killing time between meals

where talking about what's for dinner while you're at lunch is totally acceptable


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Gimme Three Steps

I have a feeling that most of my recipe-related posts for the next 20-some-odd weeks will center around the CSA box. I hope it doesn’t get old (to you or to me), so I’ll do my best to keep things interesting. But with all this new produce, I find myself making new yummy stuff that I simply must share. You understand, right?

After discussing this week’s leftover items with my friend Julie (who happens to be a lovely person and fantastic cook) and gleaning advice from her, here we have the next Asian item on the menu. The three parts (dressing, veggies, crunchies) come together for a toasty-tasty treat. Don’t let the three steps trip you up. It really is super simple.

Asian Salad
Serves 4-6
or 3 hungry girls who are watching The Voice with a side of Totino’s pizza bites (just sayin’)

Dressing:
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sesame oil
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar

Crunchies:
¼ cup butter, melted
1 package Ramen noodles, broken (discard seasoning packet)
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup sesame seeds

Veggies:
1 Japanese cabbage or bok choy, diced
5 scallions, chopped
1 kohlrabi, cut into matchsticks (I used this because I had it, but you could easily substitute shredded carrots or another crisp veggie.)

  • In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oils, soy sauce, and sugar. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a small sauté pan. Add Ramen noodles, almonds, and sesame seeds. Sauté until toasted. Drain on paper towels.
  • Meanwhile, chop remaining ingredients. If serving soon, add to the prepared dressing. If not, set aside until ready.
  • Just before serving, toss toasted crunchies into salad.

  

Next time, I think I’ll: Add red chili flakes to the dressing for a little kick.

Side notes:

  • Can I confess something? I was embarrassed to buy those Ramen noodles. I mean, what am I, 19? And here’s the best part—there was one other person on the isle with me, and he was a college student (I know this because he was wearing a fraternity T-shirt). Did he buy Ramen? No. Just me. Did he judge me? Probably. I mean, I would have judged me if I were him. So, I bought an extra package to save myself from future humiliation.
  • Can I confess something else? All these years I thought it was “Tostino’s Pizza Bites” (which, for whatever reason, I’m not that embarrassed to purchase, but I should be). Turns out, it’s “Totino’s Pizza Rolls.” To be such a stickler for grammar and spelling, I sure did miss a few beats there. I even Googled “Tostino’s” and got the whole, “Did you mean: Totino’s?” Wow. Google is so condescending sometimes.
  • The “Side Notes” section will now be known as “Confessions.”


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LaLa the Bounty Hunter

The second CSA bounty has arrived!

OK, technically it arrived on Wednesday. But hey, I’m a busy girl, so I just got around to washing and storing all my produce this weekend. From left to right we have: Japanese cabbage, scallions, romaine lettuce, swiss chard (2 bags!), cauliflower, strawberries, and kohlrabi.

This is my first time with Japanese cabbage. Here’s a close-up:

It took me and the other CSAers a few days to decide exactly what this was. I made the green curry again and subbed it for the bok choy. The result was excellent!

Look at these strawberries.


Have you ever seen anything more lovely? I may have had a little shortcake & whipped cream with them. Mmm …

I love CSA day and can’t wait to see what this Wednesday holds! Although, hopefully I’ll be able to get through this week’s green stuff before the next box shows up. What should I do with all that swiss chard? I need ideas. Otherwise, you know my philosophy: When in doubt, sauté with garlic.


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1 CSA Delivery, 2 New Recipes

I got my first CSA delivery. Yay! The contents included bok choy, scallions, strawberries, kale, kohlrabi, romaine lettuce, and a couple bites of baby broccoli. Check it:

Maybe it’s just the novelty, but I’m in love with the CSA. It was so exciting to open the box and see what was inside, and then I had to figure out how to use some of this stuff. Bok choy + kohlrabi = Asian to me, so I went with this recipe that my sweet friend Laura turned up (she’s part of my CSA group and also got kohlrabi, which no one knew what to do with). This recipe used three of the treasures in the box, so I decided to try it. And I felt so adventurous because:

1. I’ve never cooked Asian food at home. (My mom used to make chop suey out of a can. I kid you not. I’m not even trying to pretend that counts. Gag. It’s a wonder I wasn’t scarred for life.)
2. I’ve never cooked with bok choy. (Though I have eaten it many times.)
3. I’ve never seen or heard of kohlrabi. (Called me sheltered if you must.)

