If you ever decide to grown your own carrots or decide to buy carrots with their greens still attached, do not throw those greens out. They are gold, GOLD I tell ya!
I had a beautiful bunch of carrot top greens from my harvest of carrots that I wanted to make a sauce out of. The flavor of carrot top greens is very similar to parsley just slightly nuttier.
Chimichurri is a traditional Argentinian sauce served with steak. For those of you who don’t know, Argentina is known for their grilling. They have mastered the art of open pit wood-fire grilling and have become the master ranchers of South America. Argentinian beef is like Texan Angus beef in the US. Chimichurri sauce is traditionally made with parsley and since carrot top greens are very similar to parsley, I decided to make a chimichurri sauce. Argentinians top their steak with chimichurri and Chileans like to toss their seafood with it as well.
There’s no real specific way to make chimichurri sauce; there are as many recipes as there are families in Argentina. Some add paprika, some add vinegar, some add pepper, it’s really up to you! Since we were eating huge ribeyes, I decided to make this sauce simply. I had fresh tabasco peppers on hand and I used a few (4!) of those (unless you like spicy, I do not recommend using 4 tabasco peppers. Those little peppers pack quite a punch! I would recommend using 2. haha)
Carrot Top Chimichurri
Large bunch Carrot Tops
5-7 cloves garlic
About 1/2 cup olive oil
2 fresh tabasco peppers, tops cut off
about 1 T fresh oregano
- Pick the ferns off the stems of the carrot tops and add the ferns into your food processor, add the garlic, tabasco peppers, and oregano. Process until the carrot tops break down.
- Slowly add olive oil until it reaches the consistency you desire. I like my chimichurri more on the thicker side so I only added about a 1/2 cup olive oil.
- I have fresh oregano in my garden so I used that but you can add 1 t of dried oregano instead.
- If you don’t have fresh tabasco peppers, you can add dried pepper flakes or dried pepper of your choice.
- Store this in the fridge, it will last about a week. You can also freeze it in batches if you don’t go through it quickly enough.
Chinese 5 Spice is a strong flavored spice mix that is commonly used in Asian recipes. Many people belive that Chinese 5 Spice is so called because it is made of 5 spices. That is wrong. The number refers to the 5 elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Chinese 5 Spice is used to restore balance in these elements. It’s also called 5 Spice because it hits the sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent taste buds on your tongue.
The basic recipe for Chinese 5 Spice is a mix of star anise, szechuan peppercorns, cloves, fennel, and cassia. Many mixes of Chinese 5 Spice add extra spices to the mix and since szechuan peppercorns and cassia can be hard to find in the US, many use generic cinnamon stick and generic black peppercorn. When you use Chinese 5 Spice in a recipe, you don’t want to use a lot of it. With this powder, a lot goes a long way. It has a very strong flavor and it can easily overpower a meal.
When making this spice blend you want to use whole seeds because they need to be dry roasted before being ground together to make a powder. I grind these in my coffee grinder and then I grind my morning coffee the next morning without cleaning my coffee grinder out. It adds a lovely Chinese 5 Spice flavor to my coffee.
Remember when I said I hated plum jam? Well, I lied. Actually, I love it. Well, ok, I didn’t *know* that I loved it. I made that micro batch of plum jam not having any clue what I was going to do with it, then I came across a recipe that I wanted to try: Sauteed Plum Chicken.
The mix of Chinese 5 Spice and Plum Jam creates a nice sweet/salty flavor that plays on your tongue but not too harshly. I was worried that the chicken would be too sweet but the plum jam doesn’t take over the chicken broth in the recipe and the Chinese 5 Spice adds layers of flavor to the meat. If you want to, you can even add quarters of plum to the sautee pan while finishing up the chicken.
This recipe came out so well that I’ve decided to make small batches of plum jam so I can make this chicken again!
