers, chopped (seed for less heat)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
chopped roasted peanuts and lime wedges, for garnish
Recipe Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350˚. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove membranes and seeds, brush lightly with olive oil, and place cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 55–60 minutes, until flesh shreds easily with a fork. Cool slightly, remove flesh into strands with a fork, and set aside. In a large, deep sauté pan, heat sesame oil over medium-low heat. Add ginger, garlic, coriander, and peppers; sauté until fragrant and tender, 3 minutes. Stir in salt. Add squash threads and toss; add cilantro and toss until well combined. Serve immediately, garnished with peanuts and a squeeze of lime.
My modifications were to add some purple basil with the fresh cilantro.   I didn’t have any lime so I did a quick splash of lemon juice just to give it that zest of flavor.   OH, I also didn’t do the peanuts.   The side of peanut satay chicken gave the touch of flavor needed here.   And, yup, I also did not have any fresh ginger.   I substituted dried ground ginger from the spice rack.   I’m sure fresh would have been better here but it worked out just fine.   And, the peppers were from the CSA box weeks ago.   They had just enough fire to be hot but not enough to burn your face off or anything.
For the chicken peanut satay, this was a total cheater.   I just happened to have a jar of Trader Joe’s peanut satay sauce in the cabinet.   I just grilled up some chicken and simmered.   Easy.
Wowzers!   This is by far one of the best food experiments that I have managed to not screw up to date.   Really, really good.   As in … game on, BACON.   Those green beans would not have stood a chance next to this spaghetti squash.
If you are in the spirit to have some thai-spiced vengeance and anger in your life, go cook a spaghetti squash.   It’s really tasty.

Fresh Salsa

The canning and preserving continues in my kitchen.   Today is all about tomatoes.   I love salsa so I used a mix of tomatoes with fresh cilantro, jalapenos and a white onion.

This was the first time I have blanched tomatoes in a while and it was a lot easier than I remember.   I don’t know why I was freaked about it actually.   Boil water, dip in ice water and done.

The trick to this was making an X on the tomato and coring out the top a little bit.

Boil about 15-30 seconds.

Ice bath.

The skins just came right off — easy.

mmmm … spicy

Viola!   A big batch of salsa!    I am going to eat some of it right away and put the rest in a big jar for later.  Why don’t you bring some chips and join me?


Week Four and a Salad Spinner

The excitement of Thursday’s CSA box hasn’t worn off yet.   I look forward to this day all week!    (Kind of nice to have something exciting to think about rather than the mundane Thursday drive home.)   Here’s this week’s batch of goodies:

What’s in there?   Organic Ovation (everyone stand please) Greens, Carrots (I actually yelled YIPPEE! at the CSA girl when I saw these.  Awkward.), Tango Lettuce, Chard, Green Garlic, Turnips, Cilantro (YUM), Rhubarb (what am I going to do with that?), Kale and … get ready …  Thyme! (if it were only so easy to get extra time, haha)

OK.   First things first, what the heck is a Organic Ovation Green?   Hmmmm … they look like braising greens or most any other greens to me.   According to the handy dandy newsletter, Ovation Greens are a mix of Red Mustard, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Kale and Arugula.   How about a round of applause for that?

The real treat for tonight was my newly purchased salad spinner.   Let me remind you that I thought these things were dumb and I have thrown them away in the past because I never used them.   Tonight, I learned a new trick.   My three year old son showed me how to use it and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

He even just ate lettuce for no good reason.   He’s THREE!  Do you know any pre-schoolers that say “YUM!  Lettuce!”?   I doubt it.

We played with this ridiculous contraption for about an hour.   Just spinning and stopping and munching and spinning and laughing.

I don’t think I could have ever imagined that a stupid salad spinner could bring this much joy.   And, clean, dry lettuce.