cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
This recipe grew on me. Initially, I thought it was only so-so--by the end of the leftovers I found it delicious. Although it's good, it really is more of a side dish. It gets massive bonus points for being a tasty way to eat beets.


2 c. dry rice
1/2 c. hot broth (chicken or vegetable)
3 c. of beets
1/2 c. Parmesan
Italian dressing seasoning (use a packet or the mix below)

Italian dressing seasoning:
1/2 Tbsp garlic salt
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1/2 Tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp celery salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Scrub beets clean, if necessary halve or quarter larger beets until they are in roughly 2" pieces, place on large sheet of tin foil, and drizzle with olive oil. Fold edges of tin foil over to make a hobo pack. Bake for about 35 minutes or until you can pierce with a fork. Let cool a bit.

Meanwhile, take hot broth and add seasonings. Let sit.

Peel beets (use the back of a spoon to help--after roasting the skins should come off easily). Dice beets to about a quarter inch.

Cook rice, using the usual amount of water for whatever rice-cooking method you use.

After rice has cooked, combine rice, seasonings, Parmesan, and beets, and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
No picture because I was in a hurry.

Spring salad

* 1 bag salad mix
* 1/2 bag baby spinach
* 4-5 medium radishes, sliced thinly
* 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
* 3/4 c. parmesan, in large shavings
* 5-6 spears asparagus, grilled (next time, might try brushing with butter/oil before grilling - did fine without, though)
* Romano-cheese-based salad dressing (keep to the side for people to add themselves)

Combine half the salad mix and the spinach. Add half the toppings. Mix slightly, trying not to let all the toppings sink to the bottom.

Add the rest of the salad mix and spinach. Add the rest of the toppings. Mix gently.

I actually took the asparagus with us to the BBQ, grilled it there, and then snipped it into bite-sized pieces and mixed it into the salad. Also, that was a huge bowl of salad and it all got eaten. As Phil said, our social group eats pretty damn healthily these days.

CSA for salad mix, spinach, radishes, and asparagus.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (bite)
Finding appealing slow-cooker recipes (because it's too hot to cook indoors) that use cucumbers (because I have a CSA share full of 'em) is harder than you might expect. And you might logically expect it to be difficult. I make a thpppbbbbing sound in the general direction of refrigerator pickles.

This, though, sounds delicious:

Even if it is not remotely Korean, which apparently one can tell because of the use of lime and cilantro. Limes are not very available in Korea, and most Koreans have a predisposition to hate cilantro. People of good taste.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
Oz Cake

I'm calling this Oz Cake because it's golden and green and magically delicious, and making it involves whirling things around like a tornado. I don't usually like fennel's licorice taste, but in this cake, it doesn't really have that flavor. This makes a sweet, moist, dense cake.

2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. yogurt
1/4-1/2 c. milk
2 overripe bananas
1 fennel, bulb and fronds
3 Tbsp. lime juice
3 tsp. vanilla
powdered sugar for dusting on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 13x9 metal baking pan.

In food processor, blend fennel, bananas, yogurt, and milk.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In small bowl, mix sugar, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and lime juice. Add this to the dry ingredients, along with the blended fennel/banana mixture. Beat until well-blended.

Bake cake until top is golden and tester comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Dust top with powdered sugar.

* This is good with a lemony cream cheese frosting, but works just fine on it's own, too.
* Sometimes you can substitute celery and fennel seed for fennel bulb and fronds. This is not one of those times. Trying that made the cake way too moist and thick.

CSA Delivery #15

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon juice (possibly decrease to 1 1/2 Tbsp.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar, add more if you want it thicker


Beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar. Beat until creamy. Add more icing sugar or water as needed for easy spreading. Makes more than is needed for the cake recipe--probably 1/2 recipe would be a bit on the thin side.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (alas)
Yesterday, [ profile] cvalenti* opened up my computer and prepared to install the new power source to make my computer capable of booting up again.

Alas, it turns out that the problem was not the power source, but the CPU fan. So we ordered the part and it should be here by UPS soonish. Unfortunately, then my computer decided to stop staying on or booting up.

Laptop docking station to the rescue! My laptop is now hooked up to the docking station balanced on top of my defunct desktop computer, all surrounded by a nest of cords that must be seen to be believed. I'd take pictures, but the place where I organize my photos away to is currently out of it.

