Tag Archives: food

Banana Bread

Had a request recently for our banana bread recipe.  Here goes:

Pre-heat oven to 350F.1375687_10101594666881608_2118844223_n
In a large bowl, mix:
3-4 ripe smashed bananas (we sometimes use frozen ones too)
1/3 cup canola or coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar (we’ve cut this down from other recipes already)
1 egg (pre-beaten)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Typically I mix each item before I add the next item.  We usually sift the flour into the bowl and mix it in every 1/2 cup.  A tip: we typically use a wooden spoon to mix this recipe.

Pour the batter into a prepared baking device.  We typically use one large loaf pan or we have a set of 4 smaller loaf pans that we really like too.  You could use almost any baking device for your banana bread.

For the bigger loaf pan, it takes about an hour at 350.  For the 4 smaller pans, we test the bread after more like 20-25 min.  You are looking for a toothpick to come out dry.

Some folks like to add things to their banana bread.  We often like to add raisins.  Sometimes we’ve added nuts too.  Really just add whatever you want – banana bread is pretty easy & a great snack.

Just one tip for banana bread.  It travels really really well.  I’ve baked a loaf and taken it to a conference to be eaten in the hotel instead of the hotel breakfast.  We’ve baked the little loafs and taken 1-2 of them on a plane ride with us.  Banana bread also does really well on road trips.  Often we will spread peanut butter or honey all over a slice and call that a nice snack. You can also freeze banana bread.  I don’t personally like doing that (just something about the texture) – but, I know plenty of folks who do.

I think the best part of banana bread for me, aside from the smell when it is baking, is that it is good at any time of year.  We don’t make this in any particular season more than any others.

Here are the original recipe cards we had sent to us – you’ll notice some extra notes/comments & other differences:
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photo 2

 

What sorts of things do you do with banana bread? How is your recipe different?

Eating through the freezer!

That is our mantra right now.

We have done a great job preserving food, finding amazing deals on local meat, and cooking amazing things… and then freezing all of it!  The problem is that we forgot to eat it!

Contents of our freezer currently include:

  • Ham steak from a local pig farmer
  • Two sets of pork chops from two different local pig farmers
  • Beef soup bones from a local beef farmer
  • Ground beef galore from two different beef guys
  • A package of bacon
  • A package of local Italian beef sausages
  • packages of soy sausage
  • at least 5 pieces of amazing salmon (including two full fillets)
  • a gallon of cilantrophoto (13)
  • a quart of basil
  • about 30 egg whites in quart bags (don’t ask)
  • 3 gallons of frozen blueberries
  • 2.5 gallons of frozen bananas
  • a few quarts of frozen strawberries
  • two quarts of frozen raspberries
  • a few quarts of frozen mango slices
  • an assortment of homemade sorbet
  • at least 4 quarts of various vegetable and meat stock

So, while it is awesome to have all of this (and more) — it is frustrating as some of it is from last season (or the season before…) !  We forgot to eat some of this stuff!  The thing that must go the soonest is actually the various sorbets.  I’ve discovered that some of those are actually two years old…

What makes things hilarious is that we just bought some lamb a few weeks ago – ate that within two days.  Then we got some more lamb from a friend – ate that over the past weekend.  Notice a trend there?

Welcome to operation ‘eat through the freezer.’  I’m currently melting a few tubs of the homemade sorbets to include in smoothies – or eat like one might eat applesauce.  I did this last week with some strawberry rhubarb sorbet and it was amazing.  Next up is some peach cardamom I think.

How do you ensure you don’t have food spending eternity in your freezer?

Summer Squash

This week we are talking about summer squash!  I figure mid-July is late enough in the year to examine this fruit – that is often treated as a vegetable!

First off, there are many many different items that are loosely classified as ‘summer squash.’  There are zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan squash, tromboncino….  The list goes on & on!  For the most part, all of them can be used the same way & are part of the Cucurbita pepo family.  (Thank you Wikipedia!)

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Photos of some small summer squash we found while in Montreal last week visiting the Jean-Talon Marche.

photo 1Our local farmers are all selling various summer squash now.  We got some amazing zucchini and yellow squash from River to River Farm this week at the Canon Park Market.  They were also selling patty squash.

Interestingly enough, (thanks Wikipedia again) summer squash are really just under-ripe winter squash varieties.  These particular varieties typically have softer outer ‘skins’ which can typically be eaten raw or cooked.

Cooking ideas:
As usual, I reached out on Facebook and Twitter for ideas about how to cook this week’s item.  I received a great idea from @TinaTormey this week:

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Sautéed:
This is a favorite method of ours.  Wash your squash, cut off the ends (typically a stem is on one end), then slice the squash into bite sized pieces.  We often slice them into ‘half moons’ (usually with zucchini or yellow squash) – to do this, take the squash, cut it lengthwise to end up with two long pieces, then slice the squash up the length of the fruit.  You end up with little pieces looking like half moons.

