Friday, August 03, 2012

CSA Meals - Weeks 12 and 13

It's normal to make a big pot of soup when your air conditioning breaks at the end of July, right? The heat of the stove certainly doesn't increase the temperature of the kitchen and surrounding rooms to the point that you just want to leave your house.

I'm not sure making soup in the summer is a good idea even with functioning central air, but I had a significant number of vegetables to work with, and wasn't creative enough to think of another use for them. I chopped potatoes, scraped corn off cobs, cut ribbons of Tex's chard, sliced carrots, and minced garlic in preparation. 

To start, I sauteed the garlic in olive oil in my dutch oven, added the carrots and potatoes to brown them a bit, and then dumped in a mixture of chicken stock, water, and some diced tomatoes that were taking up freezer space. Rosemary, thyme, and a parmesan rind went into the broth to add some flavor, and I let everything simmer for a couple of hours. When I turned off the heat (to Davy's relief), I stirred in a can of rinsed cannellini beans, corn kernels, and the chard. 

The soup rested in the fridge over night, and on Sunday, I made a cross between gremolata and pesto by blending lemon zest, basil, garlic, and olive oil to add a little bit of freshness and citrusy tang.

What I should have made, instead of soup, was something like the Vietnamese chicken salad that we ate earlier in the week. I don't have the source of the recipe, but it includes chicken, napa cabbage, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts. I added grated carrots, and the dressing contains fish sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. It's quick, light, and especially satisfying served over rice noodles.

To go with the salad, we tested out the Padron pepper method I mentioned, and it worked beautifully. 

On average, about one in every ten pepper is supposed to be extremely hot, and the bunch that we got fit that standard. The few that were spicy hit me in a surprising rush of heat and saltiness, which only made me want to eat more.

Luckily, Amy had more Padrons available this week, and Davy and I made another round on Tuesday night. In the interest of not turning our kitchen into a room-sized oven, we ate Hungarian salami, a few cheeses from Caramont, and a makeshift bruschetta with yellow cherry tomatoes and basil marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I will admit to making pasta a few times, despite the unofficial stove ban, but all of our tomatoes were practically begging me to make fresh pasta sauces. There may have been a few tomato and feta sandwiches thrown in as well, which only require the brief, contained heat of a toaster oven.

We're leaving for the Outer Banks tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to bringing the rest of our share and using a kitchen to its fullest capacity without worrying about the temperature ramifications. Have a wonderful week!

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