Friday, November 2, 2018

CSA week 19&20

Our final pickup was last week. I've gotten way too lax about taking photos, but here is the last batch, I think. Coming up next: a summary of the most delicious things that we made from this summer's CSA.

Stuffed spaghetti squash is the best! Gosh I have no idea what we stuffed this in, but knowing us, it's probably some greens, sausage, and a lot of cheese. With more cheese on top. Maybe some sundried tomatoes and mushrooms hidden in there. It's such a flexible recipe - roast your squash, scrape out the spaghetti-like innards, mix those strands with tasty other fillings, return to the squash shells and top with cheese to broil until the topper-cheese is toasty brown. You just can't go that wrong.

Our last beautiful bouquet before the first frost

This was a somewhat uninspired dish using up leftover everythings. We've got some chinese pink sausage, acorn squash, green peppers and red onions, and some cilantro and roasted squash seeds on top. This would have been pretty tasty if it had been sweet Italian sausage rather than the sweet chinese sausage - I don't like that stuff. Gotta experiment sometimes, I suppose.

Ooh this was a good meal. Cheese board! I made some rosemary crackers, which were quite nice, and then a bunch of toppings - roasted apples, onion jam, crispy kale, roasted pumpkin with butter-fried sage leaves, and the roasted pumpkin seeds.

The pumpkin was pretty good. It's so not-sweet compared to other squashes. I cut some slices and roasted them, and that got them to the edible stage, but not quite fully cooked. Then I was browning butter, just because that's sometimes a necessary step when dealing with pumpkin, and I fried the pumpkin pieces for a while in the browned butter. Big improvements. Especially when you toss the leftovers with pasta and cheese and more sage.


Pumpkin cinnamon rolls! These were delicious, because I've made them before, and I know that putting pumpkin puree in the filling makes for a deliciously moist and pumpkin-y roll. King Arthur Flour's recipe:

I put some pearl sugar on half of these, and pumpkin icing on the other half. Ed was displeased, because in his world, cinnamon rolls are carriers for frosting, and half the rolls had no frosting and half weren't frosted enough. To me, a cinnamon roll is a bread item. Well, we're doing it my way until he starts making the cinnamon rolls.

Next up: my favorite seasonal recipes!

Monday, October 15, 2018

CSA Week #17 and 18

We're solidly into winter squash season! Also known as decorative gourd season, but thankfully we haven't gotten any of those. We didn't quite use up all our spaghetti and acorn squashes from last week, but that's mostly ok because they'll last forever, right?

I'm also two weeks behind by now, so prepare yourself for lots of mediocre pictures of food! First up, week 17:

3 honeynut squashes
2lb red onions
2 lettuces (one greenleaf, one Boston lettuce)
1 bunch cilantro
3lb sweet potatoes
2 acorn squashes
2lb arugular

This week we got some honeynut squashes, which are really tasty, sweet and nutty. The first thing we made was a giant salad of greens and winter squash, and it was quite good. Also, that arugula - so peppery! I'm a big fan.

The salad we made had multiple types of squash - acorn, honeynut, and sweet potato. I'm counting sweet potatoes as squashes because of the color and because they taste similar. I know they're actually not related, but I don't care. The greens were some greenleaf, some boston, and some arugula. We also had some quick-pickled turnips, which are so pretty, because they're pink on the outsides.

And then the dressing - a buttermilk ranch! Ed made it, so I'm not sure of the proportions, but it involved buttermilk, sour cream, raw red onion, raw green pepper, hot pepper, lots of cilantro, lemon and salt. Maybe other things. It was really good. I recommend using the internet if you want an actual recipe for that one.

Moving backwards, here are some more meals from week 16:

This one was a really tasty Thai-inspired curry. Basically, whatever vegetables you feel like, plus lots of curry paste and a can of coconut milk and a bunch of chicken stock and you just can't go that wrong. I have zero recollection as to what was actually in that curry, but I think I spot an onion, maybe some turnip, and collards. And this really weird stringy tofu that Ed got at the Super 88 when he was there.

