Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What's in the box, 4/30/14 edition

In this week's box...
...parsnips, spinach, carrots, chives, popcorn on the cob, and purple top turnips.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sorrel sauce

This week, the box contained a large bag of sorrel, just under 12 ounces.  I was excited to see it, as I enjoy making sorrel sauce to put on seafood (e.g., scallops or fish).  Sorrel has a lemony taste, making it a great accompaniment for seafood.
I washed the sorrel first.
Then I blanched it in boiling water.  It wilted very quickly, in less than a minute.  
Take it out as soon as that happens, putting the blanched sorrel into an ice bath to cool.
Here's a close up of the sorrel in the ice bath.  I blanched in two batches.
After it cooled, I removed the remaining ice cubes and drained the sorrel.  I gave it a light squeeze, as one might do with spinach, retaining the liquid in a glass bowl under the strainer.  (In the background, you can see the carrots that I've prepped to cook with David Chang's recipe.)
I then put the sorrel, a bit of olive oil and some salt into my food processor, then blended it.  I decided to put in a handful of chives as well.
The sauce was pretty thick at this point, so I added back some of the liquid that I had squeezed out of the sorrel.
Twelve ounces of sorrel made just over 1.5 cups of sauce.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Parsnip gnocchi, take 2

As I mentioned in my original post for parsnip gnocchi, I froze some parsnip gnocchi (uncooked) for later use.  I put the frozen gnocchi into salted boiling water and cooked a minute or two past when they started floating.
I made a slightly different sauce this time.  Started with a thinly sliced onion, sauteed in about a tablespoon of butter.  Once the onion was translucent and started to brown a bit (too hungry to caramelize), I added sliced cremini mushrooms.  Once those were cooked down, I added a small amount of cream (had a bit left from a cake recipe) and added some grated pecorino romano.  When the gnocchi were finished, I cooked them for a minute in the sauce before plating.
I topped the dishes with some of the pepper cress from this week's box.

All in all, better the second time.  Not sure if something changed with the gnocchi after freezing (might have softened the parsnip a bit more) or if I boiled them a bit longer (or shorter) or if it was the sauce, but both the husband and I enjoyed the dish more this time.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Banana pecan pancakes

This week, there was maple syrup in the box, so I made some banana pecan pancakes.
The basic pancake recipe is from the Joy of Cooking.  The ingredients below are for a half batch of that recipe, plus the added ingredients of a mashed banana and some chopped pecans, which makes about 16 3" pancakes.

3/4 c flour
1 1/2 T sugar
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 c milk
1 1/2 T butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 banana, mashed (a good opportunity to use overripe bananas)
chopped pecans (I didn't measure, but I'd guess that it was less than a 1/4 cup)
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, whisking them together.
Mix the wet ingredients (milk, melted butter, and egg) in another bowl (or add the butter and egg to the measuring cup with the milk).

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Whisk gently until just blended.

Add the mashed banana and chopped pecans.  Blend gently until just combined.

Cook the pancakes on a non-stick griddle or pan.  You'll know the pan is hot enough when drops of water sizzle on it.
Flip when bubbles appear throughout the pancake.
Serve with maple syrup.  You can also serve with some Nutella (although one should probably choose to use either syrup or Nutella on an individual pancake).

I sometimes add unsweetened shredded coconut to these pancakes as well, which is also tasty.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Happy birthday!

Today is the husband's birthday.  He's now 43.  We met when he was but 21, so he's spent more years with me than without.  Such a lucky guy!

One of his birthday presents won't be available until the first weekend in May, so I wanted to post it for him here to read.

Dearest husband, for your birthday, I've signed you up for a 7 month (6 month share starting in June plus a one month early start) 10 pound (per month) meat CSA at Lilac Hedge Farm in Berlin (near the crossing of 495 and 62).  Happy birthday!  Here's one present that you won't need to share with me.  :-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pasta with ramps and poached quail eggs

Inspired by Babbo's recipe for spaghetti with ramps, tonight I made pasta with ramps and poached quail eggs.

1/2 pound pasta (I used orecchiette)
3 oz ramps (husband says that I could have easily doubled the amount of ramps)
2 T olive oil
1/2 t hot pepper flakes (the pasta was pretty spicy; cut the amount if you'd like it less so)
1/4 t salt
6 quail eggs
To start, I set our sous vide to 146 degrees.  Once at temperature, I put the quail eggs in to poach for 25 minutes.

