Archive for May, 2013

Swiss Chard and Black Bean Soft Tacos

May 30, 2013 7:58 pm

Our market visits this week have really reminded me that the smaller markets are their own little community. If you have a chance to stay and chat for a while, you can learn so much! We went to two markets yesterday, Hilldale and Downtown. At Hilldale, we finally got up the nerve to ask what I felt was sort of a “stupid question”, what is kettle corn, really? Is it just corn popped in a kettle? Or is it specifically that salty sweet goodness that I think of when I hear the phrase “kettle corn”? According to our new friend at Chippy’s popcorn, it is the latter! Everything else is just popcorn 🙂 So he tells us this, and then proceeds to tell us all about how his popcorn is made, how typically movie theater popcorn is made, and all about his different varieties (stories which include samples, of course)! I just can’t get over how friendly he was, much like our encounter with the honey lady yesterday. See, small markets have their charm, too!

So, what did we buy? This!

Market bounty!

Market bounty!

After talking to the popcorn guy, of course we had to buy cheddar popcorn! This big bag was $6. We also bought two tomatoes (one regular, one very large blemished one for cooking) for $4, a large cuke for $1, a little more than 3/4 lb of our dearly beloved smoked gouda ($6.25) and a little less than 1/2 lb of gorgonzola ($4.75), and a plate of peanut butter cookies ($3), just for fun!

The un-blemished tomato, cuke, and gorgonzola are going in my salads the rest of this week and the smoked gouda went into a ridiculously yummy gouda-and-ham sammy that Glenn had for lunch. I’d have been jealous if I hadn’t made a gorgonzola dressing for my salad *whew*. Perhaps I’ll get around to posting a picture tomorrow :).

Enough about lunch. Here’s dinner:

Swiss Chard and Black Bean Taco

I know, it doesn’t look like much, and the swiss chard and tomatoes got cooked down so much that they’re hard to see here. Honestly, it wasn’t our favorite meal. Glenn gave it a 6.5 out of 10. Which is basically a “good, but needs work”. The big success here was making my own tortillas (yay!).

Homemade Tortillas
1 c flour (I think you could pretty much use any flour, but I used bread flour bc it was in arm’s reach!)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (needed more salt!)
1 tbsp butter or ghee, cold
1/2 c hot water (added slowly)

Mix the dry ingredients in a large-ish bowl. Then, add the butter/ghee/lard, whatever. Mix it in with your fingers, until sort of crumbly. (Mine wasn’t super crumbly, but maybe could have been better). Then, add your hot (but not boiling) water. Add it slowly! I didn’t use quite 1/2 cup of water. The dough should be soft, not sticky. My neighbor Deep said it should be like playdough, and I agree – a dry-ish playdough. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Then, split the dough into 6 pieces, and roll them out as thin as you can. I tried my best to get to an 8-in round. Heat a non-stick skillet at medium/medium high heat and grease it a little. (I melted a little ghee in mine for the first one, and then didn’t add any more to the pan. I’m not sure it really needed any fat.) When you see little bubbles on top, flip it.

We had a few leftover, so I cut them up and fried them (the triangles in the picture). As delicious as any salty fried dough would be!

Swiss Chard with Black Beans and Tomatoes
I’m not going to give you a recipe for this one, just a summary, since it wasn’t great.
1. I boiled a bit more than 1 c of dried black beans, early in the day. I salted them and stored them in the fridge for later.
2. I diced three cloves of garlic, cut up one big tomato, and de-stemmed and chopped up a bunch of swiss chard.
3. Heated a tsp of olive oil, added a couple shakes of red pepper flakes, and garlic. I sauteed the swiss chard. When it was tender, I added the tomatoes and black beans.
4. Juiced half a lime into it, and added salt, pepper, and chili vinegar to taste!

The original recipe called for pinto beans and adding dots of goat cheese and baking the whole thing. I didn’t find goat cheese at the market, so I just stuffed a tortilla or two with this stuff and a little white rice and some cheddar we had laying around. Not super fancy, but a good use of ingredients, I think.

I wasn’t very exact in the preparation of this recipe, so I don’t have nutritional info for you on this one. But, it was low in fat, high in fiber, and chock full of nutritious chard 🙂

CSA season! Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Pac Choi and Tofu

May 28, 2013 8:52 pm

We got our very first CSA box today, so exciting! Usually we go with a large box, every other week. In anticipation of many market visits, we downsized to the small box, and I was sad to see how small it was…

… until I more closely inspected its bounty!

photo (1)

We got one baby pac choi, a bag of salad mix, green onions, a few ounces of spinach, three little radishes, two small heads of lettuce, two smallish turnips, and several very large leaves of my favorite: rainbow chard! If you look very closely, you’ll also see a jar of yummy honey that we picked up at the Downtown Middleton Farmers’ Market this afternoon (from the nicest lady EVER).

I’d originally planned on making palak paneer (hindi for something like spinach & cheese curry), but there was so much chard and so little spinach. Instead of cooking it all together, I decided to pair the spinach with the baby pac choi and save the chard for later.

And, what did I do with that spinach and pac choi? I picked up some rice noodles from woodman’s, pulled half a pound of tofu out of the freezer, chopped up some green onions and the turnips, and made this —

photo 2

Okay, I’m not that great at food photography, but trust me, it was delicious! I mostly followed Martha Stewart’s recipe for Pork Chops with Bok Choy and Rice Noodle, except with tofu instead of chops, of course! (This Cooking Light recipe is very similar, but I think the extra calories in Martha’s version were probably worth it.) I sauteed the tofu in only about a tablespoon of oil, I threw in the spinach and turnips to make up for the small amount of pac choi in my box, and I used some of clover honey (did you find it in the picture?) instead of sugar. We got 2-3 servings out of this (Glenn ate more than I did, and we had some tofu/sauce left in the pot, but no noodles). Three servings would mean: 384 cals, 12g fat, 60g carbs, 2g fiber, and 8g protein per serving. And it was filling!

Also, I almost forgot to mention – we had garlic from the market AND instead of red pepper flakes, I subbed some chili vinegar from Savory Accents that I got as a housewarming gift from Rachel ages ago (they are also at the capitol market). That’s right, I said housewarming gift. That makes 5 local veggies and 2 local condiments, woohoo! The only ingredient I bought for this (that wasn’t already in my cabinet/freezer) was the noodles, so I count this one as mostly a success on the ingredient front. Next time I’ll do market chicken or pork instead of tofu and then I’ll count it as a 100% success. 🙂

(I asked Glenn to proofread my post and he said it was great, but needed more pig pig. So here. Bonus points if you can find a Tiarazard under all that fluff.)


What’s for lunch?

May 27, 2013 9:08 pm

It’s not all pizzas and salads over here. Though seriously, I could eat pizza and salad every day, always. And actually I’m going to report about salad again, anyways.

Well, I told you what we’re having for dinner these days, so what about lunch?

I’m struggling with how to do lunch in a way that meets my goals. The biggest challenge is Glenn’s lunch. He eats, and loves, a boca chicken wrap for lunch nearly every day. Problem #1 is obviously the boca chicken patty – what the heck do I substitute for that? Problem #2 is the tortilla. Yes, you can find tortillas at the market, but they are much more expensive. Perhaps I will try making them at home. I’ve seen my mom and dad make chapatis a thousand times, perhaps it won’t be so different? (yeah, right. I should have paid attention when I had the chance!)

Back to the point. I’m not doing a great job on lunch, yet.

We’ve got a bag of greens that Glenn picked up ($3 for a generous bag) at the Waunakee market on last Wednesday and the rest of the Murphy’s parmesan going into Glenn’s wrap. When we get to the Wednesday market, maybe we can buy a hunk of yummy smoked gouda. Then, Glenn can enjoy gouda and ham sandwiches with some baked ham I just pulled out of the freezer (that I made for our very late easter egg party, that was fun!), homemade bread, and the greens we’ll get in our CSA box. That’s at least a small step in the right direction!

And tomorrow, I’m having the little bit of asparagus salad we have left, mixed with garbanzo beans (that I boiled myself, for the first time!) atop those greens. I know, leftovers on greens is terribly boring. Let’s all hope that tomorrow’s CSA box, the first of the season, includes a little inspiration!

Margherita Pizza and Asparagus, Parmesan, & Red Onion Salad

May 25, 2013 8:32 pm

This morning, we went to the farm.

We go every year, once a year for about three hours of planting or weeding or hoeing or whatever else needs doing. In return, we build a relationship with our CSA farmer, see where our food comes from, learn more about planting and growing, pet some very sweet farm kitties, and, as an added bonus, get $50 off of the cost of our CSA share. Today, we planted hundreds (!) of tomato and pepper plants (and pet two kitties). It was wonderful.


A morning at two onion! It looks a little wonky because of the panoramic :)

A little less wonderful (for Glenn) was waking up at 7:28am to leave the house at 7:30am to get there on time. It also meant that we missed all of our Saturday markets (boo). Fortunately for my endeavor here, though, I planned ahead (there’s that planning again) and bought a few yummy things at last Thursday’s Fitchburg center market to start my week out right!


We bought a 1 lb bunch of asparagus ($4), a bunch of red onions ($2), one .6 lb tomato ($2.40), and two beautiful fresh mozzarella balls (8oz for $5) from our fav Farmer John.


Throwing in a quarter pound of parmesan from Murphy’s that we bought last Saturday (also half lb for $5) and some homemade pizza dough resulted in this deliciousness:


Margherita Pizza
There are a million “recipes” for margherita pizza out there, probably many much better than mine, but here’s what I did (and it was yummy).

1. I made the pizza dough recipe out of my cuisinart breadmaker booklet. I’ve only ever used that recipe (we’re used to it!) but I bet this would turn out really well.

2. While the pizza dough was going, I made a tomato “sauce” in my food processor with the big ‘ole tomato, a handful of basil from my garden, a couple of garlic cloves, two tablespoons of olive oil and salt & pepper to taste.

3. Dough + tomatoes + mozzarella + 12 mins @ 450 = dinner.

So, I was skeptical about my pureed tomatoes, because it looked like a runny mess. Oh My Goodness was it delicious. I’m telling you, market tomatoes are not the same as “store-bought red things”.


I can make 3 pizzas in total out of 1 dough recipe, 8oz of mozz, and the tomato sauce. For each pizza: 786 cal, 32g fat, 94g carbs, 4g fiber, 33g protein. (I ate about 1/3 of the pizza, with some salad!)

Asparagus, Parmesan, and Red Onion Salad
adapted from Anne Burrell’s Asparagus, Pecorino, and Red Onion Salad.
As is probably apparent, subbed chopped parmesan for grated pecorino. We had pecorino in this surprisingly good Giada salad a few weeks ago. I really liked it, but ended up eating the bulk of it myself and, frankly, I am tired of pecorino.

one pound of asparagus, tough bottom stems removed (if necessary)
those very small red onions, diced
4 oz parmesan, small dice or shaved
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar*
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

First, I sliced the asparagus fairly thinly, then I added the parmesan, red onions, vinegar, and olive oil and stirred. I added salt and pepper to taste. I gave it a couple of hours in the fridge for the vinegar to tenderize the asparagus and tone down a bit.

*The original recipe calls for red wine vinegar. I used balsamic because that’s what I already had and I am trying to limit my trips to the grocery store. But, I bet Anne has a good reason for calling for red wine vinegar. She’s awesome.

With 6 servings: 130 cal, 9g fat, 4g carb, 0g fiber, 9g protein / serving.

That’s dinner for the next three nights until we get our CSA box on Tues and start anew!