Since some people asked about CSA, I posted a picture of vegetables we've been getting this fall. We get about this much vegetables every week, but it differs from farmer to farmer. This amount of vegetables is usually enough for a family of 4, but it also is a great amount for hubby and I. We tried the half share on our first year joining CSA, but we thought it was not enough for two of us.
Sometimes the vegetables from my CSA farmer can't be found easily in grocery stores. It's because my CSA farmer likes to try new varieties and likes to preserve old varieties that commercial growers wouldn't choose because those varieties need longer harvest period.
Vegetables that we get are vegetables that are in season that the farmer plants. Sometimes there is a flexibility of what greens or herbs we prefer, but overall, we get a "fixed" box full of great stuffs.
Having leftover pumpkin from making pumpkin cheesecake, I made this yummy bread to match colors outside my window.
Source: From Amish and Mennonite Kitchen Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt 1 cup mashed pumpkin
1/3 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup raisins
Mix eggs and sugar until pale, add oil, water, and pumpkin. Fold dry ingredients and raisins. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for an hour or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
Have you ever bought stuffs for a specific purpose but they were used for other things because you never found a chance to used them for their original reason-to-buy? I have. It's my ramekins. I bought them almost a year ago because I was eager to make soufflé. My plan got pushed away for some reasons and I almost forgot about it. I'd used the ramekins for soup, cobbler, and other things, but not soufflé. Not until last week.
I made this soufflé on Sunday night. We had a really busy weekend, so it was really nice to have time being at home. When relaxing, I like to have our apartment filled with... sweet aroma from my oven!!! Hubby also likes to zip his coffee with something sweet, so, after hopping from one recipe to the other, I decided to make this chocolate soufflé.
I was happy when seeing the cake rose high up exceeded the rim of the ramekins. I let them sit on the kitchen counter allowing them to cool down. When I went back to check them up, OH NO! They deflated slowly but sure. I quickly garnished them to soften the gullies on the cakes' surface and grabbed my camera. Now I wonder if soufflé pictures I found online or ones in cookbooks are pictures of the cakes when they were fresh, just right from the oven.
I thought my soufflé failed because of the shrinkage, but my oh my… it was awesome. The texture was so fluffy and airy I guessed because it was flourless. It was very rich that one ramekin of it was enough for two of us.
This is the main dish for the coleslaw I posted on previous entry. No, we didn't get KFC as hubby suggested For this dish, I used meat that was available in my freezer: two thighs, wings, and a drumstick. The various parts of dark meat was because I like to buy a whole chicken. That way I could use the breasts for vegetable stir-fried, the ribs and bones for chicken broth, and the dark meat for any main dish like this.
Getting a head of cabbage from CSA, hubby asked me to make coleslaw. I was reluctant to make it because it is a side dish, meaning that I still had to make other things beside that. When I asked him what we would eat it with, excitedly he said, "KFC!"
I've been living in the U.S. for more than seven years, but I never made coleslaw—an American traditional side dish—on my own. As a starting point, I searched for the recipe in my More-with-Less cookbook. That book was a gift from my friend Ruthie for our wedding, which turns out to be very useful. Whenever I need a recipe of American traditional food, or food that uses the most basic ingredients, that's the book.
Hubby and I thought the coleslaw was great. We wanted to make more, so we were a bit disappointed when there was no cabbage in our last week's CSA box.
Shred (I used a food processor): 1 medium head cabbage
In a large bowl, toss gently: Shredded cabbage
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup sliced radishes
2 Tbs minced onion
Combine for dressing: 1 cup mayonnaise
When a new Earth Fare supermarket had just opened in my area, they had free samples of baked vegetable chips for people to try. Whenever I went there, the first thing I got was the snap pea crisps. Other veggie chips they had that I liked were carrot, beet, okra, and green bean chips. I liked the chips because they were not heavily flavored. I would guess the additional flavor were salt, pepper, and oil. Yes, oil. Baking also requires oil to prevent sticking and to make the veggie crispy.
