Friday, January 18, 2013

It's been a long time now...

Blogging has taken a hiatus in the last few years. Don't fret - I may pick up the proverbial pen again one of these days. Lots of cooking has taken place, just not so much with the blogging. Apologies dear (and probably few) readers.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chipotle Beet Burgers

This summer has flown by. The last month in a flurry of rain. As opposed to making more excuses about not blogging I will say this: I like cooking better than writing. There, secrets out. Phew, not so bad. That being said, I really do like keeping this blog and will attempt to return to some sort of blogging schedule. There are a lot of exciting things going on in the next few months.

Number 1 exciting thing is that Philadelphia now has a FOOD SWAP!!! I am spearheading this with Marisa from Food In Jars, Alexis of Teaspoons & Petals, and Amanda of @forkspoonknife. The first event is coming up soon on September 22nd. Read more about it here. I will recap after it is over.

Onto the Beet Burgers. Our CSA, Henry Got Crops, puts out a newsletter every week that includes a section of recipes. This week offered a recipe for Beet Burgers that a CSA member had raved about. I was very intrigued by the idea and had two bunches of beets waiting in my crisper. I actually ended up searching for a different recipe because the initial one called for too many ingredients I didn't have. I landed on one from The Kitchn that seemed similar. I didn't have everything in the ingredient list so altered the recipe. They were really great. A super healthy and tasty alternative to a beef burger, and easy enough to make at home. Boca Burgers eat your heart out.

These turned into Chipotle Beet Burgers (we love spicy here) and were served with a quick salad.
Chipotle Beet Burgers
modified from this recipe
made 9 burgers

1/2 cup brown rice (about 1 cup cooked rice)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 pound beets (we used a little more than a pound, mixed red and gold)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 can refried beans (Amy's are wonderful)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp chipotle powder (more if you like spicy)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice per directions on package.
Heat olive oil in skillet. Saute garlic and onion until fragrant and add beets and jalapeno. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add spices at the end and stir well.
Mix rice, beans, veggies and flour well in large bowl. Heat skillet back up and scoop burger-sized amounts into the pan. Cook on each side until a nice crust develops (about 3-5 minutes per side). Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Be very gentle as they don't hold together great. Mine all came out in one piece though. Serve either plain or on burger rolls.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


If you haven't yet checked out Georgia's new garden blog, you may not have seen pictures of her beautiful home garden. And she hasn't yet posted any pics of her garden plot at our community garden.

However, while she's away this week I thought I'd take some pictures of her veggie growth for her!

What you may not know is that I also have a garden plot at a community garden and growing vegetables has become the most fulfilling and awesome thing I have ever done. I normally visit the garden every other day and there's something new growing every time. I'm also posting some pics from my garden (as I have way more of those than of hers).

What are you most excited about growing this year and are you obsessively taking pictures like I am??

Forgive these pictures, they were all taken with my cell.

From Georgia's community garden plot:



baby squash


My garden:
my whole plot

tiny baby cucumbers

just today, bigger cucumbers!

my first ripe sungold tomato

tiny peppers

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Green Monster

don't mind me, I drink out of jars now

I've been following Angela at Oh She Glows for quite awhile now. Though "healthy living" isn't exactly the theme of our blog (especially my part with all the butter-laden baking), there are a few other of these go-getters that I follow who are up on things like running and find many different ways to eat kale. If it sounds like I'm being a bit cheeky, its only because I'm genuinely jealous of their zeal for health.

A couple years ago, when I first found Angela's blog, I saw the also had a link for her site The Green Monster Movement. I'm notorious for getting into healthy fads (not that Green Monsters are fads, at all - only that I end up treating thing I get into like fads... here today, gone tomorrow!), only to instantly forget about them the second I see a scone or cookie... or even think about a scone or cookie.. ... ... droool... where was I? Oh, right.

