Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mom's Chicken Salad

I haven't posted anything in a while because everything I've been cooking lately has either been variations of things already on this blog, or didn't feature the veggies in an interesting way. Well, we got carrots and potatoes in the latest veggie box, not all that exciting I know, but I just happened to have roasted a chicken and I realized I could make my mom's chicken salad. I've never seen anyone else put carrots and potatoes in chicken salad before, so I don't know if someone taught her this or if she just made it up one day, but she made this often for our school lunches and this particular recipe is now a cherished part of my childhood.

Mom's Chicken Salad

1 lbs carrots
1 lbs potatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp salt
1/4 large onion
1 clove garlic
1 stalk celery
2 lbs chicken breast, roasted or boiled
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Finely dice the carrots and potatoes. Season a medium pot of water with the salt and the bay leaf and put on high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the carrots and potatoes. Boil for 5 minutes and then strain out the water. Discard the bay leaf. Set the carrots and potatoes aside.

Finely dice the celery and onion, and mince the garlic. Finely chop the chicken.

Combine all ingredients together. Serve on top of crackers or use a a sandwich filling.

Bon Apetit!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes

I was so excited when we got beets a few weeks ago because I've been wondering if shredded beets could be used as a coloring agent to make red velvet cupcakes. Since I didn't need a "fancy" dessert right away, I shredded the beets and then froze them. Well, I have a party to go to today, so I took out the beets last night to defrost, along with some butter and cream cheese to soften.

Once the cupcakes were cooked, they had a nice reddish tinge to them, which hinted at a possibly glorious red interior, but when I bit into one, it was just kind of brown. :-(

Still, they tasted good, and for people who don't really like beets, this is the perfect disguise for them.

I'm wondering if I perhaps used too much cocoa or too many beets, even. In hindsight, I probably should have also used white sugar. When I get some more beets, I will try this again with some tweaking and get bake to you. In the meantime, these will certainly pass for the "real thing." Especially from the outside!


1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup hot water
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups shredded beets
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder


1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

Add the eggs and mix on high speed until fully incorporated.

Mix the cocoa powder into hot water and stir until the cocoa has completely dissolved.

Add the cocoa mixture, vanilla, oil and beets to the egg mixture and combine.

Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder together and add to the wet ingredients. Stir just until ingredients are fully combined.

Line a muffin tin with paper cups. Fill the cups with batter, allowing about a 1/3 inch at the top for the cupcakes to grow.

Bake ate 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting or the frosting will melt.

For the icing, add all of the ingredients into a large bowl and whip at high speed until fluffy.

Ideally, you would use a pastry bag and an icing tip to put the icing on the cupcakes, but I don't own either of those things. I just cut the corner of a 1 gallon freezer bag and used that.

Stay tuned! If I figure out a way to make these cupcakes actually red, I will update this post!

Bon Apetit!

Ginger Peach Granola

I know I just posted a granola recipe, but the first one was just so good, and we just got dried peaches in our veggie boxes, I couldn't resist. Also, this recipe shows how you can take an existing recipe and tweak it to make something that tastes completely different!

No picture today, because it basically looks the same as the other granola...


1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup roughly chopped dried peaches
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground ginger

In a large skillet over high heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the nuts, stirring constantly until they just begin to brown. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Reduce the heat to medium-high, and continue to stir until the sugar has melted and the oats have begun to toast.

Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and set aside to cool, about 2 hours. Break up the granola with a metal spoon into bite sized pieces.

Bon Apetit!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Minty Orange Granita

I've accumulated a backlog of oranges, and have noticed they've been a bit more tart than I like lately, so I decided to turn them into a sweet dessert. Granita is super easy to make, you just need to be a little bit patient and babysit it for a few hours. There's not all that much to do, you just need to stir it every 2o minutes, so if you're doing homework or reading, this is a perfect side project to go along with that.

