Tag Archives: CSA cooking

Cooking Food

Herbed Quinoa with Beets

I’m a pretty dedicated carnivore, but every once in a while I read an article like this one about death by bacon and I think, “Well, maybe it wouldn’t hurt for me to try to live 13% longer, just for today.” Even if the only result of all my recent working out is not awesome abs or toned arms, but bigger calves, and get this — a bigger butt. This was not what I was hoping to achieve. I may actually need to invest in a new pair of big butt jeans to accommodate. Yesterday I wore my jeans with a rubber band around the button, maternity-style. Sigh.

It was just me and the girls tonight, but I compensated for the meatlessness by clipping a few sprigs of jasmine from the garden and sticking them in a glass. So simple, but it smelled so fancy.


Anyway, back to dinner. I wanted to make something flavorful and filling, so I did a fridge raid and here’s what I found:

quinoa and beets
Quinoa and red beets

I heated up the oven to 400 and popped the beets in for an hour. I like to cook them in a covered ceramic container lined with parchment paper (for easy cleanup), but you can also just wrap them with aluminum foil. I’ve avoided cooking with aluminum foil ever since I read that it increases your chances of getting Alzheimer’s. I don’t need any extra help getting there.

I had cooked the quinoa the night before, but my favorite way to cook quinoa is in a rice cooker, so that it comes out perfect every time, but you can also follow the instructions on the package.

While the beets were roasting I grabbed some parsley, dill and scallions. Chopped them. Grabbed a handful of grape tomatoes and halved them with a serrated knife.


I made a quick little vinaigrette with 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground better. Mixed it all up in a measuring cup.

Once the beets were roasted and slightly cooled, I peeled them (they slide right off if you apply pressure and push to the right) and diced them. I combined all the other ingredients, poured the vinaigrette over it, and tossed.

You know what? The kids actually liked it, and it was filling. Go keeeeeeeeen-waaaaaaaahhh!



  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 red beets
  • handful of parsley and dill, chopped
  • 4-5 scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper


Roast beets in a covered ceramic container lined with parchment or wrapped in aluminum foil at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Meanwhile, chop herbs, slice scallions and halve grape tomatoes.

In a cup or small bowl, combine 1/4 cup oil, 1/8 cup vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix until uniform.

Peel beets and dice. Add the herbs, scallions, grape tomatoes, beets and vinaigrette to the quinoa and toss. Add salt and pepper and additional lemon juice to taste.

P.S. I didn’t do this but I’m thinking that adding a handful of toasted pine nuts to this recipe would make it extra delicious!

Cooking Food

Spring Chicken Stew

This week, I have been eating so much chocolate that it might actually be illegal. I was shaking at a friend’s party last night, before which I had just made a big batch of chocolate desserts, and, not to be wasteful, licked the bowls and spatulas clean. Except I’ve been doing that every day this week, sometimes more than once a day, and I can’t talk about chocolate anymore right now.

But it’s almost spring! And that means cool enough for stews, but warm enough for us to want to lighten them up a bit. Chicken stew is one of my favorites.  I love one-pot meals, and love them even more if they’re flavorful, colorful and easy all at once.

Gather all the stew-y ingredients: chicken, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, bay leaves…and I belong to a CSA, so this is a perfect time to use those seasonal root vegetables, and I like to throw in greens like carrot tops and mizuna too.

Chicken stew ingredients

Get out your dutch oven (my favorite is the Lodge Logic cast iron 5 qt, which is a total steal at less than $35, and has the added bonus of adding iron into your diet as you cook with it) and set it to 300. Dry the chicken with a paper towel and season it with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a pan in the dutch oven, and brown the chicken til it’s a nice golden hue:

Brown chicken in dutch oven

Meanwhile, chop up the veggies. When the chicken’s browned, move it to a bowl.

One more dollop of oil, and saute the onions with salt til they soften. Add in garlic, and thyme, just til it’s fragrant, and then stir in 1/4 cup flour. Stir in 1/2 cup of dry white wine.

Saute onions

Can you tell it’s starting to get dark outside? We’re almost done with the prep.  Add in the broth slowly, then potatoes, carrots, bay leaves and chicken with juices. Get it to simmer, cover it, and cook it in the oven for about an hour.

When it’s done, stir in a cup of frozen peas and the chopped greens (in my case, mizuna and carrot tops). Cover for 5 minutes and eat!  Here’s the recipe:

SPRING CHICKEN STEW (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Classic Chicken Stew)


  • 3 pounds chicken thighs — I like bone-in and skin-on for more flavor, but for a lower-fat version, skip the skin
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp dried
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes (about 4-5 medium), cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves and/or any other seasonal greens


Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 300 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat until just smoking. Brown the chicken lightly (about 6-8 minutes) and transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining oil to the pot and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook til softened, about 5 minues. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, and then add in the wine, scraping up any browned bits.

Slowly whisk in the broth, smoothing out any lumps. Add in the potatoes, carrots, bay leave sand chicken with any accumulated juices and bring to a simmer. Cover, put in oven and cook for an hour.

Remove the pot from the oven and remove the bay leaves. Stir in the peas, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in parsley or other minced greens and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6-8.


Cooking Food

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Olive Oil

A date has been set for the EPIC BAKING DAY and I must continue to prepare. First, by purchasing more / larger pants with elastic waistbands and then determining the number of 30-pound bags of sugar I need to buy from Costco.  And I know this doesn’t make sense here but I just have to say that I LOVE HUMMUS. People sometimes ask me* what my favorite hummus is, and I have to say that it’s the Trader Joe’s Smooth and Creamy Classic Hummus. Man, I love that hummus! I’ve been eating it by the tubful in my pantry (and then telling people that my jeans are tight because I put on 10 pounds of muscle over the holidays).  It’s really good with tuna, and shepherd’s pie, and on whatever other leftovers I don’t want to taste in particular.  Sometimes I wake up at night in a sweat thinking about it. It’s that good.

I’ve been feeling bad that this blog on the whole presents more problems than solutions. So I thought I’d start sharing some things that people might find kind of useful, like…how to make brussels sprouts!

I belong to a CSA and this means that sometimes making dinner is kind of like being on Iron Chef, without all the fancy cooking stuff and the chefs. I’ve always liked brussels sprouts but they never really blew me away, and I never looked forward to them the way I look forward to hummus. Until The Day My Friend Carol Made These Brussels Sprouts.  Here’s how you do it:

First, you cut the sprouts in half.

Brussels sprouts halved

and then chop up some garlic. My mom peels garlic by using a meat hammer and squishing the cloves, so that’s what I’ve done here. It works well and it’s quick, if you don’t need the whole clove to stay intact. After you’ve squished them out of their skins, chop them up. I forgot to take a picture of that part.


Then toss the sprouts together with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a baking tray, and broil for about 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the sprouts turn a bright green and some of the edges start to carmelize.

Brussels sprouts in baking tray

and that’s it! This is the ONLY brussels sprouts recipe that my family will eat. Enjoy!

*Ok, in this case, people = me.




  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 large or 5 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Prepare broiler.

Toss the brussels sprouts with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking tray and broil. Check after 4 minutes and toss the sprouts to ensure even exposure to heat. Pull the sprouts out after they’ve turned a brilliant green, and some of the outer leave have begun to carmelize, between 6-10 minutes. Season as needed with additional salt / pepper.

Serves 2-4.