Monthly Archives: August 2010

Local Box Meal Plan: Aug. 9-13

This week, we are getting:

Okra – Tecolote
Bibb Lettuce- Bluebonnet
Cucumbers – Acadian
Limes – G&S Groves
Texas Peppers – Various
Peaches – Caskey
Chives – Tecolote
Blueberries – Berry Best

So, I am making:

Stuffed squash blossoms – Stuff with goat cheese, dip in egg and cornmeal, and pan fry until browned. Outstanding. I’ll post an actual recipe this weekend (my box comes on Friday).

Blueberry-peach smoothies – Will make a great breakfast.

Okra succotash – Top with chopped chives.

Curried barley and shrimp salad

Leftover cucumber, peppers, and lettuce will go into salads for the week.


Quick Spiced Grape Jam

I wasn’t originally planning to cook the grapes we got last week, but as reader Holly pointed out in the comments for last week’s meal plan, the grapes weren’t very sweet and were full of seeds. So, I had to find a way to cook them, and fast, before they went bad.

This jam is not only quick and easy (it took less than 25 minutes to make), but has some wonderful fall flavors from a bit of nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves. In the picture above it was still warm and fresh from the stovetop, but as it cools it thickens to a more jam-like texture. I think I’m going to use it as a glaze over pork chops.

I adapted this recipe from the Wild Grape Butter recipe that came in the ingredient list last week – I just made some tweaks based on my own tastes.

Quick Spiced Grape Jam

About 1.5 cups grapes, pulled from their stems
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3-inch piece of orange peel
Dash each of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves

Combine grapes and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Pour grapes and juice into a strainer over a large bowl. Using the back of a large spoon, press grapes through strainer. The pulp will go through and the peel and seeds will stay behind.

Pour pulp and juice back into saucepan. Add peel, spices, and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency. It’ll bubble a lot at the end. Use warm as a glaze, or cool to spread on toast.

Local Box Meal Plan: Aug. 2-6

You know how I know fall is almost here? Because this week, we’re getting okra and pears! Here’s to cooler days and nights. The complete list of this week’s produce is as follows:

Okra – Tecolote
Bibb Lettuce- Bluebonnet
Purple Hull Peas – Just Peachy Farm
Figs – Comanche
Basil – Acadian
Texas Peppers – Various
Peaches – Caskey
Eggplant – Tecolote
Pears or Blueberries – My Father’s Farm

So, I am making:

Garlic pickled okra – I made this recipe last year and it was great. Either halve the recipe, or save up a couple of weeks worth to make the whole thing. With it being late summer, we’re going to start getting a lot of okra soon, so you’ll have plenty to pickle.

Basil eggplant stir fry – Use your regular basil instead of the Thai basil the recipe calls for.

Peach-blueberry galette – A galette is a free-form tart, which makes it a lot less fussy than a normal tart. If you get pears instead of blueberries, just peel and dice them to use instead.

Shrimp and pea salad – Simmer your peas for 10 minutes until tender, and use in place of the frozen peas here. Also, up the veggie content of this salad by adding some of your peppers, chopped. I like the idea of using ranch dressing instead of the usual mayo in a salad like this.

Figs with goat cheese and honey – The title pretty much says it all. I made this last week as an easy dessert and it was a hit. Quarter figs, crumble over some plain goat cheese and drizzle with honey. Delicious.

Chicken-Orzo Soup

I have a sick toddler at home right now, so this weekend I took a stab at creating my own version of chicken noodle soup. I used whole-wheat orzo pasta for easy scooping (I hate it when the noodles are so long they fall off of the spoon), and added several vegetables I had in the fridge, including a big bunch of Greenling arugula – an unusual choice, but it blended right in, and it never hurts to work in extra veggies.

I like a high stuff-to-broth ratio in my soup, so this one is pretty thick. Feel free to add more liquid if you like your soup more brothy.

Chicken-Orzo Soup

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about half a large onion)
1 carrot, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch arugula leaves, chopped
1 bunch mustard greens, stems removed, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (or 2-3 smaller sweet peppers, like banana)
1 tsp dried sage
1 cup whole-wheat orzo
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat in large Dutch oven. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for several minutes, until the pieces start to brown. Add veggies and sage and cook another 10 minutes or so, until the veggies start to tenderize.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo, return to a boil, and cook 8-10 minutes, until orzo is tender.