A somewhat deconstructed lentil soup. Ed had also acquired a pile of pork chine bones at the discount shelf of our usual grocery store - the sale meat isn't bad, but you do want to use it relatively quickly. What are chine bones? Best I can figure, they're sort of offcuts of pork spine, with various amounts of meat attached. They made a DELICIOUS pork stock - super rich and flavorful. We also roasted a batch of them, and pulled off what meat there was into the next soup, below.

Anyway, enough about the pork stock. Over these lentils in pork stock we had a fried bok choy (fried on one side, then covered with stock to finish cooking), some enoki mushrooms, matchsticked turnip, chives, fried onions, and some sriracha. Good stuff. That was actually a really, really delicious soup.

The other soup with pork stock, pork meat from the chine bones, sausage, white beans, and kale. Can't go too wrong with that much pork product in a bowl!

This is a quick lunch I'd made for myself - a honeynut squash, fried with some onions, then tossed with apple cider until that cooks off, and finished with a pat of butter. Over the last of the bok choy and collards, cooked with some soy sauce and sesame seeds, and of course the roasted squash seeds on top. Pretty tasty.

Week 18

2 butternut squashes
2 eggplants
gazillions of potatoes
gazillions of beets
yellow onions
1 head of lettuce

First up was our take on borscht. Still with that tasty pork stock, and then we sorta winged it. Boiled some beets and potatoes, while cooking down an onion and some carrot. Added the root veggies with some pork stock and some kale (side note: one of my skier's parents keeps giving us kale. I can't say no to things like that, but we already have enough greens...). And topped with some cottage cheese and a fried egg. Really good, actually.

Root vegetable tart with fried kale, onion jam, blue cheese, and a spicy roasted eggplant. The root vegetable tart was in a buttermilk crust, because we still have some buttermilk from the last time I made biscuits. It wasn't great. Not tender, not flaky, kind of more like a cracker. Not making that crust again. I could see us making another squash tart, though. First I sliced the butternut squash and beets, then roasted them. Once there was some browning, I layered them into the tart crust, and baked until the crust was done. Instead of becoming mush, the squash actually kind of dehydrated, and got really tasty. I recommend. Especially with blue cheese and onion jam (a great use for all those onions...)

The kale I fried in a nonstick pan with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and it actually got a little crunchy. It was good!

The eggplant is one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant. Halve it, and score it all the way down. Make a little dressing of whatever - this one was miso, sriracha, honey, and fish sauce. Slather dressing on the eggplant and roast, cut side up, for a while. It gets soft and tasty and delicious.

Spinach and redleaf lettuce salad, topped with grated carrots, roasted butternut squash, fried chickpeas, and some fried tofu. The dressing was a cilantro-lime sort of deal. I really liked all the crunch!

Also, admire what is left of my baguette. Those were some really good sourdough baguettes. They went well with the Jasper Hill cheese that we won up at Craftsbury.

The fried chickpeas are worth making again - basically take a can of chickpeas, dry them as much as you can, and fry in a nonstick pan with some olive oil until they've dried out a bit and gotten crunchy. If you leave them in place, they'll get more browning. Toss with a little salt, too.

Sometimes I have trouble using up sweet potatoes, because I just don't like them as much as potatoes, or as much as squash. These ones have been cooking up pretty nicely, though. Here we've got a mostly beige meal - roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, and a pile of eggplant and mushrooms in a white wine reduction with some fried tofu and cilantro on top. The eggplant mixture also had some onion, sundried tomatoes, and garlic. And a pat of butter swirled around at the end. Tasty!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

CSA Week #16

I guess we're getting used to eating squash. The last one was a giant butternut squash, where I'd slowly been hacking slices off to roast. We finally killed it in a soup, which was surprisingly delicious, actually. Squash, apple, onion, coconut milk, spices, lots of ginger, and a little homemade sriracha. I would eat that again!

We topped the soup with some braised mini brassicae, and some oyster mushrooms sauteed in plenty of butter. Then Ed made some sort of gin drink with ginger beer, lime, and mint, and that was also delicious. Pretty good eats! 

This was another heavy week, though we've scarily eaten our way through much of this already.

2 spaghetti squashes
2 heads of collards (one in the box, and we traded out some hot peppers for the other bunch in the swap box)
baby bok choy
green peppers
baby braising greens
1 head redleaf lettuce

Overall, a really nice mix of green and colored veggies. 

