September 2010 Archives

CSA Week #16

It's sad that there's only one week of CSA left after this one, but this week there was:

acorn winter squash
yellow onions
red onions
red pepper
green pepper
sweet corn

All cleaned and packaged up for the week:


CSA Week #15

What I ate: September 30, 2010

I decided to occasionally blog about what I eat on a given day. I thought it might be fun to look back at it in the future.

Also, I've lost weight while eating food basically like this, and you'll note it's not what most people would consider "diet" food. The portions are small, however. And no seconds.

Breakfast: A breakfast burrito. The filling was spicy chorizo (1.6 oz.), green pepper, onion, jalapeño, and 1 egg. But I split the filling to make another serving another day and only put half of it in my medium-sized flour tortilla.
ate.20100930.b.jpgDiet tip: Beware of the breakfast burrito! A 7" Mission flour tortilla is 150 calories. A slice of Vermont Bread Company alfalfa sprout bread is only 70 calories. I've found the trick is to use very little oil and limit the amount of filling to avoid making a 600 calorie breakfast.

Lunch: Stir-fried spinach, sardines, and rice. This is probably not everyone's cup of tea but it's really healthy, filling, and low in calories. And sardines are currently plentiful in the wild and are caught with little by-catch making them a very sustainable fish choice. And they're cheap!
Dinner: Salad with lettuce, cucumber, celery, red peppers, smoked chicken (3.3 oz.), cherry tomatoes, and Annie's Naturals organic Asian Sesame dressing. Also two ears of sweet corn (with butter and salt). Served with Etc. Malbec, 2008, Argentina.

ate.20100930.d1.jpg ate.20100930.d2.jpgSnack. A few peanuts. And I really mean that. With added salt. Fortunately I have blood pressure at the low edge of normal because you might have figured out that I do eat a lot of salt.
ate.20100930.s1.jpgToday was CSA day so I walked up to Vermont College to pick it up. It's only about 1.2 miles round-trip but the elevation change is what makes it a good walk.
And for those keeping track, unlike September 29, I only ate pork at one meal today!

I might have also had some Absolut Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka and soda water.

Weight at the start of today: 115.8
Weight at the start of the next day: 114.8 (wow!)

What I ate: September 29, 2010

I decided to occasionally blog about what I eat on a given day. I thought it might be fun to look back at it in the future.

Also, I've lost weight while eating food basically like this, and you'll note it's not what most people would consider "diet" food. The portions are small, however. And no seconds.

Breakfast: Sausage, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat English muffin.

Lunch: Zucchini stir fry with bacon and rice (white sushi rice). That's basically a whole small to medium-sized zucchini.

Snack: Two Kashi roasted garlic crackers ("healthier Triscuits") with 1/8 of a 5 oz. wheel of Jasper Hill Constant Bliss cheese and a half glass of Per Linda Trebbiano d'Abuzzo Italian white wine. The cheese is a soft cow's milk cheese in the spirit of Chaource.

Dinner: Thai pork with red peppers, onion, garlic and basil and rice. And some more wine.

thaipork.jpgYes I do realize that I ate pork at all three meals, though the amount of meat per meal is small, at least by American meal standards: 2 oz. (before cooking) of sausage in the breakfast sandwich, 1 slice of bacon in the stir fry, and 3.5 oz. (after cooking) of roasted pork in the Thai. And did you know that pork is the mostly commonly consumed meat consumed in Japan, even edging out chicken and far exceeding beef? I blame my pork consumption on genetics.

For exercise I did a 2.6 mile walk/run: 5 minutes warm-up walk, 5 minutes running, 3 minutes walking (repeated 3 times) and a 5 minute cool-down walk.

I also walked to the grocery store, which is a 1.4 mile round-trip.

This is a pretty typical day.

And I did change the title of this article, because it really was what I ate on 9/29, not 9/28.

Weight at the start of today: 116.4
Weight at the start of the next day: 115.8

On August 10 I decided to keep closer track of my weight. At the time I was 120.0 lbs. and had a target of 116. This was fairly arbitrarily decided because for many years I was about 124 lbs. without any attention to diet. But my peak weight was probably around 136 lbs. in 1999 and that was very obvious because I had to buy bigger pants. In any case, by reducing portion sizes, making a few minor modifications, and not particularly depriving myself of things (I still have potato chips and dip occasionally!) I've gotten pretty close to my target.

