I have been getting lots of different options from my CSA lately. I’ve been experimenting with eggplant, reigniting my love of zucchini, and exploring onions and garlic in new ways. The other day I sautéed these items together and added some peach at the end to caramelize and add a sweetness. It did not quite turn out how I had hoped – I think I needed a more salty seasoning salt on the zucchini and eggplant to balance the sweetness of the peaches.
However, one thing I made with another ingredient with which I had not frequently cooked – kale, turned out a little bit better. I am still figuring out kale. It is a tougher green vegetable, but one which can be delicious. I had seen kale chips hitting Pinterest earlier in the year and I decided last week to finally break down and make them. They were good, but I used too much seasoning salt, which I had even been warned about. Maybe using too little seasoning salt on the zucchini is what inspired me to sprinkle too much – who knows.
I used steak shaker, my go-to seasoning, but I think a variety of flavors could enhance these “chips”
4-5 kale leaves
Heat oven to 400. Wash and dry kale leaves. Tear into medium-sized pieces (they shrink like shrinkydinks while baking, so ½ the size of a playing card?) and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to mix and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake 8-13 minutes.
I baked mine a little too long – the edges were brown and tasted burnt. Ideally, you won’t do the same.
The farm has been giving us delicious corn. Lots and lots of delicious corn. Each week I have received 6-8 ears of corn and I am not getting tired of corn, but needing to save some of this goodness for the bleak winter months ahead. With a long hour available, freezing some corn seemed like the perfect thing to take advantage of the days ahead.
After having made some pickles, I went into another church cookbook to find a recipe for freezing corn. It’s not difficult and there are lots of recipes out there, but Bernice Erdahl’s Freezing Corn recipe from the Kongsvinger Kokk Bok, compiled by the American Lutheran Church Women from Kongsvinger Lutheran Church in Donnelly, Minnesota has been calling my name lately. I’ve been reading through this cookbook frequently, inspired by the Scandinavian Heritage recipes from the front of the book, wanting to taste some treats which are reflective of my Norwegian background. I mean, who doesn’t love lefse? Okay, a few people in my family don’t love it, but that’s a whole different post for another time.
Bernice’s recipe is as follows, and I followed it the first time I made it, and used garlic butter for my second batch of frozen corn, so as to have some options:
8 quarts corn (cut from cob)
2 cups water
¼ c canning salt
¾ c sugar
1 stick butter
Cook on top of stove, stirring quite often. Cool completely, put in containers and freeze.
Bernice also noted at the end of her recipe: Very good. I would imagine that later this winter, I will concur with her assessment.
It’s August, which means it is tomato season. Besides zucchinis, tomatoes are coming out our ears here in Iowa. It seems like every day there is a new option for some recipe involving tomatoes to be used. One of these days when I have the right amount of them, I’m going to try making ketchup. For now, however, I am sharing a recipe known as Festive Salad. It’s one of the strange recipes which I would not imagine would taste delicious, but it actually is a great little salad. I would encourage you to try it, if you have the ingredients on hand. This sweet mixture of grapes and tomatoes, without added sugar, is a delicious way to use up the summer vegetables which arrive and get your veggies in! I’m not sure where the original recipe came from. I know I got it from my mom, and I think it was a Weight Watchers recipe once upon a time…
For Christine’s birthday a couple weeks ago, we spent time at the farmer’s market and went out to the lake, and it was great. I’ve already shared that. One of the things I have yet to share is that Christine’s friends are all extraordinary cooks, but even more so, Christine is a gourmet cook herself. On Saturday morning she insisted on cooking in a variety of ways, but one which I am less comfortable with, but hope to emulate her at doing – making food without a recipe. Perhaps because of my efforts at baking, I am often less inclined to use anything other than a recipe because precise measurements are required. But, here we went, making up recipes as we went. And, I knew what I was doing (for the most part). I remembered what needed to be added, and went by taste for different flavor profiles.
While I was working on a cucumber salad and nursing some injuries, Christine was mixing up a delightful Avocado, Corn, and Black Bean Salad. I have forgotten how avocado is a great binding ingredient, in ways that historically mayonnaise or other ingredients would be. I think I tried to catch most of the things she put in the salad, and so here’s what I could see from her work:
Avocado, Corn and Black Bean Salad
1 can corn
1 can black beans
Chop all and mix together delicately, so as to not mash the avocado. Add salt to taste.
Potato Chip Cookie Bars
Some days I feel like this blog has become all about bars. Thus far I’ve featured Chocolate Chip Bars, Raspberry White Chocolate Bars, Rhubarb Bars, O’Henry Bars, Rice Krispy Cereal Bars, Cereal Bars, Lemon Bars, Chocolate Revel Bars, Strawberry Jam Bars, and these are just the highlights. It’s been fun to try all these different bars, share those which are family favorites, recreating what I hope to be comfort food for some of my friends, and bringing in sweet treats for some of the great team members with whom I get to work on a regular basis.
A few weeks ago I brought in Potato Chip Cookie Bars, a nice sweet and salty potato chip bar. I found the recipe in the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Cookbook from the chapter from Milford, Iowa: Court Our Lady of Lasalette 1585. I had an unopened bag of potato chips lying around from one gathering or another and when I saw this recipe, I was intrigued just enough to modify the recipe into bars and bake it for work. Kathryn Woodley submitted this recipe, which I later modified to make it slightly more liquidy and ready to raise.
Potato Chip Cookie Bars
½ lb margarine (2 sticks)
½ c sugar
½ tsp vanilla
½ c chopped nuts
¾ c crushed potato chips
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp milk
Cream sugar and margarine, add vanilla and egg. Stir in nuts and chips. Add flour, milk, and baking soda. Press into a 9×13 pan and bake 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Shake with powdered sugar.
In retrospect, I wish I had chocolate chips on hand to melt down and drizzle over the top over the powdered sugar.
Last weekend when I was away, celebrating my friend Christine’s fabulous birthday, we went to the Omaha farmer’s market where I bought some dill pickle cucumbers! I like pickles and have wanted to try making them for a long time. But this time was my first opportunity to try making them. Looking at a lot of different recipes, I found a few that I put together in different ways.
I bought 25 different cucumbers of a decent size and to get them into the four quart jars I had available, I needed to quarter most of them into spears. I didn’t have quite enough spices to do all four of them, so I tried adding a little bit of lemon zest to one of the jars – I’ll be intrigued to see how they taste. From what I can tell, it takes about 3 weeks to know how they turn out, so they have a chance to brine. I’ll let you know what I think.
There are some recipes which have a history with family. When I was younger and learning to bake, the very first recipe I learned was for chocolate chip bars. It’s a recipe I don’t go back to often enough, but it is tasty and just complicated enough that I need to pay attention when making it. A couple weeks ago I needed to take some bars to work to say thank you to my colleagues for their hard work and efforts, so I looked at the ingredients I had readily accessible. This recipe quickly met the needs for what I could do.
I took the pan to work and gave it to them there, so I didn’t get after photos of the bars, but here’s what they looked like going in:
Chocolate Chip Bars
2 c flour
2 c brown sugar
1/2 c margarine
Mix “A” ingredients and reserve 1 cup. Add to mixture Part B:
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c milk
Mix and pour into greased 9×13 pan.
Add 1 c chocolate chips to reserve cup of “A.” Sprinkle over batter. bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes.