Showing posts with label CSA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CSA. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Simple and Satisfying Green Beans

Subtitle:  Oops, I did it again*

I recently realized that I don't have any peach recipes, or green bean recipes, on the blog.  I've joined a group of food bloggers who love recipe round ups, and when someone was looking for peach recipes I consulted my Master Spreadsheet and . . . crickets.
There are no peaches in this green bean recipe, if you're wondering.  I'll happily stick kohlrabi and Spam in a sushi roll, but I have to draw the line somewhere.
 We got green beans in last week's CSA farm share so I could remedy one deficiency.  Yes, if you're my mom following the blog closely you will note that I call for (leftover) green beans in my Thanksgiving Leftover Remake Shepherd's Pie.  Until this past weekend, Shepherd's pie was the only way my kids would eat green beans.
I know--they don't eat cereal and they don't eat green beans.  They are such weird interesting kids!  Perhaps all the 'we've got all this kale, here, drink a green smoothie' of this summer has rubbed off on them, because they ate these beans right up.
They (the beans now, not my kids) are delicious (duh, otherwise I wouldn't be blogging about them) and the perfect side dish to serve to a gathering of folks with different dietary needs because they are vegan and gluten free.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pick a Veggie Sushi Rolls

This is the third time I've written today's post, and no matter if it's the charm or not I'm going with it.  First, I was going to share kohlrabi, egg, and Spam sushi rolls.  Then a post about gyro sushi rolls, then unagi, green onion, and salad mix rolls.  Finally I just decided to combine a bunch of sushi photo collages and call this Pick A Veggie From The CSA Farm Share Box and Roll Your Own Sushi.  However, many of the food porn photo sharing sites I submit to have character limits on post titles, so a bit of editing happened.

I started sharing sushi posts soon after I started this blog, with a smoked salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber sushi.  Later I shared my #strangebutgood maple teriyaki salmon sushi.  Today I'm going to illustrate how I take a (usually leftover) protein and combine it with on-hand vegetables to make sushi.  Sushi makes a great portable lunch when you are outside enjoying nature during warm days.  It's a real treat to open up your lunchbox and pull out more than a squashed sandwich.  I love to send my kids a 'disposable lunch' on field trips (disposable required by the school) using up leftover containers filled with whatever I had on hand, rolled up sushi style.
If you're looking for recipes featuring sushi-grade raw fish, look at some of my links below--I'm in the middle of the country and cooking for my family--you will not find me buying blocks of sushi grade tuna, though if you'd like to send me where it is, I'd be delighted to eat it. :)

My daughter and I have enjoyed lunch together a lot.  When she was a preschooler, she'd have school a couple of mornings a week and come home for lunch/nap.  Later, it was lunch before getting on the bus for afternoon kindergarten.
We'll gloss over the crowded, noisy cafeteria and lunch starting at 10:40am in our last district.  Here in Ohio the kids get an hour(!) lunch break and my daughter usually comes home for lunch.  My son usually finds something worth staying for  at school.
 My favorite lunches-with-my-young-daughter were in Hawaii, picking up a to-go order at Aloha Sushi.  There, my daughter would get tekka maki and I'd have unagi hand rolls.  The warm grilled eel, warm sushi rice, and delicate nori wrapping utterly satisfied me in a way that no store-bought box of sushi can.
When my son asked for unagi sushi for his birthday supper, on a night coinciding with our first CSA farm share pick up, I knew I'd be rolling up some farm fresh produce with our eel.  I just didn't know what it would be until I got the box (I've mentioned I like the Iron Chef aspect of CSA subscriptions, yes?). My possibilities were varied--salad greens, kale, Swiss chard, asparagus, green onions, garlic and strawberries.  I opted for onions and salad mix.  My son thanked me for not getting too wild for his birthday dinner.
I got wild later.  Since I had roasted asparagus, leftover roast chicken, and all the sushi fixings out, I rolled up some Roast Chicken and Asparagus rolls.
Leftovers from Gyro night in a sushi roll?  Why not?  Drain the tzatziki sauce really well (overnight in the fridge) for best results.
These meals follow the Theorem of Cooking Once and getting 2 different meals with the result, just like with my Chicken Adobo Summer Rolls.  The Food Blogger Corollary is simple--you've got the camera out and your kitchen is already messy, so why not get 2 blog posts for 1 kitchen clean up?  When I made Spam Chirashi Sushi I saved some slices of meat in stick form to use in these sushi rolls.  My daughter brought them to school for a food sharing event in her social studies class.  If you've never made sushi, refer to this post for more step-by-step instructions.  It's really fun once you get the hang of it, and even your failures taste delicious.

