Monday, November 23, 2009

Last Week from the Farm (November 19)

We missed our Tuesday pickup this week and were desperate not to miss the last week of the CSA distribution. Luckily, our last minute call was answered and we were allowed to do a Thursday pickup. It was a good one:

1/2 pound arugula
3 pounds cauliflower
2 heads lettuce
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch scallions
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch kale
8 pounds of potatoes (!)
1 bulb garlic
probably something else, can't remember

Also, we were told that there would be a bonus broccoli distribution, either this week or next. I love it! It is nice to stretch the season out a little longer and have one last visit to the farm (hopefully during daylight hours this time). And we've been in the happy position of not having to spend much at the store, so it is also a little sad for the pocketbook once the season finally comes to an end and the grocery expenditures rise in time for the holiday season. On the plus side: without a fridge full CSA veggies languishing in the fridge, we will be able to buy things like fennel and endive from the market, guilt-free!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Week from the Farm (November 10)

This week our full share from Cherry Grove Farm consisted of:

1/2 pound arugula
1/2 pound tatsoi
2 heads lettuce
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch scallions
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch carrots
2 pounds mixed mini-cauliflowers and broccoli stalks
1 bulb garlic
some bell peppers and potatoes (Matt bagged these, so not sure how much)

As usual, it was quite late when we returned home, so I made one of our standards: Orzo and Mustard Greens, for Tuesday dinner.

I also made another loaf of basic no-knead bread. Again, it didn't rise very well. Then I remembered the state of the yeast when I opened the little packet: it was inflated, the way an over-fermenting bottle of apple cider is inflated, and I knew there was a chance that it would be problematic. And then I promptly forgot all about it. Despite its imperfections, the bread was as wonderful as always, with a thick, brown, crackly crust that sent me into a fit of self-satisfaction. From the look on his face, I knew Matt was getting bored and irritated when, as I chewed each bite, I declared repeatedly, "Mmm. This is really good bread."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Weekly roundup (November 10)

So I guess I missed a lot of posting on our adventures in farm share consumption. It always hits me on the day we are going to pick up our share, that I've been neglectful in my cataloging. I hardly did any cooking this past week. Matt picked up most of it, though we did have several tag-team collaborative dinners. I can't even remember what any of them were, except last night:

Monday dinner:
Vegetable soup, with mustard greens, potatoes, baby carrots, jalapeno, and porcini. With my first "basic" no-knead bread from the Lahey book. The house was very cool despite the warm weather, and I didn't allow my dough enough fermentation time, and thus did not acheive a perfect rise. The result, however, was moist and chewy, if a bit more dense than intended. And the crust was all that it was promised to be. Professional-like. My new clay baker did its work, and I was well-pleased and satisfied.

This Week from the Farm (November 3) -- late edition

This week our full share from Cherry Grove consisted of:

1/2 pound tatsoi
1/2 pound arugula
2 heads butter lettuce
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch scallions
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch lacinato kale
1 bunch red russian kale
2 or 3 pounds of potatoes
a handful of bell peppers
1 head garlic
PYO: not sure if there was anything, possibly herbs, but it was raining, so we didn't go out.

Only 2 more weeks, and then back to buying vegetables at the market.

I had to throw out some arugula that we had sitting around for 2+ weeks. Which is a shame because I love arugula but never actualized the plans I had made for it. With about half of the rest, I made a batch of arugula pesto to save.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bitten: The Evening Snack Tradition

To me, this is an ideal dinner custom. Something for everyone and a drink, too.

We don't really have a comparable option in Princeton. What we do have are small plates at places like Mediterra or Tre Bar (which is an excellent place for weekday happy hour), or to take further liberties with this idea: BYO and assorted sushi or chaat. We have been known to do that when we can. Still, the options are not as great as I'd like, and certainly not as cheap as the cost of a drink.

Instead I've been making an effort to make things that will keep in the fridge and can add up to a nice stuzzichini assortment (also useful for school lunches, afternoon snacks and unexpected guests). The beauty of what is described in Edward Schneider's column is the variety of dishes on offer. I don't want just bread and oil and more bread in the form of bruschetta or crostini. I'd like vegetables on the table, and lots of them. Perhaps the answer is a regular neighborhood stuzzichini potluck: Bring a bottle or cocktail and a stuzzichino. Date TBA.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Week from the Farm (October 27)

I was away for several days last week and Matt had a full social calendar. The impact (or lack, thereof) of our busy weekend on our farm share was significant. Tons of leftover stuff, and a fresh pickup on Tuesday. Matt did that one, so I don't know all the specific amounts of everything:

1 bunch red mustard
1 bunch lacinato kale
1 bunch toscano kale
1 bunch rainbow chard
sweet potatoes
purple bell peppers
1 bunch radishes
1 head romaine lettuce
1 garlic bulb

Tuesday dinner:
At my request, Matt made a huge batch of sweet potato soup based on this recipe from Food + Wine, as a first attempt to recreate my favorite soup from small world coffee. Instead of chipotle in adobo, he used some homemade chipotle paste I made from a Millenium Cookbook recipe. Unfortunately, he used the entire thing. The result was very spicy but good, and was improved by thinning with a bit of soymilk. He used all of the sweet potatoes, new and old.

Wednesday lunch:
In an effort to create a better breakfast solution for myself, I made a batch of tofu scramble with all of the tatsoi and a couple of green bell peppers from last week. We also made a couple of veggie breakfast sausages. K and I ate half and saved half for Thursday breakfast.

Wednesday dinner:
Orzo with red mustard greens. It is a wonderful quick meal, a delicious, nutritious, and simple way to make bitter greens very palatable for even the youngest children, but I am sort of tired of it. We've been having it a lot lately. K pronounced it her "favorite" several times, and gave many thumbs up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weekly roundup (October 20)

It is always good to post regularly, if only so that I can remember what we cooked and ate!

Thursday dinner:
I did manage to make a summer squash and kale gratin with arugula pesto and a bit of gruyere. Casseroles are so good. I also made a pot of mash-up brown rice, a little basmati and a little short-grain. I had to dash out to take D to dance class and to see Having Our Say, which was riveting and touching and amazing. We packed up some dinner to tide us over until we got home (late! 10pm!). I had also washed some lettuce and Matt whipped up some dressing for a salad.

Friday dinner:
We had some lovely groundnut stew and pasta at our friends' house. Our contribution was beet and fennel salad from the A16 Food + Wine recipe. And vanilla cake. For dessert there was also some Trader Joe's soy vanilla ice cream and soemthing called Rumtopf, which is boozy, German marinated fruit in, I guess, rum. It was very nice.

Saturday was about a lot of running about in the cold rain. We weren't home to cook.

Sunday lunch/dinner:
For my mom's birthday we made a big salad of lettuce and radish with a shallot-thyme vinaigrette, a big pot of coconut milk soup sweet potato and collard greens, and some guajillo chile-chocolate cupcakes. My mom and her friend made dhokla (sp?), which is a cake like thing made from a batter of soaked and ground chickpea, lentil, and rice, which is then steamed and cooled, topped with cilantro and seeds, and cut into pieces. Typically served with chutney.

Monday lunch/dinner:
I made a massive pot of orzo with about 2 1/2 bunches of kale. We had that for lunch and dinner, with some salad.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tofu and Cabbage in Miso Broth

I don't think he used any of our farm veggies, but for Wednesday dinner, Matt made some tofu and napa cabbage in a gingery miso broth and served it over short-grain brown rice.