The days are getting warmer, so this is a good recipe to have in your repertoire, although at the moment it's pretty cold. The crunchy, icy crystals can be as sweet or as tart as you like, simply increase or decrease the amount of sugar that you use, or even leave it out altogether. You can also adjust how much water you use. Any kind of fruit juice will work for this, and you can flavor the granita with different things, like vanilla or cinnamon, or as I did in this recipe with mint. You could even add a little wine or rum to make an adult version of this dish. The possibilities are endless!


2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 peppermint tea bag
1 cup orange juice

In a small pot over high heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Once the water is boiling, stir it to dissolve the sugar, and then turn off the heat.

Add the tea bag and let it steep for 10 minutes.

Remove the tea bag and add the orange juice. Stir to combine, and then pour into a 9x9 baking pan, or similar container.

Put the pan into the freezer. Stir the granita with a fork every 20 minutes until it is all frozen, breaking up the larger pieces that may start to form later in this process. This can take up to 2 hours, depending on how cold your freezer is and the type of container you are using.

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chocolate Chili Granola

I had a whacky flash of insight the other day while eating the walnuts from the veggie box. They were good and all, but after eating a lot of them, the skins started to taste kind of bitter. I thought toasting them might make them more pleasant, then wondered what I could do with toasted walnuts. This led to granola, which somehow led to chocolate, which I understand is not a typical granola ingredient. While I was making it, I thought, "Why not add some ground chilies to go with the chocolate?" I figured that would give the granola a little extra kick, a little something special.

I wanted to include this recipe because it combines 2 different veggie box items, the most important of which is the cayenne peppers, which I have found difficult to place in a starring role in any dish. Truthfully though, my aunt gave me a huge jar of ground chilies this summer, so I just used some of that, but the cayenne peppers we got a few weeks ago (a month ago?) can be easily ground up in a spice grinder or even mortar and pestle for this tasty treat.


1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, ground cayenne & ground coriander
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large skillet over high heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the nuts, stirring constantly until they just begin to brown. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the chocolate, and mix well.

Reduce heat to medium-high, and continue to stir until the brown sugar has melted and oats have begun to toast.

Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet, and then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. The heat from the oat mixture will slightly melt the chocolate.

Set the cookie sheet aside to cool until the chocolate sets, about 4 hours, and then break up the granola with a metal spoon in to bite-sized pieces.

Bon Apetit!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Asparagus with Toasted Walnuts

I discovered this method of cooking asparagus quite some time ago and it has since become my preferred method of preparing them. By quickly blanching them and then plunging them into cold water, they develop a sweet and nutty flavor while remaining crisp, yet tender.


1 lbs asparagus
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
lemon juice

Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with cold water.

While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the asparagus. The root end of the asparagus is often woody, and it's sometimes hard to tell how much you need to cut off. Luckily, the asparagus will tell you where the woody part ends and where the tender part begins.

Hold on to the root end of the asparagus with one hand and hold on to the stem a little farther up with your other hand.

Gently bend the stalk, slowly moving towards the tip, until the stem snaps. The asparagus has to be fairly fresh for this to work, and you really have to be gentle, otherwise you'll be left with with some woodiness in the stem, which isn't all that pleasant to eat.

Mince the garlic.

When the water comes to a boil, add the asparagus. Once the asparagus changes color to a brighter green, remove them from the boiling water and put them into the bowl of cold water. Leave the asparagus in the cold water for a few minutes, and then arrange the asparagus on a plate.

Pour the boiling water out of the pot and return it to the heat, keeping the heat on high. Add the olive oil, garlic, walnuts, and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the garlic just begins to brown. Scoop walnut mixture onto the asparagus.

Drizzle with lemon juice to taste.

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Braised Leeks & Eggs

Here's another kind of fancy looking dish. I saw in this in a magazine and have been anxiously waiting for leeks to reappear in our boxes, which I knew was inevitable. I had never seen a dish made with this combination of ingredients before, but I was intrigued after seeing a picture and reading a description. There was no recipe because it was an article on a restaurant, this being one of their most popular dishes, so I basically had to make this up based on the little information I had. The combination of leeks, egg and mustard turned out absolutely delicious! It might look a little complicated, but I promise it's worth the effort and is on the table in less than an hour from when you start.