Pick A Veggie From The CSA Farm Share Box and Roll Your Own Sushi

NOTE:  I created this recipe to be gluten free through my choice of ingredients (Spam is GF!). Check labels to confirm that your products (I'm talking about you, soy sauce) are also gluten free. Good sources for determining that your products are gluten free can be found here: 

Using the recipe in this post for the building blocks listed below, for each 8 piece roll, you will need

1 sheet sushi nori
1 cup cooked seasoned sushi rice (1 1/2 cups if you want double rice inside out rolls)
a thin schmear of mayonnaise
Protein (see NOTE below)
Vegetable (see NOTE below)

With damp fingers, spread the rice across the sheet of nori on an Old Bamboo or the rolling device of your choice (I've got a New Pink Plastic, and while it's easier to clean than my Old Bamboo I like the hand feel of the bamboo better).  Spread a thin schmear of mayonnaise across the rice.  Top with the rest of the components.  Use the Old Bamboo to roll tightly away from you, stopping after one complete revolution to lift the mat so it doesn't get rolled up with your sushi roll.  Squeeze tightly.  Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 8 pieces, wiping the knife with a damp towel in between cuts.
Serve with soy sauce for dipping.

NOTE:  Protein suggestions are 1/3 cup sliced Japanese Omelette (4 eggs, mixed with 1 teaspoon each sugar and salt, scrambled and chopped); 1/8 can of Spam, prepared per this post; 1/2 cup chopped roasted chicken, dribbled with teriyaki sauce; 2-3 slices prepared gyro meat, fried; 1/4 package marinated BBQ eel, or what else?  Vegetable suggestions are 1/3 cup finely shredded carrot, 1/3 cup peeled kohlrabi, sliced into sticks, 1/4 cup sliced spring onions, 2-3 pieces salad greens, 1/4 cup well-drained tzatziki sauce, or what else?

I've got some other ideas to tempt you:

California Roll at Just One Cook
Chirashi Sushi at Ninja Baking
Dragon Roll at Just One Cook
Festive Cucumber and Ginger Sushi at Ninja Baking
Ginger Cashew Nori Rolls at Spabettie
Jewshi with Caper Mayo at What Jew Wanna Eat

This post is shared on the Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesdays, Mostly Homemade Mondays, the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up Pot Luck Party, What's Cookin' WednesdayWhat's In The Box, Food on Friday and the From The Farm Blog Hop.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Buffalo Chicken on Buttermilk Pesto Pizza

Ever want to let someone else make the pizza for a change?  Yeah, me too.  Sure, there are times when I lay awake plotting what to put on a pizza.  But there are also times that I just don't feel like making the effort.  I happened upon a Buffalo Chicken Pizza at the grocery store (marked down!) during one of those times, and the flavor was a big hit with the males of the family.  Well, the intact males--Simon the pup and Quartz the composting guinea pig did not sample the pizza.  TMI?

One of the reasons I'm delighted that my son enjoys Buffalo Chicken is that he consumes celery when he eats it.  Since I'm like the simple dog about my regrown celery ("Look!  I made FOOD!") I planned to scatter freshly chopped celery leaves over top of any Buffalo chicken pizza I'd ever make.  I knew the leaves would a) look pretty and b) use some of the celery taking over the garden make the taste more authentic.

When I decided to make Wheatier Buttermilk Pesto Pizza dough after my success with plain buttermilk dough I was thinking that it would be a good base for Buffalo chicken topping--after all, buttermilk + herbs is close to ranch dressing, amIright?  I got a little frou frou with the post production of this pizza (that would be after I pulled it out of the oven, not in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Nothing).  My dribbling skills have improved ever so slightly, and I was please not only with the taste but also with the look of this pizza.

Even if you're not The Little Red Hen who grows her own celery and can pop out to harvest the leaves, try this one at home.  When you feel up to it, that is.  It's delicious.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fast Fresh Tomato Sauce
Served over polenta.  Crazy tasty.

When you've got farm fresh tomatoes and are looking for a quick easy no-cook tomato sauce, look here.  A jar of capers lives in my fridge, and if I put up enough, I have a cube or two of pesto left in the freezer until my basil gets going in the summer.  So when I get ripe tomatoes, I'm good to go.
This was fast, easy, and tasty.  Try it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Nutella Zucchini Muffins

I'd like to finally welcome Matt Damon to the stage. (Seriously, click on the link for an explanation in my Molasses Date Oatmeal muffin post.  Otherwise I'll just sound weird, OK?)

I realize this is the third zucchini recipe I've posted in a row.  I'm not apologizing, because my goal is to share something new for you to do with the glut of zucchini with which you may be blessed.  However, we're taking a break from zucchini after today's Monday Muffin recipe.  Wednesday I've got a fast fresh tomato sauce, and Friday I'll have a use for any regrown celery leaves you may have--Buffalo Chicken, Spring Onions, and Celery on a Buttermilk Pesto Pizza crust.

In the dog days of summer, when the squash just keep coming in the garden and the farm share, I shred a lot of zucchini.  Some of it gets mixed in with other veggies to help stretch meat for tacos or burgers.  The rest of it gets frozen all by itself, in 1 cup portions, for more zucchini-centric recipes.  Here's one way I'm feeding my family from the farm share all year 'round.

These muffins have a texture almost like a light chocolate cake.  They are delicious as an after-school snack, warm with a bit of butter or buttery spread.  You could easily go all whole wheat for the flour if you choose.
Yes, the bag says Squashzilla.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Zucchini, Corn, and Leek Pizza with Pesto and Feta (Pizza Night!)

The flavors of a summer vegetarian pizza: shredded zucchini sautéed with leeks and corn then topped with feta cheese on a roasted garlic oil-brushed pizza crust. 

Pizza in the summer should be easy.  Not that pizza in the winter should be complicated or anything, but there's something about the bounty of ripe produce coupled with spending more time outdoors doing yard work that lends itself to easy meals.  With such delicious stuff coming in the the farm share box the pizzas practically make themselves (let's be honest, I'm doing the work here) the idea of what veggies to combine in a pizza practically falls into your lap.  At least that's what happened with this pizza.  Sometimes, the ingredients choose you (Meghan is so wise).
Note:  I made this pizza in January.  It's true!  I'd love to show you a photo with the pizza and the 3 inches of snow that fell in the morning, but in fact it was wicked cold and dark so I have no 'outdoor' natural light photos.

Over the winter, while rooting around in the freezer for something else, a bag of shredded zucchini, a bag of corn kernels, and a bag of chopped leeks fell into my lap.  How did I make a pizza using zucchini and corn in the midst of winter?  Easy!  When I am overwhelmed with my crazy garden volunteers, or we get more than my family can eat in the week's CSA farm share box, I put it up.  The zucchini was shredded (love the fine shred disc on my food processor, the smaller and cheaper version of this one) then bagged, and frozen.  The corn was cooked in a cooler, cut off the cobs, frozen on a tray, and bagged.  The leeks were sliced, washed a lot, spun dry, and frozen loose on a tray before bagging.  That way, we can enjoy summer flavors all year long.  And this taste of summer was delicious after shoveling snow!

When I made this pizza, I knew that I eventually wanted to try leeks with corn on a pizza as well.  When I got leeks in my farm share I even did a little happy dance.  Tonight's pizza is very summery in nearly all respects--it's loaded with ripe-in-summer produce, tossed with pesto, flavored with a hint of garlic . . . but I think I may have used an eggnogandbutternutsquash crust.  So here's today's lesson, folks!  Always Label Random Bags of Pizza Crust In Your Freezer.  The crust tasted just fine with the toppings.  In fact, it may have been just a plain butternut squash pizza crust (is that an oxymoron?).  I'll never know, because I didn't label the bag!

If this pizza looks delicious enough for you to want to make it now, not wait until January, just make sure to squeeze the shredded zucchini until it's as dry as you can get it.  If you don't have leeks, substitute onions, shallots, or even green onions--but add them to the skillet at the very end because they burn easily.  At least in my skillets.  Now that my garden is growing some of these ingredients, I'm already planning my next "summer pizza" though this time I will know what dough to use.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Triple Chip Zucchini Spice Cake

You've heard of summer reading programs?  When my kids were younger, we did a lot of them.  One year we did programs at 3 different library systems in the DC area.  Plus the one at Barnes and Noble and also through their elementary school.  That was a busy reading summer.
You think keeping track of library books from one library is hard?  Triple it! Boy do I love borrowing ebooks from the library and reading them on my Kindle these days.

Now that the kids are older, the summer reading program has morphed into a summer reading/cooking program.  Once a week in the summer the kids are choosing a cookbook and fixing a recipe from it.  They are welcome to search through my cookbook shelves, scan food blogs (I'm doing it, they may as well join me) or try our library. So far this summer we've had cake, grilled shrimp tacos, ice cream, and grilled chicken thighs.  Now that I type that out, I can see a definite trend towards desserts and grilled meat.  No wonder the fridge is bursting with vegetables!  Good thing I'm also busy in the kitchen.
Just a shout out here in praise of public libraries:  when we move to a new home, like we tend to do every 3-4 years on average, one of our first stops is the local library.  We're lucky here--our library is less than 3 blocks from home and carries an amazing selection in a lovely old building. Hooray for the Wright Memorial Public Library!
It was during such a summer recipe search that the kids came across the Cake Mix Doctor® books by Anne Byrn.  I love how there's a color photo of each cake at the beginning of the book and I can honestly say we've loved every cake we've made from her books.  And this is an unsolicited/uncompensated review!    Making a Cake Mix Doctor® cake is about as easy as following the directions on the box--so, a good learning tool for my kids--but the result is so much better.

It was with this idea in mind that I set out to the library one morning.  I needed to bring a dessert, had seen this recipe, and had shredded zucchini (I put up my extra by shredding and freezing, for use year round) thawing on the counter.  Tragically, I didn't have the key ingredients (namely, I was out of all purpose flour and unsweetened chocolate).  While looking in the pantry for a box of cake flour, I came across a box of forgotten spice cake mix and remembered the Cake Mix Doctor®.  Fifteen minutes later I was on the floor in the library with 3 Cake Mix Doctor® books spread open in front of me, debating the merits of 4 different cake recipes involving shredded zucchini.
What's not to love about a library?
I ended up checking out The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! by Anne Byrn, and adapting her Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake recipe based on what I had on hand.  The folks at work, as well as my family, agreed it was delicious.

