Sunday, July 27, 2008

One for dinner, one more for the freezer

Tonight we're having another of my endless variations on beans and grains, Spanish-style barley with Scarlett Runners, and with that mixture I'm stuffing bell peppers for another freezer-friendly post-baby dinner.

The barley is from our grain CSA, beans from Phipps, and various vegetables from Full Belly. Served tonight with green beans from our CSA box, we've got a local dinner for now, and stuffed into peppers from Happy Quail, topped with a little cheese from Spring hill, we've got a local meal later. This recipe makes a HUGE batch of the barley and beans, but they freeze well and would make a great lunch.

Spanish-style barley with Scarlett Runner beans

1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 T chili powder
1 1/2 t cumin
1 t oregano
1 t salt
1 t paprika
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 canned chipotle chile pepper and 1 t. adobo sauce
2 c. whole barley
2 c. crushed tomatoes (I used the tomato sauce that I made earlier in the week)
4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. Scarlett Runner beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 T oil
2 c. corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 big handful of green beans, cut into 1/2" pieces
1-2 scallions, diced

Saute onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, and garlic in olive oil. Add spices and saute another minute. Add barley and stir to coat with the onion and spice mixture. Add crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hr. 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook soaked beans in the pressure cooker. Cover the beans by 2 inches with water and add 1 T oil to prevent foaming. Cook under high pressure for 12-14 minutes.

Once the barley is cooked, add the beans, corn, green beans, tomatoes, and scallions; stir gently to combine.


I now have a moussaka, tamale pie, 3 quarts of tomato sauce, 1 quart of tomato-bean soup made from the tomato sauce, and the stuffed peppers in the freezer. I'll be doing my big batch of meatballs later in the week and the turkey early next week, baby willing, and hopefully will have 15-20 dinners ready to go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When life (or your mother-in-law) hands you tomatoes...

My mother-in-law was the fortunate recipient of a large box of fresh tomatoes at the end of the farmer's market on Sunday, and not having a use for 10 lb. of fresh tomatoes, she passed them along to me. And how better to use all those wonderful tomatoes than to make an enormous pot of sauce, ready to freeze for easy post-baby meals? The whole house smells incredible, like an Italian restaurant with that tomato, garlic, olive oil, and basil simmering away. I've made a similar sauce before but not quite in this quantity! And don't worry, at least a quart is going back to my mother-in-law for her generous tomato contribution!

BIG batch of spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes
(makes about 6-7 quarts)

30-35 fresh medium sized tomatoes (about tennis ball sized)
3 onions, diced
3 bell peppers, diced
3 carrots, diced
6 stalks celery, diced
12 cloves garlic, minced (more or less to taste)
1/4 c. olive oil
3/4 c. fresh basil, or 1/4 c. dried
3 T fresh parsley, or 1 T dried
3 T fresh oregano, or 1 T dried
1 T fresh sage, or 1 t dried
3 bay leaves
1 t dried fennel seeds
1 T salt
1 1/2 t pepper
1 t red pepper flakes
1 small can tomato paste

In a very large stock pot, saute the onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery, and garlic in the olive oil. It will take a while to saute them all; you might want to work in batches. Meanwhile, dice all the tomatoes. When the veggies are all sauteed, add the tomatoes and other ingredients. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours or until reduced and slightly thickened. Drain out a bit of the watery broth and pull out the bay leaves; puree the sauce in batches. Add back the watery broth to make it the consistency you'd like. Adjust seasonings and enjoy.

Package in quart sized freezer bags and stack flat in your freezer for a stock of deeelicious sauce ready anytime you want it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 8 - Moussaka

Tonight's meal, Moussaka, is Core except for the bechamel on top, and at just 2 points per serving the bechamel doesn't make this too extravagent for as indulgent as it tastes. Jax ate a full serving and asked for seconds, and he's usually not an eggplant fan!

It's also completely local except for the cheese and spices. The vegetables are from Full Belly Farm, beef is from Chileno in Petaluma, milk and butter are from Clover in Mendocino, and flour is from our grain share. The recipe below has it baked in a 9"x13" pan, but I made it in two 8"x8" pans with one frozen for after the baby arrives. One more meal ready for the freezer, and one very tasty meal for this evening!

