Monday, June 27, 2011

Back at ya

Sorry to say that my blog has been pretty boring over the past few weeks, I’ve been crazy sick! I had the flu/sore throat/no voice, there was nothing fashionista about me; But I’m back, feeling better, ready to roll with some recipes and tips! Although not feeling great and getting take out and eating ramen noodle soup a few nights, I still managed to come up with some new creations.

My CSA last week was great, as I said before, as the weeks go on, the shares will get larger and have more variety. This week I got some small cucumbers, some more fresh dill, rainbow greens, a small head of cabbage, lettuce, beautiful red radish and carrots, and of course, strawberries. 

 Simple Green Salad with all my farm goodies...
I love snacks, but I'm sick of the same old same old...I was trying to think of some new things to try. I love Soy Nuts. When I was in school I made a video-fake cooking show with a friend where we make "Soy-yummy Trail Mix"..haha. Sure you can buy soy nuts almost at every grocery store now, but that’s no fun...We make out own!

Buy a bag of dried soybeans. Soak them in cool water for about 1 hour, drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Put in a flat cookie cheet,  drizzle with a tiny bit of oil and salt and bake at 350oF for about 1 hour, maybe longer (to taste really, until they are crunchy).  

Crunch Soy Nut Snack

More posts to come...promise, this week is back to normal. Caio!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I got a pickle ya ya ya ya...

Dill, an herb that I have never really used a whole lot of; I guess when I think of dill I think of salmon, which is one food that I dislike and therefore don’t cook. This week when dill was included in the Farm Share I was sort of puzzled on what I could do with it….

I thought about making pickles but the idea of going out, getting the special jars, waiting a week for them to be “pickled” just wasn’t on my agenda. I then thought about the pickles that they used to serve at Joe’s American Bar and Grill, did anyone ever have one of those?? The best pickles ever. Anyways they were really crunchy and salty, a tiny bit sour but still had a very cucumber-y and fresh taste. So…here is my rendition, still might need a few tweeks to be the same as “Joe’s Pickles” but my pickles were pretty darn good.

Homemade Pickles

4 cucumbers, sliced thin
½ cup white vinegar
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ cup fresh dill

In a large bowl or plastic bag add cucumbers, vinegar, salt and garlic powder. Chop dill and add to cucumbers, stir and refrigerate for one hour. *the longer it sits the more “pickled” they become, they get softer and take on more flavor. Cant stay in this container for 2-3 days.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cleaning out CSA week 1 to bring on week 2

Today marks week 2 of my CSA. I’ve been slowly using all of the veggies from last week’s booty but last night when looking the fridge I realized that I hadn’t really utilized any of the greens. They were sort just hanging out, wilting, and looking for a recipe to be part of. I had beet greens and spinach. Sauté? No that’s boring, soup, ughh its too hot, Quiche, yes perfect. Also had some left over strawberries that I threw in the freezer for smoothies or margaritas.

Beet Green, Spinach, and Baby Beet Quiche

4-6 eggs, depends on size of your pie plate
3 cups greens, your choice
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme
¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 small beet, sliced
preheat oven to 450oF. Place pie crust in desired pie plate, poke wholes into the bottom  and bake for about 5 minutes until very light brown.
Heat a sauce pan on medium heat, add oil. Add garlic and sauté until brown. Add greens and herbs and sauté until wilted, add salt and pepper and set aside to cool. In a large bowl beat eggs and cheese, add cooled greens. Still until well combined, pour into piecrust. Bake at 450oF for 10 minutes.

Even made homemade crust!
Beet Green, Spinach and Baby Beet Quiche

This week’s share included Savoy cabbage, broccoli, beets and their greens, romaine lettuce, curly endive, dill, oregano, baby salad greens, strawberries, and garlic scape.

