Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kohlrabi Slaw

This week I had to figure out what to do with kohlrabi. I have never had it before, have never seen it at the store and didn't know what it tasted like at all.

Luckily I just happen to catch a small recipe in Martha Stewart's Living magazine. I was in the waiting room at the doctor's office, so I didn't have time to copy it. I just saw the words kohlrabi, slaw and apples. So I really just winged this dish.

But it was really great. The kohlrabi has a nice mild flavor and gives the slaw a nice crunch. I used green apples in this dish, but you can use any type. I am actually not a big fan of green apples, but I had already eaten all the red apples, leaving The Good Husband and The Good Daughter the greens, so I had to make due.

This is a nice simple dish that I would take to any summer cookout.

Kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Apple, peeled cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste

~Toss all ingredients until well combine and serve.

NOTE: if the kohlrabi are young and tender, there is no need to peel the bulb, otherwise peel the outer skin. I peeled both the kohlrabi and half the apple in this dish.

recipe by:The Good Wife

Country Lemonade

This is summer in a glass.

For The Good Daughter's Barnyard Birthday Bash, I decided to make lemonade and serve them in mason jars. They added to the farm feel.

Everyone at the party loved them and the pint jars were just the right size. I wouldn't make this with anything other than fresh lemon juice. I used my Jack Lelane juicer to juice the lemons but it is not required. It just made less work for me.

Juice of 8 lemons
1 cup superfine sugar
3 cups water
1 lemon, sliced for garnish

~To juice lemons without a juicer, roll firmly on counter top, slice in half and squeeze over a strainer to catch the seeds.

~Mix lemon juice, sugar and water until combined. Chill and serve cold with a lemon slice for garnish.

recipe from:Ben Franklin

Monday, June 27, 2011

Barnyard Bash! The Good Daughter Turns Two

Over the weekend, The Good Daughter turned two. I wanted a fun, simple theme for her second birthday and since I have all the time in the world (ha!), I thought I would make all the invitations and decorations for her party this year.

There was a lot inspiration out there for a barnyard birthday and it was easy to come up with decorations, games and food.

I chose a barnyard theme since TGD loves animals and the farm. I designed an invitation that I think really set the tone for the party. (Click on any photo to make it larger)

When guest arrived, they were greeted by Bessy, the flying cow.

I made pom-poms in John Deere green and yellow along with red/orange and blue.

I used the same farm animals throughout the decorations. This welcome to the farm banner was a super cute way to tell guests about the party.

The door displayed an E I E I O banner.

Once the guest got to the backyard, they had several games set up for them. We did a duck pond, a Farmer's Market, horseshoe toss and pig pen.

We also had barnyard bowling and a chicken coop.

At the duck pond, the kids got to pick a duck and the one with the dot on the bottom, got a prize from the Farmer's Market.

I tried to have a mix of both old fashioned and kid friendly candy.

The market had bubble gum and cow tails.

Old fashioned stick candy.

Cracker Jacks.

The next game station was a horseshoe toss.

Then came barnyard bowling.

The Good Husband made this play barn for the kids. TGD loved it and kept going inside and hiding.

Next was the chicken coop where kids could gather eggs.

Everything looked wonderful until it rained and we had to move the party inside. The chickens, horseshoe toss and pig pen filled with pink balloons with pig faces drawn on them were a total loss. But the kids had more fun playing in the rain, hiding in the barn and splashing in the pool.

I tried to keep the theme in the menu by featuring picnic types of food and food you think of when going to the farm.

We had haystacks (pretzels) and chicken feed (Chex Mix).

Organic veggies with buttermilk ranch dressing.

The main entrees were pigs in a blanket, chicken fingers and animal cut out sandwiches.

The chick sandwiches were turkey and provolone on wheat bread.

The barn sandwiches were brown sugar ham and swiss on white bread. The cow sandwiches were roast beef with cojack on wheat bread.

We had baked beans (recipe to follow in a later post).

Cole Slaw

Tater Salad and Pasta Salad

Assorted Melons.

To drink, there was sweet and unsweet tea. We also had lemonade in mason jars.

And "well water".

Instead of one large cake like we had last year, I decided to make cupcakes.

There were four different flavors and decorations. The cow featured dark chocolate cake with vanilla butter cream with a fondant cow. The pig featured a vanilla cake with a strawberry butter cream with a fondant pig. The duck featured a yellow butter cake with vanilla butter cream with a fondant duck. The sheep featured a vanilla cake with milk chocolate butter cream with fondant sheep.

TGD had a vanilla cake with cream cheese butter cream with fondant animals and the number 2.

I decorated the table with red gingham tablecloths. The centerpieces were milk bottles (Starbucks frappuccino bottles) holding yellow and white daises. I also had several small galvanized buckets holding balloons. I also decorated the tables with several farm animal puzzle pieces and a small barn TGD has.

