Archive for ‘Summer’

September 17, 2011

The Amazing Three-Part Dinner

This lovely, and simple meal, consists of steamed chard, steamed green beans with butter, and roasted onions, red peppers, and chickpeas.

As easy as can be, if not super fast: cut three sweet peppers into strips, cut one white onion into small pieces, chunk a head of garlic.  Arrange all of these, and a can of chickpeas, on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 400 for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, wash and clean the green beans.  Wash and chop the chard.  Heat a veggie steamer (or a colander over  pot of water) and toss the green bean in when it starts to steam.  Steam the greenbeans for four minutes, then add the chard right on top and steam for a further three minutes.  Remove from heat.  Separate the green beans and chard and spread butter and salt over the former.

Eat together with the roasted red peppers and chickpeas.

September 14, 2011

Veggie List September 14

This week, in this basket:

Turnips with edible greens
Arugula
Salad mix
Sweet peppers
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Green beans
Garlic
Red onions
White Onion
Cantaloupe

September 11, 2011

Amazing Roasted Eggplant Soup

This completely life-changing roasted eggplant soup is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, although we made a few notable changes.

1 mid-small eggplant
3 mid sized tomatoes
1/4 a jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
1 large onion
8 cloves of garlic
Parsley
4 cups veggie broth (2 cans)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese to top

1.  Lightly oil a baking pan and preheat the oven to 425

2.  Cut the eggplant, tomato, and onion into 1/2 inch thick slices and spread out on the baking pan.  Peel the garlic and lay the cloves, uncut on the pan.  Also add your slice of jalapeno pepper – but make sure you keep track of where you put it.

3. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove the garlic.  Put the rest back in the oven, turn the heat down to 400 and roast another 15-20 minutes.

4.  Remove the pan and put the onion, garlic, eggplant, and tomatoes in a soup pot.  Remove the jalapeno completely – just the oil from baking it will be plenty hot.

5.  Add the veggie stock to the pot and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, turn down the heat a little and cook until the veggies are all tender.  About 10-15 minutes.

6.  Blend the whole soup in a food processor until completely smooth, then return to a low heat.  Add the cream, milk, and a little less then 1/4 cup grated parmesan.  Cook, stirring often, for 5-10 minutes.  Turn off the heat, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and eat with bread (and joy).

A note about pictures: because this soup ends up a cooked-eggplanty brown color and is blended to be largely textureless, it is not super photogenic.  Use your imagination and believe that it is worth the time and effort.  Really.

August 27, 2011

Dry Beans: We win! (a little)

So, here are the results of our August 8th drying beans experiment:

We have some dry beans.  Admittedly, we probably only got 1/2-2/3 of what we dried, the rest was weird.  But here they are.  Now we just need to see how they taste in the winter.

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August 27, 2011

Veggie List August 27

A combined list from market and CSA (and joy) (and abundance):

Arugula
French string beans
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Parsley
Carrots
Red bell peppers
Garlic
Zucchini
Celery
Fingerling potatoes
Scallions
Peaches
Cipolini onions
Sweet Corn

To be clear, we’re not going to manage to eat all of this in the next few days.  Most of it we got last week in CSA and a little we got today at market.  Now we’ve got to the time of year when we can just plan a meal, picka  recipe, and find whatever we need for it when we want it. Hurray!

August 25, 2011

Experiments with Side Dishes

As a way to eat more of our veggies, we’re trying out making side dishes every now and then.  It feels weirdly grown up.  But maybe once you have a car and pay rent every month and have bills you pay and jobs and can tomatoes, you also cook and eat healthy side dishes.

I guess the real challenge is, can you guess which is the side dish – the butter steamed green beans (well, purple beans) or the chickpea and tomato stew?  The answer is the beans.  We’ve been cooking our green beans in a delicious and simple way:  wash them, melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan and add the beans.  For one of these we also added some broccoli.  Add a few tablespoons of water and cover.  Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

And of course, the lovely thing about using purple beans is watching they turn green as you cook them.  If you can get them off the heat while they’re still a little undercooked and crunchy you can enjoy them warm and multi-colored:

As for the chickpeas: 1 can chickpeas, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half, 1/2 a white onion cut into small squares, 3-4 cloves garlic.  Cook all of these together in a sauce pan and season with a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

August 25, 2011

Departure of the Closet Dweller (and canning tomatoes)

At last the sad day has come (and gone by now) and our dear closet dweller has moved out of her garret.  Not only that, but she has left the state entirely and moved on to more populace places.  We miss her every night.

And we manically fill the time with projects.  In the past seven days since her leaving, we have re-organized the kitchen, re-arranged the living room, re-categorized our books, moved various pieces of furniture, conquered the long-standing Box Mountain from when we moved here a year ago, and most importantly, canned lots of tomatoes.  I think it’s fair to say that the canning has been a welcome distraction from the odd quietness at the edges of our little apartment.  When three people share a three-room apartment for this long, it takes some adjusting to get used to the space being used by only two.  In addition we’ve been working on our winter’s frozen food supply over the last week:  we now have cilantro, peppers, and parsley put away for the winter as well as the tomato extravaganza, which is mostly what I’m here to talk about.  Well that and a goodbye to the Closet Dweller.

What you need:

Lots of clean bowls and counter-tops
White vinegar
Lots and lots of tomato seconds, or nice tomatoes if you want to spring for them
Clean mason jars
New lids with bands.  Canning lids can seal only once, so make sure they are new.
1 pair of canning tongs
1 wide-mouth funnel.  It really is worth it.
A pot large enough to cover your jars in at least 1-2 inches of water without spilling over and putting out your pilot light. (In fact, a water bath canner is really probably worth it.  It costs about $25 and comes with a rack to hold the jars).