From there, put some olive oil in a warm skillet, let the oil warm up, and toss the squash in!  Let them heat up some – you will notice them starting to sweat a bit and change size/color a bit.

To spice this up, add some garlic (before you cook them) or really any spices you like.

Grilled:
1044203_10101401048878638_836205514_nI feel like we grill a lot of vegetables!  But, summer squash grills really well too!  On Tuesday, at our weekly grill-out, we grilled up some zucchini.  We had cut them long wise, marinated them in olive oil and salt/pepper.  As a reminder, grilled zucchini (especially cut thicker like I sometimes do) takes a lot longer to grill than you might expect, and if they’re in strips they can slip between the bars on the grill.

In this photo you see the zucchini, some red peppers, and some local beef sausages from Josh at Lick Creek Beef.

Steamed:
Prepare the same way you did the sautéed squash & steam instead!

We also put squash in a wide variety of dishes.  Today, we put some zucchini in a recipe of Dal that we had for lunch.  It was dal-icious!

How do you like your summer squash? What recipes do you put it in?

The flowering top of a cabbage: aka Broccoli!

Yes, in Italian, the word broccolo refers to the flowering top of a cabbage… or so wikipedia tells me.

A few weeks ago we were delighted to hear from our farmer friends at River to River photo (7)Farm that they would have broccoli!  I love broccoli.  There was a time in my life where I ate rice and broccoli doused in soy sauce for most meals.

In this post, I’m going to talk about broccoli and then share three simple ways to prepare broccoli.

But first, some information about this wonderful vegetable.  Yes, it is a vegetable.  Broccoli is high in vitamin C and dietary fiber.  Broccoli has some amazing anti-cancer compound in it.  However, if you boil the broccoli, the power of the anti-cancer compound is reduced (thank you wikipedia…).

You can eat the whole thing.  The stem, the leaves, and the large flower-like head. I typically find the stalk to be pretty tough, but when sliced, it can be quite delicious, too (you can also peel the stalk if you prefer).

Generally I like my broccoli lightly steamed.  I take a fork and fork the broccoli before I start cooking it to see how tough it is – then steam it for a few minutes.  I’ll fork it again and when my fork easily goes in – then I know it is ready (or just past ready usually…).

Three more recipe ideas:

Roasted Broccoli
Rinse the broccoli, cut it into bigger than bite sized pieces, place the broccoli on a roasting pan with olive oil, garlic, and herbs (I like rosemary) – then roast it in the oven for 20-30 min.  You should have a pretty well done broccoli head by then.  I would typically roast it with many other vegetables – but, just broccoli works too!

Raw Broccoli
Wash, cut up into bite sized pieces and eat.  Many folks like to dip their broccoli in various dipping sauces.  I personally love having fresh hummus with mine.  You can also cut the stalk into matchstick sized slivers & make a broccoli coleslaw.

Sautéed Broccoli
Wash, cut to bite sized pieces and add to any stir-fry you are doing.  Broccoli will want to cook less than a carrot but longer than a bell pepper.  Typically for a nice big stir-fry, I would start with oil in a pan, add garlic and onion.  Let that go till the onion is translucent.  Then I’d add any root vegetables (carrots, turnips, parsnips…).  Let that go for a bit.  Now is time for ginger if you are fan – chopped.  If you plan on adding a protein now is the time (tofu, turkey chunks, chicken chunks…).  Add the ‘medium’ vegetables like broccoli.  Add any lighter vegetables like snow peas, peppers, green beans….  From there – I might also add some greens like spinach, kale, or swiss chard.  Finally, I’d add some sort of sauce.  Usually a simple soy/tamari works –  you can spice it up with hot sauce or asian hot sauces.  Serve over a bed of rice.

So, that’s some on the broccoli!  Who knew it was part of the cabbage family! (other than my smarter half… o well.  It is also related to other brassicas such as brussel sprouts.).

How do you like your broccoli? 

Kohlrabi… what?

This week we are talking about Kohlrabi.  By the end of this post my hope is that you are familiar with the vegetable enough to buy one and eat it!

To start with this is what a kohlrabi looks like.photo 1

Kohlrabi is part of the cabbage family.  There are three basic parts to this vegetable.  The leaves, outer skin, and inner parts.  The leaves and inner parts are eatable.  Treat the leaves as you would any cooking greens.  The inner parts are similar in texture to a radish or broccoli stems.  The taste is similar to broccoli stems, jicama, or maybe even a faint apple or potato.

According to the folks at the Natural Agricultural Library… kohlrabi is full of some good vitamins and minerals.

