Monthly Archives: July 2009

Grilled Flank Steak with Basil Chimichurri

[Printable Recipe]

You know those nights where you don’t really feel like cooking and want to use up as much of what’s in your fridge as possible? That’s what this dinner started as. Luckily for us, it turned out so much better than we could’ve hoped.

The beef came from a trip to the Pearl Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago (I froze it, don’t worry) and the basil came from our Greenling box. Everything else were things I already had in the pantry or fridge.

Ingredients:
For the flank steak:

  • 1 lb. flank steak
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Few grinds of pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

For the chimichurri:

  • 1 bunch basil, finely minced (~1/2 c. after chopping)
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely minced (~1/2 c. after chopping)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • For the flank steak marinade, whisk to combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper in a 9×13″ baking pan. Flip the steak in the pan after about 30 minutes of marinating.
  • Combine the ingredients for the chimichurri in a bowl and set aside.
  • After 45 minutes of marinating, add the lemon juice to both sides of the steak and let marinate for an additional 15 minutes (so the steak will marinate for a total of 1 hour).
  • After the steak has finished marinating, over high heat, grill the steak for ~4 minutes per side for rare.
  • After grilling, let the steak rest for 3 minutes, then top with the chimichurri and serve.

Verdict:
Since I used mostly the same flavors in both, the chimichurri complemented the steak quite well. The steak was juicy and tender, and the bright flavors of the marinade and the chimichurri worked well in lightening it up so that it wasn’t such a heavy, filling meal. It’s a great date night meal, though I would caution that one should only enjoy this with a serious significant other (lots of garlic + big chance of herbs in one’s teeth). =)

Grilled Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

[Printable Recipe]

Bobby Flay has this show on the Food Network that I really like. It’s called “Grill It!” and he brings on another grilling connoisseur to make another rendition of the protein or focus of that show. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that he continually shows how versatile grilling is, or the fact that he seems so much more humble than on Throwdown or Iron Chef, or the fact that the food always seems so good, but I really like it. At any rate, back to point 1: the show has really opened my eyes to how the grill can be used in so many different ways, including as a stovetop and an oven (which is how I’ve used it in this recipe).

When you’re cooking the cobbler, if you have a grill with a temperature gauge, that’s a great way to monitor the heat. However, if you don’t, crank up one of the burners to high and close the top to trap the heat. Set the cobbler on the burner that’s turned off (so it’s not directly over the flame) and close the grill lid.

Adapted from Everyday with Rachel Ray

Ingredients:

  • Pam spray
  • 2 large peaches, chopped
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 c. plus 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  • Spray an 8×8″ baking pan with Pam and set aside.
  • Combine the peaches and blueberries in a large bowl. Toss the fruit with 1 Tbsp. flour and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and pour into the prepared baking pan.
  • In the same bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 c. flour, 1/4 c. brown sugar, and 2 tsp. baking powder. Combine the melted butter and buttermilk, then whisk into to the dry ingredients.
  • Drop the cobbler batter in spoonfuls onto the fruit.
  • Bake over indirect heat on the grill (~350 degrees) for ~25 minutes.


Thanks for the photo, Brian!

Verdict:
I subbed brown sugar for white sugar in the original recipe, and I’m so glad I did; it gave the cobbler a much richer flavor. The cobbler itself was fluffy and the fruit was hot and gooey, despite the fact that my peaches weren’t at their peak ripeness yet. Next time I make this, I’ll probably add a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon into the cobbler batter to play off the richness of the brown sugar even more.

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

[Printable Recipe]

We got so many jalapenos in our Greenling box last week, and one of my favorite barbecue munchies is stuffed jalapenos. I first experienced these at a barbecue a few months ago and thought the guy making them was crazy. Eating a jalapeno just raw like that? A whole mouthful of cream cheese? But I was completely off. Because really, when you’re stuffing with cream cheese and wrapping with bacon, it’s hard to go wrong.

The thing about Greenling is that because the produce is fresher, these jalapenos were much spicier than the ones at the supermarket; even after I removed the seeds and membranes, it still had a bit of a bite after grilling. So if you’re very spice-averse, keep them around for a few days before using them. The flavor will be much more sedate. Personally, I prefer the not-sedate version.

This recipe yields 16 bite-size appetizers, so it was fine for a barbecue with 5 people. Adjust the amounts as you need to though.

Ingredients:

  • 8 jalapenos
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 strips of bacon

Directions:

  • Halve each jalapeno and remove the seeds and membranes. I also cut off the stem so that people could just pop the whole thing in their mouth and not worry about where to put it after they’ve eaten the rest of the jalapeno (the reason why I don’t eat olives at parties).
  • Spoon cream cheese into the empty half of each jalapeno, then wrap the bacon around the cream-cheese stuffed jalapeno and secure with a toothpick.
  • Grill over high heat until the bacon is crispy.


Photos not by me, but by the fantastic Brian! Thanks, bud!

Verdict:
Like I said before, hard to go wrong here. The bacon is crispy and salty, the jalapeno is crunchy and has a hint of spice (the grill and cream cheese tone down the spice factor, so it’s not like you’re eating a raw jalapeno), and the cream cheese is melty and cooling. It’s a perfect bite-size munchie to nosh on while your main meal is grilling.

Local Box Meal Plan: July 27-31

Greenling, you’re throwing me a curveball this week. Eggplant, okra AND figs? Lots of my favorite textures there. =/ Luckily, I’ve got a plan!

