Category Archives: veggies

An Apple a Week- Week 2

We’re pulling out all the stops for cuteness this week with Lady Apples. I hadn’t seen any for what seemed like years (seasonal eating will do that to you) , and their season is very short, so I had to pick one up. Ladies and gentlemen, these are showstoppers!

Image from The Produce Hunter

Image from The Produce Hunter

Theoretically, these make a good holiday apple– they should be available between Thanksgiving and Christmas– but they’re in season a little early this year in New York, it seems. They’re tiny, rosy, and semi-sweet– and just a little bit winey. I think they’d probably be great either made into caramel apples or cooked with pork, but this one didn’t last long enough; it’s a two-bite apple, and Ihad to eat it to find out what it tasted like. If you’re more patient than I am, these apples dry well and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.e

Rumor (or Produce Pete) has it that “Lady Apples are the oldest variety known, first cultivated by the Romans. The French loved them and thought they were a royal apple; early American colonists thought of them as a symbol of wealth.”

Last week, Hannah of I Heart Kale chimed in to remind me of her recipe for  applesauce with ginger and plums that I’ve been meaning to try all month. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? I’m going to be out of town next weekend, but I may have to make some with my haul the week after next if I can find the plums (they were still going strong at the market this week.)

About An Apple a Week: I was inspired to try one new type of apple each week until apple season was over or I couldn’t find any new recipes. I’m going to try to post a new type each Sunday– if you have an apple recipe post you want linked, or want to challenge yourself along with me, please let me know!

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Filed under An Apple a Week, dessert, fruit, Other Interests, vegetarian, veggies

An Apple a Week- Week 1

Until I went to high school in New England, I hated apples– they tasted like mildly sweetened sawdust: red delicious sawdust, yellow delicious sawdust– and for a treat, occasionally mcintosh wax and granny smith was, which had slightly more flavor but were still predominately waxy and sawdusty. The apples we picked in New Hampshire were different: some sweet, some sour, some flowery; all *actually* delicious… so, when Brooklyn Bachelor asked me what type of apples I had put in my apple pie (Jonagold), I was inspired to try one new type of apple each week until apple season was over or I couldn’t find any new recipes. I’m going to try to post a new type each Sunday– if you have an apple recipe post you want linked, or want to challenge yourself along with me, please let me know!

Image Courtesy of FreshDirect

Image Courtesy of FreshDirect

This week, rather prosaically, I am going to start with McIntosh apples. McIntoshes are early season apples and don’t store well, so if you’re a fan, now’s the time to get them. The ones I sampled this week came via the local section at FreshDirect from Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, NY. They tasted as if they had just barely been waxed, but I’m not sure if they actually were. They were beautiful, deep red skins streaked with bright yellow green in their characteristic fashion which contrasts nicely with their pure pale insides– they’re certainly one of the more beautiful apples. The skin was crispy (in a good way), and the inside was sweet and tangy and floral, all at the same time. They’re great for eating out of hand, but I also like them in applesauce. I’ve had less then great success cooking them in oatmeal– they’re definitely “bright” flavored rather than “rich/ autumnal” flavored in my book, and when they cook, they don’t mellow as much as some other types.

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Filed under An Apple a Week, fruit, vegetarian, veggies

Not so special dinner

I tried, I did. I wanted to make a special Sunday night dinner, the kind that Jewish grandmothers dream of. I made roasted cornish hens and rice pilaf, enhanced with roasted vegetables and plenty of garlic. It was all fine, but the salad– my basic, beloved salad, that I somehow haven’t blogged about, stole the show.

You see, for a long time, even though I loved veggies, I hated salad. Couldn’t stand it.

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You see, for a long time, I hated salad. Hated it. Loved veggies, hated salad… and then I realized that it wasn’t salad I hated. It was lettuce (I’ve since found varieties I like), croutons, processed cheese, and most salad dressings. So I started making salads with other vegetables as the base, cucumbers being my favorite. The only consistent thing about this salad is large amounts of cucumber, onion (red or sweet), vinegar, salt, and pepper. Sometimes I add lemon juice, feta, mozzarella, tomato, basil, dill, small chunks of red pepper, and even raw garlic. Key to know, though, is that this salad needs to sit a few hours at least– the longer, the better. Think refrigerator pickles.

Hope you love this as much as I do.

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Filed under greens, pepper, vegetarian, veggies

Mostly Veg

Fondue, as retro-seventies as it may be, has become a once-a-month staple in our little apartment. Good for guests but also ridiculously easy (and low on dishes), the only downside to this dish is that the kind of cheese you’ll want to use can cost a pretty penny. South Mountain Creamery sent a whole pound of good cheddar– for $5!– last week, though, so we had friends up to share. The fondue was cheddar-beer with a little mustard, but the special part for me is all the fillings…

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Pictured: Apple, pear, broccoli, red onion, potato, and red pepper (capsicum), plus surprise favorite: hot dogs. (Like I said, mostly veg).

Not pictured: toasted french bread, garlic.

Yum!

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Filed under cheese, pear, pepper, Uncategorized, vegetarian, veggies

Healthy Food for Lazy Days

Ugh. I hate winter. I hate winter so very much that I looked at the giant, teacup sized flakes marking DC’s second snowfall with disgust rather than amazement. It’s always been that way– even when I was a little girl, I “hibernated” during the winter, having to be pushed and scolded into leaving the house. I’m self-motivated now, but it’s frequently difficult for me to get out and go shopping for fresh foods and then stand around and chop up all those veggies.

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This (yet to be named) meal is the perfect solution for winter slumps; you can make a million variations of it to fit whatever you have in the house, it’s relatively healthy (the picture shows the boy’s version, which gets double-cheese) , and you can get it on the table in less than half an hour, with barely any chopping. Bonus points, too, for how easy it is to make it in individual serving sizes, which cuts down on dishes and steps and makes it an entertaining-friendly vegetarian meal.

Main Dish (per person)

1/2 c cooked quinoa (could substitute brown rice, bulgar, etc.)
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved (could substitute chunky tomato sauce or tomatoes)
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
3T fresh parsley if available
drizzle of olive oil
1 oz shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese (I’m sure others would be good, too)
salt, pepper to taste

Coat a small saute pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Toss in garlic and saute over medium-low heat until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes and 2T parsley and cook another minute or so, until tomatoes are warm and slightly squishy. Add salt and pepper (plus any other spices you’re in the mood for, it’s very versatile) to taste.

In a mini-loaf pan (or any other small oven-safe container), smooth cooked quinoa to form one even layer. Spread tomato mixture on top, then top with cheese. Sprinkle with remaining parsley for garnish.

Bake “loaf” at 375 for approximately 8 minutes, until cheese is thoroughly melted and preferable starting to brown a bit on the edges.

Serve with whatever veggies are at hand– to my mind, this pairs well with boiled pre-frozen veggies and a dash of butter; the squishier texture of pre-frozen just makes the meal more comforting.

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Filed under beans, cheese, vegetarian, veggies

Ethical Eating (3)- Organics and Mishigash*

*Randomness. Sometimes Yiddish is fun.

This is part 3 of of a three-part series on my views on eating ethically. The first one focuses on why I try to eat locally (and the resources I use to do so). The second one will focus on why I’m not a vegetarian (even though I love veggies), and this third one will be (yep, modified) organics– plus! a bonus, easily vegan-izable winter meal idea; I would have discussed the comments, especially on the second post, but they really discussed themselves. Go check it out.

You may have noticed that this post has taken a little longer to come than the other two. Part of it is that it’s less specific, and thus less inspiring, by nature– but it’s also that my thoughts are more conflicted on organics than on anything else related. You see, at one point I was *very, very* careful about buying everything organic. Then, I met the farmers market… where the milk and dairy products were not organic, for the most part. Hmmmph. I asked the farmers why they weren’t, and, amazingly, they didn’t  beat me up for being so rude! Instead, they patiently explained to me their methods of farming. To be honest, the methods varied.

Some of our local dairy farms were, for all intents and purposes, organic but the certification process was too unwieldy and expensive. Some couldn’t afford to buy supplemental organic feed when their farms didn’t produce enough, and some just felt that non-organic chemicals did the best job and made it possible for them to spray much less, ultimately lowering the toxicity (note: not all organic-approved chemicals are happy and fuzzy.) I thought about that and accepted that they really knew what they were doing, choosing to buy dairy from them rather than organic dairy from the supermarket.

Next came the fruits. When I found the farmers market it was summer. and most of the fruits (though not all) were organic. I was still buying primarily organic fruits and vegetables, but that– that’s easy in summer. When it came to fall, though, I was stumped. Why? Because nobody grows organic tree fruits near DC. They’re nearly, if not totally, impossible to track down from a commercial source (I have to assume that some people have fruit trees in their yards, but that doesn’t help me much, as I don’t know them.) And so, again, a choice– organic tree fruits shipped in from far away, or local in-season fruits from small farms. Again, I asked the farmers. Turns out it’s just not profitable in this region to grow them, and so they can’t afford to– but all of them spray minimally and responsibly, and are happy to discuss their methods. One  farmer even gives paper handouts out so you can go home and learn more about his methods– really cool! Again, thought about it, bought the fruit, haven’t looked back.

There are, however, some things I make a special effort to buy organic, especially when I’m not at the farmer’s market. Corn and wheat products, wherever possible, because I’m concerned about the amount of genetic modification that goes on (besides which I’m willing to bet that topical pesticides are ground into the flour without adequate cleaning at some places) . The standard list of “most risky” foods. Eggs, meats, and dairies when I don’t personally know the producer (if you’ve taken high school biology, you might remember how toxins concentrate as they go up the food chain.)  Berries, tomatoes, and strawberries. Root vegetables that have been marinating in toxins. The list goes on.

Tricksy, huh? So now that you’ve got your stash of organic, locally grown vegetables, what do you do with them in winter? Well, if you’re me, you boil a few potatoes until very soft, then mash them with skim milk, a little butter, a little cream if you’ve got it around, and some sharp or stinky cheese (vegan equivalents are fine, I prefer rice milk, and you can leave out the cheese– it will still taste fabulous so long as you add a little salt).  While the potatoes are boiling, you sautee a lot of garlic and some crushed red pepper in some olive oil, add some greens, and cook until they’re tender, finishing off with some mustard and lemon juice if you’ve got them around. Make a “nest” of the mashed potatoes, and throw the greens in the middle. This is great on its’ own, but if you’ve got some beans lying around, make a bean salad for extra protein.

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Filed under beans, cheese, ethics, greens, Other Interests, vegetarian, veggies

Back to Veggies- Veggie Pesto Pizza

I have been thinking about real food, not just carbs, you know. I made pesto-veggie pizza, black bean salad, and a long string of Asian vegetable dishes. I’ve been drooling over homesteading blogs, cooking, I baked up a storm (did you know how easy it is to make cinnamon buns at home? No, me either. Plus, I just made my Daring Bakers contribution… stay tuned), and I even went out to eat at 2amys, the best-loved pizza place of most people in this city. Unfortunately, baked goods are relatively easy to photograph in poor light with a bad cameras; while showing off the vivid colors and tangles of vegetables is much more difficult. It’s driving me crazy to have to post pictures taken on my cell-phone camera. I’m officially looking for a used one, and until then, I beg for your patience. There certainly are a lot more of you lurking around in recent weeks, all of a sudden, and I hope you stay (and talk to me!) while I try to upgrade my technology over here.

In the meantime, let’s talk about the veggie pesto pizza, one of the most satisfying kitchen experiences I’ve had this year. Two things made it special for me– first, I have finally figured out the trick to making my yeast doughs rise properly. This was the third yeast-dough recipe that came out perfectly, and all because I was too silly– for years– to recognize that regular room temperature just isn’t warm enough. Once I learned to preheat the oven to 200 for one minute, turn the oven off, and let the dough rise in a spot that was actually warm, my bread stopped taking much longer than it should and still turning out leaden. Yay!

The second was that this is the first thing I’ve ever eaten out-of-season that I prepared ahead of time. Yeah, I know that I’m a little preachy when it comes to the local, in-season stuff, but the truth is that I’ve always been afraid of canning, and that things tend not to last so long in my freezer. The trips to the farmers market and eating what happens to be in season or other people have stored up had become too common. This pesto, though, came out of a carefully marked baggie frozen in July, when our CSA had “take all you want” basil. I took lots, ground it up with garlic in our small “mini-chopper”, and added some oil, sticking the bag in the freezer with a date.

5 months later, I made some pizza dough, spread the pesto on it, tossed some onions and garlic that had been sauteed in olive oil with red peppers and parmesan, and created a “salad topping.” Topped the lot with Blue Ridge Dairy’s fresh mozzarella (I’d love to learn to make my own, but right now I don’t have a good local milk/ cream source– and besides, I just love the farmer who runs their stand), and baked until the crust was golden and the cheese bubbly. It couldn’t have tasted better, even if I had made it in July with everything at its’ peak. No, this was satisfying in so many more ways, and motivated me to get my butt in gear for canning next summer. After all, I’ve got many months to strategize.

And, while I’m talking local, please meet the two new bloggers on my blogroll. The first, WhereInDC, must live and work in my neighborhoods, because she certainly eats at a lot of my haunts. She posts regularly, and frequently her posts contain yummy looking and easy to follow recipes– plus, she’s ridiculously sweet! The second is The Slow Cook. I can’t even begin to tell you how impressed I am with what he’s doing. First of all, he’s an urban farmer (excuse me, gardener. What I consider to be a small-scale farm is, in fact, a food garden in front of his house– right here in the capital). But he’s not just growing and eating local; he’s helping area farmers out with big projects, and teaching children how to appreciate real food in my very own city. He’s my kinda cook– plus much more experience, knowledge, space, and dedication and apparently a wife who’s a fabulous baker. Check it out!

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Filed under Other Interests, pizza, veggies