While this meal may look beige, it was actually delicious. We may have completely trashed the kitchen, though, with like six different things going on.

The chicken drumsticks were tossed in some spices (cardamom, cumin, black pepper) and sriracha and a little oil, then baked at 450F for maybe 45 minutes? maybe an hour? While everything else was baking.

Potato and turnip wedges were tossed with oil and salt and roasted at 450F. Then we put some asparagus pesto, foraged from the freezer, on top. Very tasty.

Collards and onions, braised with some coconut milk (leftover from the squash soup) and spices. Nice to have a little green stuff on the plate.

Eggplant slices, salted and drained, then dredges in egg and cornmeal and fried. Those really needed some sort of sauce on top, but we didn't have anything handy. In any case. they were quite good. We made sure to have pretty thick slices, so that they weren't total mush by the time the cornmeal got crunchy. A nonstick pan helps with the frying.

And finally, some cheddar scallion biscuits. We used Alton Brown's Phase II biscuit, which is a fantastic biscuit, and we tend to just dump those on the pan as drop-biscuits. So, that recipe, plus about 3oz of grated cheddar and a sprinkling of chopped chives (we keep those in the freezer, pre-chopped, and it's a pretty good method). They were fantastic. As ever.

So did we really need to use three baking sheets, two frying pans, two cutting boards, a mixing bowl, and countless utensils? No. Was it delicious? Yes. Did we eventually clean up our mess? Yes. Worth it!

This was one of those lovely nights where I come home and Ed has made dinner for me. He made a slaw of turnips, green peppers, and onion, that was marinated in a sort of fish sauce-lime-rice vinegar-sesame seed concoction. It was delicious. On top of that were two little smashburgers, and then some grilled avocado, and a pesto made from the collard stems. Served next to a halved fried bok choy. Quite tasty! Though I'm not sure I need to eat collard stem pesto again.

And then a random meal that totally didn't really work together at all, but was decently edible. Ed had gone to the Super 88 and picked up some little calamari pieces, which he fried in some olive oil that had previously been used to store dried tomatoes, so imparted some of that delicious tomato flavor. Those were served on some mini braising greens mixed with the aforementioned dried tomatoes, next to a spaghetti squash where I'd attempted to make a cheese sauce.

The squash was fine, but, I should have skipped the sauce and just put the cheddar on top. The innards were way too runny and slightly overcooked, since it had been cooked twice at that point. It was totally edible, but not exactly delicious. Eh, sometimes you cook things and it's delicious and you're like "wow I would order that in a restaurant!" and sometimes you cook things and you're like "well, it's good I was hungry."

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Stuffed acorn squash

Look, a recipe! This was a good way to eat an acorn squash, and I would absolutely do it again. The premise is that you cook the squash, fill it with tasty things, crack an egg on top, and then dig in.

Next time, I am going to skip the egg, and add a bunch of cheese into the filling. And some sausage.

1/2C quinoa, cooked in stock (because I had it)
1 onion
1/2 can black beans, rinsed
~1/2C cottage cheese
1 tomato
1 green pepper
2 leaves of collards
2 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper
1 piece baon

First, get your squash cooking. Chop it in half, de-seed it, rub the inside with olive oil and salt and put it cut-side down on a baking sheet. Slide that thing into your oven as it preheats to 400F or so. Cooking it while the oven preheats will maximize the browning, and that means flavor. It'll probably take 20-30 minutes to cook, check after 20 minutes - the back side should yield a bit when you poke it.

For the filling, start with the bacon. Chop it up, render out the fat. As it nears the done point, add your diced onion, let that go as long as you feel like it, then add diced garlic and hot pepper. Cooking the hot pepper ought to take away some of its bite. I used a hungarian wax pepper. Then throw in the green pepper, collards, and tomato, cook those till they've wilted down, remove the pan from heat, and stir in the beans and cheese. Taste, season, adjust.

Once the squash feel mostly done, flip them over and fill with the filling. I topped these with eggs, which was fine, but didn't add much. Cheddar would be much better. Bake until the eggs are set or the cheese is melted, whichever you're doing (eggs will take 25 minutes, cheese will take like 10), and enjoy!

