Monthly Archives: August 2010

Local Box Meal Plan: Aug. 30-Sept. 3

This week, we are getting:

Red Potatoes – Naegelin
Yellow Onions – Naegelin
Lady Cream Peas – Just Peachy Farm
Grape Tomatoes – Pedernales Valley
Basil – Various
Summer Squash – Texas Natural
White Patty Pan – My Father’s Farm
Gala Apples – Bat Creek
Cucumbers – My Father’s Farm
Arugula or Sorrel- Bluebonnet or Tecolote

So I am making:

Bruschetta with tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil – FUN FACT! Bruschetta is pronounced “broo-sket-ah” not “broo-shett-a.” The “ch” sound in Italian is like a “k” in English.

Baked stuffed pattypan squash – Second recipe on the page.

Red potato-arugula salad – If you get sorrel instead of arugula, check out this link for a bunch of good recipes.

Gemelli with yellow squash, peas, and basil – Your lady cream peas will be a fine substitute for the green peas this recipe calls for.

Pork chops with onions and apples

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Eggplant Parmesan

There are probably more traditional versions of this recipe, but mine sure is tasty. We get a lot of eggplant this time of year, and one of the things that surprised me when I first started using Greenling was the wide variety of eggplants out there. I’ve seen green ones, white ones, and ones as small as my thumb, but when these perfectly round, purple globes showed up at my doorstep, I knew what they’d be perfect for:

The method isn’t difficult. Breaded and lightly fried eggplant slices are layered in a baking dish, covered with red sauce and cheese, and quickly broiled until the cheese browns. I double-bread the eggplant, like you would fried chicken, and serve with whole wheat spaghetti, more pasta sauce, and a bit of parmesan cheese.

An important first step in the process is “sweating” the eggplant slices. You’ll sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for a while. The salt draws out a lot of the moisture in the eggplants, making them less mushy when they cook. I recommend not skipping this step – it really does make a difference. One tablespoon sounds like a lot, but you’ll wipe most of it off before you cook the eggplants.

Eggplant Parmesan

2 large eggplants, cut into 1/4 in. slices
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt, divided
1 cup flour
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I used Fiesta Zesty Italian Delight)
1 tsp black pepper
3 eggs, beaten
Olive oil
3 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
26 oz. jar pasta sauce (I used Classico Tomato Basil)
Cooked spaghetti
Parmesan cheese
Sliced basil

Preheat broiler. Spread eggplant slices in a single layer on a plate and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. salt (kosher works best). Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. You’ll see beads of moisture collecting on the surface of each slice. Wipe down each slice.

Pour a thin layer of olive oil into a large skillet, 4-5 tbsp. Heat over medium-high heat. Combine flour, 1 tsp salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a bowl. Dip each eggplant slice in flour, shake off the excess, dip in beaten egg, then back into flour, shaking off extra flour.

Place slices in the pan in a single layer and cook about 3 minutes per side, until browned and crisp. This may take more than one batch. Add more oil if necessary. Layer slices in a square baking dish. Pour half the jar of sauce over the eggplant slices, coating them. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place in the oven. Broil about 6 minutes, until cheese browns.

Warm the other half of the jar of pasta sauce and use it to coat your spaghetti. Place some spaghetti and sauce on a plate with a piece of the eggplant mixture, and sprinkle spaghetti with parmesan cheese. Sprinkle both with basil.

Local Box Meal Plan: Aug. 23-27

This week, we are getting:

Green Bell Peppers – My Father’s Farm
Butternut Squash – Massey
Limes or Lemons – G&S
Basil or Chives – Various
Italian Cucumbers – Tecolote
Eggplant – Animal Farm
Gala Apples – Bat Creek
Arugula or Lettuce – Bluebonnet
Okra – Tecolote
Sprouts or Peas

So I’m making:

Creamy butternut squash and apple soup

Eggplant-pepper tomato sauce – Will serve over grilled chicken and pasta. Use chives here if you don’t get basil – it’ll taste fine.

Okra sauteed with peas and lemon or lime juice – I did this tonight with black-eyed peas and it was great. Either lemon or lime juice would work here.

Citrus-grilled shrimp over greens – I like this recipe because you can make a lot of substitutions depending on what you get. Add sprouts if you get them, and use lemon juice instead of lime juice if that’s what you have. Basil or chives would work, too. The cucumbers would be good here, and any extras you have can go in lunch salads for the week.

Summer Vegetable Saute

With the dog days of summer comes a ton of okra. I’ll admit that it’s not my favorite vegetable because of the slimy substance inside the pods, but if cooked properly, you can get rid of much, if not all, of the sliminess. I love fried and pickled okra, but sometimes you need something that takes less time and, in the case of fried okra, is more healthy than that.

This saute uses lots of fresh summer veggies, enhanced by lime juice and cilantro. The trick to ridding the okra of sliminess is to cook it long enough so that it browns and gets a bit of crunch. The acidity of lime juice also helps.

Use any combo of summer veggies here; just make sure the pieces are cut to approximately the same size so that everything cooks evenly.

Summer Vegetable Saute

3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb okra, cut into 1/2-in slices
2 summer squash (I used 8-ball), seeded and cubed
Corn from 2 ears (about 1 1/2 cups)
1-2 hot peppers (I used jalapenos), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add okra and saute about 8 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add remaining vegetables, lime juice, and salt and cook another 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until veggies are tender. Stir in cilantro.

Local Box Meal Plan: Aug. 16-20

Sorry for the late post this week. I was out of town attending a funeral yesterday. Anyway, this week, we are getting:

Lentil Sprouts – Groovy Greens
Red Potatoes – Naegelin
Yellow Onions – Naegelin
Crimini Mushrooms – Kitchen Pride
Summer Squash – Texas Natural
Mustard Greens – Texas Natural
Red Radishes – My Father’s Farm
Eggplant – Acadian
Assorted Peppers – Various
Okra – Acadian
Fresh Peas – Just Peachy

So, I am making:

Stir-fry with onions, squash, peppers, and chicken (I’m using frozen pre-cooked chicken breast strips), served over brown rice

Mustard greens with red potatoes

Eggplant bharta with peas – We probably won’t get green peas like the recipe calls for, but any kind of pea will work.

Fried okra – I don’t eat a lot of fried food, but this really is the best way to cook okra. Paula Deen knows her Southern comfort food, so you can trust this recipe. I usually don’t bother making her house seasoning – use whatever seasoning mix is your favorite. I’m partial to Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning. There are usually several containers of this floating around my pantry.

I’m just using the sprouts and radishes in this week’s salads. It might also be good to sprinkle them over your stir-fry to add a nice crunch.

Baby Squash in Browned Butter

I thought we were getting baby squash blossoms this week, but it turns out we got the blossoms with the squash still attached. No matter – I have a simple preparation that makes these baby veggies taste sweet and lovely.

To make browned butter, you’ll just heat the butter over medium heat until it turns brown and starts to smell deliciously nutty. Toss it with steamed squash and a bit of salt and pepper, and you have an easy side dish made from a summer delicacy. Don’t try to use a butter substitute – it won’t work here.

This treatment will work with almost any veggie. I can see it being especially good with asparagus or carrots.

Baby Squash in Browned Butter

~1/2 lb baby squash with blossoms (the exact weight doesn’t matter – just use all of the ones you received)
4 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut large squash in half lengthwise, but you can leave most of them whole. Steam 8-9 minutes or until fork tender. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. In about 5-6 minutes, it will turn brown and start to smell nutty. Turn off heat and carefully add squash – there may be some splattering. Toss squash in butter until coated, and season with salt and pepper.

Dutch Baby with Peaches

I don’t do a lot of baking. I find all the, well, precision to be a bit fussy for me. I like throwing stuff into a pot, adding a sprinkle of this and a dash of that, and not having to worry about my concotion not having the proper chemical reaction. But sometimes I come across a recipe I can’t pass up, and this was one of those times.

I admit I laughed a little when I read “Dutch Baby” in one of my favorite cookbooks ever, The Bread Bible. I imagine Rose Levy Beranbaum wrote that with a straight face, but I couldn’t keep from giggling. Once I got past the funny name, though, the Dutch Baby started to look like a pretty worthwhile endeavor.

It’s basically a giant popover in which you add a fruit filling. Or I guess any other kind of filling you want, but I feel like the fruit balances out the gratuitous use of butter in the Dutch Baby batter (for some reason, I feel compelled to capitalize “Dutch Baby” each time I write it). Never mind that there’s also a generous amount of butter used when you sautee the fruit. It’s still fruit, darn it. It’s not like you’re sauteeing doughnuts in butter for the filling.

Anyway, the original recipe calls for apples, but, faced with a growing mound of peaches in my fridge, I used those instead with divine results. I also want to mention that if you have a food scale, weigh your flour rather than measure it – you’ll always get better results because the measurement is more accurate. If you don’t have a food scale, just scoop the flour into the measuring cup with a spoon, then level.

Dutch Baby with Peaches (from The Bread Bible)

Batter
5 oz all-purpose flour (about 1.5 cups)
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 cup milk
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract

Peach Filling
4.5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 lbs peaches, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 in. thick
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

In a food processor or using a mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add 2 tbsp melted butter and process until it’s the size of tiny peas, about 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the container. Add milk, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla and process about 20 seconds, until batter is smooth. Let the batter sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter in an 11-inch cast iron skillet on the stovetop, until butter bubbles. Coat the inside of the pan with the butter. Pour batter into pan, place in oven, and bake 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and continue baking for 30 minutes, until puffed around the edges above the sides of the pan and golden brown. About 15 minutes before the end of the baking time, open the oven and quickly make 3 slits in the center of the Dutch Baby to release steam and allow the center to dry more.

While it’s baking, prepare the filling. In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat until bubbling. Add peaches and sprinkle with lemon juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Saute peaches, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, until slices are glazed and tender.

When the Dutch Baby is finished, pour peaches into the center. Serve warm.