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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Spicy Stir Fried Long Beans

My husband was so nice to give me the biggest cold for my birthday.  Really. So. Very. Sweet.  It's what I always wanted.  So I am laying in bed this morning, while he is at soccer with Adrienne, cup of tea  on one side of me, purring (or should I say snoring) cat on the other, and I figure I should blog one of the many recipes I have cooked and photographed, but have yet to write about.

I've cooked a lot of amazing stuff with the CSA loot.  The variety and quality of the produce has been awesome.  I don't think I would have ever bought dragon beans or long beans myself, so it's just been really fun to try new things.  Not all of my attempts have been the best - I absolutely destroyed the beautiful leeks I was given.  To follow a recipe by the book that someone publishes and have it end up in the garbage is quite annoying.  I apologize if I have ever done that to anyone, but the lesson learned is that it's about trusting your own instincts.  We don't all like things the same way and not all produce is created equal, so if you think you should be using more or less of an ingredient, believe me when I say you should trust yourself.  My potatoes must have been much bigger than necessary, but by the time I knew for sure, it was too late to save it.   I hope the toilet bowl likes potato leek soup.

This is a recipe that will be easy for anyone to doctor or save if we end up not having the same taste and you think it's too salty or spicy or needs more of something.  Feel free to go crazy with this one.  It's my personality.  I started with an epicurious recipe, but changed it to suit my own tastes.  I think scallions are a much better choice than shallots for this.  It also needed a touch of sweetness, so I included honey.  I have made this dish twice already because it is so easy, quick and delicious.  It's a great compliment to any noodle dish or stir fry you make.  It doesn't require much chopping, prep, or time, and most importantly, it's really tasty.  This is one of the easiest dishes to throw together.   Blanch your beans before hand and you have practically no more work ahead of you.  Enjoy!

Spicy Stir Fried Long Beans
adapted from epicurious

1 bunch of long beans (about 1 lb)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1 Tbsp peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 Tbsp reduced sodium say sauce
1 tsp honey
3 red Thai chili peppers, minced
a squeeze of lime (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook the beans for 3 minutes and remove them to an ice bath immediately to stop them from cooking.  Long beans can get mushy if overcooked.  Once cooled, trim the ends off the beans and chop them into inch-long pieces.  Place the peanuts in a small food processor or chopper and pulse until about half are ground small.  There should still be large pieces.  Don't over grind - you don't want peanut butter.  Combine the soy sauce, honey, and chili peppers in a small bowl.  Once the ingredients have been prepped, heat the peanut oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the garlic and scallions and saute for about a minute.  Then add the peanuts and stir together for another minute.  Add the beans and combine until hot.  Remove from the heat and add the sauce.  Squeeze in the lime juice if you are using it and stir until well combined.  Serve with noodles or rice. Index blog website fast

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I was just spending a very relaxing Sunday not doing a whole lot of anything and I came to the realization that I had a bag of tomatillos, a jalapeno, and some cilantro in the fridge.  What's a girl to do?  Prepare yourself for the best salsa recipe ever.  Strong words, I know, but my husband Jim said so - and he is quite the connoisseur when it comes to all things salsa and hot sauce related (which is putting it mildly - pun absolutely intended.)  The salsa king has spoken - now I need to watch him so that he doesn't finish it all by himself in ten minutes.  I would like to have it for some company we're having over tomorrow.  If I don't keep my eye on him, he will in fact finish the entire jar I made.  He doesn't even need chips - just a spoon if even that.  He's sneaky too.  He will take a little at a time, every time he finds himself alone in the kitchen, and before you know it, the entire jar is gone.   I know I sound a little like the salsa police, but the quantities listed below did not produce a hell of a lot of salsa.  It's just the right amount to put out with a bowl of tortilla chips as an app for guests or to serve along side some tacos (chicken or pork would be amazing with this salsa...yes yes).  This is not the right amount for Jim to indulge in eating with a spoon out of the mason jar before I want to serve it to others.  I would have doubled the recipe if I had more tomatillos because this is crazy yummy and the salsa monster is lurking.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
recipe from Rick Bayless

1/2 lb tomatillos, husked and washed
1 jalapeno, stemmed
6 sprigs of cilantro, thick stems removed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup minced sweet onion

Preheat your broiler on high.  Place the tomatillos and jalapeno on a lined baking sheet and place in the oven about 4 inches from the heating element for about 5 minutes.  Then flip everything over and broil for another 4 or 5 minutes until nicely charred.  Remove and place in a food processor along with any juice that may be on the baking sheet.  Add the cilantro and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency (I like it slightly chunky.)  Add the salt and onion and combine.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Miso Glazed Eggplant

