Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CSA 2012: Weeks 1 & 2

It's my favorite time of year - beach weather has arrived in full force, and our CSA has started up again.  The first pickup was last Tuesday and the second was today.  In the past week, I enjoyed a few of my favorite things.  A bowl of arugula with olive oil and flaky salt, spinach sauteed in garlic as a side to salmon.  Today I even ate a plain salad - just lettuce with olive oil, balsamic, salt and some feta cheese.  I'm looking forward to chomping on some more delicious produce in the next few weeks, though due to my job, I have been (brutally and terribly) forced to step back from the CSA and let my mom take over.  It's early in the season, so she is still optimistic about being able to use all the produce and is less willing to hand it over to me... but soon she will be begging me to take it off her hands!

Week 1

Unfortunately, a few days after our first pickup, we heard the bad news that a bad hailstorm had passed over one of the farms owned by our CSA.  They estimated losses of tens of thousands of heads of lettuce, as well as kale, cabbage, and other spring crops.  We are super sad but understand that nature can't be controlled (and shouldn't be!) so we'll see how our share looks over the next few weeks.

Week 2

Turnips or kale? (We pick kale!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Macaroon Tart

The Macaroon Tart from Super Natural Every Day is a simple sweet treat that will please anyone who loves coconut.  A buttery tart base packed with coconut flakes is topped with a layer of blackberries and snowy macaroon tufts that turn a delicious golden brown when baked.  Chopped pistachios provide a beautiful color contrast to the purple blackberries.

I made this for my grandma's birthday and then again for Mother's Day, and it was a huge hit both times.  The first time, I lazily opted not to halve the blackberries, instead scattering them over the tart.  This was a mistake because they should have been in a layer covering the entire tart base, to ensure that every bite contained some blackberry goodness.  I fixed this the second time around and I feel that it was worth the extra step.  Even with the tedious task of halving tons of tiny berries, this is still quite a quick dessert.  A few extra notes: the pistachios don't shine here in terms of flavor, but are visually crucial to the dish, and in place of a tart pan I used a medium bar pan (stoneware).  I may try coconut oil in place of the butter next time - it seems like an appropriate substitution.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Roasted Chicken Legs with Smoked Paprika, Blood Orange, and Ginger AND Bulgur "Pilaf" with Swiss Chard and Dried Apricots

I was sold on this chicken recipe from Cook This Now.  Orange, cilantro, jalapeno, smoked paprika.  I opted to bake boneless skinless thighs with the marinade and chose a side suggested in the recipe notes, a fragrant bulgur pilaf.  Both came together quickly and with a little advance prep, would be a perfect weeknight meal.  (I would recommend marinating the chicken ahead of time.)

A few little notes... I took the seeds out of the jalapeno and found the spice level to be good that way.  We baked the chicken for about 20 minutes and it was perfectly moist and tender.  The pilaf was an excellent accompaniment, though next time I will chop the chard more (instead of ribbons like I did this time).  I took the suggestion to drizzle pomegranate molasses on at the end and I highly recommend this.  I definitely intend to make both of these dishes again - the chicken especially, since it was super easy and I think would be great cooked on the grill as well as in the oven.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Curried Coconut Tomato Soup

It's been a while... a looong while!  (Good thing I keep this blog for myself, no followers to disappoint!)  Since my last post, I finished my internship, went to Italy, was sick for a couple days, then started a new job.  It's been a rough couple of weeks.  As I am starting to settle in to my new life, I'm cooking more and I'm ready to start posting again.  I've been keeping up with the 101 Cookbooks library, so I have my notes from there which I'll share with their corresponding photos over the next few weeks or so.  Soon our CSA will start up again and I'll be trying to keep up with that too!  There has been some local produce offered at Whole Foods for the last week or two, and since it is conveniently located like 30 seconds from my new job (yay!) I have been stopping in there quite a bit and am ready to really get back in the kitchen.

When I got back from Italy, I was very sick of a few things - namely, pasta and meat.  Wanting to finish out the month strong with the featured author on the 101 Cookbooks Library, I whipped out my home-canned tomatoes from last fall and my copy of Cook This Now and before long, we had this delicious Curried Coconut Tomato Soup - the perfect comfort food to welcome me home, with an exotic twist to remind me of all the places I have yet to see.

Fortunately for me, I had all the ingredients I needed to make this soup, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fast it came together.  Saute some onion in coconut oil (the recipe calls for butter, but I wanted to add coconut at every level of the dish), then it's just tomatoes (home-canned) and some spices.  I opted for a red curry powder, which I thought gave it an interesting flavor.  The soup was good both with and without coconut milk added in, but chopped cilantro and toasted coconut chips were a must.  Some leftover cooked brown rice made it a more substantial meal.  It came together quickly enough for a weeknight and since all the ingredients are usually in my pantry, I will probably be making this again.