Tuesday, June 30, 2009

nanny's chicken noodle soup

Last time we were perusing the bulk section at Rainbow, we picked some herb infused egg noodles, thinking they would be awesome to make soup with. This is a riff on Kenny's grandmother's chicken noddle soup. Nanny serves up a big delicious bowl of beige: chicken, corn and noodles, accompanied by saltine crackers and butter. We decided to make a few modifications, including the addition of carrots and substituting all vegetarian products. Our whole apartment smelled so good while this was cooking... a neighbor coming home from work actually stopped Kenny outside to be like, "What are you cooking!? OMG It smells incredible!"

1 Tbsp olive oil
5 carrots, sliced thick
3 ears corn, remove kernels, discard cob
1 package Lightlife chicken strips
10 cups water
6 Tbsp vegetarian chicken broth powder (also from Rainbow)
1 lb herb noodles, or egg noodles
salt & pepper

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Saute carrots and corn for 5-7 minutes, until your kitchen smells like fresh roasted corn on the cob. Add in chicken strips and cook an additional 5 minutes. Mix water with chicken broth powder and add to the pot. Bring to a simmer, and cook covered for 15 minutes. Add noodles, return to a simmer (NOT a boil, unless you really want to clean your stove afterwards...) and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes, until noodles are al dente. I know, you are probably thinking I am crazy for not cooking the noodles separately and then adding them in. I thought Nanny might have been crazy too, but the starch that cooks off of the noodles helps to thicken the soup, and give it a really awesome consistency. AND you only have one pot to clean up! When the noodles are done, the soup is done. Grab some crusty bread (or saltine crackers if you are a member of my family), and dig in. Get ready for carbo-load heaven!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

whole garden pasta salad

My best friend is visiting this weekend, which means lots of dining out! We wanted to make something to use up as many veggies as possible from the CSA so that nothing went bad while we were enjoying our weekend away from the kitchen. So we made a super easy pasta using 6 ingredients from the box!

1 bunch chard, leaves roughly ripped
3 heads broccoli, florets only
3 peppers, julienned
1 bunch carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10 leaves basil, chiffonade
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper & balsamic vinegar to taste
1 lb whole wheat fusilli

Get a pot of water boiling and add in the pasta. Add the olive oil to a large pan, and saute the garlic and onions for 2-4 minutes. The order for the veggies goes like this: broccoli & carrots first, until carrots are tender and broccoli is bright green, then add in the chard and peppers and stir until the chard is wilted. The pasta should be done by now, so strain and return to the large pot. Dump in all the veggies, toss and season how you like. Top with basil. Serves 6.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

weekly delivery 06/24

This week we received the following from FFTY:

6 Russian banana potatoes
1 bunch fresh basil
1 pint blueberries

6 summer squash
1 lb apricots
3 lipstick peppers

6 peaches
2 red onions

3 stalks white corn
1 bunch Nantes carrots

1 head red leaf lettuce
1 broccoli

Monday, June 22, 2009

tofu ranchero

Here is a recipe for slow cooker tofu ranchero. If you don't have a slow cooker, check out this recipe for ranchero sauce instead.


1 block super firm tofu, cubed
3 heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
7 sweet peppers, julienned
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, julienned
5 patty pan squash, quartered
2 Tbsp 2x concentrate tomato paste
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 cups vegetable stock

Prep all the ingredients and toss into the slow cooker pot. Toss with the seasonings then add the vegetable stock and cook on low for 6 hours. Strain with a slotted spoon. Save the liquid to make extra tasty rice and serve with avocado!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

peach and plum sauce

3 peaches, stones removed, roughly chopped
6 plums, stones removed, roughly chopped
2 cups red wine, we used SheBang!, its made by our upstairs neighbor Morgan
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large sauce pan heat oil on medium, when it gets hot, add the onions, salt, and pepper, and saute for 6 minutes. Add in the fruit and wine, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the peaches have completely softened, and are mushy. Strain into a bowl, getting all the chunks out, and return the liquid to the sauce pan set to medium heat again. Reduce the liquid by half, about 13-15 minutes, and whisk in the butter. Serve immediately with pork, beef, or as a topping for ice cream!

We had a little backyard BBQ and served our amazing sweet, tangy peach & plum sauce with brined pork loin and olive oil smashed green garlic potatoes.

We also made way (WAY!) too much polenta the other day by accident, so we cut the leftovers into wedges and grilled them with some red onion and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

tomato and pepper ragu

3 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
6 sweet gypsy peppers, seeded and julienned
1 large spring onion, white part only, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
12 large leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp 2x concentrate tomato paste
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and peppers and allow to saute' until the onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add tomato paste, stir and cook an additional 2 minutes. Toss in the tomatoes and basil, cover and simmer until the tomatoes have broken down and a thick sauce is formed, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with pasta, polenta, or crusty bread. Or do what we did below!

We served it over polenta with some grilled organic grass fed and finished skirt steak we picked up from the farmer's market at the Ferry Building on Saturday.

We marinated the skirt steak for 36 hours in:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 pinch of garlic granules
2 hefty pinches of salt
1 pinch of pepper

Then grilled it on a hot grill for 5 minutes on each side for a nice medium steak. Sliced on the bias it was tender, had a great crust, and was packed with flavor!

weekly delivery 06/17

In the box this week:

1 bunch green chard
10 black plums
5 yellow peaches

5 sweet gypsy peppers
2 lipstick peppers
3 beets
5 pattypan squash
4 heirloom tomatoes

1 head green leaf lettuce
1 pint blueberries
2 red onion
1 bunch Nantes carrots

Monday, June 15, 2009

So, we went to the French Laundry...

So, we went to the French Laundry on Wednesday night! After trying to get a reservation for almost an entire year, Cang stumbled upon a table for four on OpenTable. Our reservation was at 5:30, right when they open for dinner.

We started out the evening getting drinks at Hurley's. Hurley's has become sort of a tradition for us, we always get drinks there whenever we go to Napa. Their cocktails are fantastic and there's always open seats at the bar.

After a few cocktails, we wandered over to The French Laundry and snapped some photos in the garden. At 5:30, we were led to our seats upstairs. The restaurant is very small, there are only 15 tables, and the meal lasts about 4 hours.

Kara, Cang, Kenny & Katie at the French laundry. (Yes, I know, our names are an alliteration.)

The service was really extraordinary- we had one main server who took our order and explained everything to us, but were waited on by at least like 8 different people. Each course was brought by two servers, who each simultaneously dropped plates in front of Kara and I first, then in front of the men. It was fun to watch them, because they would kind of make eye contact with each other and nod, then place the plates down exactly in unison.

The pace of the meal was very quick at first. Servers were flying around, bring out amuse-bouches, taking drink and dinner orders, refilling waters. It felt a little chaotic for the first 2 courses, then again maybe it was just because I was a little buzzed off the cocktails from Hurleys...

I'm very grateful that Kara & Cang took photos of the meal. I felt too weird to take my big DSLR in there- I need to get myself a point & shoot for times like these! You can check out all of their photos on Flickr:
Cang's: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rangerrad/
Kara's: http://www.flickr.com/photos/electricshock/

On to the meal!

Tiny Gruyere-filled Puff Pastries. Photo by Cang.

Cornets of Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraîche. Photo by Cang.

The cornets are the standard amuse-bouche at the French Laundry and also at Per Se, Keller's restaurant in NYC.

First Course:

“Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and California Sturgeon Caviar, served with a spoon made out of mother of pearl.

Jesus Christ, this was SO GOOD. I could eat a whole bowl of it, and I would lick that bowl clean. Ugh.

Second Course:

Sweet Carrots, Medjool Date, Cilantro and Madras Curry Emulsion



Rhubarb Relish, Green Almonds, Cutting Celery and Aged Balsamic Vinegar, served with brioche and three different kinds of salt.

I got the eggplant. It was beautiful, sweet and a little citrus-y! I also tried a tiny bit of Kara's foie gras- it was like buttah.

Third Course:

Sunchokes, Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms, Fava Beans and Mustard Seed “Aigre-Doux”



Globe Artichoke, Niçoise Olives, Arugula Tomato Compote and Saffron Nage

I got the squid. It was good- not the best squid I've ever had, but I really liked the arugula tomato compote.

Fourth Course:
“BEETS AND LEEKS” Photo by Cang.

Maine Lobster Tail “Pochée au Beurre Doux” with King Richard Leeks, “Pommes Maxim’s” and Red Beet Essence

This was incredible! The lobster was very tender and buttery, the leeks and beets had very intense flavor, and the potato chip provided some nice greasy crunch.

