Friday, November 12, 2010

Asparagus Pasta and Asian Pear Tempeh Salad

I was wary of asparagus at the market, since it is early November, but according to the CA Asparagus Commission, California asparagus growers harvest a small crop in September/October. I guess early November isn't that far off. Oh, and it was really inexpensive, so it must have been "in season". I learned recently that seasonal produce is usually cheaper since it doesn't have to travel far, or something like that.

Well, anyways, underneath all that freshly grated Parmesan cheese is one tasty pile 'o pasta.

jamie’s italian’s asparagus fettuccine
Courtesy of Jamie Oliver's website, I followed his recipe almost exactly. My only alterations were to omit the leeks (didn't have any) and used a tablespoon of dried basil in lieu of the fresh. Oh, and I didn't garnish with pea shoots. Um, what? I'm guessing they aren't readily available at Trader Joe's or Henry's. I'll look next time I'm shopping.

I served the lovely green sauce over Buitoni fresh fettuccine, which was very tender & a reasonable substitute for homemade. My husband had 2 servings, a good sign that he liked it. It also made it into his lunch this morning, so that is definitely a seal of approval. He doesn't wax poetic about food (unlike me, ha ha ha) so it's hard to figure out what he likes a lot of the time. It was a very quick recipe and we'll be making it again. The girls were too hungry to wait for the sauce, though and just had plain fettuccine with asparagus and parm. I did have to call the asparagus tips pinecones so my little squirrels would eat them. They ate all of them, so we weren't able to garnish our plates with them ;)

Asian Pear & Tempeh Salad with Wasabi Dressing

Another winner from Veganomicon. Man, this is one of my favorite things to eat. I don't know why I don't make it weekly. The baby pestered me all throughout my lunch wanting more and more tastes. This was after her own giant lunch. She saw my leftovers in the fridge later and wanted some, but by then the wasabi had gotten more spicy and she spit it right out!

CSA items used: zucchini, white onion

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"weird" stuff in my pantry

These items from my pantry are at least 6 months old because a.)I haven't figured out what to cook, b.) I'm intimidated by the ingredient, and/or c.) lazy
  • Hijiki. I was off seaweed for awhile because this type seems so, um, fishy.
  • Canned lychee. They just look so unappealing from their picture on the can. Why did I buy them?
  • Jarred hearts of palm. I never seem to have a coordinating ingredient to actually make a recipe.
  • Some sort of jarred thai soup base. The ingredients are in english, but there are no directions so I'm afraid to try to make something.
  • Tiny jar of pimentos. The idea of pimento cheese sounded good before I OD'd on cheese in Switzerland. Other ideas?
  • Kidney beans. The girls hate them. Maybe make chili for the grownups?
  • Wild rice. Super long cooking time.
  • Lots of dribs and drabs of miscellaneous dried pasta
I challenge myself to use these ingredients by the end of the month!

Last night we had green salad, homemade mac and cheese, sauteed zucchini and leftover squash.

CSA items used in last nights dinner: lettuce, yellow bell pepper, grape tomatoes, butternut squash, zucchini

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

BeWise CSA Week of November 8th

Here's what was in our "small" white box of goodies, followed by my intended purpose for each.
Yellow cauliflower * will make a gratin

Zucchini * girls will eat sauteed

Yams * Red flannel hash. I also have a billion beets.

Red delicious (?) apples * lots of snacks

Green beans * steamed for the girls

Sahuaro peppers * Rajas con queso tacos

Grape tomatoes * snacks, the girls can't get enough

Limes * margaritas!

Carnival Squash * now I have 2. What to do? Something with latin flair?

Fuyu persimmons * snacks, maybe in a salad?

Double head of red leaf lettuce * um, a billion salads?

Check back to see what I actually make!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Roasted butternut squash pizza and Waldorf Green Salad

Yes, preparing a giant butternut squash is sort of a pain. OK, not sort of, it is a pain. The one I started with was 2 1/2 pounds. It was a beast. Nice and solid inside, not too many seeds. You gotta have a super sharp knife and a great peeler to get this done. I roasted 2 pans, one plain for the girls, and one seasoned.

Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza
Toss 1 1/4 pounds diced squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a couple teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon eensy-weensy minced fresh rosemary. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast on parchment lined baking sheet at 425 for 25 minutes, don't need it overly-carmelized since it's gonna be a pizza topping. I also cooked down a small onion over low heat while the squash was roasting.
How was I able to hack into a giant squash with a preschooler and a toddler running around the house? Well, the older one was zoned out on Dora, and the other one was NOT watching Dora. She was doing this:
Well, at least she stayed out of the kitchen.
The finished pizza: Roasted squash, cooked onions, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and topped with a couple tablespoons freshly grated parmesan. Baked at 450 for about 20 minutes to get good and toasty (used a preheated pizza stone with cornmeal). Man, oh so tasty! I can't wait to experiment with homemade pizza dough. I'll get there...
I also threw together a salad, we have a ton of lettuce from last week and we're due for more tonight!!! Yikes!

Waldorf Green Salad

Mixed greens, sliced celery, sliced apple, dried cranberries, feta cheese and Trader Joe's Sweet Poppy Seed Dressing.
CSA items used: butternut squash, onion, rosemary, apples, lettuce

Really tasty veggie burger

So I'd never actually made a veggie burger from scratch before. As a young vegetarian, I was introduced to Morningstar Farms veggie burgers by my aunt. They served me well for many years, until Gardenburgers came to Costco. Before that I could only get them at restaurants, but they were my favorite for a long time. I moved on briefly to Boca to increase my protein, but they were really just too heavy for me & don't actually taste very good. The last few years my husband have enjoyed the Morningstar Prime Grillers, which have a higher fat content and are a reasonable substitute for hamburger for omni-husband. But we're trying to move away from processed foods, as well as creatively incorporate more of our CSA haul every week.
One day I was watching the good old food network and Guy Fieri had his mom and sister on the show, and they were making veggie burgers. It seemed like there was a million ingredients, but the result sure looked tasty. I promptly forgot I ever knew they existed. Fast forward a couple years and I found the recipe during a random search. The recipe was accompanied by a 5 star review. (Granted the 89 reviews were bolstered by a ton of duplicate entries, but I went for it.)

Morgan's Veggie Patties

My only change: mash half the beans to help the patties stick together.
Garnish with red onion, horseradish mayo, avocado, lettuce and tomato. How can you go wrong?

CSA ingredients used: onion, red bell pepper, jalapeno, tomato, avocado, lettuce

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blog Redesign

Time to freshen up this old blog and get motivated to write! I need to create and share with friends and family and I want it to look good. I just reviewed my template and color choice and I guess I'm channeling a bit of Mondo (project runway, 2nd place, so unfair). My photography skills have improved exponentially due to the purchase of a new camera (thanks, Babe). Plus, it's been nearly a year since we signed up for the BeWise CSA and I really have made some tasty meals from their fabulous produce. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is our pickup day, and I'll be reviewing our haul for the week, making an intended list of meals and then I'll post the actual results. I'd also like to start adding my travelling with kids tips as well as pop in some of the girls' hilarious antics. Here's wishing myself luck!