Monthly Archives: August 2012

Roasted Vegetable and Farro Salad

Mark and I have exciting news… We built a Kegerator! A kegerator is a device that dispenses draft beer in your home. Ours is comprised of a chest freezer that has been set to refrigerator temperatures, with a tap coming out of the top. We also have a CO2 tank that keeps the beer from going flat. It only took a peruse of the internet and a few trips to Lowe’s to get our rig up and running. And let me just say, it was quite the engineering feat… Luckily engineering is in my blood, my dad is an engineer.  Our first keg is Harpoon IPA (one of my favs!) Mark is beyond excited, he has been dreaming of building one for years… and now we have the space. He drank out of a 4oz glass last night just so he could keep using the tap.

Fun Fact: Mark and I met 4 years ago, this weekend, at our freshman orientation at Hobart and William Smith. I also met my best friend from college, Tracy, that same weekend. Little did I know that I was meeting two of the most important people in my life. I’d be lost without them!

 

Tracy and Me, Sept 2008,

Don’t ask what I was wearing, I think I was trying to change out of that dress. We have no normal pictures together…

Mark might be excited about beer, but I have been excited about farro, (I know, I’m weird). Farro is an ancient grain, thought to be the first grain cultivated by humans. It is rustic, hearty and nutty. It looks kind of like a puffy brown rice grain. It’s great because in one serving (1/4 uncooked) there are 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Topped with roasted veggies and some balsamic vinegar, it is delicious and it feels hearty yet light on a summer night.

I used edamame, corn, tomatoes, onion and kale, but you can use whatever veggies you’d like. I found farro in the bulk section at the local co-op (for cheap!)

Roasted Veggie and Farro Salad

1/2 cup of farro

2/3 cup of corn kernels

2/3 cup of deshelled edamame

12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 a medium onion sliced

1 hot cherry pepper (optional. but we have hot peppers growing out of control)

1/2 cup of kale, shredded

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, divided

1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

1 clove of garlic, smashed

Black pepper to taste

3 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, divided

1 tablespoon of olive oil, divided

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Place the edamame, corn and tomatoes and cherry pepper on the baking sheet, top with 1.5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil, Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and black pepper. Toss the veggies around to coat. Place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add in onions and let sauté for 10 minutes, only moving them around occasionally. Back to the farro, once the water is boiling, add in the farro and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Let the farro cook for about 20 minutes, it should still have an al dente bite when done, and there should still be water reaming in the pot. Back to the onions, after 10 minutes, lean back and add in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Do not keep your face over the pan when you do this. Stir it, add some black pepper, and let it cook for another 5ish minutes, until the balsamic vinegar reduces and becomes sticky.

For the kale, I covered mine with a little water and microwaved it for 45 seconds to wilt it. You could steam it if you’d like. Place the kale in the bottom of a large bowl. Top with onions, and roasted veggies (the veggies are done when they are browned a bit on all sides and make sure you try to scrape the reduced balsamic vinegar off the pan and into the bowl). For the cherry pepper, run it under cool water for 30 seconds and remove the skin, it should come off rather easily. Then mince it finely and add it to the bowl. When the farro is done, pour it into a colander, run cool water over it for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process and add it to the bowl. Toss everything around to distribute everything evenly and enjoy

This dish is a good potluck or picnic dish because it can be served warm, cold or room temp, the flavors meld the longer it sits, and it looks pretty fancy.

 

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Adult Beverages-Infused Vodka

This past Saturday, I decided to be green and ride my bike the Shelburne Farmer’s Market (14.3 miles round trip), so I hopped on my trusty Trek mountain bike and headed towards the market. After cresting a big hill, I turned right onto Spear Street and was stopped by a police officer, who was directing traffic for the USA Triathlon National Championships. And just my luck they were all headed in the same direction as me… so I peddled along the opposite shoulder of these athletes, who are the 10% of triathletes in the country. They whizzed past me on bikes that cost more than my car, I did keep pace going up a large hill. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I turned off the course and headed towards the farmers market, where I picked up some eggs, kale, tomatoes and eggplant. On my way back, I was riding in the opposite direction of the last of the bikers, so I offered a few words of encouragement.

Later that day, after hitting up the co-op for more food, my cousin Kevin arrived for a visit. We took him to Duino Duende for dinner and the Three Needs for a few drinks. On Sunday we all hiked Stowe Pinnacle, though it was only a short 3 mile round trip trek, it offered awesome views across the valley to Mount Mansfield and Camels Hump.

Afterwards, we headed to Bolton Potholes, a set of waterfalls that you can jump off of into pools of water below. There is one part where you can jump off a 20 foot cliff  into a 3ft by 3ft pool carved into solid rock by the water fall. We steered clear of that because people have died there. Then we headed back to Burlington and hopped on our bikes and went to Red Rocks Park for some more cliff jumping into Lake Champlain. I also got the chance to test out my “new” bike. It was my mom’s old road bike, that Kevin fixed up for me… I think it’ll be fun to pick up the pace a little bit on the bike path with a vintage road bike. Thanks, Kev!

It was hard to get up and go to work on Monday after such a fun weekend, but it had to be done.

Enough about my weekend and on to the booze! I heard about this listening to the Joy the Baker Podcast at work, and had to try it… I mean com on: Strawberry Infused Vodka! And it’s so easy

750ml of vodka

2 pints of strawberries

1 glass jar, roughly 1 liter

Slice up the strawberries and place them in the jar, top with vodka and cap.

Place the jar in a cool dark place for 3 days, giving it a little shake a few times a day… the strawberries turn white, it’s weird

The strain the vodka through a strainer or coffee filter. You can eat the strawberries, but warning, you will get drunk, they are pretty potent.

We mixed our vodka with some plain seltzer, a splash of limeade and some ice

the color matches the name on the jar…

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Thai Chili and Lemon Grass Soup

Today was employee appreciation day at Green Mountain Coffee, and even though I’ve only been there a little under a month, they still gave me the afternoon off (with pay!). So I took full advantage of the afternoon. I ran some errands and crossed things off my to-do list.

I went for a 20 mile bike ride (the same one as Sundays) and snapped some pics along the way.

I made pizza dough from scratch… and a delicious pizza.

Our pepper plants are loaded with ripe peppers so I decided to use up some of the Thai chilies to make soup the other night. Some of the ingredients sound exotic but you can find them at your local grocery store and they are pretty cheap and totally worth it.

Thai Chili and Lemon Grass Soup

Makes 4 cups of soup

4 cups of water

1 stalk of lemon grass, outer leaves peeled off and cut into 4 inch pieces

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of ginger

1-3 Thai chilies, sliced very finely (adjust to your desired spice levels)

1 teaspoon of oil

2 cups of mushrooms, washed, stems removed and sliced (I used shiitake)

2 teaspoons of chili paste or sriracha

1/2 cup of corn kernels

3/4 cup of mung bean sprouts

2 teaspoons of soy sauce

1/2 a lime, juiced

Place the water, lemon grass and lime leaves in a pot. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5-10 minutes. While the broth boils, add the oil to a small pan, add in the garlic and Thai chilies and sauté for 1 minute, then add in the ginger and sauté for 30 seconds then remove from heat. After 5-10 minutes remove the lemon grass and lime leaves from the broth. Add the garlic, ginger, chilies, mushrooms and sriracha to the broth and bring it back to a boil for 2 minutes. Then add in the corn, mung bean sprouts and soy sauce. Let it boil for another 2 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lime.

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Muffin Tin Omelets

So Mark and I have been obsessed with the Olympics… watching it every chance we can get. I’m sad that it’s ending tonight, can’t it just go on forever. Staring at these uber fit athletes has highlighted that this whole working full time thing has made me feel like I’m starting to get out of shape. I went on a 4.5 mile run yesterday and let’s just say: Asthma 1, Maggie 0 (I think it was due to the humidity and pollen count but it was still really discouraging). So I mixed it up today and went for an almost 20 mile bike ride out to the causeway in Colchester.

So, I go on these breakfast kicks where I eat the same thing every day for months on end. As of late however, I’ve been looking to change it up… I need something to keep me satisfied until lunch and that is easy to make in the morning. Enter make-ahead muffin tin omelets. These single serve “muffins” are customizable and I can make a whole batch on the weekend then pop them in the freezer. The night before I transfer the number of muffins I want to the fridge. Then in the morning, I pop them back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to reheat them.

