Thursday, August 30, 2007

Collecting | Vintage Cookbooks

I started collecting vintage cookbooks about three years ago, but not for the recipes – for the food photography. Food photography has come a long way since the 60’s and 70’s. But you can’t blame the nasty-looking food entirely on the pictures – there were also a lot of recipes that make you want to laugh and puke at the same time. Some of my favorite “delicacies” and “luxuries” include Weiner Winner Pizza, Molded Pork Loaf (shown below with the caption Cool Molded Pork Loaf is an appetizing work of art.), Danish Garden Salad (the white loaf shown below) and Spicy Liverwurst-Ham Nibblers. I personally think of Jello as a dessert food, but some of the best savory food photography and recipes in my collection come from the pages of my vintage Jello cookbooks. So, a toast to my readers: “May all of your culinary endeavors be more appetizing than this.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Family Recipe | Bacon Buns

Few food items are so good that they can actually be used as currency, but Bacon Buns are one of those rare exceptions. From the outside, they look like ordinary rolls. But the surprise is on the inside – a savory filling of bacon, ham and onion tucked inside a pillowy, soft dough. The recipe originates from Lithuania, where they call the buns “lasineciai”. There was never any written recipe – it only existed in the memories of Grandmothers and Great Aunts in our family. Luckily, someone finally followed Mrs. Sobut while she was making bacon buns and recorded her every move and measure. From that original recipe, I’ve refined and revised so that we can all create these magical buns in our kitchen.

Bacon Buns taste best fresh from the oven, but the next best thing for day-old buns is a quick zap in the microwave (wrapped in a paper towel) for 12-seconds.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Double-Stuffed Bacon Buns

Saturday, August 25, 2007

box no. 11 | contents

  • Tomato Soup Shooters with Cheddar Grilled Cheese Crouton
  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Fried Sage
  • Mini Turkey Sandwich with Bacon & Pickled Cherry Mayo
  • Potato Pancakes with Garlic Thyme Salt & Sriracha Aioli
  • Sweet Corn & River Valley Shiitake Fritters
  • Mini Pork Confit Sandwiches with Pickled JalapeƱo & Onion Slaw
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie & Ice Cold Organic Milk Shooters
  • Mini Cupcakes (Carrot Cake, Banana Cake, and Sour Cream Cake)
If you’re reading this list, thinking “this doesn’t look at all like what I got in my box”, you’re very perceptive! This is only a sampling of the items on the menu for today at my wedding. So needless to say, I did not pick up our box this morning (in fact, I’m not even writing this in real time – I “pre-posted” the week before). Luckily, our neighbors are picking up box no. 11 and taking Angelic Organics for a test drive. Good luck KC and Matt.

There won’t be any vegetable recipe posts this week (no ingredients, no posts) but I will be reposting a couple of my favorites from my very first (and now retired) blog, J.Noelle Cooks. Stay tuned this week for a fantastic family recipe and a peek into a special part of my cookbook collection.

And, if you’re wondering who is making all of this wonderful food, it’s my good friends at Sunday Dinner (the talented chefs who are also behind the Eat Green Foods prepared gourmet food line).

I’m off to say my “I dos”!

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 11.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stuffed Tomatoes Two Ways

Tomatoes are one of those ingredients that people either love or hate. Or sometimes a person loves cooked tomatoes and hates raw; while someone else is exactly the opposite. The great thing about tomatoes is that they’re so versatile. So whether you love them straight from the garden or slow roasted, there’s a recipe here for you.

The Stuffed Tomatoes with Goat Cheese, Olives and Oregano is a warm, comforting side dish with bold flavors. On the flip side, the Stuffed Tomatoes with Chilled Corn and Crab Salad is refreshing and cool with bright, clean flavors of summer.

Click here to download and print pdfs of these recipes:

Stuffed Tomatoes Two Ways:
with Goat Cheese, Olives and Oregano
with Chilled Corn and Crab Salad

Saturday, August 18, 2007

box no. 10 | contents

Energy Efficient Box Transport

When we’re at the height of vegetable season and our boxes are brimming with corn, tomatoes, and melons, the boxes can get pretty heavy. And if you subscribe to the fruit share, then you’ve got double the load every two weeks. When I first lived in the city, I didn’t have a car and I relied on the standard folding, metal cart for grocery transportation. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that the vegetable box would probably fit in that old cart, so I dug it out from storage and resurrected it as the CSA Transport System (CSATS). I no longer need a second person to help haul the box home and I’m never tempted to drive.

