Tag Archives: #countrytabledelivery

dinnerThe bounty of summertime is always amazing to me . . . and I most enjoy it at the beginning, before I'm tired of any single crop and the heat has sapped my enthusiasm. And, go ahead and call me cheesy, but I like to make a game out of finding ways to use as many fresh, local ingredients as I can in one meal.

For dinner the other night, we started with a super easy, but looks rather gourmet salad of Louisiana baby lettuces topped with Louisiana Strawberries, chopped Sucre candied pecans, blue cheese from somewhere up north and Hanley's strawberry vinaigrette (get this while you can . . . it's seasonal and only available March - May).

And I've found my menfolk tolerate veggies better when I add pasta . . . it's like it distracts them or something. Anyway, back in college, I got this cookbook with easy, from scratch pasta recipes. I've had mine for a long time and it looks pretty crappy, but I still love almost any recipe from it. It's not strictly vegetarian, but it has a lot of meatless options that are really good. The cookbook was out of print for a while, but I looked today and it's back with a much prettier cover on Amazon (just in case you were interested).

So we followed our Louisiana salad with a pasta featuring local mini portobello mushrooms with a side of local yellow squash. I've made the following pasta recipe with both the pepper and herb Boursin, a creamy French cheese, as well as used lots of different veggies. It's a recipe that works well with lots of variations.

Pasta Shells with Portobello Mushrooms, Asparagus & Boursin Cream Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1T butter
  2. 1T olive oil
  3. 1lb portobello mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut crosswise in 1/4-inch slices
  4. 1/2t salt
  5. 1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  6. 1 51/2 oz package pepper Boursin cheese (or herb)
  7. 1lb asparagus
  8. 3/4lb medium pasta shells
Instructions
  1. In a large frying pan, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. Add the mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are tender and well browned, about 8 minutes. Add broth and Boursin cheese and bring to a simmer while stirring.
  2. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until almost done, about 6 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until it and the pasta are just done, about 4 minutes longer. Drain. Toss with the mushrooms and sauce.
Finding Fresh http://finding-fresh.com/wordpress/

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SOUTH LOUISIANA

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basilFresh herbs can make such a difference in food — adding a freshness and complexity that the dried version just can't. My black . . .OK, maybe just a really dark green . . . thumb loves them enough that that's one of the few things I attempt to grow (lucky for me, most are pretty easy).

And for the times I've killed my herbs or just didn't think to grow it, I've discovered Jacob's Farm, a micro greenhouse in downtown Baton Rouge. So far I've gotten several beautiful little packets of basil, parsley and spearmint as well as lettuce in my farm bundle.

The owner and grower, Kris, is perfecting the art of gourmet hydroponics — working to deliver lettuce year-round in a place that typically only sees lettuces through April. And since he grows them hydroponically, that means it's grown without soil, so no need for pesticides or herbicides. This no bug or dirt thing makes for some beautiful, and delicious, plants. And, they keep longer than traditionally grown lettuces too — up to 2 1/2 weeks.

Right now he's keeping it small, selling mostly to family and friends while he focuses on maintaining quality while growing year-round. So you can find his herbs and lettuce at Country Table Delivery, who first supported him. Or, you can check his will-be-done-in-a-month website (jacobsfarmbr.com) and keep an eye out at local grocery stores for his stuff. Don't worry, you'll recognize it — it's the herbs and lettuce that's so perfect it almost looks plastic.

br_la_heartBATON ROUGE

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tomato_swiss_chardI love spring/early summer produce and eating foods that highlight that fresh flavor. And my kids love noodles . . . . and couldn't possibly care less what season it is.

So here's an easy roasted tomato pasta sauce I made recently for my family that's got a little kick for you Cajuns, but features the acidic richness and sweetness of fresh tomatoes. AND can be put over any shape pasta for rascally kids (you may also want to decrease the red pepper flakes and cayenne for sensitive little ones and adults).

And did I mention it was ridiculously easy and only dirties a cookie sheet and one bowl (I hate recipes that require every dish/pot/utensil in my kitchen to make . . . because I hate doing dishes)?

swiss_chard_smallAnd that's fresh Swiss chard and onions from my bundle on the side just sautéed in butter with a little garlic and salt. . . oh, and Chachere's. For those non South Louisianans . . . . that's Tony Chachere's (saa-sha-rees) seasoning that really isn't just a tourist thing you buy at the airport. It's pretty much amazing on most anything you want to add salt to, adding a little kick, a little salt . . . . and a little Cajun.

