Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Very Meaty Birthday Meal

Yesterday was the Man-friend's birthday. He may seem to be a vegetarian based on the meals we eat at home but he definitely is not. He usually gets his meat fix when we go to restaurants. A couple days ago I asked what he wanted for his birthday dinner and he said one word "steak". Having very little experience cooking meat I was a little nervous to take on the challenge. But never-the-less I braved the wind and rain and stopped by The Meathouse in Scarborough where I picked up this nearly 3lb porterhouse. HOLY MOLY meat is pricey! I had no idea!
I had a few kohlrabi left from the farm share and decided to make a cheesy quinoa and kohlrabi bake for myself. 1 cup of quinoa cooked and tossed with some sautteed shallots and diced kohlrabi (I'd compare this alien like veggie to tasting like a softer broccoli stalk)  along with a splash of half and half (which I never have on hand but happened to have from a recipe) a tablespoon of yogurt butter and s&p. Tossed together and put in a baking dish and topped with about a 1/4 cup of shredded jack cheese. I threw it in the oven with the baked sweet potatoes I had going just to melt the cheese a bit.
Delish! This came out really great. I didn't use very much cheese by this could easily be a healthier mac n' cheese substitute if you added a bit more cheese and any type of veggie you'd like!
Can you believe the size of that steak??? I did a mighty fine job with it if I do say so myself. I took the advice of The Meathouse guys and cooked it in a very hot cast iron skillet for about 4 minutes on each side to get a nice crust and then threw the whole thing in the oven for about 20 minutes. This made it about medium rare.
Birthday cupcakes from the delightful East End Cupcakes on Fore Street in the Old Port. Red velvet with cream cheese frosting and chocolate on chocolate.
We didn't lose power at all during the storm last night but man it was loud and a wee bit scary! Hope everyone stayed dry and safe! The sun is now shining here in Portland!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Ingredients for Fall

Today, I had the day off and I spent it doing what I do best, nesting. Hanging pictures, trying to get rid of the last of the boxes left from our move and preparing for my Man-friends brunch birthday party on Sunday.  I decided I would make homemade granola as one of the dishes to be served with pumpkin greek yogurt.  It was very easy and quick. 
4 cups of raw rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds)
cinnamon (however much you'd like, I used about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
Mix it all together and bake on a baking sheet on 350* for about 30 minutes.
For dinner I needed to use up some of our farm share ingredients so, I whipped up this butternut squash and whole wheat penne pasta dish. It was awesome! I used the rest of the creme fraiche from my fish taco night earlier this week and mixed it in a pan with some garlic a table-spoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. It reminded of butternut squash lasagna which I love but is way more time consuming. This was ready in no time! I boiled the butternut squash so it would cook faster than in the oven.
Top with some scallions :)
Delicious easy dinner and there are left overs for lunch. Perfect! Pumpkin seeds and squash, what wonderful fall ingredients!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Easy Breezy Fish Tacos

I had my first fish taco in San Diego this past spring. I was obsessed. I've pretty much been thinking of them ever since and apparently so has my Man-friend because he picked up these fish sticks as an easy way to make them at home. 
Corn tortillas, salsa, and creme fraiche (cut with a squeeze of lime and sriracha sauce to thin it out) and thinly sliced red cabbage which really is the key to the deliciousness. The red cabbage was marinated with a drizzle of olive oil and a big chug of apple cider vinegar to help break it down a bit. Salt, pepper and scallions for flavah. The corn tortillas were in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Microwave them in a damp cloth before serving. 
A wee bit of shredded cheese too.
Sweet potato fries on the side seasoned with cinnamon, cayenne and paprika :)
These taste like the real deal! Enjoy your evening! I'm off to watch the rest of the debate!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hearty Vegetable Stew

I spent the day bee poppin' around the house and doing some small projects, hanging this, painting that... oh and making some awesome soup! Check out all these beautiful vegetables! Our farm share is still going strong and we have a TON of fresh goods. I decided what better way to enjoy these then all mixed together in a big thick chunky soup. What is the difference between a soup and a stew anyhow? Does anyone know??
The great thing about a soup is that you can really put anything in it. Everything I used were just ingredients I happened to have in the house. It's almost never necessary to run to the store for a missing ingredient. Just substitute! I usually have a rough idea of things I might want to make and try to stay prepared at all times. 
1 box veggie stock
1 large can of diced tomatoes
half a box of orzo pasta
2 cloves garlic minced
1 onion
1 bay leave
Salt and pepper
And lastly, a bunch of veggies! I used potatoes, carrots, spinach and parsnips)
I started by sauteing the diced onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Then add in all the veggies (except the spinach) which I chopped in about 1 inch pieces. Add the liquid and spices (I also added a big squeeze of sriracha sauce for some heat) and bring to a boil. Add the spinach last. Depending on how soupy you want it you can add some water. I added about 2 cups. I simmered this on the stove for about an hour but that's just we weren't ready to eat. I do think it added to the flavor though! The uncooked orzo was added a few minutes because we ate. I brought the soup back up to a boil to cook the pasta. It was a gamble though because I didn't want to overcook the veggies!
Topped with a little feta cheese and a crunchy piece of bread! Delish!

