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Taste the Rainbow!

I picked up our final CSA share of the 2017 season today, and while I plan to do a wrap-up post on the entire season (especially since I dropped the ball on weekly updates), I decided to share this picture right away. 

These have to be the prettiest carrots I’ve ever brought home. Any suggestions for them? 

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Posted by on November 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Fall Fritters

Remember when I first looked through Cook It In Cast Iron? Lots of recipes caught my attention, and it’s been an almost-permanent fixture on my kitchen counter ever since I got my own copy. (Seriously. The chocolate chip cookie is my easy dessert go-to.) 

I showed Andy the apple fritter recipe, and he was on board immediately. Apple fritters are his doughnut kryptonite. I’d never made fried doughnuts of any kind, so I was eager to try them as well. Of course, this was back in April (of 2016! I’m a terrible blogger), and since the recipe calls for apple cider, I put it on the “things to make in the fall” list. I told Bethany about my plans, and we decided that it would be the perfect Saturday morning activity.

So, while our Andys were out volunteering one morning, we made it happen.

Since I knew we’d have eager helpers, I prepped as much as I could before Bethany, Judah and Sadie arrived. I used Empires from our over-zealous apple picking, which worked well. I had everything measured out and ready to go when they arrived, so the kids could easily help add things to the bowl and mix the batter.

I’d never fried anything before this, and I was pleased to discover that it’s not nearly as intimidating as I thought it’d be. I think the biggest trick is to have everything ready to go before you start frying so you’re not scrambling to find a cookie sheet for the finished fritters when they’re ready. Having an accurate thermometer for the oil really helps too. We used Bethany’s for this project, and it made a believer out of me. (So much so that I took advantage of Thermoworks Black Friday deals last fall and purchased a ThermoPop for myself.) Once the kid-friendly activities were done, Judah lost interest in the process (until we were ready to ice the fritters), but Sadie pulled a chair up to the counter and watched us fry every fritter!

The guys came home just in time to help us eat the fritters (which I served with bacon because a Saturday breakfast without bacon is not one I want to attend), and everyone loved them. The cider in the fritters added a lot of flavor, and there were apple pieces in almost every bite. They’re not going to be an every-weekend thing, but I think we’ll make it a point to enjoy them at least once each fall.

applefritters

Apple Fritters

2 apples (6 1/2 ounces each), Granny Smith, Cortland or Empire, peeled, cored, halved and cut into 1/4″ pieces
10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 1/3 ounces (1/3 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, divided
1 cup apple cider, divided
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
8 ounces (2 cups) powdered sugar
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat the oven to 200° and place the oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and lay the apples in a single layer on the sheet. Pat the apples with a paper towel until they are nice and dry.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, one teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg together. In a separate, bowl, combine the melted butter, 3/4 cup of cider and the eggs. Whisk them until smooth.

Add the dried apple pieces to the flour mixture and toss to combine. Stir the cider mixture into the flour mixture, and mix until the wet ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet lined with a triple layer of paper towels. Set aside. Pour the oil into a 12″ cast iron skillet (you want the oil to be 1/2″ deep) and heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 325°.

When the oil is hot, grease a 1/3 cup dry measuring cup and use it to scoop five heaping mounds of batter into the oil. Use the back of a spoon to flatten the batter in the oil. Fry the fritters until they are a deep golden brown, about six to eight minutes. Flip the fritters halfway through the frying process. Be sure to maintain the oil temperature, adjusting the burner’s heat if necessary.

Transfer the finished fritters to the wire rack on the prepared sheet and move them to the oven to keep them warm while you finish the rest of the fritters. (Before adding the next batch of batter to the pan, make sure the oil is still 325°. If the oil has cooled, wait until it comes back to temperature before adding the batter.) Repeat the process with the rest of the fritters, placing them in the warm oven when they are done.

Next, prepare the glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and the remaining 1/4 cup of cider together in a large measuring cup. (You could use a bowl, but a measuring cup with a pour spout will make it easier to drizzle the icing over the fritters.) Drizzle a generous tablespoon of icing over each fritter. Allow the icing to set for 10 minutes before serving, which should give you enough time to scramble some eggs or fry some bacon to serve alongside your fritters.

