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Archive for May, 2009

We love fresh radishes in salad. But what do you do with radishes when you’ve run out of salad?

I searched and found this page of 10 Tasty Radish Recipes.

Last night, I tried #7 Baked Radish Chips.

I sliced the radishes thinly and as evenly as I could (which was not very even).

CIMG1418

Then I sprinkled them with garlic salt, paprika, and chili powder and put them in the toaster oven at 350 degrees.

CIMG1419

They they baked for 10 minutes on one side and 10 on the other. I served them with sour cream for dipping, and we ate them all up.

CIMG1422I’ll definitely make these again. They were great for snacking and easy to make.

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Wednesday’s box included some pac choi that was far past its prime. Ick! I was able to salvage some of the stems. I guess this far wetter than normal weather plus plastic bags makes for some of these surprises.

Update: Patricia, the CSA manager, wrote me that the rains and some packing problems led to the smelly pac choi. She offered to replace it with something this week’s box. Thanks!

5-27

  • chocolate-raspberry muffins – breakfast? dessert? Yes!
  • lettuce
  • sugar snap peas
  • watermelon radishes
  • pac choi
  • coffee
  • herbs: lavender, par-cel, savory, lovage and sorrel
  • sweet potatoes
  • eggs
  • strawberries
  • carrots

The good stuff

Fran’s lavender smells great. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. Right now it’s just sitting on my desk smelling good. The other herbs are exciting, too. I got two sorrel leaves and, after tasting a piece of one, I just wrapped some goat cheese in them and ate them up. They’ve got a nice lemony taste. I’m going to put some of the lovage  in a pasta salad and the others I’ll chop and add to scrambled eggs. (I’m still not over my infatuation with scrambled CSA eggs.)

We made a salad last night with the lettuce, watermelon radishes, carrots, beets, pecans, and goat cheese plus some romaine, peapods, and green onions from our garden. The watermelon radishes are a nice surprise. Very tasty for something that looks like a turnip! I washed and dried the radish greens for a stir fry later in the week. I only wish I’d had the time to make a nice dressing from all the herbs and some strawberries. But by the time those salads were prepared, I was ready to eat!

I’m going to braise the peas in some butter with some of the chervil from last week. It’s an easy recipe from How to Cook Everything: melt a little butter, heat the chopped herbs for a minute, add the peas and heat a little more. I think the trick is to leave the peas on past their prettiest point. I accidentally discovered this last week. Eventually all those gorgeous round green peas start to lose their color and shape. That’s when they’re really done.

I’m thinking about twice baking the sweet potatoes. I’ll bake or microwave them a little bit and the slice them and bake them again with something on top – fresh herbs, butter, or brown sugar. My mom puts cumin on hers.

Online store goodies

I also bought some granola and garlic scapes from the online store.

5-27store

Garlic scape pesto on pasta is the best! It was pretty good on toast, but pasta is definitely where it belongs. So I’m making more!

Leftovers

Tuesday night I made fried rice with some beef tenderloin bites, onion, kohlrabi, and squash. I didn’t add eggs to it since I was already using the nice beef (which I managed not to over cook – hooray!). The kohlrabi is the opposite experience of the watermelon radish. It’s all cool and purple on the outside but once you peel it, it looks like a turnip!

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So the dish turned out visually blander than I had planned,  but it tasted just fine.

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This past week, I got to visit Nancy and Jacque of Red Hott Tomatoes again – this time with a fully charged camera battery. I had a wonderful time and took a lot of pictures and am working on another post about the farm. But here’s one of my favorite pictures for now.

"...Mama to hundreds."

“…Mama to hundreds.”

I also had a lot of fun with food this week.

Frozen strawberries and the art of not over-thinking things

Turns out you don’t even need a plan to enjoy frozen strawberries. Chris discovered they’re terrific right out of the freezer. They don’t freeze completely solid so you can bite into them like a strawberry popsicle. To me, they’re even better than fresh because they don’t have the slimy fruit texture I can’t abide.

