Millet is a grain that we were not familiar with. We got millet from a store that sells grain in bulk after having conversation with a gluten-intolerant friend. She had to find alternatives to common sources of carbs, and millet was one of her choice. I did some recipe searching for what to do with the millet we had. I chose a salad recipe and did some twist to match vegetables I still had. It's Friday after all, there were not many vegetables left.
One thing I considered doing was to make it as simple as possible. I tried hard not to make a lot of mess and not to use a lot of kitchen stuffs. I had to finish my thesis proposal and hubby was busy detailing and waxing our car. I didn't want to spend much time on cleaning the kitchen, and neither did he. He's been working on the car since a week ago. He even rents a garage so he doesn't have to finish the whole thing at once. He is so busy with his job, so he can start doing the car after work only. Since the days are getting shorter, he doesn't have much time during weekday. This weekend is not good for him also since he has a choir practice at noon and concerts at night.
Anyway, I found a kale recipe that doesn't need cooking. The recipe called massaged kale. To soften, the kale is soaked with lemon then massaged until soft. I think the acid in the lemon juice helps to break down the kale's cell walls just like what vinegar does to cabbage for coleslaw. Cooking kale ruining its beautiful color and texture, so I like this option. Other things I mixed into the cooked millet were chopped red radishes, stir fried onion, raisins, basil, Parmesan cheese, and shrimps. I used a spicy seasoning my friend Jocelin sent us from New Mexico. The strong flavor of the shrimps complemented the subtle taste of the salad. We loved it!
Ingredients: 2 cups of millet (I cooked it using a rice cooker using 3 cups of water) 1 bunch of kale, leafy part only, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 onion, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Hubby and I barely ate popcorn. We don't even buy it when we watch movie at a movie theater. Well, we rarely go to movie theater because I am probably one of those weirdos that don't like to watch movie with bunch of strangers in an enclosed dark room (wow! now it sounds very unappealing). Poor hubby because he still cannot convinced me about how fun a place called movie theater is. But we still go to that place once in a while when there are great movies such as Star Trek movie (yes, it's that long). Even when we go to a movie theater, we don't buy popcorn. I don't know why we never bought into the popcorn culture.
Last week on the CSA bin, we found a brown bag of colorful dried corns on the cobs. Our CSA farmers sent us a note: "Popcorn - we grew a very rare and beautiful land race, open-pollinated, non-GMO pre-Trail of Tears Cherokee popcorn variety this year. Land race means that it produces ears of various colors; however, at a fairly consistent ratio. It produces smallish popped corn but typically pops 100% of kernels...tasty and a neat variety from the past."
I always thought that colorful corns are for Fall ornaments only. I was wrong. They turned out to be great popcorn! To make popcorn, the whole corn on the cob can be placed in a paper bag and be popped in the microwave. Other method is by removing the kernels from the cob then popped on the stove. I picked the latter. I used a pan that has a glass lid so hubby & I could see the corn popping. Hubby & I was excited like little kids when we saw it's happening.
Popping dried corn reminded me of my childhood. One day mom bought a bag of dried corn and popped the corn using a big AMC pan. AMC is a great pan brand that my mom adores until now. I remember how terrified I was of the popping sound of the corn! Now that I think about it, I got scared easily by sounds in the kitchen. One other sound I hated was the loud hissing sound out of mom's pressure cooker (presto) pan. The sound was always accompanied by wiggled little knob on the lid. I always afraid the knob would pop at anytime, so I tried to avoid kitchen when grandma was pressure cooking something.
Ingredients: 3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 ounces popcorn kernels, approximately 1/2 cup
1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place the oil, popcorn and salt in a large, 6-quart, metal mixing bowl. Cover with the lid.
Place the bowl over medium heat and shake constantly using a pair of tongs to hold the bowl. Continue shaking until the popcorn finishes popping, approximately 3 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and carefully remove the lid. Stir in any salt that is on the side of the bowl. Serve immediately.
"A supertaster is a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average." -Wikipedia "Recoiling at the bitter taste may also have something to do with genetic ancestry." -PBS
I am a supertaster? I recall one experiment I did in biology lab some summers ago in which I had to taste a piece of paper. I didn't taste anything while some people immediately made funny faces following by saying that the paper tasted SO bad. So, no I don't think I have that gene. However, I can taste strong, bitter, and unpalatable taste of arugula -a vegetable hubby and some people I know don't have a problem with its taste. Whenever I addressed my hesitation about eating arugula, he couldn't quite understand.
Despite my disliking of the taste, I keep eating arugula just because it is a vegetable and because it's in our CSA box. Usually, I just mix them with eggs and pan fried them or bake them. Last week, I searched for a different recipe. I looked for a recipe that required a lot of arugula that also called for other ingredients that will soften up the bitter taste. I found one! Btw, I love the color of the egg yolks of the eggs we got from our CSA farmer's chickens. The yolks were deep orange, which made the tart so bright.
Crust: 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed
Filling: 1 yellow onion, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups baby arugula leaves
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
8 large eggs, at room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the crust: Combine the flours, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse meal. With the motor running, gradually add the ice water and process until the mixture forms a ball. Turn the ingredients into the buttered tart pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom and side of the pan. Refrigerate for 20 minute. Prick the dough with fork and bake for 12 minutes. Let the crust cool for 15 minutes.
I made a list of what I wanted to make with my beet puree, and biscotti was one of it. Our friends invited us for dinner that weekend, so I planned on bringing my biscotti with me. Searching for a recipe online, I found out that beet wasn't a common flavor people used for a biscotti, or for anything I might say. Not only the search engine showed me many kind of biscotti but beet one, it also suggested me to change the word "beet" to "best". Thank you very much!
Didn't want to take off biscotti of my list, I finally decided to alter my almond biscotti recipe. Using my limited knowledge about the science of baking, I substituted white eggs with the beet puree.
I think the biscotti was ok. I still need to work more on the recipe. Nonetheless, I had confident that my friends would love to try those. I knew they were kind of people who love to try new things and believe in homemade cooking, so I had no reason not to bring the biscotti. I was right
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the cornmeal and whisk again to blend.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for 3 minutes, until very smooth. Add the egg yolk and beet puree and continue to beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light, smooth and creamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You'll have a soft, stick-to-your-fingers dough that will ball up around the paddle or beaters. Scrape down the paddle and bowl, toss in the almonds and mix just to blend.
Between two of us, hubby more cares about our CSA vegetables. He picks up the veggies from the drop off place, puts them in the refrigerator, and often washes them. This past few weeks, I caught him several times was spraying kale, a curly leafy vegetables he loved, using a spray bottle I usually use for my potted basil. One time when he was in the middle of something, he suddenly panicked because he forgot to spray the kale. He didn’t want the leaves to droop.
Kale is my favorite green too. It tastes great and nutritious (and the texture of the leaves is an added bonus). Last week, we had food for dinner already but still had a bunch of kale. I knew I wouldn’t had chance to cook it since we were going out of town two days after, then I was going out of country. I looked for a snack recipe and found kale chips recipe.
The chips were easy to make. I had confident that we would have a great snack that evening. I mean, what could go wrong with kale? Well, something apparently could. I was baking three different recipes that time and was swamped with homework. When I checked the chips, they were overbaked! I set the time less that what the recipe suggested, and the kitchen timer hadn't gone off yet but the chips were overdone. I shouldn't have but put the pan baking on the lower rack. I got rid of some that were awfully brown, and enjoyed the rest.
Roasted Kale Chips 1 bunch of kale
1-2 Tbs olive oil
Remove the ribs from the kale and wash and dry the leaves using a salad spinner or paper towel. Put them in a Ziplock bag and add the olive oil. Shake the bag, squeeze and massage the leaves it until they are well coated with oil.
Arrange them on a greased baking pan. Sprinkle with salt. Bake in a preheated oven at 300F until the leaves are crispy turning the leaves halfway through, for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
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.
