Friday, June 24, 2011

CSA Meals - Week 6

Most people are aware that mint is easy to grow, and that it's a highlight in mojitos and desserts.  What came as a surprise to me is that it can be a subtle and welcome addition to savory dishes, even in a non-jelly form. 

On Saturday, Davy and I grilled some extraordinary red snapper from Yellow Umbrella.  To accompany the fish, I made braised kale with onions and potatoes baked in parchment.  The potatoes were prepared based on a recipe from The Splendid Table's weekly newsletter, which they reprinted from At Elizabeth David's Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom.  

It's a simple combination of new potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, and two mint leaves.  The mint contributes just a slight amount of coolness to the buttery potatoes, though they don't need much of an enhancement to be delicious.

Coincidentally, the other recipe I tried last week was also from The Splendid Table's weekly newsletter.  The "Salad of Beef with Lime, Chili, and Mint" appealed to me because of its similarities to my beloved rice noodle salad.  Its flavors are inspired by Laos, so there were some major differences in taste, but this salad is just as refreshing and wonderful in its own way.  

The mint and hot pepper balance each other, while the vegetables add crunch and sweetness.  I wasn't thrilled with the rice noodles I got (and I forgot to take pictures of the salad with the noodles), but otherwise I really loved this dish and want to make it again and again.  The cabbage from our share is tender enough to eat uncooked without tiring out your jaw, and the spring onions added just the right amount of bite to the meat.  

My only tip is to store the salad separately from the noodles so that they don't get too soggy.  And also, make an effort to try mint in a new way while it's growing (or taking over) in your backyard.  You won't be disappointed.


Adapted from At Elizabeth David's Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom 
(Enough for 4 people)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Clean approximately 24 very small new potatoes, and halve or quarter any larger potatoes. Place them on a large square of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Add 2 leaves of mint, a little salt and 2 tablespoons of butter to the potatoes. Fold the paper in half, and then crease the edges to seal the packet.

Let the potatoes cook for about 35 minutes.


adapted from The Splendid Table weekly newsletter
Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 pound wide or linguine shaped rice noodles
  • 4 quarts boiling water
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 packed teaspoons brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 2 tablespoons water
    The Salad:
  • between 3/4-1 lb. flank steak, seared on the grill then diced
  • 4 scallions or spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, torn
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into thick sticks
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into sticks to match the cucumber
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded green cabbage
  • 1/3 tight-packed cup whole fresh mint leaves
  • Lime wedges
1. Cook noodles according to box directions, and rinse with cold water when they're finished
2. Heat vegetable oil a saute pan over medium high heat and add the flank steak when it's hot.  Stir for a minute, add the onions or scallions, and continue stirring until the meat is cooked to desired doneness.  Turn off the heat and leave the pan on the burner.
3. Blend the dressing ingredients in another large bowl and toss with the vegetables.  Add the meat, stir to combine, and serve accompanied by a bowl of the rice noodles.
4. Take a small amount of rice noodles and spoon the salad over them. Squeeze on lime juice to taste.

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