For tonight I am planning to make a gratin of summer squash and potatoes and maybe some kale, with a little arugula pesto and gruyere, based on this recipe.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This Week from the Farm (October 13)

This week our full share consisted of:
1/2 pound tatsoi
1/2 pound arugula
1 pound summer squash
4 heads lettuce
1 large bunch lacinato kale
1 large bunch collards
1 bunch radishes
2 pounds beets
2 pounds sweet potatoes
3 pounds potatoes
12 green bell peppers
1 garlic
PYO: We only picked up the flowers, and they are beautiful golds and pinks and reds. We passed on the 20 hot peppers and herbs because D. came home with about 40 more habaneros from the middle school garden today.

I managed to give all the tatsoi and 2 bell peppers to my dad. I was hoping to unload at least 1 head of lettuce, because red leaf is not a favorite of mine, but no luck.

Making dinner after the farm excursion is always a bit challenging because it is usually late and we are all hungry and want to get dinner on the table fast. Plus there is the question of how to fit all the new veggies in the refrigerator. I managed to put a flavorful pasta dish with minimal effort by using our leftover marinated eggplant, which also helped clear space in the fridge.

Tuesday dinner:
Whole wheat spaghettini with seitan, marinated eggplant, and kale. Since the eggplant already had a lot of garlic and crushed pepper, there was little seasoning involved. Just chopped and browned the seitan, added the chopped marinated eggplant with its oil and juices, and finally the kale. Then tossed with the pasta, and served with a generous grinding of black pepper and a dusting of grated pecorino.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Teaching Farm

I read this on Civil Eats today:

I think it is so cool that they have a working organic teaching farm that even operates as a CSA. And this is Baltimore! I also loved the credit given to the activist students, who turned talk into action.

Monday: little progress made

We ate leftovers on Monday. Soup, more soup, salad, bread, even more soup, pasta with arugula pesto.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekly roundup (October 12)

Thursday dinner:
On Thursday I made another Ital stew, and realized I'd left the salt out of the original recipe. It doesn't need much, just a generous pinch that goes in with the spices. Adding salt is not strictly ital and is completely optional, but the salt does complement the heat nicely. In making this, I used up a few more small squashes and the rest of our kale.

Friday dinner:
Matt made a miso soup, based on the Autumn miso soup in Peter Berley's Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. Used another little squash! I made a small pot of short grain rice because I like a bit of chewy rice in my miso soup sometimes.

Friday afternoon I made a big batch of arugula pesto and divided it into two containers: one for a wheat berry salad, and the other to have for other uses. As dinner was cooking, I made a large pot of wheat berries and composed the salad on Saturday morning.

Saturday lunch:
Arugula Pesto Wheat Berries, based on the 101cookbooks recipe. It's good! Arugula: done.

Saturday dinner:
We took the night off, and let the kids eat Trader Joe's frozen pizza and masala veggie burgers.

Sunday lunch:
Leftover miso soup and rice.

We had our lovely friends and neighbors over for dinner on Sunday, and they kindly brought a green salad, some watermelon, and wine.
Sunday dinner:
Salads: Beet (all of our farm beets) and Fennel salad with Pecorino (from A16 Food and Wine cookbook), green salad with balsamic vinaigrette (the tomato in this salad was unbelievably good), leftover wheat berry salad.
Soup: Butternut squash soup (it is better the next day).
Bread: Rustic sourdough from Witherspoon Bread.
Dessert: Watermelon, Peppermint Tea, and Conscious Kitchen Guajillo Chile-Chocolate Cupcakes.

Monday lunch:
Leftover butternut squash soup and bread.

Whenever I take stock of what is left from our farm share, I always think we are doing better than we actually are. The refrigerator isn't bursting anymore, but there are a lot of things in it. Especially hot peppers. And bell peppers. And watermelon. And lettuce. And sweet potatoes in the pantry.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This Week from the Farm (October 6) and I Just Ate the Best Sandwich

This week:

1/2 pound tatsoi
1/2 pound arugula
2 heads lettuce
2 eggplant
6 bell peppers, purple and green
2 acorn squash
1 large bunch lacinato kale
1 large bunch red russian kale
2 pounds beets
2 pounds sweet potatoes
3 pounds potatoes
1 head garlic
I think I have forgotten something... I will update when I remember
PYO: 10 habaneros, 10 jalapenos, flowers, parsley, sage

When I got home and had to stuff everything into the fridge, I realized just how much I had leftover from last week. There are a lot of hot peppers. I went searching through all the various bags to find any that needed to be eliminated, but very few were bad. So many good ones. I immediately put a quart-sized bag of habaneros into the freezer. And there are still so many. Then I packed a bag of jalapenos to put up, but I hesitated. There are a lot of gorgeous tomatoes at the market right now, so I am thinking of making a massive amount of salsa to freeze instead. Honestly, I could probably do both -- there are so many. And then there are quite a few long cayenne peppers, red and green, and I was thinking I should batter and fry them Indian-style. Now I am thinking I should give them to my mom so she can fry them.

That was Tuesday. We had leftover soup and pasta for dinner.

Wednesday lunch:
I was home with sick children, and I made an easy, popular lunch of orzo with lots of kale (the lacinato), lemon zest, olive oil, black pepper, and a bit of grated pecorino.

While I was trying to sort out my connectivity to work, I roasted the 2 eggplants that we picked up on Tuesday and added them to the others I had roasted on Monday. In a shallow dish I layered eggplant, minced garlic, generous amounts of crushed red pepper, cilantro, and a drizzle of red wine vinegar. After 2 layers, I doused the whole thing with olive oil. The recipe, from Jim Lahey, actually asks for 2 cups of olive oil (!), but I definitely used less than a cup. Then it went into the fridge to marinate for 12 hours to 5 days.

Wednesday dinner:
Matt used all the tatsoi and made an asian-style marinated tofu and greens over rice. It was very good, and I was very pleased to have knocked out all the tatsoi from our share.

Thursday lunch:
I made sandwiches with some of the eggplant (marinated about 16 hours), roasted red peppers (from Monday), pecorino, and arugula on a baguette. Based on a sandwich in the Lahey book; this guy knows his stuff. I couldn't wait for lunch. Ate mine for breakfast.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Stecca, Sandwiches, Soup

Sunday was quite warm, so my stecca dough got off to a good start and had a noticeably improved rise. I baked it off on Monday morning, using a bit less oil and much less salt for the top. I felt, the last time, that some bites were much too salty and wondered if so much oil was affecting my results, yielding the flatter loaves. The answer is no (wait, were those questions?). No the bread was not too salty, even if I thought it was (in fact, it was perfect for sandwiches, where the salt has room to spread out), and No the oil did not hinder the oven rise. So my result on Monday: fuller loaves, adequate oil, not enough salt. I failed to notice that, unlike the standard bread recipes in my new Jim Lahey book, the stecca dough contains very little salt on its own, and thus relies on those generous sprinklings for flavor. Lessons learned: warmer environment helps a lot; don't skimp on the salt. I am still working on my shaping technique as well.

Monday lunch:
Matt had another beet-arugula-goat cheese sandwich on stecca (it needed a bit of salt). The rest of us had leftover stew.

After lunch I roasted a few eggplants, red peppers and poblanos to save for later. I meant to marinate the eggplant with some garlic, cilantro, vinegar, and oil (Lahey recipe), but we were out of garlic so I will try to marinate today.

