Sunday, June 9, 2013

Acorn Squash Puree

Long time, no post! But, here I am, attempting to get back in the saddle. As you might be able to tell, I am in a new kitchen! I moved end of last year to Texas for work. Hopefully if I set up "blog" night again, that will help me get back on track. We'll see! In any case, today I made acorn squash lasagna. Before I post about that, I must post about making acorn squash puree. I first made this with a CSA squash, but this last time with store-bought ones. Making puree is pretty easy. For these squashes, I just cut in half, placed cut-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet that had a rim, and baked for 30 minutes at 425F in the oven. This post just shows one squash, but I baked 2 which made 5 cups of puree.

 Here's the squash, cut in half. One has been seeded using a spoon.


Placed face-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Here they are after 30 minutes - you can see they are slightly browned on the top ridges.

Here's the cut side after baking. You should be able to easily stick a fork in when they're ready.
 
The flesh is soft enough you can easily scoop out with a spoon.
 
Get every last bit!

Filled my little food processor halfway, and pureed!

I wasn't in the mood to use it right away, so stuck in the freezer in plastic containers.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Couscous Salad with Lemon Balm Vinaigrette

Another way I wanted to use my CSA lemon balm was in a vinaigrette. I discovered my local grocery store carried the larger Middle Eastern (I think sometimes called Israeli) couscous, so I thought I'd try making a cold couscous salad. It came out decently well, but lacked a little flavor. I cooked the couscous in 1 cup wine + 1/2 cup blush wine, but I don't think it added much flavor. It also ended up being too much liquid - I followed the cooking directions, but I think next time will do 1 1/4 cups water with 1 cup dry couscous. The vinaigrette could've had more flavor, so increased the vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and garlic in the recipe below. I also only had the bottom of my green onions, the tops would've added some flavor, too.You can probably use the typical small couscous for this recipe, too. Photos!

Pretty CSA carrots - I used five for the couscous

Carrots peeled - ready to cut!

Carrot circles, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick

Lemon balm leaves

Chopped lemon balm

Chives!

Lemon balm vinaigrette!

Cooked carrots and onion

Couscous cooking up, I made my couscous in the same pot as the carrots and onion; you can see some orangy oil on top from this.

Steamy, ha

Couscous, ready for incorporation

Final dish!
 Couscous Salad with Lemon Balm Vinaigrette - makes ~3 meals, ~4-5 side dishes
  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 1 cup carrot circles
  • 2 green onions - divide bottoms from tops
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
for vinaigrette:
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tbsp lemon balm, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp seasoning (I used an all-purpose seasoning called Special Shit - no joke)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Prepare vinaigrette first, to allow flavors to mingle, could be made day before. Add olive oil, vinegar, and brown sugar to bowl or bottle and whisk (with whisk or fork) or shake. Add garlic, lemon balm, and chives to liquid. Add seasoning and salt and whisk or shake final mixture. Refrigerate if making ahead of time, or for other uses.
  2. Cook carrots on low heat in butter while cutting onions. Add onion bases (the more onion-like part) and cook on low-med heat for 7-10 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare couscous as directed. Add carrot and onion to couscous, along with golden raisins and green onion tops, mix.
  4. Add vinaigrette, stir, and refrigerate to chill.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kale Chips

Kale chips are an increasingly popular item to make, and here was my first effort. This recipe was included with our CSA newsletter, and can be found on this website. I used some flavored olive oil I had for a little extra flavor, and regular salt. Mine came out a bit scorched, so I think next time will lower the heat or the cooking time. They also came out a bit oily, but that's likely my fault. They just need a light glaze of oil. Spritzing them with a mister might work well.

Kale ready to go! I just cut off stems and halved some of the larger ones along the main vein since my leaves were small.

Tossed in olive oil

They look a little sad, huh?


