Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday: Brief concession to the agroindustrial complex

Chana dal with cucumbers.

Yes, you've seen this before - but it's a meal that still tastes good even if you have to use shink-wrapped, industrial cucumbers.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday dinner: The whole fish, and nothing but the fish

Whole roasted Boston mackerel and roasted purple potatoes with mixed greens salad.

This was our very first experience roasting a fish whole.  It came about somewhat by accident, since the fishmonger didn't have enough mackerel fillets for our full order, and instead threw in two small whole fish.  The fish come cleaned and gutted, so all we had to do was rub them with a little oil, season them by stuffing with a couple garlic cloves, and then roast them over a bed of thinly sliced onions and potatoes.  The difficult part was knowing when the fish were done: a fillet has a relatively uniform thickness, so you can usually count on the whole thing being done if one part flakes nicely.  Whole fishes, however, have a lot more variation, so even if one part seemed well cooked, we were still concerned that thicker areas remained too translucent.  Like all cooking, this is obviously a learning process, but now we know that we can do it.  (And whole fish does, often, taste better than fillets.)

We wanted to share with you a picture of our prepped roasting tray complete with mackerel and potato slices, but we realized the image might be a bit graphic for our more sensitive, veggie-oriented readers.  In deference to your sensibilities, we have placed this picture below the jump.  Reader beware.

Farmer's Market Supplement, 3/28/10

blue potatoes
sweet potatoes
spring greens mix

Gala apples

bread from Meredith's Bakery
Boston mackarel - both fillets and two WHOLE fish!

Sunday lunch: Kasha kapers

Kasha with carrots, served with deviled eggs.

Kasha (otherwise known as toasted buckwheat groats) made a nice warm grain salad when cooked with some of the many carrots still taking up space in our fridge. In keeping with the Eastern European vibe, we decided on some simple deviled eggs topped with paprika as an accompaniment.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday cat blogging, princess and the pea edition

How is Oscar supposed to sleep a wink on these hard, wooden chairs?? Oh the humanity.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday: Chipotle and adzukis

Adzuki butternut squash soup.

It's always a little bit of a fuss to cook dried beans, but if you want to use interesting varieties and get their full flavor, it's worth it. We pre-cooked these whole adzukis for a couple of hours (unattended) before adding them to frozen pureed butternut squash and frozen tomatoes to make this soup. The recipe called for canned chipotle peppers, which added a smoky flavor. Now we'll have to find some other applications for them, since we have a few left over.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday: Burgers and pickles, vegan-style

Beet and tofu "hamburgers" on Portuguese sandwich bread bun, served with dilly bean and green tomato pickles.

So we've had this nutritional yeast sitting on our spice rack for an embarrassingly long time. We bought it at the insistence of author Crescent Dragonwagon, whose tome Passionate Vegetarian was one of our very first cookbooks. Although she wanted us to put it into everything from omelets to stir-fries, we never really got into the habit. (Supposedly it's a good source of vitamin B12.) Finally, with this recipe, the opportunity arrived.

We also added some of our smoky paprika, which provides nice depth of flavor to dishes you wish you were cooking over live coals.

Both varieties of pickles seen here are courtesy of our winter CSA. The green tomatoes had an amazing flavor - almost saffron-like, though we never quite figured out what had given them that flavor. The pickled wax beans had a great summery crunch.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday: Squash quesadillas, take two

Butternut squash-black bean-goat feta quesadillas with yogurt-lime-cumin sauce.

These were a snap since we could start from our frozen butternut squash puree - and the goat's milk feta provided just the right bite. We liked the idea of making a simple yogurt-based sauce, because we never have pre-made salsa in the house, and it's a bit of a fuss to make on a weeknight (especially when it's not even tomato season).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday dinner: Brought to you by the color orange

Pan-fried grey flounder with roasted sweet potato and gingered carrot-pea salad.

This time, we dredged the fish fillets in a little flour before pan-frying, and served them with fresh lemon juice. The carrots here were diced very fine - almost like those ridiculous mixed vegetable salads you'd find in a school lunch side dish - and simmered with peas, fresh grated ginger, and a little sugar, giving them a lightly sweet dressing.

Farmer's Market Supplement, 3/21/10


grey flounder
goat's milk feta cheese from Ardith Mae Farm

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday special: Carrot cake triumph

Carrot cake with maple-cream cheese frosting.

Our CSA provides us with more carrots than two people could possibly eat. It probably provides us with more carrots than ten people could possibly eat. We concluded that we had no choice but to turn them into baked goods!

This was our first attempt at carrot cake. When we tried to find a recipe for it, we discovered that most carrot cakes are made with vast quantities of vegetable oil of one type or another. Apparently, this is what gives it that characteristic moist, very dense texture. (Butter would not have the same effect.) Since evicting the canola from the house, Giselle has been on a crusade against use of vegetable and nut oils in baking, so we needed to find an alternative. Luckily, a little internet research revealed that substituting applesauce (or, apparently, crushed pineapple) for oil will produce the same dense texture and moisture. We still had some of our homemade applesauce in the freezer, which has been waiting for its day in the sun ever since we went apple-picking last fall. Well: today was its day.

Not feeling entirely satisfied with any one carrot cake recipe on the internet, we cobbled this one together based on a few different sites:


2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cup shredded carrots
1 cup applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs


8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup


Combine flour and the rest of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add carrots, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs and mix well. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13x9 inch baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake is completely done in the middle. Allow to cool before frosting.
To make icing, combine cream cheese and butter, then add maple syrup and mix in powdered sugar. When it is a smooth consistency spread it over the sheet cake.

The final result was creamy and delicious, and was the perfect dessert for our dinner party.

Farmer's Market Supplement, 3/18/10

Only a couple items today: sweet potatoes, salad greens, and a loaf of bread.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday: I'm in yr childhud, relivin it

Cream of yellow tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich.

Who doesn't like a little comfort food once in a while?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday: Veggie pasta

Whole wheat pasta with broccoli-white bean-cashew topping.

This is our usual broccoli-based pasta sauce, but for a little protein we added white beans and cashews which we toasted separately.

CSA haul, 3/16/10

Bad news: this is our final distribution from Winter Sun Farms. Good news: that means winter is almost over!

green beans
red tomatoes
yellow tomatoes
butternut squash puree
broccoli florets


Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday: Match made in heaven

Sweet potatoes in curried coconut sauce over kale, served with quinoa.

In this very unique recipe from Elizabeth Schneider's Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, the sweet potatoes are chopped and then simmered in water with some ginger, garlic, and curry powder. Coconut milk is added toward the end of the cooking time. Sweet potato and coconut milk actually make a lot of sense together flavor-wise, but you don't see many recipes containing both, since they're a geographically strange combination.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday dinner: Porgy and Bes(t mustard greens ever)

Pan-fried porgy topped with sesame, served with rice and baby mustard greens.

The fish here is flavored with sauteed ginger and garlic. We used to always broil fish, but now that we're buying better quality fish from the farmer's market, perhaps we're getting a bit braver...

These young mustard greens, purchased at the Columbia greenmarket, made a fantastic salad.

Farmer's Market Supplement, 3/14/10

baby mustard greens mix
sweet potatoes


porgy (a type of fish)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday cat blogging, small spaces edition

Oscar in one of his favorite inaccessible places: between the window and the grating.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday: Indian potato and green pea stew

Simple potato and green pea stew (aloo hari matar foogath)

We got this pleasant recipe from Yamuna Devi's book The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking. She says this dish is popular throughout north India, where the consistency can vary from relatively dry - as ours was - to thinner and more stew-like.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CSA haul, 3/10/10

This was our monthly haul from the Merchants' Gate CSA (our non-frozen CSA):

jar tomato puree

package granola
jar beet pickle
dried black beans from Cayuga Pure Organics

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday: Stuffed acorn squash

Acorn squash stuffed with wild rice, oyster mushrooms, toasted almonds, and melted Sun Cheese.

We improvised this squash stuffing, as we often do. Basically any cooked veggies can be mixed with a grain and a nut and used to stuff a pre-roasted winter squash. We particularly liked the flavor added by the fresh mushrooms.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday: How sweet the onion

Roasted beet salad with pickled onion and feta, served over quinoa.

In this recipe, the shallots (here, onions since we were out of shallots) are simmered in a sugar-vinegar mixture. The end result is something like a quick, sweet pickle. They contrasted perfectly with the earthiness of the beets, and cut the dense creaminess of the feta. This salad could probably be served on its own or on a bed of greens, but we actually liked it on top of quinoa, which made it more like a grain salad.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday dinner: Protein, starch, veg

Monkfish with grainy mustard, potatoes roasted with rosemary, and mesclun.

This is a pretty standard fish-and-potatoes meal for us, but we've used the dried rosemary that we specially ordered from our CSA this winter.

Farmer's Market Supplement, 3/7/10

acorn squash
sweet potatoes

oyster mushrooms
Sun Cheese (cow's milk) from Raindance Farm

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday: It's not easy finding greens

Bell pepper omelet with toast and spring greens salad.

This was just a quick weeknight meal using the greens we got at the Columbia farmer's market. For some reason mesclun is not available all winter, but it has been showing up at the markets lately.

Farmer's Market Supplement, 3/4/10

mixed spring greens


milk from Ronnybrook Farm
yogurt from Ronnybrook Farm
bread from Buon Pane and Meredith's Bakery
chow-chow pickles from Millport Dairy

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday: Two-bean soup

Barley soup with green beans, carrot and white beans.

This warm and wintry soup was made with our frozen green beans. Soup is a nice application for them - they have a good flavor, but it's impossible to replicate the texture of fresh green beans.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday: Summer squash pasta

Whole wheat pasta with summer squash-walnut sauce, topped with Parmesan.

This is another good example of how a pasta sauce can be made from basically any vegetable. Some frozen mixed summer squashes from our CSA were sauteed with a little olive oil and tossed with dried thyme and walnuts.