Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What is this Vegetable?

We usually get lots of delicious veggies and fruit from our garden.  Usually the normal stash includes a handful of the following: potatoes, squash, tomatoes, pears, peaches, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and sometimes if we're lucky, bread & bagels!

This week it was something different.  A weird green bulb with greens sprouting out from all sides.  I had no idea what it was, but always willing to try new things, I happily took one home.  Luckily my husband with the culinary arts degree could identify this weird piece of produce - Kohlrabi.  (I wish I'd taken a picture of it pre-cooked.  It is weird - google it!)

I used my Kohlrabi in two separate dishes.  One for the bulb, and one for the greens.  For our main dish, I simply combined the bulb with egg noodles and wow, this was good.

Here's what I used:

Kohlrabi Bulb - peeled and shredded -  from our community garden
Egg noodles

Here's what I did:

First I shredded up my kohlrabi bulb using my gator grater!  Make sure you remove the skin, I hear its really tough and bitter.  Next, melt your butter in a big pan.  I used a couple tablespoons.  Once the butter is melted, add your shredded kohlrabi and saute for 10 minutes or so.  You can be cooking your egg noodles while you are sauteing.  Next, add the egg noodles in, and top with pepper and paprika to your liking.  This is really simple, and believe me, it is really good.  Both my kids ate it up!

Our side dish of greens was only a little bit more difficult, but just as delicious.

Here's what I used:

Kohlrabi greens - stems & ribs removed  - from our community garden
Broccoli - one head chopped - from our community garden
Tomatoes - a couple romas, chopped - from our community garden
Anaheim pepper - finely diced - from our community garden
Pine nuts - toasted
Olive Oil - from a local small business
Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper

Here's What I did:

To chop up my kohlrabi after removing the stems, I rolled the leaves up into little cigars, and then chopped them.  This makes them into nice little ribbons.  A handy trick I learned from my crafty husband.

While you are getting everything else all set up, you can toast your pine nuts on a back burner in a small pan. I usually just put my pan on a very low setting, throw in the nuts and let them toast up.  By the time I'm ready for them, they're pretty much done.

Heat olive oil in a pan and add your garlic & peppers and cook for 5 min or so.  Next, add your broccoli and tomatoes and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Add your greens saute until wilted.  Toss in your toasted pine nuts and lemon juice and you're done!

Personally, I was amazed at how delicious both these meals turned out.  So much, in fact, that I was pretty disappointed when kohlrabi wasn't available the next week at the garden. Total bummer!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A twist on spaghetti

We eat a lot of spaghetti in our house.  Mostly because we love it, and the kids will eat it.  But also because it is very economical!  We usually do just the standard tomato sauce with a side of garlic bread, but this time we mixed it up a bit.  Also, lucky for us, we get local bread from our community garden. We use this to make garlic or herb bread frequently to go along with our pastas.  YUM! 

What I used:

Whole wheat spaghetti
Diced tomatoes  - from our community garden
Diced roasted red peppers  - from a local small business
Diced mushrooms  
Capers - from a local small business
Diced Kalamata olives  - from a local small business
Olive oil - from a local small business
Lemon Juice

Bread - from a local bakery
Secret Herbs & Spices

Here's what I did:

While I was cooking the spaghetti, I heated up the oil in a big pan and threw in my garlic.  Once fragrant, I put in the mushrooms, and soon after the olives, capers, then peppers then tomatoes.   Once the spaghetti was finished, I tossed it with the veggies and added the lemon juice - and yum!

For the bread: just mix your herbs/garlic with butter, spread on the bread, and toast it up in the oven for 15 minutes or so.  I prefer mine wrapped in foil so its soft.  My husband likes his toasty, so we don't wrap his up.  Either way, its super delicious!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

State Fair

Does food from the state fair count as local?  I'm counting it.  And while I guess it is local, what we ate was very NOT healthy.  (but delicious!)

Last week we visited the Utah State Fair.  While it was a perfectly nice fair - lots of vendors, shows, crafts, etc.  After growing up with the Florida State Fair year after year, the Utah fair seemed kinda rinky-dink.  I guess I didn't consider that Florida's Fair, since it is off-season, has pretty much every fair vendor in the US in attendance.  To give you Floridians and idea, we were pretty much able to walk around the entire Utah fair in about 10 minutes.  Try imagining doing that in Florida...

