CSA 2012 | Share #6

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Mid-August. Here we go! Another huge share this week — the kind of share that makes me glad we opt for a bi-weekly option. Although we really do eat a lot of vegetables, it would be tough to consume all of this every week! Let’s take a look, shall we?

  • 7 lbs. of tomatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • parsley & lemon basil
  • an enormous zucchini
  • carrots
  • beets
  • scallions (2 big bunches)
  • kale (other option: swiss chard)
  • 2 peppers (other option: 2 leek and 1 eggplant — this one was a tough call)
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 3 onions
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • green beans
  • PYO cherry tomatoes (also tomatillos, but I skipped them this week)
  • PYO flowers

As I write this up, I cooling down some salsa. I had a package of the Ball Fiesta Salsa Mix, which people generally seem to like, so I’m giving that a try because it’s quick and easy. We eat so much salsa in this house that it’ll just go right in the fridge (if there’s any left after my taste-testers get a hold of it). With the rest I might make some roasted tomato soup. We’ll see.

The cherry tomatoes are all but gone. The kids have been nibbling on them like crazy (even Laura who never was a tomato eater until we picked them off our own plant on the deck). I’ve successfully pawned off my beets to a friend. And everything else is pretty straightforward – salad stuff, easy dinner sides… It’s been kind of a crazy week (and the busy-ness continues through next Monday) so I’m not sure if I’m up for trying anything new.

{Recipe} A Yankee’s Version of Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

I’m a New England gal. OK, yes I’ve lived in New York for the last 12 years and that’s not technically New England, but it’s close enough in my book. My point is, I am ignorant about all things Southern. I revel in my Northern-ness (much as southern gals are proud of their own heritage). But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a tasty Southern treat (or all of them!). So when my friend Stef at Down the Primrose Path started talking about something called “pimento cheese” I was intrigued.

I, lover of all things cheese, had never heard of this. Pimento loaf? Yuck, but yes. Pimento-stuffed olives? Of course — I eat them all the time. But not pimento cheese. (Unless you count the cream cheese/green stuffed olive mixture I use to stuff celery on Thanksgiving.)

Then, one night I was flipping through an issue of Rachel Ray’s magazine and there it was: a recipe! Of course, I trust my Southern friends a little more than RR, so I took tips from Stefani and whipped up a pot the other night. When I took the ingredients out the fridge and looked at them all together, I questioned myself a bit but continued with the recipe anyway. And when I tried it… well, I was hooked! I think I scarfed down about half the batch that afternoon.

From what I understand of pimento cheese, everyone makes it a little bit different, but the three primary components are cheddar, pimentos, and mayo. In every article I’ve read, a brand called “Duke’s” is preferred, but I’ve never heard of or seen that up here so I went with good old Hellman’s. As I mentioned, my version was thrown together with tips from a friend, so feel free to change things around, use different cheese, whatever! And if you have a favorite pimento cheese recipe, please share it with me!

A Yankee’s Version of Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

4 oz. Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
3 heaping Tbsp. chopped pimentos
Mayonnaise – just enough to mix it all together
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine first three ingredients in a bowl. Mix in a small amount of mayonnaise. Add more mayo, just a little at a time, until the mixture comes to your preferred consistency. (I like mine less mayo-y and a little more thick). Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Traditionally, pimento cheese is served as a sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off (at least according to this NPR story). But I really liked eating them on Oopsie Rolls – my favorite low-carb “bread.” I definitely see this recipe become a kitchen staple. It’s the perfect little extra yummy bite to have with soup or a salad!

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!
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{Recipe} Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

cheesesteak stuffed peppers

I’ll be honest with you: I’ve never been a fan of stuffed peppers. I hate mushy peppers and when you bake them, that texture seems inevitable. But then I saw a recipe for Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers from Peace, Love, and Low Carb. They looked so good, that I knew I had to try them.

Originally I was going to make these for dinner tonight, but then I realized that the boys would probably complain and since I’m not feeling great today, I just didn’t want to deal with that. And it’s just as well because I only had enough steak for two servings — me and Drew!

I did make several changes to the original recipe. But since I didn’t measure anything (I rarely do!), I can only give you a basic idea of what I did.

First, I melted butter (I used clarified butter for no real reason other than that’s what I grabbed out of the fridge). Then, I sauteed a bunch of sliced onions with salt and pepper until the got soft.

