Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Roasted Baby Beet Salad

1# or however many beets you have, stems trimmed to 1#
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 bag of salad greens or torn lettuce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender. It will take 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool. Peel beets and cut in wedges. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Dress the salad greens with as much dressing as you like, top with the beets and drizzle with a bit more dressing.

Artichoke Spinach Pizza

This is another good recipe to use some greens. The original recipe called for frozen spinach, but fresh works well. No need to cook it first.

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 HVF bag of spinach (probably about 4 ounces)
1 whole wheat pizza crust (such as Boboli)
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
2/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) grated sharp provolone or shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese or more if you prefer (I had some goat cheese feta and that worked very well)
you can also add a few slices of turkey pepperoni if you wish

Preheat oven to 450°.
Chop the spinach finely.
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in spinach.
Place pizza crust on a baking sheet. Spread spinach mixture over pizza crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border; top with artichokes, cheese and pepperoni if using.
Bake at 450° for 13 minutes or until cheese melts.

Yum! Good for you pizza.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Spring (or Summer) Greens Lasagna

This tastes pretty much like a normal lasagna but you can use a LOT of greens in it. To get 8 cups of packed greens, I used 1 bag of HVF saute greens, plus some romaine lettuce, a few radish tops--you get the idea--whatever green stuff you need to use up. Do try to chop the greens up somewhat fine so that they aren't stringy. As I mentioned before I throw mine in the food processor and pulse a few times. You need to do this in batches and don't let them turn to mush.

1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (I didn't use the whole box)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 cups packed greens, well washed and coarsely chopped, any combination (ideas include spinach, saute mix, chard, beet or turnip tops, even romaine lettuce works)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (fresh herbs are good if they're in season)
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups organic tomato-based pasta sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

1. Try to make this the day before you want to eat it because it gives the noodles a chance to soften.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add onions. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add garlic, greens, and herbs, and saute, stirring frequently, until greens are slightly wilted and greatly reduced in volume. Set aside.
4. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Layer half the noodles on top. Its OK to break them to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover with half the greens mixture, then half of the remaining sauce. Place dollops of ricotta on top, using it all, then sprinkle on half of the mozzarella, then half the Parmesan. Repeat with a layer of noodles, greens, sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
5. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest overnight. Add about 1 cup water, if it looks a little dry.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes leaving covered. Remove the foil and bake about 15 minutes more or until the top is brown and it looks bubbly.
7. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Adapted from care2.com

Note: If you want to cut down on the fat calories a bit, reduce the amount of cheese. It will still taste good and people won't really notice.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday Supper Menu

I don't normally post recipes except those using produce from our CSA farm. One of the recipes in this menu does use some of our farm veggies. However, the main dish was a recipe for barbecued shrimp that I thought was so good that I decided to share it (as well as remember myself which recipe I used). It has a lot of ingredients in the marinade but don't be put off by it because its very easy. The hardest part is peeling and deveining the shrimp and Arthur was nice enough to take care of that chore. We had purchased some frozen shrimp from a local vendor who comes to one of our farmers' markets. I normally prefer fresh shrimp but these were exceptionally good.

Spicy Barbecued Shrimp

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, plus more, for garnish
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I used a little hot pepper from my daughter's garden. It was very hot! I didn't bother to seed it but minced it seeds and all. It added a definite kick to the dish but we all agreed it wasn't too spicy and added just the right amount of heat.)
1 teaspoon paprika (I used Penzey's smoked Spanish paprika) 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lime, juiced
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the shrimp and mix well to combine. Add the shrimp to the seasoning paste, and toss to thoroughly coat with the seasoning mixture. Let the shrimp sit in the seasoning mixture while you prepare the grill--up to a couple of hours in fine. Prepare a grill and either thread the shrimp on skewers or use a seafood grill pan, which Mike (my daughter's fiancee) had and use that. Its a lot less trouble. I've attached a picture of what the grill pan looks like. Place shrimp skewers on the grill or the shrimp in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp turn pink. Do not overcook! Sprinkle with chopped cilantro to serve.

Adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse, posted on Food Network.com

We served these delectable shrimp with spinach salad with roasted beets (from Harmony Valley Farm), corn bean salad (Victoria & Mike's contribution), deviled eggs (I'm testing the recipe), potato green bean salad and cornbread.

I thought the following was a useful recipe to use a number of the vegetables we got in our CSA box from HVF on Saturday--green beans, potatoes, onions and basil. It would also be an excellent salad to take to picnics because you wouldn't have to worry about keeping it cold as you do with a mayonnaise dressing. It is in fact better if its served at room temperature.

Green Bean and Potato Salad

2 pounds red potatoes (unpeeled if they are organic)
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I recommend using white balsamic vinegar if you have it available, so that it doesn't tint the veggies brown)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Slice the potatoes and place the potatoes in a large pot, and fill with about 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 7-10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove the potatoes and drain careful. Add the green beans to steam for about 10 minutes or until they are as tender as you prefer. Drain and add to the potatoes in a large bowl. Toss with fresh basil, onion, salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegars, mustard, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil. Pour over the salad, and stir to coat. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. You can also add some lemon juice if it isn't as tart as you like. I didn't think it needed it.  Sprinkle small basil leaves on top of the salad as a garnish.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Zucchini Soup with Cinnamon, Cumin and Buttermilk

This soup was supposed to be served cold, but we never got around to chilling it. I'm sure that would be good, but it was also fine at room temperature. The cold buttermilk helped to cool it. The seasonings are somewhat unusual but make for a very flavorful soup. Zucchini on its own is rather bland, so interesting seasons improve it.

1 lb trimmed zucchini
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 seeded and minced Serrano chili pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (yogurt could also be used)
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Garnish: chopped, fresh cilantro or mint (if desired)

1. Chop the zucchini in large chunks.
2. Add the broth to a soup pot, bring it to a boil and add the zucchini.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the zucchini is barely tender and still bright green. Remove from heat and cool.
4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small, non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, chili pepper, fennel, cinnamon and cumin and fry until onion is soft, but not brown, and spices are fragrant.
5. Combine the zucchini with the onion mixture. Process with an immersion blender until well chopped but still retaining texture. Add the buttermilk and season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Chill for at least 2 hours (or serve as is garnished with a sprinkling of cilantro).

Adapted from Lifescript.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2 good cauliflower recipes

This is a very easy, flavorful soup that is also low in fat.
Curried Cauliflower Soup

1 medium cauliflower
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup tiny pasta (Acini de Pepe, stars, orzo, whatever you have available)

Break cauliflower into florets. Put in a large pot with the broth. Add the olive oil and curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer until the cauliflower is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Using a potato masher, break up the cauliflower into small pieces (don't completely mash it). Bring the soup back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is done, about 6-8 minutes.

Adapted from a Penzey's catalogue recipe

This is another easy dish that is surprisingly tasty.
Mashed Potatoes, Cauliflower and Carrots

1 1/4# Yukon gold potatoes (or whatever you have), preferably unpeeled
1 pound(s) cauliflower, florets
3/4 pounds carrots, cut into chunks
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1-2 tablespoons butter or Brummel & Brown margarine
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
1/4 cup scallions, sliced

Place potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover ingredients; bring to a boil. Boil until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return to saucepan.

Stir in milk, sour cream, butter, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Process mixture in the pan using an immersion blender until it has reached the texture you want; stir in scallions. You could also use a potato masher. Just a little more work.

Adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe

A great way to use fennel

We loved this dish of roast vegetables and Italian sausage served over polenta.

Italian Sausage and Vegetable Roast

1 pound sweet or hot Italian chicken or turkey sausage, cut into 1inch pieces
1 medium red pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 fennel bulbs, cut into slices
2-3 medium Italian plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
1-2 sweet onions, cut into wedges
4 or more garlic cloves
1-2 zucchini squash, cut into thick slices
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, crushed or fresh if available
1/2 cups chicken broth
4 cups hot cooked creamy polenta*

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray roasting pan with vegetable cooking spray.
Mix sausage, vegetables and oregano and 1/2 cup broth in pan.
Roast 30 minutes or until done, stirring once.
Serve with pan juices over polenta. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

* I made my polenta using 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken broth. At the end I stirred in some soft goat cheese, not necessary but delicious.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Radish Omelet

This is another good recipe I borrowed from A Good Appetite blog. We're still dealing with radishes and this is a good recipe to use them in. You can even eat your radishes for breakfast--we did.

