Sunday, August 23, 2009

csa week 6 - TOMATOES are here!

there are a couple of things you may not know. 1) i LOVE golden cherry tomatoes. you probably don't believe me anymore when i say something's my favorite. but this really is one of them. 2) although you probably do know this by now, the northeast is experiencing somewhat of a non-summer summer. in addition to horrible weather (more beach time, PLEASE!), there's been a massive tomato fungus sweeping the nation. or this part of it anyways. but my farm is safe!

the world is my tomato oyster! get ready for gazpacho, pasta sauce, summer salads, and more!

1. the bounty
  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomatoes
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 6 ears corn
  • baby purple cabbage
  • 1/3 pound mesclun lettuce
  • 1/2 pound baby bok choy
  • 1/3 pound arugula
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 head summercrisp lettuce
  • 1 small melon
  • 1 large melon
  • 6 nectarines
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):


  • 1 pint sungold cherry tomatoes: $5 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • 6 tomatoes: $5.50 (organic)
  • 6 ears corn: $9 (organic)
  • baby purple cabbage: $2 (assuming $1.50/lb organic)
  • 1/3 pound mesclun lettuce: $4 (organic)
  • 1/2 pound baby bok choy: $3 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • 1/3 pound arugula: $4 (organic)
  • 1 bunch basil: $2 (organic)
  • 1 head summercrisp lettuce: $3 (organic)
  • 1 small melon: $1 (random guess...this thing is small)
= $38.50
actual csa cost per week = $22

  • 1 cantaloupe: $4 (organic)
  • 6 nectarines: $9 (organic)
actual csa cost per week = $11.67

Thursday, August 20, 2009

weeknight dinner: eggplant, two ways (csa week 5)

a beautiful eggplant sat in my fridge. this was enough to conjure up thoughts of the book alone in the kitchen with an eggplant (read it). the problem was, that after the last eggplant (baked eggplant parmesan), i wasn't quite sure what to do with it. i was feeling antsy enough that i didn't really want something italian and didn't just want to roast or grill it. better yet, i wanted it to be easy. do i even have to say his name anymore?

so what actually happened was that i was having a rough week and to make myself feel better, decided to hang out in my kitchen alone with my eggplant and cook it two different ways (dinner for different nights). i chose to do a simple eggplant stir-fry with some csa bok choy and
mark bittman's microwaved honey eggplant. and then i made a cobbler.

first the stir fry: i briefly sauteed the eggplant in some canola oil (careful, it will absorb however much you throw in there) until it was slightly soft. then i sauteed the bok choy with lots of minced garlic and some ginger. then i thew the eggplant back in, mixed everything together, threw in some oyster sauce and let it all cook for a couple more minutes. voila, how's that for instant gratification?

then the bittman recipe. this one attracted me because it had a bunch of interesting ingredients that seemed like an easy mix as well as a bit of an unusual combination. basically, you slice and score the eggplant and then coat it with a mixture of chopped parsley, honey, olive oil, garlic, and breadcrumbs. yummmmm, right?! then you sprinkle lemon juice on top and if your bittman, serve with yogurt, if you're me, goat cheese and toast. instant gratification part II. if you haven't already, definitely take a look at the microwave minimalist column.

mark bittman's microwaved honey eggplant
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (gluten-free)
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt
  • 1 large eggplant
  • lemon juice
  • combine parsley, breadcrumbs, olive oil, honey, garlic, and a pinch of salt.
  • cut eggplant crosswise into 1-inch slices; score the top of each. put slices in dish and spread breadcrumb mixture over eggplant tops, pressing it into slits.
  • loosely cover with waxed paper and microwave on high power for about 5 minutes. remove paper and cook another 2 or 3 minutes, until very soft. sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with yogurt (or goat cheese!) on the side.