Monday dinner:
Matt made a double batch of one of our favorite, easy cold-weather soups: Coconut Milk Soup with Sweet Potato and Collard Greens, from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley. We used sweet potatoes and jalapenos from Cherry Grove for this. Note: Sometimes you get a jalapeno that is just not that spicy, but it is crucial to get this soup spicy enough because the coconut milk and sweet potato can make it too sweet. And then it becomes a huge disappointment. But the Cherry Grove jalapenos did not disappoint. The cilantro and drizzle of lime juice take it over the top. And we have leftovers!

Taking stock:
We did pretty well this week. We do still have 2 small watermelons hanging around the fridge, though. And a couple of tiny winter squashes, 2 scallions, and quite a few hot peppers.

Recipe: Autumn Ital Stew

On Saturday we ate some leftovers for lunch, then went out to pick up some cheese and bread for panini. We've been on a bread/sandwich kick since my no-knead experiment.

Saturday dinner:
Simple. Matt gathered up the twiggy remains of our basil and combined them with parsley to make an excellent pesto. I then used the pesto for panini with roasted peppers (from the farm, prepared earlier in the week), tomato, arugula, and fontina on a baguette. Roasted cauliflower, shiitakes, and scallions to serve on the side.

Sunday lunch:
Leftovers from Dad.

After lunch, I started a new batch of stecca.

Sunday dinner:
Ital stew over brown rice. Ital is vital.
Lavender shortbread for dessert.

Recipe: Autumn Ital stew
About the thyme: I like to find a hardened twiggy sprig of thyme that has many tender green stems shooting from it. These are easier to find and fish out later. About the habanero: I use them whole and make incisions in the peppers to allow them to release their flavors more easily. This also saves me from handling them too much -- they are very hot, and can really irritate skin. Do not touch your eyes without multiple washings with soap and water! You can use gloves if you have them, but I never do. If you prefer, the habaneros can be seeded and minced instead.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 habanero peppers
sea salt (optional)
2 scallions, whites and greens cut in 1-inch pieces
several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 medium acorn squash, peeled, seeded and diced to about 3/4 inch (about 4 cups or so)
3 small-to-medium potatoes, diced to about 3/4 inch
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups cooked garbanzo or other beans (fresh is best, canned ok)
2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh is best, canned ok)
1 large bunch chard or other dark leafys, stemmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 bunch cilantro

In a large stockpot (I used my 8-quart, but a 6-quart wide-bottomed pot will do), warm the oil and add the onion. Saute over medium heat until the onion is translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, allspice, scallions, and a pinch of sea salt. Holding the habaneros by the stem, make a few vertical incisions around each pepper, then drop them in the pot. Saute the spices for another minute. Add the squash, potatoes, water, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the squash and potatoes are just tender but not quite. Uncover and add the remaining ingredients -- garbanzos, tomatoes, chard, and cilantro. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Fish out the thyme and habaneros. Discard the thyme, save the habaneros on the side for extra heat. Serve over a mound of brown rice. The habaneros can be divided and the pieces stirred into a serving and removed again (or eaten); they will leave behind their heat.

Update: I left out the scallions!
Update2: I left out the salt!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Completed: No-Knead Stecca; Enjoyed: Beet-Arugula-Goat Cheese Sandwich on Homemade Bread

Thursday dinner:
Butternut squash soup and fresh bread. I used water instead of stock for the soup and I think that is why it tasted a bit bland to me. I'm not sure because my taste buds were deadened by all the salt on the bread.

The no-knead stecca was completed around 6pm yesterday evening. Everyone gathered around to gaze at it before we tore into one (of four). The crust was oil-saturated, having had a good dousing before baking, and salty. Almost too salty in places. And crisp. It was very good, but perfect? Perfectly delicious, but I may not have stretched the dough as carefully as I should have, because three of my four stick-loaves were quite flat in the middle. Or did it not rise enough? Did the oil prevent it? -- who knows, but I will happily carry on with this tasty experiment. Those flattened sticks were not ideal for sandwich bread, but we ate them and saved the fullest for
Friday lunch:

From the Lahey book, a sandwich of marinated beets and onions, with arugula and fresh goat cheese, on stecca. It was a truly great sandwich.

I will be starting my next batch of stecca forthwith. For the purposes of evaluating the no-knead process, I would have preferred to start with the basic bread-in-a-pot boule, but I'm still sorting out the pot. The stecca only requires a baking sheet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Started: No-knead Stecca

Started at 10pm last night. Left to ferment for 12-18 hours. I hope 18 hours will be enough because I don't think our house is warm enough. Exciting.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday's haul

We will be picking up a full share for the next few weeks. Considering the amount of leftover produce we had from the last week(s), we knew we'd have trouble fitting it all into the refrigerator. We gave a bit away yesterday, and I'm not quite sure what's left, but the list for this week's haul follows.

1/2 pound arugula
1/2 pound tatsoi
2 heads butter lettuce
2 pounds pattypan squash
2 eggplant
2 red bell peppers
3 pounds (I think) potatoes
2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 pounds beets
1 head garlic
3 small winter squash -- I think we have a butternut, acorn, and sweet dumpling
1 large bunch scallions
1 large bunch swiss chard
1 large bunch basil -- this may be the last of it; I know my container plants are going all twiggy
PYO: 10 jalapeno, 10 habanero, small bunch parsley, 30 stems flowers. We didn't take any other herbs because we still have some from last week.

While I ran around with the kids, Matt made Tuesday dinner:
Baked penne with roasted peppers, fresh basil and goat cheese. He made use of a jar of sauce I brought home from Trader Joe's the other day.

Matt also roasted some beets last night and is marinating them today with some sliced onion. He's using a recipe from our newest cookbook, Jim Lahey's my bread, and if I can get it together we may have fresh bread to make our beet-arugula-goat cheese sandwiches.

Also, via Chocolate and Zucchini, I discovered that there is a group that has organized The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge and are baking their way through Peter Reinhart's book, week by week. The group started in May 2009 and is already up to the focaccia. That was the recipe I was lusting over the last time I picked up the book -- it involves pouring a half-cup of olive oil, sea salt, and herbs over the top. Imagine the crust. I'm a bit sorry I didn't know about this sooner; joining may have given me the incentive I need to get a regular bread-baking practice started. Although it is still possible to participate, anyone joining now and starting from the beginning would be many weeks behind, so there doesn't seem much point (to me). One nice thing is that the challenge has produced a plethora of blog posts with excellent photos of the various stages of the preparations. Useful. For the near-term (like this week) I am interested in the no-knead method that Lahey presents. Truly, I think that the difference between knead and no-knead is minimal. Most of the bread recipes I have seen only ask for 5 to 7 minutes of kneading. Not bad. It just seems like a lot of work. I think the biggest challenge will be finding a place for the dough to rest for 12 to 18 hours in our crowded space.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes with Fennel, Kale, and Gruyere

My mom invited us to dinner on Friday and then on Sunday, dropped off enough leftovers to feed us all for a couple more days.

In between, we made Saturday dinner together:

Matt made some polenta with onions and fennel seed. He then cooled it, cut it into pieces and fried it. This was not altogether successful because the polenta was still quite wet and soft. We put it in the oven to dry it out, then saved the rest and tried it again this morning for a little breakfast on-the-go. It was nice to have something warm for breakfast.

I made the following, based on a recipe from Patricia Wells' Vegetable Harvest. The original called for bacon. I used some smoked paprika, fennel, and kale. It was good but, I must say, not as good as the simple roasted potatoes with lemon. The kids were thrilled and devoured it.

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes with Fennel, Kale, and Gruyere.

