Thursday, February 28, 2013

New box...yummy dinner!

Fish night! Good thing, 'cuz I is tired and fish is quick. Plus, I delegated the fish prep to my husband while I set about making a fruit salad with the kiwi, strawberries, oranges and a banana. Super simple! Fruit slathered in vanilla yogurt is always a sure hit.

I wanted a hot steamed vegetable component to our meal, also, so I put some broccoli heads and chunks of the purple carrot into the microwave steamer and set it to cook in the microwave for 5 minutes.

Lee was making the fish in those individual ramekin boats, topping the Bank Rockfish with butter, lemon juice, basil and parsley. The basil had survived from our little window plants we started a couple of months ago. Lemon pepper and garlic salt seasoned it just perfectly. The dishes baked for about one half hour until the fish was a flakey white. Lee also made his special tartar sauce with mayonnaise, dill pickle relish, lemon juice, Worchesterchire sauce and dried dill. Its always so tangy and good.

I kind of wanted to make rice, too, but we really didn't need it. We had our fill of fish and veges, so the salad was almost like dessert. Almost, cuz nothing beats those Girl Scout cookies!

The only drawback was that there were no leftovers. I will have to build some green salads for our lunch tomorrow. Maybe those garbanzo bean sprouts will make a nice addition to the salad. : )

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Potato with Ragu Bolongese e Fagoli

Tonight was more recycled food, with another twist: a cup or so of last night's leftover meat became the base for a Bolongese-type sauce over baked Russet potatoes.

Because this is one of my later work nights and Lee beats me home by 15 minutes, I enlisted his help. He poked fork-holes in the potatoes that I had already scrubbed and popped them into the microwave for 5 minutes to partially cook them. But I love the flakiness of an oven-roasted potato, so I asked him to finish them in the oven. So he then coated the potatoes with olive oil and seasoned them with coarse salt. They went into the oven for another 40 minutes until fork-tender. 

When I got home, I heated up the leftover ground meat and added some tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and a can of garbanzo beans. For good measure I added the last bunch of spinach that I had sliced into strips, making sort of a chunky vegetable ragu al la bolongese e fagoli. I think. Anyway, I. Served the sauce over the baked potato and topped it with more cheese, and the guys loved it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stuffed Butternut Squash

My husband wants to eat more like a Caveman, so that translates into ditching grains. Okay! So tonight we had roasted butternut squash filled with ground meat and cheese. The cheese might not be exactly Paleo, but at least its not a grain. No rice to stretch this stuffing!

I started by roasting the squash at 350 Degrees for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, I sauteed some chopped onion and ground beef until it was completely browned. I added some seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. After I had taken the squash out of the oven and let it cool for a bit, I then scooped out most of the fleshy part and put it into a mixing bowl. I added the browned meat and about a cup of shredded cheese. That made the filling for the squash, which I packed into the four halves. I put them back into the oven for another 25 minutes until it was heated through.

I loved the sweetness of the squash with the meat and cheese flavors! Dinner was accompanied by a small green salad and a creamy tarragon dressing.

Oh Sweet Salad Makings!

"Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 02/25/2013 - 03/01/2013

THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES: Celery,Broccoli,"Dino" Kale,Radishes,"Organic" Purple Carrots,Romaine Lettuce, Brussels Sprouts,"Organic" Garbonzo Bean Sprouts,Kiwi,Sweet "Oro Blanco" Grapefruit,Fuji Apples,Tangelos,Vine Ripened Strawberries"

Lots of good sweet salad makings! I think I could make a salad with any of these ingredients, beyond green salad. We could have broccoli salad, Waldorf salad, fruit salad, shaved brussel sprout salad, kale salad...endless possibilities! Garbanzo bean sprouts--so cool!

A note was included saying they ran low on apples, so some squash and shallots were substituted. That's nice! They were cute little orange squash.

Recycled food is pretty good

I am in to food recycling. That is, I cook something, then remake the leftovers into something else. That is how we got a frittata for breakfast this morning.

A couple of nights ago we had roasted potatoes and I had about one potato's worth of wedges left. So this morning I am looking in the frig and spy those babies and think "Frittata!" I already had some chopped sweet bell peppers, cuz when I cut one up in strips for roasting in another recipe, I could'nt bear to throw away the ends. So I cube them up and keep them in the frig for something else. If I don't use them in a day or so, I put them in a freezer bag so I almost always have some red or green peppers on hand. Brilliant, I know.

