Someone Else's Farm

June 30, 2010

Week 03: List from newsletter

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 14:25 PM

New week, new newsletter, new pickup tomorrow. Here’s what’s supposed to be coming:

  • Asparagus
  • Bok choy
  • Rainbow chard
  • Garlic scapes
  • Green kale
  • Red kale
  • Rhubarb
  • Either pak choi, an extra bok choy, or tatsoi in lieu of broccoli

It was very hot over the weekend, and at the beginning of this week. Thus, the broccoli on the farm bolted, so we won’t get any more till fall. It didn’t go to waste, however: the farm harvested it to feed to their 12 pigs. While we have the option of putting down a deposit for a heritage breed pig, we think we’re going to hold off this year. At the very least, we’d need to clean out some freezer space and find some friends to share with. We might even need another freezer, specifically for the purpose of holding meat, if we don’t find someone to share with. The problem with meat in the freezer is the need to plan ahead a couple of days for adequate thawing time. I’m not so good at that. So for this year, we’ll probably pass.

We won’t be getting many, if any, peas or beans either, thanks to some hungry deer that apparently left the weeds untouched. They may also go on the list for replanting in the fall, along with broccoli. I wonder if maybe the CSA needs to look into adding free-range venison to their options.

The newsletter included a note on substitutions, to clarify that CSA means everyone shares the loss, just as when there’s a bumper crop of something, everyone shares the bounty. Given the lack of broccoli this spring, I most definitely feel some ownership, and I really hope the blueberries do well.

Given the continuous output of greens, I was not surprised to see a recipe suggestion for a bok choy salad. Casey pointed out that I’ve been enjoying this salad for many years courtesy of Aunt Charlene; it’s one of her go-to dishes for a potluck, which most family occasions are. In addition to the eponymous bok choy, it involves sesame seeds, almonds, olive oil/lemon juice dressing, and uncooked ramen noodles for crunch. The other recipe is for a rhubarb tart, which I passed on to Casey. I’m holding out for blueberries.

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Apologies to Philadelphia

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , — M @ 14:06 PM

Sausage, kale, provolone, bread

Last night at dinner, I made sandwiches inspired by a Philadelphia favorite, the roast pork and broccoli rabe sandwich. But since I had neither pork to roast nor broccoli rabe, I made do with what was in my fridge: sausages and kale. The kale was the dinosaur kale from last Thursday’s delivery, which I stemmed, ribboned, steamed in a touch of water till tender, squeezed mostly dry, and tossed in olive oil with an onion. The sausages were a chicken Italian sausage, purchased already cooked, split lengthwise to expose more surface area, and browned in a touch more olive oil in the same frying pan as the kale. The sandwich was on a rather generic roll, with the kale, a pair of sausage halves, and then a slice of provolone layered on top, and the whole thing heated under the broiler till the cheese was melted and slightly brown.

This meal didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, as something had a sort of musty flavor that I really didn’t care for. The problem had nothing to do with the kale, roll, or cheese, and everything to do with the sausage. I verified this by removing the sausage from my second sandwich and eating it just as greens and cheese on bread, and thereby removing the musty flavor that I didn’t like. Next time, I’ll use a different brand of chicken sausage, or go back to Bosco’s regular, reliably good, sausage. I actually wish we’d had more kale: that big bunch we got wilted down into just barely enough to lightly cover the four rolls. I would have preferred a thicker layer, especially on my second, sausageless, sandwich.

From this week, we still have lettuce and rhubarb, and stuff that’s destined for stir-fry (yellow squash, bok choy, tatsoi). I’m thinking stir-fried veg tonight, maybe as a side dish to whatever. Leftover pie for dessert, of course!

June 29, 2010

Paging Billy Boy

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , — M @ 14:26 PM

Why yes, in fact, I can bake a cherry pie. I humbly submit to you Exhibit A, based upon Melissa Clark’s two-stage recipe in the New York Times:

Now, my confession. The pie contains some blueberry interlopers. The quart of sour cherries that we picked up at the farmer’s market last week was a little short of the two pounds the recipe called for. I ate all the sweet cherries long ago, and delicious they were. But the pint of blueberries was untouched, as of yesterday afternoon, so I decided to commit a fruity form of miscegeny. And once I had the blueberries to go with the red cherries and the white sugar, I decided I had to put stars on top, even if it’s a week early for a Patriotic Pie.

Of course, I couldn’t make the recipe as written, especially since I’d already subbed in blueberries for about 6 ounces of cherries. My other tweaks to the recipe:

  • For the liquid in the pie crust, I used half ice water and half vodka, as per an instruction from Cook’s Illustrated magazine a while back. I keep my vodka bottle in the freezer, mixed 3 Tbsp. water with 3 Tbsp. vodka, and added that mixture a Tbsp. at a time to the food processor containing the butter, flour, and a touch of salt. I like to do this because it means you can add enough liquid to the dough that it’s nicely moistened and there’s little risk of the dough cracking as you roll it, but there’s less issue with toughening the dough because alcohol doesn’t promote gluten development.
  • This, of course, meant that my food processor was gunked up and wet. I only have one food processor, and I really hate washing (much less drying) that beast by hand because it bites! (I’ll spare you Exhibit B: the old photo of a sliced finger.) Therefore, I question Ms. Clark’s sanity when she suggests using the food processor (again) to grind tapioca with sugar and cinnamon for the filling. When I was making the filling, the food processor bowl and blade were in the dishwasher. So I used my spice grinder to make the sweetening/thickening/flavoring component. Except that my spice grinder’s way too small to handle all the sugar. As it was, I think I added too much sugar, because the tapioca granules didn’t get completely processed. Furthermore, I’m not convinced that grinding the sugar finer really makes much difference to the final result. So next time, I’d just combine the tapioca and cinnamon in the grinder, let ‘er rip till the tapioca was completely powdered, and then mix it in with the sugar. For this pie, I used the full 3 Tbsp. tapioca, because I know that blueberries are notorious for exuding lots of juice and making a runny pie, and nearly a quarter of the fruit in my pie was blueberries.
  • I mixed up my filling even before I rolled the bottom crust out. This meant that my fruit was mixed with the sugar/tapioca mixture for probably longer than the recipe intended. In this case, though, it’s not such a bad thing because I did have a significant amount of unground tapioca in the thickener (probably because I overfilled the grinder). So by sitting in the fruit and the juice it exuded, the bigger pieces of tapioca had more time to hydrate fully.
  • I don’t regularly keep cream in the house. So I used milk to brush the top crust pieces instead. To add to the horror, I used skim milk, because that’s generally what I have on hand.
  • I contemplated demerara sugar for sprinkling on top. But then I figured that I’d already broken tradition enough by using vodka in the crust, adding blueberries to the filling, and brushing the top with milk, so why not change something else yet again? I amped up the patriotic bit by using white pearl sugar instead, and I think it had the desired effect.

Now, the things I didn’t quite get right, none of which were very serious:

  • The abovementioned issue with grinding the thickening. The end result had some distinct pieces of cooked-in-juice tapioca that didn’t enhance the overall pie texture. Easily remedied next time.
  • My pie bubbled over. It would have looked prettier if I’d taken the picture 15 minutes before the pie came out of the oven. But when I make fruit pies, I generally wait until I see the juices bubbling everywhere before declaring it done. And in this case, it bubbled over. I’m glad I have a self-cleaning oven.
  • I really should have made a point to get some vanilla ice cream. Lucky for me, I have a chance to remedy this problem later today when I need to go out anyway.

And finally, the things that worked:

  • I love my cherry pitter, which was a gift from my MIL eons ago. It makes the task of pitting pie cherries much less onerous.
  • The blueberry-cherry combination is a keeper, both in the end result and in labor savings.
  • I’d never tried using kirsch in a cherry pie before, but I think it made a difference.
  • I got the amount of sweetener just right.
  • Chunklets of tapioca not withstanding, the filling was thickened enough to not flow all over the place when it was cut, but not so thick that it was gunky like a canned pie filling.
  • The crust was appropriately flaky, and not tough. This one’s a real victory for me, and I attribute it to the vodka, and to the fact that I made a point of chilling my hands in cold cold water (and then drying them well) before I touched the dough each time.

And no, I didn’t even consider adding the rhubarb to my pie.

June 28, 2010

Spanakopita

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , — M @ 13:33 PM

Spanakopita triangles

I present to you Saturday night’s dinner.

These are phyllo triangles, filled with a mixture of feta, chard (all of this week’s bunch), spinach (leftover from a bag we’d purchased before the CSA started and somehow mostly still good), and onion. The method was inspired by a recipe I found on the Food Network Web site, by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.And technically, I guess it would be more properly called spanakotyropita, as I used cheese inside as well as spinach. There should probably be another word in there as well, but I don’t have the foggiest idea what the Greek word for “chard” is.

To prep the chard, I cut the big stems out,  diced them, and set them aside, and I separately cut the leaves into very wide (like 2 inches wide) ribbons. To prep the spinach, I picked through the bag to remove all the slimy wilty bits from the good stuff. At the stove, I started by cooking the stems in a bit of olive oil until they were blistery and just a touch browned. After a while I added the chard leaves, and then at the very end the spinach I’d salvaged from the bag. When everything was nicely wilted, I moved it all into a bowl, let it cool down a tad, and squeezed the liquid out with my asbestos hands. I then chopped the whole shebang a bit more. No added salt needed; the feta would add plenty.

While the greens cooked and cooled, I diced an onion. The onion went into the pan (no need to wash it!) with a little more olive oil to soften and start to brown. Once that happened, I added the chopped greens, and kept it on the heat a touch longer, to get rid of as much liquid as I possibly could. And when the filling was cooked, I preheated the oven. No sense in heating the kitchen any sooner than need be! Finally, I put the cooked filling in a bowl, stirred it a little bit until it quit steaming, and mixed in about a third of a pound of crumbled French feta (yes, the same feta I’d gotten to go in the tacos.) I got a disher ready to go in the filling, and poured some olive oil into a dish with a pastry brush.

Finally, time to deal with phyllo. I realize the word phyllo strikes fear into many hearts. (Truth be told, I’d prefer to use homemade strudel dough, but not at 6 PM when the dining room table isn’t cleared off so I have no surface on which to stretch dough.) For me, though, phyllo is much easier than it used to be. Secret number 1 is to make sure the box spends ample time in the fridge, so it’s completely thawed when you’re ready to use it. Secret number 2 is to pick a humid day. And Secret number 3 is don’t let the dough sense your fear. Accordingly, I’d brought my box of dough home from the store on Friday, and put it into the refrigerator straightaway. When I opened it on a rainy Saturday evening, it was ready to go. And I didn’t even bother with waxed paper/damp paper towel coverings: too much work!

I worked with the phyllo straight off the stack. I brushed the rightmost third of the top sheet of dough (I’m left-handed) with the olive oil, and folded the right third over. Then I brushed the top of the folded portion with more oil, and folded the left portion over, to give me a triple-thick, one-third-wide strip of phyllo. I brushed the top of the strip with more oil, used the disher to plop on a scoop of filling, and folded the dough like a flag to make a triangle with the filling inside. The triangle got moved onto a sheet pan with a Silpat, leaving the stack of phyllo dough intact with a brand-new top sheet ready to go. My filling quantity made nine triangles. I’d thought I might have enough that I could freeze some of the triangles to bake later, but the chard cooked down enough that I decided to go ahead and bake them all. Thus, I brushed each triangle with more oil, and slid the pan into the preheated oven to bake for about half an hour, until the triangles were nicely browned on top and the insides were hot. Only one leaked, and just a little!

I had lots of phyllo left over. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but I need to figure it out soon. As for the leftover triangles, they’re today’s lunch.

June 26, 2010

Post-Nap Dinner

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , — M @ 09:18 AM

Yesterday, both of us were tired after a long day. So independently, we each lay down (Casey in front of the TV, me with a book) and napped for a couple of hours. I don’t know about Casey, but a couple of hours later, I woke up with a cat quietly staring at me. It was more than an hour past his usual dinnertime, so he was, in fact, being very patient. Not long after that, Casey came upstairs and we bounced around ideas for dinner, specifically ideas to use the piece of wild salmon filet I’d brought home, what was left from last week’s vegetables, and other leftover odds and ends. It was getting late and I was hungry, but Casey made something more involved than I would have expected or cooked under the circumstances.

Fish; stuffed chard leaf

The sauce for the fish came from a recipe Casey found on the BBC’s Web site. I think he said it was from Olive magazine. It was a bunch of things, including ginger, a whole chile, and tomatoes, whizzed together and then cooked down. It was gutsy, hot and sweet but not totally overwhelming the salmon, definitely a keeper, and I was delighted that we have a bit left over to use on something else. He says it was also easy, which is always good.

The bundle is what happened to the last of last week’s chard (and the leftover rice from the stir-fry lunch). It was kind of a mash-up from two of Jack Bishop’s recipes: one for a chard leaf stuffed with bulghur and the other for chard stems. The biggest of the remaining leaves were blanched and shocked. The other leaves were separated from their stems, and leaves and stems were cooked separately, combined with leftover rice and I don’t know what else, and bundled and rolled inside the big leaves. The cheese is part of a wheel of Gouda we purchased in the Netherlands and aged a little longer, and is now as good a grating cheese as Parmesan. The stuffed chard leaf is another idea worth hanging onto, especially as we have another big bundle of chard to use this week…and more coming next week (along with its buddies Green Kale and Red Kale, it sounds like).

We agreed that the two pieces were both good. But the two together didn’t work quite so well. Next time we’ll serve them in separate meals.

June 24, 2010

Week 02

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , , — M @ 17:26 PM

Rhubarb, kale, tatsoi, scapes, squash

Scapes, chard, other greens

Here’s the list from the newsletter, compared to what we actually got in the box:

  • Asparagus: nope. Stands at the farmer’s market still had it, but considering that the day lilies along the sides of many of the roads around here are blooming, spring’s over, summer’s here, and the asparagus season must be nearing its end.
  • Bok choy: one good-sized head.
  • Broccoli: no. Considering that the two heads we got last week were on the pitiful side, I’m not sure this is a bad thing.
  • Rainbow chard: a bunch.
  • Garlic scapes: a bunch.
  • Lacinato kale: I think this is the other bundle of greens we got, the bundle that isn’t chard.
  • Green kale: not this week.
  • Green royal oak leaf lettuce: We got two bunches of teeny-tiny heads of greens with elongated spiny leaves, but to me they look like dandelion greens or possibly arugula, not lettuce. Until I’m told otherwise, I’m going to assume dandelion greens, and tag them as such.
  • Green romaine lettuce: See green royal oak leaf lettuce, above.
  • Tatsoi: Must be the other head of greens, the head that isn’t bok choy.

Not on the list from this week but included in our box: rhubarb (a small bundle) and two medium-sized yellow squashes. No strawberries, although a few vendors at the market still had them as well.

To supplement, from vendors at the market, we got a quart of sour cherries, a quart of sweet cherries (a yellow variety, popularly referred to as either Queen Anne or Rainier depending on where you are), and a quart of blueberries. I was surprised to see the blueberries, first of the year, but then again, if the day lilies are blooming it’s summer, and summer is blueberry season.

We also got dinner at the market: the folks at St. Stephen’s Church (the local Polish Catholic church) were selling kielbasa sandwiches, kapusta (sauerkraut), and galumpki (cabbage leaves with a meat-based stuffing, cooked in a tomato sauce). Kielbasa sandwich, in this context, refers to a link of kielbasa and a slice of rye bread (individually sealed in a plastic ziplock bag) placed on top. If you want kapusta, they’ll give you a scoop in another section of the styrofoam tray. Ditto on the galumpki (which are about the size of my fist, much bigger than I make stuffed cabbage). Casey got his sandwich with kapusta; I prefer mine without but I got a galumpki. (If you speak Polish, could you please let me know whether that’s singular or plural?) We were hungry tonight, and it all vanished in short order.

Casey will figure out something to do with the rhubarb. It’s not one of my favorites.

Leftovers

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , — M @ 14:40 PM

Lunch today: the leftover potato/poblano/chard taco filling, wrapped in the leftover corn tortillas. The filling, I reheated in the microwave until it was steaming hot. And this time, instead of steaming the tortillas, I heated each one directly on a gas burner of my range, flipping it with a pair of tongs every few seconds, until it puffed. This worked much better than the steaming, at least for the few that I had; I’m not sure I’d want to do a dozen tortillas that way.

The filling was really yummy today also, albeit not quite as pretty as the first time around.

June 23, 2010

Asparagus with shells

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , — M @ 18:34 PM

Dinner tonight: a sort of asparagus carbonara.
Asparagus carbonara

I started, of course, by putting a pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta: about half a pound of medium shells. I also large-diced an onion, and put two eggs into hot tap water to get the refrigerator chill off. We had a wedge  of provolone in the fridge, so I grated that on a box grater. And I contemplated the other half bunch of chard, but chose to leave it in the fridge.

I tried Alton Brown’s microwave steaming method for the asparagus. (We just watched the Asparagus episode of Good Eats last night.) As directed, I chopped off the bottom couple of inches of the bunch of asparagus, wet a bunch of paper towels, laid the asparagus on the paper towels, sprinkled on a three-finger pinch of salt, and rolled the salted asparagus up in the wet paper towels. The package went into the microwave (ours has a turntable built in) with the seam facing down, and I started it going (3 minutes) just after I added the pasta to the boiling water.

While the pasta boiled, I browned the onion in a bit of butter, using the same cheapo Ikea wok we’d used last night. (It had spent the night upside-down on the stove, and was patiently waiting for me all day!) By the time the onion was browned, the asparagus was nicely cooked. I carefully removed it from the steamy microwave, unwrapped it, saved a few spears to leave whole, cut the rest into pieces a couple of inches (or so) long, and put it near the stove. By the time all this had happened, the eggs were warmed nicely, so I cracked them into a bowl and beat them, and put that by the stove also. When the pasta was al dente, I drained it (but not too well) and put it, and the asparagus, into the wok with the browned onion. I gave them a quick toss, dumped in the beaten eggs and mixed it all, decided it looked a bit dry so I added a little bit of the pasta-cooking water, and mixed some more. At this point, all it needed was the grated provolone. I put portions into two bowls, added a couple of the whole spears to each bowl, et voilà! Dinner is served.

I was hungry tonight. No leftovers. Still have half a batch of chard, the head of lettuce, and some radishes. Guess I’d better plan to eat a radish-and-butter sandwich with lettuce tomorrow, before we pick up the new box.

June 22, 2010

Week 02: List from newsletter

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 17:55 PM

What we’re supposed to get in this Thursday’s box, according to the Best Guess Harvest listing:

  • Asparagus
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Rainbow chard
  • Garlic scapes
  • Lacinato kale
  • Green kale
  • Green royal oak leaf lettuce
  • Green romaine lettuce
  • Tatsoi

Tatsoi is new to me. To quote the newsletter: “It is in the brassica family. You cook and prepare it like you would bok choy.” We have a recipe for browned butter pasta with tatsoi this week: short chunky pasta, butter, tatsoi, sage, parm, maybe some lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. This got me thinking about cabbage and noodles. The classic dish, sometimes known in these parts by the Slavic name haluski, is noodles (wide egg, elbows, or whatever your mother used) boiled until tender and mixed with ordinary green cabbage that’s been cut into pieces (squares, ribbons, something else to match the shape of the pasta), maybe salted and pressed but then again maybe not, and cooked very slowly, for a very long time, in butter (maybe with the grease from some browned sausage, maybe the sausage meat itself gets mixed in with the noodles, or maybe not for a completely meatless dish, depending again on what your mother did or depending on who’s coming over for dinner or maybe depending on whether it’s Lent) until the cabbage is completely soft and brown and sweet. I could make a whole dinner out of that, especially on a cold, snowy, wintry night. But in the recipe in the newsletter, the tatsoi is just barely cooked until it’s slightly wilted. I guess that’s more suitable for a summer day anyway.

Lacinato kale is also known as dinosaur kale, the newsletter sez. To me, kale is kale is kale, lacinato or dinosaur or green or otherwise. It works well in combination with sausage, particularly spicy sausage. And based on the list for this week, I’m going to be exploring all kinds of permutations of kale , with and without sausages. The newsletter says that all kales work well in soups. Saturday looks like the coolest day of the upcoming week, topping out at only 71 °F, with a chance of thunderstorms. Maybe that’ll feel like soup weather. I have a box of chicken broth and a can of white beans ready!

As for the chard, I’m starting to think of it as a slightly gutsier version of spinach. We still have most of the feta cheese I’d gotten for the taco filling. Maybe I’ll make a batch of strudel dough and fill it with cooked and squeezed-dry chard and feta, sort of like a Hungarian-Greek fusion spanakopita strudel. Or maybe I’ll just get lazy and pick up a box of phyllo dough at the supermarket.

I’m happy to see garlic scapes on the list again. The newsletter author did a garlic scape linguini alfredo with shrimp, asparagus, and roasted red peppers. This sounds good. But this Serious Eats post reminded me of Dorie Greenspan’s garlic scape pesto, with parmesan and almonds. The really ironic thing about garlic scapes is that once upon a time, we lived in a house with a large garden. We never planted much in the garden ourselves, but we had volunteer tomato plants (especially the first couple of years we lived there), and horseradish, and catnip after we made the mistake of planting it directly in the ground once, and garlic. And because we had garlic plants, every spring we’d get garlic scapes. And once upon that time, I didn’t have a clue what to do with them, so they just stayed there! I’d always dig up at least some of the garlic bulbs in the fall, but not once did it strike me that the green thingies sprouting up every spring might actually be not only edible but tasty. Of course, those were also the dark days before we had broadband Internet access!

I’m starting to feel a little like the Witch in Sondheim’s Into the Woods: “Greens, greens, and nothing but greens….”

The newsletter also apologized for shorting some boxes on asparagus and strawberries. We were among the latter, apparently, forced down that road when Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. They’re trying to do strawberries in this week’s box for those of us who didn’t get them last time. If that doesn’t work, we’re supposed to get extra broccoli. Should that be the case, we might actually have enough broccoli for more than a small stir-fry.

Plastic Snakes?

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , — M @ 15:47 PM

That’s what our friend A. thought the garlic scapes looked like, when we invited her to come at lunchtime for a stir-fry lesson. We made a small batch of plain old white rice, and three stir-fried dishes: one with cabbage, one with carrots and garlic scapes, and one with broccoli and tofu. And we also just made some plain fried tofu.

First, as with any stir-fry, was the prep. In two cases, that meant carefully reading and taking notes from a basis recipe.

C and A looking at a cookbook

What do I do?

The sweet and sour cabbage recipe is from Big Bowl Noodles and Rice, one of our favorite Asian idea sources. We actually make this one pretty much as the recipe says. The garlic scape stir fry came from a Google search, but we modified this one a bit as we didn’t have any baby corn on hand, and our bunch of garlic scapes was significantly smaller than the recipe called for. The broccoli and tofu stir fry came out of Casey’s head, as did the fried tofu. Before picking up any knives, Casey and A. first mixed up their sauces.

Mixing up sauces

Mixing up sauces

For the cabbage, the sauce was made from sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, water, salt, and vinegar. The cabbage also required a handful of chiles; we used five Tien Tsin peppers from Penzey’s. For the garlic scapes, the sauce was water, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch and pepper. We even had a few dried shiitake mushrooms, which we soaked in hot water before starting to mix the sauces. For the broccoli, the sauce started with a special sweet and smoky barbecue sauce made by a friend of a friend, mixed with water and cornstarch. Once each set of sauce ingredients was combined, it was time to head to the knives.

The cabbage was the second half of a head we’d gotten last weekend. (The first half of the head made coleslaw.) The recipe said to cut it into inch-and-a-half squares. We weren’t overly particular about that.

Cutting up cabbage

Cutting up cabbage

The prep for the garlic scape stir-fry was a little more involved, with julienned carrot, peeled and sliced ginger, and sectioned garlic scapes. The rehydrated shiitakes got cut off their tough stems and chunked, to go with the other ingredients of this stir-fry. And we sliced a clove of garlic for the prep plate as well.

Garlic scape prep

Garlic scape prep

The broccoli florets were sectioned into bite-sized pieces, and the stems were peeled and sliced. And the last bit of prep was a box of extra-firm tofu. Half the tofu was cubed for the stir-fry, and the other half was sliced and dried on paper towels to get cooked as-is. All the prep was moved to the side of the stove, along with the sauces, ready for the cooking to begin!

The cabbage was the most straightforward of everything. We used our cheapo Ikea wok, and started by cooking the cabbage in some hot peanut oil until it was softened but still slightly crunchy, with a little bit of brown.

Cooking cabbage

Cooking the cabbage

When the cabbage was cooked, it came out of the wok temporarily. The chiles then got a bath in hot oil (make sure to turn your vent fan on when you try this!) until the color changed, and they puffed a little bit. We pulled them out of the oil once this had happened, as burned chiles are really nasty. The sauce had settled by then, so it got a quick stir before it got added to the chile-spiked oil in the wok, to boil and bubble and thicken. Once the sauce was ready, all that was left was to add the cabbage back into the wok, and toss it to coat with the sauce.

The garlic scape stir-fry was also pretty standard: heat oil, add aromatics (in this case, ginger and garlic), add fresh vegetables (carrot and garlic scapes), add a splash of liquid (we used white wine) and cover to steam till tender, add rehydrated mushroom pieces, add sauce, cook till boiling and thickened.

The broccoli and tofu stir-fry was similar: cook tofu in oil till done, add broccoli, add liquid, steam till tender, add sauce, bring to a boil and stir together.

Other stir-fry

Other stir-fry

As for the fried tofu slices, they went into a frying pan with plenty of oil, and were left to cook undisturbed until browned and slightly crunchy. We got to show A. what happens when you try to turn them too soon: the tofu rips. Everything went onto the table except the rice cooker

Three stir-frys and some tofu

Lunch is served.

and we demolished most of it. We probably won’t need much dinner tonight.

From our allotment this week, we still have all the asparagus and lettuce, some of the radishes, and half a bunch of chard left. It’s about 48 hours till we pick up the next box.

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