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I saw one ingredient in next week’s box and it kindled a thought that I must admit is no small feat. The thought was of a Korean condiment, the tangy, the spicy – kimchi. And the savoy cabbage in next week’s box might just make a go at it. But as kimchi takes some time to sit and marinate, I better come up with something more timely and we’ll see how the kimchi idea stews.

So, much like last week, I don’t think I’ll change anything in my order. Maybe switch out something for avocados, but I can’t think of what. Here’s the run down.

  • Green leaf lettuce – staying with the kimchi theme (I know, I just can’t let it go) I’ll maybe get some Korean short ribs, garlic, serranos, bean paste and have a little Korean barbecue with some friends.
  • Baby red beets for quick pickling after roasting or maybe in a salad.
  • The chard for a side, or in a salad – I promise I’ll do a salad this time! Most likely the cukes too, though cucumber boats sound enticing – filled with a sort of Greek feta, tomatoes and fresh oregano in a garlic aioli.
  • The savoy cabbage will go to kimchi and the carrots and onions will be required for that too. (By the way, if anyone has a good recipe for kimchi, let me know – otherwise I’m off to my favorite Korean barbecue place to see if I can talk them out of one.)
  • Which takes us to fruit and since my friends are loaning me their ice cream maker, I think some variants are in order. Cantaloupe-peach, maybe pluot-nectarine? We’ll have to see.

Well that’s it for the box.  I’m going to throw in some fresh pasta, as the spinach pappardelle is great with a light tomato and basil sauce. I’ll need to add some eggs to my order, some heavy cream for ice cream, some chilis, cilantro, bread and maybe a clover bundle. Jerry Foster’s pork is incredible, especially the pork steaks. I cooked the last batch on the grill then braised them slow for a couple of hours until they were ready to fall apart. Basted them again and browned them on the grill. Used my homemade chimichurri sauce to dip them in. They brought many compliments to our humble household.

I’m hungry already, it must be lunchtime. I haven’t settled on anything in particular for next week’s recipe, but I’m sure something will pop out at me. Like kimchi!

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I know last week I said salad, but I started thinking about a family recipe, one usually made with a headed variety of Brassica and got side tracked. I promise that I’ll return to the salad idea, as it sounds tasty to me, but I just have to share this recipe first.

This is an amalgamation of something my stepmother makes for the holidays. We call it ‘stuffed garbage’ because my sister-in-law, who is French Canadian and has at times a rather pronounced accent, announced one holiday evening her excitement at having “stoofed gha-bbage” for dinner. The name stuck and though the sausage and rice-filled cabbage leaves that are layered over bacon strips and stewed tomatoes is delicious and simple, and one of the many holiday meals I look forward to, ‘garbage’ it remains.

With all the greens that are easily grown in the northwest it stands to reason that a few varied methods of cooking them is in order. Into our culinary arsenal should enter the old standbys: sautéing with onions and garlic until bright green and finishing with lemon juice or vinegar, braising low and slow with stock, a bit of vinegar and a pat of butter at the end, and my favorite as of late – a quick blanch in heavily salted water then quickly cooled under cold running water or in an ice bath.  All of these are quick and easy ways to make a side of any greens – chard, kale, escarole, beet greens, turnip greens, collards, and even raabs and rapini.

The last method, that of blanching and cooling, has become my favorite if only for its ease and the soft yet still crunchy texture it retains in the kales and raabs. This recipe uses this method to slightly soften and salt the chard, which is then used as a wrapper for any number of delicious things, in this case some Italian sausage, summer squash and wild rice. Covered in a simple stewed tomato sauce it is both healthy and delicious. A vegetarian variation could easily be achieved by adding raisins, pine nuts and maybe some goat cheese to the bundles before topping with stewed or fresh tomatoes and baking.

1 lb chard or kale variety

2-3 medium summer squash zucchini, patty pan, sunburst or other variety

2 cups cooked wild rice or 1 cup quick cooking rice

1 lb Italian sausage, or 1/2 ground pork and 1/2 lean ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, savory), minced

4 fresh tomatoes (I used some black prince tomatoes that are delicious!), thickly sliced

2 cups stock

1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large bowl mix sausage, onion, garlic spices and rice. Combine until mixed but don’t knead too much, as this will make the sausage tough. Bring a large pot with two quarts heavily salted water to boil, reduce to simmer. In another pot or bowl make an ice bath by adding ice cubes to cold water. Holding the chard by the stems, dip quickly into the simmering water and remove when slightly wilted. Plunge directly in an ice bath and place in a colander to drain.