Braised Leeks & Eggs

2 medium-sized leeks

1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling on leeks

sea salt

ground black pepper

4 slices of bread

1 clove garlic

1 ½ tbsp prepared mustard*

2 tbsp butter, plus more for cooking the eggs

1 tbsp olive oil

Shredded mozerella cheese

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim the tops of the leeks and save for another recipe. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and wash carefully to remove any dirt. Don't worry about how much water gets trapped in between the leaves as the water will help to cook them.

Put the leeks into an oven proof pan or casserole dish. You may have to do some additional trimming to make them fit, but you can save these bits for the croutons.

Arrange the leek halves into pairs and then drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put into the oven for 15 minutes.

While the leeks are cooking, mince the garlic and roughly chop any of the leek trimmings you may want to use for the croutons.

Cut the bread into medium sized cubes.

In a large skillet over high heat, add the butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic, stirring constantly. When the garlic just begins to brown, add the leek trimmings if you are using them. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Once the leeks have become translucent, add the mustard. Stir until combined, and then add the bread cubes. Stir until combined and then spread out the bread mixture on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning.

After the leeks have been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and top the leek pairs with mozzarella cheese. Use as much or as little cheese as you want.

Put the leeks back into the oven for an additional 15 minutes.

Once the croutons are finished cooking, remove them from the oven once and set them aside to cool.

Once the leeks are finished cooking, remove them from the oven and set them aside.

Fry two eggs. Place each pair of leeks on a plate and top each with a fried egg. Arrange the croutons around the egg.

Bon Apetit!

*You can use any kind of mustard you like for this. I happened to have some hot and spicy mustard on hand, so I used that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuna Salad with Fennel

I was so excited to see the fennel in the last veggie box because it meant I could finally make my tuna salad! I can't remember what TV show I was watching, but one character asked the other why her tuna sandwiches were so good, and she told him her secret ingredient was fennel. For some reason, this scene has always stuck with me, and many, many, many years later, I finally gave it a try. It's really good, and now I pretty much always have to have fennel to make tuna salad, otherwise I don't bother.

This tuna salad recipe has lots of crunchy vegetables in it, with refreshingly bright flavors. It's a little labor intensive if you just need a quick lunch, but if you need to serve 5 or 6 people, or if you want to keep a bowl of it in the fridge for a few days of tuna sandwiches, this is a tasty alternative for the basic mayo, relish & mustard.


4 cans (6 oz each) tuna packed in oil, drained**
1/2 small red onion
1 small fennel bulb, or a portion of a larger one
3 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup mayonnaise***
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp sweet relish
2 tsp mustard

Chop the onion into a small dice. Do the same with the fennel.

Cut the celery into thin strips and then chop into a small dice.

Mince the garlic.****

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Use to make sandwiches with your favorite bread.

Bon Apetit!

* I have a friend that told me she likes to add a chopped up boiled egg to her tuna salad. I've always wanted to try this, but have yet to have the foresight to actually boil an egg ahead of time to do it. Someday...

** Yes really, packed in oil. This will not turn out right if you use tuna packed in water and you'll just need to add more mayo for moisture. I even have a friend tell me one time that she tried out my recipe and it didn't taste the same. She didn't understand. I asked if she used tuna packed in oil. She said no.

***No, this is not code for Miracle Whip. I can't stand the stuff. There is no point in making this if you use Miracle Whip because the taste of it will obliterate the flavors of all of the other ingredients. Even if you like Miracle Whip, I beg you to just try this wit normal mayo. Unless Miracle Whip had desensitized your taste buds, you may even like it!

****I use "minced" garlic in a lot of my recipes, but I hardly ever actually mince garlic. I use a garlic press, an ingenious device that basically minces the garlic for you. If you don't have one, I strongly suggest you purchase one. They are inexpensive and are an immense time saver.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I looked with dismay at large piles of beets and cabbage, and finally decided to muster up the courage to attempt to make borscht. A Russian classic, very red, not always popular. But I found a recipe in the Moosewood cookbook and got as brave as I could.

This is a LARGE recipe, so go ahead and half (or quarter) it.
2 cups sliced beets
2 cups sliced celery root (it was still in our fridge from, like, a month ago, and still good. The original recipe called for a cup of potato and a cup of celery, so i thought this would work out well enough).
COOK (10 min or so - until tender) in about 8 cups veg broth. Drain and set aside - but keep the broth!

3 cups chopped onion - saute in 4 TBSP butter until translucent. I used leeks instead.
Add 2 tsp caraway seeds, some salt, 1 cup chopped carrots, and a cabbage (thoroughly chopped - about 5 cups)
Add the reserved broth and any additional water necessary to cover the vegetables. Cook about 15 minutes (medium heat) until the cabbage is tender.

2 1/2 TBSP honey
2 1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dill
black pepper to taste
beets and potato/celery root previously cooked.

Simmer everything together on very low heat for 20 minutes or so.
Serve with sour cream (or yogurt), and a sprinkle more dill.

When you eat it, the dark red turns into bright pink. Awesome!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kale Chips

It took some figuring, but I think I finally came up with a workable recipe for these kale chips. I think someone told me the Full Belly recipe called for them to be baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, but that was too hot and burned the kale. I also used to much oil, but again, I wasn't following a recipe. I had drizzled the oil on the kale and then rubbed it onto the leaves with my fingers.

For my next attempt, I poured the oil into a bowl and dipped my fingers into it so I could just lightly coat the kale. I sprinkled these with a little sea salt and then baked them at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. This time, I did not use enough oil, and the oven was still too hot and burned the kale. We're not talking burned black, just brown, but they still had a slightly unpleasant burned undertone.

I was determined to figure out how to do this, and luckily we got kale again in yesterday's box. Here's what I came up with, and the chips that came out were pretty tasty. I had to stop myself from just eating the whole batch, which was also kind of the case with the last two batches, despite the burning XD

Kale Chips


olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Pour some olive oil into a bowl. Dip your fingers into the olive oil and rub the oil all over a kale leaf, making sure to coat every surface. The amount of oil you need is hard to describe, but you want enough that each time you do this, there's one or two drops of oil that drip off the kale as you work, but not more than that unless you don't mind the chips being oily. Place the oil-coated kale leaf on the baking sheet. Repeat this process until you have a single layer of kale leaves on the baking sheet. The leaves need to be in a single layer, but they can be pretty close together.

Sprinkle the leaves with a little bit of sea salt. The amount you use will be entirely dependent on how salty you want the chips to be.

Place in the baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200 degrees. Continue baking for 40 minutes.

The resulting chips are crispy and very delicate, so you won't be able to dip them into anything, but they make a great side dish!

Bon Apetit!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Red Corn Bread

More rainy day goodness! I made this cornbread with the red corn meal we got in the last veggie box. I tweaked the recipe so that you can just dump in the whole 2 1/2 cup bag, although it does make quite a bit of corn bread, filling an 9 x 13 pan. If that seems like it may be more cornbread than you want at one time, the recipe can be cut in half. This sweet and buttery cornbread goes really well with the last recipe for white beans and spinach!

Red Corn Bread

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
6 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups red cornmeal (yellow cornmeal is fine)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and salt.

Add the eggs and mix well. Add the milk and cornmeal and mix until combined.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the cornmeal mixture and combine well.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes. The normal way to check for doneness in cake-like breads like this is to insert a toothpick and see if it comes out clean, but that doesn't seem to work for this. A toothpick inserted into this cornbread will come out fairly clean, even while it is still quite underdone. The best way to check is to tap the top of the crust in the center lightly with your fingertips and listen for a hollow sound that will tell you the cornbread has cooked through.

If you choose to halve this recipe, begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes.

