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).

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