Sweet Potato Pasta Dough

shaping pasta
shaping pasta
A simple shape, for a simple pasta dough.

With the farm crew on vacation, we don’t get our weekly CSA share of produce. At first, that’s not so bad; we just eat what we have in the house in a creative way– today’s recipe is an example. In fact, this is part of what we had for our Christmas Eve dinner. Today, we’ll show you how to make the pasta dough, and, next week, we’ll present a simple pasta dish that’s good enough to serve for a holiday dinner. At least, we think so.

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Tempering Chocolate in the Microwave

chocolate covered bear paws
chocolate covered bear paws
Even with tempered chocolate, it seems to get everywhere.

Do you ever melt chocolate to coat something, perhaps caramel, or to use it to dip other items (say, sugar cookies), and are disappointed in how it doesn’t seem to harden? Instead of a hard shell, it stays soft and messy, melting onto your fingers as soon as your touch it. Well, if you’re like us, you’ve researched the matter, and found that your chocolate wasn’t in “temper.” And, you probably found difficult instructions on how to temper chocolate. We know we did. We’ve even tried it and told you about it. But, in that post, someone mentioned an easy way to temper chocolate. Really easy. So easy, it seemed as if it wasn’t true. However, we tried it, and found that it’s really easy to have perfectly tempered chocolate without double boilers, thermometers, or immersion blenders. Really!

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It’s Been Two Weeks!

weekly CSA share
This is a what a full-on greens season can look like!

Yes, two weeks since we picked up our CSA share, and it seems as if we got thrown right into the deep end of greens. Before we left on our trip and put our CSA share on hold, we were getting just a few greens. But, now, with our most recent pickup, we realize that we’re in the midst of a major greens season. We don’t mind, as we’ve learned over the years ways to deal with the abundance of fresh vegetables.

This week’s share:

  • Oranges (3)
  • Sweet potatoes (4)
  • Hanover kale (1 bunch)
  • Red beets (1 bunch)
  • Trombincino squash (1)
  • Cilantro (1 bunch) — traded for another squash
  • Tendergreens (1 bunch) — an heirloom mustard variety
  • Salad mix (1 bag)

And, it’s time for the farm crew to get a well-deserved rest, so the CSA is on hold for the next two weeks. A big thanks to the farm crew for all their hard work!

PS. You’ll note that we haven’t posted lately — it’s rush season around here — we’ll resume soon.

Yes, Away Again

applying ganache

Yep, we were gone for a while to visit family and to help celebrate a birthday. As part of the celebration, we made up a Chocolate Caramel Tart. It’s pretty easy, looks great, and tastes even better. See for yourself.

chocolate caramel tart
Cocoa nibs for visual and textural interest.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mini-Muffins

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mini muffins
Mexican Hot Chocolate Mini muffins
Mexican hot chocolate in a mini muffin!

The day before we went up to the Grand Canyon, we volunteered at our downtown walk, Meet Me at Maynards. It’s a lot of fun, and we really like helping out, because it encourages people to get out and see downtown Tucson. When we volunteer, we like to bring just a little something for our fellow volunteers. We know we don’t have to, by any means, but we think it’s a nice thing to do, and it gets us to try new recipes.

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Mixed Citrus Vinaigrette

salad with mixed citrus salad vinaigrette
salad with mixed citrus salad vinaigrette
A bright addition to salads!

As we move into winter, or what we call “greens season,” we’re in need of some new salad dressings to perk up our meals. We happened to see a potential candidate in Wild Garlic, Gooseberries, and Me, by Denis Cotter, and figured that we’d give it a whirl. We will say that for us, the downside is that it makes a lot, about a full cup of dressing, and that’s a lot for only two people. We’re just too used to making dressings on the fly for a single meal, or perhaps two meals at most, and this one makes enough for at least four meals. But, if you can live with salad dressing fit for a crowd, or that you need to store in the refrigerator for a few days, check it out.

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A Little Post-Thanksgiving Hiking

grand canyon
A couple of nights at the Grand Canyon and a bit of day hiking is a perfect break before the holidays.

We’ve never been to the south rim of Grand Canyon during the summer months. It’s just too crowded for us. So, we wait until winter to make the drive, and avoid some of the crowds, and view some of the greatest scenery on earth. Most times the weather is just fine; perhaps a bit chilly, but sometimes we’ve had the pleasure of seeing everything covered in snow. This time, no snow, but we did get in some good day hiking along the rim.