Friday, July 31, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 8

Still a little light in the box, but maybe a little more than last week. Since there's been so little rain, fairly often it's happening that our CSA doesn't have enough of a particular crop to put in all the boxes. So people get this veg OR this one OR a different one. Starred vegetables in the photo are ones listed in the newsletter as being this OR this OR this. We got full-sized tomatoes rather than cherry ones, which is fine since Penguin found (& shared with her big sister & ate) our first couple ripe cherry tomato ones earlier this week. While we got kohlrabi (not a fav of mine) rather than beans or summer squash, I was pleased we got broccoli instead of a green pepper (girls & Mr. Kluges don't like) or beets (we have our own in our garden & they're yum!).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Fun #94 - Cereal Choosings

I know some of you read Tomato Nation, but for those who don't, Sarah is currently finishing out the "N Cereal AA." Good fun to read and vote on your fav in cereal matchups, and, as of this typing, it's down to the final two - Frosted Flakes vs. Honey Nut Cheerios! (So, you know, vote!)

It got me thinking... if you could only ever eat ONE kind of cereal for the rest of your life, what would you choose? With other foods, fine, variety away, but cereal would have to be singular. As in, "I, [my name], take you, [cereal of my choosing], to have and to eat, for breakfast every day (unless I'm having eggs and pancakes or whatnot), for as long as I shall live and you are available in stores."

How about it? Who'd be your life-long cereal partner?

(Edited to add - Your choice does not have to be FF or HNC or anything that was in Tomato Nation's brackets, but feel free to check it out for ideas.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 7

Eh, I may not be quick, but at least I remembered to post Thursday's CSA photo before this next week's came!

* Everybody got the non-starred veggies, then the newsletter lists "2 other crops will also be in your box." So, we got peas & kohlrabi.

** Both the honey (delicious!) and the portabella mushrooms (this was only 1 from the bag) were purchased as separate shares. Honey comes monthly & mushrooms (reg OR portabella) are every other week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Fun #93 - Salsa-fied!

In case you missed it, July's theme is Mexican/TexMex. Not that we've had a lot of them posted in July yet *coughanycough*, but you know, hope springs eternal! ;) I don't know about you, but I cook less when it's hot...

Anyway, the theme can still be inspiration for Wednesday Fun! I'm wondering about salsa. Not your fancy gourmet fruity salsas, just regular ol' tomato-based ones. Do you have a favorite? Is there one brand you prefer... or hate? Do you like the ones with stuff like black beans and corn... or just tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.? Do you (or somebody in your family) make and can/jar your own?

Time to speak out on salsa!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Temp's Refreshing Summer Salad

I may be hopeless at putting my own recipes up, but damn it, I can cut and paste for others. :-) Here's the zucchini salad Temp brought to mai tai, as posted on her blog.

Temp's Refreshing Summer Salad

Take 4 or 5 Zucchini and peel them, and then keep using the peeler to make ribbons into a bowl until you get down to the seeds.

Open up a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil and chop some of those up and toss into the zucchini until you have a good ratio. Pour about a tablespoon of the oil in there too.

Take a lemon and shave about a tablespoon of zest off it into the zucchini. Squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice in there too (This is less than when I served it this weekend, and much less than the 2 tablespoons I recall the original recipe asking for).

Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

This would probably also be good with artichokes, but I like the color of the tomatoes in there. It's also a little soppy, so you can let the zucchini sweat a little before putting the other stuff in there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 6

I don't think I've mentioned it, but we're a little drought-y around here. Mr. Kluges was just telling me tonight that he looked at the official meteorological site based in our own and, over the last 37 days, we've had less than an inch of rain. In total. And pretty much NONE in July.

So, while we're watering our garden (when I remember sometimes), and our CSA farm engages in some irrigation, this week's box was rather light.

(But, you'll note, we still got lettuce. Tonight I showed the girls they could wrap pieces of pork roast (leftover from yesterday's slowcooker meal) in the red romaine lettuce, so that novelty got a fair amount of it eaten, more than I'd've guessed.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Fun #92 - Let us discuss lettuce...

This will be our 6th week of our CSA share... and I'm betting we'll have lettuce. Pretty much every week we get lettuce - either a bag of salad mix or spinach (not yet this year though) or a head (or several) of something like red romaine. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I don't usually do a main dish salad, but I did serve one last week that surprisingly went over gangbusters. I guess I shouldn't've been so surprised - any time I serve a "make your own" version of something, be it pizza or noodles or, apparently, salad, the girls love it. So small bowls of toppings it is!

