Anotheryarn Eats

August 26, 2009

Menu Planning

Filed under: Meal Planning — anotheryarn @ 4:33 pm

As you might have noticed, I’ve slacked off with the menu planning.  And the lack of a plan has added to my cooking angst quite a bit.  I was at least keeping up with maintaining my white-board of produce that I keep on the fridge.  I snapped this photo Tuesday evening before I started cooking.  The various divided sections are all different weeks/categories of produce (FM, and three weeks of CSA produce).

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Now that I’ve done combat with the fridge contents and have it down to a reasonable level (just in time for another camping trip, a camping trip in which we are only responsible for the meal that doesn’t need any produce, how’d we do that?) I cleaned up that white board and added a new catergory – leftovers.

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Looking this over (and oh how I wanted to scrap Tuesday’s meal plan once I saw that fresh corn) I am brimming with ideas for cooking again.

  • This roasted beet, goat cheese and pistachio salad (why do I keep thinking it has honey drizzled on it?)
  • a mess of sauteed greens to use up all the dark leafy greens lurking in the fridge
  • a broccoli, cherry tomato and chickpea salad from Good Food Fast
  • something with the corn, maybe a corn and cherry tomato salsa?
  • I figure we will bring the pattypans camping and grill them (contributing veggies to another meal)
  • apple-blueberry muffins (we don’t list fruit on the white board, but I have a few blueberries and one apple that have seen better days)
  • zucchini basil muffins

This list doesn’t look too bad, until I remember that it could easily take us the rest of the week to just get through the leftovers we already have made (though that roasted beet salad is half-way in between as I roasted the beets while the eggplant torte baked).  Tonight we fend for ourselves (i.e. leftovers), tomorrow I’m considering the greens, a grain, and the beet salad, I’d like to add corn on the cob but that would probably be too much food.  Maybe the broccoli salad would work camping?

Eggplant Torte a la Provencal

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , , — anotheryarn @ 4:21 pm

As I was thumbing through my cookbooks, looking for a good eggplant recipe I found this, eggplant torte a la provencal, in a now lesser used cookbook, The Occasional Vegetarian.  This cookbook was an outlet bookstore find (wait, this might have been a gift and my Vegetable Heaven cookbook was the three-dollar find), and I’ve made a few winning, repeat worthy dishes from this book.  This dish, might be just that, but my preparation was doomed from the start.

Monday, 6 pm:  Okay, what do I need to make that eggplant dish?  Step 1) sprinkle with salt and let sit for an hour. Well crap, I guess it would be better for me to make green bean enchiladas anyway, those green beans aren’t going to last much longer.

Tuesday, 5-ish pm:  Must make list and grab that tomato and red onion, oh but I need to get dishes done too.  [An hour goes by while I’m on the phone, at least I get the dishes done; and TheHusband calls to say he will be home late, whew.]

Tuesday 6:30 pm.  I salt the eggplant and head to the store.

Tuesday 7:30 pm I rinse the eggplant, pat it dry and prep the remaining ingredients.  At that point I turn over the page* and discover  step 4 is sauteing the eggplant about 3 minutes on both sides.  I’m really regretting my use of this skinny (Japanese?) eggplant now.  20+ minutes and 4 frying pan batches later I’m done cooking the eggplant.  Mmm, this eggplant is tasty, it is too bad I already have those potatoes, tomatoes and onion sliced.  I wonder if I could treat this dish like a roasted veggie dish instead?  If it tastes good I’ll try that next time…I start layering the veggies and lament that I didn’t pick a bigger “baking pan” (what defines a baking pan anyway, is it a specific size?)…

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Tuesday 8:45 pm:  I manage to put the torte in the oven.  Of course I have leftover eggplant (not much), potato, tomato and onion slices — and I’m starving.  I look at the potato and think breakfast burritos!  And so despite spending over an hour assembling this dish, I ate egg burritos (with potatoes, red onion, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese) for dinner.  They were darn tasty egg burritos and I just hope that this eggplant torte is good at room temperature like the recipe states.

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* One of my biggest complaints about this book (other than her extreme fondness of leeks, which isn’t really a problem except on the budget) is the fact that recipes are jammed in, and too often the ingredient list will be on one page while the bulk of the directions are on the next page.

