Monthly Archives: November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Due to life’s craziness, I wanted to let you all know that I’m imposing a posting hiatus until early December. I’ll still be cooking though, so I’ll have plenty to share when I return. Thanks for understanding!

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Local Box Meal Plan: Nov. 16-20

Happy Thanksgiving! I realize that I’m a week early, but we’re having some friends over for an early Thanksgiving on Sunday. Because it’s not the actual Thanksgiving day, I’m taking some liberties and veering from my family’s traditional Turkey Day menu (and let’s face it, who wants to have the same meal twice in one week?).

This week, we’re getting sweet potatoes, red onion, and collards or mustard greens from Naegelin, Eureka persimmons from Indian Hill (Texas A&M has a good breakdown of persimmon varieties grown in Texas here), Cameo apples from Top of Texas, pie pumpkin, green beans from Animal Farm, hot and sweet peppers from Green Gate Farm, escarole and Louisiana shallot-scallions from Acadian Family Farm, Bibb lettuce from Bella Verdi and herb from Pure Luck.

So I’m making:

Appetizer:

Main course:

  • Herb-roasted turkey
  • Chestnut-apple stuffing (made with a red onion) served inside a roasted pumpkin – this only works if we get a pumpkin, not fennel. Here’s hoping for a pumpkin for the super cool presentatation!
  • Roasted sweet potatoes tossed with herbs
  • Roasted green beans
  • Sauteed greens with garlic
  • Louisiana shallot-scallion dinner rolls (based on this sweet dinner rolls recipe)

And because we still have to eat dinner on Saturday:

I’m also retrying hot pepper jelly with this recipe, since it didn’t work so well last time.

Are you changing up some of your Thanksgiving staples this year, or keeping it traditional?

Bok Choy, Scallion and Anaheim Chili Omelette

[Printable Recipe]

My non-stick skillet died recently. You know, when the center isn’t so non-stick anymore? After getting a new one, I decided that an omelette was in order. I mean, what else do you need a non-stick pan for?

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 anaheim chilis, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch large bok choy (remove the stems) or 2 bunches of baby bok choy, roughly chopped
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Dash of milk
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the oil in a skillet and add the chilis and scallions. After 30 seconds or so, add the bok choy and salt and pepper to taste. It cooks down much like spinach does, so after tossing it in the oil, put a lid on the skillet and let the bok choy wilt a bit, tossing everything periodically. Remove the bok choy mixture from the pan when it’s sufficiently wilted.
  • Whisk the eggs with a bit of milk (I always do this, just the way I was taught to make eggs!) and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the egg mixture to the hot pan and let it sit for a few minutes until it becomes a bit opaque, then add the bok choy mixture and the cheese to one half of the eggs. Let sit a few minutes more, then flip the empty half over and remove the omelette to a plate.

Verdict:
This was a welcome change from my typical spinach and mushroom omelette (though I bet mushrooms would be fantastic in this!). There was a nice bite from the chilis, too! Great way to start the morning.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

[Printable Recipe]

I first made pot roast last year, when my husband introduced me to his mom’s recipe and my slow cooker. =) It’s one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made, and always turns out really well. Since Greenling sent us turnips and red potatoes last week, I thought it was a great way to use them on one of the cooler days we had.

I sometimes serve this with mashed potatoes (as I did this time), but I also have chopped them and cooked them with the meat in the slow cooker. Keep in mind that if you cook the potatoes in the crock pot, the gravy tends to be thicker since the potatoes are so starchy.

I also usually sear the meat before putting it in the crock pot, but after doing some research online, I decided to skip the extra step this time.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lb. beef for slow roasting (I use chuck most of the time)
  • 2 medium or 1 large onion(s)
  • 1 small bag of baby carrots or 3 large, peeled carrots
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 c. beef stock
  • 1 lb. turnips
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

  • Optional: sear meat in olive oil in a pan over high heat. It takes about 3 minutes per side to get a nice brown texture.
  • Roughly chop the veggies. Put all of the veggies and the garlic in the bottom of the crock pot.
  • If you’re searing the beef, after it has finished browning, put it on top of the veggies in the stock pot. If not, put the meat on top of the veggies in the stock pot, making sure that the fattier side is facing up (so that the fat drips over the meat and veggies while it cooks. Yay for self-basting!).

