Friday, October 15, 2010

Sauteed Peaches

This summer I was able to taste the best peaches I have ever had. They were perfect. Berry and peach picking with family took me to Reed Valley Orchard, which is now my favorite orchard in the area. Granted, this may be because I don't have children. There are several really great U-pick farms with hay rides, play grounds & petting farms, but I really enjoyed how quiet Reed Valley was.

Mostly, Greg and I just ate the peaches fresh, they were so wonderful. But, we wanted a gooey desert one night, and came up with this beautiful concoction:

I sliced a peach into 6ths, then sauteed it (skin on) in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bourbon. Then I mixed ricotta with honey and cinnamon and served the peaches on top, swimming in the butter bourbon sauce. Yum. I am really sad that peach season is over.

1 peach
1 tbs butter
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 TBS bourbon
1/4 tsp cinnamon & nutmeg each (for sauce)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (for cheese)
1/2 C. ricotta cheese
1 TBS honey

-Slice peach into 6 slices
-Melt butter, add brown sugar, bourbon, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
-Add peaches, flesh side down. Saute for 2 minutes. Flip to other side, saute for another 2 minutes.
-While sauteing, mix ricotta, honey and cinnamon together. Spoon in the center of a plate.
-Arrange peaches around ricotta
-Pour sauce over peaches

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Separately, a strong flavored cheese and potato salad are two of my husbands favorite treats. So, when I saw a "recipe" for both in the most recent edition of Fine Cooking, I knew what I had to do. OK, so I put recipe in quotes because the flavor combination actually came from a newer section called Cooking Without Recipes, it's one of the better changes Fine Cooking made when they revamped their magazine. Well, lucky for Greg, we were cooking for a group last week when Greg's eldest brother and 3 of his children came to visit. Even though I figured none of the smaller ones would go for blue cheese, it was the perfect opportunity to try this out!

The basic ingredients to this salad are: Yukon gold potatoes, granny smith apples, walnuts, and blue cheese. Ta-Da!!! It was wonderful. One of the suggestions for making the dressing was to use sour cream along with mayo. I took this a step further and used plain yogurt - lots of creamy texture and tang, wwwwaaaayyyy less fat (and less $$$). The other two majors changes I made were to leave the skins on the potatoes, and omit the red wine vinegar (two of my adult eaters are not fans of vinegar)

I had fun making this because all of the ingredients smelled sooooo good together, and my middle niece decided she wanted to help out. She tried each ingredient on its own (said she liked everything, even the raw onion, which she picked from our garden - brave girl), and then one (very) small bite at the end to taste how everything works together.

In general, I think I used a bit too much blue cheese and over cooked my potatoes, but this is all good to know for next time =)

Recipe: serves 8-10 as a side
3lbs Yukon gold potatos - boiled and cubed
1/2 C. plain yogurt
1/2 C. mayo
2 Granny Smith apples - chopped
3/4 C. Walnuts - toasted and chopped
1 C. Blue Cheese (next time I might start at 1/2 C. and add a bit as needed)
1 small red onion - diced
1 stock celery - diced
1 tsp fresh rosemary - diced
salt and pepper

-Boil potatoes until just done. Cool and cube.

-While the potatoes are boiling, chop and dice the apples, red onion, celery and rosemary.

-Toast the walnuts until fragrant. Cool and chop. Combine the apples, onion, celery, walnuts and rosemary together.

-Mix together the mayo, plain yogurt, blue cheese and salt and pepper.

-Add the apple mixture to the potato mixture, mix to combine.

-Add the mayo mixture and mix to coat. Serve cool.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Tomato Salad

Just-picked ripe tomatoes might just be one of my favorite things. Greg and I have successfully grown our first heirloom tomatoes this year! Our Matinas are already starting to ripen, and every day we harvest a hand full of incredibly sweet and full flavor, golf-ball sized tomatoes. They are ripening at the perfect pace right now: each day we can have a few fresh tomatoes, with out them going bad. I'll have to get my canning supplies out soon, though.

My dreams of veggie full meals have been thwarted a bit, as squash bores killed my crook neck, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and zucchini plants. Gr....

And in related cooking kitchen is undergoing reno, and is barley functional =( So, we are eating simple food like tonight's salad (or, feeding D&R as payment for using their grill and kitchen). But, who can really get sick tomato, basil, and mozz?

