Monday, August 31, 2009

8/31/09 - Lobster Boil..... hopefully not the last of the season!

Tonight we had a guest over but as always I couldn't pass up lobsters on sale at Fairway so after a quick call to determine her thoughts on lobster (a definitive yes.... though later she did admit that this was her first time eating one whole) I had four (one extra for salad tomorrow) 3lb lobsters in my cart ready to go. Of course no lobster boil is complete with out a few dozen little necks and some corn and potatoes. What kinda New Englander would I be with out a proper lobster boil

After amusing ourselves with lobster races across the counter we noticed there was one thing missing..... a pot large enough to cook everything at once! So instead of an easy one pot supper tonight ended up using quite the jumble of pots and pans to fit everything. We do have some vegetarian friends however so it was probably best to keep the corn and potatoes from the shellfish.
The lobsters went into my largest soup pot two at a time while the clams were steamed in some shallot and white wine. Corn and red potatoes were boiled up and served with some butter and old bay seasoning. Not as pretty as the blues from last night but still local (I did an epic run through the farmers market on the way home from work buying peaches, potatoes, tomatoes and corn in less than 5 min flat!)

About 20 min later it was lobster cracking time! Lets just say the clean up efforts lasted longer than the feasting..... however after removing lobster spray from all 4 walls of the kitchen everyone seems to be relaxing fully satisfied.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

8/30/09 - Marinaded Pork Medallions with Purple Potatoes and Peppers

The purple peppers in this weeks CSA batch were quite the surprise. I also learned this week that peppers are considered nightshades like eggplants and tomatoes! I also have tomatillos (another nightshade) from this delivery that I need to roast as well but the heat makes me reluctant to use the oven. I had quite the array of pots and pans out today however so I am not sure it would have made a difference. The star of tonight's dinner was the nice fresh corn that is really perfect right now. We have been getting ears at the market each week as I can't resist the barrels full.

Tonight's dinner was a simple bottle marinade (Papaya, Champagne and Molasses) in the pork tenderloin for about an hour prior, then in the grill pan on each of its 4 sides for about 7 min each (with a cover on the grill pan) and then cut into thick slices and placed back on the grill for 4 min per side. I think I might try to cut it before I cook it next time however as it will be even less time with all the burners going. The purple potatoes were cubed and boiled then added to some sauteed mixed peppers and red onion. I finally have whole corn to show as my other pots were occupied and I didn't have to split them in half.

And yet another tomato salad with the remaining arugula. I can't help slicing up these nice fresh tomatoes as they don't last forever. I think that I will end up with another chance to photograph another version of the cubed, caprese salad from smitten kitchen before the end of the week.

The purple pepper meeting its demise

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

8/26/09 - Miso Marinaded Salmon w Lime Ginger Glaze & Asian Veg Quinoa

The was some wild caught salmon on sale this week at Fairway and since I had my fish only friend over I decided that it would be perfect. I signed up for this cooking class that featured a miso marinade and so I got the idea in my head. I looked around online and after a quick vote between some friends I had my winner. The winner ended up being from Cooking Light which is definitely a favorite for online and since I had almost everything (no limes) I was ready to go.

The recipe for the fish was actually very easy I was almost surprised at how little time it took! The salmon got a marinaded while I got the veggies ready for the quinoa. I prepped the glaze while the quinoa was resting and then made the salmon, coated in black sesame seeds, on the grill pan. I garnished the place with some Thai pepper sauce.

Miso Marnaded Salmon (I had 2.5 lbs or so)
1/4 cup red miso
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine

1) combine all ingredients into a paste and smear all over fish - let rest in refridgerator for at least 20 min

Lime-Ginger Glaze
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons ginger - shaved with a microplane

1) combine and heat in a saucepan on med -low
2) let reduce until thick 10-15 min
3) remove from heat and let sit - serve over fish or rice

Asian Veggie Quinoa
1 c quinoa - rinsed
2 c water

1 /2 green pepper - diced
1 shallot - diced
1 summer squash - diced
2 c mushrooms - diced
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp low sod soy sauce

1) boil water and quinoa in pan - remove from heat and cover until water is absorbed
2) heat olive oil in pan and add peppers and shallots
3) add squash, mushroom and soy sauce and combine over med heat - 10 min
5) add veggies to quinoa and serve

I recycled last nights tomato salad for this but added some fresh basil which I finally found at the farmer's market today and some Arugala and Fresh Mozzarella - I added Truffle Oil since I have had it and wanted to use it on something!

