Friday, December 19, 2014

What's in the box, 12/17/14 edition

This week's box:
Brussels sprouts, leeks, carrots, hakurei turnips, parsnips, red cabbage, watermelon radishes, radicchio, kale, and butternut squash.

There are no boxes for the next two weeks due to the holidays, which will hopefully allow me to catch up on the backlog of veggies that's growing in the fridge.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pasta bar: beet gnocchi, still more kale pesto

A couple of photos of recent pasta dishes, both of which have neon-like colors.

First up are beet gnocchi, made by the husband from a recipe in the cookbook Balaboosta. I found the recipe online at Runner's World. I completely agree with the writer of the Runner's World article -- use far less salt than listed in the recipe or they will be very salty.

Next up is an old standby, kale pesto (for which I've posted a version with pistachios and lemon zest and a version with walnuts). This time, I made it more like a traditional pesto, using romano cheese and toasted almonds. (I've been using almonds in place of pine nuts lately.)
I had some cherry tomatoes on the counter, so I sliced them and mixed them into the pasta and pesto.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

What's in the box, 12/10/14 edition

This week's box contains kohlrabi that's larger than a cabbage. It's right there in the center of the photo:
Also in the box: butternut squash, purple top turnips (ah, yes, the familiar feeling of having those arrive more quickly than I can eat them), leeks, daikon radish, celeriac (here's a story from NPR about celeriac, if you don't know much about it, as well as some recipes from Epicurious), beets, kale, and escarole.

I think it's time to start making lots of soup. The weather is certainly right for it.

Links: carb coma

Many of the recipes I'm looking at these days include potatoes and pasta. As the days are getting shorter, colder, and much more gray, a girl's thoughts apparently turn to carb comas....

Food 52's sweet potato and parsnip latkes

Smitten Kitchen's twice baked potatoes with kale

Joy the Baker's mashed potato, cheddar and chive waffles. How have I never heard of doing this before? Brilliant.

Food52's orecchiette with roasted butternut squash and kale

I have the ingredients for all of these recipes from recent boxes. Now I just need to find some time (and motivation, here in the dark days approaching the winter solstice) to try them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's in the box, 12/3/14 edition

While students often complain about the large amount of work at the end of the semester, they don't realize that the same thing happens to faculty. Sure, I don't have five classes worth of work to do, but I do have work to grade from classes full of students. Anyway, it's been a busy week, and I never put up the photo of last week's box. I haven't picked up today's box yet, so I've not yet been lapped, but it's pretty close.
In the box last week: carrots, kale, potatoes, cabbage, butternut squash, hakurei turnips, leeks, Brussels sprouts, a huge watermelon radish, and four small heads of lettuce.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Butternut squash, leeks and mushrooms: 3 ingredients, 3.5 dishes

Several times recently, I've spent a couple of hours cooking to make dinner for the night plus meals for the week. Starting with a large butternut squash, I have been making an enchilada casserole, butternut squash soup, and a mushroom and leek quiche.

You'll need a large butternut squash (or two smaller ones), a pound of baby bella mushrooms, 2-3 leeks, a pie shell (plus quiche ingredients: 3-4 eggs and milk), and a bag of Frontera Grill Red Enchilada sauce (I've found it both at Whole Foods and Shaw's near me). I also make rice for serving with the casserole.
Prep your butternut squash by peeling it. Rather than use a peeler, I've been cutting the squash between the bulb and neck first, then putting it on its flat side to cut off the peel with my chef's knife. It cuts off a bit more of the flesh, but you'll be using the peels to make stock anyway, so it's okay.

Cube the butternut squash and roast it in a 400 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, until soft. I stir (and check on the squash) every 10 minutes at the start, then every 5 at the end.
While the butternut squash is roasting, make veggie stock. Put the butternut squash peels in a pot. I cut off the stem and the circle on the bottom end. I also don't put the seeds into the stock, but I suppose that you could. Add in the trimmings from your mushrooms and leeks as you prep those. Cover your trimmings with water, bring to almost a boil, then reduce the temperature to simmer, partially covered, for at least 30 minutes. When done simmering, uncover the stock and let it cool.
With the stock simmering and butternut squash roasting, sauté the leeks in some olive oil.
After about 5 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for another 5-8 minutes.
Once done, turn off the heat. You'll put about half into a prepared pie crust; the other half will go into the enchilada casserole. (See this post on making quiche for more details on making the quiche -- just be sure to cut the ingredients in half, as that original post was for two quiches.)
Cook the quiche in the oven, which can be concurrent with the butternut squash roasting. You'll need to drop the oven temp, which will just mean that the squash will take a bit longer to roast.