I've been getting a lot of eggplant in the CSA, and since I am not one to make the same things over and over again, there has been a number of eggplant experiments this summer.  Very unfortunately, no one was a fan of eggplant caponata recipe I tried out (thanks, but no thanks, Giada.)  The stir fry was delicious, but not the most interesting or photograph friendly.  Then after two weeks of letting the eggplants accrue patiently in my fridge, I finally decided to try out this side dish.  This is my new favorite way to eat eggplant (assuming of course I ignore what will always be my favorite way to eat eggplant without actually knowing you are eating eggplant: see said Roasted Eggplant Pasta here.)  Eggplants have a weird and off putting texture if you don't cook them correctly.  This recipe has them baked until they are nothing but mushy and sweet slices of awesomeness, coated with a salty and umami miso glaze, and you have yourself the kind of side dish you just can't stop eating.  If you are like me and aren't the biggest fan of miso soup, don't let that stop you from using miso in a recipe.  It takes on an entirely different savoriness (that's the umami I referred to earlier) when you cook with it.  Also, white miso is the mildest of all the misos and it has almost a sweet flavor, without being sweet.  If you want to add some sweetness to this dish, I bet it would work really well.  I thought to add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar to the glaze although the recipe really didn't call for it, but in the name of letting go of added sugar, I didn't do it - a surprising move on my part - but if I can do without added sugar, I will.  Luckily, this had no need for the extra sugar to be a satisfying and delicious dish.  I paired it with some marinated pork chops and sesame soba noodles.  It was a memorable dinner.  If you try it out, I hope you enjoy it!

Miso Glazed Eggplant
recipe from Bon Appetit

6 Japanese eggplants (the long skinny ones), cut diagonally in 1-inch slices
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup white miso
4 tsp finely grated ginger
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tsp sesame seeds, divided
3 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions, divided

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place eggplant on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush both sides with the canola oil.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until tender, flipping halfway through.  While they cook, mix the miso with the next five ingredients as well as half the sesame seeds and scallions.  Remove the eggplant from the oven and turn the oven to broil.  Brush the eggplant slices with the miso mixture and return to the oven to broil for about 4 or 5 minutes.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Baked Chipotle Lime Rice

There are so many ways to cook rice.  My favorite is an actual rice cooker.  If you find the right one, you will get perfect rice every time.  Unfortunately our perfect one broke about eight years ago.  In our quest to find another perfect rice cooker, I have spent time a lot of time with numerous less than perfect versions - some cheap, some expensive.  So much so that I have begun to bake rice in the oven.  It doesn't come out quite the same, but it does come out very delicious.  It lacks the stickiness that I love from perfectly cooked rice cooker rice - the kind you get from Chinese take out.  However, this method is quick and easy and it does taste very good.  I am sharing this recipe below that I discovered from just throwing in different ingredients that I was already working with for the main course.  It came out transcendentally good (if that's possible which I believe it is.)  Consider throwing in the ingredients listed, or try out your own combination of ingredients, or just bake the rice plain - also lovely.  I got the cooking method from Ted Allen - as in one of the former Queer Eye guys or the guy who can currently be found on every other food show airing on television.  So thanks to Ted Allen I now have a go to side dish for pretty much anything.

*He says you can follow the same exact recipe using brown rice only you would cook it for 1 hour instead of 18 minutes.  I have yet to try this out with brown rice because it is just so beautifully fragrant when using basmati - I can't help but keep reaching for basmati when I begin - but I find it surprising that if you use brown, you wouldn't need any extra liquid.  Please share your results if you do try it out!

Also, I failed to get a picture of my amazing tomatillo salsa tonight (CSA tomatillos are amazing!) - sometimes I'm too too hungry and a girl's just gotta eat.  I was able to get a picture of what was left of the rice (not much by the way) after dinner was done.  Hopefully I can share the tomatillo salsa some other time soon.  Until then, enjoy this recipe at least...

Baked Chipotle Lime Rice

1-1/2 cups of long grain white rice*
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 tsp finely minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 tsp lime zest
1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Set an oven proof baking dish with a tight fitting lid on the stove and add your water and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  Then add the olive oil, salt, and cumin.  Add the rice and stir.  Cover and place in the oven for 18 minutes.  Remove and let rest for a few minutes.  Then uncover and add the remaining ingredients.  Stir until everything is incorporated nicely and serve hot.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

"Fried" Green Tomato Caprese

I got the most adorable little green tomatoes in the CSA this week.  So no better time than now to try out fried green tomatoes.  I have never had them.  Love the movie, though.  Of course, as much as I love fried food, I am not one to fry things unless I am sure that the baked versions will not suffice.  Examples of this are potato latkes - really fritters of any kind - they don't call 'em "fritters" for nothin'.  So I looked for a recipe for a baked version of fried green tomatoes, and I was lucky enough to find a great recipe that used them as the star of a caprese salad...brilliant.  This came out fantastic.  I would not change a single thing.

