Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What's in the box, 4/29/15 edition

In last week's box:
Popcorn, apples, chives, bread, parsnips, and sorrel. While the other boxes last week included stinging nettles, the farmers at Siena Farms were very nice to me and switched some extra parsnips and sorrel for the bag of nettles, given that I learned last year that I was allergic to them.

Also in the picture are some garlic shoots (lower right hand corner).

Now that the weather is finally warming up (I read in the Boston Globe that when the temperature was in the 80s on Monday, it was our first day above 70 since October), our asparagus is starting to grow.
I cut these stalks on Sunday, then another few stalks yesterday. Not enough to roast, but plenty for adding to salads (salad bar post coming soon).

Monday, April 27, 2015

Baked potatoes with chive yogurt and sautéed mushrooms

We've received lots of potatoes this winter. With the chives in the recent week's box, I decided to make baked potatoes. I washed the potatoes and cut an X into each one. Then I put them into my toaster oven at 325 for an hour.

In the meantime, I made greek yogurt with chives. I also mix in some salt and pepper.
Let chill in the refrigerator to let the chives meld into the yogurt.

I also sliced some cremini mushrooms and sautéed them in butter.
I didn't time them, but I probably cooked them about 15 minutes.
I served the mushrooms and chive yogurt...
...with the finished baked potatoes.
To eat, cut a potato open on your plate and top with as much or as little of each of the toppings. You could add a grated cheese as well, but I held off. (Long time readers will likely find it shocking that I declined an opportunity to use some cheese.)

We had spinach with almonds and raisins with this dinner. Husband had meat too, of course.

Carrots roasted on coffee beans

Last year, I saw this recipe for slow roasting carrots on coffee beans. We didn't get any coffee beans in the boxes last spring, so I didn't try it. However, this year we did get some whole beans.

I went through the carrots in the fridge to find the thinnest ones that I could find.
Peel the carrots, then toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. I decided to skip the garlic that was listed in the recipe.
Measure out one cup of coffee beans.
Heat your pan for 5 minutes over medium heat, empty. Then turn off the heat and add the beans. Shake for three minutes.
Three minutes is a really long time....
Then put the carrots on the beans.
Roast them at 225 degrees for 2-3 hours. I took mine out around 2.5 hours, as I needed to cook my biscuits in a 400 degree oven.

I'm not really sure what I think about them. (For the husband, it was very clear. He did not like them at all.) I'd eat a small one and think, this is awful. But then I'd go back for another, thinking that the flavor was interesting. I did find myself thinking that I shouldn't eat many of them, given it was the evening and it tasted like I was having coffee. 

Overall, the coffee flavoring was too strong. If a similar thing were done at a modernist restaurant, the coffee taste would be much more subtle. There was nothing subtle about the coffee in this recipe.

I served them with vegetarian baked beans and parsnip biscuits. Husband added some country ham to his plate. The carrots definitely were better when eaten with the beans then when they were sampled on their own right out of the oven, probably because the beans provided a strong counterpart. That said, I still couldn't eat many of them, and I ended up composting many of the carrots. If you decide to try this recipe, I'd recommend trying it with just a few carrots, so that you don't waste them if you don't like the strong coffee flavor.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What's in the box, 4/22/15 edition

In this week's box:
Purple top turnips, sourdough bread, russet potatoes, apples, spinach, pea tendrils, chives, and popcorn.

We have far too many ears of popcorn in the pantry now. I'm not going to count, but I know it's at least 6 bags of 4 ears. I don't think we could ever get through this much popcorn. Is there anything you can do with it besides eating lots of it for snacks?

I've been working through the purple top turnips by making turnip soup with hazelnuts both this weekend and last weekend. At the moment, my fridge is free of purple top turnips. I am hoping that I won't find more in this coming week's box, but I'd take more turnips over more popcorn.

