Recipes

Garden in a Glass: Bloody Mary Recipe and More.

It’s during the hottest days of the summer when heating up the kitchen by firing up the stove seems like the last thing on my list. Firing up the bbq is a decent alternative, dinner salads made out of garden veggies, and cold sandwiches get us through the July/August season without having to turn the air conditioning on in our home. When I’m planning a dinner party during these months all too often I fall back to sucking down the clichéd ice-cold beer around the grill or the table. Maybe chilled white or rose wines? Sure, they’re great hot weather standbys, but I’m completely ignoring the garden when making those kind of drinks. Why not use the fresh herbs, fruits, and even vegetables when making cocktails? Last winter I received a cocktail recipe book that has prodded me along on this idea, and while initially following the recipes verbatim I’ve now moved on to making my own cocktail creations from what’s fresh in the yard.  

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Farm to Fork, a CSA Series: If Not for the Grace of Good Vinaigrette.

This is part 4 of a summer long series about our CSA boxes and what we do with them. Recipes for a white wine vinaigrette and crab and lentil salad follow.

 

This was the week where failing in the kitchen was the prevailing theme. Normally, nine out of ten times, I hit home runs. Of course, some meals are more compelling than others, but usually the worst are still edible. This week, I was in a slump. I wanted nothing to do with my last couple of dishes.  

 

Leaden vegetable fritters and gag-inducing spaghetti carbonara that I tried to lovingly scent with lemon zest and Serrano chili were on the menu. The foul food ate up most of my week’s CSA vegetables. Beans, snap peas, spring onions, golden cauliflower, and kale: they all perished and the remaining scraps went straight into the vegetable stock bag in my freezer.  

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Farm to Fork, a CSA Series: Taking the Easy Way Out...Broccoli, Cheese and Quick Pickles

This is part 3 of a summer long series about our CSA boxes and what we do with them. Recipes for Broccoli Cheese Soup and Instructions for Quick Pickles follow.


Suddenly I hated broccoli.  

 

I used to boast that I’ve liked every vegetable I have ever tasted. But when I kept pulling bunches of broccoli from the depths of my CSA box, I found myself filled with dread.  

 

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The Spice Odyssey: Cumin

Cumin adds quite the punch to  food, both exotic and everyday. Come along with this edition of the Spice Odyssey which includes some details about cumin as well as a couple of flavorful Pakistani recipes.
 
Description and Use

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Farm to Fork, a CSA Series: On Turnip Greens And Mandu

This is part 2 of a summer long series about our CSA boxes and what we do with them. Recipes for Mandu (Korean egg rolls), Simple Turnip Greens and Marinated Cucumbers are below.

 

We are a month deep into our first CSA box adventure. While June’s first box contained mostly salad greens and green onions, the following boxes grow larger by the week and deliver an ever-diversifying selection of vegetables. Many of the vegetables are new to us. For two, fleeting weeks, garlic scapes graced our boxes. I added them to everything, from bulgogi marinade to salads to cream cheese wontons.  

 

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Farm to Fork, a CSA Series: Fattoush Salad Recipe

This is the first part in a bi-monthly series featuring the CSA vegetables we receive on a weekly basis.

 

It is sort of like getting a care package from your best friend...who happens to be a farmer. In February, my fiancée and I signed-up with Bluebird Gardens of Fergus Falls, MN to receive weekly half-bushel share boxes. We paid just $395 for the whole season!

   

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Six Acres of Asparagus

If you are like me, you get excited during those warming days when displays of fresh asparagus start appearing in your local markets, and if you happen to stumble upon J & S Produce you might just think you’ve found a little piece of vegetable heaven. J & S Produce is a little farm fifteen minutes west of Spooner, WI, on highway 70, where farmer Joe Strenke has six beautiful acres of organic asparagus. I stopped there a week ago with my mom on the way up to our cabin near Hayward, WI and between the two of us we bought nine pounds of asparagus at $3.00 a pound. While Joe washed and bundled up our asparagus, which he had picked that very morning, I chatted with him a bit and took a look around. 

 

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The Spice Odyssey: Vanilla

Vanilla Bean

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice following saffron. Vanilla remains pricey (around $3.50 a pod) largely due to the fact that it is very labor-intensive and challenging to grow. Originally from Mexico, the vanilla orchards had a highly symbiotic relationship with its natural pollinator, the Mellipona bee. Man-made attempts to replicate what nature was doing best by artificially pollinating the plant were largely unsuccessful until the discovery that the vanilla plant could be hand pollinated, thus enabling the plant to be grown in areas outside of Mexico.

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"Ripe" Cookbook Review, A Feast For the Senses.

At first glance, Ripe may look like just another cookbook. All you have to do is open it up to see the difference. This book is alive with color and for me is very evocative and strangely alluring. I wanted to dive in, to read, to go shop for food and, well, maybe to cook (actually, I just wanted to eat). So, in short, look at this book and then go out to eat. Ok, perhaps that's a little shallow.

 

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A Trio of Asian Spices Goes Beyond Ginger

When it comes to yielding flavorsome herbs and spices, the most productive parts of plants are usually above the soil: leaves (basil, sage, cilantro); seeds (mustard, nutmeg); fruits (chiles, tamarind); and even flowers and buds (saffron, cloves, capers). However, just below the culinary sight line and no less robust in taste are seasonings derived from roots and stems.

Some, like cilantro roots, are often discarded despite having as much flavor as the leafy or fruity parts more commonly used for spices and herbs. Others are mainstays of the pantry, such as bulbous onions and garlic, and root-like ginger. But if you’re looking to liven up your spice repertoire with new down-to-earth seasonings, give the following tasty trio a try.

Sensational Stems

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