December 29, 2007

Sneaking it in

I never thought I would find myself relying on a celebrity wife as a cooking guide. But, when I saw Jessica Seinfeld touting her book on Oprah - I couldn't resist. What part of adding extra vegetables to food isn't smart? All Moms do this in some way at some point! I liked the idea of having a guide as far as which vegetables to add in what. This wasn't just for my kids sake, but for their parents as well. Who couldn't use an extra hit of veg? I also thought it would be helpful to have a use for pureed butternut squash or sweet potatoes when we have a glut of them from the farm.

Last night I made a turkey chili that included pureed carrots and red pepper. Today's snack was applesauce muffins, which also included a hit of butternut squash. The chili was good and sweet - but a little bland as far as spice (not even cumin was listed in the ingredients). The muffins are delicious and you definitely cannot detect the 1/2 cup of squash. I think next time I would put even more squash in.

I like the idea of this book. And, the design is totally cute! I plan on using it as a guide, and not a hardcore cookbook. The recipes often lack salt or spice, and I don't like that she uses margarine instead of butter. Hmph.

Turkey Chili w/ pureed Carrot & Red Pepper
-my version of the one that appears in Deceptively Delicious

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. can of chopped tomato (ideally you would have some canned from the summer!)
1/2 cup pureed carrot
1/2 cup pureed red pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup of flaxseed meal
spices: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder
beans: cannelini, kidney, or whatever you like
garnish: scallion, shredded cheese

In a saute pan or small dutch oven, saute diced onion in a bit of olive oil. Once it has softened, add the minced garlic and allow to cook for about 30-60 seconds. At this point - add the spices and allow them to cook for about 30 seconds to bring out their aroma. Add the turkey and cook until no longer pink. Throw in tomato, carrot, red pepper and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, add flaxseed meal - then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Towards the end of cooking, add the beans to warm them.

I ate this over quinoa. Not local or organic, but it is darn healthy ;)

December 20, 2007

Weekly menu

I have been a major slacker in the 'weekly menu' category! It should be more like the 'quarterly menu' at the rate I post it. Sorry! Here is an idea of how we have been eating our wintry veg:

Roast chicken & veg (sweet potato fries, onions under the chicken, stuff like that)

Chicken soup - broth made from chicken - includes veg from CSA box
[Chicken salad for lunch - leftover roast chicken]

Roasted fish, salad, broccoli

Flank steak, sweet potato fries, spinach

Stir fry: stir fry mix (basically baby chard, baby collards and some chinese veg), tat soi, tofu

I think that stands out most from this is how simple everything is. The whole family gets home around 6 - so there is a real time crunch to get dinner ready and on the table by 7. We are able to do this every night by keeping things easy peasy! The roast chicken is a Sunday meal. There is nothing better than a/ smelling chicken stock boiling Sunday night and b/ eating the soup the next day!

December 6, 2007

What to do with: Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is one of those items in a CSA box that you are not always excited to see. The ratio of 'appearances in CSA box' to 'recipes for swiss chard' is kind of skewed to one side...

Normally - we just chop up some onion, chop up the stems, saute with some garlic and olive oil, then add the chopped leaves and a wee bit of acid (pomegranate vinegar is good, here!) or pine nuts & raisins. That gets old fast. And the chard often still ends up being too bitter for my tastes.

Last night I felt very French, because I literally whipped up a gratin in about a half hour. It is easy - I swear! Here's the recipe:

One bunch of chard
One medium onion
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup cream

Preheat oven to 400

Cut chard leaves from stems.
Roughly chop leaves, dice stems.
Dice onion.
Saute onion and stems in olive oil until soft - about 8 min.
Add s&p
Then add leaves until wilted (don't overdo it, since they are going in the oven).

While that is happening, make your bechamel and bread crumbs.

Melt 2-3 tbsp butter on the stove.
While butter is melting - warm broth in microwave for 1.5 minutes.
Remove broth from micro, and add the cream - do not reheat - just let it sit.
Add 2-3 tbsp flour to melted butter.
Let cook a little bit, but don't let it get too brown.
Add broth/cream to butter/flour and whisk.
Let simmer a little until thick.
Add salt, pepper, and fresh grating of nutmeg

In a gratin dish, put the cooked chard, then pour the bechamel over it.
(You can top the chard with shredded cheese if you like! A Swiss-type is good, as is parmesan)

Bread crumbs:
In a bowl combine bread crumbs (I keep bread crumbs made from leftover bread ends in the freezer for times like this. Nigella trick ;)), chopped parsley & thyme, 1 clove of minced garlic, swirl of olive oil to combine

Put the bread crumbs on top and throw the gratin in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Ok - writing this all down makes it seem more labor intensive than it was. But I assure you it wasn't!

December 2, 2007

What to do with: Cabbage

We have been getting cabbage every now and then - another thing that we would almost never buy in the store. Why? No really good reason other than it just wasn't one of those regular veg on our menu like broccoli was. This week we got a cute little wakefield cabbage, a change from the napa cabbage we usually get.

We usually put the cabbage into a stirfry or thinly sliced into a soup. For Thanksgiving, I was charged with bringing a salad, and I used a recipe that came in our weekly CSA box. It called for arugula, mandarin oranges, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, and a lemon vinaigrette. It went over really well - but I had way too much vinaigrette. On a whim, I tossed it with some cabbage to make a slaw. And, voila - a fresh, wintry citrus slaw was born.

Citrus Slaw
1 small head of cabbage
2 scallions
1 lemon
2 clementines or mandarins
olive oil - about 1/3 of a cup or less
salt and pepper
pomegranate seeds (optional)

There is no real technique for the salad. I slice the cabbage and scallion. Peel one orange and tear it into two lobes, then slice each lobe in 4. Toss together with pomegranate seeds.

In a separate bowl, combine salt and pepper, juice of one lemon, juice of one clementine and olive oil. Shake or whisk to combine, and toss with cabbage, etc. I like to keep it in a ziploc bag - makes the marinating easy. The slaw should be made a few hours before eating. It's really good the next day.