Monthly Archives: October 2008

Dinner so far this week

Cauliflower and brussel sprouts
Roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts over rice.

I had some brussel sprouts I needed to use up, so I roasted the cauliflower, the brussel sprouts, and some onion. Also sauted some garlic and shallots in some butter, and fried some panko. Tossed it all together, put it over rice, and man was it good. There should have been leftovers for lunch, but we ate every last bit. It tasted exactly like fall.

Butternut squash in my kitchen
Dicing butternut squash in my kitchen.

Last night I wanted something simple because I was feeling a bit down. I cubed and roasted the butternut squash from last week. While it roasted, I diced an onion, and sauted it in a bit of olive oil. Added some cumin, salt and pepper and a can of black beans. While I was doing all that, I minced garlic, tossed it into yet another pan, and threw some spinach in with it to wilt the spinach.

Inside the burrito
Squash and black bean burrito before rolling.
When the squash was done, I assembled the burritos – tortilla, a bit of shredded cheddar, bean mixture, spinach mixture, squash. Rolled it up, put it in a cooking pan, and when the pan was full, tossed some grated mozzarella over the top (who ate all the pepper jack?) and put it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Burrito
Finished burrito.
Pretty good, and I used so little cheese, it felt pretty healthy. The only thing that wasn’t local was the salt. Yay! We are eating pretty healthy at this point.

Items used from the box: cauliflower, onion, garlic, spinach, butternut squash.

Odd facts about our house.

Doorknob
Glass doorknob with skeleton keyhole.

When I was a kid, I had a Dr. Seuss book called My Book about Me that you filled in with facts about yourself, your house, your neighbors and friends. A neat book, still in print, go get it for your nieces, nephews, sons and daughters. I still have mine, all filled in.

One of the things it had in it were spots for things like how many forks you have in your house. Or light switches.

So this kinda reminds me of that, but I just counted, out of curiosity: the lower level of our house has eleven interior doors, not counting the folding ones leading to the sunroom. It also has two exterior doors, not counting the two once you are in the mudroom leading to the back. Most of the interior doors have glass door knobs and skeleton keys to lock them. Yes, we have the skeleton keys, and yes, they work. I kept our spooky basement locked the entire time that Brian was at his Dad’s in northern Wisconsin. Why risk the boogie man? C’mon!

Box 2

CSA box 2
CSA Box 2 for October 25th, 2008

We got:

  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • napa cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • chives
  • garlic
  • french breakfast radish
  • red potatoes
  • Italian Kale
  • fennel
  • ‘Sweet Dumpling’ Squash

Radishes didn’t even make it into the fridge. I am not a huge radish fan, despite their daily allowance of Vitamin C, but Harmony Valley CSA got me hooked on these. So it was a nice treat to see them from Groundwork Organics, and I snacked on them while I put away the rest of the veggies.

Still debating what I want to do with everything else – the only thing I know is that the cabbage is destined for egg rolls, at least a half batch of veggie ones and a half batch of shrimp.

I need to get busy with potatoes too, I’m getting really behind on them. We had a bad batch from the former CSA, and I think it turned us off on them for a while.

Two boxes into the Fall farmshare from Groundwork Organics, and we love them already. Their veggies are everything I had hoped they’d be in the CSA (I already knew they did awesome food from their farmstand).

Heroes

Last night was pretty fun. We walked up to the Kennedy School, taking a route that led us up Alberta Street (so hard to not stop and get an Italian Sidecar on the way).

Brian stopped near Alameda Street to get a yard waste can out of the middle of the street, and one of the neighbors thanked us for doing it. Apparently some teenagers had thought it’d be a good idea to hit the trashcan in their cars, knocking it into the street. I was just worried that the next car would hit it or swerve to avoid it and get into an accident, and that particular curve is a bit dicey to begin with so I was happy Brian did that.

