New Carrots and Leeks07.15.10

123 A few weeks back, we ventured back to the Farmer’s Market here in Santa Rosa.  We came away with baguettes and flowers, honey and cherries and figs and a couple of bundles of new carrots and leeks.  Oh, and some butter.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

We always have a blast wandering around sampling and deciding on what to bring home.  The Boy is more adventurous when faced with tables loaded with fresh-from-the-farm produce, and I’ll admit, I’m even more excited than he is to see him go – ooh, what’s that?  Mom, let’s buy those and try them.

Of course, once we get them home, that’s a whole different story.  Carrots and leeks are both familiar and one of those things I’m negating the try-it-three-times rule on.  The Boy was not that excited about it, but hello?  Look at how cute these carrots are:

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Posted in Farmer's Market, Fruit, Local Eats, Salad, Savory, Side Dish, Summer, Vegetable, Vegetarianwith 2 Comments →

Cabbage and Ramen Noodle Salad05.13.10

032First of all, let me just get the obvious out of the way.  My child is not wearing a shirt in the photo.  This is fairly common dinner attire around here in warmer weather, and while I’m not exactly proud of the fact that he’s not wearing a shirt while eating, it doesn’t trouble me much.  This year, produce.  Next year, manners.

Anyhoo… the salad wars rage on here at the Circus.  One of my favorites, precisely because it is complete trash, is a salad made from shredded cabbage and some other stuff, topped with crunched up ramen noodles and almonds that have been sauteed in butter and then sprinkled with that packet of death that comes with it. Ramen isn’t so bad you say?  Let Maki over at Just Hungry give you the rundown on why ramen is very, very bad for you.  I could top the salad with Doritos for the same nutritional effect.

Let it never be said that I’m high-brow over here.  Here’s what we started with:

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Posted in Salad, Savory, Side Dish, Uncategorized, Vegetablewith 3 Comments →

Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup05.04.10

052 I have found them.  I found the lost photographic evidence of our foray into cooking like Pioneer Woman!  On a cold, dreary night in February, back when I was still on my soup bender, I realized I had all the ingredients on hand to attempt Pioneer Woman’s Cauliflower Soup.

None of the kids were excited, and thinking back on the soups I’ve put in front of them over the last couple of months, I get it.  I really do.  But Ree is An Expert.  So I figured this had a shot at pleasing them, even if I’ve failed over and over previously.

Right away, I knew I was going to be making a few modifications to the recipe, based on my hope that the addition of cheddar cheese would make this soup more Boy-friendly.  And we typically replace sour cream with plain Greek yogurt – and my kids haven’t been big fans of tangy recently, so I figured I’d just top my bowl with it and let everyone else get a pass.

Here’s the cast of characters:

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Posted in Comfort Foods, Local Eats, Main Course, Savory, Soup, Spring, Uncategorized, Vegetable, Winterwith 1 Comment →

Rainbow Chard03.16.10

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At the Farmer’s Market, we picked up some gorgeous rainbow chard. After shocking myself by loving the collard greens earlier this year (although admittedly, they were WAY WAY overcooked) I figured that chard would be equally yummy. The kids all oohed and aahed about the colorful stalks and we grabbed two bunches. Leafy greens – with bonus color – is a very exciting proposition. Since I wasn’t going to be cooking with them the same day, I put them in a vase of cold water in the fridge, and they stayed nice and perky. Plus, they were very pretty:

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Back at home, I did a quick search for chard recipes, uncovering a zillion versions of the olive oil, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice, saute method. I’m all for simple and easy, and this approach seemed to be The Way To Go, if you trust the internet for your recipe needs. (I totally trust the internet.)

Although, I will say that this recipe for a rather unconventional lasagne sounds super fab. Mushrooms, Rainbow Chard and Gruyere Lasagne? YES PLEASE. But for my first time out of the gate, I’m going to try to method that 90% of the internet seems to recommend.

Aaaand, here we go:
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Posted in Farmer's Market, Local Eats, Side Dish, Spring, Vegetable, Winterwith 5 Comments →

Ivy Manning’s Maple-Glazed Baby Turnips and Carrot Coins03.15.10

We took the kids to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, and had ourselves a rip-roaring good time.  One of the items we pick up was a bunch of Golden Globe turnips that the farmer assured us were tender and sweet and delicious.  She was absolutely adorable, with her hair in two golden braids and she didn’t mock me when I prodded her wares and looked suspicious.  The Boy actually suggested we get these, since he had fond memories of the last turnip trial we did.

