I love beets. It has not always been that way though. Growing up I always thought the only ways to eat beets were pickled from a sale bar. Yes, I knew they were grown but I had no idea how versatile they were. Turns out that my dad hated beets and thats why we never ate them. Happy to say, after making a beet dish my dad now likes them. The main reason I hear from people not liking beets is that they tend to have a "dirt" taste. They are one of the most nutritious vegetables though so I really wanted to find a way to incorporate them into my kids diet. I made the hummus to last as a snack for a few days and it was gone within an hour. Maggie loves the color and word fuchsia, so she gobbled these biscuits down when I told her they were fuchsia biscuits.
A few tips on these recipes, make sure the roasted beets are pureed completely. I find the food processor works the best but a blender or handheld mixer may work as well.
*1 head of garlic
*1 cup cooked chickpeas
**I do not use tahini in this recipe but you can add 2 tbs tahini if you prefer**
**I also prefer to make my own chickpeas over can bought**
*Slice ends off of beets and place on foil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Slice off the top of the head of garlic, place on foil, drizzle olive oil over the top of garlic and wrap in foil. Place both in oven and roast for 35 minutes at 425 degrees.
*When the beets and garlic are done roasting allow them to cool. When cool slice the skin off of the beets and cut into chunks and peel the garlic. Add the beets, half the garlic, chickpeas, lemon juice and salt into the food processor and puree until smooth. You may need to scrape the sides several times.
*When it is smooth transfer to a bowl and serve with pita chips, carrot sticks or use as a spread on toast or sandwiches.
*1 large roasted beet pureed
*1 1/2 tbs baking powder
*1/2 tsp salt
*1 tsp sugar
*1/2 cup butter cold
*1/2 cup cold buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 tbs vinegar added
*Set oven to 425 degrees
*In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients
*Cut the cold butter into little cubes. With a handheld mixer mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it is crumbly and the butter is mixed in.
*In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk with the beet puree until completely smooth.
*Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and combine. Place the mixture onto a lightly floured cutting board and mix together by hand until the color is mixed throughout. Be very careful not to overwork the dough as this will give you flat biscuits.
*Flatten out the dough until it is about 1 1/2" thick and cut out your biscuits with a biscuit cutter or I find a mason jar works perfect.
*Bake for 15-18 minutes.
When we talk about summer produce the first place our mind goes to is tomatoes. It is one of the first items harvested and has a very long season. There are so many different varieties of tomatoes and when they come in they come in a huge abundance. A perfect way to not waste the tomatoes is to make marinara sauce. If you spend a little more time and roast them the flavor really shines. Any extra marinara can be canned or frozen and used throughout the year. In the middle of winter when you are craving a hearty meal like lasagna you can still enjoy marinara with quality ingredients. We use grated carrot instead of sugar. This will balance the marinara out and add a sweetness with the bitterness of the tomatoes.
Fritters are wonderful because they are so versatile with the ingredients that can be used. In the summer zucchini and squash can be the main ingredient and in the winter root vegetables provide just as much flavor.I like fritters with a sauce and my go to for easy sauces plain Greek yogurt. Mix sriracha or your favorite herbs with some lemon juice and put a dollop on top of the fritter. We are headed into summer in about a month so this recipe shows spring veggies but they can be replaced with whatever is currently in season. With all of the grating I recommend using a food processor to save a lot of time.
I do not have a great track record with pork chops. I have to cook them real low and slow or else they come out dry. We recently welcomed Heather's Custom Meats on as a supplier. I like to test out what we put in our boxes so we know that it meets our standard of quality. How much more of a test for quality than to grill a pork chop. With the blueberries in our boxes this week and just seemed like the perfect partnership. This dinner was quick, easy and the pork chop far exceeded our expectations. This is when I remembered that a good dinner has to have quality ingredients. If you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen but impress your family then put this into your dinner rotation.
My sweet little Maggie has the strangest taste in food for a 6 year old. She refuses to eat pizza with red sauce, has to be garlic sauce. Devours mac and cheese with winter squash in it. Will eat any edible flower because it "tastes good and has to be magical". She will also not touch anything with potatoes, what kind of kid does not like french fries or mashed potatoes?! I do not know why but I have taken this on as a challenge so I am always looking for ways to trick her into eating potatoes. Well, I failed with her taking the bait on this one but everyone loved these eggs in a nest.
