Thursday, July 31, 2014

Venison and Sweet Potato Chili with Assorted Peppers, served with Native American Fry Bread

Chili Day!

I've been playing around with chili recipes for awhile and this one seems to be the family favorite! This week's features the jalapenos and small long peppers from this week's share.


1lb ground venison
1 onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
One green bell pepper
One red bell pepper
1-2 jalapenos, seeds removed, chopped finely
1-2 yellow banana peppers or other variety seeds removed, chopped finely (I usually just throw in whatever I get in my share)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small peices
1 28oz plus 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 12 oz can tomato paste
3 cups water
1 cup chopped cashews
3 T chili powder
3T dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2T cumin seeds

Brown meat, onion and garlic in a skillet. Drain fat and add all peppers until slightly cooked.

In a crock pot (this fits a 6.5 quart one nicely)combine meat and vegetable mixture with beans and chickpeas, tomatoes,tomato paste, water, cashews, and spices. Cook on low or simmer for about 6 hours. I serve this with sour creme and Native American fry bread.

Fry Bread:

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk

Mix ingredients adding more flour if necessary to make a stiff dough. Roll out the dough on a floured board until very thin. Cut into strips 2x3 inches and drop in hot cooking oil. Brown on both sides, serve hot with honey or chili.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

CSA Share Week #8 and Recipes:

What's in This Week's Share?

After a little confusion yesterday due to late deliveries, we picked up our share in the Strip District at Clarion River Organics in the Pittsburgh Public Market.

This week's share includes:

  • Mega Kale: Truly this is MEGA kale. We got a huge bunch of it and I really look forward to all of those wonderful nutrients.
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Jalapeno Peppers and Sweet Wax Peppers
  • Scallions
  • Slicing Tomatoes
  • 1 small kohlrabi
  • Dragon Tongue Beans
We also picked up a small container of squash blossoms from CRO's farm stand in addition!


For the use of the mega-kale here's my recipe for Kale Chips.

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
1 T olive oil
Adobo Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Many people complain that they can't get kale chips not to burn, but the key is to cook them for about 15-20 minutes on LOW heat rather than high heat. 

Strip the kale leaves off of the stalks and tear them into bite sized peices. But don't throw the stalks away, you can use them in your juicer!

In a bowl, massage the olive oil into the kale leaves.

Spread the kale on a baking sheet in a single layer. Season lightly and put in the oven. Bake 15-20 minutes, or longer if need be, until the kale is crispy. Keep an eye on these!

Other uses for the kale this week:

I'm going to juice some of it in with my morning smoothie or fruit juice. We just got a new juicer and I'm excited to try out some more juicing.

Then, for dinner one night this week I'm going to use up some of the potatoes and the rest of the kale in the previously posted dairy free Colcannon Soup recipe. 

Strawberry and Jalapeno Detoxifying Juice

2 cups strawberries
One jalapeno
1 apple or peach

Juice all ingredients and mix well. This packs a good kick but its great for those days when you've got bad sinus attack!

Grilled Kohlrabi

1 kohlrabi, thinly sliced 
1 T olive oil
1/2 T chopped fresh dill
pinch coarse sea salt
pepper to taste

Brush kohlrabi with olive oil and sprinkle dill, salt and pepper on top. Grill on medium/low heat about 5 minutes per side max. This has a delicious broccoli like flavor when cooked and its so easy!

Juicer Tomato Soup

A recipe from an online friend:

4-5 tomatoes
2 stalks kale
2-3 scallions
1/2 cucumber
1 cup basil
4 cloves garlic

Juice all ingredients, mix well and heat. Do not boil or you will lose nutrients.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

CSA Share Week #7

I know I haven't posted in awhile, so I'll make up for it this week by trying to share recipes for everything in this week's package.

CSA Share Week #7: Beets not pictured.

In this week's share, the following items were included:

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Yellow Beans
  • Blueberries (CRO's own this year!)
  • Beets (not pictured)
Shaun and I don't care for beets particularly, but we might try grilling them with some orange juice and herbs, as I've heard that's pretty good.

I am going to roast the 2 small squash we got, and maybe make a Morroccan inspired lentil and squash stew with it and use the tomatoes in that as well. I'll probably roast the yellow beans with some olive oil and garlic as a side dish. The cucumber would make a nice refreshing side salad with a vinegar and dill dressing over some fresh lettuce.

Tonight, I am going to make blueberry basil lemonade using the remaining basil from last week's share and the pint of blueberries in with this week's box. Here's a recipe I will probably use as a guide:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

CSA Share Week #4 and 4th of July Extras

Regular Share

This week's regular share consisted of the following:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Red Russian Kale
  • White Scallions
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Parsely
  • Heirloom Tomatoes

Ideas for these Items

  • Cabbage
    • I think I am going to make twice cooked cabbage and chicken stir fry using 1/4 of the cabbage
    • My MIL is ill in and a nursing care facility and loves stuffed cabbage rolls so I will use a few of the leaves for that.
    • Asian Cabbage Slaw
  • Broccoli
    • I love broccoli, oh so much! I will probably steam some of it for a nice side with some lemon juice and parmesan and add the rest to daily side salads.
    • It's a nice ingredient in quiches and stir frys.
  • Red Russian Kale
    • I like this as a salad green and also sauteed with garlic and chickpeas.
  • Garlic Scapes
    • These can be added to anything that calls for garlic as a substitute. I love them in a salad.
    • Our CSA newsletter suggested a garlic scape and walnut pesto. I think I will try it out as I got a lovely basil plant at East End Co-op today!
  • Heirloom tomatoes
    • These were eaten quite quickly after we picked up our share yesterday. They were at the perfect ripeness and we were not too confident they would stay fresh very long. 
      • We had them sliced up with salt and pepper.
  • Parsely
    • I will probably add this to salads. It's quite refreshing in a pasta salad or shrimp salad.

Fourth of July Extra Share

Our CSA offers extra share options at the 4th of July, Labor Day and around Thanksgiving. Commonly, these shares include some jarred items and bagged prepared things like flours or cereals.

Our extra share included:

  • Green Lollo Lettuce
  • Spelt Flour
  • Pepper jam
  • Hot Sauce
  • Honey Puffed Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Patty Pan Squash
We've already eaten all of the honey puffed corn. It's a great snack without being too sweet.

Check back on this blog for recipes and what I've used each of the ingredients for.

What we used tonight:

Tonight's dinner consisted of a nice salad using some of the lollo lettuce and kale. I sliced up some of the cucumbers and added those as well as shaved carrots, walnuts, and herbed goat cheese. We used Drew's Smoked Tomato Dressing on it and it was wonderful and refreshing. This week's cucumbers from the 4th of July share were great!

We also had some grilled corn on the cob and baked samosas.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Recipes from this week (featuring romanesco, zucchini/summer squash, and strawberries)

Apologies for not post this week…

Life got in the way of fun blogging time these past couple of weeks unfortunately. However, in this post I will share 3 recipes from my CSA share this past week.

What is Romanesco?

Romanesco, also known as romanesco broccoli, is a green vegetable with a  flavor similar to cauliflower. It is a blossom of one of the species from the genus Brassica, which includes cauliflower and the like. It has a striking appearance as it is a natural fractal.

Here is what it looks like:

Photo credit:

It is delicious grilled, as an addition to casseroles, or by itself.

Sauteed Romanesco with Garlic and Cheese

2T extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 heads romanesco, chopped into bite sized pieces
Splash balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a heavy skillet, and add garlic. Brown on low heat, allowing the flavor of the garlic to percolate through the oil. Add the chopped romanesco, and sauté 2 or 3 minutes, stirring and mixing the vegetable into the garlic and oil. Add a splash (or two!) of balsamic vinegar. Cover and simmer, checking occasionally and stirring, until the romanesco is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top and serve hot.

Additional Recipes:

Zucchini and Summer Squash Mini Quiches (Crustless and Gluten Free!)

Yields 6

6 zucchini ribbons (you can just use a veggie peeler for this)
6 ribbons summer squash
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese 

  • I use whatever cheese I have on hand - this time I used gruyere and colby jack
Optional: 2 slices uncooked bacon cut into thin small strips.

Preheat oven to 350. In a greased or non stick muffin tin, place one each zucchini and summer squash ribbons 6 muffin spaces. Beat eggs, milk, spices, salt, pepper, cheese and bacon (optional) together. Divide mixture evenly between the 6 muffin spaces. Bake on 350 until eggs are set (about 30 minutes). 

Serve with a side salad or vegetables.

Strawberry Basil Margaritas 

Yields one pitcher

2 cups sliced strawberries
1 container frozen lemonade or limeade mix
1/2 cup lime juice
1 and 1/2 cups tequila (or more depending on how strong you like your drinks)
1 oz agave nectar
1 bunch basil, leaves only stems removed

In a large blender, blend strawberries, frozen lemonade/limeade and lime juice plus 2 of the frozen lemonade cans of water. Add tequila and agave nectar, pulse to blend. 

Muddle basil leaves. Salt glass rim, add 1-2 muddled basil leaves, fill with ice. Pour margarita mixture over rocks. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and lime wedges. 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quickie: Rhubarbade


Hi all!

Just a quick link to what I used my rhubarb for!

It was really refreshing, though it could use something. Maybe the juice of one lemon or something to give it a nice acidity.

Mmm Kale?: A Recipe that Even Kale Haters Might Like

Kale?? Mmm?

I used to hate vegetables. I think the first time I had kale it was in some kind of miso soup with tofu chunks in it that my sister had made. I really didn't enjoy it (though I am sure I would like that soup now) and it turned me off of leafy greens for quite awhile. Kale is one of those things that people really really love or really really hate. But there ARE ways to prepare kale that minimize the "green" flavor of it and kale is a wonder vegetable.

Packed with vitamins (beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium), kale is incredibly nutritious. It also is rich with sulforaphane, a powerful cancer fighting compound. Be careful though, as boiling can degrade certain nutrients. Stir frying or steaming kale, however, does not. 

Colcannon Soup: A (Dairy-free) version of an Irish Classic

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of potatoes, cabbage or kale, and cream. The full fat version is delicious, but not necessarily health or waste conscious. So this dairy free soup version, which I adapted from several different colcannon recipes, takes out the dairy and adds some flavor and uses an entire bunch of kale. The base is onions, garlic, and potatoes, enriched with sautéed kale and thyme.

This is how I used the kale in this week's share, instead of sautéed greens.


2 T extra virgin olive oil1 large white or sweet onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 lb red potatoes, peeled and chopped small (sometimes I add an extra small potato to bulk up the broth a little)
2 T butter
1 bunch kale, chopped into bite sized pieces (discard thick stems)
2 T fresh thyme
1 qt vegetable or chicken broth

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Combine the onion, garlic, and potato and brown in the oil. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. In the meantime, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the kale and thyme and wilt until the kale is darkened, but still firm (not soggy). 

Once the potatoes, onions, and garlic are browned, pour a small amount of broth into the bottom of the pan and scrape the bottom to get all of the drippings. Put the potato/onion/garlic mixture into a blender with half the broth and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour it back into the sauce pan. Add the wilted kale and stir. Heat on low heat until the soup is hot, but not boiling.

Serves 4 with big portions, 6 with small.