Friday, May 27, 2011

salmon with lime asparagus and beet greens

A bit of a whirlwind dinner last night, since Ria was hungry and clingy, but it still tasted good. I barbecued salmon brushed with soy sauce and lime juice, and bbq'd the rest of the asparagus as well, with a little more lime and then some lime and olive oil drizzled over just before serving. The beet greens we simply steamed; Kenneth likes them with a little butter but I like them with vinegar. Served everything with rice - a simple, fresh, tasty meal. You don't need much cooking skill when the ingredients are so fresh!

Kenneth is having the asparagus ends in omelettes for breakfasts (My mother has a rule that you hold the asparagus with two fingers on the tip and two on the end, and then bend until it snaps, and then only eat the top part. I still do this, but I find it wastes a lot of asparagus which still tastes good - so we save the ends to toss in other things) and we've been drinking the cider in the evenings. Carrots in lunches but they're piling up - might have to pickle some soon.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Completely CSA dinner - chicken, asparagus, greens, carrots

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been silent lately but we've been away a couple of weeks. And I missed the fiddleheads - and nettles! Woe! Although my lovely neighbour, to whom we donated our box while gone, apparently made some nettle spanakopita and saved me some. That's the best way to cook nettles, by the way - layer with filo pastry and feta or ricotta.

And the asparagus this week almost makes up for missing the fiddleheads.

Tonight we had a fully CSA meal. Kenneth roasted a chicken from the meat CSA, and we ate it with fresh steamed asparagus, carrots, and a simple greens salad. Oh, and fresh chives for garnish. Ria, who has refused chicken for about six months, decided to eat my whole drumstick plus two slices of breast meat. Trust a one-year-old to prefer free-range organic chicken over Sobey's packaged...

Kenneth uses Jamie Oliver's method of roasting chicken - push a bit of salt and some fresh herbs (we used more of the chives) under the skin on the breast, and drizzle in a little olive oil. Stuff the chicken with a lemon, halved, and more herbs. Rub the rest of the skin with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, then put in a hot roasting pan on one side, breast side down, oven pre-heated to 425 F. Cook for five minutes, turn to the other breast, cook another five. Turn onto its back and cook for an hour. The skin goes nice and crispy and the herbs really flavour the meat.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Taproot breakfast and dinner

It's been a good local food day. For breakfast I made the rhubarb muffins out of the Simply in Season cookbook (though I substituted yoghurt for most of the oil, and skipped the topping) while Kenneth made a spinach and feta omelette. Ria didn't eat the muffins (though she had had about four bowls of cereal before that) but chewed on some raw rhubarb quite happily.

For dinner we made make-your-own pizzas on pitas - one of mine was pretty conventional (taproot canned tomatoes, salami, pepperoni, green pepper, mozzarella) but the other was more 'local' and probably healthier: Taproot spinach, kalamata olives, and local feta cheese, topped with Taproot arugula the instant it came out of the oven. Inspiration courtesy of Porterhouse North in Dublin!

We also ate coleslaw I made earlier in the week out of the last of the cabbage. Can't quite believe it's gone (though we still have some coleslaw...)


Friday, May 6, 2011

Cream of Parsnip Soup

I think that I made up this recipe some time ago. Apologies if I have taken this from someone without credit. (It is very tasty.)

This week we found that we had collected a reasonable supply of parsnip from Taproot. Sensing an opportunity, I got to chopping.

What you need:
1 onion, chopped
2 or 3 slices pancetta, or similar meat (this is optional, and today I used some genoan salami in place of the pancetta)
a clove or two of garlic (optional)
2 cups chopped parsnips
1 cup chopped potato
1 tsp salt
250 mL cream
2 or 3 tablespoons snipped chives
4 or 5 twigs german thyme
1 pinch ground mace
a small bunch of tatsoi, or similar "heavy" greens (optional)

In the bottom of a soup pot, fry the onion with the pancetta and garlic, until the onion is just transparent.

To the onions, add the potatoes, parsnips, and salt. Just cover this mixture with water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20 minutes. Set this aside to cool.

When it has cooled, purée the mixture in batches. I use a blender to do this.

Stir the purée in the soup pot with the chives, mace, thyme, and cream. If you are using them, add the greens. Let the simmer on the very lowest heat for as long as you can – about an hour or more – to allow the flavours to infuse.


As an alternative, you can turn this into a seafood dish. While your veggies are simmering, you can steam 9 or 10 mussels in 3/4" of liquid which is one part water and one part white wine. When you purée the veggies, add this liquid to the purée. Don't purée the mussels themselves, but instead add them along with the herbs and greens.

Local notes:
This soup benefits greatly from the quality of Taproot's veggies, and the herbs that we harvest from our herb garden (though my nutmeg tree doesn't always fare well in the Canadian Winters). I also recommend Scotsburn Dairies for any cream product. I believe that they have more Jersey cattle in their producers' herds, resulting in richer cream. (I use Farmer's milk for all else!)

Today we had this soup with a salad that Kathy concocted from Taproot's recent delivery of spinach, arugula, carrot, and radish. It was quite a gourmet experience.

Ria has her own gourmet tastes and has been eating Taproot's radishes whole, like apples. Weird kid.

Anyway. Bon appetit.
Happy eating until next time.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vegetable BBQ - spiced squash, herbed potatoes

Steak dinner yesterday with friends, and the first day of over-20 degree temperatures. It couldn't have been more perfect. The meat share steaks were fantastic (and I don't think it was just my imagination). And we decided to go with theme and barbecue the rest of the meal as well.

We put mushrooms and onions in a bit of butter and wrapped them in tinfoil to cook. The potatoes we sliced thinly, tossed in olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and fresh chives from our garden (!!!) then folded in tinfoil and cooked over medium heat until they were soft. For the squash, I tried the following recipe adapted from Paradiso Seasons (the recipe said to boil the squash for one minute, but I microwaved for 2 instead):

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried chilies
1 T ground cumin
1/2 T ground coriander
butternut squash, cut in large pieces

Put the butter, olive oil and spices in a bowl. Boil the squash for one minute (or microwave 1-2 mins). Put the squash in the bowl and stir it around until the butter melts and the squash is evenly coated with the spices. Grill until soft and ever-so-slightly charred.

It was very tasty - I'm definitely making this one again.


coleslaw two ways

We've been a bit lax about posting - apologies - so I'll break this up into a few posts in case people are looking for specific ingredients/recipes. Kenneth also promises to post about the sausages he made with the pork from our new meat share.

Thursday Kenneth made some fantastic tempura with carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, turnip and onion. To go with it, I made an oriental-influenced coleslaw to use some of the cabbage we still had in the fridge. Kenneth had used up all the soy sauce in the tempura dipping sauce, so I had to improvise.

cabbage, sliced thinly
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1/4 cup soy nuts
1-2 T sesame oil
3 T rice vinegar
1 T worchestershire sauce
2 T honey

It tastes better if you let the cabbage marinate in the dressing a while.

Yesterday we had friends over for dinner and barbecued the T-bone steaks we got from the meat share. TASTY. I'll post the other veggies in the next blog, but I also made a coleslaw to go alongside. Very simple but very good. I don't like really mayonnaisy coleslaw, but this suited me.

2 T mayonnaise
3 T cider vinegar
grated cabbage
grated carrot
2 green onions, sliced.

We STILL have cabbage in the fridge, even after all that. We have neighbours with a new baby, so I was going to make an unrolled cabbage roll casserole for them ... until Kenneth reminded me what cabbage did to Ria when I was breastfeeding. So I made a pizza instead. Ah, well, maybe I'll make coleslaw again tonight.