Monday, August 10, 2009

Thai Cucumber Salad

Originally uploaded by lesliegardner
I found myself with an overabundance of cucumbers both from the CSA and the generousness of a coworker. One good thing to do with too many cucumbers is to peel them and add them to fruit smoothies. They add a nice cool refreshing taste without detracting from the fruit. This is another thing:

Peel and chop cucumber
drizzle with fish sauce (start with a little and add more later - it's easy to overdo it with the fish sauce)
drizzle with rice vinegar
add some lime juice if you have it
shake on some crushed red pepper
add chopped thai basil
add a little salt but not much due to the fish sauce
toss all together
taste and adjust ingredients
sprinkle on some chopped peanuts right before serving

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Green Bean Tabouleh

I'm a little behind on green beans from the CSA and I just got another pound this morning! Time for action! I also had a bunch of parsley so I thought: Tabouleh. Because what else can you possibly think when you look at parsley besides: garnish?

First I poured boiling water over 1C of Bulgur for about 15 minutes

Then I sliced about a pound of green beans into small Os and microwaved them in a bowl with a little water in the bottom for three minutes.

In the food processor, I pulsed 1/2C raw almonds into small pieces and toasted in a dry skillet.

Also in the food processor, I mixed up a small bunch of flat leaf parsley (about the size of my open hand) with 2 cloves of garlic. To this I added the juice of 1 lemon, 1/8C olive oil and 1/2t salt. (possibly more of these last two ingredients, but at least that. I didn't realize it would be good enough to post so I was using the freepour method!)

The result is SO tasty!

So much that I would even go as far as to say that the nuts are optional. If you do use them and don't plan on eating the salad immediately, store them separately and add with each serving so they keep their crisp.

Per 1C serving w/nuts:
Calories: 223, Fat: 11g, Protein 7g
w/o nuts:
Calories 153, Fat: 5g, Protein 5g

Sunday, December 16, 2007


My mom mailed me a photocopy of her recipe card for this when I was in college. She used to make it for us when we were kids and it originally came from the Whole Earth Catalog. If I may also use the adjective form of the word, it's truly granola Granola.

I usually halve the recipe because it's too much for one pan and I only have one acceptable baking sheet at the moment.


4 Cups rolled oats
1-1/2 Cups shredded unsweetened coconut (I omit)
1 Cup wheat germ
1 Cup chopped nuts
1 Cup sunflower seeds
1/2 Cup flax seeds
1/2 Cup bran (I omit)
1 Cup ground roasted soybeans (I omit)
1/2 Cup sesame seeds

(Other things I've added and liked: Raisins, pumpkin seeds, puffed brown rice cereal, Kasha and cinnamon)


1/2 Cup oil
1/2 Cup honey (I use agave nectar)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine 2 mixtures and spread on cookie sheet with sides.

Bake at 325F about 15 minutes until light brown. (I go for 20 minutes. When you first take it out of the oven, it will seem wet but it will crunch up after it sits out for a bit.)

Turn frequently (I do every five)

Update: I realized I already put this recipe within one of my CSA posts - oops. I'll leave it in though because it's good enough for its own post!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


This is one of my standard potluck faves. I cut it out of the Oregonian a million years ago and they cite Gourmet Magazine as their source.

The secret of success for this salad is the steaming of the quinoa. (The traditional cooking method for quinoa, boiling it in a measured amount of water, does not produce the light, fluffy texture that works so well in a salad.) This dish provides a complete protein and can stand alone as a luncheon or light supper entree.

[I guess you could tell that the last paragraph was from the recipe, not me, when you saw the word "luncheon"?]

1-1/2C Quinoa, uncooked (I use 2 because I think the dressing to salad ratio is too high)
1-1/2C cooked black beans, rinsed if canned (1 can)
1-1/2 T red wine vinegar
1-1/2C cooked corn (cut from two large ears) (or 1 can)
3/4C finely chopped green bell pepper (I like to use red for color)
2 pickled jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced (omit if serving to the heat-averse)
1/4C finely chopped fresh cilantro

5T fresh lime juice, or to taste
1t salt
1-1/4t ground cumin, or to taste
1/3C olive oil

To make salad: In bowl, wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear, drain in large, fine sieve.
In saucepan of salted boiling water, cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam, covered with kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding more if necessary).
While quinoa is cooking, in small bowl, toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer quinoa to large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, chiles and cilantro; toss well.

To make dressing:
In small bowl, whisk together lime juice, salt and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.
Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

Per Serving:
Calories: 319 (35% from fat)
Protein: 9g
Total fat: 13g
Cholesterol: 0g
Fiber: 10g
Sodium: 405mg
Carbohydrate: 45g

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sauteed Zucchini and Yellow Squash With Mint

I figure it is finally time I contribute something instead of just thankfully reading all of Leslie's excellent food-blogging. We have so much zucchini! So I went in search of zucchini recipes and found this one in the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. I sort of put it together telephone game/ gossip style: I read the directions before I went to trader joes, and then came home and winged it! What I ate tonight was more INSPIRED BY than an exact replica: I sliced the garlic instead of mincing, my zucchini was cut in a crazy way, and my onions caramelized a little bit. but it was still good! The mint and lemon are really fresh against the warmer taste of the onion/garlic.

serves 4 to 6

Don't crowd the vegetables in the pan; they will steam rather than brown. If your skillet is not large enough, cook them in two batches.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 medium (about 12 ounces) zucchini, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 medium (about 12 ounces) yellow squash, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, cut into 1/4" thick strips

1. Heat 11/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook until translucent but crunchy, about 2 minutes.

2. Raise heat to medium high. Add the remaining 11/2 tablespoons of olive oil, the zucchini, yellow squash and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and golden brown, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle the mint on top, and serve hot.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

CSA week 10

During week nine I forfeited the entire share to my mom as I was in lovely Vancouver, BC. So for week ten, I got the entire share. I wish I'd remembered to take a photo - it was a shocking and somewhat threatening bounty. I've been cooking in a panicked frenzy all week but I've finally managed to make all of it except one jalapeno that got lost underneath the beet greens, into dishes. Admittedly many of them have been mediocre, but even those are important learning experiences and all of them were perfectly edible.

My original inventory consisted of 1 giant freaking head of cabbage, 3 peaches, 8 or so new potatoes, 2 pasilla peppers, 1 banana pepper, 2 jalapenos, 1 cuke, 5 summer squash, basil, 5 or so tomatoes, 5 ears of corn, 5 beets, and a giant head of lettuce.

Do you kind of see what I mean by threatening?

My first big cooking day I used the beets and 1/4 of the Giant Head of Cabbage to make borscht and the other 1/4 GHoC, half the potatoes and one jalapeno to make a spicy cabbage soup. Both were pretty good and I ended up pureeing both of them. I can't seem to stop myself from putting a perfectly good soup in the blender. Maybe I miss baby food or something. But I also thought they might freeze better that way, and some of this food was going to have to be frozen.


So now the borscht looks like a strawberry daiquiri and the spicy cabbage looks exactly like baby food - yay!


Next up: Caprese salad for me which was to DIE for. I am speechless over how good those fresh tomatoes were. And fresh mozzerella was on sale at the store - hooray!


And a salad for Dag that is sort of Caprese but with cucumbers added and all cut up into chunks like a greek salad we had in Vancouver that he really loved.


Then yesterday I made a spicy corn chowder using all the corn and the peppers. I substituted 2% evaporated milk for the heavy cream and it worked just fine - I think I like that trick. The recipe called for just the yellow banana peppers but I threw in the pasillas because what the heck else was I going to do with them so it came out very green and yeah, a lot like baby food. It tastes fine though, I swear. It also went to the freezer.


Today I made zucchini fritters, which were OK but I'm not really willing to cook with enough oil to make them come out all crispy like they're supposed to. So they were kind of floppy but stil tasted good.

Then the 3rd 4th of Giant Head of Cabbage became stir fried with garlic and white balsamic vinegar with toasted walnuts.