This past few weeks, we've been getting eggplants from CSA, and I had used them for curry, stir fry veggies, and balado. Since I was getting bored of my usual cooking and the eggplants needed to be cooked soon, I thought of cooking them for appetizer. My options were eggplant rolls and chips, but I decided to make the latter for its simplicity.
I made this eggplants chips two times in a row. The first one was great but was burnt a little bit. I thought because the eggplant slices were too thin. So, I made the slices thicker for he second one, which was actually worse than the first one since the chips were chewy instead of crunchy. Lesson learned! Next time I make this, I would cut the eggplant thin, about a quarter of an inch or less, then reduce the baking time. To accompany the chips, I made basil pesto using the leaves I freshly picked from a potted basil plant in my sun room.
Eggplant Chips Ingredients: 2 Italian eggplants
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
Thinly slice the eggplants to 1/4 inch and arrange on a large parchment paper. Sprinkle the salt over the eggplant and let sit for about an hour. Using a paper towel, blot off the salt and water.
Mix oil oil and chili powder then brush mixture onto both sides of the eggplant.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350' F for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately.
I think I am spoiled! I get a box of great local organic vegetables right from the farmers every week. How can I not be spoiled? I didn't have to pick the veggies I get. I remember those years, when hubby and I had to do grocery shopping every week or two. We spent too much time choosing veggies from grocery stores' fresh produce section only to get the usual vegetables. I like how it works now. I like to pick what I can cook when given vegetables better than the other way around. That way we don't get bored of eating limited option of veggies, and also don't need to do grocery shopping too often.
This early Fall we've been getting different kinds of beets. The red one is the one that's very usual and thought of the only beet ever existed. The golden one is labeled to be less sweet than the red ones, and claimed to be a good source of fiber and potassium. The last one is stripy. It always makes me smile when I cut it and brings me to a whimsical world. I usually cut them up then baked them together in a big baking pan. However that day, I separated them up to three containers to avoid the maroon color domination.
I also made pan-fried salmon that day to accompany the beets. Salmon is somewhat pricey in my area I guess because we live far from the ocean. So, when it is on sale, we usually buy it. That day was a special day then because we had salmon for dinner Knowing that I was going to cook the salmon that day, hubby told me several times not to overcook it. He likes it juicy; and makes it a big deal if it is too dry. I was glad it turned out great. I used a recipe from Food Network, which was a great and easy recipe. The only different I did from the original recipe was I pan-frying it instead of grilling it.
On the plate: pan-fried salmon, beets, white quinoa, and celery leaf. Yumm... I wish we could have this kind of dinner every day... or will it not be so special anymore?
Although trees in my area haven't changed their color yet, I can really feel Autumn in the air. The temperature has dropped since last week and gloomy sky has been persistently hanging in the sky. Having this kind of weather, my nose is longing for the smell of fall. Call me silly, but last Sunday during the church service, I smelled cinnamon and pine tree which brought my imagination to a Thanksgiving dinner scene. No! the preacher was great if you asked me why my thought was wandering around. I blamed it to the cold cloudy day
For me, Fall also means pumpkin! That's why when I stumbled upon a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake from Mennonite Girls Can Cook website, I bookmarked it right away. Last weekend, finally, I found a reason to make this dessert. The recipe was very easy to follow. Usually I overbaked my cooking because I wanted to make sure the food was cooked through. That way my cooking was almost always too dry. For this recipe, I learned to bake as the recipe says. Well...I added 10 minutes, because I didn't take out the cake right after I turned off the oven. Didn't know what the inside looked like, I was nervous when I cut it in front of my friends at church. Thanks God it turned out great. I got a lot of good feedback from people stayed for the potluck. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Ingredients for crust: 5 Tbs butter, melted
1 cup crushed ginger snaps
1 cup crushed graham cracker
Using fingers, mix the crumbs, pour melted butter over the crumbs and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the buttered 10" springform pan. Using your fingers, pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 7 minutes. Set aside.
Ingredients for filling:
3 -8 ounce packages regular cream cheese, room temperature 1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 tsp cloves (I used cardamom)
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Using an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and beat well. Crack eggs into a smaller bowl and whisk until pale yellow and frothy.