Back at the Brat Cave, we decided to poke around for some recipes online.  At Culinate, we turned up what looked very much like a winner: Maple-Glazed Baby Turnips and Carrot Coins.  Maple and butter – what could be better?

The only problem?  The recipe called for Hickory Bacon Salt, and I don’t have any of that.  Granted, it sounds like a fabulous product, but we’re trying to really keep our sodium to a minimum.  We just omitted it, and moved ahead with the recipe.

My camera has been acting up lately – I think I need to clean it after using it so frequently in the kitchen.  The focus is sort of hit-or-miss.  Anyhoo:  Here’s the cast of characters:

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Posted in Comfort Foods, Farmer's Market, Local Eats, Side Dish, Spring, Sweet, Vegetable, Winterwith 1 Comment →

Acorn squash with butter and brown sugar01.15.10

040We’ve had a manic week this week. My menu planning went out the window, and I have been whipping dinner out with little or no kid participation, leading to some disgruntled produce challengers wondering why I’m being all control freaky let me just do it myself and you can help later in the kitchen.

I don’t know what it is exactly, but I had a bit of my Painting Mania take over, and I didn’t want to suffer any little helpers this week. This, of course, means that the kids felt perfectly free to diss every. single. offering. because they didn’t have any time or effort invested in its preparation. Lesson learned.

At the heart of this little project of ours is tasting individual fruits and veggies, and appreciating (or not) their flavors. I’ve been making these crazy hodgepodge quiches and stir-fry dishes, and The Boy was greeting each meal with all the enthusiasm of a condemned man heading to the gallows. So enough! Enough, I say! Time to bust out a single vegetable side-dish.
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Posted in Comfort Foods, Fall, Savory, Side Dish, Vegetable, Winterwith No Comments →

Glacé carrots, parsnips and pearl onions01.09.10

070 Well, this is a cheery photo to start off with, right?  Look at my  happy, happy son, eating his vegetables with nary a mite of pushback.  Hah!

First, a little background.  When I was in middle school, I was in the GATE program.  If I remember correctly, that stands for Gifted and Talented Education, but it has been a number of years, and it might have actually meant something else.  I wasn’t sure why I was in the program, and in fact, when I was asked to participate, I told them no.  The school called my mom, and she told me I had to do it.  What exactly I was objecting to, I’ll never know.

In any case, the leader of the GATE kids was a teacher whose name escapes me right this minute (clearly, whatever got me into the program was not memory related) who was either from France, or his parents had been.  Often, our field trips and extra-curricular activities had a tinge of the Gallic to them.  We visited museums, created art en plein air, learned some classic French insults and made up a few of our own, and most memorably for me, we learned to cook.  Not a whole lot, but this teacher (why can’t I remember his name?!?  He clearly made a big impression.  I can see his face in my mind right now…) would pull us out of our regular classes to learn to make cheese souffles and crusty french bread.  In fact, being able to leave math to go punch down my dough, feeling the yield of the glossy mass and smelling the yeast ranks up there as one of those formative memories from that period of my life.  Not a bad moment to remember, considering this was, like, sixth or seventh grade and I was neck deep in tween drama most of the time.

Anyway, one time, we were asked to bring some vegetables from home.  Other kids brought carrots, but I was asked to bring pearl onions.  Not my favorite veggie, to be sure, and I was not so enthusiastic when I found out that we’d be eating the results of our cooking.  I didn’t know we’d be slowly sauteing the veggies in butter until they were tender, and then finishing with a bit of chicken broth so that the veggies were tender, flavorful and amazing.  Those pearl onions made me reconsider my dislike – and I have never looked back.  So when I found these little beauties at Trader Joes a while back, I tossed them in the cart.

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    A
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    B
    Bananas | Beans | Bean Sprouts | Beets | Belgian Endive | Bitter Melons | Blackberries | Black-eyed Peas | Blood Oranges | Blueberries | Bok Choy | Boniato | Boysenberries | Breadfruit | Broccoli | Brussels Sprouts | Burro Bananas

    C
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    H
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    J
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    K
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    L
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    M
    Malanga | Mamey Sapotes | Mango | Melons | Mushrooms | Micro-greens

    N
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    O
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    P
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    R
    Radicchio | Radishes | Rapini/Broccoli Raab | Raspberries | Red Bananas | Rhubarb

    S
    Salsify | Sapotes | Shallots | Snap peas | Snow Peas | Spinach | Squash | Strawberries | Summer Squash | Sunchokes | Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Sweet Potatoes | Swiss Chard

    T
    Tamarillos | Tamarindos | Taro Root | Tomatillos | Tomatoes | Turnips

    W
    Watercress | Watermelon | Winter Squash

    Z
    Zucchini