Bad at Blogging, Good at Eating

Summer Squash, Kale & Turkey Pasta

We ate this on Tuesday?  I’m pretty sure it was Tuesday.  I am writing about it on…Sunday?  What day is it?

Anyway – this was good.  One thing that I’m definitely getting better at is making up or adapting recipes.  When I first started cooking, I was a slave to the recipe.  This time, I took Mark Bittman’s Zucchini with Tomatoes and Chorizo and made it into a Gunt Original™.

Original Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express (Thanks again to my wonderful friend Candi for getting me this book):

Cut zucchini into quarter-inch disks; cook crumbled (Mexican) chorizo in olive oil for about three minutes or beginning to brown, then add diced shallot or onion and minced garlic; continue cooking until the shallot is translucent, a couple of minutes more.  Add the zucchini and some chopped tomatoes; cover and cook until the zucchini is tender, about five more minutes.  Add some lemon zest and juice, season with salt and pepper, serve.

I basically used this as a guide, which i mostly ignored – like I do with most things in my life.  We swapped summer squash for zucchini since that’s what we got in our CSA and turkey for chorizo because we hate Mexicans – OMG KIDDING.  WE LOVE MEXICANS AND THEIR CUISINE.  We did not have chorizo, but we had turkey, so we used that.

We cooked the turkey using one of the onions & a garlic clove from the CSA.  The onion was awesome – one was the perfect size for a pound of turkey and it was deliciously mild.  The garlic was a MIND FREAK.  When I busted open the bulb, inside there were only 4 GIANT cloves, not a million tiny-ass ones like you get at the store.  It was awesome.  I should have taken a picture.  For reasons why I didn’t please refer to the title of this post.

Anyhoo – we cooked up the turkey with some spices (paprika, salt, pepper, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper – we like pepper).  Then we added the kale.  Then we added a can of diced tomatoes with the juice, two cut up fresh tomatoes from the CSA & an 8oz jar of tomato paste to get it nice and sauce-like.  We threw in the summer squash and put a lid on that bitch and let it cook for like 10 minutes.  We ate it over orecchiette pasta, which is my favorite pasta fyi.  Please retain this knowledge and gift me with some for pasta day.  Which is not a real holiday, but it should be.

You can see more pictures of the foods and stuff at my flickr account.  As for the rest of the CSA this week, we still have a little kale left that we’ll probably make chips with.  I’ve been using the kohlrabi on my salads and it’s pretty good – nice crunch, slightly sweet.  I saved the leaves from the kohlrabi because I found this post that said they were good.  I was going to toss them in with the rest of the kale, so we’ll see what happens OH THE ANTICIPATION.  WHAT WILL SHE DO AND THEN NOT WRITE ABOUT FOR WEEKS?!?!  We have some garlic and an onion left as well.  I trimmed the greens of the onion and froze them.  I’m thinking that I can throw it in a stock someday?  Is that a wise thing to do?  It seemed like the right thing to do but I have no idea.  Please leave any input in the comments.  I promise to maybe listen but mostly ignore.

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CSA Week 4 All The Way Oh My God

Maple Creek Farm CSA Week 4 2010

Guys, we got our CSA Week 4 this week.  This is what was in the goods, left to rightish:

Kale
Young Onions – Ailsa Craigs for those of you who really know a lot about onions and/or are pretentious and like to refer to onions by people names.
Garlic
Kohlrabi – This thing looks totally crazy! Like a double rainbow oh my god.
Summer Squash
Tomatoes

So last week, I neglected to take pictures of our CSA and the meal we made with it.  The meal we made with it was a TOTAL BUST.  I am still in pain from this experience, but let me try to sum it up briefly so we can get to more important matters.

We tried to make skirt steak following Alton Brown’s recipe.  I even watched part 1 & part 2 of the show to make sure we’d do it right.  Despite all of our precautions, it was an EPIC FAIL.  If you’re going to attempt Alton Brown’s skirt steak fajitas, please note the following:

1) Use the proper charcoal – He doesn’t specify this in the show, but make sure you use NATURAL LUMP CHARCOAL.  If you don’t, your steak will be covered in ash & taste like dirt, even if you use his blow dryer method.

2) Use a proper cut of skirt steak – He talks about the difference between inner & outer skirt steak.  i can’t remember exactly, and the memory is still too painful for me to go back and double check the video (note: this blog is really informative & helpful), but I think the inner skirt steak is better than the outer.  If that is true, we probably had the outer.  Because this was tough as nails and tasted like dirty ass.

3) Slice the steak properly – Alton goes through a whole spiel on his show about how to properly cut the steak.  We didn’t do that right either.  Like I said, epic fail all around.

So that was a bummer, but we stir-fried the bok choy with a little cumin separately and that was delicious, so it wasn’t a total loss.  Just mostly.

