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Post-storm Pancakes

October 30, 2012

We were lucky to survive the hurricane unscathed, retaining power and internet throughout the day yesterday and so far this morning. We haven’t ventured out of the house yet, but from the window and balcony we cannot see any damage. This morning we returned the garden to the balcony. The few plants that we had left out because the containers were too big to move were a bit battered, but they are still alive.

Carrots and Parsnips After the Storm

Basil After the Storm

During the storm we were worried about losing power so we tried to make our way through some of the frozen and refrigerated food. I made these oatmeal raisin cookies and we had turkey sausage and delicata squash for dinner.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Turkey Sausage and Roasted Delicata Squash

This morning I tried out a new banana chocolate chip pancake recipe. It used mashed banana in the batter which made them moist and dense. The recipe called for 1/2 c. of mashed banana which I got from only one banana. I wanted to use up more banana (we have a bunch of ripe ones), so I sliced another one and added it with the chocolate (for which I used chunks cut from a bar because we didn’t have chips). The pancakes were heavy but delicious. They aren’t too sweet so they definitely needed syrup.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Pancakes

Steamers, Spinach, and Brussel Sprouts

October 28, 2012

We’ve gotten to do some cooking this weekend. Both of us were a bit less swamped with work this weekend than we have been, and now with the hurricane approaching we’ll have at least an extra day at home. The good news is that means I have time to make a blog post. The bad news is that we brought all the plants from the garden inside and they are blocking my bath to the cord the connects my camera to the computer. So for the moment this will be a picture free post.

Last night we tried this recipe for Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Garlic with Thai-inspired Dressing. It was a great variation on the typical roasting method and the roasted garlic was delicious. We served it on the side with some sauteed chicken and a traditional risotto milanese.

This evening we made something new – steamers! Not only had we never cooked steamers before, but I had never eaten them until a few months ago during a trip to long island. We got the steamers from the market this morning and they survived a few hours in a cold bag while we were visiting with friends. They were very simple to make. I followed the instructions here: How to Cook Steamers. On the side we made spinach we got at the market. We sauteed it in olive oil with red chile flakes and lots of garlic. The possibility of a power outage has also inspired a good bit of ice cream consumption. All in all it was a great meal.

We have lots of canned food and cereal in case of emergency, but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to do some more cooking tomorrow.

Here’s a picture of a the steamers!

Still Cooking

October 3, 2012
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I apologize for the big gap between posts. With school and work up and running there hasn’t been much free time. Here are some brief updates.

We are still getting some tomatoes from the garden.

Zapotec Pleated Tomatoes on Grilled Cheese

There are still some carrots, parsnips, and beets that we’ll harvest eventually…assuming they make it. This weekend I found this intriguing and intimidating creature on the carrots. I did not attempt to remove him, which I may regret. We’ll see.

Crazy Looking Caterpillar

We have been doing some cooking, though with evening classes for graduate school it’s not as much as usual. The most exciting thing we made recently was this coconut red lentil soup.  I have a bit of a cold, and this is exactly what I was looking for. We’ve had it for dinner twice, and there is still a bit more. We forgot to add the toppings (scallions and cilantro) at first and found them to be unnecessary.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Here are a few other pictures from the kitchen.

Challah French Toast With Bananas

Spinach From the Market

Sauteed Spinach and Buffalo Blowfish Tails

Summer’s End Meals

August 31, 2012

As the summer is coming to a close the tomatoes are steadily rolling in.  With many of them we have been making simple salads with a little basil and balsamic vinegar. We also used some in this wheat berry salad with cucumbers and feta which made for a nice light dinner. It tasted simliar to a gazpacho but the wheat berries and feta made for a different texture. Unfortunately one small cucumber we harvested for use in this recipe will be our only one of the season. I’m not sure what happened, but the cucumber plants all withered. At no point did they seem as healthy as last year’s, but they seemed to be chugging along until the last couple weeks. Also unfortunate is the kale which is overrun by white flies at the moment. I think this is in part a reflection of my inattention to the details with all that has been going on this summer. I saw the first few start to settle but didn’t attack when I should have.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

And More Tomatoes! Plus the Lone Cucumber.

Tomato Salad with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar

Wheat Berry Salad with Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta

The most exciting harvest of the last couple weeks has been carrots and beets. Both of these crops were new to the garden this year. The containers were getting a bit crowded so I decided to pull a few in hopes that I would give others more space. We roasted them, and they were delicious. They were also beautiful, particularly the purple carrot.

Root Vegetable Harvest: Kaleidoscope Carrots and Ruby Queen Beet

Beautiful Carrot

Beets Ready for Roasting

The strawberries are also doing well. I’m getting about 4 little berries every couple days. They are quite flavorful and make perfect cereal toppers. I’ve been making a sort of breakfast soup that is an adaptation of this recipe for strawberry banana cream cereal. I was unable to find raw amaranth at the store, but I like the idea of banana cream so I use it with muesli instead and then top it with whatever fruit I have.

Strawberry Harvest

Breakfast Soup: Banana Cream, Muesli, Strawberries, and Nectarines

One of the best things I made over the last couple of weeks was this roasted eggplant salad with almonds and goat cheese. I left out the parsley and used roasted almonds instead of smoked. It was a hearty dinner and was still delicious for lunch the next day.

Roasted Eggplant Salad

Chicago Wanderings

August 24, 2012
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Last week we spent a lovely long weekend in Chicago. The weather was gorgeous! Chicago is a beautiful city and it was full of inspiring art, music, and history as well as delicious food. Below is a list of some of the best places we visited.

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Food Places

The Purple Pig:  pork neck bone gravy with ricotta smear, house made veal mortadella sausage with spinach, fresh chickpeas, and preserved cherry tomatoes.

GT Fish & Oyster: oyster po’boy slider, salted caramel tart.

Girl & the Goat: sauteed green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews, goat loin with vegetables.

Big Star: ensalada de big star.

Xoco: pepito torta.

Hoosier Mama Pie Company: Peach raspberry pie with pecan crumble.

Black Dog Gelato: Goat cheese cashew carmel gelato.

Non-Food Places

House of Two Urns B&B

Art Institute

Shedd Acquarium

Frank Lloyd Wright House and Studio

Wrigley Field

Buddy Guy’s Legends

Grant Park Music Festival

Jane Adams Hull-House Museum

August Garden Update

August 12, 2012

Here are some pictures of the garden. The tomatoes have started rolling in. Yesterday I counted 45 on their way, and I didn’t include the tiny ones!

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Grilled Kale Salad and Other Partially Homegrown Dishes

August 12, 2012

Another way to prepare kale! Not only is the kale the most productive crop in my garden again this year, but there seems to be endless ways to make use of it. Last night I made this Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta and Plums using a mixture of the dino and vates blue curled kales. I picked up the plums from the market and they were sweet and delicious. I was thinking that the whole thing would go nicely on some toasted baguette next time around.

We also cooked the last quarter of the giant zucchini and some sausages. On the side I made a variation on this farro salad. I used wheat berries instead of farro and regular green beans rather than romano beans. I combined one big and a couple of tiny tomatoes from the garden with some cherry tomatoes from the market and added our two purple beans to the ones I had gotten at the store. All in all it was a great meal!

Kale, Zucchini, and Sausage on the Grill

Grille Kale Salad with Plums and Ricotta

Tomatoes from the Garden

Two Purple Beans from the Garden

Main Course