Posts tagged ‘Boston Organics’
Raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens – those might be cute and poetic, but don’t quite top my favorites list. I have been finding pleasure in the little things lately, like enjoying hot oatmeal instead of overnight oats on my one day a week off. Or taking walk breaks during my runs because my legs are fatigued from standing all day and I am enjoying the time in the sun as much as I am the exercise. Or counting my bike ride to the hospital as my exercise for the day if I am too tired or too busy to squeeze in a run, thankful that at least there is some movement in my day. I am also loving these suggestions about fitness for the
lazy busy girl!
I am still enjoying cooking, though I am doing less of that these days, too. With lunchtime conferences feeding me at the hospital 4 days a week, I have less need to prepare food that will make good leftovers. I miss my quality kitchen time, but am grateful for the amount of time (and money) the free lunches have saved me! Still, not all meals are provided and I love a good excuse to cook up some healthier, veggie-laden dinners when I can! This recipe combines some of my favorite things: sweet potatoes, quinoa, leafy green veggies, and Indian-inspired flavors. I found the recipe for Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa and Greens on the Boston Organics website when I was lacking inspiration for my bunch of Swiss chard. I am glad this didn’t sit on my “to make” list for very long – it is too good to miss out on! I’d recommend trying this now, both because it is so delicious and because it will soon be too hot for oven caramelized sweet potatoes. The only change I made to the recipe is using 1/4 tsp dried ginger instead of fresh, and omitting the lemon juice and pat of butter. I loved the curried quinoa, and the sweet potatoes really add the great sweet note to complement the curry spice. Don’t miss out on the condiments with this one either – I had a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt, a bit of chopped cucumber, and a dollop of Trader Joe’s mango butter that added dimension and depth with each bite.
Running, resting, cooking and vegetables, these are a few of my favorite things!
Question: What are you loving lately?
I received the largest tomato I have ever seen in my Boston Organics box last week! I forgot to snap a picture, but trust me when I say this thing was a monster. It was seriously the size of 2 or 3 normal tomatoes. I was afraid of it being tasteless or mealy since it was so big, yet it was still flavorful, juicy and delicious! I pulled this meal together after a few chilly early fall days in Boston. I was freezing last week, since it was rainy and the temperatures were peaking in the low 60′s. How am I ever going to survive the winter if I can’t even handle 60 degree weather?! I hope I adjust quickly! Inspired somewhat by the idea of scalloped tomatoes, I was craving some sort of baked casserole. I decided to slice the tomato and polenta, layer them together in a baking dish, sprinkle that with goat cheese, Balsamic, and basil. I was unsure of what to expect, but this dish blew me away. The flavors were incredible, the goat cheese got nice and melted, and the warm tomato and polenta together were comforting. Such a great use for late season tomatoes as the weather begins to change on us!
Question: What is your favorite use for late season tomatoes?
serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side
2 medium tomatoes
1 polenta log
2-3 oz goat cheese
20 basil leaves, chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tomato in half and then into slices. Cut the polenta log into similar thickness slices. Arrange the tomatoes and polenta in an alternating pattern along the bottom of the baking dish. (I used a 10 inch round dish and layered 2 tomato slices for every piece of polenta. Once the first layer is down, sprinkle with goat cheese, salt and pepper. Create a second layer with what remains of the tomatoes and polenta. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with basil slivers. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes until liquid in the bottom of the dish is boiled. Set the oven to broil and broil for an additional 5 minutes, until the Balsamic vinegar is browned on the top layer. Cut and serve immediately.
Most people can cook – with a few basic tools and skills, and some patience, it is easy enough to follow a basic recipe. However, it is much more difficult to create. Looking in the fridge and pantry, seeing what is on hand, and combining only what you have to create an awesome meal. This is what makes programs like Boston Organics or traditional CSA’s so intimidating – a loss of control of what ends up in your fridge, and a big push into the realm of creative cooking. However, this, for me, has been the most fun part of my Boston Organics box! I love day dreaming about how I can pull together the random assortment of ingredients from my fridge and cabinets. A quick tip: keep a well-stocked pantry! I always have pasta, brown rice, quinoa, cous cous, canned and dried beans, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, olive oil, a few vinegars and basic spices on hand. They really make a huge difference when trying to pull together fresh ingredients into a satisfying meal! The biggest hurdle to overcome: fear. But what is there to be afraid of? If it doesn’t taste good, scrap it and start over. At least food usually isn’t too expensive of an experiment! (Or you could eat it anyway, what I usually do since I really, really hate to waste my veggies…)
Who knew that it would be such great preparation for my time at my friend’s vacation home in Croatia, too? We were excited to be able to cook for ourselves for a few days, both to save money, and to see some veggies back on our plates after a few days eating out in Sarajevo! We brought along some fruits and veggies from a market in Sarajevo, and bought a few necessities from the supermarket as soon as we got there. Soon, our fridge was full with necessities: tons of fresh fruit, eggplant, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, chicken, peppers, beer, wine, gnocchi, tomatoes, cucumbers. We bought what looked good, paying little mind to what we were going to use it for. We could always run back to the produce stand, or swing by the store on the way back from the beach if we needed anything! We ended up making three meals at home, one of which I have already shared. The other two are coming up this weekend!