An excellent snack: rice, salt, sugar, and alcohol

This is a snack of mocchi (Japanese rice cake), a dipping sauce of soy sauce and sugar, and a glass of cold sake (Momokawa Silver).

This brown rice mocchi because that's what they sell in my supermarket, but it's traditionally made with white rice in Japan. You just put it in the oven or toaster oven at 400°F for 6 to 10 minutes until it puffs up.

It would normally be puffier than this, but I don't think the brown rice version puffs up as well.

It's still very delicious and an excellent vehicle for eating soy sauce.

Roasted guinea hen


This is basically the same recipe I used for roasted chicken, but I made a guinea hen (guinea fowl) from my Meat CSA, since I had one handy.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Coat the guinea hen with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, rubbed sage, and olive oil.

In the cavity, place:

3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 medium onion, diced

Lightly oil the roasting pan and place the bird in it, upside down.

Cook for 15 minutes at 425°F.

Flip the bird over, reduce the heat to 350°F, and add 8 oz. water to the roasting pan to prevent the juices from burning and make the gravy base.

Cook for another 35-40 minutes, then check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh meat, making sure the thermometer probe does not reach the bone. It's done when the internal temperature reaches 170°F.

When done, take the bird out of the roasting pan, draining any liquid out of the cavity and into the roasting pan. Put the bird on a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Mix a slurry of 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 8 oz. water. Add it to the roasting pan of juices. Cook for at least 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, adding water if the gravy becomes too thick. Add salt, pepper, and soy sauce to taste. Strain.

Carve like a chicken.

guineahen3.jpgMade two 5 oz. servings each with 6 fluid oz. of gravy. Also made one 2.7 oz. serving of cut stir-fry meat that can be used in any chicken stir fry dish.

The garlic yukon gold mashed potatoes I made previously, vacuum sealed, and froze. By using the boil-in-bag technique the mashed potatoes are almost as good as when they were fresh cooked, and much more practical for a meal for one.

The sautéed cabbage is just thinly sliced cabbage sautéed in a little olive oil with garlic, salt, and pepper.

Served with Angeline pinot noir, reserve, California, 2008. It would easily work with a white wine (like chicken) but I prefer a red, so I figured a light red (pinot noir) would work.

Dry Barbecue Rub


This recipe makes about 1 cup of an excellent dry rub for barbecue.

1.300 oz. granulated sugar (3 tbsp.)
0.380 oz. brown sugar (1 tbsp.)
0.600 oz. kosher salt (2 tbsp.)
0.350 oz. cumin (2 tbsp.)
0.558 oz. coarsely ground pepper (2 tbsp.)
0.556 oz. chili powder (2 1/2 tbsp.)
1.000 oz. paprika (4 tbsp.)
0.104 oz. cayenne pepper (1 tsp.)

Combine all of the ingredients well. Store in a covered container in a cool, dry place.

The dry rub recipe is scaled from the excellent River Run Cookbook by Jimmy and Maya Kennedy and Marialisa Calta, pp. 195 - 196. I increased the amount of chili powder and cayenne to make it a little spicier.

Grilled lime and tequila marinated shrimp taco with salsa fresca

The amounts here serve one, multiply as necessary.

2 small corn tortillas
5 26/30 (large) uncooked shrimp (4.0 oz. before peeling)

lime juice
olive oil

Peel, devein, and remove the tails from 4.0 oz. large shrimp (per serving).

I marinated mine in a vacuum sealed bag which speeds up the process and greatly reduces the amount of marinade you need to make. You could just marinate in a bowl, of course.

While marinating, make a batch of salsa fresca, which should rest for 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Steam the corn tortillas to soften them; the technique in this recipe works well.

Put the shrimp on a skewer and grill for a couple minutes on each side until cooked through.

Dice the shrimp and serve on the warm tortilla with salsa fresca.

Served with a sauza hornitos margarita.

Nutrition information for one serving (two tacos) as calculated by
shrimptaco5.jpgThis does not include the tortilla chips or the margarita, which, at 150 and 180 calories, have more calories than the tacos. Hmm.

I also made basically the same dish, but with salmon. That's shredded Napa cabbage on top.

I also make a version of this with shrimp marinated with lime, garlic, and dark chili powder which, I think was even better.


Vegetable pakora

Sure it's deep fried, but it's packed with vegetables! This may not be an authentic vegetable pakora but it's very delicious. I took bits and pieces of several different recipes to make my recipe and it's full of spicy deliciousness.

