Good Enough to Eat!

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing this past week! Last week’s box was special indeed:

  • 1- 12 Oz. Fig Walnut Rye Bread
  • 3 Lbs- Mountain Fresh Tomatoes
  • 1 Pt- Yellow Pear Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1-  8 Oz. Arugula
  • 3 Lbs- Sweet Potato Medley
  • 5 Lbs- Apple Medley
  • 3 Lbs- Butternut Squash
  • 1 Doz.- Farm Fresh Eggs

Everything has been delicious, and we’ve just about eaten our way through everything already! On Wednesday, the eggs made their debut in ‘breakfast for dinner’ night. Scrambled with a touch of sour cream and some fresh tarragon from the garden… absolutely delicious. Years and years ago, I stayed at a bed and breakfast and was introduced to the scrambled egg and tarragon combination, and it is a good one indeed. If you  haven’t tried it, you really must. Absolutely delicious!

Tonight, I used up the arugula in one of my favorite recipes: Rice Salad with Arugula, Pine Nuts, and Olives. The arugula was magnificent. It smelled so wonderful coming out of the bag, I just stood there and enjoyed the wonderful aroma!

Here’s a link to the recipe and some pictures from tonight’s dinner! Served the rice salad with grilled chicken and some green beans sauteed with garlic (also farm fresh!) and lemon.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Rice-Salad-with-Arugula-Pine-Nuts-and-Olives-2198

DSC07956

And for dessert, well, that was special! Who would have thought that butternut squash could elevate dessert to such dizzying heights? This cake was even better than I expected. I was a little wary at first about adding that much butternut squash… but the cake is just amazing!

Here’s a picture and the recipe (from FineCooking.com)!

Buttermilk Cake with Spiced Vanilla Icing

DSC07954 

The secret to this moist, tender cake is grated butternut squash, which is folded into the batter just before baking. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the squash.Serves 10 to 12.


For the cake:
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk
2-1/4 cups peeled and grated butternut squash (about 8 oz.)

For the icing and garnish:
9 oz. (2-1/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbs. buttermilk; more as needed
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger


Make the cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan; tap out excess flour.
In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the oil and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well on low speed. Add the vinegar and vanilla and mix again until just combined. Add half of the flour and the baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg, mixing on low speed until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk.
Stir the squash into the batter and transfer the batter to the prepared pan; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes; then carefully invert the cake onto the rack and remove the pan. When the cake is completely cool, transfer it to a serving plate.

Make the icing

In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt until smooth. Add more buttermilk, a few drops at a time, as needed, until the icing is pourable but still quite thick. Pour the icing back and forth in thick ribbons over the cooled cake. Sprinkle the ginger on top. Let the icing set at room
temperature, about 45 minutes, before serving.

Sunday Dinner

I am married to a man who believes that certain foods should only be served on certain days. It’s taken me better than 12 years of marriage to figure out this system of what we can eat and when. For example, sloppy joes = Friday dinner.  Anything fancier does not qualify for a “Friday dinner”. Spaghetti and Meatballs??? Definitely a Sunday Dinner. Steak and Potatoes? Saturday? Yep! Tuesday? No way. You get the idea. So, I’m always trying to figure out the best thing to cook on any given day.

Recently, I was watching Giada DeLaurentis’ show on the Food Network when I saw her make braised short ribs with penne pasta. I immediately thought to myself, “Yes!! This is a Sunday Dinner”. So, once I had my vegetables for this week, I made my way up to What’s Your Beef in Waxhaw to pick up my meat! 4 lbs of (amazing) short ribs later, I had put together a Sunday dinner worthy of Scott’s discriminating palate… minus the zucchini served on the side. He managed to eat a few of those, mixed in with two helpings of his pasta!

The recipe calls for 1 cup of red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon. I’m a firm believer in only cooking with what you’d drink, so I picked up some of this wine at the Teeter, and I would highly recommend. It went wonderfully with dinner!

Here’s Giada’s recipe, followed by pictures of the final product! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/penne-with-braised-short-ribs-recipe/index.html

DSC07916

The zucchini I just trimmed by halving, slicing lengthwise and trimming some of the seeds. The best way to ensure you do not end up with mush zucchini is to salt them about 10 minutes before you cook them up. I sauteed them quickly over high heat and finished them of with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Both of the kids loved them, as did I!

DSC07910

  DSC07915 

So I managed to use up a all the tomatoes and a good bit of the zucchini from last week’s box. Next up, the collards!

Not for the Faint of Heart

Last night was date-night… at home. I picked up an awesome rib-eye steak from What’s Your Beef in Waxhaw. Spent some time pondering what to make for side dishes. I had a fridge full of corn and those awesome Kennebec potatoes. I went ALL OUT. Talk about a heart attack on a plate! I made the most decadent potato gratin I’ve ever had, and it was worth every cream-laden bite! I also used up the last of the corn in the Barefoot Contessa’s corn pudding. Yes, you saw the recipe correctly… it started with a stick of butter.

Barefoot Contessa’s Sagaponack Corn Pudding

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/sagaponack-corn-pudding-recipe/index.html

Fine Cooking: Classic Potato Gratin

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/classic_potato_gratin.aspx

To make up for all that richness, we’re having Sushi tonight…. and no, I’m not making it!

It’s all about the Collards!

This week’s produce box had a bunch of collard greens. Now, I like to think myself an accomplished cook, but I’ve never cooked collard greens before (though I do LOVE to eat them). So, I’ve been on the hunt for a recipe to use up the collards, and I have found what looks like a winner! Not only does it use up the collards, but will also use up some of the other veggies I have including red peppers and corn! Stay tuned to see how this turns out and what the family verdict is!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Vegetable-and-Ricotta-Stuffed-Collard-Rolls-with-Tomato-Sauce-11642

I’m shooting for Sunday to make these!

Here are the other goodies we received in this week’s box!

  • 1- 12 Oz. Loaf Sourdough Bread
  • 1- 1 Lb Bunch Collards
  • 1- 8 Oz. Muscadine or Scuppernong Jelly
  • 2 Lbs- Zucchini
  • 2 Lbs- Carolina Ruby Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 Lbs- Tomatoes
  • 1 Pt- Heirloom Yellow Pear Tomatoes
  • 2 Lbs- Cubanelle Peppers
  • 1 Lb- Eggplant
  • 5 Lbs- Kennebec Potatoes

I’m going to use those delicious Kennebec potatoes to make some mashed potatoes tonight to go with my turkey meatloaf and soy and honey glazed carrots.

Fall Cooking

Ok, so it’s 80 degrees outside on an October afternoon in Charlotte, NC. But fall IS on the way, and so I thought I’d cook something tonight that would trick me into thinking it really is cool outside.

In this week’s box I received the largest head of cabbage I’ve ever seen. I think I’ll be slowly using that monstrous green globe all week long! Tonight, I’m pairing it with some of the Golden Delicious apples to make a cabbage-apple compote. I’m currently simmering some Bratwursts in beer with some onions and garlic. The brats will get finished off on the grill.

As an aside, the Bratwursts are from What’s Your Beef in Waxhaw, NC. http://www.whatsyourbeefbutcher.com/ Vic makes some of the tastiest sausages around! I encourage everyone to support this local butcher!

And to round out tonight’s meal, roasted Kennebec and sweet potatoes.

I have a picture of my monstrous cabbage that I’ll post soon, hopefully with some photos of this evening’s meal.

Here’s that cabbage!

DSC07806 DSC07805