15 March 2013
The confluence of our annual Pi(e) Day party and the first spring CSA pickup has awakened my blog from winter hibernation.
One of my contributions was chard pie, which I’ve blogged about before. I used Trader Joe’s puff pastry as the crust (I’d already made 2 pie crusts – for a pecan and a chocolate chip pie – and Matthew made pizza crusts). As Matthew was telling someone that the chard was grown just a few miles down the road, I started laughing and announced that there was actually not any chard in the chard pie – it included spinach, a bit of arugula (I’d eaten most of it the day before), and the ‘salad mix’ that Jennifer bagged up for us (I saw a few leaves of kale, mustard or mizuna, and lots of other things). It turned out great – you don’t need chard to make the so-called Micah’s Yummy Chard Pie. This pie now makes regular appearances at our house (without the dill :^) – we grown-ups like it, and someday soon I might be able to get Z-boy to try it (not holding my breath for the other two. Like me, they’re not fans of straight eggs. Unlike me, they’re not all that adventurous about new foods, so might not buy the ‘but really, it doesn’t taste eggy!’ line).
I was quite excited when one of my friends showed up with a shoo-fly pie. I told her it was the perfect librarian pie, because I was thinking of the book Shoo-Fly Girl, by Lois Lenski. I’ve never had it before so had no idea what to expect, but between the molasses and the texture it tastes like a piece of really good gingerbread on a crust. She used Alton Brown’s recipe. I might have to try making it myself some day soon, and I might just go back and re-read Shoo-Fly Girl.
13 October 2012
I am late to be posting this, since zucchini season is pretty much over where I live, but here it is nonetheless. When I was retrieving my CSA share one week, another member mentioned he would make zucchini fritters for his family with the squash he just picked up. This sounded interesting to me, so I perused my cookbooks to no avail. The internet was more helpful, and I ended up adapting a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which is itself an adaptation from Simply Recipes.
I made them three times. The first time, I had grated potatoes that had been hanging out in the kitchen for a few hours (spouse and a child made hash browns for an earlier meal) – i added them primarily to clean up. These were a big hit. The second time, I left out the potato, and that batch was more mushy – but I also made an error in the mixing order (zucchini to the egg before the flour? or something like that) which could have been the problem. The third time, I added potatoes in again, but they didn’t have as much time to sit around and the result was not as great as the first. Maybe the potato shreds really need to dry out? Or maybe it was a fluke? Two out of three children liked Batch 1 but one of them did not stay a long-term fan. Hopefully he’ll be willing to try again next summer, because I certainly plan to make them again!
(aka zucchini fritters meet hash browns)
Adapted from Zucchini Fritters at Smitten Kitchen
Yield: About 10 2 1/2 inch fritters
1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
~1 cup grated potatoes (as for hash browns)
2 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
other seasonings you might like, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying
Trim ends off zucchini and grate them with the shredding blade of a food processor (use the large holes of a box grater if you don’t have an FP). In a large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes.
While you are waiting for zucchini to weep, mix together the flour, baking soda, and some freshly ground black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the scallions with your lightly beaten egg.
Wring out the zucchini in one of the following ways: pressing it against the holes of a colander with a wooden spoon to extract the water, squeezing out small handfuls at a time, or wrapping it up in a clean dishtowel or piece of cheese cloth and wringing away. [I did all three, in order. More liquid came out at each step. At the end, you have a green ball, much more compact than the zucchini you started with!]
Taste the zuke shreds; and if you think it could benefit from more salt, add a little bit more (sk recommends 1/4 teaspoon).
Stir the green matter into the egg mixture, then add your potato shreds, and finally stir in the flour mixture.
In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet and lightly flatten them with your spatula. Don’t crowd! Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, from 3 to 4 minutes. If you find this happening too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain briefly on paper towels.