For other recipes using zucchini, please see my Zucchini Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. I've got a Pinterest board all about squash, you can follow it here. Wanna know How to Use This Blog? Click here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Open-faced Shaved Beet Sandwiches

I don't know why I'm spending my lunches waxing rhapsodically about beets and the farmers that grow them, but here I go again.  You know that when you get beets you should eat the greens pretty quickly, but the beets themselves will hang out in your fridge for a while.  You can shred and freeze them for later use, you can roast them and put them on or in a pizza, or you can make a tasty appetizer.  What I recently learned was that you can also love them raw.  All thanks to Martha.
Even though I work at a thrift shop, I'm still pretty frugal about shopping there.  I always check the clearance section when I get to work, and rarely scan the racks (oh who am I kidding--I check out the kitchen section all. the. time).  Whenever I see good magazines in the clearance rack, I snap them up.  I mean, it's the same thing year after year;  people always want to declutter their space and find new crock pot or grill recipes.  Only the trendy colors and vegetables (talking 'bout you, kale) change.

This is why I bought a couple of old issues of Martha Stewart Living--I figured I could find an idea or two for seasonal foods.  Late one night, while reading the March 1998 issue in between an article about building your own stone wall and an article about ordering seeds and bulbs from foreign catalogs, I read about shaving raw beets and tossing them with a balsamic vinaigrette.  The next morning I dutifully carried down the March 2004 issue and prepared to follow the recipe.  (Did you notice it was a different issue?  You're doing better than me.  I thought I'd hallucinated the whole balsamic-marinated shaved beet thing. What, you don't hallucinate about shaving beets? What do you hallucinate about?)  Because I was feeling lazy, I didn't walk back upstairs to get the correct year, I just winged it.  Then I winged it again the next day since it was so good.

This is easy, this is delicious, this is raw . . . give it a try.  The worst that will happen is your kitchen will look like an abattoir.  I've got a dark counter so I have no idea how bad it really could look.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Smoked Mozzarella, Feta, Mushroom and Pickled Pepper Pesto Pizza
Pickled pepper pesto pizza. I was giggling while writing this post (writing the old fashioned way, like the oats in my soaked oat muffins) in my breakfast nook. I thought I'd have a whole weekend to write at the sled hockey tournament, but instead I was yelling encouraging the team or watching some show about moonshine preppers panning for gold in deep-earth bunkers.  It was on TV, I couldn't look away.  My daughter will be home soon to claim her breakfast nook study space, so I must download this recipe before it flies out of my brain.
And you thought I took a photo of the ingredients to show you what's in this pizza. Ha!  I mean, it's great if you find the photos useful as well.  Really.
<days later>I'm still giggling to myself typing this post up in the lobby of the rec center where my son is at wheelchair basketball practice.  People are starting to stare.  Back to the point of this post.

I was cruising past the fancy cheese counter on another milk run (who is feeding these kids?) when I saw a magical markdown sticker in the vicinity of the mozzarella balls.  This time it was smoked mozzarella, so of course I snagged it to give it a try.

Heather (of garlic oil fame, though there's so. much. more. to her) eats marvelous pizza from some place called the Magic Mushroom.  Never been there.  But when Heather described her favorite pizza pie, it sounded like I could adapt it, play with my pickled peppers and pesto, and use this smoked mozzarella.

Smoked mozzarella is different than fresh mozzarella on a pizza in one dramatic way--it doesn't color outside the lines.  When topping a pizza with fresh mozzarella, you need to be careful not to put your slices too close to the edge for fear that they will run off all over your pizza stone.
Crispy mozzarella discs pried off a hot pizza stone are totally worth the burned fingertips.
Smoked mozzarella imparts a deeper, smoky (I know, surprise, I'll never be a food writer) taste, something which pairs well with the pesto and mushrooms.  The peppers and feta really make this pizza pop.

Normally, I don't feel like I make gourmet pizzas.  I'm just cobbling together the ingredients I've got on hand, from my farm share or good deals from the grocery store.  But describing this pizza . . . well, it sounds pretty fancy and high falutin' to me.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sweet Corn and Blueberry Waffles

Sometimes it takes my subconscious a bit of time to catch up with the rest of my brain.

The other day I was looking at a recipe round up email digest when these cornmeal waffles with a blueberry compote caught my fancy.  I thought I'd throw some of my freezer stash of blueberries into the cornmeal waffles instead of a compote on top.  Then I thought I'd toss in some frozen sweet corn that I'd also put up, because for some reason sweet corn and blueberries sounded good.

What I didn't realize, until the day after I'd made these, was that I'd taken the flavor combo from this amazing corn, cucumber, and blueberry salad and stuck it in a waffle iron.  Without the cucumber--cucumber waffles do not sound appealing.

Corn and blueberries are amazing together.  The salad was delicious, as are these waffles.  I love fresh corn, and fresh blueberries, in the summer.  When you have them both fresh in your kitchen, I recommend making the salad.  I'm not much of a chunky waffle fan (and my son cannot stand oozing blueberries in his waffles) so I knew I wanted to chop up the frozen corn and blueberries from my freezer stash into smaller bits.  When you have both corn and blueberries frozen, I recommend making these waffles.  Besides, I tend to prefer summer salads and winter waffles.  And alliteration.  You do what you like.