So breakfast was fast since the potatoes were already cooked. All I had to do was chop a couple of slices of an onion and saute them with the bell pepper for a few minutes in a bit of olive oil, then stir in the potatoes and heat it all up. I cracked 5 eggs into a bowl, whisked in some milk and salt, and poured it over the vegies. I let that cook with the lid on the saute pan for about 5 minutes, sprinkled on some cheese, and then divided into 4 portions for serving.

That was my recycled omlette!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Roasted broccoli is great with NY Steak

Roasted broccoli was just one easy component of this wonderful dinner. It started off with baking some sweet potatoes that had been rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. They needed about an hour at 350 degrees. The broccoli when in during the last 20 minutes. They, too, had a bath in olive oil and were simply seasoned with salt. Shrimp in butter with Italian seasoning rounded out the oven preparations, as I also sauteed some mushrroms in butter with onion and red bell peppers. New York steaks were seasoned with coarse salt and a steak seasoning blend, then grilled for about 8 mintes per side.  The finished steaks topped a bed of mixed greens

Abondigas Soup and Fruit Salad night

Today we went out to lunch at Olive Garden for Grandpa's birthday, so we ate way too much already. However, you know how it is...the sun sets and you wonder what's for dinner?

I decided to make a light meatball soup that called for zucchini and cilantro. I had planned to make this soup a few weeks ago, but ended up making the meatballs and freezing them for a quick dinner midweek. It's Sunday, but I am feeling lazy, so -- perfecto!

We are expecting a new SLO Veg shipment this week, so I am taking inventory in the fridge to see what I need to use up. I still had a basket of those juicy, sweet strawberries... not sure how that happened, but there they were, staring at me from the vegie bin. Okay, strawberries, a blood orange, an apple and a banana will make a perfect fruit salad to accompany the soup. I set about peeling the orange and dicing it into large chunks. Then I cubed the apple, peel and all, into bite-sized pieces. I cut the tops off the strawberries and quartered them, then sliced the banana and gave it a stir. It would be fine just like that, but I wanted to also use up some vanilla yogurt that had been in the frig for a week, so I stirred in a couple of tablespoons full. It made a perfect, sweet but light sauce for the fruit. I think the boys liked it. Taylor called the fruit salad a Gift from God!

Fruit Salad
1 Blood orange
1 Fuji apple
1 banana
1 basket strawberries
2 Tbs vanilla yogurt

Dice fruit into bite sized chunks. Stir in yogurt and stir. Eat

Abondigas Soup
6 C chicken broth (water + 2 Tbs chicken broth powder)
1/4 C onion, diced
1/4 C celery, diced
1/4 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1 zucchini, diced
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
Spicy Mexican Meatballs

I started with the broth made with water and chicken broth powder I had bought at the Health Food store (hopefully it doesn't have all the MSG and additives other products have). I heated it in a stock pot while I prepared the vegetables. I diced the onion, celery and onion and added them to a saute pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, cooking until the onions were clear. I added the minced garlic and cooked for another minute, then added the vegies to the chicken broth. I defrosted the meatballs for one minute, then added them to the soup pot. I let it cook for about 10 minutes, added the cilantro and zucchini and cooked for another 5 minutes. The soup was served with warm flour tortillas and the fruit salad on the side. 

Oh yeah, how did I make the spicy meatballs? Here are the ingredients:

Spicy Mexican Meatballs
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb chorizo sausage, casing removed (not the fully cooked kind)
1 egg, beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 carrot, minced
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup cilantro leaf, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

I mixed all the ingredients and made smallish meatballs, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Normally you cook the meatballs right in the broth, but I baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes and cooled them on a wire rack. Then I froze them in a ziplock freezer bag until, well, today! I might add that I didn't add any other seasonings to the soup other than the chicken broth powder and the meatballs, and it turned out great with the just flavoring from the meatballs and vegetables.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Betty's Apple Ambrosia Recipe : Trisha Yearwood : Recipes : Food Network

Betty's Apple Ambrosia Recipe : Trisha Yearwood : Recipes : Food Network 

This apple ambrosia salad is so fresh and sweet and good! I could eat it every night just for dessert! This week I have lots of tangerines to use up, so i might add some to this salad tonight for a citrus-y tang. I used unsweetened coconut and added just a couple of teaspoons of sugar instead of the half cup called for in the recipe link. I think it turned out plenty sweet enough with just the apples and orange juices.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cornbread and Turnip Greens

There's a country song I know that mentions turnip greens:
Billy Currington makes them sound pretty good.

