I know that I’ve been slacking -its true. A trip to Toronto, a visit from my aunts, a visit from some other special someone, and now the flu and the past three weeks have been a whirlwind. But I’m back. I promise. Above, an easy easy salad that makes use of all the zucchini that has been appearing in my CSA, plus the tomatoes that are finally starting to roll in. I’ve long made a version of this salad, but I decided to use the recipe from this month’s Bon Appetit, and found the addition of lemon juice especially addictive. What this salad really needs, though, is perfectly ripe tomatoes, so add your own. And make sure to use a high-quality pecorino for the brightest flavor. In the last week, I’ve had this salad for lunch three times. That’s how much I like it. Give it a try!
One of my favorite things about my Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA is the weekly email newsletter I receive. It lets me know exactly what I’m going to get in my share, usually includes an interview with one of the farmers who contributes to my CSA and photos of the farm, and recipes for some of the more unfamiliar vegetables. This week, I got a beautiful bunch of kohlrabi – a cross in flavor between turnips and cabbage. This recipe, included in the newsletter (originally taken from the blog Sustainable Pantry) was incredibly delicious. If you don’t have chard, blanch and add your kohlrabi greens! And make sure to peel the kohlrabi very well – it has a pretty hard outer “shell.”
2 kohlrabi, peeled, quartered and sliced
1/2 onion, choppedcimg3633
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T fresh chopped ginger
3-4 chilis (optional, I like things spicy so I used the Vietnamese chilis pictured)
Garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chard, washed and chopped
1 can coconut milk
2 T red (or green) curry paste
2-3 T peanut butter (I prefer chunky for this, but smooth is fine)
Scallions (for garnish)
1. In a medium sized pot, Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and chilis in a neutral oil (canola, safflower) over medium high heat until browned
2. Add the kolhrabi, scapes and chard and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the chard wilts and the kohlrabi softens up a little; season with salt
3. Add the curry paste and coconut milk, then fill the coconut milk can about 1/2 way with water, swish it around to get any remaining coconut milk, and add to the pot. Stir until the curry paste is dissolved. After the mixture boils, lower heat to a simmer and stir in the peanut butter until dissolved.
4. Cook for about 10 minutes. Taste and season as necessary with salt. Garnish with sliced scallions and serve over rice.
I believe that almost anything can go into a burrito or wrap. Arriving home with another huge CSA share, and still swimming in vegetables from last week’s late holiday delivery, I made a mission out of using as many vegetables and odds and ends as possible in last nights dinner. I fried garlic scapes and green onions in a wok, then added dandelion greens and some chopped radish greens. Salt and pepper, a chopped habenero pepper, fresh cilantro and parsley, and a drained can of organic black beans went into the walk. I served the beans on whole wheat tortillas with fresh garnishes – sliced radishes, avocado, sprouts, and green onions.
And then I used even MORE vegetables. Red leaf lettuce, topped with a summer squash salad recipe cribbed from Simply in Season – squash, green onions, fresh basil, and Parmesan marinated in red vinegar and olive oil. It felt great to use up the rest of last week’s veggies, and dinner was delicious.
Sometimes you want to cook something, and you have a fridge full of vegetables, and you have to figure out how to combine your craving with your desire to use everything up before your next CSA delivery. That how this dish was born. A basic gratin, (cream, milk, cheese) with turnips, savoy cabbage, and amazing fractal-style cauliflower. Between the layers of vegetable I added dollops of cream cheese, and topped the entire thing with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs made from leftover herb and cornmeal rolls. It. Was. Delicious.
You can decide exactly how healthy (or unhealthy) you’d like to make this comfort food.
1. Choose any combination of starchy winter vegetables. In the gratin above I used red turnips, savoy cabbage, and what I like to call fractal cauliflower.
2. Place the chopped and sliced vegetables in a gratin dish. Salt and pepper each layer. At this point you can add cheese between layers, if you’d like. The above gratin uses cream cheese.
3. Fill the gratin dish 3/4 of the way with a cream, milk, or a combination of the two. Add herbs to the dairy before you pour it over the vegetables.
4. Top with grated parmesan, and some sort of breadcrumbs
5. Bake in a 350 degree over for 35 – 40 minutes. For the first 20 minutes cover the dish with tin foil, and remove the foil for the second 15 – 20 minutes.
6. When the vegetables are baked through and the breadcrumbs are toasted brown, the gratin is done. Enjoy!
I love salsa, and jalapenos, and luckily my CSA has been giving me plenty of both. My salsa is a combination of a few recipes from the classic Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, a basic encyclopedia of home canning.
makes 4 pints
5 cups chopped tomatoes
3 cups chopped jalapeno peppers, unseeded
3/4 c. chopped white onions
1 cup white vinegar
5 cloves garlic
4 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. salt
1/2 t. cumin
Bring tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, salt, and cumin to boil over medium-high heat. I like to use my la cruset, but a good soup pot will work fine. Stir frequently, until the salsa thickens – about 15 minutes. Can using as you would tomato sauce, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top of a boiled jar. Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rim, and screw band down on top of a pre-soaked lid. Process jars in a large pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and carefully remove jars after 5 minutes. If jar tops do not “pop” and indent, process again. Cool and store. You can begin enjoying your salsa after it mellows, in about 4 weeks.
