Sunday, March 31, 2013

Radish flowers

So we have been blessed with lots of radishes in the SLO Veg tote for the last couple of weeks...actually more than we can eat. I mean, I usually slice up a radish to put onto our salads, but this week I forgot about them and here they are, sitting in my frig looking all neglected. But I have made some deviled eggs to take to my sister's house for our Easter Potluck and I need something to put in the center of my egg plate. Hummm, something colorful. I know! Radish flowers!

So I go to the internet in search of flowers. Here is one of the more simple versions I found on video:

There was also Betty's radishes, which cracked me up. First of all, my radishes didn't come in a cellophane bag from the grocery store. Also, I didn't think much of her finished product. She has a beautiful kitchen, however.

This next one is a little more complex, but cool-looking end product:

My favorite one I found today, however, is the Radish Star. I think this is what I will try today as a garnish for my deviled egg plate. Simple, cute, nice little garnish.

So, how about these Radishes? Pretty cute, I think. Happy Easter!!!

Rad Radish Stars!

Friday, March 29, 2013

This week's tote: 3/25/13

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 03/25/2013 - 03/29/2013THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES:
Vine Ripened Strawberries, "Cutie" Tangerines, Kiwi, "Organic" Fuji Apples, Red Leaf Lettuce, Celery, Radishes, Meyer Lemons, Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, "Shanghai" Baby Bok Choy, "Bloom" Broccoli Shoot Microgreens, and Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice  

Strawberry Salad with Balsamic-Cardamom Dressing; Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette; Creamy Tangerine Dressed Grilled Asparagus; Poached Tangerine Slices; Sautéed Scallops with Cucumber and Kiwi; Orange and Kiwi Compote with Toasted Almonds; Pork Loin Stuffed with Fuji Apples; Fuji Tart Tatin; Celery Blue Cheese Salad; Spicy Shrimp, Celery, and Cashew Stir-Fry; Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Noodle Bowl; Wonton Soup with Bok Choy; Provencal Bok Choy; Radishes with Chive Butter; Sautéed Radishes, Sugar Snap Peas with Dill; Sugar Snap Peas with Bacon and Onion; Sugar Snap Peas and Spinach with Ginger; Lemon Broccoli; Broccoli with Black Bean Garlic Sauce; Chili-Garlic Roasted Broccoli; Bloom Recipes:

Bautista Farms, Bloom Microgreens, Fair Hills Farms, L & C Smith Groves, Mallard Lake Ranch, Martinon Farms, The Fruit Factory , Varian Ranch

Pretty colors this week! We got our pound of fish, some juice, bok choy, sugar snap peas, celery, broccoli, lettuce, citrus fruits, sprouts, strawberries and kiwi. Dinner is going to have to cook itself tonight, though, because I have to figure out storage for all of this and do some dishes, too.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easy oven roasted fish n vegies

Pretty colors this week! We got our pound of fish (I think it is Pacific Grenedier again), some juice, bok choy, sugar snap peas, celery, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, citrus fruits, sprouts, strawberries and kiwi.
Dinner is going to have to cook itself tonight, though, because I have to figure out storage for all of this and do some dishes, too. So I break a head of broccoli into florets and give it a rinse, then grab a couple of carrots from the frig, along with two stalks of celery and a half onion. Everything gets cut into one-inch chunks and spread onto a shallow baking pan, then coated in olive oil and into a 400 degree oven it goes. The fish follows form with a coating of olive oil, a spritz of lemon juice and a sprinkling of a seafood seasoning blend I have in my spice rack. I put it into the oven about 10 minutes after the vegetables and roast it all for another 20 minutes until the fish flakes and the vegies have a slight brown edge.