Though the deck seemed stacked against me, I went for the above recipe, and it was a-ma-zing. Below is my final take.

Veggie Green Curry with Brown Rice
2 liberal servings

1-2 cups brown rice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small- to medium-sized kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, and cut into batons
1 baby bok choy, leaves and stems cut into bite-size pieces
1 can light coconut milk, plus ¼ can water
2-3 tablespoons green curry paste, to taste
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Prepare rice according to instructions.
  • Heat sesame oil in a medium sauté pan.
  • Sauté onion with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until softened and starting to turn golden.
  • Stir in garlic, cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add kohlrabi and sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add bok choy and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add coconut milk, then fill can ¼ way with water and add to the pan. Stir in curry paste. Season with salt. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve curried vegetables over rice, and garnished with scallions.

Next time, I think I’ll:

  • Cook the rice properly. Or invite over a friend who knows how. I never make rice, so I wasn’t sure what to buy, and mine was not good. Ick.
  • Add mushrooms and/or tofu and/or other veggies and/or seafood. You could put dirt in this sauce and it would taste good.

Side note: Did I mention that this dish was incredible? I couldn’t believe how easy and delicious it was. Plus, my kitchen smelled yummy-sweet like coconut milk. Mmm … I can’t wait make this again and try to improve it.

I did say two recipes, so here you go.

These heavenly little berries were also stashed in my box from Avalon Acres, so this Strawberry Tart recipe from Cooking Light sounded like a good idea.

Lovely Strawberry Tart
Serves 8-10

Crust:
36 honey graham crackers (9 sheets)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 teaspoons water
Cooking spray

Topping:
6 cups small fresh strawberries, hulled and divided
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Filling:
2/3 cup (about 5 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and 4 teaspoons water; pulse just until moist. Place cracker mixture in a 9-inch round tart pan lightly coated with cooking spray, pressing into bottom and up sides of pan to 3/4 inch. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • To prepare topping, place 2 cups strawberries in food processor, and process until smooth. Combine strawberry purée, 2/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute. Remove glaze from heat. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  • To prepare filling, combine cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar, and extracts in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over bottom of cooled tart shell.
  • Combine the remaining 4 cups strawberries and lemon juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries over filling. Spoon half of glaze evenly over berries (reserve remaining glaze for another use). Sprinkle toasted nuts around edge. Cover and chill 3 hours.

Side notes & next time: Let me just say, this thing was a process. Not a difficult process, but there were many steps and dishes to deal with. And then, I went and screwed up several things. Like:

  • The original recipe says to use a 9-inch dish. Well, mine was more like 12 inches.
  • Also, I had to make the crust twice. (Of course twice, MKR.) I accidentally added 4 tablespoons of water instead of 4 teaspoons the first time, and it turned into a paste rather than a crumble. It was a delicious paste, but a paste nonetheless.
  • The recipe says to use half the strawberry glaze and to use the rest “for another use.” I’m thinking, Why on earth would it tell me to do this? What other uses? (Although, in its glazey state it smelled and tasted like raw fruit roll-up matter. Incredible. I could make my own fruit roll-ups. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.) So, I used it all, reasoning that my pan was too big so maybe I needed the extra. The tart tasted delish, but it was kinda runny.

What a great first-time CSA experience! I tried new ingredients, new recipes, and a new style of cooking. I even made new mistakes. Sometimes those are happy accidents and sometimes they are flat-out wrong, but there’s always room for a great learning opportunity.