I have been scrambling for different ways to eat greens and/or sneak greens into meals outside of the regular salad. Don’t get me wrong — I love a good salad. I get lots of compliments on the big pretty salads that I pack in my work lunchbox. Those pretty little radishes this week were quite tasty.
However, I had no idea what to do with the kohlrabi greens. But, I knew just based on the fact that the veggie box had a HUGE stalk of greens on the kohlrabi last week that those dazzling emerald leafs were meant to eaten.
Turns out you can do lots of things with greens! Check this: Recipes for Greens. The possibilities are endless!
I chose to add the kohlrabi to a chicken teriyaki stir fry. The hubby and the boy didn’t fully complain. I also stuck in some turnips and green garlic on this one. The turnips were a little mushy but not bad.
I chopped up a whole bag of kale into the spring greens mix and just disguised it as salad. My husband didn’t mention noticing it so that’s a win.
Another bag of kale went into my version of the Olive Garden’s zuppa tuscano. Yum. My son actually loved this. LOVED IT. Can’t go wrong with Olive Garden soup and bread sticks. Nom nom.
What new foods did you try this week?
In an effort to try something different, and use up a bag of kale, we made smoothies.
Full disclosure, I’m not the biggest fan of green smoothies so … that’s the starting point for this adventure.
I used this recipe as it was suggested in the veggie box weekly email. http://www.homesteadmania.com/kale-blueberry-vanilla-smoothie/
I made enough for two large smoothies so it seemed like a lot of greens. I also tried to pull out any thicker stalks just to avoid any bitter flavors.
I also added banana for a thicker mix.
Fresh blueberries are not in season yet so I used frozen ones. Partially for cost and partially because I knew they would be nice for a cold drink. They quickly blended up and almost disguised the kale. Almost.
There’s no fooling a 9 year old boy. Plus, while it wasn’t terrible, it is no substitute for a real milkshake.
He tolerated it but I doubt he will be making any special requests to try that again.
All in all, it wasn’t that bad. Cold, refreshing, fairly guilt free. I can handle that. Next time, I might up the banana factor or add other fruits.
I definitely got my kale intake for the day so that’s good!
Last week was a busy flurry for the first round of the veggie box. Gotta love spring greens! I didn’t post a photo of the grilled asparagus but, wowza, those were tasty mmm mmm good!
Sooooo … what’s in the box this week?
A lot of the same, as expected, but with some bonus goodies!
Salanova Lettuce – Pick’n & Grin’n Farm @ Lattin Farms
Hakurei Turnips – Pick’n & Grin’n Farm @ Lattin Farms
Green Garlic – Lattin Farms
Garlic Chives – Mewaldt Organics
Siberian Kale – Pioneer Farms
Spinach – Pick’n & Grin’n Farm @ Lattin Farms
Arugula – Pioneer Farms
Gourmet Lettuce Mix – Pick’n & Grin’n Farm @ Lattin Farms
Sunflower Shoots – Dayton Valley Aquaponics
Darkibor Kale – Pick’n & Grin’n @ Lattin Farms
Bread Lady stone ground wheat
Lahontan Farms eggs
I am super ready for those sunflower shoots! Yum! They are first on my list for tomorrow.
Check out these pretty eggs, though.
They are all different, natural colors and stamped with love. Someone is all crafty with their die cut freshness date rooster!
My son loved these eggs last week. He’s not normally a full plate of scrambled eggs kind of kid but he cleaned up on them last weekend. That makes me happy!
The taste of fresh food is so much better than anything else. So far, my family is loving the veggie box.
What’s your favorite fresh food that just isn’t the same any other way?
So, this seems obvious, but it is important to rinse and wash all of the produce that you are going to eat. No matter where it came from when you bought it.
When you have a CSA subscription, the first accessory you should get is a salad spinner.
What’s that? It is this:
This one handy, dandy (usually reasonably priced) item will save you so much time and energy. It will also help you keep those greens fresh longer!