Two bits of exciting news… I now have a Facebook page! I feel guilty for constantly spamming my friends and filling their news feed with post updates. If you are a friend who gets updates about new recipes and posts through Facebook, or are a regular reader, like my page to keep getting those updates! I will no longer be posting to my personal wall, so be sure to stay in touch!
In much more exciting news, my best friends are getting married! Over the long weekend, I will back home in NJ for the wedding (you may remember her engagement celebration and bridal shower!) I am fortunate enough to be hosting her rehearsal dinner, so will be busy this evening tonight and tomorrow with preparations for that. And of course there will be no time for blogging on the wedding day – Saturday! I am so excited for my friends and am so blessed to get to share in their special day. I hope you enjoy my prescheduled posts about my cooking adventures in Croatia in the meantime!
Question: Are you a recipe-follower or creator in the kitchen?
There is nothing I love more than watching someone fall in love with a healthier lifestyle. It only takes a few small changes that eventually add up into a lot of healthy habits! This recipe is what pushed my little sister over the edge to be an adventurous, veggie-cooking college student. She has found her own veggie delivery program in Philly, and says that she is excited to try new recipes and new foods as she begins to cook for herself this year! I hope that she finds inspiration from what I make with my box, as well as from her own amazing culinary creativity.
I have seen recipes for all types of green goddess dressings popping up everywhere, whether they are low-fat, vegan, gluten-free… you name it! I had some leftover cashew cream from my pasta sauce, and decided to try my own hand at it! It is a little more inspired by the flavors in pesto than in a traditional green goddess dressing, but is absolutely delicious in its own right. Plus, I got to try out my new Whole Foods purchase – nutritional yeast! This strange, flaky ingredient is super good for you – rich in B vitamins and packed with protein. It has an interesting, almost cheesey flavor, making it a perfect addition to dressings and pasta sauces! If you are not so adventurous, you can definitely try substituting a bit of grated cheese in the dressing, or just leave it out and add a bit more salt! I really like the flavor that it adds in recipes, but am not at a point to use it sprinkled over pasta. A little to earthy for me…
Try this recipe. It is really, really good. My sister exclaimed, “I just want to stick my face in it!” She had me make extra before I left, and is dreaming up ways to use it. We dipped some roasted broccoli in it, but she thinks it would make a great chip dip, or could even be a great pasta sauce.
Question: What do you think it would go well with?
Green Goddess Dip
1/3 cup basil
1/3 cup parsley
1/2 cup cashew cream
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Chop basil and parsley finely in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and combine until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.
After three months of being an omnivore (and a few truly carnivorous weeks in Europe), I am back to my vegetarian ways. My dad is particularly perplexed by this, since he is the kind of man who thinks dinner doesn’t count if there is no meat. But honestly, I feel better when I am not eating meat. I have more energy after meals, definitely get more veggies in my diet, and all around feel healthier. I still will stand by my philosophy of being a better friend than a vegetarian, and will not turn down someone’s hospitality simply to maintain my dietary preferences. However, my recipes from now on will be vegetarian!
There are two things I love most about cooking as a vegetarian. The first is enjoying tons of fresh fruits and veggies! It is really simple to eat healthy when a huge box of produce shows up at your doorstep. I have explained the Boston Organics program briefly before, and am so glad to be a returning customer! I received my first delivery for the new school year yesterday, and found kale, lettuce, green beans, cukes, onions, plums, nectarines, apples, oranges, bananas and thyme all nicely waiting for my on the porch when I got home from class! I have convinced many of my Boston friends to join either Boston Organics or a CSA, both for the convenient for delivery and for the fact that it forces you to always be stocked with fresh, mostly local, organic produce. My sister even found a really similar program in Philly and is considering joining, and is really excited about learning to cook veggies so they taste good. My enthusiasm for veggies may sicken some, but is obviously infectious, so watch out ;)
The other thing I love is finding alternative protein sources: beans, nuts, seeds…. but one of my favorite vegetarian protein sources is lentils. My mom picked up some naan at the store during my last few days home, and I knew that I wanted some lentils with it. With it being so hot and humid, I wanted to stay away from the stove as much as possible. These lentils are light and creamy, with just enough curry flavor to make it interesting. They are not the most photogenic beans… I promise they taste better than they look! I enjoyed the lentils with naan for dinner with a few of my spaghetti squash fritters, but they would also make a great light lunch on their own!
