Saturday, June 28, 2014

The CSA Experience: Part 2 Kale & White Bean Soup

The CSA Experience: Part 2
This is part 2 from yesterday’s post with today's concentrating on Kale. Considering the immense amount of Kale we’ve received from Lancaster Farm Fresh, I’ve been stockpiling it in the freezer for the past few weeks and am always willing to try a new recipe.
If you missed yesterday's post, click here The CSA Experience: Part 1 Fried Rice and Cabbage.

Kale and White Bean Soup

I love Kale, mostly I love it sautéed with a little oil and garlic.  However I can’t keep eating the same recipe over and over again, mostly because it drives me bonkers.  So I began experimenting  This great recipe utilizes a slow cooker.  In other words, it’s fewer steps for me to take but still delivers a delicious dinner that packs a ton of delicious vegetable goodness.  This turned out to be one of my favorite recipes that I've created for this blog. 

10 minutes of prep time
8 hours of cooking time

·       1 large Onion (diced)
·       4 Cups of chopped Kale
·       1 cup of chopped Spinach
·       1 14oz can of Northern beans
·       20 oz of Tomato Sauce (either use a can or make your own, I used leftovers)
·       5 cloves of Garlic chopped
·       ¼ cup of chopped Basil
·       4 cups of Chicken Broth
·       2 cups of Water
·       1 cup of uncooked Ditalini Pasta (you can use any small pasta, ex macaroni)
·       Lots of Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle with afterwards

Combine all ingredients except for pasta and cheese into a slow cooker and allow cooking on low heat for 8 hours or so.

About 30 minutes before serving, stir in pasta.  It’ll take about 30 minutes or so for the pasta to cook.
Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.

Recipe Card, just Right click to download.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The CSA Experience: Part 1 Fried Rice and Cabbage

This year my husband Tom and I participated in the Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op.  We got a half share of vegetable and a fruit share.  The vegetable share has been an immense success.  It makes us each eat salads about 5-6 times a week, we’ve received all kinds of delicious items like fresh spinach, and we’ve been trying new vegetables.  The new vegetables have been an eye-opener, mostly because we’re receiving a delivery of new items each week and trying to cook up new recipes has had me searching Pinterest with vigor.
How great is Pinterest?  It had everything at your fingertips from clothing, DIY ideas, and recipes, hundreds and hundreds of recipes.  Pinterest is an equally great tool for looking up recipes of items you have to cook, or items that you’ve received several weeks in a row and need a new approach so you don’t go insane.  So this week is a new experiment to show off a 2-part feature of foods we’ve received from our CSA.
CSA : Community Supported Agriculture.  In other words it’s an organization that works with a collection of farmers to bring you variety tasty items each week, everything from Fruits, Vegetables, Cheese, and Meat products. 
Take Cabbage and Kale, both are vegetables I enjoy.  The only problem is I’m unsure how to continue to cook up in different ways, week after week.  

Fried Rice and Cabbage

A few months ago I posted my Chicken Fried rice recipe, this is very similar just tons of cabbage instead of carrots and peas.  I love cabbage, especially cooked in butter and soy sauce. 
10 minutes of prep time
40 minutes of cooking time
·       1 large Onion (diced)
·       4 cups of chopped Cabbage
·       1 cup of uncooked Rice
·       4 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
·       4 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil (divided)
·       3 Tablespoons of Butter
·       2 Eggs
·       2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder (feel free to use garlic cloves instead, I just had powder on hand)
·       2 cups of water

First combine uncooked rice and water in a small pot and bring to a simmer.  Allow simmering for about 20 minutes, continuously stirring until the rice is tender and fluffs up with a fork.

In a separate pot heat up 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil, add onion and cook under medium heat until it’s translucent and beginning to brown.  This should take about 15 minutes or so.  

Remove onions; add 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil, butter, chopped cabbage, and garlic powder.  Sauté until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes.   Remove cabbage and set aside with the onions.  Beat two eggs in a bowl.  Add to pot and scramble up.  Make sure it’s chopped up finely with your spatula. Then add onions, cabbage, and rice to the pot, and stir in soy sauce.  Allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes. 

This was a great recipe to divide up into Lunches for the week.  


Friday, June 20, 2014

Pineapple Fluff

This post is dedicated to the Disney Fanatics.  To the people who book those ten day adventures, who count the days until their chance to run on those magical streets.  
So I’ve only been to Disney World once, when I was four.  I surprisingly have several memories of it.  Of watching this humongous caterpillar float by in a parade, spending time with my father in the afternoon at the pool, and of climbing the staircase of the place we were staying.  However I’m not sure I ever got to try Dole Whip while there.  Now I don’t really have any desire to return to Disney World, I do want to try the Dole Whip.  So I thought I’d make my own. 
A surprisingly easy concoction to make, it actually turned out super delicious.  Since I used fresh pineapple, I’m not calling it Dole Whip, but Pineapple Fluff.  Please let me know about your own Dole Whip experiences and what other kinds of frozen treats that you may like for Summer?

Pineapple Fluff

10 min of prep time
3 hours of freeze time

·       1 fresh Pineapple, skinned and cut up
·       1 teaspoon of Vanilla
·       1 pint of Heavy Cream
·       2 Tablespoons of Lime juice.
·       ¼ cup of sugar (optional)
Prepare your blender.
First cut up your pineapple.  Take your time and get it into bite size chunks.  Freeze it for about 20 min or so.  

Then add your pineapple, vanilla, heavy cream, lime juice and sugar to the blender.  I did not add the sugar.   Frankly I didn’t think it needed it.  The pineapple was sweet enough on it’s own and I could always add whipped cream after. Then pulse it over and over until well-mixed.

Take a 9x9 pan and pour mixture into it.  Wrap with plastic wrap and put in freezer for 2-3 hours.

Take out when it’s firm but not super frozen.  Serve with whipped cream or fresh fruit.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

For the last month or so we’ve been receiving our weekly deliveries from Lancaster Farm Fresh.  It’s made us to try all kinds of veggies.  Minutina, rhubarb, radishes, turnips, and red scallions are a few examples of what we’ve tried.  We’ve also been getting some great early berries as part of our fruit delivery. 
A large part of the recipes that I’ll be making for the summer will be based upon the fruits and vegetables that we’ll be receiving.  It’ll include future posts on salad, pizzas, and also some great new desserts.
I am a huge fan of the combination of strawberries and rhubarb.  This crumble combines them with a buttery zesty topping.  I made this for a dinner party we attended.  The pie plate was scraped clean by the end of dinner.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

15 min of prep time
35 min of baking time

·       1 ½ cups of rhubarb (chopped)
·       1 pint of strawberries, hulled and quartered
·       Juice of one lemon
·       ½ cup of granulated sugar
·       3 Tablespoons of cornstarch
·       Pinch of salt

·       1 1/3 cups of flour
·       1 teaspoon baking powder
·       3 oz of butter, about ¾ of a stick of butter (melted)
·       3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
·       3 Tablespoons brown sugar
·       Zest of 1 lemon
·       2-3 drops of almond extract (You can use vanilla extract instead)
·       ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees. Ready a 9-in deep dish pie plate.

Prepare the topping first.  Combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Mix together thoroughly.    Mix melted butter, almond extract, and zest in a separate bowl then add to the dry ingredients.  Put in the refrigerator to cool.

To prepare the filling, toss rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and pinch of salt in a bowl.  Spread mixture in the pie plate.

Pull topping from the fridge.  Break it up with your hands to create the crumbles.  Evenly spread the topping over the filling in the pie plate.  