There is plenty of room for improvisation here; it is not at all a complicated undertaking and I think most people have probably made something similar before. The original recipe calls for yellow-fleshed potatoes, and while I used the red potatoes from Cherry Grove, I am leaving that detail intact because I prefer yellow. Similarly, I only had a small amount of gruyere, so I supplemented with some organic monterey jack that was sitting in the cheese drawer, but I think all gruyere would have been better. Also, the original recipe was obviously meant to be served as a small side, because it called for only 4 potatoes, resulting in 8 servings. We made as many as I could fit on my baking pan, or until I got bored with scrubbing and prepping. It is definitely scalable.

8-10 yellow-fleshed potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more for sauteeing
sea salt
1 fennel bulb
1 small bunch kale or other dark leafys
1 clove garlic
smoked paprika
1 cup grated gruyere
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise. Extra large ones may be cut in quarters, as needed. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and about 2 pinches (maybe 1 1/2 teaspoons) of sea salt. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down and place in the oven to roast for about 40 minutes, or until tender.

While the potatoes are roasting, mince the garlic, core and dice the fennel, and cut the kale into bite-sized pieces. Warm a bit of oil in a saute pan, add the garlic and fennel and saute for a few minutes, until softened. Add about 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika or more, to taste, and continue to cook a few minutes more. Add the kale and saute until wilted. Remove from heat and sprinkle with a touch of salt.

When the potatoes have emerged from the oven, turn them over on the pan and use a paring knife to score the face lightly with a little hash mark. Grind black pepper over the lot of them. Distribute the smoky fennel and kale mixture atop that, and then sprinkle the cheese. Finish with a light dusting of smoked paprika and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with minced chives and serve.
We have a lot of our share left over:
a lot of hot peppers (I hope they are not going moldy)
a small head of butter lettuce
a few scallions
a small eggplant
a few bell peppers
2 small winter squashes
a handful of beets
a few potatoes
2 small watermelons

Yikes. We will need to get organized. We had plans for most of this food, but the leftovers gave us a way out. On the agenda for this week: chiles rellenos with summer vegetables if the poblanos survived, marinated beets to be eaten with arugula and goat cheese on some fresh bread, watermelon salad or juice or cocktails (see Fanny Singer's agua fresca recipe from F+W).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lentil Soup with Walnut Gremolata and a Simple Salad

Thursday night was another collaborative effort. I began cooking, then went out to shuttle D back and forth to her dance class, and returned to help complete the meal.

Thursday dinner:
A salad of lettuce and thinly sliced red onion, lightly dressed with lemon juice, McEvoy Ranch olive oil, salt and pepper. And a bit of pecorino.

A version of the Mediterranean Five Lentil Soup with Walnut Gremolata from The Artful Vegan, which is the second book to come from the Most Excellent crew at the Millenium Restaurant in San Francisco. We only had 3 kinds of lentils, but all the makings of this dish (except the ginger) were already in my pantry/refrigerator/freezer. While many of the recipes in both Millenium-generated cookbooks are very time-consuming, because of the multiple components involved in getting the layered, textured results that are a Millenium signature, the soup recipes generally are not. We were pleased to discover this one a couple of years ago, and have made it on many weekdays since. A bit of miso is whisked in at the end, which lends the broth a certain round sophistication. But it turns out the ginger is pretty crucial because without it, the mild sweetness of the light miso goes unchecked. I compensated with generous amounts of ground black pepper. Although the soup can stand on its own, the herby, citrusy swath of goodness we call gremolata is not to be missed.

Other observations:
Drawback of collaborative dinner-making: No one "owns" the dishwashing and cleanup, and no one wants to do it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Summer Squash Gratin with Brown Rice

Last night I was running around, so Matt made dinner. I had emailed him early in the day with a menu suggestion. This was my attempt to encourage Matt to get dinner on the table before 7 (or 8 or 9) pm. By determining the menu ahead of time, insisting that we pick up a couple of grocery items on the way home, and cleaning up the kitchen as soon as I got home, I thought I was setting him up for a well-timed meal. Not so.

Wednesday dinner:
Brown rice. Note: Brown Basmati is our all-occasion rice. The scent alone is enough of a reason; it is intoxicating and satiating and makes the house smell good. Exceptions are made when I am making sushi or really craving the texture of short-grain rice.

With this, Matt served our adaptation of this recipe, from 101 cookbooks. We use much less butter/oil for toasting the bread crumbs, and we tend to vary the sauce. This time, it was arugula-based.

We used up our arugula, summer squash, and a few potatoes.

update: I just wanted to mention that it was a very good and satisfying meal, even though it was not served til after 8pm. Everyone was content. Matt does a lot and I totally appreciate that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This Week from the Farm (September 22)

Our half of a full share included:
1/4 pound salad mix
1 head lettuce (I chose butter leaf)
1 pound summer squash
1 pound beets
1/2 large bunch basil, but I gave our half to my mother, so she would have a whole large bunch
1/2 large bunch rainbow chard
1/2 bunch scallions
1 pound beets
1 pound eggplant
1 1/2 pounds potatoes
1 acorn squash
1 butternut squash
3 bell peppers
1 watermelon
PYO: 15 stems assorted flowers, small bunch parsley, 5 habanero, 5 jalapeno, 5 cayenne. I didn't take any other herbs because I still have quite a bit left over from last week.

Tuesday dinner:
Thai-ish takeaway

Then off to the Princeton Regional school board meeting, where my nervous comment and questions about board ownership of school lunch standards and food education were met with blank looks and patronizing smiles. No responses.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekly roundup

We have been doing a lot of cooking. One of the many pleasurable things about the arrival of fall is that it is a lot more comfortable -- cozy, even -- to stand in front of the stove. And because the start of school and fall activities and birthdays mean, inevitably, that we need to spend a significant amount of money, the economy of home cooking doesn't hurt.

Thursday dinner:
Matt and I collaborated on a quick pasta meal. I made basil-parsley-walnut pesto and boiled the pasta, while Matt sauteed a whole bunch of eggplant, summer squash, and bell peppers. Then we tossed it all together and called it dinner. If we were feeling less tired, we would have made a salad, too.

Friday dinner:
A standby of Seitan and Greens with coconut green curry sauce. We did not have enough of any one grain, so I made a quick pilaf of millet and rice with scallion. Each dish was good on its own, but they didn't go together that well.

Friday night snack:
Lavender shortbread, cut into heart shapes. I made these to save for teatime at the birthday party (see below), but Matt and I enjoyed a few with our Friday night tea. I make my shortbread vegan, and I know there are many who would say that it isn't real shortbread without real butter or consider my occasional use of non-hydrogenated vegetable oil spread disgraceful, but I like it and I don't feel nauseous after.

On Saturday, we had a sleepover party for D. Six 12 year old girls, 2 younger siblings, and us. It went off pretty well. I was very pleased with my craft project -- I made a giant fabric dahlia and attached it to a ponytail holder for K -- but only a few of the girls finished theirs. I had convinced D to rent "Better Off Dead" for one of her movie showings. I remember watching this movie repeatedly with Anouck when we were young, but these girls are too young get the Howard Cosell references, which may be my favorite part of this weird, funny 80's teen movie.

Afternoon snack:
Watermelon from the farm and pretzels from a huge container that D won in a contest.

Burrito bar consisting of warm tortillas, rice cooked with a bit of oil and cinnamon, Rancho Gordo Santa Maria Pinquito beans, sauteed veggies with a bit of jalepeno, monterey jack cheese, and mango salsa. It was quite good, and well-received by the party-goers.

