Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The beet goes on

I love me some beets. Not that canned shit, but real beets - like fresh from the garden beets.  In the past, my favorite form of these pretty (and healthy!) little gems was simply roasted and tossed with a really good balsamic vinegar and some blue cheese.  But alas my cheese eating days are gone, or at least postponed for a bit.  "NO CHEESE?!?" you ask, stunned.  I know, its a tragedy. But unfortunately when my shadow son was about 3 weeks old, I noticed he was getting a rash on his stomach and it was only getting worse - turns out he has excema.  His pediatrician suggested steriod cream as a solution, but my gut told me that this was only treating the symptom and we really needed to get to the root of the problem.  It didn't take much research (i.e. googling) to confirm my gut feeling and find out that excema can be caused by a dairy and/or gluten sensitivity, and this can even be the issue with a breastfed baby when the mother is eating dairy or gluten.  So of the two potential causes, I figured it was easier to drop dairy from my diet and see if it helped (gluten would have been way harder for me to drop completely - no graham crackers?!?).  Turns out the internet was right (as it often is), the poor guy was reacting to the dairy in my diet!   The good news is that his skin looks great now.  The bad news is that I miss cheese a lot.   Which brings me back to my beet issue...

In our share this week we received some gorgeous beets, complete with the greens (which are chock full of magnesium and other stuff that apparently matters).  So I turned to the internet once again and managed to find a recipe for a beet salad that not only was cheese-free, but also used the greens!  It turned out to be super refreshing and full of summer flavors, and it might just be my new go-to beet format.  Perfect for leftovers and a quick lunch during the work day. 

Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Oranges

Details can be found in the recipe linked above, but the short story is that I chopped the greens and set them aside, and roasted the beets whole.  I actually had 10-12 beets so I roasted them all and then set aside the extra beets for another meal, but I used the greens from all of them in this recipe.  The greens were cooked quickly in boiling water, then drained and sqeezed dry.  I tossed together the beets (wear an apron when peeling and cutting) and greens, then added the chopped segments of two oranges and about a quarter of a thinly sliced red onion (recipe calls for sweet, but sweet onions are not my fave).  The dressing was a simple olive oil, red wine vinegar number, with garlic and orange peel to keep it interesting (I added a generous pinch of salt to the dressing as well).  Toss it all together and you've got yourself a salad. 

I also reserved the fresh juice that leaked out of the oranges and used it for a marinade (with some soy sauce, garlic, sriracha and olive oil) for a simple grilled flank steak that played nicely with the salad (and quite frankly looked pretty darn good too). 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Basil, Chard and Bacon, oh my!

This week's farmshare arrived yesterday and was HUGE.  We split our share with friends, but still it's a lot to sort through & takes up most of my kitchen counter.  This week's share included lots of tasty things, but I first tackled the basil, swiss chard and broccoli. 
I used the basil to make pesto, my first pesto since giving up dairy a few months ago (another topic for a future post).  I also didn't have pine nuts, so I subbed macadamian nuts that I had on hand. Without the tang of parmesean, the pesto needed a bite so I added hot sauce to balance out the creaminess of the oil and nuts.  

Basil & macadamia nut pesto

The broccoli I simply steamed, that way the kiddo can eat it and we can use it in other meals.  

Offspring v. Broccoli (not sure who's winning)

For the swiss chard (to which I added some chard from our own garden), I fried up some bacon and then cooked the chard in the bacon fat

Mmm, bacon....

A little seasoning and bacon fat goes a long way towards a delish side for my leftover salmon made new again with a dollop of macadamia nut pesto. 

CSA swish chard + swiss chard from our own garden
I topped the swiss chard with the cooked bacon I had set aside, and there you have it - dinner is served!

Fish with a side of meat

...and we're back!

I know it's been awhile folks, but I'm back! Or at least I'm back for the day... we'll see how it goes.

In case you are wondering what I've been up to (which is unlikely since by the nature of you reading this you are probably my mom), I've been busy having a kid and working my butt off in my career. Needless to say, blogging about food has taken a back seat.  But today I realized that although my food adventuring has changed a bit, from most people's perspective my daily cooking and eating is still somewhat noteworthy, or at least humorous to read about.

Embarking on his own food adventures

For starters, I now have offspring that I have to feed. And since like all parents I care very much about his health and well being, I spend a lot of time thinking about what to feed him. I have exclusively breastfed my son (i.e. no formula) for many reasons, none of which do I need to go into here, but he's now 7 months old and eats solid food as well. Since I know slightly more than nothing about feeding an infant, you can imagine I've had to educate myself a bit on nutrition for babies (did you know infants don't actually have the enzymes to digest rice cereal until they are at least a year old?) and what foods are best for feeding my little parasite darling. Of course, there is also the careful balancing of trusting my gut, sorting through nutrition nazi blogs, listening to very strong opinions about breastfeeding your nursling through their college years (kidding), and generally deciding what advice you want to keep and what to ignore.  This parenthood shit is no joke. 

The other adventure I embark on weekly (with Mr. Food Adventurer's help of course) is figuring out what to do with our mountain of local organic produce that we get through our CSA. This is our fourth summer as a member of a CSA, but this year we're trying a new one that is quite small and in it's early stages, thus we are building a very personal relationship with our farmer (as in, we text. And he's seen our kitchen. And met our dog.). We get a large volume of beautiful tasty produce every week, most of which we either have no clue what to do with or we've had it a hundred times and need to innovate.

These two challenges are what inspired me to post again today; I work hard at feeding myself and my family and though I am certainly not one to be doling out advice, perhaps my experiences might help someone out there facing similar challenges. And if not, maybe I can entertain someone. And if that fails too, at least I have a reason to use my new expensive camera every now and then. 


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On the cob or in a cone?

New York City: the culinary capital of the western hemisphere and the destination for a recent girls trip celebrating the upcoming nuptuals of my good friend and fellow enthusiastic eater, Sarah. My last trip to NYC was a raging gastronomic success, but since food wasn't the focus of this trip I had tempered my expectations a bit and was narrowing in on consumption of the alcoholic variety.

But the Big Apple had some surprises in store for me.

The first thing I learned was that good food has a way of finding you in New York, even when you aren't looking for it. The second thing I learned is that corn is a delicious flavor of ice cream. Yes, corn. As in... on the cob. Our fabulous NYC hostess led me into a little ice cream shop in the West Village called Cones, where they had an intriguing selection of flavors (Johnnie Walker Black label comes to mind). But once I spotted the corn flavor, I had to try it. Turned out to be a pretty darn good, a nice combination of earthy flavor and creamy texture. It definately outranks the cereal flavored ice cream I had on my last visit, so who knows what I'll find next time...