Tuscan Swiss chard and bread soup

Tuscan Swiss chard and bread soup

A little overexposed but you get the idea! Used some homemade beet stock for the base and the rest you can find via this recipe I stumbled across. Using the bread in this fashion was damn tasty, I have to say…

Chocolate zucchini bread

An experiment that turned out very nicely, and was the smell wonderful and rich in the apartment while it was baking. Recipe as provided — give it a whirl!

3 Eggs
1 cup Vegetable oil
2 cups Sugar
1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
2 cups Shredded/peeled zucchini
2 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Baking powder

Recipe by: Sue Klapper

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla.
Stir in zucchini.
Combine dry ingredients; add to zucchini mixture and mix well.
Pour into 2 greased 8 x 4 x 2 loaf pans.
Bake at 350 for hour or until bread tests done.

Homemade gazpacho and homemade bread

The story behind this was pretty cool — the other day, when I came into the Avanti Cafe to pick up my latest basket of farm goods, I was very kindly given a container of tomato pureé ‘to show your creativity with,’ I was told! No looking of a gift horse in the mouth there, and after some thought I decided, given the weather, that a cold soup was the way to go.

There are a slew of gazpacho recipes out there but this one seemed of interest, and proved very enjoyable — the pureé appeared to be of roasted tomatoes, to add some bite to it, while I had just about all the other ingredients to hand to start with.

In the meantime I just made myself a nice homemade herb bread as well, with parsley, rosemary, onions, garlic and parmesan. The combination was a treat and I still have some left over!

Curried cauliflower with tomato paste over rice

Another Mark Bittman winner from How to Cook Everything, but as per usual with some slight variety. In this case, the recipe called for tomatoes, but I had none around, either canned or fresh. However, I did have a can of tomato paste I wanted to use, so I semi-impulsively added that instead. The curry mix was created from scratch — I missed the coriander but had everything else to hand — while the rice had been cooked already and the bread from the loaf from last week I’m still working through. Quite good and I may well do something like it again in the near future.

Roasted gazpacho, tomato and cucumber salad, a table red and some bread

Now that’s a great Friday night dinner to my mind!

The gazpacho recipe was taken from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, so as always go to that, but here’s a link to an excellent looking version that uses cucumber, which I should have included with mine, as I have plenty and to spare! But it would not have gone well with roasting, I think.

If you want to go the route I took, all one has to do is simply spend some time roasting your vegetables of choice — tomatoes and peppers obviously being key — in olive oil, then mixing it with water, seasonings and dry bread, then letting it soak overnight before blending, straining and serving. As it happened, after blending and straining I let it sit for another day’s worth and so that meant tonight I could just simply open up the containers, add the Parmesan cheese and croutons and go nuts.

Herbed beets with fennel

Yes, I’m on a food roll this week, but hey, why not?

So the story here in part is this — some months back I posted this beet risotto recipe I’d tried out and according to a friend that post is now somewhere in the top ten or twenty posts on risotto with beets or the like in Google. Won’t say no.

Thus inspired I figured why not give another beet recipe a try, since I had some in the basket. As I had a lot of fennel I wondered if there was a combination recipe out there and it turns out there are plenty, but this one took my fancy — this is the page it’s found on. The difference is that I did not have any vermouth, so I simply substituted water and the thing still tasted great.

Which it did — I was quite pleased and a little surprised at how rich but mellow the dish come out as. With the cooking toning down the fennel a bit while the beets’ natural flavoring and the mustard combined nicely, not to mention the chives, I was quite pleased with this one, and it’s been a week of good eats. Give it a whirl if you like! Follow the link provided for the recipe, and please note the comments and suggestions as well.

Another look at kohlrabi

Some time ago I posted this entry on kohlrabi greens, which has steadily become one of my more popular posts for whatever reason. It could well be a general unfamiliarity with kohlrabi or just the time of year, but in any event, am glad the post has gained the interest it has!

Today, somewhat at a loss for what to do with one kohlrabi I had around — no leaves in this case — I found this recipe, which while basic is precisely what I wanted. I had to do some substitutions, though — no parsley or savory around, so some dried tarragon and a couple of spice blends did the trick, and very nicely at that.

1 lb Kohlrabi; peeled and cubed
.. (2 1/2 cups)
1 tb Butter
2 ts Dijon mustard
1 tb Snipped fresh parsley
1/2 ts Dried savory; crushed

Cook kohlrabi, covered, in enough boiling water to
cover in a medium saucepan for about 10 minutes or
till crisp tender. Drain well. Add the remaining
ingredients. Cook and stir over low heat till
kohlrabi is coated.

An even simpler summer dinner

There’s a good rule of thumb — if you have a full lunch, aim for a lighter dinner. Thus this, where in the midst of laundry and other chores I didn’t want to spend a slew of time — chopped and steamed kale, tossed with a bit of sesame oil and a rosemary salt blend, plus some good cheddar toasted on the whole grain bread bought yesterday. Add a glass of cab sav and you’re good to go.

A little thrown-together dinner

But of a good sort based on what I had around. The green bean pasta salad had been made the day before, while the bread was a good whole grain sort from Trader Joe’s and the sheep’s cheese was from Avanti. Like the green beans, the lettuce and carrots for the salad came from my latest basket, as did the grapes. A good mix all around, filling but not overheavy.

Meal by assembly

Sometimes the trick lies in putting a bunch of different things together — the Toscana soup I already had frozen in the fridge, the cherries came with the latest basket, the chocolate/pretzel balls came from Trader Joe’s, the bread was from Avanti with a bit of butter and garlic powder, the marinated cucumber salad I made earlier that day and the wine was the wine. No complaints!

2 lg. cucumbers, peeled & sliced thin
1 lg. onion, sliced paper thin
2 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. sugar

Place cucumber and onion slices together in a bowl. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over vegetables. Chill several hours before serving.
Serves 6.