From Cook it in Cast Iron

Click here for a printable version.

 
 

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What We’re Eating: 7/10 – 7/14

I have really fallen off the meal planning wagon (AGAIN), and the holiday travel certainly didn’t help matters. However, we’re home for a few weeks, and our fridge and garden are full of produce, so I’m trying to get back on track.

Monday 7/10 – Pizza night with friends! Our friends from Florida are in town visiting, so several of us are getting together for dinner. We’re having pizza, and I will most likely bring a salad too.
Tuesday 7/11 – Drunken beans, with rice and mango salsa. I’ve had my eye on this recipe ever since I checked the Best Mexican Recipes cookbook out of the library, and I finally remembered to pick up poblano peppers. I’m pretty pumped about this.
Wednesday 7/12 – Salmon, bread and a TBD CSA vegetable (or salad)
Thursday 7/13 – The “Best Chicken Parmesan,” according to Cook’s Illustrated and a CSA vegetable of some kind
Friday 7/14 – Pasta with vegetables (current front runners are these two recipes, but I reserve the right to change my mind). We have a busy day on Saturday, so I’d like an easy dinner the night before!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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CSA 2017: Week 2 & Week 3

Happy July! I hope everyone had a great Independence Day. We had a four-day weekend, so we spent part of it camping and then spent Tuesday doing stuff around home. We did responsible things (like laundry and taking care of the weed problem in the cracks in the driveway) and fun things (like a bike ride for ice cream and dinner with some of our favorite people). All in all, it was a great long weekend, and Andy and I are both counting down the days left until our next vacation. (Only two work weeks left! Wooo!!!) 

CSA2017_Wk2

Week two was had some great things.

  • 12 ounces of sugar snap peas
  • 1 jar of dilly sugar snap peas from Hippie Wayne
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard
  • Garlic scapes
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1 head of green leaf lettuce
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch of “mini broccoli”

And since July is getting away from me faster than I’d like to admit, I’m going to go ahead and share week three’s goodness with you as well.

CSA2017_Wk3

Week three had a little less than the first two weeks, and I’m sure we can thank the weird weather for that. We received:

  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 bag of popcorn
  • Garlic scapes
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1 head of leaf lettuce
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 bag of shelling peas
  • 1 bunch of kale

I’m sure you’re wondering what two people did with all of those vegetables, right? The sugar snap peas and some of the lettuce went on a road trip to Otsego Lake State Park last weekend. The dilly sugar snap peas went to a picnic on the 4th of July, and the rest of the lettuce is destined for many, many salads. Salads are becoming my default dish for all potlucks this summer.

Half of the Swiss chard, a handful of garlic scapes, the broccoli, the summer squash and the kale from week 1 wound up in this pasta bake on Thursday evening.

We still haven’t learned to love kohlrabi, but we are big fans of dill pickles, so I’m probably going to try this method. I’ll let you know what we think!

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the shelling peas yet. I love fresh peas, so I want to find a recipe that’s worthy of their early-season goodness. I’m pretty sure that I used them in this pasta dish last year. I really liked it, but Andy thought it was so-so (probably because he’s not the biggest fan of dollops of ricotta).  I could go with this one instead.

Our garden is thriving, especially the lettuce and the Swiss chard. We’ll keep eating salads, and I’m going to start sauteing the chard with some bacon grease and garlic scapes. I also need to make another batch of garlic scape pesto before the season is over!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! I hope it’s as nice there as it is here!

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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CSA 2017: Week 1

Finally! Summer produce is here again! Last Tuesday (the 20th) was our first pick up for our CSA from Olden Organics. It was one of the highlights of my day, for sure. (Especially since we had to say goodbye to the tree in our yard last week. I was overly emotional about the whole thing, so it was nice to have some fresh veggies to cheer me up.) 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from our first week, since the weather has been all over the place this spring. (It was dry, then crazy hot, then really rainy – complete with hail – and now it’s much cooler than normal for late June, and it’s still raining almost every day.) Welcome to Wisconsin, where you can have all the seasons in one day.

