Assignment 2

Our first recepie for Assignment 2 was we made a vegetable pizza pictured below and with the following ingredients:

Trader Joe’s Ready to Bake Garlic and Herb Pizza dough

Pizza sauce (canned or home made)

Healthy 8 chopped veggie mix from Trader Joe’s (brocoli, carrots, green cabbage, red cabbage, jicama, green bell peppers, radish and celery)

Mozarella Cheese

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Instructions to assemble:

Saute’ the chopped veggie mix (about 2 cups) in 2 TBLS of olive oil until soft and set to the side

On a round pan, press out half of the pizza dough out to the edge and spread over lightly over with olive oil(save other half of dough for the next pizza!)

Place under oven broiler for about 4 minutes (slightly brown) then remove from oven

Spread pizza sauce over browned pizza crust to taste(we used about 1/2 a cup)

Sprinkle saute’ veggie mix over the pizza

Sprinkle about 2 cups of cheese over the pizza

Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes (grilling is an option)

You can also add any meats to your liking

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Our second recipe for Assignment 2 was stewed rhubarb.

6 cups of fresh rhubarb

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of water

Mix all ingrediens in a lare saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring unitl sugar is dissolved.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer uncovered, stirring often, about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened and rhubarb is in threads.  Cool.  Makes about 3 cups.  Good on icecream, in oatmeal or just plain.20170516_165733[1]

Homework Two: Not so pretty, but pretty nice

My great-grandfather came to the USA from Sweden to work building the Ford plant in Flint, Michigan.  After about two years he sent for his wife and five children to come here to live.   My great-grandmother left Sweden with the children and “a cheese ball as big as your head”.   By the time they got to Ellis Island the cheese ball was gone.   They traveled to Flint and shortly after setting up the household, my great-grandmother died, leaving my Great-grandfather with all those children.

After a series of “housekeepers” who were tormented by the children, my great-grandfather wrote to his brother in Sweden and asked him to send him a wife.   His brother told him he had found one, but she was “not so pretty, but pretty nice”.   She must have been pretty enough, because they went on to have four more children.

I thought of this story in relation to an article that I read in Cooking Light about wasting less produce.   Tip number five was “Give ugly produce some love”

Buy misshapen “ugly” fruits and vegetables whenever you can.   While not exactly ready for their close-up, they’re just as tasty as their comelier counterpoints.   Think big picture.   The more they sell, the less they’ll be wasted nationwide.  That’s no small potatoes.  (Tim Cebula, Cooking Light, May 2017, pg 141)

This got me to thinking about ugly produce and I wondered if there truly were ugly fruits and vegetables.   I was not thinking about “good looking” produce that had gone bad, but produce that had been ugly from birth.   I decided to go to the supermarket and look for “less comely” vegetables or fruits.

 

Ugli Fruit

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The first time I noticed an ugli fruit in the grocery store, I thought someone had mistakenly put a vegetable in the fruit section.   It was a bit bigger than a grapefruit, mottled yellow and looked like it had the “warts” that are found on some squash.   In this picture it is next to a lime.

According to Wikipedia, an Ugli is a Jamaican form of tangelo, a citrus fruit created by hybridizing a grapefruit, an orange and a tangerine.   It is described as being characterized by thick skin and a flavor that is more sour than an orange and less bitter than a grapefruit.   It can be eaten like a grapefruit, squeezed for juice for hot or cold drinks and the segments can be added to salads or deserts.   Possibilities are only limited by the imagination.

For my three variations on ungli fruit, I chose to adapt recipes for lemons, anticipating that it would be quite tart.   To my surprise, when I cut my ugli fruit open, the flavor was mildly sweet, less acidic than an orange and definitely less bitter than a grapefruit.   The segments were huge and had heavy membranes and lots of pith.  There was also a large hole in the middle.

Cut horizontally, it looked like a really big grapefruit.

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Cut vertically it was slightly tear-drop shaped and the segments looked like big ears.

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I made three dishes with my ugli fruit.   For my first recipe, I re-visited the beet salad that didn’t go so well last week   I put ugli segments into a salad of beets to replace the lemons in the original recipe.

