Friday, October 23, 2009

CSA Recipes: Weeks 19 - 21

How to Bake Winter Squash (if you didn’t already know…):

a. Wash exterior. With a sharp, large knife, cut the squash in half from the stem side to the underside.

b. Place each half face-down on a lightly-oiled baking sheet or dish, and bake uncovered in a pre-heated 350-375’F oven on the highest shelf possible for 45-55 minutes, or until the skins have begun to collapse and the flesh is completely tender (a knife goes all the way through). If you need to bake it faster, you can cut the squash into thirds or quarters, place them face up in an oiled baking dish, cover with foil and bake in the oven following the above directions, only it will take less time (35-45 minutes).

Our varieties are dry, sweet, and dense….wonderful as a baked side dish to pesto-based pastas, roasts, baked chicken or fish. Also delicious cooked in soups, or sliced thinly (once baked) on homemade pizza crust (though a pre-made does make it a lot easier!) brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh or dried sage, thyme, or other favorite herbs for a light pizza.

Potato Curry with Sesame Seeds

Serves 4

4 large potatoes, scrubbed but with skins on

1 Tbs canola oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

4 tsp mustard seeds

4 Tbs sesame seeds

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp chopped fresh chile, or 1/2 tsp dried

4 tsp finely grated lemon rind

4 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Cool, and chop into chunks. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium heat. Cook the cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds for 1 minute, stirring constantly (if you have a grease screen, this comes in handy to prevent seeds from bouncing out of the pan – if not, a pizza pan works, too)
  2. Add sesame seeds; cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring until golden brown. Add the turmeric, chiles, potatoes, lemon rind and juice. Stir until well combined and heated through. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

This dish is excellent with a yogurt raita (i.e. plain yogurt with radish, green onion, dried or fresh mint, ground cumin, salt, and a dash of cayenne…you can get creative), some warm pita bread and fresh greens.

Arugula Pesto

Makes 1 Cup

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 C. chopped pine nuts. pecans or walnuts, toasted in 350’F oven for 7-10 minutes

3 C. packed arugula leaves

1/2 C. parsley, de-stemmed

3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

3 Tbs. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1/3 C. olive oil

just a splash of balsamic vinegar never hurts either, but is optional! J

In a food processor (preferably) or blender, mix together garlic, nuts, arugula, parsley, cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Poor olive oil over top to provide liquid for easy blending. Blend until fully incorporated. Can refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Beet and Arugula Salad

We LOVE this combination of sweet and peppery flavors. Trim tops and tips of beets (leave skins on until after cooking - they are so much easier to peel), saving (if you wish) the beet tops for braising or a salad some other time. If large, cut into halves or quarters to decrease cooking time. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil, add the beets and reduce heat to a gentle, rolling boil and cook until beets are tender all the way through (test with a sharp knife - about 20-25 minutes). In the meantime, whisk together (a fork works best to help incorporate the cheese) the vinaigrette:

6 Tbs. Extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbs. basalmic vinegar

Approx. 2 Tbs. of bleu cheese, crumbled

a pinch of sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

When beets are tender, remove from stove top, drain water and

immediately rinse or soak beets with cold water until they have cooled enough to handle. Peel skins by slipping them off with your thumbs. Rinse again to remove bits of skin. Cut beets into bite size chunks. Let cool to room temperature before adding to the arugula. Just before serving, toss beets and vinaigrette with the arugula and enjoy! Toasted almond slivers are also delicious with this dish, added at the last minute to retain crunchiness.

Garlic Smashed-Potato Salad

Prep time: 1 hr. 15 minutes

Makes: 6 servings

2 heads garlic

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbs dry white wine

2 3/4 pounds white or red potatoes, cleaned and cut into 1” chunks

1/4 cup chopped chives

about 1 1/2 tsp salt

about 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut garlic heads in half crosswise and wrap tightly in one large piece of foil. Bake until garlic is very soft when pressed and light golden brown (unwrap to test), 45 minutes to 1 hr. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves from skin into a small bowl. Add olive oil, wine, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper; mash garlic with a fork until mixture is smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, in a 6 to-8-quart pan, combine potatoes and 4 quarts water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pan.
Add garlic mixture and chives to potatoes and stir gently until combined but still chunky. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Let cool completely, then chill airtight for up to 1 day.

Arugula, Shallot (or subst. leek or onion), and Potato Frittata

serves 4

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 large potatoes, unpeeled (red skin adds nice color to this dish)

1/2 C. chopped shallots, leeks (sliced thin), or onion

2-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (or 1/2 - 1 tsp. fresh minced chile pepper)

1/4 tsp. salt

5 eggs

freshly ground pepper

1 C. packed arugula

3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Heat olive oil in a 10", non-stick skillet (med.-low temp.). Cut potatoes into 1" cubes (1/2" for faster cooking time) and add to the pan w/ shallots, garlic, pepper flakes, and salt. Cook, stirring often until shallots are soft. Cover pan and continue cooking 5-8 min. until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, seasoning them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Coarsely chop the arugula. Pour eggs evenly over the potato mixture in the pan and sprinkle the arugula over the top. Cook uncovered for 2-3 min., gently shifting the eggs around a few times to allow the uncooked egg to come into direct contact with the pan bottom. When the frittata is moist but no longer runny, sprinkle the feta cheese over the top. Place the skillet in a pre-heated oven (350'F) for 3-4 min. or until the frittata is just set and evenly baked. Leave in the skillet or transfer to a serving platter; cut into wedges to serve.

Leeks Braised in Red Wine (from Kitchen Garden magazine, Oct./Nov. '97)

4 Servings

2 Tbs. Olive oil

4 medium leeks, halved, with 1 in. to 2 in. of green top


1 cup red wine

1/2 cup vegetable broth or water


In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the leek halves, cut side down, season lightly with salt, and sauté until brown on the edges. Turn and brown the other side. Turn once more so they are cut side down and pour over the wine and vegetable broth. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the leeks are very tender, 10-12 minutes.

Remove the leeks to a serving dish. Increase the heat to high and reduce the sauce to a glaze. Pour over the leeks. Serve either hot, cold, or room temperature.

Classic Leek and Potato Soup (from Kitchen Garden magazine, Oct./Nov. '97)

serves 4

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

3 med. leeks, halved

5 C. chicken broth

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes

salt to taste

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over med.-low heat. Cut washed leek shafts into 1" pieces. Add to the pan and stir to coat with butter. Cover the pan and cook the leeks until softened but not brown, 8-10 min. Meanwhile, in a med. saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over moderate heat. Keep the broth hot, but don't let it boil.

Add the potatoes to the leeks and pour the hot broth over the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 15-20 min., until potatoes are tender.

Take the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor, in batches, and puree until very smooth. Return the puree to the pot and place over moderately low heat. Soup should be smooth but not thick. Add water to loosen the consistency, if necessary. Season with salt to taste. For a richer soup, stir in some cream at the end of cooking. Garnish with freshly minced dill.

Optional: I almost always take the liberty of adding finely chopped cooked carrots after pureeing the soup for added color and texture. Minced fresh chile pepper is also a pretty garnish and adds a kick!

Sherry-Shallot Vinaigrette

1/4 C. sherry vinegar

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

2 Tbs. thinly slice shallots

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 C. vegetable, safflower, or canola oil

2 Tbs. finely chopped chives (dill would subst. nicely here)

Crisp Carrot Salad with Currants

serves 8

(Carrots taking over your refrigerator?? Share this dish with your family or friends!)

1/4 C. finely chopped shallots

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1/4 C. red wine vinegar

2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. minced chile pepper

1 tsp. mild chile powder, such as Chimayo, Ancho, or Hatch

1 tsp. turmeric

1/4 C. Zante currants

1/4 C. boiling water

3 lbs. carrots, peeled (about 12 C.)

1/4 - 1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 C. coarsely chopped chives

Combine shallots, ginger, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, chile pepper, chile powder, and turmeric in a bowl large enough to hold the carrots. Let sit at room temperature for 10 min. to marry the flavors.

Place currants in a small bowl; pour boiling water over them and let them sit 10 min. to plump. Drain and discard water.

Cut carrots into matchsticks, or grate them using your food processor or box grater. Add the carrots and the currants to the dressing and toss well to coat. Drizzle in 1/4 C. oil and the chives and toss again. Add additional oil as needed to coat the carrots.

With the abundance of squash you will have available to you over the next five weeks, take some time to explore the wonderful world of squash soup! One of my favorites to make that uses a good number of farm-grown ingredients is a curry-spiced lentil, winter squash, and carrot blend. I pre-bake the winter squash in the oven (as instructed above) while I cook lentils, chopped carrots, fresh minced chile peppers, lots of chopped garlic, and vegetable broth on the stovetop in a dutch oven. Once the squash is baked, I remove it from the skin, reserving enough to cut into small wedges to add one wedge in each bowl just before serving. I mash up the remaining squash a bit in a bowl before adding it to the soup pot. Once the squash is added to the finished lentil mixture, I season it with my favorite Indian spices (a nice curry powder blend is a simple choice with delicious results), salt, and freshly ground pepper. After letting the soup cool a bit, I puree about half of the soup in a food processor (I like some texture with this soup). Just before serving, I situate a sliver of baked winter squash in each bowl and garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro, if available. The fresh-baked bread isn't a must, but it sure is a treat!