Monthly Archives: August 2010

CSA Box.

I almost forgot to post this. Shame on me!

Look at this week’s bounty!

In the box this week:

  • Muskmelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Pepper
  • Pole Beans
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Patty Pan Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Lemon Basil
  • Red Onion
  • Hot Pepper

Not pictured because they were eaten immediately: Lettuce and Raspberries.

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    Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Uncategorized



    Panzanella Salad

    A panzanlla salad is comes from the Tuscan region of Italy and is basically a bread salad.  Typically a panzanella includes day old bread, tomatoes, basil, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Since the wonderful HighCross Farm had some sexy lemon basil, cucumber and red onions in the box, I decided to throw those in as well. The best part was  I didn’t have to go anywhere near my stove. Score!

    Since I used lemon basil, I decided to keep with the fruity flavor profile and made a vinaigrette with some orange olive oil and strawberry balsamic I got at  Oro Di Oliva.  Fantastic!

    For the Panzanella:

    • 1 large cucumber, peeled/seeded and diced
    • 4-5 small-medium tomatoes, diced
    • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 bunch of lemon basil
    • 5-6 sliced of day old Italian bread, cut into 1 inch sliced and diced

    For the Vinaigrette:

    • 3 tablepoons, balsamic vinegar
    • 6 tablespoons, olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    • 1.5 tablespoons, honey
    • 5 lemon basil leaves, chopped
    • S&P to taste

    In a large bowl add the cucumber, tomato, basil, and onion.  Chill in the refrigerator for an hour to let the juices of the tomato draw out.

    While that chills whisk together your vinaigrette.

    Add the bread and vinaigrette to cucumber/tomato  mixture. Mix well. You want the bread to sop up the vinaigrette and juice from the veg.

    Note: Make sure your bread is good and stale. If you use soft bread you will get nothing but mush. You want good hard, stale bread for this salad.

    Let chill again for another 30 minutes.



    Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Uncategorized


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    Minty Melon Soup

    It has been unbearably hot in Wisconsin this month. Almost too hot; too hot to turn on my oven.  So I have been taking what is my CSA box and trying to make dishes I don’t have to cook.

    I received a wonderful muskmelon in my box this week and wanted to try making a chilled melon soup.  I have an abundance of mint growing on my back porch and thought the two would pair nicely.  I was right.

    What I got was a clean, refreshing cool summer soup that pleased my family to no end.  Better yet, I didn’t have to even go near my oven. Love that!

    This recipe couldn’t be simpler.  All you need is a blender or food processor and 15 minutes of your time and you are done.


    • 1 ripe melon, peeled, seeded and chopped into a rough dice
    • 10 mint leaves
    • 1 tablespoon. honey
    • 2 tablespoons, lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons, heavy cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon, cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon, ground ginger (use fresh if you have it)

    Here are the directions, do try not to get lost. 🙂

    Put it all in a blender or food processor and puree.  That’s it.

    Put into a container and chill until cold. Garnish with fresh mint.


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    Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Uncategorized


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    Zucchini & Red Potato Frittata

    I keep waiting for that glorious day I can quit my job and devote all my time to cooking.  I guess I will keep buying those powerball tickets.

    With my frenzied work week schedule I find that I have to force myself to eat some kind of breakfast.  Normally it’s a bowl of cereal and some fruit.  But as the days get shorter and the nights eventually get colder, my body craves more sustenance.

    A frittata makes perfect sense. I can make it ahead of time, it’s easily to reheat, and it freezes well.  I was inspired by a recipe found here. I just tweaked the recipe to suite my taste.

    To stay true to my crusade of eating healthy and losing weight I used egg beaters instead of eggs. Now before you cringe, Egg Beaters have half the calories and none of the cholesterol regular eggs have and they really do taste good. But I digress…

    I used the zucchini and potatoes I got from HighCross Farm because they are the best around.  I had some shredded mozzarella/provolone mix on hand as well as some low-fat ricotta.

