Monday, November 30, 2009

apple crisp topping (csa week 12)

subtitle: why can't potatoes do this?
also known as: the reason i have no trouble getting through 5 lbs of apples in one week.

when i heard the chatty csa members discussing the types of apples this week at pick up, i almost wished i hadn't. rome apples. i had been lucky to be getting apples that were downright fuji like. large, crisp, sweet. not a mealy one in sight. it had actually been rather remarkable, or so i thought as i crunched daily at my desk. so when this week's apple yielded a less than perfect snacking option, i knew i was going to have to stew the suckers. then i wouldn't know the difference.

i had already done oatmeal with apples and a number of crisps. i decided it was time for a fall frozen dessert topping: apples with a crispy oat topping, over frozen yogurt. kinda like a deconstructed apple crisp. the goal was to make it as quick as possible (so that i could eat it, obviously).
lots of contrast in flavors and textures here: i used tart frozen yogurt which went perfectly with the sweet apples and the crispy topping went nicely with the soft apples.

stewed apples with crispy oat topping

cut up apples, put them in a small saucepan, add some fat (i admit, i used earth balance and not butter), some brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little bit of water. a little bit of lemon juice is good too, if you have it. cook over low heat until the apples reach desired level of softness and the liquid reduces and becomes syrupy.

for the topping, mush together oats with some more fat and brown sugar. i cooked mine in the toaster oven and obviously didn't watch them as carefully as i should have as per the visual below...

put on top of ice cream, frozen yogurt, regular yogurt, oatmeal, should I keep going?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

sweet potato curry with kale and broccoli (csa week 12)

the plan was simple: a lovely day full of cooking and baking at friend number two's house. it was also an excuse for me to get someone to help use the abundance of csa veggie's i was not so excited about. i.e., kale, broccoli, and lots of potatoes. our brainstorm yielded a curry. my immediate curry thoughts went to thai, friend number two's went to indian. we ended up with what i think is fair to call a hybrid of the two. another consideration was the ingredients that we already had. neither of us were dying to invest in a kitchen full of curry staples.

after some internet research, we decided to wing it. things were going great until a blood curdling scream came from friend number 2 as she peeled the sweet potatoes. okay, it wasn't blood curdling but there was definite panic involved. "what's wrong with these?!" i looked over my shoulder. the inside of the potato was almost white. "they're not sweet potatoes..." i said. "are they all like this?!" friend number two gasped as she grabbed a second potato and flung the peeler across its flesh. "they're yams," i answered. "who knows the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?!" friend number two demanded.

so for those of you who care to be enlightened, there is a difference between the two. for those of you who do not care, skip down to the next paragraph. a sweet potato is that yummy orange thing that you probably call a yam. a yam is a bit drier and starchier and is known to have slightly lower nutritional benefits. the important thing to note here is not to freak out if you accidentally buy one instead of the other, although i do prefer the texture of the orange sweet potato. who knows, it might just be the color.

sweet potato curry with kale and broccoli
  • 2 large sweet potatoes or yams, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 apple, diced
  • red curry paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 chilies, minced
  • chicken stock
  • pepper
  • salt
  • cilantro, chopped
  • brown the sweet potatoes in the bottom of a large pot. since they will take the longest time to cook, start seasoning as they begin to soften.
  • add the curry paste, garlic, chili, salt and pepper. allow to cook for a few minutes and reseason to taste.
  • after the sweet potates are almost cooked, add the onions and apples. cook for a few minutes, taste again. adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • add broccoli, kale and chicken stock. you will need enough chicken stock to rise part way up all of the veggies. stir and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

csa week 12

1. the bounty
  • 1/3 lb mesclun
  • 1 head celery
  • 2 bok choy
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch white radish
  • 1 bunch toscano kale
  • 4 lbs potatoes
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 9 apples (5 lbs)
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect):

  • 1/3 lb mesclun: $4 (organic)
  • 1 head celery: $3 (organic)
  • 2 bok choy: $5 (csa estimate)
  • 1 bunch parsley: $2 (organic)
  • 1 bunch white radish: $1.50 (cas estimate)
  • 1 bunch toscano kale: $3 (organic)
  • 4 lbs potatoes: $8 (organic)
  • 1 head broccoli: $3 (csa estimate)
= $29.50
actual csa cost per week = $22

  • apples: $10 (organic)
actual csa cost per week = $11.67

last pick up!

in a panic of not knowing what i would do with my life (or all of that free time) without csa, i have it marked on my calendar to sign up for WINTER SHARES! because if i don't think i have enough potatoes already, i want to welcome over a few more. currently, 8 pounds of those spuds are residing in my kitchen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

weeknight dinner: quinoa sweet potato salad a la bittman (csa week 11)

the only reason i doubted my tried and true idol was that this recipe seemed to have the potential to be quite bland. sadly, this is what i tend to think of late fall vegetables in general. this is certainly not one of the most flavorful dishes but instead let's the ingredients shine through. the quinoa's nutty texture and the creaminess of the sweet potatoes blend quite nicely and the flavor was surprisingly rich. good olive oil will go far here. i added a bit of lemon juice at the end for some zing.

bittman's sweet potato and quinoa salad
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or other small-kernel grain or 1 cup raw
  • 1 large or 2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes
  • salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion or shallot
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic, sherry, or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives or parsley leaves
  • if you haven’t already, cook the quinoa or other grain. drain in a strainer and rinse.
  • meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and dice it into 1/2-inch or smaller pieces. cook it in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes; drain well.
  • toss together the potato, quinoa, bell pepper, and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • whisk the oil and vinegar together and toss the salad with about half of this mixture; add all or some of the rest to taste.
  • taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the chives and serve.

Friday, November 13, 2009

weeknight dinner: sausage, lentil and rapini stew (csa week 11)

those who know me and my food tastes know that i'm not so much of a stew person. so when a csa recipe popped up on my google reader that looked delicious and just happened to be a stew, i decided that i had to go for it. it also seemed like the perfect use for my giant bunch of broccoli rabe from csa.

my first instinct was that the recipe didn't have quite enough garlic, shallots and/or other flavor kickers. i almost wish i had supplemented but after a couple of days the stew developed more of its own flavor (as stews often do, i'm told). so here's to my first ever stew! next time, i still would sautee the greens with garlic before adding them...and might use chicken stock instead of the veggie stock.

greenpoint-williamsburg csa's sausage, lentil and rapini stew
  • 1 lb. sausage, sliced into quarter inch rounds (i used turkey sausage)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), chopped, stems and leaves separate
  • salt and pepper
  • cook sausage in a large pot until browned, then remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving fat in pot, and set sausage aside.
  • cook onion in the sausage fat until translucent. add sliced carrots and broccoli rabe stems, and cook briefly, about 2 minutes.
  • add lentils and 2 cups vegetable broth, cover and lower heat.
  • simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until lentils and carrots are tender (add more vegetable broth if needed), then add sausage and the broccoli rabe leaves.
  • cover and simmer about 5 minutes, or until leaves are wilted.
  • season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, November 2, 2009

csa week 11

1. the bounty
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1/3 lb mesclun
  • 1 bunch collards
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1/2 lb bok choi
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 4 lbs potatoes
  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 10 apples (2 kinds; 5 of each)
2. cost analysis (comparison costs courtesy of freshdirect except where otherwise indicated):

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe: $3 (organic not available)
  • 1/3 lb mesclun: $4 (organic)
  • 1 bunch collards: $3 (organic)
  • 2 heads broccoli: $8 (organic)
  • 1/2 lb bok choi: $1 (organic)
  • 1 bulb garlic: $.80 (organic)
  • 4 lbs potato: $8 (organic)
  • 2 lbs sweet potato: $4 (organic)
= $31.80
actual csa cost per week = $22

  • 10 apples: $10 (organic)
actual csa cost per week = $11.67

okay, seriously, i'm going to need some potato help, everyone. too much starch. and collards...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

macarons in geneva

i'm not sure why but i had never had a macaron before. i think it must have been a wheat phobia and although i had read about them, was never in a situation where i could get a straight ingredients answer. after further research, i deemed them edible but wasn't lusting to get my hands on any. big mistake. if only i knew. so, on the most recent work voyage, when i found myself in geneva once again, on an expense account, i picked up a couple for dessert. let me just say this, had i not been with a work colleague, i would have launched into a full out food-o-face. who am i kidding? i'm pretty sure it was apparent. i had one vanilla and one pistachio. vanilla won. the macarons were light, sweet and crisp and contrasted perfectly with the smooth frostingly center. forget your standard sandwich cookies, america, the rest of the world has got you BEAT! seriously, go forth and conquer, which is exactly what i plan to do. and please, report back.