Oh, don't eat the skin. Too thick.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Squash, and other squishy things

Now that it's truly fall, we're getting a hard squash or two or three every week. This is actually kind of hard to keep up with, because Ed's not a huge fan of squash, and it's not my favorite thing. Can I have more greens, please? Anyway, we're using the squash, and my latest thing has been to just roast a slice or two off this gargantuan butternut squash every night as we make dinner, to take for lunch. It's a good squash, as far as squashes go, and it's not that hard to eat a slice of squash every day.

Anyway, we've made other things, too. I believe it's all getting out of order, now, but hey, worse things have happened in the world.

This was like a deconstructed bowl of ramen. Or something. A true Ed-creation, while I was at practice, and it was actually pretty good. I think those are some broccoli rabe (confession: I bought them at Whole Foods. Yes, we ran out of green things!), under a chicken thigh, with a pile of grated marinated candy beets, some soba noodles in a burned garlic sauce, and soft boiled eggs marinated in a soy-ish marinade. The burned garlic sauce was interesting, but I don't think we need to try it again.

This is more of my traditional manner of eating butternut squash - roasted, with onions, and drizzled with a lemon tahini sauce. I think the squash seeds were scattered on top - really helps with the texture. The tahini and lemon play really well with the sweetness of the squash, I make this dish a lot, because it just tastes good. The original is something like this: Ottoloenghi's butternut squash and red onion. I highly recommend.

Served that squash with a salad of beets and greens, and a thick pork chop cooked with husk cherry chutney. Pretty delish.

Ed's birthday dinner was a riff on surf and turf. Filet mignon, dayboat scallops with brown butter, shrimp in a sriracha-butter sauce, and various vegetables. Broccoli rabe with garlic and lemon, beets with caramelized onions and pickled shallots, and some fried potato rounds. Really delicious! Birthday meals are the best, because you can to taste them as well as the birthday person :)

I think this was the meal that Ed made the night we picked up the CSA. I was at practice, and he texted me to say he had dinner sorted. I was all like "awesome! thanks!" and then he mentioned that maybe I ought to be worried about that. I wouldn't normally think to be worried about Ed cooking dinner, I mean, he's good at cooking.

But then he served us up some thrice-cooked chicken feet. Hmm. Turns out, they weren't terrible. Boiled, to break down the collagen, then baked, to dry them out, then fried, to crisp them up. Tasty little nuggets of collagen and maybe some protein, but, I'm not sure I need to eat more of them. Ed pointed out that the difficulty of cooking them probably contributed to the fact that they were all on the sale shelf at the store. Yep.

We ate them with a hash of sorts, with turnips, corn, green peppers, bacon, onions, and potatoes. That part was really good! And Ed cooked the skinny eggplant cut in half lengthwise, spread with some of our fermented sriracha, and baked, and that was also really good.

More meat from the sale shelf - some sort of steak, with a lime-y marinade. It was quite tasty, but hiding under those potato wedges (delish. the potatoes they've been providing us with are just amazing. or maybe just small, and small potatoes are amazing. Not sure) is some very burned radicchio. We had a nice little rice salad hiding under the steak, having cooked some brown rice in corn stock, and then added corn kernels and scallions and some cottage cheese and some oyster mushrooms.

Then I went and pulled an Alex and dumped a pile of mixed brassica greens on top of the plate. We didn't have any green things! not ok. Ed's comment was that other than the random pile of greens and the burned radicchio, he would absolutely order that dish in a restaurant. I suppose I would, too, but with the random greens.

A tasty pasta dish with a beets and greens salad. The salad had a nice pesto dressing, first time I'd thawed one of our frozen pesto cubes, and I am totally sold to that method of storing pesto.

The pasta dish was tomatoes, the last of the collards, corn kernels, and turnips. Really good! I wouldn't normally think to put turnips on my pasta, but it worked. This dish could have used squash, but Ed vetoed that idea.

And the picture that probably should have come first: week 15's haul.