And now the recipe, remember, you have been warned.

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Eggplant Torte a la Provencal from The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee with Diane Porter

  • 2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 1 hour.  Rinse and pat dry between non-linty towels.

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 t dried thyme

Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and turn the heat on medium.  Chop the garlic and add it to the pan.  Take the pan off the heat at this point.  Crush the thyme in your palm and stir it into the oil.

  • 2 medium potatoes (about 1/2 pound), peeled and sliced in 3/8″ thick rounds
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced in 3/8″ thick rounds
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced in 3/8″ thick rounds

Heat a cast-iron skillet (the recipe is specific) to high and brush the seasoned oil on the eggplant slices.  Saute them until brown (about 3 minutes), flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.  Beware crowding the eggplant in the pan; repeat the process for all long as necessary.  Keep the remaining seasoned oil.  Preheat your oven to 350 F.

  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 c fresh basil leaves, torn
  • few sprigs thyme, optional

Add the pepper and salt to the remaining seasoned oil.  Stir until combined.

Now prep a baking pan (my dish was too small – I had leftovers of all 4 main ingredients, I’d try a 9×13 pyrex pan next time, if there is a next time) by oiling the bottom.  Begin layering the eggplant, potato, tomato and onion, leaving 1/2″ showing from the previous layer.  Once you’ve used up the ingredients and/or filled your pan brush the remaining seasoned oil over the veggies, then stuff the basil leaves and thyme between the layers of veggies.  Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

update: I let a serving come to room temperature today for lunch, the eggplant was just as tasty as ever, but the potatoes seemed a little undercooked and overall I don’t think this was worth the effort.  But I am dreaming up ways to combine the flavors again in an easier, less fussy format.

August 25, 2009

Year 2 week 9

Filed under: Weekly Share — Tags: — anotheryarn @ 11:43 pm

Year 2 Week 9

  • corn
  • radishes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • carrots
  • beets (a beautiful big bunch)
  • pattypan squash
  • broccoli

Enchiladas with side dishes

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , — anotheryarn @ 11:21 am

I made a meal with three components!  Luckily it only took two pans and the food processor.  Sadly the dishwasher was half-full of dirty dishes and not everything fit last night so I have round two waiting for me.  I was very torn yesterday on what to make, there is an eggplant torte that sounds very promising, and I’d feel like less of a failure at cooking if I managed to use up veggies the week we got them; but I forgot to read ahead and didn’t feel like letting the eggplant sit for one hour when it was already after 6 (plus I’d have to go to the store for tomatoes).  The other option, the one I should have just done in the first place, was green bean enchiladas.  I had to toss a few green beans, and was one tortilla short of the dozen that fills my 9×13 pyrex casserole dish but I was able to cross a couple veggies off our list.  As I got started on the enchiladas, I decided I really wanted to make some spanish rice to go with it, a quick call to my aunt for her recipe (since, last year’s Bittman recipe was just so-so) and finally we made this carrot-beet salad that I’ve been eyeing ever since I scored the Everyday Food: Great Food Fast cookbook at a used bookstore.

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My version of Ruth’s Spanish Rice

My version actually came out a bit mushy, I’m not sure if it is because I used basmati rice, because I used 2 cups of stock instead of 1 can (which IIRC is less than 2 cups), or because my kitchen timer shut off somewhere between 4 minutes and 0 minutes and I overcooked the rice.  However the flavor was great.  And honestly mushy rice is better than crunchy rice.  Next time I make this I’m going to aim for 1 1/2 to 2 cups of total liquid and see how that goes.

  • 1 c [white] rice
  • oil
  • green onions (1/3 cup, opt.)
  • cumin (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • garlic powder (a sprinkle)
  • salt (a pinch)
  • 1 -8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable stock

Brown the rice in the oil.  When it is about done add a few chopped green onions.  Add the cumin, garlic powder and salt, stir.  Add the tomato sauce and stock.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Green Bean Enchiladas

A quick recap:  Prep green beans, keeping them as long as possible but not longer than the tortillas.  Prep pan by pouring in a bit of enchilada sauce.  Grate cheese (6 oz is nice but not overly cheesy).  Set up corn tortillas, green beans, skillet and casserole dish in a row (with skillet on a burner) and heat the skillet to just below medium.  Heat the tortilla gently so it is just pliable but not gaining color.  Use a clean kitchen towel to protect your hand holding the tortilla as you roll.  Fill with a few green beans (4 to 6 is nice), roll, place in casserole dish.  Repeat until casserole is full, top with remaining sauce and cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and melty and green beans are soft.

