Sunday, December 16, 2007

Book Review | Cheese & Wine

When I’m out shopping for Christmas presents, I have a bad habit of always ending up with something for myself, too. Yesterday I stopped in one of my favorite stores, Porte Rouge, to pick out some gifts and on display next to all of the gorgeous French dishes and tableware was a beautiful book about cheese and wine pairing. Of course it came home with me (along with presents for other people) and I read the first half in one sitting last night before bed.

Cheese & Wine is an excellent book that profiles 70 different cheeses outlining the origins, makers, and characteristics as well as complementary wines. Sprinkled throughout are suggestions for creative and interesting cheese platters that are perfect for holiday entertaining. The style is informative, approachable and friendly.

This book would make a wonderful gift for a cheese enthusiast or someone who is just starting to explore wine and cheese pairing. And, if you’re thinking “wow, that would make a great present for me!” go ahead and buy it for yourself – I won’t tell anyone.

Cheese & Wine by Janet Fletcher is available at for $19.56 (retail price $24.95).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Skillet Lasagna Bolognese

This recipe is going to take a leap of faith – you’ll have to take my word on it until you’ve tried it for yourself. I know what you’re thinking...

Is it any good? Yes.
Does it really taste like actual lasagna? Yes.
Is it as good as my Italian grandmother’s? Probably not.

But it’s a pretty close second when you factor in how much easier and faster it is to make than traditional baked lasagna. Try it and see for yourself!

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

Skillet Lasagna Bolognese

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Chicken & Dumplings

When I was younger, my family would go to Cracker Barrel for family dinners. We would all decide on which entree we were getting and choose our two side dishes – green beans, mac ’n cheese, mashed potatoes, hashbrowns... Every single time, without fail, my brother would order “Chicken and Dumplings and Dumplings and Dumplings”.

Everyone seems to like the dumpling part of Chicken & Dumplings the best. But the rest of the recipe is important too – a creamy stew of tender chicken, herb-scented sauce and perfectly cooked vegetables.

This recipe, from Cook’s Illustrated, delivers on both components of the dish – the chicken and the dumplings. It’s one of my favorite recipes that I turn to on a snowy, cold night. The smell of this dish simmering in the kitchen is intoxicating – smelling of comfort and home. And when it’s finally ready, it’s everything you were hoping for.

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

Chicken & Dumplings

Saturday, December 01, 2007

box no. 24 | contents

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli Florettes
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Kohrabi
  • Cabbage Buds
  • Butternut Squash
  • Popcorn
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Spinach
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Winterbor Kale
  • Redbor Kale
  • Garlic
The 2007 season comes to an end...

I just picked up my last box of the season – the infamous no. 24. It’s bittersweet. On one hand, I will miss the anticipation, planning our meals for the week based on the contents, figuring out what to do with some of the trickier ingredients. I will miss not having to go to the grocery store as much and I will certainly miss the taste and quality of fresh, organic produce straight from a local farm.

On the other hand, a full CSA share box for two people is a lot to contend with. It takes planning, discipline and a lot of cooking. Don’t misunderstand – we love being shareholders (we already signed up for 2008). But it’s hard work with great rewards: now I really know what “in season” means, I truly understand the connection between the weather and crops, I’ve broadened my cooking to include ingredients that I never would have on my own.

So what is the plan for 24 boxes “off-season”? I definitely plan on continuing to post. I will have more flexibility in terms of what I can post (not limited only to box ingredients!) and I will be posting more “Book ’n Cooks” as I work through my ever-expanding cookbook collection.

Thank you for reading and following 24 boxes and I hope that you will continue to read throughout the next six months until the next 24 boxes begin.

Click here to download a pdf of the Angelic Organics Farm News for box no. 24.