Hulk Muffins

I posted on the Instagram feed a little while ago about “Hulk Muffins,” but I’m just now getting around to talking about  them on here.

Easy, straightforward ingredients. Even better – sweetened with banana and honey, not refined sugar.
Finished product

My child does not like leafy greens, currently. The only “salad” he will touch is dandelion greens, strangely enough. We get rather inundated with greens over the course of the season, and I’m always looking for new things to do with them. (I can always make pesto, of course, but how much pesto does one person need?) I found the answer in these “Hulk muffins,” which have turned out to be a huge hit with everyone in my family. They are sweet, hilariously green, have no refined sugar, and are a good way to sneak in the extra vitamins.

The recipe for Hulk Muffins is here.

Greengrocer Foodhub

Today was the Grand Opening of Greengrocer Foodhub’s storefront in Bloomfield! I missed the ribbon cutting this morning, since the baby was sleeping, but both kids and I made it over there mid-afternoon. We got “a beet the size of your head,” zucchini, cucumber, raspberries, apples, broccoli, snap peas, cider, and sausage…. most of which were things picked out by my 5 year-old. I hung back  to the side of the store when we were done, and I let him bring the basket up to check out, as well as my credit card. It was so sweet to see him get to take care of the whole process, and he was really proud of himself.

Check it out if you’re local! 27 Cartaret St. Bloomfield. They’re open 9-7 Saturday and 10-5 Sunday.

What did I do with my delightful haul? I finally made beet & zucchini pakoras! I shredded (most of) the giant beet, 2 zucchini, and a large carrot. To that, I added a batter made of flour (the original recipe called for chickpea, but I used all-purpose), cumin, garam masala, and salt. Then, I fried them in oil. They’re basically middle-eastern beet latkes. I got the recipe out of a “Farmers Market” cooking magazine that I bought this summer.

If that glass of “wine” looks strange to you, it’s because it’s actually honeycrisp apple cider. I felt like being fancy.

They’re supposed to be served with mint yogurt, but we used sour cream. They were delicious.

The other elements of the meal: broccoli & snap peas with hummus, and chicken salad for the grownups (made with a Wrong Direction Farm chicken that I roasted this morning) and tuna fish for Little Chef, who was opposed to the red onion in the chicken salad.

Wednesday Evening Lentils

Wednesday’s dinner was a great success.

I started off with just a concept in my head – lentil curry – and I ran with it. I cooked the lentils in stock until they were tender, and boiled this week’s cauliflower until it just started to soften up. I then transferred all of that to a chef’s pan with a bunch of spices – curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger, paprika, cinnamon – and let it simmer for a few minutes. I added the leftover corn from last night, cut from the cobs, and half a can of coconut milk. I tested for taste and added salt and some more garlic, onion, and paprika. This I served with basmati rice and a quick raita.

My understanding of raita is that you’re supposed to strain the yogurt first, to make it thick, but I’d forgotten to do that ahead of time. So, I just used plain yogurt (which I got through Wrong Direction Farm, who partners with my main CSA) and salted cucumber chunks, and it tasted perfectly fine.  (Mediterranean Harvest is my original source for how to make raita, by the way.)

We had naan for a side, but that was pre-made. I also took the 4 adorable purple bell peppers that I got from Snapping Turtle Farm and stuffed them with hummus and chopped cucumbers. My 5 year-old especially appreciated that part of the meal.

I love meals like this, where everything is flavorful and filling, but doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve eaten a brick. Cheers to a well-spiced vegetarian meal.

Apricot BBQ Sauce

None of us in our household is particularly into apricots. I ate them one week, I left them for the soup kitchen on another, and then I found myself staring down a container again…

So, I went to Google. I know that peaches make excellent barbecue sauce; had anyone tried it with apricots? Of course they had.

I didn’t have tomato sauce, but I did have crushed tomatoes. That seems to have made no difference. I did add liquid smoke, as she mentions. It came out sweet, smoky, and delicious.

How did I use this sauce? On Tuesday, I picked up some nice slabs of salmon and baked them in the barbecue sauce. I served the salmon with rice, corn that I got through my Greengrocer box over the weekend, and green beans from this week’s share. It was a hearty and delicious meal.

