Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#18 Ravioli from scratch

#18 on my 30 During 30 list was to learn how to make ravioli from scratch.  Of course the key here, which makes this a challenge, is that it would be gluten free ravioli.  Yeah, not so fun.  My mom got me this awesome set of pasta maker accessories that attach to my Kitchen Aid mixer (also from mom...  she's my best shopper!).  I have seen people use these to make nice, thin raviolis and was convinced I could get it to work for me.  Here's the thing, though.  Gluten is what makes doughs stretchy.  Without it, the only thing holding dough together are water, sometimes butter, and luck.  Jules gluten free flour, my favorite gluten free flour, has a few extra things in it to make it more gluten-like, but it still just doesn't cut it.  I followed her recipe, here.  She flat out says to roll out the dough, says nothing of the pasta maker.  I tried the pasta maker and had zero luck.  It just kind of shredded the dough.  I balled it back up and broke out the rolling pin and made my ravioli that way.  It was good, but too thick.  We'll see if I have the patience to try again.

Meanwhile, I chopped up all of my spinach from my CSA from two+ weeks ago, mixed it with ricotta, mozzarella, garlic salt, and some crushed red pepper flakes to make the filling.  I put a spoonful on the ravioli, made it a little top, and used my fingers to smoosh the dough together to create a seal.  (I'll use the rest of this filling for Stromboli filling, or, half-moons, which are half pizza, half Stromboli.)

My CSA had this mystery cooler on the edge of their stand this week and when I asked about it, they said that stuff was extra, so if I wanted some, I should grab a bag of ... BASIL!!!  My favorite.  I am growing gobs of basil, but they are no more than an inch tall in my garden, so I was stoked to have some early season basil to make pesto.  My pesto recipe can be found here, but I no longer measure anything, just throw stuff in the food processor and go for it.

Here were my results (I literally took pictures of the spinach mixture without the memory card in.  I'm a smart one):

Thick and not very friendly dough rolled out.
My only perfect ravioli.

Bad lighting + poor photographer = ugly picture of beautiful food.

I just had to lay out all of my veggie and fruit share food I got this week to show you how great my share has been.  What an incredibly huge amount of vegetables!  Scarlet turnips, beets, garlic, chard, collards, spicey lettuce mix, peas, basil, and bing cherries!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beet Chips

After getting beets in my Community Supported Agriculture every week for a few months last year, I thought I'd be sick of them.  My new CSA gave me the choice this week of carrots or beets and, for some odd reason, I really craved the beets.  I went for it.  I decided to try something new after a discussion that I had with friends where we decided that making pestos and chips were a great way to make a lot of veggies seem manageable.  I have a recipe for beet humus that I'd like to try, but upon realization that a heat wave was hitting Colorado today, I decided any use of my oven would have to happen last night or never.  I went with the beet chips (crisps?).  I just used my carrot/potato peeler and got the peelings off, then used my new knives to cut the beets as thin as humanly possible. 

Knife story:  Dave is moving out in a month for his new job in New York and I already have all of his old kitchen stuff packed for him.  It was a little traumatic for me to separate our stuff that has been comingled since November 1, 2009 when we moved in together, but I'm sure I have more trauma to come.  Of course there are tons of items we bought together, or for gifts for each other, but Dave can only take so many things with him.  There's not much room in his van for moving stuff.  One of the things I thought he should enjoy while he's living alone is his awesome Chicago Cutlery knife set and block.  I was in Kohl's the other day and tried raiding the kitchen section for odds and ends I could buy to replace the stuff Dave is taking (I swear he owned all of the good stuff from the get go!).  I ran across a limited quantity sale of 50% off knife sets!  With that sale and my 20% off coupon, I got a $219 Food Network set for $73 (if the numbers don't work out on that, don't tell Kohl's, I think I got a little extra deal on this).  Reviews claim that they rust easily.  We shall see!  It's hard to imagine anything rusting in the new desert climate we're sporting on the front range these days. 

Back to the beets:  throw them on your silpat on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15-30 minutes, depending on how thin you got your beet slices.  Take one out and try it.  If it's crunchy, you're set, if not, keep baking!  These things are delicious!  They taste like a sweet potato chip.  I've taught my body to feel guilty while eating potato chips, so I got that feeling that I should stop myself, but then reasoned that it was pure veggy!  I didn't put a single drop of oil or seasoning on these buggers!  I'm a huge fan. 

Beet chips.  Or are they beet crisps?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hakurei Turnips

This recipe totally changed my mind about turnips.  They tasted so sweet against their greens, it was fabulous!  The recipe is laid out flawlessly here:  http://diplomatickitchen.com/2012/03/12/hakurei-turnips-herbed-and-spiced-and-their-stir-fried-greens/

Here are my results:

I've got more turnips this week, but they are scarlet turnips.  We'll see how I use those up!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pamela's Waffles

I've talked before about my favorite gluten free products, and Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix is my savior for gluten free breakfast food like waffles, pancakes, or crepes, which are a great Saturday morning treat.  Baking mix, oil, eggs, and water are all you need.  The key to the waffles is to whisk the egg whites separately to soft peaks before adding it to the rest of the batter.  Dave even prefers these to the gluten-filled mixes!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Berries and Coconut Ice Cream

Before Dave left for the east coast for a concert this weekend and his little brother's wedding next weekend (I'll be in my cousin's wedding the same day), we had a little treat!  I picked strawberries from our garden that day and got a can of coconut milk from the grocery store and made coconut ice cream with strawberries and fudge on top! 

Strawberries from my garden, with more to be harvested this weekend!

Soft coconut ice cream with hot fudge and strawberries.
Then today I picked up a ton of CSA veggies and my fruit share came through with a huge amount of bing cherries!  I grew up on Cherry Hill Orchard and we had a few bing cherry trees, but mostly pie cherries.  The bings were always a treat if you could get them before the birds.  I've already eaten a bunch of them, they are so good and remind me of home! 
 So I just had to put them on some ice cream, but it would have been fun to make the ice cream with the cherries originally!
Bing cherries with coconut ice cream.
Coconut Ice Cream Ingredients:
1 can coconut milk
1 cup vanilla soy milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
(1 egg is optional-- I am out of eggs and it was creamy enough without it!)

Whisk everything together and throw it in the ice cream maker for 20 minutes.  This is great for those of us who can't digest lactose!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


An old roommate of Dave's turned me on to Mochi, a Japanese rice cake, for breakfast.  This stuff comes in a concentrated cake that I cut into small pieces, then toast in the oven until they puff up.  I love it with strawberry cream cheese, jam, or even peanut butter.  It makes for an easy breakfast that us gluten free-ers can enjoy while everyone else enjoys their morning pastries. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Very Green Dressing

In an effort to use up a bit more of our greens, I made one of Mollie Katzen's Moosewood cookbook dressings, but just altered it for what I had.

Handful of spinach
1/2 small zucchini
as many basil leaves as my tiny plant could spare
2 garlic scapes or 1 clove garlic
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 avacado

Food process this and serve on salads or for dunking carrots or cucs in!

Very Green Dressing
Lettuce I grew, CSA veggies:  pea shoots, arugula, spinach, topped with tomatoes, and carrots tossed in very green dressing.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spinach Arugula Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza with Prosciutto

Could my title be any longer?  After having our arugula in a salad, we realized this arugula was very spicy for our taste.  Why not use it in a different way?  I took half of the bag of arugula I got from my Community Supported Agriculture, a large handful of spinach, a few garlic scapes (curly stuff in the picture), 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tsp lemon juice, and salt to taste and made pesto out of it in our Food Processor. 
Ingredients: garlic scapes, arugula, spinach, parmesan, olive oil.  Not pictured:  pine nuts, salt, lemon juice.

I put this pesto on quinoa noodles to eat it in a traditional sense, but I really preferred it on half of my pizza.  I added basil leaves, gorgonzola cheese, proscuitto, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese to that side of the pizza.  When it came out of the oven, I drizzled a little balsamic on my plate to dunk it in.  Sometimes, making a balsamic glaze from simmering balsamic and brown sugar is a nice drizzle for the top.  

Spinach Arugula Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza with Prosciutto made on an Udi's gluten free crust

Cooked and ready to devour! 
This pizza tasted so fresh!  Knowing that the greens and scapes were organic and locally grown really added to my enjoyment of this pizza. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mango Salsa

I have never made mango salsa before, but mangos were on sale for a dollar, so why not give it a try?  We have done mango sorbet in the past, which I think Dave prefers, but I'm more of a savory food eater, so I made some salsa for a pre-dinner snack one night.
Fresh mango salsa with blue corn chips
Note that although I usually try to eat local this time of year, many of these ingredients are not local or even organic, for that matter.  This was a big cheat for me, but such a treat for a hot summer day!  

Ingredients:  jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, peeled ripe mango, garlic, red onion, and red pepper.
 A few notes:
  • I actually ended up not using this garlic clove, but a garlic scape instead.  It was nice and mild that way.
  • I only used half the jalapeno and red pepper.
  • I used about an eighth of the red onion.  I'm not a huge raw onion fan, but I found a hint on Hey, Lady Grey's recipe to finely cut the red onion, then pour boiling water over it.  I just heated up the water in my tea pot, threw the onions in a sieve, and poured it over.  It really took away that bad-breath onion flavor that I hate!  
  • The mango has a sort of pit that is rather indistinguishable from the rest of the fruit except that it's impossible to cut.  It's best just to take layers off the outside until you can't go any further with your knife.  
Cut everything as small as you can, mix it all together, and then salt it.  I used about 1/2 tsp of salt.  Let it sit and cool in your fridge for about an hour before serving.  This will get the ingredients to sweat a bit from the salt and meld the flavors really well.  We nibbled on this for a few days and it kept extremely well in the fridge.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Whole chicken with roasted potatoes and turnips

Whole chickens are very affordable.  They are useful for roasting or boiling with celery, onions, and bay leaf to make stock or soup directly.  Stock is useful to keep on hand for risotto or stir fry, two things I make a ton of!  I've made a soup from a whole chicken that was pre-roasted and it was delicious!  The bones simmering really adds nice flavor to the stock.  Roasted chickens are nice to just eat plain or make into chicken salad for sandwiches.

I grabbed a 3lb chicken from the store and decided to roast it with potatoes and turnips from my local farm CSA.  Turnips are in season!  This recipe is modified from Bittman's cookbook.  Clean the chicken by grabbing out the neck and insides and toss them (gross!), then rinse the chicken inside and out and pat it dry with a paper towel.  Chop some red potatoes into eighths and turnips into fourths. 

In a small bowl, combine 6 Tbsp olive oil with herbs like rosemary, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Using a brush, coat your potatoes and turnips in the bottom of your roasting pan with the olive oil and herb mixture.  Place your chicken on top of a surface that suspends it above the potatoes.  I like to set my chicken so it sits up just a bit and liquids don't pool in the chest cavity.  Face the back side up first.  Don't brush it yet!

  • Cook at 425 for 20 minutes.  The skin should be browning.
  • Brush the back side with olive oil, toss the potatoes, turn the chicken breast side up and cook for 10 minutes or until the breast begins to brown.
  • Turn the oven down to 325, brush the breast side of the chicken with the rest of your olive oil, toss the potatoes, and cook for 30 more minutes.  I bet it's done, but check for safety.  The thermometer should read at least 165 in the thickest part of the thigh.  Cook 10-15 minutes longer if necessary.  

Rosemary and olive oil-roasted whole chicken with roasted red potatoes and turnips. 
Eat what you'd like for dinner with the potatoes, turnips, and a salad of seasonal greens, then use the rest for chicken salad sandwiches for lunches!  

Chicken Salad:  just add mayo, celery, Lawry's seasoning salt, and cherry tomatoes or grapes to your chopped chicken.  Some like to add toasted walnuts.  Serve on toasted bread. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberries are in season here in Colorado and that means I got some from my CSA, have some in my garden, AND couldn't resist buying some on sale at the grocery store!  Once I realized I had too many, I took the grocery store strawberries and made Strawberry Sorbet. 

To make this:

Strawberry Sorbet
Dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil.  Honestly, this was way too sweet.  I would cut the sugar in half in the future!  Refrigerate.  

Once your sugar water is cold, puree a pint of cleaned strawberries in a food processor with 4 Tbsp lemon juice.

Add it to your sugar water and add 1/4 cup of Kyro syrup (corn syrup).  Mix this up with a whisk an refrigerate until cold.   

I use a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.  It has a cylinder that I keep frozen.  I start the ice cream maker and then pour in the strawberry mixture.  I usually let this churn for 15-20 minutes.  You can eat it then as softserve or remove it from the cylinder and throw it in your freezer until it is time to eat.  I think this would taste great with mint leaves as a garnish or as a strawberry-sorbet-gingerale float.  Today it was super hot outside and we enjoyed a scoop of this to cool us down!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Locavore Adventure 2012

I started my adventures to eat local last year and they are continuing nicely into this year with a little experience under my belt.  Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver to inspire yourself to try doing it yourself this year! 

I am doing a Community Supported Agriculture again this year where I bought a share in a local farm and they provide me with vegetables.  I'm trying a new company this year and so far I adore them!  I have a bi-weekly vegetable share and a bi-weekly fruit share that will start a bit later, although bonus strawberries showed up this week!  It is greens season, so my first CSA share consisted of bok choy, arugula, spinach, pea shoots, and turnips.  Of course we already had our own lettuce from our garden, so I made sure not to pick lettuce where I had a choice.  This CSA gives you a veggie choice in most cases, which is totally appreciated!  We are going crazy eating really fresh salads over here.  Yum!  I'm a bit nervous that I have over-committed to veggies this year because I will be living alone as of August 1st.  I think if Dave can help me get through greens season, that I can easily can or freeze anything I can't eat after that.  I also have several friends who can help me in eating extra veggies and even picking up the veggies when I'm out of town. 

After a week of working on it, I finally finished MY garden, the plot next to mine that was a leftover plot I got at the last minute, and my patio garden.  Here's my garden laid out in a sequence of three pictures that kind of line up in the row that is my garden. 

Those bottom slots next to the garage used to just house wild horsemint.  We're making better use of them this year.

I planted peas a while ago that you can see near the trellis in the top pic.  I planted tomato plants like beef steak, marvel stripe, zebra, brandywine, roma, early girl, and San Marzano.   I started all of these from seed back in March.  I also started the peppers from seed.  I've got jalapeno and poblanos in the bottom picture.  My final seedling was a tomatillo in the bottom picture with the tomato cage.  I had really great luck with tomatillos last year and am looking forward to green salsa in August.  You can also see some sunflower volunteers growing on the edges.  I decided to keep only three of these because I really have no use for them as they grow "wild" in our neighborhood.  I planted some seeds as well, like green beans, cucumbers, arugula, dill to keep the worms away from my tomatoes, and gobs and gobs of basil.  Last year I had enough basil to eat pesto from my freezer through January.  This year I'd like to make it longer. 

Strawberry plants.
Lastly, the plot next to mine that I'm taking care of this year had strawberries that came up without any help from us.  They were suffering big time without being watered.  Since watering they have really come to life and I'm excited to eat a few this week! 

I hate to admit that my patio garden only has more tomato plants.  It is my goal to be able to can a significant amount of stewed tomatoes this year.  I also stuck in herbs like rosemary, oregano, cilantro, and parsley.  I even found some wildflower seeds that I got as a wedding favor last year and threw those in a pot.  

I am set!  Now I just have to water daily because it is extremely dry here and the forecast is calling for a high of 87 all week long.  Hopefully my tomatoes will end up as large bushes like last year.  Last year my tomatoes were greenhouse seedlings, so we'll see how well my own seedlings do in comparison.  I probably have to invest in a few more cages. 

Stay tuned for a strawberry recipe I tried on Friday!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Whitewater Rafting Trip

Some friends of ours organized a rafting trip for a group of 14 of us on Saturday.  We met up in Buena Vista, CO for camping the night before, then got up early and headed to Noah's Ark.  I rented a wetsuit and some booties to keep me warm during the trip because the water is mostly freshly melted snow. 

Our guide gave us all of the details and we made our way to three boats.  Dave and I got the front of our boat and learned some safety tips and how to tuck your feet into the boat so you don't fall out.  We went down the Browns Canyon portion of the Arkansas River.  The water was a lot lower than usual this year, so we were only at 550 cfs.  I believe the hardest rapid was a class three. 

Dave is in the red shirt on the right and I am in the front on the left of the pictures. 
It was so super fun!  At one point we bumped into a rock pretty hard and one of our boat members fell out!  He was in one of the more awkward seating positions, so I could see how it would be more easy to loose balance than my seat.  Dave was able to reach out into the water and grab his hand.  I was able to get his other hand.  We had him at the front and Dave saw a huge rock in the water and we thought he was going to hit it.  Somehow he stayed above it.  Dave and I were having a hard time getting him in because the front of the boat is so high off the water.  We kind of knew that it was now or never and both grabbed one side of his life jacket and pulled so we fell backwards into the boat, bringing him with us.  It was all very dramatic and he was very thankful for not having to swim the rapids! 

Another time, I think it was the twin falls, our boat did this weird fold thing where the back of the boat pushed everyone forward and we ended up with a pileup of people in the middle.  No one got hurt and all was well.  We enjoyed the fun adrenaline rushes and just wished there was more! 

About midway through the rafting trip, we stopped for lunch.  A huge thunderstorm was brewing just west of us.  Lunch was so awesome!  They fed us these great sandwiches and I was able to just put all of the fixings on a large piece of lettuce to eat it.  They also had watermelon and chips.  As I was finishing my "sandwich" it started pouring and then hailing!  We were freezing!!!  We all huddled under a tree and as the rain lifted a bit, we all did some jumping around to keep our temperatures up and then got back in the boat.  It was cloudy the rest of the day, but I was never shivering thanks to my wetsuit, polypro shirt, and booties. 

I had never been rafting before and was so thankful for Noah's Ark's extremely friendly guides who stepped us through everything from getting our wetsuits to storing our keys to helping us visualize important safety tips to when to row.  I have nothing but great things to say about the place.  Everything was so well organized, lunch was fabulous, and I had nothing but complete trust in our friendly guide who got us home safely. 

We put in the water around 9 or 9:30 and finished around 2:00.  We were cold, but warmed up quickly after getting out of our wet clothes.  Originally, Dave and I planned on heading back to Boulder or head down to Sand Dunes, but we were so tired after rafting, there was no way I was about to drive 3 hours and stay awake.  So we all headed to The Boat House in Salida for an early dinner, headed back to camp, and drank heavily until the wee hours of the morning.  I haven't slept that well camping, ever!

Thanks to our new friends for a super fun weekend!!!