Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Adventures in CSA: Weeks 18 + 19, Part II; Weeks 20 + 21, Part I

Squash prep
(photo by Dan)

Produce abounds in our kitchen. It has continued building up to dangerous levels this month, but the result has not been a mound of rotting vegetables. No, instead we've enjoyed an explosion of swell CSA-vegetable-based dishes.

Join me on my mad dash to the finish of this spring-summer-fall 2009 CSA season.

The Uneaten Leftover Ingredients of Weeks 18 and 19:

3 beets
1 1/2 celery
1/2 lb peppers
1 squash
1 lb green tomatoes - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE (yes, actually a fruit)

CSA: Week 20

Then Came Week 20:
Several beets
1 cabbage
3 garlic

CSA: Week 21

And, So Soon?! Week 21:
1lb kale
1lb sweet potato
1 stalk brussels sprouts
1 kohlrabi (not pictured)
1.5 lbs beets
1 acorn squash -- CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
1lb onion

Lordy! That's a lot to deal with. Let's get a move on!

Brussels Sprouts
(photo by Dan)

1. David Chang's Brussels Sprouts with Mint. In a word, superb!

Kelly posted this recipe (from this month's Food and Wine magazine) over at Eat Make Read. She did not find the end result to be spicy enough for her, but I sure did. Perhaps that's because I doubled the cayenne pepper, also used a sprinkling of togarashi (which I did not realize I had in my spice cabinet until after using the cayenne), and chopped up half a habanero to use as the "red chile" called for in the recipe. It was spicy and outstanding. After my first taste, I wanted to shout with delight, but instead I just exclaimed about the dish in a slightly-too-loud voice.

I attempted to capture the "snap-crackle-and-pop" of the rice cereal in the video above, but it doesn't really reflect the aural experience.

Winter Squash
(photo by Dan)

Buttered up
(photo by Dan)

2. Roasted Winter Squash with Parmesan. Dan made a beautiful lunch of the squash one afternoon while I was at work. How I wish I'd been there.

Celery and Celery Roots
(photo by Dan)

3. Raw Celery (sometimes with peanut butter). This is shown with the celery root, which we did not eat raw.

Freezing Homemade Stock

4. Chicken Stock. I used a few ribs of the celery and the carcass of a CSA market day chicken to create some homemade chicken stock. I also added some mushroom trimmings that were in the freezer. By following Mark Bittman's instructions in How To Cook Everything and simmering all afternoon, I came up with a rich, flavorful stock that I was quite proud of. I used some in a cabbage soup (featured below) and froze the rest.

Tossing Cabbage
(photo by Dan)

Indian Cabbage

5. Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds. Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking is a relatively new cookbook purchase. This, the second recipe of hers I've tried, used 1/2 of a gigantic head of cabbage and 4-5 small onions. It was spectacular, hot out of the wok, made tangy with fresh lemon. It reminded me of noodle-less pad Thai. Jaffrey wrote that I might want to serve it with sausage. Now that you mention it, I do want to serve it that way.

Celeriac Puree

6. Celeriac Root Puree. Acting on a tip from another member of my CSA, I tried out this recipe for Celeriac pureed with apple and potato. Another winning combination! Surprisingly, it tasted slightly of nutmeg, despite the fact that there was no nutmeg in the dish.

FGT for dinner

Fried Green Tomatoes

7. Polenta-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes. Tyler Florence's recipe on the Food Network's website was simple, effective, and tasty. I used 3/4 cup polenta and 1/4 corn flour instead of 1 cup corn flour and fried them in peanut oil. These were still good the next day, having spent the night refrigerated, wrapped in foil. I reheated them in the microwave and, though they did not stay crispy the second day, they were delicious. For both meals, I served them with a mixture of Kewpie mayo and a lime-infused hot sauce, alongside fresh lime wedges.

Rustic Cabbage Soup

8. Rustic Cabbage and Lentil Soup. Here, on 101 Cookbooks, was a recipe for soup I deemed worthy of my cabbage and the homemade chicken stock described above. It also called for potatoes and onions, which I still had from the CSA. I used lentil beans instead of white beans, and loved the end result. Cabbage may never be one of my favorite ingredients, but in this soup it is comforting, filling, and smooth, worth eating and savoring even without the cheese on top.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

9. Acorn Squash Stuffed with Greens & White Beans. This recipe was adapted from Eating Well by Cathy at Noble Pig, then further (slightly) adapted by me. I felt hot sauce was a necessary addition. It didn't really make the filling spicy, but it added another layer of flavor. I also served the finished product with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, instead of the agave nectar recommended by Cathy.

1 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 Tablespoons water
1/2 Tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups chopped greens -- chard leaves (about 1 large bunch chard), beet greens, spinach, etc.
1 (15 oz) can white beans, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
your favorite hot sauce (to taste)
1/4 cup coarse breadcrumbs such as Panko
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
balsamic vinegar (to taste)

Cut the squash in half. Scoop out pulp and seeds. Remove a small piece from the bottom of each half so it will sit flat. Brush inside with 1/2 tsp. oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a microwave-safe-dish. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High until the squash flesh is fork-tender (8-12 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 T. of the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, (2-3 minutes). Add garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in water and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the greens of your choice, cover and cook until tender, (3-5 minutes). Add white beans and olives; stir occasionally until heated through, (1-2 minutes). Taste and adjust seasonings. Add hot sauce to taste. Heat another minute or so. Remove pan from the heat.

Preheat broiler. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a separate container. Place squash in a oven- and broiler-safe dish or baking sheet. Fill each squash half with half of the greens/beans mixture. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Broil until the breadcrumbs are browned, (1-2 minutes).

Remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


At this point, I'd like to pause and catch my breath, BUT there are only four days until my final CSA pickup of this season and I still have a large number of vegetables (including a veritable bevy of beets) hanging out in my kitchen. There is truly no rest for the hungry!


Bets said...

my brother makes really delicious pickled beets - let me see if he as the recipe.

Jennette said...

I am ashamed to say I've never pickled!

mechanic said...

again, i am so impressed. you are an inspiration.

i am now a fan of celeriac

Jennette said...

Me, too! And I'm going to make it again with the 2nd celery root I still have.

Thanks, S.

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