Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dandelion Greens salad

I was excited to see the dandelion greens in the box this week - they're bitter, but I love them. Kenneth raises his eyebrows but will eat a few. I think part of my delight comes from turning something people think is just a weed into something tasty.

Tonight we had perogies with warm dandelion salad. For the salad:

1 bunch of dandelion greens, washed

4-5 strips bacon

1-2 pieces stale bread, in cubes

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 T olive oil

2 T red wine vinegar

1 t sugar

salt & pepper

Wash the greens. Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy. Don't drain. Remove bacon. Put bread cubes, onion and garlic in bacon grease. Cook until bread is crunchy & onion soft. Crumble bacon & return to pan. Whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar and lots of salt and pepper (more than you would normally use). Toss with greens. Pour warm bacon mixture and any leftover grease over salad; toss.

We didn't have bread so I used soy nuts to give crunch. I think it worked but the croutons are better. Don't skip the salt - it counters the bitterness. You can also toss the greens into the pan for a few minutes if you prefer them slightly blanched/wilted.


oven-roasted veggies; box day

Box day - dandelion greens, parsnips, carrots, squash, potatoes. Plus our first day of the meat share! We're very excited. A whole chicken, 2 T-bone steaks, hamburger meat, and some sort of pork roast, which I think Kenneth is going to turn into sausage.

Last night I kept it simple: poached salmon in a bit of white wine, and then baked potatoes with roasted squash, parsnips, and jerusalem artichokes (left from last week). I started a little late so I tossed the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes before putting them in the oven at 425 for about another 20 minutes; I did the same with the pieces of squash. The artichokes and parsnips I cut into bite-sized pieces, tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with a salt-garlic-chili mixture, and roasted for 15-20 minutes.

The cabbage still lurks in the fridge, glaring at me balefully.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Various menus

Happy Easter everyone! I'm sorry we haven't been posting lately ... busyness, holidays, and, frankly, not too much exciting cooking.

So - let's see - how have we been using up the box? Like I said, nothing too exciting, but a few things here and there:

-Kenneth made a very good Caesar salad with the spinach
-Kenneth made a side dish of carrot and parsnip cooked in fresh cilantro and a bit of butter
-I made the cabbage and apples stir-fry (served with perogies - yum!) (I already blogged about it:
-For an Easter dinner potluck, I made a big batch of killer coleslaw. It has migrated rather far from the original recipe: we try to avoid MSG, so we make our own dressing rather than using oriental soup mix (you can find the recipe here:; and someone at the party was allergic to nuts, so instead of almonds I put in soy nuts (and of course didn't use peanut oil). I did include the Mr. Soup noodles this time, but only because we still had one package - Kenneth says from now on no Mr. Soup!
-this morning I made muffins from rhubarb frozen from last summer

And then, of course, there's Ria's contribution, who tonight ate two bowls of turnip and one of beets, as well as sauerkraut, peas, crackers, sausage and rice cakes. I guess being outdoors all day is good for her!

Still in the fridge - 1/2 a cabbage (unbelievable!), 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, potatoes, jerusalem artichokes. Will probably roast some veggies tomorrow and use those up before the next load arrives.

Hope you had as much fun in the sun this weekend as we did.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

cold-busting lime carrot soup

If you're down with a spring cold like Ria and I are, last night I made a good soup that has lots of cold-killing ingredients (adapted from 1,001 Vegetarian Recipes):

2 c sliced carrots (we used different colours of the Taproot rainbow carrots, so it looked really pretty)
1 c chopped red or orange sweet pepper
3/4 c sliced celery
1/3 c sliced green onions or leeks
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red or green chili, minced finely
6 cups veg stock
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 c fresh mushrooms, quartered
3-4 T chopped fresh cilantro

Sautee the leeks/onion and garlic in a large pot in a bit of olive oil until soft. Add carrots, pepper, celery, chili for 5 minutes, putting a bit of water in the bottom of the pot if they get dry. Add stock (we save the water when we steam or boil vegetables, and keep topping up a large jug in the freezer), lime juice, and cumin. Heat to boiling. Simmer until carrots are tender (about 15-20 minutes). Add mushrooms; cook another 5 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro.

That soup tasted really good on a sore throat and cleared my stuffed-up nose - make it as spicy as you like.

(Kenneth says to say the lime juice came from our own lime trees... I wish!!!)

Tonight we had a repeat of Kenneth's zucchini pasta sauce ... yum.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stuffed chicken with roasted squash and parsnip/potato chips

I'm a little slow in posting this, but Wednesday's dinner was pretty good as far as using up box veggies was concerned.

We had chicken stuffed with homemade ricotta and frozen-from-the-summer basil pesto, parsnip and potato oven-baked fries, and roasted squash with chickpeas. We've already blogged about the parsnip and potato chips:

For the squash, I used a recipe adapted from Paradiso Seasons (a fantastic vegetarian cookbook - and a great restaurant, if you're ever in Cork, Ireland).

butternut squash, in chunks
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 fresh red chili, sliced
4 T chickpeas (cooked or canned)
1 T cumin seeds
1/2 c water
handful fresh coriander

Toss the squash in olive oil and roast at 400 until a fork can be inserted easily (about 20 minutes). Saute the onion in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil; add chili, chickpeas and cumin. Cook for a minute then add water and some salt. Bring to a boil then pour over the roasted squash. Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes. Top with fresh coriander before serving.

Ria has been eating turnip, carrots and beets in her lunches, while we've been having soba noodles with cabbage and carrots.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

fish with herbs

It was a pleasant surprise to find fresh onions and herbs in this week's CSA box. That, combined with the high temperatures, made for a nice barbecue christening of Epicurus' garden.