2 acorn squashes
2 eggplants
lots of potatoes
paste tomatoes
turnips, with their greens
head lettuce
baby brassica
3 green peppers
6 ears of corn
1 apple computer. oh wait, that one might not have come in the CSA

Saturday, September 15, 2018

CSA week #14

I haven't been good about taking photos of things, so I don't have much of a recollection of what we ate if it isn't in a photo. But here are some, anyway - below is a dish of homemade herby pasta, with chanterelles and onions and parmesan and basil, and it was delicious. We had a lot of chanterelles, bounty of Pawtuckaway, so Ed cooked them down with some onions and then some white wine, and it was all quite tasty.

The side dish was also good, but I thought less good as a salad - would have been excellent on pasta or on bread or with a grain - I had problems with the texture. Roasted an eggplant, halved lengthwise, and that was very toasty and delicious. Pulled all the flesh out of the skin and mixed with some chopped heirloom tomatoes and a ton of basil and feta, with some salt and lemon juice and oil, and it was a fabulous mixture, but the texture was that of a cooked eggplant. Even some raw onion bits would have helped - it just needed something crunchy.

This was our Thursday night meal after Ed picked up the CSA while I was coaching. It was perfect and delicious. He made a flavor base of onions, the remaining chanterelles, white wine, and a bunch of tomatoes. The tomatoes made a ton of liquid, as you might imagine. He cooked that down for a bit, and then we threw in three ears' worth of fresh corn, with a smidge of corn stock that had been simmering away as he cooked the mussel stuff.

In go the mussels and the corn, for something like five minutes, until the shells have all opened, and then we served with some slices of bread that had been toasted in butter on the stove. Oh so good. I would eat this every night. We drank the rest of the broth, it was that good. The corn lent some amazing sweetness, and the tomatoes and white wine had just the right amount of acidity. I think he was salting along the way, not overdoing it, but you need some salt in there. Simple, hearty, rustic, delicious.

And the week 14 haul:

1 ginormous butternut squash
6 ears corn
giant bag of mixed bitter lettuces
tomatoes, of several varieties

The greens are delicious - spicy and tender, we've been eating them raw in salads, cooked in eggs, as snacks, just any way you can get them in your mouth. I don't know exactly what is in there - at least one of them is baby arugula, and one is maybe baby chard or beets? One of them tastes like Chinese mustard, or maybe horseradish. No idea. But they're good!

A breakfast shot - mixed greens, tomatoes, corn, dried tomatoes, olives, eggs. Tasty, but not the most amazing thing in the world, because I thought the corn made the eggs too sweet.

Monday, September 10, 2018

CSA Week #13

I think we're on week 13. But really, who knows. We've been spending a lot of time canning tomatoes and making sauce and drying tomatoes lately, so it feels like we've just been totally overwhelmed with food, but I think now that we're beyond that, we can do some regular cooking again. I'm looking forward to it. This week was a big haul:

Slicing tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes
White onions
Bok Choy

Eggplant parm, with potato wedges, chicken, and some sauteed greens and onions. Ed made a big batch of pico de gaillo style salsa this week, so I've basically been putting it on everything.

Eggs with bok choy, radish, radish greens, green pepper, and salsa.

It's a little tough to tell, but there are some eggplant/onion/corn meatballs under a pile of pico de gaillo on that plate, next to some roasted delicata squash, potato wedges, and an heirloom tomato salad. The potato wedges we've been making out of these little potatoes have just been heavenly.

We found a huge stash of chanterelle mushrooms while we were out orienteering at Pawtuckaway over the weekend. The real reason orienteers use plastic bags for our maps - so we can fill them with mushrooms when the season is right.

This may just look like a pan full of chicken, but actually it is a DELICIOUS pan full of chicken. I started with the chicken skin-side down for 5-10 minutes, to both start the skin rendering and also to put some grease on the pan for the potatoes/onions. I took it out, added a bunch of potato wedges and some onion wedges, tossed those around, and put the chicken back on top, skin side up this time. At the last minute, I hit it with the broiler, because that made it extra delicious. I recommend. Also, those potatoes, cooking in chicken juices... you really can't go wrong with that.

Served the chicken with a big pile of veggies - onion, carrots, bok choy, green pepper, hot pepper, and leftover cabbage. Not my most inspired veggie dish, as it was essentially just using up whatever was left in the fridge, but tasty enough. And some butter-fried chanterelles on top.