Cooking for two is boring -- I want to cook for the entire blogosphere!

Saturday, July 17

Our Summer of CSA - Week 5

Oops. Week 4 got away from us. It's hard to cook with all this produce, harder still to blog about it. We had many more greens and made a lovely and homey version of lentils with spinach using bulgar, black beans, and mystery greens. We ate peaches and plums out of hand. We made more French green salad with radishes, and we cooked up white bean and potato soup with leeks. We hardly had to throw anything away, which was refreshing.

This week saw fewer greens we didn't recognize, which was also refreshing. We made Cook's Illustrated pesto pasta salad with a beautiful bunch of fresh basil - so wonderful smelling, just like summer. We plan to make a kale and chickpea stew this evening. A huge bunch of fresh cilantro still sits in a glass of water in the fridge, waiting for summer rolls with shrimp and radishes. Our green squash wait for couscous with tomatoes and basil and Bittman's zucchini pancakes. Peaches we've been eating as dessert at lunch time, and plums I turned instantly into plum ice cream, which is tangy and rich and could not be easier or more delicious. These little red plums, with their floral notes, are much better cooked than eaten raw. Here's David Lebovitz's recipe, from The Perfect Scoop:

Plum Ice Cream

1 lb plums (about 8)
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar (to taste, based on how sweet plums already are)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp kirsh (I left it out - just helps soften ice cream)

Slice the plums in half and pit. Cut into eighths and put them into a medium, non-reactive saucepan with the water. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature (speed this process up by putting the pan in the fridge or freezer, though let it cool on the stove at least 5 minutes first).

Once cool, puree in a blender or food processor with the cream and the kirsch until smooth.

Make sure the mixture is chilled thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker. Makes about 1 quart or so.

Saturday, July 3

Our summer of CSA - week 3

This week we had some great stuff waiting for us in our bags. On the fruit side, we got a big sack of sour cherries. From the vegetable farm, we received beets, lettuce, basil, and a mystery green we haven't been able to identify. The young ladies who pass out the bounty told me what it was, but I've completely forgotten the name. They said we could eat it like spinach, either cooked or in a salad. It has a slightly more sour, lemony flavor than spinach, however, and not nearly as bitter as kale or collard greens.

Our lettuce was a big round head, very crispy and crunchy. It was a perfect base for lemony tabbouleh. A simple pesto pasta salad (recipe courtesy Cooks Illustrated) used up our small bunch of basil. And beets, well, how could we not make borscht? This recipe is adapted from Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Roasted Beet and Carrot Borscht
About 2 pounds combined beets and carrots, peeled & quartered
Greens from the beets (if you have any)
4 tbsp cooking oil, like corn or canola
salt and pepper
1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
small bunch of fresh dill
1 lemon
4 medium white potatoes
sour cream or yogurt for garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 375. Put the beets and carrots in a roasting pan, drizzle with 2 tbsp oil plus salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables with oil. Roast until a thin-bladed knife goes through with little resistance, about 30 - 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop the vegetables as finely as possible.
  • Put the remaining 2 tbsp oil in a soup pot or large saucepan and turn on the heat to medium-high. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until soft. Turn the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until golden and very tender, 10-15 minutes more.
  • Meanwhile, put a saucepan of salted water on to boil. Rinse and de-stem the beet greens, if there were any. When the water's boiling, throw the greens in. Blanch for one minute, then remove to a bowl of ice water. Squeeze out the water and roughly chop the greens. Then scrub the potatoes and add them to the boiling water, whole, and boil for about 20 minutes until tender.
  • Add the chopped beets and carrots to the soup pot with the onion, along with the stems of the dill (tied together with kitchen string), and add about 6 cups of water. Turn the heat back up to medium high and bring the soup to a boil, then put back down to medium-low, cover, and stir occasionally, until the soup is well colored and the beets are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the dill stems from the pot and add the juice from the lemon. Taste and adjust other seasonings as necessary. To serve, cut the potatoes into large chunks, adding one potato to each bowl. Ladle soup over the top, then top with freshly chopped dill and a bit of sour cream. Serves 4.