The dipping sauce is green chutney, also known as coriander chutney or hari chutney.

3.5 oz. chickpea flour (besan) (1 cup)
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
4 oz. water (1/2 cup)

1 small potato

cauliflower, finely chopped
jalapeño, finely chopped
cilantro, finely chopped
onion, thinly sliced
cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
spinach, thinly sliced

Thoroughly mix together the first group of ingredients then let rest for 30 minutes.

Peel the potato and boil until barely tender, about 15 minutes (maybe a little less), then cut into 1/4" dice.

vegpakora2.jpgPreheat the deep fryer to 360°F.

When the batter has finish resting mix in the vegetables.

Place dollops and deep fry for a couple minutes until golden brown. Drain and serve.

Makes 10 fairly large pakora, which I think should serve 2. Or more as an appetizer or side.

They can be frozen. Reheat defrosted pakora on a sheet pan for 10 minutes at 350°F.

There seems to be a quite a variation on the recipes, so if you're missing some ingredients I don't think it matters too much. I selected the ones above because they sounded good and are what I had in my refrigerator and spice cabinet.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, and even gluten-free. The chickpea flour is, well, made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans), which gives it a binding ability that would normally require egg if made with wheat flour.

My recipe was based on these three recipes:

Recipe #1: Process looks good, but spices seem lacking. Curiously I found this recipe replicated on three different web sites, without any attribution, so I don't know which one is the original.

Recipe #2: Nice selection of spices, added fresh cilantro.

Recipe #3: This isn't like the pakora I've had, it's some cross between pakora and tempura, but I liked the selection of spices. There were a few recipes like this, however.

Green chutney

I made a small batch of green chutney - also known as coriander or hari chutney - as the dipping sauce for my vegetable pakora. Watch out, it can be spicy! Serves at least 2.

1/2 tsp. cumin seds
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

cilantro, large stems removed (cilantro is leaves of coriander)
1/2 small onion, chopped
a piece of ginger, minced
1 jalapeño, stemmed then minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced

greenchutney2.jpgNot pictured: the onion

Toast the cumin and mustard seeds in a sauté pan over medium heat until lightly toasted but be careful not to burn them. Swirling them around in the pan frequently will help. Grind in a spice grinder.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in food processor to make a smooth sauce. Add water if necessary to adjust the consistency. Add salt to taste.

If you like your chutney hot, add the seeds and ribs from the jalapeño. Or you can use other hot green peppers, like a serrano.

The recipe above is basically the same as this recipe.

CSA Week #15

There are only two weeks of CSA after this one and the season is clearly winding down:

Salad Mix
Delicata Squash

I made:

Vegetable pakora with cauliflower, garlic, potato, and onion.

Grilled lime and tequila marinated shrimp taco with salsa fresca with the tomato.

Onions in Roasted guinea hen.


CSA Week #14

Roasted boneless 7-rib pork roast


The biggest thing about making a great 7-rib boneless pork roast: Do not use it like it comes from the supermarket! I forgot to take a picture of this roast, but here's one just like it:


It's commonly packaged with a big layer of fat and silverskin that is just not very good eating. Here's what it looked like when I was done re-butchering it:

A nice evenly sized roast
A little triangular end piece
A thin "dark meat" piece
A big pile of fat and silverskin (discard)

I separated out the triangular piece because otherwise the pointy end would be well overdone by the time the larger part of the roast was done. Likewise, the thin flat piece will come out earlier, too.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Sprinkle the roast with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Coat lightly with olive oil.

Place in a roasting pan. Cook for 15 minutes. Flip over the pieces. Sprinkle a little soy sauce over the roast. Add a small amount of water to the pan so the juices don't burn and to form the base for the gravy.

Cook for 15 minutes longer. The thin pieces should be fully cooked by now. Sprinkle a little more soy sauce on the large roast piece. Add more water if necessary.

Cook for 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the roast is 150°F.

Remove the roast from the pan. Add a little more water if necessary and heat the pan on the stove top. Make a slurry of flour and water. Add to the pan juices, stirring constantly, for at least 4 minutes to cook out the floury taste. Add a little soy sauce and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Let the roast rest for at least 15 minutes.

Cut into thin slices for thinly slices roasted pork with gravy. I made one 5 oz. serving of that.

The remainder of the meat I sliced into sliced pork for stir-fry. I made four packages of approximately 3.2 oz. each; these are vacuum sealed and frozen and I use them to make a quick stir-fry for one person.


