All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. ~John Gunther

Saturday, December 13, 2008

carrot muffins. with frosting. cream cheese frosting.

we have a whole lot of carrots from the farm share.  a whole lot.  like 8 poundsish right now.  We would have more carrots, but last night I made lentil soup with quadruple the normal amount of carrots.  and today I made carrot muffins.  the frosting makes them like dessert.

the recipe was an all-recipes situation.  Check out the original here.  

first I preheated the oven  to 350 degrees and I buttered the bottoms, only, of the muffin tins.
next time I would use muffin cup liners because it was a little hard (but not too hard) to get the muffins out of the tins.

then I mixed together:
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

then I whisked briskly 3 eggs and 1 cup of sugar, then I added 3/4 cup of vegetable oil and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

then I added in the 2 cups of finely grated carrots that I had grated earlier.  I washed the carrots and then grated them.  I thought that maybe I should have peeled the carrots and I was worried that the muffins would be bitter - but they were not!

finally, I folded in the dry ingredients, then I ladled the mix into the muffin tins and baked it for 18 minutes.

while they were baking I put two tablespoons of butter and two ounces of cream cheese in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  then I popped them into a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.  then I beat it with a wooden spoon - and it was frosting!

when the muffins came out, I used a knife to help them out and once they had cooled on the rack for a bit, I used a knife to spread frosting on them.  and then I got to eat them, and share them!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

white vegan chili (with cheese)

today I decided to peruse simply recipes, a blog that we've featured here before. I was collecting recipes for a work project right now, but all the recipes have to appeal to folks who a) eat meat, and b) don't really want to change their eating habits but know that they should be eating healthier food. so I do a lot of retyping and formatting recipes for "quick beef casserole," and "baked southern fried chicken." a few hours of that and I just want to think about what I'm going to cook for myself, not what would lower a person's high cholesterol (which I don't have).

this here is a white bean chili that was intended for turkey but I went in the other direction. I upped the garlic and the onions and used some red chili flakes. it's yummy. not too spicy, but a lot of flavor and I froze heaps of it for the winter.

you will need:
  • 2 cans of cannelloni beans
  • 3 cups vegetarian chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped - keep each onion separate!
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (recipe called for dried, but I used fresh and it was fine)
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 2 4-oz cans chopped green chilies - mild or hot...or both!
  • 1 package tempeh
  • salt to taste
you will do:
  • add the beans, the no-chicken stock, garlic, and 1 chopped onion (because you separated them) in a large soup pot. bring it to a boil, my friends.
  • while the stock is boiling, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. saute the onions until it's tender.
  • add the green chilies, tempeh, and the spices and mix the whole thing up. cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • add the chili-tempeh stuff to the soup pot. stir it in and let it simmer for a while with the top off.
  • the chili will thicken during the simmering process. keep an eye on it so that you can achieve your ideal consistency. for more of a soup, simmer for 5-10 minutes. for more of a chili/stew, simmer for 10-15.
  • then, if you're a lapsed lactose-intolerant like myself, you put some into a bowl and sprinkle sharp cheddar on it. oops.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Poll: should sarah emily attend polenta school?

I've discussed my polenta quest before here. so far, I haven't really discovered anything revolutionary, other than the polenta croutons I had at dinner this summer. now I've found the perfect solution to my dilemma - but I don't know if I should do it. The Cambridge Center for Adult Education is offering a winter course called, "The Possibilities of Polenta."

Discover the rich, delicious possibilities of a Northern Italian staple food — polenta. As versatile as pasta, there are several types of polenta (white and yellow, and coarse and fine). You will prepare and feast on polenta accompanied with three delicious toppings — a hearty sausage sauce, a delicate white sauce made with gorgonzola and marscarpone cheeses, and a tasty onion sauce. We’ll also try fried polenta. Learn how to use polenta as a side dish to entrees or as a meal in itself! Feel free to bring your own wine.

it's $56 for a 2.5 hour session. this seems like the opportunity I've been waiting for, except I'm not feeling as enthused as I think I should be. please help me make this decision. basically, if enough folks think it's worth my time to go, I'll do it. or if people think that going to a polenta class is stupid, I'll take that into account too. help please?

