Anotheryarn Eats

November 6, 2009

breakfast breaks the rut?

Filed under: almost a recipe, Breakfast — Tags: , , — anotheryarn @ 11:40 am

One can hope.  I know I’ve been woefully absent, I have drafts for three meals, am behind on chronicling our weekly share and to top it all off got in a rut of barely cooking for the last two weeks – which of course means that my fridge is overflowing with kale.  (A friend of mine shared this link the other day and I totally felt for the people who have fridge picture #3 on page 1, oh I remember that time).  Luckily with fall means winter squash and potatoes and onions which keep much longer than greens and don’t hog precious fridge-space).

But back to breakfast.  I’ve been trying to get better about eating breakfast.  I’ve always been one of those people who isn’t hungry right when I wake up.  On weekdays breakfast must be simple, something that I can make while half-asleep, while I like to wait a bit on the weekends and make your classic breakfast fare like pancakes, french toast, omelets, muffins and such.  But today I was excited to try this combination that I thought up a couple weeks ago and finally set in motion on Wednesday with the purchase of some granola.  Well, I didn’t really think up this combination, I’m sure someone else did.  I know a number of people strain yogurt to get a cheaper version of greek yogurt, and I had a classmate who used to add jam to his plain yogurt; if I googled it I’m sure oodles of people have done this before me.  But it was so easy, and am excited to have another jam eating outlet so I have an excuse to make more jam (I have fruit just waiting for me in the freezer, but first I need to free up a few jars).

breakfast

Wednesday night I put some plain yogurt in a strainer (over a bowl) lined with cheese cloth, covered it with plastic and plopped it in the fridge.  This morning I spooned some of the very thickened yogurt into my bowl, added a spoonful of my homemade peach-lavender jamsyrup, stirred it up, tasted, added a smaller spoonful of jam, then topped it with granola (supposedly ginger, but I didn’t notice).  Soooo good.  The type of breakfast that makes you say, “I’m going to eat this for breakfast everyday for the rest of my life” (which of course you never do, because after a week or two you get tired of eating the same thing everyday; this is the same reason why I don’t make yogurt at home, too often I barely get through my quart of yogurt in time).  I now have visions of doing this and pre-prepping this in cute little mason jars (but then I couldn’t use the strained yogurt for things like tzaziki).  Must by more cheesecloth.

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October 5, 2009

repeat from last August

Filed under: almost a recipe, Recipes — Tags: , , — anotheryarn @ 9:03 pm

Friday night I wanted comfort food, but it took a little effort to convince myself to actually make this comfort food.  I decided to try a new polenta method, baking, since I had to turn the oven on to roast the beets (if I thought I could have gotten wilted greens via the oven I would have done that too).  Unfortunately the beets took more time than I thought so we just ate wilted garlicy greens and polenta topped with gorgonzola – but when you got a bite with all three things it was oh so good.  I was a little leery of the baked polenta, but it turned out just fine, if a little on the thinner than I’m used to. It was nice to just let the leftovers cool in the pan and stick that in the fridge.  I used a bit of the leftover polenta in a breakfast scramble and it slide out of the pan nice and easy.

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Polenta with gorgonzola and Garlicy Swiss Chard

baked polenta recipe from Everyday Food (and in the Great Food Fast cookbook) topped with diced gorgonzola

Garlicy Swiss Chard chronicled repeatedly here, but this provides good directions (ignoring the onions this time around)

September 21, 2009

Canning Crazy but first a side of freezing

Filed under: almost a recipe, food preservation — Tags: , — anotheryarn @ 11:43 am

Last Friday Two weeks ago (9/4) I had the opportunity to get a 20 lb box of local enough organic peaches for a good price.  And so I jumped on it.  I couldn’t quite envision what 20 lbs of peaches would be, but armed with three canning/preservation books, 1 dozen pint jars, 1 dozen half-pint jars and 10 quart jars if needed I started doing a bit of recipe reading.  I’ve spent most of the past week thinking about, prepping for, cleaning up after and canning.  Not that I’ve done mass quantities like some people, but I’m slowly getting over my nervousness about this whole process.

