To end my non-cooking week I actually cooked two meals. We started the day with a spinach-jack cheese omelet. It is still a little more brown than I’d like, but still tasted quite good. And omelets are so nice and quick. Not that we did anything on Saturday, which was a good thing after our fairly busy week where one of us wasn’t home Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night. I also prepped the chard in anticipation of cooking it, but I didn’t.
Instead we made Smitten Kitchen’s Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad. And I’d be happy to eat this for the rest of the summer. It was a bit dish-intensive, but came together surprisingly quickly and the dressing was surprisingly good. I started scarfing it down once it was plated, completely forgetting to toast and add the nuts. In a way it was good that I forgot, it made me stop shoving this salad in my mouth while I waited for the nuts and I got to try it both ways. I think I actually prefer the salad without walnuts. It might look prettier with the walnuts but I didn’t think they added that much to the overall dish. Of course I’m also not crazy about walnuts (you will often find sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and almonds in my pantry, occasionally pecans but rarely walnuts). Half a recipe made a perfect dinner for 2 (yes all we ate was this salad).
Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad from Smitten Kitchen
You might be tempted to increase the amount of green beans, but it isn’t necessary. You might think the dressing sounds a little bland, but it is perfect. You might not have fingerling potatoes and substitute creamers instead, they work but make for large bites. You might decide to not buy a $7.50 bottle of walnut oil for 1 tablespoon and it won’t affect the dressing results too sorely (I sure didn’t miss it). You might forget to toast the walnuts but I bet you will still like the salad.
Instead of a meal plan for the rapidly diminishing week how about a list of things I want to eat but maybe not cook. Or it could be I want to cook them but not eat them. It is hard to say, other than I’ve been avoiding the kitchen since Tuesday, with the exception of a delicious buttermilk cake made in the cool of night. Though the joke ended up being on me since it didn’t get too hot the next day.
Produce lingering from the store: celeriac, celery
Produce fresh from the store: creamer potatoes, green beans, blueberries, cherries (at least I know all but the potatoes were localish)
Produce from the FM (lingering): purple potatoes, parsley
Produce from the CSA leftovers: chard, green onion
Produce from the CSA this week: arugula, cucumbers, zucchini, kohlrabi, cabbage, spinach
But what do I want to make?
- Arugula, Potato and green bean salad (the only reason I bought potatoes and green beans from the store – only to come home and learn I needed yogurt and walnuts too; still need to pick those up)
- Zucchini-Feta pancakes
- Tomato-Chard Curry with the chard, and maybe the spinach too
- Curried Red Lentils over hard-boiled eggs (doesn’t really use any veggies though I considered serving it alongside the chard)
- Naan, but I fear having the oven on that long, maybe I’ll cheat and go with frozen…
- frittata would be good for leftovers but it isn’t calling to me
- these purple potatoes but with what?
- cucumber, tomato and feta salad
Perhaps nothing is clicking because I have a produce drawer almost full of wintery vegetables (save the zucchini and cucumber) and the weather is anything but? I keep looking at celeriac recipes to get it out of my fridge and they are all very wintery (go figure, being a winter veggie and all). Hmm, since it isn’t too hot today perhaps a celeriac-potato puree with sauted greens and sauted zucchini? That sounds doable.
kohlrabi (yes, it is about the same size as the cabbage)
spinach (4.8 oz)
Attention: Yet another thing to do with Kohlrabi!
It is another hot day and another day where the chard lingering in my fridge is not calling to me. But I had two kohlrabi’s waiting to be used and I thought of slaw, specifically some broccoli slaw I tried a couple months ago, and how kohlrabi is kind of like the nice soft part of broccoli stems (once you peel away the tough skin). Then while reading my food blogs this morning I came across this recipe for turnip and kohlrabi slaw, which was perfect ignoring that I don’t have turnips or turnip greens. But the dressing, I’m really more of a ginger fiend than garlic fiend, the dressing is what sold it. So, I have some radishes, radishes are similar to turnips, but I decided against subbing the chard for turnip greens since my chard is on the more mature side (also the raw chard ribbons in that beet salad a couple weeks ago were not that appealing). And that’s it. Luckily I’m not above picking up a few carrots at the grocery store. We just had this with rice, which wasn’t really the best accompaniment, but it bulked out the meal and didn’t heat up the house too much. I think next time I’ll try it with peanut noodles, I do like the combination of asian-inspired slaw and peanut noodles. Also, note the green onions – because sometimes (like now) you just gotta throw them in anywhere they might possibly work.
