In an attempt to “eat more vegetables” we’ve signed up for a CSA* box. We got our first box today.
- 4 pears (not pictured)
- 3 apples (not pictured)
- 1 container of kiwiberries (not pictured, mostly consumed by Patrick)
- 1 bunch of carrots
- 1 bunch of radishes
- 1 lb of green beans (with a note they were out so instead we got a pound of small sweet peppers)
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 bunch of broccoli
- 1 lb fingerling sweet potatoes
I know what to do with garlic, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots and (most of the) fruit, but the peppers and kale presented challenges so I decided to find a way to use them for this evenings dinner.
I made goat cheese stuffed peppers which turned out very well, but also left me wondering when did I become the sort of person to have 10 oz. of goat cheese (peppercorn herb to be exact) and panko in the house?
I was rather dreading the kale, and most of the recipes I looked up turned it into some sort of soup with other things (like 2 lbs of potatoes, chiorzo and beans) that I didn’t have on hand. Thankfully my Cooks Illustrated – The New Best Recipe had a recipe which made the kale not only palatable, but tasty enough that I’ve included the recipe below so I can find it again in case kale shows up in our CSA box again. I’m not sure I’ll actively seek out kale at the grocery store, but at least now I know what to do with it.
I know that isn’t the greatest photo, but it was steamy. Recipe below.
I’ve had the ice cream maker bowl in the freezer ever since we made the banana sorbet with chocolate sprinkles, and I’ve been actively seeking a reason to use it again. I was inspired today when we got a lovely flat of ripe peaches from Costco.
P ate his way through three of them leaving a juicy, sticky trail of finger prints all over the kitchen, then he gleefully helped me occasionally stir the peaches as they simmered.
The boys helped me puree the fruit with the sour cream, heavy cream, extract and lemon juice, and then we put it in the fridge to chill. Well after bedtime I put it in the ice cream bowl, and churned it into a velvety, creamy consistency.
I’ve promised Oliver I’d hold off on scooping it out until snack time tomorrow, he’s pretty excited about the end result. I did sample a little as I was putting it into the freezer and I’m pretty excited about it too.
Most other-Mondays Gavin and his fellow Sebastopol-based co-workers go down to Palo Alto for work. I’m friends with the wife of one of the fellow-co-workers, and we’ve started getting together to bake (I’m teaching her), sew (she’s teaching me), and cook (we’re having a ton of fun experimenting with new recipes).
We’ve been experimenting with vegan baking (her husband is allergic to diary, egg, tree nuts and peanuts), as well cooking things that he can’t eat — but that’s okay, because the butter, egg, and peanut butter are in my kitchen, and with all the co-workers in Palo Alto anyway, it isn’t like he’ll be around for dinner.
Dinner this evening was Alsatian Flammekueche. I’m going to respectfully DISAGREE with some of the original recipe:
- use parchment paper when rolling out the dough, and plenty of corn meal/flour. It is sticky. Just slide the whole thing onto the baking sheet, so much easier.
- Do NOT wipe down the pan after you caramelize the onions, just add the bacon.
- Take full advantage of the caramelized onion and bacon grease and cook some vegetables in it – we made carrots.
- The recipe makes enough for TWO – this includes enough for toppings, if you decide to freeze one of the dough balls, remember to cut the toppings in half.
We modified blueberry lemon baby bundts to be vegan using egg replacer and margarine. We also used frozen blueberries. We did not make the rosemary syrup, and instead made a lemon juice – powdered sugar glaze.
Amazingly good, and oh so cute!
Over the weekend I felt inspired to do some cooking/baking. This post is mostly for me, so I can remember what I made, and how well it worked.
Sunday lunch was a cucumber goat-cheese grilled-cheese.
I also made some amazing caramelized onion and goats cheese pull-apart bread. It was a mess to assemble, if/when I make it again, I’m probably going to roll it up and slice it – think savory cinnamon rolls.
If you’re noticing a goat-cheese theme, it is because we bought a three-pack of goat cheese at Costco to make the apples on greens with pecans and goat cheese salad, and while we’ve made it a few more times, the goat cheese migrated to the back of our cheese bin and was nearing the best-by date.
Then I modified a recipe for cinnamon sugar donut muffins adding lemon zest and blackberries (I found a bag of them in the freezer, it seemed like a good decision at the time) and forgoing the roll around in butter/cinnamon sugar.
I have a bag in my freezer where bananas go when looking at them wrong and moving them at all makes them start to come unpeeled all on their own. I thought I only had one of these bags, but in rearranging my freezer the other day I realized I had two, or just over a dozen bananas.
The best way to peel a frozen banana is to soak it for 3-5 minutes in warm-from-the-tap water, the peel then slides off with very little effort. Yesterday we made banana peanut-butter nutella smoothies (the peanut-butter nutella was the boy’s idea). While sticky, sweet and cold, they were not the most popular thing I’ve ever made.
It is still hot today, so we made Banana Sorbet, I added chocolate sprinkles because they make most everything that much better.
The boys sat on the counter/stood on a chair and “helped” – mostly by liberally sampling the sugar which had crusted in the measuring cup, and then from the ice cream freezer bowl.
After several hours of impatient waiting each boy was granted ONE small scoop. It was very popular with both of them, and Oliver made a point of demanding more chocolate “finkles.”
The last few days it has been unpleasantly hot in our corner of Hippytown. While we are blessed with cool evenings and a nice breeze, and a house that remains mostly cool during the day (as long as you don’t open any doors or windows), we’ve also had temperatures soaring into the high 90s and low 100s and we don’t have air conditioning. Saturday we solved the problem by going to the mall, today, I’m not sure what we’re going to do.
It is too hot to cook. We could grill, but then one of us would have to venture out into the heat and we’d have to open and close the door which would let hot in. We could order pizza, but that gets expensive. We could eat salad, but sometimes you want something more.
I am so glad I have a crock-pot: dinner tonight will be pulled pork sandwiches probably accompanied by a fruit salad. The house smells amazing, if it gets unbearably hot in the kitchen I can put it in the garage (so far so good). The pulled pork will likely also be lunch tomorrow, and the day after that as well.
A little over five years ago I was e-mailed a recipe for goulash, I printed it out, and stuck it in a pile of recipes to try. The other day, I pulled it out, looked it over, and decided to give it a try. I modified it a bit and have included the modified recipe below. Many thanks to Leslie & Abbie for the inspirational recipe!
- 2lbs stew beef
- 2 onions chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 bayleaf
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 chopped carrots
- 1/2 chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water (more as needed)
In large pot brown beef and onions. Add salt, spices, garlic and tomato paste. Add wine, soy sauce and water, scrape the tasty bits off the bottom of the pot. Simmer 2+ hours partially covered, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, green pepper, simmer until tender (1/2 an hour or so more). Serve over egg noodles, potatoes or rice.
We had a rather surreal weekend, and our week started with an extra-long Monday so today I made comfort food: strawberry cream cheese kolaches (recipe from the Homesick Texan blog).
Patrick had half of a kolache, and then demanded another whole one so he wouldn’t have to share a second time.
I also made some mini-quiches, but somehow they’re just not as comforting.
I think I may have stumbled upon a new hit-granola bar recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars via TheySmell (full recipe under the cut). The kids eat an obscene number of granola bars (we buy them at Costco by the box of 90) and if given the opportunity, they’ll zip through 3-4 in one sitting.
I’ve experimented with granola bar recipes before and they’ve failed the long-term likeability test with the kids, hopefully these will have longer staying power. They’re sweet, without being too sweet, peanut buttery, chocolatey, and chewy. They’re also more than a meager 90 calories of fluff and preservatives so I’m hoping they’ll fill the boys up and they’ll stop after one.
Initial impressions from Oliver: these yummy, and Patrick did not mash his quarter into the carpet on the stairs, a sure sign of something (just not sure what). I wonder how they’ll feel about it in the morning.
This salad is modified from the Inn at the Crossroads‘ recipe for Greens Dressed with Apples and Pine Nuts, mostly because I dislike pine nuts (I used pecans), I couldn’t be bothered with pomegranates (although next time I may add some crasins), and had crumbled goat cheese not spreadable (and I wouldn’t want that much goat cheese anyway). I think it all on a bed of “baby spring mix” but I don’t remember which box of pre-washed lettuce I grabbed at the store.
Next time I’m going to either slice the apples even more thinly on the mandolin, or chop them up in to easier to manage pieces (which is what I ended up doing on the plate anyway). The dressing is a simple mix of honey and balsamic vinegar. This is a recipe I’m going to keep and make again (and probably again and again and again because it is super simple and tasty).