Friday, August 29, 2008

CSA Week 12

It's week 12 of our CSA and we've got several new things! Miniwatermelons, eggplants, and edamame. Now farm-girl-me knows edamame very well as soybeans, but not very well as the "common snack food" they are in Japan. According to our newsletter, "unlike soybeans grown for oil production, animal feed, and soy products like tofu, Edamame has been bred for fresh eating. They lack the enzymes that give other soy products that 'beany' taste, instead you get a somewhat nutty and sweet flavor."

So I guess we'll be boiling the beans in their pods in salted water for 3-5 minutes until tender, rinsing them under cold water, draining, and sprinkling with coarse salt. Then comes the part where the "seeds are then squeezed directly from the pods into the mouth with the fingers." I don't know if you've had these before, but I haven't, so I'm looking forward to trying something new.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Marinara Sauce & "Favors From The Home" Review

I got this recipe from a community ed cooking class* I took a few times quite long ago, adapted just a tad, mostly in timing. It's a delicious, versatile sauce for spaghetti, manicotti, lasagna, etc. Mr. Kluges loves it best over Italian sausages and garlic mashed potatoes. You can do it with canned or fresh tomatoes, but I'm not sure of the quantity if you do fresh, so just give it a try. I'll try to update it with an approximate quantity of fresh tomatoes next time I make it.

Note: This one is doubled from the original because it's no more work & you can freeze half of it for later. Or just eat a lot.

Two 28 oz. cans Hunt's whole peeled tomatoes (or equivalent fresh tomatoes, peeled & seeded**) [9/5 - I made these starting with a bit more than 4 1/2 lbs. of fresh tomatoes. I wouldn't do less, but you could probably go between 5-6 lbs. pre-peeling/-seeding weight.]
6 Tbl. olive oil
3/4 - 1 c. diced red onion
6 large cloves minced garlic
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil OR 3 Tbl. Chef Jeff's frozen basil*** OR 3 Tbl. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dry oregano
1 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste
dash of crushed red pepper flakes to taste (opt.)

1. Rough chop tomatoes in a blender or food processor and set aside. (If doing with fresh, peel and seed them first. **)

2. Place a large pan or stock pot or Dutch oven over high heat; add olive oil, onion and garlic; reduce heat to medium high and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, or until mixture becomes pale golden in color (not brown).

3. Add tomatoes, oregano, red pepper, sugar, salt and pepper to the onion mixture. (Also basil if using dried.)

4. Bring sauce to boil; reduce to simmer for 30-45 minutes for better flavor.

5. Add (fresh) basil and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until desired consistency is reached; remove from heat (and eat, or set aside to cool to use in lasagna, or to freeze).

* Oh, look - the internet is a wonderful thing! It was "Flavors From the Home" with Chef Jeff, and looking at his website, I see that it looks like he's still doing classes around the TC area, maybe starting in September. They were FUN classes where you actually get to cook and eat the menu, and take the recipes home. All the ones I took started off relaxed, but the pace picked up as you went and I think every one finished late. But the food made it all worthwhile! Note: Even though you'll get to eat, it wasn't until the end of the class, so don't go hungry or you'll be starving before the end. Also, Chef Jeff is a hoot. Looking at the menus, I took Oriental Favorites I - Menu #1, Southern Italian Family Style I - Menu #2, Gourmet with a French Accent I - Menu #3, Southern Italian Family Style II - Menu #5, Traditional Southern Italian - Menu #7, Pasta! Pasta! Pasta! II - Menu #13, and Traditional French II - Menu #14. They were all wonderful fun and delicious to boot. I highly recommend them, but I think they filled up fast, so if you're interested, check out which ones are nearby and call the appropriate contact on the registration page.

**An easy way to peel and seed fresh tomatoes is to bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Cut an X in the skin at the bottom of the tomato, then drop it in the boiling water for like 20-30 seconds. Take it out, and you should be able to peel it easily, starting at the X. To seed them easily, cut them in half along the equator, NOT from bottom to top. Then you can just take a half in your hand and squeeze out most of the seeds with ease.

*** Chef Jeff recommended taking large quantities of fresh basil, washing & roughly chopping it, mixing it with a good amount of olive oil, then making long tubes/rolls/fat-thumb-thick-snakes of it in plastic wrap and freezing it. You can whack off a hunk of it and get great fresh flavor, even if it looks browner than it would when actually fresh.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday Fun #48 - Themes, Themes & More Themes

WF / adminstrivia again today, folks, but oh, do I hear the brainstorms a-thunderin' already! Last week I asked about WF, polls, keeping the site fresh/moving, ideas, etc. There was a resounding response (hey, 100% agreement from all (2) commentors - that's resounding!) that themes - likely monthly ones - helped folks think about what to post. (Of course, non-theme-related posts very, very welcome always.)

So, let's hear it for some themes!

Leave your comment with any themes you might like to see here on Recipeeps, and if it'd fit well with a particular month/time of year, include that. Maybe a certain food (like the rhubarb request Pusher made) or type of preparation/storage (like the freezer keepers), or something like side dishes (maybe going into the turkey day / holiday season?) or low-cal/healthy for January? If you need a boost to get you going, Allknowingjen suggested these in her comment last week: September/Apples, October/Soups & Stews, November/Thanksgiving dishes, December/Cookies or Treats.

Go, go go! Storm away, O Recipeeps Brains!

The more themes, the better - we can choose a set of 12 for this year like Nectarine suggested in her comment, and save the rest for later.

Friday, August 22, 2008

CSA Week 11

Anybody got any good ideas for what to do with some green savoy cabbage? 'Cuz those are two heads of it up there...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday Fun #47 - Is Fun?

When I started doing these Wednesday Funs, it was with the purpose of having at least something posted here to Recipeeps weekly. Sure, when we all/each post recipes varies widely depending on when we make something good, when we've got time, if somebody requests something, etc., but I wanted to keep it fresh / useful / a habit for people to check in. So I thought a weekly food-related thing-to-do would help with that.

But I don't know if it is accomplishing the purpose of keeping the site from getting stagnant, for lack of a better term. And I don't know if these are actually fun for people, or at least worth a semi-regular visit to the site. And you know what? It's getting kind of hard to think of something new every week. I mean, how many "Name 3s" can a person take?! ;)

What do you think? Is it worthwhile having something along these lines? Do you like the idea of a weekly something, but have an idea(s) about a way to do it better / more interesting / more fun? Would you rather do something like take turns (as folks volunteer) to post something each week for a month - a WF, a recipe, a link, a tip, whatever you want? Do you want to, say, focus on a specific food / type of dish / type of preparation / seasonal thingie for a month & everybody try to throw out a recipe / tip / whatever related to it that month? (Of course, other recipes, etc. would still be warmly encouraged. Do you like the polls or WF, but don't especially care about the other one?

Help! Let me know your thoughts, please!

Feel free to leave your comment anonymously, if you'd rather, but please let your comments be helpful and constructive. Thanks!

Friday, August 15, 2008

CSA Week 10

I can't believe it's week 10 already. This is the midway week of our CSA shares. I've gotten so used to getting most/all of our veggies by box, it'll be a real let-down when it's over!

You know how I was talking about gadgets & how handy the salad spinner has been for the salad mix we've been getting every week in our CSA box? Well, guess I don't need it this week. The dust buster got a workout though when Pumpkin opted to husk some sweet corn and have a little pre-dinner snack. Nothing like fresh corn on the cob! (Cooked or not!)

I think my girls are not too shabby on liking their vegetables...
at least some of them anyway.

(In case you were wondering, last week's CSA, which we picked up on our way out of town for a reunion for Mr. Kluges's extended family, included new potatoes, basil, leaf lettuce mix, sweet onion, green beans, carrots, garlic, summer squash & zucchini, green peppers, cucumbers & cherry tomatoes. They had some of a variety named "Sungold" that are so sweet!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday Fun #46 - Getting Gadgets?

In the past couple of months, I've purchased two kitchen gadgets that I'm so glad I now have. They reduce my workload enough to be noticeable.

Well, one of them only when we've having salad 'cuz it's a salad spinner, but I got it because we've been getting salad mix I think every week so far in our CSA box. But still - helpful!

The other one's a dust buster. I'm counting it as a kitchen gadget because it's mostly used for post-meal, under-kid-chair duty. How I did without it so long, I'll never know.

So, how about you?

Get any kitchen gadgets lately? How'd'ya like 'em?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Recipe Request - Maple Nut Ice Cream

Hello, fellow recipeeples!

Say, my mom is looking for a homemade maple nut ice cream recipe & my SIL suggested maybe I throw the question out to y'all. So how 'bout it? Anybody got a good maple nut ice cream recipe they're willing to share?


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wednesday Fun #45 - Road Trip Rations

We're about to head back to MN for the second time in about 5 weeks. As "Packer of the Car" and "Overpacker Extraordinaire," it's my job to make sure we've got snacks for the trip. 'Cuz I'm not sure which is better for quieting restless little travelers - the portable DVD player or food.

Not that I snack in the car at all. Oh no. Not me....
*wildly failing the lie detector test*

Either way, this has led me to our Wednesday Fun question for this week...

What's your favorite long road trip snack(s)?

Friday, August 1, 2008

CSA Week 8

Over at Musings & Mutterings, I talk about visiting our CSA farm last Sunday for their potluck picnic. It was great fun!

And now we're famous - Penguin's picture is on the front side of our CSA newsletter from that farm visit! She's trying to feed me a raspberry. You can see it if you go to the newsletters tab on their website and look for the July 31st one. It's not up yet, so I can't link to it directly right now, but I'd expect it to be posted soon. What a cutie!

Edited to add: Here's the direct link to the Adobe version of the newsletter with Penguin's picture!