Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week 12: Veggie CSA

This past week's share included:

2 zucchini, 2 summer squash, 2 cukes, 5 peppers, 1 bunch chard, 3 eggplant, 3 pounds tomatoes, 1 pound kentucky wonder beans and 2 pounds peaches

This week the photos are of how I store the things:

Tomatoes. Placed on a plate. Stem side down. Ready to eat as bruschettas.

Peaches. Conveniently left in a bowl on the counter so that they are easy to grab for lunches.

Green Peppers. Bagged up and ready to bring to work to giveaway. Sorry peppers. Wanh wanh.

Cucumber and eggplants. Wrapped up in Debbie Meyers Veggie bags then placed in the fridge. The cucumber was taken out and eaten as is. The eggplants will likely go into stirfry.

Squash and zucchini steamed and bagged, then wedged into the freezer.

The chard and green beans were also prepped and frozen. I just forgot to take pictures of them.

What did others do with their veggies this week?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Spiced Peaches

My Mom remembers her own mother canning spiced peaches every year. The recipe got lost over time, but I suspect, based on where they lived, that it may be of Amish or Mennonite origin. Last year, I tried a spiced peach recipe that included vinegar. It was fine, but I tried a different recipe this year. I am hoping this one is closer to her memory.

This year, I made a recipe from Ball Preserving for Honey-Spiced Peaches. In my batch, three jars have cinnamon, allspice and cloves; three jars have star anise; and, two jars have no spices. I am looking forward to trying them, and maybe reading some old cookbooks to see if I can find that original recipe.

Apples and Honey

In Jewish tradition, one eats apples and honey at this time of year. The apples and honey signify the hope for a sweet new year. As I face down the last days of summer, and prepare for the onslaught of fall, I like the thought of eating apples and honey as a way to pray for serenity over the next couple months. However, for fear of using up all my good karma in one year, I decided that we shouldn't eat all of the apples we picked this way, and instead put some up in the form of applesauce for later this year.

Earlier this week we took the kids apple-picking at Honey Pot Hill Orchards.

We brought home apples and pears. I made this basic applesauce recipe from Ball Preserving.

I used 6 lbs of apples, weighed before they were cored and peeled. 2 cups of water, 2 T lemon juice and no sugar. It made 4 pint jars and 4 Rutabaga size (4 oz.) jars.

As simple as the recipe is, I find myself drawn to want to continue working with it. This is the only recipe that I canned last year, and repeated this year. In the next batch, I might tinker with the pace of softening the apples or using cider instead of water, or other small details.

Also, check out the beautiful labels I received! They make the jars look almost professional. Thank you for sending them!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Size does matter

It occurred to me this morning that size does matter, apparently particularly when you are 3 years old. 

While I was making pancakes for breakfast, the Rutabaga requested "tiny pancakes." He then proceeded to steal them off the warming plate as soon as they landed. At one point, I walked away and upon coming back, he pointed out to me that his plate was empty and was ready for more little pancakes. It made me laugh. It occurred to me that the same thing happens when baby carrots are offered. I am now wondering what else I could entice him to eat, if I only right-sized it for him.

Here's the Vegan Banana Pancake recipe, which I'm currently obsessed with.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

From soil to belly

A full harvest of peaches has come to us. They came from Connecticut where they have been growing this season at the Husband's family's homestead. The tree was planted originally to enjoy the spring flower blossoms. Now, five years later, it is yielding fruit.

Tante LoLo, as the Rutabaga calls her, brought us the harvest from one full peach tree. This is as close as I get to full circle. I know where the fruit grew this season and how it was taken care of.  The full harvest from one tree was kept together and brought to my house. Then we turned this abundance into jam. For the last couple mornings the whole family has enjoyed eating the jam with breakfast.

We made two different peach jam recipes. The first was a simple peach jam using Pomona's pectin.

4 cups mashed peaches
1/4 c lemon juice
2 cups sugar
3t Pomona's pectin and 4t calcium water
Follow the link above for the rest of the canning recipe.

The jam was delicious and straight peach. It was a little overly sweet from the sugar, and next time I'd try maybe 1 1/2 cups.

