Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BBQ Colcannon - or Irish Artichokes

I had been planning to use up some potatoes and some of the cabbage with good old-fashioned Irish Colcannon today, but it was so lovely outside I just had to barbecue. So I got a little creative, and invented - let's call it deconstructed colcannon.

I boiled the smallest potatoes until they were just fork-tender. I also sliced some parsnip - we got a huge one this week, so the slices were about the size of a small plate - and put those in the water for a few minutes. I pulled those out and brushed them with olive oil; drained the potatoes and tossed them in olive oil and thyme. If they're really small or you want to be fancy, you can thread them on skewers; I just threw them on the BBQ as is; same with the parsnip. I was hoping the parsnip would go lovely and roasty-golden, but maybe I didn't leave it on long enough; the potatoes, though, get a nice crispy outside and soft inside.

The cabbage I cut into quarters, without cutting of the end first (you have to do it this way or it falls apart). What do you call that part, anyways? In an artichoke it would be the choke - and actually the cabbage looked a lot like an artichoke when it was cut open. Kenneth joked that we should name it something fancy, like Roman artichoke - but I said Irish artichoke would be more appropriate! I mixed together a crushed garlic clove, about two tablespoons of mayonnaise and two tablespoons of olive oil, then enough water to make it a bit runny. I drizzled half of this aioli over the cabbage quarters and reserved half, then put the cabbage on the hot grill. Right before serving I drizzled the rest of the aioli over the cabbage.

A couple of salmon fillets and a few minutes later, and we had a great platter of barbecued dinner!

Enjoy the sun.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

box day

Box day, and a lovely one, so Ria and I walked over to pick up the box. Last box of the year! I'm looking forward to the new CSA year, although I suspect the first few weeks will still be turnipy. Today: turnips, cabbage, potatoes, zucchini, pickled beans, parsnip, and fresh greens. Ria was disappointed there were no apples: she tried munching on a potato on the way home instead, but settled for carrying the greens.

Ria is working her way through the turnips for lunches, and I'm munching away at carrots and apples, but we still have lots of potatoes and cabbage left from last week.

We had a stodgy potato-based dinner, but the fresh greens tasted *so* good with it. If you're craving green stuff, try sprouting some lentils or other beans (Taproot does this, but they're easy to do on your own). I've made some and am eating them in salads for lunches. You put about 1/4 cup dried lentils in a jar in twice the amount of water overnight. Drain and keep in the jar, covered with cheesecloth or a cloth napkin. Rinse twice daily (this is important both to keep them clean but also to keep them moist). Within a few days they will sprout; when sprouted to your contentment, put them in the fridge and they'll stop growing.

Sprouted lentil salad

2-3 cups sprouted lentils

1 cucumber, chopped small

2-3 green onions, chopped

1 yellow or red pepper, chopped small

1 carrot, chopped small

Herbed dressing

¼ c. vegetable oil

¼ c. white vinegar

3 T mayonnaise

1 T lemon juice

½ tsp Worchestershire sauce

1 T grated Parmesan

1 tsp sugar

¾ tsp dry mustard

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper

(Store-bought ranch works too.)

Enjoy! -Kathy

Thursday, March 24, 2011

squash ravioli with tomato sauce

Tonight - squash ravioli which Kenneth made a while ago and froze, with a simple tomato and wine pasta sauce from the frozen tomatoes of last week. Can I just say those were the tastiest tomatoes ever? They totally carried the dish - I didn't even add any spices and Kenneth was raving about what a great cook I am.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thai-style spring rolls

Tonight I experimented. With cabbage, carrots and bean sprouts, I made Thai-style fresh spring rolls. They're a little fiddly but really easy, and you can make them up ahead of time. Ria even helped me soften up the rice paper wraps (and had fun splashing in the water...)!