All this so that I can continue to work from home on a day job project, and also so that I can do writingy stuff. (The amount of typing I do, working at my desk with a real keyboard that's at the right height and a real monitor likewise is pretty essential.)

* On the entertaining side, I did feed cvalenti a meal in which everything had vegetables in it: broccoli and onions in the chicken divan; zucchini, squash, cucumber, and green beans in the "seasonal vegetable"; and fennel in the cake**.

** Which was very tasty, being a banana-fennel cake the documentation of which will occur eventually (with pictures).
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (bite)
"No need to head to the Farmer's Market! Head to Cub Foods, to fill your basket with fresh produce picked at the peak of the season!" - Pandora ad that just played at me.

I find it very interesting that Cub is trying to lure back the people who shop at farmer's markets. I wonder if the group is actually large enough to hurt their bottom line these days? I was listening to a Splendid Table episode that was discussing the impact of the recession on food purchasing habits, and one of the more interesting bits was that farmer's markets and producers of organic foods have not really been impacted.

I hope it's significant. I hope it's an enduring trend.

This may also say something about Pandora's ability to target demographics based on song taste--seems a little far-fetched, but possible, given how good they are at targeting songs I may like.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (bite)
I had people over for dinner! It was planned in advance, and we used the good tablecloth and candles, and there was wine and everything! Okay, sure, only planned by a day, but still--we'll call it a good start on my (year-old) plan to have people over for dinner regularly. [ profile] teslaaldrich and [ profile] bitwise were lovely guests, and I also now have little plants to find a home for: tomatoes, basil, thai basil, sage, borage, broccoli, and others. I made Bacon, Basil, and Tomato Pasta, although I didn't have much basil and I added stinging nettles, sorrel, misc. greens, and asparagus that had been marinated with lemon, ginger, and mirin. It was pretty good, though I need to remember that *one* dried red pepper is enough when there's already a jalapeno and lots of black pepper involved. Phil made his famous garlic bread. And I made a rhubarb/apple crisp with strawberry ice cream for desert.

Then there was chittery-chat, and powerful head drinks, and all in all, a good time! Let's see--maybe I should have people over the 30th. Who's next?

From the CSA: sorrel, misc. greens, nettles, chives, rhubarb, onions (from *last year*, still).
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
x-post fb/lj--

My current, consistent (okay, consistent-ish--most of the time, but not always) schedule has me at the day job afternoons until 6 PM. This means two major things (in addition to a host of minor things like, "Oh lord, I hope the roomba didn't hurl itself off the stairs while I was gone," and, "I'm so pleased City Center lets people waiting for the bus hover inside by the door and doesn't kick us out into the cold," and, "I have to figure out my optimum schedule again?"):

1. Cooking is a problem. I'm the main cook, I don't get home until 7, which means food wouldn't be ready until 7:30-8:00, and I have a husband who practically self-destructs if he isn't fed immediately upon arriving home. Sometimes he has been cooking, but he's got a really limited repertoire, about where I was at 6 years ago. Sometimes he eats before I even get home, which is great for marital bonding. Sometimes I have been using the slow cooker. But here's the thing. Most of the slow-cooker recipes I have kinda suck. They're from a midwestern cookbook that's all about mixing together stuff in cans, especially canned cream-of-stuff, and the results are not great. So I ask you--what are your favorite slow cooker recipes and/or cookbooks? Bonus points if it's not soup.

2. Mornings are for working on writingy things. Right now, that means lots of editing. I can edit in company just fine. So if anybody'd like to socialize by co-existing in a coffee shop and working on projects, let me know. I'd love to hang out in a coffee shop with friends some morning.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (bite)
I made this using tat soi from our CSA instead of bok choy, and it was pretty good. This is a basic noodle dish. The recipe could work with other veggies pretty well--next time I think I'll try adding slivered carrots or chopped mushrooms. Vegetarian. Could easily be modified to be vegan by using another sweetener in place of the honey. Original recipe had tofu added raw, but I think I'll fry them first next time to add texture. From the CSA: tat soi, onion, garlic

Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (bite)
Spiced Surprise Brownies
I am involved in ongoing experiments in how to cook the fennel in our CSA. Neither Phil nor I are at all fond of black licorice, which is what it tastes like, so this is a challenge. In a fit of brilliant madness, I decided to make fennel brownies. I processed the raw fennel to smithereens and added it to my standard double-chocolate brownies recipe, plus cloves and craisins. Then I was forced to substitute mashed bananas for the eggs in the recipe. The results were promising but not ideal, which is why there's no recipe here! The craisins were a mistake. Next time I'll cut the cloves down to 1/4 tsp. and try adding some other spices--maybe nutmeg, cinnamon, or allspice. Or I'll go crazy and add orange extract too. Still--something one can cook involving fennel that's actually pretty tasty!

