CSA Sweet Corn with Lime & Chili Butter

19 09 2012

I have to say, I think my favorite part about making this meal was the frequent and terrifying discovery of giant green corn worms, curling themselves up inside these ears of corn, only to throw themselves into my lap whilst husking.

This is the first time my CSA farm has grown corn, so it was slightly experimental. Some cobs were fine, others, worm devastation. I won’t hide the facts. I was near to tears by the end, gingerly peeling off each layer of husk, like it was a temperamental time bomb. I dislike bugs.

Cut to way too long of a time later: Corn is husked, all corn worms are sent to hell, we can then proceed. This recipe will leave your kitchen smelling amazing, and c’mon, hot buttered corn with a bright lime kick and a mellow spiciness; this is the stuff dreams are made of. I served it with some green beans sauteed with butter and fresh herbs, plus some leftover tofu. Corn is super cheap right now so stock up and get going on this recipe. You will love it.
Sweet Corn with Lime & Chili Butter
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

4-5 corn cobs
3 oz. butter
2 tbs. olive oil
3 small red chilis. seeded and finely chopped
2 tbs. lime zest
2 tbs. lime juice
2 tbs. cilantro, chopped

Remove the husks and silky threads from the corn. Wash well, then using a heavy knife, cut each cob into 1-inch. slices.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chili to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and 1/4 cup water. Add the corn, then cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the corn is tender, shaking the pan frequently.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the cilantro. Serve hot and with plenty of napkins.





Mixed Berry Breakfast Couscous

16 08 2012

Unfortunately for me, breakfast usually ends up being two sad fried eggs, a quickly devoured bowl of cereal, a piece of fruit, or nothing but a cup of coffee. As much as I want to be a morning person, I am not, so during my hectic work schedule, I’m either running late/shovelling something into my face, or sleeping in until lunch time, if the opportunity arises.

Which sucks! Because I love breakfast! I am completely dedicated to it. When I have the time, I love experimenting with things outside of the eggs and cereal comfort zone. I think my next activity is going to be attempting to re-create breakfasts from around the world; i.e. 50 of the World’s Best Breakfasts

This breakfast couscous is one of my new favorite work-week breakfasts. It’s easy to put together the night before, and it makes enough for like 5-6 morning meals. The cinnamon-scented, apple-infused couscous evokes feelings of fall, while the berries are all summertime; a nice August transitional breakfast. Served warm, smothered in Greek yogurt and maple syrup, it’s a soothing and healthy break from the breakfast norm.

Mixed Berry Breakfast Couscous
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 cup couscous
2 cups apple and cranberry juice (I used a blend)
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsps. orange zest
2 cups raspberries
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups strawberries, halved
Greek yogurt (for serving)
Maple Syrup
Fresh mint (for garnish)

Pour the juice into a large saucepan and add the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil then add the couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the cinnamon stick.

Separate the couscous grains with a fork, then gently fold in the orange zest and most of the berries. Spoon the mixture into serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining berries.

Top each bowl with a dollop of yogurt, then drizzle with syrup and garnish with the fresh mint.





Arugula Salad with Grilled Eggplant & Portabellas

1 07 2012

I  love everything about this meal. The fact that it was made with organic arugula from the CSA. The fact that it was my first time using the grill this summer. Definite turning point. And also the fact that I made a cilantro-based anything and was able to stomach it, let alone enjoy it. I still hate cilantro on it’s own, but the few times I’ve cooked with it, I absolutely love its fresh and herby flavor.

See: http://falmouth.patch.com/articles/adventures-in-pesto

So for now, Cilantro: 2, Kristie: 0, the battle continues.

Give me a pile of grilled veggies over a bed of cold greens, covered in a flavorful sauce, and I am quite content.

Arugula Salad with Grilled Eggplant & Portabellas
Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian

4 portabella mushrooms, caps removed
1 large eggplant, stem ends removed, sliced horizontally into long, flat pieces, each the length of the whole eggplant and about 1/3-inch thick
1-2 tbs. olive oil
Cilantro Vinaigrette (recipe below)
6-8 cups very fresh arugula leaves, washed and well-dried

Preheat grill to high.

Lightly brush the mushroom caps and eggplant slices with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place them directly on the preheated grill. Grill the mushrooms for 6-8 minutes and the eggplant for 8-10 minutes, turning once with tongs about halfway through.

Remove the vegetables from the grill. Toss with about 2 tbs. of the Cilantro Vinaigrette and serve on the cold greens. Top with any remaining dressing.





White Bean & Mushroom Stew

25 06 2012

When I think of joining a CSA, I think of weekly bundles, overflowing with leafy greens, plump & fragrant fruits; coming home from my day at the farm, dirt under my toenails, my hair flowing free..blahblahblah.

It was my first CSA pick-up the other day, and sad to say, my expectations were not met. Cut to the farm. It is down-pouring. Me in a tank top, sans jacket, frantically pulling up basil plants by the root, trying to get out of there as fast as possible. Then sitting in the car, wondering how I’m supposed to justify spending $600 a season, when all I have to show for it this week are 3 garlic scapes, a quart of strawberries, a dozen eggs, and some mesclun. Feed a family of 4 for a week?? More like an hour.

I understand that it’s the beginning of the season and I cannot rush the garden, but c’mon; a girl can’t survive on garlic scapes and spring mix alone.

On a more positive note, I did manage to incorporate this weeks CSA into one great dinner. Smitten Kitchen’s Leek Toasts with Blue Cheese, with my scapes added, Mediterranean salad with a lemon/feta dressing, and this lovely bean, leek and mushroom stew from the Veganomicon.

It’s earthy and creamy, pretty much a full meal on its own, but taken to a whole new level when served up with the leek toasts.

Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms
Adapted from Veganomicon

2 cups dried white beans, soaked over-night
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
1 stalk celery, cut in 2
1 small carrot, sliced in half
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsps. dried tarragon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 large leek, (white and light green parts only) thinly sliced
1 lb. mushrooms (whatever kind you want. I prefer a mix of mushies like shiitake, oyster, or cremini), thinly sliced
2 tsps. salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Drain and rinse the beans and transfer them to a pot. Add 4 cups of cold water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 3 minutes. Skim off any white foam from the top. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium; add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme, and tarragon.

Simmer for about 45 minutes, until the beans are tender. Remove the onion, carrot, and celery. Lower the heat to low and continue to simmer while preparing the remaining veggies. The beans should resemble a very thick stew, not a soup. If there’s too much liquid, leave the pot uncovered and stir occasionally.

About 10 minutes before the beans are done, places the garlic and 2 tbs. of olive oil in a cold skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat, allowing garlic to sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add the sliced leek and saute until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the leeks into the beans. Add the remaining 2 tbs. oil to the pan, allow to warm for about 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms lightly with 1/2 tsp. salt and saute until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes. When most of the excess liquid is gone, add the mushrooms to the beans. Turn off the heat and season the beans with the remaining salt (or more, if desired) and freshly ground pepper. Allow the beans to stand for about 10 minutes before serving.





Broccoli & Tofu Lo-Mein

23 06 2012

Well, my life almost changed drastically the other week. I found a job on Craigslist that I was totally under-qualified for, but thought would be right up my alley. I applied and was basically hired on the spot. Cut to me sweating as a sous chef for a new restaurant in a resort town on opening night. Me apartment-hunting in a part of the country I have always dreamed of living. Culminate in me declining the job and returning to my parents house in the town I grew up in.

Sometimes almost taking that giant life leap is just enough to make you have an epiphone on who you are and where you see yourself. Covered in flour, in my new chef jacket, I realized that I don’t want to be a pizza cook for the rest of my life. Even a glorified one.

So I’m taking a step back, back into my own kitchen, to focus on my recipes, my brewing, and my writing. Here’s hoping that from these things, I can salvage some sort of financially-stable career. Or at least help me into my own house because I really want a cat. All roads lead to cat.