A year or so ago, I got very excited about the idea of a juicer. I don't think I blogged about it, but I spent a good two weeks after I got my fabulous Breville juicer juicing everything in sight. Then I read about how when you juice, especially sweet things like apples (which I was going through by the bushel!), you get all the calories and sugar from the fruit and none of the good fiber.

So when I realized that I wasn't drinking my meals, but essentially just adding excess calories and sugar, the juicer went silent sitting in the corner of my counter.

But sarcastic as I'm being, I do try to incorporate healthy things into my diet every single day. At the end of the day I count how many servings of fruit and veggies I've had, and I try to make sure I'm hitting more veggies than fruits. Remember, tomatoes and avocados are fruits, people! And though I've certainly gotten the equivalent of the Green Monster at health food places and when the Vitamix guy is at whole foods, I've never gotten over the hump of making one at home. Before today.

For the last month I've been going for acupuncture (which I LOVE), and the acupuncturist is always giving me Chinese Medicine food advice, which I'm terrible about taking because I don't want to go buy a crock pot - something she tries to assure me I need.

Yes, this my "chinese medicine" gif. don't ask, I have no idea.

Anyway, she also impressed upon me the importance of trying to get two leafy greens in before noon. WHAT?!? If you know me at all, you know I'm barely up before noon, let alone eating leafy greens for breakfast.

While I do eat plenty of leafy greens, especially since our CSA share has been inundated with them, it's really hard for me to palate eating veggies for breakfast. I know this is a silly prejudice, but I think Angela's green monster may have solved the problem.

I barely slept last night, and so this evening I took a 3 hour nap (hey, don't judge!) between 530pm and 830pm. When I woke I knew I really needed to run over to Target for some kitty food, among other people-type necessities. I cut myself a small piece of bread, slathered on some PB and honey with a glass of milk and booked it out the door.

But I'm well away a piece of bread with PB and milk is a sad substitution for dinner - even if the bread was whole wheat sprouted (told you I was healthy). While I was out I remembered that I finally put water into my ice trays yesterday and so there was probably ice. And there was definitely both spinach and kale and bananas and PB and flax and almond milk. ALL THE INGREDIENTS FOR A GREEN MONSTER! It was meant to be. Seriously.

So I got home and blended me up one. Guess what, it was freakin' fabulous. I did not use kale, I thought I'd play if safe with spinach for the first go around, but I could have put way more spinach in than my slight 2 handfuls.

Maybe I can make the acupuncturist happy after all.

please ignore my dirty sink. thank you.

Angela's Classic Green Monster

makes 1 serving = 2 cups
find original recipe here

my adaptation:

1 cup almond milk (or cow's milk or whatever you want)
1 Tbsp ground flax
1 Tbsp peanut butter (or whatever other nut butter you've got - I had delicious grind-your-own from whole foods)
1 packed cup raw spinach (though I could have easily done more - use your own compass)
1 banana
3 ice cubes

Put all the ingredients (except the ice) in your blender and blend till smooth. Then add in the ice and let it work its magic.

Tada! I also drizzled in about 1/2 tsp of honey at the end.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thai Red Curry

I was noticing its been over a year since I last posted and it seemed a good time to remedy that.

Curry is fairly simple, especially thai curry. And it's a great way to clean out your fridge. With the massive amount of veggies we've been getting from our CSA share, along with some carrots and potatoes that needed to get eaten, I thought I'd make a hearty veggie-protein and vegetable filled curry.

As much as I love sauteing my greens with a little garlic and ginger, I've been eating sauteed greens pretty much every day and figured I should expand my palate some.

In addition to the potato and carrots, I added bok choy from a friend's garden and left over mustard greens from last week's share. I also put a cup of chick peas and 1/3 cup of lentils. When it was finished, I served it over some quinoa for some extra fiber and protein.

Feel free to use whatever veggies you want in the curry and try serving it over rice, quinoa or any asian-type noodle.

