Sunday, September 27, 2009

CSA Recipes: Weeks 17,18

Haven't we all been truly blessed with a beautiful September? The summer growing season has run a week or two longer than it has in the past, but the killing frost is upon us this week. It is a necessary occurrence, as I cannot get to that beautiful winter squash growing fat underneath its foliar canopy. Also, the day length is getting drastically shorter, making it more difficult each week to get all of those summer crops harvested in a day's time. The transition to fall faire is just around the corner, but we can enjoy the last of those delicious strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants for another week or two with the help of row covers. So, make the most of it and give one of the following recipes a try! If you still want more eggplant recipes, please check out the link given at the bottom of this site.

Healthy Carrot Muffins (you don't have to tell the kids...) - another wonderful creation by Bonnie
makes 12

Stir together:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat makes a milder flavor)
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup turbinado sugar (or, if you like a sweeter muffin, up to 2/3 cup)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried currants

Whisk until combined:

1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tbsp orange zest
2 large eggs

Lightly mix wet ingredients into dry. When some flour still remains, lightly fold in 1 cup grated carrot. Don't overmix or the muffins will be dense and tough! Bake in a greased muffin tin at 350 degrees for about 20 min.

Piperade (Traditional Basque dish, as found in The Oregonian)
makes 4 servings; (leftovers recommended for fajitas, adding chili powder, ground cumin and cayenne to shift the flavor from Spanish to Mexican)

1/4 C. olive oil, plus more for brushing on bread
3 sweet onions, halved and sliced 1/4" thick
5 large cloves garlic, minced, plus 1 cut in half
4 red sweet peppers, stem, ribs and seeds removed, sliced into 1/4" wide strips
4 green bell peppers, prepared same as red peppers
about 1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. smoked paprika (if available)
2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbs. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 slices rustic bread
8 eggs (directions for poaching them given below, but you can omit those steps and simply serve the piperade with an omelet, fried eggs, or scrambled eggs.)

Heat oil in large 12-14" saute pan or skillet over med.-high heat. Add onions and cook 7 min., or until soft, stirring often to avoid scorching. Add minced garlic and cook 3 min. more. Add red and green peppers and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 min. Add tomatoes, paprika, smoked paprika, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are soft and the juices have begun to thicken, about 20 min.

Meanwhile, brush bread with oil and place under oven broiler to toast until golden on one side, about 1 min. Rub the cut side of the halved garlic on each piece generously. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Scoop out 3 C. of the pepper mixture, trying to get mostly peppers and not much sauce. Refrigerate for next meal. Use a spoon or spatula to clear away some of the remaining peppers in the pan to make 8 pockets for the eggs to cook. Crack and egg into each space. Sprinkle each with a little salt and pepper, and cover the pan with the lid (or cover tightly w/ foil). Cook the eggs for about 5-8 min. until whites are set and yolks are set to your desired consistency. Place a slice of bread in each bowl, spoon two eggs and some of the pepper mixture over each. Serve.

Eggplant and Peppers in Spicy Peanut Sauce - from the Moosewood Cookbook
serves 6 appetizer-sized servings, or toss with cold asian-style noodles to stretch it out...

1 medium (7") eggplant, unpeeled, and cut into 1" thick strips, then into 2" pieces
1 large bell pepper, any color, cut into 1" pieces

for the sauce:
1/2 C. good peanut butter (one w/ low sugar is best)
1/2 C. water
2 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbs. sugar
3 med. cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1-2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
ground cayenne, to taste, or substitute minced fresh chile to taste
salt, to taste (if peanut butter is unsalted)

Preheat oven to 375'F. Lightly oil a baking tray. Spread eggplant pieces on the tray and salt lightly. Let stand 10 min. Bake the eggplant until tender, about 15 min. (prepare sauce during this time). During the last 5 min. of baking, add the pepper pieces to the tray. Cool the vegetables to room temp., then transfer to a bowl or container. Add Chinese Peanut Sauce and mix gently. Serve at room temp. or cold.

