Katie: One of the great things about my new apartment is its proximity to the Westside Community Market. I got a chance to explore this weekly farmers market last Saturday.
Although it can’t be compared to this farmer’s market, I thought it had a great variety and nice atmosphere. The products included everything from produce to plants to baked goods and chocolates. There was even some live music. I also found this neat community garden near the market:
My purchases included:
The last meal I made with beets was this Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup, but this time I wanted to try a more seasonal dish. I based my meal off of this recipe for Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets, Chickpeas, and Orange from Gluten-Free Goddess, with some variations. My salad included a base of greens, topped with quinoa, roasted beets, yellow mango, carrots, chickpeas, and roasted sunflower seeds! It was joined together with a dressing made of balsamic vinagrette, olive oil, soy sauce, and agave syrup. It may have been an unusual salad, but I really liked it! I hope I’ll have time this summer to explore the market more and try other summer salads!
Matthew: Even though the weather has been unusually warm, I’ve been busy making lots of winter foods, especially stews. I love making stews because everything goes in one pot and once you get them simmering, you are practically done. I found this recipe for Irish beef stew and the result was very good. It uses Guinness and red wine, making it extra flavorful. I found some nice grass-fed organic beef and beef stock concentrate at the co-op to use in the stew. The end result was delicious and I could have eaten it every day for weeks. I’ll have to make some more soon!
Matthew: I’ve been accumulating squash from my CSA for the past few weeks and I finally had a break in more perishable vegetables and was able to use some of them. My friend Beth, who is a genius in the kitchen, sent me a recipe for Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with glowing reviews. I instead used acorn squash, but it still turned out great. The recipe also calls for marinara sauce. It would have been great to use homemade sauce, but since I didn’t have any on hand, I found some good quality canned sauce. As Beth said, this is really a great recipe for using up random vegetables. I actually used so many vegetables that they didn’t all fit back in the acorn squash halves, so I had to use another baking dish for the extra. This is definitely a d0-over! Here’s the recipe:
Italian Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Prep: ~ 45 minutes total time, 20 active prep. chop/saute all the veggies while the squash is cooking and it’ll be quick.
– 1 spaghetti squash
– 1/2 T. olive oil
– 1/2 chopped:
(or anything you need to get rid of)
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 cup spinach
– 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
– 1/2 c. bread crumbs or almond meal if you’re going gluten free
– your fav marinara sauce (~ 1 cup)
– 2 oz. shredded mozzarella
– 1 oz. parmesan
Preheat oven to 400F. Halve the squash length-wise and scrape out the seeds. Place the halves of the squash in a large pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. (I roasted my squash which worked fine.)
In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil. Add celery, carrots, peppers, salt and pepper and cook veggies until softened. Add zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and spinach and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Scrape the meat out of the squash and place in a large bowl. Add the sauteed veggies, breadcrumbs, and marinara sauce. Mix everything together, then return the mixture to the empty squash halves. Top with extra marinara, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Bake until the top is bubbling and melted.
Posted in Dinner
Tagged acorn squash, carrots, celery, cheese, garlic, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, onions, spaghetti squash, spinach, squash, tomatoes, zucchini
Katie: If you’re in the mood for something yummy and sweet, but don’t feel like spending a lot of time or heating up the kitchen with baking, these are the perfect treat. They’re simple, easy to make, and delicious! I followed this recipe for No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cake Bites from Loves Veggies and Yoga. You just combine oatmeal, carrots, dates, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a food processor, and then mix that mixture with some reserved oatmeal and raisins. I followed the recipe as written, except for toasting the reserved oats in a pan to enhance their flavor.
These tasted really great and were so simple to make. It’s like eating cookie dough and isn’t even that unhealthy (as long as you don’t eat them all at once!). A good treat that I will definitely make again!
Katie: While we had summer-like weather here last weekend, it has now cooled down to more typical spring weather. So while I had been considering making a recipe for Tequila Lime Shrimp, my thoughts on cooking shifted along with the temperature. Instead, I decided to try some fresh spring rolls. I’m not sure if I’d ever eaten them before, let alone made them, but I was inspired by the descriptions and pictures here and here.
I found rice paper at an Asian grocery store, along with some other interesting and inexpensive ingredients. I made small portions of three different sauces to accompany the spring rolls: an Asian peanut butter sauce, a soy sauce mixture, and a mango sauce. I prepared julliened carrots and sweets potatoes with fresh ginger, but left the rest of the vegetables raw. The process of making the spring rolls was kind of like a science experiment. The rice paper turns soft shortly after contacting water, so we could make them pretty quickly.
These turned out well and were fun to make! Spring rolls are usually described as an appetizer, but they can easily be served as a main course, depending on how many you make. This was a meal that I think would be fun to make with guests too. And since hardly any cooking is involved, they would be good for hot summer days too.
Fresh Spring Rolls (adapted from My New Roots and Green Kitchen Stories)
- rice paper (I found 1 pound for 1.50 Euros at an Asian food store)
- 2 medium carrots, julienned
- 2 small sweet potatoes, julienned
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 squeeze of fresh lemon
- an assortment of fresh vegetables of your choice, diced or julienned (I used a red bell pepper, a red cabbage, bean sprouts, a cucumber, and green onions)
- shrimp (optional; I used some small river crabs)
- sauces of your choice (I substituted peanut butter in this recipe for Almond Butter Dipping Sauce; combined soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds for a second sauce; and used my mango dressing for a third sauce)
- Prepare sauces and set aside.
- Put the olive oil, agave syrup, and ginger in a skillet over medium heat and cook just slightly. Add sweet potatoes and carrots and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix with sesame seeds and lemon juice. Set aside.
- Fill a shallow dish a little larger than the rice paper with warm water. (I used the my frying pan lid.)
- Place one wrap in the water until it becomes soft and pliable (about 3o seconds).
- Remove the wrap carefully and transfer to a clean working surface.
- Fill with vegetables. Fold top, then sides, then bottom to close.
- Top with sauce and enjoy!
Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Lunch
Tagged Asian, bean sprouts, bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, ginger, rice paper, soy sauce, sweet potatoes
Katie: When I saw mangoes featured at the store this week, I grabbed one, but wasn’t sure what I’d do with it. When I came across this recipe for Garbanzo Bean Salad with Mexican Mango Dressing, I was really intrigued. I would have never have thought of blended a mango, mixing it with spices, and using it as a creamy dressing to top a salad. I had to improvise a little, using what I had, but it turned out great! This might be the perfect way to bring a little bit of sunshine into your kitchen, even if the weather outside isn’t very spring-like yet. Here’s my version of the salad:
Chickpea Salad with Mango Dressing (slightly adapted from My New Roots)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cans), drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 carrots
- other vegetables of your choice (e.g. jicama, bean sprouts, other beans)
- optional: salad greens
- 1 ripe mango
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 large green onions, with tops, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the sunflower seeds and roast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Set aside.
- Peel the mango, cut into large chunks, and place in a blender or food processor with all other dressing ingredients. Blend until uniform and creamy. Season with freshly ground black pepper or other spices to taste.
- In a large bowl, pour the dressing over the chickpeas and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad filling.
- Chop the remaining vegetables and add to the salad.
- Serve plain or over salad greens.
- Top with sunflower seeds before serving.
Katie: Along with blooming flowers and budding trees, another sign of spring here in Germany is the scent of grilled meat drifting through the streets. As soon as the temperatures begin to rise, many people are eager to fire up their grills, and Flori was no exception. Since our grocery store now carries ground turkey, I decided to try making turkey burgers. Since I liked the flavors of the meatballs I made, I decided to try to find a burger recipe that also included some good add-ins. I found this recipe for Turkey and Vegetable Burgers from the Recipes for Health column of the New York Times. It was just what I was looking for! I made it as written, which included sautéing onions, bell peppers, grated carrots, and garlic and mixing the vegetable mixture with ground turkey and a little ketchup and barbecue sauce. It was a good combination! Even though I didn’t prepare them enough in advance to chill the patties, they still held together on the grill. I roasted the remaining half of the bell pepper to top some of the burgers. It was a good start to this year’s grilling season!