Archive for March, 2010

We’ve gotten a lot of green onion lately, so I was glad to come across this recipe, which uses an entire bunch (if you use both the green and white parts) and helped me make a big dent in my stash. Green onions are often used as an accent, but here, they’re the star.

I’ve made a few small adjustments for readability and to lighten it a bit (like using low-fat buttermilk instead of full-fat buttermilk). You can easily sub green garlic or baby leeks if you want. These guys were light as air, which I suspect is a result of the combination of self-rising flour and cake flour. Self-rising flour has added salt and baking powder, and recipes that use it don’t usually call for baking powder, but this one does — probably another contributing factor to the biscuits’ airy texture.

Green Onion and Cheddar Biscuits (from Food Network)

  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, bench flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Sift together the self-rising flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, squish the butter pieces into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk, cheese, and green onions and stir just until the buttermilk and flour come together to form a dough, being careful not to overmix. You’ll know you are there when there’s no more loose flour in your bowl.

Lightly flour a work surface with the all-purpose flour (I just line my counter with wax paper, parchment paper, or foil). Turn out the dough onto the surface and press into a disk about 1/2-inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. The dough will be very sticky, so flour your hands as necessary. Using a 3-inch round cutter dusted in flour, cut into rounds. (Be sure to press straight and downward when cutting the dough — a twisting motion will prevent the dough from rising.) I dust my cutter by simply dipping it into my flour container. Do this each time you cut a biscuit.

Reform the scraps in order to make nine biscuits*. Place on a baking sheet greased with cooking spray (or on a baking sheet lined with a silicone liner like Silpat) and bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

*The original recipe made seven biscuits, but I must be more efficient than Emeril because I got nine out of the dough.

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day here today. High 70s and not a cloud in the sky — perfect for spending hours outdoors. This is our backyard peach tree in bloom. Isn’t it lovely? When the peach tree blooms, I take it as a cue to start prepping my spring/summer vegetable garden. I’m practicing square foot gardening this year, but more on the specifics of that later. This is a food blog, right? So on with the food!

I had it in my mind to make a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich today, but spotted a few other enticing ingredients and ended up making a fancy grilled cheese (which still came together almost as quickly as a pbj would have) and a salad. Observe:

It’s plain old shredded mozzarella and a bit of blue cheese on sourdough. The ingredient that made it over-the-top good was a smear of this amazing strawberry-chipotle jam from Blanco Valley Farms. If you’ve never tried pairing a strongly flavored cheese with a fruit jam, give it a shot — the flavors blend surprisingly well. I had my sandwich with this salad:

Just spinach and leaf lettuce tossed with this tomato coriander dressing I found at HEB last week. All in all, a simple, delicious lunch — perfect for when you just want to throw something together so you can go back to playing outside.

Here’s to spring and all the warm weather to come.

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I love coconut. I mean, really love it. It’s hard for me to keep bags of the sweetened, flaked kind in my pantry because I just want to eat it all in one sitting with a spoon. I even tried putting coconut milk in my coffee once, which was a bad idea and is, to this date, the only coconut experiment I’ve conducted that was really disgusting.

Anyway, I saw that 101 Cookbooks had posted this recipe last week. All I had to read was the title and I was in. Then I saw that it involved lentils and a few other ingredients I had in the fridge from my Greenling box (cilantro, green onions, and a carrot) and I knew I’d found a recipe to make over and over again.

It lived up to its promise. This soup is thick and rich, but still has a hint of brightness from the coconut milk, cilantro, and golden raisins. I used light coconut milk to make it a little healthier, but other than that this is the rare recipe I didn’t really fiddle with. You can skip the curry-toasting step to save time, and cook the lentils and split peas (both found in the bulk bins at Whole Foods) the night before for a meal you can just toss together and simmer. In the original recipe, serving the soup over brown rice is optional, but I highly recommend it because it adds a nice texture.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup (from 101 Cookbooks)

1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (or green garlic, which showed up in last week’s box), thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons salt
one handful cilantro, chopped
cooked brown rice, for serving (optional)

Rinse split peas and lentils well. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on it, because the powder can burn quickly. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up. Serve over brown rice, sprinkled with cilantro and the remaining green onions.

Serves 6.

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I figured I’d go ahead and post my local box meal plans here in addition to the Greenling blog. The recipes are still great even if you don’t get a local box. 🙂

Lots of tasty greens coming in this week. We are getting:

  • Bok choy from Naegelin
  • Swiss chard from Acadian
  • Red lettuce from Acadian
  • Green onions from Acadian
  • Rosemary or sorrel from Pure Luck
  • Grapefruit and limes from G&S
  • Beets from My Father’s Farm
  • Russian kale from TX Natural
  • Endive from Acadian
  • Spinach from My Father’s Farm
  • Leeks

So I am making:

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Here. For some reason I am nervous about this. But excited, too!

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I usually do one of two things when I’m trying to use up a bunch of produce at once: add it to marinara sauce and serve over pasta, or make a stir-fry. I served this one over good old brown rice, but it would be yummy over quinoa, barley, or whatever grain you’re in the mood for. And as for the veggies, use what you have! That’s the beauty of stir-fry. Just make sure all of your veggies are cut to similar sizes and thicknesses (so they cook evenly) and that you have everything cut and ready to go before you start cooking, because this comes together really quickly.

For proteins, mine had baked tofu (cooked last night) and Mason’s had pork from Richardson Farms. I’ve pretty much stopped using tofu right out of the pack. The baked or broiled stuff has a firmer texture and doesn’t break up when you stir it around. I varied the veggies a little in each of our versions based on our preferences, but again, do what you want. Just about any vegetable combo works here.