Friday, October 31, 2008

big piles of food

I'm in Brooklyn this week for work and last night I went out to dinner with some New York-dwelling friends. because we were in a hurry to catch Eric's show, Riz and Johann suggested a quick place near their apartment. it was definitely quick, but what perhaps would have been more informative was that Mama's Food Shop is a monster of food. Heather and I decided to split a plate of three sides. this is how much food we were served:

those are three sides, folks. not main dishes. sides. it was just a massive amount of food. that plate cost about $10, which was totally fine for two people and the fact that Heather and I needed Eric's help later on to finish it. the brussel sprouts were rad, the beets were tasty. it's not the most flavorful food in the world, but it was fast and enormous and pretty convenient. there are plenty of options for both veggies and meat eaters. I don't know if I would suggest this for a tourist, but this would be a rockin' place to have in your neighborhood.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

blog of the month(s)

there was no blog of the month for october. so this blog will have to take on the mighty responsibility of being two blogs in one.

Mad Tasty:
I met dave at a judith butler reading. he was smart, funny, and had a cute adopted accent to boot. now he has a food blog that features a crazy variety of contributers and recipes. one recent post suggests that you shouldn't feel bad about not making your own tomato sauce because it's a tribute to the life and work of the late paul newman. that's the kind of logic I appreciate. also, one blogger invented tetris brownies. I don't think words are appropriate to describe that kind of awesomeness.

I wish judith butler had a cooking blog. that would be so cool. the recipes would be indecipherable, but I don't think it would matter.

dinner party in your future

last night I cooked up a monster dinner for some nice folks in honor of my birthday. recipes and pictures are on the way. so is the amazing adventures with apple pie that gina marie and I experienced this weekend. these posts may take a little while to go up, because I'm back to crazy traveling on thursday, but I'll do my best to spread the joy as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Greens, Beans, and Flax

last night, sarah elisabeth and I made a 3 part dinner of farmshare goodness. we'll post each dish separately, beginning with the portion on the left: greens, beans, and flax.

this was designed to use up old kale and add some protein to the dinner.

you need:
  • some kale
  • some cabbage
  • an onion
  • some cannelloni beans
  • toasted sesame oil
  • a healthy handful of flax seeds
  • salt to taste

you do:

I feel a little silly writing directions because this was pretty much a seat-of-the-pants dish. but anyway. chop up the kale and cabbage into bite size pieces. dice yourself an onion. heat up the toasted sesame oil in the sauce pan and saute the onion. add the kale and cabbage and then add more toasted sesame oil. add salt. add the cannelloni beans. add the flax seeds. turn the heat down and just stir and let it cook in its own mess for a bit so that the beans heat up and also the flavors soak in. and then you serve it.

see? not really complicated. but it tasted really good.

mashed potatoes & turnips

dealing with an overflow of vegetables from the farm share (in a good way!), sarah emily and I endeavored to make a dent in the situation last night. My favorite thing pretty much ever is mashed potatoes, so I went down that route, and attempted to deal with the turnips as well, even though I am not such an experienced turnip-person. sarah emily was more adventurous and made a yummy roasted root vegetables with apple situation *and* a cabbage, kale 'n' beans extravaganza (flax seeds and sesame oil!) Hopefully she'll post soon and you'll get the low down on all that. in the meantime, I will work with the pictures that I have...

I consulted, of course, America's Test Kitchen since they are basically my food bible. Apparently half and half and boiling your potatoes unpeeled and adding butter *before* other dairy is very important. Who knew?

ATK calls for 1lb potatoes and 1lb other root vegetables. I just used all the yellow turnips and all the potatoes we had - it was half and halfish. Another thing I learned - yellow turnips are white. white turnips are purple! (and apparently white turnips - which are purple - are not that great in mashed situations, so that's why I just used yellow even though we had some pretty white/purple ones too.)

I peeled the turnips and quartered them. I rinsed the potatoes. I put the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water and let them cook for 15 minutes - then I added the quartered turnips and boiled it all for another 15 minutes. - next time I would boil the turnips a little longer - maybe add them in at the 10 minute mark and then cook with the potatoes for 20 minutes?

