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Kitchen Firsts

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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Did anyone else obsessively read The Monster at the End of This Book starring Grover of Sesame Street when they were little? I’m pretty sure my parents contemplated burning it so they wouldn’t have to read it to me again.

Grover

With “lovable, furry old Grover” as my inspiration, I’ve decided to work backwards through today’s CSA eats. First up: dinner. Nothing too fancy tonight – just simple deliciousness. We had some CSA lamb chops, seasoned with salt, pepper, and sage and pan fried:

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and Swiss chard, sauteed with garlic, onion, (barely) hot pepper, and tomatoes:

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All together:

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For lunch I played with a new, super secret ingredient from our CSA: spey cabbage.

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According to the CSA newsletter, spey cabbage is a very common crop in Cambodia, but it’s hard to find any information about it in English. It is a cabbage, but a very delicate, mildly spicy variety. I made it into a salad along with some of our CSA tomatoes, non-CSA avocado, and the remaining basil-y bean dip from the other day. It was fabulous! Very crunchy and crinkly, but not quite as chewy or fibrous as the cabbage you can find in the grocery store. It was a nice alternative to lettuce.

And now we’ve come to the scary part of our post…the monster! (Hide yourself, Grover!)

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That’s right, it’s a green monster bowl of oatmeal!! We bought some bagged spinach early in the week to tide us over until our CSA share came, and it’s slowly going bad in the bottom of the refrigerator. Solution? Blend with almond milk and add to oatmeal along with sunflower seed butter, cinnamon, and frozen berries and cherries. It might look scary, but it doesn’t taste spinach-y at all, and adds some nutritional oomph to breakfast.

See, Grover? There was nothing to be scared of after all!

Afternoon Delight

We don’t get much direct sunlight in our apartment, but in the late afternoons we can catch some slivers of mellow gold.

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Can you tell that it’s veggie pickup day?

Just Call Me Mother Hubbard

Because my pantry is bare. I’m starting to wish that we’d gotten a whole CSA share to ourselves. We finished off all our veg yesterday, and it feels silly to buy a bunch more when we’ll be getting another share in two days. At least we know for next year.

This means that I don’t have any exciting CSA treats to share from the past few days. I have discovered a new favorite oatmeal combo though – sunflower seed butter, cinnamon, and bananas. So good!

And while I don’t have anything for you today, the lovely Eating Machine is giving away some Zevia (stevia-sweetened pop). And yes, I call it pop because I’m from the midwest. You can drink all the soda you want, but it will always be pop to me.

… make a bean dip and a frittata.

It was a British-isles-type of cool, grey, wet day yesterday, so I mostly hunkered down with tea and books. The little time I spent in the kitchen yielded this:

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The green one is a bean dip similar to this one. One cup of white beans, a giant bunch of basil, the juice of one lemon, a few glugs of olive oil, a clove of garlic, and some s&p played in the food processor for a few minutes. The white one is a slice of lactose-free muenster, crumbly from being frozen and thawed. Mmmm.

Dinner was inspired by this post at Tea & Cookies. We had a whole lotta amaranth leaves and kale on their way to spoilage and some CSA bacon leftover from Friday’s dinner, which was these amazing BLTs minus the L because we ate our two heads in two days (woohoo huge salads!):

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So we sauteed up our CSA potatoes, leeks, amaranth leaves, and kale along with our fabulous bacon, mixed them with 8 eggs and 2 slice of lactose-free muenster in a casserole dish, and baked them until we got this:

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Frittata-tastic! This bacon is out of this world. It’s simply pork, maple syrup, and salt. No nitrates or nitrites, no frightening preservatives. Pure love. I was worried that our frittata would suffer from our failure to add any herbs, but the bacon and the cheese provided more than enough flavor.

It’s still cloudy, but I’m hoping the sun will pop out so I can enjoy it when I go running. Gotta get that natural vitamin D while I can! How is your weekend going?

