Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Salads on Friday

I woke  up this morning with that stupid song 'The Friday Song' in my head. I am hearing one of my students- albeit one of my favorite students, but she lost likability points for singing this song every bloody Friday!- singing it. Ugh. At least it has a completely different meaning to me during the summer. Friday now means it's time to pick up my farm share. It also means I have to deal with whatever I haven't used from last week's share, and let's face it- we all have some left! 
I still have kale and corn. Earlier this week I made a Kale and Yellow Bean salad that was really refreshing and lasted a few days. I added some canned pink beans and cannelini beans. I think I'll do it again, twisting the flavors a bit, and add the corn. Here is also a recipe for a Broccoli and Chicken Curry Salad. The Curry Salad started out with an idea of a sort of Waldorf Salad- celery, apples, apples, nuts-- and add the broccoli with a mayonnaise-based dressing. But that was boring. So I added some curry, lime and yogurt. And that was good, but not quite where I wanted it to be-- adding the grilled chicken brought a smokiness that did the trick. Fried Wonton Noodles are a great crunchy contrast.

Broccoli Chicken Curry Salad 
If you briefly cook your broccoli, making sure to refresh it in ice water to stop the cooking, it’s ready for lots of different recipes, to toss in a salad, or add to a stir-fry or quiche. Leftover grilled chicken adds a nice smokiness to this salad.
1 bunch broccoli
1 large or 2 medium apples
1 cooked (preferably grilled) chicken breast
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/ cup plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sweet curry (or more, to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
nuts or fried wonton noodles

1. Trim the broccoli and cut into l-inch pieces. Put a pan of water on to boil and get a bowl of ice water ready. When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and plunge into the ice water. When it’s cool, drain.
2. Wash the apples and cut into quarters from root to stem. Cut out the core and cut the apple into medium dice. 
3. Remove the skin from the chicken, if necessary, and cut into medium dice.
4. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, honey, curry, and salt and pepper. Toss the broccoli, apple, chicken, and raisins with the dressing. Garnish with nuts (almonds or pistachios would be good, but so would walnuts or peanuts) or wonton noodles.
Bean and Kale Salad
The traditional dressing for Three Bean Salad is loaded with sugar. This dressing is slightly sweet, but not overpoweringly so-giving it time to marinate is key. This can be doubled or tripled. Good at room temperature, it’s great for a pot- luck or barbeque.

1 pound fresh green or yellow beans
4 leaves of kale
1/2 red onion
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans 
1 (15 ounce) can white (cannelloni) beans
1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
3 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 scant Tablespoon honey or agave
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim the fresh beans and cut into 1-inch pieces. Wash the kale and trim off the stems. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Thinly slice the onion.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil and have ready a bowl of ice water. When the water is boiling rapidly, add the beans and kale. Boil for 3 minutes. Plunge into the ice water to stop cooking.
3. Drain and rinse the canned beans and coarsely chop the olives. 
4. Put all the beans, the kale, the onion and olives in a bowl and toss. 
5. Whisk together the oil, vinegar and sweetener. Pour over the bean mixture and toss well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Taste and add sea salt and pepper as needed.

Kale and Corn Salad
A variation of Bean and Kale Salad, this one has a little kick. 
2 ears cooked corn
4 leaves of kale
1/2 red onion
1 small hot pepper, such as jalapeno
1 (15 ounce) can black beans 
1 cup black olives
3 Tablespoons extra virginoil
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 scant Tablespoon honey or agave
1/4 teaspoon cumin
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the kernels from the corn. Wash the kale and trim off the stems. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Thinly slice the onion. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds and veins, and then mince (you might want to wear gloves for this).
2. Bring a pot of water to boil and have ready a bowl of ice water. When the water is boiling rapidly, add the kale. Boil for 3 minutes. Plunge into the ice water to stop cooking.
3. Drain and rinse the canned beans and coarsely chop the olives. 
4. Put all the beans, the kale, the onion, pepper and olives in a bowl and toss. 
5. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, cumin, and sweetener. Pour over the bean mixture and toss well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. 
6. Taste and add sea salt and pepper as needed.

I know Stacia emailed us what's in our box, but I don't want to peek- I want it to be a surprise. Have a great week!
Broccoli Chicken Curry Salad

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Greens 101

Curly Kale at Kirk's Farm in Massachusetts
I didn't grow up eating a lot of greens. Cabbage. Iceberg lettuce. Occasionally frozen spinach. The cabbage was always boiled, often with corned beef or salt pork- Grandma would make that. The iceberg would be in a salad with cucumbers and tomatoes and bottled Thousand Island dressing. But as a CSA member, we get a lot of greens in the beginning of the summer. And, if we don't take care of them, my guess is a lot of them end up spoiling before they can be used.

Greens basically fall into two categories- tender and sturdy. Tender greens include all lettuces and baby greens, including Asian or 'Braising' greens. Left in plastic bags without air circulating around them they will very quickly (within 48 hours) become soggy and slimy. Not so delicious. Lettuce leaves should be separated, rinsed, and wrapped in paper towels. Then they can be popped into a plastic bag and stored for 4 to 5 days.
Sturdy greens-- mature spinach, kale, collards, bok choy, cabbage-- can simply be placed in the vegetable crisper in your refrigerator. Before cooking, strip off the center stem and wash them- well.

Tender greens are best eaten raw, but sturdy greens can be eaten raw or cooked. Simple sauteing is the fastest method, and tends to bring out the flavor of the greens most. There are several recipes on this blog for that method. But I also like greens that have been slow-cooked to be so tender they melt in your mouth. This method is most often seen in the South, and is traditionally served with cornbread to sop up the cooking liquid. I recently served greens this way with grilled chicken and potatoes. The leftover greens and potatoes made a great Colcannon.

Crock Pot Mess O’ Greens
This takes minutes to prepare, and is absolutely yummy and very easy on a hot and/or busy day. Serve with cornbread to help sop up the sauce.
8-10 servings

4 oz salt pork
2 bunches of greens (collards, kale, turnip—they don’t have to be the same kind-  I like a combination of collards and kale)
1 large onion
1 fat clove garlic
2 bay leaves, torn in half
8 cups water with 1 chicken bouillon cube or 1-1/2 teaspoons chicken base

1. Strip the leaves from the woody stems of the collard greens and kale. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Cut the stems on the diagonal in 1/2” pieces.
2. Peel the onion and coarsely chop. Peel the garlic and chop. Tear the bay leaves in half.
3. Place all ingredients in the crock-pot—the salt pork on the bottom- and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

To make this a 'leftover' dish, skip the steps of cooking the greens and the potatoes. Go straight to step three.
1 pound white cabbage or kale
1-teaspoon salt
2 pounds potatoes
2 medium leeks
1-cup milk
1/4 teaspoon mace
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
8 tablespoons butter

  1. Trim and slice the cabbage or kale into thin strips (if using kale, strip off the thick stems). Place in a large pot of salted water and boil until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Scrub the potatoes and slice (with the skins still on). Bring another pot of water to a boil and boil the potatoes until tender. Drain off the water and set aside. 
  3. Trim the leeks and cut in half lengthwise. Rinse well, separating the layers to remove any sand or silt. Put the leeks in a saucepan, cover with the milk, bring close to boiling, and then turn down to a simmer until tender. Set aside.
  4. Add the mace, salt and pepper, and garlic to the pot with the potatoes and mash well. Add the leeks and their milk and mix in, taking care not to break the leeks down too much. Mash in the cabbage, and then the butter. 
  5. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and place under broiler to brown.  
  6. Serve hot in bowls, topping each bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Zucchini Cobbler and White Broccoli Pizza

Tomas and Kim Diaz tasting Zucchini Cobbler
The young lady at the farm stand apologized for the last minute switch: broccoli instead of escarole. I like escarole, but broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables- no need to apologize! I knew I wanted to have the broccoli with dinner, and started to think about a broccoli salad- maybe a Waldorf-type thing with beets, apples and walnuts? But in my house Friday is pizza night, and I usually make the pizza. So, Broccoli Pizza! You can, of course, use pre-made pizza dough, but this dough doesn't even need to be kneaded, making it easier.
My share also included baby beets, collards, kale, romaine and red leaf lettuces, cucumber, kohlrabi, hakurei (salad) turnips and 1-1/2 pounds of yellow squash and zucchini. 
I have had a hankering for something homey and desserty-- like pie or a cobbler, and thought maybe the zucchini could stand-in for apples. Tomas and Kim were my guinea pigs, and we decided it wasn't apple-y, but was cobbler-y, and that worked. 

Really Really Really Yummy White Broccoli Pizza
Coleslaw makes a great accompaniment. If you don't have bread flour, you can use 2 cups of all purpose flour- the crust just won't be as crispy crunchy.
1 cup warm water
1-1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 bunch broccoli
2 ounces pepperoni (optional)
3 ounces light cream cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

  1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and swirl to mix. Let sit 10 minutes. Add the flours and salt and stir well to mix. Do not knead. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile break the broccoli into florets and coarsely chop the stems. Place in cold water in a pot, bring to a boil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until desired doneness (I like the broccoli to be really tender for this). Drain and dice.
  3. Dice the pepperoni and combine with the broccoli.
  4. Combine the garlic, cream cheese, and herbes de provence until well mixed (you can add a tablespoon or so of milk if necessary).
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a pizza pan.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to fit the pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough. Carefully distribute the broccoli and pepperoni over the dough and then sprinkle the cheese over everything.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese and dough are golden.