How does it work? I had some fun with a slo-mo video from my phone to show you.
It is basically a colander that spins in a bigger container to fling the extra water off your lettuce after you rinse it thoroughly in the sink.
My son also thinks it’s great silliness to help with this job so don’t be afraid to recruit helpers!
I usually wrap greens in a paper towel and don’t fully close them up in plastic when I put them in the fridge to make them last a day or two more. This is important in the first few weeks of a CSA when there are a lot of greens. You don’t want then to go to waste in the first two days!
Especially when they are this pretty:
Have fun and eat your greens!
Woo hoo! It’s here! It’s here!
Can you tell how excited I am about this?
It has been a while but I have really been looking forward to getting some Nevada veggies in my system.
Here’s the box:
The way it works is that you go to a pick up spot and there’s actually a cardboard box … but … it helps a lot to bring your own crate so they can reuse the cardboard one.
What’s in the box?
This will vary every week based on what’s in season so, since it is spring, lots of greens this week.
Salanova Lettuce – Pick’n & Grin’n Farm in collaboration with Lattin Farms
Hakurei Turnips – Pick’n & Grin’n Farm in collaboration with Lattin Farms
Green Garlic – Lattin Farms
Spring Asparagus – Lattin Farms
Garlic Chives – Mewaldt Organics
Siberian Kale – Pioneer Farms
Spinach – Pick’n & Grin’n Farm in collaboration with Lattin Farms
Arugula – Pioneer Farms
Tango Lettuce – Pick’n & Grin’n Farm in collaboration with Lattin Farms
I also opted to get bread (stone ground whole wheat from The Bread Lady) and eggs (from the happy chickens at Lahontan Farms.)
I’ll share more with some recipes and lots of photos later so stay tuned. Let me know of you have any questions. I’m all ears!
This recipe was in the weekly instructions/newsletter for my CSA box. It is originally credited to Black Sheep Farm in Ontario, Canada, Fresh Food Nation by Martha Holmberg.
Stuffed Baked Acorn Squash
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup couscous or cooked rice
- 1 tart apple (peeled, cored and finely diced)
- (my addition) 1 small white onion (finely diced)
- 1 lb cooked pork, duck, sausage, bacon or pancetta (I used Italian sausage)
- hot sauce (to taste)
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- (my addition) 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the oven to 375. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds from the cavity by scraping them out with a spoon. Cut a small slice off the curved side of each half, so it can sit flat without wobbling.
Use a fork or sharp paring knife, poke holes in the flesh of the cut faces and cavities of the squash halves, and the brush with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Cook couscous or use pre-cooked rice. Saute onions and apples in a small amount of oil until caramelized. Mix everything with chopped meat and a few drops of hot sauce. Taste for seasoning.
Fill each squash half with stuffing, tamping down as need to fill completely. Drizzle with maple syrup. Bake until squash is completely tender, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and broil for a nice browned topping.
This was savory with a little bit of sweet spicy. The squishy squash texture was balanced with the rice stuffing mixture. Good stuff. It was a little bit of a hassle for a work night meal but everyone at my house has a happy tummy so it was worth it. Yum!
I have been stockpiling my CSA share of hot peppers lately just waiting to make a batch of hot sauce. All sorts of peppers: jalapenos, serranos, fresno, romanian … and I even bought a couple of extra habaneros to throw into the mix. My pepper farming efforts this year completely failed so I knew that I wouldn’t have a full batch of the same peppers just from the CSA box. I figured I could come up with something good, though. And, I did.
