Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Veggies Runneth Over!

We picked up our CSA box of vegetables on this lovely Saturday morning.  After our heat last week, it was wonderful to be able to go outside and not feel like you were walking into an oven.  Next we went to the Westside farmers' market in Madison.  Its a great place to be able to fill in some of the gaps in your "box."  I purchased candy onions as well as another interesting variety (forgot the name) from Blue Moon Community Farm. Kristen has an excellent website with some wonderful recipes.  A friend is a member of her CSA and has shared her recipes over the years.  Now Kristen has many of them posted so you can all try and enjoy them.  http://www.bluemooncommunityfarm.com/recipes/.  We stopped to buy tomatoes from Real Food farms from Athens Wisconsin.  They are a certified organic farm that is able to offer tomatoes earlier than many other farmers because they practice "tunnel farming" or hoop houses.  If you're interested in learning more about it, check out this interesting article: http://simplegoodandtasty.com/2010/05/25/tunnel-farming.  The farm grows as many 50 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  Visit their stand if you have a chance when you are at the Westside Market. 

I'll discuss more of our favorite vendors in another post, but I couldn't finish without telling you about Honeybee Bakery.  Mary specializes in organic whole grains, farm fresh dairy, and seasonally available fruits in her tasty treats. http://honeybeebakery.org/.   This morning we bought a loaf of sourdough seeded bread, a cheddar biscuit, and a shortbread apricot bar. My daughter-in-law's absolute favorite treat of Mary's is her lemon shortbread cookies filled with lemon curd.  They sell out quickly. 

In our box today we got 5 ears of corn-on-the-cob.  You can be sure that we had that for supper.  It was very sweet and tender.  Next I made a great salad with lettuce from our farm, some thinly sliced red onion, blueberries, goat cheese feta and toasted pecans with Annie's Pomegranate Vinaigrette.  Our next course was Parsnip, Potato Fish Chowder.  I've posted this recipe earlier.

This was a very bountiful box. We also got zucchini and summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, a Sweetheart cabbage, cucumbers, parsley, fresh garlic, carrots, a Cippolini onion and some celery. In my opinion, Wisconsin farmers should skip the celery.  There are a too many leaves and some tough skinny stalks.  I have not become a convert.  All the other vegetables look perfect.  My next project is to plan what I'll make with everything. I'll post recipes for the dishes that are new, turn out well and want to share. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Peanut Noodle Salad

This is a yummy salad made with sugar snap peas from our farm and some peanut butter from yum butter.  Read more about it below.

6 ounces soba noodles (I guess spaghetti would be OK too)
8 ounces sugar snap peas
1/2 cup halved thinly sliced cucumbers
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup Asian Jazz Peanut Butter (see below) * or plain peanut butter
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Cook soba noodles in salted water for about 3 minutes, then add the sugar snap peas and cook for another 3 minutes. Check the noodles to see if they are as cooked as your prefer. Drain and rinse under cold water. Let drain in a colander while making the dressing.

Combine the peanut butter, water, vinegar, hoisin sauce, honey and sesame oil and whisk together until smooth.
 Place the noodles, peas, cucumbers, and green onions in a bowl and pour the dressing over. Toss until coated. Top with chopped cilantro and fresh basil if available. Otherwise just eat the salad as is.

* Asian Jazz Peanut Butter is one of the interesting varieties of peanut butter made by yumbutter, a product made locally in the Madison Wisconsin area.  You can also buy it online.  Its made with organic peanuts and tastes great.  Check out Adrian's website: http://www.yumbutter.com/

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken with Red Cabbage

Arthur is not a big fan of cabbage, but we have been getting quite a bit of cabbage in our boxes the last few weeks.  He told me I should post this recipe because "This is cabbage I like."  I liked it because it is very easy which is nice if you're making dinner after working all day.

1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced--I used 1/2 head of my good sized red cabbage.  I sliced mine using a food processor.  I watched a cooking class on using your CSA vegetables a couple of weeks ago at Willy Street Co-op West.  She used a Mandoline.  This article reviews and rates them http://www.consumersearch.com/mandolines.  The one she used didn't appear to have a safety guard and I thought with my luck I'd slice my fingers instead of the veggies.
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 pound (4 pieces) boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup white wine
black pepper
Chopped parsley

Put the sliced onions, oil and garlic in a saute pan.  Cook until the onions are tender and golden.  Add the sliced cabbage, stir to coat well.  Sprinkle with the salt and simmer cabbage for 40 minutes.  Turn from time to time.  Cabbage will be considerably reduced in volume.

