Juice, Salad, Braised Fennel…

 

 

We are leaving for the weekend so last night we decided to try to use up a bunch of our vegetables and what better way then to juice em’ up!

We had some leftover Kale and Kohlrabi sticks (I had prepared earlier this week). We also added 1 carrot,  half the bunch of beet greens, 1 potato, and a small piece of ginger for better taste!

 

 

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Above is our juicer and the pile of veggies. Below is the juice on the left and the fiberous leftovers that we put into a freezer bag for making stock later!

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And here it is! All those veggies and nutrients ready to be enjoyed. It was a great pre-dinner snack for right when Curt got home from work.

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And as always, Curt was still hungry for another type of Appetizer before he started cooking up the Braised Fennel dish. So he made an awesome salad!

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The salad was loaded with lettuce, radicchio, beet greens, kohlrabi chunks, chopped fennel stocks, a couple olives sliced, a few sprigs of cilantro chopped, a handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and cranberries! We used our favorite Annie’s Green Goddess dressing. YUM!

Let me introduce you to Curt…

Hi, Im Curt and Im going to tell you how to make one of the most amazing fennel dishes you’ve ever eaten EVER! If you don’t think you like fennel, then try this dish (Curt didn’t actually say that but he did write this up for all you to read haha):

Braised Fennel

The original recipe called for only 1 bulb of fennel which was good because that’s all we had but if I was going to make this again (and I will!) I would use 3 or 4 bulbs.    The amounts of other ingredients are based on the single fennel bulb so if you make a bigger batch just double everything.  Cut the fennel bulb(s) once lengthwise and then vertically in 4 or 5 strips.  If you leave the core on the inner layers should all remain in tact even after cutting.  There were also some stalks left on the fennel which you can slice up and add as well.  Even a sprig of the leaves for classiness is acceptable.

Start heating up some oil and butter in a frying pan.  Chop up half an onion and some garlic.  Throw everything into the frying pan and heat over medium high heat for 5-10 min stirring occasionally until everything is nice and browned up.  Add some salt and pepper during this part.  While that’s cooking, slice up some green olives and cube 1 or 2 tomatoes (or use a can of cut up tomatoes).  When the fennel is nice and browned add in the olives and tomatoes as well as some capers and about a cup of liquid.  Chicken or veggie broth are great but water would work too.  Stir the mixture and bring to a simmer.  Cover the pan and simmer on low for 20-25 min.

While this was cooking we started getting our meat ready.  I cooked a piece of bacon, slightly crispy, crumbled it up and added it to the fennel pan.  I then cooked a half pound or so of ground sausage until brown and then added that to the pan as well.  We didn’t think of it this time around but we should also have been cooking some sort of pasta or rice to go with the meal.  Linguine might be nice.  I was getting a bit ancy and ended up cooking the final 10-15 min uncovered, eventually cranking up the heat to cook off excess liquids.  There shouldn’t be much liquid left by the time the 25min has passed.  When you think it’s ready remove from heat and wait 10-15minutes (if you can!) before serving for extra flavor enhancement! It will be smelling really good at about this point and you may be hungry.  Try and distract yourself somehow while you wait.  Maybe eat a piece of bread.  You can also chop up a few sprigs of fresh parsley to sprinkle on top and if you’re serving over past don’t forget the cheese!

This meal was epic, definitely will have to repeat again.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out with fennel being one of the main ingredients.  The cooking process takes much of the ‘licorice’ flavor out of the fennel and all that remains is an amazingly savory taste and texture!

Crazy lookin’ Curt in the kitchen choppin’ up fennel!

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Working on Thanksgiving side dish: operation carrots!

For Kaitlyn and Jake: I reached into the box to find the most amazing fresh firm carrots. They were just the right size and shape and I couldn’t wait to eat em’ right up, especially with some ranch dressing!

As I said I would, I pickled some more carrots. This time, they’ll be used as a Thanksgiving side dish (not on pizzas). We got a bunch of carrots this week in the share so I decided to make a simple jar of refrigerator sweet dilled carrot sticks. I have been really trying to use premium ingredients these days and although it tends to be a little bit more expensive, we end up buying less because “Real” ingredients tend to keep you fuller longer, well, at least that’s what we think!

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So, I cut up a bunch of carrots into sticks and then blanched them for a minute before shoving them back in the jar with a couple crushed garlic cloves. Then I boiled the brine for 5-6 minutes and poured it over the carrots, screwed on the lid and let it cool down before putting it into the refrigerator.

