Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dinner Tonight

Tonight I flipped through one cookbook and threw things in pots. It ended up being pretty delicious.

First up I adapted a recipe from Fresh From the Farmer's Market by Janet Fletcher.

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled & chopped
2 small dried chilies, diced
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water

- Heat the oil on medium-low heat and then add the onion. Cook until clear and soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cilantro and cook another few minutes.
- Add the last ingredients and simmer until the vegetables are soft.
- Puree and return to pot. Season with salt & pepper.

Next up I used most of last week's green onions and collards in a lovely fritatta.

Collard & Sun-dried Tomato Fritatta

1/2 bunch collard greens
3 green onions, diced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
5 eggs, whisked
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp coriander

- De-vein and chop collards.
- Preheat broiler.
- In a cast iron skillet heat 1 T olive oil.
- Add the onions & collards and toss to coat.
- Cook about 4 minutes over med-low, turning greens constantly.
- Add the tomatoes and toss to distribute.
- Pour the eggs over the greens and season with s&p & coriander.
- Cook on low until center almost set.
- Sprinkle the parmesan over the fritatta and place whole pan under the broiler.
- Cook until golden. Remove and serve.

Greenling Delivery

I didn't have time to take a picture this week as I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But here's the list of what came in the local basket.

# Arugula bunch--Acadian Family Farm
# Cilantro--Acadian Family Farm
# Herb--Pure luck
# Green garlic--Green Gate Farm
# Mixed Salad Greens w/ radish--My Father's Farm
# Broccoli--Texas Natural
# Chioggia Beets--Animal Farm
# Oranges--G&S Grove
# Tomato--Reliable
# White mushrooms--Kitchen Pride
# Bok Choy--Naegelin Farm

I also got something unrecognizable to me. It's a large-ish green globe with greens attached. I do feel a bit stupid for not knowing what it is, but what can you do?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Ronettes

Here's a sad story about one of music's great girl singers. She fell out of the spot light and seemingly into mental illness. I grew up listening to the Ronettes music. Their song Be My Baby was one of my favorites when I was a kid.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This week's food ideas

Ok, so I'm going to try this a different way. I'm going to propose a few main recipes, a few sides and one dessert all using or complementing the stuff in the local basket. This will all be things I plan on making or doing with my bounty.

I eat a ton of salads. I eat one almost every day with lunch. I will wash and bag my spinach and greens so that they are ready to place in a tupperware to cart to work. I also put a small bit of spinach in my smoothies each morning. So you won't find a spinach recipe this week. As for those grapefruits i plan on slicing them and adding them to my daily salads. On top of this I might throw in a handful of sliced almonds and a bit of goat cheese.
I don't know about you, but I can't use that whole bunch of cilantro this week so I plan on making it into a compound butter. About an hour before you plan to work take a stick of salted butter out of the fridge to soften. Once it's soft put it in a bowl or in a food processor. take that bunch of cilantro and chop it up as fine as you can. Add this to the butter and mix thoroughly. Once mixed placed it in a pile on a piece of parchment. Now use the parchment to form a log of butter. Stick this, parchment included in a ziploc and freeze. The butter can be used as a topping on corn or just on a slice of toast in the morning, anything you'd normally use butter for. I have a good friend who makes compound butters and then uses them whenever he cooks fish. MMMMM.

Main Dishes:

Tofu Pot Pie

1/4 cup frozen peas
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 lg. red potatoes, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
4 T flour
1 cup veggie broth
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz tofu, diced
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 store-bought pastry crust or 1 sheet frozen puff pastry

* Preheat the oven to 300

1. Heat a large skillet or saucepan and add the olive oil.
2. Add the onions and cook on med-low till clear.
3. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes.
4. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook till soft.
5. Stir in the flour, cooking about three minutes.
6. Whisk in the broth and bring to a simmer.
7. Turn to low and add the mushrooms, milk, tofu and spices.
8. Cook over low until thickened and potatoes are soft.
9. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish.
10. Unroll the pie shell or puff pastry and lay over the dish so that the surface is totally covered. It can drape over the sides, but press it against the dish.
11. Pop in the oven and bake about 15 minutes until the crust is golden.