Plum Wine

I love plums. I really do. Despite that, the fruit share can even outpace me this time of year. So, I went searching for some ideas to put the plums to use. Last year, I made the plum torte, which I’ll make again soon, but this time, I tried my hand at plum wine.

It’s really easy in concept; I’ve made limoncello this way. Fruit, sugar, and vodka, and let it steep. I’m excited for how this will taste, though. The Bon Appetit article says it should be sweet and sherry-like. I’m hoping to open it at Christmas when we have family here.

Cheers!

CSA Weeks 7 & 8

Week 7 (last week) was a bountiful share to begin with, and then I decided to order bulk blueberries. Lettuce, summer squash, kale, onions, rainbow carrots, bell peppers, tomatillos, green beans, purple cauliflower, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, and dill. Plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots. Eggs (under all  that fruit).

I’ll post pictures of some cooking adventures involving last week’s share in the next few days. I will share one ultimate summer breakfast picture, though…

Blueberry pancakes on a bed of peaches. Yum.

That brings us to yesterday, week 8:

We’ve hit the point in the season where the share looks smaller (for now) in the pictures, though it’s actually larger in amount of food. The key difference? The heat has knocked out the lettuce for now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my salads, but I’m so ready to be focusing on other things.

One week until Littlest Chef gets to try food, and I’m glad we’ll have such fresh choices readily available. I was thinking that as I munched on my green beans last night.

Cooking posts coming soon, I promise.

Spiralizer!

I did it. I got a spiralizer. I always half-figured on getting a spiralizer attachment for my stand mixer, but they were really expensive in comparison to stand-alone models, so I compared some reviews and ended up with the Briefton’s spiralizer.

I used it for the first time last night, and it was really cool. Little Chef was fascinated, watching the ribbons come out of it. The first thing (and only thing so far) that I spiralized was some beets. I put them through raw, then I cooked them in boiling water for 4 or 5 minutes. I then used this beet “pasta” to make a cold pesto pasta salad. I used chickpeas and kale pesto.

All told, it was good but not terribly interesting. It needed more salt, probably a good shot of lemon juice, some red onion, and  maybe some bell pepper. I’ll try it again with the tweaks.

We also had the first field tomatoes of the season, thanks to our Greengrocer CSA box! We had sandwiches, corn, and the beet salad for dinner.

I’ve wanted to experiment more with cooking recently, but we’ve had a terribly hot week. We ended up going out to dinner on Friday night and ordering in (sushi) for dinner on Saturday night. There’s a thunderstorm upon us now, so hopefully this week will  be cooler, and I can be more adventurous.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde is the obvious choice when the tomatillos start coming in. I like to roughly follow the Thug Kitchen recipe, though I tweak it based on what I have and what taste I’m looking for. Much like pesto, Salsa Verde is a concept and method rather than a strict recipe.

Tomatillos. I used about a pound and a half.

Peel them, wash them, stick them under the broiler until they get nice and charred, explode-y, and soft. If you’re using jalepenos, they’d get tossed in, too. I didn’t grow any hot peppers this year and we have none from CSA yet. It also works perfectly well without.

Cool and chop. Meanwhile, chop up some onion (I used about half of a large one), some garlic (anything in the 2-4 cloves range), and some cilantro (adjust to taste – we are a cilantro-friendly household, so I think I ended up using almost half a cup… I grabbed a handful and chopped it up.)

Throw everything in the blender and process until slightly chunky. Again, texture is to your preference.

On Wednesday night, we had quesadillas and enjoyed some homemade salsa verde. Delicious.

I was going to cook tonight, but it’s unbearably hot, so I think we’re going to change our plans and go out. Stay cool and safe, everyone!