Note:  these waffles are a bit softer straight out of the iron than other waffles that I've made.  Flip 'em over--they'll be sturdy enough for the buttery spread and real local maple syrup.  These freeze well and can be toasted for weekday breakfasts.  I tripled the recipe and made waffles for 7 hungry folks with 2 breakfasts worth of leftovers, but I'm sharing the recipe that serves 2-3 folks.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Green and Gold Basil Tomato Tart

A late summer tart of ripe yellow tomatoes on top of a bed of rich basil and cheese, baked in a tart shell. A decadent vegetarian dish.

Updated in 2015 with new photos!

This dish, more than any other one I make, screams SUMMER! to me.  I first tried it at a party in Hawaii, asked for the recipe on the spot, and have carried that stained sheet of paper around with me for many moves.  I've shared this dish with so many folks but I'm putting it up here too.

More photos, because I make this every year when I get yellow tomatoes!

Even though this is a summer dish to me, I also love it in the early fall, when we still have ripe tomatoes and I'm happy to turn on the oven.  If your family's favorite football team happens to wear green and gold, then making this tart for game night, using yellow tomatoes, would be extra festive.

For more recipes using ripe yellow and or red tomatoes, please see my Red & Yellow Tomato Recipes Collection (not to be confused with the Green Tomato Recipes Collection). For more recipes using up basil or other herbs, please see my Recipes Using Herbs Collection. These recipes are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, and seasonal garden abundance. Want even more tomato ideas? I've got a board devoted to tomato recipes from around the web on Pinterest. Curious how to use this blog? Click here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finnish Summer Soup--with Kale

Other possible post titles:  'Finish All The Kale' Finnish Summer Soup, and Kale Keskäkietto

I hesitated to post this recipe now, because I'm not like Lydia who enjoys soup year 'round, or Karen who is addicted to soup.  I need cool weather, or at least a rainy day, to enjoy a comforting bowl of soup.  However, I've had several opportunities to enjoy this soup this Spring, so I thought I'd share and give you another kale idea since Spring 'tis the season for greens.

Because eating up each week's bag of kale from the CSA farm share doesn't come as effortlessly as eating up, say, a pint of strawberries, I need to work at it.  Throw in kids and it's a bit more effort.  This is where soup comes in.  I've found that if I puree vegetables in soup, my kids will eat them.  Even if it's green.  In the fall I put up kale (tear out the stems--feed them to the composting pigs or add them to the worm bin--blanch and freeze the leaves) and enjoy kale in hearty soups like this one.  But I'm not in a hearty soup mood when there's so much green outside.  Instead I wanted a summer soup.

This recipe comes from a little blue cookbook I've had for a long time, Fantastically Finnish: Recipes and Traditions by Beatrice Ojakangas, though I see it was published the same year as my son, and he's only like 5 or something I think.  I'm sure my mom picked it up, along with its Scandinavian brethren, at a Christmas bazaar.  Mom gave it to me because I spent a summer working in Finland and learned to cook a few recipes there.  Whenever I'd scan through the book this soup, Kesäkietto, always caught my eye.  In the head notes, the recipe comes from Esther Louma of Duluth, MN.  As written, it's a vegetarian recipe.  Because I recently had not one but 2 chicken carcasses burning a hole in my freezer, I spent a day making a pot of chicken jelly and substituted a quart of chicken jelly for the water (see NOTE below).  Since some varmint nibbled my pea plants (and parsley, and fennel, and tomato, and dill, though I have rescued almost all of them) I could not add the peas that this recipe calls for.  Therefore, I've utterly changed the recipe but kept the spirit of it--spring vegetables gently cooked in a milk-based broth.

I recommend you make this on a rainy late Spring/early Summer day, using whatever you've got available.  The nice thing about this recipe is that it makes 4 servings--so it's great if you have fewer eaters in the house, as you won't be eating this soup for a week.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Strawberry Sour Cream Brown Sugar Soaked Oat Muffins

The winning combination of strawberries, brown sugar, and sour cream flavors these whole grain muffins, with an extra boost from soaked oats.

The winning combination of strawberries, brown sugar, and sour cream flavors these whole grain muffins.

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Forget your shortcakes, your chocolate coatings, your balsamic glazes.  For me, the best way to enjoy a fresh local strawberry is to grab it by the leaves, dunk it into sour cream, then plunge it into brown sugar.  Then get out of the way of that strawberry as it gets into my mouth!  I don't share well sometimes.

The winning combination of strawberries, brown sugar, and sour cream flavors these whole grain muffins.

Sadly, the local strawberry season is over in the blink of an eye, and the Certified Wildlife local varmints attempt to pilfer my backyard patch even faster.  I have learned that I must gorge myself on strawberries, sour cream, and brown sugar as soon as the berries come into my house, and if any are left over I bake with them.  If you manage to put any strawberries up, this recipe will also work with frozen berries, or slightly older, softer berries, as you're going to smash them anyway.

It's yet another variation on my Soaked Oat Muffin recipe, which I need to update to include links to some of the muffins I'm enjoying.  Like this one!  Remember that this recipe is best after the oats soak at least an hour and up to overnight.  You can even combine the oats and buttermilk in a container in your fridge for several days before use.

