Author Archives: theneighborboys

About theneighborboys

We moved into a new home that we loved only to discover that among its best features were the neighbors. This summer, we're on a culinary adventure with our new extended family as we all enjoy the harvest from a local CSA.

How do you solve a problem called TURNIPS?

The CSA has helped me discover that my repertoire of vegetable dishes is deep rather than broad.  Give me peas, green beans, corn, potatoes, carrots (and a few others – but you get the idea) – and I can come up with a thousand ideas.  Give me turnips and all I can think is “How am I going to avoid throwing these away next Friday?”

Well, I came up with four things this week.  First, the simplest, I sliced them thin and served them raw on a salad.  Ok, boring, right?  Second, I tossed them with an Asian stir fry in place of water chestnuts.  Maybe a bit more interesting?  Third, I mashed them with potatoes.  And fourth, I grilled them with potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic scapes, and a bit of butter, salt, and pepper.  Those last two follow my general strategy with new vegetables: marry them with something I know.  So turnips, meet potatoes; I’m sure you’ll get along great.

I managed to use them up, but I feel a bit like I limped across the finish line of a marathon.  So please use the comments to share anything you did with turnips this week, people.  And then join me in praying for LOTS of peas this Saturday.

By the way, the picture is the rest of our grilled dinner tonight: cheeseburgers (with onion, red pepper, and of course, garlic scapes) and salad to go with the foil-wrapped, grilled veggies.  A yummy summer dinner!


Asian theme

I forgot to take a picture, but I think we might be the only people who took Matt’s box in an Asian direction tonight, a fact that might make the idea worth mentioning briefly.

We did a pretty simple chicken stir fry, with garlic scapes, snow peas, and turnips from Matt.  The latter ingredient might seem strange, but as I talked to him, I considered using them in place of water chestnuts.  He was very enthusiastic about the idea, and I think it worked pretty well.  The turnips don’t have a lot of flavor in general, but they did add a nice crunch.  We also picked up carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers.  I included some other typical flavors – ginger, soy, and onion.  All served over Asian noodles.

It was simple and yummy and used at least a few of our CSA ingredients!  Later tonight for dessert, we’ll be having lemon bread with fresh strawberries.  Such good summer eating.

Great to see some of you at the market today and looking forward to hearing about your dinner plans.

Secrets to good summer eating

1. Join a CSA.  (Hooray for our first box from Matt tomorrow.)

2. Plant at least one fresh herb.  (We have basil and chives so far this year.)

3. Shop local, buy fresh, buy seasonal.  (I wonder if we can still go pick strawberries this weekend.)

4. Move in next door to K&C.  There’s even a house for sale next door to them.  And let me tell you, the sauce we had for dinner was a delightful and delicious treat, served over Ohio City pasta and with lots of yummy garlic bread on the side.  We have the best address in Ohio!  Thanks from the Neighbor Boys.

Bean and corn salsa/salad

Tonight I thought I’d share the recipe for the salsa that I brought to the Memorial Day bash.  I’ve made it several times this spring, and it’s just fun to mix fresh ingredients and spices for light fare.  I know others of you make salsa from time to time and I’d love to hear some of your recipes, tricks, and tips too.

Bean and Corn Salsa

Whisk as dressing: 1/3 c. lime juice (squeeze a couple limes – there’s no other way!), 1/4 c. olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. cumin, 1/8 t. cayenne, 1/8 t. black pepper, 1/4 t. oregano, sprinkle of red pepper flakes, sprinkle of sugar, few drops of hot sauce (I’ve never actually measured any of those flavorings)

Toss together: 2 cups black beans, 1 1/2 cups corn, 1 red pepper, 1 red onion, green onion, cilantro (let the debate begin on whether or not to omit that last one!  Personally, I like it.)

At the last minute, chop up a couple of tomatoes and avocados (perhaps this is the secret ingredient that makes me like this salsa?) and add them to the rest of the veggies before tossing with the dressing.