If you’re within walking distance of your drop site, consider investing in a grocery cart. It not only saves fossil fuel energy if you normally drive to pick up your box, but it also saves physical energy if you’re used to walking it home the old-fashioned way. And, it keeps that waxy box coating off your favorite t-shirt!

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 10.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Asian Steak Wraps

I tackled the sweet recipe for Anise Hyssop, and now on to the savory: Asian Steak Wraps. I built this recipe from the “ground up” – I had an idea in mind and did my best to execute it. I started with the anise hyssop. I felt that the flavor would lend itself well to a marinade to contrast with a stronger flavor like steak. I started brainstorming ideas and developed a plan to create a marinade with an Asian flair that used the anise hyssop (leaves only), Chinese 5-spice powder and ginger. Since the anise hyssop has a slightly licorice taste, I decided to caramelize both onions and fennel, since fennel also has a licorice flavor. Next, I wanted a bright, fresh salsa or slaw to put in the wrap, so I put together carrots, red pepper, cabbage and cilantro and tossed it with a sweet & sour vinaigrette. The results were great – slightly sweet from the caramelized onion and fennel mixture as well as the natural caramelization that occurs when you grill meat. Pair that with a sweet & sour slaw to carry through the sweetness, but add a kick of acidity, and you’ve got yourself a really flavorful wrap.

I have to admit, it’s still a struggle to find uses for the anise hyssop, but I feel pretty good about what I’ve accomplished this week. At least it didn’t end up in the trash!

Note: if you’re carb-conscious, you could forgo the flour tortilla and wrap the ingredients in 2 to 3 layers of large lettuce leaves instead.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Asian Steak Wraps

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Buttery Shortbread with Anise Hyssop

When searching for recipes to use my Anise Hyssop, most of the results were for sweet treats rather than savory. I decided to take a traditional shortbread recipe and add the anise hyssop for flavor. I added 2 tablespoons of the small, purple florets (the tiny ones that get all over your counter whenever you move the bunch) along with the flour, sugar and salt. The anise hyssop added a mild, licorice- and mint-like flavor – faintly herbal and flowery. If you wanted a more intense flavor, you could add as much as 3 to 4 tablespoons, depending on how strong you prefer the taste.

The shortbread recipe that I used was downloaded from The website requires a membership in order to access all of the content ($24.95 per year or $19.95 per year for magazine subscribers). Your membership allows you to access 14+ years of Cook’s Illustrated recipes, kitchen equipment ratings, food tasting results, kitchen tips and step-by-step instructions for basic cooking techniques. They also have an entire section of menus ranging from Holiday & Events to Weeknight or Grilling. The menus include all of the recipes, shopping lists, techniques and tips. If you cook a lot – and are a fan of Cook’s Illustrated – I think this is a great investment. I have quite a few back issues of the magazine, but when I’m looking for a specific recipe, it’s much easier and faster to locate it online. It is so convenient to have all of this information at your fingertips. And, better yet, it’s 100% advertising free.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Buttery Shortbread

Saturday, August 11, 2007

BLT Sandwiches with Homemade Basil Mayonnaise

As many of you already know, I love bacon. Most people I know love bacon*. When my friend Diana was in town visiting from San Francisco, we decided to make t-shirts that declared our love for bacon. Here’s a picture of Diana wearing one of our awesome t-shirts:

And now that we’ve reached the time of year when tomatoes actually taste like tomatoes, BLT sandwiches are at their peak. With the addition of homemade basil mayonnaise – which is really simple and easy to make if you have a food processor – your standard BLT gets kicked up a notch, as Emeril would say.

*Even vegetarians can enjoy bacon and BLTs by substituting “facon” (fake, soy-based bacon) for the real deal.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Homemade Basil Mayonnaise
Adapted from
Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook
by Martha Stewart

box no. 09 | contents

I have a confession to make: I have never used my Anise Hyssop. I don’t know how other shareholders feel, but I put pressure on myself to use everything from the box, every week. So I always feel guilty when I open the box and see the bunch of anise hyssop, knowing that it will sit in the refrigerator, unused, until I have the guts to shamefully throw it away.