CSA2017_Wk1

In spite of the crazy weather, things are off to a good start, at least in my opinion. We received:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 head of green romaine lettuce
  • 1 head of red romaine lettuce
  • 1 quart of strawberries
  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes
  • 1 bunch of kale tops
  • 1 celeriac
  • 1 pound of asparagus
  • 1 Thai basil plant

We didn’t have a lot of dinner leftovers last week, so both heads of lettuce wound up in our lunches. The lettuce in our garden is going strong too, so we will probably continue to take salads for lunch for the foreseeable future. It’s an easy way to get our greens in.

I made one batch of garlic scape pesto over the weekend, and I still have enough scapes in the fridge to make another batch. I used some of the pesto and half of the kale in a pasta dish for dinner Saturday night.

I’d like to tell you that I did something new and creative with the asparagus, but it’s so good roasted with some garlic that I couldn’t bring myself to make it any other way.

Some of the strawberries made their way into a pie, and some of them wound up on this pizza.

The basil is living happily in our garden (right next to the cucumber plants). I can’t wait to use it!

I’m on the fence about the zucchini. We love fritters, so it seems like that would be the perfect way to use the first zucchini of the season. However, I still have the Best Mexican Recipes cookbook, and there’s a soup recipe in there that calls for a zucchini. And with our unseasonably chilly weather, soup sounds pretty good right now!

I also don’t know what to do with the celeriac. Last fall, Smitten Kitchen came to my rescue with a gratin that uses both celeriac AND fennel, and, much to my surprise, we ended up loving it. The question is, do I love it enough to go buy fennel and sweet potatoes so I can make it? Good thing celeriac keeps well in the fridge so I can ponder that a little more.

I can’t wait to see what week 2 has in store for us!

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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First Scapes! 

Happy garlic scape Monday, everyone! I just cut the first scapes from our garden. I love harvesting everything that we plant, but I get most excited about the early crops. 

Now I just need to decide what to do with these guys. Besides pesto, of course. That’s a given. 

The rest of our garden is coming along nicely. The tomato plants are blooming, and the peas are ready to start climbing the fence. Now if only the weeds would slow down a bit. 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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What We’re Eating: 6/5 – 6/9

I have to admit, I feel like a slacker with this week’s menu. Not cooking for two out of five nights? I’ve been feeling uninspired though, so if there’s ever a time to be lazy with the meal plan, I guess this is it. I am trying two recipes from “The Best Mexican Recipes,” so we’ll see how they turn out!

Monday 6/5 – Grilled salmon steaks with lime cilantro sauce, asparagus and roasted potatoes
Tuesday 6/6 – Chickpea cakes with chipotle lime cream and sliced cucumbers.
Wednesday 6/7 – Pizza! One of our favorite pizza places has a half-off deal going on this week, so we’re breaking up the week with takeout. Win-win.
Thursday 6/8 – Apricot chicken pasta and a vegetable. (This was one of Andy’s suggestions as he saw me browsing the internet this afternoon. He’s a smart guy, so I’m taking his advice.) 
Friday 6/9 – Dinner out! Friday is our 10th (!!!) anniversary, so we are going to celebrate and have someone else do the dishes. Location TBD, but Stone Arch and Carmella’s are current front-runners.
Saturday 6/10 – Bonus meal! I don’t know if we’ll be home Saturday, but if we are, I’d like to try a new recipe that America’s Test Kitchen shared on Facebook: Grilled lemon chicken with rosemary. I thought about putting it on the menu earlier in the week, but since it’s a whole chicken (and one that requires a brine), I think it’ll be better suited to the weekend. Maybe I’d even get around to making some bread to go with it.

We are a week or two away from our CSA starting again, and I cannot wait. I think that’s part of my inspiration problem. I don’t want to buy any produce at the store when I know that we are just days away from the real stuff. Lettuce with flavor! Fresh strawberries! I can taste it already… 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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