Here's the remaining mushrooms and leeks, for the casserole.
And the roasted butternut squash.
And the cooling stock.
Add about half of the butternut squash to the mushroom and leek mixture. Then stir in the enchilada sauce and some cheese (cheddar or gruyere work well).
Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish. Top with pepitas, if desired. Cook uncovered for 30-35 minutes in a 350 oven until the mixture is bubbling. I start my rice about 10 minutes before the casserole goes into the oven, so it will be ready at the same time.
By this time, the quiche is done. I let it cool on the counter before putting it into the fridge. The quiche is for another day.
Here's the remaining butternut squash, waiting to be made into soup. I'll do that after dinner, as it'll be easier to handle the cooled stock and squash. (Don't ever put hot liquid into a blender, because it makes a huge, explosive mess.)
Here's the casserole, ready to eat. This time, I didn't put the pepitas on it. Most times, I do, as they add a nice crunch.
After dinner, strain the stock. Make the soup by putting the remaining squash and some stock into a blender. Process it until smooth. You can add as much stock as you'd like, depending upon whether you'd like a thicker or thinner soup. I transfer the soup into glass jars for packing in lunches, as I prefer to warm things in glass instead of plastic.

Transfer the remaining stock to canning jars. I usually end up with about 4-6 cups after making the soup. (You could measure your water into the stock pan to have a more definite outcome, but I just eyeball it.) The stock can be used for risotto (recipe coming soon), braising cabbage (also coming soon), or making more soups.

One cooking session, three dishes, plus stock to make more.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Roasted Brussels sprouts over pasta with ricotta

This season, we've received more Brussels sprouts in the weekly boxes than in prior years. It's been a good thing, as I've been enjoying them. Mostly, I've been roasting them in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes. 

Here are the prepped Brussels sprouts. I trim off the ends, then wash them. I put any loose leaves directly into the pan, and cut the sprouts in half. I also add a sliced onion. Then I coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper and put them into the oven.
 I stirred at 10 minutes:
 And again at 20 minutes:
Checked and stirred again at 30 minutes:
And, finally, took them out at 35 minutes. The loose leaves will get crispy. You might want to sample them during the 20 and 30 minute stirrings.
Husband had his as a side dish for some beef ribs. I decided to put them over some pasta (which I started cooking a few minutes after the 20 minute stir). I put the roasted sprouts and onions over the pasta, then drizzled with a bit of good olive oil.
But something was missing....

The dish was ready after the addition of a scoop of fresh ricotta.
I'd definitely recommend this dish. It's a bit of a pierogi mashup -- with the pasta standing in for the dough, the sprouts and onions for the cabbage and sauerkraut, and the ricotta for the cheese (typically farmer's cheese, but my family makes them with a mix of ricotta and potato).

Friday, November 21, 2014

What's in the box, 11/20/14 edition

It's happened. The first purple top turnips have arrived in a weekly box... and they have arrived in full force.
In the box with the purple top turnips: butternut squash, kale, parsnips (first of the season), Brussels sprouts, two personal-sized mini heads of cauliflower, watermelon radishes, sweet potatoes, and escarole. Notice that some of the purple top turnips are larger than the mini cauliflower heads.

This box is the end of the fall share period. I've now blogged the spring, summer and fall shares. I started blogging at the end of the winter share last February; this year's winter share will start in two weeks.

Sadly, there were no Romanesco cauliflower (or broccoli) in any of this fall's boxes. I've enjoyed roasting the white heads of cauliflower that we've received, but I've been waiting to make a spicy pasta dish with the Romanesco cauliflower that we've enjoyed in past years. Perhaps I'll have to see if any is available at other farm stands in the area.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Drying parsley

Over the past few weeks, I received two large bunches of parsley in the boxes. Today, I dried it.