Sauteed Plum Chicken
Chinese 5 Spice:
2 whole star anise
2 t black peppercorns
1 t cloves
1 t fennel seeds
1 t coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
In a dry pan, roast whole spices until fragrant. Let cool and grind into a powder.
This will make about 1/4 cup.
Sautee Plum Chicken:
2 chicken thighs, skin removed
1 T Chinese 5 Spice
1 t sea salt
half a small onion, sliced\
1/2 cup chicken broth
All of the Micro-batch plum jam
2 T balsamic vinegar
- Toss chicken thighs with 1 T Chinese 5 Spice and 1 t sea salt. Put these aside and let marinade until the skillet is ready.
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a heavy skillet, brown chicken thighs until they are almost cooked through. Move them to a plate and tent with tinfoil to keep warm.
- In the same skillet, sautee onion until it is wilted. Add the chicken broth and scrape up brown bits. Add plum jam and balsamic vinegar and mix until the plum jam has completely dissolved into the sauce.
- Add chicken and turn to coat in sauce; cover to cook through. If you want, you can add your plum slices here.
- Once chicken is cooked through, serve over rice with generous serving of sauce.
Have you heard of the “Hatch” Green Chile? If you live anywhere in the Southwest or have visited anywhere in the Southwest, you are probably pretty familiar with “Hatch” Green Chile and the love that has spread out over the land for it.
But I’m about to burst your reality bubble; be careful, this may hurt a little. We’ve been lied to all these years. It’s all a myth, an old wives tale. There is no such “thing” as a “Hatch” Green Chile.
“Hatch” Green Chiles are technically a variety of species of green chiles that are grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. The Hatch Valley stretches along the Rio Grande from Arrey, New Mexico to the south of Hatch, New Mexico. New Mexico State University was the first University to introduce the “New Mexican” pod type to the world around 1894 and Any chile labeled as New Mexican has that specific pod type. The main varieties of green chiles that are associated with “Hatch” green chiles are the New Mexico Big Jim, New Mexico 6-4, and Anaheim (yes, Anaheim was originally a New Mexican pepper; then California stole it). The varieties also range in level of heat. If you are perusing a seed catalog and come across anything that says NuMex, it was created at the New Mexico State University and could be considered a “Hatch” Green Chile.
Green Chili Sauce 1
So, how did the green chiles become known as “Hatch Green Chiles”? As with most things, it’s all about marketing. For one, New Mexican’s take their green chile very seriously, so seriously that New Mexico State University is home to The Chile Pepper Institute. Hatch, New Mexico holds a chile festival every labor day and every year it is one of the largest chile festivals in the world, their most popular chile is the green chile varities. There is also a company called Hatch that cans and sells Green Chiles world wide. The Hatch Valley is where the majority of green chile’s are grown. Hatch has been associated with these green chile varities for so long that people have mindfully made “Hatch” and “Green Chile” synonymous.
Green Chili Sauce 2
However, you can still grown your own “hatch” green chiles at home, you just have to look for Big Jim or 6-4 varities.
This green sauce is a classic sauce made with a mixture of green chiles. I used a mix of poblanos and big jims. If you’ve never made green “enchilada” sauce with green chilis before, prepare to have your socks blown off. Green enchilada sauce made with green chiles is just how life should be. Prepare this sauce ahead of time and freeze it and you will never go back to canned sauces again.
I like my sauces thicker than normal so I don’t add much stock but you can always add more stock to create the thickness you desire.
Green Chili Sauce
Yield: About 2 Quarts
Big Jim Peppers
2 very large white onions, quartered
8 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
2 t Salt
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 500F
Fill one cookie sheet with a mixture of green chiles. I used Big Jim and Poblano peppers. I was able to fit 18 peppers on my cookie sheet. You can use only Big Jims, or only Anaheims, or only Poblanos. Figure out which green chiles you like most and use those. I find that Poblanos have a darker, sweeter flavor than the lighter spicier flavor of Big Jims so they fit well together in a sauce.
Add the onions and garlic to another cookie sheet.
Roast at 500F until peppers are charred.
When green peppers are roasted, pull them out of the oven and cover them with foil. Let them steam until they are cool enough to touch, then peel off whatever skin you can.
In a food processor, process onion, garlic, and green chiles with salt.
Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Once hot create a roux. Melt 2 T butter in pan and mix in 2 T flour. Continue stirring the flour and butter mixture until it becomes a light golden brown (you want to cook through the flour so you don’t end up with a pasty flour taste in your sauce).
Add 2 cups chicken stock and whisk until thickened. Once the chicken stock is slightly thickened, pour in the chili mix and whisk until glossy.
Pour into quart jars, leaving about an inch and a half of head space, and freeze or use.
I never thought I would hear people say, “What are those?” followed closely by, “What do you do with them?” Being from Arizona, tomatillos are a staple in our food, namely Mexican. However, they are very hard to find out here in Maryland which is a shame because they are incredibly easy to grow out here.
tomatillo pork roast 2
There is only one farm (Flying Plow Farm) that grows them here, that I’ve found, and they are constantly bombarded with questions about what to do with these. The most popular item to make with these is tomatillo sauce, which can be eaten as a salsa or used like enchilada sauce. But, here’s the thing, I’m not really a fan of using tomatillo sauce as enchilada sauce (I make green enchilada sauce with green chilis – the only real way to make green enchilada sauce, heh heh). I generally use tomatillos as is and don’t make them into a sauce.
tomatillo Pork roast 3So, what are tomatillos? Tomatillos are part of the night shade family and a distant relative to the tomato. The fruit is slightly larger than a small tomato and encased in a papery husky. The husk is inedible and needs to be removed from the fruit. The insides of a tomatillo is much meatier and crispier than a tomato. They are also very tart. When I cook with tomatillos, I don’t add lemon juice (unless I’m making a salsa) because it makes it just too tart and acidic for my palate. They are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, lycopene, potassium, flavonoids and folate.
tomatillo pork roast 4Pork and Tomatillos are a classic combination and this is a crock pot version of Tomatillo Pork Roast. Of course, you don’t have to cook this in a crockpot, you can roast this in the oven as well. If you decide to roast this in the oven, the tomatillos will keep more of their shape and the pork loin won’t shred. I rubbed the pork loin with a latin spice mix before placing it over the tomatillos and onions.
If you are looking for more Tomatillo recipes then take a look at the collection on Martha Stewart’s website
tomatillo pork roast 5
Tomatillo Pork Roast
1 pork loin roast
About 1 pound of tomatillos, quartered and halved
3 small onions, quartered
2 poblano peppers, chopped
1/4 cup white wine, water, or Mexican lager (I used Chardonney)
4 garlic cloves, minced (more or less for your palate)
Cilantro, minced, to taste
Latin Spice, recipe to follow
These are all dried spices:
1/3 t corriander, ground
1/3 t cumin, ground
1/3 t garlic, ground
1/3 t crushed red pepper
1/3 t smoked paprika
1/3 t onion, ground
1/3 t chipotle, ground
1/3 t oregano
Mix all these spices together.
You can substitute regular paprika for smoked paprika as paprika is pretty smoky in itself. You can also omit the chipotle but it does add a nice spicy smokiness.
Tomatillo Pork Loin
Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse. Quarter the large tomatillos and half the small ones. Place in your crockpot or roasting pan.
Quarter onions and place in your crockpot or roasting pan with the tomatillos.
Add minced garlic and cilantro to the onions and tomatillos and mix well.
Add chopped poblanos, salt, pepper, and white wine and mix well.
Pat dry the pork loin and rub all over with latin spice, nestle pork loin on top of the tomatillo mixture.
Crockpot: cook on low (8-10 hours); Roast: Roast at 375F until cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.
This isn’t really a recipe. It’s more of a chance to show off my Turkish Orange Eggplant from my garden. The secret behind Turkish Orange Eggplant is that you want to pick them *before* they turn completely bright orange; when they get to that point they get bitter. You want to pick them while they still have their green stripes.
Roasted Turkish Orange Eggplant
About 2 pounds Turkish Orange Eggplant, thickly sliced
About 2 T, Carrot Top Chimichurri
1/4 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Whisk olive oil with chimichurri until well emulsified. Toss eggplants with chimichurri/olive oil mixture
- Roast for about 20-30 minutes or until desire doneness, tossing every so often.
This post has been removed as I felt it was a little bit rambling plus many of the pictures I wanted to use for the post were no good. Sorry about that you could alway check out the newer posts in the the baking category. Or simply go back to the homepage. You get the idea now the gardening is not going so well now the weather is colder so its time for more indoor pursuits I feel.
The day finally arrived! We received our bulk beef order. I don’t know who’s more excited about our bulk beef order, the dogs or Rico Suave?
Almost 2 months ago, we ordered a quarter of a cow from Brad’s Produce. Brad’s just started raising Angus beef on their farm in Darlington in 2013 and we wanted to buy in on some quality beef.
Box 1: Mostly ground beef, about 40 lbs worth.
Their beef is locally raised in Darlington. The cows are grass fed and grain finished and, most importantly, they are hormone and steroid free. The beef is dry aged and butchered by a local butcher, Bowman’s Butcher Shop.
Box 2: Mostly steak cuts
We viewed this as a great way to enjoy quality beef at a great price. This quality beef goes for around $15/pound at a store like Wholefoods…we are getting it for around $5/pound. That is an amazing savings, even though we had to pay for it all up front.
Box 3: Mostly roast cuts
The best part about it was that we got to specify exactly what kind of cuts we wanted. I even got the dogs some goodies. I was able to special order liver, tongue, and marrow bones.
Big marrow bone for the doggies
We had to use a saw to cut this big marrow bone in half but the dogs are in heaven and they already devoured a pack of liver for dinner.
This is only my second year gardening and it’s in a completely different environment from last year. Last year when I grew my first garden, it did very well. The main reason why it did so well was because I had a large yard with a lot of sun. Everything grew despite me. When I got this rowhouse in Baltimore, I was excited that it had a small patio yard and was excited to become an urban gardener– what I was not expecting was how much shade it would get.
I completely underestimated the amount of shade that my patio yard would get. Many vegetable plants need full sun at least 6 hours a day. There is only a small part of my yard that gets that much sun and not all the plants fit in that area.
I’m sad that the majority of our plants didn’t grow, especially the peppers, and it’s frustrating that I spent the amount of money I did on soil and seeds. However, all is not lost. The BF did his best to rearrange the containers to get as much sun as possible but he couldn’t fit all of them into the small sunny area.
One of our pepper plants survived. I have no clue which one this is but there are a couple flowers blooming so we will find out which peppers these are soon.
Two of our tomato plants are growing (not all 6 types I sowed but I’ll take 2 out of 6). The tomato plants that survived were the Sun Sugars and Mr. Stripey. The Sun Sugar tomato plant has tomatoes growing already and I’ve been able to harvest 4. Sun sugars are yellow cherry tomatoes that are indeterminate, which means they bear fruit throughout the season. These are delicious little tomatoes with just the right amount of acid and sweetness. A healthy plant can bear hundreds of tomatoes throughout the season.
The Mr. Stripeys are determinate tomato plants which mean that they bear their full crop in a one to two month period; by the end of September we should have a LOT of large, beautiful beefsteak tomatoes. I’ve got a couple of flowers on this plant. I’m excited for them to bear fruit because they are supposed to come in a variety of colors and each individual tomato can get up to 1 pound each!
We had one Minnesota Midget melon that survived and it is growing like a weed. It’s gotten so long and has many flowers blooming. I have found one melon starting to grow. These melons are supposed to be small and can fit in the palm of your hand. I chose this melon plant because it’s small, hearty, and a healthy vine can produce good yields.