20 lbs

I decided to freeze some peaches, since I don’t think I’m a big canned peach fan (I never buy them for what that’s worth), make two, maybe three types of jam, make salsa and bake.  Then in the middle of it all pickles started calling to me again (but really that is another post).  We started by freezing them, I made room in the freezer for one cookie sheet, read up on blanching peaches (for peeling) and got started.  We had a few hiccups on the first batch when the first blanching instructions didn’t call for an x scored in the peach to aid peeling and the timing was off due to our peaches being slightly under ripe.  A lot of the freezing directions talked about packing them in water, juice or syrup but I wanted easy access to frozen peaches for smoothy making so I froze them individually; I also found one book claiming you can freeze whole peaches and just peel and pit them once they defrost.  I guess this is good to know if you are really short on time but it seemed very limiting on what you can do with the finished product.  I had no problems with browning, but haven’t done anything with them yet other than sneak a bite of a single frozen peach slice.

freezing peaches

Freezing Peaches

  • 4 peaches
  • 1 vat of boiling water
  • 1 vat ice water
  • 1 slotted spoon that will hold a peach
  • 1 kitchen timer
  • 1 cutting board
  • paring knife
  • 1 bowl for pits and skins
  • 1 cookie sheet
  • wax paper or parchment paper*
  • 2 quart size freezer bags

*It is a lot easier to remove frozen peaches from wax paper than the bottom of the cookie sheet.  Ask me how I know.

Bring your pot of water to a boil.  You want it full enough to submerge the peaches but not so full that water overflows once they are in the pot (have a cup handy in case you need to remove excess boiling water).  While you wait for the water to boil, wash your peaches, score the bottom with an X shape (each cut is maybe 2″, but just eyeball it), get your bowl of ice water ready and set up very near the boiling water, get the cutting board and peach pit bowl ready, cut a sheet of wax/parchment paper to fit the cookie sheet and put it in place.

When the water is boiling gently place each peach in it and set the timer for 30-60 seconds (the riper peaches take less time).  I like to use the slotted spoon to help me lower the peaches into the water without splashing myself.  Once the time is up, use the slotted spoon to transfer each peach from boiling water to ice water.  Let the peaches cool for about 1 minute and then remove to the cutting board.  Proceed to peel them.  I like to cut the peach in half  and remove the pit before peeling.  Generally speaking you should be able to grab at one of the corners of your scored X with your paring knife (or clean fingernail) and peel away the peel.  It might not come in one big piece so just repeat until it is removed.  At absolute worst you use the paring knife to cut away stubborn peel.

Once the peach is peeled you can set it aside and peel the rest or you can peel, slice, peel, slice, peel, slice and so on.  I like to slice each half in half (so quarters) and each quarter into even slices, giving me 12 slices per peach.  Place slices on the cookie sheet (well on the paper on the cookie sheet), bonus points if you can arrange them so it is easy to divide evenly between your freezer bags.  Place on an even surface in your freezer and freeze at least a few hours or overnight.  Remove cookie sheet, label 2 quart sized freezer bags and place 2 peaches, or 24 slices in each bag.  Our bags averaged at 12 oz each, I’m sure 1 pound would have fit just fine, but not all 4 peaches.

August 24, 2009

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.

August 19, 2009

apparently I didn’t cook last week

Filed under: almost a recipe, thoughts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — anotheryarn @ 4:25 pm

At least that is what my list and photographs tell me. But now as I recap for you, it sure seems like I did cook. Two meals on Tuesday, a simple meal on Thursday (pot of pinto beans), a summer feast on Sunday and desperation burritos on Monday (done by TheHusband since I was simply too famished to cook and he had happily munched on fruit all evening).


lunchTuesday, around lunch time, I didn’t want to cook (it was a trend) but needed to eat. So I decided to make make a quick bean salad. It started with a can of garbonzo beans, then I grabbed a small zucchini, make that two, that needed to be eaten – oh a quick saute in olive oil with some herbs (actually I’ve been using Penzey’s Mural of Flavor as my go-to lazy blend lately), then I decided to chuck in some kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes (see what did I tell you? boring to hmmm, this is pretty good). Hmm, I think this needs a little bit of tart, so I splashed the last of my red wine vinegar in the bowl and scooped myself up about half of it lest I loose control and eat the entire bowl. IM not generally accurate O this made two nice sized servings. I took the bowl and my laptop outside to enjoy the fabulous weather (high of 75) hoping it would inspire me to start writing – but it didn’t.

IMG_7144Tuesday night I decided that something must be done about our over-flowing fridge. I cleaned out all the icky leftovers (sigh, I hate when I don’t effectively manage our leftover consumption) and made a big mess of roasted vegetables as well as a potato-celeriac mash (woooo! that darn celeriac is finally gone). Does anyone happen to know if celeriac always floats when in water or was mine just really too old to cook? Trust me, you don’t really want a recipe for either of these things. This mess o’ roasted vegetables contained: summer squashes, onions, carrots, green beans and kohlrabi.

summerdinnerSkipping all the way to Sunday night, we made a very Summer Meal, if a bit on the yellow side. Corn on the cob (from the grocery store, because I was craving it), sauteed summer squash (yet again with that Mural of Flavor) and a big green salad (lettuce, cucumber, carrots, radishes all from the CSA and a tomato from the FM) topped with homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. This time I didn’t follow a recipe, and just sort of chucked stuff in, only grabbing a small measuring cup to get more or less equal quantities of sour cream, mayo and buttermilk. It also had garlic, salt, a handful of chives, a handful of dried parsley (oops, forgot that at the store) and black pepper. I did end up adding a bit more buttermilk to get it to a thinner consistency. We should have had green beans too, but that would have required a third pot, which seemed like two pots too many for such a simple meal and TheHusband declared corn, squash and salad enough food.

Finally on Monday, we had a late dinner of burritos, using some leftover beans and my thankfully already cleaned lettuce (with the usual tortillas, cheese, salsa and sour cream). Photos were forgotten as I scarffed down the food. Besides, a photo of a burrito is generally not so hot – all that white on my white plates.

July 20, 2009

Stuff in a Bowl

Filed under: almost a recipe — Tags: , — anotheryarn @ 11:14 pm

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).

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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.

July 17, 2009

Yummy Salad take 1

Filed under: almost a recipe — Tags: , , , — anotheryarn @ 12:23 am

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).

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Salad composed of: CSA lettuce, CSA cucumbers, tomatoes, carrot and toasted almond slivers, topped with vinaigrette

July 8, 2009

week 1 roundup

Filed under: almost a recipe, thoughts — Tags: , , , — anotheryarn @ 3:41 pm

We successfully used up most of our veggies before yesterday’s pickup.  Except the lamb’s stuff which I learned was actually called lamb’s quarters.  TheHusband and I both nibbled on a leaf and went, “huh, doesn’t taste like much” so I’m not sure what to do, at least I have more info for research.

On Friday, as planned, I finally made our first CSA meal (opposed to using a single green onion and radish in some salad), and it turned out well enough, not amazing but with good potential.  Instead of following the recipe I just used it as a guideline.  It turns out that bulgar is a great grain for hot weather cooking if you have an electric kettle.  Just pour some boiling water over it and let it sit.  I only had 4 tiny beets (think the size of radishes) and about 1 1/2 oz of feta, so I diced both of those and added it to 1 cup of cooked bulgar (leaving another cup or so in the bowl for another use).  Finally I tossed the now pink bulgar with ribbons of swiss chard and gave a squeeze of lemon juice and dash of olive oil over everything.  It was visually vibrant but  otherwise underwhelming, but served as lunch anyways.  I think more beets (and maybe feta) would have been a vast improvement.  Incidentally, TheHusband showed me a new trick to clean beet stained plastic cutting boards, he scrubbed it with a bit of Bon Ami before washing it.

Chard Beet & Bulgar Salad

Friday night we made fabulous grilled zucchini sandwiches.  These didn’t use any of our current CSA produce, but did use stuff that could have been CSA produce so I will do a separate post (I think they are worthy).  Here is a tease:

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On Saturday I made a nice big green salad, using up our remaining radishes but no other CSA veggies.  It was your run of the mill salad with lettuce, radishes, cucumber, grated carrots and cherry tomatoes.

On Sunday we had a filling, late lunch out and then just at the leftover green salad for dinner.  So much for using the kale that night.

On Monday I made a simple kale & pasta dish that turned out nicely.  I washed the kale and chopped it fairly small (aiming for 1″ squares, but not precise at all).  I boiled whole wheat spaghetti and about half-way through the cooking time I heated a large saute pan with olive oil.  I added 3 smooshed cloves of garlic and good sprinkle of red pepper flakes and about 4 sliced green onions.  Once that was soft I added all the kale, gave it a quick stir and covered it.  Then just before the timer went off for the pasta I pulled about 1 cup of the pasta water from the pan (a metal measuring cup makes this easy) and poured about 1/2 of over the kale to help it wilt, oh and pinch of salt.  I drained the pasta, checked the kale (bright green, mostly soft but with a slight bite) and then added the pasta to that pan, tossing everything together (all the pasta water hadn’t yet evaporated).  6 oz of pasta and 1 small-medium bunch of kale made 2 generous dinner servings.

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Right after making dinner on Monday I made another bulgar wheat salad for weekday lunches, this time with zucchini, mushrooms and parsley (oh an a few green onions – I’m just throwing those suckers everywhere at the moment).  That too will be its own post due to yumminess.

January 13, 2009

January 5: Tasty Tacos

Filed under: almost a recipe — Tags: — anotheryarn @ 1:23 pm

I can’t believe I’m still eating vegetables from the CSA.  In addition to the veggies in the fridge mentioned in the last post, I just remembered that I have a bag of potatoes in the pantry and a few winter squash in the garage.  While the majority of this meal wasn’t CSA veggies, it was still tasty and I believe deserves to be included as tacos are not tacos in this nearly-vegetarian household without some sort of green leaf as part of the filling.  We use lettuce most of the time, but in the winter we are more likely to use cabbage.  On Sunday I made a small pot of black beans (and that night we ate simple bowls of beans), well with beans and cabbage in the fridge we just new what we were going to have for dinner.  And at the utter last minute we decided we wanted Tacos with a capitol T.  In my family that means freshly fried shells (well, fresh from a store bought package of tortillas).  So we, um, bought an 8″ cast iron skillet and pulled out the remaining shortening (yes, bad, but we had it so we used it) and started practicing our shell frying skills.  

The first two shells were sacrificed to the kitchen god, whom decided to consume them via my mouth, but after that they were useable – nice and crunchy if a little snug for filling.  I just broke one in half and made two half tostadas when filling it become too difficult.

Taco instructions in pictures (because nothing is measured)

shell-frying

Fried Shells: small cast iron skillet, hot oil, tongs and some practice (hint fry one side at a time), we’ve always let them rest and drain on a paper bag

 

refried beans do not make for an appetizing picture

“Refried” beans:  I actually just scoop out beans plus a bit of their juices into the pan, let it heat up, add a bit of cumin and mash with a potato masher to the consistency I prefer.  If they are too juicy and you forgot to skim the juice before mashing just let it simmer off, if they seem dry stir in a spoonful of water at a time until they are the right thickness.

 

taco-toppings

Toppings: grated cheese, shredded cabbage, diced onion, salsa and sour cream (tomato, cucumber, avocado, cilantro are all great toppings when you can get them)

 

taco

And the tasty taco result.  I actually like to layer as follows: beans, cheese, salsa, other diced stuff if available, sour cream and finally the shredded cabbage.  The sour cream helps the cabbage stick in the taco and the cabbage keeps the sour cream off your hands (if you didn’t overstuff your taco).

 

broken-taco

The oop-it’s-now-a-tostada-taco, still tasty

December 15, 2008

December 2: Greens and polenta

Filed under: almost a recipe — Tags: , — anotheryarn @ 3:26 pm

I made a half recipe of the Bitter Greens with sour cherries using just kale and a wee bit of arugula (sadly most the bunch went south before I could use it and I salvaged what I could) and reheated my experimental frozen polenta.  

Experimental frozen polenta?  Well I made a batch of plain polenta as some point and had about two servings leftover, so I dumped it in a small square corningware dish and threw it in the fridge, figuring that I would grill it later in the week.  But that never happened so I decided to see how it would fare if I froze it and grilled it at a later date.  I removed it from the corningware, wrapped it in plastic, placed  it in a labeled freezer ziplock and threw it in the fridge.  I wasn’t thinking in advance and so when I went to make this polenta I put the bag in a bowlful of warm water to help thaw it.  I had to change the water a couple times and flip the bag over.  When I thought it was thawed I unwrapped the polenta and cut it into thick slices, oiled them and tossed them on a preheated cast-iron grill pan.  The few remaining water crystals melted, when I went to flip the slices they either stuck to the pan, fell apart or did both.  Wait, instead of sticking to the pan, the nice crispy crust stuck and the rest of the polenta slide onto the spatula.  Eventually I gave up on pretty grilled polenta slices and dumped all the polenta I could get out of the grill pan into an oiled non-stick skillet and stirred it all up.  Resulting in warm and yummy, but not very pretty polenta.  It looks all lumpy, though it didn’t actually have a lumpy texture in your mouth.  I think frozen leftover polenta has some potential but grilled slices isn’t the best reheating method.

polenta-greens

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