Monthly Archives: October 2008

Local Box, 10.29.2008

The joy of opening my Local Box today reminded me of my first time. That first Local Box inspired me so! I documented all of its contents in a notebook and took pictures, too. I’ve come to expect the weekly bounty, now, and while I’m always glad to see it, it doesn’t often take my breath away anymore. But today: Flowers! Vibrant, fragrant, lush marigolds. Too many to fill just one vase! I arranged them into two – one for my desk and one for another room in the house.

It’s good to see the food too, of course. More fresh dill means I’ll preserve last week’s remaining dill in butter – more on that later. I’m also thinking of making some Meyer lemon sauce to freeze this week, and substituting Key limes for Meyer lemons in a batch of lemon squares.

What have you got planned for your Local Box this week?

Meyer-Lemon Squares

With the mercury dropping last night, we used Local Box butternut squash and onion to make warming polenta from the recipe that came in last week’s Local Box. Then for dessert: Lemon squares made with a Local Box Meyer lemon! Super easy, and quite tasty, too… the crust on these is reminiscent of shortbread.

Meyer Lemon Squares

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Meyer-lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flour, butter, and confectioner’s sugar. Press mixture into an ungreased 8-inch square pan, pressing up 1/2 inch on the sides. Bake for 20 minutes.

While crust bakes, beat remaining ingredients until light and fluffy. When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the filling over it. Bake 25 minutes longer or until set. Cool and cut into squares.

Report from Fearless Forager, week of 10.27.2008

Here’s what’s coming in this week’s Local Boxes:

  • marigold bouquet
  • butternut squash
  • apples
  • green beans
  • bibb lettuce or arugula/baby lettuce bouquets
  • eggplant
  • assorted herbs
  • Meyer lemons
  • Key limes
  • zucchini
  • yellow granix onions
  • red burgundy onions
  • cherry tomatoes

About that Galette…

The green apple I bit into as I unpacked my Local Box on Wednesday was so flavorful, but its skin was rather tough… it inspired me to ditch all obligations and bake. In such an inspired mood, though, I didn’t use a recipe. Sometimes, such impulsive cooking leads to total disaster. This time, though, the results were quite tasty. Here’s what I did:

  • I made a piecrust. A reasonable person would consult a recipe (such as this one, for example) for proportions, but in my inspired zeal, I dumped some flour, a little salt, a stick of butter cut in tablespoon chunks, and a shake of each cinnamon and sugar in the food processor, whizzed until the crumbs were small and even, then whizzed in some cold water until the dough came together, just barely. I wrapped that in waxed paper and stuck it in the fridge for a quick chill.
  • Next, I sliced those three apples (including the one I’d taken two bites of… is that gross?), unpeeled, into a bowl and spritzed a bit of Meyer lemon juice over them. I added a little sugar, some cinnamon, a handful of chopped walnuts, and one of golden raisins and mixed.
  • Pulling the dough from the refrigerator, I rolled it into a pleasing shape, then transferred it onto my Silpat-covered baking sheet. I mounded the filling on top, folded up the edges, then brushed with egg white leftover from Tuesday’s Key-lime pie. I sprinkled with a little coarse sugar for sparkle, then baked (at 375°, I think). When it started to smell good, I peeked in and noticed the exposed apples looked dry, so I spooned a little leftover Meyer-lemon sauce over the top, then baked for a few more minutes.

This time I got lucky: My Local Box inspiration came out great! What has your Local Box inspired lately?

Dinner of Local Boxes Past

Neither chard nor sweet potatoes were in this week’s Local Box, but they’d kept well from weeks past. So tonight, in need of an easy, warming dinner, I combined some old recipes to come up with this: Creamy Green Polenta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Here’s how:

  • First, I rinsed the sweet potatoes, cut them into wedges, tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted for 40 minutes at 425°, turning halfway through. I laid these on cooling racks when they were done.
  • While the sweet potatoes roasted, I brought a big pot of water to boil, then threw in stemmed, coarsely chopped chard and two peeled cloves of garlic. After about 5 minutes, I pulled those out of the water with a slotted spoon and liquified them with an immersion blender (though a food processor or blender would work fine, too).
  • Next, I brought some of the cooking water from the chard back to a boil, this time in a medium pot, and added a couple of tablespoons of butter. When that boiled, I whisked in polenta and cooked until the polenta had a nice mouth-feel. Then I stirred in the whizzed chard, added some parmesan and other cheese we had around, and salted to taste.
  • We served it up in bowls, as pictured, and followed it with a salad of Local Box Bibb lettuce and arugula in a flavorful vinaigrette.

What have you eaten out of your Local Box this week?

Local Box, 10.22.2008

Welcome, fall! I unloaded my Local Box today and couldn’t resist biting into an apple… which led to an impromptu apple galette. (More on that later – after it comes out of the oven and has its edibility scrutinized!) I’m happy to continue stocking up on onions and butternut squash and potatoes, though Key limes are beginning to get an okra-like reputation in my home. I’m planning on roasting some zucchini later today. We’ll use that as a side and adornment for pizza or pasta later in the week – if it doesn’t get eaten right off the cooling rack. And with all those bell peppers, I’m looking for a recipe for a raw bell-pepper salad. Has anyone seen or eaten such a thing? Finally, speaking of peppers, the tiny pumpkin-shaped ones (top-right of the left white bowl) are adorable! I can’t wait to see what they taste like.

Meyer-Lemon Sauce

When I was about 12, my family spent most weekends hiking in central Pennsylvania, where we lived then. One morning, we hiked with some friends of my parents’, to whose house we returned for a post-hike meal. Brenda served gingerbread pancakes with lemon sauce — and I copied the recipe from her that day. I may have been a strange twelve-year-old, but it’s one of my favorite recipes, still today. This version substitutes a Local Box Meyer lemon for a softer spin on the sweet-tart sauce. I made it last night and served it warm over fresh-baked gingerbread.

Meyer Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 egg, well beaten
juice and grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils. Skim off butter solids, if desired.