Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Supper

I am a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving. So, our Thanksgiving supper was not so adventurous. However, I did use several CSA ingredients and had one adventurous dish that turned out great, so I figured you folks would want to read about it.

Thanksgiving Menu:
Sausage Apple Sage Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Collards, Kale, Pecans and Goat Cheese
Deviled Eggs
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie

Before we got to the actual Thanksgiving menu, I decided to make some radish chips to munch on until the full dinner was ready.

If some of you don't know, I am with child and in my last trimester. So, swollen feet and ankles are becoming more of an issue every day. As such, I decided to just order the Turkey. I ordered a 10 pound cooked Turkey from Publix. I picked it up yesterday, and it was cooked, but cold and shrink wrapped. Today, I put it on a roaster and stuck it in the oven for 2 hours to heat it (it came with a bag to keep it in so it stayed moist). Here is what it looked like when we pulled the bag off and took it out of the oven:

Pretty right? And no work. Plus, plenty of juices to set aside for the gravy later. I tasked my husband with learning to carve the turkey. 3 internet videos later, he did a fantastic job:

I will use the leftovers this weekend to make soup and will let y'all know how that goes.

Yesterday, I did all the prep for the sausage apple sage dressing. I cut up two small bunches of scallions from the CSA and 2 large sweet onions. I put them in a saute pan with 1 package of Jimmy Dean sausage. I cooked this mixture until the sausage was cooked through and the onions were soft. Then I turned the heat down. I cut up 3 stalks of celery and 4 granny smith apples, and added them to the pan. I cooked it for another 5 minutes or so. I added a few shakes each of rosemary, thyme, and sage. Meanwhile, I cooked 2 packages of pepperidge farm cornbread dressing according to directions in chicken stock. Then I mixed the stuffing with the sausage/onion/apple/celery mixture well. I put it all in a big non-stick bake pan, covered it, and stuck it in the fridge. Today all I had to do was put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350. When it came out, I cut it into squares and served on a platter. I also had about half of this recipe leftover, so I froze it in 2 separate portions.

This is one of my favorite recipes, and one that makes me look forward to Thanksgiving the most.

The mashed potatoes were straight forward. I peeled the potatoes, boiled them for 25 minutes, then mashed them with salt, butter, and sour cream.

I made the gravy using drippings from the pan when I re-heated the Turkey. I also added some chicken stock and used flour and water at room temperature to thicken it. I had to bring it to a boil and back down 4 times to get the consistency right.

The Green Bean Casserole I make is straight off the back of the French's Fried Onions box. Delicious:

The sweet potato and greens dish was my adventurous one. I originally did not plan to have a sweet potato dish in this Thanksgiving meal. However, when I went to the grocery store, they were on sale for 39 cents. That is just too good not to pass up. So, I caramelized one inch chunks from 3 large sweet potatoes. I washed and cut into one inch strips both the collards and the kale from the CSA bag. I blanched them in salted water for 15 minutes. Then I drained them and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a little grape seed oil. Then I mixed the greens in with the sweet potato chunks, and mixed in pecans and crumbles of goat cheese.

 Not only was this dish beautiful, but the mix of flavors were delicious. My husband declared that it would have to become part of our Thanksgiving tradition. It is also the only only dish for which he found room for seconds.

I made the deviled eggs yesterday. I can not give you the exact recipe for 2 reasons: 1) it is the only family "secret" recipe I have 2) it is not written down and the portions are by taste.  I will tell you I devil the eggs with mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, and occasionally one other mystery ingredient.

I made both of the pies yesterday. The pumpkin pie recipe is from the back of the Libby's pumpkin can.

I am not sure why it cracked. It still tasted perfect.

The pecan pie is from the back of the Karo bottle. Also perfection, no need to fix what aint broken.

I could not decide which to eat first, so I fixed a plate with a slice of each. I also made the whipped cream with heavy whipping cream, a splash of vanilla, and a little sugar. Making your own whipped cream is SO worth it, it only takes a minute.

Here are a few more shots of our beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving Supper:

This weekend I will post about what I do with some of these leftovers and the rest of this week's CSA ingredients!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CSA Week 8

This week's CSA bag contained the following:

small bag of green beans
2 roma tomatoes
large bag of cherry tomatoes
green bell pepper
1 small acorn squash
1 small butternut squash
joi choi (not pictured, I forgot it)

I also did a poor job of updating how I used last week's CSA bag. Last Friday night I made Talapia with collards and apples and a mash of turnips and fingerling potatoes and tomato and avocado salad. I forgot to take pictures.

Today, I made the stuffing for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and used both last week's and this week's scallions.

I still have radishes, the winter squash, the green bell pepper from last week's delivery.

Tomorrow, I will use the kale and collards and last week's and this week's radishes. I will probably freeze the green beans and put them with the frozen green beans from 2 weeks ago.

This weekend I am making soup with leftover turkey and veggies. I will include the joi choi in that soup. I will use the roma tomatoes on turkey sandwiches this weekend. I am not sure what I will do with the cherry tomatoes yet, maybe a relish or chutney that I can freeze.

Tomorrow, I will post our Thanksgiving supper.

Carrot Bread

I finally got around to using the carrots from CSA week 7 to make a carrot bread tonight.

Here are the ingredients:

3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 pinch salt
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The first thing I did was peel and grate the carrots. This was a hug hassle and took 45 minutes to peel and grate 1 cup of carrots. Part of the problem may have been that these carrots are so small and thin.

Then, in a large bowl, I beat together the sugars and the oil. In a seperate bowl, I mixed together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Then I sifted the flour mixture into the sugar mixture and beat them together on a low speed a little at a time. In a seperate bowl, I beat the eggs, then slowly added them into the batter until the batter was well mixed. Next, I added the vanilla and hand mixed it into the batter with a wooden spoon. Finally, I hand mixed in the carrots and pecans. I put the batter into a 10 inch non-stick loaf pan (I did not grease it since it was a new non-stick pan), and baked it at 350 for 60 minutes. Here is the finished product:

We will have this for breakfast over the long holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bacon, Scallions, and Tomatoes Rotini

Tonight's supper utilized two CSA ingredients: tomatoes (both week 6 and week 7 slicing and roma tomatoes), and scallions (from week 6).

Here are all the ingredients for the dish:

1 package bacon
1 small bunch of scallions
4 tomatoes
7 roma tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic (not pictured, I forgot to include it)
parmeseano reggano cheese

I cut the bacon across the slices  into 1/2 inch pieces. I put it in a large non-stick skillet and cooked it over medium heat. Be careful not to fry the bacon or over cook it. You don't want it to be crunch or too darkly cooked. DO NOT DRAIN THE BACON. The bacon grease makes this sauce fantastic.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions on the box.

Then I washed and sliced the scallions:

Then I turned the heat down on the bacon to a simmer. I added the scallions and the garlic to the bacon at this point:

Then I washed all the tomatoes, cut the ends off, and cut them into one inch cubes:

Then I added the tomatoes to the skillet and turned the heat back up to medium. The heat will melt the tomatoes and create plenty of liquid. I bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer it until the pasta is ready. When I have made this dish in the past, I sometimes add spinach or a green leafy vegetable at this point. I bet bok choi or joi choi would work well.

When the pasta is cooked and drained, mix the pasta well with the tomato sauce. Then serve with the parmeasano reggano cheese grated on top:

CSA Week 7

I picked up another heavy bag from the CSA delivery today!

In the bag:

assorted hot peppers
medium green bell pepper
medium winter squash
large bunch of scallions
medium bunch of carrots
medium bunch of collards
big bag of assorted hierloom and cherry tomatoes
small bunch of radishes
small bunch of turnips
4 roma tomatoes
3 slicing tomatoes

Tonight I used all the tomatoes along with the tomatoes from last week in a pasta. That dish will get a separate post tonight. 