If you’re going to need to cook more than 2 batches, SK recommends that you ”transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed. Repeat process, keeping the pan well-oiled, with remaining batter. I like to make sure that the fritters have at least 10 minutes in the oven to finish setting and getting extra crisp.” (I skipped this step, as I was able to make 6 fritters in my ~8″ cast iron skillet.) And if you want a lemony-garlic sour cream topping for your fritters, check out the Smitten Kitchen post – it was a nice addition the time I made it.
27 August 2012
The perfect roasted marshmallow, as described by Jeanne Birdsall in The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (p 142):
Roasting marshmallows over an open fire is an art. The marshmallow should be evenly toasted all around until it’s a golden brown. A slight puckering of the skin is all right, and some people like that the best. The inside should be hot all the way through and softened, but not melted into messy gooeyness. Not one of the marshmallows roasted that night came even close. Many were burned black at least on one side, and the ones that weren’t were barely roasted. No one cared.
I would have cared. The only marshmallows worth eating are the ones toasted to a golden brown, hot and softened.
7 June 2012
We’ve had a long-standing tradition of “Taco Tuesday” at the Jonski Homestead. A month or so ago, I responded to a request for tacos on a different day of the week with a flippant “maybe we should have tacos every night.” This snark was met with much enthusiasm. So this week has been taco week!
Monday night was carne asada on corn tortillas. I used this recipe, although I modified the spices quite a bit (based on what I had on hand) and skipped the sauce making steps. Also, I used a (locally raised, grass-fed :^) sirloin tip roast instead of flank steak, because it was much less expensive. I sliced the roast in half before marinading for an hour, then sliced it into strips as it started cooking. Things got a little nerve-wracking at one point (a layer of gristle (?) made for difficult slicing) and I began to fear that our tacos would be a failure, but they were declared “as good as Taco King!” (a new taqueria in the neighborhood, with really great $1.50 steak tacos). And the meat was not tough, despite starting its career as a roast but not being slow roasted. This will be repeated.
Tuesday night was the traditional ground beef (and cheese, sometimes beans, salsa, lettuce, etc) in hard shells, along with black beans. Can’t mess with tradition. Everyone except me likes these – although the youngest doesn’t want ground beef in his. Go figure. I am not a fan of store-bought crunchy taco shells, even the Trader Joe’s organic (non-GMO) corn taco shells that we use. I always have something else (such as beans and cheese in corn tortillas left from Monday).
Wednesday night we had chicken tacos in flour tortillas. Between picking up my farm share and delivering a child to baseball practice, I sauteed some boneless skinless white meat, then sliced it up and heated it for a while in my favorite salsa (tomatillo roasted yellow pepper, from Trader Joe’s).
Thursday night was leftovers and “pizza tacos,” due to the ice cream social at school. The eldest child and I whipped up a few tacos from the leftovers; the youngest two had a slice of pizza (and ice cream, and popcorn, and cotton candy, and… you get the picture) at the social.
Friday night will be pork tacos – I need to track down a way to prepare it. A few months ago I put a pork roast in the crock pot with a “mojito” style marinade/sauce and turned it into shredded pork at the end. That was pretty good. Maybe I can track it down and try again.
A friend suggested fish tacos, but the Jonski Papa is out of town this week so I’d be the only one who would eat them. Ditto for strictly veggie tacos (such as sauteed peppers and onions, my sometime Tuesday night alternative). Bean tacos are acceptable, so if Taco Week extends into Saturday we might be looking at beans – plus the rest of the steak and chicken.
(aside: Taco King prepares their tacos with cilantro and chopped raw onions. Surprisingly, everyone in my family liked the cilantro – none of those soap-tasters in this family, and willing acceptance of a new green food. So cilantro has accompanied the lettuce all week – both from Capella Farms. Raw onions are roundly rejected by everyone, so not included (and excluded from orders at TK).)
15 May 2012
This solves two mysteries:
- What happened to all our water bottles.
- Why the boy’s lacrosse bag was so heavy (only the one filled tonight was empty!)
(actually, we own at least 4 of the dark blue, and another orange, so we’re
still short a few…)
(no singleton socks were in the bag, you’re on your own there!)
