Thursday, June 25, 2009

CSA week #3

I know I JUST posted about CSA #2 but that's because I'm horribly behind on my blog. I mean I catered a dinner for 5 last week and I didn't even post about it - sometimes I really stink at this! Anyway, for Greensgrow CSA #3 we got these goods:

Cherries - Lancaster County, PA
Baby Spinach - Graiff Farms, Newfield, NJ (Actually Ron picked this one up and I don't remember seeing spinach in our bag of booty - hmm?)
Kale - Flaim Farms, Vineland, NJ
Zucchini - Lancaster County, PA
Carrots - Flaim Farms, Vineland, NJ
Turnips - Lancaster County, PA
Cheese - Telford Tomme - Hendricks Farms, Lancaster, PA
Dairy Option - choose one: 1 dozen Free-Range Eggs, 2 Pequea Valley Yogurts, 1/2 Gallon Hormone-free Milk, or 1/2 lb. Amish-style Butter (we got milk this time around)
Meat Shares - Fennel OR Rosemary Sausage - Meadow Run Farms, Lititz, PA

We grilled up some of the zucchini as a side with bison burgers that I had in the freezer left over from CSA #1.

I roasted the carrot and turnips in some olive oil, salt and pepper and put them on top of some lentils. I cook the lentils in salty water until they're tender then toss them with a simple white wine mustard sauce. Make the sauce by just sauteing some minced onion and garlic, splashing in some white wine and adding a tablespoon or so of dijon mustard. To top it off I added an over easy egg.

The cherries were a little bit soft when we got them. I'm not a big fan of just eating them straight up when they're soft so I pitted them (a pain in the butt without a pitter!) and made them into this sorbet:

I pureed the cherries (I used the cherries from the CSA and a bag of frozen ones I had sitting in my freezer) with the juice of a lime and about 3 tablespoons of sugar. The mixture went into my ice cream maker with a tablespoon or so of vodka to keep it from freezing too hard. I love sorbet in the summer - when your fruit is at the peak of freshness you hardly have to add any sugar at all so its boot camp friendly!

I have lots of vegetables starting to wilt in my fridge so I have to finish up these CSA goodies soon! I think I see zucchini bread in my future...

Block Party!

We had a pretty kick ass block part last weekend. Our block was under construction all last summer so this is our first block party in a couple of years and I forgot how great they are. It's a good time to get to know new neighbors and get reacquainted with the old ones - mostly by playing corn hole, washers and drinking games!

We did the standard hots dogs and burgers. Ron grilled a whole chicken that was SO good and I made some veggie burgers and lots of side salads and desserts.

Mediterranean Eggplant & Barley Salad:

Sweet Potato Salad - inspired by this Emeril recipe but I added lots of roasted Anaheim and red peppers:

Spicy Radicchio Slaw with Apples & Pecans - such a nice change from regular slaw, this was really tasty! I used low fat mayo because that's what I always have on hand. Some how I forgot to take a picture, oops.

Now for the not so healthy (boot campers look away!)

Dark chocolate and cherry oatmeal cookies (Joy uses white chocolate in hers - I'll try that next!) and the standard chocolate pecan cookies:

Root beer float cake:

And I must mention these little gems on the blue plate - coconut macaroons made by my friend Jackson. Yum.

A great time was had by all and we had the headaches the next day to prove it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eatin' Healthy (and still good!) in the Hood & CSA #2

I generally eat pretty healthy but I don't really blog about our quick weeknight meals because, well, we eat them too quickly to take photos! But...I recently joined Fusion Gym in Philly and their 10 week boot camp (NBC is highlighting some people in my class - check it out here). I want to be able to share some of my healthier recipes with my fellow boot campers so I'm really going to try to post more of our healthy weeknight meals. I also made a goal to bring lunch to work at least 4 times a week - so maybe I'll post some lunches too!

I'm behind on posting about my CSA - we've gotten three and each one has been a little better then the one before. This is what we got for our second CSA:

Strawberries - Fifer Orchards, Wyoming, DE
Asparagus - Fifer Orchards, Wyoming, DE
Snow Peas - Lancaster County, PA
Arugula - Graiff Farms, Vineland, NJ
Beets - Flaim Farms, Vineland, NJ
Cheese - Cowtipper, Calkins Creamery, PA
Dairy Option - choose one: 1 dozen Free-Range Eggs, 2 Pequea Valley Yogurts, 1/2 Gallon Hormone-free Milk, or 1/2 lb. Amish-style Butter (we got yogurts, I still haven't eaten them!)
Meat Shares - Whole Chicken - Griggstown Quail Farm, NJ (still in my freezer!)

We ate the strawberries right away - they were super tasty, just like the ones in our first pick up. The asparagus was grilled to go with a weeknight meal. Ron made this snow pea and shrimp stir fry with brown rice that was really quick, easy and healthy - it's going to become a regular meal for us!

I used the arugula in this:

SO good and super easy. For two servings I just sauteed two big handfuls of arugula in some olive oil and garlic then added about 1/2cup of part skim ricotta and about a 1/2cup of chopped tomatoes (I used canned), salt, pepper and some red chili flakes. Meanwhile cook about 4-5oz of whole wheat linguine. When the pasta is finished toss it with the sauce - if the sauce is a little dry just add a bit of the pasta water. We threw in some grilled chicken because we had it on hand. I've made this with spinach too, but really any green would work.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Per Se!

Okay I know you've all been anxiously awaiting this post.  Per Se was the most amazing dining experience ever - everyone who loves food should go.  The service was perfect, attentive and knowledgeable and not at all stuffy.  Their attention to detail was incredible - I mean my purse got it's own little fancy stool next to my chair!  Over the course of dinner Ron mentioned is was my birthday and a little while later the waiter asked "Sara with an A or and H"? - I replied "An A" not really thinking anything of it.  As we walked out (three hours after we arrived!) the hostess handed us printed menu and when we got home and looked at it we saw that printed on the menu was "Happy Birthday Sara".  I mean really?  How crazy is that?

We did the wine tasting in addition to the tasting menu and the wine was perfectly paired with every dish.  And the food?  Every single bite was perfect and I don't really know why.  Why is that piece of white asparagus the best asparagus I've ever eaten?  I mean it's asparagus, what could they possibly do to make it taste so good?  The bread they brought to the table was the best bread ever with the best butter ever.  

Here's what we had:

In addition to the nine courses the meal starts with two amuse-bouche - little marble size gougeres filled with warm cheese and a little salmon tartare and creme fraiche cornets.  To finish the meal we had one of each of the desserts on the menu and they brought the French Laundry signature dessert of coffee and donuts - coffee ice cream with whipped cream (and a candle!) and two little cinnamon sugar donuts because it was my birthday.  Then just when we thought we were finished they brought all these chocolates, truffles, chocolate covered peanuts, caramels and all kinds of goodies.  They boxed up the candies we couldn't finish and gave us some other wrapped up snacks to take home and we went back to our hotel - perfectly full, a little bit buzzed and very, very happy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Birthday Present!

Ron got us reservations at Per Se! Yes, yes, Thomas Keller's Per Se! This year it's ranked 6th on the list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants and was the highest placed US entry. It even beat French Laundry which was number 1 in 2004.

I'm going to try to take pictures and I'll report back soon. Happy Birthday to me!