Someone Else's Farm

September 16, 2010

New Recipes

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

We made some new dishes this week with our CSA share. We even made two recipes for the same little squash!

The squash started out in a recipe from the most recent issue of Fine Cooking, for a braised acorn squash with rosemary. The squash was the little carnival or sweet dumpling or whatever it was, and the rosemary came from the next-door neighbor’s bush. Casey made it, we tasted it, and it was pretty much meh. We aren’t sure whether this particular squash variety doesn’t have a huge potent flavor to begin with, or if it wasn’t cooked as much as it should have been, but for whatever reason it didn’t float our boat. Instead, we put the wedges of (par-)cooked squash in the fridge for later, and went out for dinner that night.

A couple of days later, it was time to do something with the squash. I cut it off the rind, and cubed it. And then I cooked a pound of whole-grain shells (Barilla brand), mixed them and the squash cubes together with a cheese sauce that I zinged up with plenty of cayenne, and baked up a mac and cheese with squash. This worked well. My mac and cheese recipe is mostly from Cook’s Illustrated, but I never bother with a crumb topping. In this case, I topped the pan with caramelized onions, which worked really well with the dish. And although I’m not generally a fan of most whole-grain pasta, it worked fine in this dish.

We also found something new to do with mustard greens! This recipe came from the December 2000 issue of Fine Cooking (and I apologize for the locked link; I couldn’t find the recipe elsewhere.

Noodle soup

We used a package of sirloin strips that we’d found marked down at Wegman’s that morning as the meat, some somen noodles from the Asian market in Syracuse, and the mustard greens. We used some boxed chicken broth as the base for the soup, but next time we might try using some of the Thai broth to further Asianify the flavors with no extra effort on our part. We also think this would probably do well in a shabu-shabu type treatment with thin strips of beef, or possibly like some kinds of pho where very thin slices of raw meat are placed in a soup bowl and very hot broth is poured on top. Either variation would be a fun dish for the right kind of company!

And finally, last night I made mujadarah (or megadarrah, or whatever name you want to call it). We first had this dish at the Aladdin’s restaurant in Hudson, OH, with our friends Dan and Emmy. I followed Claudia Roden’s recipe, which I have in both her New Book of Middle Eastern Food and her Book of Jewish Food, and is also available on line. It’s basically lentils and rice, with lots and lots of caramelized onions. I used green French lentils, because I like the way they hold their shape when they’re cooked, and basmati rice, because I love the flavor and texture and it’s what I keep on hand. And caramelized onions are always good. Aladdin’s serves their mujadarah with a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, and parsley, with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. I did the same, except for the parsley because I didn’t have any and I forgot to get some when I went shopping. I even went so far as to get really good yogurt…which I then forgot about in the fridge. I guess that means we have it to eat with the leftovers this weekend. Oops.

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September 11, 2010

Week 12 Haul

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , — M @ 08:23 AM

It rained on Thursday night. Here’s what I picked up, compared to the list:

  • Rainbow Chard: no. I’m not complaining.
  • Mizuna: I don’t think so?
  • Mustard Greens: Maybe. We got some kind of cooking green, but without a label I can’t tell exactly what it is.
  • Yellow Onions: yes, a double handful of little ones.
  • Sweet Green Peppers: 2
  • Hot Pepper Mix (Frying, Hungarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno): a few jalapenos and some bigger yellowish-green ones
  • Cherry Belle Radish: nope
  • Carnival Squash: 1, which looks exactly like last week’s squash.
  • Tomatillos: yes, about like last week.
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: yes, much less beat-up than last week, both plum and round shapes.
  • And also, a box of orange cherry tomatoes, and a few apples.

September 01, 2010

Summertime Eating

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , , , , — M @ 12:27 PM

I wish we’d gotten the eggplant. That, to me, is the food of summer, along with tomatoes.

But instead, we got zucchini. I grated it and turned it into another batch of zucchini cake, this time with the lemon glaze. The glaze turned out to not add much, I thought, so next time I probably won’t bother. It’s certainly well worth making, even if the house is devoid of lemons. Casey thought it was just fine without the glaze, so I’ll be adding this to my zucchini repertoire.

And we got cucumber and tomatoes, which I turned into Asian gazpacho. The recipe is from Ming Tsai’s first book, Blue Ginger, and because Amazon lets you search inside, if you look for “Asian gazpacho” you’ll get to the recipe. I had basil and cilantro and jicama, and stole the mint from the next-door neighbor’s prolific herb garden. (That’s not totally accurate. I stole the mint, and then I phoned and asked permission.) The onion, tomatoes and cucumber came from the CSA. I am currently out of sambal oelek so I used sriracha instead, and for the chile I used a poblano. (I could have used one of those jalapenos that we didn’t get also.) Casey thought it was a little too spicy for his taste. I didn’t care for the mint, which I’ll leave out next time. I think it’s worth keeping in mind, but tweaking.