It’s important to stay really clean about everything.  Work with a clean kitchen, wash everything very well before using it, and wash your hands often.

The whole processes goes like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Bring home a huge box of tomato seconds from the farm.

2. Spend a day or two cleaning and chopping and sorting.  Cut off any parts that seem even slightly suspect.

3. Cook the tomatoes for 1-5 hours depending on how many pieces of furniture you are moving at the same time.  You want the volume to reduce somewhat, or a lot.  Cooking the tomatoes for about 3 hours, you get a ration sort of like this: for every two cups of fresh tomatoes, about 1 1/2 cups canned.

4. Wash mason jars, lids, and  bands in hot soapy water.  Set aside for sterilizing.  Also wash your wide mouth funnel and tongs and any other tools you might find yourself using.  If you have hotdog tongs (which we don’t) they are very helpful, wash them too.

5. Fill the canning pot with water and put on high heat to boil.  Once the water is boiling, lower the clean and empty jars, lids, and bands into the water, cover, and boil for 10 minutes.  This is the sterilize them.  You can also boil your funnel, canning tongs, and hotdog tongs.

6. Meanwhile, turn the heat up on your tomatoes so they are close to a boil.

7. After the jars have been sterilized, lift one of them out of the water, pouring out the water from the inside.

8. Use the wide mouth funnel to fill the jar, leaving 1 inch of headroom.  Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar per pint jar to raise the acidity and help preserve it..

9.  Carefully wipe the rim and threads of the jar so there is no tomato outside the jar at all.  Now go back to you pot of boiling water with jars, lids, and bands.  Lift out a lid and carefully place it on top of the jar.  Get a band and screw it on, again, carefully.  You don’t need to tighten too much, but you don’t want it to be loose.

10. Repeat this process until you have as many jars full of tomato as you can fit in your canner at a time.  Using the tongs, lower the jars back into the boiling water, again, making sure that the water covers them by 1-2 inches.

11. Bring the pot back to a boil with all the jars in it.  Boil the jars for 10 minutes, starting after the pot has reached a full boil.

12.  When the ten minutes of boiling are up, lift the jars one by one from the canner, being sure not to tilt them to on their sides.  Set them down and listen carefully for the pops of the lids sealing.  A jar is only safe if the lid pops.

Keep the jars out of light.  Store in the dark emptiness of where your Closet Dweller used to live (or in a cabinet).

August 14, 2011

Bottom of the Week Stew/Stir Fry

So, it’s Sunday evening, and we’re hungry, and we’ve eaten all the meals we planned out.  So, this:
1 red onion, chopped medium-small
1/2 white onion, chopped medium-small
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced small
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, chopped small
1 eggplant, cubed
5 small carrots, cut into coins
1/2 small head red cabbage
1 handful fresh cilantro

Yogurt

Tomato Cilantro sauce (yes, we did cheat with this one, it’s a lovely Indian tomato and cilantro sauce.)

1. Cook the onion,s garlic, and leek, for 5 minutes with pepper and olive oil on medium-low heat.

2. Add the carrots, tomatoes, and  eggplant, turn down the heat a little.  Add a tablespoon of the tomato cilantro sauce.  Cook for 10 minutes.

3. Add the cabbage, cover, cook for 10 minutes or until everything is cooked.

4. Add a few more spoonfuls of the tomato cilantro sauce.  Stir in the fresh cilantro and let sit, covered, off heat for 5-10 minutes.

Eat with yogurt and bread or rice.  We baked some bread (I know it may not sound like a quick dinner when it involves making fresh bread, but we had our no-knead bread dough in the oven, so it was easy to pull some out)

August 11, 2011

Salad with a ton of veggies and beans (kind of like taco salad)

If you’ve got a lot of veggies in the fridge, or you want a chance to enjoy the maximum number of fresh veggies in one meal, try this awesome salad.  It really is an efficient and delicious way to eat a lot of different veggies.  Maybe it’s sad to think about food in terms of how to efficiently eat a lot of veggies, but really, when you get down to it, and when you have as many excess veggies as we do just now with the CSA, it’s a good way to come up with creative ways to eat your food and enjoy it.  Really, I promise.  And, in fact, since it’s summer, this is the time to eat excesses of certain veggies and to cram as many as possible into each mean.  In six months we’ll be eating onions, potatoes, and mushrooms every other meal.

1 can black beans, rinsed
1 small-midsized red onion, chopped
1/2 head of garlic, minced
1/3-1/2 a jalapeno pepper, minced
4 small carrots, grated
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 ears sweet corn, kernels cut from cob but uncooked
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
2-3 tablespoons salsa
olive oil
1/2-3/4 lb romaine lettuce, about 1/2 a head, chopped
salt & pepper

1. Put all the veggies and most of the cilantro in a pan with the salsa and a small amount of olive oil.  Add some salt and pepper

2. Cook over medium-low heat until the onions and garlic start to soften and the tomatoes fall apart.

3.  Add the can of black beans and stir to mix.  Turn heat down low and cook for 10-15 minutes on very low heat, stirring frequently.

4. Meanwhile wash and cut the lettuce.  You can use any kind you like, but romaine is best.

5. Pour the beans and veggies over the lettuce and add the last of the cilantro, mixing.  Eat immediately.  Top with grated cheese if you like.  I like it, but not everyone does and there is, admittedly, a lot going on with this salad already.

 

August 9, 2011

Veggie List August 9

 

 

This picture more or less says it all.  In here we have:

Cilantro
Basil
Sauce tomatoes
Slicing tomatoes
Salad greens
Zucchini
Garlic (cured!)
Eggplant
Red cabbage
Carrots
Leeks