Saturday, June 30, 2012

Adventures in CSA (2012): Week 3 Wrap-Up

Week 3

Another week's gone by. We didn't quite get through everything from our pickup last Saturday, but we got respectably close, I think.  And nothing has gone to waste from this batch, so far.

Week 3 CSA veggies:
1 head lettuce (I suspect this was "butter lettuce," aka Boston Bibb)
1 head bok choi
1 head escarole - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
3 summer squash
1 pint snap peas
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch kale
1 large cucumber
1 bunch ruby chard
1 bunch mustard greens

What we made this week:


1. Start-the-week salad. I said you might get sick of me making and photographing a series of salads, but I'm not sick of eating them yet. They're a great way to eat a lot of CSA vegetables in one meal, and it's easy to get creative with the ingredients and the dressing (not that we always get that creative). Hey, why am I defending salad? 

For this one, we used the CSA cucumber, some of the CSA lettuce, and added red onion, bacon, and avocado.

Swiss Chard w cotija

2. Swiss chard with cotija cheese (CSA chard). One of my favorite ways to prepare Swiss chard is to chop and sautee the stems with an onion in a little olive oil, then add and wilt the leaves. Dan had the idea to top it with cotija cheese. It was delicious. It would have made a great taco filling (or lettuce cups), but we ate it on its own.

Squash tacos

3. Did someone say tacos? Another night, we ate tacos filled with CSA squash and cilantro, as well as store-bought tomato, onion, refried black beans, and leftover cotija cheese. Tacos, salad, stir fry, pizza, pasta, rice, soup -- no matter what ingredients I have on hand, I come back to these dishes over and over again.


4. Bok choi slaw (CSA bok choi). This was Dan's idea, and I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but bok choi makes a very nice slaw. He added carrots and scallions. The dressing included mustard, sesame oil, mayonnaise, and lemon

Another Salad

5. Salad again (CSA lettuce, cucumber and escarole). This one also includes additional lettuce from the store, pancetta, corn, tomatoes, scallion, cheddar, and blue cheese dressing.

This butter lettuce was absolutely tender and delicious. What a sweet little variety of lettuce. More, please!

Leftovers being added to Week 4's share:
4-5 radishes found lurking in the back of the fridge
a baggie of snap peas
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch kale
1 pattypan squash

I tried just a bit of the mustard greens raw. Yeowch! That's a potent green. I'm off to research recipes for that ingredient, as well as the squash.

P.S. Guess who hasn't figured out how to eat salad yet (but loves poking at and "stirring" the leaves)?

Salad Salad Salad

Adventures in CSA (2012): Week 4 Pick-Up

 Week 4

As Week 4 begins, I have the following vegetables (leftover from previous weeks) hanging out in our kitchen:

4-5 radishes (Man! I could have sworn we had finally finished the radishes!)
a baggie of snap peas
1 bunch mustard greens
1 pattypan squash
1 bunch kale

At our CSA pickup site this morning, I was awarded:

Week 4

 CSA Bounty - Week Four (veggies and fruit)
2.5 lbs summer squash
2 pickling cucumbers -- CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
1 "regular" cucumber (but I'd swear this is just a big pickling cucumber. It looks the same as the smaller ones)
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch arugula
.75 lb mesclun mix lettuce
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch kale
3 pints blueberries

So, we're off to the races with this lot. I am wary of pickling/canning/preserving food, by the way. I haven't had good luck with it in the past.

Oh, also -- what's your favorite recipe that uses mustard greens?

Friday, June 29, 2012

London Swall'wing: Part IV -- The Flap About Flapjacks


Flapjack Flapjack

This is an RJ Foods White Chocolate Flapjack.

At first glance, I'm stumped. This is not a flapjack. A flapjack is a pancake. Oh, sorry. I'm thinking with my US-American-raised food brain. The internet tells me a British flapjack is a traditional, dense, oat-based bar cookie.

Secondly, raisins?! I'm sorry -- sultanas?! In my white chocolate pancake bar? Oookay... but I'm really not that into raisins...

Tasting it reminds me of something (I'm typing as I eat it), but I don't know what. It's sort of a raisin-y power bar. Takes a fair amount of chewing. It has a very "Fig Newtony" flavor, if the outside and inside of the Fig Newton were blended together.

