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Soupy Sunday: Chili February 6, 2011

Filed under: food — ravennagirls @ 3:28 am
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On Sundays, we often make soup.  Evenings filled with deliciousness bubbling, using some veggies we have around the fridge, and creating some leftovers for the week.

Last Sunday, we made Chili for dinner with a little cornbread on the side.  YUM!

 

This recipe comes from one of our favorite, go-to soup books The Big Book of Soups and Stews by Maryana Vollstedt.  We modified it slightly based on some ingredients we had… so here is what we did:

 

INGREDIENTS

1 T olive oil

2 C chopped yellow onions

1 C chopped celery

4 cloves minced garlic

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 lb lean ground turkey meat

28 oz canned diced tomatoes w/ juice

1 1/2 C beef stock

1 T Chili Powder

1 t dried oregano

1 t ground cumin

1 t salt

pepper to taste

toppings: cheddar, sour cream, avocado

 

In a large soup pot, warm olive oil.  Add onion, celery, and garlic.  Saute until tender.  Then add the ground turkey and let cook for 5 minutes while stirring.

 

Add remaining ingredients except the toppings.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

Place in bowls, sprinkle with your favorite toppings.

Eat.

 

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Stuffed Acorns! November 21, 2010

Filed under: food,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 12:56 pm
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How do you stuff an acorn, you ask?

Well, its really acorn squash, which allows you a bit more room!

Last Friday night we realized we had an abundance of fall veggies from our CSA box in the fridge. Acorn squash, collard greens, bok choy, potatoes, turnips, just to name a few. So, in order to have a hearty fall dinner and also plow through some of our delicious veggies, I found two recipes to try some fun new flavor combos.

The salad recipe has several strong flavors: crisp peppery radicchio, tangy persimmon, and citrusy vinagrette. Its a salad that stands alone, thats for sure! The pear mellows it out a bit, though, and it definitely awakens your palatte during this time of fall comfort food. We ate it as a first course without worrying too much about flavor pairings, and I think it was pretty successful. It was crisp and interesting and I would certainly make it again.

Our main dish, the acorn squash is also an interesting mix of flavors. I used bok choy in the stuffing, which may seem an odd choice of greens to some. I love bok choy as I’ve cooked with it more and more lately. I like its mellow flavor and the fact that it stands up well to being cooked. It doesn’t change color or get bitter as mustard/collard greens tend to. It almost always keeps the dish tasting fresh but without too much fuss or pizzazz. Add some soft cheese and a little nutmeg, and there were a round grouping of flavors whose texture contrasted nicely with the firm squash. Again, highly recommend. Plus, it was super easy even though it might  read as if it takes a bit of effort, I made the whole shebang in under 40 minutes.

Recipe #1: Pear and Persimmon Salad

Adapted from our CSA provided recipe from their  blog, Good Food Life

2 Fuyu permsimmons, peeled and chopped

1 Pear, cored and chopped (I leave the peel on)

1 small head radicchio (from our yard!!)

2-3 romaine leaves, chopped

1/2 t minced orange zest

2 T juice squeezed from orange

1 t honey

1 t red wine vinegar (the actual reciped called for Champagne vinegar which might be better but I used what I had)

1/4 t salt

3 T olive oil

Loosely chop romaine and radicchio and place in shallow bowls. Arrange Persimmons and Pears on top.

Pear, Orange, and Persimmon

Radicchio and Romaine

In a small bowl whisk together the rest of the ingredients except for the oil. When well combined, whisk in the oil in a steady stream until emulsified. Pour over salad and serve.

Citrus Red Wine Vinagrette

Flavorful fall salad

 

Recipe #2: Acorn Squash Pasta Bowls*

Adapted from  Big Red Kitchen, seen over at Tastespotting

1 acorn squash

1/2 pound penne pasta

4 T. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium onion

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (found near the ricotta at your grocery)

1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg (great if fresh, its ok if not)

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

4 grinds black pepper

1 oz crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola

2 T. fresh parsley, minced (for garnish. I am lazy and skipped this step)

Slice the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Drizzle the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper. You will have to turn the squash in your hands to get all of the insides covered. Roast squash in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes or until fork tender.

Beautiful Bok Choy

Sauteing bok choy with onions and garlic

In the last 20 minutes of roasting, start the ingredients for your stuffing. In a saute pan with a small bit of olive oil, cook onion and garlic over medium heat until onion is clear. Add in chopped bok choy and cook until slightly wilted. At the same time, boil your pasta until al dente and add drained pasta to vegetable mixture with 1 tbsp warm pasta water.

Starting the pasta boiling while the veggies saute

Ingredients for a light creamy sauce: mascarpone, nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper

Add mascarpone, half your blue cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and stir slowly until cheeses are incorporated into a sauce and noodles are coated.