Eggplant-Almond Enchiladas - also from the Moosewood Cookbook
serves 6-8

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 C. minced onion
6 C. diced eggplant
1 tsp. salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
4 med. cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, minced
1 C. lightly toasted almonds, minced (easily done in a food processor or spice grinder)
1 packed C. grated Monterey Jack cheese, or other mild white cheese
12 corn tortillas
1 batch Mexican Red Sauce (given below)

Heat olive oil in deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add onion, sauteing over med. heat for about 5 min. Add eggplant, salt, and pepper; mix well. Cover and cook for about 10 min. over med. heat, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is soft. Add garlic and bell pepper. Stir and cook 5-8 min. more, or until pepper is just tender. Add more salt if desired. Remove from heat; stir in almonds and cheese. Preheat oven to 350'F. Moisten each tortilla briefly in water to soften them, then place approx. 1/4 C. of filling on one side and roll up. Gently situate filled tortillas on baking pan. Pour a batch of sauce over the top. Bake uncovered for about 30 min.

Mexican Red Sauce

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 C. minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
3 C. chopped tomatoes (4-6 med.-sized ones), peeling/seeding optional
1 C. water or tomato juice
4-6 med. cloves garlic, minced
optional: freshly minced cilantro; 1-2 tsp. finely minced serrano or jalapeno chile peppers if you want the sauce hot.

Heat oil in a med.-sized saucepan. Add onion and salt and saute over med. heat about 5 min., or until onion is translucent. Add cumin and chili powder, and saute about 5 min. more. Add chopped tomatoes and water or juice. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and lower heat, simmering at least 30 min.. Add the black pepper, cayenne, and garlic at anytime during the cooking (the later you add the garlic, the more apparent its flavor). Add cilantro at end of cooking, if desired. Leave sauce chunky, or puree all or some of it in a blender or food processor. This freezes well, too, so make a batch up for later use!

Roasted New Potato Salad
serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. new potatoes (about 9-10), cut in half
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
fresh-ground pepper to taste
1-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/2 C. chopped parsley, or 1/4 C. chopped basil
3/4 C. tomatoes, chopped
optional: toasted pine nuts, feta cheese, finely minced chile pepper for some heat etc.....

Preheat oven to 425'F. Place potatoes in roasting pan, tossing them with 2 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkling them with about 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Roast for 40-50 min. or until they are tender and a little crispy on the outside. Let them cool for 10-15 min. While the potatoes roast, combine garlic, vinegar, the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil, onion, herbs, and tomatoes (and chiles, if desired); toss together to blend well. Add the potatoes to the bowl, then add the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well. Transfer to a serving dish, topping with pine nuts and feta cheese, if desired. Serve warm, or chill it to serve cold later.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CSA Recipes: Weeks 15, 16

This has been a great week for recipe ideas - some of you are getting quite creative! It makes me ridiculously happy to hear your tales from the kitchen. Not to mention receiving fun photos of your food-art masterpieces (see left).

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I have been given (much to my delight, and Darrin's if he's lucky enough to get some) samples of refrigerated fresh dill cucumber pickles; zucchini chips (sliced with a mandolin and dehydrated in a dehydrator - not even coated with salt or seasonings.....the result is a naturally sweet, salty and crunchy treat); a fabulous coffee cake made with local apples and Link River trail blackberries; a peanut-ginger cabbage slaw (lunch!); and baskets of fresh peaches and plums. One member even shared a couple of home-brewed I.P.As. Boy, am I spoiled or what?!

One member mentioned how she didn't have enough eggplant to make baba ganoush, so she added roasted zucchini to supplement the dish. The results were good flavor and pleasing texture - she thinks she may try an all-zucchini version next time.

Another shared how her husband made a killer pureed cream of summer squash soup with fresh apple that turned out to be a fabulous surprise. Perhaps she will forward me the recipe so I can post it? Hint-hint.

