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Archive for February, 2010

Pre-season III

  • sausage
  • chevre (goat cheese)
  • arugula
  • honey-flax-wheat bread
  • spinach
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • popping corn
  • watercress (This was really wet! Check yours and wrap it in a paper towel in another bag if necessary.)
  • sorrel
  • coffee
  • eggs
  • sweet potatoes
  • corn meal
  • herb mix
  • Leiden cheese
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • kabocha squash
  • most of a blueberry-oat mini loaf
  • not pictured: 3 mini-muffins (They didn’t make it home.)

We were excited about a bunch of things in this delivery. (more…)

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Here’s how to make popcorn on the stove. It’s so much fun when you lift the lid… and there’s white fluffy popcorn. It’s like a magic trick. We followed this recipe from Zorra on Chowhound: Use 1 tablespoon of oil to ¼ cup of corn. Heat the oil in a sturdy pan with a lid. Add three kernels. Once they’ve all popped, add the rest. The hard part is you have to keep shaking the pot and trying to let some steam out with out letting any corn part out. But it only takes a few minutes. And leave the top on until you only hear a couple of pops. I had to peek, and a bunch of pieces popped right out!

The popcorn's very white in real life. Must be the butter filter.The popcorn’s very white in real life. Must be the butter filter on my camera.

The popcorn was delicious, but that was only act 1. Then we turned to this great recipe from Allrecipes.com. We made ¾ cup of corn, and it came out to close to 5 quarts, so we just followed the recipe with the exception of using our CSA cane syrup instead of corn syrup. The result was terrific – if eating entirely too much caramel corn in one sitting can be considered terrific.

caramel-corn

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Ribs

We cooked the ribs from a couple of deliveries ago. I “grilled” them in the oven according to a recipe from How To Cook Everything. I basted them during the last roasting part with a balsamic-orange dressing I originally made for our supper guests. I wasn’t thrilled with it as a salad dressing, but it made a nice marinade.

We ate the ribs with rice grits, butternut squash, and arugula plus some toasted walnuts for fun.

Shepherd’s pie

We made shepherd’s pie to finish up the arugula and some beet greens that had been languishing in the fridge. (more…)

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Blueberry pancakes

We made these with the whole-grain pancake mix from the CSA and frozen blueberries from last summer’s deliveries. I suppose we could have used CSA eggs, but we went with this ricotta cheese recipe instead.

Chris and I are trying to learn how to do pancakes for two. This time, we made the entire batter recipe, cooked a few pancakes, and then put the batter away. (Who wants to stand around cooking all those pancakes if you’re not going to eat them right away?) We tried a reprise with the leftover batter a few days later, and the pancakes wouldn’t cook right. Burned on the outside, raw on the inside. We think it was because the batter went direct from fridge to pan. So we still believe in leftover pancake batter – it just has to reach room temperature first.

Butternut squash seeds

Mmmm… just toasted them in the toaster oven with olive oil and salt.

It took about 30 minutes at 250 degrees. I stirred them every 10 minutes, but I’m not sure how necessary that was. Anyway, there all gone now. A tasty mid-morning snack.

Peanut butter and creamed honey

If squash seeds are for mid-morning, peanut butter-and-honey sandwiches are for mid-afternoon. This one’s made with CSA creamed honey and honey-flax-whole wheat bread. The creamed honey spreads easily, doesn’t drip out the sides, and has lots of honey flavor.

Mini blueberry oat loaf

These little loaves are so moist.

I tried toasting one once, but that’s not really its best milieu. So this time I sliced one lengthwise into quarters and popped them into the microwave instead. Added a little cream cheese and surprised Chris with a non-cereal start to his day.

Last night’s supper

The shrimp cooked in garlic were tasty. I forgot the beer bread in the oven for twenty minutes too long. It was still okay when dipped in the garlic-olive oil from the shrimp. My carefully laid-out schedule went haywire in the last half-hour. And no pictures, I’m afraid.

But anything that didn’t work out perfectly was totally eclipsed by the fun of being with our friends.

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Dry shrimp run

Before I served the shrimp from this week’s delivery to guests, I thought Chris and I should try it out. So I defrosted and cleaned a handful.

Then I set out making a garlicky-tomato sauce. I started with sautéing some minced garlic in olive oil.

I added a little red wine, a can of diced tomatoes, and some salt and pepper. (Some crushed red pepper would have been good here, too.) Once the tomatoes had cooked down and become saucy (about 15 minutes on medium), I turned the heat to low and added the shrimp.

Nothing CSA in here but the shrimp: tomatoes with herbs from a can, garlic from a jar, and wine from a bottle.

