Late one night this week, we came into the house totally exhausted and incredibly hungry. Looking around, and feeling too tired to cook, we hopped in the car and went out to town to find something to eat. 45 minutes later we returned, after visiting TWO local eateries, empty handed because we didn't want anything on their menus (for that price). Now it was close to 9pm, we were still hungry and I hadn't showered. I eventually made a quick and unsatisfying pasta dish.
Today, the rain is falling at steady intervals and I'm determined to change our ways and ensure that we don't actually work ourselves to death. The season's challenges have taken a toll on our eating and cooking habits, so I set the goal of preparing several dishes in advance for the week to save time and use pretty much exclusively things grown here. We generally only eat what we grow anyway, but I've been slacking in the kitchen and making veggies only as a side dish, rather than something complex and wonderful.
In 2.5 hours, we prepared the following items using what we gave this week for a share, though I haven't touched the chicken yet.
1. Pesto from carrot and radish greens (see previous post)
I haven't quite decided if we will be using this on fish, chicken or pasta yet, but it's ready to go when we need it.
2. Rice and veggie fry-up
Bunch of baby carrots, 2 mini onions, 1 clove garlic, 1 bunch radishes, 1 bunch kale, 2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 egg, 3 tblspns sesame oil, 1/4 cup tamari, 1 tspn chilli pepper, 2 tblspn chopped cilantro (fresh), salt and pepper
- Cook your rice ahead of time, set aside.
- Heat the sesame oil in a medium-large skillet. Add in your radishes (chopped roughly), baby carrots (whole), chopped onion and garlic. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, add in your chilli pepper.
- When the vegetable are starting to sear nicely, add your tamari and coat the mix evenly.
- Add in the kale, and once it starts to wilt, add in your rice. Shape the rice into an oval shape, making a whole in the center. Crack the egg into the center of hole, and allow it to begin frying. Once the white of the egg begins to cook, scramble the egg into the mix, it's a really nice, tender protein addition. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.
- Once complete, top with the chopped cilantro.
3. Kale and Potato Soup with ham or bacon
Yes, it's summer, and hot- but the rain was falling today. The kitchen was cool, and soup keeps for a week in the fridge without a problem. Plus, it's a quick thing to pack for Kim's lunch or eat without fuss late in the evening.
1 bunch kale, 1/2 quart new potatoes, 2 mini onions, 2 cloves garlic, 3 tblspns butter, 2 cups chicken stock, 1/4 cup heavy cream, salt, pepper, 3 strips chopped bacon, or 1/3 cup chopped cooked ham
- Melt butter in a medium sauce pan, add chopped onions, garlic and new potatoes.We were out of ham or bacon, so I skipped it- but you would not use butter if you had the bacon, and would add it first as your oil. You would add ham at this point if using that. Cover and let the potatoes begin to soften.
- Season the mix with salt and pepper, and add in the chicken stock. If you have a good stock, very little additional seasoning is needed. If your stock needs help, add thyme, basil and rosemary to taste.
- Bring the stock and potatoes to a steady boil. Add in the kale. Turn down the heat, and allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Ladle 2/3 of the mix into a food processor and blend thoroughly. Turn the rest of mix off from heat for a moment.
- Add the blended mix back into the sauce pan, turn the heat to low, and integrate the mix fully. You can add more heat slowly, bring to a low simmer.
- Finish the soup with heavy cream, simmering for only moments.
I've been dying to try to make these, and after a week of jam making- now seemed like the perfect time. I'm terrible with all baked goods, so I mostly drooled while Kim prepared these. They barely made it out of the oven before I sampled one. They were everything I'd hoped, and we're already dreaming up several variations- sweet and savory. This is the recipe we used: http://www.littlehouseliving.com/homemade-toaster-strudels.html We used the size jam jar we gave out this week, and had jam to spare. We made ours a bit bigger, and ended up with 8 strudels.
5. Potato and Cheddar Frittata
1/2 quart potatoes, 2 mini onions, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 4 eggs, 2 tblspns water, salt, pepper, some mixed herbs (I use basil and rosemary often).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil an oven proof medium size skillet over medium heat.
- Thinly slice your potatoes and onions, and start them in the skillet. Spread them evenly across the bottom, and cover.
- Beat 4 eggs with salt, pepper, cheese, fresh herbs and water. Pour the egg mix over top the potatoes/onions and begin to cook the eggs. Use a wooden spoon to move the eggs until they are no longer runny, try to keep your potatoes as a base.
When cooked through, transfer the skillet to the oven, covered and cook until the eggs are fluffy. Serve slices for any meal of the day, with toast, salad or other sides.