Monday, May 30, 2011

Inspiration - Week 1/2011

This week's box:  Mixed salad lettuces, spinach, asparagus, green garlic, rhubarb and radishes.  

Introduction
For the next 21 weeks I am going to be cooking out of my Featherstone Farm CSA box and sharing ideas for meals and recipes with you.  I also will be happy to answer your cooking questions if you e mail me at cook@featherstonefarm.com.  My goal is to help you use all the vegetables and fruits in your CSA box - and have fun doing it.   If at all possible let's avoid vegetable anxiety, okay?

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran in the kitchen - I hope you find this blog useful and inspiring and maybe even funny once in awhile.  I welcome your comments and also encourage you to share your ideas for menus and recipes - either by commenting on the blog or posting on Featherstone's facebook page.

I will be picking up my box from the farm every Monday afternoon and posting menu and recipe ideas by about noon every Tuesday.   I expect to post one other day each week as well.   For the most part I will try to keep things simple.  I will include occasional tips for saving time and effort.  I know you are busy.  Make sure to use the search feature in the blog too -- there are lots of posts from last year that you might find interesting.

I get a Grande box each week.  I can easily use up the contents - there are three adults in our household (husband Frank and my Dad and me) and we don't eat out very often.   We like eating lots of vegetables - even for breakfast.  We like meat, too.  But we eat meat with our vegetables.  Not vegetables with our meat.

I have included a rhubarb crisp recipe this week.  But if you have a grande box you have enough rhubarb for a rhubarb pie!  (about 5-6 cups for a nine inch pie).  The Betty Crocker cookbook calls for only 4 cups rhubarb, but I think that is skimpy.   I like a pie with a lot of filling.  This is what six cups of chopped rhubarb looks like:

six cups of chopped rhubarb
You will need enough dough for a two crust pie.  Just mix the rhubarb with about 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/3 to 1/2 cup flour. (use more flour if you are using 5-6 cups rhubarb)   Let stand about 15 minutes and turn into unbaked 9 inch pie shell.  Dot with about 2 T butter and cover with another crust.  Bake at 425 degrees about  45 minutes - until crust is light golden brown and filling is bubbling.
If you have a chica box, just mix the rhubarb with a little chopped fresh apple and proceed as directed.  Add a little cinnamon if desired.
If you need some help with the pie crust, check out my pie video here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/BullishOnRhubarb#p/u/4/J5o6WhGZtAQ

Note:   Recipes included at the end of blog for dishes printed in italics. I am often purposely vague on exact amounts of ingredients.  That is because I want you to learn to use your own judgment when you cook.   Use more or less of some things as your own tastes and the contents of your refrigerator or pantry dictate. 

Menu 1
Lettuce salad with simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.  Top with a few thinly sliced radishes and toasted sunflower seeds.
Asparagus-mushroom pasta (note - make extra pasta if you decide you want to make pasta salad.  And save some asparagus for the salad.)
Bread
Small piece of flavorful cheese


Menu 2 (good for a brunch or light supper)
Poached eggs on toast or English muffin topped with creamed spinach.  Add a slice of ham or Canadian bacon if desired.  Here is how to make a cream sauce for spinach:  http://cookoutofthebox.blogspot.com/2010/09/hands-on-bechamel.html  Some grated nutmeg is very good with creamed spinach.
Rhubarb crisp


Menu 3
Spinach-radish-rice salad (make extra and bring some to work for lunch)
Broiled fish or chicken or other protein of your choice
Sliced oranges or pineapple


Menu 4
Lettuce salad - add some chopped fruit, nuts and cheese - whatever you have on hand.  Or maybe add some chopped hard boiled egg and sliced onion.  Toss with olive oil and vinegar.  Sherry vinegar is nice.
Potato garlic spinach soup
Rye crackers or bread
Leftover rhubarb pie or crisp

