A Capital Idea

horned lizard statue
As this horned lizard outside the library shows, reading is for everyone.

Obviously, there were no posts the last couple of days. We headed up to northern Arizona to check out Prescott, the first capital of the Arizona Territory. It’s a great little town, easy to walk, with lots to see and do (restaurants, small shops, free concerts at the square, great architecture, etc.), and we highly recommend a stop if you’re in the area. Just make sure that you don’t confuse Prescott with nearby Prescott Valley, and think that something in a valley might be nicer. As far as we could tell, Prescott Valley was simply five miles of strip malls. Ugh.

Parmesan, Almond, and Rosemary Biscotti

Parmesan, almond, and rosemary biscotti
Parmesan, almond, and rosemary biscotti
Savory, sweet, salty: this biscotti has it all!

We like to put together small little snacks for a crowd, as long as it isn’t too many people nor too many snacks, as then it becomes overwhelming. So, roughly once a month, we put together a few items for the church social/coffee hour. It gives us the opportunity to try out a few new recipes, figuring that we might get some feedback about how they turned out. This past Sunday, we made a couple of kinds of biscotti — appropriate for coffee hour — and a few other things.

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Savory Whole-Grain Nuggets

Savory whole-grain nuggets
Savory whole-grain nuggets
It looks like a classic Italian dish, but it has a twist.

Or perhaps we should title this, “How we used some leftover brown rice?” While both titles are accurate, the latter really reflects how this came about. On most Sundays, we cook up a batch of (normally dried) beans and a cup of rice for a simple lunch, which so happens to be one of our favorite meals, and we often have enough left over for another lunch later in the week. This past week, we used canned beans — we were out of dried beans — so we had leftover rice, but no leftover beans. Savory Whole-Grain Nuggets to the rescue.

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Potato Focaccia

potato focaccia
potato focaccia
Potato focaccia and cannelloni for dinner. Prego!

When you have a bread starter, one of the things you have to do is feed it each week (or thereabouts). It doesn’t matter if you aren’t going to be baking, it doesn’t matter if your freezer is full of bread, you still need to feed the starter. And, that means you’ll have starter that needs to be used, somehow, some way. Otherwise, it’ll go to waste, and we can’t have that. So, we’ve learned a few ways to use the starter, including turning it into about a pound of bread dough. It’s not great bread dough, so we won’t go into details about how we do it, but we will give you the lowdown on how you can turn about a pound of bread dough into potato focaccia. Fair enough?

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More Amaranth Greens

weekly CSA produce share
Our CSA shares have looked quite similar over the last few weeks.

If you happen to know of a good use for amaranth greens, please let us know. We get them periodically in our weekly share, and we just haven’t found a good way to use them. We try and try, but amaranth greens are just bland and somewhat blah. The best we’ve come up with is to use them in a frittata, which is okay, but not great. While we’ve eaten the ones we picked up this week, we figure we’ll just make Greens Latkes the next time we bring them home.

Oh, and we’re not the only ones who have problems with them. Every trading basket at the CSA was full of amaranth greens, so, if you do suggest something, you might be helping out a lot of people.

This week’s share:

  • Amaranth greens (1 bunch)
  • Glendale Gold Little Sweetie onions (3)
  • Corn (3 ears)
  • Green bell peppers (4)
  • Red potatoes (7)
  • Jalapenos (1 basket)
  • Tomatillos (1 basket)
  • Black beans (1 bag)

Tomatillo Ketchup

tomatillo ketchup
tomatillo ketchup
Making ketchup isn’t hard. And, it’s the best use for tomatillos that we’ve found.

We have a hard time liking tomatillos. They have that slightly sour taste, and, while we don’t mind the salsas we’ve made in the past, they just don’t stand out as something we truly enjoy. This past week as we headed down to pick up our food share, we thought of making ketchup from tomatillos. Why not? Making ketchup is pretty easy; we’ve made it from both canned tomatoes and green tomatoes in the past. Why not tomatillos?

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King Oyster “Scallops”

king oyster mushroom scallops
king oyster mushroom scallops
Looks like scallops, but they aren’t scallops.

Once a year, we put together a several course luncheon. As part of the luncheon, we like to serve a small appetizer, but not just an appetizer; we try to make it somehow different than you might expect. For example, one year we served deviled eggs on toast. Only the toasts were tiny and we used quail eggs so we’d have a miniature version. Right now, we’re thinking of making bacon-wrapped scallops, but not made with either bacon or scallops. For the scallops, we’re thinking of using rounds cut from King Oyster mushrooms, and, perhaps, the bacon made from carrots, as in the Crispy Smoky Salty Carrot Strips we recently made. If they turn out as we picture them, they should look  like bacon-wrapped scallops, to fool the eye and make it fun. Naturally, we have to test these beforehand, and, while we tested the bacon, we haven’t tested the scallops until now.

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