Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sausage and Peppers Revisited, with Calzone leftovers!

Last summer, I made a delicious meal of Sausage and Peppers from ingredients from our farm share and farmer's market. This year, I did the same, with a few changes, and had left overs, since it was just my kids and me having the food.

I may even call this version better.

For Sausage and Peppers:
1 package of good sweet Italian sausage (we got this from the Pork Guy (Fertile Plains))
2 thin skinned sweet green peppers, sliced thinly
1 bulb of a spring red onion, sliced
1 bulb of a spring garlic (this looks like a garlic with a scallion-like top on it, but when you cut into the head, it has no "skins" separating the cloves), chopped
leaves from 2 stems of fresh oregano
scant cup of water

Brown sausages on all sides, remove from pan, slice into bite-sized pieces, and return to pan. Add pepper, onions, garlic, salt & pepper (to taste) and oregano, and mix. Add a scant cup of water to the pan and scrape anything there is from the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with a lid and continue cooking about 10 minutes more. Serve with pasta, or rice, or not :)

We had about half of the dish left over, and I was not sure what to do with it. Then I remembered something from my childhood: Sausage rolls! Of course, I had no idea how to make them. Mine came out more like a calzone but who cares? They were fantastic.

If you have one, go to Trader Joe's and get a pizza crust dough. It's in the refrigerated section near the cheese, and it costs .99. If you don't have a TJ's you'll have to make your own, or find another brand, but I have not had any as good as the TJ's ones. Also pick up a jar of TJ's marinara sauce (if you don't have any at home) and a bag of shredded mozzerella cheese (we used the lower fat version)

Let the dough sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Break into 2 pieces and work each piece into a round. Place rounds on a pizza stone. working on a 1/2 round, layer sauce, sausage and peppers, more sauce, and cheese. Fold over and crimp the edge, and pierce with a knife or fork to make vents. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.

My son had no idea that this was essentially the same dish that we had for dinner last night so YAY for hiding the leftovers!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kitchen Planning

Some of you may have been following along with my kitchen saga. Last year, we had a few people come to do estimates, and they all came in around $20,000. This year, after hearing that some of the same people had lowered their prices, they came in at $25,000. Thinking that I was never going to get a new kitchen, I went into a bit of a funk.

Then we learned about Ikea kitchens. And suddenly things started moving very quickly! So I thought I'd share how you go about doing an Ikea kitchen, at least for as far as we've gotten so far.

First, you go to Ikea. You really have to see it all in person to get a real feel for it. Go to Ikea, eat the meatballs, and then go looking. One interesting thing about the Ikea kitchens is that they are not all in one place (like, say, kids stuff or living rooms) but are spread out all over the store. So take your time and wander, and believe me, Something will attract your attention. Pick up a catalog. Go home.

Now go to Ikea online and (if you have a PC) use their kitchen design software. If you don't have a PC, you'll have to do it another way, or bring your information with you to the store. You'll want to measure your kitchen, complete with doors, windows, water, and electrical. If you think you might want to take out or move walls, soffits, etc, this is the time to see if you can (not once you are excited about doing something and then you find out that you can't!)

Put everything into the system and then start playing with cabinets. You don't have to be perfect. Just get your general layout done. You can change stuff later. Now go back to Ikea.

Now you want to go to the kitchen design center. This is where you pick out your cabinet fronts, countertops, handles, and appliances. A design expert will go over your design with you and help you to remember stuff that you might have forgotten. He or she will make sure that you won't have handles knocking handles, and make sure that everything will actually fit. You'll be confused when you're using the software yourself, but that's because you are not an expert. Your design expert will make sure that you have the right kind of cabinet for your microwave, have the fridge that you actually want to order, and have it all in the right colors. Then you can buy it! Or you can wait and sit on it for another 2 weeks like we did. I suggest the latter. It's a big purchase, and you probably want to take your design back home and make sure you have it all right (we made 2 major changes after taking ours home, and one minor one).

And then you can order everything. When you do so, they might have you take some stuff home with you that day. We brought home our new cutting board and 34 door/drawer handles. They also let us take with us one drawer front so that we could pick out paint colors.  We should be getting a call soon with our delivery date, and then the real work will begin!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Farmer's Market Eats

This morning, my husband made breakfast--a fruit salad of cherries, black raspberries, and strawberries, followed by eggs, bacon, and scrapple (scrapple for him, bacon for me). The best part about the whole thing is that every single ingredient with the exception of salt & pepper came from either our farm share or the Reston Farmer's Market. It was a great morning.