Zucchini Cobbler
The bigger the zucchini, the more important it is to scrape out the seeds.
3 medium zucchini, or enough to make 7 cups, sliced
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
for the crust:
1 cup flour (all purpose or white whole wheat)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons butter
3 ounces milk

1. Butter an 8-inch square pan and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut crosswise into thin slices. 
3. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Toss the apples in the cinnamon-sugar. Pour the zucchini into the prepared pan and sprinkle on the lemon juice. Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter over the zucchini mixture.
4. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in the butter to resemble the size of peas. Add the milk and stir to combine. Knead a few times to make a cohesive dough and roll out to an 8-inch square. Place on top of the zucchini. Bake for 45 minutes.
Coming soon: what to do with sooo many greens?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Early July Pad Thai- the result of a well-stocked pantry

This past week's farm share included bok choy, lettuce, kale, beets and beet greens, radishes, cucumber, zucchini, kohlrabi, herbs (I chose parsley), and cabbage. As I was contemplating the possibilities, I received a text from my son saying that the apartment he was moving into the next day did not have a working kitchen- it was in the middle of being remodeled. Good news-- renovated kitchen for most of his lease. Bad news-- no counters, cabinets or sink! He does have a fridge and a stove. So I offered to put my Personal Chef hat on again and make him some meals that he would just have to reheat through the week until the kitchen can be used. A peek into my pantry, freezer and fridge resulted in:

Pad Thai (enough for 3 or 4 meals)
Brined Pork Chops with Crispy Roasted Potatoes and Braised Kale 
Tilapia with Artichokes, Capers, Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives and Pasta
Really Humongous Bag of Salad 
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

A lot of the share went into the Pad Thai and, of course, the salad. I used the bok choy, but could have used cabbage instead. The salad included cucumbers, kohlrabi, radishes, and grape tomatoes, and he can add cheese or canned tuna or beans for lunches.
It's been awhile since I did this- it was kinda fun! And I didn't have to go to the grocery store for anything-- it was all from my farm share, pantry, freezer and refrigerator. I love that.
Here's the recipe for the Pad Thai. Mung Bean sprouts are traditional, giving a little extra crunch. I cut the leafy part of the bok choy into strips and didn't actually cook them- just folded them into the hot noodles at the end. And I didn't have fish sauce (aka 'Nam Pla', found in the Asian section of the grocery store), so I used soy and Worcestershire sauce (Worcestershire sauce was originally developed to mimic fish sauce). If you have fish sauce, use 2 tablespoons of that instead. Tamarind Concentrate and Rice Noodles are also pretty easy to find in the Asian section of the grocer. If you can't find Tamarind, you can substitute ketchup; and you can use traditional pasta instead of the rice noodles.

Early July Pad Thai
Tofu or shrimp can be added to this dish—add to the wok before adding all the vegetables. Don’t have a wok? A big, heavy skillet will do the trick (but it’s not quite as much fun).

2 Tablespoons Tamarind Concentrate
3/4 cup boiling water
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce OR 1 clove garlic and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces rice noodles
hot water as needed
small head of bok choy
1 kohlrabi bulb
2 medium carrots
2 spring onions or 1/2 bunch scallions
1 medium zucchini
1-inch piece fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 eggs
juice of one lime
garnish (optional): chopped peanuts and sliced scallions

1. Combine the tamarind, water, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and chili garlic sauce (or garlic and chili flakes).
2. Pour hot water over the rice noodles and leave to soften for about 5 minutes. As soon as they are soft, rinse in cold water so they don’t get too mushy.
3. Peel the kohlrabi and carrots and cut into matchstick-sized pieces. Cut the green leaves off the bok choy and cut them into ribbon strips. Slice the bok choy stalks thinly. Thinly slice the zucchini. Peel and mince the ginger. Slice the onions or scallions.
4. Heat the oil in a wok and add the spring onions and ginger. Stir fry just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots, kohlrabi and bok choy stems.and stir fry until just beginning to wilt. Add the zucchini and cook a few minutes more. Push the veggies to the sides of the wok, leaving a well in the middle. 
5. Lightly beat the eggs and pour into the well. When they begin to set, stir until cooked. Add the sauce and toss all together. 
6. Add the drained noodles and stir to combine. Add the bok choy leaves and stir through (the heat of the noodles will wilt the leaves just enough). Sprinkle on lime juice. Serve with peanuts and scallions, if desired.

And here's a recipe for the kale-- very basic.

Basic Braised Greens
This is a very, very basic recipe-- really just a foundation for whatever you are in the mood for. Add a handful of nuts or a little sweetener (honey, agave) for a nicely balanced dish.

1 medium onion
2 Tablespoons oil (canola is fine, but you can use olive oil if you prefer)
1 fat clove garlic
1 large bunch greens
1/4 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
dash balsamic vinegar

1. Peel and slice the onion. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant.
2. Meanwhile, peel the garlic and mince. Strip the stems off the greens and cut into 1-inch pieces. Wash well, in several changes of water. Leave wet.
3. When the onion is just beginning to change color, add the garlic and the greens. Cook, stirring, for several minutes over low heat until the greens deepen in color. 
4. Add the broth or wine, cover and let cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Remove to a platter and sprinkle on balsamic vinegar.

Have a great week!