I believe that the greatness of this simple of a recipe is certainly due to the sum of its parts...incredible produce from Berube Farm in Dracut, Mass, as well as amazing fresh mozzarella from Tuscan Market in Salem, NH.  You can't have an amazing caprese salad without amazing ingredients.  Next time you have some of these amazing things on hand, I highly recommend you make this.  Alongside a glass of wine, it was pure summer loveliness.

"Fried" Green Tomato Caprese
recipe from Diane, A Broad

4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp medium grain cornmeal
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
cooking spray
2-oz ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
8 basil leaves
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp of honey

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Mix the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl.  Dip each of the tomato slices into the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture.  Make sure each slice gets completely covered, pressing the breadcrumbs down so they stick, and then place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spray them with some cooking oil and then bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown.

While the tomatoes are cooking, place your balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan and cook simmering over medium heat for about 8 minutes until it has thickened.  Do not let it overcook or you will have balsamic hard candy instead of a nice reduction.

Assemble the caprese however your foodie heart desires.  I took pictures as shown above and then realized I had miscalculated the number of tomato slices I had (I may be a math teacher, but I was working hungry, so cut me some slack.)  I then ended up serving it as one tomato slice with one slice of mozzarella and one leaf of basil.  With a little bit of balsamic drizzle below (of course you could also drizzle some on top as well!), it was perfection.

Feed Shark

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Stuffed Rondo (de Nice) Squash

Truth be told, this was my first time stuffing a squash.  I've never been that into squash, so I typically fry them up as fritters (because anything is better fried) or I mix it into a pesto where my unsuspecting daughter used to (note the words "used to" there) eat it up blissfully unaware.  Yet when I got my hands on these softball shaped globes in this week's CSA, I felt like I had no choice but to stuff away.  So stuff away I did.  Again, I am not the biggest fan of squash in general, but the stuffing in here was pretty tasty.  The recipe I used called for parsley alone, but I also had sage on hand from the CSA, so I threw that in there as well.  I kicked myself for not remembering to throw in a hot pepper that I was also provided - I bet that would have made this so so much better.  Next time I am given squash to stuff, I will add some hot pepper because the stuffing could have definitely used some spice...and maybe a bit of parmesan cheese.  I think those two things would have made this dish better.  (I will update the recipe if and when I try that out.)  Other than that, this was a fine dish, but I'm posting to also share in what I felt was a pretty unique squash that I had never heard of before.  I have never seen this at the grocery store among the typical butternuts, acorns, winters, and summers.  Apparently, from what I could find out about it, supermarkets prefer not to sell them because their flesh bruise easily.  I can believe it, but who really knows.

Stuffed Rondo Squash
adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

serves 2

2 rondo squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Italian chicken sausage link (about 1/3 of a lb), removed from casing
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Cut the tops off the squash about 2 inches away from the stems.  If the squash are very round and won't stay upright, you can cut a little off of the bottoms to make them flat and stable.  Scoop out their inner flesh, leaving about a 1/4 inch wall.  Finely chop the scooped out  insides and reserve for later.  In a large saute pan, add the olive oil and set over low heat.  Add the onion and garlic, season with a little salt, and cook until the onion is soft.  Raise the heat to medium and add the sausage.  Break it up as it cooks.  When the sausage is cooked, add the insides, some more salt, and cook, stirring occasionally,  until tender, about 5 minutes.  Then add the tomato paste and incorporate fully.  Remove from heat.  If there is any liquid left over (there was none in my mixture), transfer the mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon so the extra liquid is left behind.  Then add the herbs, bread crumbs, pepper, and any more salt (if needed.)  Scoop this mixture into the hollowed out squash.  Place a bit of oil on the bottom of your baking dish and fit the squash snugly inside.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes.  They are done cooking when a knife inserts easily into the outer flesh.  If they are not yet done, raise the oven temperature up to 325 and cook for another 10 minutes.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Strawberry Kale Salad

 Another kale salad recipe???  @#$& yes!  Berube Farm is churning out tasty kale on a weekly basis, so I apparently will be making many a kale salad this summer and I am loving it.  Super delicious.  Super healthy.  I never knew I could love kale so very much.  This recently discovered recipe included radishes, and if only I had found this during week 1 of the CSA when I was given two tasty bunches! (Damn it.)  Alas, I did not have any more radishes on hand, so they were unfortunately and very disappointingly excluded.  I will definitely be ready and waiting next year for radish/kale bag.  Regardless, it was still amaaaaaaazing.  It has a lemony dressing, which alone seemed too sour - so much so that I upped the honey just a smidge - but with the sweet strawberries, toasty granola, and tangy goat cheese, it ended up being perfect.  I didn't think I was going to find another kale salad I liked as much as the last one, but this one was so good too.  In fact, I think I may like this one a little bit more.  Okay, maybe they're tied.  They are so different.  Maybe you should make both and tell me which you like best.