We also used up last week’s tomatillos. Casey turned them, the other poblanos, some garlic, some raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and other things into a pipian-style sauce. We ate it on a grilled pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces which we wrapped in warm flour tortillas. We had a little bit of pork, and some sauce, left over; they’ll go onto a pizza tonight.Pork, green sauce, tortillas

And last night: homemade black bean burgers and salad (CSA lettuce, CSA tomatoes, store red pepper).

The calendar may say September, but it’s definitely still summertime here!

August 30, 2010

Week 10, with a rant

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , , — M @ 13:20 PM

What I picked up on Thursday (in the car, which did get home in time after all):

  • Green beans: a small bagful, about the same amount as the yellow beans from the last couple of weeks.
  • Cucumbers: one.
  • Purple eggplant: nope. Nor any other color of eggplant, either. Too bad, because I like eggplant.
  • Red kale: yes. Sigh. It’s already been washed, wilted, and frozen so we don’t have to think about it for a while. The same thing happened to last week’s kale.
  • Red leaf lettuce: a head.
  • Bunching onions: a lunchbagful. They weren’t very bunched.
  • Antohi and jalapeno peppers: nope. Neither. No peppers whatsoever.
  • Zucchini squash: a dinged-up baseball bat. Maybe it was used to bash up the tomatoes?
  • Heirloom tomatoes: three, none of which were in great shape. All the tomatoes we got looked rather bruised, as though they’d been bounced on the ground, or the container had been shaken. And one of them had a weird whitish top half that was much firmer than the rest of the tomato. By Friday morning, one was starting to turn black in the scar left behind where the stem had been. By Sunday, two of them had areas of rot and were attracting fruit flies, so I tossed them. The remaining one seems to be doing OK for now.
  • And, to make up for the stuff we didn’t get but were supposed to, maybe: some other greens that appear to be arugula-like.

The incident with the tomatoes reminds me of the last time I shopped at a market in Paris, several years ago. When you buy produce in a French market, the vendor will typically ask you when you plan to eat it. And then, the vendor will choose the items for you, based on your answer. If you plan to eat the tomatoes that very day, you’ll get tomatoes that will be extraordinarily juicy and ripe…and that are over the hill after 24 hours. If, however, you don’t think you’ll get to the tomatoes until the next day, you’ll get tomatoes that are a little bit more firm, but will be ready when you’re ready for them. Which gets to my point: it seems like some (nay, most!) of the produce we’ve been getting is all teetering on the edge of almost overripe when it gets to us on Thursday evening. Which is great if we’re going to eat it all that very night, but that never happens. In fact, most of the time, Thursday night we’ve already got other plans for dinner, and those plans don’t necessarily involve anything we pick up that day. The tomatoes we’ve been getting of late are definitely of the “must eat immediately” variety. Any chard wilts by Saturday morning at the latest, no matter how carefully we treat it. (The two consistent exceptions to the “must eat now” seem to be onions and green/yellow beans, which hold well in the refrigerator.)

The problem, of course, is twofold. First, we get lots of produce that needs to be dealt with immediately. And second, if we do in fact deal with all that produce immediately, we don’t have much produce left for later in the week, but we hate to buy more, knowing that within a few days we’ll be flooded again.

What I wish: more of each week’s haul was specifically things that will keep reasonably well, so each week’s share actually lasts through a whole week.

August 26, 2010

Week 09: What We Ate

Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , , , , , , , — M @ 09:56 AM

Or, more properly, “Week 09: What I Ate.” We had only one night together, before Casey took the car, his students, and their poster, and went to the conference I’d just come back from.

One thing we ate this last week:

Fried fish, ratatouille, mash

Fried tilapia, garlic mashed potatoes, and a vegetable stew with yellow beans (actually from last week, I think), zucchini, and red pepper. This actually happened before we picked up last week’s haul, so it was probably two Wednesdays ago.

Something else we ate last week:

That’s a bacon cheeseburger on a bun, topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion. The salad on the side is one of Casey’s family recipes, a sort of refrigerator pickle of cuke and onion in white vinegar with a bit of sugar. We ate burgers during our one night together. They were good.

Something else I ate this week: a Ming Tsai recipe for chicken thigh and yam curry, which I served over basmati rice. The recipe called for a banana, but I don’t like bananas and they give Casey heartburn, so we generally don’t have them around but even if we had, I wouldn’t have used one. I just left it out because I couldn’t think of anything else that would have both sweetened and thickened slightly. I also left out the bay leaves, because I forgot to include them (and I didn’t worry about it because the chicken stock was homemade and I know I included a couple when I made that). I didn’t have any Madras curry powder on hand, nor was I looking for something incendiary, so I used about half Penzey’s balti seasoning and half Penzey’s sweet curry powder. The curry used up one of our onions and a clove of our garlic. I had enough left over for a couple of lunches. If Casey had been around to share it with me, it would have fed both of us nicely. Next time, though, I need to remember to remove the skin from the chicken before braising. It always winds up rubbery and yucky, so I might as well not bother to cook it at all, and instead actually brown the surface of the meat itself.

Something else I ate this week: chard and sausage on pasta. One thing I’ve discovered about chard is that if we pick it up Thursday night, it’s wilted by Saturday, no matter what we do or don’t do to it. It still tastes fine on Monday, but needs to be used in an application where it’s thoroughly cooked and wilted even more.

