Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer squash napoleon with potato, tomato and pea shoots

I'm pretty proud of how tonight's dinner came out. First of all, it's entirely my own creation. We had yellow Summer squash, tomatoes and potatoes to use up from last week's CSA share. Tick, tock, another share is coming tomorrow!

I had some pea shoots from Trader Joes to use up, too. I figured that I must be able to make something from these ingredients.

This is one of those recipes where it's helpful to prepare some steps ahead of time. Especially if one has a 10 month old baby crawling around. The potatoes can be boiled, sliced and marinated in a mixture of honey Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. The tomatoes can be sliced and set aside.

For the sauce, I reduced a mixture of balsamic vinegar and honey. Once it appeared thicker I took it off the heat. It thickens more as it cools.

For the squash pancakes, I grated the squash into a big bowl. I added 2 minced cloves of garlic, added 2 eggs, beaten, 1/4 cup of flour, some breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix it all together and heat oil in a cast iron skillet. I dropped large spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot skillet and cooked the pancakes until browned slightly. Cool them on paper towels.

I sautéed the pea shoots in a little oil with mince garlic until they wilted slightly.

For assembly, I drizzled a little sauce onto a plate and placed one pancake on top. A slice of tomato topped that, followed by a slice of potato. I topped that with a little bundle of pea shoots and started over with the pancake, tomato and potato again. Topped with more pea shoots and a drizzle of the sauce. The different flavors and textures worked well together and the sweet and sour sauce really pulled it all together.

The only way that I can possibly make a meal like this is to start what I can ahead of time and cook after Mike puts Emily to bed! Yay for parental teamwork! "Yay",incidentally, is Em's new word. Thankfully, she has an early bedtime and, lately, is a sound sleeper. It's all good.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ceviche and studio time

It's been a while since I last posted. I wish that I could say it was because I was so busy but that's not really the case. We did have a new friend over for dinner, though.

I wanted to make something that was served cold because of the scorching hot weather we've been having. I decided on ceviche.

I made a trial run the weekend before because I'd never made ceviche before. I used large scallops, cleaned and cut into quarters, and shrimp. I could have used the small Bay scallops but I don't like them as much. I cleaned the shrimp and cut them into three or four pieces, cut the scallops and very quickly par boiled them for a few seconds to give them a head start on the "cooking" action of the citrus fruit. I drained and refrigerated the seafood while I prepared the rest
of the ceviche. I finely chopped one small onion, one jalapeño pepper, a mango, about 1/2 cup of pineapple, a cucumber and a tomato. All of this went into a large bowl with the juice of one lime and about 1/3 cup of orange juice. I added the seafood to this and mixed it together well and refrigerated it until dinner. It was really delicious and refreshing. Just the thing for a Summertime supper.

We have added an additional day to our babysitter's schedule. She now comes two afternoons,consecutively. It feels so luxurious to have two afternoons to myself. When it was just one afternoon a week, I couldn't even think of what to do with the time. Catch up on sleep? Read a book? Unfortunately, I usually did something boring but necessary like grocery shopping or laundry. Now I try to do those things before the sitter comes so I can make the time useful.

After many, many months off I got into my mosaic work again. I'm making a smaller version of one of my most popular mosaics. My hope is to begin making smaller mosaic backsplashes and be able to market them. It feels good to be working on something again. While life with a new baby is certainly exciting and interesting, I'd begun to feel like I'd lost the creative part of myself. It felt like I'd left that in the past and it's good to bring it into the present again. Now, let's see what the future brings.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fried zucchini squash blossoms

For the second week in a row, we got squash blossoms in our CSA share.  Specifically, zucchini blossoms.  They are the male flowers to zucchini plants.  Female flowers are the ones that become squashes so they shouldn't be picked for frying. They are very delicate and perishable.  With our 90F+ temperatures and visiting family, I'm afraid that the first batch of them turned to slime within 2 days.  When I saw them again this week I vowed to use them immediately.  I've seen squash blossoms stuffed and fried and while that sounds delicious, it also sounded heavy.  I decided to try a lighter version.