Recipes to follow with all this good stuff!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Birthday's need Ice Cream

My first and I feel most important tip for successful food shopping is making a list and sticking to it, although I realized today that another tip would be to remember to bring the list with you to the supermarket! On my lunch break I took a nice walk to the Village Supermarket in Roslindale expecting to pick up a few things and then I realized that I forgot the list!  I knew what I was planning to make, I knew that I had some of the ingredients at home, make a long story short I did pretty good, left with mostly all the ingredients to my fabulous dinner and a few other treasures as well.

Monday was my last night after work, I invited my besties over for dinner, cake and homemade ice cream. This year, like many others, my family knows that my favorite gifts are kitchen related. My parents bought me a few sets of serving ware, my brother-in-law left me a surprise of a non-electric food processor (pretty cool) and my sister bought me a bright pink ice cream machine!

Usually when I invite friends or family over for dinner after work, I want to make sure that the dinner that I am preparing for them is quick and easy, and doesn’t need a lot of my attention while its cooking. I got home at 6:15ish, mixed a chocolate cake mix, threw the cupcakes in the oven and started on my chicken. I decided to make grilled chicken wings and chicken drumsticks, linguica (Portuguese sausage) and Italian Sausages. With a quick marinade of beer, and Montreal steak seasoning chicken were ready to go. Seems easy right, until the grill ran out of gas J, no big deal, just borrowed the neighbors! (picture below is of Beer Can Chicken, made a few weeks back, same spices and flavoring, just with a whole chicken)

The night before I was playing around and learning about my new Ice Cream machine. I was reading the recipes and found one for coffee heath bar crunch!!! If you know anything about me, you know that that is my all time favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor. The easy recipe of whole milk, sugar, and instant coffee seemed like a no brainier. I mixed it together, and saved it in the fridge for dessert. While we were sitting down for dinner last night, I turned on the machine, poured in the coffee and milk mixture and let it roll. After we ate, it was perfectly frozen and ready for cones and sprinkles!

***Great Birthday this year with my family and friends. Thanks for all your love and support!

Beer Can Chicken

Coffee Soft Serve, Before the Health Bar took it over

Thursday, June 9, 2011

1st Week of my CSA from Red Fire Farm

It's safe to say that today was pretty crazy day. Today, tomorrow and Saturday I am at a conference in preparation of the IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) exam I am taking this July. The training is in Lowell and it began at 7:30 am. To be honest with you, since my compute to work is fairly easy, I am usually rolling out of bed around 7:30 am….
Anyways! Today began the exciting first week of my summer fruit and vegetable CSA. I have to say, due to my commute this morning I almost didn’t pick it up but I made the hike and here’s what I got. 

Hakurei Turnips &  Purple Kohlrabi
 Fresh Cilantro
 Lettuce Varieties
Baby Beets and their Yummy Greens
 Fresh Strawberries

Although Phil was skeptical of all the green things that I brought home, he was impressed while we enjoyed a simple and extremely quick dinner of Grilled Cheese and Simple Kale Sauté.

Simple Kale Sauté
1 large bunch of Kale or Collard Greens, Washed and cut into small pieces
1 onion, slice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 strips of bacon or ham, diced (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat oil on high and add onions and garlic. When they begin to brown, add bacon or ham and cook for another minute. Add the kale and cook until wilted (about 5 minutes).
 Grilled Cheese with a Simple Kale Sauté

We also got a mystery vegetable, or fruits, I’m actually not too sure J. Laura, ( was so gracious to tell me what to do with and how to use this beautiful purple root looking thing. She explained it was crunchy, sweet and sort of the flavor of a cabbage and instantly I thought, Sesame Oil. I love sesame oil on raw vegetables, especially cabbage, broccoli and now kohlrabi! 

Purple Kohlrabi Slaw - Kohlrabi, Sesame Oil, & Cilantro

This time of year the shares tend to be quite light, I can only assume this is because we are just beginning our growing season. As the weeks go on I’m hoping for more variety of fruits and vegetables, definitely more herbs (cilantro is my favorite) some more vegetables to experiment with (maybe some that I don’t recognize like the purple kohlrabi today) and then of course learning and sharing recipes with my other “locavore” friends.