  • Mix the cornstarch and stock together and pour over the beef and veggies. Usually I make this with beef stock, but since I was making a dish with chicken stock later in the week and I knew I would have extra left over, I used chicken stock this time. The end result is the same.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours. After 8 hours have elapsed, shred the meat with 2 forks. It’s easiest to do this directly in the slow cooker. It should be really tender and shred easily. Let it stand in the juices for about 30 more minutes before serving.

  • Let stand in the juices for about 30 minutes more. I chose to serve this with mashed potatoes (cut the potatoes into chunks, boiled them until tender, drained them, mixed in the KitchenAid with warm milk and butter).

Verdict:
Always a winner! From now on, I’m going to skip the searing. It’s a messy extra step that I can really live without in the mornings before work.

Local Box Meal Plan: Nov. 9-13

It’s the return of the corn! I didn’t think it would happen so late in the season, but I’m not complaining.

This week from Greenling, we’re getting corn from Home Sweet Farm, tangerines from Orange Blossom Farms, acorn squash from Massey Farm, gala apples from Top of Texas, red new potatoes from Naegelin, watermelon radishes from Ringer Farm, bok choy from Acadian Family Farm, grapefruit from G&S Groves, scallions from Lundgren Farm, yellow beans from Animal Farm, cilantro from My Father’s Farm, and (perhaps) mustard greens.

So I’m making:

Side Dishes:

Dinners:

  • Roasted acorn squash hollowed out and served with sesame chicken tenders in the middle
  • Southwest corn and potato soup (which would also use the leftover serranos)

I’ll eat the tangerines and grapefruit as they are throughout the week for breakfast and snacks.

Pomegranate-Persimmon Sorbet

[Printable Recipe]

POM Wonderful was nice enough to send me some samples of fresh pomegranate juice. I love to make cocktails with pomegranate juice, but it’s fun to cook with it too (remember the duck I made last year? So good!). I had a few persimmons from our Greenling box that were just on the brink between ripe and over-ripe, and I thought the sweet flavor of the persimmon would complement the bite of the pomegranate juice nicely. The most logical way to combine the two? Sorbet!

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While vodka isn’t essential, I always add it to my sorbet recipes to ensure a smooth texture. I don’t use enough to taste the alcohol in the sorbet itself.

Adapted from Saveur

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. fresh pomegranate juice
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 c. persimmon puree (from about 6 medium-sized persimmons. The puree is best when made in a food mill to preserve the texture, but a blender works also.)
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • Scant 1/2 tsp. vodka
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Combine the pomegranate juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  • After the pomegranate mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  • After the mixture has fully chilled, whisk in the persimmon puree, lime juice, vodka and salt.
  • Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Put in a tupperware and store in the freezer for an hour before eating.

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Verdict:
I loved this sorbet! It was sweet but not overly so, and so light. I imagine that it would be great as a palate-cleanser for a multi-course meal.

Slow Cooker Apple Confit

[Printable Recipe]

This recipe was sent to me last fall in a recipe exchange. When we started getting apples from Greenling this year, I was reminded about it again!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. apples (I saved up our apples for 2 weeks and used about 8 of them.)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Peel the apples and slice 1/4 inch thick. This is a great use of an apple peeler-corer-slicer, if you happen to have one!
  • Add the apples to the slow cooker. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste, and toss to coat well.

  • Cover and cook until the apples are very tender and almost translucent, but not pureed, 2 to 2 1/2 hours on high or 4 to 4 1/2 hours on low.


This was after 2 hours and 8 minutes on high. They tasted awesome when they were hot!

  • Stir in vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Top with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of toasted walnuts for dessert.


I skipped the walnuts and served with french vanilla ice cream and homemade caramel sauce.

Verdict:
I preferred the apples hot, right out of the slow cooker (but that’s apple pie not apple confit, haha). My husband preferred them cold after the flavors had married together a bit. The caramel sauce and ice cream were great accompaniments though! I would definitely make this again, especially for a dinner party where I needed a plated dessert with impressive presentation.