Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Inspiration - Week 3/2011

Happiness in a bowl: Fresh strawberries with unsweetened yogurt and brown sugar

In this week's box:  Red leaf lettuce and salad mix, sugar snap peas, garlic scapes, red oakleaf lettuce, STRAWBERRIES!, Fresh herbs (either basil, garlic chives or cilantro - this will vary over the next three weeks)  (If you need some ideas for how to use basil or cilantro - just use the search feature on this blog for some inspiration.)

 You have some lovely fresh lettuce in your box this week -- I recommend you wash and dry and eat the oakleaf lettuce early in the week as it is so tender and perishable.

I hope you are not having trouble using up all the produce in your box.  If it is a struggle, here is a tip.  Try thinking at least one day ahead about meals.  Maybe on your way to work Wednesday morning you can think about what you will make for dinner on Thursday.  That way Wednesday night you can do a little prep work or even pick up a special ingredient you might need.  Lots of people don't think about dinner until half an hour before they want to eat.  Sometimes that works just fine, but it also can lead to unnecessary anxiety and crisis in the kitchen.  Or emergency pizza deliveries.  In these days of instant everything,  thinking ahead is becoming a lost art. When it comes to putting meals on the table, I think it is essential. After a while it will become a habit and mealtime will be less stressful.

I will be at the Featherstone Farm strawberry festival on Saturday from 11-3 and I hope to see you there.  I'll be baking shortcakes that morning for strawberry shortcake and also demonstrating how to make a simple strawberry sorbet.

Here are some ideas so you can think ahead about some possible meals for this week.  If a dish is in italics, a recipe or link appears below.

1.  Cup of bean, lentil or pea soup,  Wilted lettuce salad, crusty bread and butter, fresh strawberries topped with plain yogurt or cream and a little brown sugar
I think the heads of red oakleaf lettuce in the boxes this week are pretty hefty.  Wilted lettuce salad is a great way to use up a lot of lettuce.  Saute some chopped garlic scapes or garlic chives (if you have them) along with the bacon for a little extra zing.  If you don't want to mess around with soup, you could put a handful or two of cooked white or garbanzo beans in the salad for some extra protein.  Not traditional but would be quite tasty and filling.

2.   Sugar snap peas and pork, rice

3.  Green salad with strawberries, corn meal muffins

4.  Garlic pasta, simple green salad, bread, an orange or pear

5.  Try this for breakfast or even lunch - real, from scratch muesli!  A great way to use some of your fresh strawberries.


Wilted lettuce salad
The wilted lettuce recipe is near the end of this blog post from last year.

Lettuce salad with strawberries
Wash and dry mixed lettuce greens.  Place in a large bowl and toss with a simple dressing made with 4 parts olive or walnut oil to one part fresh orange or lemon juice and a little salt and pepper.  Divide greens on to serving plates.  Place on top of the greens:  Sliced fresh strawberries, crumbled feta, goat or blue cheese, toasted walnuts or almonds and sliced sweet onion.  If you have a little proscuitto or other cured meat around a little of that might be nice on the side.

Sugar snap peas and pork - serves two
Ingredients:  1/4 pound thinly sliced lean pork - marinated in 1 T Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry and 1 T. soy sauce; 1/2 pound sugar snap peas (blanched for one minute in boiling water and drained); 1 T peanut oil; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 t. grated or minced fresh ginger,  1 cup chopped garlic scapes or 4 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces; 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. sugar, 1 t. cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water or stock.  Optional - 1 t. toasted sesame oil

Heat oil until very hot in wok or large frying pan.  Stir fry garlic, ginger and scallions or scapes 1-2 minutes.  Add pork and marinade and stir fry another 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, including snap peas,  and stir fry another minute or two, covering pan the last minute.
Serve hot with rice.

See last year's blog post all about rice here:  http://cookoutofthebox.blogspot.com/2010/06/tried-and-true-rice.html

This cereal is chock full of fiber, nutrition and great flavor.  You will never buy the boxed kind again once you have tried the real thing.  You can easily bring this to work for a great lunch.
You will need the following, per serving:  1/3 cup plain uncooked old fashioned rolled oats, 1/3 cup milk, 1 T. each of raisins or other dried fruit and your favorite nuts, 1 T bran, wheat germ or ground flax seed (optional), 1-2 T. honey, maple syrup or other sweetening,  1-2 t. fresh lemon or orange juice, 1/4 cup grated fresh apple, 1/2 cup fresh berries- whole or sliced.
Soak the oats in milk at least half an hour or as long as overnight.  Mix in remaining ingredients just before serving.  Serve plain or with additional milk or plain yogurt.

Garlic pasta
Cook your favorite pasta in well salted boiling water and drain, saving about 1 cup starchy cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, make this simple sauce.  Saute chopped garlic scapes and garlic chives and even some chopped green garlic if you have some in olive oil and butter (about 2 T. per serving).
Toss cooked pasta with the garlic sauce, adding some cooking water to desired consistency.  Serve with salt, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes if desired and plenty of grated Parmesan.

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