Yeah! A thick, raisin-y Fig Newton thing.  I liked the bites without raisins best.

And that was a snack review typed in real time. Pow!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adventures in CSA (2012): Week 3 Pick-Up

Week 3

 CSA Bounty - Week Three (veggies only)

1 head lettuce
1 head bok choi
1 head escarole - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
3 summer squash
1 pint snap peas
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch kale
1 large cucumber
1 bunch ruby chard
1 bunch mustard greens

1 partial pint of snap peas from week 1 (haven't gone bad yet!). I'm going to take them to work for office snacking.

Let's go!

Week 3

Adventures in CSA (2012): Week 2 Wrap-Up

CSA Week 2

We started Week Two of our 2012 CSA season with the following unused produce leftover from Week One:
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch arugula
1 pint snap peas

And added to that our:

CSA Bounty - Week Two (veggies and fruit)
1 bunch radishes
2 big squash (1 zucchini, one yellow)
1 overflowing pint of snow peas - CHALLENGE VEGETABLE
3 garlic scapes
1 bunch mustard greens
1 head lettuce
1 bunch kale
1/2 lb loose lettuce
1 giant bunch bok choi
1 quart strawberries
1 pint blueberries

From this, we made:

Stir fry Stir fry

Snow pea and bok choi stir fry (CSA snow peas, garlic scapes, bok choi). I insisted on adding soy sauce and peanuts to the finished dish. We ate it over rice. I'm still sweet on stir fry.

Galette  Galette

Summer squash and ricotta galette (CSA green and yellow squash). I found the recipe for this in the July 2012 issue of Cooking Light. The crust is made with olive oil, which gives it a distinctive flavor, and it's made on a baking sheet (rather than in a pie plate). I like that it's meant to look "rustic" -- i.e. messy. The ricotta base is flavored with lemon and thyme, which I was surprised to find I really enjoyed.

I tried to follow the recipe exactly (except that I cut my zucchini slices less attractively and used dried thyme), but found I had to veer off on my own at two points. For one thing, the two squash I cut up gave me far more slices than I could fit inside the amount of dough I made. I could have created two or three of these out of the two squash we received for our CSA share. So we saved the leftover squash and garlic mixture to use another night. Secondly, the recipe calls for the dough to be rolled out into a 14" circle. I could not, for the life of me, stretch that sucker past 12".  Those are pretty small quibbles, though. It's a delicious dish.

p.s. The leftovers are excellent warm or cold.


Summer squash with mustard greens over pasta (CSA green and yellow squash, mustard greens). This is how we used the squash leftover from my galette preparation -- sauteed with mustard greens and served (with pine nuts and cheese) over pasta. Simple. Good. NOT an attractive picture, though. It got kind of late (i.e. bad lighting is my excuse).


BLAT sandwiches (CSA lettuce). So much non-CSA produce went into this, as well as bacon, that it almost felt like cheating. How I wish I lived in Florida and could join an avocado CSA. They have those, right?


Gigantor Salad (CSA radishes, snap peas, arugula, lettuce). Dan added pepitas and parmesan cheese to this, too. Looks like there may be some dried cranberries in there, too, along with lemon and more avocado.  I tell you, after a while, the salads sort of run together.


Oh! It's Ina Garten's fruit salad with limoncello recipe again (CSA strawberries and blueberries)! I mentioned this in a previous post. The strawberries (a bit mushier than in week 1) and blueberries were tossed with currants, marinated in limoncello and sugar, then topped with bananas and lingonberry-jam-laced Greek yogurt. Divine!

Unused at the start of Week Three -- carrying over to join the next week's share:
Most of a pint of snap peas.

Trashed at the start of Week Three -- goodbye, cruel world:
1 bunch of radishes - argh! It got too hot to roast them, which is what I had my heart set on. So they went bad in the fridge and I threw them out. I'm sorry, Universe.

As I post this, I'm already midway through Week Three, so I'll be back ASAP to post that share and then again in a few days with news on what we've eaten this week. What was in your CSA share this week?


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Snack Jail Release Program: Taste the Cairo

Overflowing Snack Jail

I hope you've been following the "Escape from Snack Jail" site that chronicles my efforts to clean up my infamous, glass-walled Snack Jail -- home to uneaten, old, scary, and odd snacks. Not everything is worthy of a post on this site, so I've been sharing quick pics and notes about that release program on Tumblr. Everyone's getting off with "time served!" But eating it takes time and focus, so it's a slow process.

Pringles East Pringles East

I released a particularly special friend yesterday -- these Cheesy Cheese Pringles came back with us from our trip to Egypt ages ago. I can't tell where they were actually made, as most of the writing on the package is Arabic, but we picked them up in Cairo before flying home. They've held up really well.

The flavor is pretty basic cheese, but with a sort of hidden mystery note -- almost yeasty or what I imagine the background of marmite might be (side note: when will I remember to try marmite?!). In the English ingredients list I see buttermilk powder and onion powder, which I think contribute to this slightly "thick" cheesiness.

Speaking of the ingredients, anyone know what "nature-identical cheese flavour" would be?  The incomplete explanation given in parentheses is, "composed of cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese out of non-animal enzymes." Sounds a bit iffy to me.

Still, I approve of Cheesy Cheese! What's your favorite international Pringles flavor?


Friday, June 22, 2012

This is how I like my bourbon.


I find I'm one step nearer a filled chocolate bar that tastes like it's stuffed with frosting. That's what I'm looking for, if you didn't know, and the Ritter Sport Bourbon Vanille I bought today came really close.  It's yet another new-to-me flavors of Ritter Sport. This brand just does not disappoint. One of these days I'm going to skip lunch and sit down with about 6 more flavors -- just for you, of course. It's all for the blog, not because I'm some sort of candy glutton. Geez.

See also:
Ritter Yogurt and Ritter Peppermint
Ritter Coconut (and Ritter Ratings)
Ritter White Chocolate Cornflake and Ritter Caramel Hazelnut Crisp Rice

Newly mine


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

London Swall'wing: Part III (Poetry Tuesday Edition)

From London

From London


Too many cars too close
along the road to Trotsky's house
in Coyoacán.
It's hot. I wanted to go to London.
Sweaty-wet baby on me, we stop
at a gas station for water
and antiperspirant. No omnibus in sight.
I'm hungry, too,
and afraid to eat street meat. I
speak too much English; I feel rude.
No biscuits, no shortbread.
AeroMexico doesn't serve cookies.
And now, at the coyote fountain
We've walked too far
to see the bullet holes that were Trotsky's.
The baby won't even try our
helado de arroz con leche.
Blisters pulse. My bandaid slips.
I long for rain or fog.

From London


Monday, June 18, 2012

Eating Smorgasburg: June 16, 2012

East River State Park

Saturday was a glorious day in NYC. We started it off by picking up our CSA share, then upped the ante with a relatively quick trip to foodie flea market Smorgasburg (I took this picture in the adjacent East River State Park). It was quick, sure, but I still had time to stuff myself with...

Smorgasburg June 16, 2012

Smorgasburg June 16, 2012

Brooklyn Piggies' pigs in a blanket. We got three (2 spicy, one original) with BBQ sauce. BEST OF! Seriously, these are awesome. Eat them, eat them. I didn't want to share.

Smorgasburg June 16, 2012 Smorgasburg June 16, 2012

I always want to drink every flavor of lemonade and limeade being served by The Stand. Today we chose strawberry-rhubarb.Though I don't think the two should be baked together, I love them smushed into lemonade together. And I love that the drinks at The Stand are never too sweet. They're perfectly refreshing.

Smorgasburg June 16, 2012

Not pictured: another olive breadstick. Here's a correction, too. These are not from TomCat Bakery, as stated in that previous post. They're from Commerce. Sorry for the error, Commerce! The baby and I still love how tender and flavorful these are. 

Smorgasburg June 16, 2012
 Smorgasburg June 16, 2012 Smorgasburg June 16, 2012
The Maine lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound might be the most expensive item at Smorgasburg ($16). I'd heard great things about it, and I finally bit the bullet. You know what? I think I'm just not that into lobster. The pickle was great. The toasted bun and toppings were swell.  The lobster was pretty good, but I kept thinking, "I wish there was less lobster and it cost less." You know what? I think I just wanted a hot dog. If you're a lobster lover, you'd probably love this. Turns out I'm not.

