Greens & You: Garlicky Kale Salad and Arugula Pesto

Gone are the days of tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, peaches, and peppers. Welcome to the greens and squash days. Yep, we are creeping towards winter produce time. It’s evident in the choices in my GreenBEAN (that’s Farm Fresh’s new name), in the tables overflowing with leafy greens, golden squash, and red apples at the Indy Winter Farmer’s Market. For awhile I was afraid of the greens. I mean how much can you do with chard, spinach, arugula, and kale anyway? And don’t they all just taste the same? Turns out you can do a whole lot with these vegetables and they all taste a bit different.Plus, they’re really good for you. They help your body naturally detox and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

So today I have two recipes for you that’ll help you use up the kale and arugula that may be overflowing from your CSA bin. Both have made successful appearances at ladies night potlucks (the kale salad multiple times actually).

The first is a raw kale salad with garlicky dressing. I like kale because it has a little more flavor than, say, spinach, but it’s not overwhelming. Kind of a nice nuttiness.

The second is arugula pesto. Arugula has a very peppery and more bitter flavor. I can only handle it in smaller doses when it’s all raw and on it’s own (i.e. on sandwiches, where it’s very yummy), so this pesto is a nice way to use a lot of it. Plus, it gives your pesto a good kick that basil doesn’t.

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Cheesy Enchiladas with Gravy

Oh I have been slacking again. But here’s the thing. I traveled a lot this past week. Well a lot for me. My job normally requires no travel, but when it comes to this time of year, I hop on lots of planes to deliver prizes for our art contest. Lucky for me this year I didn’t have to travel alone (which I think sucks balls). Jen and I traveled to L.A. and Alyssa and I went to New Jersey/Philly. Much fun. Though I could never do the work travel thing regularly. It’s seriously exhausting. And all the sitting on planes made me super dehydrated. Poor chapped lips.

There were also two more concerts the last two weekends: Guster and Band of Horses. I’m going to post some pictures and go on and on about how much I love Guster later this week. Just so you know and have something to look forward to.

Oh and, AND, big news – Mira and I got a new roommate! I adopted a sweet little kitty on Saturday.Her name is Lola. She’s quite the talker. I think she likes to sing to herself as she runs around the house or plays with her feathers on a stick toy. She and the Mira dog are getting along quite well all things considered. Lola isn’t scared of Mira at all. Mira does not want to eat Lola. On the contrary, she desperately wants to play with her, and cannot understand why Lola sprints away when she chases her down the hall. My only current problem is placement of kitty food. Adam says if we tell Mira no every time she tries to eat it, she’ll learn.

Now, I have a very, very good dinner for you. Cheesey Enchiladas with Gravy filled with whatever your heart desires. I added a variety of vegetables. I think some shredded chicken would be tasty as well. Add some jalapeños, maybe olives if you’re into that, zucchini may even be good! I think what I really like about these is the gravy. I’m not a huge fan of the red enchilada sauce. The gravy in this recipe packs some heat, so be warned and dial down the chile powder and hot sauce if you’d like! Overall, a good weeknight meal. Takes about 30 minutes total time to make. Continue reading

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

I was about to spin this recipe as a good end of the summer dish. Then I realized that it’s almost October. Not so much summer anymore. When the hell did that happen?? (sidenote, I’m incredibly excited about October. Three concerts this month!!!!)No worries, I have plenty of fall recipes in my queue already (think apple pie and pumpkin bread). I love autumn for two primary reasons: scarves and comforters. My scarf collection is very large and awesome and cozy. I pulled out my comforter last night and my sleep last night was also very cozy. Anything that encourages coziness as the weather cools off makes me happy.

So a week and a half ago (even last week really) summer was still clinging on desperately in the form of 90° weather. I certainly did not feel like making fall-like dinners.

This pasta is easy and yeah, you have to have the stove on, but not on the kind of heat that heats up your kitchen.You most likely have everything you’ll need in your cabinets and fridge now.

It’s kind of a pumped up pasta with tomato sauce. And by pumped up, I mean awesome. And isn’t everything from Ree, the Pioneer Woman? Sexy cowboys, adorable kids, delicious food, and horses. Yes. Please.

OK, so make this pasta for dinner one night during the week. And, as usual, I used soy milk, but clearly, as the word “cream” is in the title, you can sub in cream.

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Easiest pizza you ever met

There are days when I really, really like my job. Tuesday was one of those days. Today was not one of those days. Today I worked pretty much every minute (minus the minutes I chatted about movies with a coworker). I also missed pilates because traffic from work to my gym was awful. My gym is really about 10 minutes from work. Today I got halfway there in 15 minutes. I blame the Colts game. My route runs very close to Lucas Oil Stadium. So tonight, I say screw you, Colts! Tonight I am not proud to live in a city of Super Bowl winners. But just tonight. I’m OK with today being entirely exhausting though because tomorrow we’re going to Chicago and I can hardly wait.
But back to Tuesday, which did not suck. Every issue of the magazine I pick a recipe that I tell the kids is awesome and tasty and easy to make. For this issue (that’s November/December, and let’s not talk about how working on Christmas stuff in August fucks up my clock) I went with pizza. Jen, the magazine’s art director, and I make these recipes in the kitchen at work and do photo shoots. Tuesday, we made this pizza, which took about two hours total (that’s not how long it’ll take you, I swear. Taking pictures adds minutes.) and made for a very pleasant morning.

mmm chicken, pineapple, and barbecue sauce!