Meanwhile, I was up the breakfast dishes and our lunch containers, and put away the rest of the produce and toss together a quick dinner salad. It includes fresh curly leaf lettuce, sugar snap peas, radishes, and a bleu cheese vinaigrete.
I have been saving the plastic containers that my lettuce mixes come in for my SLO Veg produce. The containers can be rinsed out and reused many times. So lettuce goes into one, bok choy in another. The broccoli goes into a plastic baggie, while all the fruts go into my hanging basket. They do pretty well there for about a week, but if I haven't used it up by then I will bag it up and put it into the frig.

Tonight I grab a few strawberries, kiwi, cutie tangerines and an apple, chop it all up in a bowl and add lime juice and honey for a fresh dessert to go with our meal. Now its 8 o'clock, the fish is done, and American Idol is beginning. My favorites are the girls this year, so I gotta dish up our plates and go sit down. Ooooh! Keith Urban is singing right now...this needs my attention. Gotta go!
Note*** tonights dinner included all these tote items: used curly lettuce, radishes, sprouts, broccoli, celery, lemon, strawberries, kiwi, tangerines, apple and fish.
Oven-roasted broccoli and carrots with baked Pacific Grenedier. A little olive oil, lemon juice and seasoned salt completes this easy fish bake, along with some Parmesan cheese for the vegies.
A fresh green salad with curly leaf lettuce, sugar snap peas and radishes, topped with a light Balsamic vinaigrete, and a fresh fruit salad dressed with honey and lime juice accompany dinner. Oh, yes, and some of Lee's tartar sauce!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spice is Nice!

Fresh food is great. But what about the spices you use to season it?

I admit, I was one of those who would buy some spice and keep it for the next 20 years...and use it! When we had to clean out my Mom and Dad's house after they passed, I found spice cans that I knew had to be 20 years old or more, because the labels were vintage. That got me to thinking, hummm, maybe my spices are pretty old, too. Then I started reading up on spices. I actually bought "The Spice and Herb Bible", by Ian Hemphill (Robert Rose Publishing, 2006). It's interesting how so many ethnic cuisines use the same spice, like basil in Thai and Italian foods, but the flavors you end up with are so different. I need to read it more often, because it is loaded with history of spices and useful information on storage, use, etc. I have learned to move my spices out of the cupboard space above the stove to the other side of the kitchen where they don't get exposed to heat and steam. Also, buy smaller quantities of spices that you only use a couple of times a year for special recipes.

It's funny, because I have some spices that I can't remember what recipe they were used in, like cardamon. Then, when we did my Ukrainian dinner in memory of my mom this year, there was the recipe: the Honey Cake. It called for a teaspoon of cardamon, and I have a whole bottle. If I only make that cake once a year, the bottle will probably last 12 years. Ugh! Some herbs and spices I go through pretty quickly, however, like basil and oregano and garlic. I do keep some spices right next to the stove: salt, pepper, lemon pepper and an "Everyday Seasoning" blend from Trader Joe's that goes with everything. I refill those on a regular basis.

The cool thing about buy bulk spices is that you can buy a smaller amount of those spices you rarely use without spending a fortune and throw it away if it sits on the shelf too long. This shopping trip cost me $6.11 and I filled up six spice jars. I figure each one would cost at least $2.50 at the store, some up to $5 or $6 each. So bulk spices can save a bundle in the grocery budget.

Anyway, I needed to stock up on a few spices today on my trip into town, so I stopped by New Frontier's Food. Its a great store, kind of like a health food smorgasborg, and I admit I don't even know what three-quarters of their products are (like tempah?). But, my horizons are expanding and I am venturing into new foods, and new staples.

Today I bought dried spices and herbs: paprika, cumin, minced garlic and onion, basil and bay leaves. I scoop them from the bulk containers into these little pouches, then transfer them into my glass spice containers at home. Lately I have been keeping the bags to reuse the next time I go to get those spices. They are staples in my spice rack(s), and that is plural because I have two spice stacks that hold 27 bottles each, magnetic spice containers near my stove, and several more bottles of blends and things on two shelf sections in my cupboard. Some things I use daily and have in several forms, like garlic. I have fresh garlic cloves, granulated garlic, garlic salt, minced garlic, Santa Maria seasoning (salt, pepper and garlic), and several more blends that include garlic.

I have been mixing my own blends, so I have seasoned salt, Mexican seasoning, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, Greek seasoning, Herbs de Providence, etc. I also have Fish seasoning, Chicken salt, Steak salt, Thai seasoning, Chinese 5 Spice, Pumpkin Pie spice and Poultry seasoning. I might have bought it premixed originally, but since I have so many spices on hand, I can usually read through the ingredients on the label and refill the bottle with a concoction of the same spices they contain and come out pretty close (except for the Thai seasoning--too many odd spices there).

This is a spice can of Sage from my Mother's cupboard
I don't know how old it is, but the regular price was only $1.15. She must have bought it on sale for 39c. I have relegated this can to my vintage display alongside Lee's mom's stand mixer and Betty Crocker cookbook, published in the 1960s.

So I am curious: What are your favorite seasonings? Where do you buy your spices and how long do you keep them on your shelf?

Today I whipped up some poultry seasoning to use on some chicken breasts this week:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chicken Piccata, or Chicken in a Lemony Buttery Caper Sauce

This was my lunch today, leftovers from last night. I think it was even better today than it was last night! Rich buttery, lemony sauce on moist chicken breast. It is a green salad and Chicken Piccata, a request from my hub. In fact, he googled the recipe for it and found it on Marks Daily Apple, a Paleo website (Their's was called Chicken in a Buttery Caper Sauce, but its Chicken Piccata). 
It was a crazy night because having just gotten paid, we had to make a mid-week grocery shopping trip to fill in some staples. He wanted this dish and even found where the capers were located. We didn't get home from the store until about 8 o'clock and I was starved so I immediately started browning the chicken. Hubs got a little "cranky" because I wasn't following his directions...the chicken was supposed to be cut into filets and pounded first. I just put the whole breast into the pan -- dang it! The bad part was that it took longer to cook! Then when I started the sauce, I put the butter in with the caper juice, instead of bring the juice to a boil, then melting the butter into it. There wasn't much brine in the jar, so I also added water. Lee jumped in to salvage his dinner. He used the entire jar of capers! I suggested using some pieces of that funny looking citron thing we got in our box a couple of weeks back, for a lemony flavored sauce, and we used some fresh parsley, too. When his back was turned, I added a splash of lemon juice, too. So much for the recipe.
I made salads with a lettuce blend, some of our SLO Veg head lettuce and those yummy, nutritious sprouts from Mt. Olive Ranch, and some sliced radishes. Topped with homemade Ranch dressing, it was a sure winner. Except that we ate about 9 o'clock, and I didn't take any photos. Then I had to do dishes. I missed most of American Idol. Sigh!

Citron, a weird lemony thing. Not sure how to use it, but chopping up pieces and adding to a sauce for flavoring was one way to do it. We didn't eat the pieces, I just plucked them out after my sauce was infused with their flavor.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fish Tacos!

We had fish tacos tonight with the SLO Veg Fresh Catch which was Black Cod. I lightly breaded the fish with seasoned cornmeal and fried it in a shallow pan of olive oil. The outside crisped up and the inside was moist and flakey. I chopped up  the pieces after they were cooked and everybody went through the serving assembly line. Corn tortillas, fish, shredded cabbage from the tote box, sliced Meyer lemon, homemade tartar sauce, cheddar cheese with steamed and buttered parsleyed carrots.  Remember that double-batch of brown rice I made the other night? well it comes in handy. I heated the rice in the microwave and poured a can of Ranch-style beans in a sauce pot. When the beans were hot, I stirred in the rice and we had a quick side dish.  I boiled some carrots for a few minutes, then drained off the water and stirred in a pat of butter and some chopped parsley. Dinner was ready!

Roasted cauliflower and stuffed bell peppers

This was last night's dinner: Bell peppers stuffed with a brown rice and ground beef and drowned in tomato sauce. I actually started it the day before by roasting the bell peppers for 30 minutes @ 350 degrees in the oven. That softened them up and I think I like it. Usually when I make this dish, the bell peppers are still too crispy and  kind of raw and nobody actually eats them. Done this way, baked twice, they are soft and sweet and delicious, and we ate them right up! 

I also roasted the cauliflower in a basic and simple way: florets spread on a baking sheet, drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with salt. The vegies roasted for 40 minutes, and I turned them over about halfway through

I browned some ground beef and seasoned it with thyme and rosemary and seasoned salt. Then I mixed it with some left over brown rice, added a can of diced tomatoes and stuffed the peppers with it. A can of tomato sauce was poured over each stuffed pepper and then it baked for 30 minutes until it was heated all the way through.  


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

St. Patrick's Inspirations

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 03/11/2013 - 03/15/2013 THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES:
Happy St Patty's Day Harvest! Green Leaf Lettuce, Green Cabbage, "Organic" Purple/White/Orange Carrots, Radishes, "Organic" Salad Sprouts (Red/Green Lentils, Pea Sprouts, Mung Beans, Adzuki Beans), Red Rose Potatoes, Myers Lemons, Cutie Mandarin Oranges, Kiwi, Vine Ripened Strawberries, specialty item ~ Blue Cheese Walnut Baguette from Back Porch Bakery 

Luck O' The Irish Recipes: Irish Beef Stew; Corned Beef Sandwiches with Pickled Cabbage; Corn Beef and Cabbage; Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade - Whiskey Glaze; Beef and Guiness Pot Pie; Guiness Mustard; Buttered Cabbage; Rachael's Southwestern Coleslaw; Potato and Cabbage Bundles; John's Cuban Coleslaw; Dan's Famous Potato Salad (Mom's recipe); Potato Salad with Corned Beef; Red Potato Skewers with Garlic and Mustard; BLT Wraps; Strawberry Tirmisu Bites; Carrot Raisin Cake with Irish Cream Frosting; Apple Oatmeal Crisp with Irish Whiskey Cream; Chocolate Stout Brownies

Bautista Farms, Le-Forte Organic Crops, Mallard Lake Ranch, Martinon Farms, Mt. Olive Farm, Pepper Creek Family Farms, The Fruit Factory 

So this is what we have to look forward to in this week's delivery. That's is a Pot O Gold! Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoes--oh yes! But wait, I already made Corned Beef and Cabbage this week. So what are the suggested menu items? Hummmmm, an Irish Beef Stew...sounds good. How about pickled cabbage? That might go with a lot of entrees. I guess I will need some Guinness Irish beer for some of these recipes. Potato and Cabbage bundles? Intriguing. Red Potato Skewers with Garlic and Mustard...sounds like a winner there! Okay, time for research....and we can't overlook the Chocolate Stout brownies. I believe I have a bottle of Chocolate Stout on hand for some odd reason. What luck!!!

Strawberry shortcut!

After having our delicious fish dinner and watching Biggest Loser, I wanted something sweet, but not just sugar! I thought about those two baskets of sweet, ripe Strawberries that were sitting in the frig waiting to be eaten. But what I really wanted was shortcake! Hmmmm. Lee is avoiding wheat. Hummmmmmmmmbug! I know, I had baked some blueberry muffins a few weeks ago using coconut oil and almond flour, sort of a Paleo version of a sweet treat. I had put a few in the freezer, so that would work in place of shortcake. And, I even had some whipped cream in a can in frig...great healthy stuff, I know, but sometimes ya gotta just break down and satisfy that craving. I am not a health food snob!

Figuring it was a good compromise, I set about washing and quartering my strawberries. I tasted one...mmmm, sweet! These strawberries definately have flavor, not the washed out kind you get in the grocery store. Not sure which grower supplies them, but it is probably Baustista Farms. They are a regular at our local farmer's markets and I always gravitate toward their produce. It looks great!

Usually I add sugar to the berries, but I had some honey on hand and decided to use that, instead. Honey and a splash of Balsamic vinegar. That, combined with the warmed up almond flour muffins, was inspirational! The whipped cream gave it an elegant touch, and dessert was served just that quick!

Finally, Fish!

Gosh! We already got the email for this week's tote, and I know we still have a lot of stuff to eat up. Also, we didn't get our fish cooked Thursday because I had some minor surgery on my toes and even after several days off, going to work and wearing shoes all day long was too much. We had leftovers on Thursday and ordered pizza last Friday. The fish got put on the backburner until--TODAY! 

I did the old lemon-and-butter-and-parsely fish bake in the ramekin boats. (is that what they are called?) Can't really go wrong with this one: add butter and lemon juice to the fish in the dish, season with coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, toss in a little bit of fresh chopped parsely, and bake til its opaque (about 20 minutes). The fish was a Pacific Grenedier, I think. It was a white fish, anyway, kind of thin filets with just a few small bones to watch out for. But what else to go with it? Hmmmm, brown rice...check. Oh, I still have all that Swiss chard. So I look up a recipe for it, and find a creamed Swiss chard recipe that will be ready in minutes. Perfecto!

The brown rice (2 Cups) goes into the rice cooker, along with a teaspoons of granulated chicken broth that I got in the bulk section at New Frontier's, and 4-1/2 cups of water. Usually rice is 2:1 water/rice, but with the brown rice, I find it needs a little more water and a long cooking time to get it fully cooked. I made 2 cups knowing that I will have some leftover for adding to dishes this week, making workday dinners quicker and easier to prepare. Okay, push down the little button and forget about that one!

On to the fish. I had already prepared two boats because I was going to have it Saturday night for Lee and me, but a friend sent me home with some dinner. Sunday night we ended up having soup for dinner because he got home from his "Boys Race Day" at the March Meet so late. Since Taylor was also home for dinner tonight, I had to defrost the second package quickly in cold water and make some for him too. Each package of the SLO Fresh Catch is a half pound, just right for two people, but not enough for three people. I actually ended up baking four ramekins of fish. The leftover's (hopefully there will be some!) can go into our lunchboxes. Let me tell you, our coworkers are always asking what we have packed for lunch...they smell it being reheated in the microwave and drool and get all envious. Love it!

Now that the fish is baking, I concentrate on the Swiss chard. I found a recipe on SLO Veg that sounds pretty good. It was part of a Pan Roasted Cowboy Ribeye dinner, but here is just the Swiss chard part of it:
Creamed rainbow chard:
1 large bunch Swiss chard, leafs removed from 
  the stem and leaves chopped 
2 cups heavy cream 
2 fresh bay leaves 
2 sprigs fresh rosemary 
4 sprigs fresh thyme 
2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled 
Freshly grated Parmesan, to taste 
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper 
1 lemon, juiced 
Place a saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon 
extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the 
garlic, thyme and rosemary leaves, and the panko and stir to combine. 
Once the bread crumbs are toasted, season with salt and pepper. 

Place a saucepan of cream with bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and garlic 
over medium heat and simmer until reduced and thick. Blanch leaves in 
some salted boiling water until wilted. Remove the Swiss chard from the 
water and allow it to drain in a strainer. Push any excess water out of 
the Swiss chard using some paper towels. Set aside to dry at room 