Strawberry Kale Salad
adapted oh so minutely from Cookie + kate

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves chopped into small pieces
1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled

for the Nutty Granola (this makes much more than necessary for the salad - you could absolutely halve the recipe - or save the rest to use on top of yogurt or more salad!):
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (or you could use walnuts or pecans)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar (or honey)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all of the nuts, seeds, salt, and cayenne together.  (The recipe also called for 1 Tbsp of fennel seeds, but I am not crazy about fennel, so I omitted it altogether.)  Add the egg, olive oil, and agave (or honey) and combine.  Spread onto a lined baking sheet in a single layer and cook for 16 to 18 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Set aside to cool.

for the dressing (I used about half on the salad):
3 Tbsp olive oil
juice from 1 small lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Place the chopped kale in a bowl.  Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt onto the kale with a tsp of olive oil and massage for a bit to tenderize the leaves.  Top with about half the dressing (reserve the rest in case you'd like extra - as my husband did!)  and toss thoroughly.  Top with the strawberries, goat cheese, and nutty granola topping (I threw in two big handfuls.)

Feed Shark

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tropical Kale Salad

I don't even care that this didn't photograph very well (you can't see all the pretty wonderful ingredients after I tossed it all together...wah.).  But it is one of the best salads I have ever had and in my opinion it is one of the best ways I have eaten kale and so I just had to share it immediately.  My friend Bonnie made this salad for a barbecue and I immediately new I'd be making it in the future - and so I have...twice already since I've been getting a weekly supply of kale from the CSA.  If you like mango, coconut, avocado, and macadamia nuts, then you will love this salad.  The kale is sturdy and holds up well to the other sturdy ingredients.  Also, a light and extremely easy dressing makes this easy, healthy, and just perfect.  I really love this salad if you couldn't tell.  It smells and tastes like a tropical island to me and so it feels perfect for summer.  I hope you love it as much as I do.

Tropical Kale Salad
adapted from Lee Newlin

1 bunch kale (called for Lacinato but I use Red Russian - worked absolutely fine), torn into pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, toasted
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 avocado, also peeled, pitted, and diced

In a large bowl, place your kale.  Add the olive oil and orange juice and massage into the kale leaves (feel free to laugh at the idea of "massaging" your kale, it sounds silly, but it's supposed to tenderize the kale as well as incorporate the dressing into the salad.)  Add all of the remaining ingredients and toss carefully so that the avocado does not end up mashed.  Enjoy!

Feed Shark

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms and Baked Zucchini Chips

So it just didn't make sense not to post these two recipes together.  Not only is it fun to use up the entire plant all at once, but it's also nice to add something a little more out of the ordinary and a bit indulgent to the weekday norm.  I was given beautiful zucchini blossoms in my CSA bag today along with more zucchini.  So let's just use it all.  If I had a restaurant, this would be listed as "zucchini two ways" on my menu.  I sliced up the zucchinis, stuffed the flowers, tossed everything in some parmesan and breadcrumbs, and voila...I wish this happened every makes me so happy.  If you have a mandolin, the zucchini chips are insanely easy to do, and since I already had some goat cheese mixed with herbs from something else I had done earlier, the stuffing for the blossoms was a no-brainer.  You could easily use ricotta, mozzarella, and basil in place of the goat cheese, cheddar, and thyme...really whatever kind of cheese and herbs you have on hand will totally work.  You could also crack a beer and make a batter from that and some flour to make for a puffier crust.  The whole point of this is to use what you have in a way that is easy and enjoyable.  My summer is most enjoyable when I cook things I love, but not if I'm spending the rest of my waking hours running back and forth from a supermarket and spending money on six different types of cheese every day.  Nor do I want to make a complete mess of my kitchen with a thousand different tools and ingredients every single day.  I made both of these dishes without a recipe and using only what I had on hand.  I'm sure there is room for improvement and I'm sure different variations would be equally good, maybe better - but both came out incredibly good and I would change nothing.  I ate all of the stuffed blossoms myself since Adrienne is a five year old and Jim is also a five year old - I'm kidding - he's actually just paranoid because he's allergic to pollen and so he thinks he will be allergic to zucchini blossoms.  More for me!  I'll tell you, I can't wait to make these again.  I would definitely do an Italian spin and have some marinara perhaps for dipping.  My mouth just watered.