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Recipe One: Beet and Ugli Salad

  1. One quarter of an ugli fruit
  2. Four large beets, roasted and peeled (about five ounces each) (Two yellow and two red)
  3. One fourth cup loosely packed beet leaves (thoroughly washed and chopped)
  4. Two tablespoons olive oil
  5. Salt to taste
  6. One fourth teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. Optional, chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, etc.)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil.   Roast for about 50-60 minutes.   They are ready when a knife slips easily into the flesh.   Re-wrap each beet and cool until they can be handled comfortably.
  • Cut the ugli fruit in half horizontally. Then cut one half vertically.   Fold back the skin so that the segments fan out.   Remove the segments and remove the membranes and pith from each segment.
  • Thinly slice roasted beets crosswise into one-eighth-inch-thick rounds.
  • Arrange beet slices, ugli segments, and beet greens on a large platter.   Drizzle with oil.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

 

This was good but I almost wished that it had been a bit more tart.   This would be a fun dish for a Gopher football party because there was nice contrast between the maroon beets and gold beets.

 

 

I also made “ugli marmalade” which is a condiment for meat and poultry.   The lemon version of the recipe was designed for use on “more gamy meats”.   While not particularly attractive it did have good flavor once I added some ginger.   I think if I make it again I will use white or yellow unions instead of the red onions.

Recipe Two: UGLI & Onion Marmalade

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 UGLI
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2.5 oz white sugar
Fresh black pepper

 

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil gently in a large pan, add the onions, cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for ten minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, use a potato peeler to peel the rind of 1 UGLI®.
  3. Slice the rind thinly and add to the onions once they have cooked for ten minutes.
  4. Cook for a further ten minutes.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut off all the pith from the UGLI® and segment the flesh into a bowl.
  6. Add this to the onion along with the vinegar, sugar and black pepper.
  7. Boil on a high heat for about 15 minutes.

 

The marmalade can be made a couple days in advance. It can be served cold or reheated just before serving (simply put a little water in a pan with the marmalade to stop it from drying out in the pan). It is delicious served with roast pork, duck, venison or any gamey meats

Recipe Three: Ugli Sorbet

My final dish was “Ugli sorbet”.   By now I had figured out that I didn’t need the “heavy syrup” that was called for in the recipe.   The juice of the fruit was more than adequate.    I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I used the second technique (see Recipe Note below).   The result was more like shaved ice, but was very refreshing and definitely worth trying again

Makes 1 pint, or about 1.25 cups

1 cups water
1 cups sugar (or less)
1 cups freshly squeezed Ugli juice
½ tablespoons freshly grated ugli zest

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar, and boil until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the ugli juice and zest, then pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen into ice crystals (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

Recipe Note

  • Sorbet Without an Ice Cream Maker: If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can transfer mixture to a 9×13 metal baking pan. Freeze until firm (about 2 to 3 hours), stirring with a fork every half hour.

 

I think ugli is a fruit that more people should try.   The membranes are quite thick but they are fairly easy to remove so making segments for a salad was easy.    The flavor is sweetly mild and would be good for people who are bothered by the acidity of orange or grapefruit juice.   The segments are quite large so would be easy for a person with vision issues.   They are very easy to peel and would be good for someone with arthritic hands.

 

Celeriac Root

When I was looking for ugly produce I came across the Celeriac Root.   My first thought was that it looked like a little hairy shrunken head.   It was not a bit “comely”.

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Celeriac is not really the root of the celery plant, but looks like one.   The plant is evidently more floppy and the stalks are closed rather than semi-circular.   Here is a cross-section of the stalk of my celeriac root.   This is shown next to a cherry tomato so that you can get a sense of size.

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I have also included a picture of a cross section of the root.   Note the interesting marbling affect within the root

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Celeriac is known to have a subtle flavor and a slightly crunchy texture.  It is quite popular in French cooking.    I had imagined something like a jicama, which I like very much.   I found the celeriac root to be very fibrous, so it is possible that it was because it was out of season.

 

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Recipe 4: Celeriac Apple Slaw

The first recipe that I tried was for Celeriac/Apple slaw.   This consisted of julienned pieces of Granny Smith apple and celeriac root in a mayonnaise dressing.    The original recipe did not include the pepper flakes, but the dish looked a little boring without a little more color.   Also it add a spark of flavor to an otherwise neutral  dish.