Bon Apetit!

White Beans and Spinach

Sitting around on a rainy day trying to figure out what to do with the veggies from the veggie box. Here's a quick and hearty dish to warm you up on a cold day:

White Beans and Spinach

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 lbs green onion (or 1 yellow or white onion diced)
1 medium bunch carrot tops, minced (optional)
3 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
2 lbs spinach
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 15oz cans white beans, undrained

Mince the garlic and finely slice the green onion. Roughly chop the spinach.

In a large pot over high heat, add the olive oil, garlic, black pepper and salt, stirring constantly. When the garlic just begins to brown, add the onions and carrot tops. Stir every minute or so until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the lemon juice, spinach and smoked paprika.

Stir occasionally until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes, then add the beans and brown sugar. Stir until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Green Garlic Sauce

Yay green garlic! I love this stuff! I've been waiting for it to make another appearance in the veggie boxes so I could make it the star of a pasta sauce I've been dreaming up. And, since we got carrots AGAIN, I decided to chop up those tops and mix them into the meatballs. This is definitely not a "vegetable dish" but it's a nice way to use up some of the unconventional greens without resorting to making them disappear as just some more background noise while some other vegetables take center stage.

You will need 1 lbs of dried spaghetti noodles and:

Green Garlic Sauce

1 lbs green garlic, thinly sliced (about 3 medium sized stalks)

1 tbsp lemon juice

¼ cup butter

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup white wine

½ cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 egg

½ tsp salt


1 lbs ground beef

½ cup bread crumbs

2 eggs

2 cloves garlic

1 medium sized bunch of carrot tops or parsley

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

To make the meatballs, mince the garlic and the carrot tops. In a large skillet over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and black pepper. Stir constantly. When the garlic just begins to brown, add the carrot tops. Stir constantly until the carrot tops are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and roll the mixture into small balls, using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture for each meatball.

Using the same skillet (there's no need to wash it) heat up the olive oil and the butter for the sauce over medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry the meatballs, turning them over as they brown. When the meatballs are cooked through, about five minutes, remove them from the oil and let them drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. You will need to fry the meatballs in batches.

While the meatballs are cooking, begin preparing 1 pound of spaghetti noodles according to the package directions. Season the water with salt, garlic powder and a bay leaf.

When the meatballs are cooked, reduce the heat to low and add the green garlic to the oil. Stir occasionally until the garlic has softened, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and add the remaining sauce ingredients except for the egg. Stir occasionally until the alcohol has cooked off, about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

When the sauce has stopped simmering, crack the egg into a medium bowl and beat it well. While continuing to beat the egg, slowly add about 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture and incorporate well. While stirring the sauce, add the egg mixture to the sauce and mix well. Don't worry if the sauce separates a little, once it's mixed with the spaghetti, no one will notice.

Add the meatballs to the sauce, and put them over very low heat. If it begins to simmer, turn the heat off.

Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain the water from the pot, and then add the sauce and meatballs. Cook everything over high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, then move the pot to a cool burner.

Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Honey Punch

I've acquired several citrus fruits via the veggie boxes and a friendly neighborhood lemon tree. Needing a drink to bring to a potluck tomorrow, I decided to concoct an improvised honey punch from 3 lemons, 3 oranges and the big yellow fruit I'm going to assume is a pomelo.

I had actual bottled honey punch a few years ago, but I can't for the life of me remember what it tastes like. The honey punch I came up with is quite tasty though, and I can't wait to serve it to my friends!

You could probably call any light fruity beverage flavored with honey "honey punch" but if this flies in the face of any honey punch purists out there, I apologize in advance.

Honey Punch

Juice of 3 lemons, 3 oranges and 1 pomelo
1 1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
A dash of nutmeg
1 gallon of water

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and chill. Serve over ice and garnish with mint if desired.