This makes a big batch, so you may want to cut it in half.  I’m not a big fan of this salsa unless it’s fresh, which is the biggest negative of this recipe.  It’s just not that great the next day – the fresh ingredients get soggy and it’s not attractive.  I’ve also tossed it with bowtie pasta and served it as a pasta salad.

Haymaker Market season begins!

We didn’t even realize that this past Saturday was the first week of the outdoor market in Kent, but we enjoyed a great reunion with some of our favorite vendors.  We chatted with Matt for a while, as well as “pierogi lady,”  (note to self: must learn and remember her name this summer) and the crew from Ohio City Pasta.  For those of you who haven’t heard, they’ve expanded to two booths this summer – one with the usual pasta and one with pico de gallo and chimichurri and other such sauces and accoutrements.  (Side note: I have double checked and all of my food words are spelled correctly, but WordPress underlines them all!  What gives with their crummy dictionary?!)

Tonight I wanted to share our experience with the chimichurri in an exceedingly simple yet delicious meal.  This first picture shows the total prep work involved, just assembling five “ingredients” – olive oil, chimichurri sauce, cheese, steak, and lemon-basil pasta.  I say “ingredients” because the sauce and pasta are, of course, not raw ingredients.  But they’re basic inputs from the market at least.  To describe chimichurri a bit, it’s mostly parsley and garlic in olive oil.  But you know that you need Daniel (aka Fabio) to describe it for you at the market to get the real low down!

I coated the steak with the chimichurri before broiling it for 7 minutes per side, while the pasta boiled for 5 and got tossed with a drizzle of oil and sprinkle of cheese.  After the steak rested, it was thinly sliced and served in our new pasta bowls.  (New dishes since last summer!)

It couldn’t have been simpler, and it was superb, if I do say so myself.  So excited that market season has begun and looking forward to everyone’s creative cooking ideas!

Happy Easter!

Here’s a picture of the crew that assembled at the Galizio residence for an amazing Easter dinner.  There was so much great food (as always): ham with pineapple-bourbon sauce, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, roasted carrots, green beans, and Heavenly Cupcakes.  We missed all of the family – and adopted family and extended family and friends – who are scattered all over the world this weekend.  We hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday and that we get to see again soon.

For those of us in Matt’s CSA, there are just 8 weeks left until our first box arrives, but the warm spring weather has us tingly with anticipation for delicious fresh veggies.  We’re looking forward to great food, great company, and hopefully another season of great blog posts, recipes, and ideas!



Habanero Pierogies

We chose to forego our new Saturday tradition this week and save our pierogies for later in the week.  We enjoyed them tonight with Matt’s green beans served on the side.

That isn’t inherently a very newsworthy dinner, except for the fact that this week our dear friend the pierogi lady (aka our supplier) threw in an upgraded sample of the habanero flavored goodies.

She did warn us about the heat.  So much, in fact, that Jeff wouldn’t even sample them.  I made myself just two of the hot ones and balanced it out with a couple of the potato cheddar as well.  In my opinion, two of the habanero is the perfect amount.  They were delicious and they were spicy!  My lips and tongue would tingle for several minutes after each bite, so that I would eat slowly and savor the meal.  I wouldn’t have wanted to ingest much more of the flavors, but I thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace.

Has anyone else sampled some of their other flavors?  I know Carolyn doesn’t like their sweet flavors, but I’m curious to hear other opinions and experiences.  Maybe we should have a tasting party?

Happy October!

Here’s some good news: I just looked at the weather forecast, and it looks like the cold, wet rain might be done by Tuesday, leaving us with a few days of sunshine late next week.  I can’t wait.  The market today was practically deserted when we were there – though that didn’t stop us from running into a couple of Galizios.  Plus, the warm greetings from Matt and Fabio and the pierogi-lady (whose name I should really learn) made the day brighter

I decided that if fall is here we might as well embrace it.  So out came the pumpkins and the Halloween decorations this afternoon.  I also decided that it was time to bake my favorite pumpkin cookies and share that recipe here.  The original source is the Fargo Forum newspaper, and I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t love the fall flavors.

The recipe is below.  Two comments about the overall experience of the cookies are in order.  First, they are closer to cake bites than cookies.  They don’t spread at all while baking, so pay attention to how you drop the dough on the baking sheets.  Second, they might look a bit similar to the pumpkin cookies you can pick up at Giant Eagle these days, but they are SO much better.  If nothing else, the maple syrup in the frosting gives them a whole different flavor.

I promise at least one more post from me this week, because the butternut squash from Matt is calling from the kitchen to be made into my favorite fall soup.  I hope everyone is having a good weekend, despite the awful weather.

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups flour, 1 t. baking powder, 1 t. baking soda, 1/2 t. salt

1 t. pumpkin pie spice (I always construct this myself from a 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. ginger, and 1/8 t. cloves)

1/2 c. shortening, 1 c. brown sugar

1 c. pumpkin puree, 1 egg, 1 t. vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Combine the shortening and brown sugar, beating for a full minute.  Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla; mix until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Drop dough by mounded tablespoons.  Bake at 350 for 14 minutes.

Icing: 1/2 c. butter, 1/4 c. maple syrup, 2 T. pumpkin puree, 1 t. pumpkin pie spice, 1 t. vanilla, 4 c. powdered sugar, orange food coloring

Beat the first five ingredients and add the powdered sugar gradually and then the food coloring, beating well until fluffy and with uniform color.

(In my opinion, this makes too much frosting!  Halving it might not even be too extreme.  I also usually add sprinkles of some kind on top of the frosting because it generally stays very gooey and sticky.  Plus, they give you the right festive October colors to help brighten a dreary fall day.)

Thanks, Beth!

For dinner tonight, we savored the cheesy, bready flavors of asparagus in puff pastry and cheese sauce.  Of course, you all know where that idea came from!  It was perfect, because it used up the leftover puff pastry from the pot pie.

I did alter the recipe just a bit.  I had pepper jack cheese, so I omitted the jalapenos.  I also used just a little bit of parmesan.  So in all it was about 1/4 c. of parm, 1 c. of cheddar, 4 oz. of green chiles, 1/2 c. of pepper jack, and 1/2 c. of mayo.  Those are all very rough but in the ballpark anyway.  You can see in the picture that I baked it in two ramekins.  It was a perfect dip for the asparagus, and I dipped a few corn chips in it as well.  I feel like the Super Bowl should be on the television right now.  It may have been a crummy, rainy, cool day, but hot, delicious food makes it seem better.  (It also helps that I submitted several papers to conferences today – a major item off my to-do checklist.  One huge weight off my shoulders!)

Oh PS, there was a main dish too – ribs that had been in the slow cooker all day.  They’re BOGO at Giant Eagle right now – we always make one batch and put the rest in the freezer when that sale comes along.  See what I mean about Super Bowl food?

Apres la soupe, une casserole

Everything tastes better in French, right?  The cooking tonight was decidedly unfancy at our house, though.  I followed up my chicken soup with chicken pot pie.  It was a simple affair – lots of veggies, gravy, and chicken in a casserole dish, with store bought puff pastry on top.  Tasty and easy!  (And not particularly photogenic, so please excuse the bad picture.  I promise it tasted good.)

It was good to see several of you at the market this morning.  It’ll be sad to see the season end this year, because the Saturday routine has become so ingrained now.  I think Jeff will especially miss the pierogi lunches!

By the way, we’re nearly out of chicken – just enough for another sandwich or two this week.  Incidentally, it always takes me back to childhood when I’m using up a bird all week.  My parents used to roast a turkey a month and make meals from it for quite a while, using many of the same ideas for meals as the ones I’ve used this week.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!