Two eggplant plants have survived. The Hansel eggplant is producing fruit already however I do not see any more eggplant flowers blooming. A Hansel plant produces a fingerling shaped eggplant that is small and slender that grow in clusters of 3 to 6. These look like the perfect size for slicing and sautéing with some summer squash.
The other plant is not very growing well. It looks healthy with large leaves but it just seems to refuse to grow up. I was going to toss it but since it looks healthy and strong, I decided to give it a stay of execution. I can’t remember if this is the Turkish Orange or Black Beauty eggplant. Hopefully it bears fruit soon so I can figure it out.
I have no clue which tomato plant this is but it’s one I started from seed. I think it a cherry tomato variety because the blooms are clustered together. I was going to toss this one about a month ago because it got very leggy but the BF put it in full sun since then and it has finally started growing well.
Carrot greens are one of my favorite things on earth so I wanted to grow two rows. Unfortunately, the top row never grew. The bottom row is Purple Dragon Carrots. I won’t have many but they are worth it. The top row, I ended up planting lettuce in it.
The herbs are doing great, as herbs do. I’ve got tyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary, parsley. My basil and cilantro never took off. I replanted some basil seeds. Hopefully the basil seeds grow into a plant.
The lettuce is doing well, as always, and the strawberry plants are finally starting to grow. I don’t think they will ever bear fruit this season but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Overall, our first harvest for the season was disappointing. We got a handful of lettuce, 4 sun sugars, 3 hansel eggplants, parsley, sage, and tyme.
Ever have those times where you have a little of a lot of random stuff in your kitchen? That’s how I was the other day. I had a little of this, a little of that, but luckily they were all flavors that complemented each other. I had a handful of pineapple, a few spring onions, and a few last slices of Orange Marinated Red Pepper. I felt that all these flavors would go well together as a Pineapple Chicken in the crockpot.
Can I just say that I have fallen in love with the crockpot? I have never been a big crockpot cooker but lately I’ve been trying recipes and it’s just amazing. I can throw everything into a crockpot in the morning and when I come home from work, dinner is 75% ready! It’s amazing! Not only that but it makes your house smell sooooooo amazing! I get a little giddy everytime I’m unlocking my door whenever I have something in the crockpot; I can’t wait to smell it! It makes me feel bad for my dogs, though, to sit there all day smelling it…all. day. long. Luckily, none of them have counter-surfed to get at the crock pot yet.
I threw pineapple, garlic, spring onion, orange marinated red pepper, a splash of the orange marinade, a couple splashes of soy sauce, and 1 jalapeno into the crock pot. I place frozen chicken thighs over the mixture and turned the crock pot on low.
I also love that you can throw a piece of frozen meat in a crock pot. I *never* remember to thaw a cut of meat until I want to use it *at that time*. It’s very annoying. You don’t lose much quality by cooking the meat from frozen. Mind you that the meat will not be as tender cooking it from frozen but it’s still very good.
Another note on this dish: I added a jalapeno for kick and soy sauce for flavor. Whenever I add a hot pepper to a dish, I hardly ever add black pepper. Hot peppers add that peppery flavor and sometimes black pepper add too much spiciness over that. Soy sauce has a lot of salt, so if I use it in a recipe, I *never* add salt. It will cause the dish to be *too* salty.
Crockpot Pineapple Chicken
About 1 cup Pineapple
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 spring onion, sliced
A few slices of Orange Marinated Red Pepper, diced
A splash of orange juice from Orange Marinated Red Pepper
A couple splashes of Soy Sauce
1 jalapeno, diced
Chicken thighs, frozen
- Add pineapple, garlic, spring onion, Orange Marinate Red Pepper, and jalapeno to the bottom of a crock pot. Mix well.
- Add a splash of orange juice from the Orange Marinated Red Pepper and a couple splashes of jalapeno.
- Lay frozen chicken thighs over the pineapple mixture.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
- Serve with a vegetable and a grain…I served it with white rice.