My creation is called: STANKY SAUCE! I started to title this blog post something like “I love the stank” or “All About Stank” and then decided that would probably pull in a bunch of really bizarre spam comments that have nothing to do with a nice, wholesome veggie blog like this one. (eh hem)
I started with a little Google searching and, one of my favorite resources, Punk Domestics. I love that site but, fair warning, it’s a little food snobby (in a good way). Then, I compared notes with a couple of other sites and discovered that fermenting the peppers is a good base to add for a nice hot sauce. There are tons of options on how you could go for a sriracha or a more Tabasco-style and even a sweet hot. If you are interested in making your own sriracha, try Peppermeister’s recipe … look around on that site for a while, there are some other good recipes to try as well.
I decided that a briney-fermented, stanky sauce with some pow-pow HOT is just what I wanted.
Well, well, well. I just happen to have (forgotten about) a jar of mild green peppers that I did in a salty dill brine last year. Perfect base, almost like I planned it. (haha)
Then, I had to char the skins on my fresh peppers and cook them up a little bit. The trick to this is to get a good little burn going on the peppers but not completely kill them. Maybe, 70-80% char and, then, you put them in a sealed container so that they steam out nicely. After that, the skins just peel off (for the most part). I trimmed the stems off but kept all the seeds and innards and juicy goodness for the mix.
I did actually use the gloves. And, I’m glad. I have a feeling that I would have killed my hands and probably stuck my finger in my eye, resulting in death for most of the afternoon. I am happy to report that I avoided disaster here and only had a few coughing fits due to pepper capsaicin inhalation. Hot stuff, for real.
I blended the pickled peppers (brine and all) with my skinned fresh peppers using an immersion blender to get this:
Now, at this point, some people choose to filter/strain their sauce to get just the liquids. I opted for the full (slightly chunky) version. And, after taste testing … WHOOEEEEWWWW! Hot. Hot. Hot. I decided that I still needed to kick it up a notch. This is where lightning struck and I realized that I am a genius. Beer. This hot sauce needs beer. And, not just any beer, a good stinky one. Bitter, hoppy, stank beer. (the good kind)
This is my favorite. Icky. It’s named after the ichthyosaur, or state fossil of Nevada. It’s about 7% ABV and hoppy all day long. It’s a local brew, Great Basin Brewing Company. And, it’s good. Get some, if you can.
I’m pretty proud of this one. But, it’s only for the truly brave. It is a hot and powerful stanky sauce. Not for dipping chips into or anything like that. Maybe, it could blow the tortilla off a good fish taco or get added to some manly chili beans … it might kick some canned peaches to curb as well. This is the real deal.
Six beautiful little jars of screaming hot, stanky goodness. I think Santa will keep these for his special elves.
This week’s haul included a couple of late summer surprises (all organic):
- Sarah’s Choice melons/cantaloupe
- Seedless watermelon
- Mixed summer squash
- Japanese eggplant
- Mixed peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Early Girl tomatoes
- Raspberries (whaaaaaaaaaaaat??!!)
The raspberries barely made it home because my little boy loves them. He had a huge helping with dinner.
And, as weird as rhubarb can be, I really love the smell. So sweet.
The CSA newsletter included a yummy recipe for desert.
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp instant tapioca
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, chilled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Great a 9×13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine sugar, tapioca, cornstarch, and salt. Place rhubarb and raspberries into bowl making sure to completely coat with dry ingredients. Pour into baking pan. IN a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and oats. Cut in butter until mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Spread on top of fruit mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.
Sounds pretty tasty to me.
I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to try this recipe quick enough, though. The boy is really loving those raspberries, straight out of the container. Let me know if you make it!
Yesterday was a rainy day here on the Comstock. It is actually pretty rare when it drizzles in the desert all day. So, I did some house chores and burrowed inside all day long cracking walnuts from that HUGE bag that my friend gave me. Yup. Just nut crackin’, pretty much all day. I have officially gone nuts. (Insert a billion more sophomoric nut references here.)
I just set up nut camp in the dining room and watched it rain all day. One of the best things about where I live is that I am kind of out in the boonies and we have wild horses that just roam free. Seriously. Wild horses just wander the neighborhood at will. And, I’m only about 20 minutes from civilization so it’s not like I’m totally out in the wilderness or anything. I live in a regular neighborhood, kinda. How about some pictures?
