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What we're cooking with CSA produce from Green Gate Farms this week

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May
12th
Wed
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Garlic Scape Pesto

I was really skeptical about this one. I had sent P. on an internet wild goose chase for new and interesting scape concoctions—i.e. something other than “chop it up and throw it in whatever else you’re cooking”—and I definitely shrugged loudly when I saw the recipe. However, this is a really bright and versatile little pesto that is totally worth your scapes. We had it on pasta, but as the source recipe notes, it could also be a spread, an omelet filling, a burger topping, etc.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (we used walnuts this time)
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Liberal grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

How to:

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a small, dry pan over very low heat, until just starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes (this can also be done in the toaster oven, but be vigilant because they’ll burn before you know it). Let cool for a few minutes. Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When emulsified, remove to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese.

Adapted from Umami Girl.

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Indian Cabbage Two Ways

I am in love with India’s Vegetarian Cooking - a Regional Guide by Monisha Bharadwaj. After buying the book (which our excellent friend Christine Craven recommended), we made an extremely enjoyable $18 trip to the Indian grocery on Lamar just north of Rundberg for some specialty items. We have cooked about a third of the recipes in it so far—and have literally never failed. Granted, we have not attempted to feed our home-cooked Indian food to anyone else, let alone our Indian friends. Yet. But we really like the flavors we’ve been able to usher out of some common ingredients. They taste enough like ones we have had in Indian restaurants and homes that we feel… smug.

Because many of us are likely hoarding Green Gate cabbages in our crisper drawers, here are two options for simple, delicious Indian dishes with cabbage as the main idea. This first recipe is a dish from the Indian state of Gujarat, and the second—um, I can’t remember right now and don’t have the book in front of me. But I’ll report back. Both of these can be served with rice—Basmati is the traditional, but any rice will do.

Gujarati Cabbage and Peas Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh green chili peppers (like jalapeno or serrano)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • pinch asafoetida (you can skip this if you don’t have it, but if you can track some down it really makes a difference)
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 10-11 ounces cabbage, finely shredded
  • 5-6 ounces fresh or frozen peas
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated coconut (unsweetened!)

How to:
Pulse ginger and chili peppers to a paste in a food processor or with an immersion blender—or mash them together with a mortar and pestle.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add cumin seeds, asafoetida and chili pepper/ginger paste and stir for a few seconds. Add tumeric powder, then immediately add cabbage and peas at once. Season with salt. Cook, stirring, until the cabbage starts to turn translucent. Add a few tablespoons of water, reduce heat and cook the water off. Sprinkle with coconut and serve.

Cabbage with Five Spices and Ginger

OK, so this one involves a spice mixture called panch phoron that you’ll probably need to pick up on a pilgrimage to the Indian grocery—you could make it yourself, but a couple of its integral spices are ones you’d also need to pick up at the Indian grocery, so yeah, this becomes a little circular. It contains equal amounts of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds, and nigella seeds. In a pinch, grind some cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and black mustard seeds (all of which you can get at the H-E-B) in your spice or coffee grinder.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon grated or finely minced ginger
  • 4 dried red chili peppers soaked in water and drained
  • 3 tablespoon safflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 10-11 ounces cabbage, shredded or finely sliced
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons panch phoron (see above) or some semblance of it

How to:
Process mustard seeds, ginger and drained chili peppers in a food processor with 5 tablespoons of water to make a fine paste.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet and add onion. Fry until golden, then add the cabbage. Stir-fry until just translucent and sprinkle in the spice mixture and salt. Add 4 tbsp of water and cook uncovered until cabbage is tender but not mushy. Remove the mixture from the pan and reserve in a bowl.

Heat remaining oil (1 tablespoon) in the pan and add panch phoron.  When it crackles, you know it’s done—pour the oil and seeds over the reserved cabbage. Toss well and serve.

May
5th
Wed
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Coming soon…

An experiment with grilled turnips!

Grilled kebabs with homemade seitan and summer squash!

Mexican pile with spicy summer squash!

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Bubble and Squeak

I admit it, this is basically cabbage and potatoes sauteed in a lot of butter. You kind of can’t go wrong with that, unless you’re trying not to eat so much fat, in which case you might want to skip this one. The folklore is that the British call it Bubble and Squeak because of how it behaves while it’s cooking. (It does do those things, but there are those who have other ideas about the name’s provenance.)

If you are crazy (I am!), you can make your own butter for this. Check out this old piece in the New York Times for details. You can also email Deborah Freeman (deborahcfreeman at yahoo dot com) to take part in the Green Gate dairy coop, which would make this butter thing even better.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled (if desired) and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter or 3 tablespoons butter, 3 olive oil
  • 1 lb green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

How to:

Cover potatoes with cold salted water by 1 inch and bring to a boil, then boil, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Drain.