Carrot Beet Salad from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

I didn’t have a pound of beets, and my CSA carrots probably aren’t the same size as the carrots they thought of when writing the recipe so I used as many red beets as I had (4 medium beets weighed in at 11 oz), and the same number of small-medium carrots.  But I made the dressing as directed since a little too much dressing is better than not enough for a slaw-like salad.

  • 1/4 c lemon juice (or the juice of one and a half lemons plus orange juice to make up the difference)
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T (or less if you used OJ) honey
  • 3/4 t cumin
  • 1/2 t ground coriander
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 t cayenne (we used not quite 1/4 t)
  • pinch salt

Whisk dressing ingredients together in the bowl that will hold your grated beets and carrots.

  • 4 beets, raw, ends cut off and peeled (a veggie peeler works nicely but beware the splatters)
  • 4 small-medium carrots, ends cut off, scrubbed or peeled

Shred/Grate the beets and carrots, I highly recommend a food processor for speed and splatter containment.  Toss the beets and carrots together in the bowl with the dressing.

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Baking

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , — anotheryarn @ 9:48 am

I really love to bake, but don’t do it as often as I get the urge.  Too often a messy kitchen, or lately, the heat keep me from it (also, not having enough outlets for sharing baked goods).  Sunday morning I made blueberry oat scones for breakfast. We have to get our blueberries from the FM, but I hear that some CSA subscribers are lucky to have farms that grow blueberries too.  These were delicious, half a recipe gave me 8 generous sized scones.  I ate the final two for breakfast this morning, and the brown sugar just adds a delightful taste.  Or maybe it is the oatmeal, anyway they were lovely, though I thought the texture verged on muffin texture.  I’m totally looking forward to making these this winter with blueberries straight from the freezer.  Oh yes, I used milk instead of half-and-half.

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Blueberry Oat Scones from Bon Appetit via Epicurious (recipe from Molly of Orangette)

The ingredients halved (unless you too, want to do your math teachers proud and figure it out yourself)

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/6 c brown sugar (this is 2 tablespoons plus a 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 3/8 t kosher salt (oh just eyeball that one)
  • 5 1/2 T butter
  • 1/2 c blueberries
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 7/8 c milk
  • a couple teaspoons of coarse sugar and a couple tablespoons of oatmeal to sprinkle on top

Full directions at the Epicurious site.  Basically, in a food processor pulse the dry ingredients, add the butter, pulse till sandy, dump in a bowl, stir in blueberries and oatmeal.  Stir in milk.  Drop in very large spoonfuls (I eyeballed what I thought would be a 1/2 cup mound) on a parchment lined baking sheet far apart because they spread and bake for like 27 minutes at 350 F.  (Check half-way of course).

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While the scones were in the oven I realized it would be the perfect time to make that zucchini bread I’ve been meaning to make.  So I dried off the food processor and quickly grated my large zucchini into about 2 cups of shredded zucchini.  I just made one loaf though, it came together so quickly and I swear is the most perfectly rounded loaf of quick bread that I have ever made. I saved the second cup of shredded zucchini for zucchini-basil muffins later this week. It did brown a little more than I wanted it to, but still tastes fabulous.  Was it the fine grating of the food processor that made the green specs almost disappear?  Was it the teaspoon of cinnamon that overshadowed the lemony flavor of zucchini bread that I love?  Where is the recipe my mom used?  And why does my quick bread keep sticking to the pan despite oiling it?

Zucchini Bread from that red checked BH&G The New Cook Book (again)

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 oil
  • 1/4 t lemon zest

Mix the dry ingredients (flour to nutmeg) in a small bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients (zucchini to lemon zest) in a medium bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.  Pour into a greased loaf pan (preferably an 8x4x2 sized pan) and bake for 55 to 60 minutes at 350 F until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes then let it cool completely before cutting.

