Thursday, July 30, 2009

Recipe Rursday: Zucchini, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza

Hands down, this is the best pizza we've ever made (though with shoddy photos). We make pizza fairly often; but this one, as frou-frou as it sounds, is perfectly simple and both spicy and sweet. Because there's no sauce, it is the first time we've come close to my preference for thin, crispy pizza, as well. I'm sure the fresh lemon cukes (above) and squash from our CSA helped tremendously.Zucchini, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza (from Eggs on Sunday)
  • 1 lb. pizza dough
  • 1 small zucchini & 1 small yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a pinch of hot pepper flakes
  • a small handful of basil leaves, torn...
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese

Roasted the squash first (as suggested) in a preheated oven (425F). Brushed with oil & sprinkled with salt & pepper, I roasted them for about 20 min., turning 1/2 way through. Mine didn't brown, so I'd go lighter on the oil next time.

For the pizza, crank up the heat and cook your dough 1/2 way through. (We used a local bakery's dough.) Then top with the shredded cheeses, then garlic, hot pepper flakes, roasted squash slices, torn basil leaves, and crumbled goat cheese. Bake pizza until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, about 8-10 min. Let it rest. Even if for 3 minutes. Let it rest.

** For more recipes: RedPepperFlakes Recipe Archives.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Blueberries at Harmony Farms (Scituate, RI), taken 7/26/09.

This past Sunday, E & I went blueberry (& rasberry) picking at Harmony Farms. A lovely, but hot day + fat, luscious blueberries = I need a shower. The raspberries tasted a bit like soap (to me), so I brought home many more blueberries. I like this whole 'pick your own' thing. Blueberries for everyone!
Rasberry Picking, 7/26/09.
Harmony Farms, 7/26/09.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CSA Recipe: Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

On the phone last night, my father said, "I don't like beets." "When is the last time you had beets?" I asked. He admitted..."maybe 20 years ago". I wonder if he ate pickled beets, or beets out of a can. I would bet money that if he tried the beets we've been eating lately (from our CSA Farm Share), he would change his mind. Not what I expected either. These are delicious.
Roasted Beets & Goat Cheese Salad, taken 7/25/09.

Last week I mentioned that, in addition to making Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes, I had also roasted beets (following the Joy of Cooking recipe). Here's a belated photo of what has since become a repeated recipe for us. I may try something else this week, with our new bunch of beets. I'm thinking I might try shredding them with carrots, in potato-pancake fashion (like this).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Garden on the Deck: Miraculous Pepper Resurrections

Habaneros Resurrected, taken 7/25/09.
I just finished my first week at a new job (yea!) and the newness of everything has exhausted me physically. Despite the crash, I still awoke 7am, Saturday morning in a flurry to clean up the deck & garden after neglecting it for a week. Lo and behold, the habaneros have completely resurrected themselves--a true miracle. Below is a photo I took when I was sure they had passed on. I even announced the death in a post! Once again, what do I know. The same plants are thriving beautifully now (above), though they may be a little behind; I have friends who have sweet and hot pepper plants showing peppers already.
The jalapenos have also survived (a flower has appeared on one) and the tomatoes continue to grow to outrageous sizes.
Jalapeno Flower, taken 7/25/09.Cherokee Purple Tomato, taken 7/25/09.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Recipe Rursday Guest: Ashley's Spanish Tortillas

My dear friend Ashley shared this recipe as a thank you to Recipe Rursdays - yea! I couldn't be more thrilled to post his recipes. He's a great cook. This is his recipe for Spanish Tortillas (a Spanish omelet, or tortilla de patatas)."I was introduced to the Spanish Tortilla in Mainz, where my colleague, Gloria Sanz Lafeunte from Zaragossa...made these fairly often. I was obsessed with them as the perfect late night snack/hangover breakfast. ...Gloria served it with roasted red peppers and Rioja wine. I think we will serve it with fresh tomatoes in olive oil and herbs with an avocado. Since we are meat eaters, I went to our specialty butcher looking for a Spanish choritzo (smaller and smokier than the Mexican variety). He did not have it but suggested a Portuguese Linguisa."Ingredients: 4-5 medium potatoes (I used Idaho Russett), 4 eggs, 1 small onion, 2 gloves of garlic, salt, extra virgin olive oil.
1. Peel, wash, and dry the potatoes. Cut them into length-wise and then slice into thin pieces (ca. a quarter inch thick).
2. Mince onions and garlic, and ca. 3 Tbs of salt. Mix with the potatoes.
3. Over low to medium heat in a large skillet (12 inches; I used cast iron since it also obtains and retains heat very well), coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and and potato mixture. Cook on low to medium for 20 minutes or so, until potatoes are soft. The goal is to soften the potatoes; you do NOT want them to fry.
4. Break up the eggs in a large bowl (the same bowl you mixed the potatoes and onions). Do not over beat the eggs. 5. When the potatoes are cooked, add potatoes to the eggs. For taste, I added a little more salt and a few dashes of sweet Hungarian paprika. Coat the potatoes with the egg mixture and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
6. In a smaller, non-stick skillet (10 inches), coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and heat to medium to medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the potato-egg mixture. Tuck down the edges. Shake the pan occasionally to avoid sticking but do not stir the mixture.
7. As soon as you think the bottom is solid, flip the potatoes onto a plate and then slide the potatoes back into the pan, cooked side up. Cook until the bottom is crispy. You want to make sure its cooked all the way through and may need to flip it a few times to prevent burning. If you thump on the middle and it sounds solid, its cooked. Poking the middle with a knife can also confirm if it is done as long as it does not come out wet.
Thanks Ashley for the recipe and photos -- very niiiiiicccee!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