Recipe: Serves 1

- 2 ripe small tomatoes (2 Matinas are probably the size of an average roma), each sliced into 4 thick slices
-8 small fresh basil leaves
-8 small slices of mozzarella
-balsamic vinaigrette

-Arrange sliced tomatoes with mozzarella on top of tomato, basil on top of mozzarella, ect..

-Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette


Friday, June 25, 2010

Farmers Market Eggs

Greg and I have been trying to make more food with a variety of veggies, and with eggs. Yes this is very healthy (and yummy), but we will (hopefully) also have a huge vegetable and egg harvest this year, and we really need good recipes so we don't waste any of natures bounty. And so, Farmers Market Eggs. The only produce from a backyard garden in this picture is spinach from Rebecca's spring garden, and basil from my herb garden. The whole wheat bread is my usual, and the rest is all from a grocery store. Greg and I ate these for lunch two days in a row - they are very filling and flavorful (and cheap). I really like the base recipe here: chop veggies, satue a little, crack egg over veggies, cook and serve. Next time, I may leave out the spinach, because it began to wilt, and was hard to chew off in one bite, and tended to bring extra egg with it. But in general, I think this will lend to the rest of our future produce really well.

Recipe: makes two open sandwiches

2 eggs
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 C. corn kernels
5-6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
4-6 spinach leafs
2 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted and buttered
2 tsp crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
salt & pepper

-Toast bread

-Grease frying pan as preferred. Turn heat to medium. Add corn, sliced cherry tomatoes, and diced jalapenos. Cook for about 1 minute, push veggies into two small piles or circles.

-Crack egg in the center of each veggie pile. Flip when yolk begins to thicken, cook to desired yolk consistency.

-Place spinach on toasted and buttered bread. Place egg on spinach. Sprinkle with feta and fresh basil. Salt and pepper to taste.


Monday, May 24, 2010

The Urban Farmer's Wife

As I mentioned in my previous post, my staging area was consumed by seedlings. Well, I would like to report that the seedlings are all in the ground! And, what better way to celebrate being a farmer's wife than to make really good wheat bread? Well, you can cover a warm slice with mini chocolate that's a way to celebrate!

I found this recipe in a a baking edition of a CIA cook book for home cooks, I believe it was Baking at Home with the CIA, but I'm not 100% on that. I've made this several times, and I've found that 1) it works best if you don't bake in a loaf pan, and 2) this bread makes a mean grilled cheese.

In garden news (which will soon be related to food news), I have a few pictures of our gardens (flower and veggie), and our CHICKEN COOP!!!!! (Note: bread recipe to follow pictures)
From left to right: covered chicken run, chicken coop, garden with picket fence made by Greg.

One cute chick. I'm not sure what species this is, we have 4 different kinds.
Garden! We have a shade-tent frame up, it's easy to put the cover on solo, very difficult to assemble the whole thing alone. The cover is really nice to work under when it is blazing hot, or drizzling. Thus far, I believe we have the following planted: Tomatoes (3 varieties), onions (2 variates), leeks, bell peppers, hot peppers (3 varieties), squash (summer and winter), melons (cantaloupe, red & orange water melon), strawberries, asparagus, lima beans, lettuce and arugula (though they bolted this weekend and are now pulled up), egg plant, carrots, parsnips, turnips, string beans...and maybe I could very well have missed something. Like I said, I am now the wife of an Urban Farmer.
Lovely old red rose. We were told when we bought the house, that these roses were there when the previous owner purchased the house, 47 years ago.
A few iris that we transplanted last summer, plus the fence sans any pickets. A lot of the flowers in the yard were so over grown that they did not bloom last year. Greg and I thinned and moved what feels like hundreds of flowers. It was so fun to watch what colors the flowers have been.

And now, the bread recipe (thanks for your patience !!!)

Recipe: makes 2 loafs

2 1/2 C. warm water
1/4 C. honey
3 1/3 C. bread flour
2 1/2 C. whole wheat flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tbs salt

-Mix warm water and honey to dissolve. Add yeast and let bloom for about 10 minutes.

-Mix flours and salt together. Slowly add to water mixture. Kneed for about 10 minutes once the dough turns smooth.

-Let rise in a warm place for about an hour to double in size.

-Gently punch down, turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape into rounds or baguettes. If you would like to roll dough in seeds/nuts, this would be the time. Score bread as desired.