I’m not sure how well this will work for other fruits, but I’m certainly going to try it and see what happens. Just think what a great, easy midsummer snack frozen fruit could be all by itself.

Candied pecans +  key lime pie

Candied pecans require egg whites. Key lime pie requires egg yolks. So we made both this week. Egg yolks will keep a couple of days in the fridge and do best with a little water added to them. (However, I didn’t know this and my egg yolks seem to have done fine without water.) Egg whites can stay in the fridge for a week.

I separate eggs the easy way: crack the egg in a bowl and reach in with a clean hand and scoop up the yolk. The white eventually falls back into the bowl. This is even more fun with CSA eggs because the yolks are so well formed that they won’t break easily. I first saw it done like this by a pastry chef on a Julia Childs’ show. I figured it must work pretty well because pastry chefs have to separate a lot of eggs.

Here’s our key lime pie.

keylimepie

The recipe is very simple. It comes from the back of a Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice bottle.
————-

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Combine

3 egg yolks,

1 can of sweetened condensed milk, and

½ cup of key lime juice.

3. Pour into a 9” pre-baked crust. (We used a Keebler shortbread one.)

4. Bake for 15 minutes. Then let cool for 10 minutes before refrigerating for a couple of hours (or however long you can stand it).

————-

Herbed goat cheese with beets

My favorite meal this week was a little supper that had a distinctively Russian flavor. I added chopped chervil and dill to some wonderful goat cheese (Thanks, Nancy!) and put some chilled sliced beets and peapods on the side.

russiansupper

What this picture doesn’t show is how good the beets went with the goat cheese and herbs. I ended putting the beets on my sandwich. And I saved a couple beet slices and enough goat cheese and herbs to make myself another sandwich. I know my husband and stepson will want to split some leftover stromboli or go to Subway sometime this week, and I’ll get to eat my little sandwich instead.

Fingerling potato fun

I considered this stuffed fingerling potato recipe and decided it was just easier to top the potatoes with blue cheese and bacon rather than stuff them.

The carrots are from the CSA box, and the lettuce is from our garden.

The carrots are from the CSA box, and the lettuce is from our garden.

I also had planned to top the potatoes with garlic chives, parsley, and some greenish onion slices, but I forgot until we were almost done.

better late than never

better late than never, right?

So I used the fingerlings for three meals. The first time I just roasted them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and rosemary. The second time I roasted them and topped them with bleu cheese and bacon. I roasted all of the potatoes that day but only topped and served half of them. The final time was lunch today. I reheated the remaining potatoes in the toaster and topped them with goat cheese and the rest of the forgotten herbs.

With the potatoes, we had sliced beets (also previously roasted) and stir-fried squash. It was a really good meal.

CIMG1398

Pre-roasting seems like a good idea for quick lunches especially in the summertime when you’re not looking to heat up the kitchen. I roasted the beets in aluminum foil, put them in the fridge, and peeled and sliced them as needed. The fingerling potatoes were roasted uncovered in a dish and reheated just fine in the toaster oven. I would have used the microwave to heat the potatoes, but I needed to toast the bread. I did microwave the beet slices for twenty seconds so they would go better with the warm potatoes.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for news about tomorrow’s delivery as well as posts about Red Hott Tomatoes and the wonder that is goats!

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5-20

  • carrots
  • strawberries
  • kohlrabi
  • fingerling potatoes
  • peas
  • granola
  • eggs
  • dill
  • squash
  • beets
  • chervil, parsley, and garlic chives
  • onions
  • banana-nut muffins
  • lettuce (pictured below)
  • garlic scapes (pictured below)

We ate all the lettuce before I took this week’s photo. Luckily, I did take a picture of my plate last night.

CIMG1376

Garlic scapes!

I didn’t know about garlic scapes until this week. They’re the green shoots of garlic that have to be cut off in the summer so that the plant will put its energy into making a bigger bulb. So scapes are a delicious freebie.

scapes

Most of what I read about garlic scapes suggested making pesto, so that’s what I did today. I made it just like regular basil pesto: about equal parts chopped scapes, grated parmesan, and pinenuts plus enough olive oil to hold it together. We had it over sourdough toast for lunch, but I think it will be even better over pasta. I bet it freezes well just like basil pesto, too. So bring on the garlic scapes!

pesto


Thursday night supper

Tonight I’m making a big supper because for lunch all we had was garlic scape pesto on toast. We’re having ground turkey cooked up with onion, roasted fingerling potatoes, sliced beets, stir fried squash, and braised peas.

I’m really excited about the fingerling potatoes. Tonight I’m just roasting them with some rosemary and finishing them with chives and parsley. But I also want to try Bleu Cheese Stuffed Fingerling Potatoes, for instance.

Other plans

This week’s fried rice will feature the kohlrabi, an onion, and maybe some of the squash. I have to get back on the fried rice horse. Last weekend, I had to throw out a whole batch of pork fried rice because I forgot to boil the pork marinade before adding it to the rice. I realized it before I added the kale but after the pork, rice, and onions. Those must have been some happy raccoons.

We froze most of our strawberries again. Last week we used them to make really yummy strawberry daiquiris. We put some frozen strawberries, a third cup orange juice, and rum into the blender and added water and ice to fix the consistency. They turned out great – not too sweet but very, very strawberry. They’ll be even better later in the summer when it’s really hot.

Coming soon…

More pictures of Nancy and Jacque’s farm!

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Member packs

If you haven’t got your member pack yet, don’t panic! They’re being delivered several at a time over the next few weeks. Here are some better pictures of some of the items in the member pack.

goats' milk soap sampler

goats' milk soap sampler

3 lip balms

3 lip balms

Mint syrup

I enjoy fresh mint in my tea, but I didn’t think I could get through all of the spearmint and peppermint I’d picked up last week. So I made mint syrup. It only takes a tiny bit – maybe a quarter of a teaspoon – to sweeten and perk up a cup of tea. The first time I added way too much, and my tea tasted like chewing gum! But just a little bit is really nice especially in the afternoon. And it keeps me from running through my honey too quickly.

Not very green but full of minty goodness!

Not very green but full of minty goodness!

Steamed veggies and feta cheese

For our supper last night, we had steamed peapods and beets (the orange things) with crumbled feta cheese. The beets were baked a few days ago, so I got one out of the fridge and sliced it. It worked out well because the peapods and the cooked beets both only needed a minute or two in the steamer. All I added to the veggies was some Jane’s Krazy Salt and the feta cheese.

CIMG1086

The other part of the meal is leftover pita crisps we made last week with oregano, rosemary, and green onions. Reheated pita crisps are good, but I guess it’s more accurate to call them pita chews.

Lentils, leeks, savory, and rice grits

I was pleased to find this recipe that calls for leeks and savory. However, it seems silly to me to add sausage on top of lentils, so I just served the lentils with rice grits instead.

I chopped up the leeks like green onions starting at the white end and going up to where the leaves started flaring. Maybe I went into the green parts a little too far, but I hated to waste them.

leeks

Lentils are a funny food. I’d never say lentils taste great, but they are really satisfying and leave you feeling well fed.

The red wine doesn't hurt, either.

(The wine doesn't hurt, either.)

Pecans

We finally shelled all our pecans this week. I made some candied pecans according to this recipe. (I doubled the egg whites and cinnamon and added two teaspoons of vanilla.) CIMG1161These are so good it’s not even funny. And pretty easy to make once the pecans are shelled. We’re snacking on the bigger pieces, and we’ll put the little crumbles in salads or on ice cream. (I am not a gifted pecan sheller, so we have lots of crumbles.)

Look ma, no meat!

With pecans, lentils, leeks, peapods, and beets, who needs hamburgers? I have no intention of becoming vegetarian, but everything we’ve enjoyed making and eating this week has been meat-free. It’s pretty easy to do when you have such good stuff to start with.

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This pack is sent to everyone who purchases a sustaining membership for $100. Members also get online store discounts.

