the last supper…before the dining hall reopens

While school doesn’t officially start until August 30, yesterday was my first day back to work, with dorm planning in the afternoon.  I’m realizing that going back to school is very similar as a teacher as it was when I was a student.  To some degree, I’m really bummed the summer is over.  I enjoy reading, crafting and baking.  On the other hand, this week I’m beginning to get bored being home all day.  Perhaps its because I planned my crafting well and all my major projects – fixing up the apartment, knitting baby presents, and working on my quilt – have now been completed, but Thursday I sort of just wandered around trying to figure out what I should do with myself.  I think I am putting pressure on myself to make this last week of break relaxing, but productive, while also fun.  It’s not really working out.

Last night, for my last hurrah before the dining hall reopens, life gets crazy, and I only bake for the boys on duty night, I decided to make a really tasty dinner with fresh tomato sauce using CSA tomatoes, meatballs, creamed corn, and a peach tart (Baking by Dorie Greenspan).  It was a little over three hours or prep, cooking, and dishes, but I loved every minute.  When the meatballs took slightly longer than I anticipated, I decided to cap the meal off by getting out our wedding China.  David wasn’t quite as excited about cooking for two hours when he got home from work, but he participated willingly, especially once he tasted dinner and then had leftover meatball sandwiches today.

Let’s just say it was a night well spent, capped off by watching the new British miniseries Sherlock on instant netflix.  If you like CSI or Castle then you should give this a try, it was really good, but the episodes are on the long side at 1.5 hours.


weekly csa round up

wk 7 share: lettuce, tomatos, green pepper, garlic, onions, cantaloupe, oregano, parsley, watermelon, tomatoes, jalapenos, corn

This is probably the last week of real cooking and eating at home because school gets going next week.  Most of the ‘meals’ for this week are some version of a potluck, so next week’s list of recipes will be a lot of salads.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  As far as last week’s share we did pretty well this.  We had a few vegetables that we couldn’t quite finish, but we ate at least half of everything and often everything.  Here’s how it happened.

Tuesday: Ratatouille from an old edition of the William Sonoma Bride and Groom Cookbook
Veggies Eaten: Zucchini, Onion, Eggplant, Tomato, Thyme, Green Pepper
Comment: This would definitely be better as a side and not a main dish, we were left hungry.  We also confirmed our dislike of eggplant.

Thursday: Chicken Tostadas and Salsa
Veggies Eaten: Tomatoes, Radishes, Lettuce, Onions, Jalapeno
Comment: I have always loved this recipe.  This is probably the real recipe of the week, but I knew I liked it so I’m going to give it to something that was new this week.

Saturday: Arugula, Corn, and Bacon Pizza from the Minimalist Cooks at Dinner
Veggies Eaten: Arugula, Corn
Comment: This recipe has potential.  It would probably be better with cheese (either Parm or Moz) and the Arugula should be added after cooking rather than before as the recipe requires.

Sunday:  Vegetable Frittata with Asiago Cheese  
Veggies Eaten: Zucchini, Tomatoes
Comment: Really good.

Monday: Potato, Green Bean, and Pesto Pasta from the Minimalist Cooks Dinner 
Veggies Eaten: Green Beans, Potato, Garlic Scapes
Comment: This recipe may have been improved by using regular pesto and not the garlic scape pesto that I made weeks ago and froze, but even then it was pretty bland and needed both salt and cheese to be edible.

Recipe of the Week: Vegetable Frittata with Asiago Cheese


weekly csa round-up

wk 6 share: radishes, arugula, carrots, sungold tomatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, zucchini, jalapeno, eggplant, corn, green peppers, herbs

It’s getting easier and easier to eat vegetables.  Of course this week, we had my mom’s help and then took some with us down to Connecticut when we visited friends.

Tuesday: Steak, Beet Salad (from my friend Mia), and green salad
veggies eaten: beets, lettuce, cucumber, green pepper, carrots

Thursday: Stuffed Green Peppers (from The New Best Recipe), Green Salad
 veggies eaten: green pepper,  tomato, lettuce, corn, green pepper
comment: in theory these sound really good, but this recipe was a little bland.

Saturday: Zucchini, Tomato, and Mozzarella Sandwiches (created by my friend TJ), Fish Tacos, Corn, Salsa (created by my friend Hannah)
veggies eaten: zucchini, tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, corn
comments: everything was delicious.  The sandwiches were grilled zucchini, with fresh sliced tomato, homemade pesto, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and toasted bread.  I really want to try to replicate this, especially for a weekend lunch.

Monday: Chicken, Potato Gruyere Gratin
veggies eaten: potatoes
comments: The potato gratin was great and fairly quick, but it was meant to go with this lamb dish, but our lamb went bad while we were out of town so we had to substitute chicken.

Recipe of the Week: TJ’s Zucchini and Tomato Sandwiches

weekly csa round-up

wk 5 share: tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, lettuce, cilantro, parsley,green pepper, corn, cucumber, onions, green beans, jalapenos, red potatoes

This is the first week that we have eaten almost all of the vegetables.  We only missed about a fourth of the spinach, half a tomato, and two potatoes.  It was amazing how much more vegetables we were able to eat when we had a third mouth helping us at lunch and dinner.

Tuesday: Hamburgers and Veggies saute
veggies eaten: zucchini, green beans, and carrots

Wednesday: spinach, potato, and salmon in parchment paper (from Martha Stewart Living: New Classics)
veggies eaten: spinach, potato
comment: tasted great and was really fast to make and clean-up

Thursday: Lasagna and a salad
 veggies eaten: tomato, spinach, lettuce, green pepper, carrot, cucumber, onion

Monday: Individual Chicken Pot Pies, a salad, strawberry cake
veggies eaten:  onions, carrots, green beans, lettuce, cucumber, green pepper
comment:  the pies were great, as suggested in a comment I used crescent rolls.  I could probably have just used one triangle instead of a whole square.  I also think it would be possible to add more vegetables like potatoes or peas.  The strawberry cake was incredible.  I had already made it once for a dinner and the group of six finished it.  When I saw a buy one get one container of strawberries I couldn’t resist.

Recipe of the Week: Individual Chicken Pot Pies 

weekly csa wrap-up

wk 4 share: cucumbers, onions, red potatoes, tomato, beets, green beans, green peppers, parsley, spinach, lettuce

While we didn’t eat all the veggies this week, we really did pretty good given that we were out of town two of the days and ate dinner at a friend’s house on a third night.  What I am realizing is that we find a lot of good recipes that include veggies for sides, but it is harder to incorporate a lot of veggies into a main dish.  It feels like we do a fair amount of chicken and side-dish of veggies.  Tuesday we were able to eat a lot of the veggies because they were incorporated into the main dish, so if you know any sources for summery (no stews or hot soups) and tasty veggie-ful main dishes, let me know.

Tuesday: falafel, tstziki sauce and baba ganhoush – both from The New Best Recipe cookbook — and store-bought hummus
       veggies eaten: cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, tomato, dill
       comment: everything was great!

Wednesday: baked ziti with spinach and tomatoes and a salad
      veggies eaten: salad greens, carrots, cucumber, spinach
      comment: tasted great, but next time could do less sausage and a lot more spinach

Monday: grilled chicken with veggetable saute
      veggies eaten: carrots, zucchini, green beans

Recipe of the Week: Baked Ziti with Spinach and Tomatoes

eating veggies is hard

wk 3 share: spinach, salad greens, eggplant, summer squash, lettuce, tomato, green beans, carrots, cucumber, basil, dill

So last week at this time, I was feeling pretty proud of David and I.  We ate an impressive amount veggies and found many tasty  ways of doing it.  I was all, this CSA thing is awesome and easy.  This week was slightly more challenging.  A lot of what we made we either didn’t like or I messed up the recipe.  So we ate part of each veggie, but ended up throwing out a lot of the leftovers.  This made me decide that I need to give a report on meals so that next year I know, which ones worked.

  • : Rosemary Chicken and Summer Squash
    veggies eaten: summer squash, salad greens
     report: too lemony for me, but it cooked up quick
  • Wednesday: Chicken Paillards with Green Bean Salad (Martha Stewart Magazine); Zucchini Bread (Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)
    veggies eaten: green beans, salad greens, zucchini 
    : I really liked the salad and it was easy to make, I thought she called for too much ham I would half it or maybe quarter the amount
  • Thursday: Hamburgers with Fennel Cole Slaw and French Fries
    veggies eaten: fennel, carrots 
    report: David did a great job with the hamburgers, but I didn’t like the coleslaw, part of it was that the fennel smelled like black licorice when I cut it, which bothered me, I also really wanted the coleslaw Andy made when we were in Wichita and this just didn’t cut it
  • Friday: Citrus and Beet Salad
    veggies eaten: beets
    report: we took this to a dinner and people seemed to like it, but David and I weren’t crazy about it.  I was really wanting a dish I vaguely remember that Mia made when she had a crafting party and this wasn’t nearly as good as that
  • Sunday: Kale, Sausage and Lentil Supper Skillet
    veggies eaten: kale 
    report: This dish has real potential.  I misread the directions and accidentally simmered w/lid off rather than on so the lentils were really crunchy, the flavor was good
  • Monday: Leftovers

Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Bread from Magnolia’s Bakery Cookbook 

eat your veggies

wk 2 share: beets, kale, salad greens, carrots, fennel, summer squash, green beans, fennel, garlic scapes

As I was driving home from the CSA this week wracking my brain for what recipes might combine as many veggies from this week’s shares as possible I decided to do myself a favor and keep track of what we do with our weekly shares and what percentage of the vegetables we were able to consume.  Hopefully if we do this again, I won’t have to reinvent the wheel on what to eat week to week.  I will also be able to keep track of our favorite recipes and the vegetables we regularly ate.


  • Thursday: Blackened Steak Salad
         Veggies eaten: salad greens
  • Friday: Saag Paneer
         Veggies eaten: spinach
  • Sunday: Roasted Chicken, Kale with Cranberries, Salad, Boiled Corn
         Veggies eaten: salad greens, kale, carrots 
  • Monday: Leftovers, Carrot and Beet Pancakes
         Veggies eaten: carrots, beets, salad greens
  • Still to eat: baby leeks, scallions, and arugula
         scallions and arugula will probably feature in this week’s meals,         but I’m at a loss on the baby leeks – any ideas?  

Recipe of the Week – Carrot and Beet Pancakes!

experimenting with Indian food

freshly cleaned spinach

So last night, to get started on our vegetables we had a steak salad.  Tonight I decided to be more adventurous and try making Indian Food.  The whim to make homemade Indian food came to me as school was drawing to a close and I would have the time to cook dinner more often.  After an early setback trying to find a few spices, the stars finally aligned with a very full bag of spinach and I decided to try making Saag Paneer.

The process began last night with the paneer making.  Here it is in the early stages just after separating the whey and curds.

It looked very different after chilling overnight and then being fried this evening.

When I woke up this morning I set about making the masala, which is the base of the sauce.  The nice thing about the recipe is, it made a lot, so future Indian food attempts won’t require such a long process because I have a lot of masala freezing.

When dinner time came around, I finished off the sauce by adding my spinach, now cooked and pureed to half a cup of the marsala.

It looks much better when you see it all put together with rice, naan, and of course mango lassis.  The recipe comes from the cookbook: From Mom with Love: Complete Guide to Indian Cooking and Entertaining.  How do you say bon apetetit in Hindi?

turning over a new leaf

just wait until dinner salad greens because you will be delicious!

I’ll admit it, my attempt to document my first year of teaching didn’t go quite as planned. Truth be told, I only really documented my breaks and long weekends because that’s when I had time.  So I guess I did succeed in documenting my lack of time…

But now I’m turning over a new leaf.  Since it’s summer officially in my life (the first four weeks don’t count…I was reading up for a class, taking a class, and at a conference), I’m going to try to blog 5 days a week.  I originally wanted to do seven times a week, but let’s be honest my life isn’t that interesting and I think that’s just setting myself up for failure.  My hope is that if I get into the habit of blogging, then when school starts back up it will be second nature and I will at least blog a couple times a week.

a different kind of leaf

The title of today’s post is also a bit of a play on words because today is also the first day of David and my summer food experiment with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). So about three months ago, David and I signed up as members with a farm and sent them a check for a summer’s worth of produce.  Now that summer has arrived, we go weekly to pick up our share of the produce.  If the farm has a bad year or bad crop, then we lose money, but if the farm has a good year, then we get a lot more for our money.  We had a lot of friends try them when we lived in New Haven and we always wanted to join, but we weren’t in town enough of the summer to make it worth the money.

the view of the farm with a woman cutting her share of flowers

If today was any indication, this summer is going to be incredible because when I walked into the farm, I was greeted by a plethora of choices for my share.  There were beets, spinach, bok choy, kale, arugula, swiss chard, raddiccio, carrots, garlic scapes, scallions, daikon (I’m not exactly sure what this is?), and at least six varieties of lettuce.  I got to pick eight items to bring home.  Then there was a pick your own garden full of herbs, peas, and my favorite, flowers.  Check out what I brought home:

l-r: scallions, mixed greens, baby leeks, spinach, carrots, kale, arugula, and beets

The hard part now is figuring out how David and I are going to eat it all before it goes bad.  It looks like we might be getting to know our neighbors better this summer so that we have help eating all the food.