**Please post if you signed up for the CSA too! I’d love to know what you got and of course if you need help with a recipe to use it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Underrated Vegetables...

In celebration of my CSA share starting next week, I thought I would take a minute to talk about some locally grown and completely underrated vegetables.

To rewind a little bit, as I mentioned in previous blog posts, I signed up for a summer fruit and summer vegetable CSA. Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is kind of like a produce subscription to a farm of your choice. Basically how it works is you pay an upfront cost and every week through your chosen season, you receive a supply of veggies, fruits, fresh herbs, and sometimes even eggs and meats. The perks of a CSA are that you know the foods are fresh, you can go visit the farmers and see where your food is coming from and of course, you are supporting our local farmer friends!

Ok, so back to the underrated vegetables…When I say underrated, I mean those vegetables that we see in the supermarket or at the farm stands every time we do our shopping and always walk by and say...what the heck would I do with that?

You have turnips and rutabaga, you have parsnips and fennel, there’s those weird looking fiddleheads and okra, and the list goes on and on... I decided to put together recipes using these underrated and underused veggies that are simple, using easy ingredients and of course are delicious!

Fennel and Grapefruit Salad
2 cups greens (spinach, arugula, baby romaine, your choice!)
2 large fennel bulbs, sliced thin
1 pink grapefruit, sectioned
¼ cup left over grapefruit juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tbsp honey
juice of one lime.

Cutting off the bottom and the top, slice the fennel bulb into thin slices and add to bowl of greens. With a sharp knife, cut off both ends of the grapefruit, place the fruit on the flat end and cut away the peel from top to bottom along the curvature of the fruit (removing skin and white pulp). Next, cut in between the pulps removing only the fruit sections turning the knife to loosen the sections. *Do over a bowl to collect juices. Remove sections and add to greens and fennel slices. Add oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, honey and limejuice to grapefruit juice and whisk together to make dressing. Pour dressing over greens, fennel and grapefruit sections and serve cold.

Fennel (also called Anise)

Roasted Parsnips (Same Recipe can be done with Red Beets)8 Parsnips, cut into sticks
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp course sea salt

Preheat oven to 375oF. Wash parsnips with cold water, removing dirt or sand. Cut into sticks and lay onto a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until all are coated. Sprinkle with salt and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and tender. 
Red Beets

Chili-Lime Radish Salad
1 lb small radishes
1 tbsp Tajin chili lime seasoning (can find at supermarket)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Clean and cut of ends of each radish, slice radishes thin and add to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with seasoning and cilantro and mix well until coated. Allow to sit in the refridgerator for at least 30 minutes (this allows that radishes to pickle and let out some juices). Serve cold.

 Red Radish

Turnip Mashed
4 large turnips
1/2 cup low fat milk
2 tbsp butter
1 strip cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Wash, peel and dice turnips into 1-2 inch cubes. Boil until fork tender, drain and add to a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher or a fork, mash turnips until smooth. Add butter, milk, salt and pepper and continue to mash until well combined. Crumble bacon on top and serve.


Fiddlehead Sauté

1 lb of fresh fiddleheads
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauté pan heated to high add oil, onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes and onions are starting to caramelize.  Reduce heat to medium and add fiddleheads, mixing so they are covered with onion and garlic and sauté for another 5-10 minutes or until fiddleheads are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
****same recipe can be used for okra (cut into small cubes), at the end, add a tiny dash of hot pepper sauce to give them a nice kick.

Fresh Okra

Jicama Slaw (Recipe from Bobby Flay-Food Network Chef)

1 large jicama, peeled and finely shredded
1/2 green cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves

Place jicama, cabbage, and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, chili powder, honey, and oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the dressing over the jicama mixture and toss to coat well. Fold in the cilantro. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.