Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Peaches and Rosemary: One sauce for main dish and dessert

Peaches! Big, juicy ripe peaches! When I got these in our box from SLO Veg, I knew we had to try something new and special and different. One of their recipe suggestions was for pork and peaches, and we just happened to pick up a huge pork loin during our big freezer stock-up grocery shopping trip over the weekend. Lee cut a whole pork loin into two 3-lb roasts and then cut the rest into steak cutlets, perfect for this recipe. I pan-seared the pork cutlets after seasoning them with coarse salt and pepper. The sauce was spooned on top along with a few peach slices. The pork was paired with a small baked sweet potato, green beans sauteed in butter and garlic and topped with almond slices, and a zucchini-squash-tomato-onion casserole seasoned with tarragon and topped with parmesan cheese. It was a plethora of vegetables, for sure! Tonight's whole dinner was built around vegetables, but the peaches were the star. We topped the pork cutlets with peaches and sauce, then used the rest of it on top of ice cream for dessert. The sweet sauce accented with rosemary was so delicious over vanilla ice cream!

Peach-topped pork cutlets, sweet potatoes, green beans and a layered parmesan vegetable casserole

Recipe from SLO Veg:

Rosemary-Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Peaches (Peaches) 

2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed 
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 
Vegetable oil, for the grill 
3 firm-ripe peaches, halved, pitted and cut into wedges 
1/2 cup dry white wine 
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar 
1 lemon 
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard 
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 1 or 2 small sprigs 
Directions: Preheat a grill to high. Pat the pork dry and season with salt and pepper. Lightly oil the grill, then grill the pork, turning, until marked, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the peaches, wine, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Remove strips of zest from the lemon with a vegetable peeler and add to the pan; squeeze in the lemon juice. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the peaches are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the juices in the pan. Transfer 1/3 cup of the liquid to a small bowl and stir in the chopped rosemary; brush onto the pork and continue grilling until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145 degrees F, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. Meanwhile, simmer the remaining liquid in the saucepan until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt. Return the peaches to the pan along with the rosemary sprigs. Slice the pork and serve with the peaches.

The peach sauce worked wonderfully as a dessert topping on vanilla ice cream.

Breakfast of Champions

My hubby with his Breakfast of Champions!
We are living dangerously these days! We visited Costco this past weekend and bagged a humungous bag of MuscleMilk Protein Powder for our smoothies. I guess we actually boxed it, because everybody knows Costco doesn't have bags. Anyway, its for our breakfast shakes and we will be using lots of fresh fruits and vegies from our SLO Veg box, too!

Today I made a smoothie using protein powder, coconut milk, Greek yogurt, strawberries, blackberries, flax and chia seeds, and kale. It was really, really delicious, and the protein powder gives plenty of sweetness so no additional honey or anything is necessary. I made one a couple of weeks ago with our unsweetened protein powder and I wanted to add honey to it. I guess its all a matter of taste. I could lighten it up by using water instead of yogurt, and I may try it that was next time. But the coconut milk adds a nice flavor without much calories (50 cal per cup). The protein powder is 310 calories per scoop, which is considered one-half serving, so I used two scoops, but I think I will definately cut that back to one scoop per blender-full of smoothie. The berries were pretty sweet by themselves, and the kale gave it a nice balance. Chia and flax seeds along with the yogurt boosted the protein levels, so I think if I cut back on the powder I won't be losing much.

Lee and I are both overweight, so we are embarking on another try at Body for Life and we are gearing up for it now. Its supposed to be a lifestyle change, but its really hard to keep up that level of commitment to our workouts. I am hoping to give it 12 weeks and see some really big results. The eating part should be easy, but the getting in our daily workouts is the real challenge. I spend most of my spare time cooking or researching recipes, so I guess I will need to have it all planned out ahead of time make this work. I just need 30-45 minutes of workout time a day.

I have discovered I enjoy the simplier preparations of vegetables and fruits to complicated recipes, anyway, and since I have been practicing with my SLO Veg box of produce for the past year, I think I can do this. The plan calls for eating six meals a day: three basic meals plus three snacks. You eat about every three hours, so you don't really get hungry. The key is to eat carbs and protein in combination, like yogurt and fruit, eggs and oatmeal, an apple and cheese, stuff like that. Tonight we will be having grilled pork tenderloins cutlets with a small baked sweet potato and a half cup serving of quinoa. Tomorrow night we will probably have baked or grilled chicken with a zucchini/tomato/onion casserole. I should assemble that today to save time tomorrow. But I also need to go for a walk. Hmmm. Walk first, then cut up vegies, or cut up vegies now in my nightgown and walk a little bit later before running errands. Yeah, that works. Chop, chop!


1 scoop MuscleMilk Protein powder
1 cup Coconut milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
8-10 strawberries
12-15 blackberries
1 cup kale
1 tsp flax seeds
1/2 tsp chia seeds

Mix together in a blender until smooth. Pour into a nice glass and drink slowly, savoring each sip!

Casserole is done. Isn't it pretty? Okay, time for a walk. Blogger out!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Biscuits and gravy with Eggs; Planning Ahead for Dinner

Italian sweet red pepper for the first batch
Today I woke up wanting some biscuits and gravy...sausage gravy. So I decided to make myself some. It was destined to be one of those kind of days...
I started out with an onion and one of those crisp, bright green bell peppers from our SLO Veg box of vegies and fruit. I have been using the bell peppers in everything the last couple of weeks, and this is my last one, except for the ones I sliced and put in the freezer, that is. Anyway, I diced up a quarter cup of so of onions and bell peppers for two batches of ground beef. I also diced up half of my last sweet Italian red pepper for one batch. It was also going to be the starter for some hamburger that I would cook and freeze for quick dinners later in the week. One batch would be seasoned with Italian flavors and the other with Mexican spices. That way I could make a quick spaghetti sauce or tacos or rice bowls or stuffed zucchini or...lotsa things!
Diced onions and bell peppers are the basis for a good ground meat saute.
But back to breakfast. I made some drop biscuits using coconut milk and some coconut flour in my standard biscuit recipe. It was about two cups regular all purpose flour and 1/2 cup coconut flour. They came out a little more dense than I like, but I am experimenting with different flours. Drowned in gravy or slathered with homemade jam, they would be great anyway! I also had a couple of links of beer brats in the refrigerator, and (sorry honey!) today they were gonna be the sausage for my gravy.  Beer brats are Lee's favorite sausage in the whole wide world, and I am sure he would prefer to eat them whole, in a bun with mustard and sauerkraut. I saved him three of the links. 
I learned a great way to make sausage gravy from Pioneer Woman. I began by removing the casing and breaking the sausage into chunks, then adding in the onions and bell peppers. I let it all brown in the saute pan and then stirred in a scoop of flour, stirring until it glommed onto all the sausage chunks and absorbed any juices. Then I stirred in two cups of milk and stirred that while it cooked and thickened into a nice gravy sauce. I gave it a liberal sprinkling of pepper and a little bit of salt. I thought a bit of thyme would enhance the gravy, so I added a teaspoon full of dried thyme. Now that I think of it, I think I have live thyme plant outside...have to remember to check on that tomorrow and see if it is still alive. This is why I have to buy my vegies and fruits from the farmers, because I can't remember to water my own stuff at home!
Eggs scrambled in coconut oil completed our breakfast plates and we even let the kid have some. Best part is, I have extra biscuits in that I put in the freezer so I can have some biscuits and jam in the mornings before work. Yummy!
This is the Mexican blend with oregano, garlic salt, pepper and chili powder, onions and bell peppers
The Italian blend has onions, bell peppers, sweet red peppers, and Italian spices of rosemary, basil, parsley, and garlic

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fish with Orange Butter Sauce

I love the recipes posted by the fishermen on SLOfreshcatch.com. They are about as straightforward as you can get. Butter and orange juice. Maybe I will salt and pepper the fish first? Probably, but it doesn't sound like it really matters. I guess this is a recipe you can't really screw up!

The only twist was when I opened my baggie of fish that was delivered from SLO Veg this week, one package said "Black Cod" and the other said "Halibut". Usually the packages are unmarked, and look like the same fish. Halibut?!? The latter is going in the freezer, because that one is MINE! All mine! Well, maybe mine and Lee's, but our, anyway! I have plans for that halibut, and it includes special time with my hubby. It's my favorite fish and I have a recipe that calls for coconut milk that will require my full attention. It's only half a pound of fish, for crying sake! I quickly defrosted another package of cod that I have put in the freezer last week when we went up to the races and couldn't prepare it right away. The kids will love it, orange sauce and all...

September 3-9 2013
Ling Cod Caught By Multiple Captains With Orange Butter Sauce
Posted on by margie on September 3rd, 2013
1 lb Ling Cod
4 T. butter
2 cups fresh orange juice
Melt butter in a pan, add the fillet, then douse with the fresh orange juice.  As the fish cooks, the orange juice will reduce and thicken.  Serve the sauce with the fish.

I paired our fish with a simple squash casserole where you layer zucchini, lebanese squash, onion (in this case I used leeks) and tomatoe slices, drizzle olive oil all over it, season it with salt and pepper and some dried thyme, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Its simple and delicious!  Plus I have some leftover yellow rice with peas, so I think I have a really simple, well-rounded meal for the family tonight.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Penne with Pesto alla Trapanese

Almonds and tomatoes! Blend that into a fresh pesto for a quick pasta meal that is low in calories, yet hearty and delicious.

I found this recipe in a magazine a couple of years ago. Actually, I think I found it in Men's Health Magazine, one of my husband's favorites. The recipe comes from a Lidia Bastianich, host of Lidia's Italy. I have never seen the show, but she is quoted in the magazine article as saying, "This recipe brings me back to Sicily and the friend who taught me this new version of pesto with almonds. It's quick, simple and easy to clean up!" It sounded like the perfect weeknight meals I could make in minutes, and I loved it from the very first go.

You know, I think I will look Lidia up on the internet. Maybe I should start watching her show if it is still on... Okay, I am reading her bio now. http://www.pbs.org/food/chefs/lidia-bastianich/ I guess she is pretty reknown...I feel like I have been living under a rock now or something. She has a major NYC restaurant with her son and rock star chef Mario Batali as partners, plus she has jars of pasta sauce for sale with her picture on it and all. I really need to get out more. Sigh!!!

Now that I have some lovely tomatoes (Roma, cherry & red) from SLO Veg and all the other required fresh ingredients, I am thinking about this pesto. The key is to blend, pour onto hot pasta, and eat...no waiting. That's Pesto alla Trapanese at its best! Its gonna be our workout night go-to dinner.

Tonight I also cooked some opah fish seasoned with lemon pepper and coarse sea salt in butter and served it alongside the pesto pasta, which was linguine, not penne. Tomatoes, garlic, parmesan cheese and fish... I'd say that's about as Mediterranean as it gets!

Pesto with Pesto alla Trapanese

3/4 lb. penne rigate pasta
1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet
8 large, fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp. unsalted roasted almonds
1 large garlic clove, crushed and peeled
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
2. While pasta cooks, rinse the tomatoes and basil and pat dry.
3. Place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor, followed by the basil, almonds, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Blend for a minute or more into a fine puree; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large pieces are left.
4. With the machine still running, add the olive oil in a steady steam to emulsify into a thick paste.
5. Scrape the pesto into a big bowl. Drop drained pasta onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the pasta, sprinkle on cheese, and toss again. Serve immediately in bowls.

What to do with Eggplant? Go Mediterranean!

Okay, let me first just say I am not a big fan of eggplant. I suppose it's because I have not eaten that much eggplant in my life. As a kid, just the name turned me off. But as an adult, I have tried it prepared in a variety of ways and I always seem to like how other people make it. I remember having an grilled eggplant burger a while ago that was fabulous. So a couple of weeks ago we got some eggplant in our box from SLO Veg and I totally ignored it. Well, actually, I sliced it, blanched it, and put in into the freezer. See it there in the photo? I never even gave it a mention!

Fork pricks to let off steam, ready to roast
Today I am making Eggplant Parmegiana with that frozen eggplant. The problema is, I now have another eggplant from our vegetable box delivery. As I browse through eggplant recipes: Moussaka, Parmigiana, Ratatouille, etc, I see one for Baba Ghanoush. I know I have had that at our favorite Mediterranean Cafe, Jaffa, in town and I liked it, so maybe I can make some. Lee would love it, I know, and it would make something good for him to take to work this week along with some pita bread. So while my breaded slices of eggplant are baking for the Parmigiana, I also put a whole eggplant on a pie plate, pricked it with the fork per the instructions below, and put it into the oven to roast.

OMG, as I am blogging I am also watching Giada on TV, and her show is "A Tour of Italy". Right this moment she is making a dish with eggplant where she roasts it and then makes little fried eggplant balls for an appetizer.  I am definately trying that with the next eggplant I get!

Wouldn't you know it! I have sesame seeds, but no tahini. I thought I had a little tube of it in the frig, but that is anchovie paste. Dang...I have to stop at the store.

Update: I mixed this recipe up sans tahini. It turns out it doesn't need it. The sesame seeds flavor it enough. I had to send a text to my husband: "Oh Dear! Hurry home. Just made fresh Baba Ghanoush. If you are lucky you will get here in time to lick the jar!"

Baba Ghanoush


Makes 1-1/2 cups
1 eggplant
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place eggplant on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a fork. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft. Remove from oven, and place into a large bowl of cold water. Remove from water, and peel skin off.
  3. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic in an electric blender, and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer eggplant mixture to a medium size mixing bowl, and slowly mix in olive oil. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
Roasted and peeled eggplant
Pureed eggplant
I made a jar full of Baba Ghanoush...not enough, but its a start!

Eggplant Parmigiana

Fruits and vegies from SLO Veg are just so beautiful!
I have all the makings for Eggplant Parmigiana, and I can use the eggplant that I blanched and froze a couple of weeks ago. Well, sort of everything...I really don't have any shredded mozzarella cheese, but I do have mozzarella sticks. It's five days until payday and I don't want to make any trips to the grocery store if I can help it. I will cut those cheese sticks into little pieces and place them on top of each eggplant slice to melt down when I bake it. I had originally planned to use Mario Batali's recipe, but I noticed he didn't coat his eggplant in bread crumbs, and I think they will taste better with a crumb coating. So I decided to go with this other recipe from Allrecipes. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Eggplant-Parmesan-II/Detail.aspx?evt19=1
Here is Mario's recipe if you want to compare: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/eggplant-parmigiana-recipe/index.html

The breadcrumbs I used today were some leftover rye bread that I had tossed into a bag and put in the freezer a few weeks ago. I know, not at all Italian, but I happen to love rye bread and thought it would be interesting. I defrosted the bread and crumbled it in the blender. Then I lightly toasted the breadcrumbs before coating the eggplant with them. A teaspoon of Italian seasoning plus some garlic, salt and pepper goes into the crumbs, then I coat the eggplant in a beaten egg mixture and dip it into the breadcrumbs. The eggplant slices get baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I didn't take any pictures of those steps...hummm. Slipping!

Oh well! Next I prepare my baking dish, which has a coating of olive oil followed by a half cup or so of pasta sauce. I went cheap here and used a can of Hunt's tomato sauce. I don't have enough fresh tomatoes on hand to make my own sauce today and I am trying to stay out of the grocery store, as I mentioned before. I use this tomato sauce all the time and the guys eat it, so? I usually add diced tomatoes to it to make it chunkier, but today I need a smooth sauce. About the only truly homemade tomato sauce I make is the fresh, uncooked one with almonds in it: Pesto al la Trapanese. I thought I had blogged about it before, but if I did, I can't find it. I will put that one on the list, because its soooooo awesome! I do like to try other sauces that come in glass mason jars, partly because they taste fresher than canned and partly because the guys use the jars for water glasses. They are sturdy and if they break a jar, its not like they ruined a set of glassware, now is it? When the grocery store runs a sale on that stuff, I stock up! Barilla pasta sauce, 3 for $5. I can barely buy canning jars for that price.

I layered the breaded and baked eggplant slice in the casserole and topped it with the rest of the can of tomato sauce, sprinkled on a generous layer of parmesan cheese and cubes of mozzarella string cheese. A little more basil flakes will go on top and into the oven it will go tonight for our dinner. It will need to reheat and bake for about 30 minutes, I am guessing.

I spent the morning cleaning my living room before I starting baking, but now I am going to some appointments and when I get home dinner will be ready to bake. That makes my evening easier and I will actually get to sit down with my hub and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I love my days off at home!

*Cook's note: This was not our favorite dinner ever. The eggplant was still a weird consistency.We had to cut with a knife. We decided the best use of our next eggplant would be roasted and pureed into Baba Ghanoush.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Carne Asada tacos and Pico de Gallo

Thin sliced tri tip and fresh tomatoes? Sounds like a great start for some carne asada tacos with fresh salsa on top. I have three huge red, vine-ripened tomatoes from the SLO Veg box that will be the basis for the Pico de Gallo salsa that we love. After taking inventory in the frig, I need a nice onion, so I will stop at the Mexican market down the street, and also pick up some fresh corn tortillas. I already have cilantro and sweet bell peppers, as well as a nice green bell pepper, so I think I am set for the salsa. I guess I'd better pick up some meat, too, or else we might have fish tacos...hummmmm? Decisions, decisions! I think I will go for the beef tonight. I just saw some thin-sliced tri-tip in the meat counter and I have some orange juice at home. Actually a Mexican cook told me to use Sunny Delight, that sweet orange juice drink for kids. That makes a great carne asada marinade with a little oil, peppers, onions and cilantro thrown in, and its good for a fish marinade as well. Here is another marinade I found for carne asade from Simply Recipes that uses an oil and vinegar base with a little sugar thrown in for sweetness. I mix the marinade, put the meat into a ziplock baggie, and pour the marinade into the bag. That goes into a dish to prevent accidental spills and marinates in the frig for 2-4 hours for meat (1/2 hour for fish) before grilling.

3 large ripe tomatoes, or a mixture of cherry tomatoes
and a large tomato, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 white, yellow or red onion, diced
1 jalanpeno, serrano or sweet red peppers, diced fine
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
Generous splash of lime juice
salt and pepper to taste


Also on the Simply Recipes site is directions for Pico de Gallo, or fresh tomato salsa. This recipe calls for jalapeno and serrano chilis and red onion, but I plan to use what I have in the frig right now, which includes sweet red and yellow peppers, green bell peppers, white onions, leeks, cherry tomatoes and red beefsteak tomatoes. We got two baskets of cherry tomatoes in the box last week, one I think was plum cherry tomatoes and the others were more orange colored cherry tomatoes. I think a mixture of the two will give my salsa some nice color variety. I am adding the leek just because I have three big leeks in the frig right now and I need to use it somehow. Same for the sweet peppers: I bought a large bag of them and they need to be eaten. I think that is how some recipes are developed: you use what you have and make it all work. I diced up all my vegetables which filled up my mixing bowl, about 4 cups worth of vegies, added a generous handful of chopped cilantro, and poured in about a quarter cup of oil and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. I would normally use lime juice, but I forgot to get limes and I don't have any bottled juice in the pantry. (Put it on the list for next time!) Then I added about a teaspoon of coarse sea salt and another teaspoon of black pepper. 

The meat is grilled just until a crust forms, then sliced into strips for the tacos.
After the meat marinated for a few hours and just after Lee arrived home for dinner, I began heating the corn tortillas on the flat top grill. I have a styrofoam tortilla warmer that keeps the tortillas warm and also makes them a little softer than they are just coming off the grill. I line it with paper towels that I can toss out later because I don't need to wash the styrofoam container very often. After I had enough tortillas heated for the two of us, I began grilling the meat. The marinade is poured off and the meat goes onto the grill for about 3-4 minutes per side. I added a little salt and pepper and some fajita season mix that I had in the pantry to one side after it was on the grill. Then it comes off and gets sliced into strips, perfect for adding to the tacos.

I paired the tacos with a can of refried beans, heated through, and some white rice seasoned with chicken broth and turmeric, which gives it a nice golden color and a flavorful yet mild spice taste. 

1-1/2 pounds of thin sliced flank, flap or tri-tip steak
1 cup orange juice or Sunny Delight
1/2 cup canola oil
a few slices of onion and green peppers
a handful of chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
Place the meat into a large ziplock baggie. Mix up the marinade ingredients and pour over the meat. Put baggie into a dish to prevent spillage and place in the frig for 2-4 hours. Drain off marinade and grill meat for 3-4 minutes per side. Slice and serve in heated taco shells.

Serving dinner on the coffee table.
Informal and cozy dinner for me and my hubby.
Tonight's dinner was served on the coffee table. I put our the platter of meat, a bowl of cheese and another bowl of salsa, plus the tortillas in their warmer. I made us each a red beer (tomato juice and beer with a splash each of lemon juice and worchestershire sauce and a few drops of Tabasco sauce, plus salt on top), and we sat down to eat and visit and watch a movie after a long, long work week. Cheers!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Whats in this week's box? 9/12/13

If you don't get enough fresh fruits and vegies, you really might want to check out SLO Veg. They basically deliver the Farmer's Market to your door and bring you some stuff that you may have nevered ventured to try before, too. It's like getting a surprise present every week. You can feel good about feeding your family healthy and delicious produce while support local farmers at the same time!

We got some great looking lettuce in our box this week, so I am making a nice salad tonight with it. I have sort of been off salads for a while, but I really need to put that crunch back into my diet. I made a salad with the little cherry tomatoes we got last week, and added some sliced sweet peppers. I will top it with a homemade Ranch dressing and chew, chew, chew!

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 09/09/2013 - 09/13/2013 THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES:
Tri-Colored Carrots, Romaine Lettuce, "Organic" Italian Eggplant, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Green Bell Peppers, Haas Avocado's, Asparagus, Golden Beets, Snow Peas, Crimson Red Grapes, White Nectarines, new items - Crisp Sweet Fuji and Mutsu Apples  

THIS WEEK'S RECIPES (http://www.sloveg.com/recipes.cfm):
Chilled Carrot and Orange Soup; Moroccan Carrot Soup; Brisket with Carrots and Onions; Romaine, Grilled Avocado, and Smokey Corn Salad with Chipotle; Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Marinara; Eggplant Ricotta Bites; Deep Fried Eggplant; Grilled Vegetable Salad; Asparagus with Creamy Mustard Sauce; Marinated Asparagus Salad; Grilled Asparagus with Green Peppercorn Vinaigrette; Golden Beet Carpaccio Salad; Golden Beet and Sunflower Salad; Shrimp and Snow Pea Salad; Crunchy Snow Peas with Toasted Almonds; Chicken with Grapes, Cous Cous, and Roasted Asparagus; Grilled Nectarines with Blue Cheese, Farm Stand Honey, and Black Pepper; Fresh Grated Beet Salad with Apples, Carrots, and Mint; Honey Baked Apples with Raisins and Cinnamon; Fuji Apple Tart Tatin

Bautista Farms, Green Family Farms, Le-Forte Organic Crops, Martinon Farms, Pepper Creek Family Farms, The Fruit Factory  

Bolognese Sauce for Pasta

I made this Bolognese sauce with sausage a few days ago and have been using it on pasta all week for dinner or lunch. Today I boiled some brown rice penne and topped it with the Bolognese sauce and asparagus which came fresh today in our SLO Veg box.I just chopped up the asparagus and added it to the pasta water about 5 minutes into the cooking of the pasta. Came out perfect!

I modeled my sauce after a recipe from Anne Burrell in which the base is a puree of onion, celery. garlic and carrots, so it is very "vegetably". I varied from Anne's recipe in that I used a pound of ground pork sausage and instead of fresh thyme, I used dried oregano, rosemary, basil and parsley. Also, I was out of tomato paste, so I used a can of condensed tomato soup. (I feel like my Mom, and I used to hate it when she substituted stuff like that, but it works). I think I only used about half the amount of wine, too. The result is still similar: a flavorful, fresh pasta sauce that makes you want to like your bowl!

Anne Burrell's Pasta Bolognese


1 large onion or 2 small, cut into 1-inch dice
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
Kosher salt
3 pounds ground chuck, brisket or round or combination
2 cups tomato paste
3 cups hearty red wine
3 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
High quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing


In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient, this is where the big flavors develop.

Add the ground beef and season again generously with salt. BROWN THE BEEF! Brown food tastes good. Don't rush this step. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Add water to the pan until the water is about 1 inch above the meat. Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Don't be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and TASTE frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will). Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the spaghetti. Pasta water should ALWAYS be well salted. Salty as the ocean! TASTE IT! If your pasta water is under seasoned it doesn't matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under seasoned. When the water is at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve.

Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add some of the reserved sauce, if needed, to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and cook the pasta and sauce together over a medium heat until the water has reduced. Turn off the heat and give a big sprinkle of Parmigiano and a generous drizzle of the high quality finishing olive oil. Toss or stir vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls or 1 big pasta bowl. Top with remaining grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Grilling simplicity: Albacore kebabs

Grilled chunks of fish, bell peppers and onions! Can you say "Yum?"
I found this recipe on the website for SLO Fresh Catch, and it was so easy, it is still hard to believe such a delicious dish could be created with so little effort. All you do is cube the vegies and the fish, coat it in olive oil, season it and grill it until done. Sprinkle on some lemon juice and black pepper and enjoy! I paired it with roasted cauliflower for a super simple and mouth-watering meal.


Here is the link and the recipe:

September 10-12 2013 Albacore Caught by Captain Nakazawa; Albacore Kabobs

Posted on by on September 10th, 2013 | 0 Comments »
serves four
  • 1 1/2 lb tuna fillet
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 3  bell peppers
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • Olive oil
Cut your tuna into large chunks, about 2 inches each. Cut the bell peppers in similar sized pieces, and slice the onion into wedges through the root end; this helps hold the onions together on the grill.
Put everything in a large bowl and toss with about a teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Once everything is coated, skewer them and fire up the grill.
Get the grill good and hot, and lay down your skewers. Do not move them for at least 3 minutes. You want good grill marks. If you don’t have a grill and are using your broiler, ditto for you: Don’t move them for 3-5 minutes.
Gently pick up the end of a skewer top see if you have some browned and blacked bits. If so, turn over and grill for another 2-3 minutes.
Remove the fish and veggies from the skewers, sprinkle lemon juice over everything and grind some black pepper over it all. Enjoy with a crisp white wine, such as a Spanish Albarino, a Pinot Grigio or a Chenin Blanc.

Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Ginger

We have a bunch of ways we want to try cauliflower these days...its the new potato! You can mash it, rice it, fry it, roast it and boil it, if you want to, that is. I have even made cauliflower appetizer balls with a recipe from Guy Fieri that are fabulous!

But if you are looking for a side dish that is simple and delicious, try this Roasted Cauliflower recipe from SLO Veg. It calls for olive oil, turmeric, ginger and salt and pepper...that's it! Coat the cauliflower and pop it into a hot oven for 20-30 minutes until you get a little roasted brown coloring on it. Turmeric gives it a little zip and color, too. Then chow down!

Recipes through SLO Veg

Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Ginger 

Servings: 4  Level: Easy  Cook Time: 20 Minutes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds 
1 jalapeno, finely diced 
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 
1 teaspoon turmeric 
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets 
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk together the oil, mustard seeds, jalapeno, ginger, and turmeric in a small bowl. Place cauliflower in a medium baking dish and toss with the flavored oil and season with salt. Roast until lightly golden brown and just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.

*Note: When I made this, I didn't have a jalapeno or mustard seeds, so I used some sesame seeds and no pepper. Still great!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Apple Crisp

I made an apple crisp the other night using those sweet little apples from our SLO Veg box. I guess I forgot to take a photo... I must be really worn out lately.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Spark Smoothie

Just made the best smoothie! I used Greek yogurt, spinach, a peach, raspberries, coconut milk and honey. I mixed it up with a scoop of Spark energy drink mix and a scoop of vanilla protein powder. I am taking a cup to work tonight!

Tweet tweet

Check out @ktish's Tweet: https://twitter.com/ktish/status/377548304361324544

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

3 or 4 Cheese-Broccoli Soup

Night shift is going to be the end of me. I'm lying here awake, listening to the sounds of the construction going on outside on my street. I could conceivably get three more hours of sleep before I have to wake up and get ready for work tonight, but seriously, the house keep shaking. I know they're going to be done with this phase of the construction just as I switch back to day shift. 

So instead I am browsing the internet looking at recipes and trying to figure out how to use up the rest of this week's vegetables before our next delivery. Pioneer Woman had a delicious looking cheesy broccoli soup on her website today. I have broccoli and I have cheese -- an odd assortment, to be sure, but it's cheese. I think I have a few slices of pepper jack, a handful of shredded Parmesan, and about a cup of shredded mozzarella. I can make a three-cheese soup. Toss in two small heads of broccoli and that should do it!

I loosely followed Pioneer Woman's recipe, sauting the onion in butter, but I added some chopped bacon and celery. Then I mixed in the flour, the nutmeg, the salt and pepper and about a cup of water. I was going to also use cream, but the date on the carton said August 20th and I figured I'm well past August 20th. I also hope the combination of water and milk would make my soup a little lighter, because I really don't need the extra fat.

II added two heads of broken up broccoli to the pot and let it all simmer for about 20 minutes. Then I took out my handy dandy little immersion blender and pureed the soup. At that point I added in the cheeses, stirring until it was melted. The soup look pretty pale this point with all those white cheeses, so I improvised and robbed a box of mac and cheese of its little packet of powdered cheddar. I stirred that into the soup and -- Presto! It melted right in and made the soup have a nice golden glow. Note: now it's a four-cheese soup.

Now that I eaten my soup and told you the story, I'm going back to sleep for at least another hour, if it kills me!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ramen Noodles with Peanut Sauce

So when I was supposed to be sleeping this morning, I was really browsing through my emails and running down links for all my food blogs and recipes-of-the-day from all the different websites I subscribe to. I really don't have time to look at all of them, so if the photo or caption doesn't catch my eye, I usually delete it and move on. Today there were lots of links for school lunches, etc, which can be handy to read because we pack our lunches for work every day. A new idea here and there never hurts, because mostly our lunches consist of last nights dinner entree.

A cold peanut-noodle dish for kids caught my eye, and next thing I knew I was browsing recipes for Thai peanut sauces. I love the flavor of soy, peanut butter, rice vinegar and lime. Substitute coconut milk for peanut butter and you have the makings for a great curry sauce. Either way, that stuff satisfies a huge craving for me and makes my palate happy, happy, happy!

I ended up following a recipe from Ellie Krieger for a simple peanut sauce made in the blender. I used peanut butter, rice vinegar, Tamari sauce, brown sugar, fresh ginger, red pepper, sesame oil, water. I didn't have any limes or lime juice on hand, so I had to leave that out, but I think I will buy a bottle of lime juice next time I go to the grocery store so I can store it in the frig for occasions such as this.

Caprese Lasagna Casserole

I got the idea for this casserole because I didn't have any lasagna noodles on hand.  This was supposed to be a Lasagna Roll Up, but instead I used a layer of egg noodles with the same ingredients. Probably not as cute, but delicious anyway. I used fresh tomatoes from our SLO Veg box and fresh basil from the plants I have growing in my kitchen window. I included the recipe for the marinara sauce, but I just used a jar of sauce from Trader Joe's for this dish. Best of all, I put this together a day ahead of when we would eat it, thus freeing myself up for a whole day of play!

Caprese Casserole
16 oz. egg noodles, cooked
2 cups cottage cheese
1 large egg white
1/2 cup freshly each, finely shredded Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese, plus 1/4 additional Mozzarella cheese
freshly ground black pepper
3 - 4 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/6 inch thick slices)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1 cup marinara sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions listed on package to al dente. Drain pasta (DO NOT rinse with water).
For filling, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together cottage  cheese and egg white until well blended. Stir in Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses and season with black pepper to taste (The cheese adds enough salt so you don't need to add more).
In a buttered casserole dish, spread about 1/4 cup marinara sauce on bottom of dish and add a layer of noodles. Spoon about 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture over the layer of noodles and spread into an even layer. Top with thin tomato slices over cheese mixture then sprinkle fresh basil over top. Repeat layers until all the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, plate pasta and garnish with plenty of basil ribbons. Serve warm.

For more vegetable, I paired the casserole with some sauteed spinach and onion.

Simple Marinara Sauce
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions to hot oil and saute about 3 minutes until soft, adding garlic during last minute of sautéing. Pour in crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and allow sauce to cook for about 25 - 30 minutes (which will allow some of the water in crushed tomatoes to evaporate) while you prepare pasta and cheese filling.