Eggplant on Foodista

Monday, August 17, 2009

julie & julia and a celebratory meal at takahachi

i finally read julie & julia sometime last winter, shortly after i had started my blog. the comparisons seemed obvious: she and her husband lived in a not-so-perfect apartment in long island city with a "challenging" kitchen, she had an unsatisfying corporate job, and learned to gain satisfaction through cooking.

the two
on screen stories of julia child and julie powell finding their culinary paths are sweet and gratifying. i dragged two friends to a showing on opening day, purchased the tickets a couple of weeks in advance, and made them show up to the theater with plenty of time to spare (so we could get good seats!) it was all worth it. and i'm pretty sure we all cried at parts. if you like food at all, go see this movie. if you like julia child at all, go see this movie. if you've ever lived in new york or paris, go see this movie. and finally, if you don't qualify for any of the statements above, go see this movie.

i must say that i was relieved that i enjoyed the movie so much. i mean, who doesn't like julia child? and after such a good reading experience of julie's book, i was worried that the movie would come up short. but it didn't, which is why it deserved a celebratory dinner at one of my favorite restaurants:

we started our meal with red miso duck (to julia!). i'm not much of a duck fan since i feel it's usually too fatty and gamy but this was the perfect occasion for it. it was good but the sauce was better: a thick rich and sweet miso. we continued with our always-ordered tried and true favorites: hamachi jalapeno and tako sunomono. the hamachi (yellowtail) slices were thick and fresh, and the sweetness of the fish went so well with the spicy, vinegary jalapeno topping. tako sunomono, also called tako su, is a vinegared salad of octopus, seaweed and cucumber slices. i have a total thing for vinegar which makes this dish so tasty to me; last supper component for sure.

we continued the meal with the amazing sushi special which consisted of three pieces of sushi: slightly seasoned tuna, briefly smoked salmon with avoacado and a smokey spicy mayo, and yellowtail with a spicy topping (more like habanero than jalapeno...) we rounded it all out with some salmon sashimi and a spicy scallop roll. i don't often go for the spicy rolls but the spicy scallop is a somewhat recent discovery for me. scallop is so smooth and sweet that again, so goes perfectly with the spiciness. even better, the spicy sauce was not overly mayo-ey here; just a slight layer of heat.

i absolutely consider takahachi one of the absolute best sushi places i've been to in manhattan (and i do my fair share of sushi eating). the prices are also totally reasonable for the high quality food that you'll find and eat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

GLUTEN-FREE DOUGHNUTS at babycakes bakery nyc

it's been 6 years since i've had a doughnut. besides the phase i went through in preschool, i never had a particular liking for them until i couldn't eat them (of course). then, a few months ago, as i was wandering around whole foods, i noticed them in the freezer. however, i couldn't quite bring myself to buy a whole box of frozen doughnuts. i went with qb's instead (ice cream filled rice crispy treats)...probably not much better.

the frozen whole foods variety were the only wheat/gluten-free doughnuts i had seen around. and there are certain things i just don't care to make at home. doughnuts being one of them. so as i was checking up on my google reader (it will change your life) yesterday, i noticed
a new blog post from babycakes bakery. erin mckenna made DOUGHNUTS. gluten-free ones! and she seemed just as excited as i felt about the whole thing. what wasn't clear was whether they were actually available in the bakery yet. so i checked the blog again this morning to see if my posted question had been answered. what i found was someone who had gone to the bakery YESTERDAY and had doughnuts! so i did what any normal person would do, i called the bakery.

when i visited the bakery on this particularly hazy wenesday afternoon,
in need of a little cheery treat, coconut, cinnamon and sugar, chocolate glaze, and (i think) plain were available. i may have missed one or two options here, my head was in a doughnutty glaze and not thinking properly. i went with the chocolate (any surprise there?) can i get a hallelujah?! IT TASTED LIKE A REAL DOUGHNUT--soft and cakey (but not too gluten-free-crumbly) with a sweet, thick chocolate glaze. you know that thin, slightly crusty layer that holds everything together that old fashioned doughnuts have? yeah, this one had it too. if the other doughnuts are half as good as this one, RUN and rejoice in doughnut glory!

doughnut waiting very patiently on my desk

in an announcement today, the doughnuts are now permanently on the menu; $3.25 each!

now if only they would make some apple fritters...