Chocolate mousse cake with cashew crust (from Millenium Cookbook recipe for Chocolate Almond Midnight, but without the almonds and raspberry sauce and some other minor variations). Scattered with fresh raspberries and served with raspberry sorbet. Vegan.

After-movie teatime:
Peppermint tea, organic (and local, from PA) apples, lavender shortbread.

Sunday breakfast:
All store-bought: bagels, regular and tofu cream cheese, orange juice. More farm watermelon.

Sunday dinner:
Matt made stew with leftover Pinquito beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and the leftover vegetables we bought for the burrito saute. Seasoned with 2 habeneros and served over rice. I thought it was delicious, but he was not thrilled.

Mad Men snack:
I made a quick vanilla cake (vegan, Peter Berley) even though I knew I shouldn't. We ate way too much.

Monday lunch:
Whole wheat elbows with greens and lemon zest, lots of pepper, and shaved pecorino. Quick and easy. K loved this. It had been a while since I made this type of preparation for her. There is never any picking at the greens in this dish, no matter what kind or how much, and we have an absolutely clean plate at the end.

Monday dinner:
Courtesy of mom.

What's left:
  • A very small watermelon, meant to be made into watermelon-feta salad. Did I mention how I tried to make this salad and went to the cheese shop and bought Bulgarian feta because one of the recipes I looked at specifically called for this. I usually buy French. The Bulgarian feta is much stinkier and affected my enjoyment of this salad. And I still have 1/2 pound left. Argh.
  • Some arugula, meant to be made into pesto and eaten with mashed potatoes.
  • Potatoes.
  • A number of hot peppers, including those poblanos, which were meant to be made into chiles rellenos.
  • Varied and sundry fresh herbs.
  • Quite a few beets. Please, Matt, no more of that pasta sauce. It wasn't bad, but I don't want to eat it again for ... a pretty long time.
  • A tiny amount of salad mix. No salad was prepared this week, but small amounts of lettuce were consumed nonetheless.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This Week from the Farm

On Tuesday, we picked up our share. Our half consisted of:

1 green bell pepper
2 red bell peppers
1 eggplant
1/4 pound salad mix
1/4 pound arugula
1/2 large bunch basil
1/2 large bunch rainbow chard
1/2 bunch of radishes
1/2 bunch scallions
potatoes and beets, not sure how much because Matt got those
1/2 large bunch gorgeous celery with perfect leaves
1 watermelon
1 head garlic (it was our turn this week)
PYO: 15 stems assorted flowers, 5 jalapenos, 5 cayenne, 5 habaneros, small bunch parsley, a bit of thyme, mint, and sage

After picking up, we usually head straight over to my parents' house to drop off their half of the share. This week, my mom fed us. She served Matt some pasta with beet sauce, like a ragout, that she had made with golden beets, from a recipe in an Ayurvedic cookbook. The color wasn't that great (I think adding a carrot would have helped retain the golden hue), but it was savory and good.

Wednesday Lunch:
Matt was inspired to get up early and make a similar dish the next morning using some of our red beets. We'd been collecting them weekly but not using them often.

Wednesday Dinner:
Matt cooked Veggie Sausage with Caramelized Onions and Peppers, Celery and Chard, and a whole minced habanero. He served it over brown rice. It was very spicy and very delicious. Habaneros are my favorite hot pepper. I love the rich, spicy, smoky flavor they impart. Matt didn't use any other spices or seasonings in his dish, but the habanero gave it complexity. Awesome.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A New Zeal

The work-filled summer was followed by a relaxing couple of weeks in the country, and then by frenetic preparations for the start of the new school year.

Among the culinary highlights of late summer was my first attempt at chiles rellenos, which was quite acceptable. I've got about 6 more poblanos in the fridge that are waiting to be smothered in cheese.

In the country we did a lot of cooking, but kept it simple. I loved Jhumpa Lahiri's piece in The New York Times about packing for and cooking in a summer rental. It was so timely. At the time that I read it, I had a constantly churning list working itself out in my head, even though we hadn't even settled on our summer vacation plans. I suppose I knew that in the end, my house rental scheme would prevail over the camping trip that Matt was talking about but not actually planning. Her essay on the subject spawned a Bitten blog post and drew a long list of commenters that spend as much time thinking about things like this as I do!

Our week in the country was split between 2 places. One was the home of a close family friend, and had a large, beautiful, well-equipped kitchen. We didn't need to bring any equipment, but we packed up some of our CSA produce. The second was a rental with a perfectly good kitchen setup, but no oven. For this, we packed a number of things, including a cast-iron skillet, a 3.5 quart pot, 2 knives, and a microplane grater. We also brought staples like olive oil, sea salt, pepper, grains, pasta, dried porcini, good parmesan, and a fair amount of produce, which we supplemented with trips to the local farm stands.

Among the memorable things we made:
A gorgeous Tomato Salad with Crispy Shallots from a Fanny Singer recipe that appeared in an old Food+Wine (September 2003). My friend Lauren turned me onto this. I took this recipe home, and made it at least 3 times since. Lauren also made a phenomenal escarole salad based on the one served at Frankie's Spuntino. The dressing was simply oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper. She added thinly sliced red onion, shaved pecorino, and a handful of walnuts. I love it when unbelievably simple preparations like this make your jaw drop in appreciation. It was incredible. We made another family favorite, Orechiette with Pistachio Pesto, also from a Frankie's recipe.

When we got to the house that week, there was a blueberry tart sitting on the table; Lauren had baked it from her mother's recipe. I wrote that one down and brought it home. We also had fun trying out new recipes based on what needed to be eaten quickly. I made a vegan banana bread from memory and enjoyed the first warm slice on the way to the Innisfree gardens. Another day, Matt and I collaborated on a peach crisp. I had never made a crisp before, but it made a great breakfast, so on our return home, I experimented with several recipes and whatever I had on hand. In the end I decided that I like to cook mine uncovered and for less time, about 20-25 minutes, and I could do without nuts in the topping.

At the other house, we made the Tomato Salad again (twice). A huge batch of porcini risotto, which didn't come out great, partly because I didn't have the right-sized pan and also did not salt it enough. The leftovers were salted and fried up for breakfast as little croquettes. Pasta with browned seitan and shallot bits, basil pesto, and more beautiful Hudson Valley tomatoes. Spicy mango salsa, eaten with chips! We ate out a few times, too. Our favorite spot was the burrito truck that sets up at the Montgomery Place farm stand. Excellent and affordable. And the little bakery in Tivoli made an extraordinary multigrain roll. Unfortunately, we weren't in the area for the weekend farmer's markets, which is usually a vacation highlight for us.

It was great to be able to cook in the relaxed, easygoing way that a week off allows. I returned home energized. The weather had turned cool, so right away I started baking. I made several more peach crisps, using a different recipe each time. The worst was when I experimented with a longer cooking time. I ended up with a hard, granola-like crust. I innocently brought it to a meeting to share, and I thought it was awful, but it was politely received. I made Patricia Wells' Spicy Polenta-Cheese Crackers one night. They were good, just the right amount of spicy. From her book, Vegetable Harvest, I also made some outrageously good roasted potatoes with lemon. You slice rounds of lemon and roast them with the potatoes. It is one of those easy recipes that seems kind of obvious, but it is perfect. I could eat that every day. I've had that book for a while, and now I am ready to really use it.

