I ate brussels sprouts (and lived)

I have read that you either love or hate brussels sprouts. I have never been a fan of the miniature cabbage heads. The last time I “tried” them was 2 Thanksgivings ago when my sister brought some to join the feast. I took a “no thank you serving”, that is what we call it on our house when you really don’t like or want to try something new. Anyway, I ate a couple but just didn’t like them.

Last week when I picked up my first load of veggies from the CSA brussels sprouts were among the bins, the sign read “take two stalks”. Now you don’t have to take anything you do not want but I am paying for it so if figure what the heck, my husband likes them so I can fix for him. So I came home with my 2 stalks.

First I needed to research how to keep these little cabbage heads. A quick google search revealed that removing from the stalk and placing in a bowl in the fridge is all that is needed to keep the sprouts fresh for a couple of weeks.

When you get ready to use them you peel off the outer skins and cut the stalks off and you are good to go.

Next I needed to find a recipe that might change my mind. I scoured Pinterest. I finally found a recipe that sounded fantastic. It called for roasted brussels sprouts and parsnips(also part of the weekly distribution) and a lemon tahini sauce. I had everything I needed to make this right in the kitchen so I decided to give it a whirl.

Trimming the sprouts was fairly time consuming but once in the oven to roast you have time to prepare the tahini sauce. The recipe says that you “drizzle” the sauce over the veggies. My sauce was too thick to drizzle so I just dipped into it but I could have mixed it into the veggies.

So what was my reaction? These were quite tasty even without the sauce. I will make them again for sure. If you are looking for a new way to prepare the sprouts or like me have them on the do not eat list I suggest giving this recipe a try.

“Brussels sprouts are the nerdy girl in high school that got hot.” – Jared Fried

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Community Supported Agriculture

 

Photo credit Provider Farm

 

Earlier this year I submitted my name to the wait list of an local CSA. I was excited when last month I received an email informing me that I had the option to buy into the winter and upcoming summer shares.

So what exactly is community supported agriculture?

A CSA is a partnership between the farmer and the shareholder. The purchase of a share is an investment in the upcoming farming season.

What’s in a share?

The CSA I have joined provides organically grown vegetables and herbs. The shareholder can purchase the size share that is most suitable for their family size. Weekly distribution will vary depending on crops in season.

So why join a CSA?

The cost and convenience of purchasing a share from a locally established organic farm makes sense to me. I get the freshest possible produce, grown locally. All of this decreases the cost of transportation reducing pollution. Plus the farm employees local people. It is WIN-WIN-WIN.

What did my first winter share contain?

On Friday I picked up my first winter share of produce. Unlike some programs I can actually pick and choose what I like. I went home with three full grocery bags, recyclable of course. My bags were filled with carrots, watermelon radishes, parsnips, onions, garlic, winter squash, brussel sprouts, cabbage, plus greens—kale, spinach, lettuce, leeks, and bok choy, all being grown in unheated green houses.

Photo credit Provider Farm

On Saturday we made fresh eggs with leeks and spinach for a late breakfast and corned beef with carrots and cabbage for dinner. Completely fabulous food with farm fresh produce in December. Plus it gives me an excuse to try out some new Pinterest recipes.

Below you will find the recipe of the week. I look forward to making this to accompany a farm fresh chicken.

Recipe of the Week:

Maple roasted carrots

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. carrots
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • 2 tbs. maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Chop carrots into long matchsticks. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet.
Roast carrots for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and toss with butter and maple syrup.
Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes until carrots are browned but not burned.
Stir with spatula to coat with glaze and serve.

Credit:

Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

First Date

Restaurant scene

We met via an online Christian dating site. After weeks of emails I finally agreed to call him, it was shortly after that we scheduled our first date. It would be truly “blind”, neither had seen a photo of the other…pretty bold, huh? We were meeting at a restaurant about thirty minutes from my home. As planned I arrived a few minutes early. I peaked into the bar and didn’t spy anyone who appeared alone and waiting, so I made my way over to the hostess. There was a reservation in his name. No he hadn’t arrived yet, I was told, shall I show you to your table? We made our way over to a lovely table in the middle of the restaurant. She left 2 beautifully bound leather dinner menus on the table and handed an extensive wine menu to me. Since I had no idea what he liked to drink I placed it alongside the other menu’s on the table.

It was my first time at this restaurant. Since is was a weekend night the tables were beginning to fill with other patron’s. I watched as servers brought some delicious smelling meals to nearby tables. The layout of the place was interesting; several partitions separated a somewhat large room into smaller, more intimate settings. The lighting was not so low that you couldn’t read a menu(I have had that experience) and not so bright that you felt like you were in the school cafeteria. I was still taking in my surroundings when the hostess briefly reappeared and showed a man the table where I was seated. I saw him shake his head “no” and chat with her for a moment before making his way over to me. Pausing by my side he said, “Are you Paige?”. Yes, I am. Are you Steven?

