Potatoes, Salad Mix, Peppers, Garlic, and of course –  Beets!

Did you know?
Lots of groups like to highlight the best things to buy organically – as in the foods that are treated the most heavily with pesticides. I like to check on the “Dirty Dozen”, which I have listed below for 2012.  Click here for the full list of heavily treated crops.

These are ordered with #1 being the absolute worst. Hence, why I get peppers, lettuce and potatoes as much as possible in our CSA!

1.Apples
2. Celery
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4.Peaches
5. Strawberries
6. Nectarines – Imported
7. Grapes
8. Spinach
9. Lettuce
10. Cucumbers
11.Blueberries – domestic
12.Potatoes

Aye Chihuahua Mexican Bake

Called “Aye Chihuahua” because if you use enough hot peppers it will get your brow sweating and your sinuses cleared. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” says Plato, and he is right. Tons of hot peppers, garlic and tomatoes necessitate a delicious mouth fiesta.

Ingredients

Stuffing
1 pound extra lean ground beef (grass-fed and local if you can)
1 small local, organic sweet onion – chopped
3-5 local, organic garlic scapes – chopped
1 can organic red beans
1 can organic black beans
1 large local, organic yellow carrot – sliced (but if I do this again, I will shred it)
1 cup local, organic corn
1-3 local, organic hot peppers (depends on how much heat you like – we like a lot! )
2 cups of shredded reduced fat cheese (We used Monterey Jack)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 flour tortillas

Topping
1 pint local, organic cherry tomatoes
a handful of fresh, local cilantro (OK, so admittedly I didn’t have this and copped out with 4 Tbsp dry, organic cilantro)
2 heaping Tbsp local, organic garlic – chopped
a pinch of sea salt
Organic Blue Cheese dressing, steak sauce or ranch (100% optional)

1.) Preheat your oven to 350. Brown your ground beef and onions in a pan on medium heat. In another saute pan, combine your beans and veggies with some oil, and saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
2.) Once everything is cooked, you can start rolling your wraps. I drain the burger grease, and then combine everything in my large saute pan that the burger cooked in. I put a sprinkle of cheese into the tortilla, scoop a spatula full of the innards into it, and then roll it up to be skinny and tight. Place in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Divide the contents into 8 tortillas (there are 9 in mine, since we had a rogue extra in the fridge).
4.) Once all are rolled up, you can start your topping. In a side dish hand squash your tomatoes. This is my favorite thing about tomatoes. (If you have never crushed one with your bare hands, take a moment to feel like the Hulk and mush the crap out of it. I was once told to rip pages out of a phone book when you are mad – like a kinkajou I suppose. Forget that. I squash maters and cry “Hulk Smash”.) Add your cilantro, salt and garlic. Stir thoroughly.
5.) When your topping is ready, cover your tortillas with it. Cover the whole shebang with foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with sauce if you like. I had one plain, and one with salsa (both were great), and then Eric introduced me to blue cheese and steak sauce on a bite, which was pretty much a little bastardized gift of Mex-American heaven.

Warning: They are addictive and filling. Get ready for a food coma and siesta afterwards!

The Fine Art of the Menu

My perception of home cooking has changed a lot since I was a child. When I hear the term “home cooking”, I still get the instant flash of a Donna Reed type in a red and white checkered apron over a crinoline skirt, pearls reflecting soft dining room light as she serves her perfectly cooked roast with a sparkly *ting* on her toothy smile.

If you asked that woman on a Sunday what she was making for dinner the next Thursday, she would likely have an answer. These women still exist, they are my fiance’s mother – who would know how to answer that question, and does serve dinner with a smile (just in modern clothes and less sexism swirling in the air) nightly.

My generation, however, is more non-committal, more flexible and spontaneous. If you ask us what is for dinner on Thursday we probably have no idea. Or a generic response like “something good”. We are the quick fix society that our parents and grandparents have ushered us into with processed fast foods – starting with the TV dinner. We are the end of the red checkered apron string.

In an effort to modernize the theory of planing your meals for the week, I present a fun and more accommodating option for the modern society person who wants to both save time and create tasty meals with produce/be a part of a CSA/try new things. Make a weekly or bi weekly menu. Sit down on the day you get your CSA/visit your local market, and let your imagination go nuts with the bounties of your harvest.

Type it up and print it out, or write in on the note pad on the fridge. My menus are composed of the same categories every time: Breakfast, Lunch, Meat, Vegetarian, From the Sea and Sides. I keep a running word document, so that the standards always remain (red beans and rice, vegetarian burritos, omelets, pesto etc.) on the list, and I just update the things I don’t replenish or replace. I print bi-weekly and just cross things out as they become non-options. Trouble with ideas? Google your ingredients and get inspired. Make 3 different recipes for the salmon you have so that when you look at your menu, you get the fun of choosing like you would at a restaurant. It allows you preparedness with flexibility – a modern touch for the non-committal or spontaneous chef.

My fiance will tell you he is spoiled for this, which maybe he is, but I see it is a practical way to know what you are eating for the week. I come home from work, I don’t feel like thinking about cooking – I just want to cook. I pass the menu off, he narrows to the things that sound good, and boom I am in the kitchen and ready to go – a.k.a. Kelyn’s fast food. No time squandered on a week night, decision made, tasty home cooked food on the table with speed – hold the crinoline and pearls.

 

 

 

 

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