See those two ramekins of purple carrots (purple on the outside, anyway)? Pretty, and tasty too!

Baked tofu even looks nicer than straight-out-of-the-package tofu. (Oh, and that pink stuff on the cutting board is where some beets stained it a while back. Don’t want you to think I’m a dirty cook.)

Pork mixture cooking in my cast-iron skillet. The nonstick one had my tofu version in it. The cast iron worked fine, but you may need to add extra oil if the food starts to stick.

Tofu Stir-Fry

1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp mirin
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. minced ginger
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1/2 cup green onions, sliced into 1-in. pieces
1 cup thinly sliced carrots (we got purple ones this week!)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used a combo of shiitake and white mushrooms)
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces
1 lb extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and baked (see link above)
2 tsp. cornstarch
Chopped cilantro (optional, but I love it)

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Swirl oil around when it gets hot, to coat the pan. Add shallots, green onions, and carrots. Stir fry about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and green beans and cook another 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms soften. Add tofu and oyster sauce mixture. Whisk cornstarch with a little water until the mixture is smooth, and add that to the pot. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook 1-2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired, and serve over rice or other grain.

Pork Stir-Fry

1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp mirin
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 lb lean pork, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1/2 cup green onions, sliced into 1-in. pieces
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces
2 tsp. cornstarch
Chopped cilantro (optional, but I love it)

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Swirl oil around when it gets hot, to coat the pan. Add pork and cook 3-4 minutes, until browned and almost cooked through. Add shallots, green onions, and carrots. Stir fry about 1 minute. Add bell pepper and green beans and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the peppers start to soften. Add oyster sauce mixture. Whisk cornstarch with a little water until the mixture is smooth, and add that to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook 1-2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired, and serve over rice or other grain.

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You all know I’ve been a fan of Greenling for a while. Well, they recently approached me about maintaining their Eating Out of the Local Box blog, and I gladly accepted their offer! Starting in the next week or two, look for my posts over there. They’ll feature recipes that use the contents of each week’s Local Box, a bin of tasty, fresh, in-season local produce. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll be receiving a free Local Box each week (which I am so, so excited about, btw).

I’ll still be blogging here, of course. Because I occasionally make food with non-Greenling items. And because sometimes I may want to write random stuff that has little or nothing to do with food.

Anyway, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to write for Greenling. Here’s to the next great adventure!

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I had a vague memory of reading about a lemon-kale pesto a while back, but couldn’t remember where I heard about it. I didn’t have a ton of kale in my fridge, but I did have some spinach and a few lemons. Give all that a whirl in the food processor with a few other ingredients, and you have a the makings of a quick weeknight meal.

And look at that texture! I don’t like my pestos pureed to mush — I like to taste the little bits of pine nuts and cheese. This recipe is awesome, too, because the lemons make up for the bite of the basil in a classic pesto. Yum!

I served mine in a bowl with red quinoa and chickpeas, and Mason had his atop chicken, with the quinoa as a side. Since mine was pretty starchy, I paired it with a salad of field greens, chilled beets I roasted this weekend, chevre, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. And I can think of several other things you can do with the pesto:

  • Add a spoonful to chicken or vegetable soup
  • Mix with roasted vegetables and pasta
  • Spread across warm, grilled zucchini slices

And so on.

Here it is about to be spun in the food processor:

My quinoa-chickpea-pesto bowl:

And the beet salad:

Lemony Kale-Spinach Pesto

2 cups kale, roughly chopped
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Zest of two lemons (about 3 tsp)
Juice from two lemons (about 1/3 cup)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process about 30 seconds, until everything is combined. Enjoy!

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I usually spend Sunday evenings fixing a meal that takes a lot of time, something we can eat from for a few days. Tonight, though, I went with something easier, but still delicious — gotta have time to watch the Oscars! It’s sort of a tapas spread, with yummy cheeses, cured meats, and a few different spreads.

Peppered salami and a salami made with Chianti:

Two kinds of crackers, strawberry chipotle jam from local Blanco Valley Farms, classic Maytag blue cheese, smoked gouda, local Wateroak Farms chevre, and Wensleydale cheese with cranberries (could they sound more British?):

Homemade hearth bread with flaxseed:

Antipasti spread from the olive bar at HEB: artichoke spread, bruschetta, and peppadew peppers. Yum!

Some of it plated. I added grapes and apples to the cheese and meat:

My plate. Mmm! A few combos I tried were blue cheese and apple, and strawberry-chipotle jam and chevre. So good! I added some egg salad to my spread to get in some extra protein. Oh, and we had a Finca el Origen malbec with the meal. Nothing like a lush red to round it all out.

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Oh yes. This is what every caffeine-loving mom dreams of: a mug that kids can shake upside down and not spill. My friend Jackie told me about this one day at work, and that weekend I came across it at Target. I thought, “What the heck?” and bought one.

The next morning, I made the rookie mistake of leaving my coffee on the end table by the couch while I cut up an orange for Ryan. When I came into the living room, he had climbed up on the couch and was gleefully shaking my coffee upside down. I freaked, until I realized that NOTHING WAS HAPPENING. Not a drop was spilled on my nice, beige couch. I became a fan for life.

Plus, my coffee stays hot for hours. If you’re a slow drinker like me, a mug that keeps your coffee hot for 2-3 hours is a rare find. One that does that and is spill-proof? It’s pretty much the holy grail.

Contigo Autoseal Stainless Steel Coffee Mug

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