But really, what ELSE can I do with all this lettuce besides salads and throw it on a sandwich? Any ideas would be more than welcome, 'cuz I'm guessing we'll be getting some more tomorrow! (...and the next week, and the next, and the next...)

P.S. My Wordless Wednesday today over at Musings & Mutterings also happens to be food- (and poll-) related...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 5

Yeah, so sorry about that. We DID get CSA boxes for weeks 2-4, but I just didn't photo and/or post them. One week I was at GAW, and the other two I just forgot. In summary, there were lots of garlic scapes (lots still in my crisper drawer, too), plenty o' lettuce, more yummy peas, and a quart of strawberries each time along with other stuff. Oh yeah, radishes. Lots and lots of radishes. Those are done for a while, but man, the lettuce, it comes in quantity. So, what to do with so much lettuce?! Hmmm... methinks I may have a WF question there... ;)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Dude's Pizza Crust Recipe

Dude put this in the comments of the last Wednesday fun, but I figured for easier finding later, I'd paste it into a post.

Gino's East style Pizza Crust Recipe

1 cup of warm water
1 package yeast
1/2 cup cornmeal or corn flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 T corn oil
2 ½ to 3 cups of cheap generic flour
Yellow food coloring – the real secret to why its yellow.

Take the water and put it in your mixer. add yeast and a touch of sugar. Let the yeast foam up to be sure that it is active. Then add the rest of the ingredients including 2 1/2 cups flour. I usually end up adding between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoons of yellow food coloring. Using a dough hook, kneed the dough until it is well combined. If the dough is sticky add a little more flour. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Let the mixer kneed the dough for 10 minutes. Put it in the oven to rise. If you desire a late in the day pizza taste (beer like), then let it rise all day.

Assembling the pizza -
Preheat oven to 350. After the dough has risen take your deep dish pizza pan (or a round cake pan with straight sides) and coat the inside of it with a very healthy coating of melted butter. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick and up it in the pan. Then pinch the dough up along the sides of the pan. Now put your cheese, and I mean a lot, into the crust. Then add your spinach and anchovies, and finally your sauce. Bake in the oven until the crust is starting to brown and cheese is starting to bubble up through the sauce.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Fun #91 - Favorite Pizza Toppings

The Sexy Blonde just posted her Thin Crust Pizza recipe, and we just made homemade pizza ourselves for supper. While Mr. Kluges was helping 2 yo Penguin with her toppings, he offered to put ground-up centipede feet on hers...

Anyhoo, this does actually lead me to our Wednesday Fun for this week, which is...

What do you like on your pizza?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July Theme - Mexican/Tex-Mex

Edited on 7/7/09: Ok, I had this in and scheduled to go LAST Wednesday (the 1st even!) in the evening, but lo and behold I've just noticed it never posted! Grrr! So, well, I guess it's time to get crackin' on those Mexican/Tex-Mex recipes!!!

I've heard eating spicy food makes you feel cooler. Well, I dunno about that 'cuz I'm a wimp when it comes to spices, but I do know that July's theme is Mexican and/or Tex-Mex sorts of foods. Now, I also know that pretty much any experience I've had with this cuisine, growing up in the good ol' rural Midwest, is probably not so very authentic. (Not like my 2 years in Ireland was any better for that! Peas as the main ingredient in guacamole?! WRONG!)

So if you do know a lot about authentic Mexican cooking, please, please, share your expertise with us!

And if you don't, but you've got a recipe that uses cheese, salsa, and tortillas, well, share that, too! That's basically all the Tex-Mex-y recipes I've got! YUM!

