Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lemony broccoli pasta and plum frozen yogurt

The running theme of my CSA share this year seems to be 'vegetables bigger than your head.' Last week I got some chard and kale that were easily the length of my elbow to outstretched fingers. Before that, I got some chives and green onions that were probably just as big. For those of you with gardens such things might be old news. For me, it's an exciting adventure. What will I get next week? What will I do with the enormous cabbage I have? No idea!

I've been trying to be better about cooking things that will last as lunches or dinners for the week using the CSA veggies. Pasta is usually a good bet, and a recipe that doesn't fail is this one for lemony broccoli pasta with chickpeas. I pretty much follow that exactly, but omit the cheese and add more lemon. This time, I used a 12 oz bag of pasta, 1 big bunch of broccoli and 1 can of chickpeas, which made enough for 5 days. The recipe is easy and quick, perfect for a rushed dinner.

One thing I tend not to rush is dessert. The offerings at the market have been so great that I'm hesitant to do anything to the fruit I buy because I don't want to spoil the taste. I've been leaving berries alone and snacking on them plain, but the plums I got recently were another matter. I knew they'd just hang out on the counter unless I did something, so big surprise... I made frozen yogurt.

Here is something I didn't know about plums: the skin makes them tart and a bit acidic. This recipe calls for making a puree of the plums and straining it to get rid of the skin bits and then adding those bits in as needed to achieve the taste you want. The taste of the skinless plum puree was totally surprising - really mild and sweet, not at all like the plum taste I was used to. The recipe is a combination of recipes from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook and The Perfect Scoop. The recipe calls for a lot of tasting, which is due to the fact that you might have really tart or really sweet plums. Go with what tastes good to you.

Plum Frozen Yogurt
10-12 oz plums (try to get ones that are soft and juicy)
5-8 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon white wine
1 cup whole milk yogurt

1. Pit the plums and puree a food processor
2. Strain the plums to get rid of the skins, but save a bit of the skins to add in later
3. Add agave to the plum mixture in small amounts, stirring and tasting after each addition to get the sweetness that you want. Add a little bit of the skins to get a bit more acidity and tartness if you like.
4. Add the wine, and readjust the sweet:tart levels if necessary
5. Combine with the yogurt and chill for an hour or so, until the mixture is nice and cold.
6. Taste again, and make any adjustments to the taste. Pour into your ice cream maker and let it churn until it reaches the desired consistency.

Monday, July 02, 2007

farmers market: 06.30.07

My friend Heather came over for dinner on Saturday and we made an amazing meal made out of some of the veggies I got at the Green City Market. One of the stands had the first fava beans of the season, so I had to pick up a pint. I also got some black raspberries, summer squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and white flesh peaches. Here's what we made (you'll notice the dessert came first because, well, it's awesome):

Black raspberry frozen yogurt
1 pint black raspberries
1/2 c sugar (adjust based on how sweet the berries are)
1 t lemon juice (or more to taste)
2 c whole milk yogurt (you can use lowfat but it'll form more ice crystals)

1. Combine berries, sugar, lemon juice and yogurt and blend until smooth
2. Chill for about an hour in the fridge
3. Pour into your ice cream maker and process as per manufact. instructions
*If you want to be really classy, you should strain the mixture before putting it into the ice cream maker to get rid of the seeds from the berries. I wanted to keep some chunks of berry in so I didn't do that and didn't blend everything until it was super processed, just a little bit.

Fava bean and egg salad crostini

(adapted from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook)
1 pint fava beans (about 500g?), shelled
2 eggs, hard boiled
slightly stale bread (we used about 3 giant pieces of an olive and rosemary boule)
olive oil
lemon juice

First a note about fava beans: They need to be double shelled. As you can see in the picture above, when you open the pod there are light green beans. That light green covering needs to be removed, which will expose a dark green bean.
You can shell them by either putting the pods into boiling water for 10 minutes and then running them under cold water and then popping the favas out of the 2nd cover pretty easily, or you can skip the boiling process and expend a bit more energy and do it to the raw beans. The boiling method will apparently change the consistency of the beans, so the method you use should really just depend on what you are going to be doing. For this recipe, since you are going to mash the beans and eggs together, you can boil, but if you are making a salad I'd suggest shelling the raw beans.

1. Preheat oven to 425 and brush one side of each piece of bread with olive oil. Bake the bread for about 5-7 minutes. You don't want it to come out super crisp - the toasts will crisp as they cool.
2. Pour a small amount of olive oil in a skillet, just enough to coat, and add the fava beans. Stir them around a bit until cooked and remove from heat.
3. Cut up the eggs, add to the fava beans and mash with a fork.
4. Add lemon juice to taste, and season with salt and pepper.
5. Spread the mixture on to the toasts.

Pan seared baby summer squash with garlic
3 baby summer squash, cut in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

1. Add olive oil to a large skillet - enough to coat the surface.
2. Once warm, add the garlic and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
3. Place the squash, cut side down, into the pan and let sit until the bottoms are browned
4. Toss in the pan so they are covered with olive oil and garlic, and then add a splash of balsamic vinegar. It'll steam, so beware.

To drink - we had some peach lambic, which went perfectly with everything.