18 August, 2013

Margharita Pizza

When life gives you tomatoes, basil, and leftover shredded mozzarella: make pizza.

Also, I can get enough fresh, locally made pizza dough at Food Bazaar to make 2 nice pizzas for 88 cents. Isn't that awesome?

Kris's Carrot Cake

I made this half batch cake based on Grandma Hiers' Carrot Cake Recipe by Paula Dean, and it was pretty good despite being a bit too sweet. I have since made it again with some alterations, and I think it's very good now.
For my half batch cake:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 

    For the frosting:
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese*
  • 1/4 stick softened salted butter*
  • 4 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a springform pan. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients with a whisk. Add eggs, vegetable oil, and applesauce; use a hand mixer to blend until combined. Stir in carrots and walnuts, then pour into pan. Bake until done (30-40 minutes?), then cool 5 minutes and transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
    To make the frosting add all ingredients into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer. Spread frosting on top cake. If I made a whole batch I'd probably do two layers of cake and spread half the frosting on top of each layer before assembling them.
    *I have been getting the cream cheese and butter out to soften when I start making the cake. I usually break it up and smear it around the inside of the mixing bowl to increase the surface area and rate of heat transfer, and by the time I'm ready to construct and apply the frosting they seem to be ready.

    CSA Week 9

    Komatsuna 7.15 oz
    Chard 8.25 oz
    Kale 8.5 oz
    Basil 6 oz
    Tomatoes 13.1 oz
    Carrots 20 oz
    Garlic 2.55 oz
     JalapeƱos 2.1 oz
    Cucumber 8.85 oz
    Onions 24.9 oz

    CSA Week 10

    Cucumbers 18.4 oz
    Bok choy 14.45 oz
    Beets 20.9 oz
    Onions 19.6 oz
    Tomatoes 22.35 oz
    Carrots 29 oz
    Kale 8 oz
    Eggplant 12.5 oz

    11 August, 2013

    Troegs fresh hops Ale 78

    This was a pretty tasty fresh hopped beer.  Get it off you can find it.  7 out of 10  .

    Ommegang Iron Throne Blond Ale

    Hazy golden with a fluffy white head.  Smells a little like grain and maybe some clean funk?

    Flavor is not what I expected. It's a little bitter,  but not from hops.  No sweetness,  but rather the taste of grains that spent too long in the mash tun. A little earthy.  This probably has brettanomyces in it,  one of the farmyard varieties.

    Mikkeller Betelgueze

    Orangeish and Hazy,  with only a ring of head.  Smells quite delectable wroth a combination of clean lactic sour behind some aromatic hops.  The hops are fruity and spicy,  sorry of like sorachi ace.

    Tau beer,  but expensive.

    Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast

    Smells of thick,  sweet coffee and roast.  A slight mahogany around the edges when held up to the light,  otherwise inky blackness.  Thick but not cloying.  Good balance and a hit of increasing coffee through the sip. 

    Pretty good beer,  maybe an 8, but expensive.

    Firestone Walker Sixteenth Anniversary Ale

    Little to no head.  Smells of chocolate and slightly sour.  Tastes like it smells.  Malty and rock,  followed by chocolate and roast, wroth Oak and then a yang of sore and a long malty,  oaky finish.  A while later you get the alcohol.  Very complex,  multi layered,  but balanced well for a big beer. 

    Allagash Yakuza

    Belgian nose. Very sorachi ace hops. Pretty tasty,  much like Brooklyn brewery. Expensive,  tasty.

    Jack's Abbey and Lawson's Finest Liquids Smoked Maple Lager

    Quickly dissipating head over an orangeish amber body. Smell like a lightly Smoked lager. Initial draught is smokey followed by a slight maple. A nice clean beer.  The residual sugars make it a bit too sweet for me.

    06 August, 2013

    Clown Shoes Brown Angel

    Good, brown, chocolate flavor,  and nose. Not very complex. The aftertaste is notvery good,  it has the cloying overtones of something too sweet.

    03 August, 2013

    The CSA Boxes- Where is it all going?