And I just want to add that not only did my 8 year old and husband like the green blob of Swiss chard (yes, they were skeptical at first . . . .I got a little stank eye), but it's packed with Vitamins K, A and C and magnesium, iron, and I could just go on and on. Basically it's one of those green leafies that is absolutely AMAZING for you. So eat it.

Roasted Tomatoes
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pints (2 lbs) cherry tomatoes, halved
  2. 1/8 cup+ olive oil
  3. Salt & pepper
  4. 1/4t red pepper flakes
  5. 1/8t cayenne
  6. 1 1/2t sugar, or to taste
  7. 3 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
  8. 1T balsamic vinegar
  9. 1 medium shallot, sliced thin
Instructions
  1. Mix everything but the vinegar in a large bowl. Spread on cookie sheet. Sprinkle vinegar on top of tomato mixture on cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes. Cool 5-10 minutes.
  2. Serve over pasta or eat alone.
Finding Fresh http://finding-fresh.com/wordpress/
thib_la_heartTHIBODAUX

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cookbookLook what came in the mail! When I got back from my trip, there was an unexpected package at my house. My super-thoughtful sister sent me this just released cookbook from one of my favorite blogs, Nourished Kitchen.

Nourished Kitchen is all about looking back to our food traditions. Traditional foods and recipes made with whole, seasonal and local ingredients. Food that isn't pumped full of fake stuff like preservatives and enhancers and recipes that blend food for the maximum in nutrition and health. Basically everything that food on the grocery store shelves isn't.

My book already has bent pages . . . up first (because of the beautiful strawberries, spearmint and onions I got in my Country Table bundle this week): strawberries in minted honey syrup and roasted tomato salad with mint.

Check back, I'll be posting about it.

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KrisCarr-Calcium-Infographic
click for full graphic

I came across this cool graphic that, against what dairy marketers have been telling us for years, shows we can get just as much if not more calcium from plants than from dairy.

And, if you look, kale is a calcium superhero. Which got me thinking about kale and then later at the grocery store I saw a gorgeous bunch of organic curly kale . . . . which got me thinking about that stupid article last month in The New York Times that said you can't get kale in New Orleans. Well, I just bought some and I eat it regularly. Even my 3 year old loves Brad's vegan kale chips that we pick up at our South Louisiana grocery store . . . so there, uppity New Yorker.

Anyway, after that strange mental turn, my new bunch of kale got me thinking about how to eat it. Which led me to one of my favorite kale recipes.

WARNING: my Kraft-Macaroni-&-Cheese-"It's-the-Cheesiest" loving husband isn't a huge fan of this recipe. BUT, my two children like it . . . . after they complain a little about the large green chunks . . . . sigh . . . kids.

Anyway, this is my beautiful, crazy healthy sister's recipe for Indian-inspired red lentils and kale. And I love it. Even reheated for leftovers.

kaleRed Lentils and Kale // from Erin's kitchen

4T butter or ghee
2t coriander
1 1/2t cumin
1t mustard powder
1t turmeric
1/2t red pepper flakes
2 cups onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2t ginger, minced
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups red lentils, washed (I have to order these online)
2lbs kale, deribbed and chopped
salt & pepper

Melt butter in large pot (I use my stew pot). Add spices until aromatic - about 1 minute. Add onions, sweat until soft. Add garlic and ginger until soft and fragrant. Add chicken stock, 3/4t salt and lentils and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in kale and cook until lentils are cooked - about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

And my sister recommends topping it with a sprinkling of coconut for flavor and a dollop of pasture-based butter or ghee to create the "holy trinity" of calcium, K2 and vitamin A.

And after all that, I got more kale this week — a gorgeous bag of local Red Russian kale in my weekly CSA bundle from Country Table. This kale is one of the sweetest kale varieties with a mild, peppery flavor. Just make sure to remove as much of the fibrous, hard-to-chew red stems as possible before cooking/eating.

So take that NYC. We be having all kinds of kale for dinner in South Louisiana.

thib_la_heartTHIBODAUX

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