Coq au vin

coqauvin8.jpgChicken, marinated in red wine overnight, then slow cooked, with bacon lardons, onions, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms. How can you go wrong?

I pretty much just used Alton Brown's recipe, which is excellent.

Note: this recipe takes 2 days because of the marinating in wine overnight part. Plus, it's kind of ridiculously labor intensive. A 20 minute meal this is not, but it's really delicious!

Pictured above could be a serving for one, though I only ate half of it. And I clearly need a deeper bowl/plate for this dish.

Here are some of the preparation photos. The bacon lardons, cut from a 6 oz. piece of Vermont Smoke and Cure slab bacon:

coqauvin1.jpg(You can click on any picture to see a larger version of it.)

Note: Use a bigger pan than this. The recipe says use a 12" pan. That's a 10" pan above. I don't have a 12", only a 10" and a 15" and the 15" seemed like overkill. I was wrong. It's not necessary at this stage, but it will be later. Bigger is better.

I have a new respect for any chef that puts pearl onions in a dish in a restaurant. You know each one of these needs to be peeled, like a big onion, but there are sooo many of them! Browning on rendered bacon fat:

coqauvin2.jpgMushrooms, in bacon fat. And butter.

Browning the chicken. This is why you need a big pan! I normally try to use local, free range, antibiotic-free chickens but due to a small mishap I ended up getting it at my regular supermarket instead. How can 2.3 pounds, 8 chicken thighs, only cost $ 3.66?

The 6 oz. of bacon in this dish cost more than the chicken!

coqauvin4.jpgThis recipe calls for wine. A lot of wine. 1 1/2 liters. It's traditionally Burgundy in France, but around here Burgundy comes in only two varieties: really bad jug wine and really expensive. Fortunately pinot noir is the same grape, so that will do just fine.

There's an old saying, "Don't cook with wine you wouldn't drink." Well I'm not sure I'd voluntarily drink the big bottle o' wine that I bought for this dish, but I suppose I could drink it if desperate enough. That will have to do.

coqauvin5.jpgAfter making all of those ingredients you basically fill up a big pot with the chicken, onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, chicken stock, and lots of wine and let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

coqauvin6.jpgThis recipe is very labor intensive so I divided it into 4 servings for freezing. I eat really small servings of food, so that's 8 of my servings, but in any case it's quite a bit of food and well worth the effort for a very delicious chicken dish. Here are the vacuum bags awaiting chilling before vacuum sealing then freezing.

coqauvin7.jpgI served this with Lemelson Vineyards pinot noir, Willamette Valley (Washington), 2007. It's above my normal price point ($ 36 per bottle, but it was on sale for less), but I've had it before. I'd say it's the best pinor noir I've ever had. There is really no comparison with the one I cooked with, though that bottle was twice the size and it cost $ 12, so that might be part of the problem right there...


Roasted vegetable pasta primavera

This is a very tasty vegetarian pasta dish that you just adjust to suit whatever vegetables you have on hand.

Here's what I made; this is the amount per serving, so just multiply this as necessary for the number of servings you want.

1 clove garlic, unpeeled
1/2 carrot, cut into 1/8" thick ovals, on the diagonal
1/2 to 1 small onion, diced into 1/2" pieces
1/2 to 1 small red pepper, diced into 1/2" pieces
1/2 small to medium zucchini, cut into 1/4" thick half-rounds
2.0 oz. small shape pasta (I used Cellentani, large spirals)
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh basil, chopped
fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
fresh or dried oregano
Freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven and a sheet pan to 400°F.

Cut the carrot into 1/8" or thinner slices on the diagonal. Any thicker and they won't cook through in time.

Dice the onion into 1/2" squares and toss with the carrots a little olive oil. Add to the sheet pan in a single layer. Cook for 5 minutes.

Cut the red pepper into 1/2" squares, toss with olive oil, and add to the sheet pan. Cook for 5 minutes.

Cut the zucchini in half, then into 1/4" thick half-rounds, toss with olive oil, and add to the sheet pan. Cook for 15 minutes or until all of the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown.

pastaprimavera2.jpgMeanwhile, cook a small-shape pasta.

When the vegetables and pasta are done, add the pasta to a large bowl.

Peel the garlic cloves. They should be softer than butter, but if necessary mince them. Add to the pasta in the bowl and stir.