I think I read a recipe for collard greens in Trisha Yearwood's Southern Cookbook, but turnip greens? I guess since we got so many of them, we should try them. We got this bunch of turnips, which actually amounted to about 8 little morsels, but they were attached to about 18 inches of greens. I have to let you know I did roast the turnips today like I have roasted beets, but they don't taste quite like beets. They were also "red" turnips, but the color sort of drained out of them in the roasting process. Now I am gonna have to see what exactly I am gonna do with them, but that will be tomorrow or something.

I am going to loosely follow Emeril's recipe for the turnip greens:
I cut the tops off of the turnips and put them in a sink full of cold water to soak any dirt off. I am planning to saute the greens in my large two-handled saute pan with some oil and onions, and them braise them for a bit in some beer, just like I tried with the collards several weeks back. Only this time I will watch them better and not let the liquid boil out and burn them! I am also baking some country-style pork ribs in the oven for 3 hours this afternoon. Cornbread will also figure into this meal, because I guess you just can not have turnip greens without the cornbread.

I found a recipe for the pork on "Pork Be Inspired". You smear one side of the meat with mustard and sprinkle on a dry rub of paprika, granulated garlic, salt, pepper and brown sugar...pretty simple. This roasts in the oven on low heat (300) for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. So I just put it in and sat down to watch some car races on TV with the hub. In about an hour, I will start the turnip greens and the cornbread, so hopefully everything will be done about the same time. This seems like a really fancy Sunday dinner where you should have some company over or something, but it might just be Lee and I. If Taylor doesn't make it home from his friends' house on time, I guess I will save him some leftovers.

So, it turned out like a real down-home Southern dinner. Country-style pork ribs with a sweet and peppery rub, cornbread and turnip greens. The greens were kind of strong-flavored, but a touch of rice vinegar and some honey to sweeten it up really made the turnip greens tastey. Seasonings included cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. I used a bottle of 805 beer in place of the "Dixie" beer, too. Emeril's recipe called for bacon and molasses, but I just used bacon grease leftover from breakfast and the last bit of honey in the honey bottle. No honey with corn bread, I guess. That's okay, we have some of Monique's delicious raspberry jam. 

Pan-fried Russet potatoes with farm-fresh eggs and Bacon!

Mmmmm...bacon scents the air as I come down the stairs for my Sunday morning cup of coffee. Lee has found the bacon and is already searing it in the skillet. Last night I had brought home some fresh chicken eggs that a friend at work offers each week, so I knew we would be having eggs with that bacon. I think I will also want some potatoes with it, though, thinking of those big ol' Russets from the tote box.

Knowing I have to catch up, I quickly pop two potatoes into the microwave for 2 minutes to start them cooking. Then I take them out and dice them up for a frying pan sear. Lee generously shares some of his bacon grease, and in no time my pan-fried potates are crisping up nicely. I do a little quality-control on the bacon that Lee now has draining on a paper towel.

I am all out of yellow onions, but I do have those SLO Veg green onions, and some fresh parsely, so I begin giving those a rough chop and add them to the potatoes just at the end of cooking. Lee has passed the egg-cooking task on to me, so I add some bacon grease to another skillet and proceed to crack the fresh eggs, one at a time. The shells are just a bit thicker than grocery store eggs, but when the hit the skillet, wow! We pause to admire the rich, deep golden-colored yolks.

I set out two plates and divide the potatoes between us. Then I put LeeMs two perfectly-turned eggs onto his plate, and put my two not-so-perfect eggs (I should have added more bacon grease) on mine. Three strips of bacon apiece on the side, and breakfast is served.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Clean Plate Club

OMG! OMG! OMG! Yep, that about sums it up. The salad was delectible, but then we had the fish. Fresh-caught Black Cod, marinated in an Asian-butter sauce and baked in the oven. OMG! You gotta try it!

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day! What a sweet ending to a day it is. I walked in from work after dark, and what do I find to greet me? A freshly-washed man holding two glasses of Cayucos Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. He was excited for me to look at the vegies we received today from SLO Veg. Okay, okay! Just let me take my coat off! So we opened the box and see its stuffed full of all this Bounty! Broccoli, potatoes, fresh bread, lettuce, red turnips, spinach, strawberries, butternut squash, blood oranges and tangerines. Oh, and fresh orange juice! Awesome! They even included a little houseplant with some little purpley-pink flowers. What a nice surprise! I was already planning to make a Honey-Balsamic Strawberry Spinach salad, but what about the fish? Black Cod? Okay (never heard of it), google some recipes. "I found one," Lee says. It calls for Teriyaki sauce to marinate the fish in, and then you bake it. It's his job now. Where's the teriyaki? Don't have about this Asian salad dressing? I guess it will have to do. Butter, melted. Sauce, stirred. Garlic, crushed. Pepper, ground. Fish is in the marinade. Lee's says 25 minutes, then bake. Uh, Honey, its 7:45 pm...we'll give it 10 minutes. 

