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.