kitchen scribble

November 25, 2015

summer/fall CSA, week 23

Filed under: CSA, weekend cooking — kat @ 2:23 pm

This was the last week of this year’s Breezy Willow CSA. It’s like a picture of what’s awesome about fall.

Huge heads of cauliflower and broccoli, brussels sprouts, Golden Delicious and Fuji apples, sweet potatoes, onions, spinach, Cacoctin Kettle Korn, eggs, and bread (Breadery ciabatta).

And that’s it until the spring. [sniff]

Week 23 was actually two weeks ago, and we’ve now eaten all of the stuff in the pickup except the sweet potatoes, which are currently still waiting patiently on the dining table. They’ll get roasted up sometime this weekend, I’m sure.

Today is the final day of a three-day workweek, which meant that I got to pack only three days’ worth of lunches this past Sunday night. I was pretty excited about having the week mostly taken care of on Sunday. Check it out: three days, twelve lunches.

K and I have chili over rice with spinach; the Little Prince gets rice with green beans, chicken, and a smidge of bacon (bribery), the Little Princess gets pancakes, spinach scrambled eggs, and bacon (breakfast foods are good finger foods), and you can also see the Little Prince’s fruit sides (mandarin orange segments with dried cranberries); I only made two but it was easy enough to make the third last night.

It takes a lot of prep for everyone in the family to get homemade meals every day, but if you do things in bulk, it pays dividends in time on busy weeknights.

I’m really looking forward to our multiple Thanksgiving meals this weekend (two local families = two Thanksgivings and no arduous travel! We’re really lucky). The best thing about Thanksgiving is the potluck nature of it all; if you do things right, you only need to make one or two dishes out of several, and then you get to stuff your face with family and friends.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone.

November 6, 2015

summer/fall CSA, week 22

Filed under: CSA — kat @ 1:26 pm

Every fall is always filled with mixed emotions for me. I love fall — the slight chill in the air, the crunchy leaves, pumpkins and gingerbread and apple cider — but on the other hand, the farms are shutting down. Next week will be the last week of the CSA, and the last week of the HoCo farmers’ markets. I’ll have to actually buy my produce from a grocery store again, from cashiers who may not be able to identify the items on sight.

You take a lot for granted when shopping at a farmer’s market. When you pick up an item, you can ask: is this eaten cooked or raw? Do you have any tricks for preserving it? How do you prepare it? And not only is the farmer happy to talk with you (assuming the stall isn’t slammed with customers), but you’ll soon have a dialogue going with the other shoppers, who are also happy to share their experiences, recipes, and recommendations. The community feeling is just incredible, and not something you generally get at your local grocery store.

(Not to slam Giant, Safeway, or Harris Teeter. I patronize them too, and I do appreciate their all-hours convenience and their endless rows of clean, brightly-lit produce. But it’s not the same as the love I have for the farmer’s market, where I may not quite find what I was looking for, but I come away with stuff that I’m excited about.)

ANYWAY. The penultimate week of the CSA brought us a pound of spinach, 3 pounds of white potatoes, a pound of brussels sprouts, a spaghetti squash, five large rainbow carrots, another enormous head of cauliflower, eight apples (the all-red ones are Staymans, and the yellow-reds are Jonagolds), and the usual eggs and bread (Great Harvest challah).

summer/fall CSA pickup week 22

I love brussels sprouts; cut in half and tossed with olive oil and spices, and roasted until the edges caramelize, they turn into crunchy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside little nuggets of awesome, and I consider them the perfect food to nosh on while watching a football game. As a bonus, the Little Prince likes them too. Pick the little ones; they’re the sweetest.

November 2, 2015

summer/fall CSA week 21; dark chocolate buttercream

Filed under: CSA, weekend cooking — kat @ 5:24 pm

Guys, guys! The trees outside are all beautiful colors, the weather is incredibly mild, the fruits of the harvest are rolling in. Let’s just ignore the fact that I haven’t posted in, um, apparently ten weeks? Instead, let’s just admire last week’s beautiful pickup from Breezy Willow:

summer/fall CSA, week 21

That’s an absolutely enormous cauliflower, a pound of kale, brussels sprouts, a spaghetti squash, white mushrooms, red-skinned potatoes, two kinds of apples (Golden Delicious and Stayman, I think), and the usual eggs and bread (Breadery ciabatta).

I’m eating one of the Golden Delicious apples as I type and although it’s a tad mealy, the flavor is so sweet and refreshing, I still love it.

Let’s also check out this gigantic sweet potato that Casey brought in from the field (and apparently decorated).

this huge potato is such a sweetie

Yes, it’s as big as a loaf of bread. Crazy, huh?

The Little Princess turned one this past weekend, which means that K and I have been able to keep two kids alive simultaneously for an entire year. We threw a party to celebrate, with plentiful food. We stuffed three pumpkins (bacon & cheese, chard & cheese, wild rice & mushroom) and I made a cake, horse-shaped for my little Year of the Horse girl.

horse cake for a Little Princess

Eyes and ears are made of white chocolate, with dark chocolate scribbled on top to provide details. I’m pretty proud of the cake, even though structural instabilities meant that the head fell off halfway through the party. It’s okay; it was all edible, so we just gave the head to the Little Princess to eat. And that dark chocolate buttercream was darn tasty, if I do say so myself.

And now, of course, post-Halloween, the house is full of candy, which I’m using to bribe my son to finish his dinner. Whatever works, right?

Happy fall, everybody! It’s my favorite time of year.

Easiest Dark Chocolate Buttercream

Food processor buttercream is my new favorite thing. Forget separating egg whites; forget running the stand mixer over and over again to beat in sugar in batches. Just dump everything into the food processor and let it whiz until buttercream miraculously appears. For an adult note to the flavor, add a pinch of sea salt.

To get the contrasting color, you can make a non-chocolate batch by omitting the cocoa powder and 1/2 stick of butter.

This makes enough frosting to cover a horse-shaped cake 7″ long and 2-4 layers tall from back to front, as well as two dozen cupcakes, so it’s a LOT of frosting. Adapted from smitten kitchen.

12 Tbsp Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (I’m sure you can use regular, but then you won’t end up with Dark Chocolate buttercream)
1 cup + 4 Tbsp (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 3/4 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
4 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt (optional)

Dump everything in the food processor, cover it up, and start spinning it. I like to pulse it a few times to get everything mixed up before letting the processor really rip. You’ll have a beautiful thick buttercream in no time at all.

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