Add eggs to cream cheese mixture and beat for 2 minutes. Using the same bowl as you used for the eggs stir together pumpkin and spices.
Add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese mixture and beat on low until just incorporated. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Gentle fold whipped cream into pumpkin cream cheese mixture.
Pour mixture over crust.
Wrap one large sheet of foil around bottom and sides of pan. Press against sides.
Place wrapped pan in a baking dish and fill with hot water halfway up the sides of the pan.
Bake in oven that is preheated to 325º. For convection oven heat to 300º.
Bake for 60-70 minutes. Cake will still be jiggly in the centre but will set as it cools.
Cool at room temperature. Remove foil and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill and allow to completely set. Remove the ring of the spring form pan, and place onto cake plate.
Because of hubby's loves for Thai curry, making curry paste from scratch had been on my cooking list. I've tried some Thai curry recipe, but never had the urge of making the paste. Now that I'll be away for sometime, I thought he would appreciate having a ready-to-use paste store in the freezer. That way he could just add vegetables and meat without the hassle of preparing many ingredients.
This recipe below is a simplified version of the original one, which called for coriander leaves and other fresh ingredients. Here in my area, some fresh Asian spices are kinda rare and pricey, so I often buy the powdered one. To make the recipe simpler, I used food processor to grind instead of using mortar and pestle. It worked, yet had some minor concern because it's wet like porridge. I thought the paste was too dry so added water to make the processor work better.
That day I had a lot of banana peppers and eggplants, so those were the main players for the curry. I used similar recipe for the stuffed banana pepper. For the eggplants, I chopped them then pan-seared them until they were soft. This trick really helped to avoid chewy and rubbery eggplants like what I usually had.
Green Curry Paste Ingredients: 10 cloves garlic
7 large fresh green hot chilies or jalapeno (or more) 1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp finely sliced fresh galangal (if using dried, soak in warm water for 15 minutes) 3 fresh lemon grass, bottom part only
5 kaffir lime, discard the vein
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp shrimp paste
Mix all of the ingredients into a food processor and whiz to a paste.
Ingredients: Stuffed banana pepper or any vegetable/meat
2 eggplants, chopped and stir-fried until soft, set aside Green curry paste (recipe above) 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp fish oil
Palm sugar or regular sugar
1 Tbs vegetable oil
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add curry paste and cook until fragrant. Add coconut milk, salt, pepper, and palm sugar.
Place meat in the skillet, cook and stir until cook through (probably take 30 minutes to soften the banana pepper). Add the fish oil and chopped eggplants.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for minimum 15 minutes. Serve over warm rice. Enjoy!
Blech: sheet. Kuchen: cake. So a Blechkuchen is a German cake that is baked in a large baking sheet then cut into rectangular shapes.
I came across this recipe when I flipped through a Mennonite cookbook, More-with-Less. I was looking for a new recipe for our weekly cake/bread supply and interested in the unfamiliar title of the recipe. Searching on the internet, I found that the first page was dominated by foreign language, German. Aha! I guessed it right.
A day before, we bought some Red Delicious apples from Market Square Farmers' Market. The apples didn't look so appealing, so we were not sure if we wanted them. But the lady cut one for us to try, and maaann...it was delicious! She pointed to another basket of apples and told us that those were less sweet and the ones next to it were sour. We got combination of those three different sweetnesses and filled hubby's backpack with them.
Raised Coffee Cake (Blechkuchen)
Adapted from: More-with-Less Ingredients:
2 pkg. dry yeast
1 c. warm water
3 cup warm milk
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp salt
6 cup flour1 c. raisins combined with 3/4 c. flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Combine all of the ingredients except the raisins until dough is smooth and satiny. Stir in raisins, and fold the dough gently.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
2-3 red apples, thinly sliced
With back of spoon spread the dough thinly onto 2 greased 10x15" cookie sheets. Arrange the apple slices on top of the dough.
Bake 20 minutes at 375º. Cut to rectangular shapes.