Add the vegetables, discarding any burnt pieces.

Add the herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.

Toss with freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese and serve.

Sort of based on this recipe, but I changed how the vegetables were roasted. I added the vegetables in stages because carrots really need to cook much longer than zucchini. I also skipped the dried herbs during roasting because I can't believe they won't burn. I added fresh herbs at the end instead. And I added the roasted garlic.

This recipe is vegetarian. It could very easily be vegan by skipping the Parmesan cheese, and would still be very good without it.

Depending on your Parmesan it could be lactose-free, or you could more safely omit the Parmesan like the vegan version.

It can be gluten free with the appropriate pasta (rice pasta, for example).

All of the vegetables could have been from my CSA, though I think the parsley and zucchini were substitutes. Still organic, and probably local, however.

Bacon cheeseburger with barbecue sauce, almost all local!

Grilled hamburger on a Barowski's whole wheat hamburger bun (Maine) with Cabot cheddar cheese (local), bacon (*), and Richard's hot barbecue sauce (made in Vermont).

The burger was a 5.4 oz. (before cooking) Tangletown Farm organic beef patty, grilled but not fully cooked, rapidly chilled, then frozen. I take the frozen burgers and put them right into the sous vide at 133°F for a half hour and they come out perfectly medium rare!

To make life easier, I make my bacon two pounds at a time and freeze it. It's much easier to reheat two slices of bacon (even in a sauté pan) than it is to cook two slices from raw bacon!

Served with Kettle Chips spicy Thai potato chips, which aren't local, but are very tasty! I usually have some local Madhouse Munchies potato chips, but I ate them all.

And a glass of Switchback beer, an American pale ale from Burlington, Vermont.

(*) Normally the bacon would be Vermont Smoke and Cure hand cut bacon, which is excellent. Except the grocery store was out of it. And Shaw's thick cut bacon was on sale. Not a good decision. There is no comparison between the local handcut bacon and the mass-produced bacon!

Grilled pork chop with bourbon demi and squashed squash

I'm falling behind in consuming all of the meat from my meat CSA and my freezer is starting to fill up! I decided on a grill center cut pork loin chop from Meat CSA Installment #3.

Season a thick bone-in pork chop with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Lightly coat with olive oil.

Since I'm using the grill-chill-sous vide technique I only grilled the chop for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. You could, of course, just grill it all the way through and eliminate the sous vide.

Rapidly chill then vacuum seal.

Sous vide for 1 1/2 hours at 155°F. Remove from the sous vide and let rest for 15 minutes before opening the bag.

The demi is a little More Than Gourmet demi glace gold with a tablespoon or so bourbon added. I heated a tablespoon of demi glace gold, 3 tablespoons of water, and 1 tablespoon of bourbon in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes until completely dissolved.

Served with squashed squash - squash prepared like mashed potatoes!

Squashed squash - like mashed potatoes


My Wellspring Farm CSA weekly newsletter had a tip for making buttercup winter squash like you'd make mashed potatoes. That sounded good to me! I used buttercup squash from CSA Week #14, though I suspect it would work with other winter squashes as well.

This recipe is very good, though it's a little labor intensive.

Cut the squash into pieces and remove the seeds.

Boil until soft; I boiled it for 20 minutes.

Drain the pan into a colander and let the squash cool. Cut off the skin with a paring knife.

I used a potato ricer to squash the squash. You could also use a potato masher.

In the original cooking pan (drained of water), add the potatoes and heat over medium-low heat. Add butter (I used about 3 oz. or ¾ of a stick) and let the butter melt, mixing it in with the squash. Add milk, salt, and pepper to look like mashed potatoes. There's a suggestion for maple syrup that sounds good, too.

It later occurred to me that it might be good with garlic, too.


Meat CSA Installment #4


It's the fourth installment of my Tangletown Farm Meat CSA!

Guinea hen
Beef round - top round roast
Pork spare ribs
Beef round - sirloin tip steak
Pork tenderloin
Ground pork

I made:

Roasted guinea hen, garlic yukon gold mashed potatoes, pan gravy, and sautéed cabbage.

Meat CSA Installment #3

Eggplant Parmesan #2

I had some eggplant from CSA Week #13. I used some of it to make Eggplant Parmesan #1 which was a fairly standard recipe which left me uninspired.

So I decided to remake it my own way.