Okay, so I started the rice in the rice cooker (did I mention it is my favorite appliance??? Set it and forget it). I am slicing strawberries and spinning the spinach for the salad. Wow, really brought the farm to the table...lots of chunks of mud in this spinach. Oh well, that is why God created salad spinners, huh? Now for the vinaigrete...a little honey, a couple of shots of Balsamic vinegar, and some olive oil. Taste. Another shot of Balsamic. For good measure, I cut one of those tangerines in half and squeeze the juice into the oil and vinegar mixture. Now grind the pepper and shake in some coarse salt and shake (with the lid on the jar, of course). Okay, put the spinach in a mixing bowl, add the strawberries and pecans, drizzle with vinaigrete and toss. Put it in some salad bowls and add a couple of pinches of Parmesan cheese. Salad course is ready!
I slice a few thin slices off the baguette that also came in tonight's box and arrange them on a small plate. I add some Balsamic dipping sauce with oil and our first course is ready to eat. Meanwhile, the rice and the fish are cooking away! Mmmmmm...I can smell the fish as it bakes.
Okay, salad--awesome! The strawberries are sweet, the spinach is fresh and the pecans add a nice crunch. We clean the plate with our bread and eat every last morsel of salad. Wonderful. Our wine glasses are low, so we top them off and Lee dishes up the rice and fish.
Lee said it first, "Mmmm...buttery! Better than salmon (which we had the previous night)." Oh yeah. I bit into the fish, combined it with a morsel of rice...mmmmm, yeah, not bad! Not bad at all.
I start my blog. Lee starts a movie. Its "Overboard" with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, the same movie Lee and I watched on our first date. Awwh...I think I will keep him!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Salmon with Orange, Hoisin and Bok Choy

Tonight I took a risk. Luckily, a bold orange flavoring really came through in this dish. The recipe was from and I found it (guess!) on Pinterest. No pressure here (haha), because my husband really does not like salmon.  I had to hope the flavor would win him over, and it did. Actually, Taylor loved it and Lee liked it. I thought it was really good.

I needed a recipe for my baby bok choy, and after reviewing several recipes, I decided to run down to the market for some fresh salmon. I bought a whole 2-1/2 pound slab and cut it into six portions, so each piece was approximately 6-7 ounces. I packaged up three portions for the freezer and a later meal. That's because I love you, Honey. Salmon is really good for your heart!

The fish was baked in foil packets atop a bed of bok choy and carrots. A dressing consisting of fresh squeezed orange juice and hoisin sauce with some grated ginger and orange peel mixed in was drizzled over the salmon. Then it was seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with crushed coriander seeds, greens onions and cilantro. The foil was wrapped up around the fish bundle and sealed in a packet that would basically steam in the oven and blend all the flavors together in a mere 15 minutes--simple! I decided the dish would benefit by serving it with some quinoa, so I set that up to cooked in the rice cooker. Then I prepared the fish packets and waited until about 6:30 pm to put them into the oven. That way dinner would be done about the time my husband and son came through the door. We actually didn't eat right away, so the fish benefited from a few extra minutes of steaming after the packets came out of the oven.

The recipe calls for:
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy, ends sliced off and thoroughly rinsed
  • 3 6-ounce salmon fillets
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
  • 6 sprigs of fresh cilantro 
  • 1 C quinoa 
  • 2 C water or broth
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook quinoa in 2 cups of water or broth in a saucepan or rice cooker until it pops and is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Lay out three squares of foil and layer on the bok choy leaves. Top bok choy with fish, skin side down. Mix orange juice, green onion, hoisin sauce, ginger, and orange peel in small bowl. Drizzle mixture over fish. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and coriander seed. Top with cilantro. Fold up foil sides and pinch tightly to seal above fish and at both ends of packets, enclosing contents completely. Place packets on baking sheet. Bake until fish is just opaque in center, approximately 15 minutes. Spoon quinoa onto plates and then transfer packet contents on top and serve.

Chicken n Rice and ??? Whatever Casserole!

