Sunday, June 28, 2009

CSA Week 2 and Poached Egg Salad

This week’s CSA share was similar to the last week, more radishes, broccoli, green onions.  It also brought mixed greens and an asian cabbage.  I have been beginning to learn more about the Slow Food movement and I pick my CSA up on Saturdays at the North Union Farmers Market in Shaker Square which is Northeast Ohio local food market.  One of the pioneers of the Slow Food Movement is Alice Waters.  Her book, The Art of Simple Food, is the perfect companion for the CSA share and tonight I made a variation of her Poached Egg and Curly Endive Salad.  I subbed the mixed greens for the endive and apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar.  It was fresh and immensely satisfying on a hot Sunday night paired with a gin and tonic. 

Poached Egg with Curly Endive Salad

Remove the dark green outer leaves from :

2 large heads of curly endive 

Separate into individual leaves and wash and dry well.

Cut into 1/3 inch pieces:

2 bacon slices

Warm in a small heavy pan, over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add the bacon pieces and cook until brown and rendered, but not crisp.  Remove from the pan.  Pour off the fat from the pan and reserve.  

To make the dressing:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and fresh ground pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

Whisk in:

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons bacon fat

Taste for salt and acid and adjust as needed.

Fill a heavy saucepan with 4 cups water and add:

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat to just below simmer and slide in:

4 eggs, cracked from their shells

Poach egg for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water and keep warm/  Put the vinaigrette into a large bowl (remove the crushed garlic), add the bacon, and put the bowl over the pan of hot water to warm.  Add the greens and toss well.  Divide the greens among 4 warm plates.  Gently blot the eggs dry, and put 1 egg on top of each salad.  Grind a little black pepper over the top and serve immediately.

I love the flavor that a small amount of bacon can add, but omitting the bacon and increasing the amount of olive oil in the dressing this salad could easily be vegetarian.

Things have been hectic lately.  I have been working on a client in Niles, which means adding a 1 hour 20 minute commute each way to work.  I have been spoiled living downtown and I don’t know how people commute like this all the time.  It is aggravating to spend so much time in the car.  The time is completely unproductive, and though I have become well versed on current events by listening to NPR, I could not do this on a long term basis.  

CC and I have grand plans to take full advantage of the Obama stimulus programs.  The cash for clunkers program was pretty much written for his 12 mpg, 220,000+ mile Ford Explorer.  And I have been house hunting in hopes of taking advantage of the $8k tax credit.  Me and pretty much everyone else I know is seriously house hunting, so I would dare to say this program is going to be a huge success.  

I love downtown, but I have also fallen in love with Shaker Square.  The Square has everything I am looking for in a community: an array of restaurants, coffee shop, grocery store, movie theater, dry cleaner, train station, art galleries, CVS, and a weekly local farmers market.  I put an offer in on a house that is walkable to the Square - keep your fingers crossed for me!!   I did a test drive on taking the rapid train into downtown from the Square and I loved it!  Hopefully soon I will be making that commute on a regular basis. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Garlic Scapes and Radishes: C.S.A Week #1

This summer I joined a CSA. What is a CSA some of you may ask? Well it stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it means that you pre-purchase a share of a farm's harvest. My friend Blaze (lives in Nashville) joined one last summer that she raved about and this summer Ruby and I joined the Covered Bridge Gardens. For the next sixteen weeks we will be receiving a portion of the latest pickings and last night I picked up the first share: popcorn, green onions, garlic scapes, broccoli, and radishes.

I started with the popcorn, popped in a little oil on the stove; fresh and white and lovely with a little truffle salt and fresh rosemary.

Next up are the radishes. Taking inspiration from the Greenhouse Tavern, I am going to keep the radishes simple and let their spicy flavor shine by eating them with just a dab of herbed butter. I will herb the butter with some of the garlic scapes and green onions, fresh basil and rosemary, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a 1/2 tsp of kosher salt.

I'm not very familiar with garlic scapes (AKA green garlic) so I did some googling and came across this article from the June 2008 NY Times on having "A Garlic Festival without a Single Clove". I am going to make the White Bean and Garlic Scape dip to take down to Columbus with me this weekend. I think it will be perfect with carrots and celery sticks and pita triangles.

White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip

1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, more to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling.

1. In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough purée. 2. With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired. 3. Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blood Type "O"?

Calling all “O” blood types! I have a friend with a beautiful wife and young daughter who need your help. Please read the e-mail below and consider changing this family’s life forever.

