Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Collard Rolls (and Baked Eggplant Parmesan)

The CSA I’m in won’t have produce this week and next, due to recent frost.  In the meantime, I’m busy with what I got last week.  Tonight we had collard rolls, with red & black beans, rice, sweet potato, avocado, and cheese.  I had a lot of leftovers (rice, sweet potato) so it wasn’t too much work.  I blanched the collard leaves for about 30 seconds in boiling water.  I also trimmed some of the stem off.  I didn’t cut it out otherwise the leaf would have a slit in it.  Instead, I thinned the stem horizontally.  Here they are before rolling them up.

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And after.  I made two small ones for each of us, instead of bigger rolls.  I wanted to have more greens instead of making a side salad or veggies.  I was surprised at how much I liked the bean and sweet potato combination.  I’ve made sweet potato bean chili before, but having the components cooked separately was better.  I tried two different cheeses too (sharp cheddar and Kerrygold Ballyshannon).  The Kerrygold cheese was amazing.  The CSA components were the collard greens, Anaheim and jalapeno peppers (in the beans), and sweet potato.

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Last night we had baked eggplant parmesan sandwiches.  I had inherited a Galloping Gourmet convection oven from my sis-in-law.  It worked great for the baked eggplant.  Here’s the eggplant cooked, and the rolls toasting in the “oven.”

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I used bolillo rolls instead of ciabatta.  For sauce, I used Trader Joe’s bruschetta sauce, and added sauteed green pepper, onions, and garlic, plus added mozzarella and basil.  Baking the eggplant made it light and airy.  I didn’t spray it with any oil either, the panko made it crispy.  The eggplant was from the CSA, plus I threw in an Anaheim and jalapeno with the green peppers, and I had basil from the previous week.  The green peppers were from my sis-in-law’s vegetable garden.  She had to harvest all the peppers due to the frost.

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Meatless Monday – Mac & Cheese

The other night we had roasted cauliflower and cheese soup.  It was just OK, but I didn’t really want to eat the leftovers.  I hate throwing leftovers away!  I ended up turning the last bit into mac & cheese by adding thickened milk/butter/flour, with a few chopped veggies.  I also threw in an extra handful of cheese.  Not bad and I liked it better than just the soup.

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Kale “Tacos”

My CSA share this week is similar to last week:  collards, eggplants, peppers (Anaheim and jalapeno), Malabar spinach, sweet potatoes and daikon radish.  I had kale left from last week, which I wanted to cook before starting on the new produce.  I’d tried kale tacos seasoned with chile powder and cumin before, and I didn’t really like it.  I thought it would be better without seasoning, so that’s what we had.  The taco filling was sauteed kale & onions and sauteed peppers & onions & garlic, plus tofu and feta.  Plain baked sweet potatoes (with butter and brown sugar) on the side.  Definitely better without the “taco” seasoning.

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For dessert, we’re having buttermilk pie.  I found a recipe that uses a graham cracker crust.  The recipe calls for 2/3 cup of brown sugar, which is a LOT less than the last recipe I tried (from Homesick Texan).  It also has less butter.

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Both recipes are good, just different.  The pie I made today has more of a cheesecake flavor.  It was easy to make too.  The crust ingredients are whirred up in the food processor, as well as the batter.

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Meatless Monday – Clean Out The Refrigerator Stir Fry

I was almost going to have ramen for dinner until I started chopping a few vegetables to throw in with the noodles.  I ended up cleaning up the refrigerator, of bits & pieces of this & that.  I made a stir fry with tofu, kale, bok choy, eggplant, onion, garlic, snap peas, mushrooms, jalapeno,  and green pepper.  For the sauce, I doctored up a recipe for General Tso’s Tofu, using 1 tablespoon soy sauce, a teaspoon of hoisin sauce, a splash of sesame oil, grated ginger, and some water to thin it out.  I had rice leftover so I reheated it and served the veggies as a rice bowl.  It’s supposed to be chilly this week so I may yet have ramen (with bok choy).

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“Greek” Veggie Flatbread Pizza

This is our split of the CSA share this week:  Kale, Malabar spinach, radishes, basil, sweet potatoes, Fairytale eggplant, and bok choy.

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Inspired by a recipe in “Simple Vegetarian Pleasures” by Jeanne Lemlin, I made “Greek” Veggie Flatbread Pizzas.  I spread Trader Joe’s Middle Eastern Flatbread with some pesto, then topped it with sauteed eggplant, bell pepper, onion and garlic, as well as sauteed Malabar spinach, crumbled feta and sliced tomato.  The veggies were sauteed with Penzey’s Greek seasoning.  I heated the pizzas in a 350F oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the cheese started to brown and melt.  We had the pizza along with some of the radishes (with butter and salt, a la Francaise).  I really wish we had a Trader Joe’s here.

