Yesterday, for the first time, I tried my hand at canning. Tomato sauce, to be specific. I purchased a large amount of organic heirloom tomatoes from a guy who had somehow decided that he needed to plant 40 tomato plants in his backyard this summer. Tomato overload for him=lucky day for me! He gave me a very good price for a beautiful harvest of tomatoes (more on this in a future post). Suffice to say, I was exhausted last night and definitely not in the mood to cook more. So I had Trevor grill some steaks from Prather Ranch (grass-fed beef purchased from the Campbell Farmer’s Market), and I sliced up & sauteed some Cocozelle Squash, which were purchased, along with the tomatoes, from my newest overzealous gardening friend. The beef was a delicious treat, and exactly what we both needed after a hard morning workout for Trevor and a kitchen “workout” for me. The squash, though, was my favorite. I was unfamiliar with this type of squash and O.M.G. it was so scrumptious! I could eat it everyday. For the rest of my life. I’m not sure Trevor would be quite so enthusiastic about it (he doesn’t usually get as excited about vegetables as I do), but lucky for him they’re surely only ridiculously delicious at the peak of their freshness- in the summertime. This brings me to my locavore thought of the day- If you eat what’s in season, you’ll never get bored with any one fruit or vegetable in particular. You might tire of zucchini at the end of a particularly healthy summer harvest, but after abstaining from it for 8+ long months, you will be more than ready to start zucchini overload all over again. So go enjoy the last few weeks of summer produce! Soon I’ll be writing about winter squash, potatoes, kale, beets, spinach and all my other favorite fall produce.
Picked up the CSA veggies today and we got this HUGE head of cabbage. Actually, looking at this again I don’t feel that the picture does it justice. But really, it’s big. And heavy. And chock-full of vitamin C. I’m not sure yet what this cabbage will end up in, but I’m sure it’ll be tasty. It might not even be in a fraises et tartines creation, since we are now splitting the CSA box with a friend, but nonetheless I’m sure it’ll be tasty (unlike many people, I’m actually a cabbage fan).
Up next…what do you do when life gives you 17 lbs of apples…?
This simple summer salad was inspired by the bounty of our CSA and the farmer’s market. Once again, summer has supplied us with amazingly fresh and flavorful food. When you have such good ingredients, you don’t have to do much (or anything) to them to make them taste good. This salad was nothing to put together, but Trevor and I absolutely enjoyed it to the last bite. You can follow my recipe, or head out to the farmer’s market this morning and see what inspires you! Let me know what you come up with!
Summer Beet, Heirloom Tomato, Goat Cheese Salad
4 small beets
1 medium heirloom tomato
4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 oz soft goat cheese
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
a few splashes of walnut vinegar
salt/pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place beets in an oven-safe heavy bottom pot (like a dutch oven, or roasting pan with a lid). Lightly coat the beets in olive oil. Cook beets for about 40-50 minutes, until you can easily stick the tip of a sharp knife in them.
- As soon as you can handle them, peel the beets. One trick I learned from my mom for peeling beets is to use a dry paper towel to push the beet peel off. It’s surprising, but really works and is much easier and faster than peeling them with a knife!
- Cut the beets into thin slices. While they are still warm, cover them with red wine vinegar. While the beets soak in some vinegar, prepare the other ingredients.
- Divide spinach onto 2 plates. Slice goat cheese into “coins” (as best you can, perfection is not essential here). Cut the tomato into wedges.
- Arrange the beets on the spinach, top with goat cheese and tomatoes. Drizzle with walnut oil and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.
I discovered bean pie and carrot pie for the first time at the San Pedro Square Farmer’s market. Generally when I shop at the farmer’s market, I like to stick to the basics- veggies, fruits, eggs & sometimes meat. The cookies, bread, homemade tamales can definitely be enticing, but the high price tag usually deters me from making the purchase ($7.00 for a small bag of biscotti?? I can make that at home!). Plus, those items are usually not the healthiest, so I try to avoid them. Enter: free samples. One fine morning I was minding my own business, about to walk home from San Pedro Square, and a nice gentleman offers me a taste of bean pie. Hmm…I think to myself, bean pie eh? Unsure about this combination, but never one to turn down a new and interesting food, I accepted. The bite reminded me of a smoother, slightly more dense version of pumpkin pie. Next I tried the carrot pie, and found that it was even more like pumpkin pie than the bean pie…only slightly more…carroty? All in all, delicious. I decided I would break my “rule” and bring home some pie. And the consensus at home was positive as well. Give this pie a try (hey, that’s a good little jingle, maybe I should go into marketing…).
If you can’t get to the San Pedro Square Farmer’s market on Fridays between 10am and 2pm, you can get this pie at Alyis N’ Rose Cafe in Santa Clara, CA. If you need any more convincing, check out their great reviews on yelp!
I haven’t been the best lately about photographing and posting our veggies from Two Smalls Farms each week. Last week was a beautiful box, so I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots of our loot. Here it is! …including the huge red cabbage that I finally finished today! When my co-workers saw my lunch yesterday and today I definitely got a few “Wow…red cabbage AGAIN??” Good thing I love it!
A few weeks ago, we decided to try out a new CSA, after a recommendation from Kitchen Gadget Girl. Her photo of purple cauliflower pushed me over the edge, and I decided it was time to try CSAs again. We stopped using Eating with the Seasons earlier this year, because there wasn’t enough variety of produce, and the quality of the produce was a bit unpredictable. We’re only on week 2 with Two Small Farms, but so far, we’re extremely satisfied. The value is phenomenal ($22/week)- great quality, LOTS of produce, plus they include one or two herbs each week. We’re doing a 4-week trial right now, and honestly, I’m not sure if we’ll continue just because we can’t keep up with all the produce. But I’m definitely a satisfied customer.
Here is what came in the box last week:
And here is what we got this week:
I’ll keep you updated on whether we end up sticking with it. It’s a wonderful program, I just can’t keep it up if food is going to go to waste.
Here I am, back in San Jose, after a wonderful 3 1/2 week trip to Paris, Barcelona and Marseille. Everything about the trip was lovely, and I can’t wait to go back. At the same time, though, it’s nice to be home. My husband, Trevor, had to leave a week early to get back to work, and it’s definitely good to see him again. During the week he was gone, I spent time with my parents in the south of France and in Paris. We had a great time together (and enjoyed several amazing meals, which I will have to write about later)! After 4 years of marriage, it’s rare to spend such concentrated one-on-one time with my parents, and it was good to catch up.
On the agenda for fraises et tartines in the near future: Did I complete each item from my top 10 list? ; Barcelona restaurant reviews; Paris restaurant reviews; Summertime Jam-Making; and other assorted seasonal recipes. I’ll also be working on creating a website for fraises et tartines with its own domain name. I’m hoping there’s a way to use Mobile Me with a non-mac domain name. Anyone who can help me out with that one?
And now for the bruschetta burgers. This one is adapted from our go-to burger cookbook- Build a Better Burger. I have to say, this cookbook has not failed us yet. We love good burgers, especially with our delicious grassfed beef from Paicines Ranch, and it’s fun to experiment with some pretty creative recipes. As usual, I didn’t follow the recipe to a T, so here is the recipe I ended up making.
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Italian parsely, finely chopped
3 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup loosely packed crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons Italian parsely, finely chopped
3 tablespoons shallot, chopped
1 pound ground grassfed beef
4 slices Gouda cheese
1/2 loaf Italian bread, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing on bread
– Prepare the grill to medium high heat
– Combine all ingredients for tomato topping in a medium bowl and mix well. Set aside.
– In a separate bowl, combine Gorgonzola cheese, shallots and parsely. Then add ground beef and mix by hand. Be careful not to overmix. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal portions and flatten into patties.
– Place patties on the grill, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the bruschetta slices (brushed with extra virgin olive oil) to the outside edges of the grill to toast them. Flip the patties and cook them for 4 minutes. Put a slice of gouda on each patty and allow to melt for 1-4 minutes. Remove the bruschetta slices and patties from the grill.
– To assemble the bruschetta burgers, place a patty on top of a slice of bruschetta and top with the tomato topping. We had these open-faced, and ended up eating them with a fork and knife because they were quite messy…but delicious!