The carrots before the brine goes in:

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Easy Sweet Refrigerator Dilled Carrot Sticks

10-12 small carrots, enough to fit into a quart sized ball jar

2 cloves garlic crushed up

1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp mustard seeds

1/2 Tbsp dill seeds

1/2 Tbsp fennel seeds

1 Tbsp sea salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar

1 1/4 cup water

Blanch the carrots, and put them into the jar with the garlic. Place all remaining ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 5-6 minutes. Pour brine over the carrots and garlic and close lid tightly. Wait for it to cool to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator. Wait at least one day to eat. They will last a month or two in the refrigerator but we all know they wont last that long…lets be serious here!

Poor photo but I’m sure they’ll turn out great!

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We’re still gonna make another side dish which will be just a simple steamed carrots with butter and maybe a little maple syrup but that doesn’t need to be prepared until the day of Thanksgiving!

Here are some other recipes I found while getting some inspiration:

Whole Foods Maple-Glazed Carrots

Eating Well’s Top Carrot Side dishes

That’s all for right now! Curt will be home soon and I think we’ll be making a fennel sausage dish so stay tuned!

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CSA Week 6

My favorite day of the week! CSA pick up day, soccer, and hump day all in one! There’s something awesome about Wednesdays (although next week the pick up is on Tuesday because it’s Thanksgiving week).

Contents: lettuce, beet greens, radicchio, fennel, carrots, potatoes, cilantro, garlic and butternut squash

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Curt and I will be leaving next Wednesday to go down to his family’s spot for Thanksgiving. They have a lot of people show up and it’s such a great time with an after dinner hay ride. I’m actually not sure if the hay ride is still on the docket because we may have been horsing around a little too much for the people providing the ride. Even if there’s no ride, there’s definitely going to be food! Curt and I are in charge of carrots. I’ve been stockpiling the carrots from the share since last week but Im sure we’ll still have to head to the CO-OP in order to be able to make a couple great dishes. I’m thinking of pickling a jar tomorrow so it’ll be ready for next week. Stay posted for pictures and a brine recipe!

As for the radicchio, it’s not red cabbage. It’s stronger and tangier but very tasty. Im going to try this Radicchio and Feta Rolls recipe at some point later this week or early next week.

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Kabocha Squash Lasagna and Veggie Broth

So, again I’ll start out by saying, “while on the road…” the fact that Im saying it so much really makes me realize that I’m actually using a lot of tricks that we learned on the road! It makes me happy! Ok, so, while one the road we had stopped at a place called Coldwater Gardens in the panhandle of Florida. They are an amazing soon-to-be agritourism farm and we were lucky enough to have a lot of veggies to eat every week! In the meantime, the volunteers there would create a veggie stock bag that would go in the freezer to be made into stock once a week. Curt and I started doing this the second we got home and have made many batches in the meantime!

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Start out by saving any extra veggie leftovers like kale stalks, garlic ends, onion peels, carrot peels, etc. Once a gallon freezer bag is filled up, put all of it in a large crockpot and fill the rest with water. Let it cook on low for about 12 hours.

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Strain the cooked veggies with a colander and pour by using a funnel into jars. You can either freeze them or just put them in the refrigerator. Curt and I use the broth to cook our rice or quinoa so we go through it fast enough to put into the refrigerator. Using this broth adds a bit more nutrients and flavor to things that you cook!

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Curt had started the veggie broth last night so I was compelled to finish processing it today while he was at work and add it into this blog post. Sometimes it just works out that way! We are really luck to have room mates Jamie and Matt who own  Freshies Farm, an organic feed, pasture raised poultry farm in Cambridge, Vermont. They are able to take all of our kitchen scraps (i.e spent veggie broth leftovers) to their  compost pile up in Cambridge. I also want to make a shout out that their Thanksgiving turkeys, They  are available for order at $5/lb. They’ll be heading up there on Sunday to process and I’ll be heading up on Monday to help with any leftover processing. It’s gonna be cold and that’s why we owe our small farm farmers a huge THANK YOU for what they do!!!

As for the Kabocha Squash, I decided to make lasagna with it! When I did my initial search on google, the only Kabocha Squash lasagna came up with the same recipe on so many different blogs and websites. So, as I’m a little lazy right now, I decided to go with it. The recipe originated (I think) from the New York Times recipe Lasagna With Roasted Kabocha Squash and Bechamel. Click on the link to get the recipe. Here are some pictures of the process.

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Roasting

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The recipe seemed a little un-colorful, so I added some sauteed shallots, garlic, kale, and tatsoi.

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The layering process… Bechamel, lasagna noodle, squash, greens, bechamel, lasagna noodles, bechamel, squash, lasagna noodles, bechamel.

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We can’t wait to eat it tomorrow! Tonight we went to a function catered by Barkeaters in Shelburne and ate a lot of finger foods so tomorrow we’ll get to eat our lasagna before soccer!!!