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Last night we had baked eggplant topped with pesto, as a side dish.  My hubby inhaled it so it must have passed muster.  I love the texture of baked eggplant.

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Meatless Monday – Tofu Fajitas

I was feeling tired today because of the time change.  Yesterday it didn’t bother me but today I had a headache from eating an hour later than usual, in addition to doing some paperwork.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I didn’t want leftovers either, so I made tofu fajitas, along with some roasted peppers from the CSA.  I put the peppers (Anaheim) under the broiler until the skin got puffy.

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Then I put them in a bowl and covered it with a silicon bowl cover (Coverflex), to steam the skin.  I ended up with about a tablespoon of chopped peppers.

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For the tofu, I cut it into strips and weighed it down between two plates, to get rid of some of the moisture.  Then I sprinkled them with some fajita seasoning and Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming spice blend, and sauteed them in a pan on the stove.  I also sauteed some peppers and onions.

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Everything got put into a burrito, on a Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla, along with some rice, refried beans, salsa, cheese, and lettuce.  I took the photo before adding the salsa and lettuce, so the other ingredients would be more visible.  It tasted “healthy” in a good way.  I like tofu, but skeptics might like it too because there are so many other ingredients.  Plus, the peppers were HOT!  Sour cream would be good, to cool down the heat.

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Indian-Spiced Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes and Braised Collards

Tonight’s recipes are from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.  First is braised collards (Winter Greens, in the cookbook).  I liked that the greens are cooked in a minimum of water, so none of the vitamins are drained off.  Very simple and tasty, just greens, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, chicken broth and water (plus lemon juice, which I skipped).

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I found a recipe for Indian-spiced mashed sweet potatoes in the cookbook.  Since the sweet potatoes I have are organic, I did twice-baked instead, using essentially the same ingredients as for the mashed potatoes – butter, brown sugar, and garam masala.  I topped them with chopped cashews and skipped the golden raisins (because I didn’t have any).  It was kind of a cross between sweet and savory.  Different, in a good way.

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Now I have 1 eggplant, 2 sweet potatoes, the peppers and a little bit of basil left to cook up from the CSA box.

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Miso Glazed Eggplant and Spinach Goma-ae

The spinach I got is Malabar spinach.  It seems hardier than say baby spinach and has a stronger flavor.  One of the dishes I remember from childhood is spinach goma-ae.  It has toasted sesame seeds,k ground with a mortar and pestle, with soy sauce, sugar and water.  Sometimes it has tofu too.  We had that along with the leftover salmon patties from last night.

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To keep with the Japanese theme, I also made a miso-glazed eggplant recipe from Mollie Katzen’s “Simple Suppers.”  I couldn’t find the recipe online but it’s pretty simple.  Japanese eggplant is cut lengthwise in half then cross-hatched with a knife.  It’s brushed with a marinade of sherry, soy sauce and sugar (I just used diluted soy sauce), wrapped in foil and baked at 400 for 20 minutes.  Then it’s glazed with miso glaze (miso, water, sugar and mirin), and popped back (uncovered) in the oven for 5 more minutes.  My picky-eater husband ate a whole eggplant, so did I (they’re small).

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So now I’ve used up all the spinach, have one eggplant left, plus the peppers, a little bit of basil, and the sweet potatoes.  Oh, and collards.  I think I’ll cook those up tomorrow with a recipe from the “Cooks Illustrated Cookbook.”

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My First CSA

This was the first week for the CSA that I’m sharing a share in.  We got collards, peppers, Malabar spinach, basil, sweet potatoes and eggplants.  Last night I was excited about it, thinking I could feature one item each night, and that would solve my dilemma of trying to come up with something for dinner.  Then I woke up this morning wondering and hoping that it won’t be a “chore.”

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One of my friends recently gave me Brian Boitano’s cookbook  I started looking through the index, for all of the ingredients, and found a recipe for pea and basil pesto.  The original recipe includes grilled salmon.  We had salmon cakes instead, made from salmon in a foil pouch.  (I just followed the recipe on the back of the package.)  The photo in the cookbook shows the pesto as sort of a sauce, yet also as a side dish kind of accompaniment.  It all tied together well, the peas in the pesto made it less pungent.  At any rate, it was fun to try.

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Even though dinner was simple, it involved lots of dishes.  I think that’ll be an important criteria for picking recipes – simplicity.

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