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You may have noticed by now, I am not much for detailed recipes.  My goal is simply to provide inspiration. I don’t usually list ingredients up front, and I often estimate or encourage you to experiment with substitutions.  Most things that I cook do not require sophisticated skills, equipment, or ingredients.  If you change a little bit here or there, not one will be the wiser.

When I was first learning to cook, I was a by the book, word for word, step by step kind of girl.  I needed to know exactly how many carrots to use and exactly how long to bake them for.  One time in college, I tried to make chocolate chip cookies from some recipe I found online.  The recipe had a major typo – it said to use 1/2 cup of salt, instead of 1/2 tsp of salt.  But here is the best part – I did it! 

Well, I’ve come along way since then.  I still follow recipes on occasion, mostly for baked goods or sauces where proportions can really make a difference.   Other times, I just take inspiration from recipes I find on the food network, in magazines, or on other blogs, and change ingredients to suit my taste (and my pantry).  More often, I just make it up as I go.  My CSA membership has encouraged this even more. 

Tonight for example, I had tri-tip steak defrosted in the refrigerator, but didn’t have any plans for what to serve with it.  I needed something quick because we were going to try to eat at the same time as the Little Man, and Cheerios were only going to last him so long.  So, I opened the produce drawer and found carrots and swiss chard (both from my CSA box).  I have never made those three things together in my life, but thought it might work out.  And it was in fact, quite delicious. 

So, here’s what I did.  I set the oven to 400 and started peeling the carrots.  I got them on a baking sheet, drizzled olive oil over them, and sprinkled some kosher salt over them (This is a fantastic way to cook carrots – my absolute favorite!). 

On to the steak!  I heated olive oil in a pan over medium high heat until it was sizzling.  I sprinkled the steak with some Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (which is a really easy but effective way to season meat, by the way) and placed in the pan.  I flipped it around until browned on all sides and then put the lid on the pan to help the steak cook through.

Next I put olive oil in a second pan and brought it up to medium high heat.  I sliced an onion and the swiss chard.  I started with just the onion in the pan (sofrito effect) and then added the swiss chard.  The chard melted down like spinach.  I thought it might be a little bitter on its own, so I decided to add a bit of sweetness with a dressing of sorts.  I sprinkled it with kosher salt, then added a few shakes of balsamic vinegar, a splash of Worcestershire, and a squeeze of Dijon mustard and mixed.  I was careful not to add to much of the “dressing” because I thought it could be overkill. 

Right about then, the steak and carrots were looking done.  I piled the swiss chard onto the plates first and placed the carrots on top.  I sliced the tri tip and added it to the pile. 

Delish and nutrish (and it even looked a bit fancy)!

Burgers of all kinds are a weeknight dinner staple in the bunny household. We eat turkey burgers, chicken burgers, beef burgers, veggie burgers, and black bean burgers. We eat burgers topped with onions and mushrooms, guacoamole, onion rings, zucchini relish, whatever I can come up with that day. Yes, we loooove burgers!

Today’s feature burger is Bunny’s Sloppy Guac Burger. Many of my burgers are “sloppy” because I love adding moistness to my burgers. This usually results in burgers that are falling apart, but DELICIOUS!

Bunny's Sloppy Guac Burger

Bunny's Sloppy Guac Burger

Start with a sofrito. Sofrito will add flavor and moisture. In case you’ve forgotten, that means heat a little olive oil over medium heat and add one chopped onion with three cloves chopped garlic. Cook until softened.

While sofrito cooks, in a bowl combine one pound ground beef, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, sprinkle of salt and pepper. When sofrito is softened, add to meat mixture (but reserve some for guacamole). Now you have options. You can add just about anything. If you are going to add additional vegetables beyond the basic sofrito, cook them with the sofrito. Cooked veggies will work much better than uncooked. You could also add a heaping tablespoon of cottage cheese or riccotta cheese as an extra “moist maker.” Believe it or not, you could even add a jar of any vegetable baby food (more on this in a future post).

Crank up the heat in your pan to medium high and form patties. Cook for about 7 minutes on each side. Remember, these are MOIST and sloppy burgers, so avoid turning too many times, or they will really fall apart. That said, even if they do fall apart, don’t worry about it!

