Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adventures in CSA: Week Nine, Part II

Salad 2

Above is a sneak peek of week ten for you. But we've got unfinished business to discuss first.

On Wednesday, with half of week nine gone by, the CSA produce that still remained in my fridge was:

1 Napa cabbage
1/4 lb. ruby chard
1.5 lb. green tomato
a few cucumbers
1.5 lb. squash (zucchini)
1 lb. eggplant
2 onion

That seemed like a lot to get through by Sunday, and we actually went a few days over in using all of it up. In this space of time, there have been some serious dishes. We served up:

Eggplant Parmesan

5. Eggplant Parmesan. I liked the idea of the Eggplant Parmesan recipe from Cook's Illustrated because it requires no frying. It's not that this appeals to the health nut in me. It appeals to the lazy cook in me! However, there were enough other extra steps (3-part breading, baking, making a tomato sauce) that it wasn't any faster to do it this way.

Ultimately, the dish was delicious. However, I still felt there was too much breading on the eggplant slices, and that the flavor of the fresh, young eggplant didn't come through enough. I wouldn't make this particular recipe for eggplant parmesan again.

Note to Cook's Illustrated: could you work on writing recipes that don't require me to dirty every dish in the house? 3 baking sheets, 1 rack, 2 food-processor bowls, 12 paper towels, 2 pie plates, and more?

Cranberry, Pine Nut, Chard

6. Chard with Dried Cranberries and Pine Nuts. I found this recipe in the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook. In the original, however, raisins are called for (not dried cranberries). Well, I don't really like raisins. So there. And the recipe is for spinach, not chard. Also, it wanted 2 lbs of the greens and I only had 1/4 lb chard. Too bad. We made it work.

Soak 2-3 T. of dried cranberries (or golden raisins) in hot water. Heat a few glugs of oil (2-3 T) in a saucepan. Add 3 cloves garlic, 2-3 T. pine nuts, and chopped chard stems. Saute a few minutes over medium heat, until pine nuts are golden. Add chopped chard leaves (or wilted spinach) and drained cranberries. Stir until everything is coated with the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper. Done.

Mighty pretty, in the end, even in such a small amount. Mighty tasty, too.

Fresh Pasta Sauce

7. Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Zucchini. We had some tomato sauce left over from the eggplant parmesan assembly the night before, so Dan cooked up a couple of zucchinis and a CSA onion to go with the red stuff over some pasta. Pasta "with stuff" -- always a winner.


8. Zuccanoes. This is a favorite from Dan's childhood. And what outdoorsy kid wouldn't like stuffed zucchini canoes? It seems familiar to me, too, but not as specific a memory. Dan's mom said she got her recipe from the first Moosewood cookbook, and lucky for us (since we don't have that cookbook), the recipe's also online.

That drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar just before eating kicks the whole thing up to another level. These were delicious. We had leftover "stuffing" on good bread, toasted and with cheese, the next night for dinner.

Bento packing

(photo by Dan)

9. Green Tomato Relish. I have a green tomato relish recipe that I love. It's my grandfather's. But it makes an enormous amount for canning and I already have some in my freezer for several years ago. For this week's fresh green tomatos, Dan and I decided to make a different green tomato relish recipe from Chowhound. Here's how the user who posted it described how to make it, "for use with sausages, fallafel, wraps, and anything that could stand a little zing."
I hardly measure ingredients, but any cook can figure the following out:
Get & cut up the green tomatoes (however many you can put into your skillet ultimately) and bleed them (with coarse salt) for 30+ minutes;Completely [c]over the bootom of the skillet with oil (I do olive or safflower) and suattee to softness some finely chopped shallots and sweet (Vidalia or similar) onion with a mixture of a variety of medium and hot pepper (I use Jalapeno, Serrano, Aurora & Tequila peppers);
introduce the tomatoes and bring heat up to near medium - just enough to see minor bubbling action) and slow cook (you may need to lower heat a bit depending on your stove) for an hour or more to get to near paste viscosity.
Let cool and pass through food mill.
Voila: GT Relish (and, BONUS, basis for a great soup with fried croutons and pancetta (or double smoked bacon).
Dan did all the work, and I reaped the rewards. While it wasn't as good as my grandfather's recipe, it was fine in a pinch (and on a turkey hot dog).

(photo by Dan. I love this shot.)

Coleslaw with Sunflower Seed Dressing. By searching on Chowhound, I found these coleslaw guidelines:
Napa and other cabbages go really nice with sweet onion. I take sliced napa, thinly sliced Texas 1015 onion (Vidalia would also be good), shredded carrot and toss with a small amount of toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and salt.
Ratio = 3 parts cabbage, 1 part onion, 1 part carrot.
We did use sweet onion and two types of cabbage (Napa and classic) for this salad. However, instead of tossing with the recommended oil, vinegar, and salt, Dan (who made this slaw) made a batch of sunflower salad dressing, a recipe that has been kicking around one of my hand-copied recipe notebooks for some time.

Sunflower Salad Dressing
1/2 c. olive oil
1.2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. tamari/soy sauce
1 c. raw sunflower seeds
salt to taste

Puree until smooth.

As it turns out, the slaw made a nice turkey hot dog topping, as well as a stand-alone salad. I think a non-sweet onion would have made it even better.


The few remaining cucumbers made the leap ahead and joined week ten's produce. More details on how that all came to be are coming soon.


scrivo said...

i really admire that you are able to blog and photograph your work jenny! i belong to a CSA and am able to live off of only what i get from it. the only additions are a few suppliments such as hemp protein, macca, spirulina, flax, etc... i am inspired by you to share some of the recipes i create and photograph them...not sure if i will as it has not been a priority with all of my other endeavors. but, nevertheless, THANK YOU for the inpriration.

Jennette said...

Well, thanks! It sounds like you're eating a lot healthier than me, Marc, so I especially appreciate all you have to say. Your lifestyle sounds pretty inspiring to me. If you photograph and share your recipes, be sure to let me know where I can find the information. Cheers!

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

Just found your blog thru Ravelry. Love all the goodies here!!

Jennette said...

Thanks, Nancy! The nicest people come over from Ravelry.

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