I wanted to share how our household generates very little waste with the strawberries, so I thought I'd pose the composting pigs in the strawberry patch with the strawberry tops.  The pigs were not informed of my plans, and ran amuck in the strawberries instead.  Did you know pigs will eat the plants, too, not just the fruit?  Now you do.  In the future, they can eat alfresco only in the clover.

The winning combination of strawberries, brown sugar, and sour cream flavors these whole grain muffins.

For more recipes using strawberries, please see my Strawberry Recipes Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me who think that strawberries shipped in from Off taste like water, and prefer to eat strawberries that taste like . . . well, strawberries. I'm pinning lots of berry and other recipes to my Pinterest boards, follow me there. I'm sharing the progress of my own strawberry patch (can't get more local than the back yard) on my Instagram feed, follow me there. I'm sharing articles that catch my eye on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Basic Kale Pizza Dough (Pizza Night!)

The first weeks of a seasonal summer CSA farm share are like the Spanish Inquisition:  no one ever expects it, and by it I mean all the greens.  You sign up for a summer share and you're thinking tomatoes, corn,  cucumbers, zucchini.  Those crops are all heat-loving summer crops.  What is ripe in August is not what is ripe in June.  In June, because what is ready was started weeks/months before in the cool spring, so you get greens.  Arugula, beet greens, cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, salad greens, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and kale, kale, kale. (See the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient for ideas!)

It took me a while to embrace the greens, I admit.  Oh, not the salad mix, or spinach, those are pretty easy to love.  And Swiss chard is home and mother to me as I grew up eating it from our backyard garden.  My trouble with spring greens is this:  while I like cooked greens, by May/June I'm craving light, fresh fare, not long-simmered flavorful "pots of greens" goodness.

Yes, I could put the greens up to enjoy in winter soups.  But it's not even summer yet, and I'll be getting more greens at the end of the CSA season as the weather turns to fall.  I needed to find ways to enjoy my spring greens NOW.
My current obsession is sautéed beet greens and spring onions seasoned with sherry vinegar and topped with a sunny side up egg.  On rainy days, and we've had a few, we're enjoying a Finnish summer soup with kale.  In the meantime, however, it's time for a Friday Night Pizza Night and this time, I bring you a basic kale pizza dough. [Does my use of the term basic mean that in the future there will be another type of kale pizza dough (link to Spicy Kale Pizza Dough)?  Why yes, yes it does. Clever reader, you.]
Not interested in kale on a pizza?  Try my Visual Pizza Recipe Index for other ideas!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sautéed Beet Greens and Spring Onions with Sherry Vinegar

(Subtitle:  A soul-satisfying meal)

If you just want to know how to make a fast, simple, healthy and colorful side dish using fresh beet greens and spring onions, or how to take that side dish and make it a complete meal by topping it with an egg, skip over this next bit.  As physically satisfying as this combination of foods is though, when I paused and thought about it, this meal was satisfying on a soul-ullar level as well.

I've shaken the hands that planted the beet seeds in open flats back in February, the hands that transplanted the young seedlings to cell packs, the hands that moved the tender beet plants into the fertile soil of the hoop house in April, and the hands that harvested those beets last week.  [I deliberately left out weeding, because Farmer Josh tells me that they plant the beets densely so they shade out any potentially-germinating weeds.]  I've shaken the hands that gathered the eggs, like generations have before them, on Keener Farm.  I've even scratched the ears of the dogs and cats that live on the farms where these foods grew. 
All of those experiences align in this bite of my lunch, and that makes for a much deeper connection to my food.  I like that.  If you have the opportunity (and this is the second state I've lived in where I've found this opportunity), try it some time.  See that Local Harvest gadget in the upper left corner?  Find a farmer near you by searching your zip code.

Have your meal satisfy you on multiple levels.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Double Chocolate Raspberry Muffins--and they're Whole Grain! (Monday Muffins)

I like to eat seasonally, and locally, which usually means that I'm eating fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak flavor.  No tasteless January store tomatoes for me!  For berries, however, that means my "eat them fresh" season is very short--weeks, at best.  Most of the berries we eat have been frozen and put up in the fruit and veg freezer during the season.  We put frozen berries in fruit salads, on oatmeal, and waffles to name a few.  My spouse and daughter even like a bowl of frozen berries for a snack or dessert.  Me?  I like to bake with them.  I don't care if the berries lose their shape when they thaw in a muffin or cake batter.  They still taste fine to me!
I needed a muffin to take to a morning coffee gathering. I'd been gathering pizza ingredients out of the fruit and veg freezer when a bag of raspberries caught my eye.  Dark chocolate and raspberries go well together, so the recipe was starting to form in my mind.  My mom had emailed me to use cocoa powder in another dish, and I always listen to my mom ;) so I added a couple of tablespoons into the batter.
Then the fun began.  I used my standard soaked oatmeal muffin recipe as the base, but the first batch wasn't quite right.  I suspected the culprit was the additional bitterness of the cocoa powder, and made a second batch using a bit more brown sugar.  That tasted good.  But now I had 22 Chocolate Raspberry Soaked Oatmeal Whole Grain muffins staring at me.  Eep!  Conveniently, my daughter had recently enrolled in a home ec practical arts class, so I emailed her teacher and asked if the class could do a taste test for me.  The teacher was happy to oblige.  My daughter came home for lunch and I sent both batches of muffins off with her.  The class verdict?  Overwhelmingly in favor of the slightly sweeter muffin.
The actual data sheet, grease stains and all!
That meant that I still had no muffins for the morning coffee.  When I made my third batch of chocolate raspberry muffins for the day, I tossed in a handful of dark chocolate chips to the batter.  I liked these best, and that's why you're getting this version.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fresh Tomato Pesto & Fresh Mozzarella Pizza (Pizza night!)