August 24, 2009

Mostly Fresh Salsa

Filed under: Recipes by me — Tags: , , , — anotheryarn @ 11:22 pm

Last Saturday at the Farmer’s Market (as we charged through, getting there about 15 minutes before it closed) I grabbed a few tomatoes (only 3, I had restraint).  I had one big, pinky heirloom looking tomato that I knew I’d use for fresh salsa.  And then for some reason it sat all week, first I had to deal with pickles, then we had busy nights and lo and behold a week went by.  Luckily that tomato still looked pretty good, the serrano chile however had seen betters days.  So we stuck the serrano under the broiler to roast it and went about making salsa.  We’d needed just a little bit more something, so we made a couple quesadillas too.

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Fresh Salsa

I tried in the past to measure my ingredients, but for some dishes I just don’t work that way.  This is one of those dishes, you make it based on a vague sense of proportions, and when in doubt add half, stir, see how it looks/tastes and add more if needed.  I prefer to use a regular white or yellow onion in my salsa, but had way too many green onions hanging out in the fridge to ignore.

  • 1 very big tomato
  • handful of green onions OR 1/2 onion
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 serrano (maybe two, if you want it hotter, or perhaps the roasting dulled the heat)
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Dice your tomato, if it is extra juicy you might consider eliminating some of the juice and seeds, if it is meaty don’t worry about it.  Dice your onion, dice your chile (WEAR GLOVES!), dice your cilantro, sprinkle salt over everything and add the lime juice.  I think I ended up with about 4 cups of salsa.

More salad

Filed under: almost a recipe — Tags: , , , , — anotheryarn @ 10:38 pm

IMG_1281I feel like I’ve been eating a crazy amount of salads lately.  Not salads in the loosely defined sense, but the kid-salad sense where salad = green leafy things topped with more veggies.  (I always loved salads, I adored salad bars when I was a kid and didn’t think or worry about the reason the sneeze guard exists or is named as such.)  I used to eat a basic green salad with most dinners, and then as I got more into eating seasonally and buying more produce at the Farmer’s Market and less at the grocery store I stopped this practice.  Except of course when I crave a big green salad and go grab a head of trucked in romaine or red-leaf lettuce…  Anyway.  Friday night.  It got late.  There were too many choices in the fridge and something needed to be done.  So we had salad for dinner.  At um.  10 pm.  At least it was good salad, topped with carrots, radishes, tomatoes (mmmm tomatoes), homemade ranch dressing and homemade croutons.

Have you made homemade croutons?  They are delicious, the recipe we originally started using called for melted butter, but we have transitioned to using olive oil (honestly more out of laziness than worries about saturated fat).  This time around we used two thick slices of whole wheat sandwich bread and Penzey’s Salad Sprinkle for the herbs and spices (side note: Salad Sprinkle makes a disappointing popcorn topping, but decent crouton seasoning).  The bread type and the seasonings can change to suit your mood and salad.

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Croutons loosely based out of a red & white checked binder cookbook (I believe it is The BH&G New Cook Book)

Note: if you make them in a toaster oven watch closely because either the time or temp needs to be adjusted, we lost a few to burnt blackness

  • 2 slices bread, cut into 1/2″ – 1″ cubes
  • olive oil (handful, probably a tablespoon)
  • seasonings (garlic, salt, pepper, basil, etc for a few ideas)
  • opt. freshly grated parmesan

Preheat the oven 300 F.  Toss together the bread cubes and olive oil, until the bread cubes are coated nicely, sprinkle on your seasoning of choice (and parmesan if using) and toss to combine.  Spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake until golden and crispy, probably about 10 minutes, unless you use a toaster oven – then less.  Stir/turn/flip halfway through the cooking time.

Pasta with broccoli

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , — anotheryarn @ 10:19 pm

You know, this might be the first instance of meat use on this blog (scratch that – there was meat in the most recent meal while camping, though that wasn’t really a recipe).  Looking back while eating the cold leftovers from the fridge I sort of think it is a shame that I used my two beautiful heads of broccoli in this dish.  I mean it was fine, and I’d make it again, I’d even make it to share at a potluck; but I probably should have picked a recipe that cooked the broccoli less (or you know, not overcooked this in the first place; I blame needing to use a 12″ pan on a small burner, or maybe it was the fact that the first time I tried to add the water to the pan I hit the pan with my hand, pulled back and dumped the half-cup of water all over me and the floor instead of in the pan).  Clearly this dish does not make it into my “best recipe” list, but unlike so many things that I cook from The New Best Recipe this did not make a mass of dishes and took just over half and hour.

