Category Archives: CSA

Sweet Potatoes with Fluffy Meringue – A Healthy Thanksgiving Side

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. To me, it means getting together with family and friends to spend quality time together. And of course, sharing some great food.

Growing up, I remember having sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. This Thanksgiving dish is ultra sweet with the sweet potatoes from a big can and mini marshmallows melted on top, delivering dessert during the dinner.

So, can you have your sweet potatoes with marshmallows with a fraction of the sugar and calories? Absolutely. I read a great recipe in Good Housekeeping a few years ago that reformed helped me reform my Thanksgiving sweet potato staple into something healthy and delicious.

These meringue topped sweet potatoes taste so much like toasted marshmallows to me — but rely on the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes for most of the sugar flavor but without the added calories.

Sweet Potatoes with Fluffy Meringue Recipe

Sweet Potatoes with Fluffy Meringue

Sweet Potatoes with Fluffy Meringue for Thanksgiving

5 large sweet potatoes (about five pounds)
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (I use Trader Joe’s)
5 egg whites
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
Pinch of salt

Clean the sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork or knife. Microwave the sweet potatoes on a plate or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap until well cooked and soft — about 15-30 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave (it takes about 30 minutes in mine). Let the sweet potatoes cool until you can handle them without burning yourself. I like to slice them in half to let the insides cool a bit faster.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the peels from the sweet potatoes and mash them well. You can run them through a food processor but if they’re soft enough, the sweet potatoes can be mashed with a fork (less clean up!). Mix in pumpkin pie spice (I use 2 tbsp as I like the flavor but use less if it’s too strong or more if you like more flavor) and a pinch of salt. Taste this mixture* and if you like it, spread it evenly across a 9×13 pan (3 quart).

Put the egg whites, cream of tarter and maple syrup into a mixing bowl and beat until you have stiff peaks. Gently, remove the well beaten egg whites from the bowl and spread over the top of the sweet potato mixture. If you’re feeling fancy, put them in a piping bag and pipe onto the top of the potatoes.

Bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes – remove from the oven when the top is golden brown (and likely when you smell it).

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

* Some people might not find these sweet potatoes sweet enough. I swear that the sweetness will be there and but if you need more sweetness, add up to 2 tbsp of brown sugar or maple syrup to the mix after adding in the spice and the salt. I also really like using ginger maple syrup in this recipe because it adds a nice sweet spicy kick. The ginger maple syrup I use is from the Deep Mountain Maple stand at the Union Square Greenmarket but I’ve noticed they’re selling it online too. Have a great holiday everyone!

SweetPotatoes

Smokey Split Pea Soup (vegetarian, vegan)

I received a bounty of gorgeous split peas from my CSA (via Cayuga Pure Organics) and wasn’t feeling well last week so I made a lovely split pea soup. The original recipe is from Vegetarian Times but I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients (spinach, fennel) in house so I made my typical modifications to use what I had from my CSA  share and the results were utterly delicious and quite healthy.

Smokey Split Pea Soup topped with toasted fennel seeds

Smokey Split Pea Soup topped with toasted fennel seeds

Smokey Split Pea Soup

  • 2 cups dried green split peas – rinsed and picked over
  • Cooking spray (enough to coat the pan – about 5 seconds)
  • 2 cups chopped onions (one large or likely 2 medium)
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 6 cups chopped cabbage (one small head or a portion of a larger one)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (plus 1 tsp more for optional toasting)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 6 cups baby kale
  • water

In a large pot coated with cooking spray, saute onion and cabbage until soft — about 7-10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another two minutes.

Deglaze the pot by adding in 1 cup of broth and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add in split peas, 1 tsp fennel seeds, dried thyme, smoked paprika, salt, 8 cups of water and remaining 2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer covered for about an hour or until the split peas are tender, checking it every 10 minutes or so to give it a nice stir.

Add in kale and cook about 4-5 minutes until kale is wilted and tender.

Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth (and double check the blender for stray cooked kale — mine kept getting jammed). Season with salt/pepper as needed and add in 5-10 drops of the liquid smoke (depending on how smokey you wish it to be!). Stir well or run the immersion blender again.

If you wish, take 1 tsp of fennel seeds and toast them in a small skillet for two minutes or until they turn golden and smell yummy.

Serve soup and top with optional fennel seeds if you wish.

Enjoy!

I ran the recipe ingredients through the recipe calculator on MyFitnessPal to see what it netted out to be. If you portion this into six servings (mine were 2 cups each), here’s the breakdown:

  • Calories: 309
  • Fat: 1.8 grams (.1 polyunsaturated, .1 monounsaturated)
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Sodium: 548.4 mg
  • Potassium: 1,142.1 mg (almost a quarter to a third of the recommended allowance depending on the measure!)
  • Carbs: 54.9 g
  • Fiber: 20 g (!!!!)
  • Sugars: 11.8 g
  • Vitamin A: 19.8%
  • Vitamin C: 113% (!!!!)
  • Calcium: 16.9%
  • Iron: 20.7 percent
Split peas - dried and ready to be used in another batch of smokey split pea soup!

