Thursday, July 29, 2010

From Scratch Club

I grew up with a mother who, consciously or not, equates food with love. Visit her home, and she is not happy unless she can feed you something, anything. I had a boyfriend in college who used to practically make himself sick because he was too polite to say no to any of her offers of food. "Yes, thank you, Mrs. R., I'd love a fourth helping of mashed potatoes."

I imagine that this food=love mentality is part of the reason that dinner was always a family meal. Always. And not really in a forced way, either. We just ate dinner together. (I suppose it helped that we were all pathetically un-athletic, so we had no after-school sports to deal with.) Either way, those family dinners definitely are partially responsible for the close relationship my sisters and I have with my parents as adults. Meals were times to nourish our bodies, and our relationships (although I do recall one meal ending with me going to my room for calling my father an asshole...).

Even though I have spent much of my adult life swearing I won't turn into my mother one day, I realize now that my love of food and cooking for my family and friends stems from my own, inherited, food=love mentality.

So when my friend, Chris, asked me if I'd be interested in a club all about food, I was totally on board. We share, on varying levels, the food=love idea, and meet monthly to talk all-things-food: recipes, food allergies, cooking for our families, food politics, local farm events...the many ways food is woven throughout our days and brings us together. In between meetings, we blog together on the same topics. Now, 60+ posts later, our blog is live.

Check it out, subscribe to our feed, and join in the conversation (and drool over Chris's awesome food photography!). :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Veggie Burgers

One of our almost-weekly dinners is veggie burgers. Most nights we have Amy's California Burgers--the best veggie burger that exists, in my opinion. Not exactly cheap, though. I've tried my hand at homemade veggie burgers in the past, but most are some form of black bean burgers--hubby's favorite and my least favorite. When I came across this recipe, I had to try it. I love quinoa (SUPER grain, a complete protein loaded with fiber and iron), and the fact that I could use any bean was a huge plus.

We ate these with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and russian dressing (PERFECT!) and they were excellent. Lainey absolutely loved hers. And, while I haven't tried it again yet, you can totally add whatever veggies you have time I'll put in some finely chopped greens. Every little toddler bite of veggies counts!

My next batch will also be a double or triple batch, with the extra uncooked patties getting saved in the freezer (sandwich between layers of waxed paper, fry'em up frozen.).


1/2 c quinoa
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
15 oz. of your favorite beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c breadcrumbs
2 eggwhites, lightly beaten
1 tbsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 c water to boil; add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12-15 minutes. Set aside.

Cut carrots and scallions, and put all ingredients in big bowl. Mix well (hands work better than a spoon here!), roughly mashing the beans together with other ingredients, and form into patties. Refrigerate patties for 20 minutes.

Heat lightly greased skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers about 5 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy on the outside.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cucumbers and Dill, Two Ways

Cucumbers are, by far, my favorite summer vegetable. Our CSA has not disappointed in the cukes department this year. Pair them with some fresh dill from my garden, and I'm in cucumber heaven. Here are two of my favorite ways to enjoy them.

I should clarify that my all-time favorite is homemade pickles, but I have not mastered that one...perhaps my mom or my sister would like to guest blog?? (hint, hint!) This Cucumbers Vinaigrette is a close second. It's slightly adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites". Lainey is not a big fan, but the delicious-ness of this recipe warrants breaking the general rules for my blog. :)

2 medium cucumbers, peeled in stripes
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard
lots of fresh dill, chopped (I use about 1 tbsp)

Slice the cucumbers crosswise into 1/8"-1/4" rounds.
Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and mustard in a serving bowl. Toss with the sliced cucumbers and add dill to taste. Refrigerate at least 2 hours (the longer the better, this only gets better with time!)

My second recipe, Cucumber Yogurt Soup, is so refreshing and satisfying. My hunt for this recipe was inspired by the soup I recently ate at Joshua's Cafe in Woodstock, NY. Their's was definitely better, but this still hit the spot. By the way, if you want to eat an amazing, healthy meal, Woodstock is the place to visit! We love the food options there so much, we are going back for our five-year anniversary in September. Mmm, I can't wait!!

from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

8 small-medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped (I also seeded mine)
3 c water
3 c yogurt (I used Argyle Cheese Plain yogurt from the farmer's market)
2 + tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine ingredients in food processor until smooth, chill before serving. (I reserved a cup or two of my chopped cucumber to put back into the puree for some extra texture).