Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mature Sprouts

It's officially been a week since I started the sprout kit with radish seeds, and look at the gorgeous jar of seedlings that we now have to snack on!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spunky Sprouts

For years I've wanted to grow my own fresh sprouts - they're good for you, easy to grow, inexpensive, can be grown indoors, come in a rainbow of varieties, and you don't need a lot of room to do it. The only thing stopping me was...well, other things getting in the way, I suppose.

So this past weekend the hubs and I made a trip to Park + Vine to pick up some Upton's seitan (which is worthy of a gusher post, itself) and on our way to the counter something caught my eye - a simple little sprouting kit from Sprout Ease consisting of a wide mouth quart mason jar and three plastic screw-on sieve lids. I figured I couldn't go wrong for $6, so I sprung for it.

The concept is simple:

1) pick the seeds of your choice, whether it be pea, radish, broccoli, alfalfa, chickpea, sunflower, arugula, buckwheat, clover, lentil, and all manners of herbs...

2) place the seeds in the jar and soak in warm water overnight...

3) using the finest mesh screw-on cap, drain the seeds and invert the jar at an angle to ensure proper ventilation...

4) from there on out, all you have to do is rinse gently in warm water every morning and evening until the sprouts are as big as you like, using the different sieve tops as the sprouts grow and shed their hulls...

Easy, right? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

It goes without saying that since you're eating the whole plant, it's preferable to use organic seeds that haven't been treated with chemicals; and I'm sure it can't hurt to stick with heirloom seeds, as well. I have yet to do my research online to find a company that sells good, solid sprouting seeds, so for my first batch this past Sunday I used up some of last years radish seeds - French Breakfast, Saxa II, and White Icicle. It's now Wednesday and these little guys are growing nicely.

I'm thinking sandwiches on a nice wheat or rye with some hummus, plenty of salads, garnish for pasta, and pretty much anything else that could use a little green oomph - can't wait!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Potato-que Surprise

So far this week I'm batting 2 for 2 on cooking a nice hearty dinner. It looks weird, but hang with me...

There are probably only five people in the world who will know what Potato-que Surprise is - it's sort of a family thing. Basically you take sloppy joe filling and you pile a nice layer on top of some good mashed potatoes. Sounds weird, but it's incredibly awesome and filling - think shepherd's pie meets barbeque. We had this for dinner all the time when we were kids.

I have to give another tip of my hat to Eaton Farm as they provided the potatoes as well as the pattypan squash that I used for a side dish. The mashed potatoes (skin-on, of course) were flavored with a little garlic olive oil, some milk, and Greek yogurt - notice the absence of butter - almost broke my heart to not chuck a nice hunk in the pot, but I'm really trying to cook lighter.

I used Five Star Foodies prepared sloppy joe filling - hey, I can't always make everything from scratch, and their rendition is delicious. I then spiced it up with some Sriracha sauce, Trader Joe's barbeque sauce, and some red kidney beans.

For a simple side I sliced up a nice assortment of green, white, and yellow pattypan squash and sauteed it in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Not a bad little meal, and it definitely brought me back to my childhood.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Eat Your Greens

I was quite tickled with our off-the-cuff dinner tonight - so tickled that I took a purty picture.

Eaton Farm has been dishing up the goodies this summer in our CSA - I had some fresh kale, swiss chard, and young garlic that I've been waiting to cook up. Not to mention some sprouted tofu and shiitake mushrooms that needed to be used as well. So while my pathetic pudgy pale ass was sweating at the gym this afternoon, I was struck by a wave of culinary inspiration.

First I cut the tofu into slabs and marinated them in a mixture of tamari, lime juice, honey, garlic, ginger, garden jalapeno, cloves, and cinnamon (a little Asian meets Caribbean flavor combo). I then baked it for about 30 minutes until it got a nice crust but was still tender inside. The remaining marinade got reduced over heat until it was kind of chunky and jammy - tart, salty, sweet, spicy.

Next I sauteed the young garlic, shiitakes, and greens in a little olive oil, dusted with salt and pepper, and finished it off with a glug of balsamic vinegar. Cook up a small pot of brown rice and pour a tall glass of iced Rishi Blueberry Rooibos tea and you're ready to go.

In our attempts to watch calories and shed a few pounds, this meal hit the spot tonight. I love it when you just whip things together using whole ingredients and they end up making your tongue do backflips.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Harbinger of Autumn

I've been wondering all summer if my one lone butterfly weed was going to attract any monarchs - yesterday I got my answer...

Monday, September 5, 2011


I keep thinking that I'm winding down for the year...canned out, frozen solid, just plain done. This time I mean it. Maybe...?

My mother once again helped feed my tomato addiction when she procured a half bushel of beautiful roma tomatoes for me that had "marinara" written all over them.

I've never cooked with romas before but I know that they are preferred for sauces because they aren't as juicy as typical tomatoes. They are fleshier, meatier, and require much less cooking time if you're aiming for a nice thick sauce. I have to say, I was enamored of they way they cooked down so easily.

Add some olive oil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, basil, oregano, fresh thyme, and black pepper, take a quick trip through the food mill, and you have yourself 11 quarts of gorgeously zesty sauce.