We had a beer or two at the bar in Courtyard because Brian wasn’t in the mood to play shuffleboard (and the Boiler Room was packed), and wandered back down Alberta St, stopping to get a doughnut on the way (what? I had a sweet tooth).

It was a great October night for a walk, and I had a scarf, hat and gloves so I was cozy and enjoying the crisp air and kicking leaves. Fun to see how people carved their pumpkins (it’s Portland, so we saw one that involved three Pabst cans, hehe).

When we were about a block and half from our house, we waited for the light to change so we could cross, and these young teenagers came flying across the street at us. They were pretty young, I’m guessing fourteen or so. When people come running directly at you like that, you immediately tense up – are they going to ask for money? What’s going on?

One of the girls, out of breath, told us that there was a truck parked across the street with a little girl in it, all alone in the dark. They said they talked to her through the window, and she seemed to be okay, but the teenagers were worried. The teens said they waited at the corner for about five minutes to see if the little girl’s parents came for her, but that no one had.

The girls definitely came running to us because we were clearly responsible adults. I had that slightly strange feeling, I wanted to tell them, I’m not sure that I know what to do about this anymore than you do! I’m still a kid too! Really! And it made me laugh a bit that they chose to run up to a guy with a mohawk as a responsible adult. Brian walked toward the truck and the little girl tried to hide from him. Hmmmm.

The girls were very, very concerned about the little girl, and couldn’t figure out what to do. I am so touched by that, and that the three of them stood guard while they came up with a plan. They couldn’t split up, because either one girl stayed with the kid, while the other two got parents (dangerous) or one girl walked alone to get a parent (also dangerous).

I took a look at where the truck was parked and decided that it made sense to just knock on the nearest door and see if our neighbors knew who owned the truck.

The man who opened the door was probably about my age, and when I told him that there were some teenagers worried about the little girl, he was clearly embarressed. He said “I was just going to get her. She and her mother are on the way to the airport, but it’s taking her mother longer than expected to pack one of the bags.” The little girl was too excited and wanted to be in the truck so she could go to the airport. I remember doing things like that to my mom, I was a stubborn child too.

I felt pretty sorry for the guy, he was clearly concerned that I was accusing him of child abuse, which I so wasn’t. I hope in retrospect, he’s as touched as I am that three young teenagers were looking out for his daughter.

Box 1 Round-up

This post idea blatantly copied from A Good Appetite. Go read their site, it has awesome food on it.

Box 1 Round-up
Box 1 from the Fall Groundwork Organics CSA

Meals from Box 1 were Portabella Mushroom fajitas with roasted poblano sauce, broccoli tofu cashew, raspberries and whipped cream over vanilla wafers, chili (forgot to take picture), a wonderful apple blue cheese walnut salad, and shrimp quiche. I also roasted the sweet peppers for a future use, and will use up the potatoes, squash and cilantro in the course of next week.

Shrimp Quiche

Shrimp Quiche
Shrimp Quiche

I had picked up some bay shrimp at the farmers’ market last week, and was thinking that 1 pound was waaaay too much for eggrolls, so I decided to make a quiche with about a half pound of ’em.

I used guyere, the leeks from the box, shallots, and a bit of fresh parm. As a change of pace, I made substituted a half cup of cornmeal for the flour for the crust. I think the crust turned out a bit crispier than I’d like, but I’m going to try playing around with it because it gave the crust a nice texture otherwise. This is the first “meat” quiche I ever remember making, and we make quiche every month or so.

CSA items used: just the leeks. They really added to the flavor though.

More CSA stuff, with a recipe!


Salad from CSA veggies

CSA Meals –

For lunch, I made a salad. Because I don’t really like lettuce, and only marginally like mixed greens or herbs, I have a theory that each salad should have vegetables, fruit, nuts, oil and cheese. And sometimes random crunchy bits.

This one used the Groundwork Organics’ mixed greens and carrots and our former CSA’s cucumber and apple. I also used shallots, Oregon walnuts from Cherryl’s Orchards, Rogue Creamery’s Crater Lake Blue cheese (mmmmmm) that I had picked up at the farmers’ market. The salad was yummy.