We have September birthdays at our house, so in the last 2 weeks, I have made a couple of batches of brownies (Peter Berley), some plain vanilla cake (Peter Berley), and some Taza Guajillo Chile Chocolate Mexicano Cupcakes with ganache frosting (Emilie at The Conscious Kitchen). All vegan, all amazingly good.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wednesday and Thursday

Wednesday dinner (Matt):
Green salad with dill and light dressing. I believe he said this was from the Angelica Kitchen cookbook.
Chickpea and seitan stew over brown basmati rice. This came from a cookbook, too, but I'm not sure which one. Matt is pretty jazzed about the idea of grinding up the seitan in the food processor; he had never done this before, and new worlds are opening up.

Thursday dinner:
Chard, carrot, pattypan squash curry with seitan, served over brown bamati rice. I considered using quinoa, but I really wanted rice. The sauce was coconut-based, and had a tiny bit of turmeric, but was mostly seasoned with fresh shallot, garlic, ginger, jalepeno, then rounded out with torn basil leaves (from the porch) and scallion. Based on a Peter Berley recipe.

I was pleased that I put a dent in our share.

After dinner, we went out to hear some music and have a free salsa lesson. A bit out of character for us, but it was fun. The kids found friends and danced for a couple of hours. We all collapsed on our return home.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday pickup and so-so dinner

This week, from our half of a full share, we got:
1/2 bunch beets
1 small bunch basil
1/4 pound salad mix
2 heads lettuce
1 pound unblighted tomatoes
5 bell peppers, green and purple
2 pounds summer squash, mostly crookneck
1 bunch cippolini onions
1 small bunch lacinato kale
1 small bunch toscano kale
1 small bunch chard
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
We gave my parents the head of garlic, the eggplant, and the beautiful celery this week. We didn't use any of our celery from last week, and we had determined to alternate weeks on the garlic.
PYO: small bunch of parsley, 3 jalepenos, 20 stems of really wonderful flowers in deep reds and pinks, yellows, and purples.

Of last weeks share, we still have a lot of cucumbers. I'm going to have to try doing the garlic dill pickle thing asap. I had to toss last week's salad mix; it was going black and liquidy. And we still have quite a bit of lettuce. We'll have to be more prepared on the salad front.

It was late when we returned from the farm and began cooking. I made a quickie meal that everyone ate and enjoyed, but fell short of what I was going for. The plan was based on a memorable meal I ate at a friend's house in Boulder Creek, CA about 18 years ago, and had attempted unsuccessfully once before. It was supposed to be a pureed squash sauce over linguine, ideally. But there was no linguine in the pantry, so we had penne. And since we don't have a blender anymore, I tried using the food processor, but that left things somewhat chunky. I should have known, really. The texture was not at all what I was going for. The flavor was pretty right-on, though it could have been a bit spicier. Sauteed, and slightly carmelized, chunks of squash with garlic and shallot, subsequently pureed with lots of basil and olive oil, salt and pepper.


Just yesterday I was reading this post from a young farmer on a Massachusetts CSA farm. When we went for our pickup in the evening, we got the bad news: they found late blight on their tomatoes, and the 2 pounds of not-very-gorgeous tomatoes we brought home last night may be the only ones we get this season. So, so sad.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


On Monday, we were out all day. No cooking whatsoever. But we did get to taste our pickles and eat some cookie bars.

Plum picklings!

I cannot remember what we cooked on Saturday. I will skip to Sunday. We were busy, busy.

Sunday lunch:
In the afternoon, for a late lunch, Matt made a sort of tofu-vegetable-leftover-grain hash. It was hearty and satisfying.

Sunday pickle project:
I made some quick-pickled vegetables. The recipe was supposed to make 3 quarts, and I did use 3 quart-sized canning jars, but none were filled to the top. For the basis of my recipe, I turned to The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley. My modifications were relatively minor. I chose to use coriander and fennel seeds, instead of mustard seed and turmeric. And I replaced the dill with rosemary from my porch herbs. For the vegetables, I used the rest of my string beans and carrots, some zucchini and pattypan squash, and the lonely kohlrabi. The jars were not "processed" in hot water, so they must be refrigerated and consumed within 3 months or so. It seemed like a lot of pickles to me -- I'm not accustomed to consuming a lot of pickled and vinegary things -- but after a couple of samplings (24 hours later), one jar is nearly done. The vegetables are crisp and fresh, with an appropriate amount of salt/vinegar flavor, and mild garlic/spice notes. They are not excessively pickly-tasting. I am very pleased with how this has turned out. I can see that we can easily consume all of these vegetables, and I am thinking forward to when school starts again. These will make a nice addition to school lunches, particularly the bento box that I pack for our oldest.

Sunday dinner:
One of our standby easy dinners: Harissa spaghettini recipe, made with our homemade harissa. From this recipe on 101 cookbooks. We used all of our leftover kale and collard greens, so it was heavy on the greens, which is just the way I like it.

Sunday treat:
Vegan chocolate-chip cookie bars.

Friday, July 24, 2009

String beans and a mixed-grain pilaf

Friday lunch bears mentioning:
It was a simple mixed lettuce-cucumber salad and then Matt made panini with his baked tofu from the other day (recipe from the Angelica Kitchen cookbook), garlicky sauteed kale, and basil-parsley pesto on ciabatta. Even the avowed carnivores in my office came over because it smelled amazing.

Friday dinner:
Pilaf with white basmati, millet, and quinoa (also from the Angelica Kitchen cookbook).
This is one of those where you start it on the stove and finish in the oven. I tended to ignore this idea in the past, partly because I am one of those people who is good with cooking grains on the stove. I never measure, and they pretty much always turn out right. Maybe it is an Indian thing. Lately I have been giving this method a try. The nice thing is that it reduces the number of things cluttering up the stovetop, and the grains do come out beautifully.

String beans and red onions in honey-mustard vinaigrette (a Peter Berley recipe). I have been wanting to make this recipe since I bought that cookbook (The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen) a long time ago, when it first came out. In the headnotes, he says that when he first developed this recipe, he left a plate of these out and when he turned around his young daughter had devoured the whole thing. We had the same experience. We inhaled these. They were so good.

I saved a couple of fistfuls of string beans for my pickle experiment, which has been put off for yet another day.

No progress

I did buy some extra jars yesterday, and a few spices, and fresh dill. But when I got home, the kitchen was kind of messy, so we went out for dinner and drank a whole bottle of wine. No pickles yet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pickles on the horizon

Tuesday we picked up our full share -- again. It consisted of:
4 heads of lettuce
1/2 pound salad mix
1 large bunch scallions
1 large bunch basil
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch gorgeous, leafy celery
1 bunch lacinato kale
1 bunch toscano kale
1 bunch collard greens
4 pounds zucchini and summer squash (mostly pattypan)
3 pounds red potatoes
1 head garlic
10 cucumbers
I forget how many green peppers
PYO: 30 stems flowers (black-eyed susans, snapdragons, yarrow, my favorite funky weird ones), 1 small bunch parsley, 2 boxes green beans (about 2 pounds, maybe?).

Tuesday dinner - using up leftover veggies from last week:
Matt made a huge amount of risotto, with carrots, zucchini, beets, kale. It wasn't the prettiest, because the beets turned the whole thing pink, but it was very good. And enough leftovers for lunch the next day... and day after.

Wednesday lunch:
Lazy me served whole wheat pasta with some of the basil-parsley-walnut pesto I made on Monday. It needs some marinated portabellas or something. Still, it went over well.

