Monday, July 8, 2013

Big Green Mean Machine Soup

This soup looks like grasssy mulch water, but trust, it is tasty and fresh as can be - like sipping on a Spring garden. This soup is also a dream for using up CSA staples such as kale, collards, etc. "kitchen sink" style. Spinach is the base so you will need quite a bit - I used one family sized pre-washed bag of organic spinach. Customize this recipe with whatever green you have on hand! Taste frequently and adjust to your taste.
  • A bug chug of oil (e.g. canola, olive, avocado, etc)
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • A large bunch of spinach - approx 6 handfuls
  • Collards  - 2-3 leaves
  • Kale - one bunch
  • Garlic Scapes - 4 scapes (less if you don't like the flavor of garlic)
  • Cucumber - 1/2 a large, 1 small
  • Spring onions - to taste (3 stems and bulbs)
  • Chives - 1 small bunch
  • Sugar Snap Peas - Approx 1 Cup
  • Baby Peas - Approx 1 Cup
  • Any other greens you have - green beans, turnip tops, celery, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint to taste
  • 1 L vegetable stock
  • Sea or kosher salt  
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional - a swirl of cream on top
Roughly chop vegetables to size of food processor bowl. Combine all vegetables in food processor and mince. Taste and adjust accordingly. 

In a large saucepan or dutch oven heat a good chug of oil and butter over medium-high heat. After butter has melted add finely chopped vegetables, a sprinkle of salt and cook until spinach is wilted stirring occasionally (this should take just a few minutes).

Add the stock. Stir to combine and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for approx 20 minutes, until all vegetables are very soft.

Puree with a handheld immersion blender until desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold with a drizzle of cream.

(If you don't have a food processor or immersion blender a counter top blender will work.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Easy Peasie Chickpea Squeazie Dill Dip

 Easy Peasie Chickpea Squeazie Dill Dip

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • As much dill as you can handle - to taste
  • Garlic scapes or bulbs, crushed - to taste
  • Scallion or green onion - to taste
  • Lemon - to taste (usually half a lemon will suffice)
  • 1 TBS oil of your choice - add more if needed
  • Sea salt - to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper - to taste
Throw that pile in the food processor, combine, taste, adjust, repeat until you've reached your personal comfort level. Go ahead. This is a judgement free zone. Serve with crudite, pita wedges, as a sandwich spread. This will keep for about a week, sealed in the fridge.

Apparently, I like to make things to the taste of "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" levels of garlic, so again this recipe should be adapted to your taste. Let's just say nobody wanted to engage in a three way make-out session with me after a lunch of this dip with baby carrots (PS Heave you heard baby carrots are trying to kill us all?). Out of the 4 taste testers, two thought it was perfect, and 2 thought it was cruel and unusual punishment to make them eat it. FYI the two people who liked it were both awesome Scorpio WINNERS!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Burl Ives Fresh Dilly Dilly Sauce

Mayonnaise! Amiright, y'all? (Paula Deen you burn in Hell, you Satan worshiping devil! Sorry, that's been eating me up all week!) Where was I? MAYO! It's the base for this sauce, which is clearly a very fancy, difficult to  make, saucier required type sauce. NOPE. It is easy, tasty and fast! 

You may sense a trend here - once again looking for a recipe, once again bastardizing multiple recipes to once again make something edible. Goal: use up fresh dill. 
NOTE: TASTE this as you are making it. Dill, garlic and shallot have very strong flavours , start with a smaller amount (Big bucket of DUH!) as you can add more later as needed.

Burl Ives Fresh Dilly Dilly Sauce

  • 1 - 3 TBS fresh dill
  • 1-3 bulbs garlic, crushed or 1-2 garlic scapes
  • Several leaves of basil
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 shallot (sub: green onion)
  • 2 Cups mayonnaise or Vegenaise (sub: sour cream or plain yogurt)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp prepared mustard or horseradish
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a food processor, tasting and adjusting flavor and consistency to your ideal. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

For grilled fish: Prepare the filet (salmon and cod work well, we've also used tilapia)  by rubbing lightly with a small amount of oil. Oil grill grates generously to minimize adhesion. Grill fish normally, liberally apply sauce with a BBQ brush after you've flipped the fish - approx five minutes before cooking is complete. 

 Actual, unedited text conversation between myself and SJM re: this recipe:
Me: Can you tell me when you put the dill sauce on the fish when grilling?
SJM: "I put the sauce on shortly after I flip the fish. So approx 5 min before they are done." Me: "Did you put any oil/salt/pepper on fillet pre-grilling?
SJM: "Just oil. And oil the grill grates really well also. Fish likes to stick." 
SJM: "YIK" (Yeah I Know)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Great (GARLIC) ESCAPE! Part 1: Pesto

WTFCSA? Has been the cry (from home cooks) heard round the world (homes in zones 4 and 5) as CSA boxes have provided a bounty of garlic scapes the past two weeks. I was one of the yelpers. Garlic scapes are, well, the tops of garlic. They are long, strong, and  down to get the friction on. They smell... what's the word... garlicky. I was stumped. I enjoy researching new foods and recipes (recipe nerd) so I quickly hit the Googles and discovered an easy idea for a quick recipe - garlic scape pesto. I cobbled together the recipe on tried and true basil-based pesto recipes, so please feel free to go rogue and adjust to your personal tastes.

Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 10-12 garlic scapes (or 5-7 scapes with a handful of basil)
  • 1 Tablespoon walnut oil (olive will also work)
  • Half a lemon, squeezed (this is roughly 1 Tbs)
  • 2-3 Tbs Roasted pine nuts (you can roast them yourself in a small frying pan on Med)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  •  Optional: 2 -3 TBS grated Parmesan cheese to taste plus extra for toppings
  • RECOMMENDED: Unless you really, really, really, REALLY like garlic, add a handful of basil to the mix. I made it without and loved it - but my Das Wampyre husband said it was too much for him too handle, so I cut it the next time and we lived happily ever after (until the garlic scape dip incident the next day).

Combine all of that stuff I listed above in a food processor and blend until you achieve your personal fave pesto consistency. Taste and adjust along the way. You may want to add a little more oil or some water to adjust the consistency.

Serve over warm or chilled pasta! Top with grape tomatoes and more freshly grated cheese if desired. (It's also good on crackers or with crudite.)

A happy ending for all! More of a friendly warning - I literally reeked of garlic oozing out of my pores the next day. As a virtual hermit, it didn't effect the populace at large (or at small), but I am forewarning those of you who must (or care to) take into consideration the olfactory perceptions of others. ENJOY!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tossed Salad: It's Not Just For Prison Any More!

 This year we are participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share through Echollective Farm. As expected, we've been buried in the overflowing bounty of fresh, organic greens. SJM:"What are we having for dinner" 
ME: "Salad!"
Repeat every day for three weeks.

My first order of business was to re-invent the salad game (not affiliated with The Game)- having salad every night for our main course calls for variation. Following is an unproven, unaccredited method for preparing a delicious, nutritious salad based meal. It smells good too(It might not smell that good.)!

Choose at least one of these: A light, leafy green lettuce
  • Spring greens
  • Baby greens mix
  • Lettuce mix
  • Romaine
Mix with at least one of these: A dark, leafy green or cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Romaine
  • Cabbage
  • Arugula
  • Watercress
Protein: Choose a main protein source, add at least one:
  • Beans - pinto, black, chickpea, etc.
  • Tempeh
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu
  • Squash
  • Meat - a lean meat such as turkey or chicken, the size of a deck of playing cards is one serving
  • Fish - Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, tuna, etc. (same serving size as above)
  • Mushrooms - cooked shiitake or a portabella cap, etc.
 Add the rainbow! Mix and Match:
  • Avocado
  • Artichoke
  • Peppers
  • Edamame
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Olives
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
Crunch and nutrition boosters:  
  • Nuts - almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts
  • Seeds - toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds
  • Nori (dried seaweed)
 Optional - LIMITED small amounts:
  • Dried fruits - cherries, cranberries, raisins, figs, blueberries
  • Fresh fruit - apple, pear, orange slices, papaya
  • Tips: These are tasty, but high in sugar and low(er) in nutritional value. Use sparingly!
  • Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • A small amount of oil (1 TBS) - olive, walnut, safflower
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Tips - Dressing can add a lot of calories so stick to the recommended serving size
 Special treats:
  • Cheese - small amount, DUH! Maytag Blue is a household favorite
  • Raw food crackers
  • Hard or soft boiled egg (a good source for protein)
Lettuce & Greens Heimlich (Wait...What? We're Not Calling it That Anymore?) Maneuver: Thrifty Midwesterners won't relegate anything to the melted, wet, decomposing lettuce death drawer!
  • To revive wilted lettuce or greens: place in an ice water bath (50/50 ratio) for at least 30 minutes - you can leave the whole shebang in the fridge overnight as well. Drain or spin; store in a loose, open plastic bag or special vented vegetable container or use.

This is the CSA I belong to:

**Hey, I'm not a nutritionist, dietician or medical doctor. Never said I was, so don't be a jagoff. These are my personal opinions, only.**