Here's what we've got so far:
  • For an appetizer, you wouldn't go wrong with either Diplowhat's Taco Salad Dip or her Dead Sister Dip.
  • Happy Veggie's Mexican Slow Cooker Pork has the bonus of not requiring you to heat up the kitchen! Very important in July!
  • My La Bamba Casserole is from Cooking Light & would probably freeze well, too, if you wanted to double it...
  • It has Fritos. And sour cream! How could you NOT want to make Diplowhat's Mexi-Cali Casserole?! (I've made it - YUM!)
  • I adore my Chicken Chimichangas, but since I make them in the oven, I'm less likely to make them in July. 'Course, now I'm all hungry for them...
How 'bout you? Got any yummy authentic Mexican, Tex-Mex, Mexican-inspired/salsa-containing recipes to share?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thin crust pizza

3/4 cup warm water (plus and additional 1/3 to 1/2 cup water)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons or 1 packet active dry or quick rising yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound quality high gluten flour (such as King Arthur's bread flour)

Corn meal so dough doesn't stick and additional flour for rolling out dough

Combine first 5 ingredients in either the large bowl of stand mixer (warm water -- but not the additional water, oil, yeast, sugar, and salt) and let stand 5 minutes. Place bowl on a scale and tare it out. Add flour until you have 1 pound. Attach dough hook to stand mixer and mix ingredients until just combined, adding the additional water as needed. You do not want to kneed this dough any more than required to get it combined.

Divide dough into 3 or 4 equal parts (I use the scale again) and put in 3 or 4 bowls, covering dough tightly with plastic wrap. Splitting into 3 parts will give you 3-14 inch pizzas. Check you pizza stone/peel to make sure they are large enough). Place dough in refrigerator for 24 hours. This is a very important step -- 1 whole day in the refrigerator! Dough can be kept refrigerated for at least a couple of days, or may be tightly wrapped and frozen.

Take dough out of the refrigerator about an hour before you're ready to use it (if frozen, you'll need more time, I put it in the refrigerator the night before or the morning of the day I want to use it) (I recently discovered that you can microwave it on defrost mode and that works fine too). You want the dough to come to room temperature. You can start rolling it out before it is room temperature, just know that it will take a bit longer to get it nice and thin.

Place pizza stone in oven and turn it on to preheat to 450 degrees.

Using sufficient flour to keep dough from sticking, roll out the dough and/or use your hands to flatten and then pick up and stretch it out on the backs of your fingers. I use a combination of both. This dough is very strong and can get very thin. If the dough was split into 3 equal parts, you should be able to get a 14 inch round pizza.

Shake some corn meal onto either a pizza peel (wooden cutting board with a handle) or a cookie sheet that doesn't have edges. Place the dough onto the peel/cookie sheet. Dock the dough (use a fork to poke lots of holes in the dough -- this prevents big bubbles from forming in the dough while it cooks).

Shake some corn meal onto the pizza stone. I do this now, instead of sooner, because the corn meal will burn in the very hot oven. As it is, the corn meal will probably start smoking a bit when you sprinkle it on. Slide the dough onto the stone. Pre-cook for 4 minutes.

Remove dough back onto peel/cookie sheet. Add sauce and toppings. Place back on pizza stone and cook an additional 6-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and pizza looks yummy.

Cool for 5 minutes on wire rack or wooden cutting board. Then enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Fun #90 - You say "salad," I say, "holy mess of vegetables, Batman!"

June was salad month - green salads, pasta salads, fruit salads, whatever. (Remember, you can always post recipes that don't fit any given month or post monthly-themed recipes even in other months... like the next month... Just sayin'...)

Now, my definition of salad growing up was rather small. You had your lettuce as a base, and some kind of (probably Kraft) salad dressing to go on top. And sometimes that was it. Otherwise, toppings might include cherry tomatoes, big tomato wedges, cucumbers, carrot slices, chopped celery, Vidalia onions, maybe some peas... You know, other vegetables.*

The first time I saw a salad (might've been a Cobb salad...) that had cheese? hard-boiled egg? and ham? was just strange! Those weren't vegetables! What were they doing on a salad? And how would it taste?

Just fine, thank you very much. Just fine! In fact, YUM!

I'm still not much of one to make or eat a main dish salad - one with meat/cheese/chickpeas/protein of some kind or that's all gussied up with thematic ingredients (Asian chicken salad with chow mein noodles & mandarin oranges, I'm looking at you!), but that's often 'cuz I just don't think of salads that way. Not that I don't enjoy them; I just never think of them.

But hey, how about you? What constitutes a "salad" in your head? Or what's your favorite topping(s) to throw on a salad? Conversely, what do folks put on salads that is just plain wrong in your book? Is there a special, super-good salad at a restaurant out there that you ALWAYS order when you go? Let's talk salads!

*Exception to that definition of "salad" was the Midwest classic 7-layer salad, but that was special! It had BACON! :) (And is something I still love to this very day.)