    This more than exceeded my expectations.  It fluffed up so nice in the oven and the potatoes and zucchini were cooked to perfection. And the ricotta, oooooooh the ricotta. When you get some ricotta in your mouth you get a bite of warm, velvety awesomeness.


    • 1 16 oz container of egg beaters (or you can use 4 eggs)
    • 4 slices of canadian bacon, diced
    • 1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
    • 5 baby red potatoes, sliced thin
    • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
    • 4-5 tbsp olive oil, more if needed
    • 1 c grated cheese of your choice
    • 5-6 dollops of low-fat ricotta
    • S & P to taste

    (directions copied and pasted from site)

    Combine the zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt in a colander and toss well. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or ovenproof nonstick skillet. Add the potatoes and onion, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, flipping and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.

    Increase the heat to medium-high and continue cooking, tossing occasionally, until the potatoes are are brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon but keep the skillet on the burner. Transfer the zucchini to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Add the zucchini and Canadian bacon to the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat, until the zucchini is just tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the zucchini and Canadian bacon with a slotted spoon.

    Keep the skillet over the heat. Beat the eggs (or add egg beaters) and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until well blended. Fold in the potatoes, zucchini and Canadian bacon, and cheese. Dollop the ricotta over the top of the frittata so you get some in every bite. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil to the skillet as needed to lightly coat the bottom. Pour in the egg mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook without stirring until the bottom is set, about 10 minutes.

    Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top is set, 5 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes. Place a serving plate on top of the skillet and carefully invert. The frittata should fall out of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve.



    Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Uncategorized



    Grilled Chicken with a Bell Pepper-Kale Sauce

    Finding different ways to use Kale has been my challenge for the summer.  When I saw bell peppers in the box with kale the wheels in my head started turning.  I came up with a pretty tasty sauce to accompany my grilled chicken.

    The bell pepper isn’t too overpowering and the kale is subtle.

    I love when an experiment turns out awesome.


    • 2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 small can chicken broth (I used lower sodium)
    • 1 small bunch of basil, I used the purple basil in my box
    • 2 cups kale, chopped (I used both varieties in my box)
    • S & P to taste

    In a deep pan sauté the onion, pepper and garlic until the peppers are soft.

    Add 1/2 the can of chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer until reduced by half. About 7 mins.

    Turn off heat and let cool for a little bit.

    Add to food processor and puree.  Add remaining chicken broth until you get a sauce-like consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon over, under or on the side of desired protein. Tonight it was grilled chicken.


    Note: Please don’t mind my garnish fail. The purple basil flowers looked better in person than on camera.

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    Posted by on August 13, 2010 in Uncategorized


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    Chunky Basil Dressing

    I sure do love salad in the summer.  What I don’t love is store bought salad dressings.  I’ll admit it, I’m a control freak.  I like to control how salty, sweet, spicy my food should be. Packaged foods like bottle salad dressings don’t let me have control.

    This recipe is fantastic.  I used a coconut white balsamic vinegar I got at Oro Di Oliva in Wauwautosa, WI. This gave the dressing such a wonderful undertone.

    All the veg and herbs came from Highcross Farm.  They truly have the best produce in the world. I may be a little biased.


    • 1 cup of loose fresh basil
    • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar of your choice
    • 1/2 red onion, diced
    • 2 tablespoons mayonaise, I used light mayo
    • 6 tablespoons olive oil
    • S & P to taste

    I put everything into the food processor and let it rip until it reached a nice creamy, chunky consistency.

    I spooned some over  thinly sliced tomato and cucumber from Highcross Farm.   Heaven.

    This is a perfect, light dish for this ridiculously hot Wisconsin weather we are having.



