Monday, February 14, 2011

spaghetti squash boats

I haven't posted in a while, but we haven't been cooking with box ingredients much this week. We've still got some turnip in the fridge, and sweet potatoes, though we used up some carrots and onions on the weekend. Most of the onions - several weeks' worth - went to a Valentine's Day steak-and-mushrooms-and-onions dinner on Saturday. Mmmmm.

Tonight I cooked the spaghetti squash. I never have much luck with making it spaghetti-like - whether I don't cook it enough or cook it too much or don't fork it out right, I'm not sure - but it tasted good anyways. I zapped it for 5 minutes in the microwave to soften it, then cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and put it in the oven at 400 for about half an hour or 45 minutes. Meanwhile I sauteed some garlic in a bit of olive oil, then added red wine (about a quarter cup) and half a can of tomatoes to a frying pan and let it simmer for a while. I added about 2-3 T of Patricia's pesto and chopped up about 1/4 c. of sun-dried tomatoes and simmered them. I finally got impatient, and we were all getting hungry, so I pulled out the squash and zapped each half in the microwave for about 3 minutes. I shredded the squash into strings, still in the shell, poured the sauce over top, and topped it with black olives, pine nuts, and cubes of mozzarella. It tasted really good - and looked pretty fancy in the squash boats, too!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Waiting for the box...

Ah, snow and ice. You keep my vegetables from me.

We're still using up the remnants of last week's box. Kenneth made more kimchee yesterday, to add to the huge jar we already have in the fridge, but he seems to be really enjoying it for lunches and is trying to perfect his recipe. On Monday he tried to improve on my turnip chip recipe by deep frying slices of turnip - and that worked much better than my method! Not quite as crispy as potato chips, but tasty. We're also working through corn frozen from the summer, and, of course, beets.

Tonight was fish and chips: trout with sweet-potato and beet oven-baked chips, salad on the side. The sweet-potato chips work really well (cut into sticks, toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, bake at 450 for 15 mins, stir, bake another 15 minutes or so) but I hadn't tried it before with beets. They didn't end up quite as much like a french fry - more just like roasted beet - but they were okay. Kenneth didn't like them but Ria ate nothing else, so it balanced out!

Which means that, with the box being snow-delayed, we're down to two little beets and a pile of onions! Hard to believe. Time for some French onion soup perhaps.


Friday, February 4, 2011

root vegetable chips; parsnip and carrot latkes; beet conserve; sweet potatoes and apples

Friday - and the stove actually worked tonight! Must be because I had the day off. We had seafood chowder (yum - one of the best things about moving to Nova Scotia!) and I made parsnip and carrot latkes or pancakes. These came out of the Eat Feed Autumn Winter cookbook, and were lovely. You grate up carrots and parsnips (about 4-5 of each) and squeeze out some of the moisture. In a separate bowl, mix up two eggs, 6 T flour, 2 T ground ginger, 1 T honey and a bit of salt. Stir in the grated veggies, then cook spoonful-sized pancakes in a pan with enough oil to cover the bottom. (Drop in a piece of grated carrot and when it sizzles and bubbles the oil is hot enough.)

They were really good. The cookbook said to serve with creme fraiche or yoghurt, but we didn't have any, so Kenneth suggested Thai dipping sauce and that went really well. I always feel a little sheepish about frying, but I used less oil than you would in a batch of muffins, so I don't think it's too unhealthy.

Last night was less successful. We still have a lot of root vegetables, and I really like them oven-baked as fries, but I thought I'd try a variation on that. Two summers ago Patricia sent a recipe for oven baked blue potato chips, which were really good, so I sliced thinly some beets, the largest part of some parsnips, a potato and a sweet potato and tossed them in a bit of olive oil and lime juice. I baked them at 400 spread out on a cookie sheet. But I was also trying to cook chicken and stir-fry some cabbage, and Ria was clingy and distracting, and with the different kinds of vegetables some of them ended up a little too crispy! Some of them were okay, but I think if I did it again I would cook the vegetables separately, because they seemed to take different amounts of time. And only try this when you can really keep an eye on them...

Ah, well, can't win every time. The unburnt ones tasted okay.

Wednesday we had lamb with potatoes mashed up from the roast on Sunday, a sweet-potato-and-apple dish and the beet conserve I was telling you about. It's really easy, though you need a bit of time, and even Kenneth, who loathes beets with a passion, will eat it. Ria eats it like candy. Just don't ask about her diapers.

Beet conserve - this recipe is from Lucy Waverman in the Globe and Mail
beets (the recipe says 4-5 but I use way more)
1 T olive oil
1 T water
2 small lemons, chopped with skin on
2 T fresh ginger, grated
1 c sugar

Put the beets on some tinfoil on a baking tray. Sprinkle oil and water over them and seal them in the foil. Cook at 425 for about an hour - until a fork can go easily into the beets. Let them cool then peel them. Grate them or whirl them in a chopper until they're finely chopped. Put them in a medium-sized pot with the lemons, ginger and sugar; stir. Let it sit for an hour so the flavours mix (I will admit I don't always do this since I never seem to start this recipe early enough). Cook it on medium for 5-10 minutes until the juices thicken a little. This will keep for a while in the fridge; it also freezes pretty well if you made too much.

Maple Mustard Sweet potatoes: this is a recipe my Mom makes a lot.
Cook the sweet potatoes until a fork can be inserted in them (boil or microwave). Slice up some apples (we had frozen ones) and saute them in a little butter. Let the sweet potatoes cool a bit then slice them thickly; layer them in a circle in a casserole dish, overlapping one another, and then put a piece of apple between each one (it looks really pretty - this is an 'impress the guests' recipe). Mix up about 1/4 c maple syrup and about 2-3 T grainy dijon mustard, and pour overtop. Cook in a 350 oven until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

Parsnips - used; carrots - all used (I can't believe it!); still left: napa cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, a beet or two, and a turnip. Kenneth says he's going to make kimchee out of the cabbage ... to add to the huge pickle-jar of kimchee we already have in the fridge, I presume...

Happy weekend!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Box day

Kenneth cooked a great stir-fry tonight, using up the last of the leeks, some carrots, some onions, and a few other things. Yesterday he made pasta with sauteed carrots and squash on the side. So that used up the rest of the squash and leeks. We still have turnip and carrots from last week. Sadly we pitched the canteloupe - guilt guilt guilt - I just didn't have a chance to make muffins on the weekend.

Today: beets - beets beets beets! lots of them; sweet potatoes; parsnips; napa cabbage; carrots; mustard beans. Ria had fun unloading everything from the box to the drawers of the fridge, then insisted on carrying around the last sweet potato rather than putting it in the fridge, occasionally taking a gnaw on it and looking to see if I would tell her 'no'. Hey, kid, if you want to eat raw unwashed sweet potato, be my guest! Especially since all of her dinner went on the floor...

Maybe I'll make the beet conserve tomorrow. A lot of people at the potluck were asking for the recipe, so I'll post that soon.