CSA 2011 · Recipes

RECIPE: Tangy apple-fennel slaw

I made this one up while stranded indoors during Hurricane Irene. It used up a few key items from my CSA that I didn’t want to see go to waste before I left town for a week on business: scallions, cabbage and fennel. Luckily, it came out great!

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of cabbage, shredded
  • 2 small bulbs of fennel (or 1 large), chopped & stems/leaves discarded
  • 1 organic apple, cored and chopped (I used green)
  • 1/2 an onion (or 1 small onion) chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 stalks large scallions, snipped with kitchen shears (to taste)

Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

To prep the dressing, whisk all wet ingredients & seasoning together and set aside.

Assemble the slaw:

1) Shred cabbage with a large knife.

2) Chop fennel bulbs, tossing stems and leaves, and the apple. Add to cabbage.

3) Slice scallion stalks and finely chop onion; add both to cabbage mixture.

4) Mince garlic and add to cabbage, blending with your hands for best blending.

5) If necessary, snip slaw ingredients in the bowl with your shears if some pieces are looking to big. Stir well with a wooden spoon before adding the dressing.

6) Mix dressing into dry ingredients, stirring well. Taste taste and add salt, pepper and/or granulated sugar as needed. Cover and refrigerate at 1-4 hours or overnight.

To make VEGAN, omit honey and substitute 1 tablespoon of sugar.

To make CREAMIER, add 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream to the dressing.

Here are a couple other yummy-looking cabbage recipes I’d love to try soon:

Stay tuned to see which ones I cook up this fall with the cabbage I keep getting in my Sparrow Arc Farm CSA!

The finished slaw, after spending a night in my fridge getting ready to go with me to work!
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Basil State of Mind

Every month, Food Network Magazine focuses on one in-season ingredient and publishes a month of tips for using it. July’s pick: BASIL.

Basil is hands-down one of my favorite culinary herbs.

 Here are a few of the best ideas from the list:

  • A tasty appetizer: Spread ricotta cheese on toasted baguette slices then top with fresh basil and honey
  • Make Green Goddess Potato Salad: Blend 1 cup mayo, 1/4 cup mixed parsley, tarragon and basil, 1 scallion, 1 teaspoon sugar, lemon juice and salt. Toss with 2 pounds boiled halved fingerlings.
  • When basil flowers, it stops producing leaves; pinch the top leaves off your basil plant so it won’t flower.
  • Grill salmon and top it with basil butter for dinner: mash minced basil and lemon zest into softened butter.
  • Make a booze-infused fruit salad: Blend basil with tequila, lime juice and honey; top with cubed watermelon.
  • Did you know basil is a natural bug repellent? Place potted basil where you need to ward off mosquitoes and other undesirables.
  • Basil can help you determine when your knives are dull. Basil turns black quickly when chopped with a dull knife.
  • Party (dip) time! Mix 1 pint sour cream, 1/2 cup pesto (basil pureed with garlic, EVOO and parmesan) and a squeeze of lemon juice. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  • Bottle your own seasoning: Dry basilleaves in a 200-degree oven for 1 hour, then crumble and mix with sea salt.

    My prefered way of storing fresh basil: In a couple inches of water, outside the fridge, with a bag over its head. Keeps nicely for over a week this way.

 

Recipes

Homemade Pizza With Stracciatella

Dinner: homemade pizza with tomatoes, parmesan, pecorino, arugula and fresh, hand-crafted stracciatella cheese.

Want to try something unusual and delicious? Mix up the cheese you throw on a homemade pizza and you’re in for some fresh flavor ideas.

I made this a few months ago for the first time and it came out great. I was inspired to make it when I found the killer ingredient at a winter farmer’s market near my house. That killer ingredient is hand-made stracciatella cheese, which I hadn’t ever seen in the U.S. and hadn’t eaten since I lived in Italy.

I’m lucky to have farmer’s markets year-round in Somerville, between Union Square, Davis Square, and the Armory, which is where I found this. Click here for a link to other places, including retail stores and farmer’s markets, where you can find fabulous cheeses by Fiore Di Nonno.

What is stracciatella?

Stracciatella is a stringy, sweet type of gourmet Italian cheese. Made from the very rich milk of water buffaloes, it is a soft member of Mozzarella cheese family. In Italian, “stracciatella” means “to shred,” and you’ll sometimes see this word used in the Roman egg-drop soup called Stracciatella alla Romana.

