Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 24

The season is winding down now.  Last year at this time we had a TON of produce, but since the hurricane at the end of the summer our share hasn't been as plentiful.  (Still more than enough food for us, though.)

This week we picked 2 quarts of string beans, 4 quarts of sauce tomatoes, and a bunch of parsley.  Yes, we skipped everything else.  I took the parsley.  Mom always keeps the sauce tomatoes until they are ripened, and then they come home with me.

We each took a pound of the delicious lettuce mix.

I took this "spicy mix," which was basically like last week's braising mix, except with way better vegetation in it.  I particularly like the little round leaves that remind me very much of a purple baby bok choy.  (They might even BE that. Who knows? I do wish they would tell us...)  I stir-fried this with garlic and ginger and red pepper flakes.  Yum!

I took home the arugula.

I let mom have the spinach :)

The garlic had a sign (you can see the edge of it on the right) that said that this was garlic they had saved as seed garlic, but it didn't meet their quality standards for seed garlic.  Supposedly it is still tasty, but I had a hard time finding any big heads that weren't rotted out.  I got two halves of full size heads and two tiny heads.

Mom took turnips, because she still has radishes.  These were the only two choices.

Mom kept the lettuce.

I got 6 hot peppers that may be cherry peppers.  They're round and dark green.  I wonder where they pick these peppers from because they look like the same varieties as the PYO ones, but I don't know if that's where they take them from or what.

Can't believe the tomatoes are still coming!  Mom kept them this week.  I still have a bunch.

And finally...

...the broccoli.  Ah, the broccoli.  The broccoli which I realized we didn't take when we were already almost home and made my mom turn around to go get for me, because I love broccoli.  I ate one head with some ravioli for lunch.  I think I might stir fry the other one tomorrow with some garlic and ginger and have it with rice.  Yum.  So worth the extra time.

Our CSA pickups ended in the first week of November last year.  Let's see how it goes this year.  The last date has not been announced, but like the spring, they typically do it within about a week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Roasted Peanuts

Not too long ago, I got bok choy from the choice group at our CSA.  I didn't really know what I wanted to do with it, so since it's Deborah Madison month, I flipped through her books for some ideas.  I decided on this recipe for Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Roasted Peanuts from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  It made a nice, simple, surprisingly filling weeknight dinner.

The recipe is simple: bok choy, peanuts, a little garlic and ginger, soy sauce and some cornstarch to thicken it up.  Of course, as I was already stir-frying I reached for my soy sauce only to find that I had a bit less than half the amount called for, so I used teriyaki sauce for the rest. I thought it came out delicious anyway, maybe even better.  The peanuts gave it a nice crunch and red pepper flakes make everything better.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deborah Madison's Multigrain Waffles

As I try to catch up on my posts, I'm realizing that I haven't been snapping as many photos as I'd like.  So I'm skipping ahead to this one - Deborah Madison's Basic Waffles recipe, for which I took the Multigrain variation.  I never would have turned to Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone for a waffle recipe, as I usually take it off the shelf looking for something to do with my CSA share, but it's a good basic recipe and I like the suggestions she makes in the Multigrain variation.

Deborah Madison lists in the ingredients: milk or buttermilk.  Well, since they interact a little differently with leaveners, I opted to use buttermilk and so swapped the measures for baking powder/baking soda so that there would be more of the soda and less of the powders.  For my "multigrains" I used a total of 2 cups of various flours: 1 cup spelt flour, 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cornmeal, 1/4 cup oat flour, 3 Tbsp wheat bran, 2 Tbsp teff flour, 1 Tbsp 7-grain hot cereal (dry).  As long as a reliable flour is used for the bulk of it (1 cup or 1/2 the flour), you can pretty much throw anything in there, which I like because I have so many less common flours that I don't have much to do with.  I'd like to try teff grains next time, as they are super tiny and add a nice crunch.  Millet or amaranth would be good too, as long as the amount of (literally) whole grains is kept small so as not to disrupt the balance of flour. 

