Week Five: Getting our CSA Groove Back

It seems like it took us a couple of weeks