Monthly Archives: December 2010

Local Box Meal Plan: Dec. 27-31

We’re not getting the video until tomorrow, so this meal plan is based off the list you received in your newsletters Friday. I’ll post the video here as soon as it’s ready.

UPDATE: Video added below.

Avocados – G&S
Arugula – Naegelin
Red Leaf Lettuce – Acadian
Red Beets – Naegelin
Sweet Potatoes – Various
Cabbage – My Father’s Farm
Onions – Naegelin
Mixed Superfood Greens – My Father’s Farm
Parsley – My Father’s Farm
Green Shallots – Green Gate

Some menu items for you to try:

Avocado green goddess dressing – Add a handful of parsley to this recipe, and use your green shallots in place of the green onions. This dressing would be great on a salad made with your red leaf lettuce and arugula.

Salmon with scalloped sweet potatoes – I’d use butter in place of margarine here, but otherwise this recipe looks pretty good as written.

Braised beets and cabbage – Would make a good side dish for roasted meat. Use your regular cabbage in place of the red called for here.

Pasta with sausage and greens – The recipe calls for collards, but use whatever hearty greens you get in your mixed bag.

I suspect we may have a lot of arugula and parsley to use up, so try this arugula-parsley pesto if that ends up being the case for you.

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Five-Spice Pork Stew

This post comes to you from the French Quarter, where we are staying for a few nights on a much-needed vacation. We just inhaled lungfuls of powdered sugar at Cafe du Monde, and then ventured back to our hotel as the temperature slowly dropped. It’s supposed to be in the 30s tonight, and a warm stew like this is just what I look forward to on a cold evening.

I needed to use up a bunch of produce before we left and spotted a bag of five-spice powder in the pantry as I was gathering my ingredients. If you’ve never had it, five-spice powder is encompasses flavors of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty and usually contains fennel, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and peppercorns. It is popular in Chinese cuisine, and sounded like just the thing to season my pork stew (I had just dug out a head of bok choy to use, and it just made sense). It’s flavor is pretty prominent here, so cut back on the amount you use if it seems like too much. I cooked this in a slow-cooker, but if you want to do it on the stove, just combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat for about 2.5 hours, till the meat is tender.

We’re off to find a place to watch tonight’s Saints game. Adieu!

Five-Spice Pork Stew

2 lbs pork tenderloin (or your favorite cut of pork), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
3 bell peppers, chopped (I used two red and one green)
1 bunch bok choy, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
2 tsp minced ginger
1.5 tsp five-spice powder
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups chicken broth or water

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir well. Cook over high heat for 5.5 hours (or low heat for 10 hours).

Radish Tartine

I got a whole loaf of  bulgar wheat bread from my mom for Christmas this year.  She usually makes it for family dinners, and I was more than a little excited to see a whole loaf of the stuff in my stocking yesterday.  Mom’s wheat bread is simultaneously tender and hearty with just enough sweetness to help you lose track of how much you’re eating around the family table.  Yesterday during a particularly passionate discussion about deer meat, I caught myself nibbling on bread slice number three of the meal, slathered with farm fresh apple butter. Of course, I was way too full for a second helping of salad.  “Three slices!” I wondered, “How does this happen every year??”  The answer is that the nostalgia brought on by bulgar wheat bread tends to distract me from the detritus of adulthood, like counting calories or bothering with vegetables.

Still.  I have an entire loaf of this wheat bread in my grown-up pantry, and I need to find a way to use it that doesn’t involve me slurping up a whole jar of apple butter.

Enter radish tartines. These simple-to-make, open faced sandwiches are just the thing to awaken my palate from its nostalgic torpor. A thick slice of wheat toast buttresses a creamy-tart layer of cheese along with spicy radish slices from My Father’s Farm.  A pop of red wine vinegar, crunchy sea salt and cracked pepper top the whole thing.

I’ve sampled two versions of this sandwich so far, each slightly different because of the variety of radishes that came in our Local Box this week; I received a Spanish black radish, two watermelon radishes, and two French breakfast radishes in our bunch from My Father’s Farm.  Although I used the beautiful and mild-mannered watermelon radish in my pictures of the sandwich– who could resist those radiant reds and greens around Christmastime?– the Spanish black radishes’ assertive, peppery crunch made it my favorite tartine topper of the three varieties.

Even though you won’t have a loaf of mom’s bulgar wheat bread in your pantry, I hope that you enjoy the simple pleasure of crunchy radishes, rich cream cheese, tart vinegar, and nutty whole wheat with your own version of this easy sandwich.

Radish Tartine (serves 1)
1 thick slice of good quality whole wheat bread
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
1 tablespoon cream cheese
2 teaspoons sour cream
1-2 radishes, any variety, sliced very thin (about 12 slices)
salt
fresh ground pepper
red wine vingar & olive oil

Preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Brush one side of the slice of bread with olive oil and toast bread oil-side-down on a preheated grill pan or skillet.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix cream cheese and sour cream until well combined.  Place toasted bread cooked-side-up on a plate and spread cheese mixture over the top. Cover cheese with a layer of radish slices, then top with salt and pepper.  Drizzle sandwich with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar to finish.  Serve immediately.