So I'll start with one of my favorite things to get at the fair - ribbon fries.  A combo of my two favorite forms of potato - french fries and potato chips.  Plus, its fun to watch them slice up the potato right in front of you - yum!

And our family's favorite thing to get at the fair - deep fried oreos!  We were skeptical when we first heard of these back in Florida, but after trying them, we are definitely believers!  We found the one (yes only one) fried oreo vendor in the park, and got ourselves a helping!

These did not disappoint!  But, sadly, we had to leave shortly after this snack because of the rain.  Hopefully we'll make it to Florida sometime for the big event, and to get our fair food fix!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Squash Salad & Macaroni

So I mentioned before that we had a huge Hubbard squash from our community garden.  We already made a pie, and tacos, but believe it or not, we still have quite a bit left! What to do, what to do???

About half of our squash had been cubed up, dusted with pumpkin pie spices and baked.  The portion which was not used for the pie was just sitting in my fridge waiting to be used.  Right next to the squash was some fresh spinach, which gave me the idea for a really yummy salad!

Here's what I used:

Fresh Spinach
Diced Tomatoes - from our community garden
Diced Hubbard Squash - pre-cooked - from our community garden
Prunes (or raisins) - from our community garden
Toasted Pine Nuts
Your favorite dressing (I used organic green goddess)

Here's what I did:

Throw it all in a bowl and eat!

Now, I didn't expect my kids to enjoy a salad, as yummy as it turned out.  So instead, I made them some squash macaroni (no cheese!).

Here's what I used:

Diced Hubbard Squash - pre-cooked - from our community garden
Macaroni elbows
Milk - from a local dairy

Here's what I did:

I used my hand blender to blend the squash and milk until smooth.  Then I basically just mixed it in to the cooked macaroni elbows.  Super easy!  Both my kids ate it up.  I actually called it pumpkin pie macaroni which was quite popular.  While this was not my favorite dish (I'm not a big pumpkin pie fan), like I said, the kids loved it.  So a win-win in my book!


Friday, September 21, 2012


Hmmm...  Looks like I missed a day.  Whoops!  I will blame it on me being sick, which is partially true.  I may also have just been distracted...

So you may all have been wondering what have we been eating for breakfast that's local?  Well, we are very fortunate in that our community garden gets free day-old bagels from a local bakery.  And my favorite part is the Asiago Cheese bagels!  Oh Yum!

One of my favorite things to do with this is put sliced cucumbers and tomatoes on it in sandwich form.  I usually also add cream cheese, but heck, I was out of it this time.  It was just as delicious without, and that made this a 100% local dish.

Add a side of fresh locally grown watermelon, and boy is that ever a yummy treat!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Roasted Potatoes

This one is super simple and super delish!  We get potatoes from our community garden all the time, but I was particularly excited to get these itty bitty ones last time.

This was really easy, since pretty much all you have to do is wash your potatoes, cut them up, and roast them in the oven (45 minutes at about 400 should do the trick!).  I actually tossed ours with a little bit of mustard sauce which was super yummy.

Here's what I put in my mustard sauce:

Melted butter
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil  - from a local small business
Oregano - from our community garden

Monday, September 17, 2012

We miss you, Taco Bus!

One of our favorite places to eat in Tampa was the Taco Bus.  They had some of the best Mexican food around.  Always super fresh, really delicious, and even better, it was cheap!

A unique dish that caught our eye one day was the butternut squash dip.  It sounded really strange, but was just crazy enough to be good, and boy is it.  I'm so glad we tried it, because we never went back without getting an order to share.

Well, now we are in Utah, and sadly, there is no Taco Bus here. However, we do have an overabundance of squash coming from our garden, so why not bring a little bit of the Taco Bus to Utah!

Today's recipe - Hubbard Squash Tacos!

Here's what I used:

Squash Filling

Hubbard Squash, cubed - from our community garden
Onion, chopped - from our community garden
Olive Oil - from a local small business
Pumpkin pie spice
Oregano - from our community garden

Black bean filling

Black beans, cooked  - from a local small business
Green Pepper  - from our community garden
Onion  - from our community garden
Liquid Smoke
Olive Oil  - from a local small business

Salsa topping

Roma Tomatoes, diced - from our community garden
Jalepeno, super small diced - from our community garden
Onion, chopped - from our community garden
Garlic Salt
lemon juice

Here's what I did -

Squash Filling

Toss the squash & Onions in the olive oil & spices.  Bake in the oven @375 for about 30-40 minutes until soft.

Black Beans

Cook the onion and green pepper in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add the beans and the liquid smoke and cook until warm (you can leave the water in from the beans, and wait for it to thicken a bit).

Salsa Topping

Throw everything in a bowl and mix it up well.  Let it sit for 20 minutes or so and the flavors will be awesome.

That's it - super simple.  Throw it all in a tortilla and you're done!  (We used corn torillas.)  This wasn't exactly like the Taco Bus, but boy was it close.  Can't wait to visit Tampa next month to get us some of the real stuff!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tomatoes & Bread

To kick off our eat local challenge last week, we went to a fun garden party serving lots of local food - including local heirloom tomato sandwiches!  Those of you who follow on Facebook may have already seen my tomato sandwich pictures from last week. 

These yummy sandwiches were topped with fresh & locally made pesto along with tomatoes grown in local community gardens.  I cannot lie - these are to die for!  Of course my girls did not eat them, but they did sample some of the other local items available including cheeses, honey, breads, and music!

These are so good, and so simple, I decided to make a similar dish at home.  We are lucky in that our community garden gets lots of fresh day-old bread from local bakeries.  Usually the bread doesn't have many preservatives, but we usually don't have a problem eating it up.

For my homemade tomato sandwich (or I guess bruschetta) here's what I used:

Sourdough Bread  - from a local bakery
Roma Tomatoes - grown in our garden
Garlic salt

Here's what I did:

First I sliced up my bread and put it in the oven for a minute or two so it would be nice and toasty.  Next, I seeded & chopped my tomatoes, and mixed them together with the herbs & garlic.  Then, once the bread was to my liking, I topped it with the 'maters!  Its even better if you let it sit a little so the bread can soak up some of the juice.  Yum!!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


So in all honesty, I had never tried Gazpacho before, but we had so many cucumbers & tomatoes at home that it seemed like a really great idea!

This is another one that I threw in the food processor, but again, I'm sure it would work in a blender, if you have the right type.

Here's what I used:

Roma Tomatoes - seeded & diced  - grown in our garden
Roasted red pepper - from a local small business
Red onion - grown in our garden
Jalapeno  - grown in our garden
Cucumber  - grown in our garden
Olive Oil - from a local small business
Oregano  - grown in our garden

Here's what I did:

First I chopped up all my veggies and threw them in the food processor.  I pulsed a few times to get them mixed together, then I threw in my oil and herbs.  I pulsed a few more times to mix and checked to make sure it was chunky, but not TOO chunky (know what I mean?)

Once I was happy with the consistency, I put it in the fridge for an hour or so before eating, and oh yum!  I am a Gazpacho believer!  I even got my 1 year old to eat some, and she kept coming back for more!  This will definitely make another appearance (or two) at our home!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hubbard Squash Pie

I can't take credit for this one - my husband made this all on his own (Ok, I made the crust)!  So, I actually don't even know the recipe, but I can assure you, the squash is local, and boy was it huge.

This is basically just like a pumpkin pie, but made from a Hubbard instead.  Hubbards are just as big as pumpkins, and this one is now taking up a bunch of our freezer space.

While I don't know how to make the filling, I can update you on the yummy crust.  This pie has a graham cracker crust, made from all non-local ingredients. 

10 Graham crackers
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C melted butter

Crush up the graham crackers, mix in the sugar & butter, and press into a GREASED pie pan.  (I forgot to grease our pan, so now we have to chisel our pie out.)  Then bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Now, I'm sure there are plenty of recipes out there for pumpkin pie filling.  Just pick one and have at it.  I can assure you that ours is non-dairy (we used almond milk in ours). 

After serving to our official taster - the verdict is - YUM!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Yum - Yogurt!

For a while now, I've been making home made yogurt.  It is so super easy and is so much better than store bought.  It does have a different taste, which did take some getting used to, but after making it a few times, I don't want to eat store bought any more!

Its super easy to make - all you need is milk and starter. The starter can either be from a jar (below) or from some previously made yogurt!  (imagine that!)

We make both non-dairy and dairy yogurt regularly.  The process is the same.  This time, our milk is from a local Utah dairy, and our starter is from a previous batch of yogurt. (That's local, right?)
There are tons of tutorials out there if you are interested, (and even included on the back of your yogurt starter).  I will spare you the details, but basically, you need to heat up the milk to kill bad bacteria.  Then let it cool down to about 110 degrees, add the starter, and let it culture.
I use a yogurt maker for mine, but I hear it can be made in a good thermos as well.  

After about 6-9 hours (depending on your milk) you will have fresh yogurt!  YUM!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Zucchini Hummus

What better way to start out our week than with a little bit of our favorite summer veggie!  Zucchini!

I'd seen a recipe not long ago for raw zucchini hummus and thought this would be a great way to use up some of our extra zukes!  The recipe is so simple, but it does use a food processor (or would probably work in a vitamix or blendtec in a pinch).

Here's what I used:

Zucchini (1 regular size, or 1/3 giant size) - grown in our garden
2 T tahini - from a local small business
2 T lemon juice
1/2 t garlic - from a local small business
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t salt

Topping (optional)

10 pitted Kalamata olives - from a local small business
1 roasted red pepper - from a local small business
1 T olive oil - from a local small business

Here's what I did:

First, I peeled and seeded the zucchini.  Our zucchinis are so huge, that we have to remove the seeds, but for normal zucchini, this shouldn't be necessary.


 Now, just throw everything in the food processor, and process until smooth.  I scraped down the sides a few times throughout processing. 

To make the topping, I just rinsed out my food processor, put the remaining items in and pulsed a few times.  This turned out great!  A bit wetter than run of the mill hummus, but still great!  YUM!

*no the chips are not local

Eat Local Challenge!

Hi Everyone!  Bet you've missed me and all our zucchini!  Well you are in luck - sort of.  I'm back to blogging this week, and with less zucchini this time (but still a little bit). 

This week marks the Salt Lake City Eat Local Challenge!

I am pretty sure that other cities have this challenge as well, but usually a bit earlier in the growing season.  I signed our family up for the challenge this year, attempting to use 75% or more local ingredients (mostly produce) in our dishes this week.  With our community garden in full swing, I don't think this should be too difficult.  In fact, the only thing I've really done differently is buy a different brand of milk (non-organic, but from a local dairy claiming to use no added hormones/antibiotics).
So here's our thought for the week ahead:  Let's eat local!  If not locally grown, then let's go for local small business. 
Good luck to us - follow along to see how we do!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Zucchini in Nugget form!

I know that everyone has been missing my daily zucchini posts, so here is one more to feed your addiction.  

This was inspired by some broccoli nuggets we recently found in the freezer section of our local Whole Foods.  I figured that these couldn't be too hard to simulate, and what better to use than the huge abundance of zucchini we have! 

Happy Helper washing a zuke - note there are still quite a few behind her on the counter.

I made a couple batches of these - one with shredded squash, and one with ground zucchini.  I used my food processor to shred/grind both these.  

After you grind and/or shred, salt your product (1-2 tsp), mix, and let it sit in a colander for 15 minutes or so.  This helps draw out extra moisture.  As you see - from half of my giant zucchini, I collected about 1 cup of zuke juice.  Even after extracting this juice, my zucchini was still very wet.  

I saved this and put it in a smoothie the following day.

After the draining, I mixed in one egg, some Parmesan cheese (probably about 1/4 - 1/2 cup) and a dash of garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

 I foiled a baking sheet, and using a cookie cutter, formed my mixture into heart shaped nuggets.

This symbolized my love for zucchini

Bake for about 25 minutes at 350.  Flip, then bake for 25 minutes more until crisp.

My kids, though skeptical at first, loved these.  I had quite a few extra, so they ended up in my freezer for lunchtime sometime in the future.  Definitely a great way to use up some of that extra summer harvest!

Monday, August 13, 2012

On to the next thing...

Where have I been?  Its been less than a week, but you are starving for more Zucchini?  Well, forget about it!  I'm not posting about zucchini today.  Maybe later this week, if we are up to eating zucchini again, but today I've got something really special in store.  *Spoiler alert*  This post may change your life.  You may 1.  Loose all respect for me; or 2.  Find a new addiction and thus loose all respect for yourself;  Or, 3.  You may have the self control of a Buddhist monk, and the post may not affect you at all.

You are probably wondering what could possibly be so life altering and how have you not yet heard about it.  Well here it is my fine followers.   Feast your eyes upon this beauty of a treat:

Holy rusted metal, Batman!  

Ok, so I hear that if you use pintrest, you may already be aware of the infamous "Slutty brownie".  Me?  I don't use pintrest...  frankly I don't really get it, but that may just be me reaching that level of maturity where I don't understand new technology.  I also don't understand why Ryan Seacrest has a segment on the Olympics dedicated to Facebook & Twitter posts.  Does anyone really sit around and wonder how many people tweet about Michael Phelps?  Instead, you could be sitting around eating the total amount of calories Michael Phelps consumes in one day in one, efficient and delicious serving!

So as mentioned above, this post is about "Slutty Brownies".  I found these on the internet when looking for a new recipe for regular brownies.  If you weren't already convinced by my picture, let me give you a description.  These consist of a layer of chewy delicious chocolate chip cookie dough: 

Followed by a layer of everyone's favorite gay cookie, the Oreo:

And, finally, topped with a layer of super chocolaty, regular brownies.

When I first discovered these, so many things were going through my mind.  Who thought this was a good idea?  That can't possibly be good idea...  What kind of mother would serve these to her children?  No wonder we have so many obese Americans...  I need to go to the store to by Oreos.

Obviously, we made these.  And yes, they are so good.  Not in a decadent chocolate mousse souffle kinda way.  But more in a Taco Town Taco kind of way.  In all seriousness (as serious as this can get) I did make them with my kids, who really loved the multi-step process.  

Melting the butter
Measuring something yummy

Give it a good stir!

Adding the eggs

Adding the dry goods
Finishing up the cookie dough

 And they also really enjoyed eating them.

I'm not posting a recipe, because I don't necessarily want to recommend these.  I'm still not sure how morally feel about them.  But if you are like me and you want to give them a fair chance, there are lots of variations of these out there if you want to make your own - just search for "slutty brownies" and you are on your way.  But remember, in the interest of your own health, and America's obesity epidemic, I don't recommend making these very often.  After all, its not really fair to all the regular brownies.  


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And now what???

Well, we went back to help out at the community garden a week after we received our initial stash, and lo and behold, more zucchini and squash!  While I love getting produce fresh from the garden, what are we going to do with tons and tons of this stuff?  (For the record, we also ended up with a huge stash of plums, jalapeno peppers, anaheim peppers, and a handful of cucumbers.)

Mom, this is heavy, can I please put it down now?

This is our second stash - and believe me, we could have gotten more if we wanted...

With this much stuff on hand, We decided to go ahead and freeze some of it so that we don't have to worry about eating it all right away.  The only reason that I didn't freeze all of it is that it takes up a lot of space, and we have a small freezer (and a lot of ice cream.  Ok, its not all ice cream, but regardless, our freezer is pretty full).

So the plan is, to slice the stuff up into pieces that will be easy to just throw into a meal sometime in the future.  For this round, I sliced my squash (one whole squash).  I cubed my zucchini.  (Sorry, no photo, but by now, you should know what cubed zucchini looks like)

I read somewhere online that zucchini & summer squash freezes best if you blanch it first.  This adds a little bit to the process, but better safe than sorry, right?  I planned to blanch the larger pieces for about two minutes and the smaller pieces for about one.  I also prepared an ice bath to drop them in afterward. 

Looks like my ice is melting, probably need to dig some more out of the back of my jam packed freezer...

Once your water is boiling, drop in your prepared veggies and boil for the predetermined time (Again, I did two minutes on these, one minute on my zukes.)

After they've been blanched, take them out and.... 

Drop them into your ice bath to cool and stop the cooking process.  After leaving them in the ice bath for a few minutes, I drained mine in a colander before putting them into serving-sized freezer bags. 

 Seriously, I need some more ice if I am calling this an ice bath.

This appears to have worked out really well.  I guess I can give you an update later in the year after we defrost some of this stuff for dinner.  Anyhow, I portioned mine prior to freezing so I can easily pull out and thaw one bag to throw into dinner.

 Now, we better go have some dessert so we can clear out more space in the freezer!