The recipe for this pizza should probably be written on bar bathroom stalls everywhere, that’s how easy it is. You should probably make lots of batches of the crust dough at once and put them in your freezer. Then, whenever you get a pizza craving (which is like once a week for me), you can defrost one of them and have pizza in 15 minutes. You can also let the dough rise all day in the refrigerator in place of the one hour rise. I do this sometimes if I make the dough on my lunch break and want it for dinner. So, on to the recipe! I’m going to give you the two topping options that we made, but really the options are endless. Be creative! Recreate your favorite restaurant’s pizza! Make one up with the seasonal veggies available at your farmer’s market!

Chilly Fruity Soup

I’m officially cooking on a budget. Welcome to the saddest grocery trips ever. But I’m doing well so far. It takes focus and willpower and math. At the grocery tonight, I had $24 in my wallet to spend. I kept a running total as I added items to my basket. When I got to the dairy section I didn’t have enough for heavy cream. So, no heavy cream.

Good thing sweet and wonderful fruit is super cheap during the summer. And very good thing my friend Marian sent me this summer fruit soup last month. It’s from Mark Bittman originally. I love how easy it is, how much it makes (talk about leftovers!!), and how deep the flavors are.

mmm fruity soup

Plus, with the intense heat that’s been suffocating us lately, this doesn’t steam up your kitchen, and won’t steam up your body. Though maybe a steamy body is what you’re looking for…

I didn’t stick with all the fruits in the recipe Marian sent me. I just kinda went with what I have. But I’ll note in parentheses the original fruits just in case you’re wondering! No matter what fruit you use, make sure it’s ripe but not squishy. Continue reading

Southwest Lentil Burgers

Two Piebelly posts coming your way. And neither are a baked good. Holy shitballs. Though, I did have this conversation with my friend Bette today.

Me: I’m going to the grocery to buy stuff to make raspberry lemonade pie.
Bette: How long has it been since you made a pie?
Me: Awhile! Like….a week and a half!
Bette: laughs and groans

I didn’t yell at her because, after all, she sent me some stuff I left in North Carolina and snuck a chocolate Zebra Cake into the box. Yes. Please.

So anyway, I’ve added Food Gawker to my Google Reader recently. It definitely bumps my unread post count up twice a day, but all those recipes are worth scrolling through. I’ve found two new blogs and lots of awesome recipes. These southwest lentil burgers are such a one. (Is that even a phrase?)

My suggestions are these. Use the lentil/egg/breadcrumb/cumin/garlic part of the recipe as a base. Add any combo of vegetables to the burger mix that you have around. Make the yogurt sauce and slather it on top of your burger. Melt a tiny bit of cheese on your burger. Place your burger on a toasted bun or eat it straight up bunless. Make extra patties, wrap them in plastic wrap, and freeze them to use as a quick dinner or lunch.

Recipe after the jumpy jump! Continue reading

North Carolina feasting

Last weekend I went to North Carolina. Oh yeah, I already told you that. I’m obsessed with North Carolina, particularly the mountains. Hm, told you that already too. Oh well, it’s good to reiterate the important things. I drove down to Tryon, NC, this magical little horsey community just almost tipping into South Carolina. Ivey, one of my best friends Bette’s mom, has a house there. The front porch looks west towards the mountains and sunsets. There’s a three stall barn next to the house where Bette’s retired horse Johnny, Ivey’s superstar Joseph, and her newest addition Gus, live.

Renée picks tomatoes for gazpacho

And this summer, Ivey’s planted a little garden filled with okra, tomatoes, basil, and marigolds, too.We spent many of our days off from camp at this house. It’s like my summer retreat. I love it. So I could hardly wait to spend four days there with Bette and Renée, a fellow Green Cove counselor, and Bette’s friend Jennifer. (There was a fifth girl, but I’d prefer not to mention her as she put a big fat blotch on the weekend.)

We rode ponies, went to Bele Chere, visited camp (where I got to hug Lee, the riding head, and my summer momma), and cooked so much good food.

I’ll go in the order we cooked these items.

blackberry peach pie

1. Porch Swings, our beverage of choice. Pimms (a tradition for us in Tryon), gin, cucumbers, 7Up, and lemons.

2. Gazpacho. Tomatoes from the garden, cucumbers, avocado, spices, jalapeños, green peppers.

3. Blackberry-Peach pie. Peaches and blackberries in a buttery crust. Oh and a little vodka.

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Roast Chicken with Fennel and Veggies

Sundays are good days to bake. Sunday nights are not always my favorite nights to cook a big dinner. I know this seems weird. Most people use Sunday night to make a good, sit down meal. But by Sunday night, I’m just so exhausted that I can hardly convince myself to make some pasta.

This Sunday, though, I’d planned to make roast chicken. The recipe calls for barely any ingredients, has very little prep, and so I figured it’d fit the bill. Of course, last night rolled around, and Adam, who was recovering from a camping bachelor party the night before, announced he was eating leftover pizza. Oh how tempted I was to join him. But no, I made my roasted chicken damn it. And it was good. Juicy, flavorful, tender….mmmmm. In fact, I gave Adam a bite, and his reaction was, “Oooh I like how you do chicken.” He then finished his pizza and disappeared into the kitchen to make himself a plate of my dinner.

Tragically, I did not take any pictures of this recipe. Note to self: bring camera into kitchen more often. Blog readers will surely appreciate photos of raw chicken parts.

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