Our farmer friends from River to River Farm asked us to take a closer look at this vegetable this week and present some cooking options.  So, here goes!

Grilled
photo 2After some googling & asking around someone mentioned grilling the kohlrabi.  We have a weekly grilling night with some co-workers so we figured we’d give it a try!  We cut the kohlrabi into ~1/4 inch slices, brushed with olive oil, stuck them on skewers, and grilled for 10-15 min.  They were amazing!  We are definitely doing this again.

Raw
We often try foods raw first.  We sliced the kohlrabi up and put some salt, pepper, and olive oil on them,  They were good.  I see us putting small pieces in salad in the future.

Roasted
We love roasted veges.  Toss an assortment of vegetables in a baking pan with olive oil and let your 350 degree oven do its magic for about an hour.  With the kohlrabi, I’d cut them into 1/2 inch chunks.

Kohlrabi Curry
We have been on a big Indian food kick lately.  Preparing for some upcoming blogs posts…
I googled and found these two posts: Kohlrabi Curry & Kohlrabi Greens Curry – I knew we needed to try them both.  We followed the recipe’s (minus the pressure cooker – as we don’t have one yet) and found both to be a bit bland – but good.

Kohlrabi and feta quiche
Plan on trying this recipe next weekend.  Looks good to me!

So, those are some ways to use this great vegetable!  Who would have thought something that looks vaguely like an alien could taste so good!

What have your experiences been with the kohlrabi? How do you prepare it?

Garlic scapes!

If you follow the blog you probably read the post about green garlic.  We also really like garlic scapes, and the great thing about garlic scapes is that they are seasonal and they only come once a year!

Right now we are in garlic scape heaven.  We made garlic scape pesto last weekend & have been putting it on everything this week (eggs, salmon, rice, greens, bread, pizza).

To start with, what is a ‘garlic scape?’  Great question.  The scape is part of the photo (6)plant.  In the photo to the right, the scape is the white part with the little bump in it.  The friendly wikipedia page says that the scape “generally refers to a long internode forming the basal part or the whole of a peduncle. Typically it takes the form of a long, leafless flowering stem rising directly from a bulbrhizome, or similar subterranean or underwater structure.”  In my own words, the scape shoots out from the top of the plant (right around now).  The scape actually contains the seeds of the garlic plant & the flower!  If you do not cut the scape off, the plant would bloom and eventually little baby garlic plants would spread all over the place.  However, if you do cut the scapes off, you get an extra boost of energy going into your garlic bulbs (instead of into the flower)!  Just in case you didn’t know, the garlic bulb grows under the ground at the base of the plant.

photo (5)Enough of that! So, what to do with the scapes? As I mentioned already, we have been cooking them in everything.  The good news is that the scapes keep for a while in the fridge after they have been harvested.

Most of the ways you can use a scape are the same as how you can use the green garlic I wrote about a few weeks ago.  Easiest thing to do: make the scapes into a pesto.  Then put the pesto on everything

There are many pesto recipes out there.  A basic one: use a food processor to blitz some garlic scapes (rinsed), olive oil, & add salt & pepper to taste.  That’s it.  Super simple. We made a nice sized batch (1/2 pint) with about 10 scapes in it.  Then put it in a glass jar and it is now in our fridge.  Have we mentioned we’ve been putting it on everything?

Some great uses of the pesto include sautéing with greens and eggs; pan frying salmon with pesto; or using the pesto on pasta or pizza.  We have cooked with all of these methods in the past few days.

Other ideas for using the scapes.  When I asked on Facebook, I was told that scapes are good in soup stock, grilled, or chopped up mixed with olive oil and used as a dip for bread.

How do you use your garlic scapes?  

Green Garlic??

This week’s summer market related post is about Green Garlic.

Yes, Green Garlic!
This is not something I have ever seen in a grocery store- but I’m sure it is sold somewhere…

At the farmer’s market this week – look for green garlic!

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Ok, so what is this? It looks a bit like scallions or green onions.  Actually it is 100% not that!
Green Garlic – is actually the garlic plant harvested early.

You can actually eat almost all of the plant.  We cut the roots off and then chop the bottom white part up through the beginning of the green leaves and treat it almost like garlic or scallions.  So, we’ll toss it in a stir-fry but we’ll also eat it raw on a salad.  The green leafy parts can be used to add flavor to a stock or soup.

This week we’ve been eating our green garlic in a variety of dishes.  I’ve had it in salad (lettuce, green garlic, cilantro & oil/vinegar) and also in burgers.  When we make burgers we add minced garlic – so, instead of mincing garlic – I just chop up some green garlic & throw it into the burger mix!

The flavor of green garlic, for me, is a very light garlic-y taste.  I find it to be very refreshing – vs a raw garlic taste which can be overpowering!