And on a sidenote, is anyone else having trouble with google reader this morning? Nothing will load in mine, and it’s totally cramping my style.

No, not Christmas time. Late summer/early autumn time! The weather is mellowing out, local farms and gardens are bursting with ripe produce, Boston is experiencing the few consistent days of sunshine it gets all year, and pumpkin overload is just around the corner. Superb!

I took advantage of this golden day by going for a nice, long, leisurely run and using the small amount of sunlight that comes in our ill-placed apartment windows to photograph the cherry tomatoes I snacked on:

 

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The beautiful weather inspired us to defrost some CSA burgers and fire up the grill:

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We had another salad with more lackluster dressing. Hint: when trying a recipe for the first time, don’t make a large quantity. You’ll never know if you’ll dislike it. I never make a big batch my first time testing a recipe – I have no idea what possessed me. The veg is still pretty though!

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Also pretty? Free-range, hormone- and antibiotic-free local beef served with a fat, juicy, local tomato and raw onion on a grilled bun (Trent is APPALLED that I eat raw onion, but it tastes soooo good with beef!).

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And last but not least, grilled sweet corn served with lime juice and cayenne pepper.

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I would have taken a picture of the completed dish for you, but I was covered in lime juice and my lips were burning from my overzealous application of cayenne. Still, roasty corn with sour lime and spicy pepper = perfection.

And that was our all-American evening. What do you like to do on beautiful days? Are you an autumn person? Nothing thrills me like the first autumnal chill and the first golden leaf of fall, unless it’s the first pumpkin beer I spot on tap. 😉

Super Mega Veggie Power!

I might have mentioned this before, but I LOVE MY CSA. Take a gander at the colorful nutrients it sent my way this week:

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Sweet corn (there are 5 more unpictured ears), an eggplant, potatoes, hot peppers, green beans, LEEKS!, carrots, green peppers, a plethora of tomatoes (take that, blight!), ground cherries, lettuce, basil, kale, and amaranth. Phew!

Let’s take a closer look:

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According to our newsletter, ground cherries (also known as husk cherries and cape gooseberries) are a member of the nightshade family, which means that they’re related to tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes. I tried one out and they’re delightful; they taste like a sweet green tomato. I think they’ll be perfect in salads.

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According to my mouth, fat, juicy, orange tomatoes are one of my favorite foods.

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I love the little pear-shaped yellow one!

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Straight-up beta carotene.

After Trent got back from his evening workout we set to making dinner. On the menu: CSA chicken breasts and CSA veggies. The veggies became a salad:

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One head of lettuce, three carrots, one tiny bell pepper, a handful of ground cherries (the little greenish-yellow dots – this is what they look like without their pretty papery husks), and a medium-sized tomato. The veg was great, but I screwed up on the dressing. I usually just make balsamic vinaigrette, but it’s getting boring. I scoured our cookbooks for something suitable with the minimal ingredients we have on hand (it’s time to do some vinegar shopping!) and decided to try the Joy of Cooking’s French dressing. It should have worked – it was basically olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning. It ended up just tasting like olive oil, though. Sigh. I doctored it as well as I could but it never became delicious. Do you have salad dressing recipes that you love? Will you share them with me? Because I need to get out of this rut!

The chicken was more successful. We had two big ol’ breastuses to work with (basically it was the top half of the chicken – all the bones were there and I had to do some cleaver work to make two cookable-sized breasts). I seasoned them with salt, pepper, tarragon, and lemon juice, and then we pan fried them until they were done.

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Talk about primal food! Trent deglazed the pan with port and butter to make a crazy delicious sauce:

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It might be hard to tell the difference, but the second picture is the sauced version. Delish!

I also had a giant salad for lunch, so I am feeling gooood! Take that, week of beach food!

Giveaway Time! Kailey is having an incredible giveaway over at Snackface. We’re talking serious, serious swag. Check it out!