Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fresh Vegetables!

I had the good fortune of visiting my parents in Reno at a very opportune time. Not only did their neighbor come home with so many armloads of vegetables from their garden (from their other house in California, Reno has far too many rabbits) that they simply couldn't live without passing some out to their most favored neighbors, but this even coincided with a long vacation my parents were going to be taking in just a few short days. In other words, my parents were given a few bags of veggies with no way of eating them all before they left town, so they sent just about all of them home with me! What did I get? Let's see, there was a whole bag of gorgeous and succulently sweet yellow and red cherry tomatoes, a huge butternut squash, an acorn squash (again, very large), an eggplant, and a big bag of green peppers that were supposedly hot. The story is that she meant to plant bell peppers, but accidentally planted hot peppers. I have no idea what variety they were, but they really weren't hot at all. I ate one and while it definitely was not a bell pepper, it had only the faintest hint of something resembling a flavor trying to be hot. They were very small, so maybe they just hadn't matured all the way? Needless to say I was in heaven. And as luck would have it, most of these things fit into what I was going to make anyway! Here's what I'm stuffing my face with this week:
  • Turkey and white bean chipotle chili, courtesy of me! I have my own recipe to share with you! I borrowed heavily from this Gourmet recipe, of course, but isn't that how it's done? The recipe will follow in another post, so check back! I had a turkey and white bean chili at work a few weeks ago and was stunned by how yummy it was (the work cafeteria is anything but yummy). I decided it couldn't be that hard, and I would try making my own the next chance I got. Being handed a bag of peppers decided it for me. It turned out really fantastic! It definitely has a kick, but not so much that I can't eat it, but enough that my husband doesn't make fun of me when I say it has a kick. He tastes the kick too! Generally he can handle spicy foods much better than me. And the best part is that it's totally healthy. Ground turkey breast and cannellini beans provide excellent lean protein, and the rest is basically vegetables (plus the tomatoes). And what goes great with chili?
  • Cornbread salad, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. I was sitting at my laptop in Reno thinking about how I wanted to make chili when, bam!, she posts this salad. Perfect! It's the perfect accompaniment to the chili. I get a few extra veggies in the meal, and I get my cornbread without being so meat and potatoes about it. I really love the lime-buttermilk dressing. It's creamy without being heavy, and the fresh herbs absorb the dressing and stick to the salad leaves, so even though it's rather thin, you still get good flavor throughout. It's rather ingenious, really. Also, remember that bag of tomatoes I got? Every single one of them went into this salad. Yum!
  • Warm butternut squash and chickpea salad, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. I've blogged about this salad before. It's my go-to butternut squash recipe apparently, because when faced with a giant butternut squash, this is the first thing that lept to mind. And oh my is it ever delicious! My not liking to chew at its best.
  • Zucchini bread, courtesy of Serious Eats. When I asked my husband if I should make another dish for the week, since it seemed we were rather light, he requested something desserty and baked. I just happened to have saved off this recipe earlier in the week. This was my first attempt at zucchini bread, and I think it was a resounding success! Man oh man is this good. Husband had one bite and asked if it was expected to last longer than a day. It's rather filling, so it did, but it's going fast! I liked the recipe because it didn't use a huge amount of sugar, and half of the flour was whole wheat. It turned out sweet and the flavor is just fantastic from the spices. Have I mentioned how much I love cardamom? It's like happiness in a bottle. It makes any baked good taste ten times better. It's true. Man, now I'm thinking about these chai spiced snickerdoodles I made earlier this year. I might have to make those again. Soon. Oh, and I learned that apparently my loaf pan is rather smaller than a standard loaf pan. There was a lot of extra batter. I overfilled the pan, which all spilled out over the sides (I was expecting this, so I stuck it on a cookie sheet to collect the drippings), and I just had to eat my way through it all when it came out of the oven. Also, the dough itself is delicious. I couldn't let those extra few tablespoons that wouldn't fit in the pan go to waste, could I? Of course not.
So I have to give a big thank you to my mom for sending me home with so much yumminess! If it were me, I totally wouldn't have shared. Mwhaha! I'm looking forward to working that eggplant and acorn squash into something soon. Check back for the chili recipe.


Diana Mo' said...

omg, now i totally want some of grandma's zucchini bread with chocolate glaze. yum!

JuLo said...

Grandma used to make zucchini bread? I totally don't remember that. :(

Mmmm...just thinking about that bread...I totally want some now. Arg!