8.17.2012

Preserving Fresh Corn

I feel like I have had this post "pending" for over two weeks. What the heck? I've been so busy running, making jam for to cure cancer, and well...eating and drinking, I haven't had time to get it up.

Now that it is Friday, I have some Shallow Grave Black Bean Brownies in the oven and a glass of wine from Farmstead in my hand and I can take a deep breath. I love Fridays. To be honest, I may have several glasses of wine tonight, and some of that porter I put in my brownies. Why not - YOLO. (You only live once. You gotta listen to the Joy The Baker podcast to get it...just do it).

Any way, I digress...

By the way...its the end of August! Huh? There are 38ish days left of summer. Depressing right? Sorry to burst that bubble. Go ahead, have some wine with me now.

Seriously though, how did it go by so fast? Let's be real. I am not a fan of time going by fasting as you get older. Its crap. But I have been working hard this summer on trying to preserve some of the agriculture goodness of California. I know its pretty great year round, but you just don't get good corn year round.

Enter...

Preserving Fresh Corn (from the) Cob.

Next time you go to the Farmer's Market, buy as much as you can. This will give you an easy way to have it all year. When it is rainy and cold outside, you'll get to pull out some corn from the freezer that is way better than that other frozen stuff, and remember those warm summer nights....with that delightful glass of wine. Hm....

What's awesome is one of my favorite blogs posted about the an easy way to cut corn off the cob today. Great minds think alike right? I hope. I've read about several variations to use to do this, but this is what has worked best for me.

So go on, savor that summer taste!

Preserving Fresh Corn (from the) Cob.

  • Shuck your corn and use a produce brush to get all the silk off.
  • Take a bunt cake pan, stick your ear of corn in the middle and take a sharp knife and carefully cut the corn off the cob. 



  • Using a bunt pan will help keep the flying corn in mostly one spot.



  • After shucking and de-cobbing, bring a pot of salted (about a teaspoon of salt) water to a boil. 
  • Add the corn and blanch for 4-5 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Once drained, lay the corn on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stick it in the freezer. 
  • After an over night freeze, transfer to freezer safe container and you're done!


Now, I have a brownie.

Cheers!

Erica

8.14.2012

Baltimore - The Greatest City in America

After our meatless Monday meal, Dan and I took the pups for a long walk. Along the way we stumbled across one of these benches that someone must've ran into with their car and totally destroyed. Fortunately for us, the board with Baltimore on it was still intact, so guess what came home with us? I think tonight we should go see if the board with "Greatest City in America" is still there and claim it too.  I absolutely love Baltimore and think Bruce Goldfarb's words describe it well "The humble bench is an apt metaphor for Baltimore itself — modest and unpretentious, simple by design yet utterly functional, a dependable source of comfort, sometimes gritty and in need of repair, often strikingly beautiful, and always showing a resilient elegance."

Enough about Charm City, you probably want to hear more about my meatless Monday dish. Good news, no disasters occurred during the making of this dish! I'm thinking my disaster curse has been lifted. Knock on wood? Baltimore bench wood?

When trying to decide what to make for dinner last night using some of our CSA veggies (now the story of my life...it's a good story!) I was thinking of going in a totally different direction aka meatful Monday. Then I ran across this recipe from K & K Test Kitchen and it spoke to me, so without further ado.

Quinoa Salad With Toasted Almonds adapted from K & K Test Kitchen
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1 cup quinoa
5 teaspoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds discarded, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chopped thyme

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 jumbo yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick (CSA)
3 plum tomatoes (more would have been good, but that's all I had) (CSA)

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 lime, halved


1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast almonds until crisp, lightly browned, and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well.


2) Stir quinoa, thyme, 2 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes.


3) In a medium frying pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add green pepper, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook until the pepper is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Add yellow squash and sauté 5 to 8 minutes. Add in tomatoes and saute another 1-2 minutes.

 

4) Add the cooked quinoa and vegetables to a large bowl.  Stir in almonds, white wine vinegar and remaining 3 teaspoons oil, season with salt, and fluff with a fork. Before serving squeeze lime over salad. 


I served mine with some oven heated naan bread. I honestly was skeptical about whether or not this would fill me up, but it did the trick. What I love about this recipe is that with my cooking of it, it's on it's 3rd variation, and you can see that through the blog chain. I actually just looked at Whole Living's original recipe for the dish and it had celery and was intended to be served cold! I'm learning how to put my own spin on things and go with the flow and even though I'm starting out with baby steps...adding tomatoes...I'm getting better at it. I'm still not ready to tackle spices though!

-Abbie
 

8.13.2012

Smoked Sausage and Sauteed Veggie Stuffed Potatoes

Um, I know...the title basically sounds like heaven. Or at least to me it does! That is, as heavenly as a non-dessert item can be!

Since we've been getting a lot of the same veggies from the CSA each week, I've been trying to find yummy, different recipes to use them in. So without further ado...

Smoked Sausage and Sauteed Veggie Stuffed Potatoes adapted from The Cozy Apron
*I made enough "stuffing" for 6 potatoes, but only made two potatoes and then took the leftovers for lunch. I just ate them, but it would've been tasty over some pasta or even some spinach for a salad.

2 potatoes (CSA)
2 T olive oil, plus 1 tsp, divided use
2 smoked sausage links, cut into 1/4" slices
6 green onions, sliced, white parts and green parts divided (CSA)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced (CSA)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced into strips (CSA)
1 14 oz can of tomatoes, juice drained
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; place the russet potatoes into a small bowl, and drizzle the 1 teaspoon of olive oil over them, and rub onto the potatoes; using a fork, stab each of the potatoes a few times to allow the steam to escape while they bake; once oven is ready, place the potatoes directly onto the middle rack of the oven, and bake the potatoes for about 50-60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a paring knife; while potatoes bake, prepare the vegetable and sausage filling.

2)Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and allow to become very hot; once hot, add the 2 tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced chicken sausage and white parts of scallions; using tongs, gently toss the sausage with the onions until they begin to brown, for about 2-3 minutes; next, add the garlic, and once the garlic has become aromatic (about 20 seconds), add in the green bell pepper, and the zucchini and toss all together in the pan allowing for the vegetables to become lightly browned, about 2  minutes; next, add in the diced tomatoes with a little of their juice, the dried dill, and the ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper; toss with the tongs to incorporate, and cook for about 2 more minutes; turn off the heat, and set aside while you finish baking the potatoes and prepping them for serving.


3) Once potatoes are baked, remove from oven and allow them to cool slightly so that they can be handled; once they’re cool enough to handle, make a length-wise slice into the middle of each baked potato to open it, and using a fork, gently fluff the inside of the potato, getting as close to the skin as possible, to loosen the “meat” of it up; next, add a pinch of salt an pepper to the inside of the fluffed potato, and even an extra drizzle of olive oil, if you wish.

4) To finish the dish, scoop a generous, over-flowing portion of the vegetable and smoked sausage mixture right into each of the baked potatoes, stuffing the mixture into the baked potato well, and plate; garnish with a sprinkle of chopped green scallions.


This turned out delicious, and really you could add/substitute any veggies you desired. My potato was kind of small so the stuffing part didn't really turn out pretty, but it still tasted great, and that's what matters most.

Did you notice? No story of disaster in this post! Great Success!

-Abbie

8.06.2012

Team USA!

I have been an Olympic-a-holic ever since the opening ceremonies. My friend hosted a watch party with beers from different countries, Olympic ring M&M dishes, an absolutely amazing cake she made (sorry no pics of it!) and my contribution below inspired by Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I wanted to add the brownies but didn't have time to bake. I also still haven't managed to unpack the box that contains bowl for my mixer. I know, I know,  I COULD bake with out it, but where's the fun in that?!


Although, I wasn't a big fan of this year's opening ceremonies, I do really like that each country competing is represented in this year's torch by the metal petals that were carried in during the parade of nations. Wondering what those were like I was? Well now you know!

I've also been less than impressed with NBC's coverage of the games, along with the rest of America. I've been trying to watch as much of the games live as I can. Hi, NBC, I go to bed by 10pm every night!

I love all the summer sports, but my favorite is track & field and of course the marathons. I missed watching the women's marathon, but some friends are getting together to watch the men's. Hopefully I'll be inspired for Erica and I's upcoming race!

Enjoy the last week of competition. I know I will be!

-Abbie

8.05.2012

Avocado? Yes Please.


Forget the butter, get on that avocado. This good fat is all over the place right now, and I like to add it to almost...well, everything.

Some healthy facts about avocados for your educational pleasure from Web MD.


  • Avocado Spread – My new favorite.
    European sailors en route to the New World used avocados in place of butter.
  • Avocado Varieties
    There are more than 80 varieties of avocados. The most common is the year-round Hass avocado, whose original mother tree still stands in California. Woot for California!
  • Alligator Pear
    The avocado is also known as an alligator pear, because of its shape, green skin, and rough texture of the Haas variety. (The Florida avocado has a shiny, smooth surface.)
  • Avocado Production
    The two main U.S. producers of the fruit are California and Florida. The Golden State far outranks the Sunshine State, however, with more than 6,000 groves accounting for about 90% of avocado crops.
  • Avocado Nutrition
    Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.
  • Avocado in Salads
    Consider adding avocado or avocado oil to your salads. Recent research shows that antioxidants such as lycopene and beta-carotene are better absorbed with the healthy monounsaturated fat avocados have in abundance.
  • Super Bowl Guacamole
    What would guacamole be without avocados? On Super Bowl Sunday, Americans eat about 8 million pounds of guacamole. For Cinco de Mayo, the tally is closer to 14 million.
  • Avoiding Browning in Avocados
    To reduce oxidation (browning) of an already-sliced avocado, sprinkle lemon juice on the exposed flesh and then refrigerate in a plastic bag.
Kinda fun right? You can thank me the next time you win trivial pursuit k? 

These buggers are every where right now too and I can't get enough of them. But I have to hold back and of course, and eat them in moderation.

These are two of my favorite things to do with avocados right now besides making guac.

Avocado Toast
2 pieces of good fresh bread
1 ripe avocado
juice of ½ a lime
salt, pepper and cayenne

Friday Night Brinner
Toast your bread to your liking. Mash up the avocado with a potato masher or fork and add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne pepper for a kick. Spread evenly onto the the toast. Maybe a drizzle of balsamic? I like this paired with some eggs and a side of fruit for an easy breakfast (or lunch or dinner really). Crave worthy actually.

Avocado Chicken Salad
Makes 2-3 Servings
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken – left over from a rotisserie chicken will work
1 ripe avocado
Juice from 1 lime
¼ freshly chopped cilantro
salt, pepper, cayenne
Optional additions: red onion, shallots, green onion (about 1 tablespoons worth)
Pita or Tortilla Chips

Mash up the avocado with a potato masher or fork and add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne pepper. Fold in the cilantro and choice of onion. Serve in a pita, with tortilla chips, or on a bed of greens.


This is the easiest way to eat guacamole for lunch and it be totally socially acceptable.

Yums!

Erica
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