Monthly Archives: July 2010

Local Box Meal Plan: July 5-9

Don’t you just love the variety of produce we get during the summer? Check out all of the farm-fresh goodness this week:

Mustard greens – Texas Naturals
Indian cucumbers – My Father’s Farm
Purple potatoes – Tecolote
Carrots – My Father’s Farm
Opal basil – Acadian
Canteloupe – Orange Blossom Farm
Slicing tomatoes – Hall Farm
San Marzano tomatoes – Acadian
Lady cream peas – Just Peachy Farm
Peaches – Caskey
Squash – Massey
Garlic – Ringger

So, I am making:

Simple tomato sauce – Guys, this is what San Marzano tomatoes are ideal for. You know those Cento canned tomatoes that make such good sauce? They are San Marzano tomatoes. Peel and seed your SM tomatoes and any slicing tomatoes you may need to complete the recipe, which originally calls for canned ones. To peel tomatoes, cut a small X in the bottom of each, drop in boiling water for 30 seconds, then dunk in an ice bath to cool off. The skin will peel right off. You can freeze any sauce you don’t use immediately.

Squash in garlic cream sauce – I’ll probably serve with grilled pork chops. Also, since I think mayo is gross, I’ll probably use a yogurt/sour cream combo in place of it.

Sour cream and herb potato salad with peas – This calls for green peas, but use your lady cream peas instead. I’ll serve with burgers.

Opal basil lemonade – Opal basil is just purple basil. It’ll look beautiful in this drink.

Mustard greens salad with pork and peaches
– The original recipes calls for Asian pears, but I’m subbing peaches.

Canteloupe with chopped mint – A simple, refreshing snack.

I’ll be using the Indian cucumbers and any remaining slicing tomatoes in salads during the week. I’ve never had an Indian cucumber, but have learned via some Internet research that it’s a tuberous root that tastes like a cuke and can be eaten raw.


10 Things to Do With Basil

Have you gotten tired of making pesto with all the basil we’ve been getting lately? Yeah, me too. Pesto is great and all, but it does get old. After you’ve made and frozen all the pesto you can stand, check out these other tasty ways to use basil.

1. Add sliced or chopped basil to your favorite canned tomato soup to give it a touch of homemade-ness (is that a word?). My favorite is Amy’s Chunky Tomato Bisque.

2. Layer sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a classic Caprese salad.

3. Make this caper-basil vinaigrette for salads, or go ahead and serve it on the twice-grilled peppers with Buffalo mozzarella in the same link above. It’s one of our favorite appetizers.

4. Use it to make bruschetta, an Italian spread that also features fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Spread it on small pieces of ciabatta for an easy hors d’oeuvre.

5. Muddle it (mash it up to release its flavor) and add to lemonade for a refreshing twist on a summer favorite. If you are so inclined, add vodka to make it a hard lemonade.

6. Use it to make a delightfully herbal bread.

7. Tired of only using basil in Italian food? Try it in this Thai chicken stir-fry.

8. Add a handful of roughly chopped basil to a cup of extra-virgin olive oil and let it sit in the fridge for several days. Strain out the basil, and you have basil-infused oil to use in salad dressings, drizzled over your Caprese salad, or tossed with grilled vegetables. Store in the refrigerator.

9. How about basil in dessert? This basil-blackberry crumble looks tasty. For that matter, try mixing sliced basil with your favorite fruit for an easy summer snack. Peaches and strawberries come to mind first…mmm.

10. Use it in a sandwich with grilled summer vegetables.

How else do you like to use basil?

Barley Salad with Sweet Roasted Vegetables

Grain-based salads are filling, versatile, and wonderful picnic foods. For this one, I mixed barley with some maple-roasted carrots and tomatoes and pan-glazed tempeh, and then sprinkled with a bit of sliced basil to brighten up the flavors a bit. It’s just slightly sweet. Wheat berries would also work instead of the barley, or even brown rice. If you’re not a fan of tempeh, just use chicken instead.

Barley Salad with Sweet Roasted Vegetables

1 cup barley
3 cups water

8 oz carrots, cut into small pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz tempeh, cut into thin slices
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup sliced basil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine water and barley in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 40 minutes. If there’s any water left in the pan, drain it off. Set the barley aside in a large bowl.

Combine vegetables, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, or until veggies are browned and tender. Add to the barley.

In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp maple syrup, broth, salt, and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add tempeh and fry about 5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Add vinegar mixture and cook, stirring as necessary to keep tempeh from sticking, until liquid thickens into a glaze. It’ll take about 10 minutes.

Add tempeh to barley mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle with basil and serve.