Monday, September 28, 2009

Arugula Salad with Spiced Butternut Squash, Lentils and Goat Cheese

Yes, butternut abounds here at 1346.
I saw this fall salad recipe in the October issue of Bon Appetit... it looked pretty tasty, and I had all the ingredients here, care of my CSA.
I liked this recipe, but didn't looooove it. It was an interesting combination- the peppery arugula, the summery mint, the earthy lentils, the creamy goat cheese and the spicy butternut. I think the dressing needed a little extra something something, though.... just olive oil and red wine vinegar? Hmm.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Indian Deliciousness, Take 2: Chicken Tikka Masala and Cauliflower Curry

After my last foray into Indian (which was mostly successful), I was watching TV and happened upon an episode of America's Test Kitchen on PBS in which they were making Indian food. I looked up their recipes online to see if they might be the magic bullet. Their method seemed pretty easy, and I know they obsessively test their recipes repeatedly, so I thought they had potential.
With cauliflower and potatoes from the CSA this week, I thought this was a good time. Plus, I could tell Tony wanted to bust out some of the Bollywood dance moves he learned from last week's Psych episode (which, funnily, featured Madhur Jaffrey, a famous cookbook writer who specializes in Indian and vegetarian).

The chicken tikka masala was really good- marinating the chicken in a yogurt mixture and then cooking it separately from the sauce made it really juicy. The veggie curry was good, too! My hands definitely still smell like the curry spices now, though, 4 hours later. Such is the price for a tasty dinner.

French Country Sorrel Soup

Randy and Chris from Star Hollow Farm gave us this sorrel souprecipe and all of the ingredients to make it in last week's CSA box. Pretty tasty! Lemony and light.
Here's the recipe:

Country Sorrel Soup

1 1/2 TBS butter
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 C tightly packed sorrel, stemmed
3 C stock or water (I used 2 cups chicken broth, 1 water)
1/4 C sour cream
lemon juice (I used the juice from 1/2 lemon)
salt & pepper
  • In a heavy pot, melt butter and saute onion until soft, but not brown.
  • add potatoes, sorrel and stock.
  • bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until vegetables are soft.
  • cool and puree until smooth
  • add sour cream lemon juice and salt & pepper
  • heat through, but do not boil

Peach Smoothie

Used the peaches I chopped up and froze, blended them with some vanilla yogurt. Ta da!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Skillet Cornbread!

Made this skillet cornbread to a) go alongside my butternut squash chili and b) utilize my pimpin' new cast iron skillet that Mike and Jamie gave me for my birthday.
(note: chiles added for artistic effect only)
It's kind of a semi-homemade trick, but amped up a little bit (plus, if the Washington Post approves of using the boxed mix, then I feel justified). I used 2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix, mixed in the requisite amount of milk and eggs, and then threw in some fresh CSA corn that I cut off the cobs and sauteed quickly in some butter (2 ears). I used the 10.5 inch skillet.

I used this method of skillet-baked cornbread: while you're preheating the oven, throw the skillet in there to heat up, too. When you're ready to put the batter in, take the skillet out, throw a tablespoon or two of butter in there so it melts and coats the bottom/sides of the pan, then top it off with the batter and shove it back in the oven. Makes the crust super crispy and delicious!

Butternut Squash and Greens Chili

This is a useful chili recipe to have in your arsenal. Healthy, tasty, easy (except cutting up the butternut squash = PITA!).
Changes I make to sass up the recipe a bit:
  • substitute one can of chickpeas for one of the cans of black beans
  • use whatever leafy greens you have on hand: kale, swiss chard, collard greens, spinach (this time we ended up using a bag of random mixed greens Chuckie bought by accident when I requested mixed baby greens.)
  • add some cayenne (1/2 tsp) and cinnamon (a couple shakes) when you add the other spices

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

In order to use up some more of our myriad tomatoes, a bunch of herbs, and some chicken tenders we had in the fridge, I pulled together this chicken parmesan.
I used the herby breading from this Rachael Ray recipe (includes fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley with the breadcrumbs and cheese), the cooking method of this crispy chicken recipe (baking the chicken strips on a metal rack at high heat to get them crispy all around). Then I put the chicken in one of my new baking dishes, covered it with the homemade sauce from last night and some mozzarella and broiled it.

Served over orzo, alongside some roasted broccoli.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Homemade Tomato Sauce for Freezing

This week my CSA offered 10 lb boxes of Roma tomatoes at a fairly steep discount... most likely because it's the end of the summer and they're swimming in tomatoes. I took the bait, and now I am similarly treading in deep tomato waters.
I decided to make a whole bunch of simple tomato-basil sauce to freeze so we could have the fresh tomato taste in a couple months when the grocery store tomatoes are pale and anemic.

