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Archive for the ‘Non-CSA Eats’ Category

As you can probably tell from my lack of posting, school has been keeping me from food-related pursuits. Eats have been simple and quick and have included more than a few dinners eaten in meetings. Blech.

This morning I made an effort to get back into the kitchen. I eased into it with my trusty food processor, which gets an almost daily workout (smoothies, hummus, blended spinach for oats, etc., etc.). In went half a bag of Trader Joe’s roasted, unsalted cashews and a bit of salt. Out came this:

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Isn’t it beautiful?

Trent was thrilled; he quickly made some toast for his cashew-butter vehicle. I chopped up an apple, which baked in the toaster oven for 10 minutes or so, then added the apple, a generous dollop of cashew butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg to my morning oats. No picture because seriously, how many pictures of oatmeal can one look at in a lifetime? But rest assured it was fabulous. I highly recommend adding baked apples, cinnamon, and cashew butter to everything you eat for the next few weeks.

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We’ve been accumulating large amounts of ground beef in our freezer thanks to our meat CSA. In an effort to make a dent in our stash, I made a veggie-stuffed meatloaf. This was my first meatloaf making attempt (though not my first Meatloaf experience – I’ve been know to rock this at karaoke bars), and it wasn’t too shabby. I combined a few different recipes to come up with the following:

Veggie-Stuffed Meatloaf

For the meat layers:

2 lbs ground beef

2 small potatoes, grated

1 carrot, grated

1/2 an onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tbsp rolled oats

1 egg

1 tsp each salt and pepper

2 tsp soy sauce

dash of Sriracha

For the veggie layer:

spinach and shitake mushrooms (or greens/mushrooms/etc. of your choosing)

For the top layer:

ketchup

Method:

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

(2) Combine all of the ingredients for the meat layers in a large bowl. When well-combined, put half of the mixture in a pan (I used an 8” square pyrex).

(3) Top with a few handfuls of spinach and chopped mushrooms (I’d say I used half a bag of spinach and a whole container of mushrooms).

(4) Put the remaining meat mixture on top of the veggies. Brush desired amount of ketchup on top of the meat. Bake for 45 minutes.

(5) Enjoy this:

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I think that next time I will use a larger pan so that I can add more veggies. The spinach shrunk considerably (as it is wont to do), so there wasn’t quite as much roughage as I was hoping for. All in all, though, not bad for a first meatloaf!

Hope everyone’s having a fabulous labor day! Enjoy the day off if you’ve got it. 🙂

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I’ve done a terrible job taking pictures of my food lately. Trent brought me treats from Tartine Bakery, and they were as beautiful as they were delicious. But did I photograph them? Nah, too busy stuffing them in my face. For the record, if you’re ever in San Francisco, the chocolate hazelnut tart is orgasmic. The frangipani tart isn’t half bad either.

He also brought me a bar of Askinosie chocolate (77%):

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Uh-maze-ing! No fillers, no emulsifiers, and they work directly with cocoa farmers, paying above fair trade prices for their beans. It has a lovely “green”-ish taste that less processed chocolate often has. As you can see, we’ve already gone through half of the bar.

On the homemade side of things, I’ve been putting lemon curd in everything. For instance, it went in my banana-peach-chia softserve:

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and in my almond butter-chia oats:

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Lemon curd in oats is a revelation. It takes oats to a magical dimension that I didn’t know existed. And have I mentioned that lemon curd is stupidly easy to make? All it takes is a little forearm strength – you’ve got to man a whisk for about 10 minutes, and then you’re rewarded with pure lemony sunshine.

There have also been some savory eats. Yesterday we did a crockpot dinner. It’s a little weird to prep dinner at 8 in the morning, but it’s fantabulous to come home from a workout to find dinner ready and waiting. This dish consisted of a cut of beef (I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it’s the kind you use in London broil), an eggplant, a bunch of potatoes, tarragon, rosemary, tomato sauce, red vermouth (makes a great substitute for cooking wine!), and water. It was great, but I again failed to take a picture.

Trent has been on the photography ball, however. He made me document the sandwich he had for lunch the other day, which was pretty awesome.

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Our direct-from-the-farm eggs, jalapeno cheese, and sauteed CSA spring onions on Trader Joe’s flourless wheatberry bread. Well done, T!

Today is veggie CSA pickup day, so I should have some good photos and recipes coming your way soon. 🙂

In blogging news, Chocolate-Covered Katie is giving away a spiralizer! Check out her giveaway here.

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Kitchen Symbiosis

Have you ever made a recipe that calls for part of an ingredient? Say, a few egg whites but no yolks, or lemon peel but no lemon flesh? The wonderful thing about culinary history is that thrifty cooks throughout the ages have come up with wonderful ways to use these castoffs. So when I decided I wanted to make macaroons, which require egg whites, I knew exactly what symbiotic recipe I wanted to use to keep my surplus yolks from getting lonely: lemon curd.

As you may or may not know, lemon curd is a delightful concoction made from egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar, and butter. It gets cooked into a creamy spread that is heaven on scones, toast, muffins, or anything else you can think to spread it on. It’s just tart enough to balance out the heaviness of the yolk and the butter, and it’s the most delectable shade of yellow this side of a daffodil.

