Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"The Usual"

Everyone has a "go to" recipe that they make when they don't really feel like cooking, or have a ton of something, or are just really hungry and need something fast. While these definitely evolve over time, and change altogether when you whip up something so amazing that you can't see how you ever lived without it, or can't believe you didn't figure it out before; they are always based on stuff you usually have on hand, and this one is no different.

It's a pasta dish. We usually make a ton of it so that we have some leftovers for lunch, and then don't have to spend 10 bucks eating at work. It usually uses up all of our green veggies every week. But, its ridiculously tasty and is based on one thing; a simple sauce.

So here is my super fast cream sauce, that we are hopelessly addicted to, at least until we figure out something else. We always make it vegan, you don't have to. This recipe is written for the smallest batch, and can be multiplied infinitely. We usually make about triple this size.

1.5 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 Tbsp. AP Flour
1 link Light Life Veggie Italian Sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1.25 cups Unsweetened Soy Milk, or any other kind of milk
3 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
Whatever herbs you like...
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add canola oil to a saute' pan over medium heat. Saute' veggie sausage until browned on both sides. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside, being careful to leave as much oil in the pan as you can (the sausage flavor in the oil will really help to flavor the sauce). Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onions are translucent, about 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the onions and garlic, stirring well, and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Now whisk in the soy milk and continue to stir occasionally until it comes to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil for at least 1 minute while constantly stirring. Add the nutritional yeast, and mix until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the sauce with the sausage, pasta, and whatever cooked veggies you have.

Now that I look at this recipe, I think it would also really work for biscuits and gravy. Looks like we know what we are having for brunch this weekend!

Monday, November 1, 2010

We decided to try a new farmers market last Saturday...

So, we may not have a CSA here. There may not be many totally Organic farms to choose from, but we can still get a good haul at the farmers market. We decided to skip the Union Square Greenmarket this past weekend and avoid Manhattan. Instead we rolled on up the the McCarren Park Greenmarket here in Brooklyn.

This is what we got for $18. That's right, it's not a typo. That pile of awesome right above this text was only 18 Buckaroos. Granted its not organic, but it is local, and damn fresh. We will be busy this week! So much cooking to do!

I can't even tell you how excited I am that we decided to try switching markets. Looks like this will be a permanent choice if next week they have similar offerings.

Hooray for produce!

Super Fast Crust-less Quiche with Greens

Weekend mornings are usually pretty busy around our household. Since we usually only have one day off together we always have a lot of errands to run, things we couldn't get to during the workweek, and the farmers market to get to, all before we can just relax and enjoy our time together. So getting breakfast out of the way quickly is almost always a good idea, but it still has to taste good, right? I whipped this up last weekend, and it really hit the spot. It was simple, had few steps, and allowed plenty of time to multitask while things were cooking. These are my favorite kind of things to cook.

9 Large Eggs
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound, or 2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar. More specifically, Grafton Farms 2 year old cheddar.)
1 bunch of Kale, chopped pretty small, with a lot of the larger stems removed
1 stick of Butter or Earth Balance (don't worry, we aren't using it all)
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the kale for about 10-15 seconds, and then strain and shock it with cold water. While the kale is draining, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Use the stick of butter to grease a 9" pie pan (We used Pyrex). Crack all of the eggs into a large bowl and beat them up. Add in the cheese, kale, onion, and some salt and pepper and mix well until everything is incorporated.

So now for the downtime... Get ready to balance you checkbook, read the paper, clean you junk drawer, or whatever it is you have been meaning to do all week. Its going to be a few delicious smelling minutes before breakfast is ready.

Place it into your oven on the middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the eggs are set in the center. Once its ready, let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Happy breakfast!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

corn and cauliflower chowder

Hooray, it's soup season again! Not like it really stops ever being soup time in SF, but after a summer of oppressive heat here in NYC, I for one am damn sure glad I can eat soup without sweating again. This was the perfect treat for using some of the last corn and cauliflower of the summer to make something warm and comforting, and totally fall.

1 huge head of Cauliflower, about 2 pounds, cut into small florets, don't forget those tender pieces of stem too- chop those up and throw them in there too!
6 ears of Corn, kernels taken off the cob, about 2.5-3 cups of kernels
1 Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
6 cups of Veggie Broth
2 cups Unsweetened Soy Milk
1/4 cup AP Flour
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp. Dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a soup pot over medium heat, saute' the onions, garlic, and thyme until the onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. When you have reached a boil, add the cauliflower and cook for 3-5 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked through, but not mushy. Add the soy milk in and stir to incorporate.

Now, this next part is completely optional: If you would like to make a smoother soup, you can blend all, or a portion of the soup so far, and get a slightly more velvety texture from the end product. Just sayin'. We chose to blend half, mostly because we don't have an immersion blender any longer, and because we still love texture. Alright, did you blend it? Whatevs, its your call, either way its gonna taste good. Back to the soup.

Add your corn and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes until the corn has cooked through. (If you used frozen corn this should only take about 5-7 minutes.) Season with salt and pepper, grab yourself some crusty bread, put on your Snuggie, and pop on a movie. Hooray for Fall!

chorizo and potatoes for brunch

This was a quick breakfast idea when we woke up kind of on the wrong side of the bed (read: hungover) one morning. It requires little action, but reaps great rewards.

1 pound fingerling potatoes, sliced into approx. 1/2" rounds
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 peppers, whatever color you have, coarsely chopped
1 package Light Life Chorizo Style "Sausage", cut into 1/2" slices
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija Cheese, or Queso Fresco
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1/2 Tbsp. Cumin
Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
Fried Egg (optional)

Wake up. Grab glass of water and Emergen-C. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop stuff. Mix everything except cheese and eggs in a bowl. Put into baking dish and put that into the oven. Put on pot of coffee. Set timer for 25 minutes. Crawl back into bed.

When the timer goes off, get out of bed and check the potatoes. Are they fork tender? OK, good. Remove the dish from the oven and top with cheese. Cook some eggs if you like and throw them on there too. Grab your coffee, sit down and watch some cartoons.

Monday, September 27, 2010

kombucha squash and kale pasta

Fast and easy. 1 pan + 1 pot + 1 dish + 30 minutes = enough food for 2 for dinner and 4 lunches. Not too mention it tasted ridiculously good and had everyone in my office asking where I bought it so they could order take out, even though we work at Whole Foods...

1/2 lb. Whole Wheat Penne
1 package Light Life Italian Sausage, roughly chopped. Or just use the real thing, no hate.
1/2 Kombucha Squash (about 2 cups), peeled, seeded, and 1/2" sliced (it's rustic, you don't have to be exact)
1 bunch Kale, roughly julienned
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded (or nutritional yeast)
Salt to taste
Pepper (I like a lot of it in this dish)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, better keep the bottle handy.

Set your oven to 200 degrees and oil a casserole dish.

While pasta water is heating up, add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to a saute' pan set to medium high heat. Add the 'sausage' and brown for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Try to get it out of the pan without losing to much of the oil since it will help to flavor the rest of the components of the final dish. Place the sausage in the casserole dish and pop it back in the oven.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Add the squash and garlic to the pan (and any oil if you need to) and continue to saute' for about 10 minutes until the squash is fork tender. Season with salt and pepper and place in the casserole dish. By this time your pasta should also be done so shock it with cold water, oil lightly, and add it to the casserole dish as well and place it back in the oven.

Lower the heat of the saute' pan to medium and gently wilt the kale. You might need to do this in two batches if your pan isn't very large, or your bunch of kale is. As you may have guessed; put it in the dish and put it ba- wait! Hold on. Mix everything together in the dish, season to taste with salt (be careful though, pecorino romano is salty as well), tons of freshly ground black pepper, and any extra oil you may like to add. Heck, throw some butter in there if you want. Cover the entire thing in cheese and get down to grubbin', or put it back into the oven until you are ready to eat.

After writing this out, I really want to eat this again. We have been using veggie "sausage" a lot since moving here, especially the Light Life line mentioned above. It just has a super flavor "POP" that we can't resist. It makes even the easiest and fastest pasta night so much tastier, and goes really well with seasonal greens. Mmmmmm fake sausage.

Mexican Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 Acorn Squash, halved and seeded
1 Cup Long Grain Brown Rice (if you use white, ditch 1/2 of a cup of the water below)
1 can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Onion, 1/4" dice. We had a red onion.
1 Jalapeno, small dice, seeded if you ain't inta the spicy ish
2 Tbsp. 2x Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup Cotija Cheese, crumbled
2+ Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 Tbsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 Tbsp. Cayenne (or substitute 1.5 Tbsp. Chili Powder for this and the cumin)
Salt, cause it's good
Pepper, cause it's Salt's BFF
2.5 cups Water
Cilantro if you have it, I kind of wish we would have

Halve and clean the squash. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Oil the inside of the squash and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the cumin/cayenne blend. Add some salt and pepper at your discretion and place them in a baking dish.

Saute' the onion and pepper in a sauce pan with set to medium with 2 Tbsp. of oil. Add spices and season with salt and pepper. After onion becomes translucent (about 7 minutes) add your rice and stir until its coated in the goodness that is in the pan. Toss in the tomato paste and incorporate for about 90 seconds. Now get that water in there and cover that pan. Pop the squash in the oven, and pop a squat on the couch. Wait 25 minutes. Check the squash. Is it fork tender? Good. Take it out. Don't check the rice though, it needs 5 more minutes. Take this time to crumble your cheese and make another margarita.