When ready, remove herbs and garlic from cream and fold in the Swiss 
chard. Add Parmesan, to taste, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once steaks are done, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 
minutes. Serve on a plate and top steak with creamed Swiss chard. 
Garnish with the toasted bread crumbs, lemon juice, and season with 
ZZZzzzzzzztt! (Cue the sound of a record needle zipping across the vinyl record).  NO Steak--FISH! I didn't follow the recipe exactly, because for one thing, I didn't have any heavy cream on hand. I had buttermilk, though. I also had homemade Ranch dressing that I had made with the buttermilk...why not just use that? Yeah! Improvise : ) But I only want to use one pan, if possible. So I prepared the chard by folding the leaves in half and cutting out the stem, then sliced them into one-inch wide strips and put into my large saute pan with a little bit of water. I put the lid on and let it steam for 5 minutes, then removed the chard to a collander while I prepared the sauce. I used olive oil and butter along with the herbs: rosemary, thyme and minced garlic and chopped shallots. I skipped the breadcrumbs and just added a half cup of Ranch dressing and some Parmesan cheese. When the cheese had melted in, I added the steamed Swiss chard back into the pan and it was ready. Its always a little surprising to see that my huge pile of greens had wilted down to such a small bit of cooked greens. It was just right for 3 healthy servings.

Okay, the button popped up on the rice and it is done to perfection, according to Lee. He checked! Fish comes out of the oven...nice! It's flakey and white and swimming in a buttery sauce. Okay, boys, grab your plates. It's over to the coffee tables and Biggest Loser!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fruit salad

Made a nice fruit salad for lunch with a tangelo, apple, banana, kiwi, strawberries and honey with a splash of lime juice.

What is this?

I have no idea what this is! begreat for Halloween, though.

Checking out the Fish blog

March 5-7 2013 Pacific Grenadier Caught by Captain Le with Parsely Spaghetti | SLO Fresh Catch

Our fresh catch for tonight will be Pacific Grenadier. I just checked out their blog for for the first time and its great. Local fisherman sharing what they are bringing in. I also get Tognazzini's newsletter and. Know they have a wonderful fish market and restaurant in Morro Bay. The thing is I never know what to buy, so by having it come to me as sort of a surprise, I have to do some quick research and just go with it for a menu plan. Tonight we will try poaching the fish and serve it with spaghetti squash. I will let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lee cooks!

It's almost like ordering out...I came home to dinner, hot and ready to eat. No, we didn't order pizza or pick up Chinese on the way home...Lee cooked!
He beat me home today, in fact by a few hours, so I sent him some menu suggestions and he took it from here. He baked some cod that I had defrosting in the frig and he coated it with olive oil, coarse sea salt and the gremolata that I had prepared yesterday. The concoction of lemon zest, parsley and garlic was made for fish dishes! We still had enough tartar sauce left over from our last fish night to get us through this meal, so good deal! All I had to do was pour a little goblet of Pilot Grigio and I was set.
I have to say the store-bought cod is nowhere close to as good as the fresh caught fish we have been getting with our SLO Veg box, but maybe we are just becoming snobs. I smelled that fishy smell usually associated with cooking fish as soon as I walked in the front door tonight, while the fresh-caught stuff really doesn't smell fishy at all.
Some of the SLO Veg broccoli and store-bought baby carrots went into the microwave steamer basket along with some slice shallots, and he found the stash of quinoa in my pantry which he cooked on the stovetop. He even seasoned it with dried herbs: basil, oregano and parsley. Not bad for a now spoiled former single dad who claims he has forgotten how to cook.
So this week we have eaten broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, shallots, tangelos, radishes, celery, garbanzo sprouts and romaine lettuce. The only thing we have left are the grapefruits....I kind of forgot about them. I guess I should do something with them tomorrow, because by tomorrow night we will have a new box of produce to play with. Oh happy day!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Little Orange Squash Risotto, Braised Kale and Oven-fried Chicken