We requested a break after the fourth course and went outside to lounge in the garden and digest a bit. After our break, the rest of the meal was a much more relaxed pace.

Fifth Course:

Navel Orange, Belgian Endive, Watercress and Toasted Pine Nuts



Pistachios, White Asparagus, Bing Cherries, Mâche and Black Truffle Sauce

I got the rabbit. It was stuffed with pistachios and sausage and came with it's own pretty little utensil.

Sixth Course:

Hobbs’ Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Spring Onions, English Peas and “Sauce Bordelaise”

This was SO SO AMAZING. The beef was a cross between waygu and kobe, and it was cooked in the sous-vide style, so it was the most tender thing ever. MOAR PLS.

Seventh Course:
“ST. NECTAIRE” Photo by Kara.

Green Grapes, Fennel Bulb, Fennel Seed “Sablé” and Verjus

Cheese course. I didn't eat mine, I'm not a cheese course kinda girl. Actually, I don't think anyone really liked the cheese, but let's not dwell on that!

Eighth Course:

Ginger “Gelée,” Puffed Quinoa and Boysenberry Purée

Nice palate cleanser, the puffed quinoa was fun. (p.s.: How awesome is that bowl?! WANT!)

Ninth Course:

Caramelized Gros Michel Bananas and Hazelnut Sorbet



Tellicherry Pepper Panna Cotta, Garden Lemon Verbena Sherbet and Chilled Silverado Trail Strawberry Consommé

I got the chocolate. It was FANTASTIC. The bananas were caramelized and cut into these perfect little rings. The lemon verbena was lovely and was served with a chilled strawberry consumme, which they poured for you.

MIGNARDISES. Photo by Kara.

Chocolates and chocolates and more chocolates. Seriously there were three rounds. I ate like two bites of a white chocolate and mint curry chocolate. I was so stuffed at this point I wanted to cry a little bit.

"LE BILL" Photo by Cang.

The bill came out to 300-400 each, depending on drinks. On our way out, were were given folders with copies of the menu and a package of shortbread cookies to take home. We were very pleased to receive a quick tour of the kitchen. It was pretty spacious (considering how small the restaurant is) and shiny and the chefs were all working in complete silence!

Chef de cuisine, Corey Lee. Photo by Cang.

That's it! It's over! Sob! Honestly, it was was incredible. Hands down, without a doubt, best meal of my life! The highlights for me were the "oysters & pearls", the lobster, the beef and the chocolate dessert.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

bok choy slaw

We wanted to use the bok choy in it's raw form because well, sometimes the texture of cooked bok choy is a turn off. Especially when you eat a lot of it because you get it delivered to your door for a few weeks in a row. Kenny was still haunted by the memory of too-much-bok choy 2k8, but the raw preparation worked out really well. Crunchy and satisfying!

1 head of broccoli, florets chopped and stem peeled and shredded
5 heads baby bok choy, finely julienned
3 small Nantes carrots, shredded (or 1 large carrot)
1/2 a red onion, finely sliced

Peanut dressing:
3 Tbsp peanut butter (we used chunky, feel free to use smooth. However, Parker's peanut butter is the freakin' bomb, buy it!)
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp ginger

This recipe is simple, and ridiculously tasty. Cut all the vegetables, shake the dressing together in your dressing shaker (or whisk it in a bowl) and add to the veggies. We ate it with honey sesame tofu from Soy Deli that we pan seared and covered in the sauce. DEEEEEELICIOUS! Ate it again the next day. Totally amazing!

Friday, June 12, 2009

melon dranks

You got a juicer? Us neither. We got back from the French Laundry and were in the mood for some cocktails. So Katie and I got on it. These drinks are kind of labor intensive, but well worth the time. These are totally summer.

1 large honeydew (a little unripe if you can find it), cut into 1 inch chunks
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
4 oz rum per glass

This requires some work, but rest assured that it will be well rewarded. These are directions for people without a juicer. Blend the honeydew with the rosemary and cayenne in a food processor of blender until smooth. Strain in a fine strainer, slowly, into another empty vessel. Mix with rum, and serve to friends!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

weekly delivery 06/10

Here's what we received this week:

1 small head of broccoli
1.5 lbs baby bok choy
7 lipstick peppers
1 yellow onion
1 red onion
1 pint blueberries

1 honeydew melon
1 bunch basil
1 head red leaf lettuce
3 heirloom tomatoes

Monday, June 8, 2009

pizza from scratch

This is our first time making pizza from scratch at home. Well, I guess I should say, it's almost totally from scratch- maybe next time we will try making the mozzarella too!

