Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 7

Still nothing to pick... which is OK with me!  It's a lot easier to just run down and collect your produce from the bin.

This week, we're taking most of this down the shore.  I don't have any big plans for this stuff, just omelets and grilled pizza!

This was our first major choice group of the season... the four items to choose from were basil, cabbage, scallions, and beets.  We have easy access to basil, and my mom still has last week's beets, so we ruled those out.  We ended up choosing three cabbages and one bunch of scallions, since cabbage tends to last while scallions don't hold up as well.

The problem I have with some of the quantities given is that you can't do too much with a small quantity of some of these items.  The broccoli, in my opinion, should have been included in a choice group - it's so small, even the 2 heads we are entitled to won't yield much.  You can't use this in a recipe, or you have to be very creative with it.

On the other hand, the problem I have with the choice groups is that sometimes you want one of everything, and you're going to have the same problem that there's not enough to do anything with it.  So then you're forced to choose one or two things.  It's stressful!

I took a few extra photos today.  I used the camera on my phone, so they're not exactly beautiful photos, but I like them!  The header photo is the "Summer Squash" selection - can you see how GIANT the ones on the left are?  They have to be like two feet long.  I was so excited about this!  The one below are some bins below the area where the choice groups are located.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Stuffed Shells

Heidi at 101 Cookbooks made these Stuffed Shells on the first night she moved into her new apartment.  I made it for Ken - he loves meals like this.  I used Roasted Tomato Marinara from the freezer and added some chopped spinach to the filling for a few extra nutrients.  We made about half the shells for dinner and froze the rest.  This was a great meal - comfort food at its best.  And best of all, I've got a whole dinner in the freezer for a night when I don't feel like cooking.  One quick note - Heidi puts lemon zest in her ricotta mixture.  I personally loved it and barely noticed it at all, but Ken thought it was too lemony.  Next time I might cut back just a bit.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Linguine

Ken made this Summer Linguine for me, from Super Natural Every Day.  Grated zucchini and cheese with a half whole grain pasta (we used angel hair).  It's an interesting way to use zucchini, which we'll all have way too much of in just a few short weeks.  One minor issue - the zucchini clumped quite a bit, which you can see in the photo.  Next time, I'd like to try to get a bigger grate on it somehow to try to distribute it more evenly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


This beautiful Frittata is from Super Natural Every Day.  I made it as part of a brunch for friends, along with the Baked Oatmeal from the book.  I've never made a frittata before, and it was a bit of work, but it worked out really well in the end and everyone enjoyed it!  Best of all, the recipe is endlessly adaptable - you can use whatever veggies are in season.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 6

In the past week I've done a lot of cooking!  Lots of posts to come on those.  Among other things, I made a white bean and garlic scape dip, plus garlic scape pesto which now lives in the freezer, and two pints of refrigerator dill pickles.

Nothing to pick again this week!  In addition to this week's picks (see below) I still have a few garlic scapes, plus last week's kale which transferred over to me when my mom didn't use it (tsk tsk!)

This week, my mom took the beets, summer squash, and lettuce, plus one of the 4 heads of broccoli.  I have the other 3 heads of broccoli and the radicchio, which I was initially planning to try to swap with a friend for something from her garden.  But I found a recipe for radicchio braised in orange juice, and I thought it might make a nice side for a simple dinner - I think I'll try that instead.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Greek Yogurt Ice Cream

When I first flipped through Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, this Greek Yogurt Ice Cream was one of the most appealing recipes to me.  I've had the barrel of my ice cream maker in my freezer for a while now, waiting to make some good ice cream, and so I gave this one a shot.  It contains Greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage), heavy cream, honey, lemon juice, and limoncello.  It came out pretty good, even though I used nonfat yogurt.  One thing I want to try next time is cutting down on the honey.  The flavor of the honey is great, but the sweetness was just too much.  As you can see in the photo, I topped it with some sliced strawberries.  Yum!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lemon Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini

When I first heard about the new book Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, I was pretty stoked about it.  I ordered it not too long after I heard about it and as I flipped through, I was really excited to try some of the unique recipes.

Before I had a chance to make anything, Heidi featured this quinoa recipe on her blog, 101 Cookbooks.

A few days later I gave it a shot.  Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed.  I only had a bite.  It was not appealing to me at all beyond that.  I think it was the dill - I don't think I like dill - and the over-lemon flavor.  I had actually had doubts about putting in that much lemon juice, but I talked myself out of it and did it anyway.  Heidi halved the amount of currants, which sounded like a really good idea AFTER I had already made it, and she also added feta, which was kind of a "duh" moment for me... how did I not think of that?  It was on the recipe page as a suggested variation!