Anyway, that is in the past – and now we have more food to eat!  I thought we were bad and wasted our lettuce from last week, but I bought a lettuce storage unit thing that has kept the lettuce crisp, so I will eat some salads this week & shred the kohlrabi madness over the top.  We’ll probably make some kind of gumbo with the garlic, onions & tomatoes.  And the plan is to do something moderately fancy with the kale, kohlrabi leaves & summer squash.

If I’m not too distracted by a double rainbow, I’ll be sure to post pictures and tell y’all all about it.

If you liked that, I recommend this & this as well.

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CSA Week 3

CSA week 3

So, this week we forgot to take a picture of what we got in our CSA.  So, I asked my good friend Nuverre – a MS Paint extraordinaire – to come up with an artistic rendering of what we got.  Above, on the left, is me.  On the right is our CSA share – it consisted of bok choy, 3 tomatoes, fresh garlic that did not look as much like balls as it does in the photo above, and lettuce that did not look as much like a giant vagina as it does in the photo above.

We did ok this week.  More on that later…

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Garlic Extravaganza

Our breath be KICKIN’ yo!  Allow me to show you why:

Garlic Scape Pesto

Reason #1: Garlic Scape Pesto – Take a bunch of garlic scapes, a few tsp of basil (I didn’t have fresh so I just used small frozen cubes from Trader Joe’s), grated parmesan, pine nuts, and some olive oil.  Throw all of that in the food processor and prepare to be knocked on your ass by the sheer power of garlic pesto.

We tossed it with some rotini and had it with a summer salad of grilled corn, grilled asparagus, cilantro, roasted red peppers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar & a little squeeze of lime:

Garlic Scape Pesto & Grilled Corn & Asparagus Salad

It was good.  The lightness of the salad perfectly complimented the garlic power.  PS – the asparagus I purchased at the farmer’s market was purple asparagus, but I soon found out that purple asparagus turns green when you cook it.  Lame.  I guess if you sprinkle some lemon juice or vinegar on the stalks before you cook them they stay purple. FOOD for thought, I guess.  Puns.

Reason #2: White Bean & Garlic Scape Dip

I went to the farmer’s market this weekend and got more garlic scapes, so we used the rest of them tonight in this dip.  Again, MEGA GARLICKY – the garlic is so powerful, it’s almost spicy.  It’s like little warrior cloves are in my throat stabbing me with their yummy goodness.

We served this with a chicken saltimbocca recipe that was SO GOOD.  I sauteed the rest of the kale from week 2 and substituted that for the spinach the recipe called for.  Yum, dudes. YUM:

Chicken Saltimbocca, White Bean & Garlic Scape Dip, PEAS

Very green looking plate, but trust me – it was very, very good.  And PEAS.  These did not come from the CSA (also from the farmers market), but FUCKIN’ PEAS.  I love peas.

So, tomorrow is week 3! And we have yet to waste any food our first two weeks!  We will celebrate by eating all of the garlic bean dip in breathing heavily in all of our friends’ faces.  Oh, and we got an email tonight saying that there might be…you guessed it…GARLIC in our share tomorrow! Only time will tell…

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CSA Week 2 (or This is How I Blog)

Oh hai.  So – it’s been a moderately busy week for me.  So moderately busy, that I haven’t had a chance to blog and/or cook much.  But look what we got in our CSA share this week!

CSA Week 2

Noms! That’s some strawberries, more garlic SCRAPES, red leaf lettuce & red russian kale!

Before we get into this week – let me show you how we finished up our week 1 share:

Week 1 final dinner

AAAAWWWWW YEAH. You like that don’t you? That’s a pork chop marinated in soy sauce, ground mustard, olive oil, cayenne pepper & salt.  That’s some grilled corms.  That’s some wilted asian greens with sriracha.  That’s some GRILLED GUACAMOLE.  Yes, almost everything on this plate hit the grill before it hit my trap.

Grillt

Now, you’re probably thinking – why on earth would you grill avocado?  Because this recipe told me to, dummy.

Grilled Guacamole recipe from the kitchn

It was good – I didn’t really get the “smoky” taste I was promised, but it had a fuller taste compared to regular non-grilled guacamole.  We also used the rest of our mini onions in the guac and they were awesome.  We are not onion fans but these were extremely mild.

So we felt successful not having wasted anything from our first week.  We’re doing aiight with our second week even though we haven’t cooked much.  We ate the strawberries straight up.  The red leaf lettuce is great and we’ve been eating many a salad.  And we just used half of the kale to bake some kale chips:

Kale Chips

These were super easy to make.  Just cut the stem from the kale, toss with some olive oil and spices of your choosing (we used kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder & a little pepper) and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  It reminds me of my favorite brussels sprout recipe.

