Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Squash, It's What's for Dinner

Huz and I divvy up the chores around here, seeing how we're egalitarian and all. Cooking dinner is no exception. He cooks Mondays, Fridays and Sundays and I get Wednesdays and Saturdays. (You notice he gets one more night than me? Well, I work full-time and even though he's a busy doctoral student, he's got a more flexible schedule and he's MUCH better at cooking than me anyway, so I say go for it!)

Last week I made a delicious squash gratin that I got from I never got around to photographing it, but rest assured it looked just as good as hers (and tasted great too, although next time I'll probably halve the amount of butter since it was localized to the bread crumbs on top and was a bit much).

Tonight's dinner calls for more summer squash, since that's what we're getting the most of these days from the CSA (damn that tomato blight! I miss my heirlooms). I wanted something more substantial than just squash, pastry and cheese (the likely combination, and one that my allergic toddler cannot partake of) so I found a recipe with chicken: Rosemary Chicken and Summer Squash Brochettes. I'll be firing up the charcoal grill so I hope it's a success (I am woefully unskilled at grilling, my friends). I'll let you know how it is and, if photo worthy, will share some visuals.

Speaking of grilling, the other night Huz made his first beer can chicken. It was delicious, as were the grilled green beans and the bacon-wrapped onions (sweet and savory is always a winner).

beer can chicken

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cool Green Summer Beverage

A delicious way to use up all those cucumbers from the CSA is to blend them up in a cool, refreshing drink. Since they are composed of 90% water it makes perfect sense to drink them.

Cucumber Mint Lemonaide Slush

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 TBS sugar (to taste)
4-6 mint leaves
1 cup ice
3 oz tequila or rum (optional)

Put all ingredients in blender. Enjoy!

Another option is this recipe I just stumbled upon but haven't tried yet.

And here's another one using that lovely caramel-colored bottle of Pimm's I just happen to have in my cupboard.

Meatball and Zucchini Kebabs


A wonderful meal was had, thanks to Huz. These spicy meatballs and fresh grilled zucchini kebabs are amazing.

Add the awesome melon and basil-lime granita for dessert and you've got a great summer meal.

Make it. Share it. Enjoy it.

Homeade Granola


I know this isn't using any ingredients from the CSA, but it's a great homemade alternative to paying $4 for a small box of cereal.* I buy the oats, wheat, and nuts in bulk from Whole Foods.

Nothing could be better on a gray, rainy morning than to smell fresh, hot granola baking in the oven. You know exactly what's in it (no preservatives, etc.) and if you're cooking for a toddler with food allergies, as I do, you know it's safe.

Homemade Granola

7 cups oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup wheat bran (or substitute rye flakes)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water (or substitute orange or apple juice)
1 TBS vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped dates (or substitute raisins, dried cranberries, etc.)
1 Cup chopped pecans (or any other nut - for my food allergy kid, I use almonds)

Preheat oven to 275. In large bowl, combine oats, wheat germ and bran. In medium bowl, blend brown sugar through water. Add vanilla through salt. Stir sugar mixture into oats until evenly moistened. Pour into large, shallow baking dish (I use an 11x14 pan). Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until lightly brown. Mix fruit and nuts into dish and continue baking for 15 minutes.

Cool and store in airtight container.

Makes 10 cups.


*This cost me as follows:

$1.41 for sliced almonds
$1.88 for rolled oats
$0.39 for rye flakes
(The rest I had in my cupboard)
Total: $3.68

Better cost than the grocery store, more quantity, better quality.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Orzo Salad With Heirloom Tomatoes

This is a winner. I make it every summer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fancy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a fan of all things sweet and baked, especially if they include chocolate. Through the years I have made many a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I haven't really found one worth making again and again. Adding bonus ingredients like nuts or toffee chunks is always appealing to me, as is adding coffee liqueur and instant coffee. And that is what the so-called "Neiman Marcus" recipe I have in my recipe box calls for. I have no idea where I got this recipe, but I've made it several times and it's a winner.

1/2 cup butter (unsalted, softened)
1 cup brown sugar
3 TBS sugar
1 egg
2 TBS coffee liqueur
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup oats
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter with sugars until fluffy, then beat in egg and liqueur. In separate bowl, combine baking soda through coffee. Beat into the butter mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Form 24 balls and bake 8-10 minutes.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Zucchini and Swiss Chard Tart

Having loads of greens and a huge zucchini from the last CSA pick up, I searched the internet high and low for a good dinner recipe that used both. I found it here, substituting beet greens for the swiss chard, leeks for the green onions, and feta for the Gruyere.

The results were pretty good; I especially like the whole wheat crust. Very homey and comforting.

Zucchini and Swiss Chard Tart

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chard and Potato Quesadillas

Quesadillas and Drinks

Potato, Swiss Chard, Garlic, Onions - Huz made some lovely chard, potato quesadillas last night, complete with homemade tortillas.

Chopped Garlic
Sliced Onion
Chopped Swiss Chard
Chopped Potatoes

Make Corn Tortillas
Add cheese.

Make a fun drink with a newly acquired liqour, Aperol, and enjoy!

Delicious Pizza

Huz made this on the fly last night and it was so good I just had to share.

Top a homemade whole wheat crust with olive oil, rosemary salt, sauteed onions, garlic, beet greens, and summer squash. Sprinkle parmesan and feta cheese on top, along with some salted pumpkin seeds (trust me).


Take a bite and go to taste bud heaven.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

CSA Week Four


In the basket:

lettuce, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, rhubarb, onion, parsley, thyme, leek, pattypan squash, beets, green beans, eggs

veggies week 4

Things made so far:

Onions - gourmet hot dogs two ways: One with grilled sweet onions, dijon mustard, and cheddar and one with sour orange relish and avocado

Parsley - Bulgar Salad with Grilled Chicken and Parsley Pesto

Leek (subbed for shallots), lettuce, cabbage - Fiesta Chicken Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinagarette

(adapted by The Bon Appetit Cookbook)


3 cups thinly sliced red leaf lettuce
3 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 cup diced grilled chicken
2 each seeded chopped roma (plum) tomatoes
1 thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 can drained black beans
1 diced avacado
1 cup sweet corn kernels
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

crumbled tortilla chips (to taste)
crumbled feta cheese (to taste)

Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup chopped shallots (or leeks)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup vegetable oil


Combine all ingredients in large bowl except cheese.

Combine first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made a day ahead, cover and refrigerate, bring to room temperature before using.)

Dress and toss the salad right before using - add tortilla chips, cheese and pumpkin seeds to taste.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Caring For Greens

One thing you quickly learn after joining a CSA is just how much washing you do. Every Monday I bring home a lovely basket brimming with Tennessee dirt-laden produce. It's messy, beautiful, and it takes a lot of rinsing.

Thus, a salad spinner is a must. The first year we belonged to a CSA we got by with an herb-sized spinner, but don't kid yourself that it'll be big enough. It's not. So now we have two sizes and the large one is used every week.

Swiss chard, kale, beet greens, lettuce, herbs - they all get the same welcome at my house.

Step 1: Trim stems, lettuce cores, or remove beets from their greens (leaving them on will leach the beets of goodness - nutrients and flavor).

Step 2: Rinse individual leaves to remove dirt and sand.

Step 3: Place greens in the spinner bowl and rinse.

Step 4: Spin, spin, spin!

Storage: I have struggled with properly storing greens and herbs and have lost many to wilting in less than a week's time. I think I've finally figured out the best way though. I thought about buying those special bags that are supposed to absorb the gases, but they wear out over time and have to be thrown away. As much as I don't want to use plastic bags, Ziplocks are definitely part of the process. The good news, though, is that you can rinse them and reuse them during the whole CSA season.

Lettuce - Store in a bowl with a little water in the bottom (treat lettuce heads like they are flowers - trim and put in water). Refrigerate.

Loose leaf greens - Store in the salad spinner, if available, or in a ziplock bag. Refrigerate.

Herbs - Make sure herbs are well dried; if not, wrap them in a paper towel. Store in small, snack-size ziplock bags. Or, if the herbs have distinct stems, like basil, trim ends and place in vase of water and leave on counter.

washing greens