12 April 2012
We’re in week 4 of the spring season at Capella Farm. I should be organized like my friend L and post my menu plans for what is in the box. Unfortunately, I tend to be spur of the moment when it comes to dinner. Here are some of the things I’ve prepared in the past three weeks:
Spring regulars – recipes I’ve posted before:
- sesame kale salad
- scallion pancakes - 2 of 3 boys now like scallion pancakes and want these again
- spanish style chickpeas with spinach
- sesame braised bok choy
- swiss chard with sesame seeds
New this year (links go to recipes at other web sites):
- grated parsnip apple salad with meyer lemon dressing
- This appears in From Asparagus to Zucchini, p 113 – link above goes to an online version of it. I decided to make it since it was completely different from roasting or braising the parsnips. Bonus – I got to use another one of those meyer lemons left over from Pi(e) Day! The spousal unit really liked this – I thought the parsnip added an interesting taste, although it might be good to add a bit more dressing.
- stir-fried carrots and ginger with mustard seeds
- Another great dish from World Vegetarian. This is quite spicy – you’ll want something bland to eat with it (rice, bread, or maybe top it with a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt). I put a few spoonfuls of it in my salad for the next day’s lunch. The rest of the leftovers went into a flour tortilla with sauteed greens on Taco Tuesday.
- stir-fried bok choy with cashew sauce (From Asparagus to Zucchini, page 31)
- After I made this recipe, I realized it’s not that different from cooking greens then dousing them with a peanut sauce – and I even had a jar of peanut sauce in the fridge. But actually, this does taste different. I had a large head of bok choy but the amount of sauce in the recipe was too much – I kept about half in the fridge and will use it on other cooked greens. Or maybe I’ll be inspired by this post at Arctic Garden Studio and do a stir-fry with tofu and more choi.
- assorted sauteed greens recipes
- We have a near-weekly dinner tradition of Taco Tuesday. I like to change mine up a bit (at least 3 of the other 4 in my family would be fine eating the same thing each week), so I sauteed rapini with garlic and cumin, then added some (Trader Joe’s tomatillo and roasted chile) salsa at the end of the cooking. I put this in a flour tortilla with leftover spicy carrots (see above) and yum! wonderful twist on Taco Tuesday!
10 April 2012
In December I overheard someone say they didn’t eat much soup, because they didn’t have much soup weather. I let it pass, but I’ve been thinking about it and wonder: how exactly does this make sense? I know these people eat hot casseroles, roast turkey and other meats, and so on. Those dishes are hot when you eat them, cook for awhile, and thus require heating up the kitchen — so how is that different from soup? Of course, I eat ice cream year round (although primarily indoors during winter), so perhaps I’m not the best person to judge.
Anyway, the soup in question was turkey tortilla soup, made with the turkey carcass leftover after Christmas dinner. I riff on this basic soup any time we have a poultry carcass at our house. What I’d really like to reproduce is the cheesy chicken tortilla soup served at Le Dog, but I’m not sure how to get the cheesiness in the broth, so we put grated cheddar in the bowl when served.
First step is making stock from your poultry carcass. Hopefully you also have some leftover chicken (or turkey) meat to add to the soup. I rarely make it the same way twice, but here is the general recipe.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tab powdered chiles (or chili powder)
2 tsp ground cumin
(6 cups) chicken stock
shredded/chopped leftover cooked chicken
1 or 2 cans of tomatoes with green chiles + 1 Tab tomato paste
some chopped jalapeños
2 Tab juice from the jalapeño jar
~1 cup corn
other ingredients that you like
toppings: fried corn tortilla strips (or tortilla chips), grated cheese, chopped cilantro (if cilantro doesn’t taste like soap to you), etc.
1. In a large non-reactive saucepan, heat 2 Tab oil in saucepan. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, powdered chiles, and cumin. Stir and cook for about 1 minute (you want the chile powder to get aromatic).