Bake pie plate in the oven for 35-40 minutes.  The fruit should be bubbling and the topping should be browned.  If the topping browns too quickly, cover it with foil and continue baking if it does.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pesto Fiasco

Accidents happen.  Which may be the story of my life.  My clumsy, weirdly filled, accident prone, ridiculous life.  I had a silly notion that the older I get, the less silly stupid things I would do.  Well this week I was reminded that stupid things can continue to happen, it’s how you handle them that defines you.  

When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure if I’d have one or two readers.  Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I realized that there were quite a few people who read it and asked me about it.  By the way, I love talking about food and will gladly chat with anyone who wants to talk about it.

Then the accident happened with my finger and I figure I might as well share it with you. 
I had this great idea that I was going to make Pesto on my night off.  I was going to get done work early, go home and make dinner for my husband, and then relax on the back porch to drink wine and watch fireflies.  

I made two colossal mistakes. 
1. I was rushed and not paying attention.
2. I forgot to unplug the machine while cleaning it.  

So when I tried to clean up the blade of my immersion blender, even though I had turned it off, it went off spontaneously, with my finger still in it.  

The Culprit.   

I was strangely calm at first as I ripped off a paper towel and wrapped it around my finger to keep it together.  Not looking at it, I ran into the other room and called to the husband who came in not quite understanding what was going on.  Tom took me to the Emergency Room, where a nurse took a look and told me that she didn’t think I would lose the finger.  She didn’t immediately send me back to a room to be sutured, instead she sent me out to the waiting room.  I got to sit for about 30 minutes listening to the woman ahead of me who kept throwing her hand back and forth screaming into a cell phone that the doctors were making her wait.  

At first the cut didn’t hurt.  I was holding the towels clamped hard and trying not to think about it.  I spent the majority of the time calling myself an idiot in my head, over and over.  Then when I finally left the waiting room and was taken back, it started to hurt.  The nurses and doctor played with it at first, trying to figure out how to stitch it back together.  When I started crying, they offered me something for the pain.  After a single pill, I stopped thinking about the pain.  In fact I stopped thinking about anything at all.  

Tom was a trouper throughout the entire process.  I learned a new piece of information about him that night.  While an avid viewer of movies featuring horror and violence, he doesn’t deal well with blood and stitches in real life.  The doctor numbed my finger and began stitching it.  I, of course, felt nothing and began giggling at the sight of my finger being stitched back together.  Tom did not enjoy the sight as I did, and spent most of the time carefully examining the floor and trying not to watch.  

At the end of the night, my finger was wrapped up and I was told to not use it and not to take the bandages off for 24 hours.  Despite being incredibly drugged up, I made sure to thank each person who had helped me out.  From the kind x-ray tech who let me babble on about my friend Sarah, who’s also an x-ray tech, to the brusque nurse who came in examined me and got me the pain medicine after I began crying.  

I took away several valuable pieces of information.
1.     Take your time, no matter what you’re doing. Whether you’re doing household chores, driving somewhere, or doing anything routine.  Take your time.
2.     Make sure to thank people who help you.  They’ll appreciate it and they’ll continue to help you even when you shriek in pain after getting stabbed with a needle.  Everyone has a job to do and always appreciate being thanked.
3.     Finally… Unplug the damn appliance before cleaning it.

I got the chance to remake the pesto the next day.  Using a regular blender instead of the immersion blender and some new ingredients. 

Fresh Pesto

20 min of prep time
·       3 Cups of Kale chopped up
·       ¼ cup of Sunflower Seeds (without the skins) You can also use pine nuts, but they’re absurdly expensive where I live, and I was told this would be an acceptable substitute.
·       ¼ cup of Fresh Basil
·       ½ cup of Olive Oil
·       ¼ cup of water (if needed)
·       ¼ cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Prepare your blender.

First add kale, sunflower seeds and olive oil. Begin pulsing to blend.  This may take awhile.  You can always add more oil if needed, or a smidge of water to help the blender along.  
Then add the cheese and basil.

This is a great mixture to add to pasta or chicken, or as a topping to pizza.

We added it to chicken thighs and popped them onto the grill.  It had great flavor.