Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On Twin-Cation!

I think it's safe to say that City Girl will be on a twin-cation for the next week or two. My wife is being induced on Friday with our twin boys! I've already been slacking as far as the blog posts go because we've been busy busy busy trying to get all our ducks in a row for their arrival! So I wanted to offically say: I'll be back soon, I promise! Likely with a post about our new cloth diaper experiment!

For now, here's some lovely pictures of the fact that, yes, we are indeed FINALLY getting some red tomatoes and good looking cucumbers from our garden! And yes, that's also a head of cauliflower too! Yum!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cucumber Fennel and Orange Salad

We're still experimenting with ways to use our fennel here in the City Girl household and since I'm going to have an abundance of cucumbers from my garden I decided to give this idea of mine a try. It's a very fresh, light tasting salad. The dressing is very light and mild, so if you like something with a stronger dressing you may want to change it up a bit to your liking. I'm not a huge dressing fan, so this was perfect for me.

Cucumber Fennel and Orange Salad

1 large or two small cucumbers
1 fennel
1 orange

1/4 c orange juice
1 T honey
1 T grapeseed oil
zest from 1 orange

To prepare the salad, peel the cucumber(s) and cut into matchstick sized pieces. Cut the fennel bulb and stalks, horizontally, into thin pieces as well. Zest the orange and set aside zest for the dressing. Peel and cut the orange into bit sized pieces. Toss cucumber, fennel, and oranges together. Mix the dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Add a few of the frennel fronds as a garnish.

This salad is best if left to marinate for 24 hours before eating. This allows the cucumber to soak up some of the orange dressing. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ramp Cheddar and Brebis Cheeses

We were delighted to receive another veggie share from Harmony Valley Farm today, along with our once-a-month cheese share. Here's what was in our veggie box, along with some luscious looking raspberries (Photo courtesy of Harmony Valley Farm):

I have to confess. Now that we are getting some more 'normal' veggies (that is, things this City Girl is used to) I'm having a harder time using up the box. I think I enjoy the challenge of using up new veggies. The usual carrots, cucumber, zucchini and greens are leaving me less than excited to use them up. That's too bad. So today's cheese selection managed to provide me with that challenge.

I had already planned to make homemade pizza or calzones with some of our cooking greens from either our garden or a previous box, I don't even remember which. But we were out of cheese. So you can imagine my surprise to find out that it was also a cheese share day. Perfect! We got Castle Rock Organic Dairy's Mild Cheddar, Otter Creek Organic Dairy's & Harmony Valley Farm's Ramp Cheddar, and Butler Farm's Brebis. Hmmm.....not exactly pizza cheese. I was hoping for a nice Monterey Jack or Mozzarella in the mix somewhere. So I whipped open my How To Cook Everything Vegetarian book and found the perfect solution, which I of course in the spirit of all things Mark Bittman, modified to make it my own. Plus one extra gem I was able to tailor to my ingredients and whip up.

Ramp Cheddar Calzone

(Yes, I forgot to take a picture until all we had left was this little piece...) 2 c Brebis cheese, broken into small clumps (I used the whole container)
2 c Ramp Cheddar, grated
1-2 c finely chopped, cooked greens (Mine looked like it was probably a mixture of kale and chard. But spinach, kale, chard, or the like would all work just fine.)

1 recipe of your favorite pizza dough (large enough to make 2-3 large calzones). If you choose to make just 2 calzones, you will have enough leftover filling to make the Savory Ramp Cheddar Bread Pudding recipe below, like I did.

Roll out pizza dough into 2 or 3 rounds, depending on the number of calzones you'd like to make. Pile as about 1/3 of the filling onto one half of the dough. Fold the other half over and fold up the edges to seal. Bake all calzones on cookie sheets at 350 for about 30-40 minutes.

Have some leftover filling like I did? (I only had enough dough for 2 calzones, because I used some to also make my four-year-old a pepperoni pizza.) No problem!!

Try this:

Savory Ramp Cheddar Bread Pudding
3 c milk
4 T butter
8 slices of day old bread
3 eggs
Cheddar Cheese, shredded, enough to add to the filling (if needed) to make total filling amount equal 2 cups

Heat milk & butter in a saucepan or microwave until warmed and butter is melted. Break bread into bite sized pieces in an 8x8 baking dish. Cover with milk and let soak for a few minutes. Beat the 3 eggs and stir, along with cheese & greens filling, into the bread and milk mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Cloth Diapers Have Arrived!

Yesterday, Do Good Diapers left a fun little package on our door step: our first sets of cloth diapers! Since we're having twins (any day now!) we have even more reason to try the cloth adventure. The cost, even using a diaper service, will be nearly half as much as buying disposables. For a singleton, you'd probably break out about even with the use of a diaper service. So here's what we got:

two HUGE bags of prefold diapers, many many Pro Wrap cloth diaper covers (pictured in the small bin), and four snappis (also pictured in the small bin), and diaper pail. We ordered the Starter Package so we are also covered for our first 12 weeks of the diaper service. We simply have to throw the dirty diapes into the pail (soiled & all) and leave it on our doorstep weekly. They'll pick up the dirties and drop of a set of clean ones. Couldn't be easier!

The only thing this City Girl was worried about was: How exactly do I do this thing? How do I put them on anyway? I have seen many chances in our area to attend a cloth diapering workshop, but none have fit our schedules. So I gave Do Good Diapers a call and they suggested I check out YouTube for some examples of how to put on a cloth diaper. Then they even offered to come out to our house and do a personal tutorial for us. Wow!! Well, after checking out YouTube, I must say I think the tutorial is not necessary. There are some amazing videos out there that show how it really is a piece of cake!

Here's just one:

And just to show that it really did teach this City Girl How to do this, here's Elmo, looking happy as a clam in his cloth diaper!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Best Chicken Rub Ever

Really. Seriously. This is the best thing I have ever put on chicken in my life. EVER. First of all, it was part of my first time butterflying a chicken. What's that? Yeah, that's what I thought at first too! But then one of my favorite bloggers detailed how she did it on Pinch My Salt. So, in case you're clueless like I was, it's simply cutting a whole chicken down the middle so you can spread it out flat. An EXCELLENT way to prepare a whole chicken for the grill! Wanna learn how? Watch the video from The Virtual Weber Bullet.

I also liked the idea on Pinch My Salt about using some fresh herbs & garlic to marinate the chicken. I didn't have time to marinate and I didn't want the added oil, but I did have tons of fresh herbs in my garden. So here's what I did:

The Best Chicken Rub Ever
1 T fresh rosemary
4 fresh (not dried) garlic cloves
1 T fresh parsley
1 T fresh thyme

Put all ingredients in a small food chopper and blend until chopped well. Cover the underside of chicken with about half of the rub. Turn the chicken over, and slide your fingers under the skin to distribute the other half of the rub between the skin and the meat. Throw it on the grill over medium-low heat, grill for 20-25 minutes, flipping sides in the middle, and voila!