Monday, August 10, 2009

csa week 5

1. the bounty
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 cucumber
  • 5 sweet corn
  • 1 broccoli
  • 1/3 lb arugula
  • 1 lb baby bok choi
  • 1 bunch sweet salad turnips
  • 1 bunch purple basil
  • 9 apricots
  • 15 sugar plums
  • 1/2 pint blackberries
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):


  • eggplant: $3 (organic)
  • cucumbers: $2 (organic)
  • sweet corn: $7.50 each (organic)
  • broccoli: $3 (organic)
  • arugula: $3 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • baby bok choi: $2.50 (organic unavailable)
  • sweet salad turnips: $2 (organic; csa's price estimate)
  • basil: $2.50 (organic)
= $25.50
actual csa cost per week = $22

  • berries: $5 (organic)
  • apricots: $5 (organic)
  • sugar plums: $5 (organic not available)
actual csa cost per week = $11.67

how's THAT for bounty?!

Monday, August 3, 2009

strawberry and blueberry shortcake

if you've been reading the blog, you know i'm all over the fruit desserts. i honestly just can't help myself. and even better, all of them are so easy and quick, it's simple to just whip something up when the mood strikes. if you're like me, the dessert mood strikes several times a day...this dessert is no different than the rest in its easiness and speediness. kinda dangerous, actually. THIS is the reason america should be fat, people!

i always shy away from biscuit related things because i anticipate a lot of kneading and rising and rolling and cutting. not so! really, this couldn't be easier. there are three components here: the
shortcake, whipped cream (don't let me catch you using anything out of a can!), and the fruit. the shortcake came from, no surprise, mark bittman. i chose his recipe over the others because he actually stated it was okay to use lowfat milk (i would have done it anyways). even though i used spelt flour, which tends to have a denser texture than other flours, the biscuits were perfectly crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. i enjoy my whipped cream with some sugar and vanilla. DO NOT use lack of an electric mixer as an excuse not to make it yourself. make sure the cream is extra cold and use a metal bowl, it really doesn't take long, i promise. the fruit (you can get creative but we used strawberries and blueberries) should be stirred together with some sugar (amount depends on the sweetness of the fruit). allow it to sit until it gets all juicy and happy looking. we added some lemon zest to the fruit (thank you, friend number two & co.) and it really brought it all home.

new name: better than sex shortcake.

mark bittman's real strawberry shortcake
  • 6 cups cleaned and sliced strawberries (or a combo of other fruit; we used strawberries and blueberries)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 7/8 cup milk (low-fat is all right)
  • sweetened whipped cream
  • preheat the oven to 450 degrees. toss fruit with 1 cup sugar (use less if the fruit is particularly sweet). mix remaining sugar with flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
  • cut the butter into bits, and cut into or run with your fingers into the dry ingredients, until the mix is crumbly.
  • slowly add the milk to the bowl, stirring it in with a large spoon until the mixture forms a ball. the mixture should be sticky; use a little more or less milk if necessary. drop mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet, one heaping tablespoon per cake.
  • bake about 10 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown. (keep an eye on them; once browning starts, it goes quickly.) let cool a bit; top with strawberries and their juices and the whipped cream.

yield: 12 servings.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

squash fritters with summer corn salad (csa week 4)

a giant yellow squash was living in my refrigerator. and i, dear readers, made a promise to you all to attempt to not just eat all of my csa veggies raw or sauteed with garlic. i had visions of squash fritters. i think this probably stemmed from the desire to fry some squash blossoms but this was difficult seeing as i didn't have the blossoms to fry. i was a little bit worried that the yellow squash wouldn't be as solid as green and therefore not so fritterly successful. however, the yellow squash's delicate flavor (compared to green) made this taste practically blossom-like!

i made a little corn salad to go with them since i finally have corn in my fridge and i absolutely adore summer corn salads. it's one of those things, don't know why but i can't get enough. both of these items were relatively quick and easy. frying took the most time but i see no reason why you shouldn't just take two giant skillets (or more) and cook as many fritters as possible at one time.

squash fritters
  • squash (i had one giant one)
  • 1 egg
  • (gluten-free) bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of flour of choice (spelt or gluten-free)
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for frying
  • grate squash on the large holes of a box grater, squeeze out liquid.
  • mix grated squash, one egg, breadcrumbs and flour until the mixture binds together.
  • add salt, pepper, and parmesan, mix.
  • add enough oil to coat the bottom of a pan and heat.
  • fry heaping tablespoons of the squash "batter" until golden brown on both sides.
summer corn salad
  • corn, cut off of cob
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • you can use the corn raw, or saute it in a pan for a few minutes, if desired.
  • mix all ingredients together.