On the day that I made it, the celeriac was very “woody” and I almost threw it out.   I did wait until the next day and it was somewhat more crunchy than “woody”, so the root must have absorbed some moisture from the mayonnaise.   The flavor wasn’t bad, but this definitely was a “prepare ahead” dish.   I think I might have enjoyed it more in a vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar

Recipe 5: Celeriac Pasta with Puttanesca Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 lb. / 500g celeriac

Directions:
1. Slice off the knobby exterior of the celeriac – this may leave you with only ¾ of the original vegetable. Slice the root into half-inch (1.25cm) sections. Using a mandoline slicer, run the celeriac slices lengthwise to create ribbons. I recommend a 1mm thickness.
2. Place celeriac ribbons in a large bowl and toss with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside until ready to use.

Puttanesca Sauce
Ingredients:
¼ cup /60ml high-quality olive oil
2 small red onions, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. crushed chili flakes (more or less according to taste)
2 cans (14oz/400g) organic crushed tomatoes
3 Tbsp. capers, plus more for garnish
5 oz. /150g high-quality black olives / 1 cup (purchase them with pits. I like Kalamata olives best), plus more for garnish
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
a couple pinches of salt, to taste
caper berries for garnish (optional)
flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:
1.  In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on low heat. Add the crushed chili flakes and let steep as the oil warms up. When the oil is hot add the garlic and let fry gently for 1-2 minutes, then add the onion and cook until translucent, 5 minutes or so. Watch that the oil doesn’t get too hot – use a thermometer if needed and remove it from the burner if necessary (olive burns around 320°F / 160°C).
2. While the onions are cooking, pit the olives by lining several up on a cutting board and smashing them with the flat side of a knife blade. The pits are now easily removed. Roughly chop once or twice.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the oil, stir well, and cover to simmer for as long as you have (minimum 10 minutes). If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little water until the desired consistency is reached.
4. Place desired servings of celeriac pasta in each bowl. Serve with the hot sauce on top, and garnish with a few extra olives, capers and caper berries. Drizzle with olive oil and chopped parsley. Enjoy.

 

Puttanesca means “Italian ladies of the night” and this dish was reportedly used to entice men to come to visit the ladies.   Despite its disreputable name, however, I must admit that it was a very tasty tomato sauce and I will make it again.

The Celeriac “pasta” , on the other hand, was not a success.   As I struggled to shave the root with the vegetable peeler I came perilously close to skinning the knuckles of my non-dominant hand.   The best I could do was “celeriac chips”   I quickly decided to switch to normal pasta.

Recipe 6: Smashed Celeriac Root

The third dish will be mashed celeriac with potatoes.   I haven’t made this dish yet but it appears to be prepared much the same way as regular mashed potatoes.   I think I will soak it over night before cooking, however, since moisture seems to temper its texture.

Home Assignment 2

I had never purchased fresh artichokes before because they just look intimidating and I really had no idea how to prepare them or eat them.  So, for this week’s assignment I started by going to the internet to read about artichokes.  First I read about their history. Apparently they are mentioned as a garden plant by Homer in the 8th century BC!  Then I discovered that almost all the artichokes sold in the United States come from California. I spent some time searching for artichoke recipes but I had to go back to the internet to read more about the parts of an artichoke before I could understand the recipe directions. IMG_1457

I wanted to cook fresh artichokes so I ended up just steaming them over a poaching liquid of water, chicken broth and lemon rinds. Then I cut off the petals and made some lemon garlic aioli sauce for a dip. It was a messy appetizer to eat but it was actually quite good.

Like many people I would like to try to eat more greens and salads.  So the second type of produce that I purchased this week was romaine lettuce.  I love Caesar salad and I usually buy bottled Caesar salad dressing but this week I made Caesar dressing from scratch.  I started by cutting a loaf of bread into cubes to making croutons.IMG_1400

Then I made the dressing.  I had to poke the ends of 4 raw eggs with a needle and place the eggs in boiling water for 90 seconds.  IMG_1401

Then I cracked the eggs and spooned out the semi cooked egg and whisked it together with olive oil, lemon juice, and minced anchovies. The result was a dressing that was so much better than any “gourmet” dressing that I could ever buy at the grocery store.  While the Caesar dressing was a little bit difficult to make I experimented with a few other vinaigrette dressings  this week and discovered that they were all fairly easy to make and amazingly good.  I might just quit buying store bought salad dressings!