Wednesday and Thursday night I have late meetings and will not be able to cook. However, I have plenty of leftovers from last night and tonight's suppers to carry me through the week.

Sunday afternoon or evening I want to make a carrot cake with the carrots. I have not done any baking with the CSA ingredients yet, and it is definitely time. Plus, baked goods present another opportunity to freeze food.

I admit, there are some ingredients that I am struggling to come up with different ideas for (beets, turnips, radishes). One ingredient that has been plentiful in the CSA deliveries that I have not gotten sick of are these delicious hierloom and cherry tomatoes. I have not done much fancy with them, but they are so darn good in just a simple tomato salad.

We have house guests this weekend. Two of them love to cook. So, I may let them decide what to do with some of these ingredients.

I will probably eat the bell pepper raw again during lunch one day. I also may prepare the collards with apples recipe from a few weeks ago, because it was delicious.

No mystery vegetables this week, but if you have ideas for new and different things to do with the turnips or radishes, post them below!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grilled Pork Loin with Roasted Root Vegetables

Tonight's Supper utilized several CSA ingredients: carrots, beets, radishes, and turnips.

Here are the ingredients for the roasted root dish:

Multi-colored carrots
olive oil
roasted red pepper flakes

First, I peeled and chopped all the vegetables to about 1/4 inch slices. Then I drizzled a little olive oil on them, added salt and pepper and a few shakes of the roasted red pepper flakes:

Then I spread them out in a roasting pan (spread them out in a thin layer, do not crowd them). I roasted them at 400 for 50-55 minutes. I stirred them every 15 minutes or so. For the last 20 minutes, I added a whole head of garlic with each of the cloves peeled.

Here is the final product:

I crusted the outside of the pork loin with generous amounts of salt and pepper, rosemary, coriander, and crushed garlic. Finally, I drizzled the whole thing with olive oil.

I grilled the pork loin for about 6 minutes on each side.

Delicious Supper:

The root vegetables were delicious. I swear they tasted like they had been sweetened with something. Next time I will probably leave out the roasted red pepper. The flavors of each of these vegetables shines through without being overpowering. This dish did take awhile to make, mostly because of the chopping and peeling of the vegetables.

The pork loin is one of my staples, it is delicious, flavorful and tender. I served the pork loin and root vegetables with some good dinner rolls from the bakery. YUM.

CSA ingredient update: Earlier this week I steamed the bok choi for 10 minutes and topped it with salt, pepper, and a little sesame oil. I served that with left over chicken and some pasta. Last night I blanched the kale for 10 minutes in salted boiling water then seasoned it with salt, pepper, and grapeseed oil. I served the kale with seared pork chops and pasta.

All that is left of the CSA delivery from last week is 3 tomatoes and scallions. I am going to make a pasta with bacon, tomatoes and scallions, but I want to see if I get a few more tomatoes in tomorrow's CSA delivery.
 I also may add some greens depending on what comes in the bag tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CSA Week 6

Wow, great delivery this week!

Here is what was in my green CSA bag:

bok choi
carrots (multi-colored)
3 roma tomatoes
1 tomato
1 green bell pepper

No real mystery veggie this week, though these carrots are very interesting. I have only ever seen orange carrots. These are orange, white and purple. If a carrot is white is it a parsnip? What are these multi colored carrots called? Here is a closeup of the rainbow carrots:

Aren't they pretty?

Anyway, thank you to Martha Dicus! Last week she sent me this recipe from the New York Times for a roasted root vegetable medley, and this week the CSA sends me all these beautiful root vegetables! Saturday,  I will attack this recipe (I need the extra time for all the washing and chopping).

Tomorrow night we have a late meeting, so we will have leftovers or takeout.

Thursday night, I will probably make something to go with bok choi.

Friday night, we will probably go out.

Saturday night, the root vegetable medely, along with some meat.

Sunday night,  I will make the Kale.

