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Oh dear. Where have I been? Well the obvious answer is in grad school. There’s probably a more complicated answer as well, but let’s just go with that one, as grad school has become my catch all excuse for everything. Anyway, the semester is over (!!!) and summer school has begun. And while I honestly really love school, it’s nice to have a bit more time, with the more relaxed schedule. More time for things like, knitting, reading cooking and hopefully blogging. But definitely a lot of cooking, especially since CSA season has begun again. So I’m just gonna show you somethings I’ve been whipping up lately. And there’s yarny content coming soon, I promise.
As it’s late Spring/ early Summer, I’m sure you can imagine that a lot of what I’ve gotten in my boxes so far are greens greens greens. In the most recent box (which was actually my second, the first one happened during finals and ended up getting gifted to my Mom), I got Kale, Spinach, Butterhead Lettuce, Bok Choy, Parsley, Green Onions and a few Potatoes. So fresh and crispy, but largely monochromatic.
I made some Olive Oil and Kale Mashed Potatoes and discovered that adding Kale to a food I actually like doesn’t neccessarily make me like Kale. Not that it was bad, it just wasn’t my favorite. But maybe this recipe will make me like it. I also made this recipe for Pasta with Asparagus and Spinach. It was in a béchamel sauce, that I managed to make without burning on my finicky little gas stove. Oh my gosh, was this stuff good. Sadly, it didn’t photograph so well. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I’ve always been a better cook than a baker. But I’d like to try and change that in some of my free time this summer. So inspired by this recipe, I decided to make some shortbread. Because I really, really love shortbread. Instead of her lemon chamomile variety, I decided to make Lemon Earl Grey shortbread. Mostly because despite a growing appreciation for herbal tea in the last few months, I still prefer black tea.
I think that preferred shortbread consistency is one of those things that is so completely personal, a bit like which toilet paper you like (ok maybe not quite THAT personal). Every type is a valid preference, but you like what you like, and you like it because it just feels right. For me perfect shortbread is richly buttery and never dry. I prefer softer, so a little crumbly is ok, but the kind of crumbles that come from softness not dryness. I had never made shortbread before. But I was a bit suspicious that the flour to butter ratio in this recipe might lead to a slightly drier shortbread than I like, but having never made shortbread before, I didn’t want to muck around with changing things. In the end, it was a bit dryer than I would like. But the flavor is fresh and light, and washed down with a cup of tea, it is really lovely. Next time I’m going to try Jamie Oliver’s recipe from Jamie Cooks.
While that was in the oven, I decided to make something heat free for dinner. So I threw together some easy avocado salsa. Boy was that tasty! Loads of lime, cilantro and a little Sriracha were used to spice up the flavor of the veggies. I know Sriracha in salsa is a bit unorthodox, but it’s the only hot sauce I have, and while I normally think of it as a very different type of burn, it worked! I ate the salsa with chips on Monday and on top of a piece of easy grilled chicken last night. I love it when I can get that kind of milage out of food.
So now you’ve had a peak into my kitchen, I promise next time you’ll get a peak into my knitting bag!
My most recent box was picked up Wednesday evening and was chock a block full of amazing fall vegetables. I am definitely a fall veggies person so I was beyond pleased. Here let me show you…
This week I took home: Rome apples, broccoli, white Hammon sweet potatoes, a yellow onion, garlic, a rutabaga, a Hokkaido squash, chard and baby spinach. I have to say I am more than pleased in the decreased amount of greens. I was having a hard time getting through them all. I’m not much of a green person, but in the Summer they seem refreshing. When it’s hot I’m more than happy eating a good salad. But not once Fall starts. Lately I’ve wanted loads of cozy food, so I must be getting what I wish for.
Some good Fall cooking has been happening and I’m sure more will be with this bumper crop of loveliness. I’ve got some of those things to show you soon, but some highlights that occurred too late in the day to get decent photos included a lovely Beef, Leek & Barley Stew from this recipe. I included some of my CSA red potatoes as well and one shot of bourbon to jazz things up. The bourbon made all the difference. I also made Apples & Custard, the coziest of all dessert if you ask me. I made the apples from a now forgotten recipe, although largely it was improvisation anyway. And the custard recipe was from Cook with Jamie, which I took out of the library recently and now definitely have to buy.