Tuesday’s share – Week 6

Whew! What a day we had yesterday. Swelteringly hot. I had a “set-up shift” for CSA, which meant that I had to show up early and help load the bins onto the tables, bag shares for people who couldn’t pick up in time, etc. I also desperately needed to go to the grocery store (my Mother in Law brought pizza over, and we rather effortlessly fit the two boxes into my fridge, which is a testement to how empty it was), and I was performing in a community band concert in the evening. As the last line suggests, my awesome Mother in Law came over to help and handled dinner (as well as the mountain of dishes in my sink, whew). We had a lovely evening. The concert was actually the first for the West Orange Community Band, which just formed this winter. I’m glad I’ve been juggling the rehearsals with the rest of my life – it was SO MUCH FUN. Our next concert is August 21st.

I digress.

The share yesterday was bountiful, plus a friend offered me her beets – anyone who knows me knows I won’t turn down more beets. Pictured is the contents of my vegetable share, eggs, and fruit. I got my usual chicken and ground turkey in addition to this, and I ordered some stuff to have on hand for grilling.

Pictured: Eggs, peaches, apples, sugar plums, romaine lettuce, cherokee lettuce, swiss chard, kale, cilantro, 3 cucumbers, 3 summer squash, 2 eggplants, 1 bunch of red torpedo onions, 2 bunches of beets (share size was 1), a half pound of green beans, Kohlrabi, and tomatillos (which were an “extra,” but I like salsa verde.)

I haven’t done anything yet except wash & tear the romaine for a salad later. Some thoughts before I head over to work on the pile (Little Chef is at camp, Littler Chef is napping, and I am in an air conditioned house, thank God. I went out to get some sun before, and I lasted about 10 minutes.): Salsa verde, possibly the plum torte, even though it calls for purple plums. Maybe I’ll experiment and find some new plum recipes. I’d happily eat them all straight, but I’d like to branch out. For the kohlrabi, I think I’ll try mashed – I have an article from a magazine about new ideas for mashing (other than potatoes and cauliflower), and that looks interesting. The kale is likely going to be chopped and frozen. The chard might be frozen; I’m not sure yet. The beet greens look good, so I may freeze the chard and use them as my dark green. I do have a “chard stalk hummus” recipe that I may try instead of just relegating the stalks to a stock pot. The eggplants are the long, narrow type. I may do something funky like eggplant fries or eggplant bacon with them. The cilantro will really have to end up in whatever we do tonight, because it’s wilty with the heat.

No matter what I decide to do, there will be photos. I’ll post here when I can, and if you want more immediate gratification, find me on Instagram! @omgcsa

Weekend meals

I find I’m really pleased with the balance of the CSA memberships I have. On Tuesdays, I get the traditional, farmer-dictated pickup from Bloomfield-Montclair, and on Fridays or Saturdays, I get my subscription box from Greengrocer Foodhub, the order for which has to be in by Wednesday night. Because of this timing, I can use my subscription box to fill in things that weren’t in my traditional share, and I can count on a weekend of good cooking.

This week, we had a great series of summertime dinners. One night, we grilled chicken burgers and had steamed zucchini (not original, I know, but I love it), as well as “Cauliflowers Patties” which turned out to basically be cauliflower latkes. The only thing I would change in the linked recipe is that I might drain the cauliflower shreds a bit – they gave off quite a bit of water, which made the patties a little less apt to stay together.

We also had a movie night this weekend. Anyone who knows us knows that means a “picnic in the living room.” I made crudites out of a bunch of veggies I had on hand, with hummus for dipping, and we had cheese and crackers. Plus, I made summer rolls. It took me a little while to get the hang of making them look decent – but they sure tasted good.

Sunday night was a delightful mashup. I made “Beet Tartare,” which I’ve mentioned in previous posts. It’s basically a shredded beet salad that you can eat on toasts or crackers. I got corn in my subscription box, so that made an appearance. I also set out to make Thug Kitchen’s lentil and red bean meatballs, but I had a kitchen issue…. namely, I wasn’t paying attention and put way too many lentils into the bowl. It wasn’t coming out the right consistency (well, duh), so I decided to wing it. I added more breadcrumbs and some spices, and I made them into mini “meatloaves” in a muffin tin. They got served with the marinara I’d made for the meatballs. Delicious. Last (but not least), I made a grilled sweet potato and scallion salad. YUM.

It’s Tuesday again, so I’ll be posting about my share later.