Thursday, August 18, 2011

CSA Meals - Week 14

Looking back over my notes from last week's dinners, I realized that everything I made was (unintentionally) vegetarian.  This occurred partly because Davy went on a fishing excursion that yielded several pounds of mahi mahi, and also because I was on my own for more than one dinner during Week 14.

My solo meal on Tuesday night consisted of a typical pasta dish: whole wheat and regular penne fresh tomato, baby zucchini, garlic, mushrooms, pine nuts, and basil.  

Two nights later, I branched out and experimented with cacik, a Turkish yogurt dip/soup that I saw on Big Girls Small Kitchen.  The cucumber was from my garden, and it was somewhat bitter, but the tomato I used was juicy and sweet.   

I enjoyed the dish until I was about halfway done; I felt full, but not totally satisfied, and the recipe was meant to serve one.  There's a good chance that I didn't water it down correctly, and that I should have cut the cucumber into smaller pieces, but the idea of cacik was more appealing to me than the food itself.

My other new recipe venture was more successful.  I'd almost forgotten how wonderful roasted tomatoes are until a recipe for Roasted Tomato Lentil Salad with Crispy Shallots from Serious Eats reminded me.  The salad hits several different flavor targets (sweet, tangy, savory, etc.) and is extremely healthy. I had to use vinegar instead of lemon, because I forgot to purchase one during my three trips to the grocery store in two days.  I also substituted feta for goat cheese, because I had feta and because Davy doesn't love goat cheese like I do. 

We ate the lentils in whole wheat pita pockets, though I almost think I'd prefer the salad on its own or over some greens.  

On Sunday we defrosted some of the mahi filets to make ceviche.  We used tomatoes and sweet peppers from the share, and caught up on Breaking Bad while scooping the fish out of a big bowl with tortilla chips.  

Before we put the leftovers in the fridge, I drained most of the juice so the fish wouldn't disintegrate into an inedible texture.  We were able to use the rest in fish tacos the following night, and we ate sauteed zucchini on the side. The baby zucchini was incredibly tender and didn't need much time in the pan after I'd thinly sliced it.  I used garlic, chili flakes, toasted pine nuts, and feta to make it a little more interesting, and I couldn't wait to get my fork into the rest of it the next day.

I'm certainly not drifting into vegetarian territory anytime soon, but I have really enjoyed our produce this summer, and it's comforting to know that dinners without meat can taste so good - as long as they're not comprised mainly of yogurt, and they don't include eggplant.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last Summer Week

It's hard to believe, but we received our final share for the summer!  Thankfully Fertile Crescent is offering a Fall CSA this year, and it will begin in a few short weeks.  Here's what we got last night:

- pretty, multi-colored sweet peppers

- arugula

- heirloom tomatoes

- yellow summer squash

- tomatillos

- eggplant (we gave it away again)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Winding Down

Davy and I came back from a lovely ten day vacation on Monday, and all of a sudden it feels like fall.  The summer portion of our CSA ends next week, which is hard to believe, but Fertile Crescent is, thankfully, still churning out summer produce: 

- baby zucchini

- beautiful heirloom tomatoes

- basil

- sweet peppers

- eggplant (tons of it, which Caitlin is going to bring into work)

- melon

We also picked the first cucumber from our garden yesterday!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Pizza Night

My brother- and sister-in-law live in Chicago, and when we go to the beach, they're usually asked to make pizza on their assigned cooking night.  My brother-in-law is also thrilled to come to the east coast so that he can eat soft shell crabs, and this year he decided to utilize the fresh seafood in a delicious dinner for pizza night.

Cary and Brian started with my pizza crust recipe (below), topped it with my homemade pesto, added sliced jalapenos and fried soft shell crabs, and covered everything with shredded mozzarella.  The resulting pie is pictured below, and it doesn't need much more of an explanation aside from me saying that it was a delicious as it looks.

Homemade Pizza Crust

1 packet dried yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon oil

Stir flour, salt, and sugar together; add oil and yeast dissolved in water

Combine and knead until smooth and elastic; form dough into a ball

Grease a large bowl with oil, turn dough to coat, and allow to rise to twice its size (up to an hour and a half)

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead until smooth

Press into pizza pan, brush with oil, and allow to rise for 10 minutes

Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until the crust is slightly brown

Add toppings, and bake for another 10 minutes or so until the cheese is brown and all toppings are heated through

(If you're pressed for time, omit the resting phase and simply top the raw crust, then bake the entire pizza at 500 degrees until the cheese is brown.)