French Onion Soup courtesy of The Vegetarian Bistro by Marlena Spieler

2 1/2 pounds onion, thinly sliced
3 T olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
a pinch of sugar
8 cups vegetable stock
6 slices thick bread
3 cups or 12 oz shredded gruyere (or mixed parmesan & gruyere)

1. In a large heavy pot, slowly cook the onions until lightly goldena nd soft, about 30 minutes. Season the onions with salt & pepper and the pinch of sugar to help caramelization.
2. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the broiler.
4. Ladle the soup in 6 bowls and top with a slice of toasted bread. Divide the cheese among the bowls.
5. Place the bowls on sheet trays and broil 3-5 minutes until the cheese is golden.

I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time eating the soup the traditional way. One way to go is to toast the bread and cheese alone and then dip into your soup as you eat it. You could also eliminate the bread altogether and broil the soup with just the cheese on top. And another version would be to have simple grilled cheese sandwiches on the side.

Sweet Potato & Squash Lasagne, adapted from Gardeners' Community Cookbook

1 pound no-bake lasgne noodles
2 med sweet potatoes, peeled & sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
2 T olive oil
1 egg
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 pound butternut or delicata squash
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

- Preheat the oven to 475*
- Spread the sweet potato slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat.
- Bake about 15 minutes until light golden.
- Turn the oven down to 375*
- Mix together the egg, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, ricotta & parmesan cheese.
- Add the squash and mix.
- To assemble lightly oil a 13*9" baking dish.
- Line the bottom with the no-bake noodles.
- Spread 1/2 of the squash mixture on the noodles.
- Add 1/2 of the potatoes.
- Top with half of the mozzarella.
- Repeat.
- Cover with foil and bake about an hour.
- Remove the foil and continue baking until the mozzarella is golden and the mixture is bubbly.
- Cut & serve.

Braised Cabbage with Apple

1/2 large or 1 small cabbage
1 large apple
2 T butter
2 T balsamic vinegar

- Slice the cabbage into thin strips and place in a large pot.
- Peel & grate the apple and add it to the pot.
- Add the butter and the vinegar to the cabbage.
- Cook the cabbage over medium-low heat, stirring often until the cabbage is tender. This should take about 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with salt & pepper and serve.

Kale & Potato Soup

1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, stemmed and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium potato, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk or soymilk
1/4 cup white cheddar cheese

- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the kale and garlic.
- Using tongs turn kale in pan as it wilts, about 6 minutes.
- Add potatoes & stock.
- Lower the heat and simmer, covered until the potatoes are soft.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a standing blender.
- Return the soup to the pot and whisk in the milk and cheese. Season with salt & pepper.

Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts

1 pound brussel sprouts
1 T butter
1/4 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
2 T finely chopped green onion
2 T finely chopped rosemary

- Trim the ends of the sprouts.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Add the sprouts and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the butter, walnuts, onion & rosemary into a serving bowl.
- drain the pot and cook the sprouts another minute to evaporate all the water.
- Toss into the serving bowl and serve.

Dark Chocolate Orange Pudding

3 T cornstarh or arrowroot powder
1/3 cup agave syrup or maple syrup (this will change the flavor slightly)
2 T cocoa powder
2 cups milk (soymilk, or coconut milk can be substituted)
1 t vanilla
zest from 2 oranges

- In a pot combine the cornstarch, cocoa & agave.
- Add the milk and whisk.
- Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it begins to boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer continuously for 3 or 4 minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla & zest.
- This can be served warm or it can be poured into serving bowls and chilled until ready to eat.
- For a fancier dessert top each serving with whipped cream and an orange supreme.

Greenling Delivery

Here's my lovely delivery for the week. I did add on a few extra things that I wanted like cauliflower & sweet potatoes. Everything except for the cauliflower is locally grown.

  • Brussel Sprouts -Montesino Farm
  • Spinach--Acadian Family Farm
  • Cilantro--Acadian Family Farm
  • Herb--Pure luck
  • Green shallots--Acadian Family Farm
  • Kale--Montesino Farm
  • Mix Lettuce--Montesino Farm
  • Grapefruits--G&S Grove
  • Yellow onions--Naegelin Farm
  • Cabbage--Naegelin Farm
Now what am I going to do with all this stuff?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

alcohol & depression

You know how sometimes you know something, but you haven't accepted it? That's how I've been with alcohol for the last couple years. I've known that it was uniquely bad for me, but I've continued to drink, sometimes beyond a healthy limit. Recently I drank 4 1/2 beers over a few hour period. The next day I felt awful, not really physically, mostly emotionally. I was depressed and anxious. I did a tiny bit of research and came across some interesting information. The first bit is that people like me (family history of alcoholism & depression as well as my own issues) should not drink, ever. This was not entirely surprising, but like I said I'd been ignoring this.
The second bit of info was far scarier. It was about suicide statistics. Basically if you are older and you suffer from depression & are an alcoholic you are at a much greater risk of committing suicide. What are you suppossed to do with this information when you love people who fit this description and you know they won't seek help?
As for myself I'm cutting down on drinking. Ideally I would like a drink to be a special occasion thing only. I'm sick of being around people who have to have a drink especially in a date situtation. If you can't have fun together sober than perhaps something is wrong.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Week 1 Results

It took me two weeks but I finally made it through my first meal plan. Not everything was a success, but it all was healthy and got eaten.
The favorite dish was definitely the fritatta. In fact I'll be making another with some of the spinach I got today. It was incredibly easy and much healthier than a traditional quiche. The only thing I'll change this time other than the vegetables is that I'll add some fresh herbs, probably a bit of rosemary.
The least successful dish was the peanut sauce. It was pretty terrible actually. I even added honey and twice as much peanut butter, but I couldn't get the flavor right. I'm not sure what it was missing, but I'll figure it out. I love a good challenge.
Last night I made the quinoa stew. I found it hearty and filling. Quinoa is a complete protein and an excellent source of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins. Quinoa is classified as a grain, but is actually a member of the spinach family. It has been a staple of the diets of the Incas and other Andean peoples for over 5,000 years. I find that amazing. It's like eating history.
If you've made any of the dishes please let me know what you thought.

Greenling Delivery

Here's a list of the lovelies I got from Greenling today.

Broccoli - Texas Natural/Acadian Family farm
Escarole - Acadian Family Farm
Radish - My Father's Farm/Acadian Family Farm/Naegelin Farm
Rosemary - Pure Luck
Avocado - G&S Grove
Oranges - G&S Grove
Portabella Caps - Kitchen Pride
Arugula Microgreens - Bella Verde
Green Onions - Monotsino Farm
Spinach - Acadian Family Farm
Arugula - Acadian Family Farm

When I received my order I cleaned and put everything away. I always wash my greens and place them in damp paper towels in ziploc bags. The best way to wash greens (and berries) is to fill a large bowl with cool water. Place the greens in the bowl and let them soak for a bit. This is done so that all the dirt and sediment can sink to the bottom of the bowl. It also doesn't damage the greens the way running them under water can. Pull the greens out and run them through a salad spinner. Next I lay a piece or two of paper towels on the counter and wrap my greens up in them. Into a large ziploc bag and you're good.
In order not to waste too many ziploc bags I wash them and reuse them. People make fun of me for doing it, but it saves me money and keeps a few extra plastic bags out of the landfill. I would love to find a better method for saving my greens, but I haven't done the research yet. Any ideas?
Wrapping fresh herbs in a damp towel and placing them in ziploc bags keeps them much longer as well.
For lunch I made myself a lovely salad of greens and orange segments. I also had an avocado flour tortilla taco and a poached egg. yumm!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


No I haven't posted anything in a week. And no I haven't written recipes for the week. No, I didn't get the job I wanted. It's my Saturday and I feel blah. I have things I'd love to be doing like writing interesting and thoughtful posts on food and mental illness or sewing my new bag, but all I can manage is to sit here and right this while I watch What Not To Wear. Have I fizzled out from a period of bursting creativity or is this mild depression?