What I Made – Week 9

This elk ragu with carrots and garlic scapes is inspired by this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks in recent years, Six Seasons. With only about an hour total cook time, it comes together more quickly than many other similar recipes, with no loss of flavor.

I know I’ve posted about poke salad bowls on here before, but I thought this time was a bit more photogenic. Maybe? Not really? Oh well.

These are my favorite quinoa bowls with marinated kale. I changed the recipe a bit by using pan-fried tofu instead of chicken and using jarred roasted red peppers instead of the tomatoes for a sauce with a bit of kick.

Fish taco salad, inspired by a local salad chain restaurant. I think sliced the cabbage and combined it with lettuce to make the bed of greens. Topped with pan fried catfish, quick pickled onions, and cilantro-queso fresco dressing and it’s almost as good as the one from the store.

Our July 4 cookout lunch included roasted potatoes, smoked cider can chicken (for a gluten-free take on a beer can chicken) and these blistered green beans with miso.

This pasta with garlic scapes and fava beans was also a hit. In the future, I’d add red pepper flakes for a bit of spice (even though I used hot Italian sausage like the original recipe said).

On the sweet side of things, I also made a blueberry buckle. I just call it coffee cake and eat it for breakfast with no regrets! ūüíĀūüŹľ‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ

Chocolate chip zucchini bread is another of my favorite dessert-for-breakfast meals. I plan to wrap these loaves tight and freeze them for to enjoy once zucchini season has passed.

What I Made – Week 6

It was a lot of salads this week, but I did manage to make some other types of meals as well. Not pictured below include my go-to quiche with beet greens and green garlic from my garden and a garlic scape pesto made with basil from the farmers market.

This was the Tandoori Chicken and Rice Bake. I’ve really liked this recipe in the past, but the chicken turned out very tough and dry this time. Maybe it was because I used a 14.5 ounce can of light coconut milk and 1.5 cups of broth instead a 14.5 ounce can of broth, a cup of coconut milk and a half cup of water? Maybe I over cooked the chicken even though I didn’t fully cook it through in a skillet like the recipe says? I may never know.

This salad is inspired by chicken shawarma. The instructions had you marinate the whole chicken thigh with lots of spices, but since they were skin-on and bone-in, most of the spices stayed stuck to the skin. Even though I marinated these overnight, I didn’t get much flavor once the chicken was shredded.

Another day, another salad. This no-recipe salad includes roasted beets, quinoa, chipotle sausage, and goat cheese with a citrus vinaigrette (chopped shallots, orange juice, honey, red wine vinegar, and olive oil).

This may not look like much, but this pasta with hot Italian sausage and dandelion greens is one of our all-time favorite recipes for using up any greens from dandelion to Swiss chard to escarole. I do make some changes to the recipe. I use whatever type of pasta I have available, typically substitute hot Italian sausage for mild for the additional flavor, and use an imprecise mix of skim milk and some cream in place of the non-skim milk. After the sausage is browned, I leave the drippings in the pan and add whatever amount of butter I think will make up the difference to get around 3-4 tablespoons.

The dressing on this Vietnamese-Style Chicken & Noodle Salad is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. I kept the veggie ingredients for the salad to cabbage, cucumber, cilantro, mint, and pickled radishes, only because I was too lazy to buy the other items. I layered this more like a traditional salad, but I wish I had tossed the cabbage and other veggies with the noodles as directed in the recipe to more evenly mix the ingredients and distribute the dressing.

Even though we made a lot of salads, we still have a head of red leaf lettuce and most of the head of cabbage left to use. The Swiss chard will be served with salmon for dinner. I’m thinking about trying these biscuits to use up those last two yellow patty pan squash. I’ll be making strawberry shortcake/biscuits tonight to finish up those strawberries, since our fruit share starts next week! Maybe soon we’ll move away from lettuce and start fruit salad season? A girl can dream…

What I Made: Veggie Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Remember when I said I was too lazy for a complicated dumpling recipe? Apparently that doesn’t apply to spring rolls, so hold on for a long post! The full recipe is after the jump.

 

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Half of the sauce ingredients in one photo!

Since the peanut sauce needs a chance to sit, it needs to be made at the beginning.  For 6 ingredients (rice wine vinegar, water, chili oil, minced garlic, chopped roasted peanuts, sugar), it packs a lot of flavor.

 

After the ingredients sit for around 10 minutes, they somehow mix into a spicy, peanutty dipping sauce!

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The first step in making the spring rolls is soaking cellophane noodles in hot water for around 30 minutes. ¬†That’s not very pretty, though, so before I get to the spring rolls, here is a glamour shot of my cilantro from this week’s CSA share. ¬†The newsletter had a good tip that you should treat fresh herbs like flowers and keep them cut and in water. Look how beautiful this cilantro looks!
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Along with 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, add 1/3 cup chopped mint and 1/4 cup basil.  This smelled wonderful.

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Next, quarter green onions lengthwise and chop.  This makes really fine pieces.

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Next, blanch 1 cup bean sprouts.

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Once the noodles are soft and pliable, cut them into 2 inch lengths.springrolls5

Then, to all the other ingredients, add the cabbage and shredded carrot.springrolls6

Finally, make a paste of garlic and 2 Serrano peppers in a food processor. (Take out the pepper seeds for a less spicy taste!) Mix the paste with lime juice, and add to the filling, tossing to coat.

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For the wrap itself, dip a rice papering a big bowl of warm water. Spread the paper out on a towel, and pile a handful of the filling on the bottom third of the wrap.  Fold the bottom up over the filling once, then tuck in the sides.  Roll the wrap all the way up and set aside.springrolls8

And the finished product! ¬†They’re lumpy and uneven, but that didn’t affect the taste. ¬†Fresh and delicious, these wraps are definitely worth all the steps.springrolls9

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What I Made: Chinese Dumplings with Cabbage and Pork

I had made dumplings before, with a many-step recipe that took most of the afternoon and evening to prepare. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, while the results were delicious and definitely rivaled or surpassed my go-to freezer standard,¬†I wasn’t anxious to undertake dumpling assembly any time soon.

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So when I found a recipe in, you guessed it, my beloved¬†The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I thought I’d give it a try. ¬†Since it’s, uh, vegetarian, the recipe calls for mushrooms and cabbage as the main filling ingredients., however, I subbed out the mushrooms for ground pork. ¬†I am a recovering carnivore, after all!

Cut one pound of cabbage into thin strips.  Lightly salt the cabbage and let it sit for an hour to let the water be drawn out.  Wring out the cabbage, rinsing off the salt if needed.  Combine the cabbage with a pound of pork, one chopped small onion, some garlic, ginger, and rice wine vinegar.

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Portion out small balls of filling into the wrappers. You can see our dumpling wrapping technique was somewhat lacking.  It took a while to get a feel for the right portion of filling and the right method for dumpling folding.  Practice makes, if not perfect, at least semi-functional. Fresher wrappers or smaller filling portions may have helped us out.
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The original recipe recommends steaming for a “more flavorful dumpling” and I have to agree. ¬†Not to mention, I have no idea how to fry potstickers and not have them stick to the extent that I end up serving mangled dumplings with the wrapper separate from the filling. ¬†If you know the secret, get in touch and teach me your ways!

Steam for around 7 minutes.

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The finished product!  Great with rice or noodles.

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One of my favorite things about dumplings is how well they freeze. ¬†Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, space out dumplings, and freeze. ¬†Once they’re frozen solid, I like to store them in 6-8 dumpling portions in sandwich bags for easy dinnertime access.

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