I absolutely adore Jamie Oliver and every time I make anything from a Jamie recipe it works out beautifully. Like this one which is my go to recipe for anytime you’ve got lots of time, but limited energy and want to impress some folks with your yummy and beautiful food. It’s the one recipe I have that turns out just as gorgeous as it does tasty every single time. Seriously it always looks like the picture.
In addition to good cooking, some good knitting has been going on as well. I’ve been managing to rack up some FOs recently. Hopefully a few of them will get photographed this weekend while I’m in DC and I’ll finally have some finsihed knitting to show you when I get back!
Ok so the last few weeks were so busy mostly because of midterms that I never got around to posting what was in my second CSA box even though I took pictures. And today I went a picked up my third box, so I’m going to do a joint round up of boxes 2 and 3.
Box 2 was really beautiful. It was a real joy to open. Inside I found: 2 cloves of garlic, one yellow onion, 4 apples, bok choy, baby spinach, rosemary, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, collards, sweet potatoes and the most beautiful and fragrant cilantro you’ve ever seen (and smelt). It’s possible I’ve forgotten something, but I believe I’ve gotten most of it. I’m working from memory and it feels like ages ago that it I picked this box up.
Sadly because I was so busy, I didn’t cook too much over the last two weeks. A few times over the weekend before midterms as breaks from working, but not too much. Some of these beautiful things are still hanging on, but some of them didn’t make it. The most heartbreaking bit of all, is that the aforementioned gorgeous cilantro wilted in my fridge over night even though I put it in a glass of water (advice on how to avoid this would be much appreciated). I definitely cried a little inside when I woke up that Thursday morning and saw my gorgeous cilantro in a state not worth using. The broccoli and the collards also bit it. But the sweet potatoes were scarfed up as delicious spiced wedges. And everything else is still hanging on.
I picked up Box 3 this evening and opened it to find a very colorful box. This time I got: more leeks, more red potatoes, a sweet mama squash (which I’ve never even seen before!), beets, radishes, baby arugula, green beans, kale, red and green peppers and chives. A lot of these are not things I would normally buy, so I went searching away on the internet for what I might do with these lovelies. I found a few things, but I’m still lacking in inspiration, especially with the green beans and the beets (I’ve never been much of a beet person, but I’m ready to be persuaded), so if you have anything you love to do with any of these veggies, please share!
For those of you who are waiting to hear about Rhinebeck, I promise coverage is coming soon.
Since I’ve already expanded the geographic scope of the blog, I figure why not expand the substantive scope as well. Mainly, since I now get home before 8:30 pm I’m trying to cook more. And since cooking makes it easier to do so I’m trying to eat healthier and more locally whenever possible. I thought in this case that I might show you some food related things as well craft related things from now on. Let’s give it a go shall we? So with that in mind…
Today was a very exciting day for me. Today was pick-up day, for the first week of the Fall CSA I joined. I signed up for a half share of the Fall Semester CSA from Wimer’s Organics, so I get a giant box of organic veggies every other week. Gladly it’s only every other week because there is no way little old me could eat all that food by herself every week. I will have to practice using the more perishable items earlier in the times between boxes.
Here’s what’s in this weeks box: Lettuce, Cabbage, a huge Daikon Radish, Cherry Tomatoes, a few Heirloom Tomatoes, Scallions, Shallots, Garlic, Red Potatoes, a sizable head of Broccoli and a lovely little Acorn Squash.
Part of what appealed to me about joining a CSA was the exposure to veggies I probably wouldn’t buy on my own. Many of my friends in CSAs talk about how they have to come up with ways to use things they never cook with. I would really like to be forced into expanding the scope of the foods I usually make and getting out of my food rut. A number of veggies in the box fall into that category, while others are personal favorites. I’ve been spending my evening scouring the internet for recipe options. I’m most intrigued by the Daikon Radish and it’s possibilities for Asian inspired yumminess.
I’m headed back to DC for the weekend & I’m going to take some veggies back with me to cook there. Hopefully I will have something nice to show you when I get back.