We also went to the new Babbo on Fan Pier in Boston this weekend, where we tried razor clams with oil and garlic...
...and pea agnolotti...
...and olive oil gelato with strawberry granita, lime curd, candied pignoli, and a basil sauce. (The basil sauce was really, really good on the olive oil gelato.)
It is excellent to have Babbo here in Boston. It's less formal than the Babbo in NYC, but the food is just as good. Mario Batali was even in the restaurant while we were there. They also serve pizzas, but we didn't try them on this trip.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Itty bitty beets

I had two quart sized bags of "baby beets" from the farm in my fridge, so I decided to roast them. It took over a half hour to peel them. (I peel before roasting. Despite what everyone says about it being easier after roasting, I think it's easier to peel with a paring knife before roasting.)
 Here they are after roasting.
I mixed them with some feta and pepitas for a simple salad.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Variations on a theme: butternut squash salad

In an attempt to use the large backlog of butternut squash, I've recently made butternut squash salad with Israeli couscous and butternut squash salad with wheat berries, pecans, and cranberries.

Since then, I've tried making it with orzo. It was a bit too mushy, but still edible.

I also made the wheat berry version again, but just with cranberries, no pecans. The cranberries were from this past week's box.

For those of you counting at home, I just have two butternut squash left in my pantry.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What's in the box, 4/7/15 and 4/15/15 editions

Two boxes behind again (in the blog, and it's feeling that way in the fridge too).

Here's the box from 4/7/15:
Potatoes, purple top turnips, bread, apples, watermelon radishes, popcorn, pea tendrils, and dried beans.

The box from 4/15/15:
Potatoes, parsnips, apples, bread, a tiny head of cabbage, trumpet mushrooms, carrots, and dried cranberries.

Where have I been?

Meeting R2D2.

And, of course, eating unhealthy breakfast food on the road (e.g., this post and this post). The cheddar and chive biscuit with mushroom gravy below is from Morsel in Seattle. It's worth waiting in line for their food.

The breakfast below is from Top Pot Doughnuts, also in Seattle. Husband raves about these donuts while visiting Seattle. Perhaps I didn't get the right type. It was a fine donut, but not the best donut I've ever had.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pasta with clam sauce

This pasta is really more of a summer recipe, but it can be made any time if you have frozen clams and are willing to buy tomatoes at the grocery store. I suppose you could also use canned clams, although I've never tried them. In the summer, I pick quahogs at the Cape (using my toes, a method passed from generation to generation in my family), which we open, grind, and put into containers with a 2:1 ratio of clam juice to clams. My mom uses her clams for chowder; I use mine for pasta with clam sauce.

1/2 cup chopped clams
1 cup clam juice
1 onion, chopped
1 8-10 oz package of mushrooms, sliced
1-2 tomatoes, cut into cubes
pasta (1/2-1 pound, depending upon how many servings you want)
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for serving
Start by putting a pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Prep your veggies. Then start by cooking an onion for 5 minutes until it wilts.
Then add the mushroom slices and cook 5 minutes. Around the time you're adding the mushrooms, you should be putting your pasta into the boiling water.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Then add the clams and clam juice and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the pasta to the sauce and cook for a minute, then serve.
You might want to serve the pasta with some bread to soak up the clam juice. Alternatively, eat the pasta with a soup spoon, to get more of the clam juice while eating. If you have leftovers, the pasta will absorb the juice by the next day.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A farm breakfast

Given that I had two fairly large bags of pea tendrils in the fridge from past weeks' boxes, I have had a large bowl of them with over easy eggs for breakfast several times recently. I've accompanied it with a toasted slice of las week's seeded wheat bread.
Rough chop the pea tendrils before putting them in the bowl, as it makes it easier to eat later. I also cook my eggs in olive oil for this breakfast, instead of butter as I normally do, because it feels like greens are better with olive oil.

Husband will not eat this breakfast, as it has far too many greens for his taste, but I enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What's in the box, April Fools edition

No fooling; more vegetables today.
In today's box: potatoes, mesclun, carrots, tiny beets, apples, sourdough bread, and triticale berries (similar to wheat berries, but from a different grain that's a cross between wheat and rye, according to the farm newsletter).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Using the butternut squash: Wheat berry salad with butternut squash, pecans, cranberries, and feta

I have some soft white winter wheat berries in the pantry, so I thought I'd try a variation on the couscous and butternut squash salad from last week, including some pecans and dried cranberries as well.