Menu 5
Asparagus pasta salad
Bread
Ice cream or sherbet



Asparagus mushroom pasta
Ingredients:  Chopped green garlic (about 1 t. - or more if you like garlic- per serving); asparagus cut in one inch pieces (about 3-4 spears per serving); fresh mushrooms - about 2 oz. per serving; olive oil; favorite dried pasta - linguini is nice or use rotini or mostaccioli if you are cooking extra for a pasta salad.
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add plenty of salt to cooking water.  While pasta is cooking,  saute garlic, asparagus and mushrooms in about 1-2 T olive oil until vegetables are tender.  (Use the white part of the garlic stalk.)  Drain pasta, saving about a cup of starchy cooking water.  Toss pasta with vegetables, adding water as desired to keep pasta from being too dry.   Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Rhubarb crisp
Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces.  Add about 1 1/4 cups of sugar per 6 cups of rhubarb.  Or 3/4 cup sugar for 3 cups rhubarb.  Mix well and put rhubarb into a baking pan large enough so rhubarb is not more than about an inch deep.  Sprinkle with topping.  Bake at 375 degrees about 1/2 hour - until top is browned and rhubarb is bubbling.
Topping:  Mix together until crumbly:  1 cup flour (white or whole wheat pastry), 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 t. ground cinnamon, a pinch of salt and 1 stick of butter, cut into small pieces.  Optional - add chopped toasted nuts.  (Tip - double this recipe and freeze extra.  Use with any fresh fruit for a quick dessert.)

Spinach radish rice salad  (You can take this to work for lunch.)
Ingredients - rice, radishes, spinach, toasted sesame seeds, asian vinaigrette dressing.  Nice additions - thinly sliced green or red bell peppers, sliced scallions or spring onions, toasted almonds,  green peas or edamame soybeans.

Cook rice and cool - enough for about 1 cup per serving.  Sushi rice would be nice in this dish.  Or brown rice.  Wash and dry spinach.  Stack leaves and slice in thin strips.  Thinly slice radishes.  Mix rice, radishes, spinach and toasted sesame seeds in proportions that appeal to you.  Make Asian vinaigrette:  2 t. finely chopped green garlic, 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, 1/3 cup salad oil, 2 T. toasted sesame oil, 2 T. rice vinegar (or a little more to taste), about 2 t. sugar or to taste, 2 t. soy sauce.  Adjust vinaigrette ingredients to your taste.  Toss rice and vegetables with dressing.  This amount of dressing should be plenty for 4 servings.  Save any leftovers for green salad.


Potato garlic spinach soup
Ingredients:  potatoes (about 8 oz. per person), 1 t. chopped green garlic per serving, spinach - about 12 leaves per person, milk or cream, butter, salt and pepper
Peel and chop potatoes.  Chop garlic.  Saute in butter about 5 minutes, add water about 1 cup per serving.  Cover and simmer until potatoes are soft.  Mash potatoes coarsely, add spinach, milk or cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with grated Parmesan.


Asparagus pasta salad
We had this for dinner tonight.  Note I went heavy on the veggies and light on the pasta.


Ingredients:  cooked pasta, lightly cooked asparagus pieces (steam or saute), sliced or torn spinach leaves, sliced radishes, sliced fresh sorrel leaves (If you have access to sorrel, which is in the spinach family, you are lucky.  This is an easy to grow perennial herb - first up in the spring - and has an acidic lemony flavor.  I prefer it fresh rather than cooked.  Find a plant and start one at your house.)  Here is what sorrel looks like: 
 Use your favorite lemony vinaigrette salad dressing on this salad- preferably homemade.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, thank you for all your wonderful ideas, and for posting so early in the week too! We pick up our box on Friday, and now I have an idea of what I'll be making next week and what I need to pick up ahead of time. I can't wait to get our first box!!

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  2. Very good! I think that you have done a great job! FANTASTIC!!!!
    Cooking Equipment

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