In the end, she didn't care that it rained and she was just excited that everyone sang to her and she could scream "Happy Birthday Abby!" as much as she wanted. Meanwhile, I needed the next day to recover and clean the house.

I hope you have a great year, little one and here's to a great and rain free 3rd!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chicken Salad

On Tuesday nights, I need something easy to make since I have to go to the farm for our CSA. I have to wash and prep all our veggies for the week and I don't really love to be in the kitchen for an additional hour that night. So while I prep, I make something easy, like poached chicken for chicken salad sandwiches.

I usually vary my chicken salad recipe based on what we have. Sometimes I add walnuts and apples, but that is usually in the fall. For an early summer, I go with simple grapes and celery. I like a little more mustard in mine than does The Good Husband, so I have to go easy on it. I mostly just play it by ear when adding the ingredients, so feel free to experiment according to your taste.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts poached in water with lemon and thyme, cooled and shredded
2 ribs of celery diced
1/2 cup grapes, halved
1 heaping tablespoon mayo
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Sprinkle of onion and garlic powder

~Combine first six ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.

~Spoon on to bread, top with endive and serve.

recipe by:The Good Wife

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

I get random inspiration with turns into obsession for food. Pinterest does not help at all. I saw some pretty donuts pop up on there and I immediately knew I needed to make all kinds of donuts. I have a list at least 5 I want to try in my head.

Cake? Yeast? Baked? Fried? Filled?

Even though it is not traditional, I wanted to make baked donuts. It is somewhat healthier I figured. Also, I don't like messing with the fryer early in the morning. After a lot of googling, I found out that cake donuts are the best to bake. At least I didn't find any baked yeast donut recipe.

After learning that I need a donut pan AND getting a 50% off coupon at Micheal's, I decided that Father's Day would be the best day to eat donuts. I started with cinnamon sugar since that is The Good Husband's fav and they were a hit. The Good Daughter licked the sugar off two donuts.

The pan is really easy to use and once I put all the dough in a pastry bag instead of trying to spoon it into the molds, baking went super fast. I also mixed up the cinnamon and sugar in a bag and tossed the donuts in there. They came out with a hefty coating of the sweet stuff so I might try a different approach next time.

I modified the recipe from the pan and while it said it made 12, I was able to get 15 out of the batter.

2 cups flour, sifted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoon butter, melted

~Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.

~Sift together the dry ingredients. Whisk in milk, eggs, vanilla and butter and mix until just combined. Fill each donut cup until about 2/3 full, using a pastry bag if needed.

~Bake 7-9 minutes, or until the top of the donuts spring back when touched. Cool in pan for about 4-5 minutes before removing from pan.

~Meanwhile combine 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a plastic bag and shake to combine. Dip donuts in 2 tablespoons of melted butter and drop in bag. Toss to coat. Serve warm.

recipe modified from: Wilton

Sunday, June 19, 2011

CSA - Week 5

Gone are the greens. Welcome to the what the hell is that?

This week, I got kohlrabi or WTF is this and how do I eat it? I am still searching for what to do with it.

I also got more peas, turnips, onion, lettuce, endive and broccoli.

I made kohlrabi slaw this week.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My addiction

All of that is lip gloss.

I've gotten all these - expect for the almay gloss - in the last 3 months. I think 5 of them were in my purse.

I usually buy them on Target or Walgreen runs. I think I am always out and buy one, use it until it falls to the bottom of the purse to be seen only when I make a blog post.

When the zombies come, I will take comfort in the fact that I can probably fashion some sort of explosive device from all the beeswax I have here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Garlic Scape Pesto

I have a confession. I have never had pesto before. I remember once as a kid mixing a a ton of dried basil and oil and trying to eat it on toast. It was not pretty and I haven't had pesto since.

One of the first recipes that caught my eye this week from my CSA was garlic scape pesto. Garlic scapes are a young tender part of the plant that would turn into garlic eventually. But for a short window you can pick them and eat them. And tbat's what I did.

It's ok if you have never heard of them before. I hadn't either. I had never even seen them before.

The garlic scape pesto made for a good lunch. The flavor was bright like cilantro with a mild garlic flavor. I could have added more salt but for a first time try, it was good.

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¼-1/2 cup grated parmigiano
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

~Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

~For ½ pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.

recipe available here

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

CSA - Week 4

Week 4 of my CSA brought me greens - mustard, collard, stir fry -, red lettuce, peas, garlic scrape and spinach (not pictured).

No concrete plans on what to make just yet, but I might make garlic pesto with the scrape. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

At the Farmer's Market last weekend, I bought both strawberries and rhubarb to make pie. I've never had strawberry rhubarb pie before and other than a small bite of rhubarb scones I made two years ago, I've never really had rhubarb.

But The Good Husband will eat the shit out of S/R Pie, or some I'm told. So I made it.

I still need to work on my pastry skills. I had a really hard time getting the dough to stick together and then off of the counter to put in the pie pan. I also need to remember to take the foil off the edges of the pie at some point when it is cooking, so I don't end up with the weird tan line looking thing above.