Here’s one of my “I work all the damn time so have no time to grocery shop”-recipes. This lo-mein sauce is now my go-to stir-fry sauce; so easy and quick to make, with stuff that you almost certaintly have hanging around the kitchen. It’s savory, with the perfect level of heat, and drenches the noodles without becoming too absorbed.

Broccoli Lo Mein
Adapted from 365 Easy Vegetarian Recipes

8 oz. of whatever noodle you like (soba, rice noodles, whole wheat spaghetti, whatever)
1 tb. canola oil, divided
1 lb. broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb. firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1-inch. pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsps. fresh gingerroot, minced
1 recipe of Lo Mein Sauce (see below)

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Heat 1 1/2 tsps. oil in a large, heavy pan over high heat. Add broccoli and tofu. Stir-fry about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and stir-fry 1 minute. Transfer to plate and keep warm. Add remaining oil to pan and heat. Add cooked noodles and stir-fry about 2 minutes or until thoroughly hot. Toss noodles with Lo Mein Sauce.

Lo Mein Sauce

1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsps. rice wine vinegar
2 tsps. sesame oil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients in an airtight container. Shake.





Red Potato Salad with Dill & Mustard

9 05 2012

It’s been about three months since we had to put my dog Zach down. It’s weird even referring to him as a dog. He was my life mate. Through Beanie Babies, puberty, punk rock, college, boyfriends, jobs, through everything I’ve ever gone through since I was 11 years old, I’d talk it all out with Zach. And now that he’s gone, life is just weird.

Apparently it’s kitten season on Facebook, because everyone and their mother has been finding a need to post new cat pictures. It’s making me really sad and anxious to find a new animal friend. I’m starting to get a little too attached to other peoples pets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan and I are going to start looking for our own place once I get back from THIS. And then I will finally be able to get the kitty I’ve always dreamed of. The kitty OR TWO I’ve always dreamed of. And then life will begin to fall into place. Cats do that. But until then, I’ll still have Zach with me until my end of days.

I made this potato salad a few weeks back with a kale and ricotta frittata. All together, it was like a grown-up version of breakfast-for-dinner. I love different spins on potato salad, as well as anything covered in a mustard sauce so this recipe definitely fit the bill. Serve warm and try pairing it with an omelette stuffed with greens. Then go hug your pet.

Red Potato Salad with Dill & Mustard
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

6-8 red potatoes
1 tb. wholegrain mustard
1 1/2 tbs. chopped fresh dill
2 tsps. brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and leave to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks and place in a salad bowl.

Mix the mustard, dill, sugar, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Using a fork, whisk in the olive oil to make a dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the dressing through the warm potatoes and serve.





Pasta Primavera

28 03 2012

I have become a gym rat. Not an over-committed, beefed-up zoomba nutzo, but I frequent the gym 3-4 times a week, in my first real attempt to get in shape. I have finally realized that you cannot eat your way to good health. You actually have to move sometimes. Ugghhhhhh.

So with some encouragement from my boyfriend, who just ran his first 5k this weekend, I went for a run. I’ve used an elliptical and a treadmill, but I have never put foot to pavement and gone for a real run. It started off…weird. Am I running towards something? Is someone chasing me? I became extremely self-conscious that every car that drove by knew I was an out-of-shape ass going on her first jog. Hands over mouths, stifling laughter, pointing, confident in their perfect physique.

I ran on. A mile and a half. Felt great afterwards. Alive, even. Day after, dead. I feel like I’m in the initial stages of Lou Gehrigs disease. Like literally, I cannot lift my legs.

UPDATE: Day after running and not being able to move legs, I wake up in the middle of the night with a 100 degree fever and an awesome case of night terrors/violent shivers.

Conclusion: Running is either terrible for the body or it purged some sort of demon inside of me. If I feel great tomorrow, then the latter is true. If I don’t feel better, then I give up and it’s donuts for breakfast because apparently exercise is pure evil.

I suppose I should talk about food now. This cookbook was a Christmas present from my parents during my first year of vegetarianism. Though it’s all pretty simple stuff, it’s still one of my favorites, mainly for the pictures. I love this primavera because it is packed full of veggies and doesn’t make you feel too guilty about eating a bowl full of pasta with cream sauce.

Pasta Primavera
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies

1 tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed & cut into 3-in. pieces
1 medium zucchini, sliced and halved
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 tbs. fresh basil, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. hot cooked fettuccine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.

Add the asparagus, zucchini, and mushrooms, cover and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and tender.

Add the milk, broth, and basil and cook over high heat until the liquid boils. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the peas and scallions. Simmer for 1 minute.

Add the salt and pepper, and then add the pasta and cheese, tossing until the ingredients are well mixed. Serve immediately topped with a little more Parmesan.





Broccoli-Spinach Soup with Avocado Toasts

18 03 2012

I thought I was going to hate this soup. It reminded me of the stuff that I was eating during my detox, and I didn’t think I was ready to go back to eating all plant-based ingredients. But both me and my boyfriend ended up really enjoying it. The soup is light and really fresh-tasting, and the addition of tahini and parmesan add a bit of creaminess and tang.

My favorite part though were the little avocado toasts. They match the style of the soup perfectly. The lemon juice spritzed over everything really brings out the flavors.

I wish I could make this post a bit more interesting, but my mind is elsewhere. Boyfriend is gone for the weekend. I have a giant bed to myself and Game of Thrones all loaded up on the iPad. awyeah.

Broccoli-Spinach Soup with Avocado Toasts
Adapted from Whole Living magazine

1 tb. olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
6 oz baby spinach
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbs. tahini
Salt and pepper
4 slices rustic bread, toasted
2 avocados, sliced
1/4 cup sprouts
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leek and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook, covered, until bright green and tender, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach, Parmesan, and tahini. Let cool slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Or use an immersion blender.

Top the toasted bread with slices of avocado and sprouts. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze with lemon and give it a drizzle of olive oil.





Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

7 03 2012

I don’t get how some food bloggers update so frequently. Really, a post every day/every other day?? Is the Internet the only occupation you have in life? And you know what also pisses me off, food bloggers who update a lot with posts about baked goods. Where are all these baked goods going, you fat pig? If I want to blog about a cake, I have friggin’ cake sitting around all week. I don’t eat cake every day, unlike these people, these unemployed, cake-faced bastards.

So to all the other workin’-class food bloggers, I salute you for updating bi-weekly at best. We work a lot, and sometimes the last thing we want to do is cook, let alone take pictures of it, savor the complex flavors, and then write about it online. Especially if you work all damn day in a restaurant, like myself.

But yesterday, I was able to summon the energy to cook after work and made this luscious little risotto. It’s earthy and creamy; the perfect side to a winter meal, or a meal in itself, paired with a salad. I recommend using fresh sage, but if you don’t have it, a teaspoon of dried works too.

Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

5 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, cut into thin half moons
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 2 cm. pieces
2 cups risotto rice (Arborio rice)
3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnishing
3 tbs. shredded sage
Salt and pepper

Pour the stock into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and keep at a gentle simmer.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the sweet potatoes and rice and stir until well-coated.

Add 1/2 cup of hot stock, stirring constantly over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding more stock, half cup at a time, stirring all the while for about 25 minutes, or until all the stock is absorbed, the sweet potato is cooked and the rice is tender and creamy.

Stir in the Parmesan and most of the sage. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with some olive oil and sprinkled with the remaining sage and some shaved Parmesan.





Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chili Sauce

4 03 2012

This blog has been seriously lacking for posts lately. But I can explain! For me, February was winter detox month. Well, winter detox two weeks. And you know what was weird, the second you mention the word ‘detox’ to a person, their jaw drops and they’re on their knees begging you to reconsider, wondering why you would ever put your body through such hell. Um, when did detoxing become synonymous with insane fad diets such as The Master Cleanse? That is what almost every person assumed I was doing. No, I did not, nor would I ever, master cleanse, or do some sort of wacked out liquid-only diet. Those things withhold every essential nutrient from your body and straight-up starve you. F-that.

My detox was basically eliminating caffeine, alcohol, added sugars, processed foods, dairy, and wheat. Replacing those things with whole, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and simple grains and proteins. No harm in that.

Here are some of the things that I was eating:

Steamed Squash & Broccoli with Tahini Dressing

Roasted Beet & Leek Soup with Sauteed Beet Greens

Roasted Peppers, Cauliflower and Walnuts

Cinnamon Poached Apples with Toasted Walnuts

First week was yummy, but hell. It made me realize how much of my diet consists of cheese and bread. Pizza and blue cheese are part of my food pyramid. It also made me realize that throughout my day, I’m pretty much in a constant state of snacking. Rarely do I let my body get full before I start stuffing it with something else that catches my eye. “Handful of feta, why sure!”

Though I was pretty much in a body-shaking craving mode for most of the time, and I don’t think that I’ve ever been as much of an angry bitch than I was during those two weeks, my body felt great. I felt clean and energized in a natural-sort of way. I stopped feeling sluggish, my sleep was improved and things like my digestion and lungs felt a lot better after eliminating many allergens and just body-clogging stuff.

I’m back to eating crap now. Well, not crap, but I will never deny myself a cup of coffee in the morning or a beer or ten in the evening for at least another year. It just ain’t me.

These vegan enchiladas are acting as a suitable in-between meal. They’re not carrot sticks, but they are also not frosting-filled crêpes. Mmm..frosting.

The enchilada sauce has a mellow and roasty spiciness to it, while the filling is tangy and stick-to-your-ribs filling.

Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chili Sauce
Adapted from Veganomicon

Enchilada Chili Sauce:
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 large chilis, roasted, seeded, peeled, and chopped (Notes on roasting: Heat up your oven to 425, cut your peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stems and seeds. Coat with some olive oil and place on a lightly greased baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes. When done, throw the peps in a paper bag the second they come out of the oven. Close it up and steam them. Once they have cooled down, the skins should come right off)
3 tsps. chili powder (ancho, if possible)
1 1/2 tsps. cumin
1 tsp. marjoram
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsps. salt

Potato and Kale Filling:
1 pound red potatoes
1/2 lb. kale, washed, trimmed and chopped
3 tbs. olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup water (or veggie broth if you have an open container on hand)
3 tbs. lime juice (plus some extra wedges for serving)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
12-14 corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 375 and have ready a large casserole dish.

Prepare the enchilada sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions in oil for 4-7 minutes, until softened…you know the procedure. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. When it has cooled enough, taste for seasoning then puree with an immersion or regular blender until smooth.

Prepare the filling: Peel and dice the potatoes, then boil them until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook the oil and minced garlic in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is sizzling and slightly browned. Add the kale, sprinkle with a little salt, and raise the heat to medium, stirring constantly to cover the kale with oil and garlic. Partially cover the pot to steam the kale until it has wilted, about 5 minutes. You can add a little bit of water too to help along the steaming process and to prevent any scorching.

Make the enchiladas: Have ready a pie plate filled with about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, your casserole dish, a stack of corn tortillas, a lightly-greased and heated skillet (for softening the tortillas), and the potato/kale mixture.

Ladle a little bit of the enchilada sauce into the casserole dish and spread it around. Take a corn tortilla, place it on the heated skillet for 30 seconds, flip it over and heat until it has become soft. Drop the tortilla into the pie plate filled with sauce, allow it to get totally soaked, flip it over and coat the other side.

Place the tortilla in the casserole dish and then layer it with another heated, sauce-covered tortilla. Run the potato filling down the middle and roll it up. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, tightly packing the enchiladas next to each other.

Pour about a cup of the sauce over the top (saving some for later), cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top individual servings with the remaining enchilada sauce, a dollop of sour cream and a squirt of lime juice.