Monthly Archives: September 2008

Report from Fearless Forager, week of 09.29.2008

Here’s what to look for in this week’s Local Box:

  • Bibb lettuce
  • red bell peppers
  • green beans
  • Meyer lemons
  • Key limes
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • eggplant
  • sweet potatoes
  • chili peppers
  • red potatoes
  • baby greens bouquet
  • cherry tomatoes
  • garlic chives
  • crimini mushrooms
  • basil

Chiles for All Seasons

It was great to find roasted chiles in this week’s Local Box. But if you’re like me, you’ve still got some fresh chiles in the fridge from Local Boxes past. What to do with them? Marysol Valle of Hands of the Earth farm dries her chiles, then seasons with them all winter long. Halve them first she says, and seed ’em or not, depending on how spicy you like them. Then lay them out on screens in a place with good venitilation, and perhaps a little sun (but not too much). After they’re dry, she pulverizes them in a dedicated coffee grinder, then stores in airtight containers. That’s one way to keep warm with the cold weather comes!

Local Box, 09.24.2008

The change in seasons is reflected in this week’s Local Box loot: No more okra, and the first greens we’ve seen in months! I’m looking forward to puckering up for some Key-lime pie and sorrel soup this weekend… maybe some roasted red potatoes and green beans to round out a meal! How do you plan to eat out of this week’s Local Box?

Winter-Squash Chocolate-Chip Muffins

A refrigerator on-the-fritz inspired me to use Local Box acorn squash and butternut squash I’d roasted and frozen sooner than I’d expected!

Makes 12 muffins.

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed winter squash (I used acorn and butternut, but any variety will work.)
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 heaping tablespoons flax-seed meal
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter muffing tins. Mix sugars, butter, and eggs in a large bowl until fluffy, under a stand mixer if you have one. Add squash and mix.

In a different bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

Ad dry ingredients to wet gradually, mixing to blend well. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full with batter, then bake 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes in tins, then remove muffins from tins and let them cool completely on racks.

[Recipe adapted from Slashfood.]

Q + A: Keeping Onions

Hillary asks, “Hey, do you know for how long onions keep? I’ve got about ten in my fridge now…”

Me too, Hillary! Mine are on my counter, though… Which is the right way to store them? According to Kim Reddin of the National Onion Association in Greeley, Colorado, that depends on the onion. There are two types of onions, for storage purposes. The ones with only a single thin layer of papery skin – like our 1015’s – don’t keep long. You should use those quickly – or freeze them if you want to use them later in cooked applications. (You can find directions for freezing and other preservation methods on the NOA’s website.) But the ones we’re seeing now with multiple, thicker layers of papery skin, can last for quite a while. “The main thing the onions want to keep well,” says Kim, “is dry air. They don’t want to be wet.” So the refrigerator can be a good place if you have a drawer that is at once well-ventilated and low in humidity so they won’t experience condensation. The cool, dark, dry conditions onions need to last might be easier to find under a counter or even in a garage after the weather cools off. A big no-no? Storing them with potatoes. Onions can absorb moisture from potatoes if they’re too close together, and that’ll make them go bad, fast.

There’s no exact science for determining how long an onion will keep, but you’ll know if one’s gone bad. Key signs are sprouting and mold spots. If you see the latter, though, just peel away the layer with the mold, discard it, and proceed as usual.

Another great tip from Kim: Since thick-skinned onions that store well tend to be more pungently flavored than their spring/summer counterparts, prepare them in advance if you want to serve them raw. To mellow that flavor, slice them, then soak them in ice water overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Got questions about your Local Box? Post them to the comments anytime, then come back to look for the answer!

Report from Fearless Forager, week of 09.22.2008

Here’s what to look for in your Local Box this week:

  • lettuce (assorted live, hydroponically grown)
  • sorrel
  • green beans
  • Meyer lemons
  • Key limes
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • eggplant
  • sweet potatoes
  • roasted chile peppers
  • red potatoes
  • assorted greens
  • tomatoes
  • crimini mushrooms
  • basil

What did you make out of your Local Box this weekend?

Weekend Welcome: Meyer Lemon ‘Tini

When I found out that there was both (1) Meyer-lemon-infused simple syrup and (2) candied Meyer lemon peel to be had, my first thought was “Let’s make a drink!”  I made martinis for two, combining 2 parts Meyer lemon syrup, 2 parts juice, and 3 parts vodka (make this a super-local treat by using one of Austin’s vodka offerings, like Tito’s or Savvy).  Combine the ingredients, shake over ice, and pour into chilled martini glasses.  I garnished them with candied Meyer lemon peel on toothpicks—you basically have to candy the peel to get the infused syrup, so why not?

-guest blogger Kris

Candied Meyer Lemon Rind (& Meyer-Lemon Simple Syrup)

  • Take 1 Local Box Meyer lemon. Remove rind in large pieces, then slice into narrow strips. Reserve flesh to be juiced later.
  • Blanch strips of rind in boiling water for a minute or so.
  • Bring to boil a cup of water and a cup of sugar.
  • Add rind strips to sugar water and simmer lightly for 15 minutes.
  • Spread rind strips on a rack to dry for 15 minutes. Reserve simple syrup for cocktail application.
  • Lay sticky strips in a small seal-able container and cover with additional sugar, then seal and shake to coat. Store at room temperature in sealed container.