While burgers cook, make guacamole. Add reserved sofrito to a small bowl. Dice avocado and tomato and add to bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin. Add juice of one lemon or lime. If using Haas avocados, the lemon or lime is important to prevent the avocado from turning brown. If using Reed avocados (which we get in our CSA box), you don’t have to worry about oxidation, but the lemon or lime is still nice for flavor. Mix everything together. You can mash the avocado if you prefer, but it is also good with some of the avocado pieces in tact.

When burgers are cooked to desired doneness, top with swiss cheese while still in pan. Once cheese is slightly melted, place burger on bun and top with guac. You could also top with sauteed sliced onions if desired.

Serve with onion rings!

Every Sunday I suggest an easy picnic recipe – something light and portable, perfect for some outdoor family time.

The Mayor had to work yesterday, so the Bunny and I met up with him for a lunchtime picnic. I brought along this New Three Bean Salad and a bag of Zucchini Muffins (we got zucchini and green beans in our CSA box last Sunday). I made some chicken to go along with the salad (because the Mayor is once again the anti-Vegan), but forgot it at home! I also realized after the fact that I was supposed to chop the green beans (I don’t follow directions very well – this will likely be a recurring theme here). Smaller pieces of green beans probably would’ve made all the ingredients come together more effectively, but it still turned out to be pretty tasty! As for the little Bunny, he had some Cheerios and also tasted some small pieces of green bean.

New Three Bean Salad with Zucchini Muffins

New Three Bean Salad
This recipe is slightly adapted from the August issue of Sunset Magazine.

Steam 10 oz frozen shelled edamame for four minutes. Add one can drained and rinsed chick peas and steam with edamame for four more minutes.

Mix zest of two lemons with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. sugar. Add edamame and chick peas to lemon mixture.

Separately steam 10 oz. green beans (chopped to 1 in. pieces) for four minutes. When done, immediately immerse in ice or run cool water over beans.

Add green beans and 6 diced green onions to edamame chick pea and lemon mixture.

Serve within one hour.

Zucchini Walnut Muffins
This recipe is available on www.cooks.com.

In large bowl combine 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk two large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/2 cup melted butter. Add 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 2-3), 1/2 cup dark raisins, and 1 cup walnuts.

Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Now, that I got that out of my system, we can move on to something a little more innovative than rice.

Recently, we signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (“CSA”) share at one of the local farmer’s markets.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with CSA programs, “shareholders” (term used loosely) commit to a farm for a certain period of time (we paid for a quarter up front).  In exchange for their support, shareholders receive a box full of whatever is in season each week.  It is a great way to “eat seasonally” if you are into that kind of thing.  It also forces you to eat (and cook with) foods you may have never tried before.  We have already received turnips, radishes, beets, mizuna, and kale, all of which I had never cooked with before (not so much a fan of the beets, but love everything else).  

Almost every week we have been getting carrots (last week’s were HUGE) and I hadn’t used any in three weeks.  (No, my white balance does not need adjusting.  Those carrots are purple.  They are orange after you peel them.)

so many carrots

So, I decided to do a stir fry tonight to use up some of the carrots.  This recipe was inspired by this, which I came across when I was searching for a recipe for mizuna.  Obviously stir fry is a very flexible recipe.  Its a great way to make use of whatever produce you have in your kitchen.  The key to a good stir fry is to cook quickly over high(ish) heat while keeping the ingredients moving in the pan, so they don’t burn.
Note: This is a great vegan/vegetarian recipe if you leave out the chicken.

Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to wok (or any pan or skillet) and heat over medium high heat.

Dice one onion, one anaheim pepper, three cloves garlic, and add to pan.  

Once onion, pepper, and garlic are softened, add two cups diced carrots and one cup mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp white wine, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp pepper.  Dice 1 1/2 cooked chicken breasts (we used leftovers from last night, but obviously you could start with raw chicken as well).  Add chicken to soy sauce mixture and let sit.

Once all veggies are softened in wok, add chicken.  If chicken is already cooked, just stir until incorporated.

Add diced scallions.

Serve with rice and leftover curry sauce.

 

I got a lot of carrots in my CSA box stir fry

I got a lot of carrots in my CSA box stir fry

By the way, you can find a CSA near you at http://www.localharvest.org

About Me

Mom to a one-year-old Super Bunny. Amateur cook and photographer. Tiny living enthusiast. Lawyer who would rather write about muffins than motive.

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