Garlic Scape Pesto

What’s new lately?  It’s been a while.

We’re gearing up for the summer months, which means much travel and family time for me.  This year, we’re heading up to Bar Harbor for a week prior to my cousin’s wedding.  After that, a week in Wildwood, New Jersey, building sand castles and visiting family.  And finally, at the end of the summer, my sister is getting married!!

Also part of the summer months, enjoying all the great things from our garden!  This year, we planted sugar peas, which are ready to be picked, Romaine lettuce, sprinach, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, dill, basil, parsley, and my chives have returned from last year.  As you know, we’re a big veggie eating family, so to supplement, we’ve joined a CSA through Frost Arrow Farm.  I’ve always wanted to join a CSA, but this is the first year doing so.  We’re only in the second week, but I’ve had fun researching and creating meals based on what’s in the box.

garlic scapePhoto Credit:  agardenforthehouse.com

This week’s mysterious visitor was garlic scapes.  Garlic scapes are the part of the garlic plant that you see above the ground.  It’s long and twisty and green.   If you’ve never seen a garlic scape, think Medusa’s hair.  I had fun chasing my boys around the kitchen yelling, “the snakes got me!  Help!”  They just thought I was weird and walked away.  Oh, well.  I’ll be trying a few different recipes with my scapes, but my first use was Garlic Scape Pesto over tortellini.  I have to say, while my breath could kill an army, it turned out really good.  This is definitely not first date fare, but if you are at your local farmer’s market in the next few weeks, and happen to see some scapes, they’re worth trying.

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Garlic Scape Pesto

1 bunch of garlic scapes, cut in two inch pieces.

1 C of parmesan cheese, or more depending on taste

1 C of olive oil

1/2 C walnuts

1 TB lemon juice

black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. 

Pan-Fried Tofu and Watercress with Lemon Caper Sauce

Phew…long title.

Ok, let’s get ready folks.  It’s Monday, or maybe it’s Tuesday where you are.  Whatever the case may be Thanksgiving is right around the corner…ok, if you live in America…which not all of you do.  Ok, well anyway…I’m gearing up for Thanksgiving and you can come along, too.  

Let’s eat lots of buttery things, and stuffed things, and things smothered in gravy.  Then, for dessert, let’s have one of each.  Then, repeat.  The next day, eat a stuffing sandwich…mmmm.  

But, to do this, we must get ready.  We must prepare our minds, bodies, and souls.  This week, we eat Tofu.  Tofu and Oatmeal.  And, lots of spinach. 

But we’ll make it really tasty, so it will be ok.

Pan-Fried Tofu and Watercress with Lemon Caper Sauce

from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson (Great Cookbook)

1 16 oz package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Salt and pepper

2 Tb olive oil

1/4 C dry white wine

3 Tb fresh lemon juice

2 Tb capers, drained and chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 bunches watercress, tough stems removed

1. Pat the tofu dry and season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

2. Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu and cook in batches until golden brown on both sides, 2-4 minutes per side.  Add the wine, lemon juice, and capers.  Simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

3. Heat the remaining 1 Tb oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the watercress and cook, stirring until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer the watercress to a serving platter or 4 individual plates and arrange the tofu on top.  Drizzle the sauce over the tofu and serve hot.

Pumpkin Waffles, A Halloween Tradition

Happy Halloween!

So, I live in a totally backwards area where we celebrate Halloween the Thursday before Halloween.  So, while its Halloween for you, its old news for me.  I’ve moved on to bigger and better things.  My area is so backwards that if Halloween falls on a Thursday, we celebrate it the Thursday before Halloween.  I’ve asked people who are originally from here why this is a tradition, no one has an answer.  I’m going to petition against it because it’s stupid.

Last year was our first “with kids” Halloween, so we wanted to start a tradition the night of Trick-or-Treating.  We decided on breakfast for dinner.  We all know that breakfast for dinner is awesome!

This year our breakfast was Pumpkin Waffles.  I’m getting sick of all things pumpkin.  I’m down to my last can, so I can soon move on.

I’m going to apologize for my unappetizing picture of these waffles, but we were rushed trying to get costumes on, cleaned up, and out the door for trick or treating.  They taste much better than they look, and come highly recommended.

Have a great Halloween! Stay safe, if you have kids!  Remind them to say please and thank you.  I think 10 of the 100 trick or treaters I had remembered.

Pumpkin Waffles

from Smitten Kitchen, see the original post here

 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold them gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.

Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter (about 2 cups for four 4-inch Belgian waffles) into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

Cod and Chorizo, yes please-o!

Folks, do you hate doing dishes?  I do.  I didn’t always, but now that I do it for four people, I hate it.  I hate it more than laundry, and I despise laundry.  

I was so excited that I made something that involved a pan and a knife.  That was it.  Want to know something even better?  It was really good.

From start to finish, it took me 30 minutes.  Rachel Ray, eat your heart out.

Baked Cod and Chorizo

from Real Simple

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces chorizo or smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (peel first, if desired), sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds cod fillets
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Heat oven to 400° F. 

    Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown on both sides. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the leeks, broth, saffron, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Bring to a boil. 

    Meanwhile, rinse the cod and pat it dry with paper towels. Season with the remaining salt and pepper. Place it on top of the potatoes and drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake until the cod is the same color throughout and flakes easily, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley and transfer to individual plates. 


Meatless Monday: The Ultimate Veggie Burger

 

Before I jump into the recipe, I was pondering Meatless Monday.  Why is it important? Well, we all have families, loved ones, and people who we care for deeply.  They are the reason for Meatless Monday.  

The goal of Meatless Monday is to encourage healthy eating through vegetables and whole grains, so that we can take care of our bodies, and in turn, hopefully live longer and healthier for the ones we love.  I am encouraged by the fact that my two-year old loves Tofu and Edamame.  I count that as a major success!

I have two reasons for making Meatless Mondays a priority.  Here they are:

My babies!  Now, if they’d only stop growing up, that would be wonderful.

So, Meatless Monday…do it for yourself and  your family.  Your body will thank you.

I have tried to make many a veggie burger.  They are usually mushy and bland.  This one was neither.  The use of cashews and mushrooms gives it a meaty flavor without trying to replicate a real hamburger.  Give yourself about an hour for prep, but it is an hour you won’t regret.  Plus, you can freeze the ones you don’t use!  See notes at the end of recipe.

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

From Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
3/4 cup dried brown lentils
3/4 cup bulgur
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp table salt
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup leek or scallion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. cremini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup unsalted cashews
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used light sour cream)
2 cups panko

Instructions: 
Bring lentils to boil in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, until falling apart. Drain in a mesh strainer, dry and set aside. While lentils are cooking, boil 2 cups of water for bulgur, add bulgur and turn off heat. Let it cook until water is absorbed. Put bulgur aside. In a large pan, heat oil. Add onions, celery, garlic and leek or scallion, and cook for about 8 minutes. Set aside, then add mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. In a food processor, process cashews until fine. Combine cashews, lentils, and bulgur with cooled vegetables and cashews. Add mayonnaise. Food process (pulse) in batches until mixture is cohesive but roughly textured. Stir in panko, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 12 patties. Cook on the grill or in a pan, about 5 minutes per side. 

**These freeze really well.  You can make them completely, but don’t cook.  If you’re going to freeze, add 1/2 tsp of panko bread crumbs for each patty you are planning on freezing.

 

Beef & Pumpkin Stew

So, this week’s Holiday Exchange Challenge was One Pot Meals.  I don’t really have too many of those.  I have some crockpot meals and a few casseroles, but not too many one pot recipes.  I have the usual chili and soups, but I wanted to do something a little different.  With that in mind, let me introduce you to my new friend.

 

I know, it’s not much to look at, but beauty is on the inside.

This week’s prize is a Le Creuset Dutch Oven.  I think I’d just be the happiest girl in the world if I won. 

I had mine with couscous (don’t be such a couch couscous, remember that commercial?  Anyone?), but my husband and I agreed, it would be much better with mashed potatoes.  Also, I didn’t have cardamom, so I used cinnamon.  Then, when I put it in bowls, I added a little dash of cinnamon into each bowl.  Also, I added a little more salt than the recipe called for, as it was a little on the bland side at first.   

This is a combination of two recipes.  One from The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook and the other is Taste of Home.  Has anyone made the Taste of Home recipe?  It looks awesome! I just don’t have that kind of time on my hands 🙂 Check it out here.

What is your favorite one-pot meal?  I’m looking forward to getting some ideas over at Jamie’s page.

You should come too!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Exchange sponsored by Le Creuset.

On a side note, I don’t know if anyone else saw this post, but you should definitely check it out.  It’s ingenious, and delicious.

Pumpkin & Beef Stew

Adapted from The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook & Taste of Home

2Tb vegetable oil

1 1/2 lbs trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 rib celery, thinly sliced

1 green pepper, diced

1  tsp salt 

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cardamom (I used cinnamon)

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 C water 

1 Tb beef bouillion

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 lb fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3 inch chunks (you can use butternut squash, too)

2 Tb Lemon Juice

***1 Tb Cornstarch blended with 1/4 C water (I did not do this, and it turned out fine.  If you find your stew is too watery, you may want to add this)

In a Dutch Oven (hopefully my LeCreuset!), heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the beef, working in batches if neccessary, and cook until browned all over.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a bowl.

Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the seasonings, and return beef to the pan.  Add the water, bouillion, and tomatoes.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.

Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice.  Cover and simmer until the meat and pumpkin are tender, about 30 minutes.

***Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, about 3 minutes.