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 08, 2010

Week 12: List and Suggestions

Filed under: pre-pickup — Tags: , , — M @ 16:53 PM

We got a lengthy newsletter this week. First, the best guess list of what we’ll pick up tomorrow:

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard Greens (Oy! Three kinds of greens again?)
  • Yellow Onions
  • Sweet Green Peppers
  • Hot Pepper Mix (Frying, Hungarian Hot Wax, Jalapeno)
  • Cherry Belle Radish
  • Carnival Squash (maybe this is what we got this week?)
  • Tomatillos
  • Heirloom Tomatoes

The newsletter also contains a number of notes of interest.

One note is that their greens are doing well. I’m really not sure how I feel about this. I understand that big batches of greens help to “bulk out” our shares, and make it look like we’re getting lots of stuff each week. However, I would happily go with a smaller amount of stuff if it meant getting less of the dreaded greens. I understand that they’re very healthy, and I understand that they grow well. I almost wish I still had pet guinea pigs, who would go wild over such things. But if there were one vegetable type that I were doomed to eat in vast quantities each and every week, greens wouldn’t be it. Apparently most of Oswego feels the same way: over the last few weeks, as we’ve walked up and down the farmer’s market on Thursdays, we’ve taken note of the number of vendors who sell greens. And they must not be big sellers here, as there’s only one vendor that typically has them—Grindstone Farm, one and the same with the CSA. So either nobody else is growing them, or everyone has discovered that they just don’t go here so there’s no sense in bringing many of them. I could certainly deal with getting a bunch or two, every other week or so. I think between what we’ve stored in the freezer and what we’re still going to get, I’m greened out for at least the next year.

Another note is that there are more potatoes to come. I like potatoes.

Looks like we’re starting in with the second crop of some vegetables. We’re anticipating more beans when they’re ready. And I hope the radishes come; my mother-in-law will be visiting and I want to make her a radish sandwich.

I’m waiting to see the prices on turkeys and chickens. We opted not to reserve a hog this year, as we don’t have enough freezer room. If we had, I’d happily give our greens to our hog.

And finally, there was a note about the quality of the tomatoes, as I noticed last week. The issue they face is a common one: if they let them ripen all the way before picking them, they get beaten up on their way here, and don’t last more than a day or so. Back in the days when my family had a garden, we’d pick the tomatoes as they ripened (if the groundhogs didn’t get to them first) and use them almost immediately. I guess this is one of the issues when tomatoes have to travel even a few miles, and when they’re delivered only once a week. Too bad it’s not practical to have a three-times-weekly CSA delivery, to help spread out some of the produce.

We got recipe suggestions this week. One is an Asian-inspired recipe for mizuna with chicken or tofu. It looks like a pretty standard stir-fry: The protein is velveted and set aside, the vegetables get stir-fried, a sauce gets added, and the protein is returned to the wok at the very end.

There’s a recipe for a cooked salsa verde. It, too, looks pretty standard. I prefer to use homemade cooked salsas as a sauce for other cooked things, and make raw salsas to eat with chips. This one could work nicely on grilled meats.

We got a fish recipe this week, for tequila-marinated mahi mahi with avocado-tomatillo sauce and grilled tomatoes. I was pleased to see that U.S.-caught mahi mahi is either a “best choice” or a “good alternative” according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

I was also pleased to see a mustard green recipe, which would probably work with other greens as well. This one looks fairly standard, braised with bacon and shallots. Boiled egg and cranberries are suggested as a non-pork substitute. I’ll take the bacon, although I could see where cranberries might be nice, sort of like a suggestion of the classic spinach with raisins and pine nuts. I’ll take dried cranberries over raisins any day.

And finally, a vegan recipe for winter squash/garlic ravioli. (I guess you can get pasta sheets that are made without eggs around here?) I could totally see doing this when I’m in the mood to make something fiddly, but I’d use egg pasta, and real butter instead of vegan spread.

We’ve gotten lots of rain lately. I hope the beans appreciate it.

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