Thai Red Curry
1-2 Tbs red curry paste (adjust to your liking)
1 14oz can of coconut milk
1-2 cloves garlic
1 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
1 large red (or other thin-skinned type) potato
2-3 carrots
1/3 cup lentils
1 cup chick peas, drained and rinsed
1-2 cups of green of your choice (I used chopped up bok choy and mustard greens)
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
lime or rice vinegar

WITHOUT SHAKING, open the can of coconut milk. Take the coconut "cream" layer off the top and put into a sauce pan along with red curry paste. Heat over medium heat and stir to combine.

Let coconut cream and curry paste come together till they thicken up and become more paste-like. Lower heat some and then add garlic and ginger (and a half onion if you want - I didn't have one in the house).

When garlic and ginger become fragrant, add rest of coconut milk, along with 1 cup of water. Add diced potatoes and carrots to the pot. Then add in lentil and chick peas.

Turn up the heat till pot boils and then reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on, but leave partially open. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until lentil and potatoes are soft.

Add fish sauce, brown sugar and squeeze of a lime or a splash of rice vinegar. Taste and adjust to your liking.

Turn off heat and then add greens and cilantro. Let residual heat from curry to lightly cook the green.

Serve with rice, quinoa or noodles.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fettuccine with Butter-Braised Turnips and Sage

CSAs are exciting, and I'm happy to see that they are really increasing in popularity. The Whole Foods near our house recently partnered with a few local farms to create their own version of a CSA called the Farmer's Pick Program.

From talking with the farmer at our CSA, Henry Got Crops, I've learned that people either love or hate them. The trend seems to be that you either join for one year and don't renew, or you are hooked. The biggest challenge is being given veggies that you are unfamiliar with or thought that you didn't like. Especially this time of year farmers will load your share with greens, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, and other such produce. If you are like the majority of Americans, kohlrabi probably hasn't fallen onto your radar yet (and to be completely honest, its not entirely on mine yet - we got a honkin' big purple one on Tuesday and it has yet to be cooked). 

My goal for this CSA season was not to let a single thing go to waste. I'm learning new preparation techniques and eating healthier as a result! This week was an especially generous one. They got a new intern at the farm so the harvest was HUGE! Andrew and I are splitting a share with Randi and this week's have share included: aforementioned huge kohlrabi, beautiful head of red leaf lettuce, large bunch of turnips, radishes (swapped for bok choy because I have some that Grace gave me), and half a bunch of kale. Wow.

Turnips are a vegetable that I never ate that often. But they are so tasty!!! A member of the brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, etc.) they are chock full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium. You can eat the root part, but also the greens as well. Roasted, yum. Mashed, tasty. 

I love Mark Bittman and was quite sad that he retired from his post as the Minimalist Chef on the NY Times. However, he is still a contributor, and has been thrilling his readers with things like The Pasta Primavera Remix. He provides you with a whole bunch of different simple and modern takes the classic spring pasta. I bookmarked it and knew I'd be back.

This recipe is from the Remix. Very easy and I had everything on hand. Turnips from the CSA and Golden Variegated Sage in my herb garden. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes at the beginning to give it a little kick. I also chopped up the turnip greens and added them in at the end. It was really tasty. Not too heavy either. In the future I will probably add more sage, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Fettuccine with Butter-Braised Turnips and Sage
adapted from Mark Bittman
serves 8

Cook 1 pound diced turnips in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat, stirring, until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon chopped sage and 2/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock, white wine or water; boil until the turnips are tender and the liquid is almost entirely evaporated, 10 to 20 minutes. Toss with pasta and chopped turnip greens. Garnish: Chopped sage.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rosemary-Lemon White Bean Dip

As Andrew was scarfing down the last little bit of our Roasted Red Pepper Chipotle Hummus last night - I feebly protested (we just got it the day before and I only ate a little of it). I had veggies that needed hummus!!! He reminded me that we had white beans and I was capable of making my own. Oh, right. Home made bean dips.