Here’s what was in my member pack.

memberpack

  • 2 peanut bars – so scrumptious! I’ll be ordering these from the online store for special occasions.
  • 3 lip balms – peppermint, pink grapefruit, and honey
  • goat soap sampler – 6 cute little soaps in different scents
  • 8 oz Café Campesino coffee
  • corn grits –whole grain and stone ground
  • a handy tote bag
  • 6 oz local wildflower honey
  • CSA cookbook
  • spearmint
  • yellow polenta
  • Carolina Gold rice
  • tea clip and bags for making herbal teas
  • herbal tea mix: chamomile, lemon balm, and catnip
  • Three-Grain pancake mix

Whole grains

I was excited to see all the grains. I’ve really enjoyed cooking (and eating) them. I’ve learned that less-processed grains have great texture and taste. It’s not all just indistinguishable starch. For instance, I used to think of grits as the substance from Waffle House that’s best covered with cheese. But real grits are incredible with some butter, salt and pepper, and I’d never put cheese on them. (What? And cover up all that corn grit taste? No way!)

There are plenty of fancy recipes for making polenta, but it looks like corn meal to me and that means I’m going to make at least some of it into cornbread. I love cornbread and haven’t made any in a while. I’m sure it will be divine with this stuff although I may add a little flour if the texture seems too coarse.

The polenta and the rice come from Anson Mills in South Carolina. They grow heirloom varieties and mill them in old fashioned ways that protects their flavor and nutritional value. Read more about them at their website www.ansonmills.com.

For the rice, I’m going to use this recipe from the Anson Mills site. You cook the rice and then dry it the oven for a few minutes. Huh. I’ll give it a try.

Because these are whole grains and milled without heat or preservatives, it’s important to keep them in the fridge or freezer.

Herbs and tea

I appreciate the tools and instructions for making herbal teas. I drink a lot of regular tea, and I’ve always wanted to experiment more with herbal teas. I’ll use the herbs from the mix fresh for herbal tea, but I’m going to make the spearmint and the mint from this week’s box into syrup. I can’t imagine getting through this much mint fresh.

Making syrup seems pretty easy. Boil a cup of water and sugar for each cup of mint leaves. When the sugar dissolves, add the mint, remove from the heat, and let it sit with the leaves in it for at least an hour. Then remove the leaves and put the syrup in the fridge. Then add to tea in place of honey or sugar. I’m also hoping that you can just add some of the syrup to hot water with lemon and make mint herbal tea.

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I added the gourmet upgrade to my standard package this week. Plus we got our cool member pack which I’ll describe more in my next post.

  • 5-13eggs
  • banana nut muffins (started with six, but you know how that goes)
  • salad enhancers: carrots, snow peas, broccoli buds, peppermint?
  • kale
  • snow peas
  • gourmet salad mix
  • onion
  • strawberries
  • feta cheese
  • herbs: oregano, winter savory, violets
  • orange beets!
  • leeks

Enhanced salads

I went crazy and used everything in our salad last night. In addition to the gourmet salad mix, we had carrots, snow peas, broccoli buds, beets, green onions, and violets. Looking back, I think it was kind of overkill – especially considering that the gourmet mix is interesting enough to stand on its own. It probably would have been better to save the enhancements for a boring romaine salad from our garden.

Nevertheless, it was delicious! The orange beets taste the same as regular beets although it’s been a while since I had a fresh beet, so I may have missed some subtle differences. Last night we ate loaded baked potatoes along with our loaded salad, so I just wrapped the beets in foil and baked them along with the potatoes. Then I chilled, peeled, and sliced them to add to the salad. Fresh beets are terrific – definitely one of the things I’ve learned to love since joining Farmers Fresh.

Another day, another salad – woo-hoo!

We’re were enjoying a week of great salads even before yesterday’s delivery. Monday we had a spinach and romaine salad with canned tuna (in oil), parmesan cheese, and green onions tossed in a chervil honey vinaigrette. Tuesday we had spinach and romaine salad tossed in a bacon vinaigrette and topped with swiss cheese, bleu cheese, walnuts, craisins, and green onions. I really think the key is tossing everything together and chilling it on the plates for about 15 minutes before serving. It makes a big difference in the flavor. And it gives you a few minutes to clean up or prepare something else.