Heat butter (or butter and oil) in a 10-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté cabbage with salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add potatoes, mashing and stirring them into cabbage while leaving some lumps and pressing to form a cake. Cook, without stirring, until underside is crusty and golden, about 10 minutes.

This recipe makes one big, skillet-sized cake that you cut apart—I have also seen this done as individual cabbage and potato pancakes, which are pretty cute. To do that, saute the cabbage and mash the potatoes separately in 2 tablespoons of butter each, cool completely, mix together in a bowl, form into approximately 1/4 cup patties, and fry in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Adapted from Epicurious.

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Spanish Potato Omelette

This is a standby recipe for me. So when I realized I had brought home 2 1/2 lbs of beautiful potatoes (grown without irrigation, I learned!), some onions, and some garlic, along with some Green Gate eggs (which I didn’t drop on the floor this week) this was an obvious choice. With an arugula salad.

One summer back in the ’90s, the boyfriend of a roommate of mine lived with us for a couple of months. He was that roommate who spends all day smoking pot and eating your food while you are slaving away at your first full-time job after college, buttering his toast by clutching the stick of butter in his hand and rubbing it on the bread, then putting it back in the fridge covered in fingerprints and crumbs, and telling you you’re a sucker for buying renters’ insurance and that you must just “believe in disaster.” (Oh wait, you’ve never lived with that guy?) I’m sure he’s a fine young man now. Lots of people are jerks at 21, right? (Right…?)

Anyway, so that roommate’s boyfriend’s mother happens to be a journalist and award-winning cookbook author—an expert in Spanish cooking, Janet Mendel. I learned how to make this first by watching the boyfriend, then by watching my roommate (his then girlfriend), and then by following Janet Mendel’s recipe in Traditional Spanish Cooking. This is my own version. It’s not perfectly traditional, by any stretch, but you’ll recognize it if you’ve eaten the dish in a tapas place in Spain.

Spanish Potato Omelette aka Tortilla de Patatas aka Tortilla Española

  • 2 1/3 lb. potatoes, chopped into 1 inch dice
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium or 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
  • 7-9 eggs (7 if they’re large, 8 if they’re medium-sized, 9 if they’re small)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt

You’ll need two nonstick skillets (cast iron works as long as it’s super well seasoned, but if you’re a nonstick user, this is the day). In one, heat 1/4 cup olive oil; in the other, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.

In the 1 tablespoon oil, fry the chopped onion with the three cloves minced garlic over medium heat until translucent (not brown, although a little brown tastes delicious, just not traditional).

In the 1/4 cup oil, fry the potatoes on medium heat until fork-tender. More cooked is better than less, but don’t let these get brown or crisp like french fries, you want them to remain pale. Don’t stir too much or they get starchy, but also don’t let the bottom ones burn. It’s tricky. This usually takes about 20 minutes—at the end, throw the cooked onions and garlic into the potatoes, stir, and cook together for a couple minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat 8-9 eggs until uniform in color, add a teaspoon and a half of salt, and lots of black pepper (to taste—I like a lot). Add the potato/onion mixture to the bowl with the eggs and stir to coat. Add a little more oil to the bottom of the deeper of your two skillets if it’s gotten dry (or spray with oil if you’re into that), heat it back up to medium, and then add the whole egg/potato/kitten-kaboodle to the skillet. Even out the top with a rubber spatula. Keep the heat on medium, unless it starts to smell like the eggs are browning too much on the bottom, in which case reduce a little.

Basically, this is where the tough get going. Once the eggs start to set, you want to pretty much constantly shake the skillet so the tortilla kinda revolves around in the pan and nothing sticks. At the same time, you want to use a rubber spatula to start pulling the eggs away from the sides of the pan and shaping the top edge like a frisbee, nice and rounded. So you’re shaking and you’re rounding, and the eggs are setting. Then it gets really exciting. Don’t be scared:

When the center is still undercooked but not sloshy, sort of a custardy consistency, I like to put on two oven mitts. Get out a plate that’s big enough to comfortably cover the pan, and turn it upside down over the pan. Then deftly flip the thing over so the tortilla is on the plate with the skillet covering it. Put the skillet back on the burner, and then ever-so-gently s-l-i-d-e the tortilla back into the pan, pushing any mushy undercooked parts into the pan as well as you can.

This takes practice. You may want a spotter who will push the thing into the pan while you hold the plate or vice versa. I do the flipping bit over the sink out of habit, although I have never had a real casualty. Sometimes if the inside is a little less done, you’ll leave some egg/potato on the plate, but that’s ok.