Our blossoms were organically grown so I didn't worry about pesticide but they did have a little dirt on them. After rinsing them and drying them on paper towels I cut the stem end off and took out the stamen inside.

I made a tempura-like batter with flour, one egg and some beer and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  It was a thin batter like one makes for crepes.  A thick batter would be too heavy on the delicate blossoms.

I poured canola oil in a small frying pan until it was about 1/2 inch deep.  It should be hot enough that a little batter dropped in sizzles. After dipping each blossom into the batter and rolling it around to cover it, the blossom gets placed carefully into the hot oil.   When the blossoms begin to turn a slight golden brown, I turned them over with tongs until the other side browned.  Once they are all golden I took them out and let them drain on paper towels and sprinkled them with coarse salt while hot.  Because the oil was the proper temperature when I put them in, the fried blossoms absorbed very little oil.

I'd never eaten fried zucchini squash blossoms so I have nothing to compare them too but these were delicious.  It reminded me of a delicate tempura.  I served them with some scallops that got the same treatment with the batter and frying.  The sweetness of the scallops went very nicely with the tender squash blossoms.

I hope we'll be getting more blossoms in future CSA shares!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Recently, I've been slightly obsessed with Korean dishes.  Specifically, Bibimbap.  It's a great dish composed of rice, vegetables like greens, mushrooms, carrots, green onions, bean sprouts, tofu or beef (I get tofu), all with a lightly fried egg on top of it.  There is a dollop of a special Korean hot sauce/paste called Gochujang on the side.
You break up the egg and mix it all up together to make one delicious and healthy meal.

One of the first things that Mike and I did when I got to New Haven was to go to the Oriental Pantry, just a short walk from our apartment in East Rock.  It's a cute little Asian market that is packed to the ceiling with all kinds of food items and also teas and gifts.  They have great dishes and tea sets there.  The market stocks mostly Korean, Japanese and some Thai foods.  The owner cooks a few things, one of them being Bibimbap.  It was my first taste of this dish and it was instant love.  Why do I love it so much?  It isn't a strong tasting dish.  It's more fresh than anything and I love just about anything with an egg on top.  There is something about the hot sauce, too.  It has a definite umami flavor.  After some research I found that gochujang is red pepper paste with soybean miso in it.  A friend who has lived in Korea for years now told me that the red pepper is cut with sesame oil but I didn't find anything that had that in it when I looked for it at the market.  I did find the above jar and it had fermented soybean listed on the label.  I didn't see "gochujang" anywhere on the jar but it tastes exactly like what I've had at the Oriental Pantry.  It's much hotter than the O.P.'s, too!

I love the bibimbap at the Oriental Pantry and will be coming back for more but I decided to try to make it at home.  There is a fair amount of prep work of cutting all the vegetables and cooking them ahead of time.  I used zucchini, kale, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts, roasted nori slivers and tofu.  I used black rice since I had it.  I just cooked it ahead in the rice cooker and let it cool down. I blanched the spouts and cooled them.  In a bowl, I mixed them with sesame oil and sesame seed.  I did the same with the kale, cut into ribbons.  I cut the carrots and zucchini into matchsticks and cooked them each separately in sesame oil.  I sauteed the mushrooms and tofu in sesame oil, as well. When each vegetable was just cooked through I assembled them on a plate.

To assemble the dish, I put a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil in a cast iron pan.  I put about 3 cups of the rice and spread it over the bottom.  I layered the vegetables and tofu on top of the rice and let it all heat up together.  When everything is heated through, add an egg to the top.  Now, that is what most recipes I looked at called to do.  I made bibimbap again and fried the egg separately and I like how that came out better.  I had to cover my pan to get the egg to cook when I added it on top of the vegetables. the steam that collected made the yolk cloud over and it's supposed to remain a bright yellow.  The goal is to cook the white and keep the yolk liquid so it makes a sauce when mixed into the dish.

