Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pack your bags!!!

I hope that you all will follow me because IM MOVING!!! I got a wild hair this week that I wanted a more featured website. I really like Wordpress (sorry blogger fans!) and Blogger has really been urking me lately, so I took the plunge. I bought my domain name, did a little programming and we are off!

I have a few tweaks left to make and if there are features you'd like to see, please let me know! But for the most part, all the links should work and the posts should be transferred. I hope you'll follow me!!

New website address: (that's easy, right?!)

And if you don't want to go there now, you can just add me to your blog reader using this link! If you have any issues at all, please either comment on this post or email me using the contact form on the new site!!

Thanks for following me!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And my poor radishes

Good thing we weren't planning on eating the green tops!! This is their fate.... (click here)

Slowly but surely...

I'm getting there. Slowly but surely, I'm getting there. I need these braces that are on my teeth, I really do. But it is KILLING ME - a girl who loves food, loves cooking, loves tasting, loves experimenting... its KILLING ME not to be able to chew!!! But it's getting better, slowly but surely. SIGH. Patience is a virtue that I do not possess right now!

Anywhoooo... We got farm box #2 today! I was so excited to check it out! There were some repeats:
- Green cabbage
- Micro greens (which I suspect are actually arugula, but I cant chew lettuce, soooooooo)
- The most gorgeous carrots
- Beet greens
- Tatsoi (which I have yet to figure out what to do with this!?)
- Eggs (can I tell you how amazing fresh eggs are?!?)

The new additions are below. I'm forcing my husband to eat a big salad ASAP with that gorgeous red lettuce and the arugula. I'm definitely open for suggestions for this week's veggies - especially the turnips! They're a new food for me, believe it or not!



Red Leaf Lettuce

Red Onions


Saturday, April 10, 2010

(57) Risotto with Chicken and Beet Greens

I have to admit right here and now - my husband and I do not really love beets. So when I saw beet greens in the CSA box this week, I thought 'eh, ok'. But today I got up the nerve to find a good recipe for them and I'm sure glad I did!

This risotto was an excellent way to use the beet greens! I only had about 3/4 lb of greens and they were slim and sometimes short. The final product didn't taste overly 'beet-ish' at all, which was my biggest fear. Not sure if it's because I didn't have a pound, they were small, or that's just the way this recipe works! In any case, it was DELICIOUS and the perfect lunch for us!

As with any risotto, there's an awful lot of stirring and waiting. The recipe says it should take 20 minutes and mine took at least 2x that long. It's quite possible that I was overly cautious, but if yours takes that long too, don't worry! Slow and steady is better than speedy in this case!

For my vegetarian friends out there, you could easily omit the chicken and sub in veggie broth. And if you're vegan (hi Natalie!) if you can find a good vegan substitute for parmesan, you're golden! (I used asiago and parmesan, but any mix of sharp tasting cheeses, vegan or not, would work!)

Risotto with Chicken and Beet Greens

Yield: 6 servings
Source: Gourmet Magazine, March 1996

5 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 pound beet stems and greens (from about 6 beets), stems trimmed and leaves washed well
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 whole skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a saucepan bring broth and water to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.

Cut beet stems into 1/4-inch pieces and slice leaves thin. In a 4-quart heavy kettle cook beet stems and onion in 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat until stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon oil and beet leaves and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, until leaves are wilted and any liquid is evaporated.

Add rice to chicken mixture and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Stir in about 1 cup broth and cook at a bare simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/3 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy looking but still al dente, 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vinegar, grated Parmesan, black pepper, and salt to taste.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Learning: Sapodilla

Time to review the funky fruits we bought last week in S. Florida!! First will be the sapodilla.

Sapodilla comes from an evergreen tree and is most commonly grown in India, Mexico/Latin America, and the Phillipines/SE Asia. It looks like a russet potato, but when it ripens, it gets really soft and squishy kind of like an avocado. The sapodilla has a couple of black, flat seeds that are about the size of a penny. When it's ripe the brown flesh is soft and squishy - kind of like a ripe pear.

Interesting fact - the seeds have a little hook on them that if swallowed, could get caught in your throat. OUCH. I also discovered that if you eat more than 6 seeds, you might experience abdominal pain and vomiting. So the lesson here is skip the seeds!!

Sapodilla is generally eaten cut in half and scooped out with a spoon. The fruit can also be cut and added to a salad, smoothie, or as a part of a tropical fruit sauce for use in desserts, drinks, pancakes, etc.

