Summer Farmer’s Market Recipe

Today’s recipe comes from friend-of-the-blog Teapot.  Sorta.  Teapot didn’t give me the recipe (not that I asked for it) and I didn’t actually see her make it.  So this was all sort of reverse engineered by me.  The reason I decided to attempt it is that I feel I’m not taking full advantage of my farmer’s market.  I have a great farmer’s market available to me, and yet I tend to buy nothing but cucumbers, chili peppers and seasonal fruit (peaches or apples).  Oh, and kale.  I’m kind of obsessed with kale from this crazy pagan lettuce lady (crazy awesome!).

Anyway, this recipe was a good excuse to make me branch out and try some different veggies.  It’s also simple and delicious and pretty good for you.

  1. Mince vegetables.  I imagine you can use whatever.  I was using some patty pan squash Cammy left here, cucumbers, wax beans, carrots and broccoli.  You want them cut up fairly small.
  2. Make a vinaigrette.  You could probably just use a store bought one too, but they’re super easy to make.  I mixed minced garlic, red wine vinegar, coarse ground mustard and olive oil (pour the oil into the vinegar slowly while whisking to get a good emulsion).  Then I threw in some of the fresh dill and tarragon Cammy brought me.  (If Cammy hasn’t brought you any herbs you can use whatever.  Or leave them out).  Toss the vinaigrette on the veggies.  You just want enough that it gives them a light coating.
  3. Toss with brown rice and a little bit of goat cheese.  When I had this made by Teapot it was all chilled which was fine (it was a hot day, it was pretty great).  But I like the rice to be just a little warm because then it makes the cheese melt a little, but not totally.

I don’t like to mix the three together until right when I’m about to eat them, but you can combine them for starters.  It will keep for about a week, but is best a day or two after you make it.

I can also verify that this works great with jasmine rice and/or couscous.

Recipe: Potato Leek Soup

I have nothing creative or amusing to share today, so instead I’m going to post the recipe for the soup I just made.  In typical Kristy fashion I didn’t really follow a recipe, but I looked at a few so that I could sort of plan what I was going to do.  I was fairly pleased with the end result (it was a little scant on salt, but that’s a common problem in my cooking).  Definitely a good “Holy crap why is there more snow in my forecast!” day meal.

Potato Leek Soup

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, minced

5 leeks

6 (or so) potatoes.  I think I used Yukons.

Some garlic cloves

Chicken stock (you can use veggie if you prefer, this was what I had)

2/3 cup (roughly) half and half

Splash of wine (a dry one.  I think a white would work best, but not having any handy I used a bit of cabernet franc)

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

I already told you to mince the onions.  Trim the extra bits off the leeks so you just have the white and light green parts.  (Query internet:  This seems very wasteful.  Are there uses for leek tops?  One recipe suggested using them to tie up your bundle of herbs for the soup, but I didn’t have any twine.)  Clean them.  If you’ve never cooked with leeks before (I was a leek virgin) they get sand and stuff inside, so you need to cut them in half lengthwise and rinse them out.  Then slice them thinly.  Cut up your potatoes.  I did mine in about a quarter inch dice, but if you have a potato masher or immersion blender you needn’t make them quite so tiny (Yes, I realize it’s silly I have neither of those.  But it’s also the reality of my life.  Deal with it.)

Melt the butter in a large pan.  Mince in the garlic.  Let it brown just a little then toss in the leeks and onions.  Sauté (no, I don’t really do a real sauté—I just stir rapidly) until the onions are transparent and just starting to brown.  Put the bay leaves in.  Add in your potatoes.  Toss it all so that everything’s mixed pretty evenly.  Splash in your wine to deglaze the pan.  If you get the urge to splash some into a glass for yourself at this point I see nothing wrong with it.  I didn’t, but that’s just because a) I had a very empty stomach and b) I was preparing the filling for my almost vegan breakfast burritos on the next burner and the multitasking was a bit stressful.

Pour in enough chicken stock to cover all the potatoes.  In my case this was most of, but not all of a box.  (How big are those boxes of stock?—I’m too lazy to get up and check).  Let it simmer for a bit.  When the potatoes are cooked thoroughly mash them or puree them with an immersion blender.  They don’t need to be completely mashed—it’s fine to have lumps.  I have lots of lumps (see lack of equipment).  Then add in the half and half.  Stir.  Let it simmer a little while longer.  Add in the salt and pepper.  Let it simmer long enough for you to pour a drink, get a bowl out and set up something fun to watch while you eat.


A Recipe for Our Readers

I’ve been meaning to share recipes on this blog for a while now.  Back in the summer I took all kinds of photos of things I was making, I just never got around to putting those posts together.  At the moment I can’t access or upload photos on account of my desktop computer being dead (and my not being able to find the disk to install my camera software on my laptop).  So long and short of it is, there are no pictures in this entry.  Use your imagination.

Necessary back story:  I think most of you know already, but I have an autoimmune disease that I’m trying to treat with lifestyle and diet on account of all the medications carrying the possible side effect of death.  Part of this is consuming a lot of super vegetables (ie spinach mostly, sometimes broccoli).  In the summer I have a salad for dinner every night and it’s not about the low calories, it’s about consuming the right nutrients.  (I eat my “big meal” at lunch around 2:00)  I go through at least a bag of spinach per week.  The problem is that in the winter I want something hot to eat.  Sometimes I go with soup.  Sometimes I just wrap my salad in a warm tortilla or pita.  But this is my latest solution to the “still consuming veggies while eating something warm” problem.

This is also my latest dinner obsession.  For lack of better name I’m calling it Kristy’s Couscous.

The first time I made this I made it with leftover couscous.  So if you have couscous lying around you can just use that.  If not you want to use about half a cup of couscous per serving (I’ve only made it in single servings).

Make couscous according to instructions in  a decent sized nonstick pot.  When you dump in the couscous also add some spices (I used garlic salt and dill).

Set couscous to the side and make yourself a salad.  More or less like you would ordinarily make a salad.  Now my salads always use spinach as the base green and leafy—I don’t think this would work with lettuce.  It might be okay with kale or other green and leafies.  Cabbage would definitely work.  The key here is to not mix the salad and to keep it layered (if you don’t mind dirtying extra dishes you could just keep them separate.  You want things that you want to cook longer on top and your green and leafy on the bottom.  Otherwise it’s more or less a normal salad.  Unless you’re one of those sick people that puts tuna or salmon or something in your salad.  That’s disgusting and I refuse to let you corrupt my recipe with it.  Also hard boiled eggs, not so good.  If you’re using cucumbers (I do) you want to cut them into fairly small pieces and I recommend that you seed them.  It’s not necessary—I’ve done it both ways and it’s not a huge difference.

Put the couscous back on the heat and add some olive oil.  Break it up and stir it around then start adding your veggies.  Start with onions and move from there.  In my case this means next carrots, then cucumbers.  Oooh, before you put in your green and leafies, let me recommend some cheese.  In my case this was asiago.  Wait till the cheese has melted, then throw in your spinach.  Stir constantly until the spinach is just wilted and everything is more or less mixed.

Pour it out onto a plate.  Enjoy.

Holy Sense Memory, Batman!

Something about me that… well, I’m fairly certain all of you know by now, is that I love ice cream.  Any kind of frozen dessert really:  sorbet, gelato, granita…  It’s my favorite indulgence.  I’ll eat it in the dead of winter. (Actually, I tend to eat more of it in the winter since that’s when it tends to be on sale.  Hey, I’m a wannabe-foodie on a budget!)  I’ll eat it as a meal replacement.  I’ll eat it on a plane, in a train… you get the idea.

For my birthday this year I got an ice cream maker.  It was all I wanted and I was thrilled.  Beyond thrilled.  So now my life revolves around getting to make a weekly frozen concoction.  I plan this way in advance (ie. tomorrow I make blackberry red wine sorbet, next week I’m making peach ice cream, the next week I’m making cucumber mojito sorbet).  And I get a kick out of making ice creams I know I couldn’t just purchase at the store.

