Saturday, March 19, 2011

Krystal's "Screw you, winter!" dinner

The Reason:
Winter has reigned long enough. With spring starting tomorrow (THANKYOUSWEETLORDJESUS), and an abundance of produce from Full Circle Farm at my disposal, what better reason to throw together a new recipe?

The Menu:
Caribbean Tilapia with Carrots and Onions
Parmesan and Sweet Onion Couscous
Winter Must Die punch

The Ingredients and Directions:
Caribbean Tilapia with Carrots and Onions
1/2 cup - apricot & pineapple preserves
1/2 cup - Johnny's "Jamaican Me Sweet Hot & Crazy" marinade (found at Costco)
1 1/2 cup - tropical fruit juice (I used a guava/pineapple/peach/passion fruit/banana blend)
1/2 cup - Yoshiba's Sweet Teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup - soy sauce
3 tbsp - agave nectar
4 frozen tilapia loins, thawed (also found at Costco)
4 medium-sized carrots, chopped to 1'' pieces
1/2 of a large, Walla Wall onion, also in 1'' pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 thin slices of lemon
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. To make the marinade, combine first six ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk together.
3. Place tilapia, carrots, onions, and garlic in a large, Ziploc freezer bag, and pour marinade over them.
4. Marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
5. Place tilapia in a 13x9''  baking dish, place one slice of lemon on each, and (using a slotted spoon), place marinated vegetables around the fish.
6. Cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, return to oven, and bake an additional 10 minutes until fish is flaky.

Parmesan and Sweet Onion Couscous
2 boxes of Parmesan couscous (found at Safeway or other main grocery stores)
2 1/2 cups of broth (I used 2 cups of vegetable broth and 1/2 cup of chicken broth)
5 tbsp - butter, divided 2:3 (I used a Red Chile, Shallot and Lime compound butter that I had made)
1/2 of a large Walla Walla onion, diced fine
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp - lemon pepper
2 tbsp - salt
3 tbsp - agave nectar
1. Prepare couscous according to package directions, using stock in place of water, and increasing the butter to 2 tbsp.
2. Saute the remaining ingredients in a medium, non-stick skillet until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the couscous, and stir to combine.

Winter Must Die punch
**I only made one glass, but it's amazing... so, multiply the ingredients by however many people you will be serving.**
1/2 of one lemon, plus two slices
4 ice cubes
8 oz - tropical juice blend
8 oz - orange, pineapple, banana juice
1. Place two ice cubes in the bottom of a tall glass, then the two slices of lemon, then the remaining two ice cubes.
2. Squeeze the 1/2 of one lemon into the glass, and add the rind to the glass as well.
3. Add the tropical fruit juice blend.
4. Add the orange/pineapple/banana juice.
5. Stir, add straw, sip, and shake your fist at winter.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Too Busy to Shop?

Yes... I've been a bad, bad blogging foodie/mommy/wife/worker/student/cook/daughter-in-law/friend... it's been THREE MONTHS since my last post!

I am... ashamed.

But I'm back on the wagon!

Today, I was reading a blog entry by the insanely talented crab & bee on their CSA delivery. Ok, so it's more like a few words and a couple of pictures... but the produce in those pictures? Fan-tab-u-lous. My fingers started twitching as I imagined the fun I would have at looking up recipes to try out on my poor, unsuspecting family.

What is a CSA?
'CSA' stands for "Community Supported Agriculture", and is a way to not only provide a steady supply of  local, entirely seasonal produce to your family, but to support your local farmers.
Two Birds? Meet my friend, One Stone.

How do you get the goods?
In the case of the farm I'm buying through - Full Circle Farms (Carnation, WA) - you have the option of scheduling a weekly/biweekly home delivery, or picking up from a specified location near you. Typically, it costs a little less to go the pick-up route but, for convenience sake (HEY... I'm 7 months pregnant with Boy #2, okay??), I'm going with the home delivery.

What ARE the goods?
Depending on the farm, you can get a wide variety of seasonal produce (veggies, fruit, and herbs), as well as some 'extras'; things like eggs, milk, and (my husband's favorite) freshly slaughtered animal (meat, people). Need an example of what is available? Here you go...:

 Beans (Dry)            
 Beans (Green)            
 Bok Choy            
 Braising Mix            
 Brussels Sprouts            
 Chards (Swiss)            
 (Escarole and Frisee)
 Collard Greens            
 Dandelion Greens            
 (Arugula and Mizuna)
 Lettuce, Head            
 Lettuce, Baby Heads            
 Mustard Greens            
 Salad Mix            
 Summer Squash            
 Purple-Top Turnips            
 Winter Squash            

Not bad, huh?

Why go the CSA-route?
Ever since my husband and I participated in our first crop-share - Whistling Train Farms (Kent, WA) - this last September to December, I've been looking for more opportunities to cook for my family. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
Monday: Dinner
Tuesday: Dinner
Wednesday: Dinner... you get the point.
The issue isn't what meal to make, but what ingredients to use. I am still determined to only use seasonal vegetables and fruits, unless they're frozen - some of the frozen produce out there has as many, if not MORE, nutrients in it than their fresh cousins in the produce aisle. In the two months since our winter farm share ended, I've found myself growing a taaaaaaad apathetic when it comes to our evening meal. By knowing that you've paid (or are currently paying) for produce for a set amount of time (average is about 10 weeks), it puts more pressure to actually USE what you're paying for. Not only that, but supporting the local farmers of your community seems like something that would earn you some pretty hefty karma points...