CSA Delivery #2

In an effort to eat seasonal and expand our food horizons, my husband and I bought a share in a local CSA.  What is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? For a predetermined price, families can buy a share from a local farm and get weekly or biweekly produce “deliveries” over the course of the growing season.  It may seem a little pricey up front, but it works out to be a reasonable price per week of your family uses a lot of fruits and veggies. Plus, you’re guaranteeing your produce is local and fresh! To learn more about CSA’s or to find one in your area, check out the Local Harvest website for more info.

For each delivery, I’ll be breaking down what we got (mostly seasonal produce) and what we plan to use each item for.

  
This week’s delivery included:

  • Button mushrooms – Crockpot Chicken Marsala
  • Flat mushrooms – chopped and used for tacos, omelettes, and salads
  • Asparagus – Roasted with olive oil and sea salt in the oven; 400° for 15-20 minutes (you can also grill it!)
  • Assorted head lettuce (including mesclun) – salads for lunch
  • Mint – chopped for mixed drinks; frozen for future use
  • Spring onions – subbed for regular onions in recipes; grilled with olive oil and sea salt
  • Honey – slowly using in tea

Enjoy eating seasonal!
elyse

Healthy Braised Kale

  

 3 cloves of garlic

2 spring onions (or substitute in 1/4 of your favorite type of onion)

1 lb of kale, roughly chopped with stems removed

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tbsp balsalmic vinegar

1tbsp olive oil

1 cup of water (for more flavor, you can also substitute with chicken broth)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop garlic and onion then sauté in olive oil until garlic begins to brown and onions are tender. Add kale, water, and paprika. Stir and cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Stir in balsalmic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

 

Enjoy!

elyse

CSA Delivery #1

In an effort to eat seasonal and expand our food horizons, my husband and I bought a share in a local CSA.  What is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? For a predetermined price, families can buy a share from a local farm and get weekly or biweekly produce “deliveries” over the course of the growing season.  It may seem a little pricey up front, but it works out to be a reasonable price per week of your family uses a lot of fruits and veggies. Plus, you’re guaranteeing your produce is local and fresh! To learn more about CSA’s or to find one in your area, check out the Local Harvest website for more info.

For each delivery, I’ll be breaking down what we got (mostly seasonal produce) and what we plan to use each item for.


This week’s delivery included:

  • Kale – Braised Kale with Spring Onions
  • Asparagus – Roasted with olive oil and sea salt in the oven; 400° for 15-20 minutes
  • Carrots – chopped, blanched, and frozen for use in future soups and stews
  • Head lettuce – salads for lunch
  • Rhubarb – Rhubarb Bread (to eat for breakfast)
  • Spring onions – subbed for regular onions in recipes; chopped, blanched, and frozen for use in future recipes
  • Garlic infused apple cider – slowly using in recipes and mixed with olive oil as a salad dressing

Enjoy eating seasonal!
elyse

Mac and Cheese That’ll Knock Your Socks Off

This is my semi-famous mac and cheese recipe.  It is so good, that my grandma begs me to make it anytime I’m home from school (ironic right?).  It’s also a great dish for potlucks because it’s a little bit different than your typical mac and cheese so even if someone else brings macaroni and cheese, your dish will be unique.  The best part about this mac is the crispy cheese crust it forms, just pure yummy!

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Step 1: Boil Macaroni for 8 minutes then lay into casserole dish.  I like to use a dish with lots of surface area, because that means more crispy toppings!

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Step 2: Combine milk, flour, butter, mustard, salt and half of the grated cheese into a microwavable bowl.  Microwave for 1 ½ minutes, stir, then microwave for another 1 ½ minutes and stir.  If the butter is not fully melted, microwave for one more minute.  It should end up looking like the picture to the right below.

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Step 3: Pour mixture over macaroni, stir to mix cheese in, and then cover with the additional cheese.  Sprinkle pepper and paprika on casserole and bake at 375° for 40 minutes.

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Knock-Your-Socks-Off Mac and Cheese

(makes 4 servings)
Ingredients

2 cups macaroni
1 ½ cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons mustard
1 ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper & paprika

Preheat over to 375°.  Boil macaroni for 8 minutes, drain, and place in casserole dish.  In a microwavable bowl, combine the milk, flour, butter, mustard, salt, and half of the grated cheddar cheese.  Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring in the middle.  If the butter has not fully melted, microwave for an additional minute.  Pour this mixture onto the macaroni and then mix in.  Coat the macaroni in the remaining cheese.  Sprinkle with pepper and paprika and bake for 40 minutes.

Enjoy!

Celine

Review: Ricki’s Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit

My husband and I love mozzarella, but it’s so expensive to buy in stores.  I kept on finding make your own mozzarella recipes on Pinterest, but I wasn’t daring enough to try one out completely blind.  However, I was definitely intrigued.  So, I decided to try Ricki’s Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit.  It came with basically everything I needed, so I wasn’t worried about buying the wrong ingredients.  And, if it worked, it came out to about $4.50 per pound of mozzarella.  I’d say that was a pretty good deal!  I was a little worried about how hard it would be to find pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) milk, but was happy to find that both Aldi and Trader Joe’s brand milk is fine.

1. Dissolve 1/4 of a rennet tab in 1/4 cup of cool chlorine-free water and set aside.

2. Dissolve 1.5 tsp of citric acid in 1 cup off cool chlorine-free water.  Add to a big pot.

3. Dump one gallon of whole milk into pot and stir.

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4. While stirring constantly, heat mixture to 90°F.  The kit came with a dinky alcohol thermometer.  If you don’t have any other thermometers, I’m sure it would work fine, but I preferred to use my trusty digital thermometer.

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5. Remove from heat and stir in dissolved rennet using an up and down motion. (about 30 seconds)

6. Cover pot and let stand for 5 minutes or until mixture resembles custard (and you can see a clear separation between the whey and the curd).  Mine needed way more than 5 minutes.  I gave it about 15 minutes.

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7.  Cut the curds diagonally.  It says to use a knife, but there was no way I was using metal in my coated pot, so I used a spatula.

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8.  Place pot back on the burner and heat to 105°F while slowly moving the curds around with a spoon.

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9.  Remove from heat and stir for 3-5 minutes.

10. Scoop out curds and strain off whey.  Transfer drained curds to a microwave safe bowl.  I ended up doing this in a two-part process to drain off as much whey as I could.  I used a slotted spoon to transfer curds from the pot to a strainer.  Then after letting them strain, I transferred them to the microwave safe bowl.

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11. Microwave on high for one minute.

12. Fold curds into a single “loaf” much like you would knead bread.  Add 1 tsp of cheese salt and fold in.

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13. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds or in 30 second increments until curds are heated to 135°F.

14. Stretch cheese as you would taffy.  Cheese will become firm and shiny.  Caution — rubber gloves would probably be helpful for this step because the cheese is hot!

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15. Once cheese is shiny, roll into a ball or log then immerse in 50°F water for 5 minutes.

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16. Transfer to an ice bath for an additional 15 minutes.

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17. Wrap cheese in saran wrap to seal and refrigerate or use.  We ended up with slightly over one pound of mozzarella!

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You also end up with quite a bit of whey.  I ended up making some loaves of bread with the leftover whey, but feel free to get creative–there’s tons of things you can do with it!

I wanted to figure out the cost per pound of mozzarella, so I did some quick math:  The kit includes supplies for 30 batches and costs $25.21, so it’s about $0.84 per batch.  A gallon of whole milk is currently about $3.80 in my area.  That comes out to $4.64 per batch.  I got 1.05 pounds of mozzarella in a batch, so that’s $4.42 per pound.

I’ve heard it before, but never really believed it until I tried it myself–homemade mozzarella tastes way better than store bought.  This kit made making my own cheese very easy, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try making their own cheese.  I can’t wait to try the ricotta recipe next!

Have you tried making your own mozzarella?  If so, share your experience below.  I’m also looking for new ways to use the leftover whey, so share any suggestions below as well!

Enjoy!

elyse

Easy Kale Chip Recipe

Kale chips are a miracle food not only are they cheap, healthy, and easy, they’re also delicious!  This is a great recipe to have in your repertoire.

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Kale Chips

Ingredients

Kale (2 cups per serving)
Oil (I prefer olive)
Garlic Salt

Directions

Step 1: Rinse your kale and dry it as much as possible as this will allow it to get crisper when cooked.

Step 2: Remove all spines of the kale leaves.

Step 3: Coat cookie tray with layer of kale.  The more densely packed, the longer the kale will need in the oven.

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Step 4: Coat kale with olive oil.  I used my Misto which I love, but you can also use any oil in an aerosol can.

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Step 5: Sprinkle with garlic salt.

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Step 6: Cook in 350° oven for 20 minutes or until crispy.

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These chips are best eaten fresh from the oven, but will last longer in an air-tight container.

Nutrition facts courtesy of MyFitnessPal:

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*Note this snack has all of your daily Vitamin A & C!

Enjoy,

Celine

German Potato Pancakes

These pancakes were always a favorite in our house when we were growing up.  Celine used to out-eat every other person at the table when these were on the menu.  One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is a lot less work than your typical potato pancakes.  Instead of fighting the mandolin (by far the most evil of kitchen tools!)  and grating potatoes, I can just throw everything in the blender.  They’re perfect for dinner or breakfast, and sure to be a hit at your house too!
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Step 1:  Gather all your ingredients.  I forgot the eggs–they were still in the fridge!

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Step 2:  Wash and peel the potatoes.

IMG_4819Step 3:  Chop the onions and dice the potatoes.

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Step 4:  Throw the eggs, salt, baking powder, flour, onion and 1/2 cup of potatoes in the blender.  Grate.

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Step 5:  Throw the rest of the potatoes in and grate until smooth.

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Step 6:  Heat oil in frying pan and drop batter in by ladleful.

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Step 7:  Fry until brown then drain on paper towel.

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Step 9:  Garnish with your favorite topping, and enjoy!  We had ours with sour cream and sautéed mushrooms and onions.

German Potato Pancakes

(makes about 12 pancakes)
Ingredients

2 eggs
1 small onion
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 cups of cubed, raw potatoes (we usually use russets)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying

Wash, peel, and cube potatoes.  Chop onion.  Put eggs, onion, salt, flour, baking powder, and 1/2 cup potatoes into blender.  Grate until there are no lumps.  Add remaining potatoes and grate until smooth.  Heat 1/2″ – 1″ of oil in a frying pan.  Make sure oil is very hot or pancakes will not cook properly.  While oil is heating, line a plate with multiple of layers of paper towels.  Use a ladle to pour 2″-3″ diameter pancakes into skillet.  When edges begin to brown (about 2 minutes, depending on the heat of your oil), flip pancakes using a spatula.  Fry for an additional 1-2 minutes until both sides are evenly browned.  Place pancakes on paper towel-lined plate until ready to serve.  Serve with sour cream or applesauce.

Enjoy!
elyse