Oil a 9×13 casserole dish or baking pan. Place a few of the leaves on the bottom to keep the wraps from sticking. On a flat surface lay out one green leaf at a time, place two heaping tablespoons of sausage mixture in the center and wrap into small burrito. Place in the casserole dish. Repeat until all the filling is used. Eat any left over leaves.

Place sliced tomatoes on top to form one layer. Add enough stock to make a 1/4 inch layer in the pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for one hour. Serve sprinkled with shredded parmigiano reggiano.

Besides my reoccurring exemption of plums/pluots for avocados, I don’t think I’ll change a thing in next week’s box contents:

  • The red leaf lettuce is awesome for salads, as are the cucumbers and carrots.  The rainbow chard is great braised with the onions and garlic or just quickly blanched and cooled and used as a basis for a wild rice salad.
  • The squash and rapini are both wonderful grilled, and I just can’t let good grilling weather go to waste, especially with fall right around the corner.
  • Avocados I often end up putting in salads, eating with breakfast, or making guacamole for guests –  I could stand and eat them with a spoon they are so good.
  • As far as the nectarine, peaches and grapefruit goes, well… granitas, sorbets or just broiled grapefruit with brown sugar for a Sunday breakfast should make quick work of those.

Out of all the great stuff in the box this coming week I think I’m most excited about the rapini and squash.  The squash I will definitely pan-sear or grill, or I might make a summer salad out of it after grilling. But, I think I’d like to focus on the rainbow chard as the theme for next weeks recipe.

Chard can be cooked many different ways and used in a wide variety of dishes to add texture, flavor and nutrients. As most of the ingredients for next weeks box seem well suited for a summer salad I’ll use grilled or pan-seared summer squash, rainbow chard, onion, garlic and wild rice to make a cool , nutritious summer salad.

As for my Green Grocery order: Ground beef for burgers, rosemary bread for buns, and I just have to try out our first Good Food Combination and get the Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella! As you can’t have a good Caprese salad without good olive oil, and since I”m running low on the Spanish oil we usually use, I’ll have to get a bottle of the Sicilian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil as well.

In next week’s post, along with a recipe for grilled squash, wild rice and rainbow chard salad, we’ll talk about some other fast and tasty ways to prepare chard, as well as some southern favorites for those that like a slow-cooked style!

I first had ceviche while visiting Mexico when very young.  Later, I learned to create the dish with everything from shrimp and scallops, to snapper and lobster.  The wonderful salted seafood and bright citrus make it a cool and refreshing dish to eat on hot summer nights and will become more mellow after marinating for a day or so.

This ceviche recipe is a quick and easy dish that can be served both as an appetizer and as a main course.  Traditional shrimp ceviche, a dish from the north pacific coast of Mexico, is served with the shrimp almost raw, marinated in water and lime juice for just a few minutes.  Although this style of ceviche is wonderful when you get fresh shrimp straight from the hands of the fish monger, I prefer a brief bath in heavily salted  and boiling water to cook the shrimp quickly but thoroughly, yet keeping them tender and juicy.

The grilled and lightly wilted escarole addition makes a wonderful contrast to the tart citrus as its flavors change dramatically with heat.  From a bitter and pungent chicory, escarole becomes nutty and buttery, a perfect place for our ceviche to bed. Often, chicories are under appreciated for their great flavor profile and their adaptability, experiment with cooking them quickly with various techniques and incorporating them into your everyday meals.

This recipe for ceviche will also work for fish, like snapper or halibut, as well as scallops big and small.  If adding a variety of seafood, use the traditional method and marinate in the juice of enough limes to cover the seafood half way.  Marinate for at least two hours, stirring every half hour.  This will allow the lime juice to cook the seafood thoroughly. Then drain most of the juice off, add the rest of your ingredients, mix and serve. For this recipe we’ll just use shrimp, cooked lightly and quickly marinated.

2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined

3 limes, juiced

2 lemons, juiced

1 oranges, juiced

1/2 red onion minced, scallions or shallots can also be substituted

1/2 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced

2 serrano chilies, deseeded and minced

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

2T extra virgin olive oil

1t hot sauce, Mexican style

Salt and pepper

1 head escarole, halved, for bedding

1T extra virgin olive oil

In 2 quarts boiling water, stir in 1/4 cup sea salt, add peeled and deveined shrimp.  Turn heat off and let shrimp sit in water for 2 minutes.  Drain in colander and spread on pan to cool.  Place in refrigerator to cool quickly.