Tonight we threw some Atlantic salmon on the q, with all of the fresh oregano from Taproot, and some lemon slices. Our side dishes were carrots and potatoes. Taproot's potatoes barbecued with all of the green onions from Taproot and some of last fall's dried sage from our herb garden. We boiled Taproot's massive carrots (chopped) on the range top with a bit of red wine and last fall's dried fennel seeds from our herb garden.

Faaaaaantastic. To have Spring is to live again!


Veggie Pappardelle

Tis the season of preserves and dried herbs. This doesn't mean things have to taste as bad as a Dickensian novel. Please sir, may I have some more!

We used Taproot CSA's frozen zucchini from last week, and a number of preserves to produce a very nice pasta dish. I'll try to include the source of the ingredient in the list below.

1 medium-sized onion, chopped (Taproot 2011),
1 tsp. minced garlic (Sobeys*),
1 litre jar of canned tomatoes (Taproot and our own garden, 2010),
1 lb. frozen shredded zucchini (Taproot),
3 or 4 staves of dried lavender (Taproot),
30 g. frozen basil leaves, chopped (our herb garden 2010),
1 or 2 Tbsp. dried thyme (our herb garden 2010),
1 or 2 Tbsp. dried oregano (our herb garden 2010),
3 filets anchovy (Sobeys or Pete's Frootique),
1 156mL can of tomato paste (Sobeys),
Black pepper to taste,
Noodles, preferably pappardelle.

Put a dash of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot (stock pot) and fry the onion and garlic with some black pepper until the onions begin to go transparent.

Add the tomatoes and zucchini. Crumble in the herbs, discarding the tough stems, particularly from the lavender. Add the anchovy. Heat this on medium heat, until it bubbles a bit, then turn it down and simmer it for at least an hour.

Thickening the sauce: the anchovy will serve to thicken the sauce a bit, and do feel free to add more filets than called for above, if you wish. Our family also likes a thick sauce, so we add the small can of tomato paste mentioned above.

Note that there is no salt in this recipe. The better your quality of veggie, the less the need for salt, in my opinion. Also, the anchovies bring a small amount of salt with them.

We ladled this liberally over some homemade Pappardelle noodles that we made a few weeks ago, but you could use any noodle that you prefer.

Bon appetit.


* Sadly, our garlic from our friendly neighbour Len was used up last week. Lament.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spinach pizza; turnip spice cake

Hi everyone,

I see Patricia posted this link in the newsletter, so if you're just checking us out for the first time, welcome! We've set ourselves the project of blogging for a year about how we use up the Taproot CSA box. We don't always mention everything - apples and carrots tend to go in lunches, so I don't really write about them - but we'll try to let you know how we use up most of the box ingredients. We include recipes the first time we write about something, but we do have some stand-bys we cook often, so we won't repeat those recipes. You can search previous entries by ingredient. The hope is that it'll give people some ideas about how to use unfamiliar vegetables - or overly familiar ones! We'd love to hear what you're doing with your box in the comments.

Thursday I made an 'old standby' - German skillet of sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes. I added in some purple cabbage and while it makes the potatoes look a little odd (they turn blotchy purple) it tastes good.

Friday I made spinach pizza, inspired by a pizza I used to love at Porterhouse North in Dublin. It also had portabella mushrooms, which I didn't have yesterday, and is really good with a handful of arugula dropped on top after it comes out of the oven (which I also didn't have). But our version was tasty nonetheless. Brush a whole wheat pizza base with olive oil. Crush a clove of garlic and spread it over the base (or if you prefer less garlic, cut a clove in half and rub the halves on the base). Spread washed (uncooked) spinach over the base. Dot with kalamata olives and generous amounts of blue cheese. Cook until base is crispy and cheese is melted.

Today I was going to make turnip spice cake, but when I cut the turnip into cubes and steamed it, Ria ate most of it. For breakfast. I swear she would choose turnip over candy. Weird child! But I'll include the recipe here anyways, since I promised it last time.

Turnip Spice Cake

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cloves

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup soured milk (if you don’t have sour milk, combine 1 T lemon juice and 1 cup milk, and let it sit for 5 minutes)

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ cups cold mashed turnip

1 ½ cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, salt and spices. Cream butter and sugar. Stir the baking soda into the soured milk; add to sugar mixture. Mix in the turnip and raisins. Combine with the dry ingredients. Bake in a 13 x 9 pan for 40 minutes.

Right now I'm boiling beets, and will make roasted beets for supper, I think. Kenneth won't like them but his folks are coming over, so they and Ria can eat most of them. The recipe is from a vegetarian cookbook called Paradiso Seasons (a fantastic cookbook)

20 small beets (I have more than that)
olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 tsp caraway
1 onion, thinly sliced

Boil beets then lift them out to a bowl of cold water. Rub the skins off. Put the beets in an oven dish and toss with olive oil and salt. Cook 375 F for 15 minutes. Sprinkle on balsamic vinegar and caraway seeds and cook another five minutes.

I'll let you know how they taste!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Welcome to the new CSA year!

Box day yesterday - first of the new CSA year! Very exciting. Kenneth barbecued cabbage again - my new favourite dish, I think.

Tonight I made pita pizzas with my friend Sarah's recipe - carmelized onions, chicken and apple. Really tasty and a good way to use lots of onions.

Slice a bunch of onions (5-6 or even more) and put them in a shallow pan with a wee bit of oil and 2-3 T of brown sugar. Cook them over low heat for a long time - about 40 minutes or so - until they carmelize.

Brown some chicken, and then put some pieces of apple into the pan and cook for a few minutes. Top pita shells with onions, chicken and apple, add copious amounts of freshly ground pepper, then top with mozzarella and either feta or blue cheese. Cook 350 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the pita is crispy.

Kenneth just made pumpkin pie and apple turnover from frozen pumpkin and apples we had left over from the fall. Sweet!