Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Fall CSA - Weeks 2 and 3

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a stomach bug a couple weeks ago. Combined with attending several concerts last week, our CSA routine was considerably disrupted, and we didn't use any of our Week 2 produce until Week 3.  Luckily, I was still on my stay-in-the-kitchen-and-off-the-couch kick, so we ate just about everything.

On Monday I made Jacques Pepin's Quick-Roasted Chicken for the second time, and this time I had enough foresight to let the butcher remove the chicken's backbone.  I love this recipe because it really is quick enough for a weeknight, which makes anything extra satisfying.  We made roasted potatoes and a salad with pistachios to go with the chicken.  The salad mix from Week 2 was very crisp, and the leaves stayed fresh for longer than usual.

The next night, after going to the market, I made carbonara-like dish with the fresh pasta (spinach and plain fettuccine and black pepper linguine).  I sauteed the cremini mushrooms, removed them from the pan, and then cooked the yellow squash with garlic and chopped homemade bacon.  

I added sungold cherry tomatoes and pasta when the squash was done, and stirred in tempered egg yolks and parmesan to finish it off.  

Unfortunately, the fettuccine was overcooked, and the noodles clumped together when I stirred everything together.  It was still pleasant to eat, and was fine leftover, but I was disappointed since I'd gotten special ingredients from the market to make dinner.  

We ate raw wax beans on the side to finish off the bag from the previous week, and had our apples as mid-morning snacks the next day.  As in the past, they were far superior to any grocery store apple available.  

On Thursday I gave eggplant another chance in this recipe for Eggplant Tian. Kerry Saretsky, the author, describes it as "easy" and "awesome," but I'm not sure I'd agree with it being "easy."  The techniques are simple enough: slicing, marinating, broiling, baking, but it took several steps to complete the recipe, and took longer than I'd like for a work night.  

As you can see, I baked it in one dish instead of four.  I was very happy with the results, and had no problem eating a few rounds of the leftovers with generous dollops of pesto on top.  This is a great way to use up eggplant, and it's almost as comforting as lasagna.  We enjoyed it with bread and a salad with homegrown peppers and tomatoes.

We munched on our green beans raw and also included them in a Saturday morning veggie scramble.  The eggs were also mixed with sweet peppers, feta, and eggs for a delicious and filling brunch.  

That afternoon, in anticipation of a special dinner on Sunday, I julienned and pickled our daikon radish and a large carrot.  

The radish emitted an not-so-pleasant odor that lingered in our fridge and freezer for most of the weekend, but it did add a nice crunch to shrimp spring rolls.  Below are a few shots of Davy's spring rolling handiwork.  We served them with a peanut butter and hoisin dipping sauce.

We also made homemade chicken pho from a recipe we made in a cooking class, and I got so caught up in preparing and eating it that I didn't take any pictures.  It also deserves its own post, which hopefully I'll have the time for at some point, but it turned out well and was comforting on a chilly Sunday night.

Monday was our wedding anniversary, and I made a simple dinner since we're going to Portland, OR for a long weekend.  I prepared two recipes from The Best Recipes in the World, by Mark Bittman: sole meuniere (made with flounder) and a braised leek and rice dish (made with bok choy instead of leeks).  

Both were subtly flavored and allowed the quality of the ingredients to really shine through.

I'll be taking Week 4 off, but plan on some Portland posts for next week!

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