Split peas – dried and ready to be used in another batch of smokey split pea soup!

Meyer Lemon Obsession: Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Pound Cake

Spring is a lovely time of year . The winter is trying hard to warm up and there are bits of budding flowers poking through on the trees and grass.

With the sun shyly hiding behind the spring time clouds, I find my bit of sunshine in the form of a majestic Meyer Lemon. I love love love love love Meyer Lemons. I heard about these magical lemons for years, mostly from Martha Stewart who grows them in her greenhouse (if only I had a greenhouse!), but only had a lovely Meyer Lemon for myself a few years ago when my local Costco stocked them about three years ago. I hauled home a large container of Meyer Lemons because they weighed a pound less than the regular lemons I’d usually buy but, alas, I was there sans granny cart and needed to hand carry my heavy haul to my home that is about a half mile away.

What a fortunate day! I’ve discovered heaven in a lemon. These Meyer Lemons are slightly sweet, lemony goodness with a light herbal note. Delicious. It’s the best way to spruce up a boring glass of water or to add more sparkle to your seltzer. Amazing as the lemon portion of the lemon/olive oil dressing in a shaved fennel salad. Gorgeous thin sliced and baked on a nice white fish.

Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Cake slathered with Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Pound Cake slathered with Meyer Lemon Curd

So how can you resist making Meyer Lemons into incredible edibles? You can’t. You need to make this poundcake and preserve the lemons in the form of curd for as long as you can.  Try not to eat it all in a sitting and make sure you set some aside for friends as this recipe is perfect for sharing.

Meyer Lemon-Cornmeal Pound Cake
(adapted from Cupcake Muffin and Bon Appetit)

1 cup half white bread flour or all purpose flour
1 cup plus two tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 T Meyer lemon zest
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 T vanilla extract (less if yours is extraordinary)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Glaze:
1 cup (packed) powdered sugar, whisked or sifted if there are loads of lumps that won’t come out
3 T (or more) Meyer lemon juice

1. Make your own buttermilk.  Use 1 cup minus two tablespoons of lowfat milk –1% is fine– and add in 4 tablespoons of fresh Meyer lemon juice. Stir well and let sit for about five to ten minutes.

2. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla in small bowl. Fold buttermilk mixture and melted butter into flour mixture.  Then mix in the extra 4 tablespoons of meyer lemon juice.

3. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes (covered) on the counter. I’ve left it soaking overnight in the fridge too and it works just as beautifully.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour a loaf pan. Pour batter into greased and floured pan and spread evenly.

5. Bake at 350 about 40-45 minutes until the top is golden and the cake pulls away from sides of pan and a knife or other tester inserted in the center of the pound cake comes out clean. My oven runs a little cool so you might want to check it at 30-35 minutes if yours doesn’t.

4. Make glaze while the cake is baking. Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt — adding more lemon juice until it’s pourable. I err on the side of using more lemon juice and less sugar but the original recipe called for 1/2 cup more sugar than I used and makes a thicker glaze.

4. Let cake cook for about 5 minutes and pour glaze over cake ensuring the the entire top gets coated. It will seep into the sides of the pan so you can –prior to pouring– poke holes in the top to let the glaze soak more into the middle of the cake.

Close up of the crumb with the glaze on the top

Close up of the crumb with the glaze on the top

5. Serve warm or fully cooled. It’s delicious either way. Since this cake isn’t super sweet, feel free to spread a little Meyer Lemon Curd on the slice to  achieved one of the ultimate forms of lemony deliciousness!

Enjoy!

 

Pound Cake with a giant pint and a half jar of curd lingering in the background

Pound Cake with a giant pint and a half jar of curd lingering in the background

 

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A few months ago, I joined Pinterest and have been pinning relatively regularly – on many completely random things I adore like:

I love being able to discover new recipes, get inspiration from my friends, track the things I love and generally organize my likes online in a place where I can find them again in six months, a year, etc. While I’ve never been a collage maker, Pinterest is totally my speed.

Are you pinning? Let me know where and let’s follow each other! Post your Pinterest link in the comments.

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Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Cornbread with Cayenne or Dill

Thanksgiving is almost here and since I joined my CSA, I’ve been looking for great ways to use the lovely flours from Cayuga Pure Organics in unique and delicious ways. I’ve been making versions of this cornbread for three years now and I think it’s finally ready to be shared because it is bonkers good.  Plus, it’s relatively easy to make – no mixer needed!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

ImageCheddar Cheese Cornbread (with Dill or Cayenne)
2C bread flour (or all purpose – mix of white and wheat or all wheat is fine)
2C cornmeal
3T baking powder
1/2tsp kosher salt
1/8C sugar
1/2tsp cayenne pepper (optional) or 1c well chopped fresh dill
1C (2 sticks) unsalted butter (melted)
2C milk (1% or other lowfat is fine – use regular if you wish)
4 large eggs
8oz aged cheddar cheese – grated

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar – plus cayenne if using). In a separate bowl, melt butter and stir in the milk and eggs. Mix wet mixture into dry ingredients until ingredients are mostly combined and lumps are pretty much gone but don’t worry too much about getting them all (and please don’t over mix). Stir in 1/2 the grated aged cheddar (and dill if using). Rest mixture at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Butter a 9x13x2 baking pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees while mixture is resting.

