Run, Cook, Eat!

New Cookbook / Recipes
July 22, 2009, 6:00 pm
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J gave me a lovely new cookbook for an early birthday present – Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. A quick look through the book has me really excited about cooking new recipes. Unlike some of my vegan / vegetarian cookbooks, the ingredients tend to be pretty accessible. Most of the recipes seem to include pantry staples with fresh produce, or items easily available at the grocery store or produce market down the street. It seems thankfully low on harder-to-find spices and crazy ingredients, and I look forward to making some of these dishes soon.

I’m also excited to delve into Mark Bittman’s 101 Simple Salads feature in today’s New York Times. It will be nice to move away from the same old greens with dinner, and this may be useful in making my way through the CSA produce box as well!


Vanilla Cauliflower Poached in Almond Milk
July 18, 2009, 6:23 pm
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I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower. More often than not, the veggies I was served as a child were of the frozen peas/carrots/cauliflower/broccoli variety. So generally, cauliflower is not on my table or in my tummy unless it’s raw and served on a vegetable and dip platter.

But a few weeks ago, the theme for my cooking group was “savory cocoa dishes.” Hmm. After some reading, I settled on a cocoa braised cauliflower recipe, to be posted later. But I’d bought an extra cauliflower, and was thus forced to prepare cauliflower AGAIN.

Which led me to the Vanilla Cauliflower Poached in Almond Milk recipe, adapted from J’s “Homemade in a Hurry” cookbook by Andrew Schloss. It turned out to be a very curious recipe. I thought the cauliflower tasted like marshmallows. To me, this is a minus, but to J (and probably any small child) that is a big big plus. Very very curious.

Vanilla Cauliflower Poached in Almond Milk

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1.5 c almond milk (I used sweetened)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ts vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients except cauliflower in a small casserole dish that’s just big enough to hold the cauliflower. Place the head of cauliflower upside-down in the almond milk and bake until slightly browned, about 35 minutes. Turn over the cauliflower and baste with some of the almond milk from the dish. Bake for another 30 minutes or so – basting 3-4 more times – until the cauliflower is browned and soft. Remove cauliflower from dish. Cut into wedges and serve.

Verdict: I’m unsure if I’ll make this again. It had a nice but a distinctively sweet taste. I would make it again if I found the right main course pairing, or if I were bribing small children to eat their veggies.

Farm Fresh to You CSA Box – Week of 7/14/09
July 16, 2009, 10:37 pm
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The longer I hold out before canceling our CSA subscription, the better the boxes get. Funny how that works. This week only two items were spoiled the day we received them. The only other mistake was that they left our box of food outside of the apartment gate, instead of in the secure part of the building.

This week’s haul:

  • Bing cherries – these were hands-down the best cherries I’ve ever eaten. I ate an entire pound of them in one day.
  • One eggplant – roasted in the oven (along with lots of CSA box veggies) at work today for lunch and eaten w/quinoa
  • Gypsy peppers – this time they only sent half a pound! Thank god! It was just the right amount – most went into salad, the rest were roasted for lunch.
  • Green cabbage – I still don’t know what to do with this. I’ve never cooked cabbage before. The outside leaves are looking a bit sketchy, so I should do something fast.
  • Heirloom tomatoes – Officially the first decent tasting tomatoes of the year. These were some nice little green heirlooms. Some went into salad, the rest went into ricotta & tomato pasta.
  • Spring mix lettuce – Enough for two salads.
  • Yellow onions – They’re…onions. Cute little ones.

Ok, that’s all now. We just made halvah and I am exausted and not-so-inspired to write more about cauliflower and such things. Goodnight.

Farm Fresh To You CSA Box / Farmer’s Market – Week of 7/3/09

This week’s CSA post is a bit late due to the holidays last weekend, so I figured I’d include what was in the box plus what’s been used / how we used it. I’m happy to make more progress on these veggies than past boxes, and I’m also thrilled the veggies are mostly not spoiled.

  • 2 apples – Not yet eaten, as we have way too many peaches and nectarines to go through. (Thanks Ferry Building Farmer’s Market and Trader Joe’s!)
  • 2 ears of white corn – Cooked on the stove per Mark Bittman’s instructions: put 1-2 inches of water + salt + corn into pot. Turn on burner. Corn is done after ~8 -10 minutes. Topped with lemon, butter, salt, and pepper. YUM.
  • 1.5 lbs of summer squash – This lovely mix of patty pans and yellow squash was sauteed with butter and lavender salt. The patty pans were bigger than I’d select myself, but I chopped them into sixths and they cooked just fine.
  • 1 pint blueberries – You can really taste the difference between these and supermarket berries. Eaten for snacks the day after they arrived.
  • 1 lb mixed sweet peppers – Farm Fresh really likes sending us lots of peppers, and I don’t know what else to do with them. About half of these have been eaten. I ate two for dinner last night, plain/raw, plus we chopped some up when they first arrived and served them raw with yogurt-garlic sauce. Next time they send me a gajillion peppers, I should do pepper onion sandwiches or something.
  • 1 tiny bunch basil – Very tasty, but so small! We usually use about 2x-3x that for a batch of basil. This was just enough to make a small bit of pesto to supplement the raw tomato sauce leftovers from a few days before.
  • 1 bunch Nantes carrots – Farm Fresh also likes sending us lots of carrots. Only sadly, these always go bad within a day or two of them arriving. We ate two or three carrots raw with the yogurt-garlic sauce the day they arrived, but when I revisited them 2 days later the remaining carrots were all soft and floppy. What to do? I generally don’t cook carrots, but I thought they were supposed to last longer than a day or two. (Or so says Mark Bittman.) I may put in a request for no more carrots. Which is a shame, because the two I ate were great.
  • 1 lb red onions – Eaten in green salads, used for black bean burger ingredient & topping.
  • 1 lb Russian banana potatoes – Still uneaten. They’re potatoes, they’ll keep a bit longer.

We made a Saturday trip to the Farmer’s Market as well. Here’s what we got:

  • 2 avocados – One eaten w/chilaquiles.
  • 1 gigantic red onion, about the size of my head – Grilled and served w/homemade black bean burgers at the barbeque.
  • 2 huge bulbs of garlic – Grilled w/oil in tinfoil, and spread on Acme herb slab bread (also grilled.)
  • 1 Acme herb slab bread
  • 7 tomatoes – Meh….it’s not tomato season yet, and these proved it. Served in a tomato salad with good fresh mozzarella from Cowgirl (made by Gioia) and balsamic vinagrette. (John made this. The vinagrette was really good.)
  • 3 peaches and 3 white peaches – These were amazing. We were going to grill them with balsamic and serve with with creamy goat cheese, but we were stuffed already. Instead I’ve been gorging myself on 2 peaches or nectarines per day since we bought them. The folks at the stand (the one next to the artichoke/bean/brussels people) were SO NICE. This may have also been because we were there at the relatively quite 9 AM, rather than the standard chaotic 1 PM.
  • Lots of basil – Pesto. John’s forte. Mmmm.
  • 4 ears of corn – bought from Capay, not a regular vendor. Two grilled, two steamed.
  • Creamy goat cheese from Cowgirl – still in the fridge. I keep sneaking bites of it with crackers.
  • Strawberry cherry jam from Happy Girl Farms – I actually jumped up and down when I saw they had this again. My favorite combo.

Overall, I’m proud we managed to actually use a good portion of the produce we bought. I’m feeling really strapped for cash lately, so I’m trying to be much better about actually using the ~$40 worth of food we buy at the farmer’s market every other week and the $23 worth of produce that Farm Fresh sends us every other week.

Up next…posts still on the way: cauliflower two ways, homemade black bean burgers, chilaquiles, and raw tomato sauce pasta from MattBites.