Thursday, October 14, 2010

CSA Meals Week 18

One of my recent (several month long) food obsessions is Mekong's rice noodle salad with beef.  I'm holding onto a Splendid Table recipe that looks like it could be similar, but haven't gotten around to making it yet.  Instead, I channeled my desire for crunchy cucumbers and fish sauce into a Thai cucumber salad since we had most of the ingredients lying around.  The salad is simple, but it's refreshing and the colors are stunning in any serving dish.

All of the tomatoes from our share were used in a penne dish with chicken breast, basil, and parmesan.  I sauteed some garlic, let the tomatoes simmer, added a little chicken stock and pasta water for depth, and stirred in the cooked chicken.  I really enjoyed the combination of ingredients in this dish, especially because the flavors were big but it was healthier than it tasted.

My birthday was last Saturday, and Davy graciously made me a beautiful dinner: grilled jerk tilapia with mushroom sauce, grilled broccolini and carrots, and rice.  He's not into mushrooms at all, so this was a special treat.

As a bonus, I also got a birthday veggie frittata with some of the leftover mushrooms, broccolini, onion and sweet peppers.  

On Sunday we had a few friends over to watch football, and Keith, who hunts regularly and always shares his rewards, made impressive skewers with sweet peppers, red onion, mushrooms, and chunks of goose meat wrapped in bacon.  They were then grilled to perfection, and what seemed like a huge pile of food was easily consumed by the end of dinner.

In the next segment of my ongoing battle with eggplant, I attempted to make baba ganoush, a dip involving roasted eggplant blended with olive oil, tahini, garlic, salt and pepper.  I guess I accomplished a minor victory because I didn't hate it and I got to use my immersion blender, but I still didn't really want to eat it and ended up giving most of it away.  My friend Lyndsey also made baba ganoush over the weekend, and she used lemon juice instead of tahini in hers.  I'm not sure that I would bother with this again unless someone requested it, but I might try the lemon juice variation if we get more eggplant.  Or should I say when we get more eggplant?

Thai Bell Pepper, Cucumber and Peanut Salad
Modified from Southern Living


8 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)
  • Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salad:
  • 2 cups sliced peeled seedless cucumber
  • 2 cups red bell pepper strips
  • 3/4 cup julienne-cut carrot
  • 1/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (I used basil instead)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts
PreparationTo prepare the dressing, combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk.
To prepare the salad, combine the cucumber, bell pepper, carrot, onion, and mint.
Drizzle the dressing over cucumber mixture, tossing gently to coat.
Sprinkle salad with peanuts.

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