Wednesday dinner:
Matt made some baked marinated tempeh, which he served on bread with some lettuce and kimchee. It was alright. He also made some baked tofu, to be saved for later. I ate a large amount of lettuce with leftover dressing.

I am definitely making pickles of some kind this week. I don't think I have the "right" kind of cucumbers, but I'll give it a try... plus I will use up that lonely kohlrabi from last week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

About the Coffee

Our friend, Brant, experienced coffee taster and local roasting genius, confirmed that we got screwed in our coffee taste-off with Andrew a couple of weeks ago. As we suspected, the brewing method unevened the playing field. Stumptown is meant to be pressed, not dripped, and that's how we typically make it. Andrew was in charge of brewing that day, and he drips. Clearly, a rematch is in order.

Note to self: get Matt to recreate his vegetable curry and stuff into pastry for Jamaican patties.


We had a really great time. It was relaxing and full. Our hosts at the Inn on Columbia provided most excellent breakfasts for us, catered to our dietary preferences, and inspired us to try harder to make and eat breakfast. I suspect a little advance planning could help.

Cooking like mad on our return meant reheating leftovers on Sunday [dinner], and making a salad with creamy herb dressing. Matt resurrected his koshary by pan-frying it to dry it out. It was much better, but there was not enough for the parents to have some. We just had salad and a late-night bowl of cereal.

On Monday morning, I toasted a handful of walnuts and threw them into the food processor with our basil and parsley, which had done very well in the fridge for nearly a week. I had them in a glass of water with a plastic bag wrapped around. I added garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and made a really nice pesto. I was really glad those herbs didn't go to waste from my neglect.

Monday lunch was panini with the last of the olive tapenade I made ages ago, and mozzarella and baby lettuces. Vegan cookies from Whole Foods (so-so). We picnicked at GFDL and then went wading in the fountain outside the Woodrow Wilson school.

Monday dinner:
Matt seems to like it when I tell him what to make for dinner, even if he doesn't make exactly that. I told him to make mashed potatoes with our farm potatoes and garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. And to serve it with a dollop of pesto on top. I also suggested making a salad and some sauteed vegetables. He made mashed potatoes with the pesto mixed in, and a salad with the leftover dressing, and some curried vegetables: cabbage, kale, and carrots. Practically the same thing, and all very good.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Trying to catch up (again)

Wow, it has been quite a while and I am having a hard time remembering past yesterday. I mean, this morning.

Random recollections: I managed to make some escarole last week. I think in past years I picked up my escarole mixed in with the other head lettuces, and never figured out that what I had was actually escarole. So I never gave much thought about what to do with it. We just ate it as salad. Most of the recipes for escarole that I've seen entail cooking it with beans or just wilting it with garlic and olive oil and salt. I went with the latter method, but did it with a little seitan, toasted sesame oil, tamari, and crushed pepper, too. Served over brown rice. Matt did not like it, but he was the only one. I pawned off some of the leftover stuff from last week back on my share-sharers (parents). They got home on Sunday, so I gave them some cabbage and a couple of broccoli.

I don't remember anything else about last week, except this:
Monday dinner:
Matt cooked. Wasn't ready til after 10pm, and was not very good. Butchering of one of our weekday classics, based on this recipe from 101cookbooks and made with our own homemade harissa paste.

This week -- and when I say this week, I mean the one that is nearly over -- we got from our 1/2 of a full share from Cherry Grove farm:
1/4 pound salad mix
1/4 pound arugula
2 heads lettuce (romaine!)
1 small bunch basil
1 kohlrabi
1/2 bunch little carrots
1/2 bunch scallions
1 small bunch chard
1 small bunch lacinato kale
1 small bunch toscano kale
1 cabbage
4 cukes
1 pound zucchini
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes

PYO: 10 stems mixed flowers (snapdragons, black-eyed susans, and my favorite crazy feathery ones), small bunch parsley, thyme, mint.

Tuesday dinner and delicious Wednesday lunch:
Orecchiette with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Scallions (me). This is amazing. From a Frank Falcinelli/Frank Castronovo recipe.
Chopped Salad with romaine, celery, carrots, cucumbers and balsamic dressing made with languishing scapes, rather than minced garlic (Matt).

That was damn good, times two.

Wednesday dinner:
Matt cooked again. Another favorite butchered. This time, koshary. From Francis Lam's recipe, which Matt obviously did not read.

Thursday dinner:
Leftover rice.
Grilled tofu (marinated in shoyu, vinegar, garlic, molasses).
Grilled zucchini.
Sauteed chard and garlic.

Friday -- off on a weekend trip to Ithaca!!! Will have to cook like mad on our return.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Refrigerator organization and another Cherry Grove pickup

When last I left off, I was preparing for the holiday weekend. I did manage to make the planned pasta salad for Saturday lunch/dinner. I used all the broccoli, minus 1 stalk, and most of the basil in the sundried tomato vinigraitte. But no green salad was made that day, and because of our scheduling miscalculations, we arrived late at the gathering and went home with nearly all of the pasta salad.

Luckily, on Sunday we had extra mouths to feed. Sunday brunch:

We had 2 kinds of coffee. Andrew came with his own bag of Small World Rocket Blend, a Melitta drip cone, and filters. Matt had a Stumptown Guatemalan Bourbon varietal, which he usually makes in a french press. They dueled, and the Small World Rocket Blend won. Everyone agreed that the Stumptown had a much better and more complex aroma, but that the Rocket Blend had nice body and mouth-feel. Next we should try brewing the coffee in the drip cone and the french press and decide which is better.

Beignets. This time, they were really good. Fatter, more doughy.

Leftover pasta salad and a quickly-made tofu scramble, with carrots, cabbage, kale, fresh herbs.


On Monday, I made a pot of Rancho Gordo vaquita beans, and some creamy salad dressing which used up the rest of the basil, plus chives and oregano from the porch containers. I washed and dried a whole lot of salad greens.

I suggested some dinner ideas to Matt. He made Monday dinner:
Big mixed green salad with red and green leaf lettuce, arugula, and radishes.
Tuscan Ribolitta with the vaquita beans and celery, carrots, cabbage, and chard.
Great dinner. I brought home some bent spoon mango and coconut sorbet for dessert.

I have a strategy for dealing with all of this food in our refrigerator. Organization is a key part of the strategy. Unfortunately, Matt is not privy to the workings of this system (also, is uninterested) and does not usually put things back precisely where he found them.

So on Tuesday, I discovered some squished and blackening salad mix, and semi-frozen, semi-wilted arugula in the refrigerator. I had to throw out the salad mix and the frozen part of the arugula. And we got more food.

Tuesday score from Cherry Grove Farm (Week 5 or 6?):
1 bunch beets
1 large bunch basil
1 large bunch lacinato kale
1 large bunch toscano kale
1 bunch carrots (can't wait to eat these)
1 head garlic
2 heads green cabbage
2 heads escarole
2 heads lettuce (1 red, 1 green)
8 cucumbers
4 pounds broccoli
1/2 pound of salad mix

PYO: 30 stems flowers, including black-eyed susans, yarrow, agastache (I think), and 2 snapdragons. Small bunch of parsley, a little thyme and mint.

Immediately, I thought of making vegetable juice the next morning. Hours later, I remembered that one of the juicer pieces has a crack in it, a bad one. Have determined to duct tape it.

