Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vegetarian, Dairy Free Corn Chowder

Yesterday, I made a vegetarian, dairy free chowder for one of my clients. I knew I had some, but not all of the components to make it at home, so when I got home, I made up a modified batch for myself.

First off, everything I used to make the chowder came from my CSA (Stillman's Farm) except the shallots.....
I cut up some red potatoes, white potatoes, garlic, shallot, and yellow squash.

I had 4 ears of corn left from last week, so I stripped off all the corn from them.

I used thyme and oregano from my own (tiny) deck garden (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, Thai hot peppers, sweet bell peppers, cluster cherry tomatoes and yellow pear tomatoes)...not bad for my first time....next year I'm going in the ground...

I sauteed the garlic and shallots, then added the squash, potatoes and herbs .
I chose to simply use water as the liquid, and I added half of the corn, as well as the cobs, in to make a corn "stock" as the chowder simmered away.
It simmered for 30 minutes or so, then I pureed it with the immersion blender. After that, I added in the remaining corn and allowed the heat of the chowder to cook it.
The color was a bit flat, so to brighten it up, I served it with a swirl of pesto I had made (yes, with stillman's basil), and it was delicious.

Today, I'm going to roast a chicken from the meat portion of the CSA, after I pick up my share. Can't wait to see what I get!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beans, Beans The Magical Fruit

I love beans. Enough said. So, I made some pot beans on Friday. I used heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo, an amazing farm in Napa, CA that specializes in heirloom beans. I used Yellow Indian Woman, almost pinto like, but smaller:

From the farm I had some beautiful tomatoes, an Italian green pepper and cayenne peppers, so I was able to incorporate them into the recipe. Along with onion, garlic, and some stock, the beans cooked in my pressure cooker.
Here are the veggies cut up:

Look at the beautiful tomatoes!
First, I suateed the garlic, onions, cayenne and Italian peppers:
Then I added the tomatoes:
Soaked/drained beans and stock went in last, and they pressure cooked for 15 minutes. Here they are:
Yum. A squeeze of lime, and we're good to go. I would have used fresh cilantro, but I was out...oh well.

I had some round steak in the freezer to use up, so I also stewed that off with the same base.
It was yummy - very tender and delicious. Along with the beans, some cut up avocado and some brown rice, it was excellent dinner, and it made excellent leftovers as well.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

CSA Week 6, 7

I am inundated with veggies and fruits. The corn is outstanding, and the peaches are out of this world. New this week are their apricots. They are reddish orange in color, and not fuzzy. Tasty nonetheless.

I do not have a picture, but I wanted to post the recipe for the Ginger Lemongrass Beet Gazpacho I made 2 weekends ago. It came out spicy and refreshing. We had it hot on the day I made it, and cold the rest of the time.
Here it is (I posted it on a cool website, www.recipezaar.com):

Ginger Lemongrass Beet Gazpacho

By: Sharon Shiner
Aug 4, 2008

This is a great way to use up beets. I developed this soup for a client of mine, and topped it with grilled shrimp.

SERVES 6 (change servings and units)



  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, lemon grass, ginger, salt, pepper and coriander to the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring frequently, for 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add beets and vegetable or chicken broth to Dutch oven; bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until beets are tender, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Allow soup to cool, then process in a food processor, or with an immersion stick blender until smooth.
  5. Stir in cilantro and lime zest and juice; check for seasonings and add salt and pepper as necessary.

What else have I been making?

Well, I have zucchini and summer squash coming out of my ears. I have made many zucchini breads as well as chocolate zucchini breads. The chocolate bread is SO decadent, really, I think it would cure anyone's chocolate craving.

The farm's Hungarian Wax and Cayenne peppers have come in, so today, I made Hot Pepper Jelly. The flavor is nice. I put in 2 sweet red peppers, 1 Cubanelle, and 4-5 Hungarians and 4-5 Cayennes. The sugar takes the edge off the heat a bit, but it still gets you on the rebound in the back of the throat. It is a bit slow to set - I sure hope it does. Here are a couple of pics:

I also made some refrigerator pickles with the Kirby cukes from the farm, some celery and some onion. For spice, I added celery seed, fennel, caraway and dill seeds. I really love to pickle sweet onion. It gets just soft enough, but retains a bit of crunch; the acidic edge is replaced with soft spice, and it is so pleasing to eat :) Here is a pic or 2 of the fridge pickles:

Not from the farm, but a pretty funny story that I call "the blackberry caper".... All along the driveway into Max's camp there are blackberry bushes. Last year I would drive by and look at them, saying, I've got to pick them. Well, I never did, and they just went to waste.

This year, I made a pledge to get them. So, last Friday, after I dropped Max off and Lou off at her camp, I went back to Max's camp, parked, and walked down the long driveway, picking the blackberries. I was trying to be incognito about it, however, I did have to walk by the area where the pool is, and Max just happened to be in swim class at that time.

When Max came home from camp that afternoon he told me that his counselor said to him, "Max, your mom is in the bushes". Now I'm thinking to myself, Oh great, he must think I'm a total freak.

I told Max that he had to go back and tell his counselor that I was picking the blackberries. When I dropped Max on Monday morning, I poked my head out the window and said that I was picking the blackberries and that was why I was in the bushes. His counselor said, I know, Max told us already. Apparently, after his counselor told Max I was in the bushes, Max said, Oh she's just picking the blackberries. It was funny! I didn't have to tell Max to tell them...he already had. I'm sure it was because every day when I drop him off, I look out the window and say, I've got to get those blackberries! Anyways, I made jam with them. SO DELICIOUS! Here is a pic: Ok, that's it for now. I'll report back later. I'm going to make zucchini hummus. Interesting recipe....I'll let you know :)