June 28, 2011

CSA Box #2

Strawberries

Just a few days over, I finished off the last of box one. I did make that asian green recipe. It was awful!!! I refused to eat and while SB powered through for one meal, we ended up throwing out the rest of the dish. I’m still searching for a good asian greens recipe, but no fear, because the new box is not as challenging.

The big success of last week was tossing the collard greens into some risotto with the asparagus. Fantastic! We will be doing that again!

Box #2 includes:
– Baby turnips
– French breakfast radishes
– Garlic scape
– Italian parsley
– Kohlrabi
– Napa cabbage
– Rainbow chard
– Red lettuce
– Scallions
– Strawberries!!!

We bought two extra quarts of strawberries and have by plagued with many strawberry decisions. It must be summer. The most challenging item in the box has got to be the huge napa cabbage. It was literally a challenge to get it in the fridge. Any great suggestions for napa cabbage? I see lots of asian slaw in my future.

June 15, 2011

First 2011 CSA Box

Green Onion

An new season of CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) boxes has just begun. We get a box full of organic veggies every two weeks, straight from a local farmer. This week was our first box of 2011 and included:
– Asparagus
– Asian greens mix
– Baby Broccoli
– Collard Greens
– Green Garlic
– Parsnips
– Pea Vine
– Radishes
– Spinach
– Thyme
– Tsoi-Sim
– Yellow Potatoes

The trickiest items in the box are the Asian greens and the Tsoi-Sim, which is a specific type of Asian green. The CSA suggests a stir-fry but that seems a little boring. According to this Saveur article, pea shoots (vine) are also part of the Asian mix.

Maybe I will try this Grilled Tofu and Sauteed Asian Greens recipe from Epicurious. Any other suggestions for creative ways to prepare these greens?

February 10, 2011

Mustache Inspiration

My birthday is a week before Valentine’s Day, so I’ve long associated hearts, pink and lace with the good feelings of celebrating another year. This year, when the Paper Source catalog arrived with these fantastic heart valentines on the front, I knew I needed to incorporate some mustache and hat wearing hearts into my birthday. Thanks to some great crafting and baking help from my mother, we created a hat wearing heart cake.

The cake was a black magic chocolate cake, with raspberry jelly layers and a cream cheese frosting. The hats and mustaches were made from black fondant and the red frosting was made from mixing some of the raspberry filling with the cream frosting. The eyes and eyebrows are “glitter” gel from a tube. I used a heart cookie cutter to mark the outlines of the hearts.

Hat Wearing Hearts Birthday Cake
January 8, 2011

Bourbon Barrels

Bourbon Barrels

For our first anniversary we spent a long weekend in Savannah and I had my first bourbon stout. I was an immediate convert. Bourbon, it makes beer better! Around Atlanta, bourbon beer couldn’t be found and faded to a pleasant memory. Back Wisconsin, I discovered Tyranena Brewery, and rekindled my love for bourbon barrel stout, which they produce year round. Today we toured the brewery and pictured here are the very barrels full of beer steeping in bourbon essence.

January 4, 2011

Baby Gorilla Bread

Baby Gorilla Bread

For Christmas morning this year, I wanted to make a naughty breakfast treat. It was just the two of us so I didn’t want to make something large. SB introduced me to monkey bread a couple years ago, a cinnamon sugar coated, pull apart treat made with yeast-bread or biscuit dough. I’ve tried a variety of different types and have read about the gorilla bread variation, where cream cheese cubes are rolled into the center of each ball. There are many nice things about this mini variation. Because of the small size, the balls bake more evenly and are more fully coated with toppings. The cream cheese cuts through some of the sweet without reducing the richness and the small size helps portion control.

I recommend you assemble the bread the night before and bake it in the morning, right before serving.

Baby Gorilla Bread
Makes: 12 rolls

Dough
2 Tbs Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbs Butter melted
2 Cups Flour
1 tsp Yeast
3/4 Cup Water warm

Filling
4 oz cream cheese cut into 36 cubes

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tbs Cinnamon

Butter Dip
4 Tbs melted salted butter

Caramel Sauce
4 Tbs butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

In a stand mixer with a bread hook attachment, combine all dough ingredients. Set mixer to level 2 and let it run for 10 minutes. Monitor the dough consistency. If it looks too sticky, add a little extra flour. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a buttered bowl and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Butter and flour a muffin pan and set aside. Make cinnamon sugar sprinkle and place in small bowl.

After the first rising, punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 36 pieces. Roll or pat each piece into a flattened oval, place 1 cube of cream cheese into each oval, sprinkle inside with cinnamon sugar, and form into a uniform ball, encasing the cream cheese and sugar.

Once all dough balls contain cream cheese, melt butter in a small bowl. Dip each ball into the butter, roll in the remaining cinnamon sugar and place in the muffin tin. Press three balls into each muffin cup.

At this point, if you are baking these the next morning, cover tightly and place in refrigerator. If you are baking them now, let the dough rise 15-30 minutes and continue to the next step.

In the morning, take the pan out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar for the caramel sauce. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Spoon sauce over dough, distributing equally.

Bake 12-15 minutes, until the dough look firm.

Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Individually flip upside down and make sure to scoop out any remaining topping. Best served warm.

Baby Gorilla Bread
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