In medium bowl add citrus juice, hot sauce, onion, cucumber and chilis.  When shrimp is cool, roughly chop and add to bowl.  Toss to incorporate and cover, return to refrigerator.

Lightly brush the interior of the escarole halves with oil. On a hot grill, or under a 500° broiler, place escarole halves, inside facing the heat source and cook until lightly browned and slightly wilted.  Let sit for one or two minutes then cut thinly in strips, toss in a small bowl with salt and pepper and a small amount of oil.

Remove shrimp mixture from fridge.  Add avocados, cilantro, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Plate by nesting ceviche on a bed of escarole. Serve immediately to hungry people.

Here’s my box contents for this week:

Baby purple carrots – purple? May have to pickle these.

Farmer’s Choice of lettuce – yum.

Spinach – maybe for salad, or wilted with some fresh basil.

Yukon gold potatoes – Oooh, potato salad anyone?

Italian Parsley – garden fresh parsley, hmm, how about chimichurri?

Cucumbers – salad

Escarole – to the grill with you!

Lacinato Kale (seen below) – that’s the curly kind, also called dinosaur kale, great braised, or finely julienned in soups or salads.

Pluots – I’ll probably sub these out.

Nectarines – grilled, sprinkled with a balsamic reduction and put over ice cream.

Donut Peaches – or maybe with these instead, or both.

Apricots – might sub these guys out for something else.

Okay, so there’s the box. And for my Green Grocery order I’ll have to get some granola to go with the Grace Harbor yogurt I still have (this seriously is the best yogurt ever!). I’ll also have to order some bread, maybe the sourdough this week, I got the rosemary last week and it was awesome. I’m feeling like some pork, so maybe the clover bundle, that way I can get the pork steaks, which make great carnitas, the pork roast, which you just can’t beat a pork roast, and the ginger pear sausage, which I love with my eggs for Sunday breakfast.

As far as the meal planning goes… let’s do something around the escarole.  Escarole is a variety of endive (think wild lettuce) whose leaves are broader, more pale and less bitter than some other endives. I love julienning escarole into salads, or as a bed under seafood, especially after grilling to bring out its natural nutty flavor. Which gives me a great idea, I haven’t made ceviche in a while and I have a lot of shrimp in the freezer.  So, I’ll add some lemons and limes to my Green Grocery order as well as sub out those apricots for some avocados.  I’ll need some cilantro, as well as red onion and scallions.

For dessert a bottle of rosé wine and nectarines will make a lovely sorbet, and I’ll order some fresh mint to accompany that (use the rest for mojitos!)  This is a great way to use your stone fruit, you can also make granitas our of them, as a co-worker of mine suggested – though beware, she says they are totally addictive, I can’t imagine why?

Okay, fiesta bowl is a little much perhaps.  After all this corn should in no way be grouped with a fast food experience as it is good eating, at the peak of ripeness, roasted slow and meant for savoring – not a quick bite in the back of a minivan.  This recipe is basically bringing the flavors of Mexican fair-corn to the dinner table.  The earthy flavors of fire roasted kernels, the sweet cream of creme fraiche and the spice of hot sauce, all in one dish.

I started out calling it creamed corn, and you can take half, or for that matter all of it and put it through a food processor after the cream is partially reduced.  But I like the full kernels, especially the large plump kernels of our own Washington grown corn.  So here it is, Roasted Corn Fiesta Bowl, Mexican Creamed Corn, or just a good corn dish. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a quick and easy side that will keep everyone smiling!

Ingredients:

4 Whole corn on the cob, roasted, and the kernels removed

1/2 large onion, medium diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 T butter

1/2 cup crumbled cotija

1 T Mexican hot sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by shucking the corn and rinsing it, as you would all vegetables. Lightly brush them with oil and place them on a grill over hot coals or alternately, on the top rack in the oven under a hot 500 degree broiler.  Rotate the corn as it begins to brown and the kernels start to pop.  Keep roasting the corn until it’s well roasted.  Set aside and dice onion and mince the garlic.  Standing corn on end and remove the kernels in rows with a sharp knife.