I've Got a Date with a Pumpkin

...Actually I've got dates on pumpkin oats. Chomp Chomp. Beautiful fall day today! I hope everyone enjoyed the outdoors or at least checked out the changing leaves through the window :)
1/3 cup of rolled oats simmered with a pinch of salt and 2/3'rds cup of water and a big scoop of pumpkin. A wee bit of brown sugar to sweeten it up along with a drizzle of maple syrup (the real stuff). Almonds and dates on top. I LOVE dates! 
Back in a bit to share a veggie filled soup on the dinner menu!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sweet and Savory Salmon

I bought frozen salmon for the first time the other day. I was attracted by the convenience of not having to eat it right away. Nothing worse then letting food spoil before you can eat it. The package had two fillets in a mango coconut marinade. Sounds good right?
I served it over steamed spinach and a yam (what is the difference between a yam and a sweet potato anyway?) /carrot/onion mixture I had baked in salt pepper and little raw sugar. Topped with goat cheese and scallions. It was sweet, savory and actually quite good. I think I would have been preferred it on the grill though... 
I added some sweet heat with this passionfruit hot sauce I brought back from the carribean this spring. Great addition! 
Man-friend brought home this tasty treat to share after dinner. A pumpkin whoopie pie from The Good Food Store in Bethel. Love that place! Think I might crawl in bed now!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Not-so-guilty Clam Chowder

Last night I made my very first clam chowder. I've made corn and fish chowders before but never clam. I've had a ginormous can of clams for a long time and decided it was high time to use it. I started by researching some clam chowder recipes and then made it my way anyway :)
This was a pretty large portion and could easily serve about eight.
1 giant can of clams (or a couple smaller ones), the clam liquid is the soup base, strain into a bowl.
2 Cups skim milk
2 Cups 1% milk
1 clove garlic
1 white onion diced
A handful of potatoes diced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat because that's what I had)
Start by sauteeing the onions and garlic in a little vegetable oil. When they are softened add the liquid from the canned clams followed by the potatoes and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add the clams and the milk (I did not use any cream so that I could keep the fat to a minimum). On the side I made a roux (butter and flour) to thicken it a bit, then added to the pan. Mmmm simmering on the stove :)
Success! Lot's more was enjoyed for dinner again tonight. 
(obviously top with millions of oyster crackers :) ) Settled in to watch The Voice!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Three Little Acorns

As many readers may know we tried a farm share or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) through Crystal Spring Farms in Brunswick for the first time this year. All summer long, from the first week in June until the last week in October (we have two more pick ups left) we received a bounty of fresh veggies once weekly. Varying each time from great staples like mixed greens, carrots, and tomatoes, to veggies I had never cooked with like kohlrabi, japanese eggplant and bok choy. For anyone who has considered investing in a farm share I strongly encourage you to try it! Now is the time to sign up. Wherever you are reading this there is likely a farm offering a CSA near you. Just google it! Now the deterant for many I'm sure is the hefty sum ($500+ depending on the farm) being spent all at once on something you can't even eat yet. If you plan ahead you can pay in installments until the share starts making it a much more manageable sum.
These three cuties were part of our share this week. To be shared with the three cuties having dinner here tonight :) Split in half and baked with a wee bit o' butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and s&p.
Swiss chard, also from our share, was steamed in apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
A whipped up a quick orzo, pumpkin seed, scallion and feta salad to have with the veggies. Perfect fall dinner for three!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin/ Pump-can

This morning I made my beloved oats on the stovetop. I haven't had this breakfast delight since before our month long moving fiasco. 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup milk simmered on the stove until perfectly cooked. 
A wee but of brown sugar, cinnamon and a big scoop of this canned pumpkin made the perfect breakfast! I resisted the urge to buy pumpkin pie mix instead of plain pureed pumpkin... you can control the sugar this way! Coconut and almonds to top it off :) 
I love fall and all things pumpkin! I think this can will last about a week. Guess I'll just have to have more tomorrow :)

Mainely Veggies is Back!

Move in: Check. Unpack kitchen: Check. Fire up the new stove for the first time: CHECK! Over the past month we have been buying our first home! We are finally settled, well sort of (still surrounded by boxes) and the first thing I wanted to do was COOK! What a better way to welcome us home and welcome fall in then with the seasons first batch of chili. 
There are some ingredients missing here, because my picture taking has gotten rusty! I added corn at the request of my man friend. Other ingredients not pictured are black beans, carrots, ketchup, sriracha and the spices (chili powder, paprika and cayenne pepper).
Start by sauteeing the onion, two cloves of garlic, carrots sweet potato and jalapeƱo. Then add everything else! I used a cup of quinoa as the "meat" and I usually cook it separately first but this time I added two cups of water right to the chili and then my cup of quinoa and covered it over low heat. Worked like a charm! Any time I can use one less pot I'm a happy girl! I never measure my spices so just add to taste. Careful with the cayenne, you can always add more but you cant take it out! I add a big squeeze of sriracha because I love it and a big squeeze of ketchup(sans high fructose corn syrup) to add a little sweetness. Salt and pepper to your liking :)
Top with a little cheese and scallions, enjoy!
Did I mention my new kitchen is AWESOME! I love it. you'll be seeing wayyyy more of it!