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honey-mustard chicken with thyme

November 16, 2011

Well hello! Long time no blog. In late September, my beloved Macbook died a painful death — hard drive permanently ka-put. But while I was terribly sad to see it go, I am warming up quite nicely to its successor (hellooooo, Macbook Pro. You are so sleek, so fast, so lovely!) But, it meant a longer hiatus from blogging than intended, as I scrambled to recover — unsuccessfully — a batch of recent food photos.

So now I’m making a fresh start with my new, sleek laptop, and I’ve finally gotten my act together to tell you about one of our new favorite weeknight meals: honey-mustard chicken with thyme. It’s a classic combination that I’ve made endless times, tweaking and streamlining the recipe method along the way. One of the realities I’ve  had to come to terms with since having a child is that honestly, I just don’t have hours and hours to tinker around in the kitchen anymore with finicky recipes. At least for the time being, the name of the game around here is delicious food with a minimum of fuss.

One of Miss A’s favorite things to do with me is help prepare meals. Now, granted, she’s only just about 2 – so this mainly entails stirring, mixing, pouring, and washing vegetables under my hawk-eyed supervision. But when I hear her little voice chime “I want to help mommy cookin’!,” I pull out the step stool and find her favorite spatula, and we get to work.

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chewy granola bars

September 8, 2011

Let’s take a little departure here from super-seasonal foods to talk about granola bars. Considering the fact that they’re the perfect back-to-school lunchbox treat (or heck, mid-afternoon coffee-break-at-work treat), it’s a great time to try making a homemade batch.

I’ve been searching for years for a good homemade granola bar recipe. When I was in college, I went through a period where I was hooked on Nature Valley Oat & Honey bars, but I started to get frustrated with how easily they’d crumble into a mess of oats with the slightest bump in your backpack. My tastes have changed with age, too — I can’t stomach the intense sweetness of the commercial chewy brands anymore. Many of the recipes I’d tried didn’t hold together well, or seemed better suited to crumbling into yogurt as granola… Read more…

pasta with zucchini, ricotta & basil

August 14, 2011

Late last week, while digging through my fridge for something unrelated, I discovered a pile of zucchini and yellow squash that I’d (oops) forgotten about from the previous weeks’ CSA share. I know most people get pretty sick of the green squash when August rolls around, but as my garden crop has yet to be harvested (I was waaaaay late in planting this year), we’ve been eating zucchini at a pretty steady pace this summer and not yet tiring of it.

We like zucchini a number of different ways in our house — zucchini with parmesan is a favorite side dish of mine — but the steady volume we’ve been receiving this summer has “encouraged” me to branch out a bit. With a 20-month old at the table, you can bet that pasta is regularly on the menu, and this recipe was a huge hit with all of us.

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simple strawberry ice cream

June 28, 2011

My 18-month old daughter LOVES strawberries, to the point of obsession. Every mealtime, our conversation goes something like this:

Me: “Okay, Miss A, time for lunch!”

A: “sta-WAH-bewwies? More sta-WAH-bewwies!”

Me: “No, we’re not having strawberries right now. Let’s have a sandwich first.”

A: “San-wich. I like it!…MORE sta-WAH-bewwies?”

and, repeat.

Seriously, it’s gotten to the point where I have to consume my strawberries in secret, lest we have another meltdown when the strawberries are gone. Good thing we planted a few rows of strawberry plants in our garden for next year!

In the meantime, we’ve been reveling in June’s strawberry harvest: In the past month, I’ve consumed more strawberry shortcake than I can remember eating in a long time. We’ve had it in smoothies, tossed into salads, on cereal, in oatmeal, stirred into yogurt, over pancakes, and (perhaps my favorite) in this easier-than-pie strawberry ice cream.

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csa cooking: basil green goddess dressing

June 19, 2011

Our CSA started this week! We couldn’t have been more ready. This is our third year in a row getting a share with the Full Plate Farm Collective, and the second year in a row getting a fruit share with Finger Lakes Fruit Bowl. The Full Plate Farm Collective, for those of you non-Ithacans out there, is a group of three farms that work together to grow produce for all the shareholders in the collective. The model allows each farm to specialize in a few crops, and we as shareholders get to enjoy the bounty! Our share usually runs through mid-October, and we’re continually impressed with the variety of produce we receive each week.

To kick off the season, our first share included a (beautiful) head of lettuce, a spicy salad mix (baby kales, mustards, etc.), baby arugula, garlic scapes, a large bunch each of dill and basil, a bunch of kale, an overwintered beet, and a pint of jewel-red strawberries. We also received strawberries and rhubarb in our fruit share, so it was like Christmas came in June this year at the Eggs on Sunday household. We are so ready for locally-grown fruit!

I’ve been really into making homemade salad dressings lately, especially since late spring/early summer around here is salad green central. I like to make a big batch on the weekend, then have it on hand to drizzle over salads, spread on sandwiches, and use as a dip for vegetables throughout the week.

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Rhubarb ‘Big Crumb’ Coffee Cake

May 27, 2011

No need to bury the lede here: this is my holy grail of coffee cakes. My quest is over. Happiness is a slab of this.

My maternal grandma did not particularly enjoy cooking. Despite that fact, our extended family get-togethers at my grandparents’ house often featured delicious food; her chili and lasagna were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Family gatherings were often busy affairs with lots of laughter and people and chatting, and being the oldest grandchild, I often wanted to straddle the worlds between the “adults” and “children.” My grandma and I shared a special relationship, and while she had no interest in baking a batch of cookies, she kept a stash of Drake’s coffee cakes hidden away in a cupboard just for me. She’d say, “Amy, you know I’m no baker, but these cakes are here just for you whenever you want one. No one else knows where they are. You take one and come into my room and we’ll talk.” And I loved it.

There are a few reasons these cakes were such a treat: (a) we never had packaged baked goods at home. My mom enjoyed baking and was good at it, and while I loved her cookies and treats, something about the forbidden nature of the packaged coffee cake was irresistible to me as a child. And (b), the ratio on these coffee cakes of brown-sugar-crumb topping to cake was highly tipped in the favor of the topping. I loved pulling chunks and boulders of the crumbs off the top of the cakes. (I still do, though now I eschew packaged baked goods for the real deal.) Read more…

Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad

May 5, 2011

March into April is always a rough period for me in the kitchen. Inspiration is hard to come by, and every cold/wet/gray day that passes adds to my frustration at how slow full-blown spring is to arrive. I stare despondently at my crisper drawer, trying to ignore the root vegetables that have been in there forever and are starting to look long in the tooth.

The Ithaca Farmer’s Market begins its season in April, but with this year’s loooooooooong winter and seemingly endless spring rains, we’re only just starting to see some greens. Peas, strawberries, and asparagus still seem like a long way away to me, even though I know I’ll see them in another month or so.

And even though it’s been rain central around here, the slightly warmer temperatures and occasional peek of sun (how I live for those moments!) has kick-started my craving for things that are crisp, green, and fresh. In other words, if I see another bowl of stew I think I’ll lose it.

So when Dana tweeted about a recipe for a Broccoli and Sweet Sesame Salad she recently posted, I made sure my next trip to the grocery store included the snap peas and broccoli to make it (I love you local produce, but I just can’t hold out any longer.) Luckily for me at our market this past weekend, I was able to find some lovely spinach at Stick and Stone Farm, as well as some French Breakfast Radishes from Red Tail Farm. Along with some eggs from our meat share, I knew I had the makings of exactly the kind of lunch I was craving.

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Overnight Steel Cut Oats

March 16, 2011

Is it too late in the season to talk about eating oatmeal for breakfast? I hope not. Because I’ve been meaning to share this for a few months now, and knowing how the weather rolls around here (and maybe around where you live, too), we still have some chilly mornings ahead of us — even though winter seems like it’s on the cusp of fading. Finally.

We’re big oatmeal eaters in this house, even little A. Our darling girl is also an early riser, and until only recently, would awaken us at 5:30 or 6am with a combination of wailing, screeching, and “ma-maaaaaaaaa….” Oy. Thankfully, she’s been throwing us a bone lately and waking more around 6:30, turning on the music box attached to the side of her crib, and jabbering away to her stuffed animals. Which is a MUCH nicer way for Mommy and Daddy (and her, I have to think) to wake up in the morning. All of this is to say, when we were getting up so early, it was all I could do to carry her downstairs, flip on the coffeemaker, and pop our bowls of oatmeal into the microwave (minimal assembly required.)

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Pumpkin Seed Butter

February 26, 2011

It kind of pains me to admit this (seeing how much I love to cook and eat and try different tastes nowadays), but from kindergarten through fifth grade, I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every single day of my life. Why? I have no idea. My mom was always happy to fix different things for my brother and me for lunch, so who knows what inspired my devotion, but there you have it. In fact, I was SO sick of peanut butter and jelly by the time sixth grade rolled around that I didn’t eat another pb & j sandwich until I was in college.

And I also have no idea if there were other kinds of nut and seed butters commercially available in the 80’s, when I was growing up — maybe in health food stores, but probably not in the large chain supermarkets that we had in town. I suppose if there had been things like almond and cashew butter easily available, I could at least have swapped them with the pb occasionally for variety.

The top shelf of our fridge nowadays is stocked with all kinds of nut and seed butters — peanut butter (I like it chunky), almond butter, tahini, sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds), and now making her top shelf debut, pumpkin seed butter. We’ve been on a real nut and seed butter kick here lately, for two reasons: first, Little A seems to have a love/hate relationship with meat, probably because of teething (I am learning that so many of the toddler woes can sometimes be chalked up to teething, sigh) — so, I’ve needed to be creative about getting enough protein into her little tummy. Secondly, the pile of carrots and kohlrabi in our fridge, from our winter CSA share, is tremendous and frankly, we’re trying to eat our way through them any way we can, including afternoon snacks of carrot and kohlrabi sticks dipped in nut/seed butter.

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Raspberry Chocolate Tea Scones

February 12, 2011

During high school and on my trips home during college, my Mom and I would often visit a cafe in town for coffee and scones. They had great sandwiches and other food, but we always gravitated to the scones — I actually think it was probably my first exposure to scones, and from then on I’ve been hooked. Their blueberry and raspberry scones were really amazing; light and biscuit-like, using fresh fruit instead of dried, they are still the scone that I aspire to when I bake them for us (we’re currently doing “Sunday Scones” to satisfy our cravings.)

But scones with fresh fruit are a tricky goal: the fruit’s juiciness can increase the moisture content enough to render any plump scone to which you aspire into a spreading, flat pancake. (I’m speaking from experience here; can you tell?) Drier fruits like apples and pears seem to do well, but the few times I’ve experimented with fresh blueberries, the results have looked and tasted more like squashed muffins than the flaky, biscuit-y scones I imagined.

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