This week, we’re getting figs, blueberries from Berry Best, watermelon from Acadian, peaches from Cooper Orchards, baby leeks from Animal Farm, crimini mushrooms from Kitchen Pride, eggplant from Tecalote, okra from Acadian, sweet Italian peppers from Lundgren, cucumbers from Acadian, lettuce from Bluebonnet Hydroponics, and herbs from Tecalote. So here’s what I’m making:

Breakfast:

  • Fig waffles
  • Omelette with cheddar, leeks and mushrooms

Lunches:

  • Baba ganoush (making it just like I make hummus, as David Lebovitz’s didn’t really do it for me) with pita chips
  • Green salad with cucumbers and herbs

Side dish:

Dinners:

  • Goat stew with italian peppers and okra
  • Bison steaks with a blueberry sauce

Dessert:

Do you have any “problem” veggies that come in your CSA box?

Grilled Candied Beets

[Printable Recipe]

I know beets didn’t come in our boxes last week (and haven’t for a while), but I always hear of people looking for good recipes for beets, so I thought I’d share this one.

I was lucky enough to get to the farmer’s market when we were at my parents’ beachhouse. It’s still pretty cool up there, so they have lots of veggies that we got in our Greenling box earlier in the year, like beets and spring onions. I have trouble figuring out what to do with beets during the summer, as they’re great roasted but it’s way to hot for that now. Instead, grilling them in indirect heat gives the same flavors you get from roasting. If you want to slice them and stick them on the grill directly, that would be great too (albeit a much different flavor).

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch beets (I used chioggia, or candy-cane striped, beets for this. They’re a bit smaller and milder than red beets.)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Pam spray

Directions:

  • Preheat the grill to ~350 degrees (medium heat).
  • Wash and peel the skin off of the beets, then cut them into quarters. This dish doesn’t use the greens, so reserve them for something else.
  • Spray a piece of foil with Pam, then put the quartered beets, sugar, and salt in the foil.
  • Fold it up in a package and place on the grill in indirect heat.
  • Grill for ~30 minutes until the beets can be pierced easily with a fork (though not mushy!) and there is a syrup at the bottom of the foil package. Serve immediately, or let cool and eat at room temperature.

Verdict:
You know how beets can taste a bit earthy? There’s really no earthiness in these beets. Instead, they’re subtly salty and not-so-subtly sweet; I ate mine while scooping up the sweet syrup from the bottom of the foil packet.

Based on my experience with these, I’m going to start experimenting with beets in other sweet incarnations. Anyone have any ideas? I’m thinking a cobbler. Sorbet or ice cream may be a bit much.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

[Printable Recipe]

My parents came to visit us here in Texas a few months ago, and one of the things that my dad absolutely can’t resist is a good breakfast cake. He’ll sit there and slowly pick off the crumb topping (yes, he’s that guy!) until someone will call him out on it and make him cut off a piece for himself. This is a great way to use the influx of blueberries that we’ve been getting in our Local Boxes recently.

Keep in mind that in order to prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake, you’ll need to toss them in flour before folding them into the wet ingredients.

This cake fits a 9″ springform pan.

From Ina Garten, via Smells like Home

Ingredients:
For the crumb topping:

  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-1/3 c. all-purpose flour

For the cake:

  • 6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar (I accidentally used closer to 1 c. Pesky 1/3 cup measuring scoop!)
  • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (I used clementine zest, as I didn’t have any lemon in the house — the horror, I know.)
  • 2/3 c. sour cream
  • 1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling (Completely forgot this step.)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter and flour a 9-inch round springform pan. Set aside.

For the crumb topping:

  • Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.
  • Add the melted butter, then the flour. Stir well and set aside.

For the cake:

  • Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time until combined, then add the vanilla, zest, and sour cream. Mix to combine.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Toss the blueberries in the flour until they are all coated (this will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake), then gradually add to the wet ingredients.
  • Pour the batter into the springform pan. Crumble the crumb topping with your fingers over the batter.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes (mine took closer to 55 minutes) until a knife or toothpick poked in the center is clean when removed.
  • Let cool, then sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve.


As you can see, I didn’t toss the blueberries in flour and they all sunk!

Verdict:
We all really liked this cake. I made it on Friday morning to serve on Saturday morning and again on Tuesday morning, and it was so moist even days later. Since I didn’t toss the blueberries in the flour when I originally made it, the blueberries sunk to the bottom, so the presentation isn’t as nice as it could be in the picture above, but the taste is spot on. It’s not too heavy and the perfect accompaniment to a morning latte.

Local Box Meal Plan for July 20-24

Sorry for the brief hiatus in weekly Local Box meal plans, folks. Between our vacation last week and it being a lazy summer, we haven’t needed a meal plan for the last few weeks. But I’m back with a few new ideas!

This week, we’re getting figs, red potatoes from Naegelin, jalapenos from Lundgren, blueberries from Berry Best, Middle Eastern cucumbers from Acadian, mixed onions, purple hull peas from Animal Farm, peaches from Cooper Orchards, mixed peppers from Lundgren, tomatoes, basil from My Father’s Farm or Tecalote, and hydroponic lettuce from Bella Verde.

So I’m making:

Breakfast:

  • Eggs with garlicky skillet potatoes and onions (my husband’s actually making this one, as he made up this recipe himself!)

Lunch:

  • Chopped grilled chicken on a salad of lettuce, chopped basil, cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers

Side Dishes:

  • Purple hull peas (made how Branny makes her lentils) with pepper-spiked cornbread
  • Stuffed jalapenos (you know, the ones with the cream cheese and bacon? We’ll take these over to a friend’s BBQ this weekend.)

Dessert:

  • Fig ice cream
  • Grilled peach and blueberry cobbler (yep, a cobbler made in foil right on the grill!)

Figs are a bit hard for me because I don’t care for them too much (blasphemy — I know! It’s the seeds. Too many seeds.), so I have to make them as palatable as possible. I’m thinking ice cream is the best way to do this.

How are you using your Greenling box this week?