Friday, September 24, 2010

The Farmer's Market Challenge

After neglecting this blog to the point of near extinction I have decided to revive it by moving the Farm Fresh Challenge over here. Although I haven't been faithfully recording my meals I have continued with the challenge for the past few weeks (with the exception of the last week while on vacation.) 

However, I will be starting the 7th week this Sunday and will hopefully be faithfully recording everything once again. And, I'm hoping to share more recipes over on this blog as well.

If you missed the description of the challenge you can check it out here.  

Happy Eating!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What We Ate Last Week

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

These got double approval from RJ. I would love to share the instructions but I followed them exactly and I don't want to plagiarize. Another hit from the cookbook Barefoot Contessa At Home. If you want the recipe let me know and I'll figure out how to get it to you.

Mini Ravioli Pasta with Shrimp

This was seriously good. And it made enough that RJ and I ate some for lunch the next day, and it tasted even better.

1 package dried ravioli noodles (The have these at Trader Joes in the died pasta section. If you shop elsewhere I would try orzo instead).

1 lb. shrimp

Between 1/4 c. and 1/2 c. olive oil

3 lemons (about 1/2 c. juice)

1 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon pepper (plus more for shrimp)

2 persian cucumbers, diced

1/4 c. chopped fresh dill

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

1/2 medium red onion, diced

1/2 c. (or more) crumbled goat cheese

Cook ravioli according to packaged directions. Drain.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place shrimp on baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Bake for 5-6 minutes; until cooked.

Whisk together juice from 3 lemons, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the still warm pasta and stir to coat.

Add red onion. shrimp, parsley, dill and cucumbers to ravioli mixture. Allow to cool. Add feta.

Serve at room temperature.

Creamy Chard and Squash Pasta

I made this dish last week b/c we needed a quick and easy dinner, and the yellow squash and chard in the garden was ready for harvesting!

Two large handfuls of swish card; chop rips about 1 inch big, and save leaves for tomorrow's meal
2-3 yellow crookneck squash, diced about 1 inch
1-2 large zucchini, diced about 1 inch
3/4 c. - 1 c. heavy cream (I used half&half)
approx. 3/4 lb pasta noodles
1/4 c. butter
1/2 yellow onion chopped, or 2 leeks
salt and pepper

Boil a big pot of water. Blanch chard ribs for about 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon. Add noodles to boiling water and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile melt butter in large skillet. Saute onion and/or leeks about 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add chard ribs, yellow squash, and zucchini. Cook over medium heat approx. 4 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook until reduced by two-thirds.

Drain pasta and set aside.

Mix chard mixture with pasta. Apply salt and pepper to taste ( I am pretty generous - particularly with the pepper.) ENJOY!

Dill Potato Salad, Sautéed Chard Leaves, and Panko Crusted Asian Salmon

The potato salad recipe was again a Barefoot Contessa. The salmon was supposed to be but I started doing my own thing half way through the recipe and ended up with this:

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Line 8x12 inch baking pan with foil.

Put in salmon steaks. Brush on olive oil.

Make sauce. Mine was a crazy mixture of soy sauce, hoison sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, toasted sesame oil. and minced ginger.

Coat salmon with panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs). Pour sauce over crumbs. Bake for 13-18 minutes depending on thickness of salmon.

It was good but next time I might try broiling instead of baking b/c the crumbs weren't very crispy.

And the sauteed chard was easy. I got the recipe here.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What We're Eating

Two of my friends asked that I start posting what I cook. I'm not a chef. I don't make up my own recipes or "cook by my nose" as one of my talented friends does. But, I do consistently put good meals on the table and I do it on a fairly tight budget. So, welcome to what we eat:

Homemade Mojito
Guacamole Salad with Tortilla Chips
Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip


RJ actually mixed this yummy cocktail together. It features rum, mint from the garden, agave syrup, and tonic water.

Guacamole Salad

This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe that I altered just a bit.

3 persian cucumbers (or 1 basket cherry tomatoes), chopped
1 yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 c. diced red onion
2 jalapeno peppers, minced (I used 1.5)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil (I recommend a tad under 1/2 cup)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 hass avocados chopped

Mix the cucumbers (or tomatoes), black beans, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl.

Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt & pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper. Pour over bean mixture.

Fold in avocados before serving. Serve at room temperature with tortilla chips for scooping. (Or it would be really good over a bed of greens).

Santa Maria Style Tri-Trip

Good old Trader Joes! Already marinated and in the meat section.

I really like this meals b/c it's simple and super tasty. If you prep all the ingredients for the salad earlier in the day and whisk up the dressing, then all you have to do is stick the meat on the BBQ and throw the salad together. Giving you plenty of time to hang with the family.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pantry Failure

So Eat Out The Pantry Week failed.

The weather got gorgeous and warm; too nice to be inside cooking up lentils and red beans (the kinds of things stuff in the back of our pantry). Instead we've been eating out, inviting ourselves over to friends houses for dinner (well, we aren't that rude, we just go on evening walks and happen to be linger on their front porches around dinner time!), and putting down delicious salads such as this:

Once again the recipe is from Simply Recipes, but I jazzed it up a bit with the addition of goat cheese. And the oranges are homegrown! YUM!!

(I've plugged Simply Recipes so many times I'm curious - has anyone gone there? What did you make? And was it any good?)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dwindling Pantry - Day 2

Sorry there is no pic today. Posts without pics aren't as fun but I just didn't feel like dealing with the camera.

We started out day yesterday with oatmeal once again. Then a friend and her baby girl came over for lunch. Landon ate leftover Pasta Primavera (a note about Landon: if I give him the veggies from the pasta first, and don't let him see the pasta noodles, he'll eat the veggies. But, if he sees the noodles than there is no way to get the vegetables in his mouth!). I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for the adults.

The lack of milk, eggs, and vegetables made dinner a challenge. I had just enough stuff to make a small salad, and tons of rice pasta but nothing to put on top of it. Except cheese.

There were remnants of three types of cheese in the fridge: parmesan, cheddar and gouda. Plus a bunch of butter and some half-and-half. Sounds like Mac n' Cheese to me. Looking up a few recipes in my cookbooks I figured out how to make it myself.

First I cooked 1 pound of brown rice pasta spirals.

Then I made the cheese sauce:

I melted a 1/4 c. butter in a sauce pan (way too much! - next time I'll use half of that)
Once the butter was melted I slowly whisked in a generous 1/4 c. of flour.
You should then have a thick mixture know as roux.

Since I needed about 4 c. of milk but only had 2 c. half-and-half I watered down the half-and-half with 2 c. water (one of the reasons I used so much butter).

Then I slowly added the "milk" to the roux. Let it boil until thick and then added salt, pepper, dry mustard, a dash of nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce. About 1/2 tsp of each except a bit more salt and I should have added more Worcestershire. Finally I added 4 c. of shredded cheese - a mixture of all three types.

I mixed the cheese sauce and noodles together. Put them in a casserole dish and baked at 350 degrees of 20 minutes. YUM!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Japanese Italian

The first day of "Eat Out the Pantry Week" is usually pretty decent. Yesterday we dined on oatmeal for breakfast, leftover party food for lunch, and an Italian/Japanese combo for dinner. Soyaki marinated London Broil and Pasta Primavera.

I pulled the London Broil out of the freezer two days ago and started marinated it yesterday morning. We're down to all the inexpensive/unusual cuts of meat from RJ's dad's supply of grass-fed beef and lamb. Hopefully we'll be getting another shipment soon.

I didn't know what to do for our sides. There was tons of pasta in the pantry and a hodge-podge of vegetables in crisper. I hit up my favorite cooking site Simply Recipes and after a thorough recipe search settled on Pasta Primavera.

The recipe calls for pasta sauce and since I didn't have any I dug around the pantry and was thrilled to come up with a jar of tomato paste. Adding some water to the paste I created a thick sauce. Since my sauce was devoid of seasoning I added 4 cloves of garlic and a shallot to my vegetable mixture (saute in the olive oil 1 minute before the adding veggies). And to increase the seasoning even further I doubled the amount of Italian Seasoning and was very generous with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. (My vegetable mixture included: broccoli, red onion, crook neck squash, carrot, celery, and zucchini.)

Finally, I added much more tomato paste sauce than called for. We like alot of flavor, and since we don't like cherry tomatoes I thought I would make up for them with extra sauce.

I'm curious to see what today will bring....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Eat Out the Cabinet Week

It is Eat Out the Cabinet week!

I'll only be going to the store/farmer's market for a few fruits and veggies and limited dairy.

Stay tuned for some interesting meals!