Is there such a thing as too much dill?

13 Dec

If there is, I don’t ever want to find out. Right now I am madly in love with it. When I went to pick up our share from the CSA, I was blown away by the scent of dill coming from the boxes. Incredible. When I got home, I opened the box to find a bundle of dill about the size of the tiny Christmas tree we’d put up in the apartment. I’ve been happily using it every chance I can: creamy potato and dill soup, scrambled tofu with heaps of dill and toast, a dill dressing for last night’s salad, and most deliciously in a dill and lima dip.

Dilled Lima Dip
1 cup of cooked lima beans (the beautiful cream colored ones cooked up from dried beans, not the icky frozen mush ones)
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon of great olive oil (not much to this recipe so use the good stuff. You’re really going to taste it.)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of fresh feathery dill, snipped into tiny shards

Blend the limas, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until they form a smooth paste. Stir in the dill (and an extra splash of olive oil if it’s too stiff). Serve with toasted pita bread sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Garlic Cauliflower Pickles

2 Nov

After nearly a month of scrounging (posts on our freegan experiences to follow), I felt a deep primal need to make things from scratch this weekend. These garlic-y crunchy pickled bits of cauliflower took mere moments to assemble and our fridge is all the happier for having a jar on hand. Certainly not the sexiest of food concepts, but WOW are these good. To quote Frank, “on a scale of 1 to 10, these are 20 billion.”

Garlic Cauliflower Pickles
2 cups of raw cauliflower florets
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of turbinado sugar
1 Tablespoon of salt
4 peeled cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
*Clean 2 quart jar with a very tight lid

Pour the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, garlic, and peppercorns in to the 2 quart jar. Put on the lid (tightly!) and shake vigorously until the brine is combined. Open the jar and add the cauliflower florets. Reseal the jar and shake again. Let sit in the fridge overnight. Let everything marinate for at least 24 hours. The brine will only come about halfway up the jar, but do not stress. Shake the jar from time to time and turn the jar upside down every 12 hours.

I served this alongside black-eyed pea burgers on whole wheat buns. Fabulous dinner out on the deck.

Learning to Be Patient

6 Oct

I’m still getting used to this whole being married thing. In my defense, I really never thought I’d be in this position. Frank clearly won me over to the whole concept, but he’s still got to overcome all the hard-won independence I reveled in for the previous 34 years of my existence.

I bring this up because tonight Frank wanted to cook. I had a frustrating day at work and it was wonderfully sweet that he wanted to do something for me. Where I struggle is this- cooking is what calms me. If I’ve had a crummy day, I really, really want to pulverize some walnuts or chop the hell out of a carrot. It’s therapy. But tonight, I stepped back. Frank had an image in his head as to what dinner should be and as soon as he started, I couldn’t help it. I piped up with suggestions. I was a back-seat chef and it wasn’t pretty. After I went in to too much detail suggesting how the rolls should be toasted, Frank got snippy and I backed down. I apologized and went to sit on the sofa, leaving him to finish.

Frank’s Assembled Dinner (no meddling from B)
Veggie meatballs with lots of red chile flakes
Garlic bread
Dijon mustard (dolloped next to the meatballs)
Dill pickles
Chopped romaine with Cesar dressing

All in all, very tasty and exactly what Frank had envisioned for dinner. Seeing him happy and proud made up for me surrendering control of the kitchen.

Just for tonight, though…

Windy Day Dinner

6 Oct

Fall has definitely hit Miami. After the downpours last week, we spent the day with grey skies, low clouds and oodles of wind gusts. I still find it funny that all of this happens with 70 degree balmy temperatures. Even after all these years, Florida still makes me smile. So even though the temperatures were pleasant, the crazy wind prompted a cozy dinner.

Fusilli with Veggie Sausage for Two
4 oz dried fusilli
1 tsp olive oil
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 head of roasted garlic (squeeze the cloves out of their skin)
pinch of dried oregano
2 veggie sausages, sliced (I used Field Roast Italian Style- a big favorite)
1 Tbs capers
Large handful of shredded fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the fusilli in well salted water according to the package directions (about 8 minutes in my case). Drain when done and put off to the side until the sauce is finished.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over a medium high heat. Add the tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves
and saute for a few minutes. Add the oregano. Then, using an immersion blender, blitz the heck out of the sauce until you have a lovely smooth puree. Add the sausages and simmer on medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken (maybe another five minutes). Add the capers, basil, and salt/pepper as needed. Because the capers are so salty, I don’t tend to add much more salt to the mix. Toss in the drained pasta and mix through to let all the ingredients get to know each other.

