Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inspiration - Week #22

Contents of last week's Grande Box (a bonus sized box): Salad greens, chard, mustard greens, red daikon radishes, acorn squash, pie pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, garlic, red cabbage, leeks, cilantro, beets and beet greens.

This is part two of last week's Inspiration post.   I am getting pretty good at making short work of quantities of fresh vegetables - but even I have been having a little trouble using everything up lately.   So far I have only had to compost one little bunch of cilantro.  I still have some dill,  half a kohlrabi,  two leeks and several red daikon radishes in the crisper, waiting patiently for their turn.  Last night I had an extra few minutes in the kitchen, and a frying pan with a little bacon grease, so I quickly braised a mess of beet greens that needed attention.  We are going to eat those tomorrow night at room temperature as a salad - with a few diced pickled beets and some grated apple on top.

If you have extra fresh dill that is still in good shape, you can dry it.  Just put together a little bunch with a rubber band or string and hang it somewhere that is dry and well ventilated.  When the little leaves are completely dry, just crumble them into a jar and cover it up.    You will need some dried dill this winter when you are cooking with winter vegetables.

My friend, vinegar
Last weekend I made some pickled beets for the Saturday Tried and True post and I ended up with some extra pickling juice.  I looked at the red cabbage in my refrigerator and decided to see what would happen if I thinly sliced some and put it in the warm syrup that I used for the beets.  Turned out great - so now I have a little jar of pickled red cabbage in the refrigerator right next to the pickled beets.  Vinegar really is a wonderful invention.  I don't know how I would manage without at least five kinds on hand at all times.


Soup and salad, bread and pie - a harmonious quartet
Potato leek soup; cornbread; crunchy vegetable salad; pumpkin pie*

A recipe for potato leek soup is in last week's Inspiration post.  If you have some chives, try them with the soup.  Parley or dill would be nice too.  We had heavy cream around when I made this last week and I have to say the soup was fabulous with about half a cup of heavy cream standing in for half a cup of milk.

Depending on what you have on hand, you might also want to make some kind of salad with this meal.  Something simple like grated carrots or kohlrabi with a little oil and vinegar and a few sunflower seeds.  Or just some chopped apple and celery and raisins or grapes with a curry yogurt dressing.  Refreshing and crunchy and a nice counterpoint to the rich and smooth pie.

Somewhere over the rainbow
This meal has color:  magenta, deep green, dark red, orange, white, golden brown and dark brown:
Salad of braised beet greens and pickled or roasted beets; spaetzle with lightly browned onions and grated cheese; oven roasted diced carrots; braised red cabbage with a splash of vinegar; a pear and a piece of chocolate (Note - search the blog for the spaetzle recipe - in last week's Hands On post.)

Roast or pickle the beets and make the spaetzle ahead of time and this meal won't take much time at all to put together.  If you are in a hurry, you can also just peel raw beets and grate them.  They make a nice salad when dressed with some red wine vinegar, sugar, a little oil and some horseradish.

Asian night
Simple pickled daikon radish salad (use rice vinegar); chicken or pork or tofu stir fry with broccoli and carrots; rice.   I made stir fry for dinner last night and added some radishes - the smaller red globe kind.  They were great - added crunch just like water chestnuts. If you make some extra rice you can make rice pudding for another day.

Tribute to Barbara Billingsley
Did you read that Barbara Billingsley died recently?  She was Beaver Cleaver's mom on the 1957-63 sitcom Leave it to Beaver - one of my faves.  I imagine that she could have served a meal like this to Ward, Wally and the Beav on a Sunday in October.  She would have worn a shirtwaist dress, a string of pearls and high heels when serving dinner.  No one would have been texting during the meal.
Meat loaf*, Baked acorn squash, mashed potatoes, cole slaw made with red cabbage and grated carrots and a tangy vinegar-sugar-oil-celery seed dressing.  And a chocolate sundae.  Don't you think a single scoop of vanilla with some chocolate syrup would be just perfect with this comfort food meal?

Improv - you can do it
Vegetable soup; bread, rice pudding*
If you are a Featherstone Farm CSA shareholder, you are coming to the end of a 22 week season of cooking out of the box.  Congratulations.  Seems to me you are ready to make a vegetable soup without a recipe.  I did this a few days ago.  This is what I used:  half an onion, two carrots, three potatoes, about 10 stalks of chard - leaves and stems, a heaping cup of green beans (I had some in the freezer). a quart of canned whole tomatoes, a quart of simple vegetable broth, a few spoonfuls of basil pesto. a handful of chopped fresh parsley, two cups of cooked great northern beans and one medium sized zucchini, diced.   I simmered everything together until all the vegetables were tender.  (I added the chard leaves near to the end).   When I serve this soup tomorrow night, I might add a little more water and some cooked pasta.  And I will serve some grated Parmesan on the side. 

Pumpkin pie
Make your favorite pie crust and partially bake.  (This makes for a less soggy result.)  To partially bake, prick the bottom all over with a fork.  I like to put another light weight pie pan on top of the crust with a few dried beans on top to keep the crust from puffing up too much when it bakes.   You  can buy special pie weights made just for this purpose - they look like a long necklace of stainless steel beads.  I am going to have to get some of those one of these days. 

I'll tell you a secret.  You can make pumpkin pie without a crust.  Just call it pumpkin pudding.  Top with a little whipped cream and you can have the pumpkin pie experience with less effort and less calories.  Don't try this at Thanksgiving or you might have a rebellion on your hands.  (I know my family would protest.)

This is enough filling for a 9 inch pie.
2 cups pureed or mashed cooked pumpkin (or one 16 oz. can)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat until smooth.  Best to use an egg beater or mixer for this job.  Pour into prepared crust (or greased custard cups if making pudding).
For pie, place into pre-heated 425 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn down heat to 350 degrees and bake about another 45 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.  Cool at room temperature.  If desired,  chill before serving - about 4 hours.
If you are baking filling in custard cups, bake at 350 degrees until pumpkin mixture barely jiggles - custard will firm up as it cools.

Meat loaf
I haven't used a recipe to make meat loaf for years.   If I followed a recipe  - this would be it.  Try it and if you want adjust seasonings and flavors to your tastes.  You could even add a layer of cooked and chopped spinach in between two layers of meat when you are filling the loaf pan.  Meat loaf a la
Serves 6.  Make a double recipe and use the leftovers for sandwiches.
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably grass fed
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups bread, torn into small pieces and soaked in 1 cup of milk
1 egg
1 t. worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. dry mustard
1 t. dried thyme or sage or combination of both
1/4 cup ketchup or chili sauce plus another 1/4 cup for the top of the meat loaf
Mix all ingredients well - using your hands or a sturdy wooden spoon or stand mixer.
Pack meat mixture into a loaf pan.  Spread ketchup or chili sauce on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.  Let sit about 10 minutes before slicing. 

Rice pudding
This is a simple baked rice pudding - adapted from my 1943 edition of Joy of Cooking.
1 1/2 cups milk
pinch of salt
3 T. sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. finely grated lemon zest
2 cups cooked rice
dash of nutmeg
Mix all the ingredients except the rice.  Then stir in rice.  Sprinkle some nutmeg on top.  Bake in one quart greased baking dish in a 325 degree oven "until it is set".  Marion Rombauer Becker figured we would know when.  I am thinking about 20-30 minutes.  Depends on the shape and size of the dish you are using. It is okay if it is still a little jiggly in the middle - it will firm up as it cools. 

1 comment:

  1. While I'm a card-carrying beet-hater :) , I think I'll try the pickled cabbage idea. Thanks for sharing it!