I used this recipe from My Kind of Food and this recipe from Joy of Baking for my curd. The first gave me the basic ingredient proportions and the second told me how long I had to cook it. I ended up using the juice of two smallish lemons, 3 egg yolks, 7.5 tablespoons of sugar, and 4 tbsp butter. I whisked everything but the butter over a double boiler for 10 minutes until it took on a thick, creamy, sauce-like consistency, then took it off the heat and whisked in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Then I licked the whisk and almost cried. Yes, it was that good. I’m glad I went with 7.5 tbsp of sugar – it’s just the right amount for a tart-but-not-too-tart taste.

I’m afraid my poor camera won’t do it justice, but here it is:

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I was pretty full when I made this but I needed to eat some fresh, so I spread a bit on half a slice of bread.

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I kind of love that it looks like mustard gone wrong. 😉

And what about those macaroons? Well those, my friends, were an abject failure. I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

I used this recipe from Elana’s Pantry, but the failure was certainly not Elana’s fault. I realized as I was beating my whites that it had been some time since I’d done anything with egg whites and I wasn’t sure that I would recognize “stiff” egg whites when I saw them. It was too late to do my research though, so I just beat until I thought they were stiff. In retrospect it wasn’t nearly long enough. I also realized too late that I didn’t have enough agave, so I subbed in honey, which is much thicker than agave and more difficult to fold into fluffy egg whites. Fail, Daria, fail.

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This isn’t what macaroons should look like. They should not be shiny or flat or oozing. They should be covered in chocolate though. At least I got that part right:

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So now my homework for myself is to read up on the chemistry of egg whites. I’ll report back on my kitchen dictionary page soon. Because no one should have to eat flat macaroons.

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I haven’t made any great meals in the past few days, but I have been playing in the kitchen. Last night I remembered that we have a bag of CSA potatoes hiding out in storage, so I made myself some oven-roasted beauties.

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Potatoes aren’t potatoes without copious amounts of ketchup.

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Then I got the baking bug and tried out two recipes with the almond meal I bought at Trader Joe’s. Note: almond meal is NOT the same as almond flour. It’s coarser are more suited for dense fare like breads than for cakes or lighter baked goods. There’s a good explanation of the differences here.

First up were the Savory Grain-Free Crackers from Karina’s Kitchen. I subbed in 1 cup of regular flour just because I wanted to ease into the whole nut meal/flour thing, and I used sage and tarragon instead of the Italian herbs since I didn’t have any. I also used paprika rather than turmeric for the splash of color.

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These are SO GOOD! The parmesan really comes through, so they taste quite rich. I would make one small adjustment next time, however. The recipe tells you to just flatten the dough with your hand directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. This technique left the dough far too thick – most of these are more like flatbread rather than like crackers, which is what I wanted. Next time I’ll roll out the dough first.

Next up: Comfy Belly‘s banana bread, made into muffins.

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I had one for breakfast this morning and they’re also delicious. Very dense and nutty and satisfying. I subbed 1 cup of all-purpose flour here too (so I used 1.5 cups almond meal and 1 cup regular flour total). This recipe made 12 muffins that clock in around 300 calories each.

The verdict on baking with almond meal:

If you’re craving a light, fluffy, airy baked good, steer clear of nut meal. But if you want to pack some extra nutritional punch into your baked goods, almond meal gives you all kinds of vitamins, minerals, fats, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that you just can’t find in all-purpose flour. If you go in knowing that your muffins are going to be a dense, nutty affair, they’re absolutely scrumptious.

I have plans to try my hand at macaroons and lemon curd later today. Sometimes I just get into a domestic groove and want to keep going. 🙂

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Garlic chives. Sweet potato greens. Baby bok choy. Lettuce. Green beans. Asian cucumber. White carrots. Cabbage. Spring onions. Sweet corn. Eggplant. Green Peppers.

HOLY CRAP our CSA share this week is SUPERabundant! I honestly don’t know how I’m going to make it through all of this since Trent is on tour, but I’ll do my level best. 🙂

I think I’m most excited about the sweet potato greens because 1) I didn’t know you could eat them and 2) that means CSA SWEET POTATOES later in the season!!! Also they’re really pretty:

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I stir-fried these along with some green onions, sweet corn, non-CSA shitake mushrooms, and farm fresh eggs from our meat CSA farmer.

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Fantabulous!  I love eggs, and, like almost everything, they taste a million times better when they’re right off the farm.

After dinner this happened:

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Banana soft serve with unsweetened dried coconut, cocoa nibs, and a wee bit of agave syrup. Heaven in a bowl.

And now I’m happily plotting tomorrow’s eats. I’m thinking there’s a huge plate of fresh veg with hummus in my future. Yes!

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Dessert, Revealed

So what was that dessert so good that it deserved its own post? Well, it’s not an original dessert. In fact, I’m sure that other people have already done this and blogged about it, but I haven’t seen anyone do this. Points for coming up with the idea independently?

Last night’s mouthwatering, healthy dessert was…a variation on Gena‘s banana softserve. Of course.

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One frozen banana, one spoonful of peanut butter, and two dark chocolate chunks got spun around in my food processor until they looked like this.

Now I love plain banana softserve. It’s deliciously airy and light and fresh-tasting. But yesterday I ran 6 miles and lifted weights, and my hunger was calling out for a substantial dessert. This was just what I needed. The extra fat from the PB makes it taste like real, heavy duty ice cream, as do the chocolate chunks swirled throughout. The best part? No lactose. Lactards rejoice!

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