Spoon batter into prepared, smooth the top and evenly distribute the rest of the cheddar on the nicely smoothed top.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Mine took about 40 minutes but my oven runs cool. And I do love a little bit of a golden top – yummy!

Cool and cut into 24 pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Helpful hints:
— Feel free to make the cornbread the night before – tastes great the next day!
— If your aged cheddar cheese is salty, feel free to eliminate the salt. The original recipe called for 2tsp of kosher salt, which made for a really, really salty batch.
— I hate chopping dill at times and have found that if you pulse it in the food processor a few times, it give you a perfect chop!
— For the cheese, a grate will give you more consistency in the melted cheese on top. I shredded the dill version and the cheese never quite fully melted, which was disappointing. A finder shred (like on a zesting microplane) works perfectly too.

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Based on Ina Garten’s Cheddar Dill Cornbread with some modifications for more cornbread taste/texture and other bits. Original recipe can be viewed at this link.

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First CSA delivery 2012 – Strawberry Rhubarb Cornmeal Bread

I’ll admit it. I love strawberry rhubarb. Anything strawberry rhubarb. Pies. Jam. Compote. Ice cream. Anything strawberry rhubarb. Or possibly just rhubarb but I do like the bit of flavor the strawberries give.

So I couldn’t resist something strawberry rhubarb with the divine rhubarb stalks and quart of fresh strawberries that showed up in the Golden Earthworm CSA box this week.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cornmeal Bread

Fresh baked loaves of strawberry rhubarb cornmeal bread using strawberries, rhubarb, cornmeal and flour from the Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA in Forest Hills.

1 cup whole wheat bread flour (or half white if you don’t like a stronger wheat taste)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup sugar (I prefer the organic raw sugar)
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup chopped strawberries
1.5 cups chopped rhubarb (about three large stalks)
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl; whisk. Whisk buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla in smaller bowl. Gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together (using a spatula makes this pretty simple). Then fold in strawberries and rhubarb.

3. Butter and flour two bread pans (I do this after mixing everything together so the cornmeal can soak slightly). Scrape batter into pan; spread evenly between the two pans and level off gently.
4. Bake cake until knife or toothpick poked into the center comes out clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan, about an hour.
5. Cool and enjoy!  Or eat slightly warm with a little milk or coffee. Divine. Lightly sweet with a crispy crust and just a gorgeous amount of flavor.
This cake isn’t too fruit heavy so feel free to add in more of the fruit/rhubarb. I might just do that next time but you might need to add a touch more flour/cornmeal to balance it out.

By the way …. I need to give my Mom kudos for my rhubarb obsession. We had a little patch that grew each year outside of the house and I LOVED when she’d make a fresh strawberry rhubarb pie.  To this day, it’s my favorite pie and the perfect slice for a birthday celebration.

Kale Smoothies (no, really, they’re delicious)

DeliciousKaleSmoothie, originally uploaded by MinorlyObsessed.

Last year, I joined a CSA in my neighborhood to get fresh, local, organic veggies, fruits and more. I’ve learned a lot about food but the biggest thing was that I found out that I don’t hate Kale — but mostly if and only if it’s in a smoothie.

Now, I know you’re thinking that a kale smoothie sounds vile. It does. It looks a little vile too. And then you taste it and it tastes mostly like apples (because it’s made with an entire apple). And, it’s insanely good for you. A great breakfast food. A great snack. And I bet it would be good with some protein powder thrown in to make it a full meal.

Inspired by a recipe on Real Simple, here’s my version.

Kale Smoothie

  • 1 Apple – cored (just cut in quarters and remove the core); can also use 1 cup of apple juice but the real apple adds more texture
  • 5 – 7 Kale leaves – remove the tough center stem (either cut it out or cheat like me and just fold it in half along the steamline and tear the leaves off); I’ve also used swiss chard but find that kale tastes better
  • 1 piece of celery (one of those large pieces from the outside of the bunch; or two small ones); I’ve substituted cucumber for the celery  – just peel it first
  • 1 banana – peeled (of course)
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced (essential – adds a bit of tartness)
  • 1 to 2 cups of water — a little more if it’s not blending well
  • 6-7 pieces of Ice (more if you want it super cold)

Put all ingredients into a blender. Cut celery (or break it in half) if it doesn’t fit into the blender properly. Blend* for a bit until it looks like the picture. Then pour into glasses. Makes about four cups or two good sizes smoothies.

I made this for Colin (my sis in law’s bro – does that make him my bother in law?) the other week and he was obsessed with it too. Wanted more but I was out of kale. So we went to a BBQ instead.

*So blending is a bit of an art with this one if you don’t have a super fancy blender, which I don’t. Basically, I pulse the “chop” setting a bunch of times until the ingredients start moving around. Then I run the blender on the highest setting (ice crush on mine) for about 2 minutes until it looks mostly uniformly green. I like this recipe because you don’t peel the apple and you get little flecks of red in the smoothie, which I find slightly charming.

Enjoy!