Fresh Mozzarella Salad
1/2 box Arugala
1 c fresh basil - diced
1 ball fresh mozzarella - in thick slices
2 c tomato salad
1 tsp per salad truffle oil
1 tsp per salad balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

8/24/09 - Pan Seared Scallops w Wild Rice, Tomato Salad and Spicy Summer Veggies

Tonight's dinner was actually planned for Wednesday but plans change and so we ended up eating these delicious local scallops with a tomato salad (yay for the CSA! Farmer Rich found us some tomatoes!), a zucchini and green pepper blend and some wild grain rice. A nice delicious meal with almost every thing locally-sourced (the rice unfortunately is not from NJ)..... not bad for a city girl!

As always don't forget to get the rice cooker started especially early (40-50 min for 2 c rice) when using wild rice mixes. I should have set mine out about 10 min or so earlier because we had to wait a bit for it to pop! I can't really complain - making rice is just so easy when you use an electric cooker. The scallops were dried on paper towels and then seared in a hot pan with some oil and a bit of butter to brown them.

Mixed Tomato Salad
1 yellow plum tomato
3 zebra tomatoes
1 large red tomato
1 lemon cucumber
2 cloves garlic - finely diced
2 tbsp good olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
basil (I couldn't find any fresh this week! what is going on so I used some that I have dried)

1) combine ingredients and place in refrigerator for at least 20 min to chill and ingredients to blend

Spicy Summer Vegetable Mix
1 zucchini - 2 " sticks
1 summer squash - 2" sticks
1/2 onion - rough chopped
1 green bell pepper - 1" strips
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red crushed pepper
salt & pepper

1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp shallots - diced

1) combine top ingredients and place covered in refrigerator to combine (at least 20 min)
2) add oil to pan, cook shallots until translucent
3) add vegetable mix and cover - cook 5 min
4) stir and recover - continue on med for 5 more min

8/25/09 - My CSA Share

Today was the first day this year I was late picking up my share but a few extra hours outside didn't seem to hurt anything. We got 2 full bags this week...some of the peaches didn't make it to the photo shoot! I can never resist eating one of these amazingly fresh peaches.... usually in the car on the way back!

Clockwise from the top left 2 eggplant, a yellow beefsteak & a purple bell pepper, bowl of zebra tomatoes and red and yellow plums, red lettuce, flaming furry peaches, tomatillos & 2 lemon cucumbers and a zucchini. In the center are 2 cippolini onions.

Monday, August 24, 2009

8/21/09 - Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Friday night turned into girly night and of course champagne and wine turned to talk of chocolate and then baked goods were needed! After finding a post on a blog for a cake made with zucchini and chocolate (but using annoying buttermilk! who keeps this on hand?) I did a quick search and came up with a recipe my pantry could handle.

This recipe isn't really healthy despite the addition of grated zucchini but I did decrease the amount of oil found in the original (1 1/2 c) and I do think that apple sauce or another sub could make it even better. These cupcakes were so wonderful because they were rich and almost creamy so be careful when baking and go for under done rather than over!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (12 cupcakes and 2 mini-cakes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups grated zucchini

1) mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
2) blend in the eggs and oil, mix well
3) stir in zucchini
4) distribute into lined cupcake tins and place in over
5) bake for 30 min a 350 or till toothpick comes out clean.

taken from:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

8/20/09 - Mango Cilantro Chicken

Wow tonight's dinner was an absolute surprise winner! I haven't been feeling good and I am not sure if it is allergies or a cold so a day of rest on the couch had me feeling a little lazy. I almost agreed to have burgers made by Jeremy but I knew I had stuff to use in the fridge. I tried to describe to him what I wanted but as soon as I tried to figure out my instructions I ended up on my feet.