Today I went to Eastern Market in Detroit and picked up some more garlic SCRAPES so I can make a yummy sounding garlic scape pesto.  That’s scheduled for tomorrow, so STAY TUNED.

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Garlic Scape & Prosciutto Pizza

Garlic Scape & Prosciutto Pizza

At some point here, I’ll get better at taking fancy food pictures.  But I didn’t have time to fuck around.  The picture needed to be taken, and this pizza needed to be consumed.

This pizza was inspired by one that I saw when I was googling garlic scapes.  She knows how to take a good picture. 

I was so excited to make this.  We are huge garlic fans.  Very pro garlic.  We usually roast two bulbs of garlic and put them on our pizzas, so I was really eager to see how these scapes turned out.  Also, garlic scapes smell amazing.  I want to make a necklace out of them and wear it all the time.  It would be like a candy necklace, but for adults who love garlic.

We started with our favorite pizza dough recipe.  We have yet to play around with making our own pizza sauce yet, but hopefully we will do so this summer.  For this we just used a jar of sauce.  I tossed the scapes with some olive oil and kosher salt and placed them on a grill pan.  I grilled them until they got charred grill lines.  THEN I BIT ONE.  And OMG – it was like if asparagus & garlic boned and had squiggly little babies.  SO GOOD.

We sliced up some prosciutto and threw that & some cheese (mozzarella balls & shredded motz) on the pizza & baked at 500 degrees for about 10 minutes. 

The Verdict:
It was awesome, duh.  One of our top pizzas.  Cooking the prosciutto helped tone down the salty flavor just enough, and the pieces that were sticking out beyond the cheese got all crispy and delicious.  The scapes are much more mild than roasted garlic, but the combination of the scapes & the meat was just right.  My lovely husband also loved this.  We could probably eat this every day forever.

Lessons Learned from the CSA:

4. I fucking love garlic SCRAPES.

Well, we’ve done pretty good with our first share – we only have a little lettuce and some of the onions left.  We are going out of town tonight, so we’ll have to hurry and use up the remnants of the share on Sunday/Monday before we get our second box on Tuesday.

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Crisp Tofu and Asian Greens With Peanut Sauce

Tonight I made our first real dinner from CSA noms.  I knew I wanted to use some of the greens & the snap peas, so I chose a dish from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express
cookbook.  This cookbook features recipes written in simple paragraph form.  They are imprecise to encourage cooks to use their own judgment, which I like – because I’m usually the type of cook that is a slave to recipes.  This book encourages me to experiment.

CSA Dinner 1: Crisp Tofu & Asian Greens with Peanut Sauce

Mark Bittman’s Crisp Tofu And Asian Greens With Peanut Sauce
Slice firm tofu into strips or cubes and pat dry; roughly chop a bunch of the greens.  Pan-fry the tofu in some vegetable oil until it browns on all sides, about four minutes; remove and pour off all but a little of the oil.  Add the greens and a pinch or two of red chile flakes, and continue cooking until the vegetables turn dark green, about three minutes.  Mix together a half cup of peanut butter, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, and fresh lime juice to taste; add a bit of water if necessary to get a nice consistency.  Add the sauce to the pan along with reserved tofu and toss to coat.  Garnish with crushed peanuts & serve.

Amberto’s additions
I always freeze my tofu until I’m ready to use it, which helps keep it extra firm.  I added chinese 5 spice powder (about a tablespoon) to the tofu as it was cooking, I used some of the mini purplette onions (green stems & all) and I cooked it for 10-15 minutes to get it really good & brown.  Instead of red chile flakes, I used a generous squirt of sriracha.  I added snap peas & some leftover spinach to the greens once they wilted.

The Verdict
I thought this was pretty good.  The only problem I had with it was the sauce.  I think 1/2 cup of peanut butter was a bit too much.  The flavors were ok, but adding soy, water & heat didn’t help the consistency at all.  It stayed super thick & clumpy.  If I were to do it over, I’d mess around with the sauce before I started cooking to get it to the perfect consistency.  The spice was great, and I liked all the flavors.  If the sauce would have been a little more “saucey” it would have been just right. My lovely husband, on the other hand, HATED this.  He likes peanut butter, but really didn’t like the peanut butter flavor of this dish.  He generally doesn’t like crushed peanuts on stir fry or thai food so maybe that’s why he didn’t like this.  DUNNO – but I probably won’t make it again.

The snap peas from the CSA were awesome! I hope we get more of those.

Lessons learned from the CSA:

3. Holy crap, greens cook fast! And wilt down a lot.  I probably could have used double the amount.  The flavor of the asian greens was great after it was cooked.  They were much more mild and less peppery than they are in a salad.

WEEEEEEEE! Are we having fun yet? I AM! Tomorrow – Garlic SCRAPE pizza! The Husband is sure to like that, amirite?

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