August 23, 2011

Szechuan Style and Dilly Dilly Pickled Green Beans

I love pickles. The apocalyptic part of me has always been interested in the idea of spending long summer nights in the kitchen lining cupboards with jars upon jars of heirloom tomatoes and pickled beans to last through the winter. Of course, this has never happened. Jams are one thing, but canning vegetables has seemed unapproachable in New York thanks to a lack of necessary gear, wisdom, or shelf space in my shared kitchen. That is, until now! Last week I attended a pickling class in Crown Heights held by the people at brooklynskillshare. Emily taught us about the magic and ease of refrigerator pickles. I'm talking small batch deliciousness served up without having to buy any new stuff, ready in 1-2 weeks, while reusing old jars and brines. This is surely my style. Quick, lazy-day goodness that is inexpensive, fun, and experimental without the lurching fear of the b-word.

Aspiring homesteaders, rejoice!
Recipes to come,

August 22, 2011

CS(Amen): Open Faced August

A few dear friends came over on Saturday for a lazy night of serious poetry, solid art re-performance and silly music. We started off the evening with these ordinary tacos made delicious thanks to the amazing and colorful gifts we have been recieving from el mirador farm. Homemade flour tortillas were covered in a layer of spiced red lentils, fresh corn, wildwood yogurt, homemade pico and spring onions. If you have never made tortillas from scratch, you should give them a try! This was my first effort. I think I prefer corn tortillas, but if you are out of maseca and it's raining cats and dogs, these will do.

Easy Flour Tortillas
4 cups AP flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbs. earth balance or margarine
1 1/2 cups water

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Use your hands to mix in the margarine until sandy. Add the water in parts, kneading as you go. Knead on a floured surface until elastic (about 5 minutes). Next divide the dough into equal parts- 24 if you want smaller taco-sized tortillas, or 16 if you want larger burrito-sized tortillas. Cover the balls with plastic to keep them from getting dry while you roll. Using your hands and/or a rolling pin, press the dough into very thin circles. You can fry them dry in a pan or with a bit of oil if you prefer. Voila!

Pico de Gallo
1/2 red onion (chopped)
2 large tomatoes (chopped)
2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
3-4 Tbs. cilantro (chopped)
1/2-1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 poblano pepper (or any hottish pepper) (chopped)
the juice of 1 lime
splash of AC vinegar
splash of olive oil
fresh ground pepper

Mix and serve! Add corn, black beans, and spices as you see fit!


August 13, 2011

Parkside Tea Sandwiches

While running back and forth from the laundromat this morning, I made a couple lovely baguettes. I was so delighted about having fresh bread around that I invited GK over to make fancy tea sandwiches with me in the park. Prospect Park has been a saving grace to me this summer. It has come to represent some major turning points in my relationship with this city, mainly - reconciliation through grass-rolling and late-night-strolling and afternoon-snacking and moon-watching and people-watching and poem-reciting and early-morning-jogging and kite-flying.

These simple sandwiches were delicious and easy. Tofu cream cheese with cucumbers and dill seed and fresh tomatoes with basil. Salt and pepper would have been nice but I forgot to pack them in my tote. Just assemble and serve. Perfect on freshly baked baguettes or toasted bread.

Over the course of this summer, I have received some really lovely surprises from JG's garden. Her mother gave me this gorgeous bunch of fresh herbs last week wrapped in leaves and tied with string. I couldn't get over how beautiful this bouquet was! It has lasted in my fridge for over a week and still looks and tastes great.

Enjoy! (and go eat outside!)

CS(Amen)! Stuffed Peppers, Three Ways

My dear friend, LVD,  and I have been talking about the glory of stuffed vegetables so when I saw the loot of peppers we got from the farm this week I was giddy with enthusiasm! I hid them in our fridge hoping they would stay safe until I had the chance to make these little darlings for my household. I was guessing as I went with this recipe, hoping to get a flavorful and delicious filling. The results were this: a spicy blend of rice, TSP (textured soy protein), garlic, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, and spices. Don't be intimidated! Stuffed veggies are very forgiving and impressive! We had three types of peppers to stuff, poblano, bell, and banana. The banana peppers were my favorite!

6-7 peppers for stuffing
1 medium sized yellow onion (chopped)
1/2 red onion (chopped)
3 Tbs. olive oil
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 jalapeno (diced)
1 banana pepper (sliced)
1/2 medium sized zucchini (chopped)
10 mushrooms (chopped)
1 cup TSP
1 cup vegetable broth
1-2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 bay leaf
splash of braags
1/3 cup tomato sauce
2 tomatoes (diced)
1 cup rice
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice (you can use any type of rice). Re-hydrate the tsp in 1 cup of vegetable bouillon. Cover while you are preparing the rest of the ingredients. In a very large pan, saute the onions olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic, peppers, and zucchini and saute for a few more minutes. Add the spices, being careful not to burn them. Next add the mushrooms, re-hydrated tsp, braags, bay leaf, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Let this all cook together for 10 minutes or so. Add the cooked rice to the melange and stir. Let this cook for another 10 minutes, tasting and adjusting as necessary. When you are completely satisfied with your filling, turn the oven on to 350. Very carefully, slice the tops off the peppers, preserving as much pepper as possible. Fill each pepper. Chances are, you will have extra filling. Great! Use the extra filling to help the peppers stand up in your casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the peppers are starting to get soft.


August 4, 2011

Blueberry and Yogurt Crepes

I hope to make crepes again this weekend, but they won't be as good as last Sunday's because my dear housemates and I have already devoured all of the blueberries we picked in Michigan. These were delcious served with plain soy yogurt, sour blueberries, and homemade applesauce. I'm finding that almond milk is performing better than soy, so try substituting unsweetened almond milk in this crepe recipe from March.