They’re packed with protein and veggies and they’re portable… perfect for a rushed morning. You can use whatever veggies you’d like…

Muffin Tin Omelets

Makes 12 muffins

½ cup of broccoli

1 teaspoon of oil

¼ cup of chopped onion

¼ cup of chopped red pepper

¼ cup of mushroom

½ cup of spinach, shredded

2.25 cups of eggs or egg substitute (about 9 eggs)

Black pepper

Red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the broccoli by steaming, blanching or microwaving. While the broccoli cooks, heat the oil in a small sauté pan, add in the onion and sauté for 2 minutes then add in the bell pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add in the mushroom and sauté for 2 minutes. The stir in the spinach and let it wilt and remove the pan from the heat and add in the broccoli.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or rub with and oiled paper towel. Spoon 2 tablespoons or so of veggies into the bottom of each cup. Crack eggs into a bowl and beat together, or measure out 2.25 cups of egg substitute. Mix in the pepper and red pepper flakes. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of egg into each cup. Place the muffin tin in the oven for about 20 minutes. I turned the broiler on for the last minute to brown the tops.

You can eat them hot, or you can freeze them and then pull them out and put them in the fridge the night before you eat them. To reheat, stick them in a 350 oven for 5 to 10 minutes, with the broiler on for the last minute.

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Corn and Potato Chowder

The pace of life has picked up a little bit lately, hence the lack of blogging. Here’s a little recap: 2 weeks ago, Friday, I got a call asking if I could start the coming Monday at the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Research and Development Lab as a Test Technician… um yes? They are a temp-t0-hire company, so as of now, until I can prove my skills in the lab and work hard, I’m a “temporary” employee. Which for me, is fine, I am still on my parent’s health care and after 2 months off from work, I’m not really in need of a paid vacation. It’s been going well, I’m enjoying it a lot, but it is a 30 minute commute each way…  which means that 6 am runs are now a part of my life.

On Saturday, to celebrate my employment, we went to Vermont Brewers Fest. You paid 30 dollars, got a souvenir tasting glass and 15 drink tickets. There were 40 craft brewers from Vermont, New England and beyond. It was an awesome time, but let me just say that when you start drinking at 11:30 am and all you’ve had to eat was a banana, you get toasted pretty fast. Needless to say, Mark was more than happy to use up the rest of my beer tickets. Here’s our fav’s of the day:

The next weekend I went home for the weekend for a family reunion, and my mom and I did a 16.5 mile bike ride to meet my friend, Ali, for breakfast at Sunny Side Up Cafe. It was great to hangout with my family for the weekend, especially since my brother is leaving for college in 2 weeks.

On Tuesday, Mark’s Parents came up for dinner and brought us a cooler full of veggies from their garden… it was like a CSA delivery. They brought: yellow squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers. Here’s a look at our veggie packed dinners using their veggies:

And they took us out to the Farm House Tap and Grill for dinner.

Now that I’ve filled you in on the happenings, let me rant about sweet summer corn… can you say Yum?!? We picked up a ton of corn at the farmers market and man oh man was it good. I made a corn and potato chowder after seeing a recipe on Taylor’s Blog.

Corn and Potato Chowder (serves 2 to 3)

1 Hungarian wax pepper

2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 ears of Corn

2 potatoes, cubed, skin still on (you can use russet or red or Yukon)

3 cups of water (plus more, depending on how starch everything is)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Lots of black pepper

15 basil leaves

Place the Hungarian wax pepper under the broiler or over a gas burner and char on all sides until the skin becomes blistered. Place in a zip top bag for a few minutes and then run under cool water, removing the skin with your fingers. Pull out stem and seeds. Slice thinly and set aside. While the pepper roasts, remove the corn from the cob, I found that if you invert a small bowl in a larger bowl and place the corn cob on top of the inverted bowl, using it as a stand, you can use a sharp knife and cut down the sides of the cob, and the kernels will be caught by the big bowl instead of going all over your kitchen. Make sure you keep an eye on the pepper though.

In a large pot, add in one tablespoon of oil; add in the garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add in the corn (reserve one cup of kernels for later), cubed potato and water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

While the soup simmers, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan, add in in the basil leaves and 1/4 of the wax pepper slices. Sauté until the basil is crisp. Scoop them out of the oil, and onto a paper towel. You can save the oil for pizza sauce or spaghetti, as it’s been flavored quite nicely.

Once the potatoes are tender, remove from heat. Add in the red peppers flakes, black pepper, and the remaining Hungarian wax pepper. Let it cool a bit then, using and immersion blender (or regular blender), blend until smooth. Return to the heat, add in the 1 cup of reserved corn kernels and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve up garnished with fried basil leaves and wax peppers slices and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. I served mine with a side salad and a thick slice of homemade beer-rye bread. (Yes that’s right, BEER-RYE bread, it contains one bottle of lager)

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