Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In the CSA box today

I mostly got what I expected in the box today. I was disappointed not to get spinach. That just means that pasta carbonara florentine is going to be lacking the florentine (spinach). I also have a lot more arugula than I know what to do with. I think I may need to buy some spinach and make a spinach arugula pesto.

In the box:

one turnip
one radish
arugula (a huge bag!)
2 kohlrabi
handful of sugar peas
2 sweet onions
green leaf and red leaf lettuce
swiss chard
a couple of small green garlic
a dozen eggs
plus a bunch of kale I left behind

The sugar peas will not last long in my house. I had to chase M out of the bag so some would get saved for supper--at least enough for Curtis to taste. The turnips are currently multiplying in my fridge, as is the lettuce. The lettuce isn't as tender as it was a week or two ago--the heat makes the leaves tougher.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Menu for the Week (plus some)

I re-used many recipes this week so I haven't had much to blog about. I am connecting links to where these recipes were listed on the blog previously.

Update on last week's menu and this week's tentative menu (depending on what we get in the box).

Wednesday: Tacos on Rice
Thursday: Ham, Cheese, and Arugula Stromboli
Friday: Tortellini Soup
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Spinach Souffle made for the CSA spring picnic
Monday: Mac and Cheese and a big salad
Tuesday: Chard Polenta Bake
Wednesday: Pasta Carbonara Florentine
Thursday: Poultry Pasta Primavera
Friday: Leftovers or TBD
Saturday: Shrimp Scampi and a salad

My mom and are also planning on freezing some dishes this week so once she is gone I will have some easy meals (since this baby STILL isn't here yet). I realized how easy it was to find meals using my blog (to toot my own horn a little). I just searched by ingredient (mainly pasta) and came up with several ideas. Some freezable dishes:
Sausage Penne Bake
Chicken Tetrazzini
Pot Pie

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In the CSA box this week

This was a very exciting food day for our house. Our quarter steer was ready to be picked up. My mom and I made the trek out to Smithville to pick up the meat. We loaded it up and now we have a packed freezer. I was excited to use some for supper tonight! We also got our CSA box today. In the box:

red leaf lettuce
green leaf lettuce
salad turnips
bok choy
a dozen eggs

I left some kohlrabi and kale in the trade box in exchange for double portions of chard and spinach.

A few menu ideas for the week:
Wednesday: Tacos on Rice (Rice, Ground beef, cheese, green leaf lettuce, crushed tortilla chips, tomato juice, and salsa)
Thursday: Ham and Cheese Strombolis (with arugula)
Friday: Bok Choy Tortellini Soup
Saturday: A chard or spinach recipe
Sunday: Leftovers for lunch and a chef salad supper
Monday: A chard or spinach recipe

A baby coming could easily change this menu....we'll see!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kohlrabi Ham Bake

The kohlrabi had been accumulating in my refrigerator so I searched the web for kohlrabi recipes (epicurious let me down this time, I must admit). I found a recipe on SimplyRecipes ( that used up all my kohlrabi and I had all ingredients on hand for. I was pleased that it used some of my leftover home for our Easter dinner. My mom (visiting/waiting to help with the homecoming of the new babe that is slow in coming) and Curtis liked it pretty well. M downed it no problem once she realized there would be no popsicle without eating it. J picked out all the ham and ate the kohlrabi only after he was sitting on Curtis's lap. Silly boy.

It was a good meal, especially with a side salad of mixed greens with sliced radishes on top. My only complaint is that the fat content for the meal was so high. I may experiment with it next time to reduce the fat. It was quite tasty though (with the cream and butter...).

Kohlrabi Ham Bake
3 T butter
4 medium- large kohlrabi, peeled and diced
8 oz thick ham, diced
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
3 egg yolks
1 c heavy cream
2 T flour
salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced kohlrabi and gently cook for 10 - 12 minutes (depending on how tender you want it). In a small separate bowl, beat the egg yolk. Whisk in the cream, flour, salt, and pepper until well combined. Place half of the cooked kohlrabi in the bottom of a 1 1/2 qt shallow casserole dish. Layer on the diced ham and parsley. Top with the remaining kohlrabi. Pour the sauce ingredients over the kohlrabi and ham. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Arugula Bread Pudding

I was excited about my little bag of arugula, but was tired of all my usual arugula recipes. I went to Epicurious in search of a new arugula recipe and decided tonight would be a good night to have breakfast for supper. To see the recipe, click here. Instead of typing out the whole recipe, just few notes on it. The recipe called for shallots. I very, very rarely use shallots, so I used an onion instead and just browned it for longer than the recipe suggested. I put in about a 1/2 c of onion. Next time, I think I will use more like 1 c--I really liked the flavor it gave. I also didn't have 7 oz of arugula (they said that would be 6 1/2 c). I suspect I had more like 3 c worth. More arugula would be better to give it the nice peppery arugula flavor. I also substituted good ole Swiss cheese for Gruyere.

Everyone enjoyed it. M dove right into it, even eating the arugula. Best of all, I can eat leftovers for breakfast tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Somewhat Cobb Salad

I got a pound of free marinated herb-dijon chicken breasts last week at the grocery store and decided it would make a good addition to a salad meal. I thought off a Cobb salad and found a recipe on Epicurious that I promptly revised and turned into a Somewhat Cobb Salad.

I baked the chicken breast (one full) in the oven and cut it in half. Half went into the salad, the other half was reserved for M and J who I knew probably wouldn't eat the lettuce. Sure enough, M and J avoided the leafy greens (which didn't worry me too much, particularly for M because I knew she ate only fruits and vegetables for lunch today and scoffed at the carbs and protein). Curtis and I thought the salad was great with the adaptations (mostly omissions) that I made. I will include the recipe for the whole salad, but feel free to leave things out if you don't have them or like them. The things I left out I am labeling as optional. The dressing recipe was great--a little oilier than I usually make dressings, but it had wonderful flavor. The dressing recipe makes twice as much as necessary for the salad (because I halved the salad recipe when making it). Store the leftover dressing in the fridge and use it whenever you need salad dressing.

Somewhat Layered Cobb Salad
for the dressing:
3 T red wine vinegar
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 t Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

for the salad:
1/2 lb boneless chicken breast, cooked (about 1 breast), and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2" cubes (optional)
1 head lettuce, washed and torn into bite sized pieces (I used red leaf lettuce, probably 4 c or so)
3 bacon slices, cooked until crisp, drained, and crumbled
1 medium tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (optional)
1/4 c feta cheese (recipe calls for Roquefort or other bleu cheese, I had none so I substituted feta)
1 bunch watercress, coarse stems discarded (optional)
1 hard boiled egg, diced
2 T fresh chives, finely chopped (optional)

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients except the oil in a bowl. Add the oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified (until the oil molecules have been broken and incorporated into the other liquid).

Spread lettuce in bottom of a large salad bowl (I actually used our pasta bowl tonight) and top with an even layer of chicken. Sprinkle bacon over chicken, then continue layering with tomatoes, cheese (to taste), avocados, watercress, eggs, and chives. Serve the dressing on the side and add as desired (the recipe says to add to salad and mix--we prefer to each add our own because Curtis and I like different amounts of dressing).

In the CSA box this week

Mmm...we had a full box of produce this week. There was nothing new or terribly exciting (like asparagus, strawberries, or peas), but I was pleased to have a full box to make cooking easier this week.

I've included a picture of the three root vegetables we got in our box this week, mainly because a couple of people at the pick up site were asking what things were. I figured I'd include a picture of those three things just in case someone else had questions too.

In the picture, from left to right are kohlrabi, radishes and Hakurei Salad Turnips.

Also in our box:
a head of red leaf lettuce
small head of butter lettuce
bag of mixed greens
a couple of kohlrabi
a bunch of turnips
a bunch of chard (the white stem kind, not the usual rainbow, multi-colored ones)
a bunch of bok choy
1 grapefruit
a few small green garlic cloves
a bag of arugula
3 onions (Texas 1015's which are a sweet onion)
a dozen eggs

The corresponding menu---these things are likely to change depending on what I feel like making on what day and if baby comes any time in the next week.

Wednesday: A Somewhat Cobb Salad
Thursday: Breakfast for Supper--Arugula and Bacon Bread Pudding
Friday: Swiss Chard Tart
Saturday: Spinach Manicotti
Sunday: Easter Lunch--Ham, Potatoes, Bok Choy Salad
Monday: Possibly another chef salad type meal
Tuesday: Leftovers or something else...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fusilli with Collards, Bacon and Garlic

I didn't feel like the fettucine with kale for this week (my menu has been rearranged for the week, mostly just shifted stuff from day to day to fit my whims), but needed to find a recipe that used collards or kale. I found this recipe from Epicurious. I was disappointed with it, I thought it was bland. I wonder if I didn't put the right amount of things in, maybe I didn't have enough garlic or bacon. There is no reason a recipe with garlic or bacon should be bland. Maybe it was just my taste buds tonight. M ate the pasta, but left everything else. J gobbled it up. Curtis thought it was ok, but nothing special. I'll probably try this recipe again at some point and be sure to add lots of garlic and bacon, but I think I'll skip it for a while.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meditteranean Orzo Salad and White Bean Soup

We had a church potluck today and I was determined to find a recipe to use some of the spinach that had been sitting in my refrigerator this week. I came across this salad recipe which is filling enough that we've eaten it as a main course in the past. It's a good recipe if you have some spinach, but not enough for spinach lasagna or another dish that requires a pound or more. We also had a wonderful cold front move in this morning so I decided some bean soup would be a good accompaniment for the leftover salad for supper this evening. I actually did make the beans from scratch this time, first time in a while I've done that, but I've also made the recipe using canned beans. M wouldn't touch the salad, no surprise there, but everyone ate the soup and seemed to enjoy it. I used the soup as an excuse to use the rest of my parsley from the CSA box as well and although the recipe didn't call for it, it was a nice flavor for the soup. For the soup recipe, click here.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad
1 c uncooked orzo
2 c spinach, chopped
1/2 c sun-dried tomato halves, softened**
3 T kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 t black pepper
6 -oz jar marinaded artichoke hearts
3/4 c feta cheese, crumbled

**To soften sun-dried tomatoes (if you are not using the oil packed kind), soak in boiling water for about 30 minutes.

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water. Combine orzo, spinach, olives, and black pepper in a large bowl. Drain artichokes, reserving marinade. Coarsely chop artichokes and add artichokes, reserved marinade, and 1/2 c feta cheese to orzo mixture, tossing gently. Sprinkle with remaining feta cheese.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chicken and Chard Enchiladas

I made this dish a lot last year and wasn't terribly eager to make it this spring. My taste for chard has been a little off this year and I was worried it would be too strong tasting. I made a few changes to the recipe, and ended up liking it just fine. I made my own tomato sauce to put on top. The past couple times I'd made enchiladas, I'd bought sauce, but it was too hot for the kids. This way, I could control the amount of heat that went into the sauce (as in, none). I used some of the leftover chicken I had cooked off the bone when I made the fennel and garlic roasted chicken last week. M and J ate this just fine and we have just enough left for an easy Saturday lunch today.

Chicken and Chard Enchiladas
1 lb chard, rinsed well and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
2 c cooked chicken
1 t cumin
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
2 c cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
8 flour or whole wheat tortillas

Mexican-style Tomato Sauce
4 1/2 c canned tomatoes, drained (1 35-oz can)
1 onion, chopped coarse
2 cloves garlic
2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and minced (optional)
3 T olive oil

Prepare the tomato sauce: In a food processor (or blender) chop the onions, garlic, and jalapenos. Puree the tomatoes with the onions, etc. In large skillet, heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot, but not smoking. Add the tomato puree and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper

Cut the stems from the chard leaves. Chop the stems separately from the leaves (enough stems for 1/2 c or so, discard the rest of the stems to avoid an overly strong chard taste). In a large skillet, saute the garlic in the oil over medium heat, stirring, until it is fragrant. Add the chard stems and 1/4 c of water cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the chopped leaves and cook, covered, for an additional 3 - 5 minutes, or until leaves are tender. Combine the chard with the chicken, cheese, cumin, and cilantro. Put 1/4 - 1/3 c mixture inside each tortilla and roll up (to soften tortillas microwave for a few seconds). Top with red sauce and 1/2 c additional cheese. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes in preheated 350 degrees oven.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ham and Asparagus Quiche

Generally speaking, it really hurts to cook asparagus in a recipe. Asparagus is such a treat and we get so little of it, I feel like it's waste to hide it's crisp-goodness with other lesser ingredients. This one of the few recipes I feel is asparagus worthy. When cooking the asparagus for the recipe, it only needs to be cooked for 2 - 3 minutes (if you are using local asparagus) to avoid getting the mushy asparagus that tends to give asparagus a bad name. I made my own pie crust, but a store bought pie crust would cut the time needed to make this in half (but wouldn't be nearly as good!).

The whole family enjoyed this. J ate a whole piece and M ate two, although she was hesitant when I was describing it to her before supper. She said she'll make it again sometime for her kids (her highest compliment). I served it with a side of beets, just for a little extra color to the meal. It was asparagus worthy.

Ham and Asparagus Quiche

1 9 -inch pie crust
3 eggs
1 c evaporated milk
1/4 t pepper
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped (1 t dried)
1 - 1 1/2 c asparagus, cooked and chopped
1 c Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 c cooked ham or bacon, diced
1/4 c green onions, chopped (optional)

Combine eggs, evaporated milk, pepper, and rosemary in a bowl. Set aside. Mix together asparagus, cheese, ham and onions. Spread evenly into prepared pie crust. Pour egg mixture over top. Bake at preheated 425 degrees oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until browned on top and set in the middle, another 25 - 30 minutes. Allow to cool 10 - 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Basic Pie Crust (For a 9 inch crust)
1 c flour
1/3 c butter
2 T ice water
1/2 t salt (if using unsalted butter)

Cut the butter into small pieces and sprinkle onto flour. Working quickly so that butter will remain cold, use a pastry cutter, knives, or your fingers, to cut the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are pea sized. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour, a little at a time, as you turn the dough with a wooden spoon. As the water is incorporated, a ball of dough will form. Add a little more ice water if the dough fails to come together. Roll out the dough immediately on a lightly floured board or chill until firm before rolling.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In the CSA box today

After getting a sparse box last week, this week's box was loaded. Yay! That will make meal decisions considerably easier for the week.

In the box:
a couple of bags of swiss chard (I traded my radishes for one)
4 small kohlrabi
3 small tomatoes
1 grapefruit
2 oranges (why didn't I leave those in the trade box?)
a few asparagus
1/4 lb of spinach
3 beets
a small bunch of bok choy

The menu I have thus far:
Wednesday: Spaghetti Carbonara Florentine
Thursday: Ham and Asparagus Quiche with a side of beets
Friday: Chard and Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Fresca
Saturday: Kale Fettucine
Sunday: Not sure--I need something for a church potluck---we'll see what I can figure out
Monday: White Bean Soup
Tuesday: Not sure

I am not sure what will happen with the kohlrabi, bok choy and collards yet. Mint will become tea tomorrow and I used about half a bunch of parsley tonight for the spaghetti carbonara florentine tonight.