Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Pie

Several years ago I had my first encounter with rhubarb at a neighborhood Chicago restaurant. It was a delicious strawberry rhubarb crumble baked to perfection in a ramekin. It was so good I regretted my choice to share! From that point on I had a whole new outlook on rhubarb. I was very excited to see Tracey's Sweet Melissa Sundays pick this week for Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Pie. I'm a strawberry lover and thought this would be a great opportunity to tackle this crazy vegetable that looks like red celery.

I was a slightly intimidated by the recipe. It requires 3 major components, the crust, the filling and the cobbler topping. I'm pretty much intimidated by anything that resembles dough of any kind and especially if it requires a rolling pin. I have not had much luck with making my own pie dough in the past and have been reverting to my good friend, The Pillsbury Dough Boy, to help me out on all my crust related needs. But this is the first pie I've done for SMS so I sucked it up and went ahead and made the pie dough. I used the all butter recipe and prepared it in my food processor. I diligently followed all of Melissa Murphy's dough making steps, including keeping the dough cold and letting it rest prior to filling it. And you know what? It turned out great. The dough came together nicely and it was easy to roll out. A much more pleasant experience than my previous attempts at pie dough.

The filling was the easiest part of the recipe. So that came together quickly with only 5 ingredients.

I did opt for a different topping than the biscuit recipe. Generally speaking I am not a fan of biscuits. I find them to be too doughy. So I used a crumble topping from another recipe instead. It's almost like an oatmeal cookie topping and it paired nicely with the strawberry and rhubarb filling. This topping recipe came from a co-worker for a dish called "English Apple Pie", however I modified it slightly. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of pecans, which I substituted 1/2 cup oats.

Here's the topping recipe:
1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons of water

Check out the topping is the consistency of cookie dough.

Based on Tracey's experience in the P&Q I cooked my pie for about 1 hour and 25 minutes. The filling set up nicely, however I felt the crust was a little overcooked. I placed tin foil over the pie to keep it from browning too much, but still ended up with a darker crust than I wanted.

I had a family event on Saturday evening so they got to be my official tasters this week. The pie was a success! Except with my niece and nephew (ages 6 and 8)...they informed me they like apple pie better! Lucky for them I also made an apple pie. The filling for the strawberry rhubarb was very sweet but the topping and dough balanced it out. I might scale back the sugar a bit the next go round.

Thanks to Tracey for the recipe pick this week. Check out Tracey's blog for the recipe and also see what other SMS bakers did here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Pasta

One of the wonderful advantages of living in Southern California is accessibility to fresh produce. (I especially appreciate this after spending 3 1/2 years in the midwest.) We have access to a year round quaint farmers market just down the road from our house. I love strolling the 2 aisles that make up our farmers market on Sunday mornings. Though the market is small, there is a wonderful selection of vegetables, fruits, herbs, fresh eggs, bread (vegan), cheese, fresh pita and hummus and a variety of other vendors that I have yet to purchase from. Our market even has a "worm wrangler" (who also sells Gouda cheese by the way)! I guess the worms are supposed to help your garden? One of these years I'll have to try it out. My garden could use a little somethin somethin!

This Sunday asparagus made its first public appearance at our market. It was so fresh and perfect. I immediately thought of this recipe when I saw it. Last year I came across Giada De Laurentis making Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes on her Everyday Italian show. Initially I was hesitant to make it...the simple ingredients seemed a bit boring. I'm use to pasta dishes that are all about the sauce. Luckily I got over my lack of sauce phobia, because this pasta dish is all that and then some! Simple does NOT mean boring.