2. Add chicken stock, tomato products, and all other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings (maybe add salt & pepper, or a little lime juice. I usually add green chile salt).
3. While the soup is cooking, you can cook tortilla strips in about 1/2 inch hot vegetable oil if you want them (this is a big treat at our house). (You don’t need directions for this, do you?) Drain them on paper towels after frying.
When we have this, we put grated cheese in the bottom of the bowl, then ladle the soup in, and top with tortilla strips. Yum! And much to my delight, everyone in our house gladly eats it (no matter what the weather).
21 March 2012
Spring has arrived on the calendar here in the Northern Hemisphere, and springlike weather has arrived about a month early here in Michigan. We’re not complaining, but most of us are waiting for the other shoe (read: snowstorm!) to drop.
Another sign of spring: the first pickup for the Capella Farm spring CSA!
Some of the greens are as confused by the warm weather as the rest of us, and are bolting. I sautéed these komatsuma (? Iirc) flowers with some mustard greens and tossed them with pasta and parmesan for dinner. Yum! I feel the vitamin K coursing through my veins already, and I have more bags of greens to cook yet Thursday night is likely to feature Spanish style chickpeas and spinach (which I would link to, but I have discovered that this iPod WordPress interface leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to usability!)
14 March 2012
I bought a bag of Meyer lemons over the weekend, because I intended to make a lemon chess pie for tonight’s Pi(e) Party. After all, chess is math-geeky like pi, right? Double punny pie!
Turns out, you need at most 1 lemon for the pie, so now I have almost a full bag of Meyer lemons. I guess I’ll need to find some more recipes to use up the lemons. If you have a lemon that you don’t know what to do with, I present the following recipe from the Moosewood Book of Desserts.
Lemon Chess Pie
1 prebaked pie crust, cooled to room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon peel
2 Tab fresh lemon juice
2 Tab unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325° F.
Put all the ingredients into a blender and whirl until smooth (i used a hand mixer). Pour the custard into the baked pie crust and bake for about 35 minutes, until the custard is firm and set. Cool somewhat before serving.
I, of course, used my go-to pie crust recipe, cooked for 10 minutes at 400° F (with beans in the crust to weight it down, and foil around the edges). For the lemon peel, I used the zest from one of my Meyer lemons, which appeared to be more than 1/2 tsp. The same lemon yielded at least 2.5 Tab of juice (maybe 3), and all of it went into the custard base.
I haven’t tasted it yet, so perhaps I shouldn’t post the recipe now, but some people have been wondering if my blog is still alive, so I offer this untasted recipe and photo as evidence. It’s up to you to decide what claim the evidence supports!
8 December 2011
Yet another from my favorite cookbook, this is now my go-to kohlrabi recipe. Since we got some kohlrabi in our Capella Farms holiday share, I made this recently and decided I would add it to the blog. Leftovers are good too, unless you don’t like soggy peanuts. In that case, only add peanuts to what is on your plate. Cilantro optional for those who think it tastes like soap!
Kohlrabi Salad (Thai/Vietnamese influenced)
about 1.25 lbs kohlrabi
1 1/4 tsp salt
Peanut or canola for frying
3 med shallots, peeled and slivered (I use onions)
5-6 tsp fresh lemon juice, according to taste
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne (or more, to taste)
2 1/2 Tab coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
2 Tab very finely chopped cilantro
Cut off thick end of kohlrabi, then peel. Julienne or shred the rest. Put it in a bowl. Add 1 tsp salt and toss. Set aside for 15 minutes. The kohlrabi will give off liquid.
Meanwhile, pour the oil to a depth of 1/4 inch in a small frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in shallots. Stir and fry until the shallots are reddish-brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on paper towels to drain and crisp up.
Once the kohlrabi has wilted, squeeze out as much water as yu can and pat it dry. Put in a fresh bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, the lemon juice, sugar, and cayenne. Toss to mix. Add the peanuts, cilantro, and shallots and toss again.