Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today in food-news...  beet salad.

It's basically the standard beet salad that we make without even thinking about it these days.

Take some beets, roast them in an oven at 400ish for a while.  Peel, cube.

Toss with toasted walnuts, chopped parsley and either feta or ricotta salata (hard crumbly cheese, a nice blue would probably work too, but not too stinky)

Then, salt & pepper and a nice vinaigrette.  Do everything to taste.

While it takes about 90 minutes, most of that's roasting the beets and letting them cool.

It's really only 15 minutes of actual work, although I turn my hands pink every time when I'm peeling and cutting the beets.

Also, we cut up and slurped down some melon we got at the Trenton farmer's market.  There's about half left, it sounds like what I'll be eating tomorrow...

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's been a week, but that's partially because I was in NH last week doing some roofing and eating carrots.  The carrot was awesome.  I ate all of them that I found.  We haven't seen many here in NJ yet.

This week's share included more zuke! Onions, garlic, chard (I love chard, if I wasn't already married, I might marry it.  I'm hoping for dino kale in the fall though, mmmmm), corn, cabbage and basil.

Food wise:  it was grillin time!  All the corn got grilled and then made into a salad with some tomato and mozz.  Tasty, I just ate the last of it.  Zuke got cut on a bias, tossed with oil, salt and herb and grilled.  My goal was to get a bit of crispy on it.

I'm also going to do my first brewing this week.  It's my project for Wednesday to celebrate a pretty decent work-week.  I'm doing an ESM that's an adaptation of Peter's 5-plumber Ale that I brewed in January.  I'm going to add more munich than is called for in his recipe because (a) I've got 10lbs of the stuff, and (b) it's lighter in color when made all-grain rather than extract and I'd like to bring a bit more body to it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday?  Bah and nonsense.

More food fun was had...  I made souffle of zuke!  It was pretty tasty.  Then, we ate it last night and I killed it all today for lunch.

Sadly, one of the loaves of zuke bread has already gone bad, we haven't cut into the other one, so no idea if it's both.

Plan for today is:  strata with tomato (thanks Trenton Farmer's market), bread, chard and a bit of gruyere.  mmmm, tasty.

It's sort of food news:  I spend so much energy trying to get and stay hydrated due to all the running that I can't really drink anymore.  Most days, even one beer makes me have a nasty-hangover headache because I lose too much water.  How sad...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This week in CSA land:
a lot of onions (white & green<- too many of these)
more zuch
more beets

Today's adventures in baking:  zuch bread.  It's in the oven right now.  I went with Bittman.  Maybe later today or tomorrow; zuch souffle!

What to do with the other zuch that's accumulating in the fridge?  When is 'national leave zuch on your neighbor's porch day" again?  Crap, I have to hold out til Aug 8?!?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today in beer news, Tod Mott, longtime brewer of the Portsmouth Brewery, has decided to leave the job.

OMG, teh world is coming to an end.  Who will make Kate the Great RIS?  Who will make Coffee Milk Stout?  Who will make all of my other favorite beers?
Due to the fact that we had about a pint of jam in a tupperware and then another 1/2 pint popped so that it had to go in the fridge, Kate declared that it was to be jam cookies.

This was basically a sugar cookie dough rolled thin, with a dollop of jam, then baked.  I am not good at shaping them.

They're tasty, distressingly tasty.  They're good for breakfast, lunch and dinner...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

So...  blueberry jam!

My first canning in some time and definitely the first here in NJ.  The last time I made jam I put it in pint and quart jars that were way too big.  We'd open one and then throw a lot of it out (unless it was being used in baking).  So, this time:  1/2 pint jars.

Easy as, well, jam:
0) Pick through and wash berries
1) Berries, lemon juice and spices into the pot
2) Squish it all up with your potato masher
3) Add pectin & bring to a boil
4) Add sugar & bring to a hard boil for a minute
5) Off the heat, into the jars
6) Process for 5ish minutes (I did 10ish for kicks)
7) Stick in basement and eat as needed

Monday, July 9, 2012

I don't understand how one of the farmers at the Trenton market can make anything close to a profit.  Last week I bought 12 pints of blueberries for $20.  This week, I had a coupon for $15!  We're eating them much more slowly this week (only 3 pints so far! I ate 3 pints last Saturday by myself).