In a small saucepan, saute garlic and onion in butter until onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about two to three minutes. Add corn and saute for another two to three minutes.  Add heavy cream and bring to a boil, simmer and let reduce by half. When cream thickens you can then remove half (or all depending on your preference) of the corn and blend until creamy, using some of the cream to incorporate.  For really creamy corn use double the amount of half and half instead of heavy cream.

Place in a bowl and garnish with cotija, a salty, pressed fresh cow’s milk cheese, and a sprinkle of a flavorful, but not too spicy, chili-based hot sauce, like Valentina, Tapatio or Cholula. It’s like eating corn on the cob in a bowl.

And there you have it. The flavor of roasted corn, cream, butter and salty cheese, with a little spice to liven up your taste buds. This makes a great side to roasted chicken, or paired with mashed potatoes.  Alternately you can also add fresh sweet peppers, hot peppers, or garnish with fresh salsa, cilantro or slices of avocado. I wouldn’t know what to do with the leftovers, because we never have any.

Let me know if you have items in your box that you aren’t too familiar with, or would love some advice on a recipe or troublesome ingredient you’ve seen in one of our previous Farm Notes recipes. I may not have the answer, but I’ll do what I can to find out!  I can’t wait to see what’s in our box next week!

When I received my Fresh This Week email today from Full Circle and saw that Washington corn was ready, I immediately thought of one thing – creamed corn.  Seriously, creamed corn! Now this is not the canned creamed corn of 50s modern mechanization, what I have in mind is silky smooth, sweet and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper to bring out our local corn’s best qualities.  (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.)

If I’m having creamed corn I’ll need to fire up the grill to get that roasted flavor, either that or roast it in the broiler of the oven, but if the grill’s going, I might as well also make some burgers right?  My burgers are usually more like meatloaf than actual burgers, but with the quality and flavor of Heritage meats I’m going simple and easy – just lightly oiled with salt and pepper (maybe a little cheese to top it off!)

Well, that only leaves on thing. What’s for dessert? In keeping with quick and easy, I think a little warm crisp made with fresh blueberries and peaches, laid over some cold vanilla ice cream is in order.

Now, one full meal isn’t hard to plan for, but when it comes to the rest of the week I like to just think in terms of dishes than meals, as most full meals make left-overs that last for another day or so.  Just a quick glance at what’s fresh this week gives me a few ideas (your box contents may look slightly different as I have a permanent exemption for plums, which gave me the double peaches, and each delivery area get’s slightly different varieties based on quantities available from the farm) –

Red Leaf Lettuce                                           Red Beets
Green Kale                                                   Mixed Summer Squash
Savoy Cabbage                                            Cucumbers
Red Radishes                                                Baby Bok Choy
Donut Peaches                                              Blueberries
Peaches                                                       Apricots

For example:

  • The beets in my box will most likely get roasted, I love roasted beets, or sliced raw and jarred with vinegar, dill seed, peppercorns and bay leaves, 24-48 hours later they make a great addition to salads or just tasty snacks.
  • Baby Bok Choy, savoy cabbage and summer squash will get tossed into a stir fry, so I’ll need to order some carrots, ginger, garlic and scallions.
  • And my good friend kale, a staple any time of the year when you’re living in the Northwest, can always be quickly braised as a side dish or simmered slow and low to make southern style greens.
  • Cucumbers I’ll most likely make a Greek salad out of or some English tea sandwiches.

So, what do I need to add to my order through Full Circle’s online Green Grocery to make next week’s feast an easy success (and save myself at least one trip or two to the grocery store)?

Corn for my creamed corn and I’ll sub out one of the peaches for onions, as well as order some heavy cream – I’ll probably use some garlic in there too, and it’s just a good staple to have around the house.

Ground beef for burgers, I’ll get lettuce in my box, but will need a couple of tomatoes, and I’ll go ahead and sub out the apricots for carrots and order some ginger for my stir fry.

While I’m at it I’ll pick up some Rosemary bread as well as Mt. Townsend’s New Moon, which is a great eating cheese and melts to creamy smoothness on burgers. Whew! A couple of clicks and I now have most of the groceries I need for the next week.

So that gives me at least two meals, with leftovers for the next day from each and a couple of dishes for the other days! Hopefully that will keep me away from a rush-hour market run until Thursday or Friday and by then I might as well treat myself to a night out on the town!

When I get my box – I get mine Wednesday morning – I’ll show you an easy and quick recipe for outstanding creamed corn!