What am I going to do with all of my hard-earned walnuts? I am making a cinnamon maple candy over the walnuts and going wrap them up as Christmas goodies. And, I will absolutely be freezing some for later. Want the recipe?
- 1 lb walnut halves
- 1 cup white sugar
- Drizzle of maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts in a single layer over a baking sheet and roast for about 8-10 minutes.
- Stir together sugar, syrup, cinnamon, salt and milk in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage of 236°F Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Add walnuts to sugar syrup and stir to coat well. Spoon nuts onto waxed paper lined sheet pan and separate with fork.
- Cool and store in an airtight container.
What? How dare someone befoul my beloved mac and cheese?! I like Kraft Dinner or the really orange mac and cheese! Don’t I? Whoa. Hold your horses. Before you get all worked up about what is real food and not real food. I do like my box of orange cheese powder. I really do. But, I just had to try something new. And, uhm … I liked it. Look for yourself:
Who is the evil genius behind this masterpiece? Again, Rachel Ray comes to the rescue. And, of course, I took a few liberties with my modifications. Here’s the original recipe:
1 pound of macaroni
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
10 oz frozen, cooked squash
1 cup cream or half/half
2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente. While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and butter. When butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand held grater or microplane. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add the flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes. Whisk in stock, then combine with squash until warmed through and smooth. Stir in cream and bring sauce to a bubble. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with spices. Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce. Serve with a little sprig of thyme for garnish.
I used all of the cream making those squash pies so I improvised and put in a huge scoop of cream cheese. This was an excellent idea. Smooth and creamy. Of course, I didn’t have frozen puree, I had was still working from the batch of fresh puree. Go figure. Then, I used Havarti cheese instead of the Cheddar. I happened to have some and I know it melts smoother. NOW, here’s where I went all crazy and got off the grid. I chopped up the fresh Hiratake mushroom from the CSA box . Boo-ya! Great idea! And, since I was starting to go way off the charts, I didn’t just mix the cheesy goo with the noodles, I baked it for just a couple of minutes with the shredded parmagiano and some french fried onions (from a can). OMG–BRILLIANT!
And, because this is the heaviest mac and cheese casserole ever … I had to have a side salad with some fresh pomegranate seeds. Mmmm. Mmmmm. Good.
What’s on your plate today?
It looks a lot like a pumpkin pie but it’s not. Remember all of that squash that I baked up the other day? Well, I decided that I just didn’t want to make soup out of it just yet so I opted for pie. Pie sounds better than soup, doesn’t it?
There are about a million pie recipes on the internet so I started with this generic one from http://www.southernfood.about.com and made it my own.
- 1 unbaked and chilled 9-inch pie shell
- 1 large butternut squash (or similar variety), cooked and pureed, about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk or half/half
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
To cook the squash:
Cut the squash in half lengthwise; remove stem and scoop out seeds. Place the squash, cut side down, on a foil-lined and oiled baking pan; bake at 400 for about an hour. Let cool completely and scoop out squash. Mash or blend with hand mixer.
For the pie mix:
In a mixing bowl, blend the squash with brown sugar. Add eggs, milk, spices, flour and vanilla. Beat until well-blended. Pour the filling into the chilled pie crust and bake on the center oven rack at 350 for about an hour. Check pie at about 35 minutes and use foil or edge protectors to keep crusts from getting too dark. When the filling is set, transfer the pie to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.
I bought pre-made pie crusts so there were two and I had a ton of puree. So, I doubled the recipe for two pies. I like a lot of cinnamon so I added more than the recipe calls for … same with the vanilla. Then, I cut back on the eggs and added a nice scoop of ricotta cheese. I don’t know why but this sounded like a good idea. Then, I blended the heck out of the mix trying to get an even mix. I think I probably could have mixed even longer but I didn’t want it to be all fluffy or something.
These pies are going to be my contribution to the CSA potluck tomorrow out at Lattin Farms. I’ll let you know more about that later … there will be pictures to share, I’m sure.
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:
I am a lucky girl. The hubs was feeling extra culinary this week and has decided to share his recipe for red wine vinegar chicken.
The original recipe was posted on http://www.food.com, but here’s how it’s done at our house:
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 red ripe tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons thyme
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Brown the seasoned chicken in batches in the butter with a bit of oil as well to stop it burning.
- Drain fat from skillet and return chicken to skillet.
- Slowly pour the vinegar into the hot pan to deglaze. Stand back from fumes!
- Over med-high heat, reduce the vinegar by about half, turning chicken periodically to bathe it.
- Add tomatoes and stock, cover and simmer gently until flavors melded and mingled, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat, set aside the chicken and keep warm.
- In the pan, whisk in a pat of butter.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and then sprinkle with herbs.
- Enjoy with pasta shells or your choice of sides.
And, some action photos to make this post extra interesting: (I know it’s really just about the pictures.)
I love Rachel Ray. She’s easy to keep up with (assuming you don’t really expect to cook a full dinner in 30 minutes) and her taste buds know what’s good.
I guess I’m getting too big for my food-bloggy britches because I have decided to modify her Wurst Rueben Burger recipe. The original is something like this:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise then thinly sliced
- Splash water
- 2 tablespoons spicy mustard
- 1 pound sack sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup pickle relish
- 1 1/2 pounds ground pork or ground pork and veal combined
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 deli slices Emmentaler Swiss cheese, folded to fit burgers
- 4 seeded or plain burger rolls, split
- 4 leaves red leaf or red romaine lettuce
Heat medium skillet over medium heat, add the butter and when melted add the onions and cook until soft and tender, 20 minutes. When done, add a splash of water and stir in the mustard.Add sauerkraut to a small pot and keep warm over low heat. Combine sour cream, ketchup and relish in a small bowl and reserve. In a large bowl, combine the meat, spices, parsley, vinegar and salt and pepper, to taste. Form 4 patties, thinner at middle and thicker at edges for more even cooking and to prevent burgers from bulging at the middle. Heat the oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook patties 5 minutes on each side. Melt the cheese over the patties the last 2 minutes of cooking, under foil tent. To serve, pile the onions on the bun bottoms and top with a leaf of lettuce, cheese wurst burger, sauerkraut, and the sour cream sauce. Cover with the tops of the buns and serve.
My modifications were minor:
- Add a (sliced/peeled/cored) apple to the onion saute party. This was a fantastic combo.
- I didn’t really like the sour cream/ketchup sauce. I’m more of a spicy mustard gal. More mustard, please!
And, Rachel’s original meal plan had regular potato fries (her flair, of course). I did the baked butternut squash fries that I blogged about a while back. That post can be found HERE.
At my house, the hubs is the chili craftsman. He makes the chili. Period. It’s his secret recipe of goodness and I’m ok with that. So, you just get pictures of that one today with a bonus recipe from me, Twice Baked Potato Casserole.
I decided that we just needed some little something to add to the chili and I have learned that my dude is just not a cornbread fan. (I know … I don’t know what’s wrong with him. But, the chili is soooo good that I can overlook this one flaw.)
Here’s a the original recipe from http://www.tasteofhome.com:
- 1-1/2 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium), baked
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Cut baked potatoes into 1-in. cubes. Place half in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper and bacon. Top with half of the sour cream and cheeses. Repeat layers.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cheeses are melted. Sprinkle with onions. Yield: 6-8 servings.
And, of course, here are my modifications:
I baked the potatoes, let them cool and peeled off the skins by hand. I traded ricotta cheese for sour cream because it was what I had available. And, I only used cheddar cheese on top. No green onions. Instead, I chopped up two big anaheim chiles and put them right in the mix.