We also picked up a pint of plus, nectarines and sour cherries.  I sucked down the cherries in a 30-minute session of joy.  I'm such a fan, but I only knew of one sour cherry tree within 40 miles of us in NH.

My goal for Tues or Wed is to make some jam.  I'm thinking of making some blueberry spice jam.  It's basically blues, lemon, sugar, nutmeg, & cin.  Should be super easy and I'll can it up and be all happy in the winter with tastes of summer.

This week in the CSA:  chard, beets, cukes, zuch, corn, garlic, onion and scallion.  Nothing really on-tap for those things yet.  I'll probably do zuch bread, since that's fast, easy and tasty.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cleaning out the fridge...

I knocked off 3 zuch with Zuch pie.  It was super easy and dang tasty:

4 cups chopped zucchini (chopped small)
A few cloves of garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup Italian grating cheese (Romano, Parmesan, or Asiago)
½ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix all the above ingredients together.
Pour into greased 8 or 9 inch square or round baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 45 minutes (or until nicely browned).

Also...  lots of salad (I've started making honey mustard dressing because I love it)!  Plus, some grilled potato on the fourth when we also pounded out bulgogi and marinated tofu and carrot-apple salad.

Finally, there's been red-lentil, sweet pot, and chard curry going on in the house for a few days.  That was dang tasty and pretty easy to make.  I did it up early in the morning to beat the heat and then let it hang out for the day.

Summary:  most of the big leafy greens are gone and we're down to just 3 beets.  So, not bad right now, hopefully it's not another box with 3 heads of lettuce tomorrow.

Monday, July 2, 2012

CSA values...  We stopped being CSA members when we lived in MD for a couple years.  We signed up when we were moving after a year while in IA.  The IA CSA was amazingly cheap ($150?) for the summer and literally there was so much food we didn't know what to do with it.  I made tomato sauce like a maniac!

The MD CSA was something like tripple the price for one grocery bag of veg per week.  It was decent produce and I did like the fact that it was super-local, but there was an amazing farmer's market that was even closer and we went there every week anyone (partially?  mostly? for the scones).  So, it just didn't make sense (especially on our salaries at the time).

For 3 years in MA and 3.5 years in ME we had amazing CSAs, great prices, good selection of veg and super convenient.  We still went to the farmer's market with frequency, but often it was as a cultural excursion (and for pastry).  For example, Heron Pond Farm was $550 and we were working hard to eat it all, but (as an example) this week includes 2 tomatos, 2 zuch, 2lbs of potato, 1 pint of peas, 2 onions, 1 head of lettuce, 1 bag of greens, 1 bunch of chard, and a bunch of carrots (we looooove carrots, they are like orange crack).  See, it's a good mix, makes sense together and would be a good, but not unreasonable amount of anything for a week (turnips and rutabagas in the winter are a different thing, too many).

We moved to NJ and we got into a CSA that's about the same price (a little more, but NJ costs more, so that's fine), but has a MUCH bigger client base (2700 households, it's got to be one of the biggest in the country). It's certified organic which our two previous weren't, so that's probably a bit pricier too.  But, let's compare shares;

3 heads of lettuce (after getting 4 for the last 4 weeks)
1 bunch of beets
1 bunch of chard
1 bunch of onions (4)
2 heads of garlic
2 zuch

So, less diversity, more overwhelming quantities of one product (we're now turning into lettuce fairies), and less quantity in general.  What since rolling into the Trenton Farmer's market I'm strongly considering not renewing for next year.  I'm underwhelmed so far and can see easy ways to get my fill of local produce with better variety and balances, plus, we're almost certain to head to the markets a lot anyway...