Saturday night’s dinner: crabcakes, rice pilaf, and roasted cauliflower (recipe from Cakebread Cellars). I just now realized that I forgot the lemon zest and lemon juice. Oops.



This was a pretty easy dinner. I would say it took about 45 minutes for prep and cooking time.

Tis the season for brussels sprouts and apple cider, so I made roasted brussels sprouts and apples from the latest issue of Cooking Light (November 2009). I love recipes like this… it was quick, it scaled up nicely (I used 2 lbs of sprouts, the recipe calls for 1/2 lb), and you can be flexible – I threw some extra apples in. This photo was taken prior to roasting.

For an entree, we had mustard and maple syrup glazed Coho salmon with quinoa (2/3 red, 1/3 white). No, Coho is not in season, so the fish was previously frozen.

For dessert, I made a pumpkin cake from Cooking Light (October 2004) but due to poor planning I didn’t frost it. The cake wasn’t overly sweet, and it was quite dense. It was served with Haagen Dazs vanilla and ginger ice creams.

reinventing the wheel

A couple of today’s recipes revisit a couple of my favorite recipes…

WaPo’s La Farinata (chickpea pancake) is very similar to Mark Bittman’s shrimp tortillitas from Bitten, which is great last minute dish that you can make with frozen shrimp and whatever fresh herbs are lingering in your refrigerator.

Speaking of Mark Bittman, today he shares an upside-down pear cake which is reminiscent of this honey-glazed upside-down pear cake (which I’ve made for a few of you). I’m especially fond of the accompanying story, which discusses the evolution of a recipe. It was one of the reminders that I should be taking notes when I modify a recipe or procedure; hence the blog.

CSA conclusions

Since my last CSA delivery two weeks ago, I’ve had a lot of time to think about whether or not I would sign up for a winter CSA (Boston Organics or Enterprise). In the meantime, I’ve resumed weekly visits to the Central Square farmer’s market, which is open until Thanksgiving.

The best thing about the CSA was convenience. Having a weekly vegetable delivery forced me to eat a lot more vegetables than I would have otherwise. It also forced me to try things that I wouldn’t normally pick up at the store – kohlrabi, anyone? That part was fun and gave the whole thing an Iron Chef feel. But I had a lot of trouble keeping up with a half share, so I had to learn how to preserve things. And I have a freezer full of beefsteaks and a cupboard full of jam to prove it! I am embarrassed to admit that there were several times when I had to throw food away.

When I go to the farmer’s market, it’s an entirely different experience. You pick and choose not only what vegetables you want, but the exact bunch of carrots or head of lettuce that you want. The major downside: it’s difficult to plan a visit to the farmer’s market during the workday, even if it is right down the street. But every time I went I loved it, even if I was just picking up a bar of Taza Chocolate. The whole experience is so much more interactive and social. You get to talk to the person who actually grew those plants or caught and smoked that fish, and they are more than happy to share recipes with you.

While my financial contributions to Community Supported Agriculture were more significant through the CSA share, the social nature of the farmer’s market makes its own contribution to the community. Not only am I making friends, but I know a lot more about where my food is coming from – and that was one of the reasons why I joined a CSA.

I haven’t ruled it out yet, but I guess the bottom line is that a weekly CSA delivery isn’t for me. My schedule is too unpredictable and I go out far too often to be able to eat all of that food every week. When I do cook, it’s usually just for me. And as much as I love to cook, cooking for one isn’t as much fun as cooking for someone else.


Originally uploaded by stephykay

Pureed butternut and kabocha squashes, apples, and pears, with maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Presented in roasted acorn squash. All of the squashes and fruit came from the last CSA delivery (which warrants a post of its own, I just haven’t gotten around to it).