Monday night, I will make some kind of pasta dish with the tomatoes and onions. And bacon, I think that pasta dish needs bacon.

Stuffed Tomatoes

Tonight, I took 3 tomatoes from the CSA and stuffed them with cheese, garlic salt and bacon.......yum. 
First, the ingredients:

3 tomatoes
shredded cheese (I prefer 4 cheese mexican mix)
garlic salt
bacon bits (tonight I used the packaged stuff, it is better with the real thing of course)

First, I washed the tomatoes and cut out the cores:

Then, in a bowl, I mixed shredded cheese, bacon bits, and garlic salt:

Then I stuffed the tomatoes with the shredded cheese mix. I really stuffed this stuff in there and made sure it was overflowing as it sinks a little as the cheese melts:

Then, I baked them for 25 minutes at 350. And here is how they came out:

I added leftover chicken and turnip gratin from last night, and we had a nice, if cheesy, supper!

Left from last week's CSA: 1 green bell pepper. 1 green zebra tomato. dill.

I will eat the green bell pepper and zebra tomato raw and cut up for lunch tomorrow. Not sure about the dill, still thinking on that one.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Two Suppers and Frozen Green Beans

Last night I made squash cakes, and put them with leftover side dishes for a delicious veggie plate.  On the plate we had squash cakes, steamed joi choi, cherry tomato salad, parmesan mashed potatoes, and strawberries. Very filling veggie plate, even satisfied the husband.

Tonight, I made chicken over rainbow swiss chard with turnips au gratin. The chicken and swiss chard recipe is here, the turnips au gratin recipe is here. I was planning on making a turnip mash with some other root vegetables, but my husband specifically requested that I make the turnip au gratin. He rarely requests specific dishes, so we had it again. It did not disappoint.

I finally got around to freezing those beautiful green beans tonight. Here were the green beans as I got them from the CSA:

I washed the green beans, cut the ends off, and cut them into uniform sizes:

I blanched the green beans in salted water, boiling them for 3 minutes:

Then I drained them and immediately put them into ice water for 3 minutes:

Finally, I drained them again, patted them dry, and divided them into 3 bags. I then put the 3 smaller bags into a larger 1 gallon freezer bag, labeled and dated them, and put them into the freezer:

All I have left from last week's CSA: 3 tomatoes, 2 green bell peppers. I will make stuffed tomatoes tomorrow night and pair them with leftover chicken. I will eat the green bell peppers for lunch tomorrow and Wednesday.

Tomorrow night brings another CSA delivery!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Roasted Beets and CSA Update

I made these earlier this week from last week's CSA, but never did get to post it here.

Remember, I used the beet tops in mixed greens last week. So I had these big beautiful beets left over.

The ingredients used were beets, salt, pepper, and olive oil:

 I cut the ends off the beets, and washed them. Then I generously salted and peppered them. I placed them in foil, and drizzled olive oil over them:

Then I closed up the edges of the foil package and placed in the roasting pan:

I roasted them for 45 minutes at 375, then took them out of the foil and easily peeled them with my fingers. In the end, they came out very pretty:

This was a very simple and very nice recipe. A great side dish that I will certainly make again. The beets were sweeter and milder than when I boiled them.

As for this week's CSA delivery, I re-created this supper from a few weeks ago: Fillet with Joi Choi, tomato salad, and whipped potatoes. It was delicious. The only change I made was that I added some Parmesan cheese to the potatoes for a little more flavor. As a side note: this upscale looking and tasting meal took me exactly 45 minutes to make. This includes washing, chopping, and peeling. Just sayin'.

Tomorrow night we will have squash cakes, not sure what else. Tomorrow I will also get around to blanching and freezing those green beans from this week's delivery.
Monday night I will make Pork Chops or Chicken with Swiss Chard and a Turnip mash.

Tuesday brings another CSA delivery. It will be week 6 which puts us half way through this CSA season. So far, nothing thrown away, one thing frozen (green beans from this week), and not a single catch-all soup has been made.