Meatless Monday: Roasted Fennel and Carrots

There are some vegetables that just shout farmers market or CSA to me. Mustard Greens. Garlic Scapes. Kohlrabi. Fennel.

I know, I know – fennel isn’t JUST from farmers markets and CSAs, but that’s literally the only time I ever end up getting it, meaning I hardly ever know what to do with it. Last year, I ended up keeping the fennel raw and preparing a Tomato, Fennel and Avocado Salad. It was good, but B didn’t like it that much – he didn’t like the texture of the fennel raw so I ended up eating most of his salad. (#winning!)

This year, week 9 of our Fresh Fork farm share came and once again we were faced with another bulb of fennel. I was determined to prepare it differently, in a way even B would enjoy. Enter, roasted fennel and carrots. Oh. Em. Gee. I may be overreacting, or just a little too excited, but I am super in love with preparing fennel this way. Even B tried it and liked it! The fennel softens and the strong anise-type flavor softens somewhat. I can’t wait to make this again!

Roasted Fennel & Carrots - i crashed the web

Roasted Fennel & Carrots

Here’s what you need:

  • One fennel bulb (without the stalks, but save the fronds), chopped into 1/2 inch slices
  • four large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Toss sliced fennel and carrots with olive oil.
  3. Place fennel and carrots in a small casserole dish. Toss with fennel seeds and add minced garlic, salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until carrots and fennel are tender.
  4. For added fennel taste, save the fronds and sprinkle 1-2 tsp. of the leaves on top.
  5. Enjoy! Makes 2 side dishes or one large vegetarian main dish. For a vegetarian main dish, serve with a protein-rich grain like freekeh or quinoa, and/or a side of beans like lentils. Yum!
Roasted Fennel and Carrots - i crashed the web

fresh out of the oven!

Some questions for you:

  • What food or ingredient do you think of when you think of CSAs or farmers markets?
  • Do you enjoy fennel? How do you eat it – raw or cooked?
  • Do you eat your friend/significant other/child/roommate’s food if they don’t like it? I’m not judging!

Lazy Weekends

After having several weekends in a row with plans and stuff to do, it was nice to have a weekend home with NOTHING on the schedule. Which meant, of course, making big to-do lists (cleaning! filing! working!) but getting none of them done. Which was completely, absolutely fine because what I did get done was probably much more fun. Like doing these 7 things:

7 Ways to Spend a Lazy Weekend

1. Reading.

Finished two of the books I was in the middle of! On to Orphan Train next. Any other good summer reads to recommend?

brief wondrous life of oscar wao

just finished this!

2. Running. a 7.6 miler on Saturday and a 6.6 miler on Sunday. One of these days I’ll get a Garmin so I actually run even numbers.

Mileage for the week. The 8s are mostly 7.6 - dailymile rounds them up

30+ mi even with two days off from running this week!  Full disclosure: I never ran 8 full miles or 7 full: the 8s are mostly 7.6  and the 7 is 6.6- dailymile rounds them up

3. Baking. Once again we had a surplus of blueberries from our CSA, so I whipped up a batch of Blueberry Buttermilk Scones.

as B says, Game of Scones!

as B says, Game of Scones!

4. Pho-ing. Yeah, I know that’s not a word. But Friday night B and I hit up our favorite Pho place for some salads, spring rolls and bun. Sorry, bun not pictured (but enjoyed very much!)

superior pho

5. Suiteing! Yup, again, stretching it with the word, but B and I enjoyed a fun Indians game on Sunday in after a friend asked us to join him in their company suite.

B found a twin @ the game!

B found a twin @ the game in our suite!

WINNING after extra innings!

WINNING after extra innings!

Enjoying the Suite and great weather!

Enjoying the Suite and great weather!

6. Cooking at home. Which meant pasta from Ohio City Pasta (via Fresh Fork) and Limoncello from Italy!

fresh fork pickup

fresh product pickup!

limoncello

7. Enjoying new flavors of ice cream. Because what summer weekend would be complete without it? Pictured below (sorry it’s somewhat blurry) is orange ginger from Rothschild Creamery!

Orange Ginger Soft Serve!

Orange Ginger Soft Serve!

Despite not cleaning, or doing the work I wanted to, as you can tell, it was a pretty good weekend after all.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you enjoy after dinner drinks like Limoncello? What’s your favorite?
  • Any fun flavors of ice cream you’ve tried lately?
  • What’s a new book I should add to my list?

Meatless Monday: Cilantro Garlic Scape Pesto

B is one of those people who doesn’t like cilantro. He doesn’t mind it in moderation (as in 1-2 sprigs in a salad or guacamole), but that’s it. So when we received a few bunches of cilantro in our Fresh Fork summer share, I knew I’d have to make something pretty amazing that would help us use the cilantro fast. And then when I only ended up using half our garlic scapes in a stir fry one night the idea came to me – cilantro garlic scape pesto.

Looking online, I was surprised to find quite a few pesto recipes featuring cilantro, garlic scapes, and other CSA-friendly ingredients. I chose/created this one because these were the ingredients I had on hand. It’d certainly be delicious with another type of nut and an added sprinkle (or two) of parmesan!

Cilantro Garlic Scape Pesto

Cilantro Garlic Scape Pesto

Here’s what you need:

  • 10 garlic scapes
  • 1 bunch cilantro (roughly about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up garlic scapes into 1-2 inch pieces. Add sliced scapes and cilantro to blender. Mix well.
  2. Add in slivered almonds, continue to blend until a thick paste forms.
  3. Add in olive oil, one tablespoonful at a time and continue to blend until paste becomes somewhat creamy. Add in extra salt, scapes, cilantro or oil to taste, as necessary.
  4. Enjoy! Makes about 1/3 cup pesto- perfect on top of some pasta, zoodles, or even chicken (for a non-meatless dish).

Cilantro Garlic Scape Pesto

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have a CSA? What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve gotten?
  • What’s your favorite pesto recipe use? I love the basic pesto with pignoli nuts and basil. 
  • Are you a cilantro fan? Yes I am! Love it on chicken, salsa, seafood (especially raw seafood – hello ceviche!), and more.

 

Crock Pot Lentils and Kale

Some nights for dinner I just want something healthy, easy, filling AND tasty – is that so much to ask for?

Most nights I can get 3 of the 4. Pasta with meatballs – tasty, easy, filling, but not super healthy (especially when served with a chunk of crusty bread and fresh mozzarella .. OMG I can taste that goodness now).  Homemade black bean burgers with sweet potato fries and braised kale – tasty, filling, healthy but not really super easy (well it’s easy .. just takes time to prepare). So last week when I was “cleaning” out my fridge and found some leftover kale from our CSA and an onion – and then of course found lentils and canned tomatoes in our pantry – a light bulb went off. I realized that combining all those ingredients would most definitely satisfy all of the above! Healthy? Obviously! Easy? Yes – I’d be using my crock pot. Filling? Of course – 1 cup of this dish has about 15 g. of protein (and more if you pair it with chicken). Tasty? Um, anything with lentils and kale in my opinion is tasty (I understand if you disagree).

Enjoy the following “recipe.” I literally just threw everything in my crock pot, googled “lentil crock pot cooking times” and hoped for the best. And it worked! Serve as is, or with chicken, which B had. He actually looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if he wanted anything with the lentils for dinner. “You mean, do I just want lentils and kale for dinner? Am I a rabbit?” – may or may not be exactly what he said. I also sprinkled Penzeys vindaloo seasoning on my leftovers which made for an awesome Indian-type dish. 

crock pot lentils and kale - i crashed the web

Crock Pot Lentils and Kale

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chopped kale (don’t forget to remove the stems)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken, if you don’t mind if it’s not vegetarian)
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Rinse lentils. Add to crock pot with onion, garlic, canned tomatoes and kale.
  2. Add spices — ginger, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin. Mix all ingredients within crock pot. Pour broth and water over mixture.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 5-6 hours.
  4. Enjoy! Serve alone, or as a side dish with chicken if your husband gasps at the thought of just eating lentils and kale alone.

Enjoy! As you can see, it’s not the prettiest dish, but it’s healthy, filling and SUPER EASY.

slow cooker lentils and kale - i crashed the web

PS – Here are some more of my favorite crock pot dishes. You MUST try the jambalaya!

Fresh Fork Week 8 – And Fennel, Tomato and Avocado Salad {Recipe}

How are we already EIGHT weeks into our Fresh Fork summer share? It may seem weird to say this – and somewhat cheesy – but I feel like it’s become a part of B and me. We look forward to picking up our weekly share, trying the new recipes and enjoying all the glorious fresh produce and some other local grub (those local corn chips … and local oats … and more – were SO good!).

Anyway, enough blabbering with how much I am loving my Fresh Fork. Here’s what we got this week:

  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 3# red skin potatoes
  • 1 candy onion
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 1 lb yellow beans
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 pint sweet cherries
  • 1 quart apricots

And a blurry photo of what we got (I may have been at Parnell’s for happy hour before the pick up):

fresh fork week 8

We’ve finished pretty much everything, minus the beef, which is in our freezer until B figures out what he wants to do with it. Because I don’t really like ground beef unless it’s in a meatball. Even then I prefer turkey. It happens.

Some of our meals:

B made this dish, featuring the cabbage (doesn’t it look professional?!)

pork and cabbage

We had a wine and cheese night – and the apricots went deliciously with it!

wine and cheese

A summery meal featuring potato salad from the potatoes (and the corn, tomato and eggplant are from week 9 – shhhh yes I’m skipping ahead)

20130803_203724

And my favorite (well, not my favorite – the pork and cabbage was probably the best, but don’t tell B) – fennel, tomato and avocado salad – which we enjoyed with the beer can chicken.

20130728_174833

You can make the fennel salad too – it was really easy so here’s another non-recipe for you to enjoy for the next time you get fennel. There was something just so delicious about the sweetness of the fennel with the bitterness of the balsamic. And who doesn’t like tomato and avocado?

fennel tomato and avocado salad {i crashed the web}

Fennel, Tomato & Avocado salad

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Your favorite balsamic vinaigrette. Don’t have one? Make your own! Here’s my favorite recipe – it makes more than enough for this salad plus more:
    • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up the first three ingredients. Chop up the fennel bulb into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cut up tomato into thin slices. Find a ripe avocado and cut it into bite sized pieces.
  2. Arrange tomato, avocado, and fennel on a plate.
  3. Drizzle about 1-2 tbs of your favorite balsamic dressing over the salad. If you’re making mine, combine vinegar, oil, mustard and garlic in a jar and shake well to combine before drizzling a little over the salads. You’ll have leftover dressing for later.
  4. Enjoy!
fennel tomato and avocado salad {i crashed the web}

Fennel, tomato and avocado salad

For other Fresh Fork Recaps:

Beer Can Chicken

We got another 5-lb chicken in our Fresh Fork delivery last week. ANOTHER chicken! Just when I thought I was done sticking my hand inside that cavity to find the giblets … nevermind, I digress.

I already made pretty much the best roast chicken ever (Thanks Mom!) … and I don’t have a deep fryer … so what was I to do with another 5-lb chicken? One of my coworkers, Gail, kept suggesting I make Beer Can Chicken. I have to admit – I was skeptical. Beer Can Chicken? Didn’t that involve sticking a beer up a chicken? That wasn’t something I was really ready to do.

The chicken and the beer can meet ... it gets more awkward. (Yes, I have red/white/blue Bud cans)

The chicken and the beer can meet … it gets more awkward. (Yes, I have red/white/blue Bud cans)

But when we picked up the chicken, I still didn’t really know what to do with it. And so when I asked B, and he also suggested Beer Can Chicken, I knew it was likely a done deal. So I found a few different highly-rated recipes and decided to give it a try. The result? Awkward? Yes. I may have had a few conversations with the chicken while I was making it. They kinda went like this:

Me: (As I’m pushing the chicken on top of the beer can) Oh boy, I’m so sorry…soo sorry..so sorry Mr. chicken!

B: Who are you talking to?

Me: Uhh, the chicken?

B: Why? What are you saying?

Me: I may be apologizing. I just feel so rude … I’m literally sticking a beer can up this chicken’s … umm …

B: You realize it’s dead, right?

Me: (starting to feel sheepish) Yes …

B: And you realize you already stuck your whole hand inside of it to clean it and take out the giblets, right?

Me: I still have no idea where these giblets are! I think I got another giblet-less chicken!

Okay, that’s probably not word-for-word what happened … but you get the idea. And then when the can had to come out of the chicken? That was even worse. Anyway, if you think you can bring yourself to stick a beer can inside a chicken, then this recipe is for you. Pretty simple, pretty delicious – and the leftovers are just as good!

beer can chicken | i crashed the web

Beer Can Chicken (based on this recipe)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 c. garlic powder
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tbs oregano (I used dried)
  • 1 tbs basil (I used dried)
  • 1 tbs parsley (I used dried)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (12 fluid ounce) cans light-flavored beer (I had Budweiser®)
  • 1 whole chicken (mine was 5-lb)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped into one inch pieces
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and chopped into one inch pieces
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped into one inch pieces

Here’s what you do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Clean and rinse chicken. This where you’re supposed to discard the giblets, but I honestly didn’t find them. Again. Anyway, wash the inside of the chicken and dry it completely.
  3. Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl – garlic powder, salt, onion powder, dried oregano, basil, parsley, and ground black pepper.
  4. Pour 1/3 of one can of beer into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place the open beer can (2/3 full) in the center of the baking dish.
  5. Place the chicken, legs down over the open beer can. With the breast of the chicken facing you, use a knife to cut a small slit on each side of the front of the chicken and insert the tip of each wing into each slit. It will look like it’s crossing its arms.
  6. Rub the dry seasoning mixture over the entire chicken. Place chopped veggies in pan surrounding chicken. Open the remaining beer and pour 1/2 of it into the pan under the chicken and over the veggies. Save the remaining beer.
  7. Bake the chicken for about 45 minutes and then pour remaining beer into the pan around the chicken. Continue baking for about 45 more minutes or until the juices run clear. A meat thermometer should read 165-170 degrees when inserted at the thickest part of the chicken.
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and remove the beer can. Be careful – it’s hot!
  9. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil, and allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with veggies!

raw beer can chicken

Before …

beer can roast chicken

After!

Happiness Is a Warm Loaf of Zucchini Bread

Dessert breads are THE BOMB. Dot Com. Don’t you agree? Pumpkin bread … banana bread … apple bread … and of course, zucchini bread. And because it’s “bread” it’s not dessert, right? And it’s a perfect pre or post-workout snack, right? Of course! (Disclaimer- I am NOT a certified dietitian or physician so please don’t take my medical advice)

So when I got some extra zucchini from our CSA a few weeks ago, right before we went on vacation, I put it in the blender, grated it, and froze it for later use. Later didn’t take long – one night last week I opened the freezer and the container I had frozen the zucchini in fell right out and cracked open. Which was a sign that I had to use it immediately! I called my mom and asked for her to share her favorite zucchini bread recipe. She makes it at Christmas, during other holidays and just for fun – so I of course had to ask her to share.

She texted me pictures of quite a few recipe cards – but told me that the “Betty’s” recipe was the one she uses most often. No, my mom’s name is not Betty. And no, I have no idea who Betty is. But since my mom said it was her favorite (and she had written “v. good” on the card) of course, that was the one I had to use. And I was not disappointed – the bread was delicious! Right out of the oven when it was warm, I couldn’t help but try it. And then again as a snack with peanut butter on it. Don’t judge until you try it!

easy zucchini bread {i crashed the web}

“Betty’s” Zucchini Bread – apparently from a really old (before I was born!)  Bon Appetit (according to my mom’s recipe card)

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 c flour
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2 c zucchini; grated and well drained (since mine was frozen, I defrosted it in the microwave and then removed as much liquid as I could)
  • Original recipe also calls for walnuts and raisins. I’m not a fan of bread with either in them (and I didn’t have either on hand) so I didn’t use them.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift first 5 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat eggs in a large bowl until light. Gradually add sugar and beat until thick and a bright yellow color.
  4. Add oil gradually and beat well. Mix in zucchini.
  5. Add sifted dry ingredients and blend well.
  6. Add batter to a greased and floured 12-cup bundt pan or two 8×4 inch loaf pans. My mom typically makes a bundt – I used loaf pans.
  7. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan and slicing.
  8. Enjoy! Serve warm or cold. It tastes delicious by itself, or with peanut butter (trust me). Or with honey. Or with butter. Or with cream cheese frosting!
easy zucchini bread {i crashed the web}

YUM.

bon appetit recipe card for zucchini bread

Check out the recipe card and my mom’s notes – “1980” and “V. Good Bundt”

Some questions for you:

  • Zucchini bread – yay or nay?
  • Favorite dessert bread? This is one of my favorites. I also really liked the Bailey’s bread I made last St. Patrick’s Day!
  • What do you put on your zucchini bread or other dessert breads? As I mentioned, I tried it with peanut butter. It was delicious. I also put peanut butter on banana bread.
  • Do you keep old recipe cards? No! But I do have a big recipe binder that I take out from time to time. I also love looking through my mom’s recipe cards when I’m home.
  • Who do you call/ask for recipe suggestions (outside reading my blog of course…KIDDING)? If it isn’t obvious yet, my mom! 
  • Do you like nuts or raisins in your bread? No, no and no. I typically take raisins out of my baked goods if they’re in them. And I could do without nuts. But nut butter? YUM! 
  • Have you ever made a recipe from a recipe card that was older than you?
  • What else do you use zucchini for? Lately I have been using zucchini a lot. I searched old posts and found zucchini fries, zucchini and pasta, zucchini stuffed with quinoa and more!