Going Green!

“Going green” is a hot slogan these days in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. One way my husband and I have contributed to this effort is by participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A CSA’s focus is usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables that support small, independent, labor-intensive, family farms. In doing this, we receive a weekly box of organic and local produce.

My box this week included dandelion greens and beets. I don’t usually eat nor cook with these so having this CSA has definitely introduced me to produce I wouldn’t have purchased on my own. So can I make with dandelion greens and beets?

Well today I focused only on the dandelion greens and beet leaves. The dandelion greens are on the bitter side with a peppery taste, similar to arugula. I didn’t feel like making a salad so… I decided to make a pesto! Because the greens were similar to arugula, I figured it would make for a nice pesto. And because I’m not one to waste anything, I threw the beet leaves in for good measure.

Here’s my recipe for dandelion pesto:

1 bunch dandelion greens – leaves only
1 handful of beet leaves
1 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated fontina cheese

In a blender, add oil and greens a handful at a time.
Process and continue adding greens until all have been processed.
Add pinenuts and process.
Stir in grated cheese and store.

This will last in the fridge for a week or can be frozen in ice cube trays for portioned amounts to use later.

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Lazy Leftovers Transformed!

Today has been a lazy Sunday for us… which is rare! As the afternoon came around, I was still stuck on what to make for dinner. The main part of our dinner included pork so at least I had a start. Again with my creative cap on, I figured it would be best to use up some leftovers: garden vegetable crackers, fontina cheese, and balsamic reduction I made previously. Before I knew it, dinner was on the table and it truly was fantastic! For dinner, we had cracker-fontina crusted pork cutlets, oven roasted asparagus and balsamic cremini orzo. Here is my recipe for cracker-fontina crusted pork cutlets:

pork cutlets or paillards
seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
freshly grated fontina cheese
crushed crackers or breadcrumbs of your choice (I used garden vegetable flavored crackers)
1 egg, scrambled
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.
Season pork with seasonings on both sides.
Combine cheese and crackers to form the crust mixture.
Dip seasoned pork in scrambled egg.
Roll dipped pork in crust mixture until fully coated.
Place crusted pork on greased baking sheet.
Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the pork.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or done, depending on thickness.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Tossed Salad

Balsamic Vinaigrette Tossed Salad

romaine lettuce, chopped

roma tomatoes, diced
sliced black olives
fontina cheese, cubed

Dressing:
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon dried italian seasoning

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except dressing ingredients.
In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients and pour over salad.
Toss to coat.

Simple as Salame

Today was an easy & relaxing day. So in an effort to keep it easy in the kitchen, dinner tonight was simple and refreshing.For dinner, we had the Mediterranean Inspired Orzo Salad, to which I added diced cucumber and chicken for a fuller dish. To accompany the salad, I made a small board of munchies that included fresh green grapes, toasted baguette slices, butter crackers and some salame basil fontina rolls.Here’s the recipe for salame basil fontina rolls, great little appetizer or snack for any time of day:

1 pkg genoa salame, sliced
fontina or asiago cheese, sliced thin or thick
fresh basil leaves

On one slice of salame, place 1 basil leaf.
Top basil with a small slice fontina or asiago cheese.
Carefully roll salame and secure with toothpicks.