 

Adventures with Kohlrabi

For this assignment, I grabbed some Kohlrabi from Hy-Vee because I had never used it and knew nothing about it.  I searched for recipes, and decided to make Kohlrabi “fries”, a Kohlrabi slaw to go on top of grilled chicken sausages, and a kohlrabi honey crisp apple salad.  I was pleasantly surprised with how all of them turned out, particularly the salad.  I will definitely keep that one in the rotation.

My internet research indicated that kohlrabi had similar texture and taste to a broccoli stem or a combination of a turnip and radish, which proved true, although I think it was sweeter than broccoli and more versatile.  Peeling it was the most difficult part.  I ended up using a paring knife, which worked well, but did not a lot of the vegetable to work with.  Looking back, I should have doubled the amount I bought.

Kohlrabi 1

The first recipe was the fries, which was very simple.  Peel, slice into matchsticks, coat with flour, then fry in canola oil.  The last step was sprinkling the fries with paprika.

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12350-kohlrabi-home-fries

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds kohlrabi
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour, chickpea flour or semolina (more as needed)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons canola oil or grapeseed oil, as needed
  • Chili powder, ground cumin, curry powder or paprika to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Peel the kohlrabi and cut into thick sticks, about 1/3 to 1/2 inch wide and about 2 inches long.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet (cast iron is good). Meanwhile, place the flour in a large bowl, season with salt if desired and quickly toss the kohlrabi sticks in the flour so that they are lightly coated.
  3. When the oil is rippling, carefully add the kohlrabi to the pan in batches so that the pan isn’t crowded. Cook on one side until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then, using tongs, turn the pieces over to brown on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. The procedure should take only about 5 minutes if there is enough oil in the pan. Drain on paper towels, then sprinkle right away with the seasoning of your choice. Serve hot.

Next up was the slaw.  I used a cheese grater to shred the kohlrabi, which worked just ok.  I think larger holes in the shredder would have made it less watery and mushy, although it still complemented the sausages nicely.  I can’t seem to find the recipe I used, but it was very simple, just olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Kohlrabi slaw

The salad was another online find.  I didn’t have fresh tarragon so I used dried, and I didn’t have sunflower seeds so I skipped those.  It was my favorite preparation of the three.  Next time I might add carrots to give it some additional color and variety.

Kohlrabi salad 2

http://cookieandkate.com/2015/crispy-apple-kohlrabi-salad-recipe/

Crispy Apple and Kohlrabi Salad

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Salad

4.5 from 8 reviews

This super simple kohlrabi salad features honeycrisp apple, lemon, tarragon and olive oil! It’s a delicious and unique fall side salad. You’ll love it! Recipe yields 4 side servings or 2 large.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small kohlrabi (about 1 pound, I used the green variety but purple would be prettier), cut into matchsticks about ¼″ wide
  • 1 large Honeycrisp apple (about ½ pound), cored and cut into matchsticks about ¼″ wide
  • ⅓ cup grated gouda cheese (optional, not shown)
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds*
  • Lemon zest, to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • Flaky sea salt (like Maldon) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large serving bowl, combine the kohlrabi and apple matchsticks. Add the cheese, if using, and the tarragon leaves and sunflower seeds. Shave lemon zest liberally over the bowl (I probably used about half of a small lemon’s worth or more).
  2. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, then sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. Use your hands to gently toss the salad, then add another drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice if the salad seems dry. Finish with another light sprinkle of salt and pepper and serve immediately.

This was a fun assignment and one that I will do on my own in order to get out of the rut of making the same 3-4 things over and over again!