Dear friends and colleagues -

Matthew and I are writing today to make you aware of a problem we're facing, and to ask for your help. This is very hard for us - given that we're typically private people and try not to impose on others. Matthew is facing severe kidney failure. It has come to a point where he requires a kidney transplant - and the sooner the better given the fact that he's a type 1 diabetic. We're trying to avoid dialysis as long as possible since the process boosts one's immune system and increases the odds of rejecting a donor organ. However, the toxins in Matthew's body continue to build, he's facing severe back pain and fatigue, and his kidney function continues to decline.

We're reaching out today to ask your help in locating a potential donor. We're looking for possible kidney donors that are an "O" blood type, under the age of 70, with no known history of cancer, diabetes, or kidney problems.

Our friends have told us to ask as many people as possible for help and we're taking their advice. If possible, could you please forward this email to others in your life (friends, co-workers, church groups) to help us reach as many potential donors as possible? It's amazing to read stories about complete strangers willing to share life with someone; it's truly a selfless, altruistic gift.

For anyone willing to consider donating, we have five locations that are screening candidates, with additional sites in the works. All the hospitals have donor coordinators, so the candidate would simply call one of the numbers below, and mention that they're considering donating to Matthew Figgie (and have your blood type handy, because they'll ask!). The donor coordinator will ask a series of questions about the caller's blood type and medical history. After this cursory review, the hospital will determine if the potential donor should come in for some preliminary testing.

Thank you for your continued support, your good thoughts as we work through this process, and any help you can provide by passing this message along. We try to keep a positive approach, and our little Madeline (2 years old already!) helps us remember what's important in life.

Matthew, Betsy & Madeline Figgie

University Hospitals
Janie Morrison

Cleveland Clinic
Gloria Oster

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Angela Barber

The Ohio State University Medical Center
Bonnie Warrens and Leah Huhn
614-293-6724 (#4)

Johns Hopkins Transplant Center
Athelene Henry (410-614-6604) or Patricia Deberry (410-614-9345)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Washington DC Trip - Video

I finished it!  I have mentioned it several times, and I have finally finished editing my video of our trip to DC over Memorial Day Weekend.  This time I uploaded it to YouTube and I think the video quality comes through better, especially if you select "HQ" (although I noticed it looks about 100% better on the Mac vs. the PC, I'm just sayin'...)  Song credits: "Lovers in Japan" by Coldplay and "The Story I Heard" by Blind Pilot.

Back in November, I wrote about losing both of my maternal grandparents within 3 weeks of each other.  It was a tough time for our family, and this trip was one of the first times we have gathered to celebrate joyous occasions:  one cousin graduating from college, another with two beautiful children, and an uncle's 63rd birthday.  It was a wonderful trip and I think our happiness shines through.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Winery Tour and Oglewood Fish Fry - Video

Last weekend, MarBear and D organized a trip for our friends to do some winery hopping in Geneva, Ohio. The weather couldn't have been better and if you squinted a little, you could almost pretend you were in Napa. Not bad for a short drive east. We hit up four wineries: Old Mill for lunch and sangria, South River for amazing vineyard views, St. Joseph for the Pinot Noir, and Grand River for a full tasting. Afterwards we headed to Gene-O's parents house for the First Annual Oglewood Fish Fry.

My favorite stop was South River. The tasting room is in a century-old church which was dismantled and moved 50 miles to sit atop the vineyard and offer full view of the sprawling vineyard. There is a pavilion where you can bring your own picnic and enjoy drinking wine among the vines. It was truly lovely and I am looking forward to going again.

I am still finishing up the editing on my first Flip video of our trip to DC. But here is my very first posted video of our trip to the wineries! Sorry that some is a little shaky, but I am pretty happy with the video quality (unfortunately, after posting, I realized this video quality does not come through. Also, not sure if you can view in a bigger window. I will work on improving this.) And iMovie is very simple to edit with. Credit for the music is "Ode to a Butterfly" by Nickel Creek. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Guest Post - A Better Pizza Experience

A lazy woman's blog indeed! I have moved from merely posting videos to just having other people write for me, this is the life! Ok - so not really cuz I'm lazy, but more like I BEGGED CC to write a post about the pizza he made last night because I LOVED IT! And I wanted the recipe for myself, and he was telling me all the different recipes he combined and substitutions and I couldn't keep it straight, so I said - "STOP. Please please please just guest post on my blog so I know everything you did!" And voila, he did it! What a man - he cooks and writes! This pizza, with maple syrup sub and all, was di-vine. It looks pretty complicated to me, but I certainly think it was worth it. (The pics speak for them self really)

Longest introduction ever! Without further delay, here is my second guest blogger, CC! Boyfriend, chef, and blogger extraordinaire:

During college I worked at a local Georgio’s Pizza. I didn’t really like it a lot, but when it was slow, it was always fun to make my own pizza. My favorite was a white pizza with garlic and olive oil, cheese, chicken and black olives. I also realized how easy it was to make a pizza, but was also disappointed on the lack of creativity involved. But I guess this is standard protocol for pizza joints, except for a few here and there. Some of the ‘gourmet’ pizza places get creative in their toppings, but miss on the crust. It is always the same ‘ol crust.

For a while now, I guess since I started really getting into cooking, I’ve gotten to know more spices and herbs and have tried them with different dishes. My favorites lately are some herbs from the Mediterranean store at the West Side Market. (Total deal, you get a lot of herbs/spices for little money.) I paid $1.00 for mixed bag that would have cost 5 or 6 at the grocery store.
Anyways, I’ve been using them on everything, so why not in the crust of a pizza. For my birthday this year, I got a pizza stone. So perfect timing, all I needed was a recipe. I looked a few places, but went with a recipe from Food n Wine.

I made some changes to the recipe, which I’ll note. The main reason is that I know what I like; also if you don’t have the ingredient, you don’t always need it (a little tip from Rachael Ray). This recipe is for making on the grille, but I used the oven. Prior to making pizza heat oven to 500° for at least 45 minutes to heat stone.

Ingredients: (For this recipe, I halved everything.)
2 tablespoons honey (I used pure maple syrup, I don’t have honey.)
3 cups warm water
2 packages dry active yeast
7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
3 tablespoons kosher salt

To make the dough: In a very large bowl, stir the honey into the water until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand until foamy, about 8 minutes. Stir in the flour, the 1/4 cup of olive oil and the salt until blended. (Here I added a few pinches of the Mediterranean spices which consists of: basil, rosemary, fennel) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

On the floured work surface, punch down the dough and cut into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on an oiled baking sheet. Rub the dough balls with oil, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. (I used plastic wrap and it rose out of the wrapping, a plastic container would probably work better)

On a lightly oiled work surface or sheet pan, press 1 dough ball into a thin, roughly shaped, 10-inch round. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. (This is where a wooden pizza peel would be very helpful; I didn’t have one, which made it hard to transfer pizza to stone. Prep peel with cornmeal.
Margherita Topping

For the toppings, I didn’t really measure anything, but here are the ingredients that I used. Also here are the steps that I did; the recipe doesn’t call out how to arrange the toppings.

Tomato sauce: I mixed ½ can tomato paste with ½ can tomato sauce and ½ cup of freshly chopped tomatoes
Mozzarella, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
Fresh Basil Leaves
Sun dried Tomatoes
Sea Salt
Olive Oil
On a lightly oiled work surface or sheet pan, press 1 dough ball into a thin, roughly shaped, 10-inch round. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. (This is where a wooden pizza pan would be very helpful; I didn’t have one, which made it hard to transfer pizza to stone.
Work dough to create a crust. Do what works for you, if you like thin go thin, it you like thick go thick.

Dock the pizza, take a fork and stab pizza many times in the center. This helps remove any possible air or bubbles that may form (learned this from the pizza job.)
Add tomato sauce to your liking. Add cheese, basil, tomatoes. Lightly salt. Add olive oil on toppings and brush crust with olive oil. Place prepared pizza onto stone and cook at 500° for about 8 minutes until cheese is slightly brown.

Once pizza is done, remove from oven and allow cooling. I sprinkled some additional cheese and basil on pizza to give it a fresh look. Enjoy with a glass of wine and a friend.

I made this dinner for Molls and I. I served it with a salad of freshly cut tomatoes, basil, mushroom, sun dried tomatoes and an oil vinegar dressing and a glass of cabernet sauvignon.

Editor's note: I sprinkled a little extra sea salt on mine and dipped the crust in olive oil. Yum!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Crop Popcorn: The official Video

One of my earliest posts was about making my version of Crop's warm balsamic popcorn. I was close (and it still turns out very delicious), but here is a video from Good Company with Steve Schimoler, the owner of Crop and creator of this excellent dish on how to officially make it! Here is a link to the video on WKYC if this video won't load (it is really slow).

I joined a CSA (more to come on this for sure) this summer and one of the crops (pun intended) we will be receiving is popcorn - I can't wait to make this with fresh popcorn and herbs, mmm! If you don't want to make it yourself, Crop has awesome outdoor seating on W. 6th and sometimes there is live music.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Sorry for all the videos lately, it is a lazy woman's blog. But Blaze just sent me this video and I was crying from laughing so hard. Which is awesome except when you are at work and should be filling out important documents. So consider yourself warned: this may be too funny for work.