**As a warning...I eyeballed all of the measurements listed below for the stuffed blossoms as I was cooking, so be willing to use more or less if you feel it's not working exactly as I've written.  You may want more stuffing if your blossoms are bigger - or less if they're smaller.  You may want a different ratio of cheese.  This is a great dish to make without a be brave.  Why did I give measurements at all then?  Just to give an idea for people who may not have any idea of where to start.  I hope it helps a little.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

6 zucchini blossoms, insides removed and rinsed gently
4 oz soft goat cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar
1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
canola oil for frying

Combine the goat cheese, cheddar, and herbs.  Divide evenly among the six blossoms, nudging the cheese inside gently.  Press the blossoms around the cheese so they stay relatively closed.  Combine the parmesan and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Dip each blossom in the egg and then in the breadcrumb mixture so that they are coated evenly.  Fill a cast iron pan an inch deep with canola oil. Heat over medium until very hot. (Drip some water in the oil and if it immediately sizzles, the oil is ready.)  Place the blossoms in the pan and allow to cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook another 2 or 3 minutes until golden brown on the other side.

And now for the healthier option...baked zucchini chips.  Same breadcrumb mixture, different cooking method.

Baked  Zucchini Chips

1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced thin (or 2 smaller ones)
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450.  In a bowl, combine zucchini slices, olive oil, salt and pepper.  In a large ziplock bag, mix the parmesan and bread crumbs.  Add the zucchini slices a few at a time, shaking as you go, removing the slices to a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Repeat with more of the zucchini slices until you're all done.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Israeli Couscous with Mint and Lemon

They should just call this recipe "heaven in a bowl."  It's addictively good.  I have made it twice in the last three weeks since I discovered it, and that is a lot for me.  I wanted so badly to blog this the first time, but I brought it somewhere and I refuse to take food pictures at a party that is not my own (at this point anyway.)

So let's talk about how summery and delicious this pasta salad is with all the mint and's kinda ridiculous.  The combination of mint and lemon and olive oil and almonds and raisins and's all awesome.  It's a sweet, salty, sour, crunchy plate of heaven.  It has everything and it makes me keep wanting more.  Going to a barbecue this weekend?  Bring this.

Israeli Couscous with Mint and Lemon
adapted from Martha Stewart

1-1/2 cups Israeli (or pearl) couscous
1/4 cup olive oil plus a little more for coating the couscous
the zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp salt
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup of slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Cook the couscous according to the package directions and drain.  Coat with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking and spread the couscous in a single layer onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place in the refrigerator and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, zest and salt.  Once the couscous has finished cooling, remove to a bowl.  Add the olive oil/lemon mixture and all of the remaining ingredients and combine.  Enjoy immediately as well as for the next several days if you store it covered in the fridge.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Sauteed French Breakfast Radishes

First off, a big thank you to Dan Berube for the amazing CSA bag.  It was only the 1st week and I am so excited for the rest of the season and, more importantly, I'm excited to use all the beautiful fresh grown produce he just provided me.  

What you see above are the gorgeous French Breakfast Radishes that he grew.  Who knew there was such a thing as French Breakfast Radishes???  Just this new knowledge alone fills me with joy.  Despite the fact that I have always disliked radishes, I am still excited to try them.  One of the reasons I wanted to do a CSA is because it would inspire me as a cook as well as push me to try both new things and things I don't think I like.  After all, I used to not like asparagus (gasp!!)  How could I not like asparagus, you ask??? Well, growing up, I only knew of them as disgusting, smelly, inedible green (or sometimes white) shoots that came from a can.  It wasn't until I tried fresh asparagus well into my twenties that I understood what I had been cheated out of all those years.  I had a similar aversion to longer so after eating some amazingly prepared eggplant.  So now we have radishes.  I have only tried those obligatory sliced radishes you're always given on top of a salad.  Probably not the best way to experience any veggie.  So instead, I did them up this way, and although I don't think I'm ever going to crave a radish, they were delicious nonetheless, and I would certainly cook up and eat any that are given to me.  I also no longer feel the need to avoid a restaurant dish touting them as I would have prior to this day.  Thanks for expanding my horizons, Dan Berube.  He was also very thoughtful in providing some links to recipes, one of which served as inspiration for this dish - since I had never even thought about cooking a radish prior to today...this bunch I sauteed with some butter and olive oil and the garlic chives (also provided in the CSA bag.)  Next time, I'll try roasting to see the difference.  Look for the recipe.

So, to recap...this post is specifically to share the love of trying new things, whether it be cooking up radishes or taking part in a CSA, or singing in a band.  Be brave.  You'll never know without trying.

Sauteed French Breakfast Radishes

1 bunch of radishes, trimmed on both ends, sliced in half, their greens reserved (waste not, want not)
1 Tbsp of butter or olive oil or any combination of the two (I used a combination)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
a sprinkle of lemon zest and some freshly chopped herbs of choice (I used garlic chives)

Heat the butter and/or olive oil in a pan over medium heat until nice and hot.  Add the radishes and saute until translucent (this took me about 10 minutes.) Add the radish greens and stir until wilted.  Then add the lemon juice, zest and herbs and stir to combine.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Poached Egg on Avocado Toast

I'm baaaaack, and I come with the easiest and most simple recipe possible...a perfect poached egg on top of a hearty piece of toast covered in smashed avocado, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper.  It is on my "favorite things list."  It isn't just the taste - which is awesome - it's also the visual.  Cutting into a yolky egg is legitimately an exciting experience for me - every.single.time.  Talk about eating with your eyes.  Does that make me weird?  I don't care if it does.

I have always made myself a delicious yolky egg every weekend.  Adrienne likes them too - she calls them "dunky eggs."  Coffee, eggs, toast, and when Adrienne is not yet awake, I secretly watch DVR'd episodes of the Real Housewives of New York.  Up until this weekend, I have always done sunny side up, but this is the weekend that all changed.  I decided to try my hand at poaching.  Why does this seem so intimidating???  Oh, I know...because of Julie from the movie Julie and Julia...she was so scared to poach an egg.  It obviously got to me, people.

So I looked to Alton Brown for advice and I pretty much did exactly what he said to do, except for his timing.  He said to let the egg cook for five minutes.  I disagree.  The five minute egg came out overdone (if you want a lot of runny yolk that is - which I do.)  So I let my next egg cook for only four minutes and it came out perfect.  The next day, I poached the egg for four minutes again and I wish I had done 3:30.  I would err on the side of caution and go for 3 minutes and 30 seconds next time, but I'm sure there are a lot of factors that affect the cooking time - size of your egg (I used large), starting temperature of the egg, temperature of your water, etc...Eggs are not that expensive and since this is a super fast recipe, I would experiment and find the time that works for you.  If you pierce it and find it under or over done, remove the egg quickly from your toast and redo.  That's what I did - no biggie.  Also, feel free to swap out the avocado for something else...sauteed spinach...roasted mushrooms...some crispy proscuitto perhaps???

Poached Egg on Avocado Toast
makes 1 serving

1 egg, cold
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp white vinegar
1 slice of your favorite bread, toasted
1/4 avocado
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water, the kosher salt, and vinegar.  Heat over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.  Crack the egg into a small ramekin.  Once the water is simmering, quickly stir the water with a spoon in one direction creating a small whirlpool (this will keep the egg from feathering.)  Then quickly pour the egg into the center of the whirlpool, shut off the heat, and cover.  Cook until you have reached the desired doneness (*read my spiel on this in my intro above*)  While the egg is cooking, smash the avocado onto your toast and sprinkle with the sea salt and pepper.  When the egg is done, remove to a paper towel to remove the excess water, then transfer to your avocado topped toast and dig in.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Baked Penne Pomodoro

I have made many baked zitis in my's a crowd pleaser...It's certainly a Jim pleaser...but NOT an Adrienne pleaser - a bowl full of three different things she will eat completely separate, not only touching each other, but actually melted into each other and completely inseparably is her worst nightmare - she gets a side of plain pasta.)  This baked ziti is by far my best work.  Meals like this make me wonder why we ever go out to eat.

Bon Appetit (I love you, Bon Appetit)  reminded me recently of how great it is to add some butter and pasta water to a tomato sauce.  It's not the first time I have heard of it and used the idea.  Deb Perelman also makes a tomato sauce with butter.  It gives the sauce some more depth and softens the acidity of the tomato sauce a bit.  It totally works.  It may be just the thing that made this baked pasta so incredible.

Baked Penne Pomodoro
serves 6 (if you make a big salad on the side and are able to show some restraint)

1 14 oz. box of pasta, cooked 3 minutes shy of being al dente, 1/2 cup of pasta water reserved
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
crushed red pepper, to taste
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
3 or 4 large basil leaves
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
salt to taste
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about ten minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add the crushed red pepper and can of crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Add the basil leaves and simmer the sauce for at least 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and remove the basil leaves.  Add the butter and reserved pasta water and stir until combined.  Add the undercooked pasta to the pot of sauce and combine along with the grated cheese.  Now taste and add salt if necessary.  Pour the pasta mixture into a lightly greased baking dish.  Dollop the ricotta by heaping tablspoons over the top of the pasta.  Then using a spoon, gently mix the ricotta into the pasta so that some big pockets of ricotta remain throughout the dish.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top.  Place in the hot oven and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately (preferably with a nice red wine and some crusty Italian bread.)