    Almost 2 month in, and it's been interesting to see how the stuff from the CSA boxes has been used. We're both from "nothing wasted" types of families, and we've done fairly well, I think, in trying to use or preserve everything. We've also tried a lot of new recipes, many of which were okay but nothing to get excited about. So what have we been doing with stuff?

    Things like lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, and strawberries don't require much in the way of preparation and have so been eaten fairly quickly. Tomatoes are something we've really looked forward to, and so those in particular are eaten at the earliest opportunity in sandwiches and caprese salad.

    Scallions and onions are such general use things that they make their way into many other dishes; great pantry fodder. Carrots have been the same, but we're reaching such a volume that I think it's time to make some honey roasted carrots, maybe with some garam masala. Garlic scapes have been adopted into this category; I cut them into 1/4" pieces and froze them so we could use them in place of garlic for months to come.

    Herbs have been all over the place. I don't like dill, but Clay used some for a while. The rest became inedible. Parsley has gone into a number of things including pesto with some of the mint. Mint also went into a jelly/syrup. The basil was already turning dark when we got it, and after being rushed into caprese and regular salad the remainder was composted.

    Members of the cabbage family have been interesting. Broccoli is easy because we've had it all our lives. Kohlrabi was unusual to clean, tastes like broccoli stems, and ended up raw in salads. I think the first bok choy was used in noodle bowls, and we may do the same with the next round. Napa went into egg rolls and a salad, but we still have almost half of the 4# napa head we got week 3.

    Dark, generally bitter, leafy greens are not a huge part of our regular diet, but judging by the sheer volume I'm guessing they are for the sort of people who normally get farmshares. I'm running out of ways to make these things edible. After initially trying collards, kale, chard, and dandelion greens straight we have resorting to hiding them in other dishes that are less healthy but more palettable. If you think you can put spinach in it, one of these will work. We've put dandelion greens into sandwiches, chard into lasagne (2.5 weeks worth of it, all at once) and a chile chickpea soup, and kale into a stuffed pizza (healthier than it sounds) and cavatini. I actully just washed, chopped, and froze the last 2 bunches of kale so we could use them later and may do the same with the last bunch of chard.

    We've actually frozen a lot of stuff- ingredients, partial components, and entire meals. We may be inundated now, but we'll be eating off the farmshare long after the season is over.

    In some ways it's been kind of a stress trying to use things: using stuff before it goes bad, not having enough time to really process or cook a lot of stuff when we want or when it's ideal for the produce, knowing the next box full of stuff is looming X days in the future. I can see why people would choose to split a box with another couple or small family, but live and learn. Regardless, these are very first world problems to have and a lot better than the alternative.

    Swiss Chard and Chickpea Curry

    The original recipe is here. We made a few modifications because our goal was to use stuff in the fridge and pantry. We may have tweaked the recipe more, but honestly it's been so long that we don't really remember how...

    1-14 oz can chickpeas
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 bunch swiss chard
    1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
    Garlic ginger paste (I didn't add it, so no idea how much.)
    1 tsp yellow curry powder
    1 tsp tumeric
    1/2 tsp coriander seeds
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    Salt, to taste
    1/2 tsp olive oil

    1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add chopped onions, tumeric, coriander, curry, and stir fry on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, periodically stirring.
    2. Add diced tomatoes and juice, kale, and chickpeas and juice and cover with a lid. Cook 3-5 minutes.
    3. Add garlic ginger paste.
    4. Serve by it self or as a side dish.