There is no sugar in the recipe, so it can be used for a sweet or savory application - we opted for sweet, using some of the peach rum sauce I canned last year, which fully made up for the lack of sugar.  I froze the extra in a gallon bag with parchment paper between the layers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 23

This photo above is the salad we had for lunch after we got home from the farm.  This salad is 100% local!  A mix of baby salad greens, carrots, radishes, and tomatoes.  I made my classic balsamic (sadly un-local) and we had some leftover butternut squash soup (the butternut squash came from the farm and the apples probably came from Terhune Orchards in Princeton).  Delicious and filling!

Usually I'm pretty good about keeping a list of what I make during the week.  I do it so that I can share it in this post and look back on what I made with our CSA share.  Sometimes I forget, though, and this is one of those weeks.  So let me just try to remember.

Thursday I made a Fire-Roasted Tomato Stew with Eggplant, Bulgur, and Chickpeas.  (What a mouthful!)  This used up our last two eggplants from the farm.  I struggled with the eggplants this year - I just couldn't keep up with them.  But now I know that, so I can prepare better for next year.  Anyway, I also canned some tomatillo sauce, though I can't remember now whether I did it this week or last week.  Either way, I don't think I've mentioned it yet.  I just now made some more of the chile verde base, which, even though I haven't made the actual chile verde yet, I think will be a hit.  So for this I used tomatillos, finishing up last week's, and two jalapenos and two serranos, and last week's cilantro which was still in near-perfect condition.  If we had any CSA garlic left this could've been all local!  Over the weekend we pickled some hot peppers - one batch was halved jalapenos pickled with honey, allspice, and peppercorns, and the other was a plainer brine with a bit of sugar - for this we sliced a bunch of miscellaneous hot peppers into rounds and threw some garlic in there for good measure.  I'm thinking I'll do this again this week, probably another small-batch simple brine.  I also want to dry a few of the hot peppers we picked today.  I keep getting off topic... back to the past week... We had tacos again, unsurprisingly, so we used lettuce and cherry tomatoes for this.  Monday I used my brand-new birthday slow cooker to make a black bean and mushroom chili.  The mushrooms were from the Princeton market.  I threw a red bell pepper in there just because I felt like it, and I was relieved when I saw tomatillos on the ingredient list (which I naturally didn't look at until the last minute) both because I had them in the fridge and because I had a more interesting use for them.

This week...

We got a great big bag of tomatillos, which I plan to can whole since my freezer is so stuffed.  I'm hoping to also pickle some more hot peppers, and dry some as well.  I've already used some in the chile verde base.  I took home a few of the string beans, but we gave the rest to our cleaning lady.  That's it!  PYO is winding down for the season.

I'm surprised, but happy, to see that tomatoes are sticking around for a little longer.  Mom kept most of them but gave me a few.

I got a few funny shaped hot peppers - I think they're called "squash" or something like that.

We got 3 heads of deer tongue lettuce and one red leaf (not the bitter curly kind).  I took the red one and one deer tongue as well.

Yum... arugula.  (I took this, of course.)

This braising mix is an interesting combination of greens that are designed to be stir-fried.  In the past, I didn't know what to do with this, but I came across a Deborah Madison recipe, which is perfect for this month (and so I took this too).

I grabbed a few peppers that MIGHT turn red... we'll see. (I took these.)

This is the delicious mix of baby lettuce leaves that is featured in the header photo.  (Mom kept this! And she will eat it all!)

And finally, this week's choice group.  Four pieces, five choices.  Radishes, Chinese (Napa) cabbage, Bok Choy, Hakurei Turnips, Cauliflower.  Cauliflower has a limit of one.  So we grabbed a cauliflower first, then two bunches of radishes and a Chinese cabbage.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

White Bean and Black Kale Minestra with Farro

This delicious soup recipe is from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen, one of the books I got from the library for the October "featured" thing on 101 Cookbooks Library.  This may just be the Ribollita of 2011.  It's simple and the flavors aren't at all exotic, but it's so comforting and nourishing - just what I wanted after eating tons of cake and pie all weekend!  Kale is my favorite, I love tomato-based soups, and the chewy farro was perfect to give it body.  I used the Rancho Gordo cannellini beans, which are way too huge for the soup - everything else was cut into pieces closer to the size of the farro, and the giant beans disrupted the harmony.  I might try navy beans or flageolet next time.  And yes, there is going to be a next time.  It's a simple soup that could be made at any time of year.  I managed to find a little room in the freezer for this one, but as soon as it's gone, I'm sure I'll be making this again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 22

I'm having a hard time remembering what I've made over the past week.  Notable standouts were a White Bean and Kale Minestra, which I will post about soon.  It used kale and garlic from the CSA, and carrot from the market.  We also made one of my favorites, Lemon Pepper Shrimp - I put shredded kale in the pot with the orzo instead of our usual sauteed broccoli, and this also used up the last of our garlic from the CSA.  I also canned a sauce made with tomatillos, which I'll also try to write about eventually.  Tonight, we had sausage along with today's freshly picked string beans, along with some oven-baked fries made of a huge sweet potato I got from the market a few weeks ago.

Today's PYO...

The tomatillos were plentiful but most of them are not ready.  I picked into a plastic bag but I'd say it's roughly a quart or less.  The sauce tomatoes were a little tough to find.  Cherry tomatoes are mostly a bright, pretty orange.  Hot peppers took me a long time - 50 is a lot! - but I got about 20 jalapenos, 5 serranos, 8 or 9 reddish peppers, a mild Sandia pepper, and a bunch of roundish/oval shaped ones.  I can't figure out what they are but I think I will pickle them along with the jalapenos.  We skipped flowers, eggplant, okra, herbs (except for parsley), and ground cherries.

I also got 4 jalapenos from the farm stand...

2 light red and 2 butter lettuce or Bibb lettuce or something... Mom kept most of this...

Carrots... Mom kept most of these...

Peppers... all green, so I tossed them in the donation bin...

I picked 2 bunches of cilantro and no parsley, since we got PYO parsley...

The main choice group this week was beets, cabbage, turnips, bok choy, radishes.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I believe the cabbage may have been gone when we returned to the farm stand after our PYO.  I took two bok choy and my mom took two radishes.

Mom forgot to snap a photo, but we also got 4 pounds of tomatoes.  They are very underripe at the moment, which is good because I have a few other things to deal with while I wait for them (specifically pickling these peppers and doing something with the bok choy).  I've also got tons of ripe sauce tomatoes needing to be used - I'm hoping to can these as plain crushed tomatoes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Eggplant Stuffed With Rice and Tomatoes

This recipe for Eggplant Stuffed With Rice and Tomatoes appeared in the NY Times Recipes for Health with a collection of stuffed vegetable recipes for late summer vegetables - zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers.  It's been on my radar for a few weeks, and I decided to give it a try.  As I often mention, I cook for two, not twenty as I sometimes would like to believe, so when I started to take out the ingredients for this recipe, I opted to make roughly half of it.  Even so, not all of it was eaten :( but what was eaten was very good.  I tried the dish both cold (as suggested) and hot and it worked both ways.  The thick, vibrant sauce, made from grated tomatoes and interesting spices, made it even better.  I ended up cooking the dish for far longer than intended - I opted for brown basmati rice, so it needed a bit more time to cook.  (My mom tried the related recipe for stuffed tomatoes, and the rice didn't cook at all.  So I was cautious when starting, but this recipe called specifically for uncooked rice.)  I omitted the mint because I didn't have any, and the cilantro was really enough herb for me, especially with the strong flavor of the sauce.  This was a tasty "farewell to summer" recipe, which I ate with a friend at a picnic table in a sunny park on my lunch break.  I'll be keeping this in mind as an eggplant recipe for next summer.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Roasted Tomato Soup

