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.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Salad bar: Beans, endive, and beets

We've had some different mixes of veggies in our salads recently.

This salad combined mesclun, scarlet queen turnips, raw beans, pepitas, and feta. I dressed it with a mix of dijon mustard, olive oil, and white wine vinegar.

For the endive we received in a recent box, I decided to roast it, as I had done recently with a head of radicchio. I washed the endive and cut it into quarters. I brushed both sides with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.
I roasted it for 8 minutes on each side in a 400 degree oven.
Then I chopped it up and added roasted beets and pepitas. (The beets had been roasted the day before and were cold.) I finished it off with a drizzle of peach balsamic vinegar. (There was already enough oil on the endive from roasting.)
It would have been good with cheese too, but I went without on this one.

Here's another salad. This one had green oak leaf lettuce, radishes, a few tomatoes from my mom's garden, pepitas, and cured olives. I served it with ranch dressing (store bought).

I also made Momofuku vinegar pickles again. I had beans (yellow, green, and dragon), hakurei turnips, and carrots in the jars.
I split the veggies into two pint jars. I then put hot pepper flakes in one jar and coriander seeds in the other.
Both turned out well. Oddly, pickling took the purple color out of the dragon beans.

Shakshouka (on land)

Many years ago, I read Not Eating Out In NY's post about making shakshouka on a boat. I never tried the recipe, but it had an impact: whenever I hear or read the word shakshouka, my brain adds, "on a boat."

This week, I had some plum tomatoes from my mom's garden that needed to be used, so I decided to make shakshouka (not on a boat, but in my kitchen on land).

I started by sautéing a small onion. Then I added the chopped tomatoes and some hot pepper flakes.
I simmered the mixture until the tomatoes collapsed and then a bit beyond to cook off some of the liquid. Then I made four holes in the tomato mixture and cracked eggs into the holes.
I covered the pan to help the eggs set on the top as well.
I served the shakshouka (not on a boat) with Iggy's onion baguette, one of my favorite breads. (It's covered with caramelized onions.)

Most recipes seem to call for canned tomatoes, so you could make this even now, after tomato season. However, it's a good way to use some tomato seconds, if you have them.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pickled grapes

Husband sent a link to this article from the Awl on different ways to use grapes. We decided to try pickling some of the grapes from our backyard, as there are still some out there, even after all of the grape jelly was made.

Some of the grapes, artfully arranged on the counter.
I debated whether to seed the grapes or not. In the end, laziness won out. After washing, I plucked the grapes off their stems and put them into a one pint canning jar.
The recipe calls for a 4:2:1 ratio of cider vinegar to water to brown sugar, as well as a pinch of salt. I used 2/3 cup of cider vinegar, 1/3 cup of water, and 1/6 cup (which is 2 2/3 Tbsp or 8 tsp) of brown sugar.
Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add spices if you'd like. I put in a couple of small pieces of nutmeg that I couldn't grate anymore on my microplane as well as a small piece of a cinnamon stick.
Pour the liquid over the grapes.
We let them pickle for a couple of days before trying them. They are good, but the seeds are in the way (at least for me). Husband has used them as an accompaniment to pork ribs that were cooked with a maple rub. The article suggests using them on a cheese tray. I think you'd want to use seedless grapes or take the time to seed your grapes.

What's in the box, 10/23/14 edition

Wow, where did that last week go? From one box post to another, with nothing in between. I did cook many things with last week's box, but haven't found time to post anything yet. I'll try to catch up with posts soon. Coming soon: stuffed acorn squash, butternut squash enchilada casserole, and braised cabbage.

In this week's box: red oak leaf lettuce, parsley, cauliflower, watermelon radishes, carrots, green beans, arrowhead cabbage, rainbow chard, garlic, and a butternut squash.

I'm starting to fall behind with cabbage again....

Friday, October 17, 2014

What's in the box, 10/16/14 edition

There's still so much green in the box for a week in the fall. That said, the weather definitely hasn't been feeling like fall lately....
This week, the box contained a huge head of green oak leaf lettuce, cilantro, Easter egg radishes, two honeynut squash, leeks, beets, hakurei turnips, broccoli rabe, broccoli, escarole, and bok choy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Links: moving into fall

All of the links below really demonstrate the move from summer vegetables to fall and winter ones.

Food 52's collection of galettes and savory pies. I'm particularly intrigued by the combination of mushrooms and fennel, something that I wouldn't have thought to try.

Herbed butternut squash chips. For a while, I was making everything into vegetable chips, but never tried it with butternut squash. Crispy butternut squash chips as a topping for butternut squash soup might be interesting (or might be too much butternut squash).

Food52's post on how to transform a head of cauliflower into dinner. All of the recipes in this post sound good. However, since the husband is not a huge cauliflower fan, we're unlikely to try many of them.

Charred broccoli and lentil salad. I roasted last week's head of broccoli in the oven, but then ate it on its own. If more broccoli comes, perhaps it'll make its way into a salad.

Joy the Baker's recipe for maple spiced almond milk with a hint of pumpkin. Not sure about the flavoring, but it was good to see the photos of the steps as I've been wanting to try to make my own almond milk (see one of my prior link posts).

