Monday, March 30, 2009

Seasonal: Last week of March / First Week of April

The Seasonal Foods list is getting HUGE. 

Yay spring and it's crazy bounty of new foodstuffs! New this week: New Potatoes, Rocket, Sorrel, Watercress!, Green Beans, Peas, Strawberries (down here), Portobellos, Goat Milk Cheese, Fresh Cow Cheese, Lamb, Wood Pigeon, Crayfish, Mangoes!, Zucchini. A plethora of things I can eat now! I'm deleirous with possibilities!

Out: Passionfruit, Pomegranate, Ugli Fruit, Lobster, Hake.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Review: Nestum

An odd sort of babyfood cereal, but tasty none the less. Very smooth, and it doesn't require any heat-- just add it to milk, milk substitute or even juice or water, stir and eat! It's not too sweet, and it's fairly healthy, but I think maybe I'll use it mostly as a sweetener for actual oatmeal or cream of wheat. The smoothness makes it a little like wheat pudding, and my brain doesn't know what to do with that.

CSA for the Second Week of March

The amount of food is really picking up-- things must be ripening faster and faster in preparation for the summer months. It's so exciting. I know I say that every time, but it really is exciting-- everything's different every time, and the amount of food just makes me happy to be alive and only having to pay 35$.

So much that it took multiple pictures to get it all.
Picture 1: Kale! and Cauliflower! Neither of which was on the list. Blueberries. Asparagus!
Picture 2: Fuji and Cameo Apples!
Picture 3: Broccoli, Pineapple, Cherry Tomatoes, Mushrooms (also not on the list), Carrots, and an Avocado!

For this week, we've got Veggie Lasagna and Roasted Veggie Pasta, and then on Saturday, I'm going away, so when I get back, I'll post Travel Food! Ooh! Aah!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stuffed Cabbage

These are so delicious I totally don't even mind if they're the sort of meal that takes up all the dishes in the kitchen.

You're supposed to make them with ground beef, but all I had was raw italian sausage, so I just took that out of the casing and used that instead, and it was fine.

Here's how I did it:

- Put a half cup of rice to boil with broth instead of water-- I used beef broth, 1 c to the 1/2 of rice. Cook it till it's done, then let it sit around till you're ready with it.

- Meanwhile, try to peel off the cabbage leaves. The really tough outer ones you can ditch, and then the really tight inner ones, just shred like you're making coleslaw; you'll need a little of it for the filling, and the rest goes in the pot. When they're all ready (a big head is supposed to give you 12; ours made 8), boil some water and drop them in for three minutes or so untill they're all pliable and the stems aren't rigid anymore.

- Meanwhile meanwhile, cook three or four strips of bacon on low heat so all the fat comes out. When they're crisp, pull them out and let them cool so you can crumble them, and cook a minced onion and four or six cloves of garlic in the grease. I also used some olive oil so it's really moist. 

- By now, the leaves should be readyish. Take them out and let them cool.

- In a big bowl, mix the raw sausage, the rice, an egg, a half of another minced onion, the bacon crumbles, a handful of the shredded cabbage minced a little smaller, and some pepper. You probably won't need salt.

- Back at the onions, add a can of chopped tomatoes (this was supposed to be plain tomato sauce, but chopped is what we had and it turned out fine), and maybe two more cups of whichever broth you used, and a few tablespoons cider vinegar and / or red wine vinegar, and a palmfull of sugar. More pepper, then a tablespoon or so of paprika. Mix it all up and let it simmer on med-low while you do the rest.

- Dump the leaf-boiling water and fill the bottom of the warm pot with half the shredded cabbage.

- Fill the leaves by putting them so they curve up like little floppy bowls. Scoop about a palmfull of the mixed filling and shape it into a loaf shape-- something about the size of a nokia phone or something, 2" by 4" ish. Pushing around so it nuzzles hear the sharpest par tof the curve, and push that part down over the meat, then fold the sides in and roll the rest up. Keep them seam-side down so they don't unroll and keep going until all your leaves are full. They should be full, but not so full that they don't close-- you want to be able to pick them up.

- If there's any meat left, layer it over the shredded cabbage in the pot, and top with the rest of it. If there's no meat left, just throw the rest of the cabbage in. Even it out and pack it down just a little bit. 

- Put in all the wrapped cabbage leaves. It's okay to pack them in so long as they're still little logs-- don't deform them. It's also okay to layer them.

- Spoon in all the tomato-onion sauce evenly over them. Wet it down with some more broth to make up what eveporated while it was simmering. 

- Put a tight-fitting lid on it and let it cook on a high simmer for an hour to an hour and a half until the sausage is cooked through.

- Eat them and the nummy potbits under them as quickly as the heat will allow because they're so good that eveyone else eating them with you will eat them all if you dawdle.

** These can apparently be made the same way in a crock pot-- just instead of putting them in a stovetop pot for an hour, put them in a crockpot for 4 to 8.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Scottish Festival!

For D's birthday at the end of February, we went to the Scottish Fest is Green Cove Springs, and there was much kilt-wearing and caber-tossing and baby-goat snoodling and sheep-herding and floded-eared cats and far too much sun for it to be really Scottishy, and best of all, there was brittish food. Whoo!

There was UK candy, right off the bat, and I spent most of my money in that one booth-- but it's been almost twenty years since I had a Club Bar or a bit of Tablet, and I couldn't help myself. And who doesn't love Turkish Delight, even if it is how the White Queen seduced poor Edmund? And HobNobs are a requirement.

At lunch, we found a booth of traditional English foods-- and Haggis, which is the only thing I couldn't get a picture of, because my camera decided to fill up and then die. Jeeze. But we've got C with a turkey leg, standard of every faire of every kind...
And we've got H with a similar appendage, eating it in that primal caveman way that fire-roasted, bone-in meat inspires...
I had the meat pie, with that song from Sweeney Todd stuck in my head the whole time, but it was like Dinty Moore in a shell, and I'm pretty fond of anything in pie form...

And A with a steak and kidney hand pie, which was delish. I don't even like organs, and it was lovely...
D had the haggis, which he loved and I tolerated-- it was very organy, more than the steak and kidney pie, and they'd ground it into a smooth organy paste. Maybe I would have liked it better on a sandwich or something; it had a texture like a spread.

There are more interesting Brittish foods, and weirder Scottish ones, but I guess it was a common-denomiator thing, and it was all lovely under the sun and sitting in the grass like that.

Ooh, and there was also Valhalla Brew home-made sodas! I got to try real sassafrass, which is lot like standard rootbeer, but with something extra-- a little bit of sharpness and a more creamy sweetness.