Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inspiration - Week # 7

In this week's box: blue potatoes, 1 bunch basil, zucchini,  green garlic, Alisa Craig onions (sweet), red leaf lettuce, beets, kale.

I just spent about two hours in the kitchen having my own personal CSA party.  I know two hours sounds like a long time, but I did get a lot done.  It was more fun than watching reality TV, that is for sure.   I will sleep better knowing that the vegetables are snug in their bags and jars and meal time will be easier all week.  I made another batch of pesto with the basil and popped it right into the freezer.  I roasted some garlic and even caramelized about half the onions. (The onions can cook away whilst you do other chores.  Multi-tasking is the cook's friend.)  The lettuce is washed and dried and bagged.  Kale washed - half cut up and braised.  The other half shaken dry and bagged.  Potatoes in the refrigerator too because they are "new" potatoes - not cured.

Plus I triaged the vegetable crisper.   I try to do this once a week - it really helps me stay on top of the produce situation.  I like to empty the whole thing and give it a quick rinse.  Then I dry it and repack the veggies.  This way I am much less likely to forget what I have - like the little bag of green beans I found tonight.   I know some of you are thinking - man, she needs to get a life.  Rinsing the vegetable crisper once a week!  But it really goes fast and trust me, this is a good habit to develop.  Helps prevent waste.  You can skip a week once in a while - I do.

Now for some meal ideas.  Dishes marked with an asterisk means recipe is included in this post. 
Note that I have included a recipe for roasted garlic - that can be served with bread for any meal if you wish.   Roasted garlic is a great addition to mashed potatoes, salad dressings or greens.  Or just mixed with a little butter or oil and used as a spread for bread or crackers.  It can be frozen.

Minestrone Soup*; simple leaf lettuce salad; grapes

Marinated raw beet salad on lettuce leaf*; Baked blue potatoes; sauteed sliced zucchini; meat, poultry or fish

Caramelized onion and kale over pasta*; goat cheese or blue cheese with nuts and dried fruit

Cold beet borscht* with boiled blue potatoes; rye bread or crackers; chocolate ice cream

Frittata with sauteed grated zucchini, caramelized onion and basil (or pesto); corn bread

Minestrone Soup
Minestrone soup can take many forms.  It is basically a hearty vegetable soup with Italian seasoning.  Ingredients can vary according to what you have on hand and the season.  This recipe is only a guide to help you get started.  This soup is nice served with grated parmesan cheese on the side.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
About one cup each: diced zucchini, diced potato, chopped green beans (or peas if you have them)
About 2 cups chopped kale (or spinach or chard)
One can tomatoes (28 oz. is a typical store size.  I would use one quart home canned.)
about 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
handful of chopped basil or a few spoons of pesto
salt and pepper to taste
a bay leaf is nice if you have it

Saute onions, carrot and garlic in olive oil until softened.  Add all the rest of the vegetables along with about 6 cups water or broth.   (More or less broth/water depending on how thick you like your soup)  Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer, partly covered, until all vegetables are tender.  If you need to stretch this soup because a few unexpected guests arrive, then add a few cups of cooked macaroni and some more water or broth.  This soup is even better served the second day.

Marinated raw beet salad
Click this link for a good basic raw beet salad recipe - along with several very other recipes for beets.
If you are still resisting beet literacy, this link might get you started.  If you absolutely insist on maintaining beet resistance - then look for a beet buddy.  Because I have to tell you, if you are going to be a happy Featherstone CSA member, you will either need to learn to embrace beets in all their glory or else find a beet buddy.  If you feel you need some one on one personal beet counseling or encouragement, I am at your service.   You can contact me at

Caramelized onions and kale over pasta
It is really easy to caramelize onions.  You do not need to go to a fancy restaurant to get these. You can make them at home.
Start by thinly slicing a few cups of onions.  I like to cook my onions with a mixture of olive oil and butter - about 1 T. fat to 1 cup sliced onions.  Cook the onions in the butter/oil in a large skillet over medium heat about 15 minutes.  Then add a little salt, lower the heat and cook about another 10 minutes.  If desired, you can add a little white wine to the onions if they seem too dry.  Or just a pinch of sugar if they need more sweetness.
Wash kale, cut out tough rib and chop or cut into strips.  Saute in a little oil and garlic, add a tablespoon or two of water and cover.  (You can also add some bacon or pancetta or sausage along with the garlic.)  Braise until kale is tender - about 10-12 minutes. Stir every so often to make sure kale doesn't dry out too much.
Combine the onions and kale and serve over cooked pasta.  A little crumbled feta or blue cheese is a good complement to this dish.  Toasted walnuts would also be good.

Cold beet borscht
This recipe is adapted from a Molly Katzen's recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook (new revised edition)
4 large beets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 t. salt
1-2 T. lemon juice, to taste (you could also use red wine vinegar)
2-3 T. sugar or honey, to taste
1-2 T. fresh dill, minced (or 2 t. dried dill)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
1/4 cup finely minced sweet onion
2 c. buttermilk

Scrub beets and trim.  Cover with water, bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer until beets are tender - time will vary depending on size of beets.
Remove beets from cooking water.  Save 3 cups of cooking water in a bowl or pan.  When beets are cool enough to handle, peel and grate beets.  Stir together grated beets, cooking water and all other ingredients except the buttermilk.  After all ingredients are cold, stir in the buttermilk.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve with slices of potato.  If you have blue potatoes, the combination of bright pink soup and blue potatoes should be quite striking. 

Roasted garlic
Trim top and root end of bulb.  Place several bulbs in a heavy pan with a cover.  Add about 1/4 inch of water to the pan and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the garlic.  Cover pan and bake at 375 degrees about 30 minutes - or until garlic is tender.  Once it is tender, drizzle on a little more oil, uncover and roast another 7-10 minutes.  To serve, just separate the cloves and squeeze out the roast garlic.  You can squeeze out a quantity of roast garlic and freeze if desired.


  1. oo peggy, great recipes!! thank you! i LOVE beets so am excited to hear more about those...i think i'll make your minestrone today!

  2. Last year in the CSA the first time I'd ever tried (and liked) fresh beets.

    I made this beet risotto last week. It was so beautiful with little cubes of beets like rubies! (It lacked a little in flavor though- I think I'd use more garlic and maybe a vegetable broth next time)

    I saved one of the roasted beets to put on a salad the next day- and as a result, learned a new word: beeturia - eating a lot of beets can tint your urine red (harmless but it was a bit alarming- thanks Google!)

  3. Can you roast green garlic?

  4. yes you can -- I did and it worked fine.

    It might depend on the level of maturity of the green garlic - the kind appearing in your boxes now is just fine in my opinion. Perhaps not quite as strong as if it were fully mature.