Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simple Food: Cooking in the Moment

     My first cooking class at Trillium Haven CSA this year! It was wonderfully fun, deliciously different and as always, educational! Our table was set with delicate bran muffins (from Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson),  grapefruit marmalade, peach jam, rye soda bread slices and re-baked slices that were more like crackers to go with the herbed butter! The grapefruit marmalade was bitter and sweet, and perfect combination for the muffins. I always forget about the simplicity of herbed butter. Evidently the key is to use sweet butter (unsalted) to let the herbs shine through. This butter was made with parsley, dill and chives. It was creamy, soft, subtle and fresh tasting on the soda bread. I enjoyed the "twice-baked" slices that were crispy and held the flavor nicely. Ann mentioned that by baking both recipes together you can use an entire carton of buttermilk (not something I keep in the fridge on a regular basis). I've made the muffins 4 times now and my family loves them!

     Next we tried homemade power bars! These were a tasty surprise! They reminded me of a healthy Rice Krispies Treat. The chewy, sweet, tangy goodness was further accented by ginger! The recipe calls for brown rice syrup and I had a hard time finding that so I'll be substituting agave. While looking for unsweetened brown rice puffs I came across a new, gluten free Rice Krispies made with brown rice! The other challenging ingredient was crystallized ginger. Meijer had a very small jar for $7, but a trip to Harvest Health yielded a 16oz bag for $6! Happy Day!
    We followed the bar with a small cup of Stoneybrook Farm vanilla yogurt with a dab of roasted strawberry jam! ROASTED! The flavor had so many layers! Not just the sweet, tangy, juicy top notes of a typical strawberry jam, but a subtle, smoky flavor that wasn't over powering, just intriguing.
     Then it was on to the 3 course buffet!

The green rice was light, refreshing and delicious all by itself! Anja provided the recipe for this one, but told us that she used Herdez green salsa instead of the fresh tomatillos, cilantro, onions, garlic and chile. The black-eyed pea/chard soup tasted familiar and I think it was in the Mediterranean class. It has a light, lemon flavor and the creaminess of the beans makes it one of my favorites. The slaw in this trio was my absolute favorite! Although there was no recipe provided for this one, we delighted in "picking apart" the salad to list the ingredients. We found crunchy red cabbage, tiny currants, salty pistachios, chewy/sweet apricots and the dressing (we had to ask about this one) was made from yogurt, pomegranate syrup and Dijon mustard! DELICIOUS!

Round two consisted of a delightful lentil dish poured over pasta! Rustic Lentil Soup from "Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen" The creamy lentils, firm pasta and smoky flavor was a perfect blend. And, as many of us have discovered, children eat food with pasta in it much more easily than a bowl for brown soup! :)  The Creamy Coleslaw from Jack Bishop's "Vegetables Every Day" was a traditional slaw. The only thing setting it apart would be the tarragon leaves. A nice summer staple.

 Round three was a black bean dish that Anja whipped up to compliment the green rice. It was WONDERFUL~! It brought back memories of my mission trip to Costa Rica where we would be served black beans and rice every breakfast with a delicious white cheese sliced over it. The hot, filling black beans paired with fresh cilantro and the green rice was perfect! The Spicy Cabbage Slaw from "Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys" by David Tanis, is bright, fresh and SPICY!! The juice from 3 limes gives it the bright, summer flavor and the jalapeno gives it the heat!

For dessert we had deliciously fresh cherries and two different cookies: Walnut and Pine Nut Drops and Almond Cookies. Both were very light and a perfect end to a delicious luncheon!

Anja is VERY passionate about using farm grown produce to make delicious dishes! 
These are just a few of her cookbooks!

Ann and Cyndi helped prepare the food and always have excellent input for the recipes.
Another wonderful class with LOTS of possibilities!

1 comment:

  1. Kathleen,
    Your pictures and verbal descriptions captured this event perfectly. Your recitation of ingredients in dishes for which printed recipes were not given will prove to be most useful in trying to recreate these delicious items. Thanks.
    (Tablemate) Michael