I washed the parsley and put it on a kitchen towel, then removed the leaves from the stems. I let the pans sit out a bit on the counter to let the leaves dry.
I dried it in a 175 degree oven, checking it every 10 minutes. It took about 30 minutes to dry the parsley. It probably would have taken less time if I had let more of the water dry off the parsley before putting it into the oven.

When it was done, I turned off the oven and let it sit in there for an hour, to cool and to finish any last drying.
I then took the pans out of the oven and let them sit for another hour or so.

Then I put the parsley into a jar for storage. (The jar is from maple syrup we had years ago. I like the shape of the jar. For some reason, it's become my parsley container, perhaps because it's easier to find with the tall container.)
I didn't take a photo, but I used a funnel and a metal skewer to get the parsley into the jar.

What's in the box, 11/13/14 edition

Time continues to fly by: next week marks the end of the fall CSA period, and this morning there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Winter is coming.
In this week's box: Brussels sprouts, a huge bunch of kale, kohlrabi, leeks, honeynut squash, rainbow carrots, potatoes, green oak leaf lettuce, and radicchio. No purple top turnips yet!

Friday, November 7, 2014

What's in the box, 11/6/14 edition

In this week's box: bok choy, broccoli rabe, watermelon radishes (one small, one huge), a very large head of escarole, parsley, leeks, rainbow carrots, hakurei turnips, several types of beets, and a butternut squash.
I made David Chang's carrots this past week and might make them again soon. I'd also like to roast some carrots with last week's fennel, which I mentioned in last week's post but didn't actually do this week. I haven't made the slow roasted carrots with cherry sauce and hazelnuts in many months; it might be a good choice for a side to go with a whole chicken the husband is planning to roast over the weekend.

Some of the beets will be eaten raw in salads, with others roasted for eating on their own or to be put into other salads (I haven't made this beet and citrus salad in a while). Hmmm.... A salad with both raw and roasted beets? I might also make the shockingly pink pasta again, since there were lots of beets in the box this week.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Links: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower cakes, butternut squash risotto, and dessert

We had Brussels sprouts in the box this past week, so I spent a little time searching for recipes. Here are some that look good:

Pan-fried cauliflower cakes, a link sent by the husband. Another reason I would like to see more cauliflower in the boxes. Perhaps I should go buy some to try some of the many cauliflower recipes that I've seen recently.

Butternut squash and saffron risotto. I have a large butternut squash and a couple of smaller honeynut squash, so I'll likely make this recipe in the next week or two.

Playing with your food:

  • Sculpting animals with grated daikon radish. Not much instruction on the page; they want you to buy their book. However, it's worth looking at the photos.
  • Totoro pancakes. Unlikely that I'd make them, as it seems too fussy to have to frost pancakes.
  • Totoro cake. I am more likely to try to make this, as it's a single Totoro, not a bunch of little pancake Totoros.

Finally, dessert: Food52's Banana butterscotch pudding. Sounds like a good cold weather dessert.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Roasted oyster mushrooms

I bought some oyster mushrooms at the store last week.
I decided to roast them with some onion. I set the oven for 375, then prepared the mushrooms. I washed them, then cut them into their individual mushroom pieces. (I saved the thick core in a container in the freezer for later use as veggie stock.) I added sliced onions, salt, pepper, thyme, and olive oil, then stirred.
I roasted them for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes for the first two times, then every 5 after the first 20 minutes. They probably were fine to eat after 20 minutes, but I wanted the onions to cook more.
These roasted mushrooms make an easy side dish. Any type of fresh mushroom should be good roasted, although cooking times are likely to vary.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Salad bar: pomegranate seeds and raw beets

I bought Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi as a present for someone. (I think that the recipient can guess who she is. Surprise....) I had to skim it before sending it. (Yup, you're getting a pre-read book.) One of the first recipes is for a tomato and pomegranate salad, which can also be found online.
I changed the recipe in two ways. First, I used chopped raw sweet onion instead of chopped raw red onion, partly because I had a sweet onion but no red onion and partly because I can't look at a raw red onion in a salad now without hearing Scott Conant, a frequent judge on Chopped, whining about raw red onion. (Yes, I do watch too much television.) Second, I put chopped parsley on the salad instead of oregano. The salad was great. It sounded like it'd be odd, but it really worked.