When I was growing up we spent many Christmas' in Tahoe. My dad would wake us up early on Christmas morning and rush us through opening Santa's presents, load us in the car and make the drive to spend the day skiing. When the ski lifts would begin to shut down and we were wet, cold and exhausted we would get back into the car and drive all the way home. It is not common for restaurants to be open on Christmas night so our dinner consisted of Denny's where my brother and sister and I would feast on a grilled cheese sandwich. We still talk about it 30 years later laughing about it and I wouldn't change it for the world but at the time what we really wanted was to wake up on Christmas, open our presents and enjoy the day playing with our new toys and end the night with a normal Christmas dinner.
For the majority of my twenties I lived in Tahoe and that meant combining those childhood memories with what we actually wanted at the time. One year stayed in Reno and went out for a nice dinner. My dad ordered shanks for dinner and still to this day talks about how that was one of the best meals he ever ate. When my parents recently came to visit us I knew I had to make him shanks. I was so excited and the pressure was on for the perfect recipe. When I told him he then just talked about how the Reno dinner was the best and nothing could top it. The challenge was on! That night I created one of the best meals I have ever made and for weeks every time I talked to him on the phone he brought it up. This recipe is not hard or super time consuming and it doesn't call for technical fancy cooking techniques. What makes it fabulous is the quality of ingredients. With the wine use a wine that you would enjoy drinking. Fresh local vegetables, quality meat and good conversation around the table will give you a meal your family or friends will be talking about for a long time.
If I were to say ramen most people associate that with the sodium infused 10 cents a packet broke college student staple. That is not ramen. It is so delicious with a rich deep broth and everything just comes together in this beautiful way. The broth can take a long time to develop those perfect flavors but I think I have discovered a way to come in a quick second with this recipe. It looks like a lot of work but it honestly does not take that long to put together, If you are a meal planner I recommend marinating the egg overnight but it is not mandatory. If you do not like boiled eggs they can be replaced with a poached or fried egg as well. The real key to this recipe being a success is quality ingredients. Try making your own bone broth and the difference will be quite noticeable. The beef and beef broth can be replaced with chicken and chicken broth or the meat can be omitted completely. If there are ingredients you do not like they can be replaced with something else or left out. Be sure not to cook noodles with the broth otherwise it will affect the flavor.
Minestrone soup takes me back to my childhood. To birthdays, starry nights and lots of laughter. From ages 1-7 our family lived in Sebastopol in the cutest little log cabin surrounded by hills covered in green grass perfect for running and exploring in. One of the restaurants we always went to and my dad still talks about to this day is Dinucci's in Valley Ford. It amazes me that at age 40 the drives there and home and the restaurant itself are so strong in my mind. On the way home I would be so tired and can remember resting my head on the window and seeing all of the stars shining bright. My dad to this day still talks about this restaurant and how he loved that it would be full of lawyers in their suits sitting at the bar next to dairy men in work clothes and rubber boots. My mom always had a quarter for my sister and I to play Mrs. Pacman in the bar while we waited for our table. Every birthday dinner was spent there where we enjoyed rainbow sherbet with the sparkling candle that never blew out. The raviolis were tasty but what they were famous for, and still to this day is their minestrone soup. I have since discovered they have what could be compared to a cult following for this soup. When I was 27 met someone in North Carolina who grew up across the street from the restaurant and his mom waitressed there her whole adult life. Talking about the minestrone soup was like discovering someone else that belonged to the same secret club as me. This just proves the power of food and how connected it can make us. Unfortunately I do not have their recipe but I have figured out how to make a decent runner up soup to theirs. What is great about minestrone is that it can be made with whatever is in season at the moment. Zucchini in the summer and the greens and winter squash in the colder months. Most recipes call for celery, however I like to use fennel in it's place because I am not a fan of celery. Use whichever one you prefer.
It had never crossed my mind to buy fresh fennel. I always associated it a strong licorice flavor and was convinced I would not like it. When it became available for our boxes I knew I was going to have to put my pre-conceived notions to the side and do some experimenting. The best people to ask on how to cook something are the farmers who grow it themselves. That is how I found out that roasted fennel and raw fennel taste completely different. After reading countless roasted fennel recipes on Pinterest I decided just to keep it simple. Instead of that strong licorice tasteI was pleasantly surprised roasted fennel has a sweet mild flavor that is not overwhelming at all. Bonus, it is super simple which is always something I appreciate.