Thursday, August 25, 2011

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad (or maybe Salsa)

This salad went through a lot of different iterations in my head before I made it.  I started planning to make it a salad, then veggie burgers, then back to a salad.  Mostly I knew that with six ears of corn in the fridge and eight more arriving this week, I needed to make a recipe that involved corn.  Fast.  It could be considered a salsa, I suppose, but the black beans bulk it up a bit.  This was good. So good that I dug into it for dinner at 4:58.

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn
1/2-1 cup chopped tomatoes
Pickled jalapenos, chopped (to taste)
1/2 mango, cubed
Dressing: equal parts (~1/4 teaspoon) chili powder, cumin, and coriander.  Sprinkle of salt.   Equal amounts lime juice and olive oil.

Mix everything together and drizzle with dressing.  I served with a scoop of guacamole and some tortilla chips for scooping.  Because food you can scoop = good.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Classic Pesto

One of the things I love about our CSA is that in addition to the designated vegetables for pickup, there's always a list of crops available for pick-your-own, including a large selection of herbs.  Their basil plants are huge, waist high, so it took no time at all to fill a big bag.  I had plans to make pesto, and if the basil is still good next week, I'll probably make more.  It freezes very well, and reminds you of August in February.

I confess I don't really measure for my pesto, so sometimes it's extra garlicky, or extra parmesany.

In a food processor, drop in roughly chopped garlic.  I used one large clove.  Run until finely minced.
Add in parmesan cheese.  I used about 3 ounces.  I rough chop to about 1/2 inch cubes first.  Run until shredded.
If you are using nuts, add at this step.  I've been out of pine nuts for about a year, so I did not.
Add basil leaves to food processor and run until mixture is finely chopped.
With the motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream until desired consistency is reached.

This whole big colander of basil leaves resulted in not a huge amount of pesto, because I kept the garlic and cheese to a minimum.  It's highly concentrated, though, so a little will go a long way.  And I can smell the amazing basil scent even through the haze of this cold.

After making the pesto, I left the scrapings in the food processor bowl and added about an ounce each of cream cheese and goat cheese.  A few more seconds running the processor to mix it all together, and I have a great spread for crackers.  Bonus!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Smoothie - Cherry, Strawberry, Banana

This is the time of year when cherries are on sale at the market.  By "on sale," I mean that you can manage to buy a bag for less than $10.  If they weren't so good, I couldn't bring myself to pay so much for them.  The only problem I've found is that if you don't eat the cherries within 2-3 days, they start to go bad.  And throwing away $8 worth of cherries is not good.  I noticed ours were on the verge yesterday, so I spent a good chunk of the afternoon pitting and slicing them to freeze.  My hands and countertops are stained with cherry juice, but I now have a nice big bag of cherries in the freezer for whenever the mood strikes me.

I sometimes joke that I could write a cookbook called "what's about to go bad."  I hate wasting food, so whenever some produce is nearing the end of it's life, I come up with some use for it right away.  Smoothies are great for any fruit that's still ok, but you wouldn't necessarily want to eat on it's own.

This smoothie had banana, strawberries, the aforementioned cherries, a little milk and a few ice cubes.  Delicious.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Strawberry Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

On Friday night I got an email from Jon suggesting that we take some sort of muffin or breakfast treat with us to the beach this past weekend.  I did a quick internet search based on what I had around and decided on strawberry coffee cake.  Coffee cake, like muffins or quick breads, takes very little time to put together and bake, so it is great for a last minute project.  Then I spent the rest of Friday night in a cold induced misery which involved me spending most of the night awake in the guest room reading and finally falling asleep around 5AM.  As a result, no beach weekend for us, and we ended up with the responsibility of eating the coffee cake.  I'm happy to report I'm on the mend and there's no baked good that stands a chance with us, so it all worked out.

Strawberry Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping
recipe from All Recipes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar (next time I'd use brown sugar)
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chopped pecans (I used sliced almonds)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, combine egg, milk and melted butter.
Fold wet ingredients into dry, mixing until just incorporated.
Pour into a prepared 8x8 inch baking dish.
Top with layer of strawberries, I kind of pushed mine into the batter.
In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients.  You can use a pastry blender to mix in the butter, but I think using your hands is the easiest.  As long as you don't mind scrubbing butter out from under your fingernails.  I don't.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spicy Jambalaya

Inspired by the talented Jenna of Eat Live Run, I wanted to make jambalaya.  Not traditional jambalaya, perhaps, because I only used sausage and not chicken and shrimp, but still fantastic.  This is a one-pot meal, which makes it easy for cleanup, the hardest part is waiting the hour for it to all simmer and cook together.  And that's why I tasted it too quickly last night and burnt my tongue.