Local Box Meal Plan: Dec. 20-24

Merry (almost) Christmas! Our box is a bit festive this week with the addition of some rainbow-hued radishes and carrots and some red and green peppers. Here’s the full list and video.

Red and Green Peppers – Juan Farms
Broccoli – My Father’s Farm
Red Leaf Lettuce – Acadian
Rainbow Carrots – Acadian
Fuji Apples – Apple Country
Tangerines – Orange Blossom
Butternut Squash – Gundermann
Cilantro – My Father’s Farm
Holiday Radishes – My Father’s Farm
Green Garlic or Shallots – Green Gate

I dug up some fancy-ish dishes you can proudly serve at any family gatherings you’re attending this week.

Apple-avocado salad with tangerine dressing – Add some sliced holiday radishes. If you still have your avocados from last week, this is a great way to use them; if not, just leave them out. I’m not sure why the author calls for mandarin oranges instead of tangerines to make the tangerine dressing, but instead of trying to figure out her logic I’d just use your tangerines instead. Finally, your red-leaf lettuce can stand in for the bagged salad mix.

Spiced carrot and butternut squash soup – Would make a great first course. This comes from a British newspaper, so use an online conversion site (this one’s my favorite) to convert the metric units to imperial ones. Use your smaller rainbow carrots in place of two large ones, and use chopped green garlic (the white parts) instead of garlic cloves. It’ll have a lighter, but still garlicky, taste.

Bell pepper and broccoli pasta sauce – Sounds like a festive mix of colors, with the green broccoli and bell peppers alongside the red peppers. The recipe calls for all red peppers, but your green ones will be great. You can also use chopped green garlic in place of the regular garlic called for here.

Scrambled Tofu

This right here is the breakfast of champions. Seriously. It’s a great mixture of protein and vegetables, perfect for starting your day off right. As you can imagine, it’s easily customizable with any combo of veggies and herbs you want to try, and it reheats surprisingly well. I make a big batch on Sunday nights and eat it for breakfast during the week.

You might be a bit skeptical about scrambling tofu, and I don’t blame you. But if you like tofu at all, you need to give this a shot because, as famous vegan chef Isa Moskovitz says, tofu really is made to be scrambled. It has a great texture that’s similar to scrambled eggs, and a little bright-yellow turmeric even makes it look a little eggy. I thawed some frozen tofu for this batch, which is why it looks a little breadlike in the pictures above. This is a particularly good way to use frozen tofu, as you don’t notice its altered texture very much (frozen tofu is much more chewy and spongy than fresh tofu).

Let me know what you think, and if you try any other veggie/herb combos.

Scrambled Tofu (adapted from The Post-Punk Kitchen)

1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium chopped onion (about a cup)
2 portabella mushroom caps, diced (or 2 cups cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced)
1 bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)*
juice of 1/2 a lime (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Spice Blend
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular is fine, but I love the smokiness this adds)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high. Saute onions 3 minutes, until softened. Add mushrooms, saute 5 minutes more. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes more. Add spice blend and mix it up for 15 seconds or so. Add 1/4 cup water and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the garlic and spices.

Crumble in tofu and mix well, but don’t stir it to death. You want it to remain chunky. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from sticking too much. Add lime juice. Add nutritional yeast, if using, and mix it up. If it seems too dry add splashes of water. Stir in cilantro.

*Nutritional yeast adds a pleasant, nutty flavor. Vegans often use it as a substitute for hard cheeses like Parmesan. It is NOT the same as the yeast you use for baking. You can find it in the bulk bins at bigger grocery stores or Whole Foods.

Holiday Delivery Schedule

Everything will be moved up 1 day next week:
Tuesday Deliveries – Will Arrive Monday
Wednesday Deliveries – Will Arrive Tuesday
Thursday Deliveries – Will Arrive Wednesday
Friday Deliveries – Will Arrive Thursday

Happy Holidays!

Local Box Meal Plan: Dec. 13-17

We get local avocados this week – a rare treat! Here’s the full list and video:

Assorted Peppers – Lundgren
Avocados – G&S Groves
Green Leaf Lettuce – Acadian
Dinosaur Kale – Naegelin
Fuji Apples – Apple Country
Red Beet Bunch – Naegelin
Green Cabbage – Naegelin
Dill – My Father’s Farm
Yellow Onions – Various
Portobello Caps – Kitchen Pride

I’ll be making:

Avocado relish with caramelized onions – Adjust the ingredient amounts to fit what you get.

Beet, barley, mushroom, and kale soup – Ok, so this recipe, despite its title, doesn’t mention kale or mushrooms. In fact, the whole thing is kind of poorly written. But I like the spirit of it, so I’m using it as a template. Just finely chop the bunch of kale we get, dice the mushrooms, and add them when you add the beets. If you aren’t feeling vegan, this ginger beef and kale stir-fry is another good way to use up your kale.

Harvest supper salad with smoked turkey and apples – This calls for two heads of lettuce and two cups of cabbage, but you’ll be fine with just one head of lettuce (we probably won’t get two) and more cabbage. I love the combo of turkey, apples, blue cheese, and almonds here.