I first roasted the squash with some onion slices in a 400 degree oven for an hour. It ends up a bit mushy, so cook yours less if you'd prefer your cubes to be a bit firmer.

During this time, I also cooked the wheat berries. I first went through the wheat berries to pull out any stems, then rinsed them. I cooked 1.5 cups of wheat berries in 4.5 cups of water (1:3 ratio of wheat berries to water or other cooking liquid for the soft white winter wheat; I wanted to use some butternut squash stock instead of water, but it was cooking at the same time as the wheat berries and I didn't want to wait longer to have dinner ready). Once the wheat berries come to a boil, reduce them to a simmer and cook covered for 45 minutes. When they are done, drain off any excess liquid.

I mixed the pecans, dried cranberries, wheat berries, cooked squash, and some cubed feta. When I tasted it, it wasn't quite right. Husband suggested acid. I added two tablespoons of cider vinegar, which really improved the salad.

I served it warm with dinner, then ate it cold with lunches. It worked well both ways.

Husband says he prefers the couscous version.

For those of you counting, I'm now down to 6 butternut squash in the pantry. I roasted two butternut squash while making this salad. I used one for the salad, and I made the other into butternut squash soup by blending the cooked squash with the stock that I made with the squash rinds.

I will be taking a break from cooking butternut squash for a few days now, as I eat the wheat berry salad and soup for lunches.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Oven-baked shoestring fries

Husband made over-baked shoestring fries the other night. He says that the key to the fries is cutting them thinly and evenly enough.

Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and spices; this time he added chipotle powder and garlic powder (husband points out that you should not use actual garlic, because it burns quickly).
Bake in a 400-425 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so.
They're done when they reach the level of browned crunchiness that you like. Husband points out that it's a balancing act between how crispy they get and how burned they can get, so you might want to check them every few minutes near the end.
Drain on paper towels. Salt before serving.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Using the butternut squash: butternut squash and goat cheese dip

I saw this recipe for butternut squash and goat cheese dip a few weeks ago. Given my desire to use the butternut squash in the pantry, I decided to try it.

I roasted a small butternut squash.
Then mixed it with half of an 11 oz log of goat cheese. The recipe called for the full log, but it seemed like a lot of cheese.
Instead of the pita recommended in the recipe, I used thin crackers.
I liked it; husband was not a fan. I'm also learning that blending butternut squash with dairy products leads to food that has the same color as Cheese Whiz.

For those of you playing along at home: I now have 8 butternut squash left in the pantry.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Salad bar: the best cole slaw ever, kitchen-sink salad, and arugula with watermelon radish and burrata

I call this first salad "the best cole slaw ever." I cut a peeled kohlrabi into matchsticks, a watermelon radish into thin wedges, some red cabbage into thin slices, and an apple (skin still on) into small slices. The dressing was made from 3/4 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 2 Tbsp of sugar, whisked together. I seasoned the slaw with celery seeds, salt and pepper.
We had it with scallops and fish, and it was excellent. I had some leftover, to which I added some walnuts to have for lunch the next day. I think this slaw was the best ever because of the variety of flavors from the fresh ingredients (all from the farm boxes), instead of being mostly cabbage.

I call this second salad "the kitchen-sink salad" because I put in everything but. It had mixed greens, watermelon radishes, hearts of palm (to use a can that's been sitting in my pantry for a while), marinated mushrooms (to use some leftovers from the fridge), pepitas, and some tomato. I dressed it simply with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Finally, a salad with baby arugula, thin wedges of watermelon radish, and some chopped burrata, dressed with olive oil and salt. I loved this salad; husband was okay with it but didn't love it as much as I did.

Perhaps I should have titled this post, "Using the watermelon radishes," as each of the salad had them. I still have many bags of watermelon radishes in the fridge to use.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Walnut and lentil tacos

I tried this recipe for walnut and lentil tacos from Food52, partly because it seemed like a good way to use some cabbage.
I think I used too many lentils, as I measured dry, not cooked, which made the mixture a bit mealier than it probably would have been. I enjoyed the tacos, however; the husband a bit less so. He did like the cabbage slaw that topped them though. I'd make the slaw on its own.
We had leftovers, which I used to make taco salads for a couple of my lunches.