I turned the heat off and scooped all the turnips out with a slotted spoon into a bowl. then I scooped out the potatoes into a different bowl, dumped the water, and had sarah emily get the grit out of the pot while I started the long process of peeling the hot potatoes. Yeah. No kidding.

you stab it with a dinner fork, hold it in the air, and then use a paring knife to scrape/peel off the skin. this took awhile, but ATK assured me that it would taste *much* better because of this step


peeled potatoes and turnips went into the still-warm pot (should have been hot - but beggars can't be choosers!) Sarah emily melted a stick of butter for me, and once I had mashed the veggies pretty well with my potato masher, I mashed the butter in. Then sarah emily warmed up 1/2 cup of half and half, and I tossed that into the pot too, mashing some more. (apparently the fat in the butter coats the starch and keeps it from getting watery with the half and half? there is some chemistry here I am not entirely clear on.)

voila! a *touch* of salt, and they were done! We served with sarah emily's dishes and some gourmet butter - a present from chloe!

this picture is kind of blurry - but use your imagination!

an apology to the masses

we've been kind of terrible about posting lately. sarah elisabeth has been crazy busy and I've been crazy busy in a different way and gina marie is...busy too? anyway, we have been cooking but there hasn't been the time to post. we're getting back on track now, which mostly involves me getting pictures off of my phone and onto the interwebs. thank you to the folks who have put up with our silence; I'm certain that the void in your life was incredibly difficult to bear and we here at leisurely breakfast respect and appreciate your strength. you are all patriots to us.

Monday, October 13, 2008

apple crisp

I made apple crisp the other day and I forgot to post. That one is pictured above...

Last night I made it again, with some changes. What I learned: change is bad.

Both times I made this I was working with some ingredient constraints. I wanted to use my America's Test Kitchen Classics cookbook recipe (it's the Cook's Illustrated recipe), but it called for six tablespoons of flour, and we had a whopping two! I made do with oatmeal, and it worked well. Here's the recipe I ended up using successfully:

Topping :

2 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar , packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into little pieces
3/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped


6 or 7 apples
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

to make the topping... I mixed all the dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Since I don't have a food processor, I did my best to beat and mash the butter, which I had cut into little pieces, into the sugary mix. Then I did my best to mush the almonds in too. It was super lumpy, but that seems to not be a problem. I put it in the fridge, and got on with the filling.

for the filling ... peeled and chopped the apple into 1 inchish pieces, dumped it into the dutch oven I ended up cooking the crisp in, mixed in the sugar, zested the lemon, and then squirted in the juice. I stirred that around, flattened it out, and then spread the topping out over it. I popped it (uncovered, lower middle rack) into a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes, and then pumped it up to 400 degrees for a final five minutes. came out amazing!

Here's what not to do if you are out of lemons: substitute lime juice and grapefruit zest. It tastes.... lime-y. not quite right. edible, but just a little weird.

It looked yummy though! (and was totally edible - just a little citrusy and not a great match for ice cream!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I wrote this in August, and I have been waiting for the pictures. Of course, there are 100 pictures, so you will have to go look at them here! You will get to see pictures of the farm, the farmer, the farm tour, the beautiful jewelery and glasswork at the farm, and then our trip to Northampton on the way home.

And now, the post I wrote:

Stone Soup Farm is having their chilifest for CSA members today, and so we had to make some chili. I woke up with the vague idea that I should only use things we had in the house - farm share vegetables and random beans, basically.

I used a heavily modified version of this recipe:


Chopped two onions (one was huge)
seeded and minced one hot pepper (from the farm share!)(gina marie dealt with this, it required emergency wheat thins)
chopped two green peppers (from the farmshare!)
chopped three little carrots (from the farmshare! - it turns out we also had a very big yellow carrot, but I thought it was a parsnip so we missed out on that.)
minced a lot of garlic (from the farmshare, gina and sarah joint effort)

All of those things went into the pot with a little olive oil and simmered for about 5 minutes.

then I added a can of old bud light.

*then* I added three farmshare tomatoes that I had chopped, and a can of diced tomatoes from stop and shop

Then I added two cans of kidney beans and a can of canellini beans

also, we added some corn from the farmshare - roommate emily dealt with this.

this is all stirring and cooking the whole time

finally I added 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, and 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika (my favorite spice)

finally, a can of refried beans stirred in to thicken things up. Then I let it bubble for 15 minutes.

Finally, lid on and into the insulated bag to head out to western mass!

pictures are coming...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

aquavit! part 2

sarah emily here. as a non-norwegian, I wanted to chime in about aquavit. once you taste it, you will immediately understand why it is the beverage of choice when eating rotting fish. this will sterilize you. the first time I tried it, the taste reminded me of the dentist. I can't explain it more than that. it's actually not bad, though. I wouldn't call it good, but it does have a very peculiar charm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

aquavit! yes!

It is just so exciting when Norwegian treats are featured on teh interwebz!

check out - an article about aquavit, a classic norwegian beverage that I drink chilled, and with beer. but not usually with rotting fish.

Monday, August 25, 2008

berries and other cute little things

folks, it is berry week over at the ppk. what does that mean? it means delicious vegan berry recipes for everyone. day one kicked off with marionberry lavender scones. holy crap, people. I want those now.

one nice thing about Isa and the ppk blog: the comments are full of helpful information from curious cooks like yourself. I love the comments of most blogs and most cooking blogs in particular. but ppk readers (and writers) have a special way with enthusiasm and adventure that gets me psyched for a romp in the kitchen.

this is my puppy in 2004, right outside the kitchen, exhausted from romping. totally relevant.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

red lentil dhal

this recipe is so good that I sometimes find myself fantasizing about it and then I know it's time to whip up some dhal again. I originally got this off the Post Punk Kitchen website (see our links), so all credit needs to go to the amazing Isa. not only does it taste deee-lish, but I get to use my mortar and pestle! hm. both of those words look like better Scrabble words than they really are.

you need:
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4-5 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 5 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
    • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
    • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 6 cloves, whole
    • 4 cardomom pods
    • pinch of red chili powder (or more?)
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
you do:
first you toast all members of the spice blend - except the red chili and cinnamon! - in a saute pan over medium heat. stir frequently for about 5 minutes and then remove from heat. put all of the spice blend (including the missing duo) into your mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.

I'd like to make two notes at this point:
  1. you can also use a coffee grinder to blend the spices. this is fast.
  2. if you do decide to go the Amish route, have some good reading on hand. I chose the music issue of the Believer.
add oil to a soup pot and turn up to medium-high heat. add the onions and saute for five minutes. then add the garlic and ginger and saute for another five minutes. you'll want to stir fairly often so that nothing gets stuck to the bottom of the pan. add the spices and salt and then saute for five more minutes.
pour 4 cups of water and stir fully to deglaze the pot. add the tomato paste and the lentils. bring the pot to a boil and then lower the heat. leave uncovered and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

hm. that doesn't look quite amazing yet. actually looks a bit like I'm making pizza in the bottom of a soup pot. must be time to add the tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro! (if your dhal is too thick, you can add more water, but this has never happened to me.) let the whole thing simmer for another ten minutes and then you're good to serve. and your whole home will smell incredibly and you tastebuds will thank you. you can serve it on rice or plain.

I cooked up some potatoes and tempeh in the sauce pan I had used for toasting spices and added some garlic powder. it was a good complement, unless you don't eat tempeh.

I have forgotten nearly every ingredient in this recipe at one time or another and it's always tasted incredible. frequently I don't add the red chili. sometimes I skip out on the cinnamon. tonight I forgot the lime juice, but since that's pretty much in the last step, the dhal was already great by that point. I was about to make some sort of generalization about skipping ingredients added in the last ten minutes, but I realized that kind of attitude would land my sorry arse in detention should I try it in potions class. and clearly, if something doesn't work in Harry Potter, then it's not applicable in real life either.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

vegan blueberry grunts

As I threatened, I made the blueberry grunt featured in a recent post on VeganYumYum. I followed Lolo's recipe basically to a T, so I am not going to reproduce it here except for changes, suggestions, etc.

I made the one-big-grunt-steamed-in-a-pan version. Not as cute as the individual grunts, but I think less work. They came out pretty well - well enough that gina marie, roommate emily and I all cleaned our plates. I think that next time i will make smaller "pieces" of grunt though, not cook the blueberries down so much, and maybe have a higher berry to dough ratio.

the wet stuff... I had two plastic boxes of blueberries, and gina marie had a handful of leftover raspberries and strawberries and I popped those in too.

berries simmered for about 20 minutes - probably a little too long. I guess I thought they needed to be really thick to hold up the biscuit. Not actually true!

My attempt to "cut" in the earth balance. I mushed it as best I could with a fork and then put it in the fridge.

added the soymilk - I only had unsweetened vanilla, so that's what I used. I should have taken my rings off first.

really should have taken off the rings. I maybe shouldn't have used my hands because hands are warm, but I wasn't sure how else to manage it without overmixing.

this was tricky, I had no idea what I was doing - I should have followed instructions and made *bite-sized* biscuit pieces, but they were so sticky!

it was weird looking, but pretty.

lid on! no peeking - except I have a clear lid!

and done



Monday, August 11, 2008

august blog number two - veganyumyum and lolo

I was at a fantastic birthday party for Ms. Chloe the other night, and I met a famous vegan foodblogger. Lolo's blog, VeganYumYum, is pretty right on. She has lots of beautiful pictures of vegan baked goods and other animal-free food including special cupcakes for knitting night (she was totes on Martha Stewart) and something called blueberry grunts - which I am dying to make, both because they look awesome, and because I am committed to making all kinds of cobbler-family desserts in a vegan way.... (see my blueberry buckle of 2007...)

Since VeganYumYum doesn't have a logo, I am including the latest post's gorgeous picture... Lolo says that she wants to do something with red currants and peppercorns! I am waiting excitedly to see what she comes up with next....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

august blog - if they let me get away with it

sarah elisabeth and gina marie might veto my nomination for blog of the month. it's not really a cooking blog. it is, however, a blog about the perils and delights of eating. or decorating, rather. Cake Wrecks is one of those sites that makes you real glad we got the internet. basically, it's a collection of hideous cakes - and there are so many reasons why a cake can be hideous. I never knew. my personal favorite (so far) is the cake someone made for a podiatrist. on a technical level, it's an impressive cake. on a culturally sensitive level, however...

things to do with polenta

way simple, way yummy:

slice some basil and garlic polenta into rounds about 1/2" thick. place on a baking sheet. wash and slice a beet or two into rounds about the same thickness. maybe it's a big beet, in which case you can halve your beet rounds. put one beet piece on top of each polenta round. take some fresh basil and place a few leaves on top of your polenta-beet cakes. you can also use fresh oregano. (I did half and half.) drizzle olive oil on top of the whole mess.

bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 320 degrees. serve. also tastes great the next day.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

pumpkin biscotti

I've wanted to make biscotti since I saw a friend do it and realized that the fancy Italian name does not actually mean this is complex and agonizing. it's no soufflé, folks. last night I mentioned to gina marie that I had found a pumpkin biscotti recipe and kind of wanted to make it. once she gave me permission (I was using her kitchen, after all), I set off to work with help from the folks at

what you need:
  • 2.5 cups of white flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 0.5 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cloves (which I left out)
  • 2 eggs
  • 0.5 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
what you do:
preheat oven to 350.

sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices. cool? cool. then, in a separate bowl, combine the beat the eggs, then add the pumpkin puree and vanilla. mix it the wet ingredients together. it will look really gross.

combine the wet and dry ingredients. I, of course, used more pumpkin than recommended. if you do this, pay attention during the combination stage. you may need to add more flour to add balance, as you're making dough and not pumpkin puree served on a bed of flour.

knead the dough. you'll probably need more flour on your hands than you would think, so either keep it nearby and ready to go or just double up before you begin. despite the intense flouring, you don't need to go nuts with kneading. just do a quick knead, adding more flour if the dough is too loose.
lightly grease a baking sheet and form the dough into a flat rectangle - 20"x7" or thereabouts. if you're like I am, you'll have no idea what those measurements mean. in that case, think about the size of your biscotti: do you want long biscotti or something more manageable? call upon your baking ideals and pop the dough into the oven for 22-30 minutes.

I pulled this guy out of the oven and thought to myself, "I've made ugly bread." let it cool for 15 minutes. then take a serrated knife and cut into 1"-wide pieces.
turn the oven down to 300 degrees and cook for an additional 15 minutes or 20 minutes. I think I could have left mine in for 20-25 minutes, but that's post hoc suspicion. let biscotti cool completely. they may still be a bit chewy, so just leave uncovered and let the magic happen. yum! so much pumpkin goodness! give to your friends! pretend you're Italian! get excited for autumn!

still to come: arty shots of biscotti that I took last night while dinner was cooking.

Monday, August 4, 2008

mayonnaise is not my friend

it's true. it's not. that's mostly why i never like cole slaw. but you know what is my friend? fennel. also,, which found me a recipe for cabbage and fennel cole slaw. which did have mayonnaise, but you know what? i didn't hate it. this is how you do it:

.quarter, core, and very thinly slice a head of cabbage
.wash the cabbage (i washed first and it was not easy. i think you wash after you slice)
.chop 2 heads of fresh fennel in half and slice very thin (you get cute little U shapes)
.the joy of cooking says save the green fennel stalks for broth. or don't.
.thinly slice/grate one very large carrot

put it all together in a big bowl. in a small bowl, mix:

.3/4 cup mayonnaise (or not that much if you hate it like me)
.1/2 cup sour cream
.2 tbs fresh lemon juice (1/2 a lemon pretty much)
.1/2 tsp sugar
.1/2 tsp hot sauce (with mayo? gross, right? actually, totally not gross!)