    Apple Mint and Jalepeno Syrups

    So I went to Ace yesterday to get more canning jars because they are apparently the only brick and mortar stores left on earth with a decent canning section. The trouble is, they have a decent canning section. So I came home with a copy of the Ball Blue Book and ambitions to see what else I could use up out of the fridge.
    It was all downhill from there. The mint jelly I was trying to make tastes more like apple and less like mint than I'd like, and the jalepeno jelly started with the lesson that our blender turns peppers and apple cider vinegar into foam instead of puree. I know I followed the first recipe correctly and messed up on the liquid-to-powder substitution of the second; neither one set. I even opened them, cooked in more pectin, and recanned. Not much better. They taste good though, especially the sweet-and-sour flavor of the jalepeno stuff. I think they'll be good on pancakes, so I'm can't imagine they'll be wasted. I'm just going to call them syrups because it's all about marketing.
    Taking a photo didn't go too well either, but trust me, they look pretty cool in person. Both of these jellies usually receive green food coloring, especially if made commercially, so you might be surprised to know that this is what mint and jalepeno jellies syrups, respectively, look like naturally.

    Wild Blackberry Jam

     What does one do when one has pounds of highly perishable wild blackberries that need to be used? I can think of a few things. Personally, I'm a big fan of jam and so decided to give canning a shot.
    I used this recipe by MizzNezz because of the large number of high ratings, and after doing some reading about lower sugar canning and discovering that pectin does not come in packets around here, this is what I used:
    5 c. crushed blackberries (almost 50 oz. of loose berries to get that)
    7c. 6c. sugar
    1 packet 3 Tbsp. low-sugar powdered pectin
    I wanted a mixture of jar sizes, so I ended up with (5) 8 oz jars, (7) 4 oz jars, and maybe 1-2 oz of leftover in a jar in the fridge. That means the equivalent of (8.5) 8 oz jars instead of the 7 the the recipe told me to expect. Thank goodness I planned for extra jars.
    Of couse we sampled a little bit of the leftover, and there will be some tweaking next time. Wild berries have a lot of seeds, straining blackberry jam results in jam on the ceiling (family story there), so we need to figure out how to deal with the former without producing the latter. We aren't big fans of really sweet stuff, so I'll probably try 5 cups of sugar next time instead of the 6 cups. Overall it went well, set up nicely, etc. We plan to make more in the next day or two.

    Wild Blackberries

    We were lucky enough to discover that we have wild blackberries in the back yard. We let them grow wherever they wanted this year, and it's kind of payed off. When Clay brought in the first handful of berries I didn't think much of it; in the face of birds and such we've never had good luck with getting a share of our fruit. But a few days later it occured to me to check on them, and after filling the first tub I had to go in and get another. This photo is what I brought in the first day, and since I'm very curious about what the total yield will be I've been weighing each batch since. I've found that to balance the time it takes to comb through looking for berries (and amount of wounds from thorns) with the amount of berries received for that time, it's optimal to go out every 2-3 days. This week was been crazy so the last pick was 4 days, and that's definately too long because significantly more berries past their prime and/or fermenting in place.
    So this is what we've gotten:
    Day 1: 24 oz
    Day 2: 10 oz
    Day 3: 4 oz (apparently not a lot of berries ripen on rainier, overcast days)
    Day 4: 10.95 oz
    Day 7: 30.4 oz
    Day 11: 35.4 oz
    Total: 114.75 oz, or a little over 7#
    Considering what that would cost to buy somewhere I feel very lucky indeed.

    CSA Week 8

    This week:
    beets 26.3 oz
    tomatoes 24.3 oz
    chard 11.3 oz
    kale 11.1 oz
    mint 2.35 oz
    cabbage 9.9 oz
    carrots 26.05 oz
    onions 21.65 oz
    cucumbers 14.6 oz

    CSA Week 6/7

    It hasn't been a cooperative growing season for the farm, so we actually had a week off from deliveries. That was fine with us as keeping up with everything has been "a challenge." We took advantage of the week off to try catching up, and although we didn't make a lot of progress it was still nice to have the break.
    This week we're back in the thick of it, and so we have:
    kale 11.25 oz
    onions 33.7 oz
    bok choy 10.95 oz
    green beans 23 oz
    chard 8.65 oz
    carrots 28.8 oz
    cucumber 5.2 oz
    basil 4.15 oz
    tomatoes 22.65 oz

    01 August, 2013

    Ale Smith IPA

    A good quality,  middle of the road ipa. The balance is nice,  bitter then slightly malty.