Monthly Archives: July 2012

Organic Whole Wheat Gnocchi with steamed CSA veggies

Yikes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted!

I’m writing from the comfort of my porch, borrowing (stealing) my neighbors comfortable patio furniture, and relaxing from what has been a whirlwind July.  This past weekend I ran Great Lakes Relay- a 300 mile relay race across northern Michigan.   Needless to say, I haven’t been doing much cooking, and when I have it’s been the same old things I’ve already blogged about.

view from my porch

Well, not last night.  Last night I made one of my favorite meals in the world- gnocchi.  I’ve been getting these great potatoes lately from the CSA, but I’ve been boiling them almost immediately and never saving myself enough for pasta.  I vowed last night to take the time to make my favorite meal.

Along with the potatoes, I’ve also been getting a good number of cucumber, zucchini, onion, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.  I decided to steam the veggies and toss them over the pasta.  I typically make pesto, but I didn’t have any basil, so I threw in walnuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and dried basil in hopes of a pesto deconstruction.  It didn’t really work, fyi.  In the end, I tossed in some mediterranean sea salt (thanks Becca!) and that made my meal much better.

Organic Whole Wheat Gnocchi

-chop and boil enough potatoes to make 1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I prefer to mash potatoes with milk only and omit the butter for this recipe)

chieftan potatoes!

-Once you have 1-1/2 cups of mashed potatoes, stir together with 1 egg and 1/4 tsp salt (I use tea smoked sea salt)
-Stir in 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour.  Sometimes I need to add more flour, up to ~1/2 cup more, if the dough is too sticky.
-roll the dough into long thin logs

it doesn’t matter if this looks perfect if you’re going for the “rustic” look 🙂

-using a pizza cutter, cut the pasta into “pillows”

-place the pasta into boiling water and let boil until they rise to the top of the water.

-While you are making the pasta, steam your veggies.  This can be done in the microwave, a steamer, or a rice cooker (thanks, Jill!)
-chop 1 zucchini, a handful of baby tomatoes, and an onion

-Once the pasta and the veggies are finished, toss together with olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, basil, crushed walnuts, salt, and any other seasonings you desire.

Bon Appetit! (only to be said in a Julia Child -esque way)

Total Cost: $6.91
-7 organic chieftan potatoes: $2.00
-1-1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour: $0.39
-1 egg: $0.17
-1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-handful of organic baby tomatoes: $0.50
-2 organic baby onions: $1.00
-1 clove organic garlic: $0.10
-grated all natural parmesan cheese: $1.00
-handful organic walnuts: $0.75

This meal comfortably fed 2, plus there were leftovers!


Zucchini Pasta

This freaking heat has really been getting to me lately.

As a result, I have no appetite for anything heavy.

I picked up my CSA yesterday and had 4 zucchini, 5 cucumbers, a bag of chieftan potatoes, and basil.  With the extreme drought and high temps (2+ weeks straight of 100+ degree weather) the CSAs haven’t been quite as bountiful.

With the basil, I absolutely wanted to make pesto, but definitely didn’t want heavy pasta.  Instead, I opted to make zucchini pasta.  I had done this before with eggplant and figured it would work with zucchini, too.

The pesto was fantastic, plus I got to use my mortar and pestle!!  Overall, the “pasta” turned out pretty well.  The only downside is that this takes some time, because you’re supposed to let it drain.  I personally don’t know if this really makes a different or not.

Zucchini Pasta with Walnut Pesto

Zucchini Pasta
-using a potato peeler (or a mandolin, or whatever you want), thinly slice the zucchini
-place zucchini slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes

-after 30 minutes, rinse and cook in boiling water
-cut red potatoes into quarters, and boil with the zucchini


-using the mortar and pestle, smash a clove of garlic
-add fresh basil leaves and continue to smash the leaves and garlic, add olive oil as needed
-add walnuts until you reach the desired consistency
-add salt, to taste

Normally pesto has parmesan, but I didn’t have any.  I really don’t think it made a difference.

To go with this, I also added some goat cheese and chicken I had cooked and previously frozen.

Total Price: $8.60

-4 organic zucchini: $4.00
-1/2 package organic basil: $2.00
-1 organic garlic clove: $0.10
-handful organic walnuts: $0.25
-4 organic chieftan potatoes: $1.00
-organic goat cheese: $0.25
-1/2-ish pound organic chicken: $1.00

I had no idea this ended up being so expensive.  I suppose what I have found is that grains are certainly cheaper than fresh vegetables.  Obviously  I think this has a lot to do with the recent weather, as the shares haven’t been as large lately.  oh well.



Being from Indiana, I know a thing or two about zucchini.

1. In the right environment (Indiana), it will grow like crazy.

2. It’s super versatile.

3. There are far, far better things you can do with this veggie than just delegate it to zucchini bread (even though that’s a good option!)

I’ve been hesitating to blog lately because I haven’t done a great job taking pictures, and, well, I hate blogs without pictures.

To overcome that, I’m going to post a stock photo of a zucchini to make myself feel better

I’ve been getting HUGE zucchini in the CSA lately…we’re talking zucchini the size of my forearm.  Literally.  So far I’ve done three things, each pretty different.  I have a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake, which I’m looking forward to trying, so stay tuned for that.  Each zucchini recipe I’ve made would be great for a gathering, especially the two salads I’m going to share.  The roasted zucchini would make a fantastic side dish with fish or tofu.

Pasta Salad with Zucchini, Cucumber, Garlic Scapes and Chard

-cook one package fettuccine (or whatever pasta is available)
-sautee 1 chopped zucchini, 5 garlic scapes, and 2 stalks of chard in olive oil
-when pasta is done cooking, add olive oil and vegetables
-stir in goat cheese, until pasta is coated
-add salt and old bay seasoning; continue to stir
-add 1 chopped cucumber

Total Price: $4.00
-1 box fettuccine: $1.00
-1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-5 organic garlic scapes: $0.25
– organic chard: free (garden!)
-organic goat cheese (Trader Joe’s): $0.75
-1 organic cucumber: $1.00

This pasta salad feeds a ton; I took it to a cookout and had enough left over for lunch and dinner

Fresh Zucchini/Cucumber/Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese
-chop one zucchini, one cucumber, 2 large strawberries, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I used aged, but normal b-v would work too)
-top with goat cheese

Total Price: $2.80
1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-1 organic cucumber: $1.00
-2 organic strawberries: $0.50
-organic goat cheese: $0.30

This was a perfect, single serving salad for me after a hot day when I just wanted something light.  Walnuts or almonds would also be great.

Roasted Zucchini “crostini’s”
-slice 1 large (this was the forearm sized zucchini)
-using a garlic press, press one large garlic clove into a small bowl filled with 1/8-1/4 cup of olive oil (alternatively, you can just finely chop the garlic)
-toss zucchini slices in olive oil, being sure zucchini is coated with both oil and garlic
-lay zucchini slices out on a baking sheet
-lightly salt and add a small dollop of goat cheese to the middle of each slice
-roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes

parmesan cheese also goes really well with this recipe

Total Price: $1.85
-1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-1 organic garlic clove: $0.10
-organic goat cheese: $0.75


Also, in case you were wondering:


Organic Tattoo


Top 3 reasons I am officially a Bloomington resident:

1. I am getting a tattoo with vegan/organic ink tomorrow
2. I got pulled over (sirens and all!) while riding my bike today
3. I exclusively shop at Bloomingfoods (and schlep my groceries home on my bike!)

Honestly, though, I’m getting a tattoo tomorrow.

I’m nervous/scared/excited/ecstatic.

Why now?

I’ve always wanted one.  forever.  as long as I can remember.  I’m coming off the tail end of a quarter life crisis so, if not now, when?

Why organic ink?

Besides the fact that I have extremely sensitive skin, I’m not a big fan of putting toxic metals in my body.  I checked out the MSDS (material safety data sheet) forms for the dyes and I’m pretty pleased.  I think I have less anxiety knowing my tattoo isn’t going to be comprised of mercury, lead, or chromium (or if it is, it is certifiably less than one part per billion 🙂 )   I did an allergy test…I seem to have a little bit of a reaction to the red color, but apparently that’s pretty normal.  I wasn’t planning any red anyway.

What am I getting?

A neon atom, similar to this, but without the straight lines.

Why the hell am I getting that?

Actually, the more I explain it the more I want to do this.

First of all, my family owns a sign business so I have been surrounded by neon signs my entire life.  This is one of my favorites:

Neon makes me think of my family, particularly my dad.  Being surrounded by the neon signs my whole life made me absolutely mesmerized by the element, and subsequently interested in chemistry.  I remember in 6th grade choosing it for a project and feeling unique since everyone chose gold, silver, or platinum.

If I could choose an element to describe me, I would love to think it would be neon.  I mean, come on, it IS  a noble gas and all 🙂

In reality, though, I love the idea of neon.  It’s inert, meaning it doesn’t need any other element in order to fit in.  It’s independent.  It’s stable.  Alone, it’s colorless, but with a littel bit of love it can be transformed into any beautiful color.  It’s an element that all others below it and a few above it strive to be like.  I went as neon for Halloween once, in what I would like to call a dorkier time in my life, but let’s be honest…I’m freaking writing a soliloquy about an element.

Finally, an atom represents my love of science.   Science itself strives towards the atomic level, but at the same time, atomic is just a theory.  I spend hours upon hours devoting my life to something that is just a theory.  In a sick, sad way, I find that incredibly romantic.

My family doesn’t understand why I would want a tattoo.  Albeit incredibly and astonishingly supportive (as long as it’s small), I know they’re a little bit unhappy about it.

I’m getting it on my left wrist.  My friend put it best to me- it’s the perfect area because it’s vital.  And that’s true.  My family, my odd personifications of my desires, science, romanticism – those are all vital to my life.  People are surprised I’m not getting a running tattoo.  Running is merely an offshoot of everything I have just described, but not the vital life source.  I love the idea of having this tattoo over the vein pumping to my heart.

But, I’m scared.

Of what, I’m not sure.

Regretting it?  I don’t think I have any reason to.  Worst case scenario I have to buy a lot of fabulous bracelets to cover it up.

Pain? nah..

Having a horrible infection and needing my hand amputated?  a little bit.

Mostly, I think I’m nervous that this is a change in me.  A change to my body.  But why should I be afraid of that when in reality, it’s going to become an extension of me and what I am?  Everytime I think I should back down, I explain again to someone why I want this, and what it means to me, and I am reminded again, in a new way, why this is meaningful to me.

I don’t want to talk about it anymore.  I want to do it.  I’ve spent the last 8 years talking about a tattoo.

The greatest mistake in life is continually fearing  you will make one.