Saturday, January 31, 2015

Last Minute Idea For the Big Game

One last little thought for game day snacks.  This idea uses lots of things from your box, too.  Let's see... grape tomatoes and red onion... maybe pick up a focaccia loaf... some olive oil...
Photo via Epicurious

Variations on this antipasto dish exist all over Italy.  Some add olives, some add cured meat, all toast the bread either with or without toppings.  The simplest version involves mixing tomatoes, finely shredded basil, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil, and piling that on top of thin slices of toasted bread.  Variations on the theme:

    Photo via Food & Wine

1. Keep it simple.  Or use focaccia.
2. Use a blend of herbs.
3. Add some prosciutto.

Now, I think, we're ready for the game!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Crudités, Anyone?

Another item that can move grease off of the game day buffet is utterly simple:  crudités, or, simply, cut up veggies with dip.  Pick up some carrots and anything else that looks appetizing at the store this week, and either put out your favorite salad dressing with it, set out some hummus, or use this utterly simple dip.  My mom has been making it since the beginning of time, I believe.

Thanks, mom, for the recipe.
Photo via Saveur

Vegetable Dip With Dill

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (light mayo works just fine)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (again, fat free is just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion or 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed (double for fresh)
Stir it all together.  finis.  It's better, though, if it can sit in the fridge for a day or two prior to serving to allow flavors to integrate.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

4 Steps to Make Valentines Day Smoother

Hey Nalls fans! Valerie here, taking over Burt's blog for a sec.

I have been working on a Valentine's Day Project - maybe you took the short survey picking your brain that went out last week? If you did, I totally appreciate your help. It went out to our e-mail list. Not on it? Well, you should be! That's where all the fun stuff gets announced! Join HERE . As a side note, I asked what you do for Valentine's Day -- I was totally insensitive to you singles out there! I apologize! What was I thinking. This project will be able to be used by anyone, because, HINT HINT, we all EAT!

So I have this project that is SO CLOSE to releasing to you guys. You are going to love it!! I am giving you the gift of time and hopefully making the holiday easier so you can enjoy it more!

Watch my shaky, weird, first attempt at a video and you can get my 4 Steps to Make Valentine's Day Smoother, as well as sneak peak at my Valentine's Day project. I would love your input as far as pick up day, I mention that at the very end. So without further adieu, here is my video. Try not to laugh too hard!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Superbowl Is a Cooking Holiday

I've read somewhere that the typical American consumes more calories on Superbowl Sunday than on Thanksgiving Day.  Seeing what's typically on the table at game time, I believe it.  While, in my book, Game Day has to involve wings and such, there can also be some veggie-based components present.  So if we have some wings, and then some veggies... it all balances out in the end, right?

Don't let your game day spread look like this!
I'll just let myself believe that.

Valerie does a pretty great job every year in putting together a box that supports game day snacks.  I'm positive this year won't be an exception.  In all the years in which I've been a crop share member, there has always been at least an avocado or two in the box.  So, let's talk about guac.  This is the easiest of the game day items.

Photo via Pioneer Woman
According to Wikipedia (which is never wrong, right?), guacamole had its beginning with the Aztecs.  Modern day guac in its most basic form is just mashed avocado with sea salt and lime juice.  Variations on the theme can also include diced tomato, minced onion, minced garlic or garlic powder, cayenne, chili peppers of some sort (Jalapeño, Serrano, or Habañero most typically), or finely chopped cilantro.  Pick the items of your choice, but remember that the avocado is the item to feature.  Other accouterments are just to accent, so don't overdo it.

Photo via Cristina Ferrare
Save one of the avocado pits, and include it with your guac in a sealed bowl until you're ready to serve it.  The pit will significantly slow the avocado from browning.

You can also have some more creative variations, too.  Try adding a bit of tequila, grilled corn, or some tart pomegranate or green apple to cut the creaminess of the avocado.  Everything is better with bacon, right?  Here is another idea that straddles the line between salsa verde and guacamole, but is utterly amazing.

Photo via Food & Wine

Friday, January 23, 2015

Let's Get Some Spice On!

When I saw the green beans in today's box, for some reason my mind jumped to curries.  I often use a mix of veggies in my curries, but for some reason I almost always include green beans.  We can use the potatoes and the sweet potatoes we've gotten recently, and if you have any carrots left, those would be good too.

Curries originated in southeast Asia, notably the area around Thailand.  From there, they expanded west across India, parts of the Persian Gulf, and into eastern Africa, jumping with the slave trade to various parts of the Caribbean; and they expanded west to places like Fiji and other islands across the Pacific.  At its most basic, it's a dish using lots of spice and almost always includes chilis of some sort.  Some are more like a soup, usually served over rice, others are more like a stir fry with a heavy sauce, again served with rice.

Photo via
The key ingredient in curry is curry powder, which is simply a blend of spices.  That's it.  Take half the spice drawer, put it all together, shake until mixed, and voilà, curry powder.  Well, not exactly.  it is a measured quantity of each of certain spices, then shake 'em all together and you have curry powder.  Which spices are going to vary wildly by region, but most of them have cumin and turmeric as a base.  For example, Thai curry powder usually contains turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger and chilis as its starting point.  As you move west through India, you'll start seeing less coriander and more cardamom, for example.

Photo via Jamie Oliver
Curries are usually quite simple to prepare.  Some are yogurt based, some start with a tomato sauce, others use coconut milk.  In essence, you start with the base, add the spices, add whatever half-cooked veggies and browned meat you'd like, and let it cook together until the meat is finished and the veggies are soft.  Some other recipes I've tried and liked are found here, here, and here.

Most of the time, curries can be prepared really quickly with whatever veggies you have on hand.  Great for those weeknights when you need a dinner in 30 minutes or less.

Photo via Food & Wine

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tangerine Sour Cream Pound Cake

Photo via Hummingbird High
For the Sour Cream Pound Cake:
(makes one 10-inch bundt cake)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • fresh grated tangerine zest from 4 tangerines
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Tangerine Cake Soak:
  • 1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the Tangerine Icing:
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice

Please click through to see the remainder of the recipe at:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Past posts

As it now stands, this is the 448th article for Nall's Kitchen.  There are lots and lots and lots of goodies in our archive.  Let's take a look back at what the top 3 posts are for each of the items in this week's box.  Maybe we'll find some goodies!


3. Pattypan Pasta has quite a bit of broccoli, too.

1. Broccoli Blitz was a listing of top broccoli recipes.  The Spicy Chicken With Broccoli looks very promising!


3. This year's New Years post has that wonderful Brandy Orange Cake!

2. Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp uses this week's strawberries too!

1. Pomegranate and Citrus Salad (mmm... pomegranates!)

Baking Potatoes

3. Potato Skins -- because, after all, the Superbowl will be here shortly!


3. Strawberry Baby Cakes would be really good about now, wouldn't they?

2. Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle sounds quite amazing too.

1.  Fresh Strawberry Cake is one of the most popular posts of all time!


3. Baked Spaghetti Squash With Garlic & Butter in case you haven't used your spaghetti squash yet.

2. Bacheofe is a classic Alsatian dish.  Alsatian cuisine is a perfect blend of French and southern German influences.  If you've never tried Alsatian cooking, Lyon Hall in Arlington is a wonderful place to start!

1. Mushrooms Sautéed With Sherry Vinegar  The Store has some wonderful mushrooms right now!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I love pears.  Seriously love them.  I was overjoyed to see them in the box this week.  We talked about pear butter before, but let's go one step better.  Let's talk... pear desserts!


Photo via Fine Cooking
The classic dessert for pears is to poach them.  That means letting them cook in a warm liquid.  If you poach pears, peel them first.  The flavor of the liquid is the key component, and it doesn't penetrate the skin well.  Poaching pears in wine is the most common option.  This recipe uses a white wine and sugar.  Another wonderful option is to use a heavy, sweet red wine, like port, so that you don't have to use the sugar.  (I'd omit the citrus from that recipe if you make that substitution.)  You can also play with the spices in the poaching liquid, such as using cardamom.  A really good vanilla bean ice cream is a fantastic accompaniment.

Photo via Simply Recipes

Baking & Roasting

Dry heat is also a great way to make dessert.  Use the same spice palate as we did in the pear butter, like this recipe does.  Or you can keep it really simple.  Pears make wonderful tarts, too.

And, my favorite...

I've made this for Christmas dessert a couple of times, and it's my absolute favorite.  The arborio rice makes a fantastic consistency for the "rice pudding" component of the dessert.  (That reminds me, I should see if arborio alone makes rice pudding better.)  The fact that I am a big fan of good, dark rums doesn't hurt either.

Enjoy your pears!