Sunday, February 7, 2010
A couple of weeks ago (maybe a bit longer) I went to a get-together with about 30 other girls. One of them brough the best guacamole I have ever had. I couldn't stop stuffing my face, it was that good. A couple of days later I asked her for the recipe and she gave me a list of ingredients; a little bit of this, a little bit of that, etc. It wasn't until yesterday that actually gave it a shot though. I still had 3 avocados from the CSA box and they were ready to eat. I couldn't think of a better way to use the last avocados of the season than to try this awesome guacamole. It just so happened that the rest of the main ingredients, onion and tomato, were also in my fridge thanks to the CSA box. This isn't her exact recipe, I modified it to use what I had in hand but man, it's pretty damned good! I found it best freshly made but I just had the leftovers in a sandwich and it was still very tasty.
June's Karen's Guacamole
2 small avocados, mashed 1 tbsp minced young onion (the whites only), or shallots 2 roasted garlic cloves, minced 1/2 medium tomato, chopped 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or to taste) a dash of garlic powder pinch of salt juice of half a lime
Combine all the ingredients well. You can make it as smooth or chunky as you want. It's just that simple!
I liked the guacamole Karen made because it was spicy but did not taste like jalapeno which is what you'd expect in guacamole. I love the idea of using cayenne pepper as I am a fan of it and use it quite often.
We still haven't fully unpacked so every now and then I open a box, usually containing cookbooks or cooking magazines, and start putting the contents away. I was doing that yesterday when I came across a Christmas cookie magazine. I started flipping through it and and found a recipe I had tagged. It was for Lemon-Thyme cookies. How convenient since we got a loads of thyme in the CSA box yesterday. I also have some organic lemons I bought to make marmalade but haven't gotten around to it. I thought this would be a perfect way to use some of the thyme. I ran it past Matt and he approved so I got to work this morning.
The cookies turned out to be pretty tasty. You can definitely taste the thyme and the lemon. Then again, thyme does taste lemony. They are probably not the kind of cookie I'd pick up at a store based on the name alone but they are definitely very good. They are not diet friendly at all though so I'm going to take the majority of them as a gift to my mom.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tbsp snipped fresh thyme grated zest of 1 lemon 1 tbsp lemon juice 1/4 tsp ground cardamom 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a mixer, cream the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. The time depends on the mixer, it will take longer with a hand held mixer. Beat in the thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice and cardamom. Add the flour slowly and mix until combined.
Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
Lightly dust a clean surface with flour. Roll the dough until it is approximately 1/4 inch thick, dusting with flour if necessary to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the dough. Using a 1 1/5 inch square cookie cutter, cut out shapes and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Gather and re-roll the dough as needed.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges of the cookie are just slightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
Makes approximately 35 cookies.
Can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
The actual instructions for the recipe were different but they would have been impossible to get decent looking cookies with their method. I'm glad I did it this way because in my opinion, the recipe writers were probably drunk when they wrote it. They had you roll the dough and cut the cookies right out of the mixer. Huh? The dough was just too soft, this kind of cookie needs to be refrigerated before rolling. I am not sure what they were thinking. I also found that a nonstick mat will make your life infinitely easier with these cookies, as will a good metal bench scrapper, which is what I used to lift the cookies off the mat and onto the cookie sheet.
The cookies are a bit short though nowhere near as short as shortbread. They are definitely tasty and very easy to make. You can also form a log with the dough, refrigerate it and then slice round cookies. You can even use a cookie press and press the cookies without refrigerating the dough. So many possibilities, same tasty cookie!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I have been horrible at blogging about food lately. I haven't really made anything extraordinary but we have been using the stuff from the vegetable box in great ways and I should at least keep up with blogging that. I have a lot on my proverbial plate right now though with school and a bunch of school related stuff. Not to mention that I don't know what I want do when I grow up but I have to decide soon. But I digress.
As I have mentioned before, stir fries have become a very common occurrence in our house. They are quick and filling and we can use a lot of the vegetables from the CSA box. My least favorite part of stir frying is trying to keep the stuff (mostly garlic and onions) from burning. It is still very much trial and error for me. The most recent stir fry used not one but two of our box stuff, broccoli and green beans. The green beans are from a few weeks ago but they still good, much to our surprise. We still have some to use but that shouldn't be too difficult.
Beef, Broccoli and Green Bean Stir Fry
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger 6 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp vegetable (or peanut/sesame) oil 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 1/2 lbs beef tenderloin, sliced into thin strips 1 tsp cornstarch 1 tbsp vegetable oil 3 cups chopped broccoli 1 cup green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths scallions for garnish
In a gallon-sized sealable bag combine the first 6 ingredients, add the beef. Seal the bag, squeezing out the air, and turn to coat the beef. Marinade for at least 15 minutes, turning once or twice.
Drain the marinade into a measuring cup; add enough water to make 1/3 cup of liquid. Add the cornstarch and stir until it dissolves.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and beef. Stir fry until the beef loses its red color. With a slotted spoon, remove from the wok and transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the broccoli and green beans. Stir fry for 3 minutes then cover and steam for 1 minute. Return the beef to the wok and add the marinade. Increase the heat to high and stir fry for 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the scallions.
This recipe is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe and it's 4 points per serving. You can serve it over rice, like we did.
Next up is last night's meal. I had been trying to figure out what to do with the broccoli raab all week. I hadn't heard great things about it so I wasn't really interested in it. However, I don't like to throw CSA produce away so I found something that I could use it in. Turns out Weight Watchers has one recipe that uses broccoli raab that caught my eye so I adapted it a bit and used it. It was not as quick as I had hoped but sure was good and hearty. It was very filling, I could't finish my portion.
Pasta with Broccoli Raab and Bolognese Sauce
2 tsp olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 4 garlic cloves, minced 3/4 lbs 92% lean ground beef 28 oz can crushed tomatoes 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 tsp dried oregano 12 oz uncooked short pasta like macaroni, pene, etc 1 lb broccoli raab, ends trimmed, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook stirring frequently until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the beef, cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
While the sauce simmers, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Add the broccoli raab to pasta water 5 minutes before the pasta will be done; cook until the pasta and broccoli raab are tender.
Drain pasta and broccoli raab; return to pot. Add the sauce and toss to mix and coat.
I've been studying for a math test!
This makes a lot of food! I made the entire sauce amount but only half of the pasta and broccoli raab. I froze the rest of the sauce because it is actually really good (and spicy) and will work great in some short order cooking. This is a very easy recipe to make and aside from the broccoli raab (which can be easily left out) all the ingredients are pretty much pantry staples.
Now, on to the new box. We got yet more canistels and I have no idea what to do with them since we still haven't used any of the old ones. I traded the cilantro for more komatsuma so I foresee more stir fries. We got a lot of thyme and I have something special (albeit not very diet friendly) for it. There was more of course.
I love to cook but hate washing up. I own over 300 cookbooks and counting. I am a sucker for pretty cookbooks and don't generally like cookbooks without pictures. I love history and food history and I am very interested in period, especially medieval, cookery as well as modern.
I have recently taken up sewing and now I'm a fabric stashaholic and a pattern junkie. Just like my cookbooks, I own over 300 patterns before counting pattern magazines. As you can see, I have a bit of an addictive personality. Thankfully, I only seem to be addicted to good stuff.....and shoes (but that's another story!)
I own three bikes, three helmets, two pairs of cycling shoes and 5 pairs of real running shoes that look exactly the same, 4 still in their boxes because they have been discontinued and I bought all the stock left in a specific store. Yeah, I'm crazy.