Archive for June, 2012

June 26, 2012

SSFC Week 4: Mexican Chorizo, Tomato Salad

It’s hard to believe that summer only officially started a few days ago.  It has been so warm, and as the farmer’s at the market have been telling us, everything is about two weeks ahead. And this means that we are already eating cherry tomatoes daily.  Not that I’m complaining mind you.

So, for our SOLE food challenge this week, we thought we’d feature the tomatoes front and center. (Click on the badge if you’d like to see what the other members of the challenge are cooking).

First, you start with  bowl of beautiful multi-colored cherry tomatoes.  Sungolds, black cherries, and “stripies” — not sure if that’s the official name or not :)!

And then you add whatever sounds good to the bowl! We added cucumbers, fresh mozzerella from Blue Ridge Dairy, basil from our CSA, and dried orange mint from last year’s garden. Tossed it with  homemade balsamic vinagrette. Yum.

While the cutting and dicing was happening, we were pan frying some Mexican chorizo from Smith Meadows Farms.

And, we were adding toppings to our vissychoise (still had some left), sliced fennel, fresh feta, and cilantro.

The rice cooked away in the rice cooker.  And then it was time to eat.

No leftovers from this meal.

P.S. For those of you readers who are local, the Mexican chorizo was really good – even the Picky Eater ate hers all up!

June 23, 2012

A Fruittastic Market

It was a beautiful morning. The Eldest is still in Spain. The Berry Hater was playing at a jazz conference for future middle school teachers. And the Picky Eater asked to be woken up to accompany us to the Farmer’s Market. While she was really focused on getting a crepe, she was thrilled when she realized that  there were plums and nectarines and blueberries as well as peaches …


Just look at that face :)! Okay, she was a little embarrassed that I was taking a picture of her while she was eating.


We weren’t the only ones at the market this morning.  And no wonder. Look at all the beautiful fruit and veggies!





And here is what we came home with…



Lots to cook with – including the first corn of the season for us!

June 20, 2012

Paella Recipe From The Eldest

Paella Recipe.

Shared by my eldest son, direct from Spain!  For those of you who follow my blog with little kids, here is what your little ones might be  writing when they are rising seniors in high school

J-man — when you get back, you will be cooking for us!

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June 18, 2012

SSFC Week 3: Garden Greens Vichyssiose

or, what to do with all that lettuce in your fridge.

It is week 3 of the Southern SOLE Food Challenge. To see what everyone is up to, just click on the picture.

In our house, we have had a bit of an unstructured week – with a mom not running on a 100%, a family getting the Eldest ready for Spain, all three kids trying to get  through the end-of-school exams and shenanigans, and the Man of the House engaged in two conferences over the last 5 days, there’s not been a lot of time for cooking.

So when I opened the fridge tonight after piano, and realized that our CSA pick up is tomorrow, I know that whatever I made tonight needed to feature lots and lots of produce.

Fortunately, my go-to recipe guru, Mark Bittman, had written an article in the NY Times magazine on June 3rd, that was stuck up on my cork board, just waiting for me. As those of you who read our blog know, we like vichyssiose – even the Picky Eater. So, the “garden greens vichyssiose” recipe caught my eye. Especially when I saw that it featured substituting “other greens” and “peeled and cubed zucchini” for the leeks.  These I had in my fridge…ready to be put into the soup….!

To make it, here’s what you do:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot.

Add 3 peeled and cubed potatoes, 2 cups “other greens”, and 1 or 2 peeled and cubed zucchini (we actually double the recipe given what we had in the fridge/pantry).

Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, until softened.

Add 4 cups stock (we used the stock we made from the veggie ends that was just hangin’ out in our freezer waiting for its’ turn). And we probably used about 6-7 cups, given that we were just about doubling the recipe.

Boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree, he says. An excuse for using the immersion blender!

Then he recommends cooling. We were hungry, so we just stirred in some milk (as opposed to cream), and put out a variety of garnishes — lemons, parmesan, and hot sauce.  Accompanied by Atwater’s bread, a lovely end to a busy day.

And that, my friends, is one of the local meals that we have enjoyed this week! Bon appetit!


June 16, 2012

Sunshine Blogger’s Award and Eating By The Seat Of Our Pants

A week ago yesterday, The Year of Healthier Eating nominated our blog for a Sunshine Bloggers Award. Given that we just sent our eldest off to Spain for three weeks, this added needed smiles to my week!

As noted by my nominator, the Sunshine Blog Award is a price awarded to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” As an award winner, there are a few rules to follow:

  • Link the award to the person(s) who gave it to you.
  • Answer the questions that come with it.
  • Pass it along to 10 people and let them know they have received it.

The Questions and answers:

  • Favorite Number: 4
  • Favorite nonalcoholic drink: Cinnamon Apple Spice Iced Tea
  • Facebook or Twitter: Facebook – I am still learning how best to “tweet”
  • My passion: eating well…and especially eating local food
  • Favorite pattern: Indian patterns of all shapes and colors
  • Favorite Day of the Week: Friday
  • Favorite Flower: Lucifer Crocosmia

Now, the Year of Healthier Living commented that our tag line is “Eating by the seat of our pants.”  What you might wonder does that mean?  Here’s my best guess as to what we were thinking about it when we wrote it.

1. We are challenged meal planners. We have tried, but we are piss poor at it. Whatever we seem to have planned, we don’t want to eat. Instead, we make a list of what’s in the fridge and the pantry, and improvise meals from there.  This means that…

2. We have become skilled at ingredient substitution.  For example, the other night we decided to make some spaghetti with meat sauce (using awesome ground beef from the Smith Family Farm), and realized that we only had one can of diced tomatoes. But we had a can of tomato and basil soup, and fresh tomatoes from the market. No red wine either, but some balsamic vinegar was in the pantry. So, with a little ingredient substitution, we had ourselves a most delicious sauce with 30 minutes.

3. How did I get there? (Nota bene: The Man of the House has been skilled at this for years — I’m just learning).  I think I should thank Mark Bittman. Not only has he provided lots and lots of inspiration — every single one of his recipes includes “variations” — and because I rely on his cookbooks nearly every day, I have become comfortable with starting from what’s in the house to make  meal.

4. And all this means that I’m never quite sure what’s for dinner. But I know that it will be delicious.  How can it not be when we are surrounded by bounty from the farmer’s market, the butcher, or the CSA haul.

And, who, you may wonder are the bloggers on my list to share the Sunshine Blogger’s Award with?

Green(ish) Monkeys. First, I must recognize you, Anne- Marie, because you introduced me to my first challenge, and welcomed me into the joy of community across the blogosphere.

AnnieRie Unplugged. And, then you, Annie, because you and I share a vision of what living local in the greater DC metro area can be!

Sincerely, Emily. Emily, you corralled all of us Southern gals for the Dark Day Challenge, and did such a great job, that we are keeping it going as the Southern SOLE Food Challenge.  Thank you, Emily, for being an inspiration to us all!

In Her Chucks. One of my new favorite foodie bloggers — I found her by following CSA blogs, and immediately fell in love with her weekly linky magic…a great source of inspiration!

Terrified Tastebud. Deb, you are an inspiration to me. The passion with which you learn and cook is so very fun to participate in.  Thanks for sharing it with us all!

Rantings of An Amateur Chef. A gentleman among us all. How can you not like man who hides his wife’s purse in the slow cooker so that she remembers to turn it on before she leaves for work?

Red, Round, Or Green.  Because this mom knows how to menu plan, and I love to witness the plans of others. Following along as she cooks to meet her sons’ different needs shows us all how a little creativity in the kitchen can take us a long way.

domestic diva, M.D.  Stories and recipes work wonderfully well for me!

Tea and Cookies. I read her book The Butcher and the Vegetarian and fell in love with Tea’s voice. And then I found her blog, and fell in love with her pictures. Her blog inspires me to write and reflect.

Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet.  All you really need to do is click on the link, and join in the superhero journey that each of us can be part of.

These are my 10 Sunshine Blogger Award winners. Please stop by their blogs and bask in their sunshine!

June 13, 2012

The Greens Continue: Spring CSA Week 2

Haven’t had time to think about what to make with all the wonderful greens in my fridge… but I surely did make time for a picture of the abundance!

So, what’s in the bag this week?

  • 3 heads of beautiful lettuce
  • 1 bunch red Swiss chard
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 green garlic bulb
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 6 young squash
  • 2 cucumbers
  • a bowlful of potatoes

Our CSA has sent helpful instructions about how to freeze the chard – if we get a bunch each week this season, I do believe I will need to figure out how to do that!

June 11, 2012

The Perfect Summer ‘Slaw

Does not have any mayonnaise in it.

Does not require you to go to the store.

Does not require any heat-producing devices to be turned on.

So with my trusty How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by my side, I whipped up a batch of Spicy Slaw from pg. 48 to take on a picnic by the Potomac.

First, I chopped up the head of green cabbage that we had from the CSA.

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June 10, 2012

Cherries and Golden Cauliflower

That’s what’s new for us at the market this week. We went a little overboard on purchasing last week – between two farmer’s markets, one CSA delivery, and the milk delivery, I’m having to readjust where I buy what (and when)!

On Saturday, at the Falls Church Market, we found sweet cherries, and golden cauliflower, and verdant green beans, and beautiful red potatoes to supplement our regular bacon and bread acquisitions.

And on Sunday, at the Westover Market, we added cucumbers, and tomatoes, and onions, and feta, and some hamburger to our larder.

The bacon, and most of the country white loaf have already been consumed. And the cherries didn’t make it past brunch on Sunday.  But we are planning to make a fritatta, and a cucumber-feta-tomato salad. The green beans will probably be roasted, and I am thinking that the golden cauliflower would task lovely in a curry. Maybe for Meatless Monday?! We will just have to see.

Here’s hoping you had a weekend filled with wonderful food!

June 6, 2012

At Long Last: Spring CSA Week 1

Even though I participated in both the spring and autumn CSAs last year, it still feels like forever since our last CSA pickup. But last night, in between trying to see The Transit of Venus, we popped over to pick up our bag from Potomac Vegetable Farms.

What, you may wonder, was in the bag?

The answer: many green things with some white and purple accents!

An abundance of green

For those of you who prefer a list format:

  • 3 large heads of red-leaf lettuce
  • 1 bag of mixed lettuce
  • 1 green cabbage
  • 2 lbs. beets
  • 1 lb hakuri turnips
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 bunch spring red onions
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes

It has been 28 hours since we picked up our CSA, and what has already been consumed?

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June 4, 2012

Purple Power

As any of my children will tell you, I have a problem with purple.  My glasses are purple, and so is my purse. My clothes tend toward the purple spectrum. So when Penn Farm had purple cauliflower it had to be purchased. And I thought we should feature it in our first Southern Sole Food Challenge meal!

But after we got it, we needed to know what to do with it.  After browsing, I decided to follow the cauliflower steak angle that I had enjoyed when the Man of the House and I went to The Open Kitchen. I found a recipe on Epicurious for Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree.  I loved it immediately because the ingredients were:

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