Spicy Jambalaya
recipe from Eat Live Run

1 package (3/4 pound) andouille sausage
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1.5 Tablespoons flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped (this was my addition)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat.  Brown sausage and set aside.  Don't drain.
Add the flour to the oil in the pot and stir until medium brown.  Stir in the onion, parsley, celery and pepper and cook for a few minutes until softened, a few minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
Add in the remaining ingredients: brown rice, water, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and cayenne.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for an hour.

Try to let it cool for a few minutes before eating so you don't burn your tongue.

This was super spicy.  The sausage has some kick, and I used habanero instead of cayenne.  The baby went all crazy kicking me after I ate it.  I'm broadening taste buds.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cheesy Garlic Bread

One of my friends asked for a garlic bread recipe.   It's a few more steps than you might think are necessary to make bread, but so good.

Garlic Bread

4-5 cloves garlic, finely diced or grated
1 stick butter, softened
salt and pepper
1 baguette, sliced in half horizontally
1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded (mozzarella or Italian blend)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small pan over medium low heat, melt 1 Tablespoon butter and cook the garlic until golden, about 5-10 minutes.
Mix together garlic mixture, remaining butter, salt and pepper in a bowl and spread thickly on both cut sides of the bread.  Sandwich bread back together and wrap in foil.  Bake for 15 minutes.
Preheat broiler.
Unwrap bread and sprinkle with cheese.  Broil until cheese has melted, 1 to 2 minutes.  Keep an eye on it, if you walk away it will totally catch fire and you will be sad.

Come visit on Facebook!

As some of you already saw last night, I set up a new Facebook page for At Home With Ann.  In addition to the usual links to blog posts, I'll also share my occasionally hilarious, but usually awkward, commentary.  Come hang out.  

So here's the link:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oven Crisped Fish

I have had an inexplicable craving for fried fish lately.  After a near miss almost buying fish sticks (I know, terrible) at the market, I knew it was time to take matters into my own hands.  For me, when I want fried seafood, I often enjoy the first few bites and get sick of it quickly.  Not so with this.  Oven crisped fish (or chicken for that matter) uses a simple egg wash and bread crumb crust. Very straightforward, easier than anything involving frying, and healthier. 

Oven Crisped Fish
Serves 2
1/2 pound firm, white fish (I used wild haddock, but cod or tilapia would work as well)
1 egg and 1 Tablespoon milk, whisked together
3/4-1 cup panko breadcrumbs (eyeball it)
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a baking sheet with baking spray. I used a layer of foil, as well.
In a shallow dish, combine the milk and egg.
In another dish, mix together the breadcrumbs and Old Bay.
Pat the fish dry with a paper towel.  Cut into serving sizes (in this case, 1/4 pound each)
Dip fish in the egg mixture, turning to coat and then dredge in breadcrumbs.  Use your hands to press the breadcrumbs on. 
Bake for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily. 
Serve with lemon wedges.

I also made some tartar sauce to go alongside.  Simply mayo, lemon juice, and some of the sweet pickles and onions I made last week chopped up.  It was good stuff. 

We ate it with caprese.  I don't know why my pesto looks black.  It's green, but apparently green is tough to photograph at night. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Zucchini Bread

Remember that giant zucchini/weapon I picked up off the free table at the CSA last week?  It was destined for zucchini bread, or to be used as defense against intruders.  Since we live out in horse country, where the biggest crime in recent history has been mailbox baseball, zucchini bread it was.

Zucchini Bread
recipe from Baking Illustrated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pound zucchini, seeded if, like me, yours is giant
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Shred the zucchini.  I used my food processor with the shredder disc.  You can just add chunks straight into the food processor, or grate by hand.
Transfer the shredded zucchini to a strainer and sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of the sugar.  Allow to drain for at least 30 minutes.  Wrap in paper towels and squeeze to get as much liquid out as possible.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, nuts (if using), baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, stir together remaining sugar (1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons), yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and melted butter.
Stir the zucchini into the flour mixture, fold in the wet ingredients and spread in a prepared loaf pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then on a wire rack for up to an hour, if you can wait that long for fresh baked goods.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kale, Tomato and Avocado Salad

You know I am a big fan of kale, although I admittedly mostly eat it in chip form.  Kale is crazy good for you, lots of vitamin K, A, and C, among others.  One of my friends sent me this recipe (I love when they do that!), and I was excited to try it with some of the giant bag of kale I picked this week.  I modified the original recipe a bit to add some more ingredients and make it into a meal (and consequently, no longer officially raw, if you care about that sort of thing).

