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Weekly Update

This week I have been making such simple things I felt I shouldn’t even bother posting them…. then I thought… well everyone wants to eat simple things so I thought I would at least tell you about them.  Thanksgiving was a bit of a disappointment.  You can not get canned clams here, so no clam dip. I also was trying to make this a “healthy” version so I subbed out greek yogurt for the cream cheese Mom always used.  So with clam dip being out   I then did the next best thing and made garlic dip.  I took greek yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice and blended it until smooth.  This broke the yogurt down  into a liquid , so it was tasty, but more of a dressing.  So we baked sweet potatoes and poured it over them.  It was AMAZING!

Sunday we went on a picnic and had a very basic sandwich- tomato and rocket (arugula) with a light  classic vinaigrette.  We baked a fresh loaf of bread, packed it with a bottle of Riesling.  I made sure to season the tomatoes with salt and pepper ahead of time and throw them in a baggie with the rockett.   I even put the dressing in a tiny little honey jar so we could make the sandwich fresh there at the hike.  You forget the a few fresh ingredients can be so amazing.

Another stir fry kept the veggies fresh.  It was snow peas, bok choy, and asparagus.  I simple used ginger, chinese peppers, garlic, and spy sauce.  It took less than 10 minutes.  We had some left over.  I didn’t want it to go bad so the next night we made couscous and took the cold veggies and chopped them up and ate them over the top.  It was tasty!

The past two days I have been in bed with I migraine from hell so I have had to be inventive on what to eat from the kitchen.   I usually know when they are coming, so I had a tasty asian salad dressing from Martha Stewart made, some lima beans, and left over couscous.  I threw together this amazing salad.

Dinner was a recreation of missing my favorite dish from home in Austin.  I love Taverna’s facaccia bread with Pancetta, Mushrooms, Red Onions, Pine nuts, Arugula& Shaved Parmesan Cheese.  I used the bread dough I had in the fridge from the master dough mix and grabbed pine nuts, parmesan, arugula, and some olive oil.  Matt grilled the bread.  I topped it, then threw it under the broiler for a few seconds to get all yummy!  Over all…. pretty damn tasty!  Next time I would use more arugula though, like spinach…. it shrinks down a lot!

I am a little sad.  The guy who did my veggie box will no longer be doing them.  He had to go get a real job.  Next week I will be trying a new service.  Keep your fingers crossed!

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Garam masala Veggie Stir Fry

Today is delivery day for my new batch of yummy veggies….. so I needed to use up what was left of last week.   Last night I couldn’t help myself.  I looked into the fridge and saw all the spring veg and had to make pasta primavera.  I know white pasta and all.  For lunch today I did do better.  I found this yummy recipe  that involved using some of my new exotic spices I got from one of the daily deal sites and zucchini, asparagus, and broccoli.  I followed the recipe   almost to a T.  I added zucchini and made half the pepper red instead of all black.  It was very green and super tasty.  Using the master bread recipe Matt made some flat bread on the grill to go along with it.  It was super fast to throw together.  It took less than 20 minutes from start to finish.  We actually made it durring his lunch break.  I think I got my five a day in just in this lunch alone!

 

I have to admit I am sad that I am not eating yummy turkey and pumpkin pie with all of you tomorrow :(.  My family never did a super big Thanksgiving anyway, so I will be making my Mom’s clam dip and chips.  I am going to attempt to bake the chips and make the dip with greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  I’ll let you know!

 

Happy Turkey Day!!!!

Oh… this weeks box is…..

asparagus, snow pea, bok choi, butterhead lettuce, rocket (arugula) , tomato, cauliflower, mushroom, carrot…. I am mighty glad there is not broccoli or zucchini in sight- a week of will be lovely!

yogurt yummy and hot hummus

One of the ways we have been using up all of our fruits in our veg box is by creating fruit puree and putting it in homemade yogurt.  I am a huge fan of Alton Brown and was going to make yogurt the way he instructed on Good Eats, but heating pads are not easy to find here.  I ended up in the grocery store and found this crazy thermos looking thing called EasyYo.  You buy a powder and mix it with water in a plastic container.   In the thermos you pour in boiling water.  Then you place the container with the mix into the thermos, and about 8 hours later you have yogurt.  I have  tried every way I can think of to make it cheaper… powdered milk, plain milk, etc… and this is so easy and cheap I can’t bother.

So Matt has made it his job to create wonderful fruit puree.  This time it was a strawberry cayenne.  Cook the strawberries, honey, sugar, and cayenne  to taste until broken down.  Layer into the yogurt.  I should have gotten a picture he was too cute.  I was reading “Hunger Game” aloud as he cooked away!

Every week I choose a different type of beans to work into the menu.  This week was chick peas. I used them in a salad of roasted veggies and of course hummus.  Today our lunch was fresh veggies and hummus.  I have found that many recipes use quite a bit of olive oil.  We like ours spicy, so to cut the amount of oil, but to get the texture correct we use the juice of pickled jalapenos as well as the peppers.  I also love to use this on my sandwiches instead of mayo!  Yummy!

Deconstructed Pineapple S’mores and a Twist on Pimento Cheese veggie dip- Kinda

So it was Friday night and I needed to finish up using last weeks produce.  I had been inspired by Farmers’ Market Gourmet to create cauliflower as a main dish.  I had never really thought serving it as dinner.  Basically she creates a cheese mixture ( it was cheddar cheese, mayo, and mustard) and steams the cauliflower for a  bit then smothers the cauliflower and bakes it in the oven.

Well I really didn’t like the idea of using the mayo and wanted to thin out the cheese…. so I mixed mustard, hot sauce, bell pepper (capsicums), and greek yogurt.  It was too thin to hold its shape on the cauliflower, so it ended up being a cheese sauce.  Tasty…. but nothing too amazing there….. but I was making a salad…. and I dipped cucumber and bell pepers into it.  I was in heaven!  I think it is my new potluck dish! I want to smear it on sandwiches and everything.  I would add olives too- and at home pimentos… but alas…. I have not found pimentos here.

I also had a Pineapple that calling out to be eaten. We threw it on the grill.  I recently found out that S’mores are only an American thing!?  If the rest of the world only knew what they were missing out on!  Graham Crackers are also something you have to get at an import store… so I was craving fire and chocolate.  I had a Lindt Dark Chocolate Chilli bar.  Right as the pineapple was all gooey, I put a tiny square on top and let it melt……ohhhhhhh yummy.  I didn’t even miss the marshmallow and  cracker.

Asparagus Olive Goat Cheese Calzone

So I recently downloaded a book from Amazon called “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day”.  I love this book because It focuses on whole grains, but does not make the bread taste like card board.  If it needs white flour to taste good they use some white flour.  It is co authored by a pastry chief and a MD.  The big idea of the book is that you can mix up dough and keep it in the fridge and use it throughout the week or longer depending on the recipe.  I have been experimenting with the master recipe for the past two weeks.  It is as follows for 4 loaves:

5 1/2 cups of whole flour

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 1/2 tbs of yeast

1/4 cup wheat gluten

4 cups warm water

This is a no knead dough!

I have made flat bread, bread and now calzones.  The book is amazing. It has a lot of variety, I am barely scraping the surface of the possibilities so far!  I would recommend anyone who can mix up cookie dough to at the very least check out the blog and download a sample from kindle.  (I tried to link it but I am having issues— hay I learned to post pictured today!  Links tomorrow?!)