But the filling was nice and thick and not at all runny. And TGH did eat the shit out of it, so I guess it was ok. I also had a higher strawberry to rhubarb ratio b/c I snagged the last bunch of rhubarb from the FM and it was less than 2 pounds.

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
1 cups rhubarb, chopped
4 cups de-stemmed, strawberries halved
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water

For the crust:
~ In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half, and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

~Roll out dough on a floured counter to make bottom crust. Place into a pie dish. Put dish in refrigerator to chill.

For the filling:
~Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

~Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well in a large bowl and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Pour into chilled crust. Dot the top of the filling with the butter. Brush edges of pie crust with egg white wash. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling. Crimp to seal edges. Brush with egg white wash and garnish with sugar. Collar with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling.

Trip to the Farmer's Market #3

Saturday at the Farmer's Market was one of the trips were I push The Good Daughter in her stroller, people watch and eat. I bought her some apple donuts and an oatmeal cookie. I bought an egg taco, which was to die for, and iced coffee.

I ended up bringing home only a rosemary plant which I hope to not kill this summer/winter.

Then we went consignment store clothes shopping and I ended up with $300 of new Gyboree clothes for $40 bucks. Not bad at all.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Eggs (sorta) Florentine

With the spinach from my CSA I decided to make something like eggs florentine. The only problem was I have never had eggs florentine, I didn't know what it was supposed to look or taste like. I did know that it used sauteed spinach. So I really just make some sauteed spinach and served it with eggs. Sorta florentined.

Sauteed Spinach:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 pound spinach, washed, tough stems removed
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch grated nutmeg

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 ounce grated cheese, such as Swiss or Gruyere

Two eggs, over easy
1 English muffin, toasted

To saute spinach:
~Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute for one additional minute. Add the spinach and saute, stirring to wilt and combine with the onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

For the sauce:
~In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese and whisk until melted.

To assemble:
~Split English muffin and toast. Top each side with the over easy egg. Combine the spinach and the sauce and mix to combine. Pour over eggs and English muffin and serve immediately.

recipe by:The Good Wife

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Asparagus Crepes with Mushroom Dill Sauce

One of the things I said I love about my CSA is they give recipes every week for the veggies we get in the share. It gives me a ton of inspiration so none of the food goes to waste. This week I was inspired by a recipe for asparagus crepes with mushroom dill sauce. Since I had everything but the mushrooms on hand, this was an easy dish to make. And despite the fact the recipe seems long, I was able to make it in about 25 minutes.

This would be great for Meatless Monday. The Good Daughter and I had it for dinner the other night when The Good Husband was out for a boys night. While I love him and he has come a long way in expanding his acceptable foods list, I think this might be slightly over the line for him.

But I really loved it and TGD did too.

It was also the first time I ever made crepes and I did ruin the first three, so there is a learning curve. But once I got the first one out successfully, I got more confident and didn't ruin any more.

For the crepes:
1/2 cup pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup milk

For the sauce:

1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon flour
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons fresh minced dill
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

For the filling:
24 stalks asparagus

To make the crepes:
~Combine flour & salt in mixing bowl. Make a well in the center & pour in the milk & oil. Beat till smooth. Heat a 6 or 7-inch skillet. When hot, pour in 1/4 c of batter & tilt skillet till it's evenly coated. Cook over moderate heat till lightly browned on the bottom. Flip & brown the other side. Remove & set on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the batter. You should have 6 crepes.

To make the sauce:
~Heat butter in a small pot. Add onion & garlic & saute over moderate heat till onion is golden. Add mushrooms & cover. Cook till the mushrooms are limp & juicy. Sprinkle in the flour & stir till it disappears. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the dill & tarragon. Cook at a simmer till the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice & season to taste. Remove from heat & cover.

To make the filling:
~Trim about 1/2-inch of the asparagus stalks & scrape off any tough looking skin. Cut stalks in half & steam till tender crisp.

To assemble:
~Place 6 asparagus stalks in the center of each crepe, letting the tips protrude from the top & overlapping the halved stalks in the center if necessary. Spoon a very small amount of sauce over the asparagus. fold one end of the crepe in towards the center & overlap the other end over it. Arrange the crepes, folded side down, in an oiled, shallow baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce evenly over the crepes.

~Bake in a preheated 350F oven until just heated through. Serve at once .(Since all of the components of the dish were hot, I didn't bake them. I just served them immediately with the sauce on the side.)

recipe by: Jeanne Veenstra

CSA - Week 3

This week in my CSA, I got spinach, turnips, dill, onion, spring garlic, red lettuce and Swiss chard.

With the spinach I made Eggs (sorta) Florentine.
With the dill I made Asparagus Crepes with Mushroom Dill Sauce.

I'm not sure just want to make with the chard or turnips yet, but I will come up with something.