Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Greek Kale Salad

From my CSA listserve... Many thanks to Tana Comer of Eaton's Creek Organics in Joelton, TN forsending us the following recipe. We love kale, but had never tried itlike this, and had a hard time imagining how it would taste. It'sgood! This would be a good recipe for people who haven't yet fallen inlove with kale. The strong flavors of the feta and olives, combinedwith the acid of the lemon juice, set the kale's flavor to thebackground. We recommend dressing this salad immediately before serving, as wefound the flavors to dull considerably after a few hours. *

2 bunches of kale, large stems discarded*
2 whole-wheat pita breads*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut lengthwise into silvers
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (2/3 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large pot of boiling water, cook kale leaves until just tender; 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under coldwater to cool. Transfer the kale to a clean kitchen towel and squeezedry. Fluff up the leaves, coarsely chop them and transfer to a largebowl. 2. Brush both sides of the pita breads with olive oil and bake forabout 8 minutes, or until crisp. Cut the pita into wedges. 3. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup of olive oil with the lemonjuice and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Add the grape tomatoes, olives and crumbled feta to the kale and toss. Add thedressing and toss to coat. Serve the kale salad with the toasted pitawedges.

(Disclaimer--I haven't tried this yet myself, but I'm always looking for new ways to use kale. And I'm a sucker for anything involving olives!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Curried tofu with pineapples

Jack ate all of his, with minor protest, and Abigail kept asking for "Mo'"- of everything. Not bad.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 (15-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, and sprinkle with salt. Cook 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add coconut milk and curry powder to pan, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add crushed red pepper, pineapple, and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tofu. Sprinkle with basil.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exchanging Meals

Two things I have found common in Grand Rapids kitchens: "freezer meals" and "meal exchange meals". It seems very popular here to cook in larger batches and freeze the meals for later. Saves on the prep and clean up time as well as fewer groceries to buy at one time and potentially cheaper if you buy in bulk. I had no idea there were so many cookbooks on the subjet! (FYI, uncooked potatoes do not freeze well but almost everything else does!). I also recently joined a meal exchange group (mainly made-up of moms from my MOPS group) that incorporates freezer meals. Here's how it works:

On the first Tuesday of every month, the seven of us meet to review recipies, decide on next month's menus and swap frozen meals. We take notes on how our families received the most recent meals and whether or not we should bring back certain recipies. Each person then brings two or three recipe suggestions and we choose one for that person to make 7 batches of for the next meeting. We all bring our coolers to both hand out our meals from the last month and receive everyone else's.

Sometime that month, each of us independetly cooks 7 batches of our chosen recipie (one for each member), planning for approximately 4 servings in each batch. If meat is involved, we plan about 1 lb. per batch. We also include labels, thawing and serving instructions on each package. We freeze each batch in freezer bags before the meeting.

We then have seven good-sized meals to choose from during the month, and especially with toddler-appetites we usually have leftovers. This greatly reduces the time needed during the busy (and chaotic) before-dinner hour.

Potential drawbacks: not everyone likes the same food, obviously. The nature of the group does expect that people will be open to trying new things. But we do have some general guidelines including no seafood, beans, or certain vegetables. Thankfully, no one involved has allergies. Also, I think we tend to eat healthier than many of the families involved--but that's where the recipe choice discussion at the meeting comes in. I'm learning to politely steer others away from choosing recipies with processed foods, but I'm one of the newest members so I'm also still learning the groove of the group. So we're still trying things out to see if this will be a long-term option for our family. Now does anyone have any good freezer meal suggestions?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Breads from the past

I'm cleaning out my other blog-- here was a recipe post I found, and I thought it belonged here instead of there, for when I'm searching them out in the future.

We've been in a bread-making craze lately. Here are three really yummy recipes we made in the bread machine in the past two days (all for 1 1/2 lb loaves on basic white cycle).

Ginger Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 TBSP margerine or butter, cut up
3 cups bread flour
1 TBSP brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 TBSP fnely chopped crystallized ginger

Oatmeal Applesauce Bread

3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice (we used cider)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 TBSP margerine or butter
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup regular or quick cooking rolled oats
1 TBSP brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp apple pie spice (we just used some cinnamon and nutmeg)
1 tsp active dry yeast

Poppy Seed Tea Bread (I realized at 10pm, while I was adding ingredients that we were out of poppy seeds, but it was still very good without)

2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup dairy sour cream
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP poppy seed
1 TBSP finely shredded lemon peel
3/4 tsp salt1 tsp active dry yeast