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Saturday, June 24, 2006

The weekly haul

This week in our bag we found lettuce, garlic scapes, Haikuri turnips, swiss chard, and yet more kale! The Sippels seem to be issuing an unofficial Kale Challenge to us all. I plan on trying something new: Turkey Kale Tacos. Expect a full report.

In other news, we decided we could no longer claim coffee snob status without owning a real live burr grinder. It's big, pretty and extremely LOUD. Just what I need first thing in the morning...

how to make perfect skillet potatoes

After many years of having potatoes that were done on the outside but still raw on the inside, or not browned to my liking, I feel I have finally achieved potato perfection. I have two guiding principles for tasty taters from the skillet: par-cooking and patience.
After chopping up a couple Yukon gold potatoes, maybe one per person or more (depending on size and hunger), put in microwave-safe container. Of course it is best to keep the size of the potato pieces as universal as possible for uniform cooking.Drizzle with olive oil or another fat of your choice as well as salt and pepper. You could season later if you prefer (once the potatoes are in the skillet) and just do the oil/butter at this point if it suits your fancy.
Cover the container tightly, with either the lid or plastic wrap. This is really important in order to help cook the potatoes and give them a head-start in the microwave. Nuke potatoes for 3 minutes. Take them out and shake them around (conainer will be very hot) and then put them in again for another three minutes.

After the second round of microwaving, dump the taters in to a skillet over medium heat. Use a spatula to press down the potatoes, making them nice and intimate with one another. You should have a flatish layer of potatoes so they brown evenly and make a "crust" on the bottom.
After you have pressed the potatoes down, walk away. Let them cook and don't move them. I said DON'T MOVE THEM. You may want to shift them around the pan as for other saute-ing but it is really important not to. Resist the urge. Depending on the heat of your burner, you may want to shift the heat down a little to low-medium. Once you have left the potatoes alone to cook for at least 10 or 15 minutes, gently pick up one potato to see if it has achieved golden crustiness on the bottom. If not, keep leaving the potatoes alone.

Once the bottoms are golden, turn over the potatoes so the other side can brown. This will only take five minutes or so. Use a fork to test the tenderness of the potatoes and if they are not yet fork-tender (or however done you like them), turn down the heat for them to cook more without browning.

Enjoy any way you please. Of course fresh rosemary and/or garlic would be great in the skillet with these as well, toward the end of cooking. I recommend eating with campari tomatoes while editing a project and having a coffee.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Ben eats a new vegetable.

Turnips - he has proclaimed them "just fine" - the highest praise given to any vegetable by the Benson.

Here's the recipe: Turnips with Bread Crumbs and Parsley

I added lots of garlic, because I do that with everything. It was delicious.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

This week from the Sippels

This week we got kale, lettuce and Haikuri turnips.

The pets seem pleased.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tempeh Beet Salad

Beets are finally in season in ohio. Yaay! Here's a little beet salad I dreamed up...


Two bunches baby beets (with greens)
One package tempeh
Hot Sesame Oil
Canola Oil
Lee Kum Kee Black Pepper Sauce
Rice Wine Vinegar


1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) Separate beets from the greens (leave about an inch and half of stem with the beet)
3) Coat beets with canola oil, wrap them in tinfoil, and roast them in the oven for about a half hour.
4) Chop tempeh and beet greens into bite size pieces. Place in casserole dish.
5) Coat tempeh and beet greens with black pepper sauce and hot sesame oil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
6) Remove the beets from the oven. Peel and slice them.
7) Remove tempeh and beet greens from the oven. Combine with the sliced beets.
8) Add several splashes of rice wine vinegar. Add salt to taste.
9) Chill and serve cold.

Buying local produce...beyond saturday morning

I have made it my resolution not to eat any non-local produce this summer. (And, I'm eating so well because of it!) But, I do have the challenge that sometimes my saturday CSA and farmer's market shopping just doesn't last me the week. Ashley too has been having this difficulty.

