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.