Then you cook it for about 5-10 more minutes over low heat to cook the other side (you may want to test that it’s cooked all the way through), and it’s done! And it’s beautiful and delicious and perfect, and an extremely impressive thing to, say, make for brunch for your in-laws, if you’re me. You could even halve this recipe if you have a smaller sized skillet.

Apr
22nd
Thu
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Kale and Fried Shallot Quiche with Goat Cheese

What to do when life hands you two cartons of fresh Green Gate Farms eggs and you proceed to drop them both on your tiled kitchen floor? Salvage what you can and make quiche! While cursing a lot.

Luckily, not all my eggs were broken—only nine of the 24 were damaged. I was able to save six that had cracked, and used five of the yolks and most of the whites for this quiche. As a result, it was a very rich custard. I threw in some roasted red and Anaheim peppers, but in retrospect what they added in color and flavor they took away in wateriness that sogged up the filling. A seeded, chopped red chile pepper thrown in with the shallots would have been better, so that’s what I’ll recommend. I happen to like some heat with my greens—this could also be omitted. 

The beautiful Tuscan kale from this week’s share is the main event—make sure to cook it thoroughly or it’ll be super tough to cut through your quiche slices, let alone bite into them. You all know the trick for removing any tough stems from kale and other greens, right? Place the leaf stem—fibrous side up—with the stem farthest from you. Place your non-dominant hand palm down on the leaf with the stem between your index and middle fingers. With your other hand, grab the stem and pull it toward you, ripping it away from the tender part of the leaf, while holding down the leaf with your other hand. This is a very satisfying thing.

Shallots are this quiche’s secret weapon. You only need two or three (although an all-shallot quiche doesn’t sound entirely bad to me) so it’s not too much of a pain to peel them.

I know this is supposed to be about the vegetables, but the crust here was a real selling point—eating it makes me want to give up on sad, crustless frittatas forever. I know I have ragged on Mollie Katzen a bit, but her all-butter crust recipe is unstoppable. It does tend to slump a LOT because of its high fat content, which makes for a demoralizing pastry experience. Rather than blind baking as usual, as I did here to mixed results, I recommend forming the crust over the outside of a pan and baking it upside down. I have done this with some success in the past, but forgot this time. You could also bake right-side-up with another pie pan laid inside, on top of the crust, but I cannot warranty this method.

Filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large or 3 medium shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 small red chile pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, chopped coarsely and rinsed (with some water still clinging)
  • large pinch red pepper flakes (omit if using the chile pepper!)
  • 4 eggs (plus one to two extra yolks if you’re feeling some extra richness or happen to have dropped $10 worth of eggs on the floor)
  • 1.75-2 cups milk (more yolks = more milk) or half & half or cream if you’re inclined
  • 1/4 tsp. salt and black or white pepper to taste
  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese

How to:

First, make your crust as directed below and blind bake using the method of your choice for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. You can leave the oven on.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots and red chile pepper, if using, until the shallots are nicely browned. (I like mine pretty well done, but this is a matter of taste.) Add the kale, stir for a moment to mix with the other ingredients, then reduce heat to medium and cover until the kale is wilted. Stir, uncovered, until kale is tender. If using red pepper flakes, add these now.

While the kale is cooking, beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper with a whisk. With a fork, mash the goat cheese into the egg-milk mixture.

Spoon the vegetables into the pre-baked crust in an even layer. Pour the egg mixture over the filling. Bake for 45 minutes or until set (make sure it’s not jiggling in the center). Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Crust
Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • Up to 3 tablespoons cold water, milk, or buttermilk

How to:

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Cut the butter into slices, add to the processor, and buzz several times, until the mixture is uniform and resembles coarse meal. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a pastry cutter or 2 forks instead.)


Continue to process in quick spurts as you add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time. As soon as the dough adheres to itself when pinched, stop adding water and turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Gather it gently into a ball.

Roll the dough into a circle 11 inches or so in diameter (slightly bigger than a I 0-inch round). Lift the dough and ease it into a 9-inch pie pan, nudging it gently into the corners. Form a generous, even edge all the way around the sides. If you’re not going to use the crust right away, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze it until use.

Crust recipe from Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Café by Mollie Katzen.

Apr
20th
Tue
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Beet Green and Garlic Scape Ragù

I get inordinately excited when I have the opportunity to use more than one CSA vegetable in a single dish. (Go ahead, say it, I have no life.) This is going to be delicious—I plan to make it this week. Made it tonight and it was saucier than I expected, so I’ve changed the name from the original. I have made some alterations in the process here since the initial post, but all the ingredients are the same.

  • 1 bunch beet greens + stems, chopped (not too fine)
  • 2-4 garlic scapes, chopped as in photo below
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c chopped toasted walnuts or pine nuts
  • your favorite pasta (angel hair or pappardelle would be excellent—I used some handmade orecchiette from P.’s latest New York trip)
  • 1-15 oz can diced tomatoes (or 2 chopped roma tomatoes if you can find any worth eating)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved

Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat skillet over medium low heat.

Add oil and saute scapes until crisp-tender. Add tomatoes (don’t drain), stirring, then cook down for 5-10 minutes. Add greens to the sauce and stir ‘til they wilt, about 3 minutes.

Add salt and pepper, then nuts. Toss sauce with the drained pasta. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Jamies-Recipes.com.

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Kohlrabi Puree

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when a vegetable that’s been cultivated in the U.S. since the 1800s but never quite caught on rears its purple head once again, stumping even the most ardent vegetable fan. Here’s another idea for it—reminds me of a fantastic cauliflower dish I got addicted to over the winter, but that is not the matter at hand. This would be great as a comfortable mash to set a protein on top of (trout or chicken breast, for instance). I can also see this being good as a rough mash, if you do the pureeing step with a potato masher instead and add the mushrooms afterward.

Ingredients:

  • 4 kohlrabi bulbs with leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, quartered (these can be omitted if desired)
  • 3 Tablespoons cream (or milk, chicken stock, olive oil, or water)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Trim the kohlrabi bulbs, peeling them if the skins seem tough. Rinse the leaves (discarding any that are yellow) pat them dry, and coarsely chop. Set aside. Cut the bulbs into 1-inch chunks.

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, and add the kohlrabi chunks. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, another 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let garlic brown.

Add the mushrooms and the reserved kohlrabi leaves to the skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes. Then uncover, and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated, 3 minutes. Set the skillet aside.

Drain the kohlrabi chunks and place them in the bowl of a food processor (or use an immersion blender). Add the mushroom mixture and all the remaining ingredients. Purée until smooth.

Transfer the purée to a saucepan and reheat over low heat, stirring, 2 minutes.

Adapted, or really pretty much stolen wholesale, from Farmgirl Fare. Painting by Sharon Lynn Williams.

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Creamy Kohlrabi

Catherine and Jetson, fabulous former farmer interns at Green Gate, brought this to our house last Easter, and I fell in love. It’s kind of like a gratin, and brings out the sweet, earthy flavor of the kohlrabi, which is more like broccoli than is intuitive from its looks.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 kohlrabi
  • 1 head broccoli (cauliflower would also be good, or omit)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 sprigs dill: chop 2 sprigs, and save 1 as a garnish

Cream sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1.5 cups cream (and/or milk for a lighter sauce)
  • salt and pepper

How to:

Cut the leaves from the kohlrabi, and save them for another dish (they cook up like kale). Peel the kohlrabi bulbs, quarter them, and slice thinly. Chop the broccoli stem and florets into small pieces. Sauté the kohlrabi slices in butter until they begin to brown, then add the broccoli. Salt lightly. Stir occasionally until kohlrabi is lightly browned.

Cover and continue cooking until kohlrabi and broccoli are tender. Add dill when almost done sautéing.

To make the cream sauce, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir constantly about 2-3 minutes until the flour and oil are evenly mixed. Let cool slightly, then whisk in the cream and/or milk over low heat.

Whisk constantly until the sauce thickens and comes to a simmer. Add a pinch of salt and a couple pinches of pepper.

Over low heat, pour the cream sauce over the sautéed kohlrabi and broccoli, stir in, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh dill if you like.

Photo from Chefklink.

Apr
14th
Wed
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Beet Vinaigrette Homage, Avec Carrots

Finally amassed the right ingredients to rip off pay homage to the East Side Show Room’s spring salad. I bought my beets from outside the farm, but anyone who’s part of a CSA in Central Texas knows this can always be reprised. The beet vinaigrette/blue cheese combo is an old standby that the carrots help to update.

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1  medium-large fresh beet, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Salad:

  • Salad greens of your choice
  • Roasted Carrots
  • Nuts (walnuts or almonds are good)
  • 1 oz blue cheese (Texan if you can) per serving

How to:

Wrap beet in foil and bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until tender; cool 15 minutes, then slip off the skin if desired (although not necessary to do so).

In a food processor or blender, process beet, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.

You can pour the mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding the solids, but I chose to shake my salad ingredients (minus the carrots) with the still-thick dressing in a covered plastic container to good effect. Then I plated with the carrots relaxing on top.

Adapted from Southern Living, photo from Berroco Design Studio.