Sometimes when I get my Local Box I have to scratch my head and really think about what to cook with the contents, but this week posed no challenge. As soon as I saw those long beans I knew they would be perfect for a stir fry. I had never had long beans before, but they are just a mutant cousin of the green beans most of us are used to, and can be prepared the same way.
Not into stir fry? Try steaming these beans whole, arranging them like nests, and placing a piece of marinated chicken or fish in the middle. Simple and delicious!
This stir fry is a little bit sweet with a heat that follows. Because it isn’t a sticky, heavy sauce that douses many takeout boxes, the flavor of the vegetables still comes through.
Long Bean & Eggplant Stir Fry
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 pound long beans
2 medium eggplant
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/3 cup vegetable stock
Juice of half a lime
Prepare rice according to directions on package.
Meanwhile, dice eggplant into small chunks and slice long beans into approximately 1-inch lengths. Finely mince the shallots, garlic, and ginger, and put into a small bowl.
Add the soy sauce, honey, sriracha, stock, lime juice, and remaining sesame oil to the bowl, and whisk to combine.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, reduce to medium and add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add eggplant and beans and cook, stirring often, until vegetables start to soften.
Add sauce and stir to coat. Let cook another 3-5 minutes or so, until the eggplant looks a bit glazed and the sauce has reduced.
Serve over brown rice.
Even though we dipped down below the 90s last week, it seems summer is still going to stick around for a while, and along with it our summer produce. I for one was excited to see eggplant in our Local Box, as I’ve felt like I haven’t gotten my fill of it yet. I decided to use it in a simplified version of eggplant parmesan.
This version doesn’t have multiple layers, making it slightly less like a casserole. I also decided to forego spinach in favor of shredded zucchini. Eggplant parmesan is often a heavy dish, but this was a light and easy preparation.
Eggplant Parmesan with Zucchini
adapted from Tyler Florence
1/2 cup milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 10 slices total)
1 small onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups shredded zucchini
Salt and pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
Set up two shallow bowls. In one bowl, beat together egg and milk. Pour breadcrumbs in the other bowl, and set both near stove.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then dredge in breadcrumbs, and place in skillet. Cook until golden on both sides, then remove to a 9×13 baking dish, arranging in a single layer. (Squish them in if you need to.)
Reduce skillet to medium, and add onions. Cook until translucent, then add tomatoes and zucchini. Cook until tomatoes have broken down a bit, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour tomato mixture over the eggplant. Tear mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the top. Cook under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Nectarines – Cooper Farm
Blueberries – Berry Best
Basil – Liedeker Farm
Potatoes – Acadian Family Farm
Assorted Peppers – Comanche Creek
Purslane – My Father’s Farm
Juliet Tomatoes – Hillside Farm
Eggplant – Fruitful Hill Farm
Figs – Texas Natural / Cooper Farm
Nectarine-basil lemonade – A refreshing summer drink.
Fresh fig and blueberry clafoutis – A clafoutis is a a custardy French dessert, and a perfect way to showcase figs and blueberries at their peak.
Eggplant, tomato, and pepper casserole – This recipe includes yummy sausage, adding a bit of heartiness. Use fresh pureed tomatoes instead of canned.
Grilled zucchini salad with purslane and tomato – Purslane has a pleasant lemony flavor. I find it works best raw as an accent in salads such as this.
Hope everyone had a great holiday! I’ll be enjoying my melons simply cubed and raw, but here are some great recipes for the rest of our ingredients.
Yellow Peaches – Caskey Orchards
Blueberries – Berry Best
Assorted Summer Squash – Massey Farm
Yukon Potatoes – Tecolote Farm
Eggplant (Assorted) – Fruitful Hill Farm & Animal Farm
Armenian Cucumber – Fruitful Hill Farm
Juliet Tomatoes – Hillside Farm
Summer Peas – Just Peachy Farm
Cantaloupe OR Sugar Baby Watermelon – Massey Farm
Sun-dried Juliet tomatoes – This is a super-interesting recipe for sun-dried tomatoes dried using the heat inside your car, accompanied by a few recipes to use your newly dried tomatoes. If you’re more of a traditionalist, just pop the sliced tomatoes in your oven on its lowest setting for a couple of hours.
Cucumber-tomato salad – Make a simple salad with peeled Armenian cukes, sliced black olives (if you like them), tomatoes, Italian dressing, and salt/pepper.
Orecchiette with caramelized fennel and summer veggies – Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian and refers to the shape of the pasta. It can be difficult to find (and expensive when you do find it) so sub spiral or wagon wheel pasta if you’d like.
Herbed summer squash and potato torte – From one of my favorites, Smitten Kitchen.
Baked blueberry-peach oatmeal – This calls for canned peaches, but just use sliced fresh ones instead. I wouldn’t bother peeling them, but I don’t mind a little peach fuzz.
Posted in --this weeks' box contents, 1. LOCAL BOX
Tagged blueberries, cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, peaches, peas, potatoes, summer squash, tomatoes, watermelon
A few exotic items coming this week, such as mizuna, sunchokes and French breakfast radishes – yum! Here’s the full list:
Arugula – Acdian
Mizuna – My Father’s Farm
Bibb lettuce – Bella Verde
French breakfast radishes – Acadian
Okra – Bradshaw
Summer squash – TX Naturals
Sunchokes – Animal Farm
Eggplant – Acadian
Cameo or Granny Smith apples – Apple Country
Meyer lemons and Persian limes – G&S Grove
Yellow onions – Naegelin
Sweet potatoes, green beans, or red potatoes – Naegelin
I will be making:
Wok-sauteed mizuna and chicken – Make a few substitutions here to use what you’re getting in your box. Specifically, add arugula to the mizuna (I doubt we’re going to get a full pound of either, so have them join forces with their peppery goodness). Also, use summer squash instead of the carrots – it’ll cook in slightly less time, but no matter. If you’ve never had mizuna before, you’re in for a treat. It’s much like arugula in flavor, but the leaves are a little more hardy, like mustard greens.
Vegetable stew with sunchokes – Again, we’ll need to make some substitutions. If you don’t get red potatoes, use your sweet potatoes or trimmed green beans (that may sound odd, but I promise it’ll taste good – we’re making this an all-purpose veggie stew). Use more zucchini in place of the carrots. Depending on the amount of sunchokes we get, you may be able to substitute the extra for celery. You can also toss in some eggplant if you want.
Caramel apples! – It IS Halloween week, right? If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own caramel, just use one of those packaged mixes at the grocery store. I won’t tell.
Eggplant burgers – I’m linking to a recipe here if you need a guide, but I imagine you can go a million different ways with eggplant burgers. I have some friends who made them Italian-style, with mozzarella and some red sauce on toasted buns. I’m thinking of using mustard, cheese, sliced radishes, and Bibb lettuce. Yum.
Callaloo (creamy spinach and okra) – I’m excited about this recipe because 1) it involves coconut milk, and 2) I’m betting that pureeing everything together will negate the okra sliminess we’re always looking to avoid. Good times.
Posted in --this weeks' box contents, 1. LOCAL BOX, cooking from local box
Tagged apples, arugula, eggplant, green beans, lemons, lettuce, limes, mizuna, okra, onions, radishes, red potatoes, summer squash, sunchokes, sweet potatoes
This week, we’re getting:
Basil – Yard Garden
Assorted hot peppers
Okra – Bradshaw
Eggplant – Animal Farm
Cucumbers – Acadian
Red delicious apples – Apple Country
Limes – G&S Groves
Red potatoes – Naegelin
Yellow onions – Naegelin
Butternut squash – Massey
So, I will be making:
Curried okra-eggplant stew with basil and coconut milk – So, this recipe isn’t written in the usual recipe form, but holy crap it looks good, so just read the blog post to get all the ingredients in. This uses several Local Box ingredients and looks like it’ll come together quickly.
Roasted red potatoes and butternut squash – Use your yellow onion instead of the red onion called for here. Throw a couple of seasoned chicken breasts in the same roasting pan as the veggies, and you’ve got dinner.
Crab salad with lime dressing – Add jumbo lump crabmeat to chopped Bibb lettuce, cucumbers, and any other veggies you like. Whisk together the juice of a couple of limes, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and drizzle over the salad.
As for the red delicious apples, I find them to be really mushy when cooked, so we usually just eat them out-of-hand. However, if you want to make something with them, this apple crisp recipe looks quick and easy, and the soft texture of the apples will be balanced out by the other ingredients.
Posted in 1. LOCAL BOX, cooking from local box
Tagged apples, basil, butternut squash, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, limes, okra, onions, peppers, red potatoes
Like most everyone in Austin, my allergies are terrible this time of year. This comforting soup always makes me feel better when I’m sniffly, plus the recipe is easy to adapt according to the vegetables I have on hand. I’ve experimented by adding some combination of potatoes, apples, leeks, carrots, or mushrooms to this basic recipe with good results. Whatever variety of produce I use, the basic ratio of ingredients remains about 1 cup of liquid for each 1 cup of roasted veggies.
The fall allergy season is going to last at least another month, and we’ll need some more comforting recipes to get through it. What’s your favorite soup when you’re feeling under the weather?
Roasted Eggplant Soup
2 small eggplants, quartered
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 bulb garlic (about 9 cloves), top cut off
1/2 white onion, halved
1/2 cup hard apple cider or white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (skip it if you’re vegan– the soup’s great without it)
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place eggplant, onion, tomatoes, and garlic flesh side up on the cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.
Allow vegetables to cool until they are safe to handle. Scoop eggplant flesh from skin into a medium heavy saucepan. Discard skin. Squeeze garlic cloves from skin into saucepan. Add tomatoes and onion to saucepan, plus parsley, cider, lemon juice and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan and add cream, if desired. Heat through. Garnish with fresh parsley and cracked pepper. Serve with a hearty grain like these whole wheat rosemary rolls.