Pizza Dough:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for table
3/4 cup 110-115 degree water, think hot tub
3/4 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for bowl
1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

Makes 1 12-14" pizza crust:

In a small bowl, combine the active dry yeast with warm water, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes so the yeast can reanimate and get excited. Add wet ingredients to food processor first, followed by the flour, and give it a little stir to incorporate so you don't set off a flour bomb in the kitchen. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until a solid dough ball forms (depending on your flour, humidity, or other factors you may need to add a little more flour to the food processor. Just make sure to add only a little at a time). Remove ball from your food processor and knead on a floured surface by hand for about 5 minutes, folding in half, squishing the dough, then turn 90 degrees and do the same. Then put about 1 1/2 tsp. of olive oil in a large bowl, roll the dough ball around to coat. Cover the bowl with a warm wet kitchen towel and let it sit on the kitchen counter to rise for one hour. The dough will rise to about twice its size. Wrap tightly and store for at least 24 hours. Dough will be fine in the fridge for up to 3 days. This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, or more. It is great to make in large batches, and the remaining dough can be separated into pizza sized balls and frozen in freezer bags for up to 2 month, just make sure the ball is coated with oil before placing into the bag.

Pizza Sauce:
4 heirloom tomatoes, seeds removed and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 spring onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste

Add the olive oil to a non-stick pot over high heat. Add in the onion and garlic and allow to simmer for just a minute or two, then add in the tomatoes. Season and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 20 minutes, until the sauce reduces to about 1/3 of its volume, stirring occasionally so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat down and re-check your seasoning. You may run this through a blender for super smooth sauce or for a more rustic vibe, leave it chunky. We left it chunky- why dirty more dishes?


1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 sweet gypsy peppers, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Put your pizza stone or baking sheet on the bottom rack. Get your dough out of the fridge and let it warm up a bit before you start stretching. When you are ready to assemble the pizza, add the sauce, cheese and toppings, then quickly center the pizza on your stone or baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, checking on it after 7.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

indian carrot lentil soup

We have been receiving carrots have been pretty steadily the last few weeks. I'm not the biggest fan of cooked carrots... I mean, I'll eat them but they're not my favorite thing in the world. Regardless, for some reason, every time we opened the box and saw carrots, my first thought was soup. I knew I wanted to use this week's carrots, spring onions and tomato in a soup so I started looking around the internet for inspiration recipes. I saw this, but of course I wanted to put my own spin on it.

So I swapped out the mung beans for lentils and then Kenny & I made a trip to Rainbow to check out their bulk spice section. I wanted to keep the soup Indian-influenced so we picked out coriander seed & green cardamom, which would go along with the cinnamon and bay leaves we already had in our pantry. Also worth mentioning is that Rainbow has a garam masala pre-mixed spice blend in the bulk section, and a whole section of indian spice mixes and marinades at the end of one of the grocery aisles.

We decided to break out the slow cooker for this one but if you don't have a slow cooker, you could totally make this soup on the stove, just bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer until the carrots are tender.

1.5 lbs carrots, chopped
1 tomato, seeds removed and chopped
2 small spring onions, diced
2 cups lentils
2 Tbsp vegetarian chicken broth powder
4 cups water
16 pods of green cardamom
12 coriander seeds
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Toss the cardamom and coriander in a hot pan for a minute or so, so that the spices begin to release their oils. Add everything into your slow cooker and cook on high for 4 and a half hours, until the carrots are very tender. Fish out the green cardamom and bay leaves before serving.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

weekly delivery 06/03

This weeks FFTY delivery included:

1 pint blueberries
1 bunch Nantes carrots
4 sweet gypsy pepper

5 onions
1 head green leaf lettuce
6 heirloom tomatoes

1 watermelon
9 yellow peaches
1 bunch Italian parsley

ps- We've been backlogged the last two weeks, but we've still been cooking! Six posts are in the works!