Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lisa: Today's Luxury: Fresh Mint Tea

I had fresh mint left over from mint lemonade. Surprisingly, it stayed fresh in the refrigerator for over a week in a small cup of water covered with plastic.

I inherited some simple syrup from my mother-in-law, so it was the perfect opportunity for fresh mint tea.

I boiled the whole bunch for around 6 minutes, cooled a little and stirred in some simple syrup. The house smells lovely and refreshing, and I am enjoying an afternoon tea with leftovers for later, perhaps iced and with lemon...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tiffanie: this week's menu

I'm feeling like doing some healthy eating, and staying on top of my CSA box, so here are my plans for dinner this week:

  • weekly taco night on Sunday
  • curried split pea soup, chickpea rosemary pancake, green salad
  • swiss chard with golden beets and peas, couscous
  • wild rice pilaf and leftover soup
  • chickpea cutlets, roasted squash and potatoes, mustard sauce
  • lentils and rice and caramelized onions, spiced pita bread, braised greens
  • cajun hoppin' jean, corn chips
There will be some desserts in there, too, I hope. :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tiffanie: this week's menu

I'm making good progress on the veggies in the fridge; we've knocked off the kale, half the zucchini, the bok choy, some lettuce, the fava beans, the spring onions (made quickles!)...

I'm planning to make:

  • mapo tofu, rice, onion pancakes, sauteed kohlrabi, roasted zucchini
  • baked potatoes with chili, sauteed swiss chard, etc.
  • mushroom tofu potato stew with miso gravy. This is a big stew, so it'll be eaten over two days, with rice or pasta. I bought a parsnip to throw in, as I love parsnips. And I'll roast sweet potatoes on the side. Cabbage salad, perhaps with toasted almonds and bits of ramen noodles.
I hope that my fridge will be emptied out pretty well by Wednesday, for the next CSA box. :-)

The fava bean salad I made last week was excellent -- I recommend it highly. It was labor intensive -- the fava beans have to be shelled, then blanched, then peeled, and there is a hidden step of making quickles (quick pickled spring onions). The quickles are easy, and very yummy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lisa: Mother's Day Strawberry Goodness

My husband cooked Mother's Day dinner for both sides of the family this past weekend. We had a simple and excellent meal of grilled wild-caught local salmon, mixed grains cooked in chicken stock, green beans and French bread.

We also got some enormous organic strawberries and mint at the farmer's market. I decided to make strawberry-mint limeade for everyone to drink. Delicious! Also, fun to muddle the strawberries and mint together.

Strawberry-Mint Limeade

My husband baked shortcake, and we topped with some freshly-whipped cream, strawberries and fresh mint.

Strawberry Shortcake with Freshly-Whipped Cream and Mint

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tiffanie: so many veggies

Thanks to the busy week of running a day long school event, hosting my in-laws (and sampling many new local restaurants), and losing nearly two days to the installation of my new wall oven, I have two weeks of CSA veggies to power through!

Here's what I think I have lurking in the fridge:

  • kohlrabi
  • spring onions
  • spring garlic
  • kale
  • swiss chard
  • rhubarb
  • carrots
  • beets
  • zucchini
  • cilantro
  • fava beans (thankfully, shelled by the kids)
  • red lettuce
  • scallions
  • bok choy
  • a few spring peas in the pod
The five year old has already claimed the zucchini for roasting (he loves them). The bok choy is going into my chickpea cashew saute tomorrow. I'm tempted to make a fava mint salad, or a simple vegetable soup with fava beans. The rhubarb is going into a strawberry crumble, hopefully tomorrow morning. I think I'll saute the chard with the spring garlic and keep it as a side or a quesadilla filling. The beets are small, so I may eat them raw in a salad, or roast them in the oven while the crumble bakes. I think I might make another raw kale salad, it was really good with toasted pine nuts. The CSA newsletter recommends doing a quick pickle with the spring onions (sliced thinly), then putting them on pretty much everything. Sounds good to me! The kohlrabi is a new vegetable for me... they are gorgeous! They sound versatile, like mild turnips.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bernadette: This Week

My mother-in-law is coming to visit on Thursday so I'm only planning just these two meals and will then play it by ear. Luckily, my mother-in-law prefers to dine at home so we won't be eating out too much and she even likes to cook during her stay sometimes.

Tiffanie: my menu this week

We've got family coming to stay with us for a week starting on Wednesday, which will mean more restaurant dinners. So I'm just planning through Wednesday, and it'll be ad hoc after that (based on what is in the CSA box).

My plans for this week include:

  • taco night (a weekly fixture!)
  • Lal dal with jasmine rice, steamed artichokes
  • peanut noodles, raw kale salad with toasted pine nuts, and probably onion pancakes
  • Lentil soup, from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook. I adore this recipe, and I have a bunch of aging leeks that need to go into it. 
  • orzo spinach olive salad. I saw this at Whole Foods, and I remembered making huge batches of it a couple of summers ago. I need to drag up my notes... I recall using varied ingredients in addition to the required orzo and olives. Feta, toasted pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, basil...
  • cilantro cashew cream; I saw this on Soulemama this week, and it sounds like a lovely addition to my Mexican food addiction. Also a good way to use up CSA herbs and greens...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bernadette: what we've been eating

Last week, I abandoned the meal plan rather quickly because I made the meal plan forgetting my father-in-law was visiting - and he has distinctly different taste than I do. We ended up eating out a lot and consuming a lot of leftovers since everywhere we dined dished up huge portions.

However, I did make the Linguini with Avocado and Arugula Pesto, which was a success with both husband and toddler! I made the dish over a week or so ago and the toddler is still asking for "green noodles." I foresee more pesto or just spinach fettucini in our future. I followed the recipe as written but would recommend halving the amount suggested because it makes a TON of noodles. Unfortunately, I didn't particularly like it as a leftover dish. It's not very tasty cold and because the sauce has avocado, the idea of microwaving it or heating on stove did not appeal to me.

A few nights, I made Chili Lime Chicken with Cucumber Pineapple Salad. My husband liked the chicken but didn't touch the cucumber pineapple salad. I really liked this dish because it was so quick and easy, very satisfying for the minimum prep required.

Photo: Johnny Miller

The toddler refused to touch either chicken or salad and just ate some pasta that I had seasoned lightly because I had a hunch that the husband might want carbs on the side. Someday, I hope to get the toddler back to tasting everything like she used to when she was a little younger. Right now, all she wants to eat are carbs....

More recently, I made Roasted Salmon with Lime and Cilantro and Roasted Sesame Asparagus. Both of these dishes were extremely easy, almost no prep, and both dishes roasted in the oven for about the same amount of time. It was a very no-fuss dinner and my husband ate almost all of it. The toddler, sadly, insisted on pasta.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lisa: Recent Meals

Finally, here are some photos from meals in the past few weeks.

Pea shoots from farmer's market with garlic and oyster sauce

Oven fried chicken

Roasted carrots. The kids love these.

The complete meal

Shelling favas

Favas ready to cook

Ice water bath for just-cooked favas
Fava beans and fusili 
Grilled salmon

Snow peas and sugar snap peas from the garden

Cooked peas, ready for dinner

The meal

Fruit and yogurt smoothie popsicle made in a muffin cup

Lisa: What We're Eating

Here's what we've been eating:

Veggie, tofu and turkey fried rice

Fixings for fried rice coming together
Honey-Maple Chicken (a.k.a. "Man-Pleasing Chicken" via Pinterest) done in the crock-pot
Artichokes from the farmer's market

Artichokes at farmer's market looked so fresh

Grilled salmon, heirloom long-stemmed broccoli from the farmer's market, cous cous/quinoa/grain mix
Grilled pork tenderloin - simple, with just olive oil and salt
Split pea and ham soup with carrots, celery and onion done in the crock-pot
Roasted beets with feta and green salad with mangoes, feta, roasted beets and roasted almonds
Roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes
Grilled asparagus with salt and lemon
Zucchini "coins" with assistance from kids - steam zucchini circles, top with parmesean, melt in oven
Breakfast: Dutch Baby, crepes and French toast (my husband is responsible for these)
Dutch Baby all puffed up out of the oven. It deflated seconds later.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My CSA box this week

Italian Parsley
Yellow or Red Spring Onions
Red Butter Lettuce
Kale: Scotch or Lacinato
Collard Greens
Strawberries or Oyster Mushrooms

Interesting mix of veggies! I've never used rhubarb before, but I imagine that a dessert could be made with it and strawberries. :-)  Maybe an easy crumble? I need my new oven!

If I get the mushrooms, I'll garlic fry them up and put them on top of lentils and fried onions. That dish was so very tasty I want to eat it again. And this time I'll add parsley!

I think I'll steam the artichokes and make a mustard vinaigrette to dip the leaves into. That's the only way I've ever eaten whole ones -- what do you do?

The collard greens belong with black eyed peas, in my mind. Nice easy meal.

I might make the kale into a raw salad, since that is such a great way to eat kale. Last time I added toasted pine nuts, which was very good.


Last night my Small Chef helped me make lemonade with Meyer lemons. We used the Cook's Illustrated recipe, which is gooey sticky fun for the preschool set. You basically cut up the lemons and mash them with sugar, then strain the sugary mess and combine it with cold water. We tried mashing with a pastry cutter, a muddler, and a citrus reamer. I preferred the muddler, the boy preferred the citrus reamer. We prepped a batch with about a dozen lemons, and it was delicious.