Steven frequently tells the story of how when we met for the first time he told the hostess that I was not who he was meeting. When he glanced at my table he saw 3 menu’s and assumed that it was not the correct table. Luckily she corrected him. We will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this June.

The incentive for this post was a writing prompt over at the Daily Post. Writer’s liberty was used personalize the post. Thanks for reading.

Fun with the Foodies- Italian Night

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It’s time for another episode with The Foodies.

Let me reacquaint you with the cast of characters.

We have Hilary…

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Then there is Doug…he goes with Jo-Ann

IMG_0649 Steven goes with me.

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And then there is me…

IMG_0667 The group began last fall. We pick a theme for the evening, decide upon the menu, then decide who will prepare what. The ingredients are bought and we convene at one of our homes to prepare the meal, consume the wine, and share an evening of food, fun and laughter. Our previous themes include the Fall Harvest, Holiday Cheer and Fondue Night.

Saturday’s theme was Italian which was selected to prepare the way for Doug in Jo-Ann who will be indulging in authentic Italian cuisine later this month. The 3 of us gals being weight watchers try to select menu items that won’t be a Points Plus disaster, this month was no different. The evening would be hosted at my home with the food prepped to get underway around 4pm.

The table is set…

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The FOODIE Flashcards are making a debut this month. A birthday gift to Jo-Ann from her daughter.

On the menu is a colorful Antipasto. Beautiful as well as tasty.

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We nibbled on this while we prepared the main course and enjoyed our first couple bottles of wine.

In the kitchen at the cooktop Hilary prepares the main course. This may be the most scrumptious chicken recipe I have ever tasted. First the chicken is coated in fresh herbs and “sits” for a spell.IMG_0566

It is then pan cooked thoroughly. Fresh herbs of parsley, fennel, roasted pine nuts and dried cranberries are then sautéed until soft. A good dose of wine is added and cooked off. The chicken is then added back into the vegie laden broth. The result is absolutely fabulous.

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The accompaniment to the main course was Eggplant Rollitini. Thinly sliced eggplant with a dollop of ricotta cheese mixture rolled and covered with a marinara sauce and cheese. The result was quite tasty.

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What would an Italian feast be if there was no bread? Even weight watchers have to indulge a little bit.

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We are now ready to EAT!

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Some calories to burn we turn on Santana and head into the living room for a little dancing.

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No one thought to grab the camera when I grabbed my pink boa and coin skirt and started to salsa around the living room. That is the problem with being the photographer!

We head back to the kitchen to get dessert ready to go. My absolute yumminess. Lemoncello ice cream is the treat for the evening, now I know what you are thinking…there is no way this is on the Weight Watcher’s meal plan…well you are wrong. The recipe is straight out of Cooking Light magazine and made a perfectly delightful way to end the meal.

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We broke out the Foodie Flashcards while we indulged on the treat.

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The girls were better guessers and did better depictions of the clues. It was fun to watch those boys try.

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We tried to convince the guys that they should take a turn at being the “chefs” but so far no go. Given how challenged they were at the game maybe we should let it be.

We wrapped up the evening with a bottle of Sambuca. What a perfect ending to a great night.

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I hope you enjoyed this episode of Fun with Foodies. Perhaps you want to start your own Foodie group. I would highly recommend it.

Foodie

Join us at the Hibachi Grill

Last Saturday night a group of friends planned an evening out. The venue was to be a local hibachi grill style restaurant, Koto’s, located in Groton Ct.  Many of the friends had never before experienced this style of cooking which in my opinion is a truly enjoyable and entertaining way to spend a few hours.

The party was large enough, nine in all, to fill an entire grill. Authors note: if you go with just one other you will wait until the grill is full before being served which can be an annoyance. Our server Ryan came right over to explain the ordering process to the Newbies and take our drink orders. Japanese wine was in order. As we enjoyed the beverages and conversation we could observe the fun being made at the other grills.

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The grill is about six feet long and emits A LOT of heat. I was very thankful that I wore a short sleeve shirt under my sweater so I could shed a layer. My friend Joann, who you have met in some of my other posts, taught me how to use chopsticks. Apparently growing up she had a Japanese exchange student live with her family for a year. I was very pleased with my mastery of this fine motor skill, as you can see pictured below.

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Our chef arrived and the food prep began.