Next I added thinly sliced steak. I used beef tenderloin. (Grass-fed beef tenderloin is on sale at Shop Rite this week, so I was all over that — I cut it into steaks and used the small end to make this dish.) I seasoned it with a little more salt and pepper and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. While the steak cooked I cut a green bell pepper in half and removed the seeds.

I put some shredded Italian cheese blend on the bottom of each pepper half, then divided the cooked steak and onion mixture between the pepper and then topped it with more shredded cheese.

I baked the peppers at 400 degrees until the cheese was all melty and delicious-looking. I think it took about 15 minutes (really, I wasn’t paying attention).

Then I served those babies up with an arugula, tomato, and sunflower seed salad with My Friend Michelle’s Vinaigrette.

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Then the real test: would Drew like it? And yes. Yes, he did. He requested I make it again, even 🙂

These were so much more fun to eat than many of the other low-carb cheesesteak recipes where you basically throw all the ingredients in a bowl. The peppers retained a crispness and the cheese was gooey and the steak was delicious (of course — it’s steak!).

Be sure to check out the original recipe for exact measurements if you don’t want to fly by the seat of your pants like me 🙂

menu plan monday, feels like spring edition


Well it seems that spring is impatient and is sneaking her way into the northeast early this year! Of course I’m no fool – I doubt we’ll enjoy these warm temperatures for long. There’s bound to be another bout of chilly air, but for now I am so happy to sit on my deck with an iced coffee while watching my daffodils peek up through the ground! Having a meal plan means that I can have a little extra free time to do that because I’m not running around to the stores trying to pick up dinner at the last minute. Here’s my plan for this week.

  • Sunday: Leftovers
  • Monday: Roast chicken, cole slaw, green beans, spaghetti squash gratin
  • Tuesday: Beef curry over jasmine rice, cucumber and onion salad
  • Wednesday: Kielbasa, spinach, and white bean soup; green salad
  • Thursday: Turkey burgers (sans buns), black bean salad, baked sweet potato spears
  • Friday: Fish tacos or grilled cheese (for picky kids)
  • Saturday: Corned beef, cabbage, carrots

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

indian spiced chicken meatballs

indian spiced meatballs with savory tomato sauce

Earlier this week I finally had a chance to try Cinnamon, a new (well, new-ish) Indian restaurant in Rhinebeck. The food was delicious and I’ve had curries on my mind ever since. Yesterday I had some ground chicken in the fridge, and an idea in my head: meatballs simmered in a creamy sauce, infused with all of my favorite Indian spices.

If you use a food processor, this recipe comes together lightening-fast. And even if you chop everything by hand it shouldn’t take too much longer.

Indian-Spiced Chicken Meatballs
in Savory Tomato Sauce

Meatballs:
1 lb. ground chicken
1 med. onion
1-2 jalapenos, seeded
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. coriander powder
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. salt

Coconut oil (or fat of choice)
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds

* Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 Tbsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt to taste

For the meatballs, combine onion, jalapenos, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the vegetables are finely minced. Add the ground chicken and spices and process to combine. Shape into meatballs of your desired size. Melt coconut oil in a pan over med-high heat and add cumin seeds. Turn heat down to medium and let the seeds sizzle for just about 30 sec. – 1 min. until you can smell them. Add the meatballs to the pan

While meatballs are cooking, combine the tomato sauce, yogurt, garam masala, and cayenne in a bowl. Add salt to taste. (You can also add more yogurt or tomato sauce, adjust the spices, etc. The sauce is pretty forgiving.)

When meatballs are about halfway done, add the sauce to the pan and finish cooking until the chicken meatballs reach an internal temp. of 165 degrees F.

Garnish with cilantro.
Serving suggestion: cucumber and onion salad dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice; basamati rice (if you eat it) or riced cauliflower.

* PALEO OPTION
I realize that many people who follow a Paleo diet do not eat dairy. If that’s the case, my suggestion would be to add some fresh chopped tomatoes and extra onions to the coconut oil and cumin seeds, along with the garama masala and salt, allow it to cook down a bit, and then add your meatballs.

These meatballs were delicious, considering I threw them together at the last minute (since the kids ate all the taco meat I’d made!). I’m making another batch today for the freezer. I think this is a pretty versatile recipe that is easy to adapt to whatever diet you follow, whether it’s a standard diet, low-fat diet, low-carb diet, or Paleo. A little something for everyone 🙂