The sign at the fruit stand said "Tastes like a pear covered in brown sugar". You could definitely taste hints of brown sugar and it tasted like a pear, apple, and some flavor I couldn't quite place. I can see why people like these fruits. I have a feeling it's a taste you grow up with and love. I wasn't enamored with the flavor, but my husband liked it. I think I expected it to be much sweeter than it was, but it had a mild flavor and was mushy and slightly grainy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

(56) Gratin Au Chou

One of my favorite memories from elementary school was taking French classes. We went to a private school and we did French every week. It was mostly puppets and flash cards and LOTS of singing. One of the songs we sang was "Savez-vous planter les chous?" (that means "Do you know how to plant the cabbages?") and was meant to help you learn body parts. The French also refer to chou as sweetheart (Ma petite chou literally means "my little cabbage", but figuratively means "my sweetie"). All that to say, I love chou - it has a special place in my heart!! I love cabbage, but chou is even better :)

I was trying to come up with what to do with my cabbages from the CSA box and since I can't really chew much right now, this was the perfect fit! The original recipe kind of stunk and I ended up having to really improvise as I went along, but I wrote it all down and will hopefully not lead you astray!! The flavor of the sauce is what really wins this dish. Mixing it all up after it goes on your plate = HEAVEN! Oh and the original recipe said serves 6, but I can only assume that's as a main dish. I say 8-10 as a side. Great with roasted chicken!

Gratin Au Chou

Yield: 8-10 servings (as a side)
Source: Adapted from an online recipe

1 medium Savoy cabbage (or a small Savoy and a small green cabbage is what I did...)
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 pound very ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cups water
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I used skim, but use whatever pleases you!)
1/2 pound grated cheese (Gruyère or Swiss)
salt and pepper

Cut the cabbage in quarters, wash well, and cut out the hard inner core. Chop the leaves and cook the cabbage for 10 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. You want it to be soft but not dead. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook for five minutes. Add the rice and cook for two minutes, stirring. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Cook for 10 minutes or until the rice is just tender, adding up to 1 cup more water as needed. You want your rice to be soft but not soupy...

Meanwhile make a bechamel sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan and stirring in the flour. Cook the roux for two minutes and than slowly whisk in milk. Heat on medium heat until nearly boiling and thickened, then gradually add half of the cheese while stirring. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper (I used 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper). Oh and if you're like me and can't read directions properly and you just added ALL of the cheese, no worries. It will still be yummy!

To construct casserole, butter a large baking dish. Beginning with the cabbage, layer the cabbage and the rice mixture. Aim to get three even layers of each. Pour the bechamel sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Serve the cabbage casserole hot.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My stab at the 1st CSA Box...

This is like a food lovers mystery heaven!!! I am fairly certain that I know what these things are, but there's a chance I'm wrong and I'm ok with that! So if you think I am, say so! Here are all the goodies in my box this week!

If you want to see anything up close, just click on it!

First - I paid extra for a dozen farm fresh eggs. Never had them before and WOW can I tell you that they taste great! I'm sold!

Now for the veggies!! I'm planning on a pot roast on Sunday and will use the carrots, onions, and potatoes! I've been instructed to roast the parsnips, and have already used the cabbages! Otherwise, I'm open to suggestions!

1) Beet Greens

2) Collard Greens

(3) Carrots - they are HUGE!!

(4) Green Cabbage (looks like a giant Brussels Sprout, huh?!)

(5) Kale (can't wait to try Stephanie's kale chips!)

(6) Mixed Greens

(7) Onions

(8) Parsnips

(9) Potatoes

(10) Savoy Cabbage
(11) Tatsoi

(55) Hearty Beef and Tomato Stew

Brace face strikes again! I thought this would be soft enough, but I underestimated the joy of new braces! Soooooooooo, I didnt really eat this, which makes me sad! But my husband and daughter both sucked it down, so I'd say it was a hit. Not hard to make, just a little time consuming to get everything chopped. I'd make this again! (And sorry, no picture on this one...)

Hearty Beef and Tomato Stew

Source: Cooking Light, October 2006
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups stew and 1 tablespoon parsley)

The ingredient list may look lengthy, but this recipe involves mostly measuring and adding ingredients to the pot to simmer. To trim prep time, look for prechopped onions in the produce aisle. Serve with crusty slices of a baguette. A double-dose of lycopene comes with tomato paste and canned tomatoes.

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 pounds sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
4 cups cubed red potato (1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups sliced carrot
3/4 cup pinot noir or other spicy dry red wine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (16-ounce) package frozen pearl onions
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Remove beef from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings in pan. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until onion begins to brown. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add broth; bring to a boil. Return meat to pan. Add potato and next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 1 hour and 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Discard rosemary and bay leaf. Stir in salt and pepper. Top with parsley.

CALORIES 329 (21% from fat); FAT 7.5g (sat 2.6g,mono 3.3g,poly 0.4g); IRON 4.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 51mg; CALCIUM 93mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.3g; SODIUM 630mg; PROTEIN 31.1g; FIBER 4.1g

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mystery veggies

My first CSA box is here and I.AM.IN.LOVE!!!!!! It was like Christmas for me! I got all sorts of cool vegetables and a dozen farm fresh eggs! I know what most of the vegetables are, but there are a few mysteries. Can you help me?

I think this is baby cauliflower?? Yes? What do I do with it?

This is a green of some sort. It has a core/stem like a head of lettuce, but I'm not sure what it is, exactly!

Sooooo, whatcha got? SOMEONE has to know what these are!?!? You'll be my hero for the day (maybe even the week!). I will post the rest of the stuff I got tomorrow. Some good looking veggies (curly cabbage is so pretty!!), and some gnarly ones (hello huge warty carrots!). I can't wait to get cooking!

PS: Click on the pictures to see them in a larger format!!
PPS: Favorite way to use parsnips? I need some suggestions! I'm stumped on those...

Monday, April 5, 2010

(54) Creamy Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Crisps

I purchased the bags of broccoli florets to use in this, so I only had to chop the onion and celery. That made this relatively speedy to make. I used an extra 1/2 cup of water - use your judgment, it might need a little bit more than the recipe calls for. For not having any cream or even any broth in it, this soup was amazingly creamy!! We all enjoyed it. I couldn't really enjoy the cheese crisps because of my teeth, but my husband and daughter devoured them with the soup!! I will make this again, for sure!

Creamy Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Crisps

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Food and Wine Magazine, February 2008

For an ingenious twist on the classic combination of broccoli and melted cheddar, Barbara Lynch serves a warming broccoli soup with cheddar crisps. Try making the crisps with Mimolette, an orange-hued semihard cheese from France, which has a milder, nuttier flavor than cheddar. The soup is equally good with cauliflower or celery root in place of the broccoli.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large white onion, chopped
3 small celery ribs, thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
3 1/2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cheddar Crisps, for serving

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.

2. Add the broccoli and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and puree until smooth. Season the soup with salt and pepper and serve with the Cheddar Crisps.

Make Ahead
The broccoli soup can be refrigerated overnight.

Nutritional Information (per this includes 2 crisps
Calories 149, Total Fat 9.8 g, Cholesterol 7.4 mg, Sodium 120.9 mg, Potassium 678.0 mg, Total Carbohydrate 12.0 g, Dietary Fiber 6.0 g, Protein 7.3 g

Without the crisps
Calories 120, Fat 7.4g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 76.8mg, Potassium 671mg, Carbohydrates 11.9g, Fiber 6g, Protein 5.6g

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(53) Cheddar Crisps & a note...

Today I got braces. I am 32 years old, and I got braces. *insert sad face here* My jaw has been giving me problems and it got so bad and my bite got so off that it was what needed to happen, sooooooooooo. Anyway, my mouth HURTS today and from what I hear, that will last a few days then I'll be back to normal. So it was like 90 today here in FL and that weather doesn't exactly scream for soup, but whatever, that's all I can handle right now, so that's what we're having! Just didn't want you to think I had lost my mind :)

Now for the recipe - this goes with the soup to follow. I had never made these before. They look so fancy-schmancy, but there's really nothing to it! Don't know why I waited so long to make them! I think you could use any kind of cheese and put these on salad plates, soups, as a garnish, etc. The baby LOVED this, too (although really, what's not to love?!). Delish and pretty!

Cheddar Crisps

Yield: Makes 8 crisps
Source: Food and Wine Magazine, February 2008

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the cheese on the sheet in eight 2-inch rounds. Bake for 18 minutes, until darkened slightly. Blot the crisps with paper towels and let cool (the will harden as they cool).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Back from vacation!

My husband and I have been off celebrating our 5th anniversary! We went down to the Keys and spent 5 days just soaking up the sun and drinking fruity drinks :) But Im baaaaaaaaaaack!! (and back to reality!) Menu plan to follow shortly, but until then, my fruity adventures!

We ended up going to the fruit stand I talked about - it's called Robert is Here and it's located in Florida City/Homestead (which is south west-ish of Miami). I am thankful a friend put me on to it, because it was AMAZING! I could have stayed all day long! They make fresh fruit shakes and have a store with all sorts of local honey, dips, salsas, etc. I bought a few kinds of honey and then some cool fruit! I am most excited about a few things that I got. These are pictures I found online, but I'll document as we taste and figure out what to do with the items! If you have any suggestions on how to eat/use these items, I'd love to hear them!

1) Key Limes

2) Tamarind

3) Passion Fruit

4) Sapodilla

5) Mamey Sapote