Friday, July 29, 2011

CSA Meals - Weeks 11 and 12

Tomorrow we leave for ten blissful days at the beach, and as a result, the posts for last week and this week are combined and brief.  I made two batches of pesto with the large bag of basil we received, and still had enough to add several leaves to the meal we made on Tuesday.

I've produced a few different versions of vegetarian pasta dishes as the heat persists.  Last Wednesday I combined penne with grated zucchini, tomatoes, onion, garlic and pesto.  The zucchini was only available in grated form because I was making zucchini bread, and had a lot leftover.  It was a nice change from eating it sliced or chopped, and it almost melted into the rest of the sauce.

This week's variety included the two-toned squash, tomato, feta, and basil, mixed with the three Bombolini pastas I purchased at the market (black pepper, spinach, and plain linguine).  All of the linguine was tender, fresh, and had a lot of flavor.  I'm looking forward to trying more of the Bombolini offerings the next time I get to the market.

Since it's too warm to make soup, I threw a bunch of ingredients together into a dish that could be called a salad.  Purslane, tomato, parsley, and chickpeas went in the first night, with a lime juice, cumin, onion, and garlic dressing.  We ate it with corn on the cob and grilled rockfish.  I added feta and leftover corn kernels to some of it for lunch on Saturday, and on Monday Davy used the remainder for dinner in a few tortillas.  The purslane worked very well with the chickpeas, lime, and cumin.  It's has thick green leaves, and it gets a little slimy when you chew it (from its omega-3s), but I liked it's substantial texture and savory flavor.

I'll try to post a few pictures of dinners at the beach, and then I'll be back with CSA entries for Week 14.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Light Week

Davy and I are getting ready to go to the beach, so I didn't take much from yesterday's haul. Josh and Caitlin got:

- eggplant

- tomatoes

- melons

we split:

- two bags of basil

- two-tone squash (pictured)

I also bought:

- peaches from Agriberry

- fresh Bombolini pasta (plain, black pepper, and spinach linquine)


Friday, July 22, 2011

CSA Meals - Week 10

The sun is blasting everything outside, but the plants in my garden haven't given up just yet, and luckily the CSA is still going strong.  Most of week was extremely bearable compared to the excessive temperatures we have now, and I managed to make a few different dishes with our CSA produce and Shannon's monster zucchini.  

When Davy has a band activity and won't be around for dinner, I seize the opportunity and make pasta.  Last Wednesday I ate it with sun gold tomatoes, basil, feta, and garlic, and it was spectacular - simple, sweet, and fresh.  The sun gold tomatoes are so tasty, and for someone who doesn't love tomatoes (I'm getting there!), the perfect variety to eat uncooked.

The next night I realized we had a ton of zucchini to use, and some prosciutto, so I decided to try out a version of this salad from Serious Eats.  We didn't feel like grilling, and I was using the oven for potatoes baked in parchment anyway (with basil instead of mint), so I sliced some zucchini on the mandolin and roasted it instead.

If you need to find another way to get rid of zucchini, the lentil salad is a healthy and delicious way to do so.  The thin pieces almost melted down in the dressing, and the red wine vinegar provided just enough of a bite to keep the flavors interesting.  I chopped my prosciutto and mixed it in instead of serving it on the side, and it contributed to making the dressing taste richer, which is completely worth it when you're eating health food like lentils and zucchini.

My parents came to visit for the weekend, and we welcomed them with takeout from 8 1/2 plus lime and peanut coleslaw on Friday night.  I love this coleslaw recipe from 101 Cookbooks because it's a totally different take on shredded cabbage.  It's tangy from the lime, crisp from the cabbage and peanuts, slightly juicy from the beautiful sun gold tomatoes, and very light because it doesn't have mayo.  The slaw can be eaten for several days after, as long as you don't mind if the peanuts lose some of their crunch, because the cabbage is even better as it softens.

When I made the parchment potatoes, I used every potato we'd gotten in the share because I knew they could be recycled into other meals.  We ate a them a second time in a Sunday morning frittata with zucchini, since both of those vegetables were in abundance.

