Thursday, June 17, 2010

Almost Authentic Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons

I wasn't about to lose another head and a half of romaine lettuce to the refrigerator this week. Ice crystals have started forming on the romaine again. Interestingly, the more delicate lettuces don't seem to be having a problem with freezing and my refrigerator seems to be harboring secret cold zones. What better way to save your farm-fresh lettuce from undelicious destruction than to make a Caesar salad? I'm not one to discriminate: I used the whole (medium-sized) head of lettuce, not just the heart. I'm a huge fan of garlic, so I add the smashed cloves to the salad after they've done their job flavoring the croutons, but most people would probably remove them.

2 cups day-old bread, sliced into crouton-sized pieces (I used a sourdough boule)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 egg
1 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried thoroughly, and chopped
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place bread in a single layer in a baking dish and bake at 350F until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, smash garlic cloves and place them in olive oil with salt. Remove bread from oven and place in large saute pan. Drizzle 4 teaspoons of the olive oil over bread and add smashed garlic cloves to pan. Saute over medium heat until bread is golden brown and garlic begins to soften. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. When water is boiling, add egg and coddle for 1 minute, then run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Place lettuce in a large bowl. Add remaining olive oil and toss to coat. Add anchovies, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and egg and toss until creamy. Add croutons, cheese and black pepper, toss, and serve immediately.

Serves 2-3, but I definitely ate the entire thing in one sitting (um, yeah, that's a million calories from olive oil. Plus bread. And cheese. And an egg...). But I really did walk 8.8 miles today according to Google Maps.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Carrot Top Tabbouleh

I decapitated the adorable baby carrots from my CSA share, but the greens looked too luscious to throw away. To make up for my cold-blooded murder of their bottom parts, I decided to put them to good use. I had only a few sprigs of parsley left in a glass on my windowsill, so I decided to make some tabbouleh/tabouli/taboule with carrot greens.

1/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup bulgur wheat
tops from 1/2 bunch of baby carrots, leaves only, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 sprigs parsley, leaves only, chopped
6 mint leaves, chopped
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
10 grape tomatoes, halved
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

In a glass bowl, add boiling water to bulgur wheat. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Toss together carrot tops, parsley, mint, cucumber, scallions, olive oil and lemon juice. Add bulgur wheat and refrigerate. Just before serving, toss in tomatoes and feta cheese.

Serves 2

I found that the carrot greens weren't as flavorful as the parsley, but they were tasty all the same. I might use more next time. I didn't add salt to this recipe because of the feta cheese, but feel free to add salt to taste.

Third CSA Pickup!

The take:

1 head red leaf lettuce
1 head romaine lettuce
1 head escarole
1 bunch beets - I'm beside myself with anticipation for these. They are so dark and nutritious looking
1 bunch baby carrots - They're so cute!
1 bunch red Swiss chard
1 bunch kale
1 bunch scallions - They're super young and flavorful
1 head green cabbage

The triage: I chopped the leaves off of the beets, radishes, and carrots. The cabbage and the kale can probably wait the longest. The kale might not make it past my chip making habits, though. I'll roast some of the beets and shave others raw over salad, ditto for the radishes.

I'm starting to run out of ideas for lettuce beyond salad, wraps, and some soups. (A pasta dish from the NYT made with Bibb lettuce that I recently tried making was objectively terrible.) Any ideas?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Whole Foods Contest

My nearest grocery story is Whole Foods and it's about a block away from my apartment. Even with the bounty that is my CSA share, I still seem to be in there just about every day. They always seem to know what I'm thinking, and they recently announced a weekly contest on food52 to which I've submitted recipes.

Each week has a featured ingredient. Here is what I've submitted so far:

I know what you're thinking: Cucumber and mango salad? How (whatever decade that cucumbers and mangoes were popular that would qualify this recipe as an anachronism)! Don't knock it until you try it. It's delicious and refreshing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Swiss Chard and Kohlrabi Green Quiche with Goat Cheese and Pancetta

I adapted this recipe from my friend Lucas Louys, a talented cook and aspiring radio host residing in Buenos Aires. His original tarta de acelga calls for a cheese similar to Port Salut and a traditional masa pascualina for the crust. My adaptation incorporates kohlrabi greens, a sweet-tasting complement to earthy Swiss chard. This can be made vegetarian if you leave out the pancetta, which I added because I happened to have some in my refrigerator.

1 bunch swiss chard, stems and leaves separated
1 bunch kohlrabi greens, stems and leaves separated
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 oz. pancetta, diced
2 small orange bell peppers, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
3 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 1 tbsp dry)
1/2 tsp aji molido (a milder version of crushed red pepper. if you don't have aji, you can use 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or more depending on your taste for spice)
1/2 tsp pimenton
3/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and black pepper to taste
6 eggs
4 oz. creamy chevre or goat cheese log
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
pie crust for 11x13 pan
1/4 cup grated pecorino

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chard stems. 2-3 minutes later, add kohlrabi stems and boil for 5 minutes. Add leaves and boil 5-10 more minutes, until stems are tender and leaves are cooked well. Drain before chopping finely in a food processor.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add carrots and pancetta and saute for 3 minutes more. Add pepper and garlic and saute until onions are carmelized, about 10 minutes. Add chopped chard and kohlrabi greens and stir to combine. Season with spices, salt and pepper. Turn off heat in pan.