I then prepared the ramps, cutting off the roots and washing them.
I then separated the stems from the leaves, then chopped both.
Once the pasta is boiling, heat the olive oil, then add the chopped ramp stems.
Saute for about 4-5 minutes, until tender.  Then add the hot pepper flakes and salt.
Let cook for a minute or two, then add the ramp leaves and wilt them.
If your pasta isn't ready, turn off the heat.  It'll hold for a few minutes.  Once the pasta is done, drain it and add to the ramps.  Cook together for a minute, then portion into bowls.  (We split it into two bowls.)
Get your quail eggs out of the sous vide.  (If you don't have a sous vide, you could poach the eggs.)
Crack the eggs on the pasta.
Just before eating, stir everything together, with the yolks making a sauce for the pasta.  We also added some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

As mentioned in the ingredient list, husband notes that more ramps would have been good.  It was good as made as well.

What's in the box, 4/23/14 edition

Sorrel!  The box today has a big bag of sorrel!
Also in the box today: a bunch of chives, a small bag of pepper cress, two watermelon radishes (which we're told are the last from root storage), apples (which we're also told are the last batch), purple top turnips (which sadly do not come with the same promise of being the last batch), carrots, parsnips, and a bottle of maple syrup.

But back to the sorrel, a green that I had not heard of or tried before joining Siena Farms' CSA.  Back when I saw it for the first time, a small bunch of greens, the weekly email came with a recipe for making a sauce with the sorrel, to be used on fish, scallops, or many other things.  Since then, I have been a huge sorrel fan.  The sauce has a lemony taste to it, just from the sorrel.  Today, instead of a small bunch, I have a huge bag.  Lots of sorrel sauce in my future.  I am wondering how well it will freeze, so that I might save some for times with no sorrel.

Now for what wasn't in the box today, but was instead purchased from Verrill Farm on the way to get the box from Siena Farms:
Ramps and quail eggs.  With the onset of spring, I have been wanting to get some ramps to have with pasta, so I stopped by Verrill Farm in the hopes that they would have some, which they did.  I also bought a dozen quail eggs, thinking that they would be a good addition to the pasta, poached and put on at the last minute before serving.

Yes, it is a bit crazy to stop at one farm to buy things before going to another to get a half bushel box.  But it's ramp season, and it doesn't last long.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mushroom and pea tendril quiche

I like to make quiche.  It's a particularly good way to use some of the veggies from the box as well as leftover bits of cheese.

Ingredients for 2 quiches:
2 pie crusts
1 large onion or 2 small ones
8 oz cremini mushrooms
1/4 lb pea tendrils
cheese (you pick the type and amount you'd like to use)
8 eggs
1 3/4 c milk
salt and pepper to taste
I buy frozen pie crusts.  I know, I should make my own.  But having these pre-made crusts in the freezer makes it very quick to make a quiche (or two -- we had lots of company coming).
Set the oven to 400 degrees.  While it's heating (and while you're baking the crusts for 8 minutes at 400, after poking holes in them with a fork), start cooking your quiche filling.  For these quiche, I used a mix of onions, mushrooms, and pea tendrils.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the onions.  Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms.
Cook the mushrooms (another 5 minutes or so).
Add the pea tendrils.  After washing, I gave them a rough chop. 
They will wilt quickly, in a minute or two.
Turn off the heat on the pan.  By now, your pie crusts should be ready, after 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Prepare your cheese; you can use feta, cheddar, Swiss, or other pieces that you'd like to use up.  In this case, I was using a "fresh Easter cheese" that I had bought at a local grocery store.  I had never heard of Easter cheese, so wanted to try it.  It wasn't very good, as it was very bland.  I figured it'd work in a quiche, as there would be lots of other things to help provide flavor to the cheese (i.e., I was treating it a bit like tofu).
Cut the cheese into cubes and add to the pie shells.  I grated some pepper over the cheese to season it.  I don't normally add pepper at this point, but, as I mentioned, the cheese was very bland.
Add your cooked veggies.
Mix together the eggs and milk, adding salt and pepper as well.  For these two quiches, I used 8 eggs and 1 3/4 cups of milk.  Pour the egg mixture into the pie shells.
Cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then drop the temperature to 350 and continue to cook until the quiche is set (check the center with a butter knife) -- it took another 50 minutes for my quiche to set.  I'd suggest starting to check them at 30 minutes (meaning 40 minutes total of cooking).  When they are set, you'll also see them puff up a bit. 
Serve right from the oven or let them sit for a little while to cool a bit.  Leftovers are good cold for lunch or breakfast.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Today we had family over for brunch.  I made roasted asparagus, David Chang's carrots, and quiche with mushrooms and pea tendrils (recipe to be posted soon).

