Saturday, June 29, 2013

Farmer's Market Fresh Turnips

It is a thrill for us to go the to farmer's market on Saturday Mornings.
We wander around and look at everything before we purchase.
Then we get a treat like a cup of coffee, an egg roll or a caramel.
Then we shop.
Then we go home and I make something yummy for lunch while the kids mow the lawn.
Look at our lovely bounty this week.

I am most excited to be making turnips.
We LOVE turnips.
But they have to be caramelized.
It's so, so good.

So, we start with our board of ingredients as usual.
  • Turnips
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

We start to prep these little beauties by chopping off their little tail.
Then their tops get chopped off.
Then we peel them.

Then we dice.

Then we season with salt and pepper.

I apologize for the over exposed picture of butter.
I can do better.  
I promise never to do this again.
Anyway, a bit of olive oil and a couple bits of butter go in a non stick pan.

When the butter is melted and swirled around in the olive oil,
Add the turnips.

Start cooking them over medium high heat.
I'm here to tell you it takes a long time.
But it's worth it.
(By a long time, I mean longer than my attention span.)
(The only reason the turnips don't burn is because my daughter takes over stirring and watching.)
(She will be a much better cook than I am because she is patient.)

Now this is what I am talking about.
Those dark brown spots are the best.
Oh, yummy!

If you want to gild the lily, and sometimes I do, add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.

FYI, when you cook turnips this way, they shrink down.
Six turnips made about four small servings.
FYI, I could have eaten this all by myself.
I didn't...this time.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Seven Layer Salade

We are going retro today.
I am making a recipe that I have not had since I was a kid.
It was so good that I had to call my mom for her recipe. 
I was a little worried that it would not be as good as I remembered.
It was as good as I had remembered though.
Maybe better.

The board of ingredients:
  • A HEAD of Iceberg Lettuce
  • Green Onions
  • Celery
  • Mayo
  • Tomatoe
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Sugar
  • Bacon
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Frozen Peas

Told you we were going retro.
No bag of lettuce for this recipe.
And it turns out that not every store sells heads of Iceberg in my neck of the woods. 
Anyway, we need to prep the lettuce.
That core is NOT yummy.
We need to get rid of it.

Luckily, it's super easy to get rid of it.
A) Cut it out like the core of a tomato.
B) Press down hard on the core with your hand and then wiggle the core out.

It's kind of a work of art isn't it?

Now we need to cut it down into bite sized pieces.
Start by cutting it into strips.

The cut it on the bias.
Perfect bite sized pieces.

Now we take it for a rinse and spin cycle in the old salade spinner.
I use this spinner all the time since I am not a huge fan of the preservatives in bagged lettuce.

Then spread the lettuce out into an even layer in your serving dish.

Now we get the goodies ready.
I like to give the tomato a little time on a paper towel to absorb a bit of the juice.
But you don't have to do that.

Now, we layer.
I don't know why they call it seven layer salad.
There are more than seven layers.
I counted.
There are ten.
Anyway, sprinkle the celery over the lettuce.

Now we add the green onion and peas.

Next on is the mayo.
I used to HATE spreading the mayo on.
I still do, so I cheat a bit.
Hello baggie of mayo.


Ta Da!

Squeeze it all out.

Next we spread it out.
Piece of cake.
I love it.

Now sprinkle the sugar over the mayo.

Tomatoes go on next.

(We take our eggs very seriously.)

Bacon next.
Confession time.
I made a little more bacon than the recipe called for.
I made a pound of bacon.
But don't worry, we didn't use a whole pound here.
We ate some before we put it on the salad.
By we, I mean my son.
By some, I mean half.

Okay, last layer.
The parm.
I like a lot of parm.  
I used about a third of a cup.
You can add as little or as much as you want.
My mother recommends a lot of parm though.
(She's right.)

And here it is.  
Dig in.
One note, I did pre-cut the portion sizes.  
I don't know if you can see it or if it helped.
I just felt that it was the right thing to do.
My son ate three portions all by himself.
Also, we discovered that two serving utensils was helpful.

Seven Layer Salade
1 Head Iceberg Lettuce, Chopped
1/3 Cup Celery, Chopped
1/3 Cup Green Onions, Chopped
10 oz. Bag Frozen Peas
2 Cups Mayo
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Large Tomato,  Wedged or Diced
4 or 5 hard Boiled Eggs, Quartered or Chopped
3 or 4 Slices of Cooked, Crumbled Bacon
Parmesan Cheese

1. Spread ingredients out in a 9X13 in the order listed above.
2. Chill and serve.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe  click here.

We have Relocated

Whew.  The past hear and a half has been quiet a year for our family.  Our family is such a blessing to me and God showers us all with blessings and love.

One such blessing is our new home.   After five years in our beautiful lake house, we decided this farmhouse out in the country would be the perfect home for our family. 

The house had great bones, but needed lots of cosmetic work. We have a very long to do list waiting for us to get to and I love the rooms in the house.  Here are some before photos:


Looking into the family room...

Living Room...

Dining Room...

More Living Room...

We moved during the month of April.  We had rain, snow, and ice storms for 26 days.  That's okay though.  We're a tough group and a little or a lot of precipitation slowed us down, but it did not stop us.  And the snow was pretty.

After we had the stuff moved, we went to work ripping up carpeting,

Getting rid of turquoise paint...

Getting our hands dirty...

And getting the chickens settled in their new yard.

And amid the work lists and chores, spring came and thrilled us with it's beauty.

And while we have not even managed to finish a single room, we are getting there and it is starting to feel like home to us.

And finally the best evidence that this is home sweet home is smiling faces.
I can honestly say that doing the dishes in the evening is one of my favorite times of the day.
We all dance and sing our way though the dishes.
And when I see this I know everything is as it should be in the Boiten household.

More to come.