Friday, May 27, 2011

Asparagus Fried Rice

I knew I had asparagus, cooked rice, and a craving for hibachi, so we made fried rice for dinner last night.  Full disclosure: all I did was eat it :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 2

Today we went for our weekly CSA pickup and came home with 2 lbs of spinach, 2 bunches of radishes, 2 heads of baby lettuce, and about 1/2 lb of arugula, although we were entitled to a full pound.  I didn't think I could use that much, so I didn't take it - I don't want to throw it away again.  We also picked 2 quarts of strawberries.  Unfortunately, something crazy is going on with the strawberries - they are infested with a gray mold that is affecting both ripe and unripe berries.  I think the excessive rain we've had probably contributed to that, but I'm nervous even to eat the ones we picked that look fine!  It was really hard to find ones that did not appear to be affected.  I'm not anticipating a very large quantity for next week, and there might not be any at all.

This week I'm hoping to make the Spiced Coconut Spinach again, and the Ottolenghi Red Rice and Quinoa, though I don't have any red rice so I'll have to use something else.  I also expect that this side dish will make an appearance over the holiday weekend... I'll be sure to share a few notes on that, since we made it a bunch of times last year.  We prefer our radishes roasted ever since that recipe.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pan-Seared Scallops with Arugula Salad

For this arugula salad, I used a lemon-olive oil dressing with salt and pepper, shaken in a little glass jar.  We pan-seared the scallops, seasoned with salt and pepper, and de-glazed with white wine.  An easy weeknight meal using arugula from our CSA.  I ate double the salad part!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spiced Coconut Spinach

It's time to start eating more vegetables.  Spinach is in season - so is asparagus - so you can start with this Spiced Coconut Spinach recipe.  You can find the recipe on 101 Cookbooks.  It really is as delicious as it sounds.  We only had half the amount of spinach called for, so we nearly doubled the asparagus.  I didn't chop the spinach (truthfully, I was only taking quick glances at the recipe as I went, so I didn't even know that was a step), I omitted the shallot (used 2 cloves of garlic instead) because they were literally rotting in the basket at the store, and everything worked out just fine.  In fact, I just bought some more spinach and asparagus - we're going to make this again and again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Heidi's Multigrain Pancakes

It's been a while since we've really cooked.  I find it easier to feel motivated in the beginning of the day, so I went with breakfast.  Heidi's Multigrain Pancakes from Super Natural Every Day - served with fresh local strawberries, sliced.  The leftover whole wheat, oat, and rye buttermilk batter made us a few Monday morning waffles.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 1

Our first trip to the farm of the year was a few days ago, on Tuesday (5/17).  We got 2 quarts of strawberries - they are the Chandler variety, which is what they use in California, so they are BIG strawberries like you would see in the grocery store.  We were pleasantly surprised to find some other things at the farm stand, and we went home with a full bag of arugula (there are no scales in the field so it wasn't determined by weight) and four bunches of French breakfast radishes.  After we left the muddy parking lot of the strawberry fields we stopped by the herbs and got chives with purple flowers, flat-leaf chives, some mint, oregano, and "fool's thyme" which is yet to be identified.

I ate the strawberries as a snack already, and my mom took the radishes and most of the herbs.  I've got the arugula and some chives to use up.  This year I don't want to wait to post what we got, and I don't want to do a day-by-day list of how we use things.  I'm going to keep it less structured and just write what I think will be helpful for next year.  And hopefully I'll have some nice photos to share as well!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pasta with Middle-Eastern Spiced Lentils

I found this recipe for Pasta with Middle-Eastern Spiced Lentils in the NY Times Recipes for Health section.  I thought it would be a nice quick meal.  I love cumin and coriander and cilantro, so I did enjoy it, especially with the whole wheat spaghetti.  I'm still not totally sold on lentils - I just don't like the texture, as is the case with beans as well.  I'm working on getting over it by incorporating more of them into my diet (at least, I'm trying).  I think this might be good with diced tomatoes as well.  Unfortunately, I did not really enjoy the leftovers.  Maybe because I don't like reheated pasta very much.  I probably won't make this again, but it makes me want to look for other lentil/bean recipes, and ones with cumin and coriander as well.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lemony Ravioli with Baby Broccoli, Onions, and Walnuts

Here's one that I made up myself :)  Orange-striped ravioli, filled with asparagus and Gruyere, plus sliced onions and baby broccoli florets and stems sautéed with garlic, topped with toasted walnuts and a lemon-olive oil dressing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

Toward the end of April, I was trying to use up some of the biggest things in my freezer.  I had a whole chicken in there and decided it would be a good weekend project to figure out how to roast a whole chicken.  I turned to Mark Bittman (via How to Cook Everything) and I found not only several flavor options for roasting a chicken, but also how to add potatoes or roasted vegetables, and how to carve said roasted chicken.

Of course, I didn't actually touch this chicken at any point (what are boyfriends for?) but I did everything else.  I used rosemary from my new potted herb plants out on our balcony and I think it worked really well with the potatoes.

I certainly have no intention of regularly roasting chickens, but it's nice to know it's super easy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Banana Crunch Muffins

Did I intend to make yet another muffin?  I certainly did not.  Yet somehow things always seem to fall into place in such a way that muffin recipes just come out of the woodwork when I happen to have a key ingredient that wants to be used up.  Such is life.  And so, here is a banana muffin recipe, with millet and red quinoa seeds for some crunch.  It makes me think of confetti and happier times.  I'm renaming them Banana Crunch Muffins, since I didn't use the ingredient named in the original recipe (I swapped that sour cream for yogurt).

If you like the Millet Muffins, and bananas, I think you will like this too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rose Bakery's Brownie Cheesecake

Through March and April the featured cookbook for the 101 Cookbooks Library was Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery.  I had my eye on the Brownie Cheesecake from the beginning, but with all that chocolate, butter and sugar, it was definitely a special-occasion thing.  I decided to make it for my family's Easter celebration.

Things were going well at first.  Then as it was baking, I started to get concerned.  I added extra time and it still didn't seem done.  I looked at the recipe again and it said "don't worry if it seems undercooked."  So I took it out, let it cool, and brought it to the party.

When we cut into it, it was like pudding.  Totally raw brownie/cheesecake batter.  A bunch of people ate it anyway, since it tasted delicious.  I took the rest home (about half) and tried to bake it again the next morning.  I think I overcooked it a little, but it definitely baked, and it was pretty tasty.

So what I learned here is that it was delicious, but the baking time given in the recipe is utterly ridiculous.  I would start with at least 40 minutes on the clock, and add extra time until it looks set.  Had I trusted my instincts, it probably would have worked out better.

One last note: another member of the 101 Cookbooks Library (and a former employee of the actual Rose Bakery) recommended doubling the cheesecake part - I definitely want to try this next time.  Since the batter is so thick, I want to try plopping spoonfuls of the brownie batter around the pan, spaced out, so that I can let the cheesecake batter run in between.  Now that I've made the mistakes, it will be so much better next time.