The second recipe we made was Maple Vanilla Peach Jam from Preserving with Pomona's Pectin. This jam was delightful. I don't know that I had ever actually cooked with a real vanilla bean before. (I usually skip over the recipes that call for them.) But this time we decided to go for it. Hand-tended peaches deserved the best. Real vanilla bean has an exotic, yet comfortably familiar, flavor to it. This recipe also used maple syrup instead of sugar for the sweetener. I preferred it because the taste was sweet without being cloying.

Here are Tante LoLo and I with our yield, minus the jars that were already consumed for breakfast and a bag of peaches still ripening in my kitchen.

The postscript is that they brought us a peach tree which we planted in our yard yesterday. In a couple years, hopefully, we too will have peaches to harvest.

Week 11: Veggie CSA

This week's bag:

Included: 3 Japanese eggplants, 1 bunch arugula, 4 cubanelle peppers, 3 cucumbers, 1 pound green beans, 2 summer squash, 1 bunch radishes, 3 pounds tomatoes, and 2 pounds peaches. 

I also couldn't resist and picked up a 20lb. box of peaches.

The plan is to:

  • Freeze the green beans and summer squash.
  • Make salsa again with the tomatoes and some of the peaches.
  • The rest: I'm actually not sure yet. I need to find some good dairy-free eggplant ideas.
What are others inspired to make this week? I could use some good ideas!

Update: We made Pan-fried Eggplant from Food52 with the Japanese eggplant and it was quite good. I omitted the Serrano chili pepper, although next time I would substitute it for ginger.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Our eggs come from here...

Our eggs come from right here: 

That's the Rutabaga showing you his favorite chicken. We recently found that you can get fresh eggs from Wright-Locke Farm just up in Winchester. While we dream about having a chicken coop in our backyard, it's a delightful alternative only five minutes away. 

Here's the hen house:

When you go, park at the bottom of the hill. Walk up and find your way into the farm "store". It's right next to the hen house. There's a fridge inside where the eggs are. You pay based on the honor system. Then wander down to see the goats and sometimes there are sheep.

Farm fresh eggs just don't compare to the ones from the store. They are rich and delicious with neon yolks. We eat them simply hardboiled, then put on top of toast with breakfast radishes, or sliced on top of salads, or scrambled with a side of bacon. All delicious.

I appreciate having a working farm so close to our house.

Recipes I'm thinking about...

Here are some recipes I've been thinking about. Clearly the end of summer, and wanting to hold onto it as long as I can, is on my mind. This week all the recipes are about canning or preserving.

Cranberry sauce
I took a canning class earlier this week, which was offered by Wright-Locke Farm. This recipe was on the blog of the canning class' teacher. I love the idea of making up some homemade cranberry sauce and eating it on "Thanksgiving" sandwiches throughout the winter.

11 Ways to Preserve Peaches
Some different ways to think about preserving peaches. They are in season right now!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Our tomato plant is yielding tomatoes in abundance right now. Most of them get eaten before they ever make it inside, but for the rest, this might be a good idea.

All of this has led me to think about hosting a canning party, particularly with apple season coming. I am going to work on sketching this idea out. Let me know if you'd be interested coming to something like this.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dinner Conversation

Last night, as I was putting the Rutabaga to bed and he said to me, "Mommy, we didn't do our question at dinner." It made me smile that we had been practicing a ritual long enough that he would notice its absence.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Veggie CSA: Week 9

Week 9. 

What to preserve right now?

This question was posed by a reader earlier this week:

... I am also wondering if you have any thoughts about what summer veggies
 I should stock in a freezer now before they become scarce? 
and how would I best preserve them? The parsley suggestion (earlier post) 
is a great one, does that work with other herbs? Like basil?

This is a great question! I thought about three criteria in shaping my answer:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Maybe I'm the last to know...

A couple household tricks that perhaps I'm the last to know. Just in case I'm not, here they are:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary! It's been 6 years today that the Husband and I have been married. We met nearly 10 years ago, and both of us are still incredulous that before the end of the first date we knew we would get married. See both of us are fairly logical people. We previously thought that love was hard and took time. Don't expect miracles. Yet, that first night something was different. It was easy and obvious.

The Husband jokes that at first he thought I was a vegetarian. He was rather disappointed to realize that the woman of his dreams might not share his love of bacon. What rejoicing there was when I ordered a burger on our second date. I remember in the early days having to remind myself to ask the Husband questions because I didn't know the answers yet. He felt so deeply familiar to me, like I had known him lifetimes already.

We got married in 2007, on a beach in Dennis, MA. We still reminisce about the feeling of being announced into the room together at the reception. It was amazing to look around the room, full of our family and friends, and feel so much love reflecting back at us.

Last night we invited our friends and some lobsters over to celebrate our anniversary with us. Our friends are an integral part to our marriage staying healthy. They indulge us in our never-ending invites to come over for playing and dinner. They are our in-town family. And they even tease me that my husband is taking pictures of lobsters for some other woman called Maple Sugar Mama.

We got two 6 pound lobsters. Here they are before becoming dinner. That's Rutabaga's foot next to the lobsters.

Here they are after cooking. In the background, you can see the turkey fryer we use for our lobster  boils. The lobsters were delicious. Some folks wonder if the meat is tougher in the bigger lobsters, but I think it's actually better. You get much more lobster compared to shell in the bigger lobsters. It helps though to have a husband who is not squeamish about handling and boiling them.

At our wedding we vowed to love and to cherish, through every joy and sorrow that comes our way. It's been a wonderful six years and I'm looking forward to many, many, more.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer love

This is summer love right here. I came home from work to this delicious plate. The tomatoes and basil were from our garden, with some added garlic, EVOO, and good bread. I like these kinds of displays of affection.

Veggie CSA: Week 8

Week 8. 

This week's share includes 2 pounds peaches, 1 box orange sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, 2 pounds new potatoes, 1 head cabbage, 1 bunch basil, 4 corns, 1 bunch baby bok choy, 1 bunch yellow carrots, 1 bunch red kale.

The plan:
- Peaches - just eat 'em. Consider making more sorbet or jam.
- Potatoes needs to be roasted and then served with overeasy eggs and pesto
- Cabbage - We made some fried rice with cabbage last week that was quiet delicious. The Husband also sauteed some cabbage with lots of butter, which could be repeated.
- Basil. Freeze and pull out this winter. Instructions are here.
- Corn. Boil for 3 minutes and eat the first night. Everyone knows you have to cook corn as quickly as possible, otherwise the starchy flavor will take over, right?
- Bok Choy - more stirfry, served with crispy garlic
- Carrots - need a plan
- Kale - ask friends for their kale chips recipe

What do others have planned?

What became of the plums

The plums had me stumped. They were pretty to look at, but they didn't have the kind of strong flavor I'd yearn to taste in the winter. I asked the others in our CSA clan what they were planning to do. I was met with puzzled responses. Looking around online, I found that we weren't alone. Most ideas were for tarts, sorbet or jam. I wasn't interested in making a dessert that I alone would be responsible for eating.  Eventually a savory recipe emerged - Chinese Plum Sauce from Serious Eats. The recipe is actually originally from Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton

Here are the plums ready to be cooked down. 

Here's the finished product. I think it's going to be delicious on grilled chicken or duck. Puzzle solved.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Freezing Parsley

We even freeze the parsley that we get from the farm share. We will use the frozen parsley in soups, casseroles, pasta, and other things where we want the taste of the parsley, but the appearance is not material. 

Wash parsley. Spin in a salad spinner to remove as much water as possible. 
Optional step - Remove the parsley leaves from the stems. 
Place a silpat on a large cookie sheet. You could use wax paper in place of the silpat. 
Place the parsley leaves on the silpat. 
Cover whole sheet tightly with saran wrap and place in the freezer for more than 12 hours. 
Once it's frozen, move the parsley into a freezer bag.

Peach Sorbet 2

For our next sorbet experiment we tried replacing the brandy with corn syrup. We expected this to effect the sweetness and mouth feel.

2 cups pureed strained peaches
1/2 cup 1:1 simple syrup
1/4 light corn syrup

For recipe instructions see: Tipsy Peach Sorbet, substitute corn syrup for brandy.

Tasting notes: This batch was actually quite delicious. The best compliment so far has been that "it tastes like a bite of summer." I'm curious in the next batch to keep experimenting with the mouth feel of the sorbet, as it's still a bit icy.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Posting comments on the blog

I've gotten a few questions about how to post comments on the blog. Here are instructions:

Start by clicking on the title of the post you want to comment on. Then scroll down until you find this:

Type your message into the Comment Box. Click on the "Publish" button. From the drop down list that appears click on "Name/URL" or "Anonymous".

If you select Name/URL, enter your name (real or imaginary). Entering a URL is not necessary. Click continue. It appears this option might not work on an IPad. IPad users may have to post as "Anonymous".

Enter the letters and numbers in the security check that confirms you are not an internet troll. Then get to a screen that says "Your comment was published."

Cheers to more comments!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Week 7: Veggie CSA

Week 7 of the Veggie CSA.

This week we received: 2 zucchini, 1 bunch carrots, 1 bunch bok choy, 1 bunch Japanese turnips, 1 bunch onions, 1 bunch parsley, 2 pounds new potatoes, 1 bunch tuscan kale and 3 pounds plums for the small.

My plan is to:
- Freeze the kale, parsley, carrots, and possibly zucchini
- Potatoes may become twice baked pan-fried potatoes. 
- Experiment with Japanese quick pickles with the turnips
- Stir fry the bok choy
- Kebab and grill the onions and zucchini.
- Look for recipes for the plums. Maybe sorbet.

What are others planning to make? in particular, I'm curious what others are going to do with the plums.

Tipsy Peach Sorbet

Applying the scientific method to my sorbet recipes is turning out to be quite fun. It's taking my natural inclination to tinker with a recipe and applying rigor to it. First up was peach sorbet. From my initial review of sorbet recipes I gleaned that the key components were:
  • The pureed fruit
  • Simple syrup, the ratio of sugar to water varies across recipes
  • Anti-freezing agent: either alcohol or corn syrup
Here's the recipe we tried for our first experiment together:

Peach Sorbet

2 cups pureed strained peaches (About 16 medium size peaches)
1/2 cup 1:1 simple syrup
2 T peach brandy

To puree the peaches: Boil a pot of water. Plunge the peaches in the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove peaches from the boiling water and plunge into a bowl of ice water.

Remove the skins, which should now slip off easily. Chop the peach and put the peach pieces into a food processor, like a Cuisnart. Blend the fruit until it is pureed. Strain the fruit through a mesh sieve to remove any pulp. Measure out 2 cups of pureed strained fruit. Use any remaining puree for another purpose. Set aside.

To make the Simple Syrup: Put one cup of water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add one cup of sugar. Stir until dissolved. Keep on the heat for 30 seconds, then remove.

We actually made three iterations of simple syrup, each with increasingly less sugar. The first was 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar. The second was 1 cup water to 1/2 cup sugar. The third was 1 cup water to 1/4 cup sugar. For the peach sorbet, we went with the 1:1 ratio but used only 1/2 a cup of it. The other syrups went into the fridge to await future gigs.

To make the peach sorbet: Combine the pureed peaches, simple syrup and peach brandy in a freezer-proof bowl. Place the mixture in the fridge until it is cooled. Once cooled, remove from the fridge and pour the mixture into your ice cream maker. Follow the instructions of your ice cream maker. For ours, which is a KitchenAid attachment, I blend it for 11 minutes. Then put the mixture back in the bowl, cover it, and put it in the freezer. Allow the sorbet to "ripen" for at least 4 hours. 

Tasting notes: The levels of sweetness and peachiness were perfect. I personally didn't like the taste of the brandy. The brandy was not subtle, and this could be a cousin of our holiday Sweet Potato Tipsy. I'm curious to try the corn syrup in replacement of the brandy in the next iteration. The Husband thought it was delicious already.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pickles Part 2

I am beginning to appreciate exactly what my husband does all day at work. He tinkers one variable at a time to find the perfect model. Whereas, with my training, I could replicate a model for something across a whole state, and figure out how to build an entire system around it. He, in contrast, figures out how to build the original model that should be replicated, through experimenting and patiently altering one variable at a time. He's been applying this method, the one used to cure cancer, to find the perfect pickle recipe. I'm recruiting him next to apply the scientific method to my sorbet recipes.

This second iteration of the pickles was to calibrate the salt for the brine. The original pickle recipe was #7. This round was labeled #7A, #7B, and #7C. The original recipe, #7, had 1t of salt. Too little. #7C had 3T of salt, with A and B in between. #7C tasted like ocean water. It was too much. Our preferred flavor was actually between #7 and #7A. Now with the salt ratio for the brine figured out, the next variable is the spices. Stay tuned. We're getting very close to a stellar recipe here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peach Pineapple Basil Salsa

This weekend I felt like we needed some new flavor combinations on our plates. This led to improvising off a Peach Salsa recipe. My incarnation became Peach Pineapple Basil Salsa. It was delicious as part of fish tacos, which included grilled mahi mahi, rice pilaf, all rolled into a warm tortilla.

Peach Pineapple Basil Salsa Recipe:

5 medium size peaches
1/3 of a pineapple (or a slice of the pineapple that is about 4 fingers wide)
1 thin slice of red onion
1/2 cup cucumber (about half a cucumber)
10 cherry tomatoes
1/2 a lime
6 basil leaves
2 t jalapeno pepper (add more if you want it hotter)
Salt and pepper

Peel and cut the peaches, pineapple, red onion, and cucumber into bite size pieces. Put these four ingredients in a medium size bowl. Slice the cherry tomatoes into quarters, add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Juice the half of lime, and add to bowl. Cut basil leaves thinly with scissors, add to bowl. Dice the jalapeno and add to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Can be made up to a day ahead of time.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin muffins

Having chocolate for breakfast is a treat. And when you're 3 the only way to request chocolate for breakfast is to ask for it in the form of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I make these with some frequency because Rutabaga requests them, and I rationalize that they are a delivery method for pumpkin. I am a big fan of recipes from the Post Punk Kitchen. Her recipes are vegan, yet made with real ingredients, not just soy replacements for other ingredients. We make The Best Pumpkin Muffins.

My edits to the recipe are to reduce the sugar to a scant 1/3 cup and to delete the nutmeg. I also use vanilla oat milk instead of soy milk.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Week 6: Veggie CSA

For Week 6 of the Veggie CSA we received this:

Contents: 1 bunch chioggia beets, 1 pound kentucky wonder beans, 1 head cabbage, 1 bunch cippolini onions, 1 pound new potatoes, 2 cukes, 1 bunch chard, and 2 squash.

My plan for these is to:
- Freeze the beet greens, chard and potentially squash
- Made beet chips again. Rutabaga was just as excited again. Awesome.
- Likely potatoes will get turned into hash browns. Cucumbers will get absorbed into a salad with 
tomatoes from the patio. 
- Need a plan for the head of cabbage and bunch of onions.

What do others have planned with this week's bounty?

Refrigerator Pickles Part 1

The Husband has been talking about making pickles for awhile. See there is place we stop between Boston and points south that has great pickles. It's called Rein's Deli and we talk about Rein's pickles ALL THE TIME. You'd think I was pregnant the amount we talk about pickles. I'm not. Don't go starting any rumors. When we got 12 pickling cukes in this week's veggie share, he decided it was time to finally start experimenting. In true scientist fashion, the man created a spreadsheet with his recipes. I love a good spreadsheet.

Here's the original bowl of 12+ pickles.

He found 8 recipes that he wanted to try, knowing that he was partial to the half-sours. He figured out how to tinker with the recipe to get it down to a pint jar worth of pickle. 

It was the perfect size for sampling. Some of the pickles had a vinegar-based brine. One had turmeric in it, another traditional pickling spices. One had 2 cups of sugar to 2/3 cup brine, and one was the Husband's own concoction.

Here they all are ready for the fridge.

The pickles marinated for 48 hours. Then we had a pickle tasting! In true fashion we invited our friends over and asked them to help. They always so graciously agree. 

I can't say that there was a group consensus, but within our house we both agreed that we liked the clean taste of #7. Generally, we liked the ones with no vinegar. Stay tuned for the next round of #7A, 7B, 7C.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Beet Chips

Success! The beet chips rocked. You know why? Because the Rutabaga ate them. I thought they were pretty tasty too.

I made this recipe from Kid Cultivation, except I heated my oil to 300 degrees (because I originally missed the part of her instructions where she noted the oil temp.)

The beets really are beautiful. The vegetable peeler is completely unnecessary to the recipe. However, they were completely necessary to finding a way to get the Rutabaga involved in the process. He thought of peeling them himself and I let him go with it.

As soon as they came out of the fryer there were hands grabbing for these.

Then I got overzealous and thought I'd try zucchini chips. Those will need some refinement.

All in all a keeper of a recipe.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lime Blueberry Muffins

Some of those blueberries we picked went into the freezer, and some became delicious Lime Blueberry Muffins. I adapted this recipe from Wilson Farms by Lynne Wilson.

Lime Blueberry Muffins

3 c flour + 1 T
1/2 c sugar
5 t baking powder
2 pinches of salt
8 T vegan butter, softened to the point of melting, + 1T for buttering the muffin tins
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
1 cup oat vanilla milk
1 lime - zest and juice
2 cups blueberries
1 T cinnamon sugar (1 T sugar mixed 1/4 t cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix 3 c flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Zest the full lime. Juice the lime. In a separate bowl mix the 8T of butter, eggs, vanilla, oat milk, lime zest and lime juice. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is no longer visible. Toss the blueberries with 1 T of flour, then add the floured blueberries to the batter. Butter the muffin tin. Spoon the muffin batter into the tins, until approximately 2/3 full. Top each muffin with a light dusting of the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Yield: 16 muffins

Note: The lime is more of a hint than a strong flavor in this version of the recipe. The lime flavor could be amped up by adding another lime and likely an additional 1/4 c flour to balance the additional liquid.

Nourishing ourselves

Friday the Husband and I took the day off and went blueberry picking. Stopping to take the day off - from work and from errands - was a rare treat. So rare that I had to spend the first couple hours continuously reminding myself not to feel guilty that I wasn't at work, but to be present instead. Later in the day I heard a wonderful anecdote that resonated with me about this. The beginning of the anecdote is familiar, but it's the twist at the end which helped me gain perspective. It began with the story of a little girl walking down the beach. She finds lots of crabs washed up on the shore, and she begins to throw them back in the water one by one. An older man came along and grumbled to the little girl, "why are you bothering to throw them back in? Look how many there are. You will never make a difference." And the little girl responded, as she threw another one back in, "I made a difference to that one." Later in the day, eventually, it is time for the little girl to head home for dinner and to take care of her own pets. Had she thrown all the crabs back in? No. But it was still important for her to head home and nourish herself and to take care of her own loved ones. This act at the end of her day allowed for two things. One, for her to have energy to come back again tomorrow. Who knows, maybe by tomorrow she will have thought of a more effective way to save more crabs. Also, by making time to take care of her own pets, she was not creating the conditions for suffering, while working endlessly to prevent it elsewhere. Today was a day to put down the mantle of work for a moment and to take time to nourish my own marriage.

We picked our berries at Doe Orchards and also brought home a flat of B-grade peaches.

We also thoroughly enjoyed a lunch at Strip T's that day. I highly recommend both Doe Orchards and Strip T's.

Friday, July 19, 2013

How to freeze basil for pesto

Pesto is one of my favorite foods. I love basil so much that if there was a basil cologne I would buy it for the Husband to wear. Now that's a lot of love.

Here's how I enable us to eat pesto year round:

1) Buy a bunch of basil or grab some off a plant outside. Take all the leaves off the stems and wash the basil. Give it a spin through the colendar to remove most of the water.

2) Measure out how much basil you have, then adapt this ratio from the Joy of Cooking - 2 cups of basil : 1/2 cup olive oil - to the amount of basil you have. For example if you have 3 cups of basil, you'll mix 3 cups basil + 3/4 c oil, or alternatively 1 cup basil to 1/4 c oil. Pulse the basil and oil in a Cuisinart for about 30 seconds or until the basil is finely chopped, but stop before it turns to paste. 

3. I have repurposed this baby food container for pesto, although an ice cube tray would work just fine also. Spoon in the basil-oil mixture into your freezer container, then freeze for minimum 12 hours. Once these are frozen, pop them out into a plastic bag and store them in the freezer.

4. When you're ready to make pesto. Pull out a hunk of basil-oil. Defrost it until it's liquid again. Put it into the Cuisinart, along with a clove of garlic, a small handful of pine nuts, salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese if desired. Pulse all together. Add oil to thin out to desired consistency. Enjoy on pesto chicken mozzarella subs.

Week 5 - Veggie CSA

This week's bag:

Check out those pickling cukes on the bottom row! The Husband is ready to experiment with them. Expect pickles in the near future of all shapes and flavors.

Contents: 1lb. Kentucky Wonder Beans, 1 bunch carrots, 1 bunch Red Russian Kale,  1 bunch Basil, 1 bunch Arugula, 1 lb. new potatoes, 1 squash and zucchini and 10 pickle cukes.

Plan of attack:
- Freeze carrots, kale, and basil
- Contemplate freezing squash and zucchini or making zucchini bread with them.
- Leave cucumbers for Husband to pickle
- Steam some Kentucky Wonder Beans for dinner and bag the rest to eat during the week
- Need a plan for the arugula and potatoes. Bacon Potato Salad might be on the menu this week. 
- Rejoice that we have a week off from beets.

What do others have planned?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fava Bean and Ricotta Crostini

Here's a delicious way to eat fava beans.

1/2 lb. fava beans
1 garlic glove
1 loaf french bread
1/2 c fresh ricotta
glug of nice olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Remove fava beans from their outer pods. Boil a small pot of water. When the water is boiling, add the fava beans. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from water and drain. As the fava beans cool, slip the outer shell off the fava beans again, leaving you with a bowl of brilliant green colored beans.

2) Turn on broiler. Slice the bread into 1/2 in. thick slices. Broil the bread until lightly toasted.  When it comes out of the oven rub a raw garlic glove over the toasted bread.

3) Scoop about 1 tablespoon of ricotta onto each piece of bread. Top with about 1 tablespoon of fava beans. Repeat for all slices of bread, or until you run out of ingredients. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the whole set of crostinis. Liberally salt and pepper.


Yield: 6-8 crostinis

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Maple Syrup

So now may be a good time to tell you about maple syrup...

See because I make that granola every week, and we love us some pancakes, we go through a lot of maple syrup in our house. I realized that it was so much maple syrup that I was curious to look into buying it in bigger volumes. Now we have this...

Did you know that you can freeze maple syrup? We buy a gallon of Grade B from here. Then I pour some into a manageable size container that lives in the fridge, and the rest goes into mason jars in the freezer. It makes me smile every time I open the freezer door and see that much potential for pancakes. 

Related, some day if I ever get to take a sabbatical, I'd like to go work on a maple syrup farm for the sugaring season. Something about that deeply appeals to me.

Homemade granola

Every week I make this granola. The recipe came to us soon after the Rutabaga was diagnosed with food allergies and it has been a staple of his lunch every day since. By now the recipe is comfortable and familiar, like a favorite pair of jeans. Its taste is sweet, yet it is high in fat and full of protein. It travels everywhere with us. Usually I make it on Tuesday nights and, then while it's baking, call my high school best friend to catch up on the week's news.

Nomnomnom those crunchy bits on top.

Notes about the recipe:

The recipe calls for maple syrup or honey. Either are delicious. Recently I've been using half honey half maple syrup and getting the best of both. I also replace the wax paper with a silpat and cook it for 35 minutes. If you have time to put it in the fridge over night it will harden up. Then I find it is possible to break it into small bits. Otherwise, if left at room temperature the granola will be crumbly, which is perfect for yogurt topping but so easy for toddlers' pincher grasps.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Inspiration from around the web...

A couple articles and posts from the past week...

  • Who knew Chop Chop was from Watertown? Good press about a local cooking magazine for kids. ( <-- Those were most of my favorite words in one sentence.)

  • Weekend Meditation from the Kitchn. How she describes why the kitchen is a place for meditation resonates with me. I try to embody this in this blog. Telling you, yes, some about literally what we cooked, but also what it means in the larger sense about our lives.

  • And lastly, beet chips. I swear this is not going to turn into a blog called 1001 ways to eat beets: How I learned to love beets in one CSA season. But I am motivated to try yet another way to make beets. Reading reviews, a few other fellow less-than-beet-lovers said beet chips were delicious. Here's hoping!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sweet Cherry Jam

Sweet Cherry Jam. It's the first recipe I've made with Pomona's Pectin, which is a low-sugar pectin.  The concept really appeals to me, because most of the traditional recipes for jam include equal parts sugar to fruit. This has WAY less sugar by design. You can actually taste the fruit, and not just be overwhelmed by sweet. The recipe is from the new Preserving with Pomona's Pectin cookbook. 

This jam has been equally delicious on yogurt and PBJ. I think blueberry jam is up next.