For dinner tonight, we had a freezer meal (Pork Chops with good stuff) but on the side, we had a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and red spring onions, with dill. Again, all of the fresh/raw ingredients in the salad were from the farmer's market.

I absolutely love summer! This Saturday at the Reston Market, we picked up the aforementioned bacon and scrapple, and black raspberries and cherries, plus goat cheese, the red spring onions, tomatoes, garlic curls, and a whole mess of baby zucchini. We're redoing our kitchen this summer, and I am not at all worried because I can honestly live on raw foods and cheese. As long as I have a fridge, I'm good to go.

It's interesting that the newsletter that we get from our farm share encourages you to go to local farmer's markets in addition to eating what we get from the farm. Although Potomac Vegetable Farms is amazing for their veggies, we don't get a whole lot of fruit at all, until much later in the summer when blackberries and watermelons appear. I don't generally mind, though, because the Reston Farmer's Market is amazing. It's so much more than a bunch of veggie and fruit stands. There are representatives from farms that are much further south and west, so while farms that are right in the area might not yet have, say, tomatoes, some others already do. It also allows you to have a nice fruit overlap when the fruit really gets going. Some stands still had strawberries this week, while others had moved on to cherries and raspberries. Meanwhile, there's one stand that specializes in baby salad greens, while another specializes, later in the summer, in 20 varieties of tomato. There's the Wacky Herb Guy. There's the Honey people. Two or three stands have eggs. There's the two different dairies, and bakers, and the kettle corn people, and let's not, oh please don't forget, the Pork Guy. Plus, there is always some kind of musical entertainment, and just this past week, all of the restaurants from the plaza were out sampling their foods. On the Plaza is the craft market, too. This week, I bought a dress I just couldn't pass up (for Lillian), and if I had had any money left over I would have been buying t-shirts for myself. Walk through the craft fair and you'll hear even more music.

But really, the market is where everyone comes out on a Saturday morning to meet with friends and see their favorite vendors and just be out and about on a summer morning. My son loves going to the market, and loves running into friends and relations, and especially loves the music. We let him help pick out fruits, and he is in charge of our market bags and making sure I don't forget to bring one with me. I bring friends from out of town when they come visit. It's that much of a thing in our area. And it's one of the reasons I love where I live.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CSA Week 1!! YAY!!!!

Today I picked up our farm share for the first time this summer. We are sharing our farm share with a friend this year, so we only get to pick it up 8 times--every other week. That said, the farm stand should be open soon, and we can supplement from that. It is possible that there will be Autumn shares available, and if there are, we will participate as long as we have the cash to do so.

SO! Today's farm share:

Swiss Chard
itty bitty Beets w/ greens
garlic curls

Tonight, I had planned to make a freezer meal, but it wasn't defrosted enough when I got home, so I made a stir fry of spring onions (from the farmer's market), garlic curls, kohlrabi, swiss chard, and tofu. I seasoned it with soy sauce, a little rice vinegar, a splash of apple juice, and some garam masala. Don't ask why, I just did, and it tasted great! We made some brown rice on the side, and it was a very delicious, summery, first CSA-meal of the season.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summertime Eating

It's been a while since I posted here. For one, very soon after reaching Lifetime on Weight Watchers I started feeling nauseated all the time. It's not really conducive to posting in a food blog. Since that has passed (for the most part; I think it's dairy that causes it), I am back to cooking, mostly.

But the fun and wonderful thing is that we have the Farmer's Market, and starting on Wednesday, our CSA!!

So far at our Farmer's Market, we have picked up strawberries, various kinds of greens, bunches of herbs, sweet Italian sausage, Goat Cheese, more strawberries, spring onions, spring garlic, cauliflower, more strawberries, and some pastries. Oh and more strawberries. We all like strawberries a lot. Adam is making a strawberry beer, so this week we picked up 6 quarts of them, and only 2 of them are available for me to eat. Uh, I mean for us to eat. That's right.

We're splitting our farm share this year, so we are only getting 8 weeks worth of vegetables, so I expect that we will be buying more at the farmer's market this year than last.

And so far, that's where we are. Oh and of course, we will be redoing our kitchen this year, so I anticipate many raw meals while we don't have a working kitchen!