Moving On Up!

Please update your RSS settings and bookmarks– our blog has fancy new digs! We’ve moved the Local Box blog and content to http://greenling.com/blog. The RSS for the new blog is: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Eatingoutofthelocalbox.

We’re still posting weekly Local Box meal plans, plus original recipes, cooking tips, and other cool stuff. Thanks for making the big move with us!

Green Garlic Sandwich Spread

I almost feel silly giving a recipe for this, and in fact, it’s not much of a recipe other than the list of ingredients. But truthfully, I’m not sure how many people look at vegetables and wonder what happens when you shove them under a stick blender.

The result of my curiosity was a pungent neon puree that is great for topping burgers, falafel, or tofu. Mix it with some sour cream or cream cheese for a dip, or thin it out more for a salad dressing. You just might want to keep some mints on hand.

Green Garlic spread

Green Garlic Sandwich Spread

1 bunch green garlic (or green onions), roots trimmed off
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt

Slice garlic or onions into large pieces. Using a blender, stick blender, or food processor, blitz garlic until chopped. Add olive oil and lemon juice, a little at a time, until you get the flavor and consistency you like. Once fully blended, salt to taste. Eat and don’t breathe on anyone.

Lasts about a week in the fridge.

Easy Pickled Daikon & Carrots

Daikon and Carrots

If you’re a fan of Portlandia you’ll know the joke behind pickling, but pickling really is an easy way to transform food and extend its life in your kitchen. Daikon in particular is wonderful pickled, as anyone who is a fan of banh mi sandwiches can attest to.

This recipe made exactly one pint jar, which in my mind is the perfect amount for fridge pickles, especially if you are unsure about what you’re doing or the flavors of the end result. You can omit the spices if you’d like, but be sure to not reduce the vinegar. By the way, I find pickling works best if you use a wide-mouth jar, but regular jars work fine too, and you can even use a Tupperware if you don’t have jars on hand.

Pickled Daikon and Carrot
makes 1 pint jar

1 pound total daikon and carrot
1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (or use fresh grated if you have it!)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Peel daikon and carrot and slice into thin rounds. Place in a fine sieve or colander set over a bowl, and sprinkle salt over vegetables. Stir to coat, and let sit for at least 20 minutes while the salt draws excess water out. (This will speed up the pickling process.)
Mix together the rest of the ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Pack vegetables tightly into a clean jar, and pour liquid over the top, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top of the jar. Place lid and ring on jar and store in the fridge. Let ferment for at least 4 hours before eating, but preferably overnight.

Note: You might have liquid left over, but don’t worry about it. As long as your veggies are covered they should be fine.

Local Box Meal Plan, January 23-27

Have you ever seen the musical Into the Woods? It’s a terrific show, and I love it for many reasons. However, my favorite moment of the whole thing is when the witch (of Rapunzel fame) raps about vegetables.

Any time there are several green item in the Local Box, I am reminded of this scene and I can’t help but smile. This clip shows the greens rap, but it’s not nearly as good as the version of the musical with Bernadette Peters in the role. (The rap portion of the song starts around :54, below.)

Isn’t it funny? Before I started receiving the Local Box, I had never heard of half the vegetables listed in that song. Now, I’ve cooked nearly all of them! That witch would be jealous!

Here’s what I’m making with all the greens in the Local Box this week:

Meal one: Apple Cider Braised Greens, Sweet Potato Hash, sliced avocado on the side. Go ahead and substitute the radish or turnip greens from your box for the swiss chard in that greens recipe. The greens taste wonderful, and the radishes or turnips will keep longer if you cut away the greens and store them separately.

Meal two: Broccoli, Ginger and Grapefruit Pork Stir-fry. If you think you don’t like grapefruit, you owe it to yourself to try it in a stir-fry with ginger. I have made this recipe several times, substituting slices of drained, extra-firm tofu in place of the pork, and it’s one of my favorite grapefruit vehicles. Don’t skip the fresh ginger– it makes the recipe sing!

Meal three: Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill, orange slices on the side. This is one of my favorite recipes from childhood, and it tastes wonderful if you substitute fresh dill for dried, and add 1/2 cup grated radishes to the recipe. I will garnish the salad with sliced green onions, too.

Greens Soup

Recently on the radio I heard cookbook author Anna Thomas talking about soup, and approximately five seconds after she described her Green Soup, I wanted it. It’s the perfect time of year for greens and onions (the other main ingredient in the soup), and utilizing them both in a soup sounded like a perfect way to spend a slightly chilly afternoon. Not that it is chilly in Austin these days, but those greens won’t eat themselves!

Greens soup

It’s not exactly photogenic, but trust me on this one. A great thing about this soup is that you can use virtually any kind of green you might have on hand, because even the most bitter greens will be balanced by the sweetness of the caramelized onions. I like the tang brought in by the yogurt, though you can certainly leave that out if you prefer. Serve with pita chips or wonton crisps for a bit of crunch.

Greens Soup
adapted from Anna Thomas
serves 8

Olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
4 cups vegetable stock
3-4 bunches assorted greens, such as mustard, komatsuna, mizuna, beet greens, kale, or chard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat a swirl of olive oil over medium. Add onions mushrooms and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onions take on a nice brown color, approximately 30 minutes.
Add stock and increase heat to just bubbling. Wash and chop greens and add to the soup. Reduce heat to medium and cover soup. Let cook until greens have wilted, about 10 minutes.
Puree soup and return to heat. Stir in paprika, yogurt, and lemon juice, then season to taste. Alternatively, you can leave the yogurt out until just before serving, and then add a swirl into individual bowls.

Local Box Meal Plan, January 16-20

It’s hard to believe we’re getting this Local Box in the middle of winter! I suppose cauliflower, kale, and butternut squash are winter staples, but the rest of the box feels like a big breath of spring.
The cauliflower in this week’s box weighs between 2-4 lbs, plenty for a main dish for four people, or two main dishes for two people. I’m going to use it twice in this week’s menu, and if there is extra, I am going to make Jote’s recipe for sriracha cauliflower as a snack.
Here’s what’s coming in the Local Box:

  • Daikon Bunch with Greens – My Father’s Farm
  • Cauliflower – Hillside Farms
  • Butternut Squash – Gundermann Acres
  • Lime – G&S Groves
  • Oranges – G&S Groves
  • Rutabaga Bunch – Just Peachy Farms
  • Kale – Gundermann Acres
  • Avocados – G&S Groves
  • Green Leaf OR Red Leaf OR Bibb Lettuce – Gundermann Acres
  • Tomatoes – Walnut Creek Organics

Here’s what I’m cooking with the bounty:

Meal one: Lettuce, orange and pecan salad, low carb cauliflower leek soup. Watch out for that soup recipe– it easily serves 12 people! Use the recipe calculator function on the Allrecipes website to scale down the portions for your family. Also, since there haven’t been leeks in the Local Box for weeks now, I will substitute a finely chopped yellow onion for the leeks in that recipe.

Meal two: Cauliflower tomato curry with pita bread and avocado hummus. That avocado hummus tastes great if you use lime juice instead of lemon. When you chill the hummus in the fridge, make sure to put a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the avocado mixture to help keep it from turning brown.

Meal three: Chicken and Rutabaga Stew. I am going to live adventurously and add peeled, chopped daikon radish to this stew. Daikon cooks very much like turnip and other root vegetables, so I think it will fit right in here. This stew tastes great served over bulgar wheat, couscous, or brown rice.

Meal four: We’re doing breakfast for dinner this night, with butternut squash breakfast bowls. Just looking at the pictures of that breakfast bowl makes me crave poached eggs and kale together. YUM!  Roasting the squash for that recipe will take some time, so you can do that step ahead of time if you wish: just peel and dice the squash and bake it at 350 for 30-40 minutes until it is tender. Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to make dinner.

Creamy Avocado Pasta

Sometimes I really struggle to stay meatless on Mondays if I’m craving a nice creamy pasta dish for dinner. It doesn’t happen often, but when the hunger for rich food strikes, the avocado is my secret, meatless weapon against dairy-meat-munchies!

The avocado in this creamy pasta recipe works as a binder, creating a rich, smooth dressing with flecks of bitter greens and zesty citrus notes. You’ll notice that there’s no Parmesan cheese in this dish. Most varieties of that cheese are made with animal rennet– not good for Meatless Monday! I use almonds, nutritional yeast, and plenty of salt in my recipe to replace the “oomph” that Parmesan might add.

Creamy Avocado Pasta (serves 2)

1/2 pound vegan pasta
1 medium avocado
1 1/2 cups spinach, arugula, or romaine lettuce
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice, plus extra for seasoning
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup almond
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid, and drain.

Meanwhile, scoop out the flesh of the avocado and place in a food processor. Add the greens, basil, citrus juice, garlic, salt, pepper, almond, and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth.

Pour the pesto over the pasta in a serving dish. Toss to coat the pasta with sauce, adding a little pasta water as necessary to loosen the sauce. Taste the finished pasta and season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

This pasta is best served on the same day it is prepared, since the avocado will oxidize and turn the sauce an unsightly brown color after a while.