This recipe for quick pickled apples looks interesting. Once we go apple picking, I'll be looking for things to do with a fridge full of apples. I'm planning to try pickling a couple now.

Sriracha roasted chickpeas and cauliflower with pickled mustard seeds. More pickling. I have a huge container of mustard seeds, so would like to try pickling them.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fried green tomatoes and crockpot grits

I first made fried green tomatoes last year, using this recipe from Southern Living. We received a couple of green tomatoes in a recent box, so I made them again this year. You'll see from the photo below that one of the green tomatoes started to turn yellow before I made them.
For the breading station, you'll need

  • 1/4 cup flour in one bowl, 
  • 1 egg and 1/2 cup milk (the recipe called for buttermilk, but milk worked fine) blended together in another, and 
  • 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a third.

Dredge each tomato slice in the flour, then the egg and milk mixture, then the cornmeal mixture.
Fry in batches in vegetable oil. The recipe says to cook them for two minutes on each side.
After both sides have been fried, drain them on paper towels. I flipped them to the other side after a minute or two to drain both sides.
Season with salt and serve. The sliced that had started to ripen were a bit mushy, but still good. The green slices were definitely better though.

Given that fried green tomatoes from the south, I served them with grits. I had some stoneground grits in the freezer, but I didn't want to spend an hour stirring them constantly. A web search turned up this recipe for grits cooked in a crockpotAnother recipe included cream as well. I didn't have cooking spray, so I put a light coating of olive oil on the crockpot. I finished off the grits with a tablespoon of butter and a bit of cream.

The grits turned out pretty well, especially given that they did not require over an hour of hands on time. The crockpot did need to be soaked overnight and into the next day for clean up though.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Freezing herbs for the winter

When there are large bunches of herbs in a week's box, it can be hard to use all of the herbs before they start to get slimy. Instead of letting them go to waste, I freeze the extra for the winter.

In this case, I had a large bunch of cilantro.
I washed it and put it into the salad spinner, then removed the leaves to put into the food processor.
Here's the pile of stems. I didn't use them, but liked the photo.
Pour a little water into the food processor and grind up the herbs. Spoon them into a small ice cube tray. Then pour water over the herbs, which will allow them to be frozen into ice cubes. (There's very little water in the end; it won't be noticeable when you use the cubes in recipes.)
Cover the tray with plastic wrap and freeze, at least overnight. 

After freezing, remove the plastic wrap (I ended up with a light layer of ice on the plastic wrap, which makes the photo below look a bit odd).
Pop out the ice cubes. I was a bit disappointed, as it wasn't as easy to pop these out as I had expected with my new ice cube tray. That said, the tray did clean up much more easily than my old mini ice cube tray (which was cracked earlier this summer).
Put the cubes into a bag for the freezer. Label the cubes. If you don't, you'll never be able to tell the difference between frozen cilantro and other herbs like dill. Trust me on this one. (My labels fell off last year.)
I'll be doing the same over the weekend with the bunch of dill from this week's box.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What's in the box, 10/9/14 edition

It's been warm this fall, so there are still lots of leafy greens in the box.
This week, the box contains dill, kale, red oak leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, watermelon radishes, onions, and three types of beans.

The kale will likely end up as kale pesto again (yes, I'm in a bit of a rut with my kale usage). I might reserve a leaf or two to make the Oregon salad, as I have part of a head of red cabbage in my fridge from a prior week.

Some of the beans will be eaten raw as snacks. Some will be put on salads, raw and chopped. I will have to do something with some of them beyond that as well, as there was a full gallon bag of beans in the box. I have been thinking about making some Momofuku vinegar pickles with a few hakurei turnips I have left from last week's box and some carrots; I could add some beans to the mix as well.

I'd like to try roasting the broccoli in the oven, in the same manner that I roasted the head of cauliflower.

As for the dill, I'm thinking about making some egg salad with lots of dill. I'll have plenty left over, which will allow me to freeze some for use in the winter. I made cilantro cubes earlier this week; haven't had time to put up a post about that yet, but will soon. I used the ice cube tray that I posted about over the summer.

Refrigerator pickles

This post is coming a bit too late for the summer season, but I did just make some pickles last week with a large bag of cucumbers from my mom's garden.

You'll need cucumbers (they can be overgrown, as the pickling liquid will take away any bitterness), seasoned rice vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and dill (I prefer fresh, but dried also works).

Wash and slice the cucumbers.
Layer them in a container, adding salt, pepper and dill between the layers.
Here's the container full of sliced cucumbers.
Make your pickling liquid. (This step can also be done before you slice the cucumbers.) Mix equal parts of rice vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Depending upon the number of cucumbers I have, I usually use 1/2-1 cup of each.
Boil until the sugar dissolves, then turn off the heat.
Pour the liquid over the cucumbers and refrigerate. Don't worry if they're not completely covered, as the cucumbers will give off water and shrink down.
I usually shake the container after a few hours, when there's more liquid, to make sure that everything is covered.
The pickles are ready in 12 hours, but better after a full 24.