Week in Review

This past week was crazy busy at work as I had to fit a week’s worth of stuff into 3 days then went to San Antonio for a meeting on Thursday. So I guess I’ll recap the past week.

Last weekend, I went to Phoenicia downtown. It’s this really cool specialty store with a focus on Mediterranean foods, but they have all sorts of stuff. I could smell the garlic and fresh bread in the parking garage. I ended up buying some fresh pita, a really thin flat bread called lavash, olives (for an olive lover this place was heaven, there were so many varieties), humus, 2 spinach berogs, tabbouleh and a can of diet coke for only $13 and some odd change. I thought it was a heck of a deal price wise and I didn’t even have to pay for parking. It looks like they have a jazz brunch on sunday’s with pomegranate Mimosa’s. I DEFINITELY want to try those. So for dinner than night, we ate a bunch of veggies from the box with pita and humus, the berogs (I’m not sure I enjoyed it, but that didn’t keep me from finishing it) and the tabbouleh.

Since I worked late every night, I used the pita and lavash to make little pizzas. The lavash made a really thin & crispy crust – I really liked that. On each I added some bell peppers, onions and tomatoes from my csa then also some frozen artichoke hearts I bought at HEB. I also added a few pepperoni that I keep in my freezer (I keep them in there because it’s a lot harder to shove them in my mouth so they stay longer).

 

The toppings on the pita pizza were the same except I added some fresh arugula tossed in a little EVOO & balsamic vinegar with a dash of salt. I got that idea from here (I really want to make her crusty bread!!)

 

In my box this week, I had a lot of the same stuff: arugula, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts (last of the season they said), green beans and potatoes. I didn’t get a chance take pictures of any of the stuff because I got stuck in the bank until 8PM, then had to pack for San Antonio and went to bed early (or at least attempted).

I had a 7AM flight to San Antonio which had me at the airport super early. When I got on the plane it was like 1000 degrees and smelled like a port a potty after a game day. Then we sat on there, in the heat and smell,  for an hour before they told us anything. Apparently, they needed to do something to repair the oxygen system and then fill out the paperwork. So we were supposed to land in SA at 830 and didn’t leave Houston until 820. I understand that things happen, but I don’t like that there was no communication. I found out the flight was delayed via text message (twice) before they said anything over the speaker. Thanks Southwest! One a positive note, I stayed at the Valencia and they’ve added some lamps since the last time I stayed there which was nice. I could actually see my hand in front of my face. The hotel rate also included an $18 voucher for breakfast that they let me use for room service. I enjoyed having breakfast delivered and the coffee was sooo good.

One new and exciting addition to the CSA box that I didn’t mention: SWEET CORN. To quote a co-worker, “I love kern. If you like corn it’s just corn, if you love it – it’s KERN” 🙂  So tonight, I made turkey burgers with homemade pickles and corn on the side.

One-Hour Pickles

I found this recipe by googling the title above. Surprisingly, something popped up. It was a little tangy on its own, but really complemented the fresh arugula and tomato on the burger.

1 Cup Vinegar

1/2 Cup Water

1 tsp , pickling spice (I used McCormick’s)

1 cucumber

dash of coarse salt

1 tbsp honey or sweetener of choice

fresh dill (optional)

(1) Slice cumber into fairly thin and equal slices. Place into a clean plastic or glass container with lid.

(2) Combine remaining ingredients in sauce pan and bring to a boil.

(3) Pour hot brine over cucumber and let soak for at least an hour.

The longer it sits the better it tastes. It should last 10 days. If I make again, I’d wait to add dill to the brine after boiling so it’d look more appetizing. But it’s purely cosmetic.

 

 

p.s. I took all these pictures from my phone so my apologies if it’s a little blurry.

 

 

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What’s In The Box Wednesday

On Wednesdays, I get to pick up my veggie box from my CSA. It’s so easy to do. The drop off location I picked is a church around the corner from my office. I just pull up and the boxes are stacked in a little side corridor. It takes all over 2 mins and is soooo much easier than going to the grocery store – not to mention tastier. This week we got some good stuff: Arugula, Bell Pepper, Cucumbers, Grape Tomatoes, Green Beans, Micro Greens, New Potatoes, Peaches, Slicer Tomatoes and Squash.

The other day I was trying to figure out what to do with my cucumbers before they go soft and I settled on tzatziki – a dilly, cucumber yogurt dip. It’s tastey and soooo easy to make. Plus it makes some of those hard to eat foods (for me, raw tomatoes) go down easier.

Here’s a simple recipe I used:

E-Z Tzatziki

~ 8 oz of Greek Yogurt (I used half a 17.6Oz  container FAGE 0%)

1 Cucumber (I used two small csa cucumbers that were able equal to a store bought one)

1/4-1/2 Lemon (Depends on Taste)

Fresh Chives, Chopped (It was probably equal to about 2 TBS)

Fresh  Dill, Chopped (2 TBS, I like it extra dilly)

Salt & Pepper, To Taste

(1) Slice and remove seeds from cucumber. Then using a potato peeler or cheese grater, shave off strips of cucumber. I did half and half. For me, it was a lot easier to use the peeler but it resulted in much larger strips of cucumber. I’m okay with that though.  When done, lightly salt and leave in fridge for about an hour. After which, squeeze out excess water. The more you squeeze the better the final product. Set aside.

(2) Combine yogurt with juice from lemon. I used 1/2 a lemon because I really like the tang of the yogurt mixed with the citrus juice. Then add chives, dill and a dash of S&P. Give cucumber another squeeze then add yogurt mix. Stir.

The dip will taste awesome at this point, but don’t eat it all yet. The longer it sits, the better the flavor. This made about 4 servings (patties and dip) for me. Kind of sad it’s gone, but glad I still have the stuff to make another batch.

For the past two days, I’ve had this with assorted veggies and some turkey meatloaf style patties for dinner & lunch. For these, I used 1lb lean ground turkey, shredded medium zuchini [squeeze out excess moisture], an egg, 1/4 oatmeal & spices to taste. Grilled them on each side using my Staub Grill Pan then stuck them in the over to make sure done all the way through.

Movin To The Country, Gonna Eat A Lot Of Peaches…

Millions of peaches, peaches for me…

Millions of peaches, peaches for free…

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me

Any time I hear the word peaches, I immediately sing that President’s song in my head. That song was IT in middle school. So were the Spice Girls and Cake. In retrospect, we  had a very interest taste in music.

Anyways, the past few weeks I’ve gotten peaches in my CSA box, but I’m not the biggest fan. My mom told me to make muffins but I was lazy & out of town on the weekends so I let them go to waste. However, today I was craving pancakes and decided to make peach pancakes. I slightly modified a basic pancake recipe from Martha Stewart. It turned out great – tasted like a slice of fresh peach pie. I served it with some maple syrup, eggs and thick cut bacon. Yum!

Fresh Peach Pancakes

1 C. all-purpose flour                        1 Tbs sugar                    1 Tbs brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder                         1/2 tsp milk                    dash nutmeg

dash ground cloves                           1/2 tsp vanilla               1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 C. milk                                              1 large egg                    1 tbs oil/melted butter

1 C diced fresh peaches

(1) In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.

(2) In medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (except peaches). Slowly add dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.  There may still be some lumps and Martha says that’s okay.

(3) Add diced peaches to mix and give it a quick stir. Then cook as usual. However, be sure to push down to make sure batter cooks around the peaches. You can press down to see if they are done inside. It’s like a cake, if it springs back it’s done.

I’ll post pictures, but I should warn you that I make ugly pancakes. Also, I either severely burn or undercook them. Despite their ugly looks, these pancakes tasted awesome.  Make these ASAP!

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My First Post!

Back the in the Summer of 2009, I was between 1st and 2nd Year in Business School and without a job. I spent those few months traveling for the most part with two weeks in China, Illinois, a week in California (LA & San Diego), D.C., NYC and then Wisconsin.  While in Wisconsin, I stayed at my aunt’s house and she “subscribed” (for the lack of a better word) to this thing called a CSA. It was a box full of different veggies that got delivered to their door. So, what is this CSA thing? CSA = Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially, you buy a “share” in a local farm and in return get a weekly delivery of fresh and locally grown produce.

So a few months ago, I decided to see if there was anything in my area. Come to find out, there is! I signed up for this wonderful farm called “Wood Duck Farm” in Cleveland, TX. It’s not far from where I grew up and has pick up locations all across Houston.  It’s $240 for a partial share and $350 (I think) for a full share which is for the full 10 weeks. So that breaks down to only about $24 for all this wonderful produce. Plus, it stays longer than stuff from the grocery store because it’s much fresher. So far, I’ve loved everything I’ve gotten. This includes: broccoli, kale, cucumbers, peaches, lots of greens (in the winter), cabbage, radishes, tomatoes (multiple kinds), potatoes, strawberries, lettuce, micro green, bell peppers, onion (I haven’t bought an onion at the store in a month or two and these taste fantastic), scallions and much much more! As is typical in agriculture, some weeks are bountiful and some weeks you are like “MORE KALE?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!”. I’m now finishing up my second season with the farm and look forward to what summer will bring us. I will definitely share the different things I make on here.

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