Kohlrabi Slaw with Ginger Dressing from Food & Wine via The Bitten Word
note: I’m actually writing the dressing recipe out how I plan on making it next time, namely halving the dressing and preparing it in the same bowl as the slaw to save a dish
- 1/8 c rice vinegar
- 2 1/4 t sugar (or just round down to 2 rounded teaspoons)
- 1/2 T fresh, grated ginger
- pinch salt
- freshly grated pepper
- 1/8 c mild oil
- 2 kohlrabi, peeled
- 2 carrots, peeled
- handful radishes
- 2 green onions
In a medium bowl whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Add in the ginger and then whisk in the oil.
Prepare the slaw. I used the large grating blade on my food processor – the veggies came out a great size. Cut the kohlrabi and carrots (tip: let them sit flat instead of stand up) to fit through the food processor neck. Grate the kohlrabi, carrot and radish one right after another. Whisk the dressing again and dump the slaw into the bowl, toss to combine. Thinly slice the green onion and add that, toss again.
A few weeks ago Bread & Honey did this hilarious post on hippie chow (i.e. food in a bowl), and she is sort of right, but also it can be really good. And we are almost back to that same veggie trifecta of grain + green + protein, with an endless possibilities of seasonings. Okay, so there is no single protein element in my bowl, but I don’t think that is always necessary in every single meal (also I didn’t feel like opening a can of chickpeas since a whole can would be too much).
Today for lunch I had some dubious leftover quinoa from last week (why yes, it was a week old, which is my personal cut-off for non-meat items and I was in a let’s not waste food mood) with some sauteed zucchini (the singular small zucchini left from last night’s pizza), a bit of green onion and some mango-ginger chutney. Anyways, it was quick and easy and delicious. I just diced the zucchini, sliced a single green onion, heated a bit of oil, tossed it in the pan, sprinkled with salt and leftover crossover spice blend (plain cumin probably would have been fine too). Once the zucchini was done to my liking I dumped it on top the cold quinoa and at the last minute decided this would be a good time to break out my jar of ginger-mango chutney. Ta da: Lunch. The spices of the quinoa (cardamom and cinnamon) went nicely with the cinnamon-cumin-pepper blend of the crossover spice blend, but if you have plain grains (I think quinoa is quite nice cold, which is a bonus in the summer) the choices are almost endless.
To recap: bowl of cooked grains, saute some zucchini and green onion, season to your liken, dump over grains and enjoy.
We were discussing our dinner options while we were driving home from our Sunday hike – we had swiss chard, zucchini and kohlrabi left in the fridge. At some point over the weekend I made plans to make a swiss chard frittata/quiche/trouchia since it would make great leftovers, but the mild heat wave had decided to continue and there was no way I would turn the oven on. Then I remembered Smitten Kitchen’s recent Zucchini Pizza recipe so we decided to stop by TJs for pizza dough and goat cheese. What about the oven? We decided to grill the pizza instead. I couldn’t remember if there were other items I needed, but figured I’d wing it from there. Luckily for me I had lemons in the fridge and the recipe was really that simple.
We’ve had mixed results with grilling pizza in the past, but when it is good, oh it is good. I’m not yet confident enough in our grilling method to give step-by-step instructions, I’m sure you can find a number of instructions all over the web though. The first recipe we ever tried was Everyday Food’s Grilled Asparagus pizza (bookmark this for next spring). The first time was a success, the second time was not. But I think we shall grill pizza a few more times this summer, possibly even this week since the heat isn’t supposed to let up for a while. Perhaps if we manage to grill pizza successfully a few times in a row I’ll post on it. However – this is not the recipe to try grilled. The generally grill-ness and occasional char that is grilled pizza did not let the delicate lemon, zucchini and basil notes shine through. I think grilled pizza might need more assertive flavors.
But, I so want to make this again – the trick will be a day when zucchini is still plentiful but its not too hot to turn on the oven. It was delicious (and TheHusband reports that it was good cold too) and pretty easy. I used 2 small zucchini, a 4.5 oz log of goat cheese, about 10-12 ounces of pizza dough (I think, I used about 2/3 the package of TJ pizza dough – mostly because I was aiming for a round of dough that would fit nicely on our grill. In the end we had to turn the oven on for a few minutes. The grill didn’t seem to give quite enough heat to the top and so we stuck the pizzas under the broiler for about 90 seconds.
Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza from Smitten Kitchen
Tonight Thursday night it was hot. And we were busy packing our vehicle for a speedy getaway tomorrow. We skipped the grilled zucchini and just had salad. I also finally took the time (and had the supplies) to make an awesome creamy dressing. See, I can’t recall the last time we bought salad dressing, it might have been summer 2007 and that was because we had company in town. But we rarely venture into creamy dressing land and were getting tired of vinaigrettes. So tonight I made ranch dressing. I sort of followed the basic idea behind everybody likes sandwiches zesty ranch, but not quite (I looked at 4 or 5 recipes before making mine).