Question: What is your favorite vegetarian protein?
1 cup dried lentils
2 cups water
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (soy yogurt if vegan)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dried cilantro
3 stalks celery, chopped
Cover dried lentils with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to allow lentils to simmer. They should be cooked through and soft in about 15 minutes. Be careful that the water doesn’t boil off or the lentils will burn at the bottom! Allow the lentils to cool. Mix with Greek yogurt, herbs and spices, and chopped celery. Season with salt to taste if desired. Refrigerate or serve at room temperature.
It is Wednesday morning… know what that means? Recipes and pictures from another fantastic roommate dinner! We have both been free three Tuesdays in a row – we are on a roll! Think we can keep it up for a fourth? As we enjoyed our experimental “risotto” and snacked on watermelon for dessert, I helped my roommate list out the recipes that she knows well and feels comfortable with. She is relatively new to cooking and is good at the ten things she knows how to make, but feels like she is stuck in a rut. We brainstormed ways for her to become more adventurous in the kitchen, which gave me inspiration for a blog post! (I cannot promise when this will happen, but sometime soon, I hope to write some ideas that we came up with as advice for beginner cooks. If you have any specific questions or things you would like addressed, comment below!) We also decided that roommate dinners from now on will morph into quasi-cooking lessons to help expand her recipe repertoire. I am looking forward our little experiment.
I called dinner Barley and Bean “Risotto” because it is loosely inspired by the traditional Italian rice dish. I love the creaminess of a well-made risotto, but wanted to find a way to make it a little more whole-grain-healthy (Arborio, the traditional risotto rice, is a short, white rice variety – not a whole grain!) I had seen some recipes for barley or farro risotto instead, and so I decided to experiment. The end result was delicious, but not quite a risotto. The barley is a little chewier than rice, but still a really unique and great texture. I would definitely make this again, especially because it is a great way to clear out some of your sadder-looking leafy greens. The greens I got as part of my Boston Organics box last week were unidentifiable – kale? chard? collard greens? Doesn’t matter! Throw whatever you have on hand in!
Watermelon reminds me of spring and summer, just like the flowers in bloom all around Boston! There are a few pictures of pretty tulips in Kenmore Square to brighten your day :) Our watermelon dessert was a gift from our upstairs neighbors. They are funny people – friendly and chatty when they want to be, but unpredictable in their mood. Anyway, I am glad to at least know my neighbors – the last apartment I lived in was so transient that I lived there for 2 years without knowing anyone in my building other than my roommate. To thank them, we made a little card to tape to their back door. A simple papercraft, but hopefully another step in building a relationship with them.
Question: Are you comfortable in the kitchen? What are some things that draw you to cooking, or prevent you from experimenting in the kitchen more often? These questions are meant for you guys! Comment below to let me know your thoughts on cooking, and things you would like to see on my blog that might help you become more comfortable making healthy and home-cooked dinners!
Barley and Bean “Risotto”
1 cup dried white beans (or 1 can of white beans, drained)
3 bay leaves (if using dried beans)
2 small onions
1-2 tsp minced garlic, depending on your taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup barley
1 can tomato soup (not condensed kind, and better if low-sodium)
1 can vegetable broth
2 bunches of leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc.)
1 tsp basil
Cover white beans with water. Add bay leaves and boil for about 10 minutes, and then reduce heat and let continue to cook until beans are soft – about an hour.
Chop the onion and saute with garlic and olive oil. In a separate pot, bring tomato soup and vegetable broth to a low boil. When the onions are soft, add the barley and stir until well coated. Add about 2/3 cup broth mixture. Allow barley to cook until liquid is absorbed, like you would do for a traditional risotto. Add another 1/3 cup of liquid and allow to absorb. Continue this process until all of the liquid has been added to and absorbed by the barley. (This process should be done slowly while stirring pretty constantly so the barley has time to cook all the way). Drain the cooked beans and add to the barley mixture. Add the rinsed and chopped greens (they will be voluminous at first but they’ll cook down!) and turn down the heat. Season to taste with basil, salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan.