Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thai Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Peanut Sauce

We're rolling right along with our CSA share at Tangerini's Farm and I'm happy to report nothing has gone to waste so far.  I usually misplace some bag of pickling cucumbers in the back of the refrigerator and find them again when they look really scary.  I confess that when faced with a bunch of vegetables, I often throw them in a stir fry with a peanut soy sauce and call it a day.  Today, I branched out a bit, and the result was a filling dinner salad that was refreshing in the midst of this hot and sticky weather. The dressing flavors were a bit strong for my tiny taste testers, so I simply portioned out the vegetables and some chicken before topping with sauce to make them mini plates.

Thai Cabbage Salad with Chicken and Peanut Sauce
recipe modified from My Kitchen Escapades

About 4 chicken breasts, cooked (I used boneless skinless, but you could easily pick off a roaster or rotisserie chicken, or use shredded chicken cooked in the crock pot)
1 head of cabbage, shredded(or use 1/2 cabbage, 1/2 lettuce)
1 cucumber, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
5 green onions, sliced
handful cilantro

Salad dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sweet red chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Peanut sauce:
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sweet red chili sauce
Water, as needed, to thin

Whisk together dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
Add in salad ingredients and toss to combine.
In a small saucepan, combine ingredients for peanut sauce and heat over low heat until pourable.  Alternatively, you can heat it a few seconds at a time in the microwave.
Drizzle peanut sauce over salad to serve.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

For Sarah

Today marks one year since my sister's bone marrow transplant.  For those of you in the know about that sort of thing, it's a pretty big milestone.  This weekend she is celebrating with a big group of friends, but sadly I can't be there. If I were, I'd stand up and make this toast:

It was late August 2010 when Sarah called to tell me she had cancer.  Acute Myeloid Leukemia, to be precise.  She told me what that meant and what her treatment plan was, but I heard it in a blur. One thing she said stuck with me, she assured me that everything would be ok because she had no intention of leaving her children.
She went into chemo and things got worse, but then they got better.  She was in remission and went back to her life.  Then in January 2014 things got much worse.  Cancer was back and she needed more chemo and a bone marrow transplant.  She endured those treatments and the side effects so horrendous I wouldn't wish them on anyone.  She did it all with quiet grace, and dug deep to come out the other side.  Last summer she went through hell fires, and her words still resonated, she would not leave her children.  For those boys, she would do it all again, but today we celebrate the fact that she may never have to.
To Sarah, her strength, and her boys.

Monday, July 6, 2015

So, You Have a Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi look a bit like UFOs.  They taste a bit like turnips.  They perplex us all.  In my mission not to let any vegetable go to waste, I scoured the internet and came across ideas for kohlrabi pickle. When I was pregnant with James, I, like a completely stereotypical pregnant lady, ate ridiculous amounts of pickled jalapenos and sauerkraut.

On the subject of my nearly one year old, Baby James has adopted a particularly charming habit of waking up between 5 and 6am.  He will go back to sleep in our bed so long as these very specific conditions are met.  First, he crawls around the entire bed and tumbles over us like a jungle gym, providing extensive commentary.  Eventually, when he gets tired, he will consent to lie down, but manages to take up 3/4 of a king sized bed.  He also needs to share my pillow and be touching my face.  If I move, he will wake up and the process starts again.  Sweet dreams.  That has nothing to do with kohlrabi, and despite the fact that he readily eats wood chips and rocks, I doubt he would eat this.

Quick Kohlrabi Pickle

1 pound kohlrabi, stems removed and ends trimmed
1 cup vinegar (I used apple cider)
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon honey or sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 garlic clove, grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Using a food processor, box grater or mandoline, shred kohlrabi.
Put kohlrabi into a quart sized jar.
Combine remaining ingredients (vinegar through red pepper flakes) in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and pour over kohlrabi.
Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator.

We enjoyed this on burgers, bbq chicken, and in hummus and veggie wraps.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Zucchini Banana Muffins

You knew that I, queen of the muffins with muffin monsters to feed, could not let zucchini season pass by without making muffins one or twelve times.  Some questionable looking bananas on the counter were begging to be added in, and Zucchini Banana Muffins were born.

We made these to snack on at a play date this morning. The batter comes together quickly, and thanks to their mini size, they bake in about 15 minutes.  I had just taken them out to cool when it was time to put James down for his nap.  While I was upstairs I heard what I could only guess to be many, many small items being hurled across the floor.  After leaving the baby's room I knew there was some frantic picking up to be done, but also delicious warm muffins as my reward.  By the time I got downstairs Colin had sampled a few, of course, and confirmed they are great.

Zucchini Banana Muffins

1 cup banana, mashed (I used two bananas)
1 cup zucchini, shredded, squeezed to remove excess water
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup coconut oil (can substitute another mild flavor oil or applesauce)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 sugar (I used light brown)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare a muffin tin.
In a small bowl, combine banana, zucchini, egg, milk, coconut oil and vanilla.  I like to use my four cup measure so I can measure and mix in one container.  Fewer dishes are always a good thing.
In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, flax, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix to combine.
Let batter sit for a couple minutes to rest and let the baking powder start to work it's magic.
Portion into muffin tins and bake.  15 minutes for mini muffins, 20 for standard sized muffins.  Edges will be lightly browned and tops are springy.

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