I was attracted to this recipe by the "roasted" part.  And the "tomato" part.  And the "soup" part.  It came out a lot different than I expected, but it was delicious.  It was simple to roast all the tomatoes, pepper, onion, and garlic.  I didn't even set the timer.  I think since I used plum tomatoes, it was not as tomato-y as it should be, so I added a bit of tomato paste to amp up the tomato flavor.  I left tiny chunks in the soup, so it had a bit of chew, and added some cooked brown rice, which complemented the texture of the soup.  I also had to add an extra sprinkle of the smoked paprika... very tasty.  This was a small pot of soup, so it's already all gone!  You can see the recipe here, but it's also in Super Natural Cooking.  I think the lack of photo in the book is probably the reason I haven't thought to make it before.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

I saw someone mention on their blog an article they saw in Whole Living magazine about mise en place and preparing some components for the week, to be used to make complete meals quickly and easily.  I headed over to the site and, unable to find the article, got extremely distracted by the recipes.  They're a Martha Stewart magazine, so they've got their site set up the same way as hers - slideshows with pretty pictures group together recipes by a theme.  I believe I found the Pumpkin Muffins in a "fall recipes" grouping.  Either way, I knew I had some canned pumpkin in the freezer, left over from a delicious protein bar recipe from Georgie's book, so I decided these would make a nice weekend breakfast.

I should note that while this recipe claims to make 12 muffins, it does not mention until the instructions that it makes 12 JUMBO muffins, so I ended up with 24 muffins.  I gave away several to my mom and sister, and to my coworkers.  I ended up freezing a surprisingly small number of them.  But they're definitely worth making again.  They're delicious and cakey, a fantastic fall treat.  Instead of the whole wheat flour, I used spelt, and a bit more than called for (2 cups to 1 of all-purpose).  I might toast the walnuts next time (or not, I'm lazy).  My older muffin tin produced much more rounded and aesthetically pleasing muffins - I believe my newer one has a bit smaller capacity.  Anyway, these are a great way to welcome fall.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Deborah Madison's Black Bean Chili

This month, the 101 Cookbooks Library is trying something a little different - a featured author instead of a featured book.  October's featured author is Deborah Madison.  I didn't participate in September (I didn't have much interest in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook) but I'm all set for October.  I already own Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and my mom got me a few of her other books from the library: the Greens Cookbook, Vegetable Soups, and Local Flavors.

This Black Bean Chili from the Greens Cookbook was recommended to me when I posted a question on the 101 Cookbooks Library asking for favorite chili recipes.  (I found it on this blog page when I was searching online.)  Since I got the book from the library just for October, I decided to kick it off right by making this chili on October 1st.

In addition to the fact that, well, it's chili! I was attracted to this recipe when I read in the headnotes that it's used in a few other recipes in the book, Black Bean Enchiladas and Black Bean Chilaquiles.  I'm not sure about the chilaquiles yet as I don't exactly know what they are, but the Black Bean Enchiladas sound great!  I've always wanted to make enchiladas and now seems like a great time.  I took a look at the recipe, and besides making the chili, it seems like it can be done fairly easily.  The enchiladas use 3 cups of the Black Bean Chili, so I'm freezing 3 cups just for that.  It will be a good one to try a little later this month when I'm more pressed for time.

The Black Bean Chili itself is a leisurely weekend recipe that took me about 4 hours.  I soaked 2 cups of my Rancho Gordo midnight black beans overnight in the refrigerator.  (I have about 1/2 cup left... what will I do with them?! should have just used the whole pound...)  I drained them and put them on to simmer while I did the rest of the prep for the recipe, as the instructions suggest.  Basically, the rest of the ingredients go into a large skillet to simmer for 15 minutes, before being added to the pot with the beans.  Then it all cooks for another hour at least, until the beans are done.  I used half regular paprika, half smoked paprika.  In hindsight, I should have used all smoked paprika, since the smokiness was not that strong, and this is a chili after all!  (The real reason is because my regular paprika expired in 2009.  Oops.)  I left out the 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper that the recipe called for, because I think it's gross.  Why use that when you can use a delicious and flavorful chile instead?  (I tasted a piece of yellow pepper before adding the mixture to the beans, and it kicked me in the face for just a second, so I definitely won't be missing the heat of the cayenne.)  I also used ancho and chipotle chili powders in place of grinding my own dried chili - just over 2 tbsp total, which is exactly what I had left in each plastic bag.  I added a diced yellow bell pepper, because I like peppers in my chili and I wanted to add a vegetable to this dish.  I used up the last of my fresh tomatoes, including an orangey-yellow heirloom tomato, and some leftover fire-roasted plum tomatoes that didn't fill a jar when I canned them earlier this week. 

This was a lot of work, but the few bites I tasted of the results seemed to be worth it.  With more preparation it could certainly be an easier recipe to make, just needing one eye kept on it as it simmers.  I'm sure I'll try this one again, and I especially look forward to the enchiladas.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CSA 2011: Week 21

It's been a busy week in the kitchen, though my lack of posts might look like I haven't cooked anything.  I have some new things to share when I get a minute to sit down and upload my pictures.  A few classics made an appearance as well.  When I bought corn last week at the market, the guy threw in an extra two ears, so I found I had five left instead of the three that I thought were there.  Ken immediately asked for the corn pesto, so we had that again, probably the last time for the season - not only because of corn but the basil on our porch is starting to look a bit sad, which I attribute to the cold.  While I canned some more fire-roasted plum tomatoes, the power went out.  Luckily it came back on right away, but it would have been interesting to finish that process in the dark!  Later in the week we split a turkey couscous meatloaf from the freezer and I made a side of green beans to go with it, drizzled with a mustardy dressing.  My mom has been freezing the tender new-crop beans we've been getting, labeling them specifically for Thanksgiving.  Over the weekend, we made a honey mustard salmon and a side salad of arugula and cherry tomatoes with a champagne vinaigrette (I'll have to write that one down... so good!).  The weekend project, besides apple picking, was Deborah Madison's Black Bean Chili, which used garlic and some slicing tomatoes, including a straggler heirloom, from our CSA.  I threw in some of the fire roasted plum tomatoes too, which were left over from canning, plus a yellow bell pepper to add a little color and a vegetable, and because I like peppers in my chili.  Ken had the last of the edamame as a snack when I was too tired to cook a proper dinner.  Today I roasted last week's cherry tomatoes down to tiny bits and popped them in a jar in the freezer to spice up soups and pastas and whatever later in the winter, when we need a bit of sunshine.  Then I made a roasted tomato soup and a stuffed eggplant dish, both of which I'll detail more in their own posts.  These two ventures used up slicing and plum tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, and yellow bell pepper and yielded plenty of proper food for the next few days.

Now on to this week...

This week we got some excellent string beans, almost a full quart of cherry tomatoes (sungold something, and the black cherry ones I like), a quart of tomatillos, 16 hot peppers (jalapenos and poblanos), 4 quarts of sauce tomatoes, and herbs (thyme, sage, and parsley).  We skipped anything else that is listed.

I took two of these tomatoes, plus one my mom still had from last week.  I like tomatoes, but since I end up taking a lot of other things, and she will actually eat tomatoes, I let her have them :)

Hot peppers - a good example of something my mom won't use!

Hmm... maybe these are ALL examples of something my mom won't use. :)
I love arugula's strong peppery flavor, though, so I'm happy to have it.  I just have to remember to use it earlier on in the week.

There were a bunch of red bell peppers today - tiny, but red!  Yay!  My mom kept one of the 4.

I got two of the most normal looking and biggest eggplants I could dig up (but they're still small).

My mom chose 2 bunches of turnips.  This reminds me, I need to send her some recipes for the greens.

Now for the most exciting event... big choice group!  Pick 4 of the 5 available items...

The choices were kale, collards, cilantro, radicchio, and boc choy.  The boc choy was tiny, and radicchio is not something we really want, so we ended up taking 3 bunches of kale and 1 of cilantro.  I took home the cilantro and 2 of the kale.  I am pretty excited about this - I feel like I have been waiting for kale for weeks now.  Of course, now I can't remember what I wanted to do with it...

That's all for now!  I'll do my best to get a few things posted this week before I forget about them entirely.