    Posted by on August 13, 2010 in Uncategorized


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    CSA Box

    In the box this week:

    • Kale, 2 types
    • onions
    • cucumber
    • basil, green and purple
    • beans
    • tomatoes
    • green peppers
    • hot pepper
    • lettuce, 2 types
    • summer squash
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    Posted by on August 13, 2010 in Uncategorized



    Warm Eggplant & Summer Squash Bruschetta

    I love, love, LOVE bruschetta.  I normally go for the typical tomato, basil, mozzarella bruschetta.  This time I decided to go with a super chunky, ultra rustic, warm bruschetta to put atop my fresh loaf of Italian bread.

    This is rich and full of flavor without being too heavy for a summer dish.

    I think I used 90% of my CSA box with this recipe.  This was a total experiment that pleased me to no end.

    This recipe makes quite a lot, so grab a big loaf of fresh bread, a handful of good friends, a beverage of your choice and ENJOY.


    • 1 large zucchini, roughly chopped
    • 1 yellow squash, roughly chopped
    • 1 medium sized egg plant, roughly chopped
    • 1 small can of diced tomatoes, juice and all
    • 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and you guessed it, roughly chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 3/4 c red wine of your choice
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1 handful fresh basil. I received some beautiful lemon basil in my box this week.
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • S & P to taste
    • Fresh bread, toasted
    • Grated Parmesan, optional

    In a large dutch oven sweat your diced onions in heated olive oil.  Sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sautee until fragrant.  You want to be able to smell the garlic, but be careful not to burn the garlic.

    Once you are able to smell the garlic add the squash and egg plant.  Sauté until they start to get golden brown.

    Add the wine, tomatoes and basil and let simmer for about 3o minutes; stirring often.You want the liquid to reduce by half. Salt and pepper to your taste.

    The squash and eggplant will be soft and you will be left with this delectable sauce to sop up with your bread.

    Top your toasted bread with some bruschetta and top with grated parm.

    Side note:  If you can get lemon basil, I suggest you do so.  The aroma and flavor it gives this dish is out of this world. Sublime.  If you want a little heat, go ahead and add some crushed red pepper flakes or thai chilies.


    Posted by on August 12, 2010 in Uncategorized


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    Defeated. That is how I have been feeling lately.  I started this humbled little space on the internet to show how lucky I was to be a CSA member to show you (and keep record for myself) what I could do with what was given to me.

    I don’t have the best equipment, lighting etc, but what I had/have was/is heart. I pour my heart into everything I make.  Granted I fight with time, but I do plant myself firmly in the kitchen and relish the free moments I do get.

    I don’t want to whine about better blogs, etc.   What I do want to say is that cooking is my Zen.  When I have been feeling low like I have been lately, I can throw on an apron, open my refrigerator and play. Cooking soothes my soul.  I meditate, I reflect, and I pray when I am alone in the kitchen.

    CSA member or not.  Food blogger or not.  My kitchen will always be my culinary sanctuary.


    Posted by on August 12, 2010 in Uncategorized


    Roasted Beet Hummus

    I had found a recipe here for Roasted Beet Hummus.  When I received beets in my CSA box, I figured I’d give the recipe a shot. It exceeded my expectations tenfold.  HighCross Farm has the prettiest beets you will ever see, and the color and taste really came through in the recipe.

    Please try this recipe, you will not be disappointed.

    Roasted Beet Hummus

    1-2 beets
    1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    1 large garlic clove, peeled
    juice of a lemon (2-3 Tbsp, or to taste)
    1/4 cup thick plain yogurt (optional)
    2 Tbsp tahini
    1/2-1 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
    2-4 Tbsp olive oil

    Wrap the beets in foil and roast at 350ºF for an hour, or until tender (you can tuck them in as you bake other stuff).

    Cool, peel and slice into chunks.

    Put everything but the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor and purée, pouring the olive oil in through the feed tube as it blends, until smooth.

     Taste and adjust seasoning (salt, lemon juice, cumin) as you need to. If it’s too thick, add more olive oil, yogurt or water.

    Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days before serving. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

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    Posted by on August 5, 2010 in Uncategorized