1 small cabbage, sliced
2 carrots, julienned finely
2-3 slices fresh ginger, julienned finely
bag of Taproot bean sprouts
1 T peanut oil (or other oil)
2-3 T soy sauce
2-3 T rice vinegar
rice paper wraps

Saute the cabbage in the oil for a few minutes. Add ginger. Add carrots, soy sauce and rice vinegar; saute a few more minutes. Add sprouts. Cook until carrots are tender-crisp (don't overcook).

Soften the wraps according to package directions. Spoon a small amount of the cabbage mixture onto each wrap and roll into a spring roll. Cover with a damp tea towel until ready to serve. Serve with Thai dipping sauce and more soy sauce.

Last night Kenneth used up a bunch of potatoes by making a big pot of scalloped potatoes, served with roast pork and steamed beet greens. A feast!


Monday, March 21, 2011

pickled beets and pickled carrots

Well, the weekend kind of got away from me. Friday we had friends over and cooked up a big pot of spaghetti - mostly ingredients from our garden or the farm, which was neat. Canned tomatoes from the garden or Taproot, herbs from the garden, ground hamburger from Kenneth's uncle's farm ... okay, okay, and canned store-bought mushrooms. But still!

Ria was sick most of Saturday so we didn't feel like cooking, so we had spaghetti nests on Saturday ... and on Sunday. (Twirl leftover spaghetti in muffin tins; top with chopped pepperoni, spaghetti sauce, and grated mozzarella cheese, pop in the oven at 350 until heated through and melty.) Nothing much to blog about except that we finally got around to making the pickled beets and carrots I've been planning on making for about two months. The beets we just used the recipe out of the Benardin book, but I've included the recipe for carrots below. I never imagined eating pickled carrots but they're really good! (The recipe calls for 30 carrots but I only had about half of that - but they must have been really big or something because I ran out of syrup to cover them and had to make up more. So you'll have to play with quantities a little depending on how big your carrots are.)

Pickled carrots
30 carrots
2 c water
1 1/3 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 T pickling spices
sprigs of dill or fennel seeds
Cut the carrots into sticks no longer than the size of jars you're using. Cook until tender-crisp (don't over-cook); drain. Put the spices in a tea bag or cheesecloth bag and boil with water, sugar, and vinegar for about 10 minutes. Pour over carrots; simmer 3 minutes. Put either a spray of dill or about 10 fennel seeds - depending on your taste preferences - in each jar; pack carrots into jars; pour syrup over top. Can 30 minutes.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lemon greens penne

I kept it simple tonight: pasta with salmon and greens. This is a very easy-dish - mild-flavoured, but the flavours mix nicely and I think shine better than in a more overpowering dish.

Grill some salmon fillets (one fewer than the number of people). Meanwhile, start the water boiling. Wash the greens - I used spinach and the rest of last week's savoy cabbage, but you can use any greens - and slice them to manageable size. Heat 1-2 T of olive oil and 3-4 T of lemon juice in a large pan or wok. Add 1 T of lemon zest. Start the tougher greens in the pan. When the water boils, cook 1 c of penne per person. Add the spinach or other greens to the pan. Break the salmon into bite-sized chunks and stir into the greens. Drain the pasta; add to the pan. Toss with a bit more olive oil and lemon juice (the dish should be quite lemony). Serve with lots of fresh parmesan and fresh ground pepper.

Patricia said some people were having trouble using up the beets - I think I'll make pickled beets this weekend, but if that doesn't suit your fancy, try the beet conserve:


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

oriental coleslaw; box day!

Box day! And a beautiful sunshiny one, so Ria and I walked over to pickup the box and I came home with a knapsack full of beets, mostly. Beets, potatoes, frozen tomatoes, apples and fresh spinach - yum. Ria ate a whole apple right out of the box.

Sunday as planned I made the coleslaw for the potluck. I mixed red and savoy cabbage, which worked pretty well. This salad originally called for uncooked Mr. Soup noodles and a vinaigrette made out of the soup spices, but I didn't like the MSG so made up my own dressing which approximated the flavours. Then on Sunday Kenneth told me putting Mr. Soup noodles in the salad was like putting marshmallows on sweet potato - something out of the fifties. So I desisted and stuck with the basics - no Mr. Soup.
1 cabbage, sliced thinly

1 T chives, choppped

¼ cup toasted almonds

¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds


2 T soy sauce

3 T rice vinegar

2 T sesame oil

2 T peanut or canola oil

1 T sugar

1 T Mrs. Dash (or other vegetable seasoning)


Yesterday Kenneth cooked a tasty squash curry and tonight we had the last of the Taproot sauerkraut in a sausage and potato skillet. I think we've posted the recipe for that before so I won't repeat!

Enjoy the sunshine.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

butternut squash ravioli

If you have a ravioli press, then this is a nice little recipe for butternut squash.

Bon appetit!


leek and mushroom pizza

Thursday I was in the mood for quickie comfort food, so made black bean burritos topped with two kinds of cabbage (Ria disapproved of the cabbage). That used up a bit of cabbage, but we still have 1/2 a red cabbage and 1 1/2 savoy cabbages in the fridge. I love savoy cabbage, though, so I'm not despairing. Tomorrow we're going to a potluck so I think I'll bring some "Killer coleslaw" (I'll post the recipe) ... maybe a turnip spice cake. We'll see how ambitious I get.

Last night the stove worked (miraculously!) but insisted on pizza, so we used up the last leek and some portabella mushrooms that were on sale. I have a quick and easy recipe for wholegrain pizza base (adapted from 1001 Vegetarian recipes) and a pizza stone, so I actually prefer homemade pizza to order-in.

Leek and mushroom pizza

1/2 cup all-purpose four, divided
1 package (or 2 1/2 tsp) fast-rising yeast
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 cup very hot water
2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 leek, sliced
3-4 portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T olive oil
1-2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 c ricotta cheese
1/4 mozzarella cheese

Combine 1/4 c white flour, yeast, salt, sugar and whole wheat flour; add hot water. Stir then knead for 3-5 minutes. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the stone base in a 425 F oven. Heat the oil in a pan and add mushrooms and worcestershire sauce; cook until mushrooms have released their juice. Add leeks. Cover and cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic. Cook another minute; remove from heat. Roll out pizza base; sprinkle cornmeal on the pizza stone and fold pizza base out onto it; roll up edge to form a crust. Spread tomatoes thinly on surface. Cover pizza with leek & mushroom mixture; top with cheeses. Cook until crust is browning around the edges - 15-20 minutes. Yum!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ricotta leek fritters; roasties

Oh dear. The fridge she overfloweth. Box day yesterday and we got two savoy cabbages, fingerling potatoes, carrots, greens, sprouts, squash, turnip, cider, and soap. This to add to the half a red cabbage, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, parsnip, leeks and apples we already had. Patricia keeps apologizing for the size of the box ... now really.

So, tonight I resurrected another British tradition from my time in England: roasties. I think they're traditionally done with lard, but I used olive oil - much healthier. Oven to 450, toss small potatoes (washed but unpeeled), parsnips (peeled and cut into chunks the size of the potatoes) and sweet potatoes (peeled and in chunks) in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs - I used parsley and thyme, but would have used rosemary if I'd had some - salt and pepper. Put them in a single layer in a baking dish. Roast uncovered until you can insert a fork easily into a potato - about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, I cooked some sausage for meat and made a variation on the ricotta fritters Kenneth made a little while back: I sliced a leek finely, stirred it with an egg, 2 T whole wheat flour, about 1/2 cup crumbly ricotta, 1-2 T parmesan, and made them into little cakes then dry-fried them in a pan. I should note that this recipe originally comes from Jamie Oliver's Italy cookbook - he recommends refrigerating the mixture for about 1/2 hour before making, but I didn't have time.