1 medium eggplant
all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
seasoned breadcrumbs

Cut the eggplant into 3/8" thick rounds. Place on a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let sit for an hour. This lets the bitter juices release from the eggplant.

Rinse the eggplant well and then pat dry.

Set up a breading station with all-purpose flour, a beaten egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs.

Thin the egg with a little milk or water.

Instead of using seasoned breadcrumbs you could use plain breadcrumbs and season them with oregano, thyme, parsley, pepper, etc.

Take each slice of eggplant, dredge in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

You can cook them in a deep frying pan in about 1/2" of oil, but I find it more convenient to just use my deep fryer at 375°F. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes then drain. Flip the slices over half way through cooking. You can do this step ahead, but it's better freshly deep fried.

eggplantparm3.jpgPreheat the oven to 400°F.

Recipe #1 was sort of like a lasagna, but without noodles or ricotta, which seems to the common preparation. What I really wanted was something more like chicken Parmesan, with a serving pasta on the side. So here it is:

Prepare a serving of spaghetti according to package directions.

Heat some pasta sauce. I used Bove's marinara (in a jar) but making your homemade pasta sauce (like my red wine tomato sauce) is always good.

If you've pre-made the eggplant, reheat the slices on a lightly greased sheet pan in the oven until thoroughly heated and crispy, about 10 minutes.

On one third of an oven-safe plate put a layer of sauce, several slices of the fried eggplant, more sauce, chopped basil and flat-leaf parsley, grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese, and grated mozzarella cheese. Put in the oven for 5 minutes or so until the cheese is melted.

I prefer this over the "casserole" preparation because it's much easier to plate it attractively this way.

Remove from the oven, add to the pasta to the plate and sauce the pasta.

Served with Re Teodorico Valpolicella.

This dish is vegetarian.

Eggplant Parmesan #1

I had never made eggplant Parmesan before, and I had eggplant from CSA Week #13, so it seemed like a good idea. And I found a reasonable enough looking recipe that was pretty highly rated.

I should point out before you get too far that I didn't like how this turned out. This recipe is here for historical purposes, and for comparison to Eggplant Parmesan #2, which is non-traditional but I am much happier with.

1/2 medium eggplant
all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
seasoned breadcrumbs

Based on my tradition of making unusually small portions of everything, I made a very tiny batch of eggplant Parmesan. Like my lasagna, I made it in a 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 3" glass loaf pan.

Cut the eggplant into 3/8" thick rounds. Place on a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let sit for an hour. This lets the bitter juices release from the eggplant.

Rinse the eggplant well and then pat dry.

Set up a breading station with all-purpose flour, a beaten egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs.

Thin the egg with a little milk or water.

Instead of using seasoned breadcrumbs you could use plain breadcrumbs and season them with oregano, thyme, parsley, pepper, etc.

Bread the eggplant slices.

You can cook them in a deep frying pan in about 1/2" of oil, but I find it more convenient to just use my deep fryer at 375°F. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes then drain. Flip the slices over half way through cooking.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Lightly grease the baking dish with spray oil. Fill with layers, starting from the bottom:

4.0 oz. sauce
4.3 oz. eggplant (2 1/2 slices)
4.0 oz. sauce
1/2 Parmesan
0.8 oz. mozzarella
4.3 oz. eggplant (2 1/2 slices)
5.0 oz. sauce
1/2 Parmesan
0.8 oz. mozzarella

Bake uncovered until browned, about 30 minutes.

Corn. And wine.


Two ears of fresh sweet corn from CSA Week #14, real butter, salt, and red wine (Sebastiani Zinfandel, Sonoma, 2006) makes for a meal, right?

CSA Week #14

csa14-1.jpgThe vegetable season is winding down by I still got:

Buttercup squash
Green beans
Red onion
Yellow onion
Red pepper

I made:

Corn. And wine.

Squashed squash - like mashed potatoes

Roasted vegetable pasta primavera

Spicy green beans

Green chutney and vegetable pakora with cilantro.


CSA Week #13

Grilled steak soft tacos with caramelized onions and salsa fresca

steaktaco.jpgThese tacos are not quite authentic Mexican, but much closer than typical American tacos. And much healthier without the ground beef, iceberg lettuce, and cheese!

I had previously grilled some steak and vacuum sealed and froze two portions for later use. I just took one vacuum sealed portion from the freezer and placed it directly in the 133°F sous vide machine for about 45 minutes. I then thinly sliced it for serving.

