Monday, June 30, 2008

Tim Cooks: Tangy Lemon-Caper Dip

A desire for a dip for our CSA veggies, and a recipe found in Better Homes and Gardens.

  • 8 ounces light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, low-fat plain
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and finely-chopped
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill (or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely-shredded lemon peel
  • lemon peel and dill for garnish
  • Assorted vegetable dippers (such as peeled baby carrots, zucchini slices, pea pods, yellow summer squash sticks, and/or red sweet pepper strips)

  1. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, yogurt, capers, the 2 teaspoons snipped dill, and the 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel.
  2. To serve, garnish with additional lemon peel and additional fresh dill or thyme. Serve with dippers.
Recipe Notes:
Nutritional Info (Per serving): Calories: 32, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 36mg, Dietary Fiber: 0g, Total Fat: 2g, Carbs: 2g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Protein: 1g. Exchanges: Fat: 0.5

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kohlrabi Ham Bake

Kohlrabi from our CSA and a modified version of this recipe from the blog Simply Recipes, originally from Russian, German, & Polish Food & Cooking.
  • 1.5 Tbsp butter
  • 2 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces thick ham, diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of mace (can substitute ground nutmeg)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the diced kohlrabi and gently cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Beat the egg yolk, and whisk in the heavy cream, flour, mace, salt and pepper until well combined.
  3. Place half of the cooked kohlrabi on the bottom of an oven-proof casserole dish. Layer on the diced ham and parsley. Top with the remaining kohlrabi. Pour the sauce ingredients over the kohlrabi and ham.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Serve immediately.

Yummy. I would make this recipe again if we get more kohlrabi from our CSA. It's pretty rich, so I suggest serving it with a green salad.

Tim's Rating: 9/10
("Tastes like Scalloped Potatoes and Ham to me. I like it.")
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Turnips with Spinach, Hot Pepper and Garlic

A recipe on our CSA's newsletter

  • 1 bunch turnips, tops removed, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch spinach, trimmed, washed, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar to taste

  1. Toss turnip cubes in colander with salt. Let stand 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Pat dry turnip cubes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a very large skillet on moderately high heat. Add turnips and toss until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and chili flakes and sauté another minute or so.
  4. Spread spinach over turnips, pressing down firmly. Cover and reduce head to low, cook 2 minutes. Toss, re-cover and cook until turnips are tender, 2 or 3 more minutes.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish, add remaining oil and vinegar to taste. Serve.

Notes: This made enough for a side dish for 2-3 people. It's pretty tasty! I will be making this again the next time I get turnips from my CSA.

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Katie's Strawberry Hand Pies

Fresh strawberries from our CSA and Katie's famous recipe.

  • 1 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 in pieces
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsp cold buttermilk (whole milk with a dash of fresh lemon juice can be subbed)
  • 1.5 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

  1. In small bowl, combine vanilla and buttermilk, stir to combine and set aside.
  2. In large bowl, add flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest and whisk to combine.
  3. Use pastry cutter or two knives to cut butter into flour mixture until resembles course meal or just until all pieces are less than pea-sized.
  4. Add buttermilk mixture and stir in until dough comes together.
  5. Transfer dough to powdered sugar-dusted work surface and shape into flat disk.
  6. Wrap disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment.
  8. In medium bowl, combine strawberries, granulated sugar and lemon juice and set aside.
  9. Turn dough out onto a powdered sugar-dusted work surface and cut pie dough in half (rewrap other half and place back in fridge to stay cold).
  10. Roll one half of pie dough out about 1/8 in thickness. Using round pastry cutter (or trace knife around small plate), cut out about 5-6 inch rounds.
  11. Place round onto baking sheet and place about 2-3 Tbsp strawberry mixture into center.
  12. Using pastry brush dipped in a small amount of egg, brush the edge of half of the round.
  13. Fold dry edge onto egg brushed half, forming semicircle shape, and press edges together to seal with the tines of a fork.
  14. Brush the top of the pie with egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar.
  15. Use a small knife to make a 1 inch slit in the top of the pie for steam to escape.
  16. Repeat with remaining pastry dough.
  17. Place in oven and bake until tops are beginning to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  18. Let cool on sheets for 7-10 mins and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Katie's Recipe Notes:
"A distant, better looking cousin of the turnover, the hand pie houses it's own portion of delicious fruit filling and top and bottom crust all in handy compact size. Perfect for sharing. Perfect for casual entertaining.