CSA Week 6

CSA Week 6, taken 7/20/09.
This week's CSA from Scratch Farm (which I almost missed picking up b/c of the new j.o.b.!) included leeks, green garlic, potatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, beets, pac choi, and herbs (mint). I miss the salad greens, but we'll pick some up soon. Another great batch. Now I just have to figure out what to do with all that mint! Anything other than mojitos?

Monday, July 20, 2009

CSA Recipes for Beets: Red Velvet Cupcakes & Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese Salad

Beet Red Velvet Cupcake with homemade icing, taken 7/12/09.

Our last two CSA shares from Scratch Farm included beets. At some point, Chris and I confessed to each other that neither of us had ever partaken in the eating of a beet. And as much as we jumped on board with the CSA with adventure in mind, I had anxiety about dealing with beets. I must have absorbed a cultural bias against beets in my youth. But this summer, it was time to face the beets. Who knew they were sweet? Let me guess...everyone.
As further evidence of my partner's and my ignorance, there was a moment, after chopping up raw beets (to toss in a savory stew), that we both questioned whether I had accidentally grabbed radishes from the fridge. I had never seen candy-cane stripped beets before, though I now know that striped beets are Chiogga Beets. I won't post the recipe for the stew - it was weird.The Red Velvet Cupcake recipe came from Coconut & Lime's post, Can't Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes. My only mistake was not measuring the beets exactly - in great excitement, I simply dumped the pureed beets in with the final ingredients. Typical. This led to the cupcakes having a fairly strong taste (even if it was only lightly reminiscent of beets). I'd make these again for sure, but with greater care and with even with slightly less beets than recommended. Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup beet puree (boil beets in water until soft throughout, then pureed)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa (I used regular cocoa - Hersheys probably)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon plain yogurt (we had vanilla non-fat in the fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
Directions (from Coconut & Lime): Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line 12 wells in a cupcake pan. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside. Mix together the oil, beet puree, vinegar, milk and eggs. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Fill cupcake tray 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 min. or until a toothpick in the center of the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing. (I used her homemade icing recipe as well).
Lastly, with our second batch of beets, we made a Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese (belated photo). Joy of Cooking's instructions for Roasting: Place beets in 1/2 C water in an oven-safe dish, cover tightly with tin foil, and roast at 350F for 30 min, or until all are soft). Peel off the skins when cool enough to handle, slice, and add them to a salad (CSA oak leaf lettuce - amazing) with goat cheese. Heavenly. I officially shall, from this time forward, embrace the beet.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garden on the Deck: Basil Harvest & Lemon Basil Pesto

Genovese Basil, taken 7/3/09
Our basil plants in the garden have done rather well (4 Genovese basil, above, and lemon basil, thai basil, and red basil, being harvested below). Sadly, the lime basil wasn't fit enough to survive). But, we've been delaying the basil harvest-- don't do it! -- and almost all of the plants had started to flower. Since then, I've trimmed back the plants and seen more growth in the Genovese basil. I'd love to have another harvest...We combined the Genovese basil with Lemon Basil for one pesto (see below for the mix) and will combine Genovese and Thai for the next batch.
These little Tupperware containers make freezing pesto easy, but we ate this Lemon Basil Pesto within the week (recipe is the regular basil pesto recipe from Joy of Cooking).
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (we use less)
---Process the above, into a rough paste in the food processor. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until you have a thick paste. Add more oil if it seems dry.
---Season with salt & ground black pepper, to taste. Use immediately or add a thin layer of olive oil on top (to avoid browning) and store in refrigerator for 1 week (or freeze).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All-Star Game, 2009

Party food. Taken, 7/14/09.
Presenting the 11-ingredient, many layer All-star Baseball Game dip. This year, I thought I'd give props to St. Louis for hosting the game (mom suggested the tin-foil...Awesome). Layers: re-fried beans, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, jalapenos, black olives, and homemade guacamole (avocados, white onion, cilantro, green garlic, lime juice). Clearly an upgrade from last year's dip, which didn't have a warning track.