Next up, Oregon salad with a few modifications. I didn't have any red cabbage, so I used a mix of kale and red oak leaf lettuce. I also added pomegranate seeds to the salad. (I had bought a couple of pomegranates. If you don't know about getting seeds out in water, which is easy and will leave your hands unstained, check out this video from Saveur.)
Verdict: The red oak leaf lettuce did not hold up as well as the red cabbage does, but the pomegranate seeds were a nice addition.

I had read in several places that you could use raw beets in salads. I had also read that you could use raw Brussels sprouts. So I made a salad that incorporated both. This salad had romaine lettuce, thinly sliced raw beets, thinly sliced brussel sprouts, julienned raw kohlrabi, and pepitas. I made a warm dressing by sautéing a couple of shallots in olive oil, then adding a heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard and some white wine vinegar.
I'll admit that I was worried that this salad could end up being horrible. But it wasn't. It turned out really well. I'd definitely make this salad again.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What's in the box, 10/30/14 edition

In this week's box: romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, daikon radish, dill, leeks, fennel, kohlrabi, potatoes and kale.

I've seen quite a few recipes for Brussels sprouts that have them shaved into thin slices, raw, for salads. As we have lots of Brussels sprouts, maybe I'll try some raw in a salad and sauté the rest.

I will likely stuff the acorn squash, as I really enjoyed it that way. The fennel will likely be roasted with carrots, perhaps apples too. I'll make a quick pickle of the kohlrabi. And I should freeze the dill, as well as some of the bunches of herbs from prior weeks. It should come as no surprise that the kale will be made into pesto.

The daikon might be destined for daikon cakes, although I'll likely wait to make those until we have more daikon radishes in the box. This first one will be good in stir fries, fancy ramen, and Momofuku vinegar pickles.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Links: recipes for fall veggies

Anyone else find themselves needing extra caffeine as we head into the dark season?
Latte at the Book & Bar in Portsmouth, NH,
which sells used books and good coffee

Many links this week, mostly for fall veggies:

  • The Crepes of Wrath has a recipe for cauliflower fried rice, in which a head of cauliflower is pulsed in the food processor to a rice-like texture. I either need more cauliflower to come in the box or to go to a farm stand to buy some. I've been enjoying roasted cauliflower, but I want to try other cauliflower recipes too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Roasted broccoli

Just as I've been roasting cauliflower, I've also been roasting broccoli.
Unlike the cauliflower, I cut the head of broccoli in half. I suppose you could cut off the stem to make the head of broccoli look more like a head of cauliflower, then roast it whole, florets up.
I brush olive oil on both sides, then sprinkle on salt and pepper. I roast with the cut side down. If the broccoli is on its own, I set the oven for 400 degrees. It'll take about a half hour to roast (longer is fine too as it adds more charring and flavor). With something else in the oven, roast it at the temperature for the other recipe. Test the broccoli after the first 20 minutes, then every 5-10 until it reaches the tenderness that you like.
I have been enjoying the roasted broccoli and cauliflower much more than their steamed counterparts. It's good cold as well, if you have leftovers.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stuffed acorn squash

A few weeks ago, there was an acorn squash in the box. I decided to try making a stuffed acorn squash. I set the over to 400 degrees, then cut open the squash.
I took out the seeds and put the halves on a baking sheet covered with foil. I then brushed each half with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.
I put the squash into the oven to roast while I made the filling. I also roasted endive and broccoli at the same time.
For the filling, I first sautéed a shallot in olive oil, then added some chopped sage to cook for a minute. At the same time, I was boiling some mushroom orzo. (Other grains would work well, I think. You could try couscous, plain orzo, quinoa, rice, etc.)
Once the orzo was done, I mixed it with the sage and shallots.
I had a piece of wensleydale with cranberries leftover from a party.
I chopped it into small pieces and added it to the filling.
By now, the squash halves had been roasting for about a half hour. I took them out to add the filling.
Then roasted them for another half hour or so, until the squash was tender.
The filling developed a nice crunch on top. The whole dish turned out well.
I had thought about mixing in some nuts as well, which I think would have been good too. Overall, I think you could try many combinations. I'd have an onion, leek, scallion, or shallot base, then add some herbs. Use whatever grain you have. Add some dried fruit and/or nuts. And you know what I think about adding cheese. If you come up with good combinations, please leave them in the comments.