At home, we still had 2 giant heads of escarole and some radishes, 1 stalk of broccoli, and the arugula left over. There was no way I could fit the rest of this food in there. So I gave two heads of escarole, a couple of broccoli stalks, 2 cucumbers, and a cabbage to Michele. Then I finessed the rest into the fridge. I also made 2 small batches of basil pesto -- 1 with the farm basil, and 1 with the porch basil. The porch pesto went into the freezer. I then washed and dried some of the arugula, a few stray lettuce leaves from last week, and most of the new salad mix.

Tuesday dinner:
A big, big salad of greens, radish and cucumber with leftover creamy herb dressing.
My version of Francis Lam's koshary. I use brown basmati rice, Rancho Gordo beans, and whole wheat elbows, instead of white rice, lentils, and presumably white pasta. I think my way must be better.

Wednesday dinner:
Matt made another big salad with radishes and cucumbers and carrots and leftover dressing.
And whole wheat spaghettini with the farm pesto, broccoli, red onions, and yellow squash.

For Thursday, we need a portable dinner. We are planning to picnic and hear some music.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cherry Grove Week 4

Way behind on posting, and I suspect I am a bit off on my week count, but will carry on as if I am not, at least until I can correct it.

This week, our full share consisted of:
1 large bunch chard
1 large bunch toscano kale
1 large bunch lacinato kale
1/2 pound arugula
1/2 pound salad mix
2 1/2 pounds of broccoli (!)
1 bunch radishes
2 heads green cabbage
2 heads lettuce, red and green leaf
2 heads escarole
1 small bunch basil
1 bunch of golden beets that were forgotten at the farm, sadly.

PYO: Flowers, 20 stems -- black-eyed susans and some lavender-colored flowers that start with an "a". Some thyme, mint, and tarragon.

Tuesday dinner:
Brown basmati rice and Tempeh, Broccoli, and Cabbage with fresh basil in green curry sauce. This came together really quick, and I used up a whole cabbage!

Also, we had some leftover baguette, so for dessert we had some bread and chocolate, crisped in the panini pan. So good. Beats any pastry, for me.

Wednesday lunch:
Leftover beet soup, and sandwiches with Melissa Clark's white bean and scape dip and salad greens.

Wednesday dinner:
Was left in Matt's hands, and he decided to go out to dinner instead of cooking. We are a day behind.

Thursday dinner:
Quinoa with Harissa-spiced Cauliflower and Lacinato kale. I had made a big batch of harissa paste a while ago...

Friday dinner:
Brown rice and Green Curry again. With Seitan, Toscano Kale, Cabbage, and Summer squash.

We have been using the salad greens here and there for packing lunches, but I haven't made any dressings because we have been out of olive oil for the last couple of days. That had foiled my plans to make dressings and pestos to freeze. We went to Whole Foods and stocked up on oil and a few other staples.

For tomorrow, I'm planning a big pasta salad to bring to a gathering. That should take care of the basil and broccoli. I'd also like to make some scape pesto. And a big salad for lunch, before we leave for the party.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday update

Monday dinner:

Penne with Greens and Feta.

Enough leftover to pack for lunches on Tuesday. I didn't make the scape pesto, and we still have the 1/2 cabbage. Today we pick up more veggies -- the full share is ours this week and next.

I had hoped to have an additional feature going this week, but I ran out of time. I think the best strategy is to do a little bit each day. Watch this space.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Coming into the home stretch

Sunday, around midday, we got in the car and drove for a while. We intended to go to Hopewell Valley Vineyards, but on the way we discovered that the Slow Food and Wine Festival that was taking place there had an admission price of $35/person. We detoured and went to Lambertville instead. A couple of bookstores caught my interest for a bit. We watched a pair of make-ways swim upstream. At our house, ducks and geese that embody the spirit of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are now called "make-ways," after the Robert McCloskey book, Make Way for Ducklings. These two were actually mallards, 1 male and 1 female. We walked over the bridge to New Hope. The kids were really hungry by this point, but despite the appeal of sitting outdoors by the river, we could not find one place that enticed us. New Hope is not at all how I remember it from childhood excursions. Now it is like being on the boardwalk down at the shore. And not in a good way, in case you were thinking anything like that. So we drove home.

Sunday Lunch:

Red-leaf and salad mix with leftover shallot-lemon thyme vinigraitte.
A hummus sandwich for Desta.
Mac and cheese for Kailani.
A little leftover tabouli.

Sunday dinner:

More salad, despite Matt's protestations. More leftover vinigraitte.
We actually had 3 beets left, not two, and that was enough to make some golden beet soup with fresh tarragon from a recipe in The Millenium Cookbook. Matt even made fresh stock with the beet greens and some celery, carrots, and onion. Also some tofu-dill sour cream that was swirled into the soup.

Damn good soup.

Monday lunch:

Matt has packed me some leftover soup and some of the sour cream on the side.

Plan for the evening:

I am thinking of Fusilli with Greens and Feta, or some other pasta with Greens and Harissa. I won't be home, though, so it all depends on Matt's fancy. If I have time, I would like to make a big batch of scape pesto.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Morning catch-up and assessment

On Thursday, for dinner we had:
A big mixed green salad (romainey lettuce, red leaf, arugula, salad mix) with shredded golden beet, baked goat cheese croutons, and some shallot-lemon thyme vinaigrette.
Tabouli with lots of fresh mint and radishes from the farm, cherry tomatoes from Mexico (wince), and chives from the backyard. We had enough to take leftovers for lunch the next day.

For Friday dinner, there was:
Leftover brown basmati rice, stir-fried with garlic, herbs, and spinach/tatsoi combo.
Summer squash gratin with arugula pesto. Adapted from this recipe (101cookbooks).

Saturday, after Matt made beignets for breakfast, we did no cooking whatsoever.

We still have enough salad greens for a decent-sized salad.
Some kale and some spinach.
Two beets.
A lot of scapes.
Two days before the next pick-up.

UPDATE: Aargh! I forgot about the cabbage.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday update

Wednesday afternoon, Matt expertly put the sink back together.

And made dinner:
Fusilli with Indian-spiced cauliflower, chickpeas, and kale.

And he cleaned up. He also made cookie bars in a too-small pan, and dubbed it Cookie Cake. But he did not make much of a dent in our CSA loot.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A New Beginning, courtesy of CSA week #3

Instead of excuses, list-making.

Here's what we picked up this week, from our half of a full-share at Cherry Grove Farm CSA:
1 pound spinach
1/4 pound tatsoi
1/4 pound salad mix
1/4 pound (I think) arugula
2 heads lettuce (1 red-leaf, 1 romaine-like, with fingery leaves)
1/2 bunch radishes
1/2 bunch golden beets
1/2 green cabbage
1/2 large bunch toscano kale
1/2 large bunch lacinato kale
1 pound garlic scapes (we got the whole portion of this item, just because).
Also, PYO (pick-your-own) black-eyed susans, 10 stems; small bunch of lemon thyme; small bunch of tarragon; slightly larger bunch of mint.

Tuesday dinner:

Salad of mixed greens, including some salad mix, some arugula, and some of the romaine-y lettuce. With chopped scapes.
Dressing: Lemon, McEvoy Ranch olive oil, lemon thyme, tarragon, salt, white pepper.

Brown basmati rice and seitan with sauteed garlic and spinach and tatsoi (from last week's share).

After dinner, I washed more salad greens for lunch the next day. Then Matt took the sink apart, broke the connector to the dishwasher hose, and discovered a live wire.

Wednesday lunch:

Salad, like the one from Tuesday dinner. Prepared without use of the sink, so it was fortunate that the greens had been washed the night before. Matt declined the salad, and ate at the food court instead. Wack.