Once or twice, I’ve consoled myself by putting the pretty bunch of herbs in a Ball jar with some water and making use of it as a nice arrangement on the kitchen counter. But it ultimately meets the same fate: in the garbage at the end of the week.

This week I am bound and determined to use it. In fact, I’m so determined that I took an extra bunch from the swap box. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and hopefully share some recipes for using anise hyssop.

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 09.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Book ’n Cook | Fresh Every Day

This week I tested a Summer Sweet Corn Soup recipe from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes from Foster’s Market. First off, let’s start with the book. Fresh Every Day has eight chapters:

Breakfast for Anytime; Simple Soups; Seasonal Salads and Salad Meals; Seasonal Sides; Quick and Tasty Meat Main Dishes; Fast and Fresh Fish, Pasta, and Risotto Meals; Meals That Cook Themselves; A Little Something Sweet

The recipes are easy to follow and use upscale but accessible ingredients. Throughout the book, there are call-out boxes explaining basic techniques such as roasting garlic or peeling butternut squash. There are also a number of sidebars called “Tricks of My Trade” with helpful hints for making your recipes turn out better and easier.

The Summer Sweet Corn Soup is sweet, light and has a bright, fresh flavor from the addition of the basil. All in all, I recommend this book for it’s tempting recipes, beautiful photography and easy, clean design. And if you have some corn left, this recipe is definitely worth trying.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Summer Sweet Corn Soup
Adapted from
Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster

Monday, August 06, 2007

White Bean, Kale and Chorizo Soup

We usually think of soup as a fall and winter comfort food. But it’s also a great summer food. All of the cooking is done on the stovetop – no oven to heat up the kitchen. And most soup recipes always make enough for leftovers – perfect for when you would rather be outside in the garden rather than in the kitchen.

The other upside to making soup in the summer is the great variety of seasonal vegetables you have to choose from. This White Bean, Kale and Chorizo Soup makes use of the kale, onions and carrots that are fresh and plentiful at this time of year. It’s hearty, rich and bursting with beautiful color.

The recipe calls for a parmesan rind. It’s an optional ingredient, but it really adds a nice creamy and rich flavor to the soup. If you don’t happen to have a leftover parmesan rind sitting in your fridge (which many of us don’t), you can find them in the gourmet cheese section of Whole Foods. And if you don’t have a Whole Foods available to you, try checking with your local specialty cheese shop or grocery store.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

White Bean, Kale and Chorizo Soup

Saturday, August 04, 2007

box no. 08 | contents

Watch out – here come the tomatoes. Once the boxes with tomatoes start, they seem to never end. Which is fine with me; I can think of a lot of things to do with tomatoes. You can make salsa, Insalata Caprese, BLT sandwiches or a classic tomato soup. You can roast them, can them or stuff and bake them.

Here are some storage and ripening tips from Farmer John’s cookbook:
  • If your tomatoes smell fragrant and yield slightly when squeezed, they are ready to use
  • If not, store them for a few days at room temperature until they are ripe – avoid refrigerating them; cold temperatures diminish their flavor and texture
  • If you really need to speed up the ripening process, try putting dry tomatoes in a paper bag

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 08.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Fun Facts | Watermelon

  • Watermelon’s official name is Citrullus lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitacae and it is a vegetable. It is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  • The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
  • The word “watermelon” first appeared in the English dictionary in 1615.
  • Watermelon is grown in over 96 countries worldwide; over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide.
  • In China and Japan watermelon is a popular gift to bring a host.
  • In Israel and Egypt, the sweet taste of watermelon is often paired with the salty taste of feta cheese.
  • In 1990, Bill Carson, of Arrington, Tennessee, grew the largest watermelon at 262 pounds that is still on the record books according to the 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • Watermelon is an ideal health food because it doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol, is high in fiber and vitamins A & C and is a good source of potassium.
  • Every part of a watermelon is edible, even the seeds and rinds.
What’s the best way to cut a watermelon?

Click here to see detailed, step-by-step photo instructions.