Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inspiration - Week # 17

In the Grande box this week: Winter squash (Butternut and Sugar Loaf - a Delicata type); Superior White potatoes; yellow cooking onions; Kohlrabi; Broccoli or Kale; Swiss Chard or Parsley; Garlic or Raspberries; Spinach; Salad mix; Peppers mix and tomatillos or tomatoes

In my Grande box today I got chard, spinach and salad mix.  I think tomorrow or the next day I will have a little green washing and drying session. Seems more efficient to me.  Just remember that once you wash the greens they are not going to keep quite as long.  I have the winter squash and onions sitting on a window sill at room temperature.  I refrigerated the tomatillos but I find that peppers do quite well at room temperature as long as it is not too warm. 

Before I get to menu ideas - just a few reminders for ways you can use past posts to help you with some of the vegetables in this week's box.   If you are looking for kohlrabi recipes, see the post for June 17.   For guidance on how to make caramelized onions, see August 3.  And note that the blog has a search feature.  I have been trying to make good use of labels to help make it easier for you to find information that is buried in the blog.  For tomatillos, check out this recent article in the NY Times, which has several tomatillo recipes. There is an especially nice one for a green salsa using roasted tomatillos, serrano peppers, onions and cilantro.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/13/health/nutrition/13recipehealth.html?ref=nutrition

Maybe it is just the time of year, but I got on kind of a soup kick this week.  Soup is good food.  I like a first course of soup - it adds a bit of elegance to an ordinary meal and I think it helps fill you up so you don't eat too much of everything else. 

Menu ideas:

Soup and salad
Raw grated or julienned kohlrabi salad with a mustardy herb vinaigrette (dill would be nice to add if you still have some around.  Parsley also would go well with kohlrabi); Potato soup with greens (chard, cabbage or kale) and bacon or smoked sausage* ;  good crusty bread and butter. 

Soup and squash
Garlic soup*; Butternut squash gratin*;  apple raspberry crisp
The gratin is a little more work than most recipes I give you - but worth it.  Not for a week night.

Energy efficient oven dinner
Mixed green salad; Stuffed baked delicata squash*; roast chicken, baked apple. (Note - as long as the oven is on -- bake extra squash.  Scoop out and save mashed or pureed squash for a side vegetable or an ingredient in soup, bread or desserts.)

Knife practice
Cream of broccoli or chard soup; Roasted potatoes, onions and butternut squash; meat loaf or other baked meat, poultry or fish.  (For soup - just steam or boil chopped vegetables in a small amount of water.  Save cooking water.  Add vegetables to a white sauce.  Add cooking water to adjust thickness -- See post for Sept. 2 - Bechamel/white sauce)  If you want very smooth soup - use blender or food processor or food mill.   Remember to cool soup first if you are using blender or processor.

Pinto beans three ways - plus a classic dessert with a nutritious twist
Make a pot of well-seasoned pinto beans (See June 5 post) and a pot of rice.  Serve with plenty of tomatillo or tomato salsa, caramelized onion, and chopped parsley or cilantro.  If you are feeling ambitious, end the meal with flan - and use some pureed butternut squash in the flan. This recipe is pretty simple. http://www.culinate.com/books/collections/all_books/cooking_with_the_seasons_at_rancho_la_puerta/butternut_squash_flan

Crunchy and creamy brunch or supper
Spinach waldorf salad*; Cheese Omelet (you might like this with tomatillo salsa or some caramelized onion as a condiment) ; rye toast or crusty whole wheat bread.

Potato soup with greens and smoked pork  (This is a staple in our house.)
6 cups water
1 t. salt
1 pound potatoes peeled if desired, cut into 1/2 inch dice
3/4 pound kale or chard (washed, with tough stems and ribs removed)- cut into 1/2 inch shreds
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces smoked garlic sausage or smoked bacon, diced and fried until crisp
Bring salted water to a boil.  Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are falling apart.  Mash with a potato masher into a puree.  Add greens and garlic and olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste (remember that meat is salty.)  Simmer about 10 minutes, until greens are tender.  Divide among 4 warmed bowls.  Top each bowl with some of the meat.

Garlic Soup (from Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet) 
Serve with homemade croutons
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 rib celery, quartered

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a cooking pot.  Turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.  Check pot a few times and add water if necessary.  Cool soup and then puree in a blender or food processor.  Optional - add 1/4 cup dry sherry
(Note from Peggy:  I think a little soy sauce would be a good seasoning for this soup.  Jane Brody often leaves out salt in her recipes.  If desired, add a little salt or pepper.  A lot depends on how salty the broth is to start with.)

Butternut squash gratin  (Based on a recipe in Brenda Langton's Cafe Brenda Cookbook)
Olive oil
1 medium butternut squash
1 large or 2 medium onions
1 red bell pepper
6 cloves garlic
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (shitake are very nice if you can get them)
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (combination of parsley, sage and thyme would be nice.)
3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Sliced fresh tomatoes - about 1 1/2 pounds
2 cups grated monterey jack cheese
Peel and seed butternut squash and cut into 1/2 inch slices.  Roast slices on an oiled baking sheet at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until tender.
Thinly slice pepper, onion, garlic and saute until soft in olive oil. Set aside.
Saute mushrooms until lightly browned.
Layer in baking pan:  squash, mushrooms, sauteed vegetables, fresh herbs, pumpkin seeds, sliced tomatoes and cheese.
Bake covered at 350 degrees about 1/2 hour.  Bake uncovered about 10 minutes.

Stuffed baked delicata squash (for one squash.  Multiply recipe if desired.)
Cut squash in half vertically.  Scoop out seeds.  Make a stuffing: saute 1/4 cup onion and 1/4 cup red bell pepper or celery in butter or olive oil.  Add 1 cup coarse dry bread crumbs, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper and 2 T. chopped fresh parsley.  Moisten with a little water or broth.  Add 2 T. sunflower or pumpkin seeds if desired.  A few raisins or a little chopped apple are nice too.  Divide stuffing between two squash halves - pressing lightly.  Bake, covered for about 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Test with sharp knife to make sure squash is tender.  If baking dish seems too dry, add a little water during baking.

Spinach Waldorf Salad  (Note - all amounts are flexible - vary as desired)

Wash and dry fresh spinach leaves - about 2 loosely packed cups per serving.
For each serving, prepare 1/3 cup sliced or chopped fresh apple, 1 T. raisins, 2 T. sliced celery and 1 T toasted walnuts.  Optional - 1 T. blue or feta cheese or other favorite crumbling cheese. 
Dressing - enough for 4 servings.    Combine 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1/4 cup mayonnaise.  Add 1 t. sugar and 1 t. lemon juice.  Add 1 T. fresh mint or parsley if available.  Finely chopped scallion or chives is also a good addition.
Combine spinach and vegetables with dressing.  Serve.  Not the best salad for storing, due to the presence of cut up apple.


  1. they all sound fabulous to me...i have brenda's book, i think i shall try the gratin...i'm with you, i love soup...have made 4 soups on sundays already this fall...so healthy and easy...

  2. we made the salad tonight and loved it! I loved the mint in the dressing!