Sliced up some red cabbage, mixed it with the greens, topped them with fundraising dressing we got from All Nations Church, and it was dinner! The greens tasted SO good - my body is definitely ready for spring.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Herbed carrot salad

We've been using up bits and pieces (potatoes & sauerkraut with ribs on Thursday, sprouts and carrots and apples in lunches, continual coleslaw) but nothing very blog-worthy. Today I must have been feeling spring-like because I made my usual summer-time lunch: a trio of salads that I can cycle through, adding a new one as one gets used up. We had the cabbage coleslaw I posted the recipe for before (we're out of celeriac, but we've just been using the dressing on plain cabbage); a chickpea salad; and a grated Taproot carrot salad. Most people add raisins and things to carrot salad but I never like that as much - carrots are sweet enough as they are, I think (especially fresh local carrots!). I prefer a herb-dominant salad. You can use any herbs you have - fresh is always better, of course, though we've only got dried now - but this is the combination I used today.

For the carrot salad:
1-2 large carrots (you'll be amazed how much this makes)
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T olive oil
1-2 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp thyme
2 tsp fennel seeds

Grate the carrots. Stir the vinegar and the oil into the salad. Add herbs; taste and adjust as you please.

There! A dish that tastes like summer on what felt like the first day of spring.

And back to winter - leek and potato soup tonight.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

English curry and chips; cabbage and celeriac coleslaw

Hi folks - I was away last week, so we haven't been posting much. Kenneth made a really good Indian flavoured roasted squash on the weekend, but with box day yesterday, and with last week's produce we still had a fridge full of beets, potatoes, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, leeks, carrots, turnip, and apples.

This afternoon, home with a sick one-year-old, I oven-roasted the beets and steamed the turnip. When Ria woke up from her afternoon she ate nearly a quarter of the turnip ... I think she's feeling better! The rest we've frozen for her lunches, along with all the beets (method #23 for using up the box: feed the stuff you don't like to your kids).

Tonight for dinner I tried a British pub-food standby: curry and chips. I cut several potatoes into wedges, tossed them in a bit of olive oil, then baked them for 20 minutes at 450, stirred them and cooked them another 10 minutes. For the curry I fried some diced onion in some olive oil and about 2-3 T of curry powder (our curry powder is stale, so you might not need so much). I chopped up two sweet potatoes and cooked them in the microwave for 2 minutes, then added them to the pan. Half a jar of tomatoes, 1/2 can of light coconut milk; let it simmer a while. Add a green pepper in chunks and half a can of chickpeas (drained). Then add to taste ginger (I used about 1 T), garam masala (1-2 T), 1-2 T sugar, a dash of tabasco sauce if you want some extra kick, cinnamon (1 T) and cardamom powder (1-2 tsp). Cook until thickened and bubbly. Serve over the chips.

I also made a tasty coleslaw (recipe adapted from one on the internet):
1/4 head red cabbage, sliced finely
1-2 celeriac roots, peeled and julienned
2-3 carrots, grated
1/4 c mayonnaise
3 T cider vinegar
2 T grainy dijon mustard
1 tsp cumin

Have a good week!


chips encounters of the turnip kind

I've never been a big fan of turnips, but with the Winter CSA box, we are reconciling our differences… a bit.

A good discovery that I have made is turnip chips.

Slice them really thin, like bagged potato chips. Deep-fry them. Add salt.

Since they do not get as crisp as potato chips, it is a good idea to throw them in the oven after the deep-fry, for a bit of a bake. Watch them closely in the over, as the high sugar content in turnip tends to make them an easy candidate for scorching.

I rarely deep-fry anything, so to avoid wasting the canola oil, I set it aside in a separate container and later use it to pop popcorn on the stovetop. It works for me, as I eat turnip only occasionally, but popcorn remains an appetite over which I have little wont to control.

Not the healthiest of posts, but if you have a fridge full of turnip…

Bon appetit!