You can also make the dough in the bowl of a food processor, just be careful not to over process (30 secs should be enough to bring it together.) Pie dough may be made ahead and frozen for up to 2 months if wrapped well."

My Notes: I halved Katie's recipe, and I got four from the half recipe. Katie, you've made another winner! This is my first time making pastry dough, and I had no idea what I was doing, so they aren't pretty, but they taste awesome!

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Asparagus and Arugula Salad with Cannellini Beans and Balsamic Vinegar

Arugula from our CSA, Tim's love for cannellini beans, and this recipe featured on Bridget's blog (originally from Cook's Illustrated).

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed of tough ends and cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 14 ounces arugula (1 large bunch), washed, dried, and stemmed (about 6 cups lightly packed)


1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until beginning to smoke; stir in onion and cook until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add asparagus, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook until asparagus is browned and tender-crisp, about 4 minutes, stirring once every minute. Off heat, stir in beans; transfer to large plate and cool 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl until combined. In large bowl, toss arugula with 2 tablespoons dressing and divide among salad plates. Toss asparagus mixture with remaining dressing, place a portion over arugula, and serve.

Recipe Notes:
Serves 4 to 6 as a first course or 2 to 3 as a main dish

My Notes:
This is a filling, delicious vegetarian meal. We had sliced leftover steak on the side, though, which was really good!

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shaking Beef with Pea Shoot Salad

Sirloin steak from Batalden Farms, pea shoots from our CSA, and this recipe from Food and Wine

  • 1 pound beef sirloin, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces baby pea shoots

  1. In a bowl, toss the beef with 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of garlic, 2 teaspoons of sugar and the fish sauce; season with pepper. Let stand.
  2. In a bowl, toss the onion and vinegar. In another bowl, mix the soy sauce with the olive oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a wok, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat until smoking. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt; cook until golden, about 30 seconds. Add half of the meat and cook for 3 minutes without stirring; turn and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a plate; cook the second batch. Return the meat to the wok and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. On a large platter, toss the pea shoots with the onion and the soy dressing. Spoon the beef on top and serve.

Suggested Beverage: A light, fruity Pinot Noir

Notes: The sirloin tasted so good. We loved it. The pea shoots, not so much. I don't think we're fans of pea shoots. The leaves taste good, but it's a lot of work to prepare and eat them. I will use this beef marinade and preparation again in the future, either to serve over mixed greens or brown rice.

So we're just rating the beef.

Tim's Rating: 10/10
Liz's Rating: 10/10

Monday, June 23, 2008

Linguine and Collard Greens with Bacon

So I had collard greens from our CSA, and I was going to cook them "Brazilian style" (a Mark Bittman recipe) to go along with some pork burgers that my friend Helen and I picked up at the farmers market. Well luckily today at work I mentioned my dinner to her, and she told me that my "pork burgers" were actually breakfast sausage patties. Hmmm. I am glad I found out before I served Tim breakfast sausage on a bun with condiments. (Thanks Helen!) So I scrambled for a way to use up my collard greens and found this recipe from Gourmet.

  • 10 bacon slices (1/2 lb), chopped
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts (1/4 lb)
  • 1/4 lb shallots, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (heaping teaspoon if you like spicy food, less if you don't)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 lb collard greens, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb dried whole wheat linguine
  • 1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings, made with a vegetable peeler from a 6-to 8-oz wedge
  1. Cook bacon in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons bacon fat from pot. Add pine nuts to pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and season with salt.
  2. Add shallots to pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add oil and half of collard greens and cook, stirring, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add remaining greens and salt and continue to cook, stirring, until greens are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more. Add water and cover pot, then simmer greens, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. While collard greens are simmering, cook linguine in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  4. Drain linguine in a colander. Add drained linguine and tomatoes to pot with greens and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Season pasta with salt and pepper and serve topped with bacon, pine nuts, and cheese shavings.

Recipe Notes:
Active time: 50 min Start to finish: 50 min
Servings: Makes 4 to 6 main-course servings.

My Notes: The richness of the bacon, pine nuts and cheese pairs well with the bitterness of the collard greens. This is a different kind of recipe, but it's good!

Liz's Rating: 9/10
Tim's Rating: 9.5/10
("Well having bacon in it gives it an extra point. I really like it.")

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Citi's Chicken

Katie's recipe for her grandma's chicken. If you haven't checked out Katie's blog yet, you must. Her blog is one of my favorites!