The salad really looked a lot like Tuesday’s salad minus the almonds – oh and with an important addition – radishes from my very own mini garden! We also had some yummy garlic-parmesan bread from our favorite farmer’s market bread vendor. And that blender holds the ranch dressing. In the end our dressing had chives, parsley, garlic, a bit of lemon zest, lemon juice, dried dill, sweet paprika, salt and pepper for the seasonings. Oh and I did 1/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup buttermilk. It made a very thin dressing but I like it that way. If you wanted a dip I’d use more mayo and sour cream and less buttermilk.
Four ranch dressing recipes to choose from
Everybody Loves Sandwiches Zesty Ranch
Homesick Texan’s Buttermilk Dressing (she might call it buttermilk, but the ingredient list is very similar)
Simply Recipe’s Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch Dressing
Around lunch on Wednesday our dinner plans changed from 2 at home to 4 at a friend’s. I offered to cook so we could stay on top of the CSA veggies (with an upcoming camping trip that I knew wouldn’t use many CSA veggies). At the last minute I decided to add a can of white beans to help bulk up the dish.
Pasta with fresh tomatoes, arugula and white beans
- thin and long pasta
- big bunch arugula
- 4 small tomatoes (or more, but that was all we had)
- 1 clove garlic*
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- opt. tasty cheese for topping
So you put a big pot of water on to boil. When it boils add the right amount of pasta, I think I used 1/2 box for 4 people. While you wait for the water to boil and wait for the pasta to cook prep everything else (so easy if the arugula is already clean). Chop the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Remove the tough stems from the arugula and roughly chop it. Mince a clove of garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the garlic and stir until it fragrant (30 seconds, max) and add the tomatoes. Stir it a bit then add the arugula and let it wilt. Just as it wilts add the white beans, stirring occasionally. Before you drain the pasta reserve about 1/2 cup of that starchy pasta water. Drain the pasta and then add it to the skillet with the veggies. Toss everything together, pouring in some pasta water to help everything coat nicely. (If your skillet isn’t big enough add everything to the pan that boiled the pasta). Season with salt and pepper (and tasty cheese) and serve.
* Actually I think this could have used a 2nd clove of garlic, but I tend to err on the overly garlicky side of things.
Growing up I ate a green salad with dinner almost every night. I love a nice big green salad and often start craving them after eating too much junk food, but as I work on eating more locally and seasonally I have eliminated the green salad side dish from our dinners (we still indulge the cravings though). Bah humbug. I want salad all the time, of course they are always better in the summer, especially if you managed to hit a sweet spot where it isn’t too hot for lettuce but the cucumbers and tomatoes are beginning to arrive. The tomatoes I found at the farmer’s market were small but looked promising so I grabbed a few and then we didn’t eat them right away (what! why! oh yeah – ice cream sundae’s on Sunday and asian inspired on Monday). Anyway, Tuesday came and we still had a lot of lettuce from last week’s share, so a big green salad was definitely on the menu to make room for everything else. Luckily we also got two beautiful and delicious cucumbers on Tuesday too. At first this salad looks a little plain, and I’ll admit it didn’t look very promising as I poured the dressing on but the toasted almonds were really all the embellishment that it needed (and a little bit of crusty bread didn’t hurt either).
Salad composed of: CSA lettuce, CSA cucumbers, tomatoes, carrot and toasted almond slivers, topped with vinaigrette
Maybe it is cheating since I wrote this today (Thursday), but as I was putting away the share on Tuesday we already had plans to have a nice big yummy salad for dinner that night and I quickly decided to do something with the arugula and remaining farmer’s market tomatoes on Wednesday…
Produce lingering from the store: carrots, celeriac, celery
Produce from the FM (recent and lingering): zucchini, various berries, basil, tomatoes, purple potatoes, parsley
Produce from the CSA leftovers: lettuce, green onion, one kohlrabi
Produce from the CSA this week: arugula, green onions, cucumbers, rainbow chard, purple kohlrabi
Tuesday: big green salad with some bread (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, toasted almonds)
Wednesday: pasta with arugula, tomatoes and white beans and yummy bread, berry pie for dessert
Thursday: big salad with fresh creamy dressing, grilled zucchini
Friday & Saturday: camping (sliced kohlrabi for snacking? utilizing green onions in breakfast burritos; bringing berries for snacking)
Sunday: swiss chard and potatoes?
Monday: eat out perhaps?