Foodie Penpals – March ’14

And another month of 2014 has passed. We have finally reached April – and while there’s still snow on the ground, I’m seeing small glimmers of spring popping up. I saw a few flocks of wild turkeys yesterday…the sun is melting the snow…I’m hearing more birds every day…so maybe by June all will be well again 🙂

This post is a little late, as I took a very impromptu roadtrip to Memphis, TN with some friends from college to see the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team play in the NCAA Elite 8. It was a long trip but it was good to go with some of my very closest friends, and see others that I haven’t seen in years. What a wonderful, albeit exhausting, trip.

So without further ado ::cue drumroll::…March’s Foodie Penpal box! Our package this month comes from Colby in Connecticut. She put together a great package of lots of local items from her hometown, where she & her husband met, and more.

Thank you, Colby!

Thank you, Colby!

  • Her handwritten card has an old picture of her mainstreet from her hometown. It’s so pretty!
  • Ashlawn Farm coffee – This comes from a farm & roastery. So far my husband and I are really enjoying the blend that Colby sent us. Mmm…coffee..
  • Archie Moore’s wing sauce – We have not tore into this bottle just yet – but I absolutely cannot wait! Baseball season is upon us, as is the World Cup…so it will be used up quickly!
  • Sclafani Pasta – locally made in Norwalk, CT. She included some Pamieri Marinara Sauce to go with it; it comes from the neighborhood near where she used to live. We ate this for dinner last night and it was delicious!
  • Foxon Park soda – Colby sent us the Root Beer & Birch Beer flavors. They were great!

Thank you, Colby, for the great package that you sent us! We have been enjoying it greatly and appreciate how locally-based it is 🙂

Want more information on Foodie Penpals? Here’s a few details for ya…

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. This is because things might get too slow and backed up when trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
Advertisements

Valentine’s Day Fondue

I suppose I should let you in on a little secret as to one of our favorite “traditions” that we have, just the two of us.

For our Valentine’s Day celebration, we like to fondue. We’ll clear off the coffee table, set out bowls of dippable fruit, vegetables, & proteins…and have ourselves a wonderful & relaxing meal while watching movies. We received a fondue pot (the kind you can use Sterno with) as a wedding shower gift – it came with both a glass pot and a metal pot. The glass one broke…so a few years ago my sister gave us a new, electric one for Christmas.

Electric fondue pots are where it’s at. Easy to heat, easy to clean, easy easy EASY! 🙂

This year one of the movies we watched was West Side Story. I’ve seen this movie so many times, yet Mike never had. It was really hilarious to watch this with him and hear all of his commentary. As you can imagine, it’s those comments that often people just keep to themselves 🙂 The best part is that my husband truthfully does appreciate musical theater – he just likes to make comments to make me laugh!

We never did get to the chocolate fondue – as yours truly fell asleep (I ended up coming down with a chest cold the next day, also in true Valentine’s Day tradition – I’m sick almost every year on VDay. How’s that for romance?) We ended up cooking up cheese fondue as an appetizer, and broth fondue for the main course. Chocolate will just have to wait until this cough subsides…

Cheese Fondue

adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 2 dashes garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup beer (we used homebrewed Saison or spitless Chicha, can’t recall)
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, diced into cubes
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  1. Turn on your fondue pot.
  2. Combine first four ingredients and stir until the cheese is melted.
  3. Add hot sauce & worcestershire sauce (to taste) and stir to combine.
  4. Serve with your favorite dippables!

Behold the power of cheese.

Alright, so maybe it’s a little odd that we drank red wine with our beer-y cheese? Oh well. It was awesome anyway. We ate our cheese fondue with some crusty French bread from Breadworks. I also bought some broccoli & an apple to slice, but in the end we decided to keep this course a bit simple.

photo (4)

For our next course, we opted for a broth fondue to be a bit healthier. I had a quart of mushroom broth lurking in my pantry. I supplemented it with some chicken broth as we cooked along, and threw in a clove of garlic.

Our favorite dippables (cookables?) for our broth fondue were some chicken, beef, mushrooms (my favorite), red onion, and potato. Next time I may copy what Kristin did on Iowa Girl Eats  and try some tots or french fries. Bell pepper and zucchini can taste pretty good, too. Truthfully, whatever you feel like cooking up in the pot – try it. You won’t be disappointed (and if you are, just don’t make it next time).

Oh – I can’t forget about the sauces! We made a simple soy sauce/teriyaki/ginger/sriracha one, a horseradish-mayo sauce, some honey mustard, and some barbecue sauce. All were delicious – I made them up on the fly, but next time I think I’ll do a bit more internet research so I can make (and memorize!) some winners.