So I started off watching Anne Burrell making her Jambalaya dish this morning, and I thought, I should do that with the rice pilaf mix I recently bought containing wild rice. I had leftover chicken, some frozen shrimp, some vegies...did I have any celery. A quick check and, nope! Oh well, Lee and Taylor don't care much for celery for some reason. Even though its Fat Tuesday, I wasn't really feeling the Creole, either. By this time, Rachel Ray was on and making her 30 minute Risotto with a fried egg on top...mmmm, creamy.  So I decided I should make this chicken and rice casserole I found on Pinterest. It called for making a cheese sauce, and I did have some cheese in the frig already, so yeah, that's the ticket. I could use up some of the leftover vegies in the frig and make room for the new box of vegies that will be arriving on Thursday. Even better, I could make this today and we'll eat it tomorrow night after my long day at work. Tonight I could use up that Bok Choy all up (we got a LOT in the last shipment). Good, good, good. I also was inspired to roast my golden (delicious!) beets and make some kind of a beet salad, maybe just to put into our lunches. I want to make it just like a little Italian deli in town makes theirs, but I haven't quite figured it out yet. It has vinegar, white, I think, and mint! It's delicious, that's for sure. 

So anyway, the casserole: First I put 1-1/2 cups of the rice into the rice cooker, added 3 cups of water and let it cook. (I love my rice cooker!) I took one of the leftover chicken breast from last night and picked off all the meat, cutting it into bite-sized chunks.I grabbed carrots, an yellow onion, some green onions, mushrooms and broccoli out of the frig. I diced up the carrots and onion and proceeded to saute them in a dab of olive oil. Then, still thinking about the Jambalaya, I got out some bell peppers from the freezer and gave them a chop. I find myself freezing some vegies like bell peppers because I don't use the fresh ones up fast enough. I might buy three or four on sale, use one or two and then cut the remaining ones into strips and put them in a freezer bag. Our next major kitchen purchase is definately going to be a food sealer, just for stuff like this, and breaking down bulk packages of meat, and storing leftovers for lunches. I probably could come up with a zillion uses! I still wanted to add broccoli and had two small heads to use up. I trimmed off the bottom part of the stem, then chopped the rest of the stems and sauteed them with the bell pepper. Two small diced cloves of garlic were added to that and into the pot it went with the rest of the vegies, chicken and rice. Then I put the broccoli tops into the saute pan with a little bit of water and let them steam for just a few minutes before adding them into the mixture. I stirred in two diced green onions and added a little salt and pepper. I guess I could have added some other herbs or seasonings, but I didn't. That's it!


Now, the cheese sauce. It was pretty simple: melt the butter, stir in the flour, added salt and pepper, then whisk in some chicken broth. When the sauce thickened a bit, I added some shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and the sauce was finished. Except then I remembered most cheese sauces had a bit of dried mustard powder in them, so I add a couple of shakes of that, too. Now its finished. 

The sauce was then mixed into the rice-chicken-vegies concoction and then poured into a buttered casserole dish. I put some foil on top and into the frig it went, all ready to reheat tomorrow evening. Oh, I am gonna be so glad I cooked ahead this week!

Chicken Rice Vegie Mixture
1 large cooked chicken breast
1-1/2 C cooked rice ( I used a wild rice blend)
1/2 chopped yellow onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
8-10 fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small heads broccoli, with stems, diced
Fresh green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the yellow onions, carrots, bell pepper, and diced broccoli stems and mix with the chicken and rice. Saute the mushrooms separately for just a minute or so and  then add to the mix. Steam the broccoli florets for a few minutes and add them too. Season with salt and pepper and some fresh diced green onion. Now its ready for the sauce.

Cheese Sauce
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 Cups chicken broth
1 Cup each shredded cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, salt, pepper and dry mustard, then slowly pour in the chicken broth. Heat to almost boiling, stirring with a whisk until smooth and thickened. Add in the shredded cheese and stir until it is all melted.

Pour the cheese sauce over the chicken-rice-vegies mixture, saving about a half cup. Spread the rice mixture into a 13 x 9 casserole dish and smooth out, then pour the remaining cheese sauce on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted through. Serves 6-8.


what to expect in this Week's box

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 01/28/2013 - 02/01/2013
Cutie Tangerines, Blood Oranges, "Organic" Crisp Fuji Apples, "Organic" Beets, "Organic" Carrots, Red Rose Potatoes, Red Leaf Lettuce, Broccoli Crowns, Bloom Microgreens~ Sunflower Shoots, Red Onions, Cilantro, and Shanghai Baby Bok Choy 

Creamy Tangerine Dressed Grilled Asparagus; Tangerine-Serrano Frozen Treats; Santa Barbara Prawns with Blood Orange Glaze; Filet of Halibut served over Olive Oil Roasted Fingerlings, Topped with Pea Shoots and Blood Oranges; Baked Apples Stuffed with Honey, Almonds, and Ginger; Broccoli, Red Pepper and Cheddar Chowder; Green Chili Stew; Grilled Red Potato Salad with Blue-Cheese Vinaigrette; Golden Beet and Sunflower Salad; Spring Green Salad with Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette; Beets with Chive Cream; Baked Onion with Thyme; Bok Choy Salad; Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Noodle Bowl; Stir-Fried Chinese Vegetables. Bloom Microgreen recipes: .

Bloom Microgreens, Cal Poly Organic Farms, Dr's Veggies, Fair Hills Farms, Martinon Farms, The Fruit Factory


Oranges, apples, beets, carrots...sounds pretty colorful, once again. All the colors seem to make food all the more appetizing. I think I will try several of the suggested recipes, like the potato salad with Bleu cheese and the baked apples with honey--slurrrp! I had made a "Red, White and Bleu salad" over the summer for a 4th of July potluck that was a big hit, so I will compare my recipe with the one on SLO Veg. I know I have an orange chicken recipe that calls for blood oranges. Looks like Chinese this week, so I'd best check on my supply of rice. I know I have some Jasmine rice on hand, though. The shrimp and noodles with bok choy sounds delicious, also, and is probably pretty quick to make. Good for a week night.

Sweetheart Week: Sneak Peek

"Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 02/11/2013 - 02/15/2013

THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES: Sweetheart Harvest: Escarole,Spinach,Russet Potatoes,"Organic" Red Turnips,"Organic" Spring Onions,"Organic" Butternut Squash,Broccoli Crowns,Fresh Squeezed Orange/Grapefruit Juice Blend (Naval/Valencia Oranges,Pink/Cocktail Grapefruit),"Cutie" Mandarin Oranges,Blood Oranges,Vine Ripened Strawberries,New item ~ Fresh Baked "Batard" Baguette by Back Porch Bakery,and a special Valentine gift for our New and Bi-weekly customers

THIS WEEK'S RECIPES ( Be My Valentine Recipes: Escarole and Butter Leaf Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Hazelnuts;Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto;Spinach and Arugula Salad with Orange;Turnip Gratin;Roasted Turnips and Mushrooms;Penne with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese; Broccoli Gratin with Mustard Cheese Struesel;Roasted Broccoli and Feta Salad;Chocolate and Strawberry French Toast;Chocolate Dipped Strawberries;White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Citrus Sugar

THIS WEEK'S LOCAL FARMERS: Bautista Farms,Cal Poly Organic Farms,Dr's Veggies,L & C Smith Groves, Martinon Farms,The Fruit Factory"

Mmmmmm...looking forward to this week, especially the butternut squash. I still have a ball of dough in the frig from my Varenyky makings, and I am thinking some squash dumplings would be super yummy, kind of like a butternut squash ravioli. Maybe with a spinach pesto? More of the delicious oranges and strawberries, and broccoli and potatoes! We're set!
Escarole? I have to refresh my memory on exactly what kind of salad food that is. Spring onions? I wonder if they are like green onions? Turnips! Oh boy! We don't eat very many turnips, but I remember my dear old Dad sure liked them. I think a vegetable stew is on the horizon. 
I want to taste the orange/grapefruit blend...I have some Sprite on hand, so maybe it will make a delicious spritzer-type drink. Maybe I could add champange for a Valentine's Day treat? With chocolate-dipped strawberries? Oh yes!
The baguette will definately be savored, as well, because we have some dipping oil from Mt. Olive Farm to swirl it in. This is gonna be great!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bond Girls, Braised Kale, New Potatoes and Roasted Chicken breast

I guess this dinner was Blog-worthy. I'm guessing, because I am not sure, since they ate it in silence. I thought it might be because we were sitting in front of the big screen watching a Roger Moore-Bond movie, "For Your Eyes Only," and they were enraptured with that. I, however, was savoring each bite of my dinner: first the honey-mustard glazed chicken, followed by a bite of roasted new potato dipped in homemade Ranch dressing, and finished with a savory bite of purple kale that had been braised in chicken broth and drizzled with red wine vinegar.  OMGosh, it was all ecstacy!
I noticed Taylor had eaten his chicken and potatoes, but hadn't touched the kale, so I prodded him to try it.
"Well, what do you think?" I prompted.
"It was really good," he answered, and finished the kale on his plate. Lee still had said nothing.
Complacency! They just expect a delicious meal now. Sigh! Either that, or no chicken can compete with a Bond girl.
It was a pretty simple preparation. I had some Kraft Honey Mustard dressing that I seasoned with some coarse salt, fresh-ground pepper, fresh parsley and dried dill (hey, ya gotta use what's on hand!). I had repinned the recipe from Pinterest, and it originated from the Weight Watchers recipe file.
The honey-mustard dressing, by itself, wasn't that good, but it is perfect on chicken! This brand is too thick for a salad dressing, so I've been thinning it with a little vinegar and oil, or creaming it with Ranch dressing when I use it on salad. I must have bought it on sale. I think I prefer my own honey-mustard vinaigrete for my salads, but this sticky, thick stuff sticks to the chicken better. The chicken was supposed to be coated in corn flakes, but we haven't had cereal in the house for at least a year now. I have been saving ends of the occasional loaf of bread, cubing them and freezing for a later use, like today. So I put about a handful of bread cubes into my mini-chopper and made my own bread crumbs to top the chicken breasts. They were bone-in breasts that I got for a mere .99c a pound, so they had to roast in the 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes.
I put the chicken in, the prepared the sweet little new potatoes by quartering them, spreading them out on a baking sheet and drizzling with olive oil, salt and pepper. I also added some Trader Joe's Everyday seasoning from the grinder and popped them into the lower oven rack. I served Ranch dressing in little sauce dishes for dipping. (I also found a recipe on Pinterest for making a Ranch dressing seasoning mix, so now I can make my own dressing in minutes!)
I had already trimmed and washed the kale. I minced some fresh garlic and put it in a saute pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I let the garlic soften over a low heat for about 2 minutes, then added 1/2 cup chicken broth and the kale. I stirred the kale until it was completely coated with the sauce, then put the lid on and let it steamed for about 10 minutes. After the liquid had mostly evaporated, a couple of dashes of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper completed the preparation. I tasted a piece, and all I could say is "Yum!"

Okay, make me ask! "Honey, how did you like the dinner?" "I loved it, can't you tell?"  No, I couldn't, except by the fact he had cleaned his plate. time I am turning off the TV.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lunchbox Salad with Tarragon Dressing

Eating lunch at my desk...but it's so much more enjoyable with my curly red leaf lettuce salad and homemade dressing. Actually, the highlight is really the Tarragon dressing made from one of Guy Fieri's recipes! Its awesome. Guy's recipe is also responsible for my newfound love for beets, roasted, that is. I saw him make the beet salad on his TV show and I tried it, and liked it! Nothing like the canned beets I was served as a child.
But this dressing works great on lettuce salads, too, especially the blends with arugula and radiccio and all those strong flavors. Today the little Cutie tangerine sections scattered on top add just the right citrusey-sweet balance.
Tarragon Dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
I either measure everything into a small jelly jar and shake vigourusly with the lid on, or blend it with my new stick blender, adding the oil last after the other ingredients are mixed.

Now what? Ukrainian Feast!

So at the end of the week, I still have some purple kale, some bok choy, cilantro, the golden beets, one Fuji apple, half of a red onion and a couple of oranges, all from the SLO Veg box. I used the last of the curly lettuce today in our lunches, and the tangerines have been good lunch snacks all week. I have plans for some of it for my Sunday Ukrainian dinner. Its a celebration of my dear mother's Ukrainian roots.

The beets and onion will go into the Borscht. I still have some baby carrots, so I am okay there. I used all my red potatoes in a salad earlier this week, so I will need to augment from the grocery store as I need more potatoes for my perogies (varenyky). More onion, too. Ukrainian veggies consist mainly of potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms and onions. I plan to make three fillings for the perogies: sauerkraut, salmon, and potato. I might add some kale to the salmon mixture...that would be interesting. I could put some into the Borscht, also. Red beets are standard for borscht, so this one will just be a golden version. Maybe if its not so pink, more of my family will like it!

I am going to make a sort of compote out of the oranges to serve with the honey cake (Medinyk) that I have already baked. I also plan to make that Apple Ambrosia recipe I posted up earlier and see how my family likes it.

So my grocery shopping list includes apples, onions, red potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage...and sour cream!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fuji apples without embellishment

Dessert tonight is a simple plate of cheese and half of one of those crisp, sweet Fuji apples.

Varenyky (Ukrainian Dumplings) with sauerkraut

This post is from last year, 2/4/13, when I made these dumplings in honor of my Mother's Ukrainian heritage. I am making them again this year to share with my family as we all give our best attempt at Ukrainian food. My brother is making Holopschi and my sister is making Borscht. Not sure what else we might have but it will be fun!