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (I pick up a ball at my local pizzeria for about $1, or you can try Trader Joe’s white and wheat varieties for about the same price).
  • Fiore Di Nonno stracciatella cheese
  • Arugula
  • Fresh chopped tomatoes (not canned.) Try heirloom varieties at this time of year! They’re everywhere.
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Pecorino cheese, grated (if you don’t usually keep this handy, you really should. It costs the same as parmesan, but has a saltier, deeper flavor that enriches the compexity of how food tastes. And one block of pecorino lasts forever).
  • EVOO
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I don’t season this, but you certainly can)

Directions

1) On a floured surface such as a baking mat (I love this one from Crate and Barrel) roll out the dough into desired shape.

I cook pizza using a round non-stick pan, but you can also use a pizza stone or a plain old baking tray; just roll the dough out square. In fact, I’ve even used Pillsbury dough in the past, which rolls out square).

2) Lay dough onto baking pan, and sprinkle with olive oil and some fresh grated parmesan. Spread EVOO evenly atop dough.

3) Top with arugula and chopped tomatoes.

4) Spoon stracciatella on top of tomatoes and arugula, spacing evenly; add more arugula or tomatoes if you like.

5) Finish with grated parmesan and pecorino cheese, and pop in the oven!

Cook for 10-15 minutes at 400, or until brown at the edges. Adjust temp down depending on your oven (mine always needs to skew higher than most recipes call for).

Let cool, cut into slices and serve!

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Easy cheater recipe for roasted potatoes

OK, we had a busy weekend — I’m about to leave town for a week on business — and I fell back on a tried-and-true recipe to use up some of my farm share potatoes: Roasting them in vegetable oil and Lipton’s Onion Soup mix.

It really is so simple and difficult to mess up, and it comes out so TASTY. All you have to do is chop 2 pounds of potatoes! You don’t peel them, or boil them, or dirty anything more than a measuring cup, a baking sheet, one knife and your cutting board!

Ingredients

  • 1 packet onion soup mix (any brand)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, olive oil, or blend of both (I use Smart Balance cooking oil, which is a blend of canola, soy & olive oils with lots of Omega3s)
  • 2 pound of potatoes, quartered (I mixed Red Norland and Irish Cobbler)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Toss chopped potatoes with oil; add in onion soup mix and stir to combine. Place on a baking sheet, evenly spaced, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes.

!E Voila!

CSA 2011 · Recipes

RECIPE: Scallion Cream Cheese

This is pretty self-explanatory, but it came out so delicious that I wanted to share the “recipe” anyway.

I get these fabulously enourmous scallions in my CSA almost every week, and I just love finding new ways to use them. When I was a kid we used to get fresh bagels and homemade spreads from a bakery near our house (pretty hard to find that these days in Boston), and scallion cream cheese was so unusual and so satisfying that I’ve always remembered it as a favorite.

Lighter than chive and simpler than veggie, it makes a great bagel topper and I could see dozens of ways to use it beyond that (dip? creamy sauce for pasta? rolled up in place of boursin with chicken cutlets and prosciutto? The list goes on).

I made mine by purchasing a standard package of plain cream cheese at Trader Joe’s, and eyeballing the amount of scallions I snipped in with kitchen shears. But here is a recipe that gives better amounts, which I’ll use as a guideline below.

Ingredients

  • 1 package plain cream cheese (not whipped; lite is OK)
  • 1 bunch scallions (eyeball it depending on their size; about 5 pieces)
  • kosher salt (this is OPTIONAL — I did not salt mine)

Directions

1) Set cream cheese out at room temperature in a mixing bowl.

2) Snip the scallions into small pieces using kitchen shears. Add to the softened cream cheese once it has reached room temp.

3) Mix thoroughly; add more scallion if it looks like there aren’t enough (I like it very scallion-y).

4) Chill for one hour before serving. It tastes best at room temp.

***

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“100 Greatest Cooking Tips of All Time”

I subscribe to Food Network Magazine, which is awesome.

Recently they printed this list of the 100 best kitchen tips from top chefs around the country, and while some of them were tried and true — “Take away the stress by doing the prep the night or day before,” (Paula Deen) and “The smaller the item, the higher the baking temperature,” (Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery) — others were truly inspired and I had to share my favorites here. 

The tips I’m definitely going to use:

  • Store spices in a cool, dark place, not above your stove. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor. ~ Rick TramontoTramonto’s Steak & Seafood, Osteria di Tramonto and RT Lounge, Wheeling, IL
  • If you find you need more oil in the pan when sautéing, add it in a stream along the edges of the pan so that by the time the oil reaches the ingredient being cooked, it will be heated. ~ Anita Lo, Annisa, New York City
  • When chopping herbs, toss a little salt onto the cutting board; it will keep the herbs from flying around. ~ Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery & Cafe, Boston
  • Instead of placing a chicken on a roasting rack, cut thick slices of onion, put them in an oiled pan, then place the chicken on top. The onion will absorb the chicken juices. After roasting, let the chicken rest while you make a sauce with the onions by adding a little stock or water to the pan and cooking it for about 3 minutes on high heat. ~ Donald Link, Cochon and Herbsaint, New Orleans
  • After cutting corn off the cob, use the back side of a knife (not the blade side) to scrape the cob again to extract the sweet milk left behind. This milk adds flavor and body to any corn dish.  ~ Kerry Simon, Simon, Las Vegas and Simon LA
  •  Anytime you are using raw onions in a salsa and you are not going to eat that salsa in the next 20 minutes or so, be sure to rinse the diced onions under cold running water first, then blot dry. This will rid them of sulfurous gas that can ruin fresh salsa. It’s really important in guacamole, too. ~ Mark Miller, Coyote Cafe, Santa Fe, NM
  • When you’re browning meat, you should blot the surface dry with a paper towel so the meat doesn’t release moisture when it hits the hot oil. Too much moisture makes the meat steam instead of sear, and you will lose that rich brown crust. ~ Charlie Palmer, Charlie Palmer Group
  • To get nice, crispy caramelization on roasted vegetables, simulate the intense heat of an industrial oven: Bring your oven up as hot as it goes, then put an empty roasting or sheet pan inside for 10 to 15 minutes. Toss the vegetables — try carrots or Brussels sprouts — with olive oil, salt and pepper, and put them on the hot pan. This method will give you the high heat you need to caramelize the sugars in the vegetables quickly. ~ Naomi Pomeroy, Beast, Portland, OR
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan when you’re sautéing — it’ll make your food steam instead. ~ Ryan Poli, Perennial, Chicago
  • Fresh basil keeps much better and longer at room temperature with the stems in water. ~ Elisabeth Prueitt, Tartine Bakery, San Francisco
  • Prolong the lifespan of greens by wrapping them loosely in a damp paper towel and placing in a resealable plastic bag. That local arugula will last about four days longer. ~ Hugh Acheson, Five & Ten, Athens, GA
  • When cooking eggplant, I like to use the long, skinny, purple Japanese kind because you don’t have to salt it to pull out the bitter liquid like you do with the larger Italian variety. ~ Andrew Carmellini, Locanda Verde and The Dutch, New York City
  • Caramelize onions very quickly by cooking them in a dry nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. They will caramelize beautifully in a lot less time than with traditional methods. ~ Michael Mina, Bourbon Steak and Michael Mina restaurants
CSA 2011 · Recipes

Cheesy Kale Pasta Bake

This one is a mish-mash of a bunch of different recipes I found in an attempt to use up my abundant, fresh kale.

My husband loves cheese, so I added a huge topping of mozzarella before baking. You really don’t have to add the cheese, nor do you have to bake it if you don’t want — it’s fully cooked in the skillet and could go right to tabletop.

INGREDIENTS

  • EVOO
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 red onion, chopped (you could use other types, too)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (adjust to taste if you like / dislike a little heat)
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped (stems discarded)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 C vegetable stock
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 package any pasta (I used rotini because it grips stuff)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cheese topping of your choice (mozzarella? parm? both? you pick!)
DIRECTIONS
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion in oil. Add garlic, pepper flakes if using, half kale, and cook a couple of minutes, stirring, until just wilted.
Add the rest of the kale and the canned tomatoes. Salt and cover; bring to a boil.
Reduce to medium and cook until mixture reaches soup consistency, roughly 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans. Stir.
Add the cooked pasta and simmer a couple minutes to mix.
Remove from heat; serve as-is with sprinkled cheese on top, or bake in a casserole dish (covered) until cheese melts.
Serve!