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Monday! Back to work…sort of, and Kohlrabi explained

After coming back from our road trip, I learned my good friends Julie and Eric were in the process of buying a pizza shop so I decided to get on board with them! A few weeks ago, they decided to close down the shop and do a complete overhaul of the space. Although I’d like to be working, it really has been nice to find my creative side again in the kitchen!

We have been talking about different ways to make specific ingredients last longer and taste better on the pizzas so today, I went over to Julie and Eric’s house to discuss pickling! We made a bunch of different brines to experiment and test which ones would become the baselines for the future at the pizza shop! We pickled golden beets in a apple cider and ginger brine as well as a red wine and basic spices. Purple beets in another sweet apple cider and spiced brine. And finally both the celery and carrots in a basic white vinegar, italian seasoning brine. We have more ingredients to experiment with such as eggplant, jalapenos, and garlic as well as trying to make our own siracha and ranch dressing! A note that these specific pickled items are refrigerator style pickles which help us feel better about safety!

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After pickling, Julie and I headed back to my house around 630pm to make some dinner. Curt and our room mates Jamie and Matt were hanging out in the kitchen (only the best place on earth to congregate!) and Curt had started cooking some rice for dinner. I had purchased some VT Rhapsody Tempeh (fermented soybeans) and we marinated them in soy sauce and sauteed them for a bit and then added about 4 cups of Kimchi. When I made the Kimchi, I put a jar on the counter and it fermented after about 4-6 days. I read somewhere that the more fermented sour kimchi is better for cooking dishes so I just dumped that right out into the pan! We let the Tempeh and Kimchi simmer for about 10 minutes and ate it over a bed of whole grain rice. Yum. I also realized we still had a head of lettuce, Kale, Carrots, and Kohlrabi, and Tatsoi so I whipped up a salad. I added dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. My favorite dressing for a heartier mixed green salad to sweeten it up is:

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Quick sweet salad dressing

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 TBS honey or maple syrup

2 TBS orange juice or mango juice

I only used half the Kohlrabi and like the Carrots, I shredded them up. Make sure to take off the outer layer of skin on the Kohlrabi because it tends to be pretty tough.

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With the other half I just cut it up into strips to eat with hummus or just by itself! It’s so darn good.

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My cousin Abbie asked about what I was going to do with my Kohlrabi and although it’s great in a simple salad or by itself, here are some other recipes to check out!

Top Five ways to prepare Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi Carrot Slaw

Simple Roasted Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi Soup

Kohlrabi Home Fries

And don’t forget you can use the leaves of Kohlrabi (if they come attached) as if they were Kale, or another hearty leafy green. Great in soups and added to salads!

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Sunday Yummday

Sunday morning, what better way to start the day then giving the cast iron skillet a workout! We grabbed a big potato, a couple carrots, shallots, and garlic from the CSA share and sauteed it up in the skillet. We added some tofu at the end and our favorite hot sauce, Siracha! We’re very nervous as we’ve heard a rumor the Siracha factory might be shut down due to odor. What would we do? I guess it’s time to try making our own. One of the families we stayed with in California while on our road trip sent me a link to a home made siracha recipe, but I have yet to try it. This news about the factory might kick my butt into motion though!

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In other news, I made bread this past week. Although it didn’t have any ingredients from the CSA share, it goes well as a side to a lot of things. Sometimes, people just need some carbohydrates in their life. What better way to get them then a loaf of whole wheat mung bean sprout bread! I got the recipe from a blog called Vegan Richa but a side note that I did use regular non-vegan butter and no bread flour, just a whole wheat and white flour mix and it turned out great. I even added some sunflower and pumpkin seeds!

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The bread didn’t even last 2 days it was so good! There’s something to be said about a fresh baked loaf of bread.

Off to watch some FOOTBALL! SUNDAY YUMMDAY!

 

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Butternut Squash… Say whaaaat?!?!

I’ve been wanting to make both mac and cheese and hummus for a while now, and what better ingredient to add then butternut squash. We received a butternut squash in our share a few weeks ago and I feel like we’re probably going to get another one soon, so I HAVE TO USE IT! haha, well I don’t have to but that’s what I’m telling myself.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod blog.

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I used bow-tie pasta instead of elbow macaroni, ricotta cheese instead of aged-white cheddar (I still used the sharp cheddar, SERIOUSLY SHARP VT CABOT!), and italian blend spices instead of rosemary and nutmeg. Other then that, I followed the recipe.

Butternut Squash Curry Hummus. Recipe from Oh She Glows blog

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It’s pretty interesting tasting but I think if you’re into Curry, you’re gonna like it. If you don’t like it, just bring it to your next pot-luck! People always like interesting dishes!!

 

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