Monday, July 7, 2014


For a couple of years now we have been working toward living a sustainable life.  Food production and making our own have become a very important part of that.  I am constantly looking for ways to leave as little carbon foot prints behind me as possible.  We have been growing our own produce and shopping locally from the farmer's market and meat from the source.  The thought of buying produce or meat from a supermarket almost.....excuse me for expressing it this way but there is no other way to put it...gags me.   My next step has been planning our weekly meals working around what we have growing canned, can get from local butchers, or the farmer's market.  So last week I started this new step.  I have goals for this step written down to cut down on how many trips we make, avoid wasting food,  showing others how easy it is too cook, being in control of what and how my food is produced, supporting my local community and above all reducing the carbon foot print I leave behind me.  To start each Sunday I will plan menus around what is available.  As we eat completely seasonally, these dishes will change.  Two first steps to this are to observe what we eat and use the most and clean out the freezer using up what we have in the menus for the next 3 months.  As I go along, I will let you know what my next steps are.  This observation will also allow me to see what spice mixes I need to make and have on hand, what types of meats we need to keep in stock, what sauces, breads and rolls I need to start making and freeze for further use.  So here are the recipes from last week.  I might add that if you don't have something available..substitute or just leave it out.  With the exception of baking..baking is not very forgiving about leaving things out or changing the amounts.  Oh I also wanted to add.  I am keeping the lists of ingredients that I had to get for the dishes so that I will have a better idea what I need to can, preserve, mix, etc for the future.

                                              MENU FOR 6/23/14
                 These recipes are designed for two but you can easily adjust the amounts.

Monday:  Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, and Basil

1 small shallot (I used our homegrown onion)
2 tablespoons olive oil ( plan on sourcing this locally but this just came from the dratted Costco)
3 or more garlic cloves (from our garden)
1 lb cherry tomatoes (from farmer's market) halved.
11/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (we had this available and it probably came from...sigh..Safeway.  Time to locally source.
3/4 tsp sugar (from the food mill)
1/3 tsp red pepper flakes (from food mill but I plan on making my own this summer)
salt and pepper to taste...we use pink salt
6 oz (2 cups) penne (I can't see making penne so locally sourced)
chopped fresh basil (we grow our own on the patio in a pot) chopped.
1 scallion....thinly sliced
1) Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350.  Toss shallot with one tsp oil, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, and pepper flakes together.  Roast veggies without stirring until tomato skins are slightly shriveled.  About 30 min. Remove from oven and cool about 5 minutes.  

Meanwhile cook pasta.  Drain and return to the pot, add basil and mix.  Toss the tomato mixture in pasta and add any reserved cooking water to get the consistency you want.
Served with a salad.  Great for a warm evening!

Tuesday :  Shrimp burgers

12 oz extra-large shrimp (From Berkeley bowl..very fresh fish there!
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (Got these from the food mill but I plan on making my own to store)
1 1/2tsp mayo (very easy to make your own.  Lots of recipes on the internet)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (farmer's market)
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (from our neighbors)
salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
Hamburger buns.(I got these at the farmer's market but this is one of the things I plan to bake and have on hand in the freezer.

Pulse shrimp in food processor until there is an even mix of finely and course chopped pieces shrimp.  About 7 pulses.
Wisk panko, lemon zest, mayo, scallion, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl then fold into shrimp.  Form two patties and cover and refrigerate for 15 min.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook burgers until crisp and browned on both sides.  I toasted the buns on the grill.  Served with corn on the cob from farmer's market.  Perfect!  What I think would be fun next time is to make some kind of flavored butter for the corn.  Try making your own is so much better than what you get in the store...and so easty!

Thursday:  Tandoori Chicken

2bone-in chicken thighs  (from Berkeley Bowl..local .free range chicken without all the junk added in).
11/2 tsps. garam masala (very easy to make on your own
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (farmer's market)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup yogurt  (Made at home).
2 tablespoons lime juice (home grown)

Cook oil, garlic, ginger, garam masal, cumin, and chili powder in a skillet until fragrant.   Whisk  1 tablespoon of garlic-spice mix, yogurt, a 1 tablespoon lime juice, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Mix together the rest of the garlic-spice mix and remaining lime juice.  Score skinned side of chicken.  Add chicken to spice mixture.  Rub mixture into chicken until well coated.  Cover and let sit at room temp for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 325.  Line rimmed baking sheet w/aluminum foil and set a wire rack on sheet.  Using tongs dip chicken in yogurt mixture and bake skin down and bake 15- 25 minutes until temp in chicken reaches 125 degrees. 
Remove chicken from oven and brown skin side up for 8-15 minutes until chicken reaches 160 degrees.

Serve with a sauce using 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon minced chives (farmer's market), 1 tablespoon mint (we grow a ton at home) and minced garlic.

I served with basmati rice.

Friday:  We went to the ball game and took our own sausages.

Sunday:  Slow cooker black bean soup

1 onion chopped fine (home grown)
garlic (home grown)
2 tsp. chili powder (I intend to make some this summer with our chili)  I have an outlet outside and will do this outside so I don't kill us.  LOL
1 1/2 cups chicken broth.  (Make your own and have it on hand in the freezer)
1 cup water
3/4 cups dried black beans
3 slices of bacon ( I used a sausage link left over from our ball game)
1 rib of celery and 1 carrot chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (farmer's market)
Sautee onions, garlic and chili powder.  Transfer to slow cooker.
Stir in broth, water, beans, bacon, celery, carrot and beans.
Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.  Checking liquid level every once in a while.  I used a lot more chicken broth.
Mash half of the bean mixture after cooked and return to slow cooker.  Heat thru.  Stir in cilantro.  (As we took this to a friend get together, I put the cilantro in a container so those who like it could add or if they don't leave out.

I served with an olive bread.  Did not like the texture of will work with it to see if I can get it to turn out better.

And there you have it!  Happy cooking!

1 comment:

  1. Your recipes always sound so yummy I am definitely going to have to try the Tandori chicken and the shrimp cakes