CSA Week 2

Yesterday was CSA pickup day, and this time I did not forget the eggs! Fresh pastured eggs are one of my favorite things to eat these days, which is saying a lot because up until two years ago, if I could so much as taste the egg in anything, I did not want to eat it (I’m looking at you overly eggy waffles). But after trying pastured eggs, my whole world changed, now there is not a single meal I wouldn’t add a soft cooked egg to.

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This weeks haul was impressive as usual, I even took the Mei Qing Bok Choy home this time. Hopefully it wont go to waste. Winter boxes seem to rotate around a common theme, citrus, hardy leafy greens, and squash. This week was no exception. My fruit bowl is nothing but citrus these days, this weeks box added more lemons, mandarin oranges, and two pomelos.

fruitOn the green front, there was red mustard greens, celery hearts, green leaf lettuce, and leeks. I used to panic when I got mustard greens, everyone said to cook with garlic, in a manner similar to collards, but it was always too much garlic for me. Then I found a gem of a recipe in Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen for mustard green and yam soup. At first I was pretty skeptical, but the long simmer really mellows the mustard green bite and produces a delicious and addictive soup. I may try subbing the yams for squash, as I can’t seem to get rid of my squashes fast enough before more come in. As for the celery hearts and leeks, I feel awful saying this, but it’s time to make more veggie stock. (I’ll sneak some of the carrots in there as well).

Which leaves me with broccoli, bok choy and red cabbage. The red cabbage is easy, I’ve been in love with traditional german red cabbage since I was a kid. I could probably eat that as an entire meal, although I’m sure I’ll make potato pancakes to go alongside it. The broccoli will most likely get roasted with some chili flakes, or perhaps a stir fry is in my future, which would give me a lazy way out of using the bok choy.

 

2014 Book a week challenge

One of my goals for this year is to read a book a week (or at the very least, hit 52 books by the end of the year). So far I’m on track.

Week 1 – The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Interesting read about a group of individuals working at an English language newspaper in Rome. I found the book a bit confusing at first, as the characters are not strongly linked until you’re halfway through, and even then, there was still some bits of stories that I wish had been finished.

Week 2 – The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up by Jacob M. Appel

I had read the summery of this one beforehand, but even then, it really took until part 2 for the scary post 9-11 terror state to really stand out. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.

CSA Week 1

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After a month hiatus, we’re back on the CSA gambit. This weeks box was mostly citrus. lemons, oranges, and mandarins. On the veggie front, there was kale, savoy cabbage, daikon, leeks, butternut squash, lettuce and celeriac.

What I’m thinking of making

Butternut squash and celeriac soup, which should use up all the squash, leeks, and celeriac.

The kale and savoy cabbage will get roasted with a little olive oil and sea salt to become healthy snacks.

which leaves me with daikon and lettuce. :/ other than sneaking it in salads here and there, I have no idea what to do with the daikon. The internet seems to think I should pickle it for sandwiches, but that seems time consuming, so we’ll see.

Pizza Night

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It’s been awhile since we did pizza around here. After some aggressive dough testing, and subsequent pizza failures, I’d been put off for a bit. But it was time to get back to it, and nothing fills that pizza void better than a classic margarita pizza.

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Zucchini Carrot Potato Pancakes

Growing up potato pancakes were one of my favorite things to eat for dinner, perhaps it was because we always ate them with steak. Can you imagine a time when that was my favorite food? Long long before I became vegetarian. So while my eating tendancies have changed, my love of potato pancakes has not.

Traditionally, and by that I mean in my parents house, we always cut just a little carrot into the pancakes. I don’t know if this was for taste or just to sneak some non potato vegetables into our very picky diets, but it’s a trick that I have never strayed from. These days I think it adds a nice little pop of flavor as well as giving the pancakes a playful color.

This weeks CSA box came with some zucchini and absolutely beautiful Canela potatoes. Canela potatoes are very similar to russets, but about a third of the of the size of those giants you find in the super market. It was going to be a hectic week so I decided to make a huge batch of these to reheat throughout the week when I was too exhausted to cook.

Zuccinni Carrot Potato Pancakes
2 medium Zucchini
5 small Carrots
6 Canela Potatoes (~2 Russets)
1 medium Onion
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1/4 cup flavorless oil (I prefer grapeseed, canola always smells fishy to me)

I like to leave the skins on my potatoes, but make sure to give them a good scrubbing if you’re going to do this. Same goes for the carrots and zucchini, I do not peel, only trimming the ends off before grating. Using a box grater, grate the zucchini, carrots, and the onion into a large bowl. Grate the Potatoes onto a kitchen towel and wring or pat dry before adding to the bowl. Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl, and stir in the salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the bowl with the grated veggies and mix together. I find it’s easiest to do this with my hands, but it does make quite the mess. Once the eggs are mixed in, add the flour and mix again. This is the part that’s always a little up in the air, depending how moist your veggies are, you may need to add a little more flour, but rarely more 2/3 a cup total. You’re looking to have a very thin egg and flour “paste” on the veggies.

To cook, heat oil in a large skillet, I prefer cast iron above and beyond anything else for this kind of cooking, but whatever you have will do. Once the oil is hot, create you pancakes. Again, I like to make a mess and do this with my hands so I can squeeze out the extra “juice”, but each pancake should be about 1/2 cup. Once you pancakes are in the skillet, flatten them with a spatula and turn the heat down to low. Rotate the pancakes occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. Once the bottoms have browned to you liking, give them a flip and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

If your making them in batches they stay crisp if you keep them in a low heat oven on a plate, and make a wonderful snack for days to come. I enjoy eating mine with apricot apple sauce, or plain yogurt with a little freshly chopped dill.

BBA Challenge: Anadama Bread

Bread number one is finally here. I avoided writing about it for awhile because even through the bread came out fine, baking it was a comedy of my poor timing, and perhaps inability to follow recipes.

First things first. What is the BBA Challenge? Well, funny you should ask, there is this rather well known books, with perhaps a cultish following called the Bread Bakers Apprentice, written by none other than Peter Rheinhart. It contains about 50 recipes, many with variations, and the challenge is to bake them all.

Which brings us to bread number one, Anadama. While all good things in food come with lore, Anadama bread originates from New England. Supposedly, the wife of a woodsmen (or fisherman depending who tells the story) was a notoriously awful cook, and made him eat cornmeal mush night and day. So one day when he returned from his daily activity, in a fury he mixed flour and molasses into the mushy cornmeal muttering “Anna damn her” to himself, and before he knew it out popped a quite delicious loaf of Anadama bread! While fact or fiction, I think it’s a great story, and a great bread.

Now I have to admit, I have made a number of breads from the BBA, but never Anadama as I generally dont find sandwich loaf bread all that intriguing. That being said, Anadama bread was delicious, and I would probably make it again.

To make the bread you must begin the night before, and set out a soaker. The soaker is just cormeal and water. I used course ground cornmeal, but polenta would do as well. The next day (note: not evening!) you should make your sponge, let that rise, make the dough, let that rise, shape the loafs, let that rise and then, just when you thought you could wait no more… you bake your bread!

In total there is about 5 hours of rising, which probably would have been less if it had been warmed day and I had been insulation. I made the mistake of not starting the bread until 3PM, which would have been fine if I hadn’t remembered halfway through baking that I had tickets to a soccer game that night and gasp.. wouldn’t be around to finish baking the bread! The bread normally need to bake for about 40 minutes, with a turn halfway through, so I pumped the oven a little hotter to begin with and at the halfway point i turned the breads, turned off the oven, and walked out tof the house. It was a huge risk, but thankfully, my bread stars were aligned and it came out just fine, although I suspect had it baked properly, the crust would have been much crustier as I prefer.

Farmers Market Saturdays

It was a beautiful day at the farmers market yesterday, cool but sunny.

While stone fruit was nothing new this week, it was finally sweet enough (and cheap enough) to warrent a few peaches and nectarines. And I’ll admit it, I ate two of them standing over the sink first thing when I got home. Yummmmy!

Interesting cucumbers.

And no trip to the farmers market would be complete without some Adante Dairy cheese, and a mindless veggie lunch.

Mindless veggie lunch generally falls into two categories, leftover magic, or some variety of kale salad. Yesterdays lunch was the former. There is something very gretifying about bringing home a weeks worth of veggies AND clearing out last weeks odd and ends.

I almost always have some kind of cooked grain and bean in my fridge, which is a huge time saver, especially on the bean front, since soaking and cooking can take the better part of a day (or overnight if you’re smart enough to think ahead). Mix those together with almost any combination of veggies and you’re sure to have a decent lunch.

Mindless Lunch 

Farro

black beans

roasted beets

sauteted cucumbers

toasted, copped almonds

scallions

Dressing

olive oil

red wine vinegar

salt and pepper