2 cups radishes, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, preferably a Cipollini onion with some green on top, sliced thinly
enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
5-6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk or water
1 spring fresh rosemary, strip the leaves from the stem and chop coarsely (you could also substitute another herb for the rosemary)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add the radishes and onions and sprinkle with salt. Fry until golden. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Drain off most of the oil and leave about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons.

Whisk the eggs with the milk until foamy. Heat the pan with the oil in it and add the eggs to the skillet. As the omelet cooks, pull to one side to let uncooked eggs flow to the bottom of the pan and cook. When the eggs are almost completely cooked to your liking, add the radishes and onions. Then flip 1/2 of the egg mixture over the other 1/2 so it is a half circle. Put the lid on the pan for a minute or two to finish cooking. This dish can either be served immediately or at room temperature.

I served it with beet greens, sausages and whole grain toast for a great Saturday breakfast.

Beet Greens & Cipollini or Other Sweet Onions

This recipe was in Harmony Valley Farm's newsletter. It sounded easy and a good way to use up our beet greens. Leafy green vegetables are supposed to aid in memory retention among other things, so I figured we better be eating our greens and not adding them to the worm bin.

Greens from 1 or 2 bunches of beets
Large cippolini or sweet Spanish onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper

Cut the top off the onion and set aside. Chop the onion, but not too fine. Heat oil and add onion. Continue to cook the diced onions until they caramelize. You can add about 1-2 teaspoons of sugar if you wish to aid the browning.
While the onions are cooking, chop the beet greens and slice the onion top. Then add the chopped greens and onion tops to the caramelized onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until the greens are completely wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Swiss Chard Tart

The fresh chard and the olive oil in the crust give this rustic tart an earthy, nutty flavor. It has just enough custard to hold the filling together. The pat-in-pan crust makes it easy to put together.

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-3 tablespoons ice water
1 large bunch Swiss chard (about 3/4 pound)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 large egg yolk
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream or 1/2 & 1/2
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 oz.)
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix them. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse a few more times. Add the ice water a little at a time and pulse just until the dough begins to come together. Use your fingers to press i into the base and us the sides of a 10 inch tart pan with a removable base. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Clean the chard leaves and remove the stems, reserving them. Trim the ends off the chard stems and discard. Cut the stems into a small dice, about the same size as the onion. Cut the chard leaves in half lengthwise and then into 1 inch wide strips. Strip the rosemary leaves from their stem and coarsely chop them.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 12 minutes. While the crust is baking, mix the egg yolk with a pinch of salt. Remove the crust from the oven and brush with the egg yolk. Bake until the glaze is set, about 2 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

While the crust is baking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the chard stems and chopped rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes, until the stems are tender. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Raise the heat to medium and stir in the chard leaves; season with salt. Cook until the leaves are wilted and soft and any liquid has evaporated, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

Beat together the eggs and cream and season with salt and pepper. Add the chard mixture and then the grated cheese and mix well. Scrape the filling into the prepared shell. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just set. Let cook for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from Outstanding in the field, a farm to table cookbook by Jim Denevan

Creamy Risotto with Shrimp & Baby Bok Choy

I was watching one of Simply Ming's shows that I had taped. Simply Ming Online is the Web site of the public TV cooking series Simply Ming, featuring Chef Ming Tsai as he cooks up easy East-West inspired recipes. http://www.ming.com/simplyming/ The TV show is on in Madison on Saturday afternoons on PBS (21).

He made a dish with shrimp and baby bok choy added to risotto and flavored with lemongrass. Delicious!

1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
Olive oil to cook
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
3-4 cups chicken stock, hot
1 pound baby shrimp or larger shrimp, roughly chopped
3 heads baby bok choy, shredded (quantity is not important here)
4 tablespoons room temperature cream cheese
Minced chives, for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Coat a skillet or pot over medium heat lightly with olive oil and saute the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass for about 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir to coat with oil and season. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by 75%. Slowly add stock a ladle at a time, stirring rice until each ladle of liquid is absorbed. When just beyond al dente, add the shrimp and bok choy to heat through. Add cream cheese to melt, check again for flavor and garnish with chives.

Note: to prepare the lemongrass; use only the bottom, pale part of the stalk. Slice off the top green part and root end and peel away the tough outer layers. You can then chop the lemongrass with a large, heavy knife. Be sure to mince it finely for this dish as it is quite fibrous.

Adapted from Simply Ming.com

Chinese Cabbage Scallop

This dish is sort of a comfort food kind of thing.

1 medium sized head napa cabbage
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 flour
1 teaspoon Penzey's chicken soup base (or something similar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1-2 cups buttered bread soft bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut large leaves in half lengthwise and then shred coarsely. (There should be about 8 cups--a little more or less is OK.) Place in a buttered shallow 8 cup pan (9 X 9" square pan works well).
Melt butter, stir in flour, chicken base, salt and pepper. Cook stirring constantly until just bubbling. Stir in milk a little at time. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens. Stir in parsley. Pour over cabbage. Make sure the sauce and cabbage are combined. Cover with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes; uncover. Sprinkle buttered bread crumbs on the top of the cabbage. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cabbage in crisply tender and crumbs are golden and crispy.

Adapted from Family Circle magazine.

Lamb Lettuce Wraps

I haven't posted any recipes for a few days but that doesn't mean that I haven't been cooking away with the veggies from our box.

I borrowed this one from another blogger, A Good Appetite, the Minneapolis couple who love to eat. Their comment about the recipe, "The seasoning of the lamb was very flavorful & slightly middle eastern. I really enjoyed the texture of the almonds & the saltiness of the olives. The warm filling was really nice against the cool crispness of the lettuce though you could easily serve it in a pita or on top of some couscous or rice." I agree that its delicious and quick to prepare.

Lamb Lettuce Wraps

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb ground lamb
1 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 c chopped green olives
1/4 c tomato paste
1/4 c sliced almonds
large romaine lettuce leaves, washed & dried

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion & sauté until just tender. Add lamb & cook until brown. Stir in cumin, coriander, pepper, turmeric, olives and tomato paste. Cook for 1 -2 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in almonds. Scoop a little into the middle of each lettuce leaf, wrap & serve.

I served Arthur's meat on a bed of chopped lettuce because he's not big into food being wrapped or that may not stay together.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Handy recipe to use up a few CSA veggies


This is a recipe that another member of Harmony Valley Farm and fellow blogger, The Green Adventures of a City Girl, posted on her site. I made a few changes to use ingredients that I had on hand. I recommend giving it a try. I think you can probably vary it quite a bit and still get good results. The picture is also from her website, but I wanted to give you an idea of what the finished dish looks like.

Layered Parmesan Polenta Bake

1 c milk
2 c water
1 t salt
2 c polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
1 t fresh sage, chopped
1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
1 T olive oil
2-3 c sliced green cabbage (about 1/4 of a small head)
3 spring onions, chopped - bulb and stalk portions kept separate
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced thin
3/4 - 1 c Parmesan cheese, finely grated (I used a mixture of Ricotta Salata and Parmesan)

Preheat oven to 400. Combine milk, water and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the sage, rosemary and cornmeal, whisking while you add it to prevent lumps. Simmer on low, whisking frequently, until thick. You can also do this in a microwave. That way you don't take a chance on it burning.

Pour thickened mixture into a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 c of cheese, or more if desired. This is where I used the crumbled ricotta salata which was left from the radish salad. Heat oil in a skillet and cook scapes, bulb portion of spring onions and cabbage. Spread evenly on top of polenta. Top with another 1/4 c cheese (or more).Add basil, tops of the spring onions and zucchini to skillet and cook until tender. Layer in the casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is beginning to brown.

The original recipe called for fresh spinach instead of cabbage, but I had used up my spinach and had cabbage instead.

Mandarin Orange Salad

This is a recipe for another one of our favorite green salads. The original recipe called for iceberg (yuck) and romaine lettuce. You can use salad greens. I used our Red Boston lettuce the we got in our CSA box. Arthur said its some of the best lettuce he's ever had; very tender and delicate.

The original recipe called for you to caramelize the almonds which I didn't bother to do.

1/2 cup almonds
bowl of salad greens or lettuce
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange sections, drained
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Dressing:
3 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil
2 tablespoons vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine salad ingredients, sprinkle with the almonds just before serving. Prepare dressing by mixing or shaking all the ingredients together. Pour as much over the salad as you prefer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fresh Amaranth (Red Spinach)

Amaranth Leaves are very similar to spinach in flavor and use. They're beautiful to look at. Its tempting to just keep the bunch as a decorative bouquet.

This time I decided to use mine in Chinese Spinach Curry. This is not a perfected recipe, but I would make it again so I thought it was worth posting.
Thotakura Palakura Tomato Kura

1 tablespoon peanut oil or other mild oil
¼ teaspoon each--cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves (I think the quantity of these spices should be doubled)
1 big onion - finely sliced, about one cup
2 tomatoes - finely chopped, about one cup
5 green chillies--finely chopped (I used 1 Serrano, which I seeded--5 seemed excessive for our tastes but it needed either more than 1 pepper or to leave in some of the seeds. In other words it lacked heat)
1 teaspoon - ginger garlic paste
½ tsp each- turmeric and salt
1 bunch fresh amaranth (leaves and tender stems) - finely chopped, about 5 cups
1 bunch fresh spinach - finely chopped, about 5 cups
1 can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves and let them sizzle a moment before adding the sliced onion, tomato, green chillies and beans. Also stir in the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric and salt.
Let everything stew together for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add the fresh amaranth and spinach. Stir to mix and cook covered on medium-high for about five minutes until the leaves wilt. Remove the lid and cook another five minutes if needed. Turn off the heat. Let the curry sit for few minutes so that the flavors mix well.
Serve the curry warm with whole wheat roti (Indian grocery) or brown rice and yogurt.

This dish was good but not great. I think the seasonings need to be intensified. However, serving it with the roti which I warmed in a buttered pan was a very good combination.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sugar Snap Peas

We got a bag of sugar snap peas in our last CSA box. So many good possibilities and so few peas.
I decided to try this recipe that I cut out of the food section of the Chicago Tribune (my son saves them for me). The description accompanying the recipe promised, "The flavor of the bacon, sugar snap peas and mint make a perfect foil for wild salmon." Having now prepared it, I would agree. Roasted or sauteed baby fingerling potatoes are a great side with this (especially if you have them which I didn't). Pasta is also a good side. Do give this dish a try. Its easy and delicious.

Salmon with Sugar Snap Peas and Bacon

1 pound salmon fillets
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Coarsely ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon, cut into slivers
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 cup white wine (or water if you must, but it won't be the same)
1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1. Place salmon skin side down on foil-covered baking sheet. Brush skin with oil; season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste.
2. Place bacon in a large skillet; cook, stirring, over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate. Add onion to skillet; cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add wine, increase heat to high. Heat to a simmer; cook 2 minutes. Add peas and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt; cook until peas are tender and most of the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add mint; stir. Remove from heat.
3. Meanwhile, heat broiler. Broil fish until skin is crispy and flesh is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Mine did not take 10 minutes, more like 7-8, so watch it carefully. Overcooked dry fish is not a good thing. Cut salmon into pieces; transfer to plates. Spoon peas and bacon over
fish.

Adapted from the Chicago Tribune.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Colorful Tossed Salad

Dressing:
1/4 cup frozen white grape juice concentrate
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Salad Ingredients:
1/2 bag torn mixed salad greens
8 large fresh strawberries, quartered
1 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts, toasted

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the first five ingredients; shake well. Refrigerate until serving. Set aside 2 tablespoons of dressing. Place the greens in a salad bowl and drizzle with remaining dressing. Top with strawberries, kiwi and onion; drizzle with reserved dressing. Sprinkle with nuts.

If you don't want to make your own dressing, a bottled raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette works well with this salad as well.

From Allrecipes.com

Rhubarb Bread

Catching up on another recipe posting. This is a good recipe for a very moist pleasantly sweet and spicy quick bread using rhubarb. It makes two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 size loaves.

