Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Simple Diet - Soup and Bread

Since receiving a weekly box of fruit and veggies from Eatwell Farm, our diet has changed dramatically.  We are eating seasonally, locally and more simply.

Many of our lunches on a winter's day consist of soup, bread, cheese and perhaps a salad.  Today, I made a large pot of what we call 'Grammie Soup'.  It's basically an Italian minestra (not to be confused with minestrone).  This week's box from Eatwell contained spinach, mustard greens, leeks, collard greens and kale, all good soup ingredients.  I added some broth leftover from our great haggis experiment as a base along with some mild Italian sausage, celery, onion, carrots and spaghetti broken into noodle size lengths.  A flavorful soup was the result.  We will be enjoying the soup with some homemade sourdough bread or a slice of rye topped with melted Jarlsburg cheese.

In the morning I had set up a soaker and wild yeast starter for 100% whole wheat sandwich bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book.  After the soaker and starter sat at room temperature for about 6 hours, I finished building the bread dough using some freshly milled flour from my store of hard red winter wheatberries along with a cup and a half or so of Sonora wheat flour milled by Eatwell Farm.  The combination produced a fragrant loaf of whole wheat bread that rose well to fill the bread pan and has a light texture and crumb.  We love this bread in the morning, toasted and then topped with homemade preserves or orange marmalade (Seville oranges also thanks to Eatwell Farm).  A soft-boiled pastured egg from Eatwell rounds out the breakfast along with a cup of tea.

Simple foods but oh so nourishing because they are made with local ingredients at home in our own kitchen.  It also means we know what's in our food and from whence it comes. We appreciate the work that Nigel Walker and his farmers have put into growing the crops and caring for the chickens.

Thank you, Eatwell Farm.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Box From Eatwell Farm 2/27/2013

For the coming week, here's what's on deck from Eatwell Farm -

Grapefruit.. our own fruit
Spinach.. very clean with no rain!
Lettuce.. Baby Romaine
Romanesco... beautiful
Bok Choi
Green garlic.. so good with eggs
Red cabbage

Grapefruit in the morning - great eye opener to greet the day.  Lemons can be preserved in salt for future use.  Lots of spinach so creamed spinach with lamb chops seems like a given.  Broccoli and bok choi says shrimp stir fry with some green garlic - oh so good in a stir fry.  Red cabbage slaw for a salad.  Baby Romaine for lunch sandwiches.  Collards and leeks sauteed on the stove with oven baked chicken for dinner.  Navel oranges for lunches and snacks.  Sounds like a week full of good food!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Homemade Thickcut Orange Marmalade

Yesterday I picked up the seville oranges we ordered from Eatwell Farm.  The seville orange is a bitter orange used primarily for making orange marmalade.

We have an old copy of Putting Food By and it has a good recipe for orange marmalade.  2 lbs of oranges, 2 lemons, 8 cups of water and 8 cups of sugar(4 lbs) will yield about 6 pints of wonderfully fragrant orange marmalade.

Starting this morning, we washed the oranges and lemons and removed the 'buttons' on the ends of the fruit.  The fruit was placed in a large pot and enough water to cover them was added.  The fruit boiled for 90 minutes, until the fruit is fork-tender.  At that point, we will remove the fruit from the pot to cool.  Once cooled, the fruit is sliced and any seeds or pith removed and placed in the pot of juices to boil for an additional 10 minutes.  The juice in the pot is strained, returned to the pot along with the fruit.  Now we are ready to make marmalade.

Bring the fruit and juices to a boil, then add the sugar and boil stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.  Do this until the fruit temperature reaches 9 degrees beyond the boiling point in your kitchen(at least 220F).  Remove the pot from the heat, skim off any foam and spoon the jam into hot sterilized pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head room.  Seal the jars with the canning lids and place in a hot water bath in a canning pot for 10 minutes.  Each batch makes 5-6 pints of marmalade.

This marmalade is very flavorful and wonderful on whole wheat toast in the morning.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baguettes Revisited

I am practicing my baguette making skill.  Again, and again and again, I will make baguettes until I am happy with them.  They are getting better.  This time I raised the oven temp to 480F instead of 460F as in the recipe.  I also steamed and steamed in the first 10 minutes of baking, then went to convection bake for the last 10 minutes.  These little guys bake fast.  I like the crumb and the taste is very good - I used about 10% whole wheat flour in the formula to make a tastier baguette.


Baguette crumb -


What's in the Eatwell Box 2/20/2013

Another great box coming our way from Eatwell Farm includes:

Baby Romaine lettuce


Asian green.. in the photo
Red kale
Green garlic… Yes its back.

We are so glad to see green garlic coming back this year.  It is definitely our harbinger of spring.  With green garlic, leeks, spinach, mustard and red kale in the box, Grammie soup has to be made this week.  I will leave some for Michael to eat next week, while I go back East to my niece's wedding!  Mmm chicken piccata is always a good use for lemons, along with a salad using the baby romaine.  A stir fry has to be made with those wonderful Asian greens.  Butternut squash - hmm - in the grammie soup, perhaps?  That only leaves tangerines and mandarins which will be citrus for Michael's lunchboxes throughout the week.  Wow, that went quickly.  Bon Appetit!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rye Sandwich Meteil Bread

Yesterday, I decided to make a loaf of Peter Reinhart's Rey Sandwich Meteil Bread, so that afternoon I put together the soaker and wild yeast starter for the bread.  They sat out about 6 hours at room temperature and then I put the starter into the fridge overnight.

This morning I took the starter out of the fridge to rest at room temp for about 2 hours and then proceeded to make the final dough.  The bread 'rose' sideways and almost split in half in the oven, I guess, because of my scoring, but it tastes fine - quite tasty with rye and caraway seeds.

This loaf will go very well with our borscht.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Here we go, tonight I'm making spinach and mushroom quiche.  I made up the quiche dough as follows:

1 1/4 cup white flour
1 stick (4 oz) butter, cold
4-6 TBSP cold water

Place the flour in a large bowl.  Cut up the cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes and place on top of the flour in the bowl.  Using a pastry blender, a fork, or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add 3 TBSP of water to start, mix with a fork, adding more water as needed until you have a cohesive dough - knead a bit with you hands to form a disk.  Wrap the disk of dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

While the dough is resting, prepare the quiche filling -

1 lb. button mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
3/4 lb. spinach washed well
1 onion diced
2 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan.  Add the onions and cook until the onion is transluscent and limp.  Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to shrink.  Add the spinach along with the oregano and parsley as well as salt and pepper.  Cook until the spinach is wilted, still green but cooked throughout.  Set this aside to cool.

aluminum foil
pie weights or any dried beans

After 1 hour, remove the quiche dough from the fridge and roll out to fill a deep dish pie pan (10 inches).  Flute the edges of the pie dough.  With a fork, prick the dough in several places around the sides and bottom of the pie crust. Place the pie crust in a freezer for 10 minutes, while you heat the oven to 425F.  Remove the dough from the freezer and place a sheet of aluminum foil in the middle of the pie crust.  Put the dried beans or pie weights into the aluminum foil and spread out to keep the dough from sinking when baking.  Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Remove the aluminum foil and pie weights from the pie and return to the oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake for 10-15 more minutes until the pie dough is set and no longer wet looking.  Remove from the oven.

Grate 1 cup of swiss cheese. 
Beat 4 eggs with1 1/2 cups of milk.

Place the cooked filling on the bottom of the pie.  Top with 1/2 cheese, and all the eggs/milk mixture.  Top with remaining cheese and bake in 375F oven for 1 hour or until the center is no longer liquid and the top of the quiche is nicely browned.  Remove from the oven.  Allow the quiche to cool for 30 minutes or so before serving.  Enjoy with a fresh green salad.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What's cookin' today?

Today, I caught up on some cooking to use what we get from Eatwell Farm.

There were three or four watermelon daikon languishing in the vegie bin so it was time to make some daikon pickles before they went bad.  I peeled the daikon to remove the tough outer skin and then ran then thru my mandolin/v-slicer to slice them super thin.  I placed all the daikon shreds into a large glass jar(repurposed peanut butter jar).  Then I made a brine of 1 cup water, 1 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 5/8 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt.  Stirred the brine to dissolve the sugar and salt and poured it over the daikon.  Finally, placed the whole thing in the fridge to soak for a couple of days.  The pickles don't maintain their distinctive watermelon look(pink insides, white outside, surrounded by green outermost 'rind'), but they do look pretty when the pink color permeates the whole daikon.  I added a few shards of daikon into the pickled ginger we have, in order to get the characteristic pink color of the beni shoga you see in Japanese food markets.

Pickled watermelon daikon -

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What to do with the Eatwell CSA Box - 2/13/2013

Valentines Week Eatwell Harvest Share
(Listed from shortest shelf life to longest shelf life)