 

So that tells you about bread but this is about veggies right?!  This is supposed to be about asparagus?!- Stay with me…

So I have a confession to make.  While taking out the recycling a few weeks ago I saw a stack of Cuisine magazines, you guessed it, in the bin.  At first I resisted.  I went back to the apartment and thought of all the ideas that were sitting waiting for me.  All the New Zealand ingredients I had yet to discover… so while Matt was the the grocery, i got a bag and went for it.  Ya, I got caught, ya, it was embarrassing…. in the elevator with a bag of “trash” but I like to think this meal alone was worth it.

 

So this calzone was inspired by Cuisine’s August Jan 2008 126 Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Olive Calzone and Healthy Bread In Five Minutes

 

Oh by the way- I am an a estimator

The Filling for 4 calzones

about a tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 a white onion

1 bunch of asparagus diced – hard ends saved for stock

couple fo sprigs of thyme

cook onion until translucent add asparagus and cook until tender seasons with black peper and kosher salt- set aside

cut up 1/8 cup of goat cheese , parmesan

slice a small hand full of good- quality olives

mix the ingredients together season to taste.

 

 

the dough- Mine has been in the fridge for several days- it will need to rise at least 2 hours and refrigerated to make it easy to work with…

You will need about a grapefruit ball size for four calzones

I have heated a clay unglazed terracotta tile as hot as the oven would go, stuffed the calzone, put it in the oven and kept a close eye on it! That easy!

 

 

 

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My first post

This is my first post!  I am so impressed with myself!  Can I say that!?  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would post my thoughts online…. but being that I can’t call everyone daily with all my thoughts and dreams, and well, Facebook has its limits, I thought this would be the next best thing.

I will warn you all now I have never been a perfect writer.  To edit this to the point of perfection would take all the joy out of it, so I won’t.  I will promise to spell check and reread it.

With that said the purpose of this blog will be primarily to share my foodie adventures that are happening in my kitchen.  There will be other things  that pop up now and then, but the primary focus is cooking healthy seasonal food.  (Please remember U.S. readers I am in the Souther Hemisphere, so my seasons will be different than yours.  By the time your Summer gets here, I should have some kick ass zucchini recipes posted!)

I am currently having weekly seasonal veg and fruit delivered to my front door(cheeky I know)and my menus  revolve around it.

The Problem?

Coming from the south, I find that many of the things I want to put in the vegetables include meat.  I keep in-visioning  lots and lots of pork with dark greens.  I also think oh I can fry that(though there is no okra that I have seen)!  Neither is going to keep extra pounds at bay or my ever increasing cholesterol down.

I also was an avid Rachel Ray fan, dare I say it, girl crush … don’t judge me!  This was waaaaaaaaaayyyyy   pre talk show days.    So my second skill set with veggies was to pan fry them and serve it with a grain and meat.  I guess this is tasty and somewhat better, but still the veggie is not the star ingredient.

So I started looking online.  Most of the blogs I  saw were vegan.  That is fine for many people, but I LOVE cheese and olive oil.  Making a pesto of nutritional yeast and apple juice may cut it for some, but that will never taste the same as olive oil and parma!  I am not giving those up!

Last but not least I headed over to Amazon and started downloading samples of their books.  Most of the vegetable books had like 20 ingredients. Lots of the ingredients I was unsure I could even get at the Whole Foods in Austin, and was damn sure I wasn’t getting it here in Auckland.

So I have started combing  through blogs, websites, magazines, cookbooks, using my brain, and trying to create dinners that I can feel good about putting into my body, feel good about my carbon footprint, and that are easy on my wallet.

The wallet thing is a big deal sincea. food is WAY more expensive here b.  I am not working c. I am addicted to a expensive gym d. I am addicted to an equally expensive personal trainer…..

Sometimes there will be meat, pan-fried veggies, and ekkkkk white pasta….. but my goal is for it to be the exception not the rule.

On to the food…

My veg box this week includes:

broccoli, asparagus, capsicum (bell peppers) , tomato, lettuce, courgette (zucchini), cucumber, carrot, red onion, potato, kumara (a type of sweet potato) , orange, strawberry, apple, banana

Stay tuned …..