Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spring meal: White pizza with ramps & strawberry salad.

From our CSA this week, we received more flavorful salad greens, mustard greens, 2 pints of strawberries, & a bunch of radishes. We hadn't even finished our first set of salad greens yet! Plus, we've had 3 weeks of strawberries. PLUS! We've still have copious amounts of ramps & scallions. What to do!!

So, tonight I made a white pizza with ramps & a strawberry salad. It was a very nice balanced meal. PLUS!! We had a nice white wine with the meal.


Just a warning - don't be afraid of the number of ramps. Ramps are much mellower than garlic or scallions/leeks. Don't fear the ramps!

Here's the basic recipe:

White pizza with ramps
10 ramps
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 or 3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese (we used Sargento's reduced fat Italian blend)
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2-3 tablespoons dried basil (or a handful of fresh basil)
1-2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tomato, diced
1 pizza crust

So, I did a dirty, clever trick with the tomato. I purchased an heirloom tomato from the crappy Giant near me (not the super nice Giant). Mostly, heirloom tomatoes have tons of tomato flavor, which is indicated by their scent & their minimal travel time. However, I screwed up & chose a random heirloom without a good scent that traveled from Canada. After I chopped the tomato, I sprinkled it with a very small amount of sugar & a ton of basil. Then, it tasted more tomatoey. It wasn't perfect, but it was better than tasting like water.

Basically, the pizza crust is topped with ricotta cheese, then 1/2 of the ramps, the seasonings, then the tomatoes, then the shredded cheese. (Jeff says that you can cook all of the ramps in the pizza. I liked a few of them raw on top. But taste a raw ramp & choose your own adventure!) Sprinkle the top with the parmesan. Also, I brushed the exposed crust with some olive oil & sprinkled with some parmesan.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Top the pizza with the rest of the ramps & (if you're feeling feisty, some fresh arugula leaves).

Enjoy with a nice white wine, such as a 2007 Cascina del Pozzo Arneis Roero (Italian white table wine - cheap!). Also, make a nice green salad & top with sliced strawberries & balsamic vinaigrette.

Very Spring-y!

Aside: Ramps are SUPER ULTRA good pan-fried with potatoes. Just add the ramps near the end of the cooking. Nice onion/garlic flavor with potatoes - very good!!

Two Fruit Smoothies from Annette

Judging from the humidity in the air, summer is almost here.  And, I had a coupon for frozen it's smoothie season.  To discuss smoothies, I must explain my love for my Cuisinart Immersion Blender.  It was one of the kitchen tools I didn't think I'd use often, yet ended up using all the time!  Puree problem, whip mash potatoes..done, make a smoothie... easy!

Blueberry & Strawberry Smoothie

1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen whole strawberries (thawed slightly)
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (cows milk or soy milk)
1/8 cup (more or less...) milk (cows, rice, soy, almond, hemp, goat... :) )
1/2 Tablespoon ground flax seed

Directions: Toss all ingredients except milk in a tall glass (I used the plastic one that came with the blender).  Stick in the blender and blend away.  I add a little bit of milk at a time to help it blend and also to get the consistency I want.  Enjoy!

Or what about...

PB & J Smoothie

1 cup frozen whole strawberries (thawed slightly)
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (cows milk or soy milk)
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1/8 cup (more or less...) milk (cows, rice, soy, almond, hemp, goat... :) )
1/2 Tablespoon ground flax seed

Directions: Toss all ingredients except milk in a tall glass (I used the plastic one that came with the blender).  Stick in the blender and blend away.  I add a little bit of milk at a time to help it blend and also to get the consistency I want.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Italian Love Affair Soup

Annette here: One of my roommates' from college mom used to make a huge pot of Tortellini Soup and bring it over to us sometimes.  It is delicious and very filling.  Since I've yet to find gluten free Tortellini and I like to limit the dairy, I used meatballs instead. Also, my visiting brother requested it.  So it's not quite Italian Wedding Soup....instead... it's am Italian love affair! Vegetarians, feel free to ignore the meatballs and use the original Tortellini instead. Vegans can do it with vegan Tortellini or just add in more Quinoa for balanced protein.  YUM! 

Italian Love Affair Soup
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1 Tablespoon Grape Seed Oil (or other medium-high heat oil of your choice)
5-6 stalks of celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups of carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt (the Hawaiian red salt is my favorite!)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1 15oz can of cannellini beans
1/2 cup Quinoa (just dried....not cooked)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
Fresh herbs*: basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley--about 1/2 cup total
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
3 cups water
48oz broth (veggie, chicken or combo)
Optional: 1 package Tortellini
Lots of leftover tomato products!  (I used 16oz of tomato soup & 16oz of crushed tomatoes.... the original recipe from  my roommate's mom says: "It's now time to clean out your fridge. Anything tomato based you have in there can go in the soup."  I have yet to try ketchup....and I'm thinking it's a good idea to stay away from it for this. :)  V8 is good in here if you're a V8 drinker.)

* I started growing my own herbs this spring so I have lots of yummy, FREE herbs!  It's really easy if you have a sunny spot.  You just have to water them.  I probably wouldn't go buy a package of all of these...they're expensive.  Just use two more Tablespoons of the dried Italian Seasoning.

For the meatballs:
1/2 cup GF Italian bread crumbs (I love Gillian Foods!)
1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tablespoon dried)

Directions for Meatballs
In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients.  Roll in to small quarter sized balls and fry in a skillet over medium heat until they become a little browned on most of the sides.  DO NOT EAT...they are still raw and will finish cooking in the soup.
Directions for the soup: 
Chop, chop, chop lots of veggies.  Toss chopped cabbage, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and Grape Seed Oil in a large stock pot.  I'm talking large here.  Saute until soft, about 15 minutes.  Toss in salt, fresh herbs, Italian seasoning, green onions, diced tomatoes, tomato products, broth, and the meatballs.  Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for an hour or more.  The longer and slower you cook it the better it tastes.  I cooked my pot today for 4 hours.  As your cooking, watch the liquid level.  I added about 3 cups of water, but you might want less or more depending on how long you're cooking it.  Thirty minutes before calling it done add in the beans, Quinoa, zucchini, and uncooked Tortellini if you're using it.  Serve it up with some nice whole grain bread and dinner is served!
For my brother's ranking: tasty, good, so good, SO good, SOOOOO good... this got a SO good!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Berry Crisp

Keri here with a recipe for a berry crisp. I hope you enjoy!

I read EatingWell's Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp, but I haven't seen any rhubarb at the Farmer's Market yet. Instead, I made a strawberry cherry crisp & modified the recipe a bit.

Keri's Strawberry Cherry Crisp

1 lemon
1 pint of strawberries, cored & sliced
10 oz. bag frozen cherries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour or corn starch (I used Jules' Gluten-free flour)

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used Jules' Gluten-free flour)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon canola oil
1-3 tablespoon juice

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss together fruit, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour/corn starch in a large bowl. Juice lemon over fruit mixture. Then, zest 1/2 of the lemon over fruit mixture. Transfer the mixture to a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish or deep-dish 9-inch pie plate, pressing down on the fruit to form an even layer.

To make crumble topping: Combine oats, 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, butter and oil in a bowl; work the ingredients together with a fork or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the juice until the mixture is evenly moistened.

Distribute the topping mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

DELICIOUS! 5/5 stars!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

My favorite item in the kitchen is my wonderful, amazing Kitchen Aid mixer.  Seriously, everyone should have one if you bake or make lots of doughs.  Best purchase I ever made.  Below is the Quaker Oats "Vanishing  Oatmeal Raisin Cookies" recipe.  But I don't really like raisins much, so I make them with dried cranberries instead.  I also make half with chocolate chips for Marcie, my favorite sister.*  And finally, thanks to my cousin Josie for sharing the secret to great cookies--cake flour instead of regular flour.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
1/2 Pound of butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour (I use cake flour-thanks Josie) (For Gluten Free try Better Batter Flour)
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3 cups oats (For Gluten free use a GF certified rolled oat)
1+ c chocolate chips or
1+ c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well
Stir in oats and chocolate chips/cranberries, mix well
Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet
Bake 10 minutes or until you likeness
Cool 1 minute and move to wire rack
about 4-5 dozen depending on size.


*I do not have a favorite sister--I was just checking to see if they were all reading...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Watermelon Granita

Okay everyone! Annette here.  I'm guessing you're probably wondering what's going on and where I've been.  Sorry! The month of April was really busy for me so I've been cooking and taking pictures of it, just not writing it up on here. I have a lot of dinners to catch up on. Also, you might have noticed some other people writing.  I opened up the blog to some of my cooking friends so you'll get all kinds of interesting things on here know.  Read more about them in the Who's in the Kitchen link on the right.

We spent Saturday in a cute, historic town nearby I was able to snag this cute blue Ball jar.  Some day when my man and I buy a house I want to do an aqua/poppy kitchen so I was excited about my new vase.

What's this have to do with cooking? Nothing. I just thought you might like some flowers. Okay...on to the Granita.  I originally got the idea for this from Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.  It was awesome and I want to do it with all kinds of fruit now. So good!

Watermelon Granita
Adapted from Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
1 whole seedless watermelon
3 Tablespoons lime juice
 1/4 cup sugar (I used Coconut Palm Sugar)

Puree your watermelon in a blender/food processor until liquid.  Add in lime juice and sugar. Taste to make sure it tastes good to you and add more juice/sugar if needed. Pour into shallow pans and put in freezer.  Stir with a fork after a few hours. It might take up to a day to freeze depending on how thick your pan is. Once frozen, scrape with a fork and enjoy.  It makes a ton so you can certainly share with others or use less watermelon!

I made mine in a huge Rubbermaid container and then didn't want to spend hours scraping it.  I let it thaw for a bit and then was able to break it into chunks and put in the food processor to turn it into a sorbet texture.  Either way is fun. Next time I make it I plan to freeze it in smaller containers so I can just dump it in the food processor and grind up.  It was so good! My man said he wasn't a watermelon fan but really loved the texture.

It's a great hot, summer day healthy treat.  Enjoy! --Annette