This is not so much a recipe as it is an idea. Pretty much any fruit juice will work, you'll just have to adjust how much water and honey you use depending on how sweet the fruit juice is. Even if you use the exact quantity and type of fruit I have listed here, all fruits are not created equal, so you may have to play with the honey and water measurements anyway. Just keep tasting until it tastes right.

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oven Roasted Carrots

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Clean and peel 2 pounds carrots. Cut carrots into 1 1/2 to 2 inch long pieces, further slice these into thin spears. Place carrots on a baking sheet and lightly coat with oil (canola, olive, walnut, coconut). Season the carrots with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons - 1 tablespoon of seasoning (thyme, herbes de provence, sweet basil, dill, italian blend, etc.) Finely dice 2 cloves of garlic or 1 small shallot or ¼ of medium onion. Sprinkle over carrots.

Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until carrots are softened but still maintain a bit of crunch.

Serve while hot or chill and serve later. Great as a side or atop salads of spinach, lettuce and/or grains.

Roasted Beet Salad

1 bunch beets (3/4 pound without greens or 1 1/4 pound with), trimmed

1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups lettuce or arugula or baby spinach or other mixed salad greens
+ or - ¼ cup goat or feta cheese
optional: 1 cup cooked wheat or spelt berries or quinoa

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets in foil and roast in middle of oven until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Unwrap beets and cool.

While beets are roasting, roast almonds on baking tray in toaster oven or lower shelf of oven for 6-10 minutes until just beginning to toast.Cool almonds & then slice into thin pieces.

Stir together shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, and oil from almonds in a large bowl.

Slip skins from beets and halve large beets. Cut beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices and add to dressing, tossing to coat.

Arrange salad greens (and cooked grain) in individual bowls, place dressed beets atop salad base, drizzle with any dressing remaining in bowl. Top with spoonful of goat cheese or feta. Sprinkle with almonds.

Monday, February 14, 2011

How to Not Hate Beets

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! We had a fun party this weekend where you had to come in costume as "something you love." Ben and Natalia dressed as each other were fantastic.... I was a tree, Rachel was the night sky. Luke was the Virgin Mary.

I also love BEETS. And I thought I hated them for most of my life. So I would like to share with you... how to love beets (or at least not to hate them).

#1 Cut them up and admire their beautiful colors! Look carefully at the beautiful intricacy of the chiogga beets!

#2 DON'T OVERCOOK THEM. I say 12 minutes at a low boil - and this is in small pieces. If you cut larger pieces cook them a LITTLE bit longer but not much.
Also you can put interesting things in the water to make it more like broth. Salt, for one, but bay leaves or a big slice of onion and some cabbage never hurt either.

Then eat them straight up, plain, admiring their beetiness, or

#3 make a salad!
This is a "hot salad" i.e. the greens are sauteed kale, but you can also make it cold with spinach or lettuce. The important part is (a) goat cheese, (b) balsamic vinegar, (c) strawberries. You can add whatever leftover salady things you want, like walnuts from last week's box, or green beans from Saturday's dinner, but be generous with the balsamic and the goat cheese. MMMMMM good - enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spaghetti with Sausage and Mustard Greens

I used to make a dish with a delicious Italian vegetable called rapini. It's kind of like a cross between mustard greens and broccoli. Rapini has a short season and is sometimes difficult to find, but we did get mustard greens AND broccoli in our last veggie box. What better substitute for rapini?


1 lbs spaghetti or fettucini
1/2 lbs italian sausage
1 lbs rapini (Or 1/2 lbs mustard greens & 1/2 lbs broccoli)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt

Prepare the spaghetti according to package directions. I like to season the water with salt, garlic powder and a bay leaf, but this is optional.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, you can prepare the other ingredients.

Roughly chop the mustard greens into 2-inch pieces and thinly slice the broccoli.

Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and put over high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the sausage. You can squeeze the sausage out of the casings to do this. I had to use chicken sausage because I'm allergic to pork. This was pre-cooked, so I cut it into thin slices.

Once the sausage has browned, add the vegetables and salt. Stir occasionally until the mustard has wilted and the broccoli is tender.

