Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weekend BBQ

Whether it's charcoal, gas or a simple fire pit, grilled foods are the best tasting hands down! I know in my house, and in my family we can't wait to fire up the grill when preparing our favorite foods. An added bonus is that grilling is actually a healthier way to prepare your food. Since grilling involves little to no fat in the cooking process, it is a good choice when trying for a healthy lifestyle.

  • Keep your grill clean, a grill that is clean not only cooks better but is safer (less likely for your food to burn, or catch on fire)
  • When prepping food for the grill, trim off excess fats. The grill locks in the great flavor of almost all foods so that extra fat isn’t needed.
  • Use flavors such as fresh basil, rosemary, oregano or thyme. These hearty herbs will pair great with the charred flavor of grilled foods.
  • Be careful not to undercook your grilled foods, remember your proper cooking temperature to prevent food born illness. cooking temp chart
  • Get creative! Try grilling pizza dough or bread, grill lettuce and hearty vegetables like zucchini and summer squash; make your own roasted red peppers.
  • Desserts on the grill…Try grilling pineapple or peaches for an extra special and unique dessert, no extra sugar needed, and your sneaking in some vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Our family trip to the Roslindale Farmers Market before heading to Marshfield over the weekend...

Lots of lettuce, beets!
 Squash, kohlrabi, and fennel!!
 Basil sniffing fresh basil!
Yummy Zucchini ready for grilling...
 Roasted Garlic and Italian Eggplant finally Marry :)
Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini
 Fresh Corn Salsa...made with fresh farm picked corn!
 My Dad's Beautiful Brick Chicken, soooooo moist and delish.
 Thomas; Roasting Marshmallows in the fire pit
Ti's and it!

Food and good company...doesn't get any better than that.

Farm Share of the Week...

Cilantro and Basil
 Tomato and Radish
 Beets and Purple Peppers
 Green Beans and Baby Potatoes
 Summer Squash
Blueberries and Sugar Baby Watermelon

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Hubby!

Friday was Phil's Birthday. In celebration of him on Thurday night after our farm pick up I decided to make him a beautiful and healthy meal. As you saw from my previous post, this weeks farm pick up was plentiful with beautiful produce and herbs...Here is the result.  

Caprese Salad (aka Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella)  
Grilled Baby Summer Squash
 Roasted Onion and Mushrooms with fresh Thyme
 Grilled Sirloin Steak

 Miss Basil had some fun with this weeks veggies, she snatched a carrot while I was cooking and had a ball...

Oh....and dont forget the cake. Phil doesnt really have a sweet tooth but this week was also my sister's birthday too so I decided to make something to die for.

Chocolate Health Bar Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Farm Share This Warm Week...

 Baby Squash
 Curly Parsley
 Beet Greens with Baby Beets
 Fennel (Anise)

My favorite share so far...Can't wait to begin creating!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Lavender Sorbet

Blueberry Lavender Sorbet

5 cups frozen blueberries
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp fresh lavender or 1/2 tsp lavender extract

In a small sauce pan add water and sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for about 2 minutes to make a simple syrup, allow to cool. In a blender or food processor add blueberries, lemon juice, zest and lavender. Blend mixture gradually adding simple syrup and continue blending until smooth. Serve immediately or put in another container to freeze for later serving.

**For a more lavender-y flavor adjust amount of extract or dried flowers to your liking. Mine has a very faint hint but enough to give it a beautiful floral flavor.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cool as a cucumber on a hot summer day..

Today at work was our Farmers Market check distribution day. Ever year the program gives our families extra money in the summer time to buy fruits and veggies at a Farmers Market. This program is great; nutrition-wise it gets our kids and families eating more fruits and veggies, and local wise it is supporting the farmers in Massachusetts who work so hard to produce beautiful fruits and veggies for us.

The day was pretty stressful; we had a line out the door, which was expected, although the downpour around 4:30 was not expected (or prepared for). Our poor families were waiting out there, strollers and all, for there special Farmers Market checks. I have to say, the staff and families handled it pretty well, we were all as cool as cucumbers.

Thinking about a cucumber and myself being stress free and cool gave me an idea for dinner tonight. Greek Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Dip). This is a dip that is very creamy and tangy, it is flavored with garlic and perfect for dipping veggies, pita chips and even on top of grilled meats or chicken. It’s easy to make with simple ingredients like Greek low fat yogurt, cucumber, garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and sometimes people put dill or another herb of choice.

Greek Tzatziki Dip
3 cups Greek low fat yogurt
juice of one lemon
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or pressed
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped (or desired herb, mint is another traditional choice)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Add chopped cucumber to the food processor and pulse until pureed. Strain over a small bowl to remove excess juices (save juice!). In a mixing bowl combine cucumbers, yogurt, garlic, salt pepper and dill, whisk together until smooth. Chill and serve as desired.

Greek Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Dip) with homemade pita chips

Cool Cucumber Juice..made with cucumber liquid. Simply mix cucumber juice,1 or 2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey (to desired sweetness) juice of half a lime and serve over ice...yummy

My First Try at Jamming...Food Fashionista Foul

‘Tis the season for beautiful fruits, berries, and fresh preserves! I thought it might be cool/daring to try and make some homemade jam.

Growing up my parents had a home in New Hampshire. Right in our backyard we had a little patch of wild blueberries, and all down the street there were bushes of wild blackberries. I remember waking up on a weekend morning and my mom handing my sister and I a little bowl for picking (unfair labor J). She would make blueberry or blackberry pancakes (yum), muffins and the best of all, blackberry jam.

Jam seemed pretty easy to create, simply crushed fruit, sugar, fruit pectin and maybe some citrus juice depending on the recipes. When making my preserves I decided to use fresh raspberries. I purchased powdered pectin from the supermarket but the directions on the pectin box were very confusing. Phil says, “You have issues with following directions” which is true! I am a creator in the kitchen so it is difficult for me when baking and obviously making jelly to do exactly what I’m told...therefore that’s probably where I went wrong. Basically the issue was that the jam didn’t set/gel, it tastes great, the color is great, its just very soupy.

After chatting with my mom and a few other jelly making friends it was recommended to me to try and use the Pomona Pectin which is actually made in Massachusetts and can be found at Whole Foods Market. The Pomona website has a great video on how to make low sugar strawberry jam. The lady in the video makes it look so easy so that’s what I’m going to try next.

So I guess at this point I have a beautiful and delicious raspberry “sauce” and that’s what I’m calling it J. I’ve been drizzling it in plain yogurt, on biscuits and as we speak I’m snacking on some saltine crackers drizzled with raspberry goodness.

"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."
— Julia Child

Roasting in the Hot Summer

Fresh Garlic, Carrots, Parsnips, and Chioggia Beets...dont they look to pretty to eat!

Finished Product, my favorite side dish!
Roasted Root Veggies