Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mini Crustless Quiches

These make a great brunch dish.  One recipe fills a 12-cup muffin tin.

4 backyard chicken eggs
1 cup goat's milk from my friend
a few goodly pinches of sea salt
a few cranks of fresh ground black pepper

veggies and/or cheese of your choice, such as:
  • 1 ear corn, 1 medium tomato, 1/2 onion, 1 small summer squash, a handful of chopped cilantro & 4 oz shredded jack cheese
  • 1 julienned small leek, 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms, a handful of snipped fresh chive & 3 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • a small bunch of greens (chard, kale, spinach...) cut into ribbons and a handful of fresh chopped parsley
Saute your veggies (except for tomatoes, corn or herbs) and set aside (this can be done the day before).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sea salt and pepper and set aside.

Butter muffin tins very well.  To each cup, add a spoonful of veggies, a bit of grated or crumbled cheese, and/or fresh chopped herbs.  Pour egg mixture to fill each cup almost but not quite full.  Bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 40 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and run a knife around the edges before removing from the muffin tins.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wraps for a Birthday

I was very happy to help with my niece's b-day bash, especially since I got to make some favorites with my sister from the cafe we used to have...

Thai Peanut Wrap
whole wheat lavash (available at OB People's)
1 or more leaves of lettuce, mustard greens, bok choy, or greens of your choice
handful shredded carrot
4 slices cucumber and/or a few sugar snap peas
1/4 - 1/2 avocado, sliced
layer of sunflower sprouts from Sungrown or Suzie's Farm
thick layer peanut sauce
2 springs cilantro
1 Tbsp green onion, thinly sliced on a diagonal
several mint leaves

Layer ingredients along the short edge of the wrap, roll it up and cut in half on a diagonal.

Hummus Wrap
whole wheat lavash
1/3 cup cilantro hummus
thin drizzle lemon balsamic vinaigrette
light sprinkling za'atar
handful shredded carrot
4 slices cucumber
3 slices tomato (or light layer sun dried tomato from Terra Bella or Sage Mountain Farms, depending on the season)
a few thin slices of red onion
1 large romaine leaf, break in half, or greens of your choice

Layer ingredients along the short edge of the wrap, roll it up and cut in half on a diagonal.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

LOL! Marmalade

In San Diego, loquats are ubiquitous and largely ignored, even when heavy with their delectable, unique fruits.  I grew up eating them off my English immigrant grandma's and my Mexican-American great-grandma's trees.  Each spring I was treated to their yellow appearance on the branches and would wait with joy for them to turn slightly more orange so I could seek out the perfectly ripe specimen.  I have trees of my own now but while every where else in SD the fruits are abundant, this is the second year that mine haven't beared at all!  I'll spend some time trying to remedy this for next year but in the meantime, I have friends with a plethora of extra fruit.  So this marmalade is courtesy of the Coopers:

Loquat Orange Lime Marmalade
I like making marmalade because it produces it's own pectin; I don't have to add extra, non-organic ingredients.  That an organic pectin is not available is shocking to me. And I like cutting the marmalade with another fruit (I've also made a strawberry- and a mulberry-meyer lemon variety!) because that helps temper the sweetness of all the added sugar and the stiffness of the pectin.

4 cups loquat (after being peeled, seeded, membranes removed) from the Coopers
2 pounds (about 8 small) cara cara oranges from Smit Farms at the Little Italy farmers market
2 pounds (about 3 large) navel oranges from Solidarity Farm
4 limes from the Coopers
5 1/3 cups local spring water
4 cups sugar (I like organic evaporated cane)

Prep the loquats: I had a ton of fruit so I peeled them after blanching using this method.  Then I removed the seeds and the stringy membranes around the seeds by hand.  (You could also freeze the fruit at this point to use in other future recipes.)

Scrub the citrus fruit clean. I do not use soap (yuck); just rubbing and water.

Cut oranges in half and juice (you need 2 2/3 cups of juice), saving all the seeds & membranes in a muslin bag or cheesecloth (cuz we're making our own pectin!).  Scrape the white pith (and save in the bag) from the oranges (this is the the most time consuming active part of this recipe).  Julienne the peels.

Cut the limes in 8ths, lengthwise.  Remove seeds and membranes and add them to the bag.  Slice the lime sections into thin triangles.

Put the juice, peels, lime triangles, water & muslin bag (closed tight, let the string hang over the edge but don't let it catch on fire) in a medium/large-ish, heavy bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil and boil on medium heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so the fruit and bag doesn't stick to the bottom and burn.

Remove from heat.  Transfer bag to a bowl and allow to cool.  Measure the marmalade mixture and for every cup, add a cup of sugar.  When the bag is cool enough to handle, squeeze the pectin juices into the marmalade mix (and then compost the bag contents).

Heat the marmalade back up to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Secure a candy thermometer in your mixture, making sure it does not touch the pot.  You want to get the temp up to 220-222 degrees so it will jell (this step also takes awhile).  Then stir in your loquats, return to a boil, and remove from heat.

Fill sterilized jars (that you've been keeping in hot water) leaving 1/2 inch head room, scrape down side to remove any air bubbles, clean head space & outer threads with a clean, damp cloth, add lids & rings (that you've been keeping in hot water), not super tight, and process in water bath covering the topd of the cans by an inch of water just below a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the water bath and let sit, undisturbed overnight.  Next morning, check to make sure they've sealed and tighten the rings.

Makes about 10 1/2 cups.

There are many resources for more complete instructions on jamming and canning.  Check out your local library, co-op, or homesteading groups.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Thai Peanut Pasta Salad

I'll be taking this big bowlful to a potluck tonight...

1 pound whole wheat penne, cooked in salted water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 small head bok choy or other greens from Solidarity Farm, sliced into ribbons
1/2 pound carrots from JR Organics Farm, julienned
1/2 pound sugar snap peas from Sage Mountain Farm, chopped
a handful of sunflower sprouts from Suzie's Farm
2 green onions from Schaner Farm, sliced thin
a handful of fresh cilantro from Solidarity Farm, chopped
a handful of fresh mint leaves from Honeymoon Ranch, chopped

Cook and drain the pasta, saving some of the water for the sauce.  Toss the hot pasta with the sesame oil to prevent from sticking and allow to cool.  Prep all other ingredients, include the sauce below, and toss to combine. Garnish with chopped peanuts and nasturtium blossoms, which are just starting to bloom in my yard.

Thai Peanut Sauce (most ingredients from OB People's)
3 tablespoons namu soyu (soy sauce)
3 tablespoons fresh juice from limes from a friend
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons agave
3 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger (dry measure)
4 garlic cloves from Schaner Farm, peeled
rounded 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons hot pasta water
3/4 cup peanut butter from the bulk section, measured by displacement of the liquid

Blend with immersion blender until smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.