Today we’ll have the gourmet mix tossed with feta cheese and maybe some beets. The feta is terrific and very mild, so I don’t want to cover it up with lots of flavors. This weekend we’ll go back to romaine and spinach mixes once the gourmet mix is gone.

How do you say “Old Faithful” in Chinese?

We’ll have more fried rice this weekend, too, with kale, snow peas, and onion. I’m out of shrimp, so I’m defrosting a portion of pork loin from the freezer. I’ll try to remember to chop and marinate it before it completely defrosts because it’s much easier to slice it thinly that way.

The fried rice I made for my mom on Mother’s Day turned out okay. I cooked it in her cast iron seasoned Dutch oven, but I didn’t use enough oil and some of the rice stuck to the bottom and burned. Guess I’m spoiled by my dear friend Mr. Nonstick Saucier.

saucier

Fun with leeks and savory

The leeks would probably be good in fried rice, too, but I want to make something that highlights them. Looking through some recipes, I thinking about doing something with lentils, bacon, and the winter savory. Something like…

  • Cook some lentils
  • Microwave some bacon and then sauté sliced leeks in some of the fat
  • Add in the lentils, some balsamic vinaigrette, savory, salt, and pepper
  • Stir it around for a couple of minutes and serve

I’ll probably save the bacon for salad toppings rather than putting it back in with the lentils.

Preserving the bounty

I’m air drying the oregano along with the bunch from last week. With oregano, you don’t lose a lot of flavor when it dries. So I’m drying it in preparation for later this summer when we go seriously Italian with the tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant.

The strawberries went directly to the freezer. My husband said the novelty of fresh strawberries has worn off for him. No problem! They can chill out in the freezer for a while. Later they can be smoothies, strawberry topping, or even daiquiris!

Egg plans

We’ve still got some eggs from last week, so I get to go wild with eggs this week. We’ll have some scrambled eggs with the last of some cooked red cabbage or with any of the salads for a bigger meal.

My husband’s been hankering to make a pound cake, and I see no reason to stop him. A whole cake takes a whopping six eggs, but the results are worth it. We can always freeze half of the cake in chunks and then surprise ourselves with them later.

Or maybe we’ll take the cake to my mom’s. A couple of weeks ago, she made a great pound cake. I figure if we take one to her, we might start a pound cake war that could escalate out of all proportion. The collateral damage would be delicious.

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5-061

  • herbs: chives, chervil, and cilantro
  • English peas
  • green hydroponic lettuce
  • Bordeaux spinach
  • strawberries (1 lb!)
  • eggs
  • blueberry muffins
  • radishes
  • green onions
  • red hydroponic lettuce

This week’s collection is very spring, don’t you think? The chive flowers, radishes, strawberries and the delicate green colors looked really pretty spread out on the table. The blueberry muffins are moist and delicious. These muffins are the right size, too, for a satisfying, quick breakfast or treat.

C Herbs

The herbs are cool for a couple of reasons. One is the chervil. I’m sure I’ve had this in herb mixes before, but I’ve never had it by itself. It tastes like a subtle parsley with a little licorice thrown in. I’ve already made some salad dressing by mixing some chopped chervil with vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was really good on the delicate hydroponic lettuces and radishes. Here’s another vinaigrette recipe from The Spice and Herb Bible. It’s written to be served over seared tuna, but it will probably go with lots of things.

____________________________

Chervil Vinaigrette

Combine

1 tbsp chopped fresh chervil

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp crushed garlic

Whisk in

2 tbsp olive oil

until the whole thing emulsifies.

__________________________________

We’ll definitely use some chervil and chives on salads and chives on loaded baked potatoes. If I had my way, I’d toss the chives, chervil, some garlic, salt and olive oil with fresh pasta. But I don’t think anyone else likes pasta without red sauce as much as I do.

The other reason I like this herb bag is the cilantro came in a manageable amount. I’m not a huge cilantro fan, but I can work with this much. I’ll add it to salsa and tacos sometime this weekend or next week.

Strawberry Freezes Forever or just for a few days

I went ahead and froze some of these strawberries after we had a couple go moldy in the fridge last week. My husband enjoys them fresh but doesn’t always get through the whole supply. Many more things can be done with frozen strawberries than can be done with moldy ones, so I’m freezing them now. Fresh frozen strawberries can be defrosted a little into a delicious slurry that’s just as good as fresh,  if not better on a hot day. Frozen berries can be added directly to smoothies and ice cream or put in a pot and cooked down to sauce. Or they can be used to make dressing for Bordeaux spinach.

But I don’t intend them to languish in the freezer for months. Freezing as a short term storage solution is what Mark Bittman wrote about this week. I find the concept helpful because I tend to think about my freezer as long term storage for enjoying stuff out of season rather than as a short term tool. It also inspires me to get back to organizing my freezer. Maybe.

Cooking for Mom

This weekend we’re going to make shrimp fried rice for my mom for Mother’s Day. I’ll use green onions and eggs and hopefully some pac choi from my mom’s CSA box. I don’t like English peas that much, so even though they’re naturals for fried rice, I’m not putting them in. Instead, I’ll cook them as a nice side with another meal.

Update on Peas

How to Cook Everything has a great, easy pea recipe. I ended up with a little more than a cup of peas, so I melted a tablespoon of butter (or you can use olive oil) in a little skillet. After it was hot, I added about a tablespoon of chopped chervil and chives to sizzle for a minute. (These seasonings were just one of the possibilities listed in the book for peas.) Then I added the peas and cooked them about two minutes. Right before they were done, I sprinkled a little salt and sugar over them. The recipe was easy and quick, but I still don’t like peas. Thankfully, everyone else ate them up with no problemh.

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Here’s this week’s haul. School’s out for a couple of months, and I am looking forward to having more time to play with my food.

  • 4-29Ezekiel muffins
  • eggs
  • pecans
  • oregano
  • spinach
  • red leaf lettuce
  • more lettuce (Bibb?)
  • more pecans
  • carrots
  • strawberries
  • collards

I also ordered extras from the online store. 4-29store

  • Café Campesino regular and decaf coffee – We’ve ordered from these guys before and enjoyed the coffee, so we were happy to see them added to the CSA store. The prices are about the same as on the Campesino website but without the extra shipping.
  • Honey - My husband drinks coffee, but I like tea with honey in it as well as peanut butter and honey sandwiches for breakfast. So I’ll have no problem getting through this jar of honey. There have also been reports that eating local honey helps with allergies. It seems like a tasty remedy to try although it’s important to remember not to give honey to children until they’re more than a year old and their immune systems can handle it.

This week

I’ve already enjoyed some scrambled eggs, salad, carrots, and most of the muffins.

Heaven on a blue plate!

Heaven on a blue plate!

Those eggs were last week’s eggs, and this week’s eggs are slated to become French toast for Sunday brunch. Probably with strawberries on top or that strawberry sauce mentioned in a CSA newsletter a couple of weeks ago.

The lettuce is already gone. It made three or four really nice salads along with the carrots and leftover arugula from last week. Now it’s time for spinach. I’m thinking about a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing for early next week.

These pecans are big which makes them easier to shell. Or at least you get more pecan meat per shelling. I plan to candy this bunch according to this recipe.

Leftovers

Several days ago, we had a nice CSA supper with sweet potatoes, salad, red cabbage, rice grits, and broiled flank steak.

csasupper1

I just cooked the grits like rice, and they came out fine. They have a really satisfying texture. After this supper, I decided to try rice pudding using rice grits. I found this easy recipe, and it was delicious. I could have eaten the whole pot in one sitting!

I still have some grits left. I think I’ll just cook them with rice and serve them alongside the spinach salad with bacon dressing.

I’ve got a lot of spinach, and I’m working on some kind of spinach alfredo dish to try. It’s always strange to me how you can have so much raw spinach but once you cook it down it’s hardly any at all!

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