Friday, July 29, 2011

Farmer's Market Friday: Rhubarb

We really like rhubarb around here so at the market, I got 15lbs and chopped until my freezer shelf was full of packaged rhubarb. All year long, now, we can have crisp, bread, muffins, sauce, and jam!
A true fruit compote is slowly simmered chunks of fruit in a sugar syrup. Well, we don't do sugar 'round these parts so I used honey and a bit of juice. It worked perfectly! I was really bummed I didn't have a vanilla bean to simmer in the sauce, so I stirred vanilla in at the end. If you have a bean, put it in while simmering. This sauce is super good over toast, on frozen yogurt, or on top of pancakes or waffles. And, I admit, I could just eat it with a spoon. =)

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
2 cups strawberries
2 cups rhubarb
1/2 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 cinnamon stick (or about a tsp of ground cinnamon)
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp extract when done simmering)
Bring everything (except extract if using that) to a simmer over medium heat in a pot. Turn down to med/low and slow cook it for about a half hour. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. If you are using extract and not the bean, stir in vanilla. Easy as that! My kids loved it best over frozen yogurt.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Veg Dip

Beings our garden is in peak production right now, fresh veg is everywhere. From cucumbers to carrots, beans to green peppers. With all the veg around, there's got to be a dip to accompany it!! My kids will eat fresh veg if there's a dip. A friend introduced me to the concept of using Greek yogurt for dip so I had to find a way to make it fresh. Now, you can go ahead and make your own form of Greek yogurt (it's pretty simple), or you could just buy it at the store. I've done both. I'll just buy it when I need it. This dip keeps for about a week so give it a whirl!!

Veg Dip
2 cups (16 oz) Greek yogurt
1-2 clove garlic, minced depending on how much you like garlic
1 tsp dried or 1 Tbsp fresh, each, parsley, dill, mint, oregano, onion
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Allow to sit at least a couple hours before serving especially if using dried herbs. Serve with veg or as a replacement to mayo or on chicken burgers! Super, super good!! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Farmer's Market Friday: Chioggia Beets & Heirloom Carrots

With weather this hot, there's no way I'm slaving over a hot stove in my tiny, microscopic kitchen  that heats to 1000 degrees if you turn a burner on. But, beings it's Friday, I had to make something from the farmer's market! I wasn't sure what would be on the menu until I walked up to my favorite Schreiber&Sons booth. 
Chioggia Beets. 
I had read about them and seen photos but never actually cooked with them. I was pretty excited. Then I saw their heirloom carrots were in season. At $3 a bundle, they're not exactly cheap but oh my word..they are SO GOOD! Sweeter and more mild then commercial carrots. And the variety in color! I had a light pink one, a yellow one, a purplish colored one and a few standard orange. So pretty and tasty, too!

So, about the beets...They're candy cane or bullseye beets. And this is why. They look all ordinary on the outside, but when you cut them open....
(not my photo)

Get a look of that! In my haste to complete my cooking, I didn't take pictures. So I took one off the internet. Aren't they pretty?!

So, basically what I did is scrub the beets and the carrots. I sliced the beets super thin and put them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. A little spritz of olive oil and a dash of salt. They went in the oven on 275 for about 30-40 minutes, turned halfway through. I let them cool and some crisped up perfect. The ones that were still a big "soggy" went back inf or another ten minutes. 
For the carrots, I used my veggie peeler to make long, thin strips. I cooked them the same way but for only about 15 minutes. 

They both turned out perfectly crispy! A bit of sweet and salty in each bite. Seriously, if you talked to me a few years ago, I would have laughed at the thought of me blogging about how "good" carrot and beet chips were. But I am! My kids are always the final testers of anything and both kids ate a whole bowl. Success!

Market finds today: Kale, Romaine, Carrots, Beets

Delicious! Also great in a salad =)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

A go-to for me, this dinner is perfect for assembling in the morning and popping in the oven later. Mornings are my favorite around here. I have the most energy and my kids are their happiest. Any meal that can be made then (i.e. crock pot, casseroles, etc) are a winner in this house. I assemble this recipe in my fabulous Pampered Chef stoneware deep covered baker. 
If you don't have one of these, I suggest you get one. It's my favorite PC item ever!  This recipe feeds us twice, so I'd say 8 servings or so. 

Mexican Lasagna

9 whole grain tortillas
1 recipe bean dip
2 cups salsa
2 cups shredded cheese
2 lbs ground beef, seasoned with this taco seasoning mix

Rip tortillas in 1/4's. Layer in pan three times : Tortilla, Beans, Salsa, Beef, Cheese. Bake on 350 for about a half hour, covered, or until cheese bubbles. Serve with chips, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and whatever else comes to mind!

This re-heats very well, too.