Smorgasburg June 16, 2012

Two pieces of buttermilk fried chicken and cheddar waffle with maple-vinegar dipping sauce by BFC (from the folks at Buttermilk Channel). I've had Buttermilk Channel chicken and waffles before. They are famous in their neighborhood -- and beyond -- for good reason. This chicken was moist and the breading was delicious. It was a great choice (by Dan) to round out the savory part of our meal this time around.

Smorgasburg June 16, 2012 Smorgasburg June 16, 2012

Now, on to the desserts! We started with one of Nana's (from Cecile Dyer of Pies ’n’ Thighs) frozen bananas with crushed almonds, coconut, and sea salt.  The woman who applied the toppings said it was only the second frozen banana she had made, so she was clearly new to the stand. Her technique wasn't great, and most of our coconut, nuts, and salt blew away on the wind (the photo above is of our banana's "best side"). When she was finished, she asked the woman training her, "How was that? Good, right?" and the trainer actually said no. But we still had to pay $6 for it, so...that was a bummer. Not worth the price (though I expect she'll get better at making them). One thing I did like about it was that the banana wasn't frozen solid. I've gotten them before (from other vendors) and find them really hard to eat if you have to saw at the banana to bite through it.

 Smorgasburg June 16, 2012

A "Strawberry Supreme" ice cream sandwich. Visiting The Good Batch to see what they're offering has become a tradition. This excellent ice cream sandwich featured brown butter cookies, strawberry semifreddo, fresh strawberries, and Adirondack Creamery vanilla ice cream. It was good, but that salty lemon cookie ("Laughter and Lemon") of a few weeks ago still haunts my dreams...


Au Currant(s)

Blank Slice

Wondering how to eat the berry of the season? The berry all the celebrities are raving about*? Over the weekend, I used a quart of red currants for three different dishes.


First, currants served as a garnish for Mark Bittman's fluffy pancakes from How to Cook Everything. Though they are too tart for some to enjoy raw, I think the sweetness of the syrup cut their tartness just enough that even currant newbies could enjoy them this way. Dan added lemon zest to the pancake batter, which complimented them nicely.


I also made a rhubarb and red currant tart using a recipe from The Paris Kitchen. I used this alarmingly simple (just watch the screamingly hot bowl) French tart dough recipe method recounted by David Lebovitz. I doubled the sugar in the tart recipe when I realized that it was described as "savory." I wanted something sweet and tangy, not savory. That was a good move. It was still very tart, which I like. I also found that it needed only 40-45 minutes to bake, which worked out well because any longer would have burned the tart crust.

You know how there are a zillion recipes online for strawberry-rhubarb pie? I love rhubarb, but I've always railed against pairing it with the traditional strawberry. I just don't think that baking it with strawberry adds much in terms of flavor or texture. Currant, on the other hand, gives the sour fruit more dimension (says I) and it only becomes a bit softer with baking, so there's still something in the pie or tart on which to chew. Rhubarb is also good with sour cherries, and I've always wanted to try baking rhubarb with cranberry, but don't forget that it's swell on its own.

I have now officially typed the word "tart" too many times. Where's my thesaurus?

Limoncello fruit salad

Finally, after sharing a few raw handfuls with my 15-month-old, who apparently is as big a fan of currants as I, the remaining berries went into Ina Garten's fruit salad with limoncello recipe. I also used this week's CSA strawberries and blueberries, as well as a few bananas. Without the time (or multiple lemons) to make my own lemon curd (though I've done it in the past and recommend it), I mixed the yogurt topping with a spoonful of lingonberry preserves. This is an excellent summer dessert, side, or breakfast (I tested it three times, of course).

Currants! They're so now! They're so trending! They're so sassy! They're so you.

*Celebrity raves and currant trends may be fictional. I've loved currants since finding them growing on a bush near my childhood home in Dubuque, Iowa. A previous resident must have planted them, and I loved the novelty of being able to eat something right off a plant in my backyard, as well as their sharp, fruity, almost bitter flavor. I think I may also have enjoyed that they look a bit like they'd be poisonous.


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