Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blood Orange

I've never had a Blood Orange before. I've seen them on the Food Network, and one of the food blogs recently had a sort of freform tart made of layered Blood Orange slices that supposedly cook up like dark marmalade.

According to Wikipedia, Blood Oranges are sometimes labled as a cross between a pomelo and a tangerine, but are generally accepted as a straight-forward mutation of a sweet orange, which allows it to be loaded with anthocyanins, "common in flowers but not in citrus". Anthocyanins are apparently a kind of flavinoid that is either red, purple or blue depending on ph (so, if someone managed to breed one that had very low acidity, could we get purple or blue oranges? That'd be so sweet, both literally and figuratively).

The skin was thick like an orange, but as easy to peel as a tangerine, with that same brittle zipperyness that tangerines and clemetines have. And this one, at least, is loaded with orange oil, soaking my hands enough that it dripped off my fingers, and squirting little sprays of it into the air around my desk.

The taste is very orangey, strong and a sharp mix of sour and sweet, and a little... berryish? Like the juice is mixed with cranberries or mixed berries. It's Lovely. And I can't get over how gorgeous it is. This is definitely a dietary keeper.

I'm sad there's no seeds in them, though. That means I'll have to find one already growing, and I'm sure that'll be a pain, what with no citrus imports to Florida, and the one grown and sold here being so expensive...

CSA Haul 3!

Here's what a North-Florida CSA haul looks like at the end of February, left to right and top to bottom:
Baby red potatoes, Cherry tomatoes and Blackberries
Two huge heads of Read Leaf Lettuce, Blood oranges, more Pink Lady Apples, Ruby Red Grapefruit, more Spinach
And a huge bag of Greenbeans

Peeking out from the back is a big head of cabbage from the Roadside Produce People (this one random house on the way to work that always has a case or two of food just sitting on the front lawn for free so it won't go to waste).

The spinach leaves are as big as my hand, way bigger than they were a month and a half ago when we got our first shipment, and the cherry tomatoes are bigger, too: big as the tip of a man's thumb now, and packed with flavor. I've been eating them just as they are, as these local ones are the only fresh tomatoes I can have until my Year Of Eating Seasonally is over. And it's so worth not eating the junk toms in the grocery store.

This week we've got plans for a blackberry upside down cake so we can all partake of this one precious little pint of berries, and on Sunday after work, I'm making stuffed cabbage. Maybe traditionally. And there will be a massive salad in the next day or so because, as we learned with the last massive head of lettuce, it doesn't last long before becoming mush. 

This is the smallest bundle of veggies, and we're still having trouble keeping up with the bounty. What'll summer and fall, when everything is available en masse going to be like? I'm so excited to see! And how great will our compose be with all these veg bits?

Yummy Pasta!

We've decided to get proper nutrition by taking turns making dinner. Last night was C's turn, and in classic C fashion, she made a whole dinner for four with no idea what it was going to be before she made it. 

And it was delicious.

It's onions sauteed with garlic to start, then chopped portabellas, and that's the base of the sauce. Then it's a can of tomato paste and Italian seasonings and salt and pepper to taste, chopped sauteed Italian sausage (the johnsonville ones have lots of yummy fat and salt and fennel), and literal handfulls of parmesan cheese, and all of this mixed with boiled egg noodles, which give it a different texture and flavor than the usual spagetti or regular pasta.

Om yom.

Here's a bonus picture of the lovely H (of dishing up the meal for us. I somehow managed not to get a pic of C, even though she's the one who made it! What a bad one I am.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Pancake Day!

I don't know how many people here in the states celebrate it, but when I was in Scotland, the tuesday before Lent was all about pancakes-- apparently, you were supposed to get rid of your butter, eggs and flour before the fasting of Lent, so what do you get when you combine them? Pancakes!

We ate ours boozy with rum-butter so we could also give a nod to Mardi Gras. Heh. So much for deprivation!

Also, chesck out my new camera! Good pictures! Whoo!

Also also, I need to work on looking better while I eat...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stamppot Boerenkool By Way of Bangers and Mash

I saw this on the Food Network ages ago, and really only remembered that there were potatoes cooked in beef broth, weensy-chopped kale and sausages. I couldn't find a recipe that was exactly what I was thinking, so I read, like, seven and combined them the way I wanted to, and came out with something similar to what I was thinking and similar to Bangers and Mash. I'm pretty sure they cooked it in a crockpot sort of deal on FN, but I did away with that. 

Here's how it went:
Peel and chop a bunch of potatoes and set them to cook in a whole box of beef broth. Boil like you would for anything else.

Meanwhile, put four pieces of smoked bacon on low heat to melt out all the fat and cook them until they're crispy as you like, then remove them and let them cool while you cook a thinly-sliced onion in the fat. Cook until it's all melty and golden, then remove and replace with a sausage for everyone who's eating. I wanted a smoked brat, but I couldn't find any, so I used regular brats, and they turned out just fine. I think it's the sausageyness that matters, not what kind of sausage you use, though the recipes usually call for 'smoked sausage' or 'farmer's sausage'. I'm not huge on keilbasa, but that's probably good too.

While they're browning up on both sides, finely chop a whole bunch of fresh freen kale, disgarding bad leaves, yellow or tough bits and stems. You can save the stems for soup or something. 

When the sausages are all browned, but not cooked through, add the onions, the bacon and the kale on top of them, and ladle in enough of the broth from the potatoes to make it, like, three-quarters of an inch deep. You're braising here, not boiling. Cover it with a lid, and let it cook on medium or medium-high while the potatoes finish cooking. 

When they're done, pull them out of the broth (don't throw it away!), and mash them like regular mashed potatoes, but with alot of pepper and some of the broth as well as milk and butter to make them creamy. 

Pull out the sausages, which should be almost cooked through, and spread the kale, onions and bacon on top of the mashed potatoes. 

Throw the cooking broth from the potatoes into the pan where the sauage and bacon were cooked, and simmer it until it's thickened up and starts to look like onion gravy, then add the sausages back in to finish off.

Serve the topped potatoes with one sausage and some gravy, and there you go!

~:) Delicious Dinner (tm)!

BLT Pasta Salad

We all know BLTs, right? Well, yesterday, H turned it into a pasta salad that was perfect for dinner. 

Like So:
Cook chicken with alot of garlic and dill, chop up and set aside.
Cook up bacon, chop up and set aside (H used turkey bacon, but we think it'd be more punchy with regular piggy bacon).
Cook pasta and set aside (we used a whole box of elbow macaroni).
Chop a tomato, a cuke with all the seeds scooped out, and all the greens from a whole bunch of green onions (we replanted the ends in the garden-- the roots are just fine, and they'll grow us new onions fro free!), and half a bag of baby spinach (to stand in for the lettuce, which really has no place in a pasta salad).
Cook fresh or frozen peas (you want the solidity of non-canned, but if canned is all you can get, go for it).

Throw it all into a really big bowl that you can move it around in, and mix it with about a third a bottle of ranch dressing, a few dollops of Miracle Whip, a spoon or two of mustard (we used orange honey mustard because that was the one we had), and chill for a few hours. 

Eat it all up. It served four dinner, three leftovers and two lunches today.

Om nom.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

NatGeo Has Things To Say About Cooking

Specifically, that it made us better able to eat whatever a new climate threw at us, and that now that the average person does not walk a minimum of eight miles a day looking for food, we're all falling prey to teh side effects of being better able to get energy out of food.

I love NatGeo.