Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CSA 6: Carrot-Zucchini-Beet Muffins

The other day I got my bill for chemistry class.  Next week begins registration at massage school.  And my car just broke down.  I've gotta budget myself.  And I have all these vegetables. 

Its a small savings but I figured I could stop buying breakfast everyday and start eating some of my vegetables instead.  Carrot, zucchini, beet muffins it is!  And a whole $3.75 a week savings, whoopie. But more then that its also an extra half serving of vegetables a day plus whole wheat flour versus my previous 1/2 a buttered (white) roll for breakfast.

I figured carrot cake is good, and I remember zucchini bread being good.  So apparently they bake well.  And that beet?  Well it was tiny - about the size of a large cherry - what else was I going to do with it anyway?  So why wouldn't vegetable muffins work?  Admittedly the tiny beet didn't mix with the whole wheat flour to make a delicious color batter, but it added bits of red flecks to the end product, which along with green flecks from the zucchini gave the muffins a festive look.

Vegetable muffins

1 carrot
1/2 zucchini
1 (tiny) beet
1/2 inch fresh ginger root, shredded
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375. Chop the vegetables super finely. Mix the dry ingredients.  Mix in the vegetables and ginger with the flour mixture really well.  Mix in milk.  Pour batter into muffin papers and bake for 20 minutes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

CSA 5: Greens Dip

I've sauteed my greens, I've made a greens pie with feta and filo, I've had greens in cream sauce and greens with tomato.  I still had chard, I still had collard greens.  I still had scallion, and cilantro.  I also had a glutenous flatbread from a friend.

I decided to have dip for dinner.  Cheesy, green dip with crunchy crisp breadchips.  It was really creamy and smooth with a mild taste.  And as a meal it's got plenty of vegetables and plenty of protein.

I preheated my contact grill and sprayed it with olive oil, and layed the flatbread on it.  I made the dip while it toasted.

Greens dip

2 cups carrot greens, collard greens and swiss chard, boiled
1 scallion
1 oz asiago cheese
2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
small handfull almonds
1/4 bunch arugala
approx. 1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Put everything in the food processor except the oil.  As its chopping drizzle in the olive oil.  After a minute or two scrape down sides and chop until smooth.

Serve with crispy flatbread.

Nothing fresher then home grown

This week's vegetables were uninspiring.  There's only so many ways to cook collard greens and and swiss chard. But thats ok, I had plenty of other food to pull from: left over Thai food and curried goat.

But soon enough I'll have something even fresher then CSA vegetables, home grown vegetables.  My peppers are coming out!  The first several flowers just shriveled and fell off, but then I decided to stick my finger in a few to see if that would crudely fertilize them.  Apparently that was the trick as there are now three peppers growing. Since then I've moved on to sticking a q-tip into the flower - it just seems gentler.

I've grown plenty of herbs before: basil, dill, mint, thyme.  But this is the first actual vegetable.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Week 4: no salad greens

I thought I was being so prepared by making such an effort to use all my vegetables. On Sunday I made a huge bowl of mixed greens to pull salads from. I figured I needed 4 salads worth, but I had at least 5 salads worth, 6 if stretched with other veggies. So I bagged up some and gave a salads worth to Jennifer. I ate my last salad for lunch today. I expected to get: various vegetables and salad greens.

I got: various vegetables. Its a good selection but I had mentally prepared to make myself a salad for lunch tomorrow, as I have for the last three weeks, and now that was not an option. I wasn't concerned, I knew I had plenty of food, it just through me for a loop.

I threw together some chives, cilantro and the fuzzy bits off the fennel into the food chopper with some fresh basil and a sun-dried tomato and chopped. I mixed them with some quinoa and drizzled on some olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper. I chopped some carrots into sticks. Along with some humus, that's lunch.

Tonight I'll read up on some ideas for my ingredients tomorrow I'll cook something.

Monday, June 21, 2010

CSA 4: Roasted Beet salad

Its Monday. That means tomorrow brings the promise of more vegetables: week 4.

It took a bit of adjustment, but I'm actually almost caught up. OK I gave one head of lettuce away, and one bag of mixed lettuces and salad greens, and I still have almost all the turnips (what can I say? I'm not excited about turnips) but otherwise I've used all the veggies. I guess I haven't eaten them all - I still have kimchi and one serving of beet salad left (and enough green salad for lunch tomorrow), but at least those are prepared and ready to eat.

And the beet salad won't last long - its only because I have so much other good food that I haven't eaten it, its not due to a lack of want. The beets are sweet and their juices mixed with the cheese and the vinegar to create a creamy sauce, the most beautiful fushia color in existence.

Roasted beet salad with goat cheese

6 beets, trimmed
1 spring rosemary
olive oil
good salt
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 375.
Using foil, make a little pouch. Put the beets and rosemary in it, drizzle with olive oil. Close up the little pouch.
Roast about an hour. Open pouch and let them cool. Discard rosemary.
Peel the beets (doing this under running water helps reduce the beet juice stains) and slice. Mix beets, onion, cheese, a bit of salt and the vinegar.
That's it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

CSA 3: Kale chips

Ok this isn't really my recipe, at least I assume its not. I didn't look it up, but I've heard of kale chips before and I can't imagine I'm the first to make them this way. It couldn't be easier and its super tasty!

Kale chips

3 kale leaves, rinsed, patted dry and cut into easy to eat pieces
Olive oil spray
good salt

Preheat oven, and if you have one, a well seasoned pizza stone, to 375. If you don't have a pizza stone, I'm sure a baking sheet would work fine.
Arrange leaves so none overlap and spray with olive oil. Place, oil side down, on stone and spray with olive oil. Bake about 15 minutes. Carefully put chips on a clean towel and sprinkle with salt. allow to cool.


CSA 2: Greens pie

In addition to salad greens, I've been getting lots of other greens as well, ones that need to be cooked. Expecting a new shipment in a few days and left with a bunch of spinach, kale and beet greens I decided to make an old favorite. Spinach pie, this time with mixed greens. Normally I'd use garlic in this recipe, but since I still have plenty of scapes, I used them instead. And thinking it was more practical, I made individual pies instead of one big one.

Greens pie

several cups of green leafy vegetables, trimmed of stems and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic scape, chopped
fresh dill, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta (I used fat free)
2 egg whites
1 egg
filo dough
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 and defrost filo.
Boil a large pot of water and add the greens. Boil a few minutes and drain.
Heat some oil and add the onions and scape. Cook a few minutes, until well softened. Remove from heat.
Scramble the egg and egg whites together.
Add the greens, feta, dill and parsley, and eggs to the onion and mix well. Season with salt & pepper.

On a clean, dry surface lay 1 piece of filo dough. Using olive oil spray, spray 2/3 of the sheet. fold the filo into thirds so it ends up filo-oil-filo-oil-filo. Spray half of the filo and fold in half. You should have a square. Stuff it in a ramikin, centered, sides sticking up. Repeat in 5 more ramikins. Fill the filo cups with greens mixture and fold the filo corners down to cover.

Bake about 30 minutes, until they smell good and the filo is golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack for several minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the ramikin and place a plate upside down over it. Invert and tap the ramikin so the mini pie falls out.


First CSA recipe: Kimchi

Three weeks into the CSA I'm eating A LOT of green salad and I'm finding myself with interesting assortments of vegetables. There are good recipes on the CSA website but I find them frustrating as each only uses 1 weekly vegetable and then lots of other things, things I don't consider staples. I want to use as much of what I already have and buy as little additionally as possible.

So I'm making my own recipes.

I found myself with several bunches of bok choi, several garlic scapes, and two kholrabi bulbs. I ate some bok choi steamed and served with chili oil and sea salt which was quite tasty. And I've been putting garlic scapes into everything I cook instead of garlic and sometimes instead of onion. I've chopped kholrabi into my salads. But I found myself still left with plenty of kholrabi, several bok choi and scapes... and a new week of vegetables!

So I made kimchi to extend the life span and create a ready to eat dish. I searched several recipes and comparing them, came up with my own that followed the basic premise of all the recipes I read but that utilized the ingredients I had on had. I figured kholrabi is in the cabage family so it should work since all the recipes called for bok choi and/or Korean cabbage. And all the recipes called for either garlic, scallions or both; I figured scapes are basically a cross between the two so I'd just use those.

It took me 3 days to make but was very minimal effort each day. I started on a Tuesday evening. I chopped the vegetables and wraped them in a damp linen towel, placed them in a bowl and put them in the fridge. I made the salt water in a mason jar. That was it.

The next morning I removed the towel leaving the veggies in the bowl. I poured the salt water over them and weighed them down with a plate, held down with the mason jar, now filled with water.

When I got home from work Wednesday I drained, rinsed and set the veggies re-soaking in fresh water while I made the brine. I poured out the water and stuffed the vegetables into the mason jar and added the brine. I let it sit on my kitchen counter.

Thursday when I got home from work it was ready.


5 bunches bok choi, quartered lengthwise
1/2 kholrabi, cut into strips
2 garlic scapes, slivered
5 tbsp good salt
1 hot pepper, chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar

Mix 4 tbsp salt w/4 cups of water and soak the bok choi, kholrabi & garlic scapes for about 8-10 hours.
Drain & soak in fresh water about 10 minutes.
To make the brine, mix the pepper, ginger, sauces, sugar & 1 tbsp salt with about 2 cups of water.
Drain the soaking veggies and stuff them in a jar, then pour in the brine and close tightly.
Let sit at room temp for 24 hours.

You now have kimchi. I recommend opening it in the sink - its fermented while sitting there and kinda pops like a soda. Once you open it, it will last 1 month in the fridge.