Completed stuffing

Ready to go back in the oven

Spoon pasta into squash so that it is mounded slightly, but not spilling over the edge. Top with the remaining blue cheese and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if you are extra fancy. Serves 2.

Stuffed acorn!

* I was actually glad to find a recipe like this similar to one I heard Dorie Greenspan talk about on NPR a couple weeks back. Not quite as cheesy or decadent, but a good fairly healthy alternative!

So, in these two easy dishes, we managed to use a lot of things from our veggie stash: Persimmon, Pear, Radicchio, Orange, Bok Choy, Onion, and Squash!

 

Simple Veggie Storage August 23, 2010

Filed under: crafty — ravennagirls @ 5:26 pm
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With the infusion of fresh fruits and vegetables this summer (from our own garden and our CSA box), storage to keep these fresh and delicious was becoming an increasingly tricky task.

I saw over on the Juniper Moon Blog that Susan and crew had researched and found that the recommendation for most veggies is to wash and store lightly in an absorbent towel. Susan, in response, whipped up some quick little baggies out of inexpensive IKEA dish towels so they’re all ready to go in varying sizes.

I loved this idea (they’re both CUTE and functional), so i stopped by IKEA one day, picked up 2 packs of towels, and sewed myself some. So far, they’ve been working terrifically. Our greens are staying crisper, onions and shallots staying good, etc. Thanks for the great idea, Susan!

Total cost: $4.

 

Lima, Paracas, and the Islas Ballestas May 13, 2010

Filed under: travel — ravennagirls @ 12:52 am
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So, the beginning.

Well, really the beginning is that one very early morning we departed our lemon house in the darkness and headed for the airport.  Three plane rides later (filled with naps, movies and snacks), we landed in the last hour of the day in Lima.  We then spent 4 hours in Lima.  In the middle of the night.  It was surprisingly eventful.  But, well, that’s a story for another time.  Maybe.

Really the beginning of our trek starts 4am Day 2 when we boarded a bus for a small coastal town called Paracas.    A little nap on the bus and …. we awaken to a desert area with the bright blue Pacific nearby. 

The town was really small.  A few blocks by a few blocks, one major road really.  But it was simple, friendly, sunny.  And that was enough.  Lots of sand mixed with small bodegas selling ice creams and children riding bicycles around the street.

Oh, and listen to this, they get drops of rain a year there.  It’s sunny practically every day.  Bliss.

We stayed at this friendly little place, a bright white building against the very blue sky, a hotel called Hotel Santa Maria.

Comfortable beds perfect for napping after lunch … and a great roof terrace with views of the water as we read books on lounge chairs.

It was glorious. 

Oh, and I mentioned lunch.  The food in Paracas was SO grand!  The best ceviche I have ever had (i can still taste the delisiciousness in fact) … and a lot of scallops.  One dish we loved was this one with scallops baked in the shell with parmesan on top.  YUM!

Anywho, besides reading and eating and walking on the beach and exploring town… we went on two little half day excursions.

One took us afternoon exploring the Paracas National Reserve.   It pretty much looks like the biggest desert you can imagine in one direction.  If you turn your head the other way, the ocean and rocky coast . 

The other took us by boat out to las Islas Ballestas.  It is known as a small version of the Galapagos.  On the way there you saw the Candelabra.  It is a geoglyph on the side of this cliff that you can only see from the sea.   It is abot 600 feet long and about a meter deep.  I cannot image digging something that deep in the hard sandy soil.  As you can image, this glyph is slowy disappearing becuase of the strong winds that are slowing filling in the trenches…  As for when it was dug, we were told about 200 BC on our tour.  Archiologists apparently for some pottery and such near the candleabra from that time.  But really?   Who knows?  The bigger question seemed to be why?

We kept going by boat to the Ballestas.  As we got closer to the islands, I was worried that the animals would elude us.  Boy, was I wrong.

South American Humboldt penguins, sea lions, dolphins, Peruvian boobies, huge Pelicans, zarcillos, cormorants…

We even saw both baby penguins and baby sea lions.  SO DARLING!  The sea lions even all congregate on this one beach that we were told is nicknames maternity beach. 

Instead of just seeing one little animal far away, in seemed like everywhere you looked, there was an animal right there.  Gorgeous and so fun to watch.

This pretty much concluded our two day adventure on the coast.

We left via bus late one afternoon headed for Arequipa to the south.

 

neither brownie nor cookie. April 18, 2010

Filed under: food — ravennagirls @ 8:44 pm
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It’s no secret our prego with a boy and a girl (yippee!) friend Dana likes our Molly Chocolate chips.  Salt and chocolate are two of her favorites.  And who knows… maybe one twin will love chocolate and one with love salt.  How awesome would that be?

Anyway, making Dana the cookies has kind of become something that will consistantly make her happy during this pregnancy.  And, since making her cookies means that I will get to eat a few before giving them away… I am often very happy to oblige.

Now, these chocolate chips should not be taken as just any old cookie.  They seriously are the best chocolate chips you will ever eat.  I used to swear by my Martha chewies.  Then one day I read this post by one of my favorite bloggers, Molly, aka Orangette.

That’s when these delicious beauties came into my life.

And it has revoltionized my baking.  The key to the recipe is really the fact that the batter sits in the fridge for 40+ hours.  If you taste the batter right after you make the dough, its salty and not great.  However, after 40 hours… the dough is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted.

Anyway,  you can find the recipe HERE for these amazing cookies.

Now, after you have made the cookies a few times… you might look for a new thing to knock your socks off.  And the socks of friends, especially those pregnant with twins.

In comes the Brookie.

Yes, I said Brookie.

We learned of it from Baked

Its a cookie with a brownie around it.  It is heaven when your cookie is the Molly Chocolate Chips.

Make both brownie batter and cookie dough.  refridgerate both for 30 min pre baking.  Then, put the brownie batter in your cupcake tins.  Finally, scoop one nice chunk of dough into the brownie batter.  Sprinkle with salt… and bake for about 20 min or until the knife comes out clean of the brownie portion.

I don’t even know what more to say about this.

besides

amazement

fit for no words or mouthwatering adjectives.

 

New Recipe(s) for 2010 January 19, 2010

Filed under: food,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 11:12 pm
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One of the best gifts in the world to give or receive is a book (or books!). Both of us have been fortunate enough to receive some awesome craft and cooking books over the last couple of years. Its tough, though, after you flip through books and see all the great ideas to remember exactly what you have access to throughout the year. We’ve made it a goal this year to make at least ONE thing out of each cookbook and craft book that we have received. No strict goals or deadlines, but i want to make sure i’m using all the awesome books i have and not just going to fall back favorites all the time.

The other night, i was home a little earlier than usual and ruminating on what to make for dinner. Not much in the cupboards after holiday cooking sprees, so i went and stared at the pantry for ideas. What i saw that caught my eye was a can of coconut milk and some white rice. Hmm…we always have frozen chicken in the freezer, and an array of asian spice in the kitchen, so i went and grabbed a cookbook off the shelf that we’ve only used once before. And wha-lah, chicken curry (modified for my sparse ingredient list, but also beefed up with some frozen veggies too).

On-hand veggies: Frozen Peas, Frozen Spinach, Frozen Corn

Fragrant Chicken Curry

Adapted from Thai: The Essence of Asian Cooking by Judy Bastyra and Becky Johnson

Serves Four

Ingredients

3tbsp oil (i like to mix sesame and peanut)

1 onion coarseley chopped

half a shallot minced

2 garlic cloves minced

2 tsp yellow curry powder (I might use more next time, it was a little lame on spice)

16 oz canned coconut milk (the can actually was only 13.5 oz so i filled out the rest with water)*

1 tbsp dried lemongrass

2tbsp apricot jam (admittedly i forgot this, but i do think it would have been good so i think i’ll try and include next time)

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen spinach (we freeze extra leaves in the summer before they go bad)

salt and pepper

instant white rice (or jasmine rice if you’re fancy)

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in  large pan (I used by 5.5 qt le creuset oven). Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft.

2. Add chicken and saute until lightly browned.

3. Stir in coconut milk, then curry powder, lemon grass, apricot jam, and salt and pepper.

4. Cover and simmer 10 min to allow chicken to cook through.

5. Add frozen veggies and stir. Cover and simmer another 5-10 minutes to warm veggies through and blend flavors.

6. Prepare your rice of choice (for instant, one part rice, one part water. Bring water to a boil, add rice, turn off heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes). Serve the chicken and sauce over a bowl-full of rice with a garnish of fresh cilantro if you have on hand.

Note: the recipe calls to puree the sauce (to better incorporate the onion flavor i suppose) then add back in. you COULD brown the chicken, remove from pan, make the sauce then puree, then add chicken and veggies back in. Buuuut, i like chopped onion and frankly, thats an additional 10 minutes and food processor to wash, so. . . .

*The recipe called for 2/3c greek yogurt in addition. I didn’t have any, so i just used the coconut milk and i thought it was PLENTY rich and thick. So, i’m not sure i would add this in, but if you want it even thicker you could try.

Delish!

 

Kitchen Decor November 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 9:55 am
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We have a whole slew of draft posts coming your way this week, but i wanted to share a quick little something. Molly, of Orangette and Delancey fame, posted this morning a great pasta recipe, perfect for whipping up a quick holiday meal. She also shared that she is going back to writing after hiring new pantry and pastry chefs for the restaurant (we share her ‘squee’). Also, she is now selling a photo from the first dinner at the restaurant over at BigCartel. It seems a little voyeuristic, to put one of their website images up on your wall, but we have already had so many happy meals at Delancey that it seems very fitting i would want to put this in our kitchen.

Is that weird?

 

It just seems so fitting! (AND, its only $30. crazy!)