Home Assignment #2

I was excited about this assignment because I’d been wanting to make yucca fries for a while and this was the perfect push!  I chose 3 different produce items for the 3 recipes: yucca, artichoke and eggplant.  Yucca is the only one I had a recipe in mind for, but I always loved when my mom cooked artichoke as a kid and figured I should learn how to cook it and I’ve had eggplant in curry before and really liked the texture so I thought I should try that out too.   It was difficult, however, to get all 3 recipes done in the week as we don’t generally go grocery shopping until Friday/Saturday.  I did it though and here is what I made:

Recipe 1: Yucca Fries

  1.  Peel the yucca (it was very thick and waxy and gave me a good workout).
  2. Cut yucca into fries.  I didn’t realize until I was about to cut it that there was a fibrous core to the yucca that you were supposed to avoid.  Everything was the same color so it felt impossible to tell where the core started, but I figured the part that was hard to cut into was the core and I avoided that.  Because I had to cut around that, my fries weren’t in the prettiest of shapes, but it worked.
  3. Boil until tender (about 10 minutes).
  4. Drain and pat dry, then toss with 2 tbsp. coconut oil, 1/4 tsp salt and some black pepper.
  5. Lay yucca on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
  6. Flip fries, then bake for another 15 minutes.

These were delicious and were a huge hit with my boyfriend.  I would highly recommend this recipe!  We will be cooking this again soon, but trying them as chips instead of fries next time.

Recipe 2: Lemon Artichoke

  1. Wash artichoke
  2. Cut off stem and tops (we cut off almost down to the heart, probably could have cut less).
  3. Cut slices of lemon
  4. Fill pot with water, lemon slices and artichoke.  Artichoke should be upside down in pot.  We figured this was the best way so the water could get into the artichoke.
  5. Bring to boil, then turn heat down to simmer.
  6. Simmer for 1 hour.
  7. Serve with lemon juice.

I was very happy with this recipe because it was easy and it was much more healthy than how my mom used to serve it (dipping it in mayonnaise).  Also, my boyfriend who doesn’t like many vegetables liked this which is a miracle in and of itself!  Will definitely make again.

Recipe 3: Baked Eggplant

  1. Beat 1 egg in bowl.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup parmesan (or mexican cheddar since we didn’t have parmesan) and 1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs.  Add a little salt/pepper.
  3. Cut eggplant into thick slices.
  4. Dip eggplant in egg, then roll in cheese/breadcrumb mixture.
  5. Place on greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake on 375 for 20 minutes (until bottom is golden brown).
  7. Flip eggplant and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with marinara (or spicy red pepper pasta sauce if you’re me).

I cooked this recipe late at night so I only tasted it, then saved it for lunch today.  I liked it with the red sauce, but it might be too bland by itself.  This would be good on pasta or as a side to another meal.  I’m happy to have another side option because I never know what to make aside from broccoli, cauliflower, or something like that.  Stamp of approval from boyfriend on this one too.  Overall, a very successful cooking week!

Yucca drive me crazy!

First of all, I have to admit that I found this week’s assignment quite challenging – barely found the time to cook three times, and cooking new recipes was daunting to say the least.

I approached this assignment by going to Cub’s and staring at their produce aisle in search for something that doesn’t sound familiar. My search soon narrowed to three vegetables (?): yucca, chayote squash and tomatillos. Smartphone in hand, I searched for recipes with each as keyword (thank God for Google!), and seeing that tomatillos go pretty much only in green salsa – and being much too hungry to be content with that for my dinner – I decided on the spot to pick the first two as my go-to vegetables (or whatever the heck they are) this week.

Recipe 1: Yucca in garlic sauce

The first recipe I attempted was yucca in garlic sauce from this website: http://www.food.com/recipe/yucca-with-garlic-sauce-yuca-con-mojo-148632. Admittedly, duration was my main criterion for choosing this recipe, as 55 minutes seemed reasonable. It ended up taking me almost twice that time 😐 . Turns out this recipe required some mind reading in addition to the plain reading I learned in school – the recipe doesn’t explicitly say to cover the darn thing with WATER (not just lime juice) and bring to boil but guess what – yucca won’t get tender if you just saute it! I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the yucca to get softer to no avail. Finally, I listened to the little culinary instinct I could muster and added some water, and voila!  – tenderness at last! Only an hour later than scheduled – and probably still not tender enough. The mix of garlic, lemon juice, onions and olive oil heated until bubbling released a mouth watering aroma, and in the end I decided that the thing was, after all, edible. My only problem with it was that it was too oily for my taste (perhaps I should have adjusted the quantities in the recipe?), and a few bites were enough to make me feel full (I normally don’t use so much oil in cooked food) and craving for a pickle.

 

 Recipe 2: Yucca in coconut sauce

Armed with more patience and the valuable knowledge that yucca needs to boil in water, the next recipe I decided on was yucca in coconut sauce: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/cassava-in-coconut-sauce-mahogo-wa-nazi-carla-hall. The short declared time duration again made this one very appealing, plus I was secretly hoping it would be as yummy as the thai coconut curries I sometimes have when eating out. Wishful thinking!

I ended up cutting the amount of coconut cream and coconut milk recommended in half because it just seemed too sweet and too fatty to me – to not much avail – the dish was still too sweet and too fatty for my taste when dinner is concerned. I cut corners with the toasted coconut flakes and fresh jalapeños for garnish (used plain coconut flakes and pickled jalapeños – since I’m not much of a fan of them anyway), so my end result looked like a disappointing caricature of the picture on the recipe website. But it was edible, and only ended up throwing a little bit of it :\ .

Recipe 3: Chayote squash

After my incursion into the realm of sweet coconut yucca delights, I decided I needed to return to the familiar grounds of savory food for dinner, albeit with an unknown vegetable.

The last recipe I tried this week was chayote squash with onions: http://www.food.com/recipe/chayote-and-onions-8902 .

This was probably my favorite out of the three (although still a bit too oily), and the recipe was just as I like it: quick and easy. I only replaced the oregano with an Italian mix that had some other herbs in addition to oregano, but other than that followed the recipe closely. For some protein, I grilled a sausage on the side.

 

Conclusions: Not sure I will cook any of these recipes again, since I wasn’t blown away by any of them. To be honest, I prefer my go-to fresh tomato salad and feta cheese dinner over all three. So from this perspective, I think my “healthy/ veggie” eating has possibly gone down this week – perhaps due to poor recipe choices. As for purchasing fresh produce in bulk, I don’t think that can work for me since I don’t cook so much at a time and they’d go bad.

New Produce, New Techniques

Parsnips and Artichokes

Two types of produce that I had never before purchased were parsnips and artichokes.  The reason for parsnips:  my husband hated them from his childhood; could I find a way to make them taste OK?  (We never had them at all in my home growing up.)  The reason for artichokes:  they were a total mystery, so figuring out to cook and eat them would be a challenge.  Parsnips were $1.99 /pound, and I bought 2 pounds.  Artichokes were $0.99 each, a real sale price since they are in season.  I bought 6, having no idea how much or little food that might be.

Parsnip “fries” seemed like a good starting place to try to change my husband’s mind about parsnips.  After all, he really like the potato “fries” I made last week.   I found “Bombay Parsnip and Carrot Fries” in The Frugal Paleo Cookbook by Ciarra Hannah (checked out from the library).

parsnip fries recipe

The “Indian Seasoning Blend” is 3/4 tsp ground cumin, 3/4 tsp ground coriander, 3/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon. I kept a small quantity without the Indian Seasoning for comparison.

This time I remembered to photograph my beautiful fries before we ate them all.  The seasoning was great!  A parsnip success!

parsnip fries 4parsnip fries 5

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My husband’s unhappy parsnip memories involved “my Mom baked them in the oven, and I hated them”.  Now the challenge would be to find a recipe that baked them flavorfully.  “Creamy Baked Parsnips with Thyme” looked mighty good to me (http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com/creamy-baked-parsnips-with-thyme/).  I prepared the recipe using grated Manchego cheese, knowing the leftover block would disappear quickly as appetizer snacks.  I had to hunt awhile at the grocery store for whole milk yogurt; that is not an ingredient I had used before.