  • 10 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. yogurt
  • 1/8 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. white wine or chicken stock
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 3 c. cornflakes
  • 1 1/2 c. oatmeal
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano

  1. Clean and pat dry chicken pieces and place into a large freezer bag. In a blender, combine egg, yogurt, olive oil, wine/stock, salt and pepper and blend on high to whip together. Pour mixture over chicken and seal bag. Make sure marinade is covering all pieces and sides of chicken and place in fridge to marinade. Marinate chicken at least one hour and up to 24.
  2. Preheat even to 400 degrees. In bowl of food processor, combine remaining ingredients and pulse to a coarse meal, cutting the spices into the breading. Remove from bowl of food processor and place in a shallow dish or wide-bottomed bowl. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty tinfoil and top with wire baking rack. Remove chicken from fridge and with a set of tongs, pull one piece of chicken out of the marinade, shake to remove excess and dredge in breading mixture. Cover completely in breading mixture, shaking lightly to remove excess, and place on wire rack. Repeat with all pieces of chicken.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and place baking sheet in oven. Bake until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, about 50-60 minutes.

Katie's Notes: "The yogurt based marinade makes the chicken so juicy and tender and the oatmeal and cornflake breading stays really crunchy but light."

My Notes: Katie uses 6 chicken thighs and 6 chicken drumsticks in her recipe. I went with all drumsticks. This is definitely the juiciest, most flavorful baked chicken I have ever tasted! Wow! This will be in our rotation, for sure. Thanks, Katie!

Liz's Rating: 9.5/10

Green Onion Biscuits

Green onions from my CSA, leftover buttermilk, a need for something to serve with Citi's Chicken, and a recipe from Light & Tasty

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • softened butter (just a few tablespoons)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Combine the buttermilk, onions and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Lightly spread a small amount of softened butter on the top of each biscuit Sprinkle with a little cheddar cheese. Bake at 400° for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

My Notes: I don't use any "cooking spray" type items, so I replaced the cooking sprays in the original recipe with some real butter. I also added a little cheddar since I love cheese!

Recipe Notes: Yields 16 biscuits.
Nutrition Facts for One Biscuit (original recipe):
  • Calories: 85
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 1 mg
  • Sodium: 124 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 12 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 2 g

Liz's Rating: 8.5/10
Tim's Rating: 8.5/10

Chocolate Chip and Dried Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe from

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), brought to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 (packed) cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cacao)
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped

  1. Position two racks in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl; whisk to mix evenly, and set aside.
  3. Put butter, oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit it with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to high. Keep mixing on high speed until it looks light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. This is called "creaming." While you are creaming the butter and sugars, stop the mixer two or three times to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. With the motor running on low speed, add the egg and vanilla. Increase the speed to medium, and beat until evenly mixed.
  5. When the ingredients are mixed together well, reduce speed to low, and carefully add 1/3 of the flour mixture. When flour is mixed into dough, carefully add another one-third of the flour. Continue mixing on low speed to combine. Add the rest of the flour, and mix together well.
  6. Turn off the motor, and add the oats, chocolate chips, and dried cherries. Mix on low speed just to combine.
  7. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough for each cookie. Put them on the parchment paper, spacing them about 2-inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies in preheated oven until edges are just beginning to brown, about 12- 15 minutes. (Note: Only edges will be beginning to brown - the rest of the cookie will still be pale.)
  9. Carefully remove cookies from oven. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Notes: These are very good; the cherry flavor is subtle, so I may add more next time.

Liz's Rating: 9/10
Tim's Rating: 9.5/10 ("I don't taste the cherries. Or the oats. But they're really good.")

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Egg Salad with Radishes and Scallions

A recipe from our CSA's newsletter. (Our farmer's wife is a chef.)

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 medium scallion, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1/2 medium stalk celery, chopped fine (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 medium radishes, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • ground black pepper

  1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with 1 quart water and 1 tray of water (or equivalent). Transfer eggs to ice water bath with slotted spoon; let sit 5 minutes, peel and dice medium.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl, including pepper to taste. Serve.

Recipe Notes: Can be covered and refrigerated overnight.

Liz's Rating: 9/10

Oatmeal Crisps

Everyday Food

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix 4 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Mix in 2/3 cups rolled oats.
  2. Drop firmly packed teaspoons of dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake until golden, rotating sheets halfway through, 12-15 minutes. Cool on sheet 1 minute; with a very thin spatula, transfer to paper towels to cool completely.

Suggested Beverage: double espresso

Recipe Notes: Makes 18-24. Store these cookies for up to one week in an airtight container at room temperature.

My Notes: These are the easiest cookies ever. Light and crispy, they are not traditional chewy flour-based cookies.

Tim's Rating: 8/10 ("I could eat 45 of these.")
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette for Two

A recipe from our CSA's newsletter (Our farmer's wife is a chef.)

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups mixed greens, washed and dried
  • grape tomatoes, chopped carrots, green onions, celery, other salad fixings (optional)

  1. Combine vinegar, shallot, mustard (if using), salt, and pepper in a bowl with a fork. Add oil, then whisk or mix with fork until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Place greens in large salad bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss until greens are evenly coated. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes: The dressing will separate after 5 or 10 minutes, so use immediately or mix again before tossing with greens.

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Product Rave: La Tortilla Factory

At 7g of fiber and 50 calories each, these tortillas are much better for you than traditional flour or corn varieties. We use these for Tim's favorite meal: tacos.

While these are marketed toward dieters, they are a good product for dieters and non-dieters alike.

Tim: "These don't taste like they are good for you."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cheddar-Olive Muffins

The need for an "official snack" for book club and this recipe from Food and Wine

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of baking soda and sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 1/4 packed cups farmstead cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line three 12-cup mini-muffin tins with paper or foil liners. Alternatively, lightly butter and flour the cups, tapping out any excess flour.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Whisk in the chives and olives and 3/4 cup of the shredded cheddar. Add the buttermilk mixture and the melted butter; stir just until moistened.

  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared tins and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

  4. Bake the muffins for about 16 minutes, or until golden.

  5. Let cool in the tins for 10 minutes before serving.

Suggested beverage: Juicy, ripe Petite Sirah: 2001 Guenoc North Coast.
(Suggestion made by Food and Wine)

Notes from Food and Wine: "Perfect as a snack with red wine, these supremely cheesy and crusty little muffins have shredded cheddar folded into the rich batter and sprinkled on top. If miniature food is not your thing, you can also use this recipe to make 12 standard-size muffins and bake them for about 20 to 22 minutes."

My Notes: My book club is meeting at a lakeside cabin tonight, and I am so excited! Each member is to bring an "official snack" which is code for something in between a snack and a meal. This is more of a regular snack than an "official snack," but knowing my book club, they'll love them anyway. Especially because they will go well with the red wine we'll be drinking! The olive flavor is not overwhelming-- it's the perfect amount. Don't make them if you don't like cornbread.

Tim's Rating: n/a (Tim neither likes olives nor is in book club!)
Liz's Rating: 8.5/10

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Raw Corn and Radish Salad with Spicy Lime Dressing

A need to bring a salad to book club tomorrow, and this recipe from Food and Wine.

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears)
  • 6 medium radishes, halved and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced

  1. In a blender, puree the lime juice, jalapeño, honey and cumin. With the machine on, add the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the corn with the radishes, parsley, red onion and dressing. Season the salad with salt and pepper, transfer to plates and serve.

Suggested Beverage: Hmm... not sure. Beer?

Notes: This is ok, but I much prefer the Black Bean and Corn Salad.

Tim's Rating: n/a (Not a member of book club)
Liz's Rating: 7.5/10

Spinach-and-Feta Potatoes

Rachael Ray

  • 4 baking potatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bunches spinach, coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the potatoes until cooked through, about 50 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over mediumhigh heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet; add the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in the vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach to the mushrooms; add the feta and stir until mostly melted. Stir in the pine nuts and dill; season with salt and pepper.
4. Cut a deep "X" into the top of each potato and squeeze together to open. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to each potato then generously stuff each with the spinach mixture.

Suggested Beverage: Red wine (nothing sweet)

Rachael Ray's Notes: This meal for 4 costs $8.96, takes 15 minutes to prep and takes 50 minutes to cook.

My Notes: I don't really like baked potatoes, but this was really good!! It was also very filling. I ate one large baked potato with 1/2 the topping mixture and was very full. Notice that I said one large potato with 1/2 the topping mixture-- I think that the recipe works with two large potatoes, not four. I just kept the other two baked potatoes and will make breakfast home fries with them.

Tim's Rating: 8.5/10 ("I don't think I've had a baked potato in 10 years, and I didn't think I'd like this, but I do.")
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Arugula, Pine Nuts and Herbs

Arugula from our CSA and this recipe from Food and Wine

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 pound campanelle or fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped oregano
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 1/4 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a pie plate, toast 3 tablespoons of the pine nuts until light golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water, then drain again; transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cilantro, basil, oregano and garlic and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of pine nuts and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss the pasta with the toasted pine nuts, arugula, tomatoes, red onion and the herb dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Notes: Fresh herbs and pine nuts are a must for this recipe. So delicious! Next time I will omit the red onion.

Suggested Beverage: Wine: herbal, lightly nutty Gavi: 2006 Marchesi di Barolo Le Lune.
(Suggestion made by Food and Wine)

Tim's Rating: 9/10 ("I like the toasted pine nuts. This would be a good thing to take to a picnic or a barbecue.")
Liz's Rating: 10/10

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bachelorette Party Menu

I helped plan a bachelorette party in Chicago.

I was in charge of drinks!
  • Cosmopolitans (the bride's favorite)
  • Pimms Cups: Pimms and ginger ale, garnished with slices of lemon, lime, and cucumber
  • White wine
  • Red wine
  • Red Bull and vodka
  • Non-alcoholic drinks like cranberry, seltzer and lime
Another bridesmaid provided the champagne.

The food menu was fantastic, and although I had nothing to do with it, I am going to show off the Matron of Honor's great ideas!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Book Club Menu: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

This month I hosted my Tuesday Night book club, where we discussed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel by Lisa See.

I decided on a semi-Chinese theme to reflect our book's topic.

  • Wine

Monday, June 9, 2008

Southwestern Chili-Mac Salad

Rachael Ray
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ears corn
  • 2 cups elbow pasta
  • 1 red onion, 1/2 finely chopped and 1/2 thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 15-ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice and cilantro; whisk in 6 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn until just tender, about 3 minutes; transfer to a cutting board. Return the water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain and transfer to a large bowl. Cut the corn kernels from the cob and add to the pasta.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and chili powder and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain well.
  4. Add the beef mixture to the pasta; season with salt and pepper. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, sliced onion and vinaigrette and toss to dress. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the cheese.

Tim's Rating: 8/10 ("It was ok. It wasn't my favorite thing I've ever eaten.")
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lemon-Glazed Candied-Ginger Muffins

I wanted to make Martha Stewart's recipe for Lemon-Glazed Candied-Ginger Cookies, but of course I didn't read the recipe all the way through before I bought all of the ingredients. When it came time to make them, I didn't feel like rolling out the dough and using a cookie cutter, chilling between steps, and so on.

SO, I found this recipe for Lemon and Candied Ginger muffins.

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tbsp zest)
  • 3/4 cup milk (low fat is ok)
  • 1/2 cup candied ginger, in small pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter/sugar mix, working in two or three additions and beating at a low speed (or by hand) only until just combined. Stir in candied ginger.
  5. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.
  6. Cool on a wire rack, drizzling with lemon glaze (below) while muffins are still slightly warm.
  7. In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar with enough lemon juice to make a glaze that will drizzle easily from the tines of a fork. You don’t have to be exact, and can always add either a bit more juice or a bit more sugar to achieve a good consistency.
  8. Drizzle a little glaze over each muffin and let dry for at least a few minutes before serving.

Tim's Rating: 8.5/10
Liz's Rating: 7.5/10

Pork Chops with Bok Choy and Rice Noodles

Everyday Food

  • 1 package (6 to 8 ounces) rice noodles
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless center-cut pork chops, (about 6 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large bok choy, (about 2 pounds), trimmed, cut crosswise into 1-inch strips, and washed (with some water still clinging to leaves)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 piece (about 2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and minced

  1. In a large bowl of hot tap water, soak noodles until soft, 10 to 15 minutes; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, make sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and red-pepper flakes; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat oil over medium-high. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Place in skillet, and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate; loosely cover with aluminum foil, and set aside.
  3. To skillet, add bok choy, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until bok choy stems are crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add noodles and sauce from step 1. Cook, tossing gently, until noodles are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Thinly slice pork chops. Serve on top of noodles, and sprinkle with scallion greens.

  • I used a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, because we love spicy food. You can reduce the amount to 1/8-1/4 teaspoon if you prefer.
  • Garlic lovers should add another clove or two.
  • Vegetarians: this recipe would be fine without the pork. You could also add sliced mushrooms or carrots with the bok choy instead.

Tim's Rating: 9/10 ("What is this green stuff? I like it.")
Liz's Rating: 8.5/10

"Product" Rave: Green Garlic

One of my favorite signs of spring: green garlic.

I fell in love with green garlic two years ago, with my first box of vegetables from our CSA, Hog's Back Farm. I had never heard of green garlic before but immediately found a number of ways to put it to use.

Our CSA does not start until next week, delayed due to our chilly spring, but I am sure hoping green garlic makes an appearance.

Today at our Co-op, I was thrilled to see locally-grown green garlic available for only $1.29 a bunch.

I chopped it and sprinkled it over my green salad. Use it as you would scallions-- green garlic is similar, it just has a little garlic flavor.

Good luck finding some, and if you do, enjoy!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Vegan Bean Soup

Too many carbs in Italy, and this recipe.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining 2 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Notes: You can skip the blending in step 2 if you don't care about the consistency. Still tastes good!

Tim's Rating: 9/10 ("I like the spice.")
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thai Summer Bean Stew with Shrimp

Food and Wine magazine

  • 3/4 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails removed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons Thai green curry paste
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 10 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound mixed green beans and yellow wax beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Steamed jasmine rice, for serving

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Sauté until almost done, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk half of the coconut milk with the green curry paste. Whisk in the remaining coconut milk, 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, the fish sauce and the sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender. Add the 10 basil leaves and the 1/4 cup of cilantro and puree.
  3. In the same large skillet from step 1, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned. Add the edamame, green beans and yellow wax beans and the corn and cook over high heat for 2 minutes, tossing frequently. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth. Cover the skillet and simmer the beans until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut-curry sauce and the shrimp and simmer until just heated through. Season the stew with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle the stew into shallow bowls, and garnish with basil and cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges and jasmine rice.

The original recipe included chicken instead of shrimp, so refer to it if you would prefer chicken. Meat/seafood is not needed, necessarily, the dish would be hearty even without a protein.

The corn looked beautiful but was difficult to eat. Tim did not care for the corn format at all. ("Am I supposed to stab this with my fork?") Next time I will probably just add frozen or fresh corn at the very last minute.

Tim's Rating: 9/10 (not including the corn; 7/10 with the corn).
Liz's Rating: 8.5/10

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tasty Travels: Rome

Our last night in Rome, Tim and I returned to a restaurant we had visited our last time in Rome, in March 2007. His brother joined us for dinner.

The restaurant, Armando Al Pantheon, is a small, cute restaurant right around the corner from the Pantheon (and our apartment). You need reservations; they take them over email, or you can have your hotel call the day before or day of and book you a table. I wouldn't travel all the way across town to eat there, but if you're staying nearby, I recommend it!

We started out with two kinds of bruschetta: truffle and wild boar.
For our pasta course, I had spaghetti alla verde (spaghetti with lemon, arugula, and Parmesan).Tim's brother had spaghetti alla gricia (spaghetti with bacon, Parmesan, and black pepper).Tim had gnocchi pomodoro.
For our main course, we split the Saltimbocca Alla Romana (which we had made in cooking class the day prior)...
and grilled Scamorza cheese (so delicious but so cheesy-- good to split between a few people).

We ended our night with gelato from Della Palma.
Tim had Creme Caramel and some other flavor. His brother had mint chocolate and tiramisú. I had a triple threat of Pomelo, Pine Nut, and Strawberry.
The pine nut and Pomelo were SO GOOD!!
We then stopped at one more gelato place (yes we ate even more) and tried the ginger-cinnamon at San Crispino. San Crispino is the favorite place of our cooking class instructor and was mentioned in the Northwest Airlines magazine. We had to try it. Then we exploded from eating too much.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tasty Travels: Learning to Cook like a Roman

Our last stop in Italy was the Eternal City of Rome.

We took a cooking class through Context Rome, with instructor Francesca Flore.

We made:

Supplí al telefono (rice and cheese balls)
The name comes from "telephone" because when you bite into them, the mozzarella cheese can stretch out like a telephone cord.
Pomodori al riso (rice stuffed tomatoes)
Zucchini alla Scapece
(fried zucchini marinated in vinegar and mint)
Pasta carbonara
Pasta puttanesca
Pasta e ceci (pasta and chick peas)

Saltimbocca alla Romana
(veal escalopes with sage and prosciutto)
This photo is before they were cooked.

And tiramisú for dessert (didn't get a photo).