We had Mets, Redsox, and Yankees fans at the house for the game...coming together in the same spirit of the All-stars. Respect.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Link-share: Free Printables

Link-share: Free online printables over at One Pretty Thing. Cute & useful.

CSA: Week 5

Scratch Farm's CSA - Week 5, taken 7/13/09.

This week's 1/2-share is hefty: another head of lettuce (Royal Oakleaf), green garlic (uncured), Salem potatoes, beets, fennel, red onions (sweet!), red & rainbow chard, herbs (I grabbed basil), and a summer squash. Last night the previous week's beets went into a red velvet cupcakes. This week, from Anne's suggestion, they'll be boiled and in a salad with goat cheese.

Monday, July 13, 2009

CSA Recipes: Garlic Scapes (White Bean Dip & Pesto)

Our first few CSA shares included these lovely garlic scapes. (Note: Garlic scapes and green garlic are different things.) My understanding is that you can use garlic scapes as a replacement on any occasion where you would use regular garlic, but they deserve a more pronounced place than dissolved in a tomato sauce. Since we bought the share in an effort to try new things, I made both a white bean dip and a pesto from the garlic scapes. See the NewYorkTimes' meditation on garlic scapes for more info.Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip
This recipe is right off of Scratch Farm's recipe page, but it was (originally?) posted with the NYT piece mentioned above.
  • 1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4)
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, more to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add beans and process to a rough purée. With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.

I mistakenly added the garlic scapes with the beans, instead of pureeing the scapes first (and separately). But the error wasn't much of a problem and the dip was tasty. I'd suggest serving/eating the dip with homemade pita chips. Spray a tray with olive oil spray, lay out pita (cut in strips or squares) and bake at 350F until crispy. Don't take them out too early...wait for it. They'll crisp up and turn brown. It's worth the wait.

Garlic Scape and Walnut Pesto
This pesto was the first thing I made, from our first pick-up of the CSA share. This recipe is from Eggs on Sunday -- a site I can't get enough of -- but variations are easy to find.
We have a batch frozen in the freezer for later this summer, or for the fall. Like most pestos, the ingredients are simple: garlic scapes, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and a nut (in this case, walnuts). Process until smooth. Plus a squeeze of lemon & salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Love for Boston

Boston's North End, taken 7/11/09.
Sweet Boston. This past weekend we met up with our friend Mike, who has been living in Boston's North End for the last few years. He walked us through peaceful and hidden side-streets and let me stop traffic to take pictures of building tops. The evening was perfect.
Boston's North End, taken 7/11/09.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Great Big Tomatoes

German Red Strawberry Tomatoes, taken 7/11/09.

These were first two tomatoes to appear in the garden and have grown quite a bit since then. First pics were from 6/26/09.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Garden on the Deck: Anne's Sungella Tomato Plant

When my friend Anne potted the Sungella tomato plant, while visiting back in May, it was about a foot tall (see above). Now, it's the tallest and biggest plant in the garden. Below is a video, for Anne, of her Sungella tomato plant.

And, Anne's Sungella has baby tomatoes all over it!!!
Taken, 7/3/09.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July Sparklers and Why do people love Garth Brooks?

Video of the Fox Point fireworks in Providence, 2009.

Despite my languorous state most weekends, we managed to head out to the fireworks in the Fox Point area in Providence. While the video works just fine (see above), my camera and I have been fighting lately. I brought home these lovely photos...just for you.The photos are almost as bad as the Garth Brooks song that was slipped into the soundtrack for the fireworks. It was called "Standing Outside the Fire" and it sounded more like Christian Rock than Country. I guess we're not in new york city anymore.
Boom boom pow.

Monday, July 6, 2009

CSA: Week 4

Another CSA share from Scratch farm, already! The weeks are flying by. This week's bundle includes scallions (yea!), salad mix, herbs (we grabbed more oregano), peas, beets, and fennel. I really need to brave the beets -- neither of us have ever eaten them and we still have last week's bunch. One bunch will go in a salad, and the other we'll cook or roast.

And pray you, let me speak of my new found love for Oak Leaf lettuce. I've never tasted lettuce so sweet and nutty. Our friend Laura brought some over last night, from her garden, and we picked up more today in the CSA's salad mix. I must plant some in the fall. I truly must.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tent City Info

Note: I recently consolidated the posts about Tent City in Providence - find them here.

CSA Recipes for Red & Rainbow Chard (Lentil Soup & Tuna Salad)

Maybe this is a winter stew. The lentils make me think of New Years Eve. And supposedly, we're mid-summer. It just doesn't feel like mid-summer in Providence. It's cold and rainy and rainy and torrential-ly rainy. With a fridge full of pretty chard, though, trying out this stew made sense. (Of course, since I wrote this, on 7/1, it's been beautiful!)

Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew with Garbanzo Beans
(from Epicurious/Bon Appetit, Dec. 05.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 14-ounce cans vegetable broth
  • 1 large bunch or 2 small bunches Swiss chard, tough stalks removed, coarsely chopped (about 12 cups)
  • 1 pound red lentils (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • Plain yogurt (we skipped the yogurt) -----------------
  1. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 13 minutes. Mix in curry and cayenne. Add broth and chard. Increase heat; bring to boil. Add lentils and garbanzos; reduce heat to medium.
  2. Cover; simmer until lentils are tender, stirring twice, about 10 minutes. Divide stew among bowls. Top with yogurt.
Changes for next time: The lentils took a longer to cook than suggested in this recipe, which means the chard cooked and cooked. I'd prefer less cooking time for the chard so that it doesn't dissolve into the stew (pic not shown), but that's just me. So, next time, I'll cook the lentils a bit before adding them, or I'll drop the chard in later (if doing the latter, be sure to cut out the stems, which need a bit longer to cook.) We also added more broth than advised, to thin out the texture just a touch. Mmm. Curry lentil soup.

From FoodieFarmgirl I had the idea of using our chard in a tuna salad (her recipe is Swiss Chard Tuna Salad with Kalamata Olives & Onions). I put together a variation on this with what we had in the fridge.Tuna Salad with Chard and Olives
2 Cans of Tuna
1/2 Can of Kidney beans
3 giant green olives w/ pimentos, chopped
1 T. of olive brine from the jar
2-3 Cups of (Red Rhubarb & Rainbow) Chard, leaves & stems diced
A few stalks of parsley, chopped
Dressing: A squirt or two of spicy mustard + salt & pepper.

Mix well & stuff into a wheat pita. So good.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Garden on the Deck: Rain Damage

Sweet Peas Fattening (above). Taken 7/3/09.
The pea pods unaffected by the recent torrential rain look great. Unfortunately the vines that shot up 2 - 3 feet above the rail were snapped off in the rain storm (see damage below). The plants will survive, but I've lost about 3 feet of pea-stalks, in total. I can't salvage the pods from those stalks, since they're not ready to pick. Oh well. Mother nature can be vicious.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Recipe Rursday: Grilled Shrimp & Veggies

Loving the new grill, gifted from our friends Ben & Saida. These Shrimp & Veggie kabobs (from when Chris' parents were here) are pretty simple, but there are still a few things I learned from the process. For example, if you don't know how long different veggies take to grill, don't mix them up on the skewer. Mini-onions take quite a while to cook all the way through. I'm not a huge fan -- next time we'll go with regular onions chopped into big chunks. Squash cooks in a flash. So, while it's a little less pretty, it's safer to put the shrimp together on one skewer & veggies on another. And go to the spice cabinet!We tried both an Italian herb rub (which could be made with a bunch of dried herbs from the cabinet...basil, oregano, etc.) and a spicy grill rub (cayenne & other stuff in it). I prefered the latter. Also, we over-did the herbs and I had to scrape some of the spices off. Hey, newbies are allowed mistakes.

Garden on the Deck: Peas! & dying Habaneros

An overview of garden. Or, shall we say, diagram? (Click on it to enlarge) But, for an update....there are peas! Peas have shown up in full force (there are 10-15 pods with others on their way). And sadly we shall soon see the death of the habaneros. Aphids have taken over and are eating up the dying Habanero leaves. With the unrelenting rain, I'm guessing they're dying because the soil hasn't had a chance to dry out in months. The jalapenos are holding on. I might need to rig a cover for them to sit under. And mulch. Gotta find/make some mulch. I hear newpaper works.
Pea pods. So cute. 6/27/09.Sad Habanero who turned yellow and lost all its leaves.
Taken 6/27/09.