Beet Recipe

October 31, 2008

As mentioned in my last post, I’m now working on the blog for my CSA. Pretty siked about that actually. I posted a lengthy entry on beets including the below recipe I made up for the entry. I gotta say…those cippolini onions ARE YUMM-eh!

Beet Salad


3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 chopped cippolini onions (1 small red onion as substitute)
1 Tbs turbinado sugar
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium beets, cooked and quartered
2 cups fresh arugula
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 ounce soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

To make the dressing, place oil in a saute pan over medium heat, add onions and then simmer with the rest of the dressing ingredients for 2 minutes. Onions will lightly caramelize. Toss the salad ingredients in a bowl and then add dressing (there will be slight wilting but arugula is a tough green). Serves 2 as an appetizer.


Muffin (wo)Man

October 27, 2008

This weekend I made a LOT of muffins. Boogie enjoys these for breakfast with some yogurt and fruit so I like to keep my freezer stocked. I had a few bananas stowed in the freezer (to avoid wasting a too ripe banana, toss in the freezer and make banana bread/muffins with them). I also had a can of pumpkin puree.

I made this recipe:

However, I carmelized the pecans taking 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup pecans and 2 tbsp turbinado sugar and simmering for a few minutes in a skillet. I made half without nuts for Boogie and then the other half were for various guests that came through this weekend as well as for me! They were all good but the pecans were decadent.

I also made pumpkin cornmeal muffins:

I used the above recipe but added 1 tsp of cinnamon (so 2 total), 1/8 tsp of ground ginger and 1/8 tsp of nutmeg. After trying these I would probably make them again with a crumbled sugar topping and a bit more clove. Maybe a full tsp. The carmelized pecans would also be good! This recipe actually made 12 muffins and two mini-loafs of bread, too. The freezer is stocked and I sent my friend Jessica home to D.C. with a few muffins and a mini-loaf for her and her husband to enjoy.

Muffins are really fairly cheap to make and SERIOUSLY easy. I think it takes serious skills to mess muffins up. The banana muffins (with the pecans) will make you look like the greatest cook ever, by the by. We are talking Ina Garten level, here.

LWD – Chez Troy

October 24, 2008

Sarahbyrd, Juli and Liz came over Wednesday night as it was my month to make the LWD dinner. Menu was as follows:

– Salad of red lettuce (csa), radishes (csa) with sardines and green wine.
– Crusty bread with spanish cheeses (bread was provided by Liz and cheeses were provided by Sarahbyrd)
– Braised beef shortribs with sauteed Tsa Toi (csa) on a bed of semolina polenta (made w/ leeks from the csa) served with Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale (provided by Juli. That stuff is yum!).
– Mitsu and pecan apple tart served with port.

Apple Pecan Tart

The tart was a variation on several simple apple tart recipes I found on the web:

– 1 sheet of puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farms. They come in a double pack. One sheet makes four servings)
– two apples thinly sliced (put aside in lemon juice and water)
– 1/4 cup of pecans
– 2 (or 3:) tbsp. of softened butter
– 3 or 4 tbsp. of turbinado sugar

Place pecans and sugar in a mini-prep or grinder and fine grind (as much as possible. Can be rough. this is rustic.:). Then add butter and form a paste. Spread paste onto the puff pastry (laid out on a cookie sheet) but leave a bit of room at the edge of the pastry. Then layer on apple slices tightly. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes (you will see that it is a golden brown on the puffed up edges of the tart). Let cool…as long as your self control will allow! and serve. You can add ice cream to this or whipped cream but it is really great alone. Serves 4.

Ok, so I think I messed up the cooking time and temp for the zucchini bread from a couple of weeks ago. I have made two batches and the second came out less than the perfection I prefer:). I think the bread should be baked in a regular loaf pan for 50 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees.  With further research, I’ve decided cream cheese is REQUIRED for full enjoyment of this bread. It is like heaven. Get reduced fat, if you need to, but just do it.

That being said, I need spice bread recipes. Also muffin recipes. I have bananas in the freezer WAITING to be made into bread or muffins. I also have pumpkin puree in the pantry that I’d like to make into bread. Have been craving pumpkin bread, lately. I imagine that there is a chance we’ll get pumpkin in the csa share and so I’ll have to make lots and lots of pumpkin bread and muffins (I hope, I hope) and also I’ll have PUMPKIN SEEDS! wooo-hoo! Wish with me.

Ok, so Ally just asked me to post a pesto recipe for some basil she has landed and I have to say that I have never, ever, in my life, followed a recipe for pesto. I’ve read a few just to be inspired but I always make the stuff by feel. If you have a mini-prep, use that …for sure. Here is my best shot at what I think that I do:):

– 1.5 to 2 cups basil leaves (a little stem is ok)
– 1/4 to 1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts
– the juice of 1/3 fresh lemon (keeps the basil green and adds a little something)
– 2 to 3 cloves of garlic (depending on taste…you might want to only use one clove if serving this to picky toddlers)

First put all into food processor/grinder and do a grind with the above. Then add about 1 to 2 (up to 3?) tbsp. of olive oil. A paste should form. You can freeze this in small containers and it lasts in the fridge up to 3 days.

Optional additions:

– broccolli rabe ( take bunch of rabe, blanche it, grind it up and add the above recipe to the mixture. May take a bit more nuts, oil and lemon juice. Really good served as a "bed" under a fish (white…like talapia or sole) fillet.)

– parmesan (wouldn’t add this if you are freezing…just me…also, if you have a lactose intolerant in the house, just put cheese on the table and don’t add to the pesto)

– chilies (for spicy!)

Also, don’t forget you can make sage pesto with sage, pecans and olive oil. Cilantro pesto with walnuts or pine nuts, olive oil, chilies, garlic and lemon juice.

idea for use:

– fish
– pasta
– risotto (cook w/ broth and add pesto toward the last of cooking process. serve with some sauteed greens or snow peas on top)
– steamed veggies
– as seasoning for sauce (like…throw it into a can of crushed tomatoes with a chopped shallot and you are done with the pasta sauce cooking!)
– on chicken, fresh mozzarella and roasted red pepper sandwich
– mixed w/ ricotta and stuffed into shells for stuffed shells
– mixed w/ ricotta and used as a filling for a savory tart on puff pastry

New blog I’m totally inspired by.

So far I’ve had really good results with this. I’ve tried three different herbs: Basil, dill and cilantro, so far. I made basil and dill butter which is really simple. You simply bring a stick of butter to softened/room temperature, chop the herb and mix them up.

I have all these little plastic containers from Boogie’s meals…I got some from One Step Ahead specifically designed for freezing small amounts of food. I, also, have some recycled from Plum Baby Foods that I’ve bought for Boogie. A very good baby food brand, by the way. Glad brand also makes some small containers I think designed for salad dressings. Those are great for this. I put the herb butters in these containers and freeze.

I’ve also made a lot of basil pesto, as mentioned in prior posts and that freezes well. I, again, use small containers. Additionally, I froze chopped cilantro in lime juice and chopped dill in lemon juice. Herbs just don’t last very long even when you pre-wash them and wrap in paper towels. This is a good way to get a longer life out of them and save food and money.