Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sauteed Swiss Chard

We got a beautiful bunch of Rainbow Swiss chard in this week's box from SLO Veg, and their website had a couple of recipe ideas for it that sounded delicious. I decided to go simple and use this one that calls for some sauteing and that's about it...just like Mom use to make. My Daddy used to love his Swiss chard! He grew oodles of it each Spring. I didn't fully appreciate it as a kid, but that could be said for a lot of things in my childhood.

Sigh! I get it now. Those really were the good old days!

The stem pieces went into the pan first to saute for a bit before the leafy portions were added.
Sauteed Swiss Chard with Onions (Swiss Chard) 

Yield: Makes 8 (side dish) servings,
Active time: 30 min
Total time: 50 min

3 pound green Swiss chard (about 2 large bunches) 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
I chopped the chard, then rinsed and spun it dry.
Preparation: Cut stems and center ribs from chard, discarding any tough portions, then cut stems and ribs crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Stack chard leaves and roll up lengthwise into cylinders. Cut cylinders crosswise to make 1-inch-wide strips. Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onions and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, covered, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add chard stems and ribs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until stems are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add chard leaves in batches, stirring until wilted before adding next batch, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl.
Cooks' notes: Chard can be washed, dried, and cut 2 days ahead and chilled in sealed bags lined with dampened paper towels. · Chard can be cooked 4 hours ahead and reheated over low heat on stove or in a microwave oven.


Bacon-wrapped Asparagus

We got two bunches of fresh asparagus in our SLO Veg box this week. Yum and thank you! Just for good measure, I am taking some bacon-wrapped asparagus along to the Memorial Day barbecue, just to make sure we all get enough bacon and vegetables today. Wouldn't want to slack on the vegies, and bacon! 

These just get a drizzle of olive oil and coarse salt, then go onto a flat grill pan with the little holes in it and cook for about 20 minutes on the barbecue. I hope its a hit!

Asian Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Asian Red Cabbage Slaw: The final product ready for transporting to the barbecue.
I am seeing red this morning: red cabbage, red onion, red mixing bowl, red chopping board...all because I am making a cabbage slaw to take to a Memorial weekend barbecue.

Red cabbage came in our weekly delivery from SLO Veg and it was one huge head of cabbage! I opted to use red instead of green because I thought it would look more American. I should note here that the red cabbage and red onion are actually a shade of purple Sigh! I perused the Pinterest and found several variations, but the Asian version sounded just perfect to accompany the barbecue host's pork loin roast. I was actually going to host the barbecue, but then I got a better offer. I am no dummy. I also opted to make a batch of baked beans, al la Pioneer Woman style, but that is for another blog entry.

Anyway, back to the slaw: I had red cabbage, red onion, green onions, shredded carrots and that fennel bulb that I had been carving on for several days. Fennel is a pretty strong flavor, and a little can go a long way. But chopped up in a slaw would give it a nice fresh, interesting punch, I thought.

I began by assembling all the vegetables and the dressing ingredients. I had rice vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, coriander seeds and ground ginger. In a perfect world I would have fresh ginger and cilantro leaves, but this was the best I could do today. Besides, I get to use my mortar and pestle to smash the coriander seeds, so that would be fun. Oh holy senses, Batman, was it ever fragrant, too! 

I peeled off the outermost leaves of the cabbage and then proceeded to halve it with my Cutco santuko knife. Cutco offers two lengths and we got the shorter knife, but now I was wishing for the longer one because this one didn't reach all the way through this huge head of cabbage. (Birthday present hint!) I ended up taking out my old Viking butcher knife and finishing the job. Then I used the santuko to carefully slice a half head of cabbage, split into smaller wedges, into slaw. I got to use my big red Tupperware bowl, the one that comes out on holidays when preparing large batches of salads, whether it be green, red, potato, macaroni or pasta. Back in the day, I would bring my salad in that bowl and serve out of it, because we might have a crowd of 50-60 relatives to feed. But today we were going to a much smaller gathering, and I just needed to mixed my slaw without dumping it all over the countertop and then I put it into a smaller container for transporting. 

Next I mixed up the dressing: 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and lime juice, 2 teaspoons white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, smashed. I mixed this up, then added a bit more soy sauce and sugar, so probably 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 4 teaspoons sugar, total. I stirred it all up and poured it over the cabbage mixture, then sprinkled on some coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper and stirred it all up. The red bowl really was handy!

I think the salad turned out to be light, refreshing and pretty! I can't wait for dinner time!


3 Tbs rice vinegar,
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp lime juice
4 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger (fresh grated ginger would be nicer)
1 tsp coriander seeds, smashed (fresh cilantro would be nice, too)

1/2 large head red cabbage, sliced
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 green onions, diced
1/2 c carrots, shredded
1/4 c fennel, sliced and diced

Prepare vegetables and put into a large mixing bowl. Mix together dressing ingredients and pour over vegetables. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving time. 

