Monday, September 13, 2010

Inspiration - Week # 16

In this week's Grande box:  broccoli, bunched dill, red potatoes, sweet and red onions, sweet and hot peppers, radishes, heirloom tomatoes (there might be one more week for tomatoes after this), braising greens (with Asian and mustard greens and spinach), raspberries (some boxes this week and some next), acorn and snow dumpling squash

As I write this I am looking out at the Mississippi River on my left as it flows by McGregor, Iowa.   Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin's second oldest city (1673) is just across the river.  On my right a long freight train squeals and scrapes as it rumbles by.  As soon as I finish this post, we are going out for a catfish dinner.  (Tomorrow I am going to tell you all about my search for Mississippi River catfish.)  So I am not going to mess around.  Let's talk about some meals you can cook this week -- out of your CSA box.  There are a lot of broccoli ideas - because I think you are going to have a lot of broccoli.  Jack says Featherstone's broccoli crop is wonderful this year.  Note that I have not included winter squash in menus or recipes for this week.  That is because Jack recommends that the squash have a little more time to develop their flavor while living at your house.  Put in a warm (room temp) and dry place for another 2 to 3 weeks.  Jack says maybe the top of your refrigerator. It will be worth the wait.

If you see an asterisk after a menu idea- there is a recipe at the end of the post.

Pretend you are in a trattoria
Italian sausage with sweet or hot peppers and onions.  You can saute the peppers and onions and sausage all together.  Or you can roast the meat and vegetables together in the oven.  Use olive oil and your sweet Alisa Craig onions for this dish.; polenta or boiled potatoes; heirloom tomato salad*; good bread for sopping up all the juices.  Have a juicy fresh peach (if you can find one) or pear for dessert.  Or a few dried figs and a small orange or tangerine.

Three reds and a green with lots of fresh dill
Radish salad*;  Salmon (wild Alaskan if you can find it) - poached, baked, broiled or grilled; boiled red potatoes with melted butter and fresh dill  - put some on the fish too; broccoli vinaigrette salad*
(Note - if you don't want to take the time to make broccoli salad, just steam some broccoli, nestle it right next to the potatoes and throw some dill butter on it, too.)  If you want to save your broccoli for other recipes this week, then use any other vegetables that need to be eaten - maybe your green or yellow beans?  Or bok choy?  Or edamame?

Peanut butter - not just for sandwiches
Broccoli with spicy peanut sauce* served over thin egg or rice noodles or rice.  Add some cubed tofu to the broccoli if you want.  A simple baked egg custard would be a comforting end to this meal.

Asian braise
Braised greens Asian style*; Rice; roasted or baked chicken or BBQ pork; ice cream or sorbet

Broccoli for brunch or lunch or even supper
Broccoli souffle*; roasted red potatoes; radish, dill and butter sandwiches*; fresh raspberry parfait*


Heirloom tomato salad (1 1/4 pounds should serve about 4)

Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and arrange on individual salad plates.  Drizzle about 2 t. oil over each serving.  If you have some pesto - stir some in with the oil and drizzle that.  Sprinkle just a pinch of good salt over each plate.  Serve at room temperature, NOT cold.  If you have fresh basil, chiffonade some leaves and sprinkle those on the salads.  (Don't use pesto if you have fresh leaves.) To chiffonade:  stack about 8 leaves on top of each other.  Roll up the long way.  Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut into thin strips.

Radish salad - serves 4
one cup radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup cucumbers, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sweet onions, chopped or thinly sliced
(If you don't have cucumbers, use extra radishes.  You could also use thinly sliced sweet peppers in this salad)

3 T chopped fresh dill
Juice and zest from one lemon (about 3 T juice)
1 cup plain yogurt (you can drain in a fine strainer for a few hours if you want a thicker product)
2 t. sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Place vegetables in large bowl.  Mix dressing in smaller bowl.  Add dressing to vegetables.  Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

Broccoli Vinaigrette Salad
Trim the bottom tough ends off broccoli stalks.  Peel the stalks if desired. 
Separate the head into florets and slice the stalks.  Cook in boiling salted water about 4 minutes.  Drain in a colander and spread on towels to cool and dry.
Meanwhile, make dressing.  Whisk together or blend in a food processor or blender: 2 T. red wine vinegar, 3 T. dijon mustard, 2 T. fresh chopped dill, 1 cup oil (half olive and half vegetable), salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Place broccoli in a shallow serving dish.  Pour vinaigrette over broccoli.  Marinate at least an hour.  Serve at room temperature.
Variation:  add strips of raw or roasted red sweet pepper; add thinly sliced red onion

Broccoli with peanut sauce
Prepare broccoli the same way you would for the salad -- see preceding recipe.  You want the broccoli just tender-crisp.
Prepare peanut sauce:
Spicy peanut sauce (Plenty for about six cups cooked broccoli or one pound of pasta. This keeps well in the refrigerator – make a double batch for another day.
1 cup peanuts-only peanut butter (salt added is ok) – chunky or smooth
1 cup hot water
1 T peanut oil
2 1/2 t. fresh garlic – minced fine
2 t. fresh ginger – minced fine (optional)
2 T soy sauce or tamari
2 T hoisin sauce (optional – find this at an Asian market or ask your grocer to stock this great condiment. If you omit this, add an extra two teaspoons each of sugar, vinegar and soy sauce)
2 T Asian toasted sesame oil (optional but very nice if you have it)
1 T chile paste (Asian style) or red pepper flakes to taste or finely chopped fresh hot chile peppers
2 T brown sugar, white sugar or honey
5 T rice or cider vinegar
Gently saute garlic and ginger in peanut oil for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed. Pour over cooked broccoli. Optional additions: chopped sweet red or green pepper, tofu cubes, chopped sweet onion or scallions, chopped fresh cilantro.
Serve broccoli and peanut sauce mixture over rice or thin rice or egg noodles.  Add a wedge of lime if desired.

Braised greens Asian style
Wash greens and shake or spin dry.  It is okay if some water still clings to the leaves.  Slice or chop greens into large pieces.   Heat 1-2 T oil in pan until hot.  Add chopped fresh garlic to taste and then add greens.  (work fast to avoid burning the garlic) Add a few tablespoons of soy sauce, cover and turn down heat.  Braise a few minutes until greens are tender.  Optional -- add chopped hot peppers when you add the garlic.

Broccoli souffle - serves three to four

4 whole eggs plus one egg white
3 T. butter
1 T. finely chopped shallots or onion
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked broccoli
3 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk, warmed
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

Separate eggs.  Place egg whites from four eggs in large clean dry bowl.  Set aside the three yolks.
Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish well and sprinkle in about 1 T of cheese evenly in the dish.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and adjust oven rack to center position.

Make a bechamel sauce with the butter, shallots, flour and milk.  (See post from  Sept. 2 for a detailed guide to bechamel sauce)  Whisk in egg yolks.  (add a little sauce to the yolks first - then slowly add the warmed yolk mixture back to the bechamel sauce, to avoid curdling.  Add a pinch or two of nutmeg if you like that flavor)  Add the broccoli to the sauce.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Gently stir about 1/4 of the egg whites into the sauce to lighten it.  Then fold the broccoli and sauce mixture into the rest of the egg white, taking care to lose as little air as possible.  It is all right if some streaks or patches of white remain.  Pour the egg mixture into the prepared baking dish, using a rubber scraper to scrape the bowl.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Put dish into oven and immediately turn down to 375 degrees.  Bake about 30 minutes, or until the souffle is puffed and golden brown.  Serve immediately.  (You can hold in a turned off oven about 5 minutes.)

Fresh radish sandwiches - for each sandwich:
Thinly slice radishes.  Mix softened butter with fresh dill.  Spread two slices whole wheat bread with dill butter.  Add a thin layer of sliced radishes.  Place another slice of buttered bread on top.  Cut into wedges.  You can also do this with thinly sliced cucumbers.  Or heirloom tomatoes (slice fairly thin and drain a bit first so they are not too wet.)

Fresh raspberry parfait - per serving
Use old fashioned sundae dishes if you have them - or stemmed wineglasses.  Layer the following in a glass:  1 T berries, 1/4 cup yogurt (use plain yogurt and sweeten yourself to taste.  Drizzling with honey is a nice touch), 1/4 cup cookie crumbs or granola or toasted oats and almonds.  Or what the heck - a few chocolate chips.  Make two or three layers, ending with a dollop of yogurt and a berry.  Refrigerate at least an hour and up to overnight before serving.

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