To serve, put rice into a bowl or on a plate (big bowl is better) and layer the vegetables and tofu on top around the sides in heaps.  Put the egg on top in the middle and dress it with nori, sesame seeds and a dollop of gochujang.  Mix, eat and enjoy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Gazpacho, traffic and naps

We had some of the Mister's* Mike's family here, visiting from out West.  His brother, sister-in-law and her 14 yr. old daughter.  They stayed with us for 4 nights.  It was extremely hot and humid while they were visiting.  We don't have AC in our apartment so we gave them fans and tried to just deal with it.  We went to the beach, ate lots of good food, played with the baby,(it was their first visit with baby E.) and went on a tour of downtown New Haven and Yale.  I hadn't visited Yale or the Mike's workplace since we've been here so it was nice for me to go on the tour, too.  It makes me feel more at home here, after walking the campus and parts of downtown I've only driven past.  Baby E. stood all by herself during their visit which was exciting.

Baby E. has been having napping issues so the whole time the family was visiting I was working on getting her to sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time.  She gets to the 30 minute mark and her eyes snap open.  Within seconds she's up on all fours and crying.  The preceding weeks have been stressful because there wasn't even enough time to get laundry done or much of anything else during her short naps.  I searched the web and found a technique that seems to be working.  Basically, the idea is that babies have 30 minute sleep cycles.  Adults do too but have learned how to fall back to sleep or go right into another, deeper sleep without waking.  Babies wake and can't fall back to sleep on their own.  I go into her room at around the 20-25 minute mark and wait for her to stir.  When she does, I put my hand on her back gently but firmly, until she settles down and falls asleep again.  After making sure she's really asleep I leave the room.  She generally sleeps for another 30 minutes.  She's so much happier after an hour nap vs. a half hour nap.  So am I!  I managed to keep E. on her nap schedule while I was entertaining the Mike's family when he was at work.  Some days they went off on their own, so that helped.  One day, they all went out and I stayed home with E.  I put her down for her nap and took one myself. I've been so tired and find it difficult to catch up on sleep.  E. slept straight through to a full hour on her own.  The family came home and were hungry so I had to wake her up so we could go out!  I guess we are making progress.  Now, if I can only figure out how to get her to sleep until 6:30-7:00 AM!

Yesterday, the family left for home.  They were supposed to take an Amtrak train to Newark where they were to fly home.  Mike dropped them off at the station in the AM and went to the gym.  Their train was cancelled, maybe due to storm damage as it was bound for D.C.  They tried Mike's phone but he wasn't answering so called me.  After some discussion about their options, we decided that in order for them to make their flight I should drive them to Newark, about 2 hrs. away.  Getting there wasn't too bad except for construction on the G.W. Bridge.  I got them there in plenty of time for their flight.  E. slept in the car.  After dropping them off, she was awake and needed a diaper change.  I got lost in Newark trying to find a place to change her and get something to eat.  Eventually, I managed to find the way home and a rest area.  After too long a time there, we got back on the road.  There was major traffic on 95N and the G.W. Bridge was a nightmare again.  E. started crying, having lost her pacifier at the rest area.  Crying turned into hysterical screaming while I sat in a traffic jam.  She eventually passed out and ended up sleeping for about 2 hrs. in the afternoon.  We got home about 2 hours later than it should have taken.  My calf muscles hurt from stepping on the brakes so often from all of the stopping.  

Needless to say, I was wiped out when I got home and didn't feel like cooking dinner.  Did you think I'd forgotten about food?  I used a bunch of our CSA produce and made a Gazpacho with it.  No recipe really, I just threw it together.  I cooked some onions and garlic because I don't like it raw.  I chopped a sweet red pepper, some heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro and an avocado.  Threw it all in a blender and splashed in some balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, chipotle puree and seasoned it with salt and pepper and some Trader Joe's Smoke spice.  I liked it but I'm not sure how the Mike felt about it.  He told me before dinner that gazpacho never really impressed him.  I liked that it was easy and it was cold!  Also, it's a great way to use the abundant product from our CSA share.  I'm planning on having it again for lunch today.

*He informed me that he doesn't care for "Mister" so he will be referred to as Mike from now on.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Salade Nicoise-esque

I'd been thinking of making salade Nicoise for a while, especially during our recent heat wave.  Of course I got around to it as soon as it cooled off again.

I was reminded of this delicious salad after a recent lunch with the parents of one of the Mister's old college friends. They have a beach house in pretty Madison, CT.  We had a simple but beautiful and very French (the mother is French) lunch.  We had salmon rillette with dill, a lovely, green salad with red skinned potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, tarragon and dijon vinaigrette.  Of course, crusty bread and some delicious cheese to go with a chilled glass of white wine.  The perfect meal to sit on a porch on a sunny day and look out at rocky islands in the Long Island Sound.  I loved the potatoes, fresh herbs and that mustard dressing.

Just two days ago, after I'd gone to my first ever Moms' Meetup in New Haven, the Mister called to say that we'd been invited to meet some friends for dinner near the shore in Milford.  After a quick sprucing up of baby and me we headed for the shore.  We ate at The Little Stone House, a casual spot near Hammonasset Beach. I had seared scallops over a green salad with hearts of palm and a honey mustard vinaigrette.  Delicious!  It was especially nice to dine outside along a small inlet where we could watch cormorants diving for their suppers.

My salade Nicoise isn't classic.  There are no green beans or capers.  I made my own version that combines those two recent meals that I described.  I used romaine lettuce, red skinned potatoes, some sort of "black" tomato from our CSA share, hard boiled eggs, kalamata olives, tuna, cheese and some slices of a baguette.  The tuna was really good.  It was packed in olive oil with garlic.  It was so rich and totally unlike canned tuna.  Which is good because the Mister isn't really a fan of canned tuna.  I made my own honey mustard vinaigrette for it.  It's a pretty filling dinner but very tasty.  I may make it for lunch, today!

I should add that I never saw myself as a Moms' Meetup kind of gal.  But, when you move to another state and leave behind everyone you love and care for, you need help.  I was feeling fairly isolated staying home to care for our baby girl.   I met two women at the Meetup that I really liked.  They also were new to the area and it felt good to spend some time with new friends.  Here's to new friends and old ones, too!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ethiopian Collard Greens-Ye'abesha Gomen

We've been getting collard greens in our CSA share lately.  The Mister and I stopped eating meat more than 2 years ago so cooking them with a piece of smoky ham was out.  M. suggested Ethiopian collards and I was more than happy to oblige.  I followed Saveur's recipe and it is so delicious. made this recipe twice in 2 weeks.  The first time I made it with Alecha (vegetable stew), spiced lentils and a pretty decent injera.  The second time I made it with roasted beets and added the beet greens to the collards.  Each time it was very good.  

Injera is a stretchy flatbread that looks like a big crepe.  One large piece of injera is put on a platter and little piles of the other foods are put on top of it. The flavors of the food seep into the injera making it taste delicious.  Another platter of just injera is usually nearby so the diner can tear off pieces to scoop up the food.  Berbere is a blend of spices that seasons the meat and lentils dishes in Ethiopian food.  It makes the food hot and spicy and sooo good!

I've made Ethiopian food before and it was fine but this time it was much tastier.  I think the key was making the Spiced Butter and the Berebere seasoning-  I roasted the spices and ground them in a coffee grinder.  We live in an apartment and the smell of the spices filled the whole house.  M. ran into one of our upstairs neighbor and he said the smells wafting from our apartment was making them crave curry.  

My injera took 24 hours. Much shorter than the authentic way of making it which entails making a starter and capturing wild yeast.  I couldn't wait that long.  Nor could I find Teff flour which is what injera is traditionally made from.  I made a whole wheat version with bread yeast and let it ferment overnight.  The texture was very good.  It was holey and stretchy like real injera.  The flavor wasn't quite right, it was more sour.  Still, it made for a good base for the lentils, vegetables and collards.  