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.
Hubby loooves Thai food, especially curry. There is one Thai restaurant in town that he would love to be a member of, if possible. Every time we went there, his order was either green, yellow, or red curry. After he finished all those three in three restaurant visits, he would start the cycle over again.
One Saturday morning, I found a bunch of Thai basil in our CSA box. He picked up the vegetables by himself that morning, and I forgot to tell him what herb he should have picked, so I smiled when I saw what he picked. I knew he tricked me because days before, he was craving Thai food but I was craving Vietnamese noodle. Since it was too late for a dinner and the Thai place was far away, he agreed to disagree. Anyway, he admitted that he wanted me to cook Thai food, or something like it.
In the fridge that week, we had banana peppers piling up. I didn't know how to cook it and honestly, not crazy about it. Fortunately, I've found a magic solution for any vegetable I was not crazy about: stuffing it! Stuffing could take extra steps, but satisfaction is at the other end of the process.
I totally made up this dish. The stuffing ingredients were leftover vegetables I had that time (including the inside part of zucchini. The outer part was for this salad). I like to laugh at myself when I did that kind of thing. I tried not to waste food especially since we don't have composting facilities at our apartment. I even get sad whenever I toss vegetable peels in a trash can. That's why I often feed them to rabbits at my church's yard.
We love this food, and I got double rewards because I loved seeing hubby enjoying it.
Curried Stuffed Banana Pepper
Ingredients for stuffed banana peppers: 12 banana peppers
1 chicken breast, grounded
5 small carrots, finely grated (I like to grate them myself because store brought grated carrot usually isn't fine enough) 1/2 onion, finely diced
1 red or green pepper, finely diced
1/2 small zucchini, finely diced
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbs corn starch
Wash the banana peppers. Make a slice all the way down the length of the pepper then remove seeds carefully.
Mix the rest of the stuffing ingredients. Add one or two tablespoons of water if the mixture is too thick.
Stuff the peppers with the chicken mixture. I put the chicken mixture in a sandwich plastic bag and cut one corner at the bottom. I found that it made the stuffing part easier than using a spoon.
Ingredients for curry: 1/2 red onion
5 cloves of garlic
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 stalk lemon grass, cut to 5 segment each
1 cup fresh Thai basil
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup coconut milk
3 Tbs fish oil
Grind onion, garlic, and candlenut using mortar and pestle or food processor. Sautee the onion mixture until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients.
Carefully, places stuffed banana peppers in the skillet. Cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Once in a while, pour the soup over the pepper.
Serve with warm rice.
I love quiche. Now that I have the pan, there is no reason for not making one. Other than the filling, other thing I like about quiche is the buttery crust. However, I chose to make crustless quiche for potluck that Sunday because some of my friends were gluten intolerant. This time I used a recipe from Food Network with some twists. To make it gluten free, I also substituted bread cubes with potatoes. This dish was easy to prepare and also tasty. The texture was not as smooth as if I had used bread cubes. Overall, hubby & I liked it and I will definitely make it again.
Vegetable Crustless Quiche Adapted from Food Network Ingredients: 4 medium potatoes, sliced thinly
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, sliced, seeded, and patted dry
1/3 cup pitted black olives, halved
1 onion, sliced
1 1/2 cup half and half
1 lemon, zest finely grated
5 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a shallow baking pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast on the top rack for 30 minutes. On a different shallow pan, spread the tomatoes, peppers, and onion, out and toss with the remaining olive oil. Roast on the top rack for 20 minutes. The potatoes should be dark brown and soft. Remove from oven.
Whisk half-and-half, eggs and yolks in large glass measuring cup. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Brush a 9-inch quiche pan/10-inch tart pan lightly with olive oil. Evenly spread the potatoes, onion, and green pepper. Spread cheese over potato layer. Top with the roasted tomatoes, red pepper, and olives, and sprinkle with rosemary. Pour the custard over the fillings. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.