All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. ~John Gunther

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!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

blogs for the animalistic among us

we forgot a blog of the month. oops.

here at leisurely breakfast, we don't really do much with meat. sarah elisabeth has been known to serve up a rack of such-and-such on occasion, but we just don't live very meaty lifestyles. this translates to our blog: if you're looking for carnivore advice, we're not your ann landers.

this month's (tardy) blog is simply recipes, a site that not only has a full range of recipes, but some of the most beautiful pictures of meat dishes that I've ever seen. the photos of all the dishes are gorgeous and also make me wonder how many sets of plates Elise actually owns. the recipes range from simple to complex, but there's really helpful commentary throughout the directions so that you're not just left alone with your list of ingredients and the "after" photo. I read this and get really jazzed about cooking, which is what a good food blog is supposed to do.

special shout out to the rosemary lemon rhubarb spritzer. I now cannot wait for rhubarb to be in season.

garlic is my favorite time of year

two wonderful things have happened within the last 24 hours: our farmshare has begun again and the new york times has printed 6 recipes and an article on the glory of garlic. farmshare time is my favorite because food tastes so much better when it's fresh from that day. I had no idea carrots had such complex flavors until I had eaten them direct from the farm.

yesterday's pick up included garlic scapes - long, green loops of plant that are less sharp than garlic bulbs but still full of the garlic taste with which I'm obsessed. and today's times has a recipe for double garlic soup, which I will be making tonight as I finish painting my dining room chairs. because, yes - despite comments about elf parties and my mother's concerned email about how the color made her head hurt - I am painting the rest of the chairs green. it actually looks pretty good next to the white dining room table. but folks can sit on the floor while eating soup if they'd like.

recipe and pictures to come tomorrow.

Monday, June 9, 2008

hot apple pie muffins

yesterday it was in the mid 90s here in Cambridge, MA. it was, in other words, the perfect day to put together Ikea furniture and paint it. after I completed one dining room chair, it was clear that the paint mixer at my local hardware store had misinterpeted the color sample I had picked out. instead of spring green, the chairs are the furniture equivilent of little green men. with three out of six chairs assembled and painted, I decided that the hot weather should be used more appropriately. it was time to bake. here's the recipe for hot apple pie muffins, so named because they were apple and I was hot.

for muffins:
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice - I had none, so I used pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup apple cider - I had none so I used water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup grated apple
  • 1/2 chopped apple
for topping:
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice - again, I used pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of slat
  • 3 tbsp canola oil

preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tin.

topping goes like this: mix together all the dry ingredients. then pour in the oil one tablespoon at a time. in between tablespoons, mix the ingredients with your fingers to get it crumbly.

muffins go like this: sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. create a well in the center and add the apple cider (which may actually be water), oil, and vanilla. mix the whole thing together and then fold in the grated and chopped apple.

fill each muffin cup just below the rim. add a thick layer of the topping. my cookbook says to sprinkle the topping, but part of what I love about apple pie is the crusty top, so I say lay it on.

pop in the oven. 22 minutes later you should have lovely muffins that look like this:

of course, I still had dining room chairs that looked like this: