Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Excuses, Excuses...

I swore that this time I would catch up on the blog.  With FOUR entire days off work, I was schemeing to get through all the backlogged photos and post some decent recipes... along with a giant garden update.  And yet... the weather - it has been too beautiful!  And my friends - they've been popping out babies like crazy and I find  myself wanting to hold them.  I am typing this right now since I already fit in 4+ hours of baby-holding today, and soaked up so much sun that I needed to come in and take a water break.  So let this be a place holder for now.  More will come.  Maybe just one or two pictures a week - but I'm getting back on track!

Things to look forward to hearing about:

I learned how to ski in Tahoe.

Dave bought a smoker.

My brother & sister in law went to Japan and sent us over 20 different flavors of Kit Kat. 
I plan to rate each flavor.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dark Days - Meals 9 & 10

So I don't even know if this Dark Days thing is going on anymore since I haven't seen a recap in months, but I really wanted to see this to the end, so I am still posting my wrap-ups twice a month.

Roasted Cauliflower with spices

 OK - this meal does not qualify as local in any way, but this sockeye salmon is wild-caught Alaskan, which according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list is the most sustainable type of salmon to eat.  Check out that list before making a fish choice - it's a great resource for those interested in making the best choice for the environment.  I wanted to include this since my husband has a fun way to cook it in paper lunch sacks - really fun!

sweet potatoes, red and yellow onions and garlic (all from our winter buyers co-op) in a cast iron pan

 Happy local organic chicken goes on top (I believe the carrots got added in as well after the last photo)

BEAUTIFUL veggies upon roasting in the oven

 a plate of our chicken and veggies dinner

Making homemade stock with the leftover bones the next day

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter Buyers Co-op, Week 11

Lettuce, crimini mushrooms, cabbage, red onions

Some might ask... Have we gotten sick of mushrooms yet?  Honestly - not really!  I like slicing them thinly, sautéing them and adding them to everything from omelets to soups to topping our steaks.  Basically, we use mushrooms as condiments around here.  YUM.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dark Days - Meals 7 & 8

Well then.  I had a plan this time to break up this post in to smaller segments - but I am a slave to deadlines, and apparently other things have been popping up every time I go to write a blog post (ahem, maybe getting lost in reading other people's blogs?).

First off, here's a shot of the finished product of French Onion Soup from the last recap.  The topper was made of homemade herby french bread and local swiss cheese.  YUM!  I froze a few jars so that I can bring them out later to enjoy.
The past couple weeks we were able to eat out at not one, but two resturants which focus very much on SOLE food.  The first, Woodberry Kitchen, we went to for brunch with friends.  OH MY!  Dave had the sausage biscuits and gravy, I had sausage and grits with an egg on top, and one of our friends we were with got shirred eggs (I had to google that at the table - it means baked in a ramekin, sometimes with other stuff). We both chose sausage since it's made in-house!

biscuits and gravy

 My grits

Shirred eggs (I believe the menu said there was fairytale pumpkin inside!)

Later in the week, we had dinner at Dogwood.  These are horrific photos, but I will share them with you anywho:
 This was mine: organic lentils & barley with Moroccan spices, local chevre cheese & roasted red peppers on Tunisian carrot salad.

Dave got the Lamb Borek: Persian spiced domestic lamb baked in phyllo with feta, mint, garlic & rosemary, cucumber salad and local lettuces

So obviously these meals out were not entirely 100% SOLE, but simply supporting the resturants with such a commitment to local farms and good whole foods is a win in my book.

At home a couple meals were made - mostly brunch food (I feel like winter is the season for a hearty brunch):
 Local potatoes, onions and eggs over easy

 I couldn't eat all the sausage from Woodberry Kitchen in one sitting, so we fried up the slices and served with eggs and cheese for another brunch.
 Roasted these butternut squash from our winter co-op for a soup, but the one on the left was so OUT OF THIS WORLD amazingly tasty, that I've been eating it plain as a side all week.
Purple kale from Pennsylvania (found at Whole Foods - surprisingly within our 100-mile range).  I've been eating the stems chopped up in omlettes, and the leaves I made into crispy kale chips. (here's a good recipe)

That's about it for this wrap-up!

Just as a reminder, this post is part of the Dark Days Challenge,
hosted by Laura at the (not so) Urban Hennery.  You can find my intro post here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dark Days - Meals 5 & 6

Here's the SOLE food that's been served up since the New Year:

 Steak from our 1/16 happy cow, plus potatoes, onion and mushrooms from the winter buyer's co-op.  Let's just say those green beans in the background aren't there - since they are straight-up from the grocery store.
 Husband took a day off during the week last week and made totally SOLE beef stock for me in preparation for the weekend, when I had plans for french onion soup!  In the pot were bones from our 1/16 cow (really trying to clear out the freezer), carrots grown in pots on our deck, mushrooms & onions from the winter co-op, and water!
 Actually, this was the weekend of soups.  Here's a soup I completely made up based on what we had lying around the fridge.  The orange color is due to a puree of sweet potatoes that were baked for another meal and I had a lot leftover.  Mixed that with some of the beef stock, added some SOLE sage pork sausage from the market, a jar of the previously featured, totally SOLE One Straw Farm diced tomatoes and then you'll see my cheat on top - diced jalepeno from the grocery.  I also added chili powder which was not SOLE.
 here's my french onion soup: onions - freshly cut in local raw cultured butter
 After an hour....
 After two hours...
And with the broth added!

Didn't get a shot of the soup in a bowl with homemade herby french bread and local swiss cheese all brown and bubbly on top - but I'll include that in next months wrap-up, since I made this just tonight and the leftovers will surely be eaten this week!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dark Days - Meals 3 & 4

Rather than presenting two specific meals, here's a smattering of SOLE food that's been spotted in our kitchen in the past couple weeks!

 Tomatoes from our garden - very slowly ripening under newsprint
 An all-SOLE fritatta with eggs, kale, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onion and swiss cheese.
 Mutant Mushroom!
 Mushroom soup (found on http://userealbutter.com/, see below for recipe)
 AMAZING shredded beef made in the crock pot with diced tomatoes and pickles (you add the whole jar - liquid and all).  Used a chuck roast from our 1/16 a cow purchased earlier in the year.
 Picked the last batch of carrots from the garden this week!
Made sandwiches from local bread, completely SOLE smoked turkey lunch meat (such a seasonal treat from our Amish farmers!) and the last of the tomatoes from our garden. 

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Sherry and Thyme

from Fine Cooking issue #74 (found here)

2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion, medium dice (~ 1 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, and thinly sliced (~ 4 1/2 cups) – I used crimini
1/2 ounce bag of dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in 1-2 cups boiling water (reserve the liquid, but leave any sandy dregs behind) – this is optional, I did not have any dried mushrooms, so I just used more fresh
2 tbsps plus 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (from our garden!!!)
1/2 tsp salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 tbsps dry sherry (I used balsamic vinegar instead... not a fan of sherry)
1 tbsp soy sauce

In a large stockpot heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high. Sauté the onions until they are browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir about for a minute. Then add the mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of thyme, salt, pepper, and cook until the mushrooms begin to wilt (in a couple of minutes). Pour in the broth and the porcini liquid (if using) making sure to scrape up any fond that has formed on the bottom of the pan (the good browned bits). Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 7 to 10 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool slightly. Either using a food processor, a blender, or an immersion blender, purée about half of the soup. Return the purée to the pot and stir in the half-and-half, sherry, and soy sauce. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Reheat as needed. Garnish with fresh thyme and extra mushrooms that have been browned in butter. Serves six.

(in my soup, the vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil were not local)