Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CSA week 8


Just when I planned on us having a couple of meals involving zucchini and summer squash... we didn't get any from the CSA! Although, I'm very excited for what we did get... potatoes, corn on the cob, carrots, cucumbers, beets, and green onions. Luckily, I have found a great recipe for grilled corn on the cob:

If you are using a gas rather than a charcoal grill, turn all burners to high, close the lid, heat the grill until hot, 10 to 15 minutes, and follow steps 2 and 3 below. If you are certain that you have a supersweet variety of corn, remove the husks entirely, then follow instructions below, grilling until kernels are light caramel brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Ingredients

8 ears fresh yellow corn , husks on

table salt and fresh ground black pepper

butter

Instructions

  1. Ignite about 6 quarts charcoal and burn until coals are completely covered with thin coating of light-gray ash. Spread coals evenly over grill bottom; heat to medium-high (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill surface for 3 seconds); position grill rack.

  2. Meanwhile, following illustration 1 below, remove all but innermost layer of husk from each ear of corn (kernels will be covered by, but visible through, last husk layer). Use scissors to snip off long silk ends at tips of ears (see illustration 2).

  3. Grill corn, turning ears every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until kernels have left dark outlines in the husk and husks are charred and beginning to peel away at tip to expose some kernels (see illustration 3), 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer ears to platter; remove and discard charred husks and silk. Season corn with salt and pepper and butter to taste, if desired; serve immediately.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Birthday Fun





Well, Rachel had a REALLY fun birthday! Grandma and Grandpa Gale, Grandma Sue, Aunt Angela, Aunt Katrina, Aunt Barbara, and Uncle Sam (I'm not kidding on that name... it's true!) all came for a birthday dinner of baked ziti, grilled zucchini and red onions, ciabatta bread, salad, and 3 layer lemon cake with raspberry filling, and homemade ice cream. Then, Rachel opened presents, and we all had a fun time playing with the toys. Once it got dark outside, we all went outside and set off some fireworks in the driveway. It was a blast!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

First Birthday!!

Wow, it's Rachel's first birthday today! How amazing is that?? I tried taking a picture of her, and then I had to switch over to video to show what was happening:
video

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CSA week 7



Week 7 of Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) with East Farms. This week we got 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, 2 green globe squash, green beans, beets, onions, and red potatoes! Here is an incredibly delicious recipe I made with our zucchini and yellow squash last week:

Summer Vegetable Gratin

Ingredients

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound zucchini , ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note)
1 pound summer squash (yellow), ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note)
2 teaspoons table salt
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (3 to 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 medium onions , halved lengthwise and sliced thin pole to pole (about 3 cups)
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 large slice white sandwich bread , torn into quarters
2 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated (about 1 cup)
2 medium shallots , minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.

  2. 2. Toss zucchini and summer squash slices with 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; transfer to colander set over bowl. Let stand until zucchini and squash release at least 3 tablespoons of liquid, about 45 minutes. Arrange slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.

  3. 3. Place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes.

  4. 4. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and dark golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Set onions aside.

  5. 5. Combine garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme in small bowl. In large bowl, toss zucchini and summer squash in half of oil mixture, then arrange in greased baking dish. Arrange caramelized onions in even layer over squash. Slightly overlap tomato slices in single layer on top of onions. Spoon remaining garlic-oil mixture evenly over tomatoes. Bake until vegetables are tender and tomatoes are starting to brown on edges, 40 to 45 minutes.

  6. 6. Meanwhile, process bread in food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds. (You should have about 1 cup crumbs.) Combine bread crumbs, remaining tablespoon oil, Parmesan, and shallots in medium bowl. Remove baking dish from oven and increase heat to 450 degrees. Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture evenly on top of tomatoes. Bake gratin until bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and let sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CSA Week 6


Wow, I can't believe we've been getting fresh CSA veggies for 6 weeks already! This week, we got 2 yellow squash, 2 zucchini, 1 patty pan squash, green onions, carrots, peas, and swiss chard. Wow! Here is a delicious recipe I found that utilizes both zucchini and carrots together:

Shredded Zucchini and Carrot Saute with Garlic and Herbs

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium zucchini , rinsed, trimmed, shredded, and squeezed dry (see illustrations 1 and 2, below)
2 medium carrots , peeled and shredded
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves , or tarragon, basil, or mint

Table salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in 10-inch (preferably nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Walking!

Rachel is walking all by herself now! She's not even 1 year old yet (until the 25th)! She's so amazing!
video

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Do I Keep My House So Clean?




Child Labor. Also, I got a new snazzy kitchen-aid! Hopefully this one will last a long long time. My first kitchen-aid I got as a wedding present from my dad. It burned up in a house fire that happened when we were living with friends in Logan, and one of the roommates left a pot of oil unattended on the stove. So, I got the blue one you see on the left. That one has lasted for almost 8 years now, but I took it to my mom's house to make some ciabatta bread, and I put it on the floor of my minivan to transport it. When I got to my mom's and opened the sliding minivan door, the kitchen-aid tumbled out onto the street, and now the head shakes back and forth when I use it, causing the machine to walk itself off the counter! So, now I have a new and improved kitchen-aid... better suited for me, since I bake bread often. The new kitchen-aid models have a different kind of dough hook that is supposed to be better at kneading dough... we'll see. Also, it is week 5 of the CSA. This week, we got carrots, 2 yellow squash, 3 zucchini, peas, and CHERRIES!! Yum. I almost bought cherries at the grocery store yesterday... glad I didn't!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chlorine Free Diapers


Ever since Rachel's been born, she's had problems with rashes on her bottom and down her legs, and sometimes up on her tummy. The pediatrician has given me prescription creams and told me to put expensive Eucerin lotion on her every day, multiple times a day, but still it never really clears up, and the minute I take pants or her diaper off her, she immediately begins scratching at her legs or her crotch, and it makes her bleed if she can get at it for long enough. Anyway, a couple of pediatrician visits ago, the prolonged irritation caused Rachel to develop a Labial Adhesion, which is where a thin layer of skin begins to grow across the vaginal opening. So, she got a prescription progesterone cream that I have to put on her twice a day, in addition to the hydrocortisone cream, Eucerine lotion, and vaseline as directed by the doctor. Unfortunately, despite all of these efforts, the rash never completely goes away, and often breaks out really bad. Then, when I was shopping yesterday, I saw chlorine free diapers in the organic section of the store. I thought - might as well try them, I've tried everything else! I put one on her last night before bed and she woke up in the morning with the rash GONE. And a few minutes ago, when I changed her diaper again, I noticed that the rash down the legs is also now gone. No medications, no creams, no lotions.... it's amazing! The diapers are $3-4 more per pack (same number of diapers) than the old diapers we were using, but if I don't have to buy expensive lotions, creams, and prescription drugs for her, it's well worth it! So, any of you out there whose babies have a problem with continuing diaper rash, I HIGHLY recommend this product.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Awesome Recipe

I made this up today, and it came out AWESOME: Finally, a popsicle I can feel good about feeding to my kids - no sugar added, a healthy dose of protien and fiber, good source of calcium and fruit! And, as Lizzy said, "This popsicle is really really good, mommy!"

1 cup dannon fat free PLAIN yogurt
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Combine the yogurt and berries in your blender and blend until smooth. It will be thick and slushy. Pour the mixture equally into 4 popsicle molds, insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 3-4 hours. Run under warm water and carefully pull free of the molds to serve.

Nutrition information per pop: Calories - 48; Fat - 0 g; Fiber - 1 g; Protien - 3.25 g

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Food for Thought




I read a really good book yesterday, "Master Your Metabolism" by Jillian Michaels, the trainer from "Biggest Loser." Jason and I are huge Biggest Loser fans, and from scanning the inside covers of this book, I was interested in reading it. Anyway, I highly recommend it. Basically, she said the same things about food that were in the Barbara Kingsolver "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" book, but with more data included, and a focus on weight loss. That is, her book is a big proponent of the whole foods movement, pioneered by Michael Pollan in his book, "Omnivore's Dilemma" (Jillian even talks about his book in her's.) I recommend Michael's book as well, but Barbara Kingsolver's is the best one to read, since she is actually a fiction author (award winning) and therefore her writing is very good to read. It was "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" that inspired me to join the CSA (something that Jillian also recommends doing in her book!). Speaking of CSA, this is week 4, and we received lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots, 2 yellow squash, and 2 zucchini. East Farms, where we are getting this wonderful produce, is certified organic, and everything we've gotten has been extremely high quality, and so delicious! I made some zucchini bread this week, and a couple of batches of spinach pesto to freeze. I kept one batch of spinach pesto out, and I'll be making chicken pesto pasta later this week by tossing the pesto with some spaghetti and shredded rotisserie chicken. You can also see a picture on the side of Rachel feeding herself some yogurt. I thought it was too cute to miss!