After all of the glorious weekend eating (another phenomenal meal at Secco!), Davy and I were worn out.  We made a cucumber and tomato salad with feta, and decided to defrost some bread to eat with Idiazabal cheese from Trader Joe's and spicy plum chutney for dinner on Monday.  It's the kind of meal that's perfect in a heat wave, so we probably should have held off until Week 11,  though I don't think either of us would complain if we repeated it the next round of candy-like sun golds.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

more melons

The watermelons from last week were juicy and sweet, and I was pleased that we got another one.  We also received:

- cantaloupe

- sun gold cherry tomatoes

- slicing tomatoes

- salad tomatoes 

- carrots

- onions

- purslane: (a succulent green that many in the US consider a weed, but is used more often in other countries and is high in nutrients)

Friday, July 15, 2011

CSA Meals - Week 9

My default cuisine, especially in the summer, is Italian.  Something about the combination of multiple vegetables and the abundance of basil always inspires me to make pasta, pizza, or risotto.  

Week 9 was no exception.  I combined the remaining zucchini and corn from the Fourth of July extravaganza with arugula, raw green beans, thyme, lemon juice, and tomatoes to make a tasty salad.  It didn't have typical Italian flavors, but using the ends of several different dishes to produce something new is a very Italian technique.

I employed the same method on Wednesday and used cherry tomatoes, arugula, and more of the Brigid's Abbey cheese in a pasta dish for lunch.  The cheese lent the perfect "saline funk" (the appropriate words Melissa Clark used to describe a pecorino) to the plain pasta and fresh vegetables.   

That night for dinner we used more of the arugula to imitate 8 1/2's arugula, prosciutto and mozzarella hero.  Davy even got the rolls and mozzarella from 8 1/2, and the prosciutto from the butcher.  By now I don't need to describe how much we love these ingredients together, but hopefully the pictures do them justice.  We also had a cucumber, tomato, and feta salad to complete the meal.

Our bag of arugula seemed never-ending, though it help up nicely for the whole week.  On Sunday I made myself an arugula and feta omelet, and on Monday I finished it off in a risotto tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, onions, garlic, and basil.

I sauteed the garlic, onion and zucchini, and added the tomatoes and arugula after I'd turned off the burner.  When the risotto was ready, I was able to unload all of the contents in the pan, as well as three cheeses (fresh mozzarella, Brigid's Abbey and parmesan), and we had a wholesome one pot meal for dinner and lunch the following day.  If I lived in Italy, I would have used the risotto to make arancini during my siesta the next day, but for now, I'll have to be content with mimicking the cuisine as well as I can from Richmond.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spicy Basil

My amethyst basil is doing well, but I haven't been able to grow any standard basil.  We got some in our share this week, however, and the smell alone is much spicier than the leaves from the amethyst plant.  I'm ready to use as much of it I can in the next week.  We also received:

- sun gold cherry tomatoes

- salad and heirloom tomatoes

- onions

- melons (not sure what kind yet)

- tomatillos

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4th of July Pig

On July 3, 2011, I had the privilege of eating the best pork ever.  Our good friend Keith totally outdid himself at this year's Fourth of July party (hosted by our friend Tex) and roasted a whole pig.  He ordered the 109 pound animal from Belmont Butchery, borrowed a giant grill on which to cook it, and made a pot of his own delicious, vinegar-based sauce with which to baste it for hours.  

Keith, Davy, Tex, and a few other helpers oversaw the beginning of the process at 5:30 AM.  The pig went on the grill around 6:15, was flipped once, and took about nine hours until it was ready for mass consumption.  I say mass consumption because at 109 pounds, there was more than enough for everyone, and we were able to enjoy the leftovers for days.    

Everyone was sufficiently appreciative of Keith's efforts, and  I can honestly say that the pieces of meat I pulled off the carcass were incredible.  The sauce gave it just the right spicy flavor, and it had a succulent texture that can only be achieved by cooking something whole.  Below are pictures taken by the party host and a few other attendees (Clay, Davy, Keith, and Caitlin) - I was too busy stuffing my face to be bothered by my camera.

Friday, July 08, 2011

CSA Meals - Week 8

Due to the exciting three day holiday weekend, I stuck to basic and quick meals during Week 8: pasta with pesto and cucumber and tomato salad; tuna salad with cucumber, tomato, parsley, feta, lemon juice, and homegrown greens from our garden over toast; grilled mahi mahi fish tacos garnished with cabbage and spring onions, along with grilled carrots and spring onions.  There are pictures of some of the highlights below, minus the fish itself, which I forgot to photograph.  I hope you all had a nice Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Summer in Full Swing

The summertime crops at the market yesterday were colorful and plentiful.  We received the produce below in our share:

- onions

- potatoes

- salad tomatoes

- cabbage

- melon

- zucchini

- squash

- cucumber

- orange cherry tomatoes

I also purchased fresh eggs and arugula from Fertile Crescent Farm, and I love how the eggs are all different colors and sizes.