Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Double Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry Muffin Plated
Strawberries Inside, Too

Recipe adapted from anonymous Live Earth Farm CSA member

I admit that I’m obsessed with strawberries. Even though we subscribe to a CSA that provides 3 baskets every week, I’m often at the Farmers Markets buying more. In mid-strawberry season, the (refrigerator) shelf life of strawberries seems shorter than that of early-season berries, despite storing them for longevity. Sometimes they have surface blemishes and oddities. For this we have recipes.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Balsamic Roasted Strawberries

Bowls of Roasted Strawberries and Sauce
Roasted Berries and their Liquid

Recipe adapted from White on Rice Couple and Joy the Baker

I love finding recipes for things I’ve never thought of before, don’t you? Especially when the recipe is simple enough to tweak to my own tastes without fear of failure. Balsamic roasted strawberries are like that. The only way you can ruin them is to burn them. And I did burn some of the juices on the first batch, but they still tasted good, sans the black parts.

Lesson learned: with shorter baking time you can separate strawberries and liquid, baked longer strawberries and liquid caramelize together. You can choose to make them so there’s liquid to brush on top of a strawberry muffin with roasted strawberries inside. Or you might use the liquid and berries to top a cake. Or you might want to make slightly caramelized berries as a yummy quick jam. It’s your choice.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Marinated Radishes

Jar of Radishes with Burger and Fixin's
The Alternative Burger Pickle

Recipe by Robin

As my doctor philosophized last week, we often have either too much of a good thing or not enough. This certainly seems true with radishes in a CSA share. Typically we receive a number of different radish varieties for several weeks, and then nothing. Although refrigerated radishes are hardy, they do deteriorate consistently as time goes by. An easy way to preserve them is to make simple refrigerator pickles.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Low Sugar Strawberry Pineapple Jam

4 jars of jam
Now and Later, to Keep and Share

Recipe by Robin

Strawberry season. Here on the central CA coast, we are blessed with a long one, often beginning in late April and sometimes extending into November. In fact, it was the prospect of a season-long supply of Live Earth Farm strawberries that inspired me to sign up for their weekly CSA produce boxes.

By this time of the season, eating fresh strawberries is no longer a novelty, yet they’re still at their peak of flavor and freshness. We’ve eaten them plain, dipped them, drunk them, shortcaked them, frozen them, and even saladed or balsamic-minted them. What’s next? That’s right, strawberry jam!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brandied Cherries

Four Pint Jars of Brandied Cherries
A Lot of Cocktail and Dessert Potential

Recipe by Robin

When I posted a recipe for Cherries in Light Honey Sauce recently, my friend Lynn, a prolific inventor of party drinks, mentioned that these could be used in a new drink she’s concocted. When we chatted more about her ingredient list, it turned out to be ideal to “brandy” the cherries. Always on the alert for new recipes, I thought, why not brandy some fresh cherries instead of adding brandy to the preserved honeyed ones?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vichyssoise: French Potato Leek Soup

Bowl of Soup with Chive Garnish
Yukon Gold Potatoes = Mellow Yellow Color

Recipe by Robin

Neither my Santa Cruz style potato leek soup nor Sylvia Folkart’s no-milk potato leek soup seemed appropriate for a Bastille Day potluck last week. Both recipes minimize two ingredients that French chefs love: butter and cream! Also, my earlier recipes were for hot potato leek soup, whereas vichyssoise is always served chilled. And of course, since classic vichyssoise is very smooth, my usual unpeeled potatoes ne sont pas acceptables. A Facebook friend quipped, “I can’t even pronounce vichyssoise, much less make it!” Say “vee shee SWAZ” (hear pronunciation). The final s is pronounced, and accent is on last syllable.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick and Easy Chicken Soup

Bowl of Chicken Soup
To Your Health

Recipe by Robin

Summertime colds seem so counterintuitive and unfair. Staying in bed shivering under blankets while everyone else is outdoors playing in the sun, swimming with the kids, or sipping cocktails at a barbecue just doesn’t seem right. So the other day when I felt a bit under the weather, I chose to nip the virus in the bud. In addition to getting extra rest and drinking ginger tea and lemon tea, I made chicken soup.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Classic Potato Salad

Plate of Potato Salad on Red Leaf Lettuce
Classic Classic: Served on Lettuce Leaf

Recipe by Mom

In most parts of the US, it’s rare to have a summer party without potato salad. Finding two or three varieties at a potluck isn’t unusual. Everyone seems to have a favorite recipe, and mine comes from my mom. She started training me in potato salad prep at age 10, not a bad tradition.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pinaattiohukaiset: Scandinavian Spinach Pancakes (Finland)

Plate of Spinach Pancakes and bowl of preserves
Lingonberry Preserves = Perfect Compliment

Recipe by The Cooking of Scandinavia

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog post for a special announcement: Spinach is delicious in pancakes! I didn’t plan to make these, or even know about them. If I were a more disciplined cook and hadn’t gone to Ikea I might have never known. But let me back up a bit.

I’ve been curious about lingonberries for decades, because of my interest in Scandinavian cooking and cultures. So I was excited to find lingonberry preserves at Ikea last weekend. Being somewhat compulsive, I derailed my plans to make Mom’s potato salad and started researching uses for lingonberries. A quick look through The Cooking of Scandinavia recipe booklet revealed that Finnish people make traditional spinach pancakes and often  serve them with lingonberries. Perfect recipe for the half pound of summer spinach in the fridge!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Strawberry Pancake Syrup

Blueberry Pancakes topped with Strawberry Syrup and Fruit
Combined with Blueberry Pancakes

Recipe by Robin

I’ve always loved pancakes, especially the apple pancakes that my mom used to make. When I was a kid I adored going to small pancake houses that made syrups  from strawberries and other fruits. These days such syrups taste artificial, probably because local pancake houses are hard to find and the corporate chain pancake houses that have replaced them don't make syrup with real fruit.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blueberry Pancakes

Stack of Blueberry Pancakes with extra Blueberries
Blueberries on Blueberries

Recipe by Robin and The Boston Cooking School Cookbook

Once while in a summer program at the Yale Forestry Camp in Great Mountain Forest, a friend and I spontaneously decided to make blueberry pancakes. Rather than planning this at camp, we made this decision on a “free morning” hike when we saw lots of scrubby blueberry plants on a sunny slope. We had no idea how many berries to gather. Because the wild berries were so small, we thought we’d probably need a lot.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July Veggies and Recipes

Honeybee on Serrated Red Poppy
Bee Friend Helping Make Poppyseed

'Tis Now the Youth of Your Summer

In living and eating by the seasons we appreciate the wealth and gifts of every month, but there’s no denying that July is extra-abundant in the northern hemisphere. Long days with plenty of sunlight inspire us to be outside more, and warm temperatures encourage relaxation and enjoyment of outdoor meals with friends and family. The bounty of fruits and vegetables in our gardens and on local farms make it easy to eat local foods, create new recipes, and share food with others.