Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inspiration - Week #20

Contents of this week's Grande box:  Purple and red potatoes, butternut squash, sweet dumpling squash, bunched dill, bunched Sugar Snax carrots, bunched spinach, bunched arugula, purple top turnips, kohlrabi and mixed peppers.

When I went to pick up my box at the farm yestserday afternoon, I had to go into Rushford for a few errands.  The bank clock on the corner said it was 80 degrees!  But the nights are cool, so it is still good cooking and eating weather.   The bunch of dill in my box is magnificent.  If your box contains a big bunch of dill, one thing you could do is make gravlax - salmon cured with dill.  Search the blog for my earlier post about gravlax.

You will notice a lot of dill in this week's menus.  Because you have beautiful dill.  And we need to make do with what we have.  If you end up with more than you can use,  just bunch it and hang it up somewhere that is dry and well ventilated - maybe a sunny window.  I did that about a week ago with some extra dill and it has dried up quite nicely.  As soon as I am sure it is bone dry I will crumble the leaf part into a jar for winter use.

Menus (recipes below for items marked with an asterisk)

Something in the oven
Roasted Chicken or other meat, fish or fowl; roasted carrots and turnips*; polenta or a baked barley pilaf, baked apple.  (Note - Thursday's post will be all about polenta)

Cheesy, crunchy and creamy plus chocolate
Raw slices or sticks of carrot, bell pepper and kohlrabi and dip (make your own dill dip with some yogurt and cream cheese and onion and dill and maybe a squirt of fresh lemon juice) ; Southwestern pizza*; something chocolate

Es schmeckt gut
Creamed Kohlrabi and dill*; Potatoes steamed with polish sausage and diced carrots;  caraway beer bread*

Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie)*, crusty bread, dumpling squash cut in half, seeds scooped out and baked with butter, honey and cinnamon (This could be almost like dessert.  Add a few chopped dates and almonds or walnuts and it will really be like dessert.)

Soup and salad
Simple salad of arugula with a balsamic vinaigrette; Butternut squash soup with carrots, potatoes, leek or onion and red bell pepper, whole wheat bread, sharp cheddar cheese and a fresh pear, apple or grapes.  You don't need a recipe for this soup -- just peel and chop vegetables and saute in some olive or vegetable oil for ten minutes or so to develop flavor.  Add vegetable or chicken broth or even water and simmer until everything is tender and kind of falling apart.  Season with salt, pepper and some parsley and thyme. (or curry powder) Add a little cream or yogurt if you want extra richness.  If you want more substance, add some cooked white beans to the soup.  Or a little cooked grain like barley or wheat berries.  Or some corn kernels.

Beans and greens
Crunchy salad with kohlrabi, radish and/or carrot - grated and dressed with vinegar, sugar, a little oil, dill, salt and pepper; White beans and arugula*; crusty bread; ice cream  (remember my rule.  If you eat kale you can eat ice cream.  I think arugula can qualify for the kale-ice cream rule.)


Roasted carrots and turnips
Peel vegetables and cut into similar sized pieces - about 1 inch in size.  Plan on about 1 cup vegetables per  person.  Place raw vegetables in a bowl with about 2 T oil for 4 cups vegetables.  Salt and pepper to taste.  If desired, add 1 T of honey or maple syrup to the oil for a little extra sweetness.  Roast on a baking sheet or other baking pan in one layer at 400 degrees about 30 minutes or until lightly browned and vegetables are tender.  Check after 20 minutes and move the vegetables around on the sheet for more even browning. 

This recipe is very similar to the recipe I usually use.  You could use all dill and no parsley.  You could make do with less spinach if you don't have two pounds.  Or add some arugula to the spinach.  Or buy more spinach to supplement the spinach in your box.  I know there is a lot of butter in this recipe -- but you don't eat this every day.  http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1918,158162-253192,00.html
You could even skip the phyllo dough and butter and cook the filling in a baking dish by itself. 

Caraway beer bread
3 1/2 cups flour (some or all whole wheat pastry flour if you have it; optional - substitute rye flour for one cup of the flour)
1 T brown sugar or honey
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 T. chopped fresh dill
1 T. caraway seeds
1 T. oil or melted butter or lard
1 12 ounce can or bottle of beer
Mix together dry ingredients well.  Add oil and beer.  Stir to blend - don't overwork the dough.  Turn into a greased round 8 or 9 inch cake pan.  Don't worry if dough is not smooth - this is a rustic loaf. Bake at 375 degrees about 50 minutes - until sharp knife or tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.  Serve warm.

Creamed kohlrabi and dill
Peel and grate or julienne the kohlrabi - you will want about 3-4 cups to serve 6.  Blanch in a large pot of boiling salted water for 3 minutes.  Drain and press out moisture.
Melt 4 T. (one half stick) butter in a large pot.  Add kohlrabi and toss well.  Add 1/2 cup cream, blend well and turn up heat slightly.  Cook, stirring, a few minutes until kohlrabi is well coated with cream.  Season with salt, a little lemon juice and 1- 2 T. fresh chopped dill.

Southwestern Pizza
For each pizza:
Place one large flour or corn tortilla on a baking sheet.  Cover with grated cheddar or monterey jack or co-jack cheese.  Place thin strips of fresh peppers on top of the cheese.  Bake at 425 degrees until peppers are cooked and cheese is bubbling.

White beans and arugula 
4 cups canned or cooked white beans
1/4 cup olive oil
2 t. finely chopped garlic
1 t. fresh sage, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped or one 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
3/4 t. salt, red or black pepper to taste
4 cups chopped fresh arugula
1 T. wine vinegar

Saute garlic in oil for a few minutes, add sage and saute a few minutes more.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.  Stir in wine vinegar and serve in a heated bowl with good crusty bread and extra olive oil.
If desired - this could be mixed with cooked pasta for a filling one dish meal.

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