Something else I ate this week: lamb at a friend’s house, with a quinoa salad enhanced by produce from her garden, and this week’s yellow beans. I wrapped them in a wet paper towel and steamed them like Alton Brown’s asparagus.

And last night: salad without lettuce, but with tomato, basil, cucumber, mozzarella, basil, red and yellow peppers, and chickpeas, with a drizzle of good olive oil and reduced-to-a-syrup balsamic vinegar.

To further gild the lily last night, I tried out a new recipe for zucchini cake. The recipe came from a cookbook I don’t own, but this recipe came to me through David Lebovitz’s blog. I’m always looking for new things to do with zucchini, and this looked promising. I particularly liked that the recipe gives mass measurements, which I find easier and more accurate than volume measurements. I do wish that the mass measurements extended to liquid ingredients, as well. I only felt like grating one zucchini, so I made half a recipe, which I baked in a loaf pan that I lined with parchment. Instead of toasting and chopping nuts and making the food processor dirty, I used some hazelnut meal from my freezer. I used some of the speculoos spice mix I’d imported from Belgium for all the spices. And I didn’t make the glaze, because I didn’t have any lemons, and getting one would have required a longer bike ride than I was up for. I think it probably would be nice with the glaze, but it works just fine without…for after dinner or for breakfast.

The watermelon is still in my fridge. Watermelon’s never been one of my favorites.

Week 09 Haul

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — M @ 09:19 AM

Here’s what Casey picked up a week ago, when I was in Boston:

Watermelon, beans, greens, tomatoes....

  • Watermelon, Sugar Baby, 1 melon: I’m glad the “baby” in the name is accurate, and it fits in the fridge.
  • 0.5 lb Green Beans: What we got were yellow, not green. Half a pound doesn’t look so big.
  • 1 bunch Chard, Rainbow: you didn’t think they’d skimp on greens, didja?
  • 1 lb Cucumbers: This turned out to be one cucumber.
  • 1 Bunch Kale, Green: For the record, this particular batch of kale is not wilting quickly in the refrigerator.
  • 1 Head Lettuce, Red Leaf: Yup.
  • 1 Bunch Onions, Bunching: This week’s onions are larger than previous onions.
  • 0.5 lb Peppers, Green: One green pepper.
  • 0.5 lb Tomatillo: 8 good-size, still in their husks.
  • 1 lb Tomatoes, Mixed Varieties: a pint of orange cherry plus three baseball-sized slicing tomatoes, one with a good-sized crack in it.

I guess a pound of tomatoes weighs more than a pound of cucumbers or a pound of green peppers?

August 13, 2010

Week 08

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — M @ 21:28 PM

…or Greens Relief Week.

This week’s comparison:

  • Blueberries: a pint.
  • Green or yellow beans: yellow, a smallish bag.
  • Rainbow chard: a bunch.
  • Cucumbers: two ordinary.
  • Garlic: a few heads.
  • Dino kale: a bunch
  • Green leaf lettuce: a head
  • Bunching onions: a bunch, of course.
  • Zucchini: Three. They’re getting bigger over the weeks, but nowhere even close to baseball bats. Thank heavens. I might be able to make a zucchini cake this week.
  • Sungold cherry tomatoes: Nope. We bought tomatoes this week at the market, both yellow pears and full-size red ones.

We actually didn’t bring the chard or kale home with us. When we picked up the share this week, we chatted a little bit with the woman who works at the armory, and who brings our box out. She loves greens, and commented that these looked nice. They did look nice. They looked so nice that we asked her, “Want ’em?” So everyone went home happy!

Is the corn over for the season already? No peaches, which are in proliferation at the market?

While I was at a band rehearsal last night, Casey blanched, chopped, and froze last week’s kale and chicory greens. We’ll use them in soup when it’s actually soup weather. Casey also washed the lettuce, as it was particularly obvious that this week’s head grew in the ground. We’re having salad tomorrow, with the lettuce and tomatoes and the basil from last week, along with maybe some onion, and some red and yellow peppers and mozzarella. I’ll probably dress mine with boiled-down cheapo “balsamic” vinegar. And then we won’t have any more leafy green stuff in the refrigerator until next Thursday. We welcome the respite.

August 06, 2010

Week 07 haul

Filed under: pickup — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — M @ 17:38 PM

Greens, greens, greens

We picked up our share yesterday. Here’s what we got, compared to the list:

  • Blueberries: 1 pint
  • Green Basil: 1 smallish bunch; if I wanted to make a decent amount of pesto, I’d need at least 3 or 4 more bunches this size
  • Rainbow Chard: a bunch
  • Chicory Greens: a bunch, with lots of pinholes in the leaves
  • Sweet Corn: 4 ears
  • Cucumbers: 1 normal-looking but shortish cuke
  • Red Kale: a bunch
  • Green Leaf Lettuce: 1 head
  • Bunching Onions: a bunch (duh!) of 5 smallish
  • Zucchini Squash: 2 squashes

It’s finally not too hot to cook, for once. We’re lighting the grill for dinner.

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