I also tried Heidi's suggestion of making quinoa patties with the leftovers.  I only had a bite of these as well.  I burned most of them (yay!) and they were pretty dry and needed some kind of sauce BUT I liked the mix much better in patty form than I did originally.  Unfortunately, I doubt I will be making this again.  If I do attempt it, I will be trying a variation that does not include dill or so much lemon juice.  But I have a feeling that some of the other recipes in the book will make up for this.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pasta with Summer Veggies and Shrimp

We made this tasty pasta dish from the multitude of veggies in the fridge.  Zucchini and red bell peppers sauteed with onion and garlic, with torn spinach mixed in, plus pieces of shrimp and red pepper flakes, and some canned tomatoes to make it saucy.  Super tasty and full of veggies!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 5

Yesterday was CSA pickup day.  There was nothing to pick except herbs, which we didn't take.  I liked the whole taking pictures of the signs thing, since I didn't have to remember the quantities, so below you can see what we got.  Some of the pictures are clear enough to show the farm's suggestions for what to do with the produce, which are often written on the signs.

I have been cooking a bit, but there's not too much produce yet, and my mom has been keeping most of it.  This week, I took the cucumbers, which I plan to use for refrigerator pickles, since they're pickling cucumbers.  I also took the garlic scapes, with which I plan to make this dip, and maybe some garlic scape pesto or garlic scape soup.  I remember last year when we got our green garlic, the huge dried out stems were still attached.  I guess someone wised up that garlic scapes would allow more of the plant to be used.  This is pretty exciting for me, since I've never actually had them before.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Grilled Vegetable Couscous

Last weekend, I made a whole bunch of grilled vegetables and had way too many left over.  After having the vegetables with pasta and in wraps with hummus, I wanted to do something a little different.  I toasted some pearl couscous and after cooking, mixed in chopped grilled vegetables and pesto (frozen without cheese).  Super quick, easy and tasty.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mushroom Sauté

I visited the Princeton farmers' market last week on Thursday.  I like it better than the Friday markets, since I only have to go to one to see all the vendors I want, and Princeton just makes you feel good about life.  I got some cremini mushrooms at the market, and still had some asparagus from the previous week, so I made this Mushroom Sauté from Super Natural Every Day.  I made a whole bunch of (mostly minor) adjustments, but I think I was still true to the spirit of the recipe.  Mainly, I left out the seitan, which I have no interest in as of now, but who knows, I might change my mind one day.  We made a quick and simple fried rice to go along with it, from the leftover rice from earlier in the week.  This was so quick and perfect for a weeknight.  You know those recipes that pretend to be fast weeknight recipes?  This was the real deal.  I can imagine making this again, with other vegetables instead of the asparagus - broccoli, definitely.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 4

This week's CSA situation was a little unusual.  Some Pennington members were invited to pick strawberries at the Chesterfield farm.  It's too far for me to do both, so I asked my mom to go to Pennington - there was nothing to pick anyway - and I went to Chesterfield.  I got 8 quarts of strawberries!  The plan is to freeze them all.  Beyond smoothies, you can use frozen strawberries in pies or other desserts, and you can even make jam/preserves to can.

Here's part of a note my mom sent me:
"Used one bok choy and a garlic scape (should have used more) in a chicken stir fry.
(The sign said " Use as you would chives or steam, stir-fry, or use raw in tossed salads or dips.")
Strawberries were scarce. I almost filled a quart. I could have stayed longer to fill it (I only went down two rows), but it was too much work.  I haven't tasted any yet, but they should be okay."

My mom sent me some pictures to let me know what we got in our share at Pennington.  Now you can see how our CSA works!  These pictures are from the distribution center.  My mom got 2 bunches of kale and 2 bok choy from the choice groups you can see below.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Green-Packed Stir-Fry

This tasty Green-Packed Stir-Fry from Super Natural Cooking uses asparagus and spinach, two things I have had a lot of lately, and so I picked it out of a bunch of recipes that I was considering.  I also added snow peas, since I had them - they only added to the green.  I can see this being easily adaptable to whatever veggies are around.  I left out the tofu and used red pepper flakes in place of the red chiles - just sprinkled them in, no measurement.  Otherwise I mostly followed the recipe.  I loved the taste of the sauce.  I have never used hoisin sauce before but I really like it!  It's easy enough to change the vegetable ingredients - I'm sure I can find something to use this tasty sauce in every season.  The beige in the picture is cashews - they added an almost meaty texture to the stir fry.  We ate it with a small portion of short grain brown rice.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Roasted Strawberries

MMM... We made these tasty Roasted Strawberries from Super Natural Every Day.  We quadrupled(!) the recipe and baked them on stoneware.  Because we made so much, there was some extra juice, but we filled the jar with the berries and then with enough liquid to cover them.  We ate them warm over a scoop of fresh ricotta.  I think they would be great with ice cream too.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 3

Yesterday (5/31/11) was week 3 of our CSA.  In the farm stand we got a pound of spinach and 4 heads of lettuce.  I picked a quart of snap peas for us.  I have this bad habit of jumping every time a bug lands on me and sometimes the contents of my box go flying.  Oops.  Mom picked 3 quarts of strawberries.  I didn't realize, but there's a second strawberry patch.  It's much smaller, but these are unaffected.

I haven't really gotten to do much cooking this week.  Hopefully the coming week will be better and I'll have some things to post about.