Cheese bread
Cheddar Cheese Bread

For dinner, I soaked some mixed dried beans from our former CSA to make a chili. The only ingredient I used from Groundwork was some onion to start it. No pictures of it, it was a pretty standard veggie chili. I did take a picture of the cheddar cheese bread I made for dunking in the chili, but it didn’t have any CSA items in it either, I just liked how it turned out.

Broccoli Tofu Cashew
Broccoli Tofu Cashew

Last night, I made broccoli cashew tofu over brown rice. It’s a slightly tedious recipe, but it turns out really nicely. You slice your tofu into three bars lengthwise, then thinly slice each of those into slices for frying. I press them between paper towels in the fridge while I’m starting the brown rice and doing the prep work.

Prep work is mincing about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, julienning carrots until I get bored (maybe 3-4 carrots, if they are a good size), cutting broccoli into small florets, and peeling the brocolli stem so I can slice it into small coins. O! And boiling 1/2 cup of water to create a veggie broth (I just use boullion for this recipe) to which I add 1/4 cup of soy sauce.

Next, pull the tofu off the paper towels, and marinade them in soy sauce.

Start toasted sesame oil heating in the wok (pretty hot, almost smoking), and fry the tofu in batches until each side is golden. Add more toasted sesame oil if needed as you fry the tofu. Pull ’em all out of the work and set aside.

Toast about a 1/2 cup of cashews. Can be done in the oven, I put them in a small pan on the stove so I can keep an eye on them and shake them until they start getting nice brown bits. Remove from heat. I do this while stir frying the veggies.

Heat canola oil or veggie oil in the work, and toss in the carrots with generous shakes of red pepper flakes and the ginger. Saute for a few minutes (you want the carrots to stay pretty crisp) and toss the broccoli into the work. Stir fry that for about a minute (broccoli starts turning a nice green color).

Whisk about a teaspoon of cornstarch into the veggie broth mixture, and pour it on top. Stir everything for a minute or two longer (most of the broth should be gone – if not, turn it up to high for a few seconds). Toss the tofu back in and stir it all up.

Serve stirfried veggies over brown rice with chopped up toasted cashew bits tossed on top.

MMMMMM.

Guess I should type all that up into a reasonable recipe since I’ve gone this far, huh?

Broccoli Cashew Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flake (or to taste)
  • 3-4 good sized carrots, julienned
  • 2-3 heads of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets, and stems peeled and chopped into coins
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • soy sauce, I recommend Tamari, 1/4 cup for broth, 1/2 cup for marinade
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola or veggie oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cashews
  • cooked brown rice

Directions:

  1. Slice tofu into three bars lengthwise, then thinly slice each of those into slices for frying. Press them between paper towels in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Start cooking brown rice according to directions.
  3. Mix veggie broth with 1/4 cup of soy sauce, set aside.
  4. Heat toasted sesame oil in wok until nearly smoking.
  5. Fry tofu in batches, flipping so that each side is golden. Remove from wok after each batch, set aside.
  6. Toast cashews in a small pan on low heat, shaking frequently.
  7. Heat veggie oil in wok, stir fry carrots with ginger and red pepper flake until cooked but still crisp.
  8. Add broccoli, stir fry for about a minute.
  9. Whisk cornstarch into veggie broth, pour into wok.
  10. Stir for a minute or two longer. Most of the broth should be absorbed, if not, turn the heat under the wok higher for a few seconds.
  11. Chop cashews.
  12. Add tofu back into work, stir.
  13. Serve stir fry over brown rice, with toasted cashew bits on top.

CSA ingredients used in salad and stir fry: mixed greens, carrots, broccoli.

We are making pretty good progress on the box this week. I’m going to have to hold back more at the farmers’ market – I have too many veggies from there that I’m ignoring!