Kale, Tomato and Avocado Salad
adapted from Happy Foody

1 bunch of curly kale (I filled up about half a salad spinner to serve 2 as a main course)
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2-1 avocado, chopped
1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt
goat cheese, crumbled, for serving

Rip kale leaves off stems and tear into bite size pieces.
Mix in olive oil and lemon juice with your hands.  Really, use your hands.  The more it gets worked into the leaves, the softer they will get.  Kale is chewier than lettuce, so you want the oil and juice to break it down a bit so you don't feel like you're chewing on random foliage.
Toss with tomato, chickpeas and salt.
Allow to sit for a few hours to let the kale soften.
Top with avocado and goat cheese for serving.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles

I love pickles.  Sour dill, sweet bread and butter, all kinds.  I have absolutely no idea how to do traditional canning with the hot water and sealing the jars and all that, so it thought I couldn't make them at home. I was excited to see one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, make refrigerator pickles that seemed easy, were ready in a few hours, and required no weird jar boiling.

After a mishap with my first batch of pickling cucumbers (I procrastinated and left them in the fridge too long so they went bad), this week I was ready to go.  I did have to buy a couple of ingredients to stock my spice cabinet (mustard seeds and celery seeds), but it was totally worth it.

Bread and Butter Pickles
from Smitten Kitchen

1 pound pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/4 thick
1/2-1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 Tablespoon mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds or 1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt.

Cover the mixture with ice and let stand at room temperature for two hours.

In a pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil.
Add drained cucumbers and onions.  Bring back to a simmer.
Remove pot from heat and cool.
Store pickles in an airtight container (a quart mason jar worked perfectly) in the fridge.

The recipe says they will start tasting pickled in a few hours.  I gave them overnight to lunch the next day.  So good.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spicy Black Beans and Rice

There are a few things I almost always have in our pantry, various grains (brown rice, couscous, etc.), dried or canned beans (chickpeas and black beans) and canned tomatoes.  With those three ingredients, ideally supplemented by some fresh vegetables and maybe some type of cheese, you can put together a huge variety of healthy and very economical dishes.

I had a jalapeno in the fridge, and the bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic from the CSA, so I made a spicy black bean dish.

In one pot on the stove, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of brown rice, simmer on low for 30 minutes.  When the rice was done cooking, I stirred in about a 1/4 cup of Mama Pea's Mmmm Sauce.  Kind of like vegan nacho cheese sauce.

In another pot, I heated up a little canola oil and sauteed onion, bell pepper, garlic, black beans, fresh tomato, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin and coriander.  About equal amounts of the vegetables (except garlic and jalapeno), and a teaspoon of each spice.  Put the lid on, reduce to low, and simmer while rice is cooking.  Super easy and super healthy.

I will take a moment to remind you that it is of vital importance to make sure all the jalapeno oil is off your hands before you take out your contacts or touch your face in any way.  You will only need to learn this lesson the hard way once.  I learned it years ago, and went through a phase where I diligently wore plastic gloves while chopping jalapeno, but have gotten lazy.  This jalapeno was apparently extra potent, because even after thoroughly washing my hands, they were on fire.  Stick my hand in the freezer hot.  A quick google search suggested coating them in olive or vegetable oil and letting it sit for a few minutes.  Or soaking in milk.  The olive oil worked pretty well, and after a shower they were good as new, but jalapeno oil is no joke.

Anyway, this dish is vegan, but you can of course add some cheddar cheese and maybe a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt (of course, I did).  Chopped avocado and cilantro would be a nice addition, as well.  Pretty much anything you put on tacos would work.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CSA Share - Hello Tomatoes!

We have a great assortment from the CSA share this week.  Here's a sample.
Corn, Squash, Eggplant, Garlic, Pickling Cucumbers (I promise I really will make pickles this time!), Carrots, Green Bell Peppers, Apples, Potatoes, Watermelon, Tomatoes, Kale, and a baseball bat sized Zucchini.  While there are two tomatoes here, we have six pounds.  Six pounds is a lot of tomatoes!  I'm excited, tomatoes are awesome.  Also, the zucchini was on the free table, I'll make zucchini bread in the next week, since we went through that strawberry banana bread at an alarming rate.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

I had plans to show you the delicious strawberry-banana version of this Banana Bread that I made this weekend.  Those plans were thwarted when, after baking said bread, I tried to upend it out of the pan to cool and found the middle was still batter and oozed out all over my cutting board.  Some frantic yelling, two sets of hands, and 15 more minutes in the oven, it tasted delicious, but not worthy of photography.  

Instead, I'll tell you about our dinner last night.  I saw Rachael Ray make this recipe last week, and modified it a little bit (partly because I can't for the life of me remember everything I need at the market). 

Creamy Mushroom Pasta
recipe from Rachael Ray

3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped, stems removed, and thinly slices
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons thyme
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons tomato paste - I omitted this, because I ran out
1/2 cup sherry or wine
1/2-1 cup cream
dash nutmeg
1 pound whole grain/wheat pasta
Parmesan cheese, to serve

In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  
Cook mushrooms until browned and the liquid has mostly cooked off.
Add shallots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and salt and pepper.
Stir in tomato paste.
Deglaze the pan with the sherry/wine, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom.
Reduce heat to medium low, pour in the cream and add the nutmeg, and allow to simmer while the pasta cooks.
When pasta is ready, add to the sauce pan and toss well to coat.
Serve with parmesan cheese.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Corn Chowder

We had so much corn last week from our CSA.  So much corn that I made the hilarious pun that we have corn coming out of our ears and got a pity laugh.  I think.  In any case, eight ears of corn is a lot for two people to manage.  I used one ear in the Cucumber, Tomato and Corn salad, and we had grilled corn with burgers for dinner, but that left me with five ears of corn to use up before it got old and weird.  I had never actually had corn chowder before, but I like clam chowder, and it's essentially the same swapping clams for corn, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Plus, it seemed like a good vehicle to douse with hot sauce, parsley, and mop up with big hunks of bread.  I read over a few recipes to get some ideas, but this is one of those cases in which you can customize based on how much of each ingredient you have.

Corn Chowder
3-5 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off (A good way to remove the kernels without spraying them all over your kitchen is to hold the ear vertically in a large bowl, and use a knife to cut down each side.  I would have shared a picture, but it's too hard to hold corn, hold a knife, and hold a camera.  Maybe I need a tripod.)
1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped (I ran out of celery, because my fridge went crazy and froze it, but this would have been a good addition.)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon canola oil
3 cups milk
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
Add in potatoes and milk to cover.  You can adjust the amount of milk you use based on how thick you want your chowder.
Bring to a simmer and cook, covered for about 10 minutes until potatoes are softened.
Add in corn, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 5-10 minutes more.
Serve with parsley and hot sauce for garnish.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beyond Greens: Salad Ideas

I love salads.  Everything from greens dressed with just olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice, to giant piles of everything in the fridge.  That being said, we all burn out on greens occasionally, so here are a few ideas for lettuce-free salads.  One great thing about these salads, you can make them in advance without worrying about everything getting wilted and sad.

Cucumber, Corn and Tomato Salad
The title pretty much sums it up.
Cucumber, chopped
Tomato, chopped
Corn, raw, shucked off the cob
Avocado (add this at the last minute to prevent browning)
Fresh basil or parsley, or both, chopped
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

This was great as-is, but I also served the leftovers over a bed of lettuce (I know, I promised no lettuce), and added chickpeas to make it a little heartier.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Salad
Also, self-explanatory.
Sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Beets, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Onion, roughly chopped
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Goat cheese

Toss the sweet potato, beets and onion in olive oil, and roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Check every 15 minutes or so to make sure nothing is burning.  I removed the onions a few minutes early because they were looking extra crispy.

Chill cooked vegetables, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I'm not sure how I got it into my head that I wanted to make ratatouille, maybe because all the vegetables are in season, or once I thought of it I couldn't get the cute cooking rat out of my head.  In any case, it was a great way to utilize a bunch of the CSA veggies (and a few extras from the farm stand) this week.  I read a whole bunch of recipes online, but went with the Joy of Cooking, my go-to for classic recipes.

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb. zucchini, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups onions, sliced
2 large bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup basil, chopped

I prepped the eggplant by putting the cubes into a colander, sprinkling with salt and leaving for about 30 minutes.  This draws out some of the liquid and eliminates bitterness.

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium high heat.  Saute the zucchini and eggplant for about 10 minutes, until tender.  Remove to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium, and add 2 Tablespoons olive oil.  I had a minor setback because there was a few tiny pieces of eggplant that had stuck to the bottom of the pot and burned, so I had to clean the pot and start fresh.  This was especially annoying because we were trying to finish dinner in time to go get ice cream.  Priorities.

Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.  Add in peppers and garlic, salt and pepper, thyme and bay leaf.  Cook for 1 minute more.

Return eggplant and zucchini to the pot, add tomatoes and basil, and cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Side note: the Wusthof tomato knife is amazing.

This would be excellent with fresh bread to soak up the juices.

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