It had just the right amount of heat from the hot peppers but the mango and salsa sweetened it a bit. It would have been nice to marinade the chicken a little longer but it was nice and juicy even with the 20 min or so while I prepped the veggies.

Mango Cilantro Chicken
10 chicken tenders
2 tbsp island mango marinade

2 carrots - cut into matchsticks
1/2 onion - 1" slices
2 green bell peppers - 1" slices
1 jalepeno - seeds and membrane removed - finely diced
1 lt green hot pepper - seeds and membrane removed - finely diced
2 tbsp island mango marinade
2 tbsp cilantro
2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp olive oil

1) marinade chicken for 20 min or more
2) heat oil in wok pan
3) add chicken- flip after 4 min
4) add carrot, onion and peppers - cover 5 min
5) add mango marinade and stir together - cover and cook 3 more min
6) remove from heat and add lime and cilantro
7) serve either on a tortilla or alone

I also added some (freshly) grated Jarlsberg cheese (which was wonderful- I am going to have to sub this for cheddar again!) and some Trader Joe's Salsa Verde

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

8/19/09 Thin sliced Pork Stir Fry

Today I finally get myself to the grocery store.... such a love hate relationship! I love shopping and finding fun ingredients but unfortunately I don't love my local options. I try to work my schedule so I am able to hit up some of my favorite markets in the area but this week I was stuck with A&P. Since the fish didn't look very appetizing I went with some grass fed pork thin sliced pork chops and tried to use up some of the veggies I had sitting around. Again the lemon basil was the star! I love the fresh crisp taste of it

This easy stir fry only took a few minutes of prep which was a good thing as after visiting A&P, going on a run with Jeremy and hitting the Farmer's market (mmm more fresh peaches) it was a getting late. We also had a small fresh tomato salad (tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper) to start.

Pork Stir Fry (4 servings)
3- 4 thin sliced boneless pork chops - cut into 2" slices
1 carrot - in "fat" matchsticks
1/2 onion- sliced
green bell pepper - 1 " slices
yellow bell pepper - 1" slices
1 bunch asparagus - ends removed & cut into 2" sections
2 tsbp garlic greens - diced
2 tbsp lemon basil - chopped
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp fresh jalapeno - seeds & membrane removed and finely diced
1 tsp olive oil

1) heat oil over med heat - add pork - cook 2 min and flip
2) add veggies (except basil) and teriyaki sauce - cover 5 min
3) mix together so all veggies are cooked
4) remove from heat and stir in basil
5) serve (can also add noodles or rice)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

8/16/09 Steak.... again

OK so I am definitely not complaining but since I bought the full fillet Mignon side we have had a LOT of steak. It freezes well and is easy to make with minimal prep and cooking (which is important when its 90+ and you live on the 3rd floor).
The only CSA veggie that made it onto tonight's plate was the cucumber in the mini-salad ... still hoping that we might get a tomato or two!

I can't really claim too much skill here... the steaks were done on the grill pan, the wild rice blend (trader joe's) in the rice cooker and the broccoli was steamed with a side of lime (no lemons in the house!) I also included a little tomato and cucumber with some salt, pepper and balsamic on the side.
Pretty easy and dinner was finished by the time True Blood came on!

8/13/09 Zucchini "Lasanga"

Unfortunately not ever dish is a winner (though I think it looks ok) and this one didn't really work out (too watery and a bit bland) but I do have some ideas to correct it for next time as I like the idea. I used my CSA fuzzy zucchini and a regular zucchini in this recipe but more squash would work. I also got a suggestion from a co-worker to try using eggplant instead which sounds interesting though I don't really love eggplant. I think this would also be great with a spicy twist as the zucchini alone don't have a ton of flavor. Any tried and true noodle-free veggie lasagnas? Another idea might be serving this on top of a pasta base?

Veggie Lasagna (noodle -free)
2 -3 zucchini (sliced thin on a mandolin/ slicer)
2 large carrots - grated
green bell pepper - 1" slices
yellow bell pepper - 1" slices
onion - 1" slices
1 clove garlic crushed
2 c marinara sauce (I cheated and used a jar of Bertoli tomato basil since all my sauces have meat in them - it tasted good)
2 c italian cheese blend

32 oz part skim ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 c grated cheese
salt & pepper

2 tbsp basil
pam spray

1) slice zucchini thin on mandolin - salt both sides and set on paper towels to dry **see note below**
2) combine eggs, ricotta, grated cheese, salt & pepper
3) combine grated carrot, peppers, onions, garlic and basil **see note**
3) in a lasagna pan sprayed with pam layer sauce, zucchini, ricotta mix, italian cheese blend and veggie blend - repeat ending with a layer of sauce then cheese (I put a few left over slices of zucchini on top)
4) cover with tin foil and place in 350 F oven for 25 min
5) remove foil and cook for 10 min uncovered
6) remove from oven and allow to set at least 10-15 min
7) cut into slices and serve w grated cheese

**note** next time I make this I would roast all the zucchini slices and veggies mix before hand - coat with oil and spices and place in 350 over for 15 min

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8/12/09 - Seafood (Steamed Little Necks and Grilled Shrimp &Swordfish) and Potato & Green Bean Salad

With so much red meat on the menu lately I couldn't wait for tonight's seafood dinner. I was originally planning on just Shrimp and some Little Neck Clams steamed up but in the end the I decided to add a little Swordfish for a full on seafood feast. With all my CSA treats I sometimes feel like the iron chef waiting on my secret ingredient to plan my meals for the week - any one have some good ideas for strange ingredients from the farm? (squash/ zucchini please! 5 in the fridge at least)

The marinade for the fish and the shrimp was very similar but not exactly the same. However both were based on the delicious lemon basil that we got in the CSA this week.
It looks just like normal basil but has an amazing lemony smell - it was absolutely perfect with seafood and in an asian influenced marinade. The swordfish and shrimp were done on the grill pan while the clams (not pictures) were steamed in some beer and garlic greens.

Swordfish Marinade
2 tbsp lemon basil - chiffonade
2 tbsp red sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp sliced pickled ginger
salt & pepper

Shrimp Marinade
3 tbsp garlic greens - finely diced
2 tbsp lemon basil - chiffonade
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt & pepper

Potato & Green Bean Salad w Balsamic Dijon Dressing
2 lbs white and blue baby potatoes - cleaned and cut into 1" chunks
1 lb green beans - ends snapped and cut into 2" pieces
1 shallot - finely diced
1 small green bell pepper - 1" thin strips
1 small yellow bell pepper - 1" thin strips
2 tbsp mustard w/ seeds
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

1) boil potatoes
2) add green beans to water for last 3-5 min
3) strain (rinse if you want to serve cold) and add rest of ingredients
4) mix well

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

8/11/09 - Chicken Sausage and lot of CSA greens

After a few weeks of traveling the veggies are starting to take over the fridge so this week I have a plan to start working on some of them. We had a great salad for lunch (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, guacamole, tuna, feta cheese, and corn) so that was a good start.

I paired the chicken sausage (done on the grill pan of course) with some cole slaw and some white beans and swiss chard. Usually I make a stew -type dish with chicken sausage and swiss chard but since it was 93 F today I thought that it was a bit hot for something so warm.

I wish that I had some apple to add to the slaw but the one I swore I had in the fruit bowl when I went to the store today somehow mysteriously dissappeared :) hmmmm

Cole Slaw
1 head green cabbage -shredded
1 large carrot - shredded
1/2 c raisins - rought chopped
1/4 c sliced almonds
2 tbsp mayo
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

1)mix all ingredients together and keep chilled

This slaw was a nice mix of sweet and tangy with the balsamic and raisins.

Swiss Chard and White Beans
1 bunch Chard - washed and in 1" ribbons
1 can canellini beans - rinsed and drained
2 tbsp garlic greens- diced
1 shallot - diced
1 tbsp olive oil

1) heat oil in pan and add garlic and shallots - brown
2) add beans
3) add swiss chard
4) keep pan covered so chard cooks down

Homemade Pickles

Its no secret that our house loves a good pickle. We go through at least 1 pint of half sours a week - probably more if I would buy them. So when I saw kirby cucumbers at Fairway last week I decided that I would try my hand at pickle making.

