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I quickly finished A Homemade Life last week, and I highly recommend it. I love Orangette’s writing, and her book was a natural extension of what I love about her blog. She wrote repeatedly about her and her now-husband’s frequent meal during their courtship: radish sandwiches. I love radishes. How had I never thought of this? Well, I have more than made up for my previous years of missing this treat over the last few weeks. We have radishes coming in the garden and from the CSA, and I think I’ve gone maybe 12 of the last 15 days having (at least) one of these deliciously fresh treats.

Radish Sandwich
A Fairly Obvious Combination

Ingredients
3-4 radishes, sliced
Two slices hearty bread (I’ve been using a new whole wheat version that I’ll share soon, but anything goes)
1ish tbsp good butter
Salt and pepper

Directions
Toast the bread. Once toasted, immediately spread the butter generously on both slices of the bread, so that the butter melts into the bread. Layer the radishes on one slice, then salt and pepper to taste, and assemble. I really like this as is, but I’ve tried the following just to up the veggies/protein a bit – all of which have been delicious: spinach, kale, red onion, green onions, and some hard boiled egg.

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I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.

Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

These rice bowls have quickly become a Meatless Monday (and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) staple at our house. They are soo easy, fresh, healthy, and delicious. I try to make a big batch of brown rice whenever I make it, and then I freeze it in 3-4 cup portions for later use. That prep work makes this meal a snap whenever the mood strikes.

Veggie Rice Bowls
Adapted from A Couple Cooks

Ingredients
3-4 cups cooked brown rice
Several heads broccoli, chopped into florets
1/2 cup red cabbage, sliced thinly
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
Other raw veggies: I’ve used carrots, beets, celery, kale, avocados (I know, that’s a fruit!), and radishes
Several green onions
Sliced almonds
For the dressing:
Juice from one lemon
1 piece fresh ginger (enough for 2 teaspoons minced)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
3 tablespoons tamari

Directions
If you haven’t already, cook the rice (I think day-old or thawed rice actually tastes better for these).  I like to steam or roast the broccoli, but it tastes great raw too. Steam the broccoli just until barely tender and bright green, or follow these directions to roast the veggies. Prep the rest of the veggies and set aside in a large bowl. Assemble the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake vigorously to combine.

To assemble the bowls, put some brown rice in the bottom of a bowl. Top with your assorted veggies, including the steamed/roasted broccoli. Add the slivered almonds, and top the whole thing with a generous amount of dressing.  This typically serves about 5-6 adults.

This recipe is ripe for experimentation (my favorite kind!). Once pepper season hits, sweet peppers would be delicious in this. Mint, cilantro or basil would be fun additions. Use your imagination and share your creations here for the rest of us to enjoy!

I have several things that I’ve been wanting to write further about here, but I just haven’t had the brainpower (something about pregnancy does that to me) to sit down and delve too deeply into the subjects. Instead, I thought I’d just link to the articles here for your own perusal. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Our CSA shares have been so bountiful so far this year. Usually, these first few weeks of the season can be a little puny. I think I’m getting a bit more confident with the early spring produce too, so that helps. You must try this kale salad. I love kale, but I typically saute it, preferably with an egg or two. Between our garden and the CSA share, we had a huge influx of kale (a great problem to have), so I found this great recipe that will definitely become a staple around our house.

I made this for a cookout with friends, but the recipe made so much dressing that I was able to eat a huge portion the next day for lunch – that’s my kind of recipe!

Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
About 10 cups kale, center ribs discarded, very thinly sliced crosswise (about 10 cups)
2 carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
For the dressing:
1/2 cup olive or grapeseed oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped and divided
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon local honey
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions
In a glass jar, assemble the dressing ingredients, including 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts. Prep the kale, carrots, and green onions. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the kale and salad “slaw.” Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts and serve!

The original recipe calls for sweet peppers, which sounds delicious, but they aren’t in season yet (which is a bit annoying because kale and peppers aren’t going to be in season at the same time unless there are some stragglers). I think this would be tasty with cabbage as the base too. Try experimenting and report back!

You did read Wendell’s Jefferson Lecture, yes? If not, read or watch it ASAP! I might be quoting from it for awhile here. I liked this hopeful bit – something that I think we’re a moving toward right here in Hamilton County:

A positive cause, still little noticed by high officials and the media, is the by now well-established effort to build or rebuild local economies, starting with economies of food. This effort to connect cities with their surrounding rural landscapes has the advantage of being both attractive and necessary. It rests exactly upon the recognition of human limits and the necessity of human scale. Its purpose, to the extent possible, is to bring producers and consumers, causes and effects, back within the bounds of neighborhood, which is to say the effective reach of imagination, sympathy, affection, and all else that neighborhood implies. An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or a global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment.

Wendell Berry, Jefferson Lecture

Also, a little bonus Wendell this week from Mark Bittman in the New York Times (Wendell Berry, American Hero? Obviously!).

It’s that time of year again – our CSA has started! WHOO HOO! It’s like Christmas every Friday. We had a world record breaking amount of loot for this early in the season for our first share two weeks ago – green onions, chives, baby greens, spinach, beets, and kale! Like last year, I’ll try to record here at least a few of the ways that we use up our CSA share every week. We get our shares on Friday, so I’ll try to keep up these posts on Fridays from now on…we’ll see how that goes.

We signed up for the egg share again this year because I still haven’t gotten the ball rolling on working to have the ban on hens in Noblesville repealed. Seriously, how silly is it that we can’t have some hens in our backyard?! Who’s in to help me? 🙂

If you’re interested, our CSA still has room for a pro-rated amount…sign up today!

The garbage frittata is a staple in our weekly menus, so I of course made one using up some kale, green onions, and local mushrooms from this week’s CSA share.  I’ve changed up the cooking instructions a bit from the original recipe. I like to cook it on the stove a bit longer – until the eggs set up, which usually takes around five minutes. I then toss the pan in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes. I like the texture a bit better finishing at a high temperature.

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