Add the sausage mixture to the drained pasta and combine.

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Carrots and Tops



After receiving carrots with their tops several times, I decided to research the edibility of carrot tops and was quite surprised to find out they were edible! No wonder they kept sending them with the tops on! Carrot tops are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and can be used as substitutes in many places where you would use parsley. They do kind of have a "carroty" flavor, so you may want to do half parsley and half carrot tops.

Here's a fun way to use the whole vegetable in one go:

Carrots and Tops

6 carrots with tops
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Cut the carrot tops off the carrots and wash well. They tend to be quite dirty, especially near the base. Finely chop the garlic and carrot tops. Cut the carrots into 1-inch chunks. Heat the olive oil on high a large skillet. Add the garlic and stir constantly until the garlic just begins to brown. Add the carrot tops and the salt. Once the carrot tops have wilted, add the carrots and cook until just heated through, or longer if you like your carrots softer.

Bon Apetit!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Butternut Leek Pasta Sauce

I used the butternut squash in the last box and the leeks in this week's box to make a pasta sauce. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I brought it to a potluck today and it got all eaten up, so I think it worked! This has a few more steps than a lot of the recipes I've been posting lately, but i think it's worth it.


1 butternut squash
2 leeks*
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp each salt & nutmeg
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)

Cut the stem off of the butternut squash if it has one and then cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place the 2 halves cut-side down on a baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

While the squash is baking, clean the leeks well.** Thinly slice the leeks crosswise. Over high heat in a large sauté pan, melt the butter. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Just as the butter begins to brown, add the leeks, salt and nutmeg. Stir constantly to prevent burning. When the leeks have begun to brown, turn the heat off and add the evaporated milk. Stir to combine.

When the squash is cooked, scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.*** Add the leek mixture and mix well. Toss with cooked pasta.

This makes enough sauce for 2 pounds of pasta.

* I threw in 1 stalk of green garlic that I had left from the last box. I imagine this recipe would work quite nicely using just green garlic, about 4 stalks total would do I think. Also, 2 regular onions can be substituted for the leeks.

** See the "Roasted Root Vegetable Salad" entry for instructions and pictures on cleaning leeks.

*** I had roasted some root vegetables while I was baking the squash. Instead of throwing the squash skins away, I tore them up into bit-sized pieces and tossed them with the roasted vegetables. Butternut squash skins are very tender and quite tasty, and this way there's no waste!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Potato Celeriac Mash


about 2 pounds potatoes
1 large celery root (celeriac)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

Wash and peel the celery root. The skin is quite thick; make sure to get rid of all the tough, fibrous bits. Cut it in half lengthwise.

Wash the potatoes and leave whole.

Toss everything in a light coating of olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl, add the butter and salt, an mash everything together.

If you just got a veggie box, I used all the potatoes we got this week, and the celery root that was in there. Perfect combo! Sorry, no pictures. I roasted the beets at the same time and they tinted everything red, so my mash is pink O_o.

Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Guatemalan Potatoes

This recipe is kind of late, busy with the holidays and all. Luckily, potatoes are readily available at any time of the year, not just veggie boxes, so here we go! A friend from Guatemala taught me how to do this, so I'm not sure if it's actually a Guatemalan thing or if was just her family thing. This is probably one of the easiest recipes I will ever post on this blog, but it is just so tasty and satisfying, I had to include it. Bonus: there's only 4 ingredients, no measuring, and there is absolutely no fat in this AT ALL! Also, totally vegan. Usually when you think potatoes, you think butter and cream, but trust me, these taste so good you won't even miss the extra fat.



Wash and boil the potatoes whole with the skin on. Once the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, removed them from the water and cut them into big chunks. Drizzle with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Sea salt is best, but regular table salt is fine. Please, please, please try to use fresh lemons for this! There's just no substitute for the real thing. If you absolutely have to, juice from one of those plastic lemons will work, but the juice always tastes off because of the preservatives they use. I hope you like this!

Bon Apetit!