CSA delivery, Sept 16, 2011

September 21, 2011

Yes another trip to the farm for a bag full of fresh goodies! Today’s harvest included beets, more tomatoes of various shapes sizes and colors, poblanos, Diablo peppers, onions, jalapeno, corn, eggplant and a bell pepper. Sadly the summer crops are waning, the cool nights not conducive to flavor or growth, but the winter crops – squashes, cauliflower and more are not ready. So we will indulge ourselves in this last tomato harvest.

Today, I am making a Kamut (grain), flagelot (french bean) and tomato salad with a tarragon thyme vinaigrette and some green onions. this is truly one of the best things I have eaten in a long time. The tarragon, Dijon and tang of the vinegar was so good next to the nutty hints from the kamut. The flagelots offered a starchiness, while the fresh tomato was so bright next to these flavors. OK, without sounding too much like a food critic, this was really good!

I smoked corn over mesquite in my wok, resulting in the house smelling incredibly like bacon, to toss with black beans, a jalapeno, one of the onions and a little olive oil – smokey sweetness, starchy black beans and the kick of the pepper – a new favorite salsa/side dish.
We had a herbed goat cheese stuffed shrimp with a fresh tomato sauce. Creamy cheese, acidic tomatoes and sweet shrimp were decadent together.  Eggplants are going in Indian eggplant and potato stew loaded with spices. The beets – perhaps I will try pickling them, or just roast them to enjoy as is. I am the only one eating them, so my choice! The rest of the jalapenos are going to be stuffed with goat cheese, corn and green onions, topped with a grilled pepper and tomato sauce.

There really isn’t enough week in the week to eat all of these goodies, and my freezer is full! That doesn’t stop us from scarfing down everything as soon as it is done (sorry no pictures this week – guess we were extra hungry). I hope you are enjoying the last of the summer crops, perhaps starting to think apples and pumpkins, and trying new combinations too.

Bon Appetit!


Sept 9 2011 CSA

September 12, 2011

This Friday, I headed to the farm to see what goodies were being offered…I knew there’d be tomatoes. Heirlooms, plum, yellow, orange, and green…12 tomatoes in all. A few peppers, jalapenos (scored 2 more from the extra bin!). Corn that is questionable, per the sign reading “Your lucky day – free worm with every ear” and an eggplant. Edamame was  available to pick your own. A small bunch of beets rounded out the basket.
So many tomatoes were headed to a roasted tomato sauce – lot’s of onion, garlic and fresh herbs – I used basil, some thyme and rosemary from my herb garden. Olive oil and a long roast in a 450F oven.

Ready for the oven

Finished sauce

Roasted tomatoes and onions

TVP meatballs and some pasta made great use of this delicious sauce. A classic, turned vegetarian and filling!
Eggplant, what to do with you. My southwestern cookbook offered a roasted eggplant and tomato soup that sounded divine. A little cayenne for heat, bell peppers, onions, more tomatoes and roasted eggplant slices pureed into smooth goodness. It was creamy, without milk, mild, yet full of flavor.  A keeper for sure.
The corn is going into a corn pudding to accompany the fish we shall pick up Tuesday. Think very soft cornbread, served with a spoon….the edamame made me break into my grain drawer, and I came up with Triticale – a cross between wheat and barley, full of protein and good carbs. Mixed with the edamame, balsamic, shallot, olive oil, and feta – a delicious side for lunchtime. Nutty, earthy and tangy with the vinegar.
Beets – I sadly did not finish the roasted beets with orange and sour cream from last week – just too many good choices in the fridge, and not enough meals to finish eating them – so no roasted beets this week.  I decided to treat our house to a peach and beet crumble. Now this is an experiment in getting my husband to eat beets (he is NOT a fan). We had picked up some utility peaches (not pretty, but still tasty) from Ward’s Berry Farm and I decided the red beet color would be wonderful in the peaches, with an oatmeal crumble.
Warm spices of mace, ginger, and cinnamon blended with shredded beets, sliced peaches, brown sugar and a little tapioca resulted in a wonderful cobbler. It had a slight beet flavor – sort of a “Hmmm what’s that taste”, but the sweetness of the peaches and crumble quickly took center stage. Unfortunately, my husband figured it out – are there beets in here? he asked puzzled. I can’t lie…..

Peaches and beets ready to bake

Finished Crisp

The peppers,  jalapenos, carrots, canned tomatoes, tomatillos, and spices mixed with black eyed peas for a very spicy and colorful chili. Did I mention my husband is a HUGE fan of chili? SO every week, he gets a different variety of chili…at least for a while. Good way to use up and enjoy the veggies, and the heat was hot enough to suit even his palate.

Another good week of eating, fresh from the farm. I hear there is cauliflower and broccoli coming soon….how do you prepare those?  Bon appetit!

CSA Delivery Aug 18, 2011

August 25, 2011

Another week of wonderful surprises from the farm….this week’s delivery included zucchini, yellow cherry tomatoes, yellow and several red tomatoes, red chard, cukes, radish, corn, a japanese eggplant, honeydew melon, and a light yellow bell pepper. Oh, yes, and one jalepeno.
Now don’t get me wrong, but I must confess I am starting to get sick of zucchini. I love to eat it, but 3-5 zucchini a week is a lot for two people…..this week, I sauteed it with onion and sundried tomatoes to eat with broiled fish. This went over very well with my hubby, and I enjoyed some of the leftovers in an omelette the next day, with a little dollop of ricotta cheese folded in the middle. Yummy!
The red tomatoes have been enjoyed just sliced, as they are SO good and sweet and taste like summer. The cherry tomatoes were turned into a delicious fresh salsa (Tyler Florenece’s recipe). Roast the tomatoes tossed in oil until they burst, mix with lime juice, cilantro and the jalepeno. Simple and spicy.
The red chard was tossed into a risotto, made with black eyed peas, bacon, white wine, chicken stock and onions. The risotto turned a beautiful pinkish color with the chard but I felt that the bacon should have been crisper and it needed a little grated cheese (sorry Bobby Flay)

Red Chard Risotto

The light yellow pepper was tossed into a vegetable chili I made which was a nice break from meat. The eggplant was sauteed with tofu, black bean sauce and onions for a salty, savory vegetarain meal. The cukes were made into a salad with greek yogurt, peas, parsley and lemon juice and accompanied a roasted pork tenderloin in a Puerto Rican Marinde of spices and garlic. This was a big hit too….the corn was devoured as is – it has been really good this year.

Sadly the melon was not sweet nor ripe, like eating watermelon rind, so that ended up in the trash. Tomorrow, we get more….I was harvesting on Wednesday, and carrots, beets and corn were on the picking list……I’ll have to start thinking on that one! Keep cooking, eating local and sharing recipes you have with me…..or ask me if you need new ideas for your own meals! I am always happy to talk food.

I did not fall off the turnip truck last week – we were in Philadelphia visiting my mom and jail. Seriously – the Eastern State Penitentiary – very interesting museum. But I want to share that in doing so, we did not get our beloved produce. This week, we were treated to wax beans, beets, carrots, basil, spring onions, potatoes, mini cucumbers (look like gherkins to be) small leafed kale, and several zucchini and yellow squash.

Meal one – we had grilled onions with pink peppercorns next to our pasta tossed with white beans, sage pesto (homemade with fresh sage, orange zest and juice, hazelnut and olive oils, walnuts) and kale. Very Tuscany meets Paris. I forgot how much I love the sweet, delicate peppery flavor of pink peppercorns. Worth a try on leeks, onions of braised fennel, or any white fish if you never had them. It had been a long day of yard work, so I apologize for not taking any photos. (i.e. starved and woofed down this meal before I had a chance to stop and think)
Meal Two – potato salad with peas, yogurt, buttermilk and herbs. I did not have parsley, but opted to use the top of the carrots as a green splash. They actually have a little carrot flavor, and I now know I need to revisit this to use elsewhere. Grilled chicken and sliced tomatoes round out this hot evening dinner on the patio.

Meal Three The delicate little carrots were cooked, then sprinkled with fennel thyme salt (Didi Davis) and served next to leftover chicken from last night and corn on the cob. How seet and tender theys were and delicious with the thyme salt.

Meal four This morning started the beets that will go into Ina Garten’s summer borscht, made with sour cream, yogurt, dill and chicken stock – perfect for the heat that’s coming our way. I picked up our fish (cod today) we get from Cape Ann fish shares and baked the fish with lemon juice, pink salt and a little comet tail pepper, which gave the fish a nice coriander peppery sweetness. I improvised a salad I saw in Food and Wine to use the wax beans, mixing them with tomatoes, chick peas and sliced red pepper tossed with a fresh tarragon mint vinaigrette made with lemon juice, shallot, dijon, mild olive oil and champagne vinegar. Heavenly! A side of lemon thyme biscuits fit perfectly.

Wax beans, tomatoes and chicke peas waiting for dressing

Last meal, grilled zucchini with grated cheese may be in order, next to grilled chicken sausage and poblanos. And perhaps another biscuit! Stay cool, enjoy a salad and grilled veggies to help beat the heat, and be sure to drink plenty of fluids….the adult root beer float in this month’s Food Network magazine is perfect for dessert…..

This week brought a variety of greens from the garden. Basil, cilantro, red swiss chard, lettuce, tatsoi, arugula and a few radishes and strawberries for color. So what do I do with all of these? I started with what I had in the fridge. Some tofu, carrots, and a pepper. There were some soba noodles and a little leftover coconut milk from a recipe I made last week. Thai curry! I seasoned the tofu with some red curry powder, sauteed the carrot, pepper, zucchini and scallions in a pan.

I then added some red curry, a little soy sauce and fish sauce, then stirred in the coconut milk. Tofu was seared, then added to the pan while I boiled the soba noodles. Just before tossing together, I added the tatsoi, cilantro and a squish of lime juice (yes that is a technical term).

With the swiss chard, I will be making creamy poblano, chard and potato tacos – (http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=228) with maybe a spiced shrimp skewer on the grill. Looking forward to this one. As for the radishes and strawberries – well, those will be enjoyed “au natural” as we are watching our waistlines and my hubby keeps saying “NO” to me making a strawberry rhubarb pie…….he’s right of course, but still.

Until next week – good eating and enjoy the local bounty! Happy Summer to all.

CSA delivery, week 3

June 11, 2011

Friday evening I picked up my CSA share and was delighted to see fresh strawberries. I had to taste one as soon as I got the car – delicious! Sweet, though really berry tasting (yes I know that sounds stupid, but I realized the store bought from CA berries tasted a little flat in comparison). Just full flavor, not overly sweet, and very juicy. Red all the way thru too – no mealy, whitish texture. Yes, I must do more with these little gems besides topping my cereal.
Also included in the mix was a beautiful head of lettuce, a small bunch of baby spinach, one sprig of basil (really?), and a bunch of spring onions. The spring onions were really unique with a purplish tinge and little onion smelling flowers on top. Let’s see…a strawberry salad with a poppy seed vinaigrette? A strawberry salsa for some fish? Strawberry rhubarb pie is calling, but after splurging on dessert last night, I need to rethink a skinny option for that one. Green onion pancakes? Lot’s of choices……

I decided to do a bulgur salad with the fresh spring onions. Bulgur, mint, parsley, red and spring onions and tomatoes mix with a blended green onion vinaigrette (olive oil, chile pepper, green onion and honey). Think tabbouleh with a kick – thanks Bobby Flay! This made a delicious side dish to a nice piece of grilled fish, served on a bed of that green, crisp lettuce we got too. I took some strawberries and mixed them with a rhubarb syrup I had made for cocktails last week, and baked a nice oat biscuit to go along. Healthy right? Well better than the ice cram pie we shared last night…c’mon. I WILL forgo the whipped cream (most likely in lieu of a glass of red wine).

The basil….what to do with this. I think I will fine chop and toss on the fish with a little EVOO for broiling. Baby spinach – you will have to wait until tomorrow…to be stuffed into a tomato, or an omelette. Or maybe in a nice light soup with mushrooms. I need to grocery shopping….again! Argh. Hate shopping in the rain. Anyway….can’t wait to see what next week brings. I heard rumor of beet greens. Yum. Eat local, support our local farmers, and if in doubt, ask me – I am always happy to share ideas for cooking!

So I have joined a CSA for veggies and a shared fish share thru www.capeannfreshcatch.org/. I chose the 2 lbs of filets option every other week for the summer. Today I will pick up my Dabs from the F/V Sabrina Marie. My what? What the heck is a Dab? I know cod, flounder, halibut. I know Mahi Mahi, grouper, and Baramundi. But Dabs? Well a quick Google search tells me that a Dab is like a flounder. In fact it is part of the flounder family. It is a smaller, flat fish, typically found near UK. Hmmmm so where did the Sabrina Marie go fishing?

Any way, the nice people at Cape Ann supply a recipe to be tried for this fish. The fishermen like their Dabs simple. A little flour and pan fried. I decided, based on time and lack of red peppers, to do a simple flour/egg/flour coating and pan fry. I served my fish with a chickpea and apricot salad. May I just say this little known fish gives a huge punch of flavor – delicious! Tender, nice white fish flavor, not fishy, but not bland. Good texture and needed nothing extra to enjoy it. As we received 2 pounds, half went in the freezer for another time. In case you are still curious – the supplied recipe follows (and may be made with the other half of the fish). I am sure I will try this at a later date and will report back. Can’t wait to see what next delivery brings. Eat more fish, it’s good for you and just plain good!

Dabs with with a red pepper

1 7- to 8-ounce red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
4 5- to 6-ounce skinless thin fish fillets
2 tablespoons (or more) butter
2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil

Using on/off turns, chop bell pepper in processor until juices form.
Transfer to small sieve set over bowl; let drain 10 minutes. Mix next
4 ingredients in small bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup bell pepper. Season
mayonnaise with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead.
Cover and chill.
Mix flour and next 2 ingredients in pie dish. Whisk egg and milk in
another dish. Place breadcrumbs in third dish. Sprinkle fillets with
salt and pepper. Coat each side with flour, then egg mixture, then
breadcrumbs, covering completely.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large
skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add
fish to skillet. Sauté until just opaque in center and crust is golden
brown, adding more butter and oil as needed, about 4 minutes per side.
Serve fillets with red pepper mayonnaise.

CSA season has begun

June 5, 2011

My first season of being a CSA member has begun. Two weeks into the Sharon, MA farm season and I have so far had radishes, lettuce, baby spinach and more radishes. I also received a dill plant and a cilantro plant. I am excited to see what comes next and will be sharing my experiences, recipes and new tastes with you all. Needless to say I have had some wonderful salads, radishes as snacks, sliced on a sandwich and a spinach omelette (a very small bunch of spinach). There is rumor of strawberries, eggplant and arugula to come soon. Stay tuned!