We got some cute little orange squashes in the tote this week. They are about the same size as an orange, too. I don't know what they are called (Rachel?), but we only got a couple of them, so I figured they should be added to something, rather than served as a dish by themselves. I googled risotto recipes and came up with this one (below).
I also made some oven fried chicken and braised kale, using the same recipe I had outlined in an earlier blog, "Bond girls, braised kale and chicken". Its simply some minced garlic softened in a bit of olive oil in a large saute pan, then you add about a half cup of chicken broth and toss in the trimmed kale. Put the lid on it and let it steamed for at least 10 minutes, then add a couple of dashes of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and You Got Kale!
I cooked a picnic pack of chicken, which had 6 thighs and 6 drumsticks. I made a quick batter using an egg and about a half cup of milk. Then I mixed together a cup each of cornmeal and almond flour with onion and garlic powders, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper and rolled each piece of chicken in it. The chicken went onto an oiled baking sheet and baked in a 375 degree oven for an hour. 
It was a good thing I started early, because the risotto a lot longer than the recipesaid. I suppose it is because I used the wild rice blend instead of the traditional Arborio rice. 
Squash Risotto
  • 2 cups squash
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 C onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (e.g. Chardonnay)
  • 1 cup wild rice blend
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
Peel and cube butternut squash.  Place in a large basking dish coasted with oil.  Roast in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, turning the squash with a spatula halfway through.
When removing from oven, add squash to large pot, covering in the chicken broth.  Let simmer on low, leaving squash cubed.
Meanwhile, sautee minced onion and garlic in butter until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add rice and stir until rice is coated in butter.
Add sage and white wine.  Let simmer until wine is mostly absorbed, about 3 minutes.
Slowly add in chicken broth, one ladle at a time.  Let rice absorb and then add another ladleful until most of the broth is absorbed and the rice becomes creamy. Stir slowly and constantly. Process will take about 20 minutes.
Once all liquid is absorbed into rice, remove from heat.  Mash the butternut squash with a masher or fork.  Add to rice and stir well.  Add parmesan, salt and pepper.

Gremolata - its Parsley, Lemon and Garlic!

I still have a bunch of parsley to use up, and we are getting more in this week's box, so I'd better get cracking! I had Lee pick some of the last remaining lemons off our scraggly tree out back, so now its time to make Gremolata and use it on something like fish or chicken or pasta. I searched out a few recipe links that sounded good. Lee is trying to avoid wheat right now, so I might make a brown rice pasta version of the pasta and mushroom gremolata dish. It will be light and refreshing!

Here are a couple of links to check out:

I got out my tools: my mini chopper, a zester, my big knife, a bowl, spatula, salt and pepper, lemons, garlic and the parsley.

So first I washed and spun out the parsley in the salad spinner, then I plucked off the leaves, discarding the stems into our compost pot. I took three big cloves of garlic and smashed them with the flat of the knife, then minced them up coarsely. I stuffed the parsley leaves into the chopper and added the minced garlic, then grated some fresh lemon peel on top. I added the juice of a half lemon and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then blended the ingredients with the chopper. After it was all diced up into small pieces, I added some salt and pepper and Voila! We have Gremolata!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Roasted Beets...the only way to go!

My Dad always had this great garden every summer, and he would go out there after work and water it, and bring his fresh bounty in to our table. One of his favorite vegetables was beets. Now , I never liked them as a kid, no matter how they tried to feed them to me: boiled, pickled or whatever. But I just don't recall ever having a roasted beet. So now, being the adventurous foodie that I am becoming, I gave beets another try...roasted! What a difference an hour in a moderate oven can make! 

It's super simple. Just scrub the beets and then trim off the tops and ends. Place in the middle of a square of aluminum foil and drizzle with oil. I usually use olive oil, but have also used avocado oil, and I think I may try it with coconut oil. After about an hour, take them out and let them cool for a few minutes, then open he foil packet and remove the skin. It should peel right off. I can slice them up for a salad, or marinate them in a vinaigrete, or just eat them with a little salt.  

Weekly delivery - Manna from Heaven!