OK, rice is done. Mix in the black beans, and season it if you need to. Stuff it into the squash. Top it with the cheese and the (hopefully not imaginary) cilantro. Eat it. Be careful, it's hot.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We used to have a blog.

We were really proud of what we had done, and were excited to create each and every week.

Since we moved to NYC a lot of things have changed; we couldn't find a CSA, we were far busier than we could have imagined, and reconnecting with family and friends (and making new ones!) had taken up a large part of our time. Not to mention that we are planning a wedding!

We still shopped at the Union Square Green Market, still cooked like crazy, but every time we had thought to take a picture, or try to remember a recipe, our plates were already empty or an exact recollection couldn't be made. Something was always missing; from our lives, our plates, our intentions; our blog.

We decided last week that we would come back with a different focus, local, organic, and add budget conscious. We both took a large pay decrease to come to New York, and are paying more in rent here (I know, but we LOVE our place!), so with a wedding coming and adjusting to a new income level, our budget has been under scrutiny. BUT, we still have standards we can't compromise.

Last week we did 4; count 'em; 4 recipes that we are so gung-ho to post. And we will post them this week, but last night we found out about an organic, some what local-as-can-be, cost-conscious delivery service from our good buddy Nicole. With Winter coming in the Northeast and the availability of local produce depleting, we decided to sign up, and use this as our base. We will also be doing some features on local producers of some awesome products that we love, and have found we can't live without.

We will still be visiting the USQ Green Market as well; dammit, we are just gonna keep it real, and keep it on a budget.

Interwebs, we have missed you. Here we come!, again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

pizza seems like a good place to start

Living on the West Coast, whenever I thought about coming back home, all I thought about was eating pizza- and TONS of it. It doesn't surprise me that our first blog post is about this amazing portable, delicious, and versatile food. We hit the Union Square Green Market the other day and grabbed some seasonal veggies. Although a little more limited from our usual California cornucopia, we found some really great gems. The early spring broccoli rabe, and the late winter fingerling potatoes were just amazing. We grabbed bunches of both while getting sprouts for our garden and spent the train ride home figuring out what we would do with them. The idea was obvious from the beginning. Pizza. Greens on pizza are amazing. Potato chips on pizza are superb (oh come on, you know you've done it). So we decided to make a pie. We almost ate the whole thing in one sitting it was so good. Katie made the dough while I was at work the day before, and then it rested until we made the dish for lunch the next afternoon. Our crust came out crispy, stiff, flaky, and moist; the veggies cooked to perfection; and the cheese was wonderfully caramelized.

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

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.

Top with Sundried Tomato Pesto. We used Sauces 'n Love. Or you can pick your favorite pesto. Whatevs.

Sprinkle with 1/2 pound of shredded mozzarella, reserving about 1 handful.
Top with 2 cups of roughly chopped broccoli rabe, and 1/4 cup of shaved fingerling potatoes.

Finish the pizza off with the rest of the cheese, a sprinkle of olive oil, and some salt. Place into a 450 degree oven for 11 minutes on the middle rack.

Remove, cut, and get your grub on.
We're back!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

eating seasonally in brooklyn

Hi! Remember us? We've missed you! We just moved into our apartment on (a very cold and rainy) Tuesday. We're still getting our kitchen set up but we are absolutely going to be reviving our blog. We are still trying to decide on a CSA based in NYC that offers a decent amount of variety while still having somewhat easy to access a pick-up location. In the meantime we will be shopping the Green Market at Union Square Park (WHICH HAS RAMPS NOW!!!), and will begin getting back to blogging full-time as soon as we get some more furniture, and finish getting settled. We moved in to a really amazing apartment in South Williamsburg and have a MUUUUUCH larger and nicer kitchen than before! Thanks for hanging with us for so long, and we apologize for being gone for so long, but this move and our recent sublet have kept us out of the kitchen for a hot minute.

So... Look forward to more great recipes, silly anecdotes, and cooking tips from Katie and I. And while you are doing so, keep it local, and drink some good beer.

Any help on CSAs in Brooklyn would be amazing, even Southern Manhattan is doable since I (Kenny) work there. Also any help or tips for backyard gardens in NYC would be great as we plan to plant about 50 sq. feet of space with TONS of veggies!

Thanks for reading, and any advice you can give,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ummmmmmmmm yeah......

Anyone know any good CSA's in New York City? Specifically in Brooklyn. Cause, you know, we have some- *ahem* friends who might be moving there soon. They are a really awesome couple, and kind of can't live without a box. Just friends of ours. Totally. Let us know. For them. Yeah...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

weekly delivery 01/06

1 bunch kale
1 head savoy cabbage
2 ruby grapefruits
4 Comice pears
9 Navel oranges
1 bunch cilantro

1 butternut squash
1 head green leaf lettuce
6 Fuji apples
4 leeks
2 bulbs garlic

stuffed shells with butternut squash and ricotta filling

1 large 3 pound butternut squash, halved, seeds and pulp removed
1 package of large pasta shells, cooked to package instructions
1 pound of ricotta cheese
1 pound of fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 small heads of red cabbage, shredded
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. Earth balance
salt and pepper to taste

Do this a day ahead if possible: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, place the squash face up. Rub with canola oil. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Place in oven uncovered and cook until completely cooked through, (should have a "mashed potato" kinda feel to it) about 45-55 minutes. Allow to cool, so that its easy to handle. Scrape the squash from the skin and set aside in a bowl. In this bowl, mix the ricotta cheese in with with cooked and cooled squash. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large saute' pan over medium heat add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil and sweat the onions until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add in the cabbage slowly while tossing, the cabbage will cook down fast, and allow more room in the pan quickly. Add salt and pepper throughout the cooking, since you want it to be well seasoned, but are still adding new food to the pan. Once all of the cabbage has been cooked, stir in the beans and set the pan to the side- do not drain the cabbage/onion liquid from the pan, you will need it later. (Sound familiar?)

In a large pyrex or casserole, put half of the cabbage and onion mixture on the bottom. Stuff the shells with the squash and ricotta filling and place them into the casserole dish. Top with the rest of the cabbage and onion mixture. Top with parmesan, breadcrumbs, and slices of fresh mozzarella. Cover the whole dish with a layer of parchment paper, and then foil, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes covered, and then an additional 5 minutes uncovered. Pull it out of the oven and let it set for 4-5 minutes before gorging yourself on its deliciousness!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

cabbage soup

MORE CABBAGE! This recipe highlights all of the ingredients in it. You can taste each one and its contribution to the dish. It's simple, hearty, and cooks pretty darn fast. Great for a nice chilly evening.

2 small heads of napa cabbage, shredded- about 4 cups
2.5 quarts of veggie stock
2 pounds of red potatoes, cut into 1/2" pieces, and well rinsed
1 pound of carrots, cut into 1/2 pieces
1 LARGE leek, white and green parts only, halved, and cut into 1/4' slices- about 1.25 cups packed
1.5 Tbsp. Earth Balance
3 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the Earth Balance, and saute' leeks until translucent, about 7-8 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, thyme, and stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil (10 or so minutes), the potatoes and carrots should be almost cooked. Test them. If they are fork tender, its time to proceed, if not, continue cooking until they are ready. I'm waiting. OK, they're done- let's move on. Add cabbage and turn off the heat. Stir for 2 minutes until the cabbage is cooked through. Serve with some nice crusty bread or crackers and eat while watching Jersey Shore, wrapped up in your Snuggie.

UPDATE 1/7/10:
Tonight we took the leftovers from this soup and totally reinvented it. We cooked 12 vegan meatballs in the oven, reheated the soup with the leftover shells from the recipe above, and 2.5 Tbsp. 2x tomato paste, and added 2 tsp. of oregano. Tossed the meatballs into the soup, and made some nice crostini. It was damn good (I ate 2 huge bowls!). Hooray for versatile recipes!

Friday, January 1, 2010

pasta with butternut squash, purple cabbage and cannellini beans

So this week we had a RIDICULOUS amount of cabbage and butternut squash. We wanted to make some dishes that were fast, super tasty, and had a lot of leftovers that we could take to work. So, the next three posts will all be these recipes. Similar ingredients with different twists, some of them a little unconventional- but they came out damn good. Here's the first!

1 pound whole wheat penne pasta, cooked to package directions
1 3-pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 small heads of purple cabbage, cored and shredded
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 15 oz. can of cannelini beans, drained
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsps. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss the squash chunks with 1 Tbsp. of oil, the thyme, and some salt and pepper. Lay this out in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until the squash is cooked through, but still firm, about 20-25 minutes.

In a large saute' pan over medium heat add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil and sweat the onions until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add in the cabbage slowly while tossing, the cabbage will cook down fast, and allow more room in the pan quickly. Add salt and pepper throughout the cooking, since you want it to be well seasoned, but are still adding new food to the pan. Once all of the cabbage has been cooked, stir in the beans and set the pan to the side- do not drain the cabbage/onion liquid from the pan, you will need it later.

Right about now your pasta should be done, and so should the squash. Find a BIG mixing bowl, and toss everything in! Sprinkle the nutritional yeast in as your mixing, it and the left-over cabbage/onion juice will make a nice sauce. Adjust any seasonings- more salt and pepper, more herbs, whatever you like. Then gobble it up!