Avondale Rhubarb Bread

2 1/4 cups sifted unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice (the original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon--so if you're a fan use this amount)
3 eggs
1 cup canola or sunflower seed oil
1 3/4 cups packed dark or light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb (about 1#)
3/4 cups walnut pieces (or whatever nuts you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2" loaf pans.
Combine flours with other dry ingredients.
Beat eggs, oil, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer or in a food processor until fluffy and smooth.
Combine the dry and and wet ingredients. The batter will be VERY stiff. Don't over mix but do get everything blended together.
Stir in the rhubarb and nuts.
Spoon batter into prepared pans, dividing equally.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until the bread tests done.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out on wire racks to finish cooling.

I have no idea where the original recipe came from. I found it on a little scrap of paper in my recipe files.

Sunchoke Cheese Soup

I got a bit behind in using all my CSA veggies. I found some sunchokes tucked away in the back of a refrigerator draw which were still perfect. I had stored them in a plastic bag with a paper towel in it to absorb extra moisture. This recipe would probably be more appropriate for cold weather but its worth saving for when the sunchokes return.

Sunchoke Cheese Soup

1 pound sunchokes
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 stalks celery
1 medium onion
4 Tablespoons butter
2-1/2 cups chicken broth or more if needed
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups medium-sharp Cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 cup cream
Salt
Cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Wash, peel, and roughly chop sunchokes and keep in water to which lemon juice has been added until ready to use. Chop celery and onion and cook in 1 tablespoon butter until slightly wilted, approximately 10 minutes. Add sunchokes and 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Puree in a food processor or with an immersion blender.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter, add flour, and cook for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup broth, then cook for 5 minutes. Add cheddar cheese and mustard and stir until blended. Stir in choke mixture and cream and cook until soup is heated through. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. I actually forgot the Worcestershire sauce, but it would probably be a nice addition.

You could also sprinkle chives on top.

Adapted from About.com: Home Cooking

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Snap Pea Salad with Radishes, Mint and Ricotta Salata


This is a interesting and somewhat unusual salad to help use up our radish supply. The dish got one thumbs up (me) and one thumbs down (Arthur). He agreed it tasted good but you had to chew too much--please!



Sugar Snap Pea Salad With Radishes, Mint and Ricotta Salata

1 1/2 cup sliced radishes
6-8 ounces sugar snap peas, sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
6-8 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled (about 2 cups)
1/2 bunch mint leaves, torn (about 1/3 cup) (I didn't have enough mint, so I added a few other fresh herbs)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch kosher salt, more to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

String the peas and then lightly steam them or use raw if you prefer. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, toss together the radishes, peas, ricotta and mint.
Finely chop the garlic. I used my little food processor and then added all the other dressing ingredients and blended.
Pour dressing over salad and toss well to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Note: Ricotta salata, which is pressed and salted ricotta, breaks down slightly, adding a creamy texture along with its milky cheese tang. You can't substitute regular ricotta, but I think you could use some feta cheese. I would use less, because ricotta salata is much milder in flavor so it lets the peas and radishes shine through in the salad.
Adapted from NY Times.com

Chilled Lettuce Soup

In an earlier post I mentioned getting a very large head of romaine lettuce. The following soup is one of the things I used it for. Lettuce Soup--I know it sounds a little weird, but it turned out very well. We both liked it.

Chilled Lettuce Soup

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon oil
1 cup sliced leek (or substitute green onions from CSA box)
1 medium shallot (believe it or not I still had a few left from a winter box)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
10 ounces romaine lettuce or any other green or salad mix, chopped (I didn't measure and the amount isn't important)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon or a bit more chopped fresh dill (I think other herbs would also work--but the dill was great)
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (or enough to get the consistency you want)

Melt butter in large pot. Add oil, leek or green onions and shallot. You could also use some garlic scapes. Cover and cook until vegetables are softened.
Add the broth, potatoes and lettuce. Cook until the potatoes are tender--about 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender or food processor to somewhat puree. I left mine a bit chunky but it got rid of any stringy greens.
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh dill.
Add the half and half and refrigerate until chilled. The soup is OK warm too, but try it both ways. It makes a good sized amount.

Recipe adapted from 366 healthful ways to cook leafy greens by Linda Romanelli Leahy