By May, I am eagerly anticipating the first tomatoes of the season.  I cannot wait for the taste of a summer tomato with mayo, salt and pepper and good bread. Or in a panzanella.  Tomatoes just taste SO GOOD when you haven't eaten a fresh one in ages!   By September, however, I am usually over the taste of fresh tomatoes.  I'll still save out a few from the farm share for sandwiches and burgers, but the rest of the tomatoes will get canned or slow-roasted and put up for winter.  Last fall, however, a happy coincidence changed my mind and caused this delicious pizza to come about.

This is the taste of tomatoes at their peak, and it's simply awesome.

The sauce for this pizza came from a recipe that Heather at In Her Chucks posted.  Her recipe was for Cherry Tomato Pesto, using cherry tomatoes and salted almonds.  When I got yellow tomatoes in the farm share, I decided to try it.  I didn't have almonds, but I did have some salted cashews in the freezer so I swapped for them.  I also used less oil because when I went to scrape down the food processor bowl I found the sauce consistency to my liking without the additional oil. I made so much fresh tomato pesto that it deserved its own post--here's how to make it and put it up. Since there is no cheese in this pesto, the pizza crust and sauce combo contain no animal products.  Topping your pizza with soy cheese would result in a vegan-friendly pizza.

I found fresh mozzarella marked down at the grocery store (snag it when you see it, it freezes/thaws well when you're using it for pizza) and the mental image of the bright yellow sauce with the white circles of cheese appealed to me.  Giant pepperoni slices added a final pop of color, as my kid would say, and the whole family loved this pizza.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fresh Tomato Pesto: How to Make, Put Up, and Use It

I hate to waste food, and I'm pretty sure that you hate to waste food, too.

As I get to know the people who grow my food, I also hate to waste their time and the literal fruits of their labors.  When I decided to start a blog, I did so because I'd had success figuring out ways to take the farm share produce (that came into my house between May and November) and feed it to my family during the off season as well.

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Tomatoes processed with nuts, herbs, garlic & oil. This recipe can be frozen, and is great with a wide variety of tomatoes.

I know you like to eat tasty food (you're reading a food blog, so this is a guess, I'm not stalking you or anything) but it's just common sense not to enjoy composting or throwing away something you paid for that could have benefited you, your family, or hungry folks in your community had it been consumed in time.

So I need to share today a lesson in putting up a food which you may think couldn't ever be wasted:  a garden fresh tomato.

yellow tomatoes used to make fresh tomato pesto
As soon as you have fresh (yours or someone's garden, CSA farm share, or farmer's market--not grocery store) tomatoes, please make this.  You'll thank me!  I've been thanking Heather! Not Simon, who photobombed the shot.

I know you're thinking "What, is she crazy?  I look forward to tomatoes from my garden all winter long!  I start them too early in the Spring because I can. not. wait. to eat fresh tomatoes!"

Sure, sure. You're saying this in May.  In June.  But what are you saying in September? October?

The fresh picked tomato has less of an appeal then.  That's the time I am canning tomatoes, slow roasting tomatoes, doing anything but simply enjoying the fresh flavor of a tomato allowed to ripen naturally and picked at its peak of flavor.

Why am I nattering on about this?  To put you in my mindset last fall when Heather posted her Cherry Tomato Pesto recipe. I had all the ingredients so I thought I'd give it a whirl (pun totally intended), but I was not expecting my reaction to my first taste of it.

It's broke da mouth good.

I was licking the bowl of the food processor when my spouse walked into the kitchen.  I sheepishly gave him a taste, and then he understood why.  Not content to make the recipe once (and in the interests of science and/or this blog), I made it multiple times, shown here.  I've used your basic red tomato, yellow taxi tomatoes, indigo rose tomatoes.  I've used cashews and almonds, and Leanne suggests it's great with macadamia nuts for a more dairy feel--without dairy.  I've used fresh basil, fresh parsley, and, when the fresh stuff ran out, I've made it with put up Arugula Pesto and Basil pesto right from the freezer.  I froze a bunch of tomato pesto in November, and thawed the final bag in April (shown above, after I learned to take a slightly better photo of it, even though the dog photobombed me).  I'll go so far as to say that you could make this pesto with any kind of tomato, nearly any kind of nut you have available, and nearly any kind of flavorful leafy green or herb you have available and it will taste great.

