April Foodie Penpals

Foodie Penpals!! You know the drill.  Or do you?  The lovely Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean matches up healthy eaters with one another, we get to know eachother over the interwebs and send a box of goodies via the old fashioned postal service and make sure we don’t only get boring bills in the mail.  If you want to participate, go here.

The Lean Green Bean

I have had incredible luck with my matches and this month was no differnt.  Johanne at Diary of a Hungry Québécoise  put together a lovely assortment of treats from Charlottesville, VA.  I have spent a little time in her town and can attest to its loveliness!  She included some amazing maple cookies, vegetable pasta, peach cider, and goat cheese caramel sauce.  Everything is amazing and she included the loveliest little card.

 

photo

If you are thinking about joining us next month, don’t delay!  Happy Tuesday!

 

The Farmer’s Market Round Up

Per my Summer Bucket List (which my brother has informed me that bucket lists and the use of the YOLO is enough to end a relationship for him.  Whatevs), I pledged to shop at the Farmer’s Market at least 2 times per month.  Well, I surpassed this goal completely because shortly after attending the farmer’s market, we joined a CSA.  We love it.  While the zucchini was a bumper crop this year and I made more zucchini chocolate cake than I would like to admit, I still highly recommend it.  New Jersey is a great place for produce!  New Jersians should be proud of the bounty their land yields: beautiful tomatoes, corn, peaches, eggplant, kale, potatoes, peppers and much much more.

We get our CSA from the Stony Hill Farm and highly recommend it to anyone looking for one.  We get an email every week outlining what to expect in our box, storage suggestions, and even recipes for those items.  Our pick up is in our town and very easy.  We also added to our share a dozen fresh eggs from the farm.

The CSA has pushed my out of my cooking comfort zone, forcing me to cook with food that I wouldn’t usually purchase (hello, eggplant) and I have really added to my list of recipes!  Listed below are a few recipes that have been made (some multiple times) this summer with our goods:

I leave you with this simple corn salad as a great summer side dish (oh summer please don’t go).

Corn Salad
2 strips bacon, chopped
6 ears of corn with the kernels chopped off
pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
salt and pepper

1.  Cook the bacon, rendering the fat.  Once cooked, remove the bacon to drain and pour out the bacon grease so that only about 2 tablespoons remain in the pan.  Save the poured out bacon grease for something else (green smoothie, anyone?).

2.  At medium-high heat, add the kernels of corn, cooking until the corn gets some color on it.

3.  Dump in a serving dish and add the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and any other seasoning.

Dinner Time: Salmon with Blueberry Sauce

As of late, my sweetie (Sparky), has been clipping recipes that he wants to eat.  He doesn’t really read the ingredient list or the method, he mainly picks them based on title.  Regardless, I appreciate the input.  Even if I don’t like what he has chosen, I can use it as inspiration for something else that he may like. He is a pretty active guy and eats a lot so sometimes I need a little direction.  This time around, he made a good choice.  We have joined a CSA (community sponsored agriculture) and have been inundated with produce.  A good thing.  We have fresh fruit and vegetables every week.  A very good thing.  One thing was blueberries!  Sparky sent me this Salmon With Agrodolce Blueberries and off I went.

It was majorly easy.  I forgot how much a sauce can impact a dish with such little effort.  Another good thing!  This sauce is low maintenance too, you can totally be doing other things (like chopping one of your many zucchinis) while periodically checking on the sauce.  Also, it is relatively few ingredients.  Low lift, as a friend of mine says.  This is a gourmet treat for a weeknight.  Sure, you have to turn on the oven but you can take advantage and throw in some cookies for dessert while scarfing the salmon.  I hate to be bossy (I cant help it) but, make this recipe.  It even has a fancy name: Salmon With Agrodolce Blueberries.  Why are you still sitting there?  Off the computer you go!

Carrot Ginger Dressing – weak WAIW

I have never participated in WAIW (What I Ate Wednesday) because I don’t think my food is that interesting – I eat the same thing for lunch every single day.  I love variety but this never gets old to me.  I make a spinach salad with cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and a side of carrots.  Then I have 2 apples.  Sometimes I eat nuts, if I am working out later, sometimes I eat a banana, also if I am working out later.  I just like the way I feel when I eat this, my body is happy, my belly is happy and I don’t crash later in the day.

Usually my salad is with balsamic vinegar and EVOO but recently, I made this other dressing.  Oh, this was the bomb.com (do people say that?  Whatever, I just did).  Carrot ginger dressing – super healthy, flavorful and packed with belly easing ginger!  I would double this batch to last 2 people for the week.

Oh, and now you see my messy desk.  Real life, ya’ll.  Real life.

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

Ingredients
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped (I threw it in the food processor)
2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
kosher salt

Directions

1. Put the carrot and 1 cup water in a small saucepan.  bring to simmer over medium-low heat and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid, then drain the carrot.

2. Purree carrot, reserved cooking liquid until smooth.  Add ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt; pulse until smooth.

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

After a eating adventure or just generally a period of eating rich food, I like to counteract it by making pureed vegetable soup.  I love them.  I love them for the flavor, simplicity of just vegetables and the health benefits.  I feel awesome after eating these soups.  This one had been on my list and after eating a lot of fried chicken (worth every bite), I was ready for some vegetables!

Joy the Baker had one that had been on my list, so I jumped right in.  It came together fairly easily, however, I don’t know why I hand chopped everything instead of using the food processor.   Fool.  Maybe I wanted to feel the knife in my hand.

The coconut milk adds a creaminess and the proportions are spot on.  Even though spring is sneaking in, I think I will throw this soup together again before summer’s arrival!

This soup reminded me of another soup that I love: Creamy Carrot and Chickpea Soup.  This is probably heartier, because of the chickpeas, but it is a great vegan option.

Enjoy!