-With the oven at 475 and a small bowl of water in oven (oven proof bowl please), place shaped dough in oven. Turn the temp down to 450 and bake for 12 minutes. Turn the temp down again to 425 and bake for another 18 minutes.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza

I know that it's been over two months since I've posted anything, but I have a fairly good reason: my staging area for pictures had been usurped by my Husband for starting seedlings! At one point, I believe that we had around 60 seedlings growing. We thinned plenty, and gave a few others away, but since our frost date has passed, most are now happily in the ground. And no, the veggies on this pizza are not from our garden (yet), but our squash and zucchini plants both look promising right now! This summer should be full of garden-fresh meals. The thought of cooking from our garden is a bit overwhelming. The pressure is on for quality produce, and if/when we get that, I have to not screw up a good thing from nature. I've been browsing a lot of veggie-full cookbooks, and my new favorite is from The Cooks Garden. They have the most beautiful woodcut printings of vegetables and garden life, and the recipes are so descriptive that I don't feel the need to actually see what the food looks like. I tagged about 2 dozen recipes to try, and used my family has Guinea Pigs for the pizza dough when they were here last weekend. Since we had a large crowd, I tripled the recipe and it turned out just fine. I made no major adjustments to the dough itself, just added oregano and basil for flavor. We had three pizzas: veggies with rosemary and feta cheese, ham, and cheese. I think the ham went over best.

Whole Wheat Dough (From the Cooks Garden):
1 9x13 inch pizza
1 1/4 C. warm water
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C. whole wheat flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 C. pizza sauce
corn meal
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil

-Using stand mixer, add 1/2 C. warm water to bowl, add yeast and sugar. Let set 10 minutes. Add remaining water and oil.

-Mix flour, salt, basil and oregano together. Gradually add into water and yeast mixture until the dough becomes stiff and comes together. Kneed for a few more minutes.

-For the dough into a ball, place in a large, lightly oiled bowl and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in volume.

-Sprinkle bottom of pan with corn meal. Punch down dough and roll out until pan. Let rise again for 30 minutes.

-Sprinkle dough with Parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 424 degrees.

-Remove from oven, add toppings and bake another 10 minutes.

Veggies on top: Enough for 1 9x13 pizza
1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 small yellow squash, sliced and quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp rosemary
1 tbs. feta cheese

-Mix all ingredients together while raw. Place over pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese while pizza is baking for the last 10 minutes.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gyro-Style Chicken Salad

Last summer, while visiting Nick and Beth, we ate at a small Greek diner that makes very yummy gyro's. Greg and I both thought we should try to re-create the flavors at home. After doing a bit of research on the gyro and Mediterranean spices, making this dish at home seemed really easy, and in fact, it is! Greg and I have been making this at least every other month since this summer - it's so flavorful, makes a large amount (left overs), and has a great variety of textures.

Well, a gyro is basically a sandwich with pita bread, often with tzatziti sauce. The fillings and type of pita vary a lot based on location. To make this, we picked the filling ingredients that sounded best to us, with no goal of making sure the dish was regionally correct to anywhere. We actually combined several regional gyro's for this recipe.

For this picture, we did forget one ingredient that made a huge flavor difference, feta cheese! We normally crumble a tsp or so for each serving. The extra saltiness really helps to bring the other flavors together. Must remember feta for next time. I'm also excited to use produce from our garden this summer! Hm, just picked tomatoes...yum!

Recipe: Serves 6-8
1.5 lbs chicken, cut into bite size pieces
2 large potatoes of 4 small potatoes
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans - drained and rinsed
1 C. plain Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, 2 tsp grated, the rest sliced into thin rounds
1 tomato, sliced in to rounds, then quartered
1 lg. white onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced/grated
salt & pepper
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 dash cayenne pepper

-In a large pan, coat with EVOO and turn to medium heat. Add 3 cloves of garlic, minced. Add salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, parsley, ground mustard, cumin, rosemary, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper.

-Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add potatoes and chickpeas. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stir often. You may have to turn the heat down to medium low. Add chicken, cook until chicken is done, again, stir often.

-While chicken is cooking, make the tzatziki sauce by grating 2 tsp of cucumber and one clove of garlic into Greek yogurt. Add a bit of black pepper, stir to combine.

To serve as a pita, spread yogurt sauce on the inside of a pita half, place tomato and cucumber slices inside, then a bit of crumbled feta cheese. Add chicken and potato filling. Enjoy!!!

To serve as a salad, mix chicken and cucumber slices in with chicken mixture. Drizzle with yogurt/tzatziki sauce, sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve pita triangles on the side. Enjoy!!!