I love stuffed baked potatoes so covering a big scoop of this casserole with chili was outstanding. Perfect for a ‘chilly’ autumn afternoon.
OK. First things first … what the heck is a gnudi??? It’s a dumpling sort of thing and definitely Italian. I think traditionally it is made with ricotta and flour but there are lots of variations out there to chose from if you look. I found it through a bloggy friend. The Purple Soybean Nap Avenger made acorn squash gnudi and I just had to try it. Her recipe is HERE.
I realized that I had pumpkin/squash overload going on at my house and, well, after the Green Bean Armageddon, I thought maybe these squash just needed a new weapon. Gnudi is their weapon.
Or, since the word is pronounced “nude-y,” and I really like to say silly words, I just like to have an excuse to say gnudi a bunch of times. Yup. That’s it.
Now, I need to confess. This is a complicated recipe in that it really does take time and patience. I don’t even pretend to have either. And, after actually completing this project, I know that someone’s Italian grandma would absolutely school me on all things gnudi. This was a food adventure experiment for me. That’s all. Period.
And, while we are on the subject, I cussed that Purple Soybean‘s name a couple of times while making this damn gnudi. It was a pain.
But, as shown below, it was worth it.
I usually don’t start with the final picture first but I just wanted you to see what it is all about with this gnudi business. (hee hee, gnudi business)
Anywho … I used a mix of roast acorn squash and pumpkin for my start and added the eggs, spices and flour.
Then, you are supposed to quarter the scoops and drop the dumplings into boiling water. Ya, right. This is a messy blob of goop. Don’t kid yourself. I’m guessing this is the point where Italian Grandma is going to show me how it’s done. I struggled.
And, to be truthful, I almost gave up at this point. I mean, look at it. It doesn’t look appetizing. It looks like baby poop. Gnudi was a pain in the pa-tootie. And, it looked BAD. But, I kept going … I had come this far. I had to finish. And, I’m stubborn.
So, right at this point, the butter sauce, is where I figured out that I didn’t have fresh sage (or even dried for that matter) and I went rogue. I had some fresh roasted garlic tomato sauce that I made a while back. I figured it wouldn’t suck to cover the gnudi in that with some parmesan cheese.
I was right. These pillow-y little dumplings were smooth with just a hint of roasted vegetable taste. My husband ate a full second helping.
My fallback in years past when I didn’t want to waste something or just needed to save food for later was to put it in the freezer. This year, I have frozen a lot of the fruit from my CSA that I thought would be good in a pie or smoothie or anything else for a month or two down the road. Ziploc bag it and done.
Well, well, well. I have found a new way (for me) to preserve. I can’t believe I was afraid to try this in the past. Seriously, pickling things is super easy. Especially refrigerator pickles. Geesh. I love pickled things! Why didn’t I start this sooner? I’m sure my grandmother would give me a sharp “I told you so” right about now. I remember my grandparents canning and pickling all sorts of things. It just never really occurred to me that I could do it until now.
Today was pickle-a-palooza at my house. I used this basic recipe for most things dill and went crazy. It’s not rocket science. Anyone can do this.
I prefer the bread and butter pickle recipe that I did a while back but my husband loves all things dill. And, since these are all going to be stored in his beer refrigerator, I figured that I should at least make what he likes.
And, for good measure, I had to do some bell peppers. Did I mention that I love pickled things?! At this point, I think I was in a vinegar haze. I would have pickled just about anything if I had not run out of clean jars.
Has picking mania struck your house yet? If you are in harvest mode, you understand. If not, watch out. This is worse than when the zucchini plants go wild. Trust me.
I’ll bet you are out there wondering what I have done with all of that fruit we have gotten lately. Ya, I’m sure you’re just losing sleep over it. Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. And, show you the pictures.
Peaches just plain and simple have been a favorite of mine forever but the big box was getting away from me. It was time to either can, freeze, stuff my self sick or be creative. And, I had some bonus raspberries that needed special attention.
