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Posts Tagged ‘Salads’

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. 😉

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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!

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In the interest of getting through lots of delicious veg, today was an unintentionally mostly raw day. I was cold when I woke up, so I started with some vanilla rooibos in my favorite mug.

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This mug is from the Christmas Tree Shop, which is emblematic of everything that is wrong with our country, but I still like drinking out of it. Especially now that it makes me feel like Lady Gaga. 😉

For lunch I made myself a hummus plate. I started with this:

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and ended up with this:

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Loved it! The Asian cucumber was a little hard to get used to at first – it’s fairly fuzzy. But it tastes like a cross between a cucumber and summer squash, so once you get past the hairiness it’s pretty delicious.

I will be the first to admit that my dinner was not pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly. But it had intense inner beauty.

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In the mix: a head of romaine, more Asian cucumber, raw sweet corn, a smooshed avocado, balsamic vinegar.

I’d say I’m off to a good start getting through my CSA abundance before it goes bad.

I’ll leave you with some encouraging news via Civil Eats:

“Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack are joining together to hold public discussions on “competition issues affecting the agriculture industry in the 21st century and the appropriate role for antitrust and regulatory enforcement in that industry.” This is the first time any such talks will have been held on an industry that is massively consolidated and under-regulated. For example, did you know that in 2006, 83.5% of beef-packing was controlled by 4 companies, same goes for 66% of pork packing, 58.5% of the chicken processing and 55% of turkey processing. Similar numbers exist for the seed companies, the grain processors bringing animal feed to feedlots and HFCS to most of the packaged foods in the supermarket, and the supermarket retailers themselves. Numbers this high indicate a lack of competition.”

Check out the original post to see how you can join the public discussions and help support smaller farms!

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Today’s CSA eats were simple and scrumptious. For lunch I made this:

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Half a head of lettuce, half a cucumber, some invisible shaved white carrot, and a non-CSA avocado mashed with the juice of half a lemon and salt and pepper. This become a goopy, avocado-y, delicious mess post-photo.

I made my dinner plans while I was making lunch. Good thing too, because when I got back from the gym I wanted FOOD NOW! I chopped up some onion and some of this:

sweet, sweet CSA sweet corn

sweet, sweet CSA sweet corn

I tried a bite raw because honestly the thought of raw sweet corn weirds me out to the Nth degree and I had to see what raw foodists taste in it. I’m from the land of corn, and it’s not a raw food. Then again, I’m also from the land of fried things on sticks and high fructose corn syrup, so what do I know. Turns out raw sweet corn (at least stellar CSA sweet corn) is delicious. It tastes sweet and crunchy and only slightly “green,” if you know what I mean.

I browned the onion and sweet corn in a bit of butter, then added two eggs and a crumbled piece of Trader Joe’s jalapeno yogurt cheese (lactose free!). I also reheated some of last night’s veggies and got this:

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This. was. so. GOOD. The picture does it absolutely no justice. The sweet, crunchy corn and onions combined with the kick from the jalapeno cheese…I wish I could eat it all over again!

T was kind of horrified that I was using corn in a recipe. “It’s just so good on the cob,” he said. “I could never do it!” I understand – sometimes the simplest preparations are the most appealing. But since we’ve had corn on the cob for two weeks straight, I figure I could afford to switch it up. And I’m so glad I did.

Have you used standard ingredients in a new way lately? Was it a success?

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T and I rarely do lunch together, but we both happened to be home at the same time today. Our veggie CSA partners are out of town, so we have a whole box of produce to polish off by ourselves. A daunting task, but I think we’re up to it.

We did our level best to make a dent by having Hugh Jass salads.

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Mine had beautiful purple kale, spring mix, lettuce, and grated white carrot (!) from our CSA share, plus half an avocado and a big ol dollop of my garlicky bean spread.

These white carrots are crazy! They look like this:

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but they taste like orange carrots. Intriguing.

Actually, I don’t remember where I acquired this knowledge, but I remember hearing that the orange strain of carrots was popularized to honor a Dutch king and it’s been the dominant variety ever since. History: it’s crazy! (I heart you, Kate Beaton.)

Yesterday I threw some bananas in the freezer in preparation to test out the famous banana soft serve. In a moment of insanity, I thought “why peel the bananas first? I’ll just peel them right before I blend them.”

Folks, this does not work. Of course, you’re probably much smarter than I am and hence you could have told me that, but I had to learn for myself. I left them out for a bit to thaw enough so that I could peel them. T was intrigued by the weird, frosty, brownish lumps on our kitchen table, so he had to watch while I peeled them.

Let’s just say that they did not look appetizing oozing out of their skins. In T’s words, “Ew ew ew, they move exactly like feces!”

And they did.

So if you need a laugh (and have the sense of humor of a 5 year old), I recommend including the “banana poop” stage in your raw soft serve making adventure. If not, skip straight to the “blend and enjoy” stage.

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I added cocoa powder to mine, because, as Katie knows, everything is better with chocolate. 😉

T also added some of the Pacharan we picked up in Madrid to his:

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Both versions were out of this world. The texture really is identical to soft serve – heaven!

Supper was burgers and warm German potato salad (the recipe’s from the trusty Joy of Cooking). CSA potatoes, scrubbed with the help of a blue man and ready to be boiled:

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Hastily snapped photo of unphotogenic but delicious food: it was getting cold fast! This potato salad recipe is one of our favs because it includes bacon. This gave us a chance to use up the last of our CSA bacon, and also an excuse to top our burgers with it. Nothing like an all veggie lunch followed by an all meat dinner. 😉

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I had an awesome workout today, minus having to deal with the stench of the guy on the treadmill next to me. Seriously, dude, I roll out of bed and head straight to the gym too, but I put on some deodorant first. I ran 5 miles total and did some weights, then headed home for a giant bowl of Elvis Oats.

It was gorgeous today – 70s, breezy, sunny, perfect. I think my camera was happy about this, because it suddenly rediscovered the salad pictures it had eaten earlier (I understand, camera – it was a good salad. I would have eaten it too if I were you).

spinach, lettuce, peas, figs, kumquats, curried hummus, balsamic

spinach, lettuce, peas, figs, kumquats, curried hummus, balsamic

T and I strolled down to one of our favorite cafes and sat next to the giant open window while we enjoyed lunch, iced beverages, and reading.

Unfortunately as we read the clouds rolled in and it started to sprinkle. It didn’t look too ominous, though, so we picked up some Portuguese muffins to use as buns and raced home to try to beat the rain so we could grill our CSA burgers. Little did we know that our landlady decided to clean the basement throw out all of the charcoal the 3 apartments in our building had accumulated. Given the clouds and the lack of charcoal we admitted defeat and pan-fried our first CSA burgers. Of course we were sad not to grill, but yet again, the meat shined through the technique. We made sure to err on the rare side, since grass-fed beef is very lean, and the burgers came out tender and juicy and amazing. We sauteed our beets for a topping and a bit of their greens for a side:

Aren't they pretty?

Aren't they pretty?

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and the final product:

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Mine also had pickles and copious amounts of ketchup. T’s had jalapenos and mayonnaise. Overall, a very successful night of CSA eats.

We need to spend some time tonight getting ready for our big trip…in 2 (very short!) days we are headed to France and Spain. I can’t wait for the food, the wine, the scenery, the food… 🙂

Unfortunately this means I’ll be away from the blog for an extended period of time just as it’s getting of the ground. Maybe I’ll have a chance to check in from a cybercafe once in a while, but of course I’m going to focus on having a good time. Huzzah vacation!

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.. a healthy way to start the weekend. 😉 Well, we at least managed to make both of those things healthier than usual.

Trent got home later than expected last night so the CSA burgers I’d defrosted stayed in the fridge. Too bad – it was sunny but not too hot, perfect for grilling! Let’s hope the weather holds today.

Instead I made a big ol’ salad with spinach, lettuce, peas, figs, hummus, and balsamic. Fab! For dessert I had one of Happy Herbivore’s vegan baked donuts. Delish!

When T finally made it home we decided it was time for a good old fashioned night in. We’ve had a bottle of champagne hanging around in our fridge since T’s birthday months ago, so we decided to use it up. We pureed some strawberries with one kumquat for tartness:

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and topped it off with the finest of the finest (that would be Andre, because we’re classy).

We stirred it up a bit after this photo

We stirred it up a bit after this photo

We then watched more TV than is safe or healthy. Long enough that we both had some beers as well. And maybe some more of these guys:

but they're healthy, so it's ok ;)

but they're healthy, so it's ok 😉

All in all, an excellent night in. 🙂

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