Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Head of Cabbage + Bacon = The Way Cabbage Should Be Eaten

So when the CSA gives you a head of cabbage.... 1 week ago, it is well past time to make room for a new crop of veggies.  And that cabbage is looking at you, every time you open the refrigerator door. And CSA day is upon you again, what's a girl to do?  I am too stubborn to chuck it, so I will cook it in bacon.  And I may forever cook cabbage in bacon.

And if I am going to cook in bacon, I might as well go to the fancy pants butcher and acquire fancy pants bacon.  This was my first trip there, to any butcher actually, but certainly not my last.

Inspired by a few Irish recipes I saw....

1 head of cabbage
4 slices of delicious fancy pants bacon
1 tsp nutmeg; salt and pepper


1.  Roughly chop cabbage, discarding core.
2.  Cook bacon in a dutch oven or skillet, on medium heat, until crisped to desired consistency.
3.  Remove bacon.  (Reserve some bacon grease in a small mason jar for a rainy day.)
4.  Stand back.  Add cabbage into pot.  Stir to coat all of the cabbage in bacon renderings.  Put a lid on loosely.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  I added 1/2 cup of water to steam/boil the cabbage faster.
5.  Add nutmeg and stir.  Salt and pepper to taste.
6.  Chop bacon and add to cabbage.
7.  Eat up!

Loose Smashed Cauliflower / Thick Cauliflower Soup

So much cauliflower..
Last week's CSA Day... My favorite day of the week.  Busy running around and not getting to dinner until 8, but I wanted to make a dent in the bounty of produce.  So, I concocted this mess.  Just a matter of perspective whether you want to call it a thick soup or loose smashed mock-potatoes.  Either way a bowl and a spoon help the situation.    

Loose Smashed Cauliflower / Thick Cauliflower Soup

Post pilates dinner: Punkin Beer;
Overcooked crock apples;
Smashed Cauliflower..
1 and a half heads of cauliflower
The immersian blender fixes
1 leek
1 C chicken broth
2 C water (In retrospect - use less water if you want it thicker and more like mashed potatoes.)
1/4 C parm
1/2 C 2% milk
2 T garlic powder
1 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Reduced shredded cheddar blend

Break up cauliflower.  Slice leek.  Bring broth and water to a boil with veggies.  Simmer.  15-20 minutes until easily breaks apart with a wooden spoon.  Stir a few times during that time to make sure all parts get submerged at some point.  Add a healthy amount of garlic powder towards end.  If I'd had garlic cloves I would have added that from the beginning.

When cauliflower is soft, remove from heat.  Add parm, milk, and olive oil.  Add salt and pepper.  Whip out the immersian blender.  Immerse and blend to desired consistency.  Top with shredded cheddar.  Enjoy!  (I enjoyed this later in the week mixed with cheese grits and some crawfish tail meat.... it's quite versatile..)
Nom nom.  Kind of a grits

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reminiscing About Honey Lemon Lavender Fro Yo & Lavender Farm Visits

An overdo funny story.

I have many awesome friends.  But there is one who is as nutty as I am about playing in the kitchen and we buy eachother epic birthday presents.  She changed my life with the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid.  In anticipation this present, back in May, I trolled around online to purchase culinary grade lavender for my frozen yogurt experiments.  I settle on some from Amazon.com that comes from Pelindaba Lavender Farm (none the wiser that I would visit the farm months later.)

Beach week commences in May with a house full of friends in the Outer Banks.  The perfect opportunity to christen the ice cream attachment.  (Yes, a Kitchen Aid is totally portable... So is a bicycle... whatever.)  No need to serve it up all pretty at the beach, just a pile of spoons during a game night and a container of fresh Honey Lemon Lavender Fro Yo.  It is a winner.  I promise.

Honey Lemon Lavender Fro Yo
1 quart vanilla non fat greek yogurt

Juice of 2 lemons and their zest
1 T dried lavender
1/2 C half and half or whole milk or fat free half and half
1/3 C honey

1. Bring half and half to boil.  Remove from heat.  Add dried lavendar.  Let sit for 30 min - 1 hour. 
2. In large bowl mix everything else. 

3. Strain lavender and add to mixture.  I left some lavender in though, it looks neat.
4. Follow manufacturer's directions for using ice cream maker. 
5.  You could serve it nice and pretty.  Or you could give everyone a spoon.  Your choice. 

Now for the funny part.  A solid 3 months after this wildly successful fro yo experiment, I am on a 4 day San Juan Bike Tour with my Mom, and on Day 4, there is a visit to...... Pelindaba Lavender Farm!  As our guides were talking about stopping at Pelindaba, I kept having a weird feeling, thinking that it sounded familiar, but could not figure out why.  When I set foot in the gift shop, I spied with my little eye - the exact same tin cans of culinary grade lavender for sale!  I found this to be eerily serendipitous and super weird and super awesome.  But mainly super relaxing from the scent and sights of lavender and super delicious.