Ladle the saucy goodness on to a plate and serve with garlic bread to mop up the goodness. Best enjoyed with a glass of wine and conversation.

Fava Bean and Mint Burgers

1 Oct

Very pleasant day off and a very easy dinner to match.

Fava and Mint Burgers
1 cup of dried fava beans, soaked in water for 24 hours
1 Tbs garlic powder
1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves
1 Tbs olive oil
2 whole wheat hamburger buns
Butter or Earth Balance Spread
Dijon mustard and dill pickles to serve

Combine drained, soaked fava beans with the garlic powder and mint as well as a pinch of salt. Blitz to a fine coarse pulp in a blender or food processor. Add water if needed, fava beans can be pretty darned tough. Once you’ve got a nice pulp, divide in to two large patties. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the patties. Brown until golden on both sides (about 5 minutes each). Place on to a toasted and buttered bun with dijon mustard and dill pickles. Shockingly tasty.

I served these with a nice chopped romaine salad with Alicia Silverstone’s cesar dressing. Yum.

Rainy Day, Domestic Goddess-ness

28 Sep

This is one of those days around the house where I feel all puffed up and proud. We’re gearing up for some mighty rain from a fast approaching tropical depression and it’s been looking pretty bleak outside since lunchtime. What’s a gal to do but feather the nest a bit?

I made a great lunch of gnocchi tossed with kale, beet greens, and toasted walnuts. I made a big vat of soup and my first batch of homemade crackers. For tomorrow’s lunch, I made a spicy salad of roasted poblanos, tepary beans from Rancho Gordo, oregano, and roasted butternut squash. The incredible cesar salad dressing from Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet” also got made. The real highlight though, was a fabulous vegan shepard’s pie perfectly suited for a rainy night at home.

Super Healthy Shepard’s Pie
3 diced potatoes (skins on)
1 Tbs. soymilk
1 tsp Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 8oz package of tempeh
1 finely diced shallot
3 finely diced cloves of garlic
1 diced carrot
1 diced stick of celery
6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 peeled tomatoes, squished
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp soy sauce

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and mash with the soymilk and Earth Balance. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tsp of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the tempeh, shallot, and garlic and let them begin to get golden brown. Add the remaining vegetables and heat through. Add the spices and soy sauce and mix well.

Put the tempeh mix in to an over proof baking dish and cover with a blanket of mashed potato. Scrape the top of the potato with the tines of a fork to create a nice series of ridges. Sprinkle with a bit more Old Bay. Put the baking dish in to a pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake until the potato begins to go brown and crispy (about 30 minutes).

Makes 4 servings though I’m pretty sure there won’t be any leftovers this evening.

Damn Good Sandwich

27 Sep

Hooray for surviving September! I know there’s a few days left in the month, but for me, things are looking up. I’ve spent the past six weeks working like crazy getting programs and artists up and running. We even managed to squeeze in a fair amount of arts advocacy while the County figured out its budget (hooray- we won!). The cold hard reality of all of this has meant a lot of pizza and a lot of Chinese delivery. And while I adore New Canton’s deep fried orange tofu, it’s not doing much towards getting me back on budget or in to any of the size ten dresses lingering in the back of my overstuffed closet.

So tonight, we’re actually hanging out at home. We’ve enjoyed a bottle of cabernet and Frank is enjoying reggae out on the porch. The weather is great and dinner needed to be simple.

Damn Good Sandwich
2 crusty hoagie rolls (preferably fresh from the bakery the way the ones we used were)
Thin slice of sharp cheddar
6 sliced mushrooms
1 tsp soy sauce
2 small roasted poblano peppers
Butter
1 Tbs of mayo
1 tsp capers
Pinch of oregano

Slice the rolls in half and butter them liberally. Put the cheese on one half and toast in a 350 oven until the cheese bubbles and the rolls are getting crunchy.

Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms in a bit more butter and the soy sauce. If they finish before the cheese melts, just let them hang out in the hot pan for a moment.

Once the rolls are ready, assemble the sandwiches. Place one pepper per roll on top of the melted cheese. Scatter the mushrooms over the peppers. Smear the top of the bun with the mayo, oregano, and capers. Put the halves together and dig in.

Serves two hungry wine drinkers. It may not get me any closer to the size 10 dresses, but it made for one heck of a great casual dinner.

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