Friday, January 29, 2010

Underutilized blog

We've been doing the share for long enough now that I'm not experimenting with new recipes nearly as much so I've decided to change the focus to what's for dinner. I often use leftovers to build new meals both because I'm lazy and because it's efficient. It will also shows how I use the share stuff throughout the week. We're still getting the share every other week rather than every week because, well, there really is such a thing as too many root vegetables and there are times I really really want a meal that includes fresh salsa and guacamole in the middle the winter. I made that last week at some point and it was spectacular. Ben said "It's better for my diet to not have this stuff because I don't eat nearly as much of the root vegetables as this."

I don't plan out our meals in advance although I do generally contemplate what we can do for dinner that night while I'm going about my business during the day. My goal is to cook from what we have at home because going to the store constantly is a bit of a waste of time. Some nights we have leftovers, some nights we go out to dinner or get carry out. Ben sometimes cooks but his philosophy of cooking is different than mine; he decides what he feels like eating, goes shopping, and then prepares the meal.

Our share this week:

2 lbs Banana Fingerling Potatoes; 2 lbs Sugarsnax and Chanteney Carrots; 2 lbs Parsnips; 2 lbs Yellow Onions; Shoot/Claytonia Mix; 1 Bag Frozen Zucchini; Elmore Mountain Country French Bread; 1 Dozen Pa Pa Doodles or Gopher Broke Farm Eggs; Vt Soy Tofu Scramble; 2 lbs Frozen Elderberries

Elderberries? Something new and different. I don't think I've ever had them. I'm not so thrilled about the tofu scramble because I'm just not a tofu fan. But hey, a week with nothing in the cabbage family! Yay!

Sunday: Potato, celeriac*, and greens soup, bread. I added greens I'd blanched, chopped, and frozen this summer to increase the nutritional value. It really doesn't seem to add much flavor.

* I discovered that the easiest way to peel this vegetable with many dirt-laden nooks is to cut it into rings and then cut the peel off each ring individually. Takes a little time but leads to less waste than other methods I've tried.

Monday: Chicken and Biscuits, savoy cabbage and carrot salad.

Tuesday: Sloppy joes on whole wheat buns. Winter squash from the share I'd prepared and frozen earlier. Leftover cabbage and carrot salad.

Wed & Thur (this was a big batch so we had it two days in a row - I often freeze some when I make a lot but I needed something easy for Thursday): Bread, Beef stew with carrots and fingerling potatoes. Ben liked it so much he ate the leftovers for breakfast and asked if it was a "real" recipe or something "in my head." Er, this was another one I just made up but here are the approximate measures.

Beef Stew

2 lbs cheap cut of beef, cubed about 1 1/2"
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 lb fingerling potatoes
1 lb carrots, cut into largish pieces
1 quart stock (I had lamb stock in the freezer but anything will do)
Salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, herbs de provence to taste

Sear meat in oil, then remove. Saute onion and celery. Add everything into the pot and simmer for about an hour, maybe more, until everything is tender. Adjust seasoning. It got better on reheating.

Thumbs up from Sam and Ben. Me? I'm not much of a beef stew fan. Thursday before and after dinner I made cupcakes for the Kindergarten bake sale.

Friday: Pizza, claytonia and spouts salad. Claytonia is an interesting green, very small leaves, that our CSA grows in their greenhouse even during cold Vermont winters. It's quite sweet. The sprouts were already mixed with the claytonia and included at least radish and sunflower, I'm not sure what else. Quite a tasty mix.

I make my own pizza dough based on a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. It's a very thin crispy crust, a favorite around here.

Pizza Crust

2 c flour
1/2 tst salt
1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp honey
3/4 c 100 degree F water
1/4 c olive oil

Put flour, yeast, salt, and honey in a food processor. At slow speed, add water until just mixed. Then add olive oil slowly. Remove dough (it'll be wet and soft) from the bowl and toss it onto the counter about 10 times. Place dough in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight or at least 10 hours.

Approximately an hour before cooking, place pizza stone on the bottom oven rack and preheat oven to 500 F. Split dough into two parts. Place each on a 15" wide parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap -- you'll probably need two since this is going to make 15" very thin pizzas. Roll between the parchment and plastic wrap until it is a 15" circle.

Note: since this crust is so thin you can't top these heavily or they'll get soggy. Each pizza uses about 5 oz of grated cheese. I prefer the simple combination of sauce, cheese, and pepperoni or else I'll use some of the pesto sauce I made and froze this summer as a topping.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the cheese begins to brown. Watch closely because it can go from perfectly done to burned in a very short time.

Saturday: Veggie Barley Soup, bread. Similar to this recipe but I didn't have any meat of any sort so I just added more beans. I used a large can of red kidney beans, a can of butter beans and one of small white beans. I also tossed in the package of frozen zucchini from the share and a package of greens I'd previously frozen. It made a nice big pot of food and I freeze leftovers for lunch at work. These are the types of leftovers I look forward to eating...

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