Fairly tasty, and very easy to do...next time a little less oil and heat :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Roasted Radishes

Once upon a time, I got some radishes in my CSA. I admit - I do not like radishes. When I was little, sometimes I'd take one out of the garden and draw on our white fences with it. It leaves a pretty pink mark. I do give radishes that; they are quite pretty. In any case, I looked for a way to eat these without being sad, and I found something! Roasting them is quick and simple, and they taste great. Success! I roughly followed this recipe from Bon Appetit, found with my Epicurious app. Here's what I did:
  • Preheat oven to 400F (This ended up being a bit hot - I will do 375F next time)
  • Use small radish quarters - mine were about the size of a quarter or golden dollar.
    • I also used some summer squash - cut these into small circle or semi-circles.
  • Spray baking sheet with olive oil lightly, arrange radishes, spray these as well.
    • Don't add squash yet.
    • If you don't have a mister, you can toss the radishes in a bowl with a little olive oil.
  • Bake radishes for 7 minutes, stir them a bit to get different sides to brown, add squash, bake 7 more minutes.
  • Add a little salt or seasoning! I used some green onions cooked in my lemon balm compound butter for a dressing - it was wonderful! I ate a few radishes before coating them, and they were great - many possibilities.
Here's the photos!

Little radishes - I probably had about a cup's worth

This one was the tiniest - so cute!

A few green onions to cook in the compound butter.

Radishes ready for roasting.

Squash!

I melted the compound butter on low.

Radishes halfway done, turned, squash added.

Sliced green onion cooking on low in the compound butter - amazing!

Roasted vegetables getting ready to be mixed with onions and butter.

Pretty!


And delicious :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lemon Balm Compound Butter

I have always wanted to try making compound butter, and when looking for ways to use my CSA lemon balm, it appeared as an option. It's fairly simple, so there's not a lot to say...my recipe is derived from two recipes I found online. I have so far used it for mashed potatoes, onions (which were added to radishes), and ravioli. It's a nice, easy thing to have around to give recipes an extra oomph. I don't know that the flavor of the lemon balm stood out against the garlic, but it did add visual interest.

Ingredients - makes ~4 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp lemon balm
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I didn't have any fresh on hand, but this worked well)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Butter softening - I cut into pieces to help the process

Salt and garlic powder mixed in

Pretty lemon balm!

Leaves pulled off, ready to chop

This is how fine I chops things...might be a bit on the fine side.

Lemon blam mixed in! You could also do this in a food processor.


Put it in a little plastic container, and it can be used for a few days in the fridge, or frozen for the future!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Crab Cakes!

My dinner plan that night was to have asparagus and flavored rice. I had had several packets of flavored rice forever, and was going to finally use them. Sadly, both had been destructed by moths. I have never had a issue with moths until this year. I seem to have eradicated them, but occasionally will find their destruction. Who knew moths ate food? Well, one type, anyways. Don't go killing every moth you see, just these ones. Anyways, in searching for something else to eat with my asparagus, I found a can of crab meat...maybe I can make crab cakes! I pulled out my Old Bay seasoning box, and indeed, there was a recipe: Chesapeake Old Bay Crab Cakes. Upon looking at the website, I also found this one...sounds good, too. Perhaps I will try that one someday.
  • The can of crab meat was only a 1/4 lb, so I quartered everything in the recipe, with the exception of the egg, and I used 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard.
  • I did not have fresh bread, so instead of using a 1/2 slice of bread, I used 1/3 cup bread crumbs. They probably helped soak up a little of the extra egg moisture, too.
  • Check this out to see how to make bread crumbs yourself; from an older website of mine. It's a great use for stale bread, or the end pieces, if you don't like eating those.
  • My recipe made 7 crab cakes - enough to feed 2 or 3 people.
Key ingredients :)

Pretty asparagus, cut and rinsed.

Bread crumbs, mayonnaise, Old Bay, parsley, and mustard.

One of my pretty brown CSA eggs!

Everything mixed up!

Crab patties! I used my large cookie dough scoop to portion them out, then pattied them with my hands.

I sprayed a little oil on my skillet, and fried them for 5 minutes on each side.

Mmm.

Asparagus just takes a few minutes, so I cooked these while the last batch of cakes cooked. Just a little oil, garlic, and bit of salt.


So pretty, so tasty!