I left the shrimp in there for about 10 minutes.  (When they’re cooking on low like this, you can be sloppy with the timing. You can tell they’re done when they get a little firm. Or you can taste one. Or two.)

And here’s our supper…

The shrimp were excellent. They had far more shrimp-like substance than the ones I get at the grocery store. (It could be that I don’t buy the right shrimp, though.)

Eating them was like recovering a memory: “Oh yeah. This is what shrimp tastes like.” So I’m sold on these little guys and will look for them in the Farmers’ Fresh online store later in the season.

Mushroom and (sour)cream pasta

We had some leftover pasta, so the next night we made a mushroom-cream pasta dish with garlic and lemon thyme.

mushroom pasta, salad, and half of a leftover baked sweet potato

I cut up the oyster mushrooms and sautéed them in olive oil with some garlic and salt. When they were soft, I added some white wine and let it cook for a minute. Then I reduced the heat, added the lemon thyme and the end of a container of sour cream, and let it cook a couple of minutes more. Using sour cream for a cream sauce instead of regular cream worked great – another wonderful tip from How To Cook Everything. I never have cream around, but there’s usually a little bit of sour cream languishing in the fridge.

Our supper tonight: garlic shrimp, baked butternut squash, salad, and beer bread. And whatever delicious chocolate dessert Joy’s bringing!

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2/10 Preseason II

  • Ezekiel bread
  • Carolina Gold rice
  • hydroponic lettuce (green and red)
  • mixed leaf lettuce
  • butternut squash
  • Bordeaux spinach
  • wildflower honey
  • arugula
  • strawberries
  • eggs
  • carrots
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • oyster mushrooms
  • mini-breads
  • chervil, lemon thyme, and salad burnet
  • Sea Island red peas
  • 2 lbs shrimp!

I also ordered three things from the store

  • dried herbal tea mix
  • creamed honey
  • Blue Farmhouse cheese

Happy bread surprises

So much of our experience of food is vision and taste. I looked at the Ezekiel bread and thought that it was probably pretty nice whole-wheat bread. But when I touched it, I fell in love.  Something about the weight and texture is really compelling. And it tastes good, too!

I also had the little blueberry muffin this morning. What a treat! It had a light, lemony taste that I wasn’t expecting but loved. And it was so soft. It’s kind of spooky to think about what food manufacturers do in order for packaged muffins to (unsuccessfully) mimic this special softness and still have a shelf life.

Salad round-up

The Bordeaux spinach is a really nice spinach with a sweet, pecan-y taste. But we probably won’t get to it till next week because the lettuces need to be eaten first. If you eat it this week as a salad, don’t forget to add sliced strawberries. (Unless you’ve already gone ahead and frozen the strawberries like me!)

Even though the arugula will also keep till next week, I’ll probably serve some with the mixed leaf lettuce. But it’s not necessary to dilute thisarugula; when it’s young and fresh, it’s delicious raw all by itself. (There are also plenty of wilted arugula recipes to try, like Pasta with Tuna Arugula and Hot Pepper.)

I’ve already washed and dried the hydroponic lettuce, and we had some last night for supper. We’ll eat the leaf lettuce soon, too. In fact, once we eat enough hydroponic lettuce to make room in the salad spinner, I’ll throw in the leaf lettuce.

Mushrooms!

We ate the Shiitakes for a late supper last night. I sautéed them in olive oil and then tossed them with minced garlic, parsley from the last delivery, and some of the lemon thyme from this week. I have to confess that I used garlic from a jar for the mushrooms. I only have two big cloves of fresh garlic left and I need them for this weekend.

Also featured were hydroponic lettuce, chervil, salad burnet, a carrot, and a little blue cheese.

How adorable are the oyster mushrooms?

Shiitakes, carrots, and oyster mushrooms

They look like something out of a fairy tale. I’m planning to combine these with a handful of the shrimp. If we have some Tom-Yum soup mix left, we’ll make that; otherwise, it’ll be another sauté with olive oil and lemon thyme, served on top of Carolina Gold rice.

Dinner guests Sunday night

We’re having friends over Sunday night, and I’m going to cook the shrimp slowly in garlic-infused olive oil according to “The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish” recipe from How to Cook Everything. Basically you slice a clove of garlic (or two!) and cook it sloooowly in a bunch of olive oil. Once it’s golden, you turn up the heat, add the shrimp, salt, and pepper. (The recipe calls for other cumin and paprika, but we’ve just stuck with salt and pepper.)

We’ll serve the shrimp with a mixed salad and fresh beer bread. Probably won’t have a fancy appetizer – just a plate of carrot sticks, blue cheese, and crackers in case anyone’s hungry. You know these are good friends if I’m considering putting out the blue cheese. It’s absolutely dreamy. Part of me would like to play around with making a blue cheese dressing for our salad, but I just can’t risk messing up this cheese.

Peas possibilities?

I’ve got dried red peas piling up in my fridge. Natalie suggested this recipe from the Anson Mills site.  My mom has a recipe she likes, but she’s out of town this week. Anybody else got a pea recipe to share?

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Beer bread

Here’s a bread recipe from MotherEarth News.  It’s called Dutch Oven Beer Bread, or Bread Even Susan Can Make. The recipe is as user-stupid as they come.

  • 3 cups of self-rising flour (or 3 cups all purpose + 1 ½ tbsp baking power and 1 ½ tsp salt)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 bottle of beer (I’ve read you can also use ginger ale or anything fizzy.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a Dutch oven (if it’s not well-seasoned)
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Pour in the beer. Don’t over mix. White streaks are okay.
  4. Dump the dough in the Dutch oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
before baking
before baking
after bakingafter baking

No kneading, no rising, no nothing. And the results were awesome. That’s what Chris kept saying over supper: “This is awesome.” The bread is a little crunchy on the outside and wonderfully chewy on the inside. The beer and sugar add just enough flavor. I used an amber ale  although it’ll be fun to experiment with different beers. I could easily see us making this bread once a week this winter. Great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An epic win, as the kids say.

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Tonight we had a very CSA supper.

Kale with raisins and pine nuts, baked sweet potatoes, and toasted honey-flax-wheat bread with wildflower honey.

We whine about kale a lot, but this wasn’t so bad. We cleaned our plates and everything.

(Both of us are feeling the after effects of kale, though. I’m glad we ate early!)

Tomorrow I’m going to make fried rice with what I’ve got left: kale, turnips, sprouts, and onions.  The hardest part about making fried rice is remembering to cook the rice a day ahead. But I accomplished that this morning. I also went ahead and chopped everything.

This way I can just throw it together for lunch tomorrow.

Update: Here’s the fried rice, and it was really tasty. Definitely a great way to use up veggies.

I’m looking forward to Wednesday. More than anything, I’m craving the strawberries. I flash freeze them on a cookie sheet,

store them in the freezer, and eat a handful frozen for dessert. They’re so good!

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We love kabocha squash! It’s now our favorite winter squash now even though we’re mighty fond of butternut and acorn. (Of course, it terms of specific squash, these two guys are still my favorite.)

Preparation

I’m still not at the stage where I do anything fancy with it. I just bake it in the oven for a couple of hours and then dress it up with butter and a touch of maple syrup. Simple and delicious. Here’s a basic recipe for baking winter squash.

Here’s our squash after the baking.

(NB: if you put a whole squash on the top rack of the oven and the stem comes in contact with the element, the stem will light and your house will smell like pot.)

At this point, the squash slices easily.

I scoop out the seeds and put them in a colander. The flesh goes back in the oven along with a couple of pats of butter and teaspoon or two of maple syrup.

The seeds get rinsed in the colander with warm water and then dried on the counter for a couple of days. Once they’re dry, I toss then in olive oil and salt and roast them. These seeds are not my favorite, however. They’re big and thick, so the ratio of salt to seed is smaller than with roasted butternut or pumpkin seeds.)

Plates!

Here are two of the meals that included squash.

Finally, a  note to the farmers: Please plant more kabocha for next fall. Thank you.

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Pre-season (and early spring) always means lots of salad. And salad goes with lots of things. Here are some of the meals Chris and I have had with salad.

  • scrambled eggs

  • sausage and kabocha squash (More on kabocha squash later. And this supper was one of my favorites ever. It’s when I figured out that the creme fraiche and the beets go on the lettuce.)

  • corned beef wraps

  • onion soup with cheese toast

Can you see how the hydroponic lettuce turns pink and red in the ribs? I can’t tell any difference in the taste or texture, but I appreciated the heads up that it was time to finish it. It’s gone now along with the crème fraiche. With food from the CSA, I don’t throw stuff out at the first sign of age. Because I know the food’s history, I’m willing to try it and see how it goes. The reward this time was another day of fresh lettuce. (The bunnies outside, however, are not in favor of this policy.)

The onion soup came mainly from this recipe. (I always opt for onion soup with cheese toast rather than official French Onion Soup. It’s so much easier and usually results in less mouth burning.) I’ve made this soup plenty of times before, and I’m so glad I finally got to make it with homemade beef stock! It was much better than with boullion – thicker, more flavorful, but less salty.

So the stock, garlic, and bay leaf were local. The onions were from Kroger, and the wine was Three Buck Chuck.

Now we just have a bunch of spicy salad to eat. One night we’ll have spaghetti, I think. And Friday’s lunch will probably be cat food salad and a couple of sweet potatoes.

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