Fondue is great any time, and for any families whose members can be trusted with pointy objects. 😉

Do you ever fondue? What are your favorite things to fondue?

Foodie Penpals – January ’14

Look what I started doing again? 😀

I decided to jump back on the Foodie Penpal train in November, but the person who I was paired with never sent me a box (lame!). This month, all was well as I was paired with an elementary special ed teacher, Janelle, who lives in southeastern Pennsylvania. And you know that teachers are awesome 🙂

Here’s what Janelle included in my package, along with a handwritten note (one of the ‘requirements’ of FP):

Thank you, Janelle!

Thank you, Janelle!

  • Yuengling Light Mild Wing Sauce – Yuengling is a very ‘Pennsylvania’ thing; some of my favorite memories of my year out there included stopping by Smokey Bones after work to have a ‘lager’. Janelle couldn’t locate the hot version, but she sent me the mild, which will still be just as delicious. This is going to be perfect for Superbowl Sunday!
  • Urban Detox (Goji Berry flavor) – This stuff is great for hangover prevention & remedy. A must-have for mornings after having a few beers at trivia. Which, may I add, are on school nights.
  • Raspberry Lemonade Blistex – It’s wintertime and one of the things that I hate most about the cold weather is the chapped lips that come with it – especially since I’m a musician and need my lips to play all the instruments that I do at the drop of a hat. Janelle threw this in on a whim but figured I’d love it (ironically, I sent her some chapstick too). I do ! I used it during a gig the other night and it kept my lips smooth the entire night. Plus the flavor is pretty great (AKA it’s not cherry chapstick. I HATE cherry chapstick. It tastes like cough syrup!)
  • Bhuja Snack Mix – Yum! This is a really unique snack mix with a hint of heat and lots of flavor. It’s awesome 🙂
  • Cadbury Mini-Eggs – I love these at Easter! They’re one of the ‘treats’ that I put off eating until very last, because they’re one of the best.
  • Stacy’s Pretzel Bread Crisps – I only haven’t tried these yet because of Superbowl Sunday. But, it’s no secret that I love crunchy snacks, especially pretzels. Now I just have to figure out exactly what I’m making with them.

So, Janelle – thank you for one amazing box of goodies. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I’ve been enjoying mine! 🙂

Want more information on Foodie Penpals? Here’s a few details for ya…

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
  • Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. This is because things might get too slow and backed up when trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

CSA 2013 – Week 11

I have a lot of work to do.

I have a lot of work to do.

This week was the first week of school – thus I haven’t had much time to do any canning, pickling, etc. because I’ve been absolutely zonked once I get home. I need to make it a rule never to sit on my couch until I’m done with any housework or cooking for the night, because I swear that thing absorbs any remnant energy left in our bodies.

So as you can see…we’ve had a huge tomato harvest from the garden & I’ll need to go up there tomorrow (Saturday) to get another haul of tomatoes. I’ll be up bright and early to start making a batch of tomato sauce. Making it on your own and freezing it really isn’t bad at all; it just takes a while. I may end up purchasing a food mill Saturday to help out with this process – a strainer & spoon isn’t going to cut it this time around. I’ll have to weigh out all those tomatoes and let you know how many pounds it is – and get a picture of the heirlooms, too (they’re hidden in this picture).

Meanwhile, we had a nice little haul this week from the farm. A nice variety, but nothing too overwhelming.

Week of Sept 3, 2013

Week of Sept 3, 2013

  • orange & yellow sweet peppers (they’re so good!)
  • jalapeno (I think)
  • cucumber
  • basil
  • onion
  • purple pepper
  • banana peppers
  • more tomatoes!
  • eggplant
  • red potatoes
  • zucchini & yellow squash

One item I’m surprised isn’t in there is garlic! I had so much garlic last year and it lasted me until this past May. I think I may have to stock up a bit before the summer is over.

So far of this haul, I’ve frozen the eggplant, and thrown some banana peppers into leftover pickle brine (to see what they’d do). I’ve also started getting into the basil and taking caprese salad into work for lunch.

My first football game of the season is tonight – let’s just hope that the 30% chance of rain doesn’t come true! Do an anti-rain dance for me, if you can 😉

22 Food Words…

I don’t have much time to post today, as one set of in-laws is set to arrive in about 3 hours. Thus I’m cleaning my house like a mad woman. While taking a lunch break, I came across this little find, which I think you foodies out there will enjoy…

22 Food Words You Might Be Pronouncing Wrong

i’m the type of person that will pronounce something wrong right off the bat. I hope this helps anyone out there who’s like me and either Americanizes words too much, or foreignizes words too much. Heh!

 Happy Friday 🙂

Chicken & Waffles – The Quick, Unauthentic Version

Last week my husband mentioned that he wanted some sort of breakfast for dinner. I wasn’t too keen on the idea; I had some chicken breast in the refrigerator that I knew needed to be cooked up soon. After going back & forth for a few minutes, the idea of Chicken & Waffles came up. We had this combination for the first time on our vacation this summer, and since then have told many friends & family about how much we enjoyed it. I figured that making it for dinner would be the best way to combine the flavors that Mike & I both wanted for dinner that night.

It’s not like the original – hell, it’s pretty unauthentic – but it was thrown together at the last minute and really hit the spot!

Chicken & Waffles – The Quick, Unauthentic Version

What You’ll Need:

– frozen waffles – then again, if you have a good waffle recipe and a nice waffle iron, feel free to make your own

– pieces of chicken – whatever cut you want; they can be bone-in or boneless

– flour, a beaten egg, & breadcrumbs for breading

  1. Heat a large skillet with some canola oil.
  2. Dip the chicken in flour, then the egg, then into some bread crumbs. Set into the hot pan to fry (boneless chicken breast took us about 5 min/side).
  3. Meanwhile, toast or make your waffles.
  4. Once everything is ready, serve the chicken atop of the waffle. From here, you can add some butter, as well as some maple syrup if you want. You can even put a dash or two of hot sauce on your chicken.
20130819-095035.jpg

The most unauthentic version of chicken & waffles ever.

We had some lacinato kale in the fridge that needed to be cooked up, so we made our own version of “greens”. Cooked with bacon 🙂

To the left is my husband’s plate: He has butter on one waffle, locally made maple cream on the other, with the chicken on top. My plate is on the right; you can see that I didn’t want to put my chicken combined with the maple – I also have some hot sauce on my chicken.

It’s such a weird combination, but I love it because of the combination of sweet & savory. It’s truly a unique dish that is great to have when you want something a little out of the “ordinary”. I’d love to try making my own waffles for this dish, but we haven’t been able to successfully make good waffles in our waffle iron. Someday, though…

CSA 2013 – Week 8

Boy, did it cool off this week! The past few days we’ve been in jeans & sweatshirts all but the afternoon. It’s finally starting to warm-up a bit and we should see the high 70s again by the weekend, thankfully. If it were late September or early October, this weather would be *perfect*. But, it’s mid-August. I’m not ready yet 😉

This week’s CSA was still chock-full of goodies, as usual.

2013, Week 8

2013, Week 8

  • flat-leaf parsley
  • another huge basil plant
  • cherry tomatoes
  • bigger tomatoes
  • onions
  • garlic (this week’s top-off choice)
  • eggplant
  • green & purple peppers
  • zucchini & yellow squash
  • cauliflower
  • curly kale
  • red potatoes
20130815-085404.jpg

Yep, this is ONE clove from this week’s garlic bulbs!

The cherry tomatoes have been used in a chopped caprese salad that I reblogged the other day from Inherchucks. The cauliflower was roasted right away with some garlic & olive oil, and served alongside our favorite meatloaf from a local butcher (which was definitely a comfort-food choice with the colder weather we’ve had).

I brought home two bulbs of garlic and decided to roast one, using AnnieRie’s technique. The oven was nice and warm from the meatloaf & roasted cauliflower, so it was the perfect time to do so. Coveyou’s garlic has some large, large cloves this year! The garlic clove that I had chopped to go with the cauliflower was pretty big, but the ones coming from the roasted bulb were even bigger – and photo-worthy, even.

The roasted garlic gloves (the final count came to 4 or 5 for that bulb, wow) are now sitting in a small glass jar in the freezer, and will be perfect on the breads I’ve bought home this week.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have a new page up on the Spicy Simmer, called What’s for Dinner? Here you can get an idea of what we’re planning to eat all week, as well as the CSA vegetables that we need to use cook with. It’s ever-changing, depending on work schedules, gathering with friends, and spontaneous trips to the grocery store. It’s also a great way to get a sneak peak as to some recipes that may be appearing on here.

QUESTION OF THE DAY/WEEK: I now have 1 and a half bunches of flat-leaf parsley. What to do, what to do? Any ideas?

Shared at Inherchucks’ CSA Round-up #77