I thought the baked parsnips tasted great!  My husband conceded they were pretty good, but maintained the ingredients would be better used on potatoes!

creamy parsnips

 

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The third parsnip use would be just to add them to a slow-cooker meal.  I found an interesting looking recipe in January 2017 “Eating Well” magazine, “Slow-Cooker Braised Beef”.  But wait, I thought the recipe said carrots and parsnips…too late, the pot roast has already been thawed.  Parsnips should work as well as turnips…

slow cooker recipe

This recipe used a combination of spices for the pot roast that I would never have considered:  cinnamon, allspice, and cloves along with the salt and pepper.  The result was quite tasty, and I thought the stewing liquid really gave the parsnips the best taste of all the methods I tried.

I made the polenta side dish, too, and that went very well with the tomato-ey sauce.

 

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Since I had no idea how to tackle the artichokes (I had never even touched one before Saturday morning), I headed for my trusty 1972 Betty Crocker cookbook.  Betty would tell me what to do.

I turned to page 414 for not only a recipe, but also how to eat the thing.  Yes!  I figured I would really get fancy and make the suggested hollandaise sauce from page 357.

boiled artichokes recipeHollandaise

I found a kettle that would let me cook 3 at once.  I read somewhere online that you want to keep them inverted while boiling, so I weighed them down with a lid to keep them from turning over.  While they simmered I prepared the hollandaise, which I thought came together pretty nicely.

Well, maybe artichoke is an acquired taste, though it was kind of interesting how you eat them by drawing the petals (yeah!  they are a flower!) through your teeth to eat the meaty part of the petal.  My husband and I had part of one of them served warm with the hollandaise sauce (which had too much lemon to my taste…).  The other two went into the refrigerator…maybe they are better chilled with a dip?

 

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Perhaps boiling isn’t the best way to enjoy them?  So online I found a recipe to roast them instead.  The next evening I tried “Roasted Artichokes with Lemon Tarragon Butter” (  http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/2012/04/roasted-artichokes-w-lemon-tarragon.html ).  The prep on this was much quicker.  The lemon tarragon butter was GREAT, but the artichoke petals were leathery.  We ate even less of this artichoke, though I did make an effort to at least consume the meaty heart.

 

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My third try was an artichoke soup recipe (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/artichoke_soup/ ) .  This one seemed really safe, it looked mostly like a potato/onion soup with some artichoke added.

potatoes and stock

For this preparation, it was necessary to get to the heart of the artichoke before cooking.  This felt like a plant anatomy class.  When the artichoke is raw you can clearly see the center flower disk, called the choke.  All those little hairy fibers would make you choke if you ate them, so the name is apt.  The heart disk you end up with is sure not much of the whole artichoke globe!

petals plucked

Petals removed

choke

You can see why they call it the choke.

Thi

the heart

The heart of the artichoke

Since I was only preparing half the recipe, I needed 2 1/2 artichoke hearts.  I used the last two raw artichokes to prepare 2 of the hearts.  Those were sautéed in butter as per the recipe.  Since I still needed at least 1/2 more heart, I went to one of the leftover boiled artichokes, plucked off the cooked petals*, cut away the choke, and added the boiled, chopped artichoke heart at the same time as the potatoes.  Beyond finding the heart of the artichoke, the other highlight of this soup prep was I actually used the food mill that has been in my kitchen for decades (it lives in the turkey roasting pan) but perhaps used only 3 or 4 times.

puree soup

I have the soup stored at the “make ahead” stage.  It tasted pretty good so far, and adding butter and cream before serving will only make it better!  I just am not sure I can identify the artichoke flavor amidst the onions, garlic, and other spices.

(*I still have one boiled artichoke in the refrigerator.  I will try eating that cold with a lemon tarragon butter dip.)

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Shopping this week included more produce than I usually buy. ( I am pretty sure I should not buy a CSA share, just don’t think with only 2 of us in the house we would get through all the produce.  I will still visit farmers markets, though.)   I think I didn’t eat more produce, just different produce.  It was rather an effort to consume the parsnips and artichokes since we just didn’t consider them favorites.  The recipes I chose used shallots, leek, and fresh herbs beyond the parsnip and artichoke star players, which were not in my “staples”.  I also had to purchase avocado oil and coriander, but those can be used in many recipes moving forward.

I see just now the challenge to include the produce in a breakfast.  Hmmm, maybe I can try turning some of the creamy baked parsnips into something like hash browns?  Wish me luck!                                                                                                   –Janet Anderson