I know that’s it’s too hot to cook soup. But last night, I did it anyway. We are absolutely swimming in tomatoes (such a lucky problem!) and I had leftover corn and squash from last week’s CSA to use. This is a simple, basic chowder recipe from a Simply in Season, a cookbook I’ve been using a lot lately since it focuses on healthy, seasonal recipes. While their recipe is for a zucchini chowder, I had yellow squash and patty pans. No problem! I substituted rice milk for evaporated milk, and cut the cheddar in half. And it was wonderful. Full of corn and tomatoes and squash and onions and fresh herbs in a light chowder broth. By the time my roommate Dr. Lee’s delicious tomato pie came out of the oven, we were already stuffed!
I didn’t get home until 8:30 last night, just in time for the last light of the day. I walked out back to check on my garden – something, I suspect the alley cats that keep kicking up my baby lettuces, is gnawing at my parsley – to pick some fresh mint for a soda and St. Germain, currently my favorite early summer drink.
By nine, I realized that I had yet to eat any dinner. This simple meal is made straight from my refrigerator, currently bursting with CSA vegetables and goodies from the Fair Food Farm stand. Just a garlic scape, diced and fried in local salted butter, with rainbow chard, diced stems and all. Some baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced and salted, and a local organic egg fried in more of that delicious salted butter. Fast and perfect.
My sister was visiting, and had a hankering for some Chinese food. My CSA has been more than plentiful with the broccoli lately, so I decided on on of my favorites – General Tso’s. The extra step of shocking the broccoli may seem annoying, but it’s essential for keeping the broccoli from getting soggy.
General Tso’s Tofu
12 oz. Soy Boy (or other extra firm) tofu
1/2 c. cornstarch
4 Tbs. vegetable or peanut oil
3 cups broccoli, in small spears
1 Tbs. chili sesame oil
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. sweet soy sauce
1 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. white vinegar
3 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cloves of garlic, diced
6 dried red Thai chilis, broken
8 green onions, sliced
1. Steam the broccoli spears for 2 minutes, until bright green. Immediately move to a bowl of ice water to shock.
2. Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces. With one hand, dredge in the beaten egg, and with the other hand, toss with cornstarch. In a large wok, heat the vegetable oil over high heat until a drop of water fizzles. Add the tofu in bathes, frying until lightly brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
3. Mix all ingredients for the sauce, except the green onions, in a small bowl. Heat the sesame oil in the wok over high heat. Drain the broccoli and add to the oil, stirring often. When the broccoli begins to fry, add the tofu and sauce, tossing to evenly coat. When the sauce is heated through and thickens, remove from the heat. Serve over rice, and garnish with the fresh green onions.
File this experiment under “things that don’t look like they taste good, and then exceed all expectations.” My grandmother loves kohlrabi – so much that my mother claims she eats it right out the garden, like an apple. Me? I have no idea what to do with it. It’s the latest addition to an embarrassing list of CSA goodies that I’ve never actually eaten before being forced to find a recipe for them. Sleuthing about on the internet, it seems that outside of roasting and a few curries, kohlrabi remains a bit of a mystery.
I stumbled upon this recipe on Farmgirl Fare admit to feeling a bit doubtful about her rave reviews. But I had all the ingredients in the fridge, so I gave it a shot. I used local green onions instead of the white, and had to add a few extra tablespoons of rice milk to achieve a smooth consistency. And you know what? It was delicious, especially topped with a healthy dollop of Earth Balance. Earthy, cabbage-y, even a little potato-y, it was a revelation. Just don’t skimp on the pre-peeling. Even boiled and pureed the hard outer skin of kohlrabi makes for woody little chunks in your otherwise perfect puree. It may not be pretty, by my is it tasty.
I’m eating raw this week with my roommates, a prospect that has had me at a bit of a loss. It’s hard for me to notcook things! Out or necessity, I’ve been combing the blog world for decent raw recipes that fit my abundant weekly CSA. This week we got so many darn turnip greens. Now, I hadn’t ever eaten a turnip before last week’s CSA, and the prospect of eating them raw had me a bit nervous. But this recipe (a combination of many online suggestions) turned out really delicious! My sister had a good laugh about me “massaging” greens, but if you’re not going to cook them it really does work to quickly soften and wilt them!
(Raw) Marinated Turnip Greens
1 bunch turnip greens (about 6 cups chopped)
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 c. sliced sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed)
1.4 c. sliced kalamata olives
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
generous fresh black pepper
Mix all the marinade ingredients and a large bowl. Remove any hard stems from the turnip greens, then “roll” the leaves, cigar-like, before slicing into strips. Add the greens to the marinade and “massage” or knead them a bit until they are well coated and wilt. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes – the longer they sit the better the flavor!