The crisp recipe was perfect and easy. Adding the raspberries and adjusting the sugar are the only changes that I made to it.
This is the side of the baking pan. I loved how the layers looked and just felt compelled to share.
This recipe is from my CSA’s newsletter and I actually tried to stick to the instructions. (Miracles never cease.)
2 lbs potatoes, cubed, boiled and kept warm
7 T olive oil
3 shallots, minced
1 bunch of kale, washed well, stems removed and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 clove minced garlic
2 T vinegar
2 T lemon juice
2 T minced tarragon
Saute onions in oil, add kale and garlic until tender; about 5 minutes. Mix vinegar, lemon juice, tarragon and salt/pepper to taste. Add kale mix to pototatoes, add dressing and serve warm.
I opted to add some of the roasted garlic that I had saved. Mmmmm. Good call.
I like kale more and more every day. Who knew that the ‘garnish’ on your plate you weren’t supposed to eat would actually turn out to be good for you?
Finished product. I had a mix of baby yukon gold, russet and purple potatoes that really made a pretty combination with the kale for this salad.
Final opinion: It was a nice, warm salad and a good way to do something different with kale. I will make some modifications if I try it again. The recipe was good but the lemon/vinegar dressing just wasn’t my taste favorite. My inner carnivore wants to add bacon to this. (Bacon makes everything better, right??) I think that if I had used an apple cider vinegar with bacon grease dressing and just a touch of sugar, it would have balanced out the bitter of the kale and added to the savory for the potatoes. Just my opinion. Overall, it is good the way it is and I’m glad we tried it!
Allrighty … here’s to the turnip challenge. I have to admit that I have been a little lazy in attempting any creativity in this area because I wasn’t very excited about turnips in general.
I have had success and am so glad to share it with you! Welcome to tasty turnip heaven.
Really? Turnips? Oh, ya. Just wait … it gets better … I combined them with beets. I know, I know. Please contain your excitement. This is serious root vegetable overload.
I kept seeing roasted turnip recipes online and already knew how great beets are when roasted so I thought this might make for a nice combination. And, I added in a quick trick.
Listen carefully. Par boil turnips for about 20 minutes, whole, before you do anything with them. This will take some of that bitter dirt taste that has given turnips a bad rap in the past. I did the same for the beets (but not as long) just to soften them up and not take too much flavor away from them.
I think the beet slices were so pretty. I love that color.
I decided to just bake them both together with a little bit of grated cheese to bind them. I left them as layers just because of the colors.
I sprinkled a tiny amount of balsamic vinegar on the beets. It turned out to be sweet perfection.
Next time, I think I will make a butter roux or some kind of gravy because it needed a little sumthin’ extra. But, keep it simple because the flavors here were awesome all on their own. Hearty goodness. Yum! This was solid comfort food.
Would you like to try a bite?
Here’s another cold weather camper idea that worked to warm up some tummies as well as the travel trailer …
In an effort to use more greens, I decided to try a casserole side dish. It was sort of like a cornmeal, cheesy, greens bake more than anything.
If you have read any of my other posts, I am not much of a recipe gal but I am making an effort to keep better track of things. I don’t think this is a special skill. It really means that anyone can experiment with the foods they like and make tasty goodness. This strategy is, however, not without error.
I used an 8 oz. package of cornbread mix, 8 oz. of biscuit mix, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup of oil, a sprinkle of garlic powder, salt, pepper, a cup of salsa, cup of grated cheddar cheese and a huge pile of chopped mixed greens. Mix together and pour into a well greased casserole pan. Bake at 350 for about 30 or so.
This casserole looked good, smelled and tasted pretty good. But, it was a little blah. I think next time I might do it tamale pie style over some ground beef. It just needed a little something extra to be a home run. Better luck next time.
Have you had any luck with your greens casseroles?
