Monday, July 4, 2011

Lettuce soup

It's the Fourth of July  and we still have so much lettuce left in the garden, despite eating it every day and giving away bunches and bunches.   Can't freeze lettuce but I can make a delicious lettuce soup.  Also use some of the lovely peas from the garden.  

First sauteed up some onion and garlic scapes in olive oil.  

Added chopped lettuce and some spinach and mixed for a few minutes, and then added chicken broth and cooked gently for 15 minutes.  Cooled slightly and pureed in a blender.   Added some hot pepper vinegar.  Sprinkled with dill and garlic chives.  Voila!  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Salad Days

Early June.  Summer came early this year, but it's always a big rush after the last frost-free date to get the major part of the garden planted.  Here in Ithaca, New York, Memorial Day weekend is a safe bet.  But already we can enjoy the fruits of early spring planting.  We're even still enjoying overwintered greens.  This was a particularly good year for over-wintering greens, between the relatively mild temperatures and the decent snow cover.  We had also covered the little spinaches, radicchio, and lettuces with leaves in the late fall.  The radicchio did spectacularly well, as did a few lettuces:

In early April, the new salad crops were sown, and now they are thick.  It didn't hurt that April and May were the rainiest in history.  We hoe up raised beds with paths between, and sow the lettuce thickly.  Shades out a lot of the weeds!  Here we have (from the top) Red Deer Tongue, Tropicana (or was it Barbados?), and Nancy lettuce. 
In the mornings, I thin the beds, while at the same time picking for the table.  The key is to feel around the base of the plants, and pick out whole plants, rather than just leaves.  Even on a busy day, the plants can be thrown in bowl of water, roots first, and sit around as a lettuce bouquet all day, before being washed and packaged up in the evening (except for what's eaten that day of course.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

The best chocolate chip cookies / kitchen sink cookies

Rachel’s coming home for a few days, so it inspired me to dig out the best cookie recipe - we made them together many times since she was little.  It's a low-fat version of the Toll House chocolate cookies my mom used to make – and we loved them, though they were saggy and greasy.  These ones have half the fat (one stick of margarine instead of two) and are just as tasty.

I modified the Sensibly Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe slightly; used whole eggs instead of egg whites and water.  I can't see throwing away good yolks.  And I substitute my own technique on mixing.

The chocolate chips can be substituted in part or all by fudge pieces that went wrong; raisins, etc.  I like to mix it up and make them true kitchen-sink cookies!  This time I'm adding part peanut-butter fudge that was a bit too crumbly; along with some raisins; and pecans.

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional) 

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cream brown sugar, granulated sugar, margarine and vanilla in large mixer bowl.
Beat in eggs.
Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.  
Dump the dry ingredients into the wet.
Stir in morsels and nuts. 
Use hands to mix thorougly, and shape balls to place onto lightly greased baking sheets.  Squish each one down a bit with a fork.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until centers are set.
Cool for 2 minutes.
Remove to wire racks to cool completely