Root Vegetable Biscuit Bake
(based on this Epicurious recipe)

Of all the words in a recipe, take it from me, the one you least want to miss is "covered." I did. As a result, this got too browned on top and didn't look very good, though it tasted fine. Also, I had to cook the biscuits separately because I didn't want to put it back in the oven and I was trying to follow the original recipe's instruction to cook the veggies for 50 minutes and then with the biscuits for another 45. This is not actually necessary. On the other hand, at least I'm learning to check how many servings it's supposed to make before I start cooking. I've had a few too many vats of leftovers lately!

The recipe )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (bite)
Loosely based on this Epicurious recipe, though I was probably more in the mood for this after reading [ profile] gorillagirl77's recipe for a similar dish.

Bacon, Basil, and Tomato Pasta )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 13:06 Poem about the Mars Rover Spirit. Tears in my eyes.
  • 14:09 Our CSA is offering 25 lbs of organic tomatoes for $25. Anybody into canning?
  • 15:03 + Strawberry walnut salad with sweet poppy seed dressing manifested in work lunchroom.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (knee x-ray)
My 2-week-post-surgery checkup went well. There are no signs of infection at the incision sites. My range of motion is as good as can be expected at this point--I can't quite straighten it, and while I can barely bend it 90 degrees, it's pretty painful to do so. Sitting at a desk is going to be--interesting. And they're scaling down the painkillers, which I expect to be No Fun. They handed me copies of the x-rays and photographs of the inside of my knee, some truly gory stuff that I'll be posting shortly! The doctor also added leg raises to the knee exercises I'm doing, and believe me when I say they're no picnic. The really happy news is that I no longer need to use a knee brace or crutches; I can wobble around on a cane. I can carry things again! I'm not entirely useless!

In other news, tonight Phil (sort of) rose to the challenge of cooking CSA vegetables while I'm out of commission. Tonight's dinner: buttery dilled green beans. Recipe: Boil large pot of heavily salted water. Wash bag of beans, chop off tips and discard. Boil beans for 6 minutes. Add 1/2 stick butter, 1 small bunch minced dill weed, and salt and pepper to taste. Would probably be better with some lemon juice or bacon.

Oh, and a fudge bar--my favoritest frozen treat in the world.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (bite)
Tamarind-Teriyaki Stir-Fry Sauce
Make with vegetable and protein sources of your choice, but this is a good sauce.

2 c. tamarind drink (we used off-brand tamarind kool-aid)
1/2 c. garlic teriyaki sauce
3 dried red chilies, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cubes bouillon (I used chicken, but it depends on what your protein source is)
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Chopping Block, originally uploaded by aswiebe.

Asparagus, parsnip, carrot, and radish from the CSA.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 13:14 That wacky Bachmann's at it again, this time violating federal law:
  • 13:40 There is apparently a cheese-thief at our CSA drop-off site. Oh the suspense! The drama!
  • 16:18 PDF of advanced-level gmail tips to make your email easier (even I learned something):
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

Purple Kohlrabi, originally uploaded by aswiebe.

Tomorrow, an actual post. Until then, I give you--a purple kohlrabi. They are mighty strange-looking vegetables.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 12:17 Getting "Egyptian Walking Onions" from the CSA today. They may come with an ancient curse, but they're tasty!
  • 18:50 Staring at the Wiscon schedule in panic, trying to figure out what I need to pack.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
CSA Delivery #27 (close-up)
Contents (not all shown here): Baby beets, Carrots, Celeriac, Porcelain garlic, Endive (mistakenly called chicory in the US), Kale, Leeks, Beauty heart radish, Spinach, Butternut squash, Sweet Potatoes. Click through to see what's what.

More photos and what I did with it. )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
10/30/2008 Delivery #26
CSA Delivery
Contents: Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Potatoes, Carrots, Leeks, Green onions, Garlic, Sweet Potatoes, Flowering Kale, Baby Beets, Broccoli, Delicata Squash, Kabocha Squash

What I Did With It )


cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Abra Staffin-Wiebe

March 2019

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