mix. eat. yay! mayonnaise and i still aren't friends, but we got along for a day.

guacamole with what's in our kitchen

(read to the end of the recipe first! if you don't, you might be sad!)

so, sometimes i want to make guacamole because the avocados are actually ripe, but i forget to buy everything cilantro and tomatoes. oops. this is what happens:

.chop 2 avocados pretty small
.chop 3/4 of a red (purple?) onion really small
.squeeze all the juice out 1/2 lime. squeeze a lot.
.steal a small handful of tomatoes out of sarah elisabeth's salad (don't tell! the salad had enough to share)and chop them really small too
.find two slightly old hot peppers from the farm share in the fridge. remove hot seeds and insides. chop them super super tiny. (if your hot peppers aren't old and wrinkly, maybe you only need one)
.add a little bit of salt. just a little!

stir with a spoon. then stir some more. then stir some more. if you used super ripe avocados like me, it will get supersmooth. who needs a blender? not me.

now you're done. actually, now you should repeat the whole thing with two more avocados, because this was good and i was sad that there wasn't more guacamole. or you should have doubled the recipe in the first place...

(hopefully, you read the note at the top, and read down to here, and you doubled the recipe in the first place and don't have to run out of guacamole and be sad like i was yesterday!)

.eat! with chips, maybe? the end.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

party food

gina marie and sarah elisabeth had a housewarming to welcome their new roommate, emily, and her cat, bartlett. Some food was made in this process.

sarah elisabeth made some pasta salad. she didn't have enough dressing, so sarah emily brought her some. so nice! Here is what was in it:
1.5 diced farmshare cucumbers
1.5 diced tomatoes from vermont
some chopped scallions
1 diced red pepper
1/2 diced yellow pepper
bag of fusili, cooked, drained, and then rinsed with cold water to cool it off
about 1 bottle of newman's own olive oil and vinegar salad dressing
then you toss is (I do it with my hands!)

emily made peanut noodles. secret recipe. looked like it involved peanut butter and scallions. They were *really good*.

kristen had bought some little mozzarella balls and left them at our house. perfect! we also had some leftover basil. I bought the snazzy heirloom cherry tomato mix at whole foods, added some olive oil and pepper... and voila!

and in motion...

gina made cole slaw. hopefully she will share her special recipe with you on this blog? it involved farmshare cabbage!

This is some salad dressing I made. it involves aged white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and grey poupon. and a little squeeze of lemon.

the dressing was to go on this salad. the salad included farm share lettuce (2 kinds), farm share cucumber, tomatoes from vermont and scallions.

gina made *really* good guacamole too, but I don't have a picture of that.

Monday, July 28, 2008

sky rockets in flight - cucumber delight

summer comes and sometimes you are too hot to cook. but you are still hungry. other times you just are exhausted from your day and cooking is hard. again, you're still hungry. thank goodness, then, for cucumbers, summer friend to the famished. a cucumber salad really needs nothing besides tasty cold cucumbers to make happy campers out of those hard working, sweaty summer laborers. so turn up the vampire weekend and get ready to chop!

here I took one cucumber and sliced it thinly into circles and then halves. then I added some chopped basil that was on its last legs and some scallions that were in similar condition. tossed in a handful of garbanzo beans (chick peas, if you prefer) and then mixed it all up. finally, I poured a bit of annie's cucumber-yogurt dressing onto the salad, poured some white wine into my glass, and sat down to read about john cheever's drunken escapades.

pros: no cooking, five minute prep time, yummy dinner.
cons: my mouth now tastes like stale cigarettes. I don't know what that's about, but I'm willing to bet it's unrelated to the cucumbers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

site of the month -- #2!

I decided that it was okay to have another site of the month, since it is very close to the first one. Our CSA at Stone Soup Farm started a pretty rockin' vegetable encyclopedia. Today, via The Grinder, I found a whole grains encyclopedia.

I have become mostly a whole grains kind of girl, when I can (although every once in awhile nothing beats some white pasta,) but sometimes I want to branch out and I am not sure how. I think this little gem might help, because it has pictures, descriptions, *and* cooking instructions!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

cheesy creamy greens on pasta.


OK, I forgot to take pictures, sorry. But this is good.

I was at a board meeting for the EMA Fund recently, where I am on the board (and where gina marie and sarah emily have both volunteered. If you want to volunteer, or give us money, you should let me know!) At this board meeting the host made us some food. It was *really* good, and I had to have the recipe. So, Erin Kate gave it to me (apparently it originally appeared in an Oregon newspaper in the nineties? sure!), and I made it for an EMA fundraising meeting that was at my house last night. Erin Kate had made it with spinach, I made it with chard and kale, since that what was looking less than stellar from the farmshare. I actually also had a lot of collard greens, but I was too afraid that I would try it and they would be tough. You can't really "wilt" collards.

OK, so here's what I did:

Melted 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat in large saute pan; added 6 or 7 cloves of finely chopped garlic and cooked it for 2-3 minutes.

Since I wasn't using spinach, I had to prepare my greens. I stripped the rainbow chard and the curly kale leaves off of their stems (I used a knife for the chard because it was so old and wilty, but the kale I could just sort of pull off.) I had just a little more than one farmshare bunch kale, and probably half a bunch of chard. Sorry I can't be more specific - maybe 12-15 stalks total? possibly more? I don't think it matters. once stripped, I chopped the greens into spinach leaf size pieces, and dropped it into the saute pan with a little salt.

then I covered it, and started working on the salad. I let it go maybe just a little longer than I should have. I stirred once. I think you want to cook it until just before any of the greens start to brown.

Next I added a medium sized container of heavy cream to the greens. I simmered that on medium high for about ten minuted. Then I used my immersion blender to coarsely chop the mixture in the saucepan, and to spray creamy greens all over myself!

Finally I added some more salt, several solid twists of the pepper grinder, and the juice of half a lemon. I also grated some fresh nutmeg (I had never tried this before. it is awesome. this is clearly the secret to yummy cheese sauces) and added an extra-large pinch of that.

When my 1.5 lbs of whole wheat penne finished cooking, I combined it with the sauce and some olive oil in bowl. et voila! came with salad of freshness from stone soup farm, and yummy onion dill bread, also from the farmshare.

I think this would be good on rice too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

corn and cucumber chilled soup

ah, the foolish. I count myself among their number. let me explain:

  • either with a hand mixer or blender, puree one can of corn with one cup vegetable stock
  • add cucumber, peeled and cut into inch-size pieces and puree
  • add 3 tablespoons of yogurt (soy or otherwise) and 3 tablespoons of parsley; puree
  • add 3 tablespoons of lime juice and puree
  • add salt and curry powder to taste
  • chill
  • serve
it's good. I promise. but then - oh! but then. do not go into a reverie about the weekend because a) it is Tuesday night and Saturday is so far off, but more importantly b) you just might dump all the remaining soup down the sink and have washed all the dishes before you think to yourself, "how should I store the leftovers?"

seriously. I have no recollection of dumping the rest of my perfectly good soup. all I remember is the fleeting thought that there seemed to be a lot parsley bits going down the drain. I drew the logical conclusion based on a lifetime's worth of idiocy.

Site of the Month: Stone Soup Farm Encyclopedia of Vegetables

on my way home last night, I stopped by my local farmer's market. the vegetables were beautiful - and occasionally mystifying. as I fondled a gorgeous cluster of pea tendrils, my roommate asked me what a person would do with those. "cook them like greens?" I suggested, really having no idea other than my deep instinct that pea tendrils were the greatest thing ever. we paused over some pumpkin stalks. no idea what to do with those either. then there was the leafy bundle of something with an unfamiliar name. "that's pretty," I mused, with nothing more to say on the matter.

chances are, everyone has had that experience: finding some vegetable or food that looks wonderful and most likely edible, but that's all the knowledge available. this occurs frequently with our CSA. The first time I was presented with kohlrabi I believe I let it sit on my counter until it was obviously bad. it wasn't intentional. I just had no idea what to do with the thing. it had a funny name.

well, the morning after my confrontation with the pumpkin stalks and pea tendrils, an email arrived in my inbox. Jarrett, the good farmer (and friend) behind our CSA, has begun a vegetable resource page. it's a work in progress, but already it boasts pretty pictures and brief yet informative descriptions. the entry for kale tells you what veggie "family" kale belongs and provides cooking instructions. in four sentences. this page is a gem and it's our site of the month.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

me against the vegetables

this is the pattern of CSA cooking: the night before your new delivery of farm food, you look around your kitchen at the leftover vegetables and think, "what kind of a dish can these all make together?" as a result, one night of the week sort of becomes ExperiMental night.

last night I set the brown rice up to cook and then began exploring my vegetable state. I had some leeks that my roommate had already prepped, some radishes that needed to be used, and a summer squash. I chopped it all up, added some garlic - obvi - and set about sautéing it. began with some olive oil and the garlic, added the leeks and the radishes, and then threw the summer squash on there. just as I was about to add the squash, I thought to myself, "I don't believe I've ever had cooked radishes." and that was the point where I realized that, as pretty as my food may look in the pan, there was no guarantee it would taste pretty in my mouth.

when everything looked well sautéed , I put in a hefty amount of lemon juice, some white wine, and black pepper. mixed it all up, let it simmer for a while, and then poured the mess over my brown rice. and you know what? it was real nice.

UNRELATED: I'd like to recommend a band - the Low Anthem. this is pretty much unrelated to food, except for the fact that I would like their album What the Crow Brings to be the soundtrack to my life when I live on a farm and cook food in dusk light.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

late night hungry (peas, cheese, noodles)

I got home from Portland Pride tonight and was lazy for a good long time because I had eaten around 4:30. Eventually I decided to get off my ass and make something to eat. While I was in Portland I had purchased a half pound of Maine's award-winning cheese: City of Ships from Hahn's End. I wanted to eat a little of it.

I put some water on and cooked up half a box of elbows. I melted a third of a stick of butter on medium heat and then put in two handfuls of frozen peas. I stirred a bit until the peas seemed mostly unfrozen. Then I crumbled up just a little of the cheese (3 tablespoons?) and dropped it in with the peas and butter. I stirred constantly with a wooden spoon until the cheese melted. Finally I added about half the drained elbows into the saucepan with the peas etc, tossed, and added some salt and pepper.

mild, satisfying, yummy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

double garlic soup

I put off posting about the soup the night I made it because, frankly, I was disappointed. true, I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but it just didn't have enough garlic. but then I had it for lunch the next day and you know what? there was plenty of garlic flavor that just needed a little time to show up.

below is the recipe as I made it. if you want to follow the new york times' directions, I've already shown you how to do that. this here is the soup as I made it. and while it needs improvement, I think it's pretty damn good.

you need:
  • 6 bulbs of garlic chopped
  • 3 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 3 + tablespoons earthbalance
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 large yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup soy creamer
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • grated nutmeg
you do:
in a soup pot, melt the earthbalance over medium-high heat. toss in the garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. I think earthbalance may cook faster than butter, so keep an eye on the garlic so that it doesn't burn. add more earthbalance if the garlic is starting to stick to the bottom. add scapes, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for 5 minutes.

stir in the potato and broth and turn the heat down to medium. simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. mix in the creamer and turn off heat.

take yer trusty hand blender and puree the soup. (be careful not to splash yourself - the soup is still hot!) stir in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.

then put it away. the next day, heat yourself a bowl of soup, sprinkle nutmeg and thyme leaves on top, and enjoy. oh! also - this recipe doesn't make a lot of soup. it makes maybe 4-5 servings. mess around with the proportions if you're cooking for the kids.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

warm? rice salad

Inspired by Antonia on Top Chef, a funky recipe on 101Cookbooks, and the beautiful, beautiful lettuces that I got in the first farmshare distribution yesterday, I decided to make salad. With rice.

First I put on the rice - I picked a wild rice/red rice blend. It takes about an hour to cook, so be read to be in it for the longhaul.

While the rice was cooking, I prepped the rest of the cold parts of the salad:
Several large handfuls of greens from Stone Soup Farm, a sliced orange sweet pepper, a handful of chopped cilantro from the farm, a halved and sliced avocado.

then I put a little olive oil in a skillet and put a peeled and sliced kohlrabi and two sliced summer squashes (all from the farm) in on medium heat for a few minutes, until they were still firm, but cooked.

Finally, I made dressing. 2 shallots diced finely (from last years farmshare), olive oil, aged white wine vinegar, a big dollop of Grey Poupon, and salt and pepper. Just keep messing until it tastes good. - usually you need either more vinegar or more salt.

When the rice was down, I stirred it in its pot to let it cool enough that I could touch it, and then I put half the rice and half the hot veggies in the salad bowl and poured all the dressing over it. Finally, I tossed with my hands. And then added more rice because half the pot wasn't enough.

On the plate, adding some parm was a nice addition. Best eaten outside while drinking red wine.

(also, I am going to try it cold for lunch today ... wish me luck!)