The flowers above were cut from our yard.  Not too much is blooming yet, but there was enough to bring some color into the house.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Roasted parsnips and apples

Last night, I tried the roasted parsnips and apples recipe.  I used 4 apples and about 3 pounds of parsnips.  Still used 3 tablespoons of butter, cut into small chunks and placed on top of the parsnips and apples throughout the pan.
I roasted them in a 450 degree oven, stirring them at 15 minutes:
While the recipe had called for 30 minutes of roasting total, I ended up roasting them for 40 minutes.
I added the zest from an orange, then the orange's juice (more of both than was called for in the recipe, but I had more apples and parsnips, plus a bit of extra orange flavor didn't seem like a bad thing).  I added a bit of cinnamon (husband is not a huge cinnamon fan, so I went lighter on it than what the recipe had called for) and salted them.
I ate mine with a dollop of ricotta; husband ate his with a pork chop.  Both of us thought the roasted parsnips and apples were quite good.  I'd make them again.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What's in the fridge, 4/18/14 edition

The time for the reckoning has arrived.  What exactly is in the fridge from all of the past boxes?
Carrots: 11.5 pounds
Parsnips: 10.9 pounds
Purple top turnips: 3 pounds
Watermelon radishes: 2.7 pounds (10 radishes of varying sizes)
Daikon radishes: 1.1 pounds (2 radishes)
Gilfeather rutabagas: 1.5 pounds
Kohlrabi: 1 pound (2 smallish ones)
Red cabbage, 1/2 head: .8 pound
Pea tendrils: .25 pound
Apples: 3.8 pounds (12 apples)

That's over 36.5 pounds of veggies (and apples) in the fridge, until....

The kohlrabi was not in good condition, having been in the fridge for a very long time, so it's been put into the compost.  I also have some of the parsnips and apples roasting for dinner, so fewer pounds of each went back into the fridge.

I must make some plans to use these up.  It seems a bit daunting.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What's in the box, 4/16/14 edition

In this week's box: parsnips, watermelon radishes, rainbow carrots, Bolero carrots, Gilfeather rutabagas, apples, pea tendrils, a pre-packaged meal kit, and a loaf of raisin bread.

I have been eating more of the veggies raw lately, taking carrot sticks and sliced watermelon radish to work in my lunch almost every day.  However, I'm still not catching up on the root backlog in the fridge.  The husband is suggesting that I should do a "what's in the fridge" post.  Perhaps I'll do so this weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring? (Alternatively: What's on the ground, 4/16/14 edition)

New England weather is just cruel.  From sunny and 70 on Monday to a half inch of snow on Wednesday.  It's mid-April.  I'd like to lodge a complaint.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Parsnip gnocchi with mushroom and kale sauce

A few months ago, I read a recipe for parsnip gnocchi with mushrooms on the Not Eating Out in NY blog.  Tonight, I made them.  This recipe allowed me to use a couple of my infrequently used kitchen tools: a potato ricer and a gnocchi board.

Confession: Although I've had the gnocchi board for almost 14 years, I've never used it until today.  I bought it in Italy, in a little shop in Peschici, while visiting a friend and her family.
I followed the recipe in the blog, adding in the optional nutmeg (in my mind, nutmeg is never optional).  I doubled the recipe, so I could freeze half of the uncooked gnocchi for a dinner at a later date.

I found that I needed to boil the parsnips much longer than the 2-3 minutes in the recipe.  At 10 minutes, they were fork tender, but after exercising many muscles to squeeze the ricer with the plate with the largest holes I had, I think it might have been better if I had boiled them a bit longer.  The ricer is worse for the wear, with the attachment of the plunger to the handle a bit bent.  Hopefully it'll still be fine for later potato use.  But if it's not... I happen to have a spare one.  You see, I already owned a potato ricer when my friend (the same one mentioned above), gave me another.  So I have another potato ricer (or schiacciapatate in Italian) waiting in reserve in its box in the cabinet, just for a moment like this.

After mixing the dough, I finally used the well traveled and well stored gnocchi board:
I did not fry the gnocchi after boiling as the recipe had described.  It was late and we wanted to eat.

I modified the sauce a bit, adding some chopped kale, tossing it in for the last minute or two to let it wilt.
We ate it with some (okay, much more than some) grated Pecorino Romano. 

Verdict: At the start of the meal, husband said he wasn't sure what he thought about the dish.  By the end of the meal, he said it had grown on him.  I liked it, but should have made the gnocchi smaller; they ended up about 2 inches long.

Watermelon radishes for breakfast

I know that I've posted about using watermelon radishes for breakfast before, but the breakfast pictured above was a bit different, using mashed avocado with a little salt and olive oil under the radishes instead of a layer of vegetable cream cheese.  Plus, it looked so pretty that I had to take a photo.  More veggies for breakfast!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Roasting asparagus

The best way to cook asparagus is by roasting it in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Wash your asparagus, snap off the bottoms (gets rid of the tough and/or dried off bottom), and put them on a baking sheet.  In the photo above, I've cut the asparagus into shorter lengths, as I was using it in a pasta dish.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the asparagus then salt and pepper it.  Toss to coat the asparagus with the oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes (depends on the thickness of your stalks; test with a fork to see when it's at your desired tenderness). 

Soon, there will fresh asparagus in our field, planted by someone long ago.  When it comes up, I'll be roasting it -- if it doesn't end up raw in a salad first.