I have been cooking this week – not just playing with Squash and Pumpkin.
Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Thyme is a wonderful surprise! It tastes almost like black tea – maybe even better. (Now can we grow it with a little caffeine?) I had a cup with a few hyssop flowers one afternoon and really enjoyed it.
We had onion soup the other day with CSA onions and garlic but no good beef stock – only boullion. Some day, I’ll be mature enough to make real stock like this recipe calls for.
The recipe is a good weekend one. While it takes some time in the kitchen, you don’t have to watch it too closely. And any recipe that starts with caramelizing onions for 30 minutes is going to be good. That’s something you can’t rush and is totally worth it. Smells great, too.
The real reason I made the soup was to complement the beer bread. Instead of going all the way with French Onion soup, I added grated cheese and served the bread on the side for dunking.
Shrimp and salad
The next day we replaced onion soup with shrimp.
I used The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish recipe from How to Cook Everything. Basically you slice a clove of garlic and cook it slowly in a bunch of olive oil. Once it’s golden, you turn up the heat, add shrimp, salt, and pepper. The recipe calls for other cumin and paprika, but we’ve just stuck with salt and pepper. The recipe also says to cook the shrimp on medium-high for 5-10 minutes. I tend to stop cooking them at 3 minutes because they’re delicious then, and I’m scared they’ll get rubbery if I continue. Maybe someday I’ll have enough guts (or really cheap shrimp) to risk it.
I’ve learned to like garlic mainly out of self-defense. (Chris loves it.) However, these slow-cooked garlic slices are wonderful: soft and creamy and full of mild flavor. I think I’d like this dish even without the shrimp! The first time I made this, I was in a hurry and ended up with far less appetizing crunchy brown garlic chips. It’s definitely worth going slow.
Before James left for college, I had to buy a couple of potatoes to make corn chowder – one of his favorite suppers. (The overly-generous spring rains ended this year’s CSA potato crop, if you hadn’t noticed.) When I got to Kroger, a 10 pound bag cost the same as 3 or 4 loose potatoes! So I bought the bag knowing full well that I’d have to find something to do with it.
So this week I made a mess of mashed potatoes. Completely boring mashed potatoes – especially with these Kroger potatoes. So I decided to freeze them for later.
Got a couple of great freezing tips from the collective wisdom:
- mix an egg into the potatoes before freezing for better texture after defrosting, and
- flash freeze potatoes in muffin tins to get single serving sizes.
The muffin tin tip will be great for freezing sweet potatoes, too. I’ve still got a bag with two pounds of cooked sweet potatoes from last year waiting for the day I can actually use two pounds of cooked sweet potatoes.
After cooking and freezing the potatoes and giving half of them to my neighbor Lucy, I read this article about unsafe foods including non-organic potatoes. Maybe if I use the mashed potatoes to make shepherd’s pie with Gum Creek ground beef, it’ll all work out.
Looking into the future
Have you seen next week’s menu? I’m excited about beets and mushrooms in the family pack and the cheese in the gourmet upgrade.
We’ve finished up greens and baby squash and all our radishes from earlier weeks. I’ve still got okra and cabbage left. Tomorrow we’re having corned beef pita sandwiches and cooked cabbage. The first plan was “corned beef and cabbage,” but Chris and I realized we prefer our corned beef on bread with mustard. Some of the cabbage will go into fried rice next week with the turnips. I was hoping to get onions from the online store this week for fried rice and other things, but there weren’t any. Got some sorrel, though. Guess it’s back to Kroger for the onions.
I’ve made end-of-life plans for Squash and Pumpkin, too, but I try not to think about that. There are dangers in befriending one’s produce.