Oh, ya. Cupcakes! And, I can technically feel good about these because I used my CSA rhubarb in them. Woot woot! I got the idea from a Pinterest post somewhere and then the CSA newsletter had a similar idea.
We went camping this weekend and I decided that this would just be a de-luxe super treat in camp.
It rained and snowed and was cold and miserable. Bleck. But, these cupcakes were warm and soft and sweet. Nom.
I cheated a little bit and used a Duncan Hines pineapple cake mix. Sue me.
I cut up the rhubarb into pretty thin slices (like celery) and par boiled them so they wouldn’t be too crunchy in the cupcakes. No extra sugar, I could smell the rhubarb so I knew that they would be sweet enough all by themselves. Then, I just added it in with the cake mix.
Hold on to your cupcake liners. You will want them but wait until after … Just trust me.
I was worried about sticking so I sprayed the muffin tins with a generous amount of Pam. I had planned on adding one slice of canned pineapple to each spot in the pan but they were way too big so I cut them in half. This worked out because there would have been too much batter left over otherwise. I also used the pineapple liquid from the can instead of the water called for in the mix.
And, of course, a maraschino chery in each cupcake. Bake at 350 for about 30.
These little beauties came out of the pan nicely and then I put them in cupcake liners for a cute presentation. Whaddya think? Do you want to go camping with us now?
And, yes, they were as yummy as they look. Plus, the camper smelled awesome while they were cooking. It turned out to be an excellent rainy day treat.
Ya, I cooked dinner for my family on Mother’s Day. (
for shame!) Don’t worry, I was sufficiently spoiled the rest of the day.
This is what I made:
Yummy, cheesy, gooey casserole heaven and I used the fresh asparagus from my CSA box!
The basics of the recipe are:
Grill up two decent size, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cut into bite size pieces.
Bring a big pot of water to a boil and cook a regular size package of egg noodles al dente.
In a separate pan, saute a large scallion that has been finely chopped in some olive oil. Add a chopped sweet, red bell pepper and two stalks of celery. Then, mix in two cups of chicken broth. Add about a pounds of fresh asparagus, in bite size pieces. Bring to a boil. Sprinkle some italian seasoning and pepper to taste. Turn down to low and simmer. Just before adding to noodles, turn heat off and mix in a pint of sour cream.
Spray a casserole pan with cooking oil and pour in cooked/drained noodles. Add chicken next. Then,veggies in cream sauce. Sprinkle to with grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 until browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Then, you have this:
Kale is pretty awesome. Packed with all kinds of goodness, I am not sure how it got such a bad rap in past years and was delegated to garnish status. Kale is great in soups, wilted, sauteed with eggs and definitely holds its own in the lettuce/salad category.
How does it fare as a crispy, salty snack? I decided to find out. I have been checking blogs/websites/my local store and have been tempted by kale on several occasions. My local store sells little, tiny snack bags of kale for $6 each. Ouch! Too rich for my blood.
This week’s CSA was loaded with big bags of greens so I thought I would try a creative use to mix things up a bit.
So, here’s how it goes … Clean, dry and trim kale from the stems/ribs. Toss with a tiny amount of olive oil. Bake at 300 until crispy but not brown. Easy. Supposedly, any kind of kale will do. Pick your favorite or just experiment.
I also baked some chard, just for fun.
Now, I need to admit that the smell of baked greens and olive oil is bad. It totally grossed me out and smelled like butt. Not at all appetizing. Bleck.
Once the air cleared, I was brave enough to try them. The leaves all turned out just right for crispy and I was careful to not overcook them. (warning: BITTER)
The chard had a lighter flavor than the kale but the leaves are very thin and delicate. Very, very delicate. I saved the chard ribs for another recipe. Aren’t they pretty?
My husband even tried them and said they weren’t bad. Overall, kale chips are a good way to try something different for your greens.
But, they will never replace potato chips for me. Not even close.