Either spray another skillet with olive oil pan spray or use another tablespoon of olive oil.  Heat the pan and add the chicken.  Brown well on both sides.  Transfer the chicken to the pan with the cabbage.  Add wine and some pepper.  Cover the pan and continue cooking for 40 minutes.  The chicken will be very tender and the cabbage will be cooked down and will also be very tender and tasty.    You can sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve (optional).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rhubarb Bread

Anyone who follows my blog, will get the idea that we really like rhubarb.  We do!  I think it is so versatile.  It keeps quite well, it can be frozen, combines well with other fruit, and so on.  This recipe is for an easy quick bread.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)
2/3 cup canola or safflower oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups chopped uncooked rhubarb (if you don't have quite enough rhubarb you could add some strawberries or whatever other fruit you might have available)
1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange rind
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8 1/2 X 4" loaf pans. 
Combine brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and beat well.  I blended mixture in my food processor.  Mix the flour with the baking soda and salt.  Add to liquid mixture and blend.  Don't over mix.  Fold in rhubarb and nuts.  Divide batter between the two pans.

Combine sugar, orange peel and butter and blend well with a fork.  Sprinkle over the batter.  Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Let cool in pans 10 minutes then turn out onto racks.  Cool a bit before slicing.  However, it is very tasty when still warm but a bit fragile.

Adapted from a Bon Appetit magazine from 1984

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I tried a number of recipes for broccoli soup that I haven't liked very well.  This one is quite good and I guess I'll use it until I find one that I like even better. 

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth (1 box, preferably low sodium)
1 bay leaf
1 large potato or a few small ones that weigh 8-12 ounces, peeled if necessary, otherwise just chopped
1/2-1 teaspoon thyme (dried)  fresh is good if you have it available
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/2 pounds), use the stems; peel the stalks and cut into slices.  Cut off the flowerets and reserve.
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (fat free is OK)
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Hungarian paprika for garnish (optional)

Melt the butter in a large pot and saute the onion until translucent.  Add the chicken broth and heat to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook covered for about 10 minutes.  Add the broccoli stalks and stems.  Simmer for about 7 minutes or until they are almost tender.  Next add the flowerets and simmer 5 minutes or until they are just barely tender.  Remove a few of the flowerets and set aside. 
Puree bathes of soup or use an immersion blender.  Return puree to the pot and add the 1/2 and 1/2, green onions, salt and pepper.  Reheat the soup if necessary.  If it is too thick add a bit more 1/2 and 1/2 until it is the consistency your prefer.  Add the reserved broccoli flowerets, dust with paprika and serve. 

Adapted from a very old recipe in the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Burgundy Salad with Poached Egg

According to the original recipe this is classic salad from Burgundy, France.  It can be served as a lunch dish since it includes eggs.  Its quite different but we liked it and I have made it twice.  These days with all the lettuce and greens from our CSA farm I continue to try recipes that turn them into meals rather than a little side salad. 

Garlic Croutons
4 slices bread rubbed with olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle with garlic salt or granulated garlic (from Penzey's).  Bake 10 minutes at 325 degrees.  Turn the bread over and bake for another 10 minutes.  Cut into squares.  You could also use purchased croutons.

The original recipe called for making a mustard vinaigrette dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and parsley.  I didn't do this. I used some balsamic vinaigrette I happened to have in the frig.  You could also use a bottled dressing of your choice.

Take several slices of bacon, dice and cook until crispy.  I used about 4 although the original recipe called for 7 ounces which I thought was too much.  Remove the bacon.  Add about 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and saute in the bacon drippings.  Add to the bacon.

Poach as many eggs as you would like to top the salad with.  I made two for Arthur's salad and one for mine. 

Assemble the salad as follows:

Place salad greens or lettuce on plates.  Top with some finely chopped red onion.  Next top the salads with mushroom bacon mixture.  If the mixture has cooled off, rewarm briefly in the microwave.  Next top with with the garlic croutons.  Lay 1-2 poached eggs on top of the croutons and drizzle with desired dressing.  Add slices of tomato to the salads and serve.

Adapted from Whats Cooking America

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Swiss Chard and Polenta

This is a quick easy dish to prepare for supper which is quite satisfying.  Adding the cheese and eggs to the polenta supplies more protein and makes for a richer tasting dish.  The chard on top provides a nice contrast as far as flavor and color.

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 oz. cheese (I used fresh creamy goat cheese with garlic from DreamFarm)
1 bunch Swiss chard
3-4 garlic scapes, or green onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (you could substitute 1/2-1 teaspoon dry herbs, basil or oregano)
salt and pepper

To make the polenta:  Bring the broth to a boil and slowly add the polenta, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until tender.  You can also make this in a microwave to eliminate the chance of the polenta sticking or burning.  Pour into a greased 8 or 9 inch baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven until puffed and brown on top or for about 20 minutes.

Saute garlic scapes for 2-3 minutes.  Add the chard stems and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.  Add the chopped chard leaves, cover and steam until wilted.  Season with salt, pepper and the herbs of your choice.

Serve over the polenta.

Adapted from a Vermont Valley CSA recipe