One ice cream you can’t purchase at the store, or much of anywhere outside of Mexico, is nieve de pasta.  Yes, for those of you trying to access your high school Spanish memories, that does mean “pasta ice cream” (actually “pasta snow”).  But no, it doesn’t taste like spaghetti.  From what I understand it’s actually named after a type of cookies which are called “pastas” not because they taste like pasta, but because of the paste with which they’re they’re made.  I discovered nieve de pasta while studying in Morelia, Michoacan.  Michoacan is kind of famous for nieve de pasta (although the internet tells me it comes from Guanajuato originally.  Whatever, Guanajuato!)  (Guanajuato, if you’re reading this, I love you and plan to retire to you, nothing personal).

So it was the third ice cream I made.  I had a few missteps along the way, but once I got there, one bite and I was… well, I started to say “in Heaven”, but where I actually was was back in Mexico (“So far from God, so close to the United States”).  It was like a little Mexican vacation in a bowl.  And the economy being what it is, I think this might be a good way to take vacations.  Since I have been unable to find a recipe in English, I thought I’d share.  This recipe was created by reading several and sort of creating a composite.

2 cans evaporated milk (I only ever see them in one size–I think 12 oz)
1-2 sticks of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of baking soda (yeah, I know it seems strange, but it’s in every recipe I’ve seen)
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey

Boil the milk, baking soda, and cinnamon for 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat.  Stir constantly and keep scraping the edges or bottom or they’ll burn.  This reduces the milk a little more and infuses the cinnamon flavor.  Add honey and sugar and boil for about five more minutes to dissolve the sugar.  Add the almonds and stir until creamy.  Remove from heat.  Chill.  Once it’s cold pour into ice cream machine, following manufacturer specifications.  The nieve will not freeze very much at all, but will get kind of slushy.  Transfer it to a bowl and place in the freezer.  It’ll take a while to freeze–I’d say at least five hours, but over night would be better.  Because of the honey it will never freeze two hard and will be kind of sticky when you got to stir it.

Nieve de pasta is a little sweet by gringo standards.  And for an eggless ice cream it’s very rich.  Over all, kind of an intense experience.  For this reason it’s often served with a fruit sauce or fresh fruit.  In my case, fresh farmer’s market peaches.  Anyway, try it and find out what you’ve been missing all your life.

A Beverage Recipe

This should have been posted last week, but I forgot.  At any rate, the new season of Psych premiered last week and in honor of that we would like to share with you a recipe we developed for the premiere of Psych season 3.

I have a tradition of inventing recipes and naming them after fictional characters–I did this quite a bit when I was living with my crazy ex-roommate.  Most of those recipes were either named after characters from Lord of the Rings or from soap operas, however, as those were the only fandoms we shared.

At any rate, without further adieu, I give you…

The Big Daddy Spencer

Anyone who’s cooked with me knows I don’t believe in measuring, and I’m pretty much the same with mixing beverages, so all amounts are approximations.

In a cocktail shaker with an ice cube or two mix (If you don’t have a cocktail shaker I’m sure you can get similar results by stirring).

1 oz pomegranate liquor
1/2 oz of coconut rum
1/2 oz of vodka
1 1/2 oz of mango juice
dash of pomegranate molasses

Strain into a large martini glass and fill the rest of the glass with sour cherry juice

Initially I thought this was just kooky enough to be called the Shawn Spencer, but Mary and I concurred with its tartness and tropical flavor it was more reminiscent of Henry’s acerbic personality and fun shirts.  Upon further contemplation (and a bit of drinking) we also concluded that we would allow Henry to buy Daddy Spencers and that after a couple we might even be persuaded to call him Daddy Spencer.

Further discussion determined that Shawn would absolutely make fun of his dad for ordering such a thing, that Henry may just carry around his own bottle of pomegranate molasses in order to obtain the beverage at his convenience, and that doing so probably attracts women.