I followed the recipe for the Alecha vegetable stew from my Extending the Table cookbook.  It's a basic recipe with cabbage, potatoes and carrots.  The lentils also came from Saveur-  All in all, these were great meals and I hope that we keep getting collard greens in our weekly share!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creme de Laitue, or what to do with all. that. CSA. lettuce

You know what I'm talking about. Every week you get your CSA share and there are at least 3 or 4 heads of lettuce. We barely got through last week's share by making lots and lots of salad. On Saturday we got more lettuce. I realized yesterday that it was Wednesday and we hadn't even touched any of the lettuce.  There was no way we could eat enough salad to finish it before getting the next share. I remembered listening to a recent radio broadcast about Thomas Jefferson's garden.  He really loved his veggies, apparently. Lettuce, it seems, was a favorite of his. It came up that in Jefferson's time lettuce was frequently cooked.  Other than wilted lettuce salad I don't think I've ever had lettuce cooked. I'm so glad that I heard that little tidbit about cooking lettuce because it led me to Creme de Laitue, or cream of lettuce soup.

I did a little internet search for "cooked lettuce" and found a fair number of unappealing recipes.  Braised lettuce, for one (apparently it turns gray-ew).  Fortunately, I stumbled across a Martha Rose Shulman recipe in the N.Y. Times for Lettuce and Green Garlic Soup  I changed it quite a bit since I didn't have green garlic and wanted to some herbs from our CSA (are you seeing a pattern here?).  I followed Ms. Shulman's recipe but used 4 garlic cloves minced, added chopped dill and basil at the end of cooking.  After blending the soup with an immersion blender I added a bit of cream (I had half and half but heavy cream would be very nice), maybe half a cup.  I sprinkled some cayenne pepper in and served the soup with some shredded parmesan.

The soup is a lovely spring green color and has more flavor than I expected from soup made from lettuce.  It reminded me of Marcella Hazan's escarole and rice soup in flavor.  It's elegant and delicious and I used up most of my Romaine and Buttercrunch lettuce.  I would definitely make this again when I am confronted with a surfeit of lettuce.  Which will probably be next week.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lobster rolls at Lobster Landing

Saturday was cool and rainy so we stayed close to home. Sunday, however, was beautiful. The sun was shining and it was considerable less humid than it's been lately. A good day to drive to Clinton, CT on the shore to check out Lobster Landing. I'd been looking around for a good place to try Connecticut style lobster rolls. Basically, that means they are hot and made without mayonnaise. Just butter and lobster meat on a grilled roll. I've had lobster salad rolls made with mayo and enjoyed them but I can't help feeling like I'm getting more filler and less lobster. I remember finding a cart at the top of a steep hill in St. Johns, U.S.V.I. It was a lobster salad roll with water chestnut. It was good and welcome after driving a terrifyingly steep hill in a Jeep on a very hot, day in the Caribbean. I have to say, though, that I much prefer my lobster rolls made with butter.

Clinton, CT (what I saw of it) is a picturesque town with Victorian cottages lining the road on the way to the marina. Lobster Landing is right at the marina. When we pulled up to the tiny, weather-beaten shack the parking lot was packed. I thought that some of the cars may have been for the marina folks but the lobster shack was doing brisk business. There are 2 buildings. The one with the Lobster Landing sign with the dangling "O" is where customers can pick up live lobsters and fresh shellfish.  Another building is where you can get the rolls. They also make sausage and pepper sandwiches, hot dogs and have gelato and bottled drinks for sale. But, who wants hot dogs and sausage when there's lobster?

M. and I split a lobster roll, they're fairly large ($15, too). The roll was grilled and piled high with lobster. The butter was done with a light hand so the lobster roll wasn't greasy. The lobster itself was sweet and delicious. I saw baby E. eyeing our lunch with envy. Poor kiddie; too young for lobster still but some day!

Lobster Landing isn't a restaurant. It's basically a food stand, like you'd find at a county fair. There is only a porta-potty for rest room facilities. Plastic tables and chairs under a vinyl tent or outside picnic tables overlooking the water. The view of the marina is nice and the lobster rolls are worth the drive.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Homemade baby food

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am the mother of an 8 month old baby girl.  I decided that I would make her baby food when it was time for her to eat solid food.  Part of the decision to do this is my mistrust of baby food manufacturers and partly that I am cheap thrifty.  Making baby food is not difficult to do, less expensive and produces far less waste since there is no packaging.  Essentially, you are making purees.  You control what goes into it and how fine or chunky it is.

Always check with your child's doctor first before starting solids.  My daughter, E. was exclusively breast fed until she was 5 months old.  First I gave her rice and oat cereals.  She tolerated those well and I tried single fruits and vegetables, one at a time.  Her first solid foods were store bought little pouches of sweet potato or pear.  These are still great for when you're traveling since you can squeeze out what you want and reseal them.  But for home meals I make her food.

To make homemade baby food you'll need a steam basket, cooking pot and blender, or a special appliance for steaming and processing the food.  I was given one of these special machines but I was planning on just using a steamer and blender originally.  Buy the best produce you can; organic is best.  Since you're going to the bother of making your baby's food, don't buy food that pesticides were used on. I buy organic at the market or use produce from our farm share that was grown without pesticides.  Wash the food, cut it into smallish chunks and steam it.  Steaming preserves vitamins better than boiling in water.  You can bake some fruits and vegetables.  Apples, pears and sweet potatoes are particularly good baked because they caramelize a bit and taste sweeter.  Once the food is cooked, it's time to puree it.  You can use a blender or a food processor.  You can also use a food mill if that's what you've got.  My little machine blends the food up as well as cooks it.  I reserve the cooking water from the machine's bowl and add it a little at a time until I get the consistency that I want.  If you're using the steamer basket method just add water. Think apple sauce, that's how loose it should be.

Let the puree cool and pour it into molds.  I use ice cube trays.  I like the size of the cubes of food it makes.  Store the food in the freezer until it's solid and then remove the cubes to freezer bags.

To feed my baby I just take out a couple of cubes of different vegetables or fruits and put them in a microwavable bowl.  I heat it for about 40-50 seconds and stir in some oat cereal and water.  At first you should try single foods to make sure the baby can tolerate them.  Once you're sure the baby isn't allergic to any foods you can then combine those foods together into more complex tasting meals.  That's it!  So far, E. has had sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, pear, apple, broccoli, spinach and legumes.  I've made lentils and rice on the stove top and pureed them with vegetables for lentil-rice-sweet potato and split mung bean with basil.  Herbs (organic) and some spices can enhance the foods.  I've added cinnamon to apples, pears, carrots and sweet potatoes.  Just don't add any sugar or salt to the food.  It's not healthy for the baby and I think it's wise to let the baby taste food in an unadulterated state first.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

On sleep (or lack thereof) and scapes

So, our 8 month old baby girl, E., woke me up at 5:30 AM today. Yesterday, it was at 5:00AM so I guess that's improvement. We've been working on her sleeping schedule. When she was just 2 months old she began sleeping through the night. I mean, sleeping from 10PM until 9AM without waking. She did this until she was about 5 months old. We got used to that and got cocky. Then, teething started and all bets were off. We moved to New Haven when she was 7 months old and changed everything on her. New house (rental), new room, new bed (she'd been sleeping in our room in a play yard bassinet, not in her crib). Needless to say, she wasn't sleeping well. Not at all.  We'd put her to bed at 7PM, she'd wake at 8, then again at 10, 2, 4 and eventually get up at 6:30 or so.  Ugh. I can see why this is a younger person's game. In desperation I searched the web for help and found a book that seemed like it might help.  I found The Sleepeasy Solution, by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack.  I'm not getting paid to promote the book, just letting people know that it helped us.  The "solution" is a modified version of cry-it-out.  Previously, we'd been running into her room every time she made a peep in the night.  That wasn't working.  I'd rocked her, shushed her, nursed her, let her sleep with us.  None of that was working.  The first night we implemented the new sleep routine she cried for an hour.  During which time we'd go in to check on her about every 10 minutes to make sure she was okay.  She fell asleep just about after that hour of crying.  And she slept all night!  I awoke in the morning and immediately panicked.  Something must be wrong, she didn't wake all night.  Nope.  She was fine and still sleeping.  We still have nights where she wakes up but it's not more than once and she drops right back off again.  She does sometimes wake up earlier than we'd like, but that seems to have to do with her nap schedule during the day.  We're working on her napping, too.

I thought I'd show what I made with the onion scapes from our CSA share once I got her to sleep.  The scapes were totally foreign to me.  First of all, they were huge.  The longest one was more than 2 ft. long. Some of them were quite thick and they were hollow.  If you don't know what they look like, check out my previous post about our CSA share. I cut the scapes into short segments and cooked them in a hot, cast iron skillet in a little sesame oil until they caramelized a bit.  I served them with the last of my homemade tofu and sliced shiitake mushrooms that we got at the farmers market.  I made a thin sauce with mirin and tamari and drizzled it over.  It was a nice and simple meal.  The scapes were mild and reminded me of leeks.  Caramelizing them brought out a nice sweetness in them.

The cut onion scapes and shiitakes

The finished dish-yum!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

CSA share

We got quite a haul in our first ever CSA share.  It's only a half share and since it's the first one of the season I didn't expect it to be so large!  We got 2 heads of romaine lettuce, 1 bib lettuce, 1 red leaf, small bunch of carrots, bunch of colorful radishes, onion scapes, bunch of spinach and potted basil plants (purple and Genoese).  It all looks so good!  The market was bustling this morning even though it was sprinkling rain.  The sun broke through while we visited the vendor stalls and it's turning out to be a gorgeous day.

                                                          Our farm share.  Isn't it pretty?
Scapes and radishes.

                                                                      Multigrain bread
                                                                  Shiitake mushrooms

It's going to be a delicious week!

Wooster Square

Today we are getting our first CSA share.  When we lived in Buffalo I tried several times to get on a CSA share waiting list but they were always sold out.  As soon as we moved to New Haven we found a CSA with a few shares available.  The farm is out of Madison, CT.  It looks like the quintessential New England farm.  Maybe we'll visit the farm with our baby girl, E. this Summer.

We go to the City Seed Farmer's Market New Haven's Wooster Square in to pick up our farm share. Wooster Square is famously home to Pepe's Pizza, where there are lines out the door even in the morning.  I'm not kidding.  The park in Wooster Square is very pretty.  When we first moved here the cherry trees were blooming and I went over there one day to take photos.  I think I waited a little too long.  We'd had some windy days and many of the blossoms have fallen off the trees.  It still was quite pretty.  Here are a few of shots from that day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pretty. Healthy.

Tonight's dinner. I think that it's one of the prettier meals I've made.  Quite healthy, too.  Matchstick carrots, pea shoots, red peppers, mushrooms, mirin, tamari, sesame oil and homemade tofu.  Yes, I made tofu!  I followed the recipe on Instructables, here:

It was pretty easy and I didn't need any special equipment.  I used organic soybeans, of course.  First you have to make soy milk from the beans to make the tofu.  I saved a pint of that just to see how it would come out.  It's really good and better than store bought tofu.  The soy milk is also excellent.  Fresh makes a difference.  Below are some photos of my tofu and soy milk.  We don't eat a lot of soy but since we currently don't eat chicken, pork or beef we sometimes use it as our protein.  I happen to like it and I certainly feel better about making it myself since I can control what goes into it.
This is the tofu that I scooped out of the cooking pot as soon as it was ready, before I pressed it.  It was soft and almost decadently creamy.  I added a splash of mirin and tamari and called it lunch!    

Finished soy milk and pressed tofu.  I made nearly a pound of tofu and about a pint of soymilk.


Ok, I finally broke down and started a blog.  Who knows how long I'll be able to keep it going.  I am, after all, the mother of an 8 month old baby girl who has just learned to crawl.  A little about that; I'm a first time mom and over 40 (just a little bit over) ;-)  My husband, M, and I just moved from Buffalo, NY to New Haven, CT. for his new job.  I was self-employed as a decorative artist in B-lo but currently I am staying at home with our baby until she's old enough for daycare and I can get back to work.

It's pretty nice here but the thing that stands out for me is the food. There is so much good food here! I love to cook and, of course, eat. I'll be writing about restaurants, food trucks and meals we make at home.  Also, we just bought a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share since moving here and we are excited to see what we get and what we can make with the fresh produce.  Some of that produce will go into homemade baby food.

Occasionally, I may write about my mosaic artwork or painting.  I miss working and being creative so this blog is a bit of an outlet for me.

I'm going to see where this takes me.  I hope you'll come along with me.