Meanwhile, slice an onion into uniform slices. Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, and the onions. Cook until softened, then reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook until caramelized, stirring frequently.

The salsa fresca is my usual recipe with tomato, onion, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. It needs to rest for a half hour before using it, but don't make too much since it's best served fresh. And beware: it's spicy!!!

The flour tortillas were store-bought, and I wrapped them in foil and heated them in the oven at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Served with some corn tortilla chips, more salsa fresca, and a beer.

Wilted spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette

This was just a quick and pretty healthy lunch. Yes, there's bacon, but only one slice and it's made from frozen pre-cooked bacon so most of the fat has been rendered from it.

Olive oil
Shallot, finely minced
1 slice cooked bacon, minced
Red wine vinegar
Dijon mustard

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for a few minutes. Add the bacon and cook for another couple minutes.

Reduce the heat, add the vinegar, mustard and stir or whisk to combine thoroughly. Heat for a minute then turn off the heat. Add salt and freshly ground pepper.

Add fresh spinach and toss or stir. Cover for a few minutes until the spinach is softened.


This would probably be good with a little goat cheese or bleu cheese on it, too.

Clams three ways

Dinner here is sometimes an unusually haphazard seat of the pants sort of thing. I had contemplated eggplant Parmesan most of the day because I had an eggplant from CSA Week #13 but was non-committal. Then at 5:00 PM oysters Rockefeller popped into my head. I went to the store and they only had 7 fairly sad looking oysters but nice, fresh, clams. So clams it was. Clams casino, which really is the breadcrumb-free cousin of oysters Rockefeller, anyway.

Actually, I decided on clams three ways, because, well, no reason really. It sounded good.

Clams casino (bacon, green peppers, onions, garlic)
Raw clams with sriracha and horseradish sauce
Beer steamed clams with garlic butter and parsley

I got a dozen clams, which is really a dinner serving for one. Put them in a container of cold water, a few ice cubes, salt, and a little corn meal. Put in the refrigerator and leave for 20 minutes.

The sriracha horseradish sauce is self-explanatory, and is mainly because I didn't have any of the traditional chili sauce that's based on ketchup that's often used with raw clams. Sriracha is just its spicier cousin, anyway.

Also prepare a saucepan with the garlic butter sauce. I was only making 4 clams I used 1 oz. butter (1/4 stick) and a clove of garlic. Once fully softened in a small saucepan over low heat I removed it from the heat, added a half handful of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, and added salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

The mini-recipe of clams casino is roughly based on this recipe though scaled much smaller.

1 slice of bacon, finely chopped
1/8 c. onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 c. green pepper, finely diced
1/8 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
4 medium clams (2 1/2"), shucked with the bottom shell reserved.

I used frozen, pre-cooked bacon because cooking one slice of bacon is just silly.

Heat a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add a little olive oil and gently cook the onion, garlic, and green pepper until softened. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes. Add the oregano and vinegar and cook for a minute. Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.

While that's cooking shuck some of the clams. In my little recipe for 1, that was 8 clams, 4 for the raw and 4 for the clams casino. I served both on the half shell, so clean and discard the top shell for these. The beer steamed clams are cooked whole, so don't shuck those.

Spoon some of the cooked onion, garlic, pepper mixture into four of the clams on the half shell. Place on a sheet pan and cook for 12 minutes in a 400°F oven.

While the clams casino are baking, heat several ounces of beer in a saucepan with a steamer basket over high heat. When boiling, add 4 whole clams and cook for 4 minutes.

I served it with crusty bread (Red Hen Bakery ciabatta) and a glass of Polka Dot Riesling.

CSA Week #13

I missed two weeks while I was away but this week I'm back with my Wellspring Farm CSA:


Red pepper
Green beans

Packaged for storage:

After I took the picture I snapped the stems off the green beans and blanched them for 2 minutes. Some of them went into spicy green beans and the rest I immediately chilled and vacuum sealed for future recipes.

I made:

Spicy green beans

Sardines, spinach, and rice

Chicken and cabbage stir fry

Grilled steak soft tacos with caramelized onions and salsa fresca

Wilted spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette

Clams 3 ways

Melon and bacon

Eggplant Parmesan



CSA Week #10

I'm back!

I'm back! Unfortunately my refrigerator is looking a little empty after my two weeks away. Hopefully Thursday's vegetable CSA will help.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2010 is the previous archive.

October 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives