Tag Archives: cherry tomato

Local Box Meal Plan: Oct. 19-23

This week, we’re getting: Corno di Toro sweet peppers, bell peppers, an assortment of herbs, cucumber, Meyer lemon, gala apples, Thai eggplant, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and either baby bok choy or sweet potatoes, depending on your delivery day.

So I’m making:

Lunch:

Dinner:

  • Roasted turkey breast stuffed with lemon, garlic and herbs
  • Grilled shrimp with Romesco sauce (a traditional Spanish sauce made with garlic, chiles, almonds, tomatoes and peppers)

Side Dish:

Dessert:

Plenty of produce that’s perfect for fall!

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Fresh Pasta with Roasted Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes

I have no idea why I haven’t been making homemade pasta more frequently. Perhaps it’s because the last time I tried, my KitchenAid stand mixer conked out, leaving me worried that I didn’t have a mixer powerful enough to handle pasta. Or perhaps I thought it was harder than it actually is. Probably both. I was wrong on both accounts though.

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I made this on a weeknight and it took about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish. It’s definitely more work than hard pasta, but the reward is definitely worth it.

This is sort of a 2-part entry: the pasta part and the roasted shrimp part. I’ll split the recipes up, so if you want to make one or the other, it’s easy to follow. These recipes make 4 servings of shrimp and pasta.

The Pasta
[Printable Recipe]

From Bell’ Alimento

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 c. bread flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Spread the flour out onto a work surface and make a well in the middle of the pile of flour. Crack the eggs into the well and whisk them, incorporating the flour into the egg mixture as you whisk.
  • Work the dough into a ball and knead until it’s smooth (5-7 minutes). Add flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  • After the dough has rested, divide it into 3 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (leaving the remaining pieces in the fridge while you’re working with the first), knead the dough a few more times, flatten it out with your hands, then run it through the pasta maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Let the pasta dry (my fettucine took about 20 minutes; I don’t have a rack, so I laid the pasta flat and covered it with a kitchen towel), then boil for 2-3 minutes until the pasta is al dente.

The Shrimp
[Printable Recipe]

From Real Simple

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (You can get them peeled and deveined already at the grocery store to save some time.)
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the shrimp with the rest of the ingredients. Spread the shrimp and tomatoes out on the baking sheet in an even layer.
  • Roast until the shrimp is cooked through, about 17 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the shrimp before serving.

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Verdict:
We’ve been getting really sweet tomatoes in our Greenling box for the past few weeks, and this sweetness was fantastic in this dish. I did, however, need to add the lemon juice for some acid before serving (the lemon juice wasn’t called for in the original recipe). While you could also saute the shrimp, roasting them gave it a great dimension of flavor.

Fresh pasta is a completely different animal from hard pasta. It’s hard to describe the differences, but I’ll try. =) It’s got a fresher taste (obviously) and a much different texture (smoother, maybe?) after it’s cooked. It also tastes like pasta, and the hard pasta I’ve had sometimes doesn’t taste like much at all. It’s a dish in itself, rather than just a vehicle for a sauce or topping.

Corn Saute with Tomato and Fried Okra

[Printable Recipe]

What a way to use as many items from our Greenling box as possible! We’ve been getting okra and squash for the last few weeks, and we got garlic last week. Fresh corn and really ripe tomatoes have been abundant for a few weeks now too, so this was the perfect dish to use all of that beautiful produce. I served this with simple grilled chicken, but this side dish was really the star of the meal.

It makes at least 4 servings for hungry people, so we had plenty of leftovers.

From Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (1/4 c. was plenty)
  • 12 large okra pods, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • Kernels from 3 ears of corn (~2 c.)
  • 3 summer squash, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 12-ounce bag cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, toss the sliced okra lightly in the cornmeal to coat.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Shake off the excess cornmeal with a slotted spoon, then add the breaded okra to the skillet and saute until coating is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned okra to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wipe out the skillet.
  • Lower the heat to medium and heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in the same skillet. Add corn, squash, and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, then cover and cook until squash is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in okra, cilantro, and green onions. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve immediately.

Verdict:
I couldn’t stop eating this. There were so many flavors and textures going — the brightness of the cilantro, the pungent acidity of the okra, the sweetness of the corn. And the colors were beautiful!

However, the cornmeal breading didn’t stay on the okra at all. I think I could’ve skipped that step and just browned the okra with the squash. However, if you want a true fried okra feel to the dish, I’d dredge it in egg before coating with cornmeal to ensure that the breading sticks.

Turkey Meatball Kebobs with Tzatziki

I like subbing ground turkey for ground beef in most recipes. Sometimes it doesn’t work out as well as I would have liked, and sometimes it works out even better than the beef version. In this recipe, I actually prefer using turkey. It’s not as heavy, making it great for summer.

You could easily make this without putting the meatballs on kebobs, but kebobs seemed a bit more “Mediterranean” to me.

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (I used 93% lean.)
  • 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Veggies for skewering (I used zucchini, summer squash, and cherry tomatoes.)
  • Skewers

For the tzatziki (tzatziki is pretty standard, but these are the proportions that I prefer):

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 8 oz. yogurt (I used fat-free, you can use whatever type you like. Greek yogurt, like Fage, is especially good.)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced (I prefer dill, but mint or parsley can also be used, so feel free to substitute that if you like.)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Finely grate the cucumber with a box grater. Strain it in some cheesecloth over a bowl with a heavy weight on top (a can of Diet Coke works well!) to get rid of most of the water. It takes at least an hour to do this; I usually do this step the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
  • Add the strained cucumber to the rest of the tzatziki ingredients and adjust the ingredients to taste, if necessary. Set aside to let the flavors marinate a bit. (You can make this a few days in advance.)
  • Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack in the middle of the oven. You could also grill these.
  • Saute the chopped onion in a bit of olive oil. Let cool, then add to the turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, dill, and salt. Combine the ingredients together with your hands, then form into 1-1/2″ meatballs.
  • Skewer the meatballs with the veggies. Brush the tops of the meatballs with a bit of olive oil (just a bit!) to ensure nice browning on top, and add a bit of salt and pepper to the kebobs.
  • Broil the kebobs for ~7 minutes, then flip them over and brush the other side of the meatballs with a bit of olive oil. Broil the kebobs for an additional 7 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes, then serve with the tzatziki and pita (if you’re grilling the kebobs, brush the pitas with a bit of olive oil and stick those on the grill too. YUM!).

Verdict:

Well, I could eat tzatziki with a spoon (and sometimes do), so anything with tzatziki will be awesome in my book. But the meatballs were flavorful (to avoid having superd-dry meatballs though, you really need to use at least 93% lean, if not darker meat). Sauteeing the onions added a nice layer of flavor and (I think) increased the moisture by adding a bit of fat, and the fresh dill was a refreshing change from parsley. Next time, I’ll probably add some cumin to the meatballs for a smoky underlying flavor.

Gnocchi with Summer Squash, Zucchini and Tomatoes

I tore this recipe out of Everyday Food, thinking that it would be super easy to throw together before Trivia Night at Flying Saucer and that it would be filling enough so that my husband wouldn’t gorge himself on their soft pretzels.

From Everyday Food

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of gnocchi (or any kind of short pasta, really)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 summer squash, sliced and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped (I omitted this — for those of you who don’t know, I haven’t found basil that tastes great to me yet in Texas! It seems to have a minty aftertaste to me, but the horticulturalists I’ve spoken to think I’m crazy.)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese (I just used Parmesan.)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter (I omitted this. I thought the Parmesan made it creamy enough without adding too much extra fat.)
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Directions:

  • Cook the gnocchi as directed, making sure to reserve ~1/2 c. of cooking water. Keep in mind that they cook in ~3 minutes, so prepare accordingly.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the squash. Saute for ~3 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another ~2 minutes.
  • When the veggies are finished, remove from the heat and toss the veggies with the gnocchi, 1/2 c. cooking water, basil, cheese, butter (if using), and lemon juice.


I also tossed some crimini mushrooms with the veggies while they were sauteeing.

Verdict:
So I’ll be honest here: I don’t like gnocchi that much. I don’t know why; it’s something about the texture. I definitely would’ve preferred this with a hearty whole-wheat penne. That being said, this is a wonderfully light and flavorful meal, and comes together in a snap. The key is to use really fresh ingredients (since you’re not using a sauce, which would ordinarily mask the flavors of the veggies). You could also roast the veggies if you’re using firmer ones (like carrots or root veggies), but sauteeing = fewer steps = less time to wait to eat. Hey, what can I say — I was hungry.

Local-Box Lookout, week of 01.05.2009

Here’s the preliminary list for this week’s Local Boxes:

  • bibb lettuce
  • green onion
  • radish
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cilantro
  • Meyer lemons
  • grapefruit
  • tangerines
  • curly kale
  • bag baby lettuce

Local Box, 11.05.2008

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Greens season is here! Both collards and Swiss chard appeared in my Local Box yesterday, along with plenty of apples and a few remnants of summer in the form of zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Since I’ve still got plenty of dill butter, I think I’ll freeze this week’s fresh dill to use later in the winter, as it’s a great complement to many root vegetables. And those are some sandwich-sized radishes, for sure!

What have you got planned for this week’s Local Box?