I used an online recipe for this first adventure. Unfortunately I didn't have any real canning jars at since it was late at night when I decided to finally work on this I had to improvise a bit. Luckily the recipe that I decided on didn't require it.

My Pickles
6 kirby cucumbers - cleaned and ends removed - sliced in half (make sure they are very firm - no soft spots)

2 c white vinegar
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c kosher salt
1/2 c fresh dill
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic diced
1 tsp celery seed

1) heat the vinegar mixture until it comes to a boil - make sure to use either a coated pan or a non-metal pan as metal will react with the metal.
2) place the cucumbers in the jars and fill with the vinegar solution
3) let sit until cool (about 1 hour)
4) place in the refrigerator for at least 1 day but up to 2 weeks

8/3/09 - Steak Again! with fresh corn

Since we have a freezer full of beautiful steaks I couldn't resist another night. I was at the farmer's market earlier and got some delicious long neck clams from the LBI fisherman (sorry no pic as they were too good to save!) His scallops were so fresh and beautiful last time that I was tempted to save the steaks for another night but we had a plane (Cincinnati for work and then Indiana for a wedding) to catch so steak it was.

I served the steak with some fresh corn that I also got at the farmer's market and my favorite Harvest Grain Blend from Trader Joe's that needs nothing but a splash of oil in the water to give it a little slip.

7/31/09 - Surf & Turf Dinner

Finally I was able to get some more delicious steaks! Fairway Market in Paramus has a whole Fillet Mignon for $6.99/lb which was $1 more than I wanted to pay but since I haven't been able to find any other steaks that I like I figured it was worth it. The butcher at the counter was able to trim and cut the full Fillet into some nice steaks for us to grill up at home. No steak sauce needed for these beauties!

I served the steak with Zucchini and Squash ribbons sauteed with some garlic greens and an onion. I also grilled up a few jumbo shrimp with a dash of Old Bay Seasoning to give a little spice to the dish.

Since I had all the making of a Caprese salad I also made this mini version with some garlic toasts that were made from a sliced brioche loaf with some olive oil, finely diced garlic and a small pat of butter to top it before placing it in the oven at 350 for about 10 min. The crunchy bread and the soft mozzarella was a perfect combo!

7/30 & 31/09 - Summer Salads

With the CSA in full swing the fridge is full of some delicious only problem is finding the time to use them all! My only complaint is that we still haven't gotten any tomatoes! Apparently there is some issue with crop this year (a tomato blight) but my farm hasn't mentioned that - just complaints about the wet weather.

This first salad was a mix of CSA lettuce, cucumbers, carrots topped with some delicious blue cheese from Artisanal Cheese and some balsamic vinegrette.

This next salad is a Caprese Salad, delicious Jersey Tomatoes from Stony Hill Farm and some fresh Mozzarella from Hoboken Farms both who are fixtures at the local farmer's market along with some fresh basil from the CSA and some nice olive oil, balsamic and salt & pepper....simple and delicious!

Friday 7/10/09 - Shell Steak and Fava Beans

Wow.... its been a while - I have been on the road a bit and haven't been posting however I do have a lot of pictures to put up! July was a very busy month with festivals on 3 weekends in a row (camp bisco, gathering of the vibes and all points west). Add in a family wedding and you have a blogging disaster.
This dinner was pretty simple with some nicely grilled boneless Shell Steaks with a side of steamed broccoli (thanks to my new Ikea steamer) and and some left over Tabbouleh. I topped the steaks with some Peter Luger steak sauce as they weren't as tasty as I had hoped.

Later in the evening I made up some Fava beans spiced up with some seasonings as a late night snack. Fave beans have a bit of an intensive prep as you must remove them from the pod, then blanch them and remove the outer shell. I then tossed these in a hot pan with some oil, salt and pepper to give them a but of a bite.