Saturday, September 19, 2009

Abundance of the Seasons

This week's box contains:
  • Scallions
  • Basil
  • Purple Cauliflower
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Mystery (Strawberries) 
  • Gold Beets
  • San Marzano Tomatoes
  • Garnet Yams
We still have serrano chiles on hand, not to mention one poblano and one Corno di Toro Rosso.  Grand total on the beets now at lucky 13...

This is the time of year where the harvest means so many things.  As the seasons change, at least where we live, there are traditional summer favorites and early fall vegetables readily available.  As we depend on the weekly box for a majority of the food we eat, we work with what we have on hand.  I usually look for interesting combinations, an ethnic twist, or depend on Googling for inspiration.  Today's box offered many possible paths; here's what I did:

Scallions: some of the scallions were used for dinner tonight in the form of grilled scallion flat breads.  I made the following substitutes: Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour for all purpose flour and light sesame oil for generic vegetable oil, keeping the total oil at 3T, with 1.5T light and 1.5T dark sesame oil.  We also grilled vs. pan frying.  These were fantastic -- an excellent side for any Chinese meal, minus the rice.  The rest of the scallions may find their way into risotto later this week.

Basil: another batch of my favorite pesto for the freezer.

Purple Cauliflower: prepped for use later this week, by cleaning and cutting into florets.  Click here for my all time favorite cauliflower recipe.

Romaine Lettuce: honestly, I tossed it right along with the wilting salad mix from last week.  We are just not a salad eaters.  A better options would have been to leave them both in the swap box so at least someone could have eaten them...

Strawberries: cleaned, hulled and halved then added to the bag of frozen fruit that I use for smoothies.  My tried and true smoothie recipe is as follows:
Breakfast Smoothies
Serves 1

1c frozen fruit
1c low fat, unsweetened soy milk
2c water
2 scoops Vega Smoothie Infusion

Add all ingredients to the Vita-Mix
and blend well.
Gold Beets: roasted and pickled; gold beets for immediate consumption following this recipe.  I thought these were winners, Sean thought they tasted like dirt -- he's just not a beet eater.  The red beets on hand were prepped for long term storage following this recipe. I made the following substitutes: Penzey's Premium Pickling Spice for the caraway and mustard seed and Cyprus Black Lava Sea Salt
for pickling salt.

Tomatoes: with further inspiration from my friend Karen, of Promoting Central Indiana's Local Food Culture, we made some salsa to freeze following this recipe.  Freezing salsa had never occurred to me until Karen and I spoke Friday, but I'm willing to give it a go.  Since Karen and Thom eat locally all year, they've figured out quite a bit about what works and what doesn't.  See the story of their first "local" year here.

Garnet Yams: roasted.  My appreciation for the humble potato continues. Today I reached for warm spices and complementary oils, in this case light and dark sesame.
Roasted Yams with Chinese Five Spice
Serves 4

garnet yams (~2 pounds), diced
1T sesame oil (half light, half dark)
1t Chinese Five Spice
1t salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Clean and dice yams, toss with oil, salt and spices.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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