I used the basic tomato sauce recipe from this pasta cookbook Mom gave me several years ago... here's the general gist, although feel free to amp up whatever aspect of it you like:

4 lb peeled/seeded/diced Roma tomatoes

2 TBS olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp pepper

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil (and/or parsley)

- throw everything but the herbs into a large pot over medium heat

- bring to a boil

- turn heat down, simmer for 20 minutes

- add chopped herbs

- process the sauce (or part of the sauce) to get the consistency you want

- cook 5 minutes more

Sesame Soba Noodles with Baby Bok Choy...

...and cucumber and mixed greens and cilantro and mint and peanuts and shrimp (my addition to the recipe!).
This stuff was really good. Light and refreshing, crunchy and earthy- it's more of an Asian salad with soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat spaghetti) on top as an afterthought. All of it, salad and noodles, is covered in a citrusy/peanuty dressing. I added the shrimp, marinated in fish sauce and lemon zest then quickly sauteed, like the shrimp in the summer rolls I made a few months ago.

I will definitely make this again next time I get bok choy in my CSA share!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chicken with Mustard Sage Sauce

The first time I made this, I asked Tim to get me some whole-grain mustard at the store... he was confused, so I clarified by describing the mustard as "the one with all the tiny balls in it." That seemed to work for him.
I've made this chicken recipe a bunch of times and it's really tasty and easy. Made even easier if you use chicken tenders like I did... they don't take very long to cook. I used sage from our rooftop garden. I like the flexibility of this sauce- you can make it as is, or you can splash some cream in. Mmm.

Served with roasted potatoes with garlic and rooftop rosemary (the potatoes were fresh from the soil as of today... picked by yours truly at Amy's CSA farm). Also, roasted broccoli with garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Roasted Spicy Butternut Squash Seeds

I wasn't sure if you could roast butternut squash seeds like you do pumpkin seeds, but Google informed me that I can, so I did.

Butternuts are definitely not as prolific in the seed department as pumpkins, but I got enough out for a little snack.
I washed, dried and tossed them with olive oil. Then I laid them on a baking sheet and sprinkled them with cumin, cayenne and salt.

Roast at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes until crispy!

New Necklaces

This necklace practically made itself- all of the beads were in the same general vicinity at the bead store when I went last week. Pretty sweet, eh?
I put it on a waxed cotton cord that you tie on a bow at the back of your neck rather than a clasp... so the length can be changed depending on what you're wearing.
This one I made to go with a dress I bought to wear to my birthday party... the ladies at 1346 describe the color as "baby puke," but it looked damn good with the dress! I'll post a photo of the necklace/dress combo as soon as I get one.

Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

It's officially the start of fall: I got a butternut squash in my CSA this week.
I made this recipe a couple times last winter and really liked it. It seems like every blogger on the internets has done a version of this recipe, and for good reason. It's tasty, easy and pretty healthy. I like the different consistencies- the warm soft squash, the crunchy chickpeas, the creamy sauce.

Give it a try!

Served it with broccoli tossed with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, S&P then roasted at high heat for like 10 minutes. Squeeze lemon over it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Unwrappable Burrito

Starring, in order of appearance:

Chipotle-esque cilantro lime rice (which is basically rice with a lime/cilantro/garlic pesto stirred in)


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Amy's great, she bakes me a chocolate cake!

Amy baked and hand-decorated this kick-ass double chocolate cake for my birthday party. Amazing. Super rich, moist and chocolatey. I think it's the coffee in the batter, and Amy's magic touch. She tells me that left out 1/2 C of sugar, and used Ghirardelli chocolate.
The decorations were made with this buttermilk frosting recipe:

Buttercream icing for decorating:
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
4 c. sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp. milk (+ more milk or light corn syrup for easier spreading)

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at high speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until you're ready to decorate. For best results, keep icing in refrigerator when you're not using. Makes 3 cups icing.

Simple Breakfast

Saute minced garlic and some chopped scallions in olive oil, add chopped swiss chard... top with an egg fried over easy.
Serve alongside some broiled tomatoes from Martha's garden and a faux latte. Awesome.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Onion Rosemary Focaccia

Made this focaccia with rosemary from our rooftop garden, onions from the CSA, and the olive oil dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Pretty tasty - soft and herby!

Pasta Carbonara

I've always wanted to try carbonara... bacon and eggs and pasta... how could it be bad?
I saw this simple version of it on GoodBite, a new bloggers-making-cooking-videos website, and thought I'd give it a go. Pretty simple, definitely tasty.

We made it with pancetta instead of bacon, and this long fusilli stuff instead of bucatoni.

Gingersnap Nectarine Tart

I got a ton of nectarines over the past couple weeks in my CSA box, so in honor of Martha's arrival, I thought I would use them to make this gingersnap crust cheese-cakey tart thing.
Martha likes ginger.
Pretty sweet looking, eh?