Vietnamese Pork Tacos with Carrots


This recipe came from the NYTimes, titled “Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos“. I love the “vaguely” descriptor; that’s exactly as far as I’ll ever get with my Vietnamese cooking, too.

Our carrots are still going strong!


For the pork:
Bone-in pork shoulder
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T fresh ginger, grated
1 c beef broth
1/4 c fish sauce
1 T sriracha sauce

For the slaw:
1/3 c rice vinegar
2 t grated fresh ginger
3 T olive oil
1 T sriracha sauce
1 small green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
1/2 bunch of cilantro


For the pork, dump all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Before eating, put together the slaw. Combine all ingredients except cilantro. For the taco combine flour tortillas + slaw + cheddar (I told you it was “vaguely Vietnamese”) + sriracha = a mighty fine dinner.

Salmon with Hollandaise


Our little red-head just turned one!
And my is he a sweet smiling son.
We’re cooking much less, and my garden’s a mess,
But that’s okay; he makes up for it in fun.


For the salmon:
1 lb salmon
1 T herb of Provence
Olive oil

For the sauce:
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 T water
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 t Dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
(Fresh tarragon, if you have it)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on a pan, and put the salmon skin side down. Drizzle more olive oil on the salmon, and sprinkle the herbs of Provence and salt and pepper on the fish. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the meat reads 130 degrees (if you like the fish more rare, cook for less time).

While the fish is cooking, make the sauce. In a double boiler over medium high heat (with water in the base of the bottom pan), put in both egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, and cayenne. (If you have fresh tarragon, like a true hollandaise calls for, add it now. I didn’t have it, thus didn’t add it.) Whisk together until slightly thickened, or about two minutes. Gradually add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated, or about five minutes. Add the salt. Serve immediately.

Dried Loquats


I have a complicated relationship with loquats. Loquats originate from Asia and have an apricot/mango flavor, but try as I may, I’ve never found the perfect thing to do with the fruit.

Our friend Sam’s tree puts on an abundance of fruit every March. Throughout the years, we’ve tried a variety of recipes. We made loquat jam once, which was not so tasty. The next year we made loquat wine, which was gross. So we tried to make loquat vinegar out of the loquat wine, but that was even grosser. I think there was a loquat crisp in there, too. But because I hail from descendants of farmers, I physically cannot let fruit rot on the tree. (Growing up, we picked EVERY LAST cherry and EVERY LAST apple.) The only thing I’ve found that works is to dry them and eat them as is.

(If anyone knows good loquat recipes, I’m all ears.)


Once you pick the loquats, you have to process them right away otherwise they’ll turn brown. Wash them, and cut them in half. Remove the two large seeds. Dehydrate in a dehydrator for 6-8 hours on low. They’re best left slightly chewy.

Strawberry, Pecan, and Blue Cheese Salad


We had some visitors this past week–my niece and nephew! Since they can’t grow things like kale and carrots in Iowa in February, it was quite the treat to help me harvest mine. They even helped me prepare my salad, too.


1 head lettuce, chopped
1/2 bunch kale, de-veined and chopped
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1/4 c crumbled blue cheese
10 strawberries, chopped

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
1 T honey


Mix salad ingredients together. Mix dressing ingredients together. Combine.

Strawberry Cardamom Jam


Roses are red,
Strawberries are pink,
When my kid’s eyes are that color,
Life kinda stinks.


6 c crushed strawberries
7 c sugar
1 package pectin
1 T lemon juice
8-10 cardamom pods
12 pint jars with lids


Boil all your pint jars and lids for at least 10 minutes. While they are boiling, chop your berries add the cardamom seeds (removed from the pod) and set aside. Measure out the exact amount of sugar and set aside. Bring the berries to a boil over medium-high heat in a large sauce pan. Stir in 1 package of pectin. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar all at once, and stir. Bring to a rolling boil for exactly one minute. Remove from heat.

Fill the jars immediately to a 1/4 an inch. Wipe the rims and threads with a clean cloth. Cover with the two-piece lids. Place in the water bath that you used to sterilize the jars with the lip of the jar just out of the water. Bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Once done, remove from the water. Make sure the lid is on tight. Once it cools, the center of the lid should be sunken, which means the jar is pressurized. Enjoy on anything that could use some extra jammy sweetness!

Broccoli and Sausage Orecchiette


According to the USDA, the average American eats 4 pounds of broccoli per year. Given our garden’s glut, Gary and I have been eating probably a pound of broccoli per day for the past month. Although I’d love to brag about our healthiness, all I can really attest to is our over-abundance of gas.


1 lb broccoli, chopped into florets
1 lb orecchiette pasta
1 lb ground sausage
2 cloves garlic
1 c broth
1 hot pepper, chopped
1/2 c Parmesan, grated
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 lemon juice
1 T mustard


First, get a pot of water boiling for the pasta. While waiting to boil, cook the sausage until done, or 5-10 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove from the pan onto a paper towel, pouring most of the grease. With the remaining drippings, add the hot pepper, garlic, and broccoli. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the pasta to the boiling water. Then add the broth to the pan with the broccoli and cover, so it will steam. Keep covered for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat when the broccoli is cooked. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and S&P in a small bowl. When the pasta is finished, drain. Add the broccoli, garlic, pepper, and broth mixture to the drained pasta. Add the grated cheese and dressing.

Kale, Sausage, and Potato Soup


With all this political strife, comfort food can make the churning stomach a little happier.

I amended this from the NYTimes.


1 lb uncured sausage links
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 large russet potatoes, chopped
1 large bunch kale
4 cups quality or home-made broth + 2 c water
1 T lemon juice
1 t salt
1 hot pepper, chopped
Dash of red pepper flakes


First, heat a soup pot to medium heat. Add the oil. Add the chopped link sausage, and brown on both sides, or about 5 minutes. Pour sausage and oil onto a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the extra grease. Put the pan directly back on the heat, and add the chopped onion for 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and potatoes and pepper. Next add the broth and water and potatoes. While this is heating to a boil, chop the kale. Remove the middle vein and chop the rest. Add the kale, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt to the soup. Simmer for an hour, and serve.

Curry Cauliflower Soup


New year, new recipes! But just as my little garden was coming into its prime this past week, the last two night’s deep frost set it back. That’s life, eh? But, it’s good to be thankful for what you’re given. When life gives you cauliflower, make cauliflower soup.


1 head cauliflower
2 T olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 potato, chopped
1 t chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cayenne pepper, chopped (or other hot pepper)
1 can (16 oz) chopped tomatoes
3 T curry powder (I always cheat here; you can add cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili power, ect.)
1 c broth
3 c water


Chop all ingredients. In a big soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and chopped ginger and garlic for about 3-4 minutes. Add the curry power (careful not to let it burn), and potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add broth, water, and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and chopped cayenne. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. When finished, garnish with a dollop of yogurt and chopped cilantro. Eat with warm naan.

Orange Pistachio Fudge


December is the time of year when our oranges are ripe. Like in years past, I’ve used our oranges to make something sweet for holiday gifts. This year, though, I made my umpteen batches of fudge while wearing a little 8 month old in a front carrier. Little fingers and wiggly legs are a distraction, yes, but they added extra sweetness to my Christmas gifts.


1 package (16oz) Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can evaporated milk
1 orange, zested
1/4 c pistachios, chopped
sea salt


First, line a pan with parchment paper. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Add the evaporated milk when the chocolate is fully melted. Stir in zested orange peel and chopped pistachios. (You can leave some for sprinkling on the top, or add more zest and pistachios to your liking.) Sprinkle with sea salt. Put in fridge for at least 6 hours to harden. Cut into small squares before serving.

Sweet Potato Gratin




I’ve been remiss in posting lately; this actually has less to do with the fact we have an active and wiggly kid, but more that I only have seedlings in my garden at the moment. My oranges are almost ripe, and radishes are ready to be eaten, so maybe new recipes will inspire me soon.

Alas, I couldn’t skip posting about my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! We had 18 friends share our table, and like any potluck around here, the food was divine. I made sweet potato gratin, not from our potatoes, but from Gary’s parents’ potatoes which were lovingly mailed to us through the USPS. Although they were unable to join us, the sweet potatoes on our plate were a little taste of our Midwestern family.


3 sweet potatoes, peeled
3 Yukon potatoes, peeled
2 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 t fine sea salt
3/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 c (packed) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. After peeling the potatoes, use a mandolin to finely slice them (although beware of fingers!). Slice them into a bowl of water so they won’t brown. After this is finished, combine the cream, butter, garlic, salt and pepper in a small pan, heat on the stovetop and bring to a simmer. Take off from heat and set aside.

In a 13×9 baking dish (or large dutch oven, like I used), layer the potatoes, chopped rosemary, and cheese. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes. Bake uncovered for one hour, or until the top becomes golden brown.

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