Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cooking "In the Box"

When I grabbed the dogs to go walking this morning, I noticed a Greenling box sitting next to the door. I thought I had accidentally ordered something (I was looking at turkeys on their website earlier this week), but when I looked closer I realized Micah had ordered it as part of my Christmas gift!

I've been a Greenling customer for several years now but I haven't purchased a Local Box from them in a long while -- I guess because I started my own garden and I felt that I wasn't getting the best deal with the box. I still think what they offer is great but not good enough for me to order once a month -- maybe every few months.

Since it's the cold season, there were a lot of turnips, leafy greens, and a huge head of cauliflower.

Thankfully I didn't have a ton of veggies sitting in the fridge so I had enough space for all the delicious farm goodies. The biggest thing that's sitting in my fridg is a 15# turkey that is getting happy sipping on a delicious brine for Christmas Eve dinner (another post).

Micah spent most of the day brewing, so I decided I would make use of some of the Greenling veggies and make a healthy dinner.

After some googling, I came across these two recipes:

1. Watermelon radish salad
2. Cauliflower soup

If you've never used watermelon radish before, I suggest you try!

The color is gorgeous and it has a nice bitter/peppery bite that is common in radishes, but not as obvious as a regular red radish.

I already had everything else in the fridge for the salad (avocado, lettuce, cilantro, shallots) - it was meant to be.

The salad is tart but very well-balanced. The biggest thing is the presentation! It's such a pretty plate of food!

{coming to you in technicolor!}

When Micah plated his salad, he said, "It really looks like watermelon!"

{sauteeing leeks. make sure you clean them of all the grit before using!}

The cauliflower soup was just we needed on a fairly cold night. I had leeks leftover from last weekend's dinner of mussels and two bags of yukon gold potatoes in the pantry. I love it when I have most of items already in my house!

Look at this ginormous cauliflower head. The cauliflower even had a tinge of purple.

I also had homemade chicken broth in the freezer so I used that. After simmering the veggies for 20 minutes, I threw everything into a blender (in multiple batches) to make a smooth soup. 

After giving the soup a whir in the blender, I put everything back into the pot and added one extra pat of butter plus some extra salt and pepper.

The soup was simple but full of creamy goodness but without the heavy cream! I love the texture and richness that cooked and pureed cauliflower ends up being. While I love raw cauliflower, I like it in this form as well.

{final product}

The reason I started using Greenling's Local Box a few years ago was because I wanted to diversify my cooking. I wanted to use ingredients I wouldn't normally pick up at the store. I veered away from that for awhile, but I might be coming back around due to the surprise Christmas gift!

Thanks, Micah! I really think it's a gift for him too, since the food ends up in his belly.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rocky Mountain High

Last weekend I surprised Micah with a weekend trip to Colorado, because you know, recreational use of marijuana is totally legal there now. Kidding. While there was no toking up for us, we did partake in copious amounts of beer swilling.

We've been to Colorado several times before but all previous visits were during the Great American Beer Festival week, which you can read about here.While GABF is all sorts of awesome, I thought it would be fun to visit during an off-period and besides, last-minute flights were $140 roundtrip! Can't pass that folks.

Most of the trip revolved around visiting breweries that we haven't been to before but I did make Micah hike with me for a very short period of time. The mountains are so close, you have to!

Here's the eating and drinking recap!


We started off with an awesome creole breakfast at Lucile's in Fort Collins.

Then I abducted Micah and took him to Lory State Park. We didn't hike too far though, just enough to get a decent picture.

We had to hurry on the hike because I had booked us for a 1 p.m. tour at the New Belgium Brewery -- which we've been to before but it's such a fun tour and delicious samples.

Micah was really disappointed that they weren't serving La Folie. Apparently it's in such high demand that they didn't have enough for the tours, we got Frambozen instead. But all these new barrels should help with the sour beer output.

Right down the way from New Belgium is Odell. We've tried to to visit Odell the past two times but they were closed each time, that wasn't happening on our third trip!

{TX needs taprooms like this. Oh wait, breweries can't sell their own product at their own shop! Lame!}

{L: pilot tray at Odell Brewing, R: Equinox Brewing}


I booked us a room at the Edwards House B&B and it was a great choice! We got a free room upgrade and a fabulous breakfast!

Despite most of the clientele at the B&B being on the older side, we did have breakfast with a young couple that lo and behold, were homebrewers too! We said we were going to Funkwerks Brewery after we check-out and they were already planning to do the same thing! Small world. We ended up hanging out with them at Funkwerks for a couple of hours!

We actually did buy a bottle of Funkwerks' Mistral to take home! After leaving Funkwerks, we made a beeline straight down to Denver -- so little time, so many beer places! We actually drove straight from Ft. Collins to Crooked Stave. A friend told me about this place and they specialize in sours, so obviously we went there.

While we didn't love any of their beers (there were only 2 on tap), Micah did buy a small bottle that was $12 to take home. Hopefully it's delicious! The tap room is small and it gets packed, so come prepared!

For dinner that night, we visited Hops & Pie (highly recommended from the new b&b friends as well as our SA friends).

While they didn't have any Russian River on tap that day, Lost Abbey was and tons of other great beers. The pies are delicious too!

After dinner, we visited River North brewery. The beers here were decent but nothing to write home about and we definitely didn't buy any beer to go.


Since our flight was at 7 p.m., we pretty much had a full day in Denver and didn't want to waste any time!

To kick off my morning, I got this awesome sausage, spinach/artichoke bagel sammy at Hi Rise.

After eating breakfast, we walked over to Mr. B's Liquor store (the store came recommended from the b&b homebrewer folks we had just befriended). While the selection wasn't great, the service was friendly and Micah did pick up a bottle from Russian River. To check out a bigger beer selection, we went to Argonaut's on Colfax. We (and by we, I mean Micah) loaded up on 3 or 4 bottles here.

After our beer shopping, we headed over to a fairly new brewery called Renegade Brewing. They're open on Sundays! At 11 a.m.! I'm down with that and so were other patrons!

My favorite was the Cuban Missle Crisis -- a RIS aged in rum barrels.

Not only did humans like the bar, this pup wanted in on the action too! BEST.PICTURE.EVAR.

After Renegade, we visited Great Divide (we go there every time!) and Dry Dock Brewing on our way out!

I think I've had my fill of beer for the next few weeks! Until next time, CO, cheers!