For other recipes using yellow or red (or orange, or purple--the variety of tomatoes in the farm share continues to astound me), please see my Tomato Recipes Collection. [I have a separate one for recipes made with Green Tomatoes]. These collections are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

a collage of the different combinations of tomatoes and nuts used to make fresh tomato pesto

a collage of the steps involved making fresh tomato pesto

Fresh Tomato Pesto Sauce 

(very slightly adapted from Heather's Cherry Tomato Pesto)


  • 4 medium or 2 large tomatoes (tops to the composting pigs!)
  • 1/2 cup packed basil, parsley, or arugula leaves
  • 1/3 cup salted cashews, almonds, or macadamia nuts
  • 1 clove garlic (or use some roasted garlic, if you like)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Throw everything in the food processor.  Pulse a few times to chunk it up, then puree on high several seconds until smooth.  
  2. Scrape down sides and puree a couple moments more to get that last pesky piece of cashew incorporated.  
  3. Store in the fridge a few days, or in the freezer at least up to 6 months.
  4. This makes enough for 2 pizzas plus an appetizer for a hungry spouse who walks into the kitchen while you're licking the bowl because it tastes so amazing. We enjoyed this on pita chips, tortilla chips, carrot slices, baguettes, and pasta.

I've used it on a few pizzas, too:
Not-So-Simple Cheese Pizza
Five Cheese Pizza with Indigo Rose Tomato and Almond Pesto on a Butternut Squash Crust
Broccoli Rabe, Mushroom, and Roasted Garlic with Fresh Mozzarella and Fresh Tomato Pesto
Beef, Mushroom, and Fresh Tomato Pesto FFF-boli
Buttermilk Crust Pizza with Pepperoni and Fresh Tomato Sauce

This post is bopping around to What's Cookin' Wednesday, waving "hi!" to Heather, who first shared this recipe, at What's In The Box,  the From The Farm Blog Hop the Clever Chicks Blog Hop , Tasty Tuesdays, and the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up, Real Food Fridays.

an assortment of freezer bags filled with fresh tomato pesto

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chicken Adobo Summer Rolls (A repurposed leftover)

Even though I live with people who are happy to eat leftovers 90% of the time, I love recipes that transform a leftover entree into an entirely new dish.  One of these repurposed leftover ideas is to make summer rolls.  You can stick just about anything in a summer roll!
I wrote this post the second month of my blog, since the chicken adobo we repurposed was from this post, my 11th post.  I've been sitting on this recipe for months, since by the time I was ready to post we were fully into the Fall season and it would not have been appropriate. There's a lot of sat upon posts appearing this week on the blog.  Something about the beginning of June marks summer eating for me, even if we won't hit the solstice for a few more weeks.

I love summer rolls but shy away from planning to make them because I often think they require too many fresh herbs that I don't have in my garden.  (This year I've planted a stealth herb garden with mint near the downspout by the driveway, and rosemary nestled under the dogwood. I'm attempting to fool whoever has been "going out to eat" in my raised beds, decimating the first round of parsley, dill, and fennel I've planted thus far this spring.)
The basic ingredients for a summer roll, however, are shelf-stable.  Once you've stocked your pantry with rice paper wrappers and rice noodles, you're set when the right herbs, vegetables, and even protein collide in your farm share, garden, or farmer's market.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Buttermilk Crust Pizza with Pepperoni and Four Cheese Topping

Do you keep buttermilk in your fridge?  I do.  Sometimes I make my own, sometimes I find it marked down at the grocery store and buy it.  Once I saw a half gallon for 15 cents (on the sell-by date).  You bet I snagged that bottle in a hot minute. 15 cents!
What do I do with all this buttermilk? I'm glad you asked.  I use it in a bunch of different muffin recipes.  The key recipe is here, and there are many more variations to the right ------> in my Recipe Index by Category.  I also use buttermilk in waffle batter such as this one.  I'm encouraging my son to pick up the skill of biscuits, so he'll be following this recipe.  And this summer, once all the bottles on the door of the fridge are used up, I am going to make this Buttermilk salad dressing.  But today, because it is Friday, I want to talk about pizza dough.
Buttermilk in dough makes a tender crust.  It's also got subtle tang that works great with sweet (ok, more like sweeter, I have yet to make a dessert pizza) and savory toppings, as you'll see today and in the future.  My recipe is from my favorite pizza book, The Best Pizza Is Made at Home (Nitty Gritty Cookbooks), by Donna Rathmell German.  I kept it basic this time, but there are more variations on tap (and currently in my fridge!  Check my FB page for the pizzas we're eating tonight using a whole wheatier Buttermilk Pesto Dough).

Generally, when I am sharing a new dough variation, I tend to keep the toppings pretty normal.  I mean I didn't want to freak you out like I did with the beet crust dough for vegans, vegetarians, or omnivores.  Today is no exception--as you can see by the title, it's a pepperoni pizza.  Like my Not So Simple Cheese Pizza, this pizza uses the wonderful Fresh Tomato Pesto I discovered when Heather put it up on In Her Chucks.  Since I spent fall and winter figuring out how to make, put up, and subsequently use many variations of that pesto, it has earned its own "how to" blog post which will be coming out next week.  Around these parts, that's before the fresh tomatoes show up--but don't run out and buy a well-traveled tomato.  Wait.  Patience is a virtue. Local tomatoes, like local strawberries and local celery, just taste better.  Life is too short to eat tasteless food.