So, go ask your local farmer for some green garlic!

Dal recipe

We enjoy cooking.  We love sharing recipes that we’ve found & love.  We went to a potluck on Saturday to celebrate the final Winter Farmer’s Market of the season.  The potluck was lots of fun.  It was great to hang out with some of the local growers that we had gotten to know over the past few months.

At the potluck we brought two dishes.  We got lots of positive feedback about this Dal recipe.  We originally found this Dal recipe at Epicurious, originally from Bon Appetit.  You can view that complete recipe online at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/101019?mbid=ipapp

Our version:

Red Lentil Dal
We sometimes make a double recipe (to use a full can of tomatoes) and freeze half – other times we use fresh tomatoes, or just use half of the can and save the rest for something else (it is, of course, possible to purchase smaller cans).

~2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1.5 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin (plus 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds)
1 tsp ground coriander
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
optional vegetables – carrots and/or zucchini
1 cup red lentils
1 and 3/4 cups (about half of a 28 oz can) diced tomatoes
salt to taste
Heat the canola oil in a heavy saucepan (we use this) over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, curry powder, cayenne, cumin, and coriander.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and soft.  Add garlic and ginger and cook another minute or two (then add carrots and cook for a few minutes before adding zucchini), then add lentils, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 cups of water (or vegetable or meat broth – we used 1/2 water, and 1/2 turkey stock last time – the turkey stock was made from a Frontwords Farm turkey!).  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a strong simmer and cover halfway.  Cook for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.  Taste for seasoning.
Serving suggestion is over rice, but it can also be used as a stew without rice.
We have found that if you add a small splash of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar right before you serve it, it can really help the flavors pop!
 Leftovers are great the next few days.

Salmon Sweet Potato Cakes

We learned this recipe from my fiancée’s sister.  She adapted it from here.  We have further adapted the recipe & here it is:

Ingredients:
14.5 oz canned wild salmon (we use the Trader Joe brand)
2-3 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup ground oats
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
1 small onion
3 Tbsp ground flax
3 eggs

3 Tbsp oil for frying (coconut, olive, or canola oil is what we usually use)

Directions:
Wash, peel, & chunk the sweet potatoes.  Boil them for 15 min or until tender (can be done the day before).  ‘Clean’ the fish – we debone and de-skin the type that we purchase.  In a large bowl, place the potatoes, fish, and other ingredients.  Mix together.  Form patties.  Heat pan with oil & sear cakes ~ 3 min on each side (cook first side twice).

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Notes:
We sometimes do not grind the oats or flax.  We often add chia seeds.  We sometimes use red onion, white onion, yellow onion, leeks, or scallions (I really like the scallions, it depends on what’s in the fridge).  All create a joyful experience. We could use some carrots instead of some of the sweet potatoes. Using more or less sweet potato changes the texture.  More = mushier & there are more servings.  I find that when one is cooking the cakes, the pan wants to be hot enough to sear, but not hot enough to burn.  Also, I end up using more oil than I expect to keep things from sticking.  We usually cook these in our cast iron skillet.

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All in all, this is a super easy recipe.  The cakes will keep covered in the fridge for a few days.  They usually do not last long around here.  So, I’m not sure how long they would stay fresh.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet (photo + recipe)

Last summer my partner purchased a Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Attachment which we used last summer many times to create sorbet.  This summer, we are going to publish several of the recipes we’ve been using.  Most of the recipes we found in the Kitchen Aid book, which came with the Ice Cream Attachment.  However, the Strawberry Rhubarb recipe came from an LA Times blog post.

The recipe they posted:

Total time: 20 minutes, plus freezing time

Servings: Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Note: Adapted from David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop.” If your rhubarb stalks are more than an inch wide, slice them in half lengthwise.

3/4 pound rhubarb (5 or 6 thin stalks), trimmed

3/4 cup sugar

10 ounces fresh strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Cut the rhubarb into half-inch pieces. In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, bring the rhubarb, two-thirds cup water and the sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

2. Slice the strawberries and purée them in a blender or food processor with the cooked rhubarb mixture and lemon juice until smooth.

3. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Credit:Recipe from http://www.latimes.com/features/la-fo-calcookrec9aapr09,0,3067664.story

For the two photographs, first is the shot of the sorbet itself.

This shot was taken with a Canon t1i, 50mm 1.4f lens, and a Canon 580 EXii speedlite.  The shot was edited in Lightroom 3.0.  The shot was taken at ISO 200, f2.2, at 1/200th of a second.  The flash has a Gary Fong Collapsable Lightsphere diffuser on it. I was also using a reflector and direct overhead light.

This photo shows the setup:

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I should just mention that the sorbet is wonderful & was clearly starting to melt as I took both shots (it’s warm outside, which makes the sorbet that much better).