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Chia Power Doughnuts

It's amazing all the time a girl has to blog when she gets a few snow days.  I am on fire this week...although I am not in love with this particular recipe.  The interesting nature of the recipe and the pretty pictures that resulted, however, make it worth the blog entry.  If you try it, don't say I didn't warn you.  These taste exactly like what they are...baked donuts made mostly of chia seed.

I had been dying to try them out.  After all, I would love to find a doughnut that's healthy!  Is there anyone who wouldn't?  I should have known it was too good to be true.  So I went out and bought a special doughnut pan way back in the summer as soon as I got Angela Liddon's cookbook, but I hadn't gotten a chance to try it out until this week - three feet of snow later.  I would not make these again.  I love when food is super healthy and tastes delicious, but I really need it to be delicious - which is an entirely subjective term of course, so please make your own judgment call.  The cinnamon flavor in these was absolutely wonderful.  I thought that was the redeeming quality that made me eat another before I came to a final decision on these guys...which ultimately is that I won't be making them again.

Chia Power Donuts
recipe from Angela Liddon's Oh She Glows
says it makes 6 donuts, but I only got 5

3/4 cup oat flour (you can totally make your own if you have rolled oats...just blend them up!)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup 1% milk (the original recipe calls for almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and lightly grease a doughnut pan (or you could use a muffin tin.)  In a large bowl, mix together the oat flour, chia seeds, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Then add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.  Fill your doughnut pan holes to the brim and place in the preheated oven from 22 to 27 minutes (I did 25 in my oven.)


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Carnival Cookies

So it's the Snowpocalypse and I couldn't be happier.  School's cancelled and we still have power.  That means a nice relaxing breakfast and coffee on the couch, followed by some quality baking.  So, I decided to try out a recipe from one of my cookbooks that seemed like it could be delicious while being healthy at the same time.  Carnival cookies is usually a name given to cookies that contain a mish mash of everything you have on hand.  Well, these are that, except there are no added sugars asided from bananas and chocolate chips and just a quarter cup of coconut oil.  The rest of the mish mash consists of oats, almond meal, peanuts, and popcorn.

I was very wary, but too curious to not try it out.  I like all of the ingredients, I was only nervous because I had tried out a recipe for cookies made solely of bananas and oats the other day.  I won't name the popular blog that I got the recipe from, but if you see a healthy cookie recipe consisting of only bananas and instant oats, rethink making them.  They were gross...let me rephrase...they were extremely gross.  Everything about them.  The consistency was rubbery and they only tasted like banana oatmeal.  They tasted bad right after they came out of the oven and they became worse as they cooled.  You could hardly call it a cookie.  I was so mad I wasted the bananas.  However, these cookies seemed like they had potential due to all the awesome extras, and although the awful taste still lingered from those other disgusting excuses for a cookie, I dove in anyway, and the result is fantastic.  They have the perfect amount of sweetness from the bananas and chocolate, the sea salt compliments that sweetness just right, and the peanuts and popcorn make for an awesome texture.  These cookies are strange but delicious...strangely delicious.  I can't stop eating them, so that's a good sign.  They aren't the prettiest cookie, but they were definitely more than worth the minimal effort, and if you're looking for a healthier cookie, this is a great option.

Carnival Cookies
recipe from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday

3 bananas, mashed very well
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1-1/2 rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal or flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate of choice
2/3 cup shelled unsalted peanuts
1-1/2 cups air-popped popcorn

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the banana, vanilla, and coconut oil.  In another bowl, combine the oats, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add this to the wet ingredients and combine.  Add the chocolate and peanuts and combine, and then gently incorporate the popcorn.  Form heaping tablespoons of the mixture into balls (I used my hands to get these together since the mixture is very loose) and place on a lined baking sheet about an inch apart from eachother.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  If using two trays at a time, rotate them halfway through the cooking time.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Venison Stew with Crème Fraîche Mashed Potatoes

Before I share the recipes for what has been the only stew I've ever truly enjoyed, as well as the best mashed potatoes I have ever made, please let me take a moment to explain why I have not been posting as much over these last few sure as hell is not because I haven't been cooking.  I am constantly cooking.