Spinach: We pick this delicious crop straight into the bag in the field. Take out what you need and wash thoroughly. Yes it is dirty but is keeps much better that way. Store in the fridge.
Savoy Tat soi: This variety is called Yukina, not the best of names but it is amazing sautéed and adds a little something special to a soup or stir-fry. It cooks very much like spinach which will return in a couple of weeks when the crop is big enough. Store in a plastic bag in fridge. Don’t forget to use the ribs!
Aruglua: I first grew it in England for the now famous River Cafe, which is where Jamie Oliver started on his road to fame. It is delicious in salads and makes a mean pesto. Store in the fridge.
Collard Greens: My favorite way to eat these is to tear the leaves into 2” squares then plunge into boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain and serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Store in the fridge.
Romanesco: Before there was broccoli or cauliflower there  was Romanesco. Try it raw. Store in the fridge.
Broccoli: Jose just called and said we have broccoli so a quick change to the pick list and we all have this delicious vegetable. Steam lightly, after washing any bugs away. Store in the fridge.
Daikon: I always thought this was for people who eat lots of miso soup. Nothing wrong with that but last weekend Lorraine, put it in with beef ribs. Store in the crisper.
Green Cabbage: We have  a delicious slaw in the fridge which is great to have for lunch with sandwiches or any other lunchtime dish. It can be made in advance and last for 3 or 4 days.
Lemons: This versatile fruit adds a great touch to winter greens and salads. It will store longer in crisper of fridge, but if you are going to use it within a week it can be stored on the counter. From our long time friend Nacho at Twin Girls Farm in Fresno.
Leeks: These large alliums are rather mild in flavor and simply melt to perfection when sautéed. Use in soups, stir-fries, or in place of onions in other dishes for a delicious and more subtle flavor. Save the dark green tops for making vegetable stock! Store in fridge and wash well.
Tangerines: An amazing crop here on the farm. Last year we lost them to frost, this year we applied many gallons of water on the coldest nights. They do have seeds but then there is something weird about a fruit with no seeds. Try juicing them.
Navel Oranges: These juicy treats are from our friend Nacho at Twin Girls Farm and are QAI certified organic. We have been friends with this family for a long time and see them every Saturday at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. They sell some of their goods to Purity, which will explain if it has a market sticker on it. The oranges keep well in the fridge. Order a 20lb box extra with your next delivery. Peel and enjoy!
Butternut Squash: We grow many types of wonderful squash but my favorite has to be the creamy butternut. Bake the whole thing save any that you do not use to add to a soup made with our chicken stock.
Ah, another wonderful box from Eatwell Farm, this week we received -

Savoy Tat Soi
Collard Greens
Green Cabbage
Navel Oranges
Butternut Squash

Hmmm, I've accumulated quite a bit of spinach and I think it is time to make some spinach and mushroom quiche with some gruyere or jarlsberg cheese.  Yum.  The quiche with an arugula salad containing toasted pecans, some tangerine sections and a garnish of pickled watermelon daikon radish sounds good.

The green cabbage and leeks will join some beets that have been languishing in the fridge along with carrots, potatoes and the daikon radish to make a pot full of borscht.  I think I'll make some caraway onion rye bread to go with this hearty soup.

Romanesco with olive oil, garlic and penne will make a good pasta dish, while tat soi and broccoli will join some chicken breast for a stir fry. 

I'm going to roast the butternut squash and then mash it to make a filling for cappellacci de zucca.  I freeze these little pasta packages of butternut sweet goodness and later, when I want a quick and easy dinner, we boil some and top with brown butter and sage sauce and some homemade romano cheese.

It may be time for more BBQ'ed  pulled lamb shanks cooked in the slow cooker all day and then served with a side of collards and some corn bread.

The lemons will be used to make a really tasty lemon and anise pound cake, great with a cup of tea in the evenings. 

Tangerines and Navel oranges are great for Michael's lunches and snacking during the day.

Thanks, Eatwell Farm, for a great selection of seasonal fruits and vegies.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

This Week's Cooking in Review

This was a busy week. Tuesday I baked 2 loaves of San Francisco Sourdough bread to take with us on our trip to Angwin. On Tuesday I also cooked a big pot of lamb stew using lamb neck bones and a lamb shank from Sierra Farms (thank you to Mel Thompson) as well as a raft of vegetables from Eatwell Farm including leeks, celeriac, butternut squash, carrots and cabbage. Add in for good measure, was some celery and potatoes from the local farmer's market along with some broth that we froze from the great haggis experiment.

The stew was hearty and filling with some cooked white navy beans thrown in to round out the pot. We took the soup and both loaves of bread with us on our trip to Angwin to share with others who met us there. We feasted for two days on the soup and bread along with eggs, and various meats for sandwiches.

On Sunday, I started two loaves of San Joaquin sourdough which are in the fridge now for their long slow fermentation overnight. Once those were in the fridge, I decided to bake a loaf of lemon anise seed pound cake. The batter tastes great - I can't wait to taste the completed loaf cake. It's a big loaf that fills a 9 x 5 loaf pan while baking. After the cake cools you then prick holes around it and pour in some simple syrup of lemon juice and sugar to complete the cake. I'm going to add a little limonello into the mix to kick it up a notch. (as Emeril LeGasse says). Good baking day- pictures to follow.