You have to use the freshest ingredients for this dish to really sing. The hint of minced garlic intertwined with freshly cooked (slightly crisp) asparagus, fresh peas, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, is so simply delicious! Giada's recipe does not call for zucchini, but it blends in seamlessly. The chicken stock adds a level of flavor and creates the base of a light sauce (and keeps your pasta from drying out). I didn't have fresh basil this week (critters ate the plant I put in the ground about a week ago), but I did have some fresh chives....the only edible item growing in my garden at the moment. The chives worked out nicely. I recommend using fresh herbs (not dried) in this recipe (flat leaf parsley would be nice as well). The cool part about the dish is there IS a hidden sauce....those cherry tomatoes ready to burst out of their skins break up and release all their tomato goodness in with the chicken stock base. Voila! Light tomato sauce. Add in freshly grated Parmesan (use the good stuff) and the masterpiece is complete.

A couple of quick notes. Generously salt your boiling pasta water and don't rinse the pasta when you drain it. Avoid overcooking the vegetables. If you can't get your hands on fresh shelled peas, frozen are good second choice. Cherry tomatoes weren't available so I used a larger variety.

Hubby and I had this for dinner 2 nights ago and he said he forgot how good this dish was. So thank you asparagus! We look forward to several more appearances at the market in the weeks to come.

Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentis

8 oz pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 cup shelled fresh peas
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
I added 1 zucchini quartered in 1/2 slices

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus (and zucchini) and season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes until slightly soft. Add the cherry tomatoes and peas. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes start to burst and the stock is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the asparagus mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Toss well, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and chopped basil.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Healthy Sloppy Joes and a Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer

I'm trying out a few new recipes this week. This one comes from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave cookbook. I bought this cookbook last year to assist Hubby and I in our journey to better health and fitness. If you aren't familiar with Ellie's work, she provides healthy and tasty recipes for dishes that are often not considered healthy. This book is pretty stinkin awesome. For those of you in doubt, you CAN eat yummy delicious food without consuming mass calories. Did I mention the food is still yummy and delicious? Without all the calories? Really, it is. I have tried and loved numerous recipes in this book. And now I can add another to the list. Sloppy Joes.

In Ellie's version of Sloppy Joes she recommends ground beef, 90% lean. I have nothing against beef. In fact I'm a big fan. But we generally don't stock beef in the house. But we do have endless supplies of boneless skinless chicken breasts, shrimp and even scallops on hand in our freezer for easy defrosting. All courtesy of Costco, by the way. Gotta give my props to Costco!

What does everyone automatically think of for a substitute for ground beef in recipes? Turkey. Ground turkey. I like turkey at Thanksgiving and occasionally on sandwiches, but I'm not really down for it in "ground" form. It just makes me feel like I'm sacrificing flavor and eating diet food. Not good. BUT, have you ever tried ground chicken? So, so, sooooo much better than ground turkey! In fact I've been making chili exclusively with ground chicken for the past few years. And it's a big hit with friends and family. In fact they don't even realize it's chicken unless you tell them. And I figured why not try it in Sloppy Joes. I think Ellie would be proud. ;)

Here's a tip on ground chicken. I learned recently that store bought ground chicken can be sometimes be worse than ground beef. Apparently they grind up some of the dark meat and fat in there too. So if you are buying it at the store, look for ground (boneless skinless) chicken breast. Or if you own a Kitchen Aide stand mixer....invest in the food grinding attachment. I love this add on! Once you have the grinder you can add on the pasta maker fittings to make homemade spaghetti, fettuccine and elbow macaroni. Anyway, it's a cinch to grind your own meat. Just slice it up in 2 inch slices and drop it in the machine.

I did make a couple of modifications to the recipe. Obviously I swapped ground chicken for the ground beef. I omitted the beans (it was feeling too chili-like). I added a few extra dashes of Worcestershire sauce and added my salt seasoning the food along the way at each layer rather than adding it all at the end. For the bun I tried out whole wheat sandwich thins (by Orowheat) for the first time. These save about 70 calories compared to a standard wheat bun. I liked the thin bun, but it's not quite as satisfying as a full fledged fluffy bun.

Hubby and I both gave this meal a thumb's up. Ellie's original recipe runs at 265 calories per sandwich. I have a feeling mine is closer to the 200 mark....which leaves plenty of room for lots of roasted vegetables, like Zucchini Parmesan AND dessert!

This recipe is packed full of flavor and fresh ingredients and is super healthy and delicious! Check it out here. Will I make it again? Absolutely!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Sweet Potato Bread with Cinnamon Rum Orange Glaze

I am a big fan of quick breads....pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, banana bread so I was excited to see the the Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe pick for Sweet Potato Bread with Cinnamon-Rum-Orange Glaze from Lorelei of Mermaid Sweets. Check out her site to see her gorgeous bread and the recipe.

I wanted to half the recipe so I decided to make my sweet potato bread in a loaf pan rather than a bundt pan. Plus I don't own a bundt pan so my options were limited. Besides Hubby is more likely to eat it if it doesn't look like a cake. He is not big on sweets so I generally have to take on the great burden of eating these treats myself and sharing them with co-workers, family and friends. Its tough, but I think I can handle it! But Hubby loves sweet potato so he gave this one a go. The verdict? Moist and sweet, but he prefers pumpkin bread. And I have to agree.

The bread baked in my stoneware loaf pan at 350 for about 45-50 minutes. I omitted the nuts and added a teaspoon of vanilla. It was super moist and quite tasty. But to me it lacked a little something...I'm not sure what. I see why the glaze is an important part of this recipe. It definitely takes it up a level.

Let's talk about the glaze. Orange juice, rum, sugar and cinnamon sticks reduce down into sweet and sticky glaze to brush on top of the warm bread. I think I may have reduced mine down a little too much because it was quite thick. But once the glaze dries the stickiness soaks into the bread leaving a shiny sugar coating that is dry to the touch. I debated on using rum...I don't have a lot of experience baking or cooking with liquor so I wasn't sure how I would like it. It turned out great! The rum cooks down and adds a level of complexity to the glaze that you can't get from juice alone. Tucking the glaze recipe away for future use. :)

To me the test of a good recipe is the answer to this question. Would I make it again? Yes, but. There's always a but right? I would try it with half white sugar and half brown sugar. Also I think some chocolate chips might do the trick (I love chocolate chips in pumpkin bread and banana bread). And I would use pumpkin instead of sweet potato. Ok, who am I kidding? I probably won't make this again. I'll just stick with my faithful pumpkin bread recipe. But I still enjoyed making it and eating it! See what other SMS Bakers did.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Gym Membership and Hot Mess Meatballs!

When Hubby and I joined a gym (for the first time in our lives) February of last year we also changed our eating habits. Perhaps I should take a step back here and say prior to this I was in complete denial about the food I ate. I ate what I wanted and to be blunt, didn't think much about it. I didn't want to know. I mean, I knew that certain things I ate, lots of things, were not "healthy". But I didn't care, because I enjoyed eating the food I loved. The problem with that is obvious. Eventually it catches up with you. I was able to "get away" with it for quite some time, which is fortunate in some ways. But I had some work to do. It took a change in eating habits and my view on food. Though exercising is great and it certainly helps expedite weight loss, for me, it's really all about the food. Healthy ingredients, portion control and moderation are key to successful weight loss and maintenance.

Fast forward a year and 2 months and I'm still maintaining my goal weight. I won't lie and say it's because I go to the gym 5 days a week or that I eat all healthy all the time. I work out less than I'd like to admit, but by and large I try to make good food choices on a day to day basis and then I splurge here and there, and there. Joining Sweet Melissa Sundays baking group is going to be one of those splurges. But I digress.

Not long after we started our journey to better health and fitness we came across a new cooking show that surprisingly is NOT on the Food Network. It is on Lifetime. Cook Yourself Thin is a half hour show that features one woman each episode who wants to change her eating habits without giving up flavor and still lose a few pounds. The three hostesses of this show take favorite calorie laden dishes, including comfort foods and desserts, and make low cal versions. Low cal doesn't mean a sacrifice in flavor or satisfaction in this case. I have tried several Cook Yourself Thin recipes and have not been disappointed with one. Some favorites are Penne Alla Not-ka (the first time I made the Hot Mess Meatballs I served them with this dish--delish!), Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Oatmeal Cookies, French Onion Soup, and of course meatballs.

This meatball recipe is actually part of the Cook Yourself Thin "Scumptious Skinny Spaghetti & Meatballs". I skipped the Scrumptious Spaghetti part which took away the marinara sauce cooking mechanism. What about baking them instead? Yeah, that sounds like it might work. This is where the "Hot Mess" enters the picture.

Now I know this isn't pretty. But trust me when I say it was tasty. Baking actually worked out fabulously in my opinion (if you can look beyond the mess). The meatballs were lightly browned on top and caramelized with flavor on the bottom. The Parmesan cheese melts in the meatballs and oozes out all over the baking sheet. That oozy goodness browns up into a delicious Hot Mess packed with flavor. Serve these with your favorite marinara sauce and a side of steamed or roasted veggies and you have a healthy, tasty meal on your hands. Enjoy!

Hot Mess Meatballs adapted from Cook Yourself Thin's "Scrumptious Skinny Spaghetti & Meatballs"

I'm only including the meatball part of the recipe here:

2 slices of favorite sandwich bread (I used wheat)
3/4 cup water
1/3 pound group veal
1/3 pound ground pork
1/3 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/2 small onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I only used a pinch)

Remove crusts from bread, place bread in medium bowl and pour water over. Let sit 10 minutes, and gently squeeze out excess liquid. Put bread in a large bowl; discard water. Tear bread into small pieces.

Add all the ground meats, cheese, egg, onion, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes to bowl with bread. Gently toss to combine, maintaining a light touch to keep air in the meatballs. Roll the meat mixture in your hands to create meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball.

Here's where the recipe takes a turn. The original recipe calls for cooking these meatballs in simmering marinara sauce and serving it with whole wheat pasta. But the first time I made these I wanted to use the meatballs in another Cook Yourself Thin recipe for "Penne ala Notka". So I baked mine instead.

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with non stick cooking spray. Place meatballs on the sheet leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each meatball. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Chocolate Malted Layer Cake (Cupcakes)

I heart Melissa Murhpy! She is a chocolate cake genius. Chocolate cake is one of my most favorite desserts of all time. It brings back memories of childhood, my grandmother and birthday cakes. Often after dinner I crave something sweet and I tell Hubby I want a piece of chocolate cake. Rarely does that request come true (my jeans are thankful for that!). I have made various chocolate cake recipes over the years from box cake mixes to homemade and have never found a cake that made me say, "Wow!"....Until now. Wow, wow, wow!

As many of the other SMS bakers, I opted for cupcakes rather than the layer cake. Cupcakes are easier to transport and pawn off on my co-workers. One of these days I'll invest in a cake carrier. I halved the recipe and it made 15 full size cupcakes. I did make a few minor modifications to the recipe. The recipe calls for hot coffee. I don't do coffee in any way, shape or form so I subbed out hot coffee for hot water with 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder (I halved the recipe so if you use this sub on the full recipe use 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder). Another minor modification was I used 90% cocoa chocolate (Lindt) in the cake part of the recipe instead of unsweetened. And the cocoa powder I used was not dutch processed. The cake was perfectly moist and light with the right amount of chocolate. I may have gone a little overboard on the photos....but I am so excited about the outcome I wanted to share all the steps I photographed along the way.

It all starts by melting the chocolate.

Then adding in vegetable oil to the melted chocolate.

In goes all the dry ingredients.

Then in go the wet ingredients. The batter is nice and fudgy.

And it loosened up a bit after adding the hot water/cocoa powder concoction.

On to the frosting. I also halved the frosting recipe and it yielded the perfect amount to generously frost all 15 cupcakes with none left over. I used Ritter brand chocolate in the frosting (30% cocoa instead of 38% suggested in the recipe).

Nearly boiled heavy cream with malt whisked in covers the milk chocolate for 5 minutes to melt it.

Once the chocolate mixture is cooled it gets whipped together with butter. The frosting is a bit on the loose side.

The sweet malted frosting pairs perfectly with the deep dark chocolate cake. Soooooooo good! I did chill the frosting for about an hour before piping it on the cupcakes (with my ziploc bag with the corner snipped off).

Look how moist it is...I scarfed down this cupcake in no time!

Thank you Nicole of Sweet Tooth for selecting the recipe for this week. This is delicious cake and will go in my recipe keepers file and this will be my new go to base chocolate cake recipe! I look forward to trying it with different frostings... including my childhood favorite Orange Buttercream. All you chocolate lovers out there need to try out this recipe!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Looks are Deceiving: My Pretty Strawberry Muffin Misfire

These muffins look pretty tasty, right? Below is my first blog recount of a recipe mishap.

If you have read the handful of posts that I've written so far, you will start to get the idea I'm a big Costco fan. Even though I'm not feeding an army at my house we buy in bulk and generally it works out ok. My most recent purchase was a huge 4lb container of strawberries. Given hubby won't touch strawberries (unless they are in jam form) it was all on me to use them up. I even considered making strawberry preserves. But I've never done the whole canning thing and wasn't ready to go there. After eating the strawberries a la carte and slicing them up in my cereal for a couple of days I zeroed in on a recipe in my new Sweet Melissa Baking Book for Strawberry Muffins with Fresh Lemon and Rosemary. I didn't have fresh rosemary but I had all the other ingredients. And the next day I was going into the office where people would eagerly gobble up any kind of homemade treat. So at 9pm on Tuesday evening I started gathering the ingredients to make these tasty sounding muffins.

Most of my experience with baking starts with combining the wet ingredients and then adding in the dry slowly. This recipe was just the opposite. Melissa Murphy instructs you to put the dry ingredients in a large bowl, making a well in the center and then adding the wet.

I followed the recipe diligently. I pulled the dry ingredients from around the sides of the bowl in the well of melted butter, sugar, milk and cream. When everything was combined I was left with a dough consistency rather than a batter.

I was perplexed. Didn't seem right. The recipe did say the amount of milk could be variable, so I added some additional milk. Didn't help. I reread the instructions again. I didn't miss a step or forget an ingredient (as I've been known to do). I've heard that it's very easy to overwork muffins, but I barely worked these. It's like the flour in the middle of the bowl sucked up the wet ingredients so fast there was no wet stuff left for the flour on the outside edges. I wonder if the moment that I stopped to photo the wet well in the dry mixture had something do with it? I'm not sure. Sigh. Even though I knew deep down (as deep down as you can go when lamenting over a muffin recipe) these were not going to be good, I went ahead and baked them up. They came out of the oven smelling yummy and looking pretty good...actually i thought they looked a little like scone turned muffin. But they really weren't edible in my opinion. Well they were edible, technically, but not good. It was so needed a drink to get it down. It was sorta like when peanut butter gets stuck to the roof of your mouth. It was dissappointing. The funny thing is the next day when I was driving to work Hubby texted me and said "You forgot your cupcakes". I love he thought they were cupcakes by the way. I replied back telling him they were left at home intentionally. My co-workers did not get a surprise treat on Tuesday morning. These pretty little muffins went straight into the garbage when I returned home from work in the evening. It was kind of sad. Look how good this little guy looked...

The problem with this recipe failure is I am not sure what went wrong. I just checked out a previous Sweet Melissa Sundays muffin P&Q and found that several other bakers reported a dense muffin. So maybe these weren't as far off base as I thought? I guess my muffin expectations were and are different. These were definitely more scone/biscuit like than muffin-esque. Not my personal preference. It looks like I'll have an opportunity to give Melissa Murphy's muffins another shot the week of May 9th when Sweet Melissa Sundays tries out Orange Blueberry Muffins with Pecan Crumble. All of SM's muffin recipes start with the same base recipe. I think I will scale back on the flour and see how that goes. More to come on muffins!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Farm Fresh to You

In the past couple of years I've been learning more about food origins, local farming, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) efforts and a group of eaters called Localvores. I have to admit that until recently I really didn't even acknowledge the difference between organic produce and commercially grown non organic produce. But my education is slowly and steadily increasing in this arena.

While waiting for a flight about a year ago I was browsing the books at the airport and was drawn to
Animal, Vegetable Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I think it was the beautiful bright red and white swirled vegetables on the front that I couldn't even identify that piqued my interest. They turned out to be candy cane beets. I spent the next 4 hours on the plane learning about topics I didn't even know existed. If you are interested in learning about how the food you purchase in a local grocery store makes it from it's origin to your dinner table, you will get an earful. Barbara writes in detail about the cost of transporting food around the world--financial and environmental. You will also be educated about the history of farming in America and the current status of commodity farming versus local farming--a dying breed. Another dying breed is heirloom produce. Did you know that farmers pass their seeds down from generation to generation from previous years crops? I sure didn't. Big corporations have virtually monopolized the seed market through patenting efforts and genetic manipulation of seeds. Barbara Kingsolver also tells the tale of her own families commitment to strictly local food consumption for an entire year. Though I'm not ready for this type of extreme commitment, I am appreciative of the education and the effects it is having on the food choices in my life.

Hubby and I make a point to visit the farmers market that goes on every Sunday just a few miles from our house. I find myself asking the vendors where their produce is grown...a question that never occurred to me before. Most of the food at our local farmers market makes a 160 mile journey to offer the members of our community an opportunity for fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. I guess this is considered local when you live in an urban area. Though there are local farms much closer, I think the variety of products is limited.

Not only do we frequent the farmers market, but we've also added Farm Fresh to You to our sources of fruits and veggies. I'm not sure if Barbara would approve of
Farm Fresh to You, because some of their produce has to travel the entire western seaboard to get to it's destination at my home in Orange County California. But it's a compromise that works for me. I'm getting deliveries of fresh seasonal organic produce every 3 weeks (you choose the frequency and size of the deliveries). On my delivery day I try to work from home and I admit I peek out the front door a few times as I anxiously wait for it to get here. Today they delivered about 5 hours later than normal and I was worried it wouldn't show. But at the end of my work day I finally got to bring in the box of goodies.

The quality has been excellent. We get the regular mixed box for $31.50. Today was my third delivery and I received 4 meyer lemons, 3 haas avocados, 2 pink lady apples, 2 baby artichokes, 2lbs of sweet potatoes, 2lbs small white potatoes, 1 navel orange, 1 minneola tangelo, 1 bunch of red radishes, 1 bunch of chard, 1 bunch of loose carrots, 1 bunch of spring onions, 1 head of green leaf lettuce, 1 head of brocoli, 1/2 lb of mixed baby lettuce and 1 pint of strawberries. Basically they send different items each time...whatever is fresh.

You can log on to their website the Friday before your delivery day to see what's coming. If you see something that scares you, your allergic to or you just plain don't like, you can add it to your exclusion list. They will sub out something else (a fruit for a fruit and a veggie for a veggie). You don't get to pick the substitution product if you go online, but you can call FFTY customer service they will make a note. This time I placed kale on the exclusion list... I don't think I'm ready for that yet. In its place I got white potatoes.

The part I'm enjoying the most is the variety of fruits and vegetables. The box has contained things that I have never cooked with before. Eaten? Maybe. A few things new to my kitchen were beets, leeks and swiss chard. I made a leek and swiss card quiche several weeks back that turned out pretty tasty. Unfortunately Hubby was not in total agreement. I think it was the swiss chard that threw him for a loop. I have some arm twisting to do for him to adopt this leafy green. This go round I'm going to give artichokes a try for the first time. I'm in search of a good grilled artichoke recipe. I'm also going to use my broccoli to try out Carolyn's Broccoli Casserole. Hopefully these will be the subjects of future posts.

As summer approaches I look foward to an array of delicious, fresh, fruits and veggies to cook, eat, enjoy and of course, blog about!