In a large bowl, beat 6 eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Beat in chevre and feta cheese. Fold into chard mixture.

Scoop mixture into pie crust in a 9"x 13" pan (Having an aversion to shortening and not finding lard for a masa pascualina at my local grocery store, I used an all butter crust recipe which I'll post if someone indicates interest.) and top with grated pecorino.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until center is set and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings as an entree and many more as an appetizer.

Spicy Hake with Stir-Fried Mizuna

1 5 oz. filet hake, rinsed and patted dry
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin rings (I didn't remove the seeds)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp cilantro, minced

For the mizuna
juices from pan
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 bunch mizuna

Heat oil in one half of a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeno, stir frequently until softened. Gather together the ginger, garlic, and pepper and place hake filet, skin side up, on top. Sear for 2-3 minutes, until a golden brown crust forms and garlic and pepper are crispy. Flip and top fish with soy sauce, honey and cilantro. Cook until fish flakes easily with fork, 4-5 minutes more. Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in dry half of pan. Remove cooked fish and place on a warmed plate. Add mizuna to liquid remaining in pan and stir fry 2-3 minutes until wilted. Toss with toasted sesame seeds and serve with fish.

Serves 1.

What do you do with kohlrabi, anyway?

Well, I roasted one.

Another got cut up into matchstick-sized pieces and went into this fabulous soup:

Not Exactly Asian Soup

For the broth:
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp canola oil
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 tsp. tamari soy sauce

In a saucepan, heat canola oil on high heat and add ginger and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds, then add beef broth, water, and soy sauce. Heat to a simmer.

For the contents of the soup:
1/4 bunch mizuna, cut in 2" lengths
3 stalks bok choy, sliced crosswise into 1/2" pieces
1 small green onion, white and green parts separated, sliced thinly
1 shiitake mushroom, sliced thinly
1/2 small purple kohlrabi, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
1/2 small asian turnip, cut into matchstick-sized pieces (I wouldn't really call it julienned and shape is approximate since I have shaky hands)

Add mizuna, bok choy and white parts of green onion to simmering broth and heat for about 5 minutes. Divide the mushroom, kohlrabi, turnip, and green parts of the green onion between two dry soup bowls. Pour simmering broth with mizuna and onion over vegetables and serve immediately.

Serves 2.

This recipe is gluten free if your soy sauce does not have any gluten. Make sure to check the label.

Second CSA Pickup!

The take:
1 head romaine lettuce (RIP: it froze in my feisty, outdated refrigerator, despite being in what I thought was the warmest place in it barring the door. Any ideas? Anyone? Bueller?)
1 head red leaf lettuce (I wish this had frozen instead, since I still had some left from last week even though I have eaten large salads incorporating at least one or two leaves of this at least once every day, often twice--and I may or may not be seriously toying with the idea of making breakfast salads)
1 head Bibb lettuce
1 bunch broccoli
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 bunch purple kohlrabi
1 bunch chioggia beets
1 bunch asian turnips
1 bunch cilantro

So far I have been doing well with my pickup triage, using the things that are likely to last longer last, but I love beets and couldn't resist. I roasted a large one immediately along with a kohlrabi (root?) and an asian turnip.

I cut the greens off of the beets, turnips, and kohlrabi and stored them separately. I froze the broccoli immediately (I know, I know) because I couldn't bear to witness its nutrients slowly seeping out into the ether of the refrigerator air as I prioritized other things for consumption. The cilantro came with roots, so I put it into a glass filled with water on my windowsill. Everything else went into fresh extend bags, excepting one beet, which I rinsed off and ate raw before I even put anything else in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First CSA pickup!

Steve the farmer did give fair warning that the early harvest shares would be heavy on greens. He should have clarified and said heavy and green, as the "small" share for this week included about 12 pounds of chlorophyllous delights.

So, the take:
1 bunch bok choy
1 bunch mizuna
1 head Bibb lettuce
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 bunch red Russian kale
1 bunch pea tendrils
1 head chicory
1 bunch spinach

I know I should use this blog as a vehicle to showcase original recipes incorporating the bounty that is the CSA share, but I panicked. And then copped out and made a salad with several of these new, green objects. My selection of green objects was admittedly colored (green) by which I thought would last the least amount of time improperly stored in my refrigerator. Why improperly? My kitchen doubles as a hallway (or my hallway doubles as a kitchen) and is too narrow to allow the door to open completely and allow for the refrigerator-width produce drawer to open more than an inch or so. I could talk about the poor design of the refrigerator, but that would open up a discussion of the poor design of the apartment, and that would be, well, a tangent.

I ripped up a few leaves of each of
red leaf lettuce
bibb lettuce
and added
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 cucumber, sliced
1/2 tomato, sliced
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
8 kalamata olives
black pepper
and tossed it all together. I didn't use salt since the olives and feta were salty enough for me.

Not very original, but my body was happy to have something green in it after having consumed about 10 soup dumplings and a pizza snack the day before. I'm going to need to invest in produce bags and a good salad spinner. More interesting recipes soon!