I have made many recipes over these last few months that I would have liked to share - and eventually I promise to dammit.  There has been the easiest black bean tacos ever (this has become a weekly staple in the Faulkner house), green enchiladas, spinach and feta pastry puffs, crispy waffles (I got a waffle iron for Christmas and have been breaking it in almost every weekend), crock pot french dip sandwiches, a new pomodoro sauce, delicious home fries under a perfect over easy egg, chocolate chip banana bread, and a major life changer - the first carbonara I have ever made - with crispy brussels sprouts leaves and pancetta.  I will one day share each and every one of these recipes with you.  The reason I have not yet is that many times I have finished cooking and either been too hungry, tired, or simply flustered to bother setting up a pretty plate and take some good pictures before I get to enjoy the meal.  Especially in the winter when I lose the light quickly, I truly don't have the energy to get out my external flash and a pop up umbrella screen.  It sometimes seems like way to much work for a hobby that I do for fun.  And...

Adrienne, although only four years old, seems to have entered into a stage of teenage adolescence in which she is able to throw the attitude of a fourteen year old at me.  Four going on freaking fifteen, I tell you.  Dinner time has not been pleasant to say the least.  The meal of love and sweat that I reluctantly deconstruct for her is usually met with derision nonetheless and a battle ensues in which the ultimatum of try it, don't try it, but just stop whining about it, or go to your room has become a staple around dinner time.  My only nonnegotiables are that you can't say you don't like it if you don't try it and if you want to cry about it, then do it in your room so mommy can have a tear and scream free dinner.  The battle is hard, and after a long week of this, I often wonder why I don't just comply and make her macaroni and cheese or hot dogs every night for dinner.  Then I remember that this too shall pass.  One day she will appreciate my cooking.  Maybe?  Hopefully?  Regardless, I will continue to fight the good fight, and no matter what, I will still take pleasure in knowing that I cooked a good meal whether she chooses to enjoy it or appreciate it or none of the above.

Besides, I think I am making progress.  Tonight, I took some carrots and venison from the stew and washed off the gravy, put the pieces separately on her plate, and, without complaint, she tasted both venison and carrots.  Of course she said she didn't like either anyway, but there was no crying.  Baby steps.  Anyway, this is total karma - a was even worse when I was her age.  So there you have it - in case you cared.  For all the moms out there that have gone through or are currently going through the same thing...I hope this makes you feel like you are not alone.  For all those moms who have no clue what I am talking about...I swear I'm not making this up,

The following venison recipe started with this Emeril Lagasse recipe, but ultimately I messed with most of the ingredients and ratios.  I left his "essence" spice blend completely in tact but halved the  cayenne - which is a good thing - even with less it had a kick to it.)  Also, I'm sure this would be awesome with any type of stew meat, but since we have about 50 pounds of venison left in our freezer (Jim bagged a deer this season), I won't be finding out myself any time soon.  The mashed potatoes are the best I have ever made, which is the result of all the trial and error that has come before.  I finally got it just right.  I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we (Adrienne excluded) did.  Make sure to have some crusty bread on hand to dunk in all the extra stew gravy.

Venison Stew

4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne (omit if you don't want any heat)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 lbs venison stew meat, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 6 to 8 oz package of baby bella mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock

Heat half the olive oil in a large pot over high heat.  While the oil is heating, mix the next nine ingredients together and toss the venison with about half the mixture until evenly coated (save the rest of this mixture for later in the cooking process).  Add the venison to the hot pot and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, just to sear the outside.  You do not want to overcook venison.  It will continue to cook and will soften while stewing over the low heat.  Remove meat to a bowl, turn the heat down to medium, and heat the remaining oil.  Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the mushrooms, season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.  Now add the remaining flour/spice mixture to the pot and stir until the flour is incorporated completely and is no longer white.  Add the cup of wine and scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of your pot.  Add the sprigs of thyme, bay leaves, and beef stock and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes to an hour until the meat is tender.  Serve over the following mashed potatoes and some crusty bread.

Crème Fraîche Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup crème fraîche
salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a pot filled with cold water.  Bring to a a boil and contiue to cooke about 20 to 25 minutes.  Test the potatoes with a fork to see if they are done at the 20 minute mark.  While the potatoes cook, warm the milk and butter together in a small pot over medium-low heat until the butter is melted.  Once they are cooked, drain the potatoes and return to the pot.  Stir them over low heat to get rid of as much water as possible.  Then lightly mash or rice (I use a masher since i don't own a ricer) the potatoes.  Add half of the milk/butter mixture and mix.  Do not overmash or overmix the potatoes - they will get gummy.  Add the crème fraîche and mix just until incorporated.  Taste and then add salt, pepper, and any more of the milk/butter mixture until it suits your taste.  Serve immediately.