The final 4th of GHoC became a low-fat non-mayo slaw which I'm hoping my mom will like. She has an emotional attachment to traditional coleslaw but wants a healthier alternative. This tastes a lot like it to me. If it passes her taste test, I'll come back and post the recipe.


THEN I made a beet green barley risotto using ideas from my new favorite cookbook and an entry from a vegetable blog I have been following. It came out pretty good and I like the pretty red and green colors.


Then, last but not least, almost in tears by this point (kidding), I used another recipe from Super Natural Cooking to use up the potatoes. It is a really cool technique of cutting the potatoes almost all the way through in slits and putting spicy oiled salted garlic into each slit and baking. UMMMM!


Holy moly, I'm really looking forward to my lunches this week!

I am also looking forward to having someone to share the next box with!

CSA Week 7


I received my half of week seven's CSA box two days before departing the country for a week's long vacation. So my goal was to use all the vegetables I could in a giant batch of vegetarian enchiladas - half for the freezer and half for my sister to eat while she took care of the cats.

Check out these gorgeous carrots!


Here are the enchiladas!


I really did just saute all of the veggies together and layer them with a can each of black beans and corn over and under corn tortillas (much faster and easier than rolling them up!) with some red sauce, which I believe I made from scratch although I can't rightly remember how I did that now, cheese and olives. They came out really good! I can tell because they were all gone when I got home!

That melon you see in the first photo was unbelievable. If it were any juicier, it would have been, well, juice. That went right into my smoothies and half into the freezer for future smoothies.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

CSA Week 6

Sorry this has kind of become the Leslie Show, but I've become so excited about food lately!

Here is my half of the veggies this week.


The warm weather we've been having has either been making more harvestables or mom is giving me more than half because this is the most I've seen yet! I have to admit it panicked me just a little. Then after work on Friday, I went back out to Sauvie Island Farms with Jen and another friend to pick more berries plus peaches! And now that I have seen how inexpensive it can be, I went a little nuts and picked 5lb of blueberries, 2.5lb each of marionberries and raspberries and a grocery bag full of peaches.


So I spent all day in the kitchen today peeling and freezing peaches (on a pan first so they won't stick together when they go in the bag) and cooking most of the vegetables into a yummy Indian style dish in the crock pot. I would have done all of them but my crock pot isn't that large.


I know what you're thinking: "what were you doing in the kitchen all day after you got done with the peaches, staring at the crock pot?" Well, of course, I was inspired to make Dal and Saag Paneer to go along with the vegetables.


It all turned out just great despite having dumped most of the curry for the Saag Paneer on the floor and having to use some other spices instead - I am so pleased!

But also, I made a giant batch of my mom's granola from the 70s for my BF, who has been very generous with his car lately even though I run into yard debris containers and lose the plastic backing to his side mirror and stuff. And while I'm out being so careless with his posessions, he is coming over and feeding my cats for me. So I think he at least deserves some homemade granola.


I had a bowl and it tasted just like my mom used to make. It is so good - here is the recipe:

Granola (from the Whole Earth Catalog)
4C rolled oats
1/2 C shredded unsweeteend coconut (mom & I omit this)
1C wheat germ
1C chopped nuts (I used cashews)
1C sunflower seeds
1/2C flax seeds
1/2C bran (didn't use it)
1C ground roasted soybeans (mom & I omit this)
1/2C sesame seeds
1C pumpkin seeds (my addition)
1/2C rice cereal (my addition - found it at whole foods - looks like little brown BBs and adds a wonderful little rice krispy style crunch)

Heat: (oops, just now realized I forgot to heat it)
1/2C oil (I used 1/4 C)
1/2C honey (I used 3/4C agave nectar)
1/2t vanilla (I was out)

Combine two mixtures. Spread on cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 325 about 15 min until light brown. Turn frequently.

I ended up baking it longer because it seemed a little wet while I was turning it. But once it's been out of the oven for a while that goes away, even if you really only bake it for 15 minutes - I practiced on the second batch.