Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CSA Share Week #7

I picked up this week's box coming from our new office location and I realized it is a lot more annoying to get through 50th and France than you would think. Maybe, next time I will try to avoid that area. This week’s box contains, cucumbers, cabbage, zucchini, potatoes, raspberries, carrots, lettuce, kohlrabi, radishes and kale.

CSA Week 7

The box had more color than we have seen all season. From left to right, top to bottom: kale, raspberries, carrots, potatoes & cabbage. Stay tuned for some recipes with our new ingredients.

Kale, Raspberries, Carrots, Potatoes & Cabbage

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spaghetti with Zucchini & Chickpeas

While we were at the cabin, Heather brought a Real Simple magazine and while I was reading it I found this recipe. It looked really simple and I knew we had everything on hand, so we made it for dinner on Monday night.

Spaghetti with Zucchini & Chickpeas

Spaghetti with Zucchini & Chickpeas

Hands on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

12 ounces spaghetti (3/4 of a box)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small zucchini, cut into small half-moons
kosher salt
1 13-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, drain and return the pasta to the pot. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing often, until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, garlic and red peppers and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup Parmesan. Divide the pasta among the bowls and top with the zucchini mixture and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

We had some tomatoes from our garden sitting around, so we added a handful of those in right as the sauce was getting done. The tomatoes were a good addition.

Source: Real Simple Magazine

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Cabin

Kate invited us all to her uncle's cabin for the weekend. Kate, Kasie, Shanna, Heather, Jachin, Ty, Patrick & I ended up going. Kate's brother Mike & his fiance Bridget also joined us. We left around noon on Friday for Hackensack, MN, a small town about forty minutes north of Brainerd. Here are some pictures from around the cabin.

The Cabin

Friday night was pretty relaxed we arrived around three o'clock. So, we had time to enjoy the evening. Some people felt it was warm enough to go swimming, although it probably was only 70 degrees and windy. Here is Kate attempting to float on her floatie. This kept us all entertained for a while.

Kate's Floatie Attempt

Some more crazy fools in the water.


After our shish kabob dinner, Kate, Heather & Kasie went on a canoe ride, while the rest of us played badminton.


Kate, Heather & Kasie canoeing

On Saturday, we all woke up in the cabin except for Jachin who decided to be one with nature and slept outside until 1pm in the afternoon.

Jachin's Sleeping Quarters

While Jachin was sleeping, we all went to see the sights and sounds of Hackensack. Here are a few of the group as Paul Bunyon and his girlfriend Lucette.

Paul & Lucette

And the main attraction in Hackensack is a statue of Paul Bunyon's girlfriend Lucette. I guess there used to be a statue of Paul, Jr., there as well, but it is gone now.


Near the statue is a playground that took us back to our childhood. Everyone had a good time trying out all the playground equipment.

The Playground

Across the street was an old fashioned soda shop and a general store. Here are the girls trying on some hats at the general store.

Soda Pop Shop

Once we got back from Hackensack we ate lunch and some people went swimming. Patrick & I went fishing with Mike & Bridget. After the fishing experience, we had a bean bag tournment where Shanna & Jachin took home first place. Mike & Bridget unexpectedly had to leave early, so we had an early dinner before they left.

After dinner, we played volleyball for a couple hours at the campground next door. We started playing ourselves, but then a group of neighbors from Lakeville staying at the campground joined us and made it much more entertaining. Later in the evening Patrick & Ty convinced Shanna that she need to go to Andy's 29th birthday party down the road. This made for some interesting stories when they got back.

The Sunset

Sunday morning we played a little more volleyball, but it got really hot, really fast so we decided that was enough of that. We packed up our things and headed home. We all had a really good time and hopefully Kate's uncle invites us back next summer.

Here we all are:

The Group

Back Row: Ty, Heather, Kate, Kasie & Patrick. Front Row: Shanna, Jachin & me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tomatoes & Marghertia Pizza

On Sunday we noticed a couple roma tomatoes were almost ready for picking, so we planned to make margherita pizza on Tuesday night. The pizza was really good, we used premade pizza dough along with roma tomatoes & basil from our garden. With all the tomatoes we have growing, this will easily become a summer staple at our house. Here are our ceremonial first tomatoes, a few cherry tomatoes and two big romas.

cherry tomatoes

roma tomato

margherita pizza

Margherita Pizza
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. plum Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 fresh basil leaves cut into julienne strips
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
pizza crust (we used a refrigerated pizza crust from the dairy section)

Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and salt in bowl. Allow to marinate while making dough. Brush dough crust lightly with olive oil. Top with cheese, then tomatoes.
Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated 500F oven on pizza stone for 8−10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and top with parmesan cheese, then basil. Cool on a wire rack for 2−3 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.

Source: Recipe Pizza

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Volleyball, Mort's & Drive In Movie

Last Saturday, me, Patrick, Kate, Kasie, Shanna, Ty & Heather got together and played volleyball in SLP and then had an early supper at Mort's Deli, which was quite the experience. Our waitress let Kasie know that she really shouldn't order that sandwich "it's really not that good." Shanna had a gorgonzola & pear wrap that was caked in at least eight ounces of cream cheese. Everyone else enjoyed their Mort's experience. After volleyball & dinner we met up later at Kate's to go to the Cottage Grove Drive In Theater to see Harry Potter & The Proposal.

Rolling Down the Hill

We arrived fairly early since it was opening weekend for Harry Potter. We played a few games of bean bag toss and copied the kids and tried rolling down the hill. I had no idea what was going on during Harry Potter and decided a nap would be a good use of time, I did manage to stay awake for all of The Proposal.

Harry Potter & The Proposal

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Arugula & Pine Nuts

I saw this recipe online on Sunday afternoon and since we had everything on hand, I decided it would go well with our leftover chicken burgers. It was pretty good, not as good as the orzo pasta salad that we love, but still worth trying. We used fresh oregano, basil & cilantro from our herb garden and the arugula was from our CSA.

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Arugula & Pine Nuts
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 pound campanelle or fusilli pasta
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped oregano
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups baby arugula
1 1/4 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a pie plate, toast 3 tablespoons of the pine nuts until light golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water, then drain again; transfer to a large bowl. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cilantro, basil, oregano and garlic and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of pine nuts and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the pasta with the toasted pine nuts, arugula, tomatoes, red onion and the herb dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Source: Savory, Spicy, Sweet

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Garden Update

Despite the cool, dry weather our garden is doing pretty well. As you can see the tomato plants are still growing like crazy. I saw a few red roma tomatoes on the vines this morning, so hopefully this week we will be able to enjoy some of those.

The Garden Progress

Everything else is looking pretty good as well. We should have peas soon, which is good because it said in our CSA newsletter that the peas were finished for the year. The cucumbers and other varieties of tomatoes should be on track for an August harvest.

The Veggies

The rest of our garden is doing well, despite the lack of rain and our lack of watering. Here are some new blooms in the garden.

Hosta Flowers & Purple Flower

Day Lily


Easter Lily

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CSA Share Week #5

We got our third share of vegetables yesterday and I am familiar with how to cook most of them. We just used up the turnips from our last share in a couple Asian stir fry dishes and that worked out well. We still have the kohlrabi, so we will probably just end up eating that plain. Tomorrow, I am going to pick up some of our Alaskan Halibut from my Mom, so maybe we will grill some of the vegetables to go with that.

CSA Week 5

In this weeks box are: Green Beans, Summer Squash, Rapini, Scallions, Lettuce, Broccoli, Basil, Tarragon, and a bag of Birchwood Granola.

onions, summer squash, granola, green beans & broccoli

From left to right, top to bottom: green onions, summer squash, granola, green beans & broccoli.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Busy Saturday & CSA Veggies

Last Saturday Steve, Sandy & David were in town for a flight lesson in Chaska, so we had them over for lunch. It was a beautiful day, we all hung out on the deck and ate steaks, orzo salad & chocolate eclair dessert. It was fun to hang out with them for a while and then it was off to the Basilica Block Party.