Makes about 12-15 servings

Creamy Cheesy Broccoli soup

I have blogged about Broccoli soup a couple of times now, and I guess all I can say is that I have never made it the same way twice. Today was a foggy, foggy May day on the coast, perfect weather for soup. Creamy soup, with a fresh loaf of soft French bread slathered with softened butter, and a beer. Perfect!

Our vegetable tote included several heads of deep green, super-fresh broccoli from the local farmers and SLO Veg. Usually I steam the broccoli and eat it as a side to whatever we are having for dinner, but today called for soup and the broccoli was calling me. I also pulled out an onion and the last of a bunch of celery, and then I spotted the fennel that had been hanging out in the refrigerator for at least two weeks, a hold-over from our previous box. That stuff will keep forever, I guess. Hmmmm....fennel might spice up the broccoli soup just a bit. Everything gets pureed, anyway. I had some half and half creamer, so that would do for the milk component. I also had some Mexican shredded cheese, a blend of cheddar and Monterey jack. Nice!

I started by sweating the onions in a quarter cube of melted butter, then I added the chopped onion (about 1 cup) and some chopped fennel (1/4 cup). For good measure, I tossed in a handful of shredded carrots. I let it all saute for about 10 minutes. Martha Stewart says sweating the vegetables for a good long time is key to a good mirepoix, so I am taking her at her word, since I don't really speak French.

Meanwhile, I browsed Pinterest for some recipes...kind of bass-ackwards, but that's just how I roll. I might forget something, you know. Onions, butter, broccoli, broth, salt and pepper, cream...check. I think I can do this. This is gonna be good! 

After 10 minutes or so, I added the two heads of chopped broccoli, saving out a cup or so of florets to add in later. I stirred the vegetables around, then added 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of granulated chicken boullion. I let that all simmer while I ran down to the market to get some fresh French bread and a 12 pack of 805. 

So after I returned from the store, it was time to puree the soup. I ladled a few scoops of veggies into the blender carafe, then add a ladle-full of broth and pulsed It, carefully. Hot liquids in a blender can be a disaster. (Actually, I noticed the disaster the next morning, when I saw that soup had splashed onto my coffee and sugar canisters.) It took three batches to do the whole pot. 

Meanwhile I made a roux of butter and flour, adding garlic salt and black pepper, and then some half and half cream. I also added about a half cup of milk because I didn't have that much cream. That probably makes it 1/4 to 3/4 you follow? Sigh! When I was satisfied that the flour had cooked down a bit, I added the pureed soup into the roux ladle by ladle. Then I stirred in about a cup and a half of shredded cheese and let it melt in and get all gooey. I tasted it, then added some coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. The steamed florets went in last, and the soup was on!

Here is a link for some soup that gave me this inspiration:
Now that's a feast for a cold foggy night! Slices of French bread smeared with yummy butter was served alongside the soup, with an assortment of olives and some peppered salami slices for a nice appetizer.


2 heads of broccoli
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
1/4 c butter
1/4 c celery, diced
1/4 c fennel, diced
1/2 c carrots, shredded
6 c chicken broth
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
1 c Half and Half creamer or milk
1-1/2 c shredded cheddar/jack cheese 
salt and pepper to taste

Sweat the onions, celery and fennel in 1/4 c butter for 10-15 minutes in a stockpot. Add in chopped broccoli, reserving about 1 c of florets. Steam the florets for 1 minute in a microwave. Add the broth and continue to cook the vegetables for about 15 more minutes. Scoop the vegetables into a blender and add about 1 cup of broth. Pulse carefully with the lid on until pureed. Put pureed vegetables into a large bowl or saucepan. Repeat until all the broccoli mixture is pureed.

In the soup stockpot, melt 1/4 c butter and stir in 1/4 c flour. Add cream a little bit at a time and cook down until the flour mixture is smooth. Slowly ladle the pureed broccoli mixture into the roux. Stir in the shredded cheese until it is all melted. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broccoli florets and stir, Serve in soup bowls with buttered French bread.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hot Weather Salad

Man, we are having a heat spell! I am on the coast and feeling it, but I feel so sorry for my friends and family 30 miles inland who are just baking in this heat!

Anyway, the last thing I want to do today is cook...with heat, anyway. I looked through my vegetable bins and decided that a couple of salads fit the bill for tonight. But not green salad. We eat green salads almost everyday in the lunches we make for toting to work. We got some beautful kale last week in our SLO Veg box and I think I still have some. The star salads will be Kale salad and a Quinoa salad. I saw the Quinoa salad on Pioneer Woman's post this morning and I knew it would be something my hubby would love. I googled some kale salad recipes and found one with a yogurt/mayonnaise base that sounded perfect. All I needed was a nice red onion, so I planned to pick one up from the store when I ran into town today.
Two salads paired with olives, a pickle and baguette slices, plus an assortment of salami, makes a great hot weather meal. I really liked the kale salad--it had just the right touch of sweetness.