Today I am making Ukrainian dumplings with a sauerkraut filling in honor of my mother. She was a first-generation American born to Ukrainian immigrants in Philadelphia. It would have been her 96th birthday today, but she passed away 8 years ago.
In researching these little dumplings, I found that varenyky and pierogies are pretty much the same thing, only pierogies are Polish. I have seen frozen pierogies in the grocery store. They were a traditional Christmas food and were made without meat for Christmas Eve. Fillings vary but most often include mashed potatoes. I could use my red new potatoes from the box, but I have other plans for those babies.
I found a website that not only had the greatest dough for it using sour cream, but also has step-by-step photos to help you out. I already had an open package of deli sauerkraut, so I decided on that for a filling instead of the more popular cheese and potato filling. I mixed the dough this morning and put it in the frig. Then I mixed the drained sauerkraut with sauteed onion and shredded carrots and a dollop of sour cream.
I got out my Mom's marble pastry board and proceeded to make the dumplings.
I split the dough into two portions and rolled them into a rope about 3/4 of an inch thick. Then I cut the ropes into section at one inch intervals, making about twenty chunks of dough. I rolled each chunk into a ball and then rolled it out on a floured board with a wooden rolling pin until it made a 3 inch circle. I put about a teaspoon full of the sauerkraut mixture into the center of the dough round, folded it over and pinched the edges together.
Then the dumplings were ready to boil. The pot was already on the stove, and as soon as the water was at a full boil, I carefully lowered each dumpling into it, swirling the water to keep them from sticking to the bottom. The dumplings began to float after about 3 minutes, indicating they were done. I lifted them out with the slotted spoon and set them on a broiler pan to drain and cool. You can eat this right away, but everyone seems to like them best fried in butter and onions, so that's how I am going to do it.
Meanwhile, I finished my potato salad using the lovely red new potatoes from the box. I cut the boiled potatoes into quarters and mixed in some homemade Ranch dressing with dill that I had just made today. Then I added some chopped dill pickle and hardboiled eggs and sliced cucumber, as well as a bit of sliced olives that I had leftover from taco night. New potatoes are so flavorful and make a very nice salad, I think. While I was at it, I steamed some broccoli and carrots, just to make sure we had our share of vegies tonight.
I also sauteed some onions and mushrooms for a Stroganoff-style meat dish using the leftover trip tip roast from Saturday. A little sour cream stirred in at the last minute finished off the dish and I had my trial dinner prepared for Lee to sample. Next weekend I have invited the family over to make Varenyky and we are having a Ukrainian feast!

3" rounds of dough with about a teaspoon of filling
a platter full of dumplings, all ready to boil
putting the dumpling into the boiling water
when they float to the top, they are done
Varenyky draining and cooling on a broiler rack. They are good to eat right now, but then next step is to fry up some onions and brown the dumplings in butter. Sounds decadent, doesn't it?

Boy choy stir fry with tuna salad

I decided to make tuna salad and wanted someting to eat with it besides bread. Hmmm...bok choy? So I rinsed it and sliced it into strips, then had Lee taste a raw piece. "Tastes" he says. Maybe I should stir-fry it? So I quickly cut off a few slices of that red onion from the box and added some shredded carrots and bok choy. I stir-fried it for a few minutes, then added a healthy splash of soy sauce and called it done. I divided the contents of the pan between two plates and added a scoop of tuna salad. Then I remembered those sunflower sprouts, so I sprinkled what was left on top of the stir-fried vegies as a little garnish. Lunch was light and refreshing.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Apple Ambrosia is Divine!

Oh my gosh! This is one recipe that I am sure will become a family favorite, just as it did for Trisha Yearwood, who shared the recipe with me via her new cooking show, "Trisha's Southern Kitchen". I already had her cookbook, "Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen," but I never saw this recipe!

As she was talking and demonstrating this simple salad and telling the story of how it came to be one of her family's favorites, I knew I had to try it because I was getting more apples in the SLO Veg delivery. We got Fuji apples and some blood oranges, too. I was worried about having too many apples, because I am about the only one who eats them around here. But after making this salad, I am afraid I don't have enough apples!
I started by juice one blood orange. You can see from the photo that the fruit is a deep, pinky orange and it is very sweet. The apples were random-sized with a mostly yellowish skin. I poured the juice into a mixing bowl and added the canned crushed pineapple. I peeled the apples, then, using my food processor, I quickly shredded them and stirred them into the juice mixture. I added just about a tablespoon of sugar and about a half cup of the unsweetened shredded coconut I had on hand. I am glad I used unsweetened coconut, because I think sweetened would have make this salad too sugary. I had just searched for this coconut as I had a coconut shrimp recipe I wanted to try that called for unsweetened. I found it at New Frontiers Market in San Luis Obispo. I also found almond flour, so I was able to make those Paleo blueberry muffins using the blueberries we got from the Farmer's market several weeks ago that I had been saving in the freezer.