I recently recalled a recipe from a member last year who loved to make red cabbage and beet quesadillas by simply sauteing (just until warmed through) shredded cabbage and lightly steamed, diced beets in butter, seasoning with salt, pepper, fresh chiles and cilantro. This filling is also great in soft or hard-shelled tacos with Monterey Jack cheese and sour cream.

Here is a beet recipe that a member just forwarded to me....sounds wonderful!
From Eric Gower's cookbook "The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen" (Kodansha International, 2003).
Beet Salad with Ginger, Pecans & Orange Zest
Serves 4 as side dish, 2 as an appetizer

Eric Gower's recipe calls for smoked trout. In my adaptation, I skip the
fish, use pecans instead of walnuts, and add orange zest. Try to find
beets with greens intact. This time of year you can substitute Swiss
chard. If you don't like the look of the greens mixed with the beets, Eric
suggests placing the leaves in the center of a large plate and surrounding
them with the beets. 2 to 3 beets, with greens attached 3 tablespoons
extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon minced ginger 2 tablespoon minced
shallots 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 tablespoons orange juice 2 teaspoons
grated orange zest Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2
tablespoons chopped pecans

Instructions: Fill a pot with enough water to submerge the beets and bring
to a boil. Cut the stems and leaves from the beets and set aside. Place
beets in the pot and simmer over medium-low heat until tender when pierced
with a fork, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan. Add ginger and
shallots and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
Remove the cooked beets with a slotted spoon (leaving the cooking water in
the pot), rinse under cold water and slip off the skins. Cut the beets
into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl. Add another tablespoon of the
olive oil, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, the ginger-shallot mixture, the
orange juice, orange zest and salt and pepper to taste and toss lightly.
Simmer the leaves in the hot red water for 3 minutes. Remove and rinse,
squeezing out as much water from the greens as possible. Chop the greens
into inch-long pieces, drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil
and tablespoon of the vinegar, and toss lightly.
Toast the pecans for a few minutes in a dry skillet. Right before serving,
lightly mix together the beets and greens and top the salad with the

In addition to including some summer classics with this recipe post, I'm going to include two from last year that people have put in requests for:

We love to eat this dish for supper with a loaf of piping hot crusty bread and a fresh green salad:

serves 4

1 large eggplant (about 1 lb.)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 green (or purple!) bell pepper, or 1 sweet pepper, seeded
and cut into strips
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
about 1/3 C. extra-virgin olive oil
optional: 1 chile pepper (or 1/2 of one, if one of the really hot ones) finely chopped
1/2 C. coarsely chopped kalamata olives
grated parmesan for topping

According to the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, by Sally Fallon, there are two secrets to a good ratatouille: One is to saute all the vegetables separately; the second is to bake your casserole in a shallow open pan so that most of the liquid evaporates. Peel and cube the eggplant (I never bother peeling it) and saute it in batches in several Tbs. olive oil. Remove with a slotted spoon to an oiled, rectangular pyrex baking dish. Saute zucchini, pepper, onions, and tomatoes in succession, adding more olive oil as necessary
and removing to casserole. Add mashed garlic and thyme to casserole. Mix well and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for at least 1 hour. Ratatouille often tastes better reheated the next day.

The following recipe is from a wonderful Indian cookbook, and is a great eggplant dish!

Eggplant Curry
serves 4

2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
4 green cardamom pods (or
a pinch of ground cardamom)
1/4 tsp. ground tumeric
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin (I like to replace this with ground fennel seed)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 fresh green chile, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 in. piece of fresh ginger, grated or minced
1/2 C. chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp. salt
6 C. eggplant, cut into 1" cubes (can substitute a few cups with button mushrooms if you wish)

1. In a wok or large skillet, heat oil and fry cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom pods and tumeric for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion and fry for 5
minutes or until golden (reduce heat to medium if onions are scorching). Stir in the ground cumin, coriander and garam masala and fry for a further 2 minutes.
3. Add the chile, garlic and
ginger and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add cubed eggplant (or
halved mushrooms) to the pan. Cover and simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Transfer to a warm serving platter and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with an Indian bread, such as naan, parathas or chapatis.

And for some must-have summer classics:

Traditional Gazpacho
(modified from Martha Stewart Living, Sept. '09)
serves 6

2 garlic cloves, minced
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 medium green (or purple) bell pepper, finely diced
2 tsp. red-wine vinegar
1 tsp. sherry vinegar (if handy, if not increase red-wine vinegar to 3 tsp.)
1/4 C. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 C. cold water or tomato juice
1/4 C. minced fresh parsley
minced fresh chiles, to taste
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1/4 C. finely chopped onion

Combine all ingredients. Puree some or all of soup (optional). Chill until very cold. Nice
served with homemade croutons.

Caprese Salad (make as small or large of a platter as you wish)

Alternate 1/4 - 1/2" sliced
tomatoes and 1/4" sliced fresh mozzarella cheese (fresh, soft mozz. is key for this dish) on a platter. Top generously with
chopped fresh basil. Sprinkle coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper over cheese and tomatoes. Finally, drizzle with approx. 2 parts extra-virgin olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar. Serve with fresh crusty bread as an appetizer or light meal. Sometimes simple is genius!!

And finally some ideas for
those yummy, mild green
chiles....try them, finely diced,
in homemade breads (i.e. cornbread) - top with shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack for a savory version. They are also fabulous stuffed with the same cheeses and roasted in the oven or on the grill until soft. If you eat eggs, you can add them fresh to your scrambles, or roast them first and layer them in any baked egg dish. Roasting chiles is easy: place them whole, in a shallow baking pan, under the broiler (you can also do this right on your stove element...gas stoves make this especially easy), turning them frequently until the skins puff up all around. Place them immediately in a paper bag, close it, put it on a plate and let them sweat in the bag for about 20 minutes. The skins are then easy to pull off (removing seeds optional).

Friday, September 4, 2009

CSA Recipes - Weeks 12, 13, 14

The bounty is really piling on at the moment: cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, summer squash, carrots, beets, tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, parsley and basil, onions, garlic, salad mix, strawberries, cherry tomatoes....whew! Next-on crops include melons, chile peppers, and shallots (if I can get them cleaned pronto).

What to do with eggplant? Eggplant tends to be one of those fruits that people either really love or don't, but I often find that those in the 'not a fan' camp are mostly just unsure of how to prepare it. Eggplant's 'meaty', hearty texture makes it a welcome addition to stir-fries and pasta dishes. It's also fabulous when grilled. For beginner eggplant consumers, I always recommend baba ghanoush, a traditional Arabic dish that is deliciously simple to make and simply delicious to eat. Others may like to incorporate eggplant into their pasta sauces and lasagnas.

Baba ghanoush (from Kitchen Garden magazine)
makes 3 C.

About 1 1/2 lbs. eggplant
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C. roasted sesame tahini (a sesame seed spread that can be found in most natural food sections, or you can make your own by roasting your own sesame seeds and adding a bit of sesame and olive oils until the desired consistency is reached)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. toasted whole cumin seed
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley

In a lightly oiled dish, roast the eggplants under a broiler or on the grill (for a more smoky flavor), turning frequently, until they are very soft and the skin is blackened, about 30 min. (about half that time for the thinner 'Japanese Long' types). To ensure they cook thoroughly, start roasting them as far from the broiler as possible; when the eggplants become soft, move them closer to the flame/element to blacken the skin. This is essential for great flavor. Once cooled, peel the eggplants and drain them in a colander. Spin all ingredients, except the whole cumin seed and parsley, in a food processor until smooth. Before serving, stir in the toasted cumin seed and garnish with fresh parsley. You can vary this recipe by blending in a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt; or try stirring in some chopped fresh tomato at the end. This fabulous dip is often eaten with pita or other flat breads, but is also great as a vegetable dip or served with fresh crusty bread.

Roasted Eggplant Marinara Sauce (from Sunset magazine)
prep and cook time: about 1 1/2 hours
makes about 12 C., enough for about 8-12 servings

2 lbs. eggplant, rinsed, ends trimmed, and cut into 1/2" chunks
3 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 onion (about 1/2 lb.), peeled and diced into 1/4" pieces
About 4 lbs. tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil, or 2 tsp. dried
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. hot chile pepper flakes

1. In a 12" x 15" baking pan, mix eggplant with 2 Tbs. oil, 1 Tbs. garlic, salt, and pepper. Bake in a 400'F oven, stirring once, until fruit is browned and soft, 30 - 35 min.
2. Pour remaining oil into a 5-6 quart pan over med. heat. when hot, add onion and remaining garlic. Stir frequently until onion is very limp, 5-8 min.
3. Add tomatoes, basil, sugar, oregano, chile flakes, and roasted eggplant. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down slightly and mixture is thick, 35-40 min. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot over your pasta noodle of choice, garnish with fresh chopped basil or parsley, grated Romano or parmesan cheese and fresh crus
ty bread. Stirring in a 1/4 C. of ricotta cheese at the end is also a nice addition for a creamier version of this recipe.

Caponatina (Rose Troia McCormick)
(an Italian spread that is nice to have on hand in your refrigerator for a quick appetizer served with sliced fresh bread; or spread it on the bread slices, top with grated Romano or parmesan cheese and place under the broiler until browned)

1/2 - 3/4 C. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large eggplant (or about 3 C.), cut into small cubes
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 C. parsley
2 C. diced celery
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 C. tomato paste
2 large tomatoes, peeled, diced
1 C. water
1/3 C. red wine vinegar
1/2 - 1 C. green or black olives (Kalamatas are nice, avoid canned black olives)
1/2 C. toasted pine nuts

Heat oil over med. heat; saute garlic and celery. Remove. Saute eggplant, onion, green pepper and cook on low heat for 10 min. Add tomato paste, tomatoes and remaining ingredients (except pine nuts) and cook until soft. Let cool, then stir in the pine nuts. Keep refrigerated until needed.

Labor Day weekend often means picnics with family and friends. This coleslaw recipe would surely be a welcome addition to the table!

Thai-Style Cabbage Slaw (Sunset magazine)
makes 8-10 small-plate servings

3 Tbs. lime juice
2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce (or sub. with 2 tsp. salt, adding more at the end to taste)
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. hot chile pepper flakes
6 C. finely shredded green or red cabbage
1/2 C. onion, slivered
1/2 C. chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 C. chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts
salt to taste

In a large bowl, mix lime juice, fish sauce, 2 Tbs. water, sugar, and chile flakes. Stir in cabbage and onion. Just before serving, stir in herbs, peanuts, and more salt to taste.

For nice picnic side dish, try this peanut cucumber salad:

Peanut Cucumber Salad (Sunset magazine)
served 6-8

1/4 C. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
about 1/2 tsp. salt
about 1 1/2 lbs. cucumbers, sliced very thin
1/2 C. unsalted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add sliced cucumbers to the dressing and mix to coat. Add more salt to taste and sprinkle with peanuts.

This week marks the last of the green beans, so here is a final recipe worthy of trying before they are all gone!

Hot Sichuan-Style Green Beans (Sunset magazine)
about 8-10 small-plate servings
serve hot of at room temperature

1 lb. green beans
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. hot chile pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger

1. Cut rinsed, trimmed green beans into 2-3" length pieces. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, chile flakes, and pepper.
2. Heat a 10-12 frying skillet over high heat. When pan is hot, add beans and 1/4 C. water. Cover and cook, stirring once, until beans are bright green and slightly crunchy, 3-4 min. Uncover and cook until any remaining water has evaporated.
3. Reduce heat to med.-high, adding oil, garlic, and ginger to pan; stir until green beans and garlic are lightly browned, 1-2 min. Stir soy mixture and add to pan; bring to a boil and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce thickens and coats the beans, 2-3 min. Pour into a serving dish.