Earlier in the day, I cooked the quinoa in my rice cooker. I wanted to get that out of the way before it got too hot. After it was cooked, I put it in the refrigerator to cool completely. Then I checked on all my other ingredients for both salads: Greek yogurt, check; raisins, check; mayonnaise, check; fresh basil, check, olive oil, check, balsamic vinegar, check. I guess I will need to stop at Trader Joe's to get some mozzarella balls, "ciliegine" I think they are called, and some cherry tomatoes. I would substitute pumpkins seeds for the sunflower seeds. So cheese balls, tomatoes and a red onion.

I went ahead and soaked the kale in water, then spun it dry in my salad spinner. I gave it a rough chop and called it good. The seeds and raisins go in last, so that is all the prep work I could do until I bring home that red onion.

I woke Taylor up and told him to get ready so I could give him a ride in to school. Its nice when classes don't start until 11:00 am. Make late-night video-game life so much more manageable. I packed up some things to drop off at my storage unit and headed to town. Some of it was Taylor's grandmother's china dishes, so I made sure to point out the boxes to him. Someday he would be unpacking this stuff with his future spouse as they set up a household. Along the way I also dropped off items for the Thrift Store as we are downsizing and I need to clear things out. What the heck, I might go through the car wash while I am in town, too.

So off I went to town, dropping off the kid, leaving stuff at the Thrift Store and storage units, through the car wash and on to TJs. I love that store. first thing they do is give you a bite of some gourmet cheese as you walk in the door. Today it was Gruyere. But I was on a mission for mozzarella balls, so down the aisle I went. I found some nice Heirloom cherry tomatoes in a variety of colors, all in one package, so that was perfect. Maybe a nice baguette to serve alongside, too. We had received a gluten-free baguette from Edna's Bakery in our box last week, but it was so fresh and delicious, it didn't last one night in our house, so I need more! I checked out the salami assortments and found a tray with three different kinds in it...hub would love that! Some more cheese slices, some eggs, coconut milk, pasta and vitamins...that should do it.

I got home with all my stuff, and guess what? I forgot to get a red onion! I had to make a quick trip down to the local Mexican market, where I made a beeline for the produce and picked out a couple of huge red onions. Gheeesh! Must be the heat.


Here is Pioneer Woman's quinoa salad recipe: 
Description Tomato, basil, and mozzarella are glorious together. Throw in quinoa and a simple vinaigrette and they’re heavenly!


  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Red Quinoa
  • 4 cups Water
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 cup Red Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
  • 1 cup Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
  • 8 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Cut Into Small Cubes
  • 24 whole Basil Leaves (chiffonade)


Combine olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper in a jar. Put on the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside.
Prepare the quinoa by bringing 4 cups of water to a boil, then adding the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Pour quinoa out onto a baking sheet and spread into a single layer to cool quickly.
Once the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, throw into a large bowl and toss in the tomatoes and mozzarella. Stir gently while adding 2/3 of the dressing. Stir in the basil. After everything is incorporated, give it a taste; add more dressing if it needs it, or reserve the rest of the dressing for another use. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
NOTE: It’s best to make this at least a couple of hours ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days; the mozzarella slightly softens as time passes, but it’s still delicious!


I found a nice recipe for Kale salad on

Kale Salad



  1. Mix kale, red onion, and raisins in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in a bowl; pour over the kale mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the salad and toss to serve.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mexicali Tacos, corn, zucchini and black beans

Fish tacos can be the most refreshing meal! I like them because they are fast, filling and satifying. I like to make fish tacos with corn tortillas, doubled up so they don't crack and lose the filling in your hand.

We got some Pacific Grenadier in our last SLO Veg box, and since I already had some corn and zucchini on hand, Mexican-style fish tacos came to mind. I seasoned the fish with a simple blend of salt, pepper and garlic (Santa Maria-style seasoning), then coated the filets in flour and fried them in coconut oil until the coating was crispy and browned. I warmed the tortillas in the microwave because I don't like really greasy, pan fried tortillas, and laid them on the plate to be filled. Four small filets weighing one pound makes enough fish filling for about eight tacos. The fish tacos were garnished with cojita cheese and cilantro.

The real reason I wanted Mexican food tonight, though, was for the corn-on-the-cob. I boiled the corn and coated it with real Mexican creme from our little Mexican market down the street. Then I sprinkled my taco seasoning blend on top of the mayo and rolled each ear in crumbled cojita cheese. I think this is the best thing to eat in the world!

Our dinner also included black beans straight-out-of-the-can, spiced up with the taco seasoning, and some pan-fried onion, garlic and zucchini seasoned with the Santa Maria-style blend. I also made some mugs of Red Beer (Equal parts V-8 and beer, splash of lemon, Worchestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce, sprinkled with taco seasoning). Then I grabbed the apricots that were perfectly ripe and made an apricot crisp for dessert.

Definately one of my favorite meals!

I get so excited when I get the box and all kinds of recipes go dancing through my head. Tonight I picked just two things, the zucchini and the apricots, and made our dinner.

Taco Seasoning:
1/2 C chili powder
1/4 C onion powder
1/8 C ground cumin
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. sea salt 
1 tsp. ground oregano

Blend all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Use 1-2 Tbs. to a pound of ground meat and add one cup water. Simmer to blend flavors.