So here are some places you can buy local beyond Saturday:

1) North Market Produce Stand (a little pricey but they do usually feature local organic)
2) Pearl Alley Farmer's Market (Tuesday and Friday, 10:30-2:00)
3) Rifes

Any more places I don't know about? Let me know...

i have needs

I demand Lisa Ann's recipe for vegetarian shepherd's pie!
When will justice be served and the recipe be posted?!?!?!?!?
(I know it's summer but I love me some comfort food all year round.)

French breads, anyone?

Hi guys. I just want to say that Le Chatelaine (on Lane Ave, across from Wild Oats) is fantastic. We've not gone for a meal yet, but we keep popping into grab whatever breads look good (which all of them usually do -- it's hard to limit ourselves to our grad student/tutor budget).

And since Jason was lamenting the lack of pictures around here, this is a photo of the prettiest thing that I've bought there:

This is its last known photo. The cat-shaped tart has since disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Madison Farmer's Market

This weekend, I went to visit my friend Jen in Madison Wisconsin. (Jen just moved there a few days ago to complete her residency in pediatrics). Madison truly has the most wonderful Saturday farmer's market I've ever seen. The market stretches all the way around the very large block containing the state capitol. It features a ridiculous variety of (mostly organic) produce. Jen and I became a little overwhelmed with the bounty. We bought several bags full and spent most of the rest of the long weekend cooking and eating!

Above we have our bounty: strawberries, organic raw milk goat's milk havarti cheese, totsoi, burdock, radishes, rainbow chard, nettles, arugula, lambsquarters, heirloom fingerling potatoes, scapes , jalapeno cheese curd, blue potatoes, cut flowers, red spring onions, black turnip, dill, peas, oyster mushrooms, asparagus! And, believe it or not, we cooked the vast majority of it in the next several days!

Jen very carefully holds the stingy nettles. When you saute them the sting goes away, leaving a light tanginess and bready consistency. We sauteed them with arugula, chard, scape, taragon vinegar and olive oil. While this was a delightful pairing, I think in the future I might make a dish in which nettles were the star.

I'm holding lambsquarters (left) and totsoi (right). Lambsquarters are a delightfuly spicy weed with an exceedingly bready texture. Totsoi is kind of like what would have happend if arugula and bok choy had a child.

Here we have a salad of spinach, arugula, totsoi, lambsquarters, burdock, scape, dill, and radish...dressed with a tarragon, garlic, sesame oil vinaigrette. The salad was accompanied by eggs scrambled with jalapeno cheddar (both local and organic of course).

Sausage + Kale Soup

This week's bounty from the CSA included kale, arugula, a beautiful head of Boston lettuce, oregano and sage. I used them to make a variation of Portuguese kale soup, minus some of the traditional ingredients (potatoes and cannellini beans), and plus some pasta and one of my favorite veggies of all time: fennel. It was really easy and turned out great.

* 1 Large Bunch Kale
* 1 lb. Sweet Italian Bulk Sausage
* 1 T Olive Oil
* 1 Large Shallot, minced
* 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
* 1 Large Fennel bulb, sliced thin
* 5-6 C Chicken Stock
* 1.5 C Prepared Riso Pasta (Or add 3/4 C of dry pasta right to the soup. Orzo, or any other pasta for that matter, would work here)
* Big Handful of fresh Oregano, torn
* 1 Bay Leaf

Cook the sausage in olive oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot. Drain, crumble and set aside. Reserve about a tablespoon of fat in the pan, and add fennel, garlic and shallot. Saute on medium heat until soft. Add chicken broth, bay leaf, and kale. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20-ish minutes. Add pasta and sausage to the pot and heat through, another 10 minutes or so. Stir in oregano and serve immediately.

I topped this with a few whole grain croutons and some grated Parmesan Reggiano, and served it with a salad made up of the lettuce and arugula, with a simple oil + vinegar dressing. It was a great way to use up most of the week's produce...the only problem is... I USED UP MY PRODUCE!

Is it Saturday yet??