Here is a compilation of pictures from the Block Party. Patrick & I picked up Jachin and we met up with Kasie, Kate, Shanna & Kate's friend Amy at the concert. This was the third year in a row that we have gone and we weren't disapointed. We saw both Matt Nathansen and the Counting Crows on the main stage. We got there early enough to have a decent spot, which made beer & bathroom runs later in the night interesting.

Basilica Block Party

We have been using our CSA vegetables for a few different kinds of Asian dishes, lettuce salads & arugula pesto. One of the Asian dishes Patrick made with the snow peas is below along with one of my lettuce salads with raspberries & balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

CSA Veggies & More

From left to right, top to bottom: Patrick's Asian Concoction, Chocolate Eclair Dessert, Orzo Salad with Lemon, Feta and Pine Nuts & Lettuce Salad with Raspberries.

Here is the recipe for the orzo salad, it has become a summer staple here at our house.

Orzo Salad with Lemon, Feta, and Pine Nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1.5 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup orzo
1 /4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped pitted oil-cured black olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 ounces feta cheese, drained and crumbled

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and add kosher salt. Add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender but firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the pine nuts in a dry small skillet over medium-low heat. Shake constantly until evenly toasted on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Drain the orzo and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the dressing to the hot pasta and toss to coat. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Add pine nuts, raisins, olives, red onion, and basil and stir to combine. Add the feta and toss lightly. Adjust seasonings with more salt and pepper as necessary.

Source: Bride & Groom: First & Forever Cookbook

Sunday, July 12, 2009

4th of July

For the 4th of July, we decided to stay close to home. Ty, Kate, Patrick and I were planning on playing volleyball at a park by Lake Minnetonka, then golf at Red Oaks and after all that come back to our house for tacos and maybe a movie.

We ended up playing volleyball at Lake Minnetonka with a group of people Ty knows. A couple hours into volleyball it started down pouring, so volleyball was done and golf was out. We went back to our house and had tacos and dessert. We ate dinner and drank margaritas and were exhausted from the day, so we decided to watch our Netflix movie "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," an awful movie, do not waste your time.

Here is the dessert, a 4th July version of strawberry shortcake.

Strawberry & Blueberry Shortcake

Berry Shortcake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup (about 2/3 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
sweetened strawberries (recipe below)
whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor, combine flour, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the milk; pulse just until moistened, 4 to 5 times. Do not over process.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface; with floured hands, gently pat the dough into a 4 x 8 inch rectangle.

Dust a large knife with flour; cut the dough into 8 squares. Transfer to a baking sheet; sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool on the baking sheet. To serve, split the biscuits with a serrated knife; layer with berries and whipped cream.

Sweetened Strawberries
1 lb strawberries
1/2 pint blueberries
1/4 cup sugar

Hull and quarter the strawberries; toss in a medium bowl with the sugar. Let stand until syrupy, tossing occasionally, at least 20 minutes (and up to 1 day, covered and refrigerated).

Source: Everyday Food

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Black Bean & Quinoa Chili

Before we got our CSA vegetables this week we made this chili. We had some leftover vegetables from grilling over the weekend and my mom had given me the quinoa a few weeks ago, so this was a quick weeknight meal since we already had everything on hand.

Black Bean &amp Quiona Chili

1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 19 ounce can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 yellow bell pepper (cut into bit sized pieces)
1 red bell pepper (cut into bit sized pieces)
1/2 eggplant (cut into bit sized pieces, optional)
1 tablespoon chipotle chili in adobo sauce (chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)

green onions and sour cream for garnish

Directions: Simmer the quinoa in the water until absorbed, about 20 minutes. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and saute until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, peppers, eggplant, chipotle, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the quinoa and corn and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Adapted From: Closet Cooking

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

CSA Share Week #3

Today, we got our first official share that we will be able to enjoy. We had a salad for dinner and I have plans for a few other dishes with the snap peas and kohlrabi.

Week 3 Share

This week’s box contains: lettuce, sugar snap peas, escarole, turnips, arugula, and kohlrabi.

From left to right, top to bottom: kohlrabi, escarole, snap peas and turnips.