So, today at lunch, while my beautiful mushrooms were staring at me saying "eat me, eat me with bean dip," I gave in. After a quick search on the blogosphere, I found a blogger who had made a Mark Bittman recipe,  Rosemary-Lemon White Bean Dip, quickly and successfully! Plus, I had all the ingredients, sort of. The recipe calls for the zest of two lemons, but I only had one lemon, minus the zest. I figured I could just substitute lemon juice for the zest.

The recipe can be found here.

I didn't follow it verbatum. I added a little cilantro and some red pepper flakes, and didn't use as much olive oil (or lemon zest). However, it was still pretty darn tasty! Next time I will probably try and use his exact recipe or experiment with a lime and cilantro bean dip. Either way, five minutes later I was bathing my mushrooms in a healthy, albeit non-hummus, bean dip.


As I was dropping Andrew off at Temple Ambler this morning I noticed a tree out of the corner of my eye that was bursting with red. Cherries! I confirmed with my friend Grace that they were available for picking and came back in the afternoon. Randi and I picked what ended up picking a pound of pitted fruit and she made it into a delicious cake.

She didn't want to blog about a recipe she had already posted, but I had to give her props, because it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.... good!!! Plus free fruit!!! Yay!!!

Cherry Cake - Noms!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chard Take 3

On this blog, we have posted specifically about chard twice. Plus, there have been a bunch of chard-centric recipes. Like many others, I have only really embraced chard in the past two years. But, now that I am comfortable with it (and grown tons in my garden), I find that it is something I am constantly drawn too. Not only is it extremely tasty, it is packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Iron.

Swiss Chard (also referred to as silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights, seakale beet, and mangold) is something that you commonly see at the farmer's market or popping up in your CSA share. It is really wonderful to grow - it is a "cut and come again" green, meaning that as long as you keep harvesting, it will keep growing new leaves. Anyway, back to the meat of this post - what to do with it.

There are many, many, many wonderful recipes on the interwebs, for some great ones go to (see right). The simplest way and best way to get the most chard flavor is to saute it with garlic and olive oil. The stem is edible too, so don't throw it away! Some people like to start the stem pieces first so they cook down more, but I like the texture variety of throwing the whole thing in together.

How to Cook Chard - In Pictures
Chard from our garden
Wash, and slice down the middle of the leave, and then across into ~1" strips. Dice the stem.
2 cloves of garlic, diced, plus about a tablespoon of olive oil. Randi gave me this great tip - If you put the garlic in with the cold olive oil, and heat up together, it infuses the oil with the garlic flavor. When the garlic starts to brown, and you can smell it, add the other ingredients.
Chard in pan (I should have used my bigger one). Salt and pepper and stir.
After about 5 minutes.  I like to eat it like this, but you can cook it down more if you prefer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Orzo and Cucumber Salad

I think I may have found my new "go to" pot luck contribution! Saying that, if you are coming to a potluck which I am also attending, find a new dish! Ok, but in all seriousness, this was bright and summery and so good. The recipe is from Real Simple. It is quick and easy. I made this on Friday night in preparation for a potluck on Saturday (for our CSA - Henry Got Crops). I knew I would not have a minute to spare on Saturday, and I easily knocked this out on Friday.

The one thing I learned about pasta that I will share with you, is that for pasta salads, its really important that you rinse your pasta as soon as it is done with cold water. Really rinse it well!!! This prevents the individual pieces from sticking and makes a much better dish.

Orzo and Cucumber Salad
adapted (not much) from Real Simple
serves 8

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 box orzo 
1 English cucumber, chopped into 1/2" pieces
6 scallions, thinly sliced (including a good portion of the green part)
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh mint depending on taste

Cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and shake well to remove the excess water. In a medium bowl, toss the orzo with the cucumber, scallions, mint, lemon juice, toil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Blog

Well, despite the fact that this blog has been a little (a lot) neglected, I started a new blog dedicated to garden exploits:

A Georgia Garden in Philadelphia

Check it out and let me know what you think! It's a work in progress...
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