My husband and son and I are enjoying this service from SLO Veg so much that we have become weekly customers! This way we won't miss out on any of the fantastic produce that they deliver to our doorstep. We had started out with a bi-weekly delivery to see how far the food went, but I felt we were missing out when our off week had something in the box that I really liked.
This week we are getting cauliflower. That is like the Paleo eater's holy grail, or at least like manna from heaven! It has become one of the most versatile of vegetables, because you treat it like a potato, mashing it up and serving it with sauce, or adding cheese, roasting it or making it into patties. I even saw a recipe for Buffalo cauliflower! We also get snap peas this week, one of my favorite veges to eat raw!
The menu suggestions for this has me intrigued as well. Grapefruit cake? Mac and smoked Gouda with cauliflower? I'm thinking "Yum!" I've got to make some baked apples for dessert, too!
Another cool thing that is happening is that people I have been telling about this service have been signing up for veggie totes in their areas. Some are in North County, so they have to use a different company, but they love the concept. I have a friend in Ohio that just signed up with a co-op and a niece in Arizona who is doing it also. At least 5 people at my work are going to try it, as well!
"Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 03/04/2013 - 03/08/2013
THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES: Ruby Red Grapefruit,Tangelos,Vine Ripened Strawberries,"Organic" Sweet Fuji Apples,Sugar Snap Peas (first harvest),Rainbow Chard,Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Yukon Potatoes,Citron Lemon,Red Leaf Lettuce,Leeks,and Cauliflower (first harvest)
THIS WEEK'S RECIPES ( Grapefruit Cake with Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting; Citrus Muffins; Strawberry Orange Muffins; Baked Apples Stuffed with Honey,Almonds and Ginger; Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame; Sugar Snap Peas and Spinach with Ginger; Seared Steak with Chard Salad; Sauteed Swiss Chard with Onions; Grilled Yukon Potatoes with Rosemary-Lemon Vinaigrette; Yukon Gold & Sweet Potato Home Fries; Grilled Leeks with Herb Vinaigrette; Spaghettini with Gorgonzola,Leeks,and Shallots,Mac and Smoked Gouda with Cauliflower; Fettucini with Walnuts and Parsley; Parsley Vinaigrette"

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Buffalo chicken tenders with vegie sticks

"Awesome dinner!" That came from Taylor and his friend Dante. I guess they liked it...they cleaned their plates. I asked how they liked the brussels sprouts? "I devoured those first", T said.

Wow! We are really making some strides in this family. I knew the buffalo chicken tenders would be a hit. I have been craving buffalo chicken for a couple of weeks now. They were strips of chicken breast rolled in seasoned flour, dipped in an egg-milk batter and rolled in cornmeal, then fried in a shallow pan with olive oil. The fried chicken was then put into a baking dish and slathered with a prepared bottle of buffalo sauce and baked in a 400 degree oven for 10 more minutes. Lee picked up some Bleu cheese dressing on the way home so we could dip the chicken and veges in it.

I cut some of the fresh Romaine lettuce from the SLO VEG box and rinsed it in the salad spinner. That provided a base for a salad topped with some sliced radishes and red onion. The chicken tenders topped the salad. I think next time I will cut the chicken into more bite-sized chunks instead of strips. Sticks of red bell pepper, zucchini and some farm fresh celery added another option for dipping into the Bleu cheese dressing.

The meal was completed with roasted brussels sprouts and a cream of celery-mushroom soup. I used a recipe for the brussels sprouts from the SLO VEG website, incorporating some of those shallots from the tote. Shallots are new for me, and I like them!  I also used the Creamy Chinese Celery Soup recipe which incorporated more of the shallots and my last russet potato, except after pureeing it, I tossed in some sauteed mushrooms  for more of a cream of mushroom soup. I forgot about adding wine, too, but we didn't miss it. We just had a small cup with our bountiful dinner, so we will have leftover soup for tomorrow.