Also I don’t get orecchietti, at least for me, this pasta shape is hard to find and always pricier than the rest; but it doesn’t seem much better than your standard shell, in fact shells might work better since they’d actually hold the little bits of sausage, broccoli and red pepper.  And finally, I’m left wondering why I ever make any recipe that calls for a pound of pasta and am surprised when we have copious amounts of leftovers.  This is one of those dishes that, in our house, seemed to make more food than it used up.  And on Thursday, with the weekend looming and Tuesday/Share Pick Up day looming closer and closer using up produce is high on my priority list.

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Orecchiette with Broccoli, Sausage and Red Peppers adapted from The New Best Recipe

note: I think my only real adaptation was using fresh red bell pepper instead of jarred, oh and I didn’t peel my broccoli stems; the cheese would have been changed too except I decided to mix things up last time I replenished my hard italian style cheese and got pecorino instead of a parmesan.  I think this could be done one-pan style, if you used a bowl too, but then you’d have to wait for the pasta to cook before starting the sausage.  I decided an extra pan was worth the times savings.

  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 4 oz hot italian sausage
  • 9 cloves garlic, minced or smooshed
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, in large dice (about 1/2″ pieces)
  • 2 largish heads broccoli (about a pound total, but not much stem – I think it was the equivilant to a standard bunch), broken into small bite size florets, and the stalks trimmed into small 1/2″ or less pieces
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz pecorino romano, grated (should be around 1 cup)

So you boil the pasta, drain it and set it aside.  At this point I tossed it with that tablespoon of olive oil.

While the pasta is cooking you start a big pan (12″ – with lid) and cook the sausage, breaking it into little bite size pieces (that is only 4 ounces and you want to stretch it).  Once it is done you add the garlic and saute until it is fragrant (I ended up adding a little bit extra oil right before I added the garlic, fearing it’d stick and burn otherwise).  Don’t fret too much about the sausage that is sticking to the pan at this point.  Add the red pepper and let it saute just a bit, oh throw in the salt and pepper now too.  Finally add the broccoli and let it cook just a bit, (TNBR says bright green and 1-2 minutes) then add the half cup of water (I stirred a bit at this point and that took care of the stuck sausage bits) and cover the pan.  Let everything cook for about 5 minutes until the broccoli is tender but still bright green – the water should be evaporated at this point.  Once the broccoli is done you pour the broccoli-sausage-pepper mixture into the pasta, dump in the grated cheese and stir stir stir.

sesame noodles

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , , — anotheryarn @ 1:10 pm

Whenever I read about sesame noodles I read about how common they are as chinese take-out.  I must have been ordering chinese take-out from the wrong sorts of take-out places all my life, because I swear I’ve never seen sesame noodles on the menu (maybe it is an east coast or NYC thing?).  At first I had plans for peanut noodles, but then this recipe jumped out at me from my growing delicious list as I was researching pickle recipes yet again (why oh why can’t I find my notes from last year’s pickle making venture?).  Pickles and sesame noodles you ask?  They both share the cucumber tag.

I opted to use tahini as an experiment (the recipe states either can be used), but I suspect my toasted sesame oil is not the same thing as dark sesame oil.  Something probably went wrong, because as you can see, the sauce came out a little grainy.  Texturally it was unnoticeable in my mouth.  I skipped the chicken because we don’t cook meat that often and didn’t have any in the house.  I added red bell pepper because we had a beautiful pepper from the Farmer’s Market, carrots and green onions because we had them (also based on the fact that we normally put all three in our peanut sauced noodles).

sesame noodlesCold Noodles with Sesame Sauce, Chicken and Cucumbers from Mark Bittman’s Bitten Blog

My version is: 6 oz noodles, 1/2 recipe of the sauce, 2 small cucumbers, 1/4 red pepper, a few carrots thinly sliced and green onion thinly sliced.

August 19, 2009

Year 2 week 8

Filed under: Weekly Share — Tags: — anotheryarn @ 4:50 pm

Year 2 week 8

  • lettuce
  • potatoes
  • eggplant
  • broccoli
  • beets
  • carrots
  • green onions
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