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The first thing to be done is to cook the eggs. IMG_0284

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The rice comes next. After it is cooked the chef forms a heart on honor of the soon to be celebrated Valentine’s Day.

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Loads of Veggies are stir fried. Look at the beautiful colors. At about this point the chef makes the first swing around the table squirting the Sake into everyone’s mouth. Unfortunately I was laughing too hard to capture any usable photo’s of this fine event. I can say that some have really big mouths!

Loads of Veggies

There was tender beef and fresh scallops, lobster and shrimp to accompany the rice, veggies and noodles.

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Before the chef would leave he would toss a piece of uncooked vegetable to each person seated who would try to catch it in their mouth. The photo below is my friend Fran’s attempt. This catch(or not) would be immediately followed by a fresh round of Sake.

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With the meal prepared our chef bid us goodnight. We dined and laughed for another hour. The hibachi grill experience is wonderful whether with a group of friends or seated with a group of strangers. Everyone has a great time. Highly recommend it to everyone. Worth mentioning, I forgot my camera at home so these shots were taken on my IPhone:)

 

 

Fondue with the Foodies

 

Last night was our bimonthly foodiefest. Our selected theme was Fondue. I personally had never eaten let alone prepared fondue and according to my friends seemed a bit nervous during the creation of my portion of the menu.

The word Fondue is derived from the french word “fondre” which means “melt”. Our menu for the evening~

     ~ Cheese fondue with crusty French bread dippers

     ~ Beef cooked in oil with dippers of Peanut, Mustard or Red Sauce

     ~Chocolate fondue and Raspberry fondue with Angel food cake, fresh strawberries & peaches for dipping

All consumed with a variety of wines.

Fondue Anyone

The preparation began with the sauces for the meats.

Most Yummy

A little wine helps to thin the sauce

Foodie's

 My contribution to the meal with the cheese fondue. I went with a traditional recipe of natural Swiss and Gruyere. I shopped that same day for the freshest ingredients. Note to self: keep cheeses away from the energetic pet dog who enjoyed biting into it. Thankfully she was discovered before too much damage was done!

The recipe instructions say to heat the wine until the surface is covered with bubbles. This was fun to watch…

Look at those tiny bubbles

 It is so nice to get together with friends and cook, eat and drink. I really can’t think of a better way to spend the evening.

The table is set, the guys are here and the prep is done. Time to eat.

The communal meal of eating Fondue apparently has some regulations although I am not to sure that we followed them. Essentially it follows the concept of “double dipping”. You are not suppose to get your piercing fork contaminated.

Cheese Fondue starts us off

 
If your like me you have no idea that the meat comes to the table raw and gets cooked in oil at the table. You then use your choice of dips to accompany the meat.

This is Doug

 
 
 
 
 
 
Beef cooked to order
After we have dined sufficiently on the appetizer and the main course we are ready to indulge in the simple pleasures of dessert. Back to the stove to prepare the chocolate and the raspberry fondues.

Stirring and straining

   It looks as though the cooking here is serious business.

 

Special Ingredients make the chocolate especially nice

As you can see it is really light and fun.
 
Back at the table we are enjoying good conversation and opening the dessert selections of wine.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ooh la la chocolate wineSo good!

 

Sharing the love and laughter  with one another is so special.

 
 
 
 

Brut Rose

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I am especially fond of the sparkling wines…

Do a little dance...

Picture Perfect

 

Go Doug!

 My husband Steven definitely enjoy the food and the fellowship.
 

Plenty of laughter

 
 
 A good time was had by all. Next month we will be at my house. The theme is yet to be decided.
Thanks for reading along…

Falls Harvest

We are a group of friends who love the joy of creating food as much eating it. As a result we started a Supper Club, or as we call it a Foodies Group.

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Last night we celebrated Fall’s Abundant Harvest.

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The afternoon started off with some hummus, cucumber yogurt dip and veggies.

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Who among us can cook a fine meal and not indulge in the sweet tastes of fall brews? Not us…

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The harvest brought us Butternut Squash Soup as the first course.

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The Cornish Game hens were grilled after a brush with a glaze made of apricot jelly and brandy.

Thanks guys for “manning” the grill.

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Our main course was accompanied by some mashed fall vegetables. Very tasty indeed.

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We laughed and danced all through the meal.

Laughter and dancing aboundsOnly the freshest ingredients

Whose Glasses are those anyway?Hilary and Paige

We did have one little mishap with the caramel topping for the dessert. It was still finger licking good.

Oopsfingerlicking good

I am reminded of the stories of Jesus reclining at the table with his disciples enjoying the food and the wine. Isn’t fellowship SWEET?!

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