Roasted beets

I think beets are one of those things that either you love or you hate. I’m in the love category, while hubs and the kids are firmly in the hate camp.

I roasted two weeks worth of CSA beets today, much to the hate camp’s dismay. They find the smell of cooking beets distasteful.

For those of you who are beet fans, have you ever tried roasting them? It’s super simple. Trim off the greens, give them a scrub, spread them on a baking sheet, and pop them in a 400 degree oven until tender. Depending on the size of your beets, it will take an hour or more.

After they cool down, the peels come off really easily.

I peel them all and stick them in the fridge for snacks and salads. One of my favorite ways to eat them is with goat cheese and a drizzle of Orange Olive Oil.

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Crazy for Kebabs*

Summer means hubs is on the grill. Last weekend, he did a bunch of kebabs: lamb, buffalo, peppers, and onions.

For the lamb, he skewered a mint leaf in between each piece.

He did each item on its own set of skewers. That way everything gets done evenly. (He also gets a lot of texts, and doesn’t let making veggie kebabs slow that down. I’m sure they’re very important**).

He also skewered everything on two skewers so the meat and veggies don’t spin around when you turn them.

And the big shocker of the day? This little lady loved the lamb.

Here’s what he used:

Buffalo strip steak, cut into chunks and marinated in salt, pepper, and olive oil (Chilean), then skewered with green peppers.

Leg of lamb, cut into chunks and marinated in salt, pepper, and olive oil (Thyme), then skewered with mint leaves.

Onions, quartered.

Red, green, and yellow peppers.

*So I totally plagiarized this line from something I wrote recently for a client. But there’s only so much creative energy I have to come up with a cute line about kebabs, right?

**Just yesterday he got a text from my brother in law with a picture of a snake he’d just beheaded with a garden hoe. Important, that’s what I said.

Poblano and butternut squash soup

This one looks a little crazy, so you’ll just have to trust me. The smoky flavor of the roasted poblanos and cumin is balanced nicely by the mild sweetness from butternut squash. Cozy on a snowy day.

Poblano and butternut squash soup, adapted from Green Chili Chowder, Homesick Texan Cookbook

  • 4 poblanos
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 T cumin
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Roast the poblanos and jalapenos under a broiler or over a burner until the skin is charred. Place the poblanos in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to steam for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, throw the butter and onion in a pot together and saute until the onions are soft – around 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth, cumin, and butternut squash and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Slip the skins off the poblanos, and seed a chop both them and the jalapenos. Add to the soup. Continue simmering until the squash is tender. Remove about two cups of the chunky parts, and puree the remaining soup in a blender or food processor. Add everything back together and serve warm.

Salad in a jar

I’m the worst when it comes to packing lunch. This is because I’m way too lazy, and always too rushed (due to sleeping in from laziness, of course). So I’ve finally come to accept that I need an option that is completely grab and go. This is it. 100% stolen from Secret Recipe Club.

Start with dressing. I used 3 T hot pepper olive oil + 1 T cider vinegar + a dash of oregano. Then layer in whatever you like, putting items not likely to wilt on the bottom and ending with the delicate bits. Mine goes carrots, celery, sprouts, mushrooms, spinach. When you’re ready to eat it, shake and dump into a bowl.

I made three of these on Tuesday, then ate one each day Wed, Thurs, and Fri. They held up deliciously.

 

Braised brussels sprouts

Yesterday, I was in NYC. We were there for work, but did have a chance at a little fun.

I drank a Stella at the top of the Standard, and watched the sun set.

I rode in an elevator with a man I later found out was David Arquette. (I’m not great at noticing things. Plus, I thought he would be taller!)

I also talked food with a lovely lady who’s spent her career as a recipe developer and food editor. When she shared her method for making these velvety textured Brussels sprouts, I knew I had to try it. It was so good, I ate all of it. Yeah. One entire pint of Brussels sprouts in one sitting. Is that weird?

Braised Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 pint fresh brussels sprouts
  • 1 T bacon grease
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 C chicken stock

Trim the ends off your Brussels sprouts and slice them into thin slices. Put them into a skillet with the bacon grease over high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, bright green, and just starting to brown.  Add garlic and cook for just a minute longer. Add half a cup of the stock, bringing to a boil. Let most of the liquid boil off, stirring occasionally. Repeat with the other half cup stock. When almost all the liquid has boiled off, remove from heat, salt to taste, and serve.

 

Cranberry apple tapenade

This recipe was inspired by a Pampered Chef tapenade, this delightful cranberry salsa idea, and my love of cranberries. It’s light and refreshing but still feels seasonal.

Cranberry Apple Tapenade

  • 1 sweet apple (I used Jonnagold)
  • 1/2 C fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 C walnuts
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 T lemon juice

Chop apple, cranberries, and walnuts. Combine all with lemon juice and zest. Serve on buttery crackers, like Ritz.

Make sure to use a sweet apple that will offset the tartness of those raw cranberries. Otherwise, you can add some sugar.

Quick snack – warm apple cranberry sauce

I love pumpkin and all, but the seasonal treat I can’t get enough of right now is cranberries. I bought my first bag of the year yesterday. I have big plans for all kinds of baked delights studded with cranberries, but for now, this will do.

First, core and peel 2 Macintosh apples (or other apples that cook down into sauce). Add a handful of cranberries.

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Next, put it in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir every minute or so, and be mindful that your cranberries will pop. Try to keep them buried under the apples to minimize the splatter. Mash all together, and add a little sugar (1-2 t) if it’s too tart. I love how the cranberries turn it all pink.

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For a bigger batch, you can cook it on the stove top. It’s awesome for breakfast or a bedtime snack.