Serves 12

1 large eggplant, diced, salted for 30 minutes, and rinsed thoroughly
about 2 lb. potatoes, diced and boiled to al dente (not quite soft - they'll finish cooking in the oven)
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 medium zucchinis, diced
1 lb. lean ground beef (lamb would also be good)
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 T dry oregano
5 ripe tomatoes, diced

Bechamel Sauce
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 1/2 c. milk, heated
salt and pepper
1 c. parmesan cheese, divided

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, and zucchinis until softened. Remove from the pan and cook ground beef until browned. Add the vegetables, spices, and tomatoes to the beef and simmer for 10 minutes or so for the flavors to combine.

While the beef mixture simmers, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Add 1/2 c. parmesan cheese and stir to combine.

In an oiled 9"x13" pan, layer eggplant, potatoes, beef mixture, and bechamel. Top with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the top is golden. Rest for 5-10 minutes and serve.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 7 (a tad bit late) and Week 8

Last night we enjoyed another local dinner, fresh from the farmer's market and absolutely delicious. I grilled eggplant slices and topped them with goat's milk brie from Spring Hill Cheese, grilled red onion, fresh tomato slices, and basil, all from our CSA veggie box, and sprinkled with olive oil and blackberry fig balsamic vinegar from Hare Hollow. Corn on the cob on the side completed the meal. So colorful and flavorful! It was a different take on the eggplant stacks that I made last summer out of Cooking Light magazine, with brie instead of goat cheese and more of a salad than a stack. Both versions are delicious with fresh summer vegetables.

This morning, for my 30th birthday (!!) Mr.M made me breakfast in bed and it is a local meal as well, the first for week 8. He made omelettes with Glaum eggs, Spring Hill cheese, and peppers from Happy Quail Farm in E. Palo Alto; bacon from TLC Ranch in Watsonville; and slices of watermelon from Full Belly.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 6 - Daily Menu

I've really been slacking on the blog lately! I've got to get back in the daily menu habit before the baby gets here so it's not so hard to switch gears back into Weight Watchers. Plus, it was all over the news yesterday that people who keep a food diary lose more than those who don't. I'm surprised that this is news - I've been hearing this for ages - but it is as good a reason as any to start tracking or keep it up if you're trying to lose weight.

So here's a One Local Summer daily menu. Everything on here has been locally grown except for the smoked trout at lunch.

Purslane omelette - purslane from Full Belly Farm, eggs from Glaum, and a bit of smoked sharp cheddar cheese* (my favorite!) from Spring Hill Cheese
1 c. apple juice* from Sonoma

Kamut-barley berry slaw with smoked trout (recipe from "Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way" by Lorna Sass)
Kamut and barley from Windborne Farm CSA, cabbage and carrot from Full Belly farm, dressing from a neighborhood lemon and Hare Hollow olive oil

Yogurt-peach-plum smoothie - yogurt from Wallaby in Napa, peaches and plums from a neighborhood tree (with permission)

Chicken in apricot-plum sauce - chicken thighs from Soul Food Farm in Vacaville (not much left of those chickens), apricots and plums from neighbors' trees (with permission), apples from our tree, balsamic vinegar from Hare Hollow in Healdsburg (omitting butter, using olive oil)
Roasted new potatoes with rosemary - potatoes from Full Belly, rosemary from a neighbor's bush (with permission)
Steamed green beans

* Points for those on Core

Thursday, July 3, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 4 - Carrot Potato Soup

I've been slacking on the blog lately! I'm catching up with housework, laundry, getting stuff ready for the new baby (just 5 more weeks!), spending time with Jax, and napping, and blogging has just taken a back seat lately. I'm still eating, but I'm not paying nearly as much attention to writing it down right now.

Last night I made a pot of delicious soup - carrots, potatoes, and chipotle peppers, with a little cheese and plain yogurt mixed in to mellow the peppers and give it a fuller flavor. I wish I'd written down the exact recipe, but I kind of made it up as I went along, adding things to taste as I thought they were needed. I thought there would be leftovers, but even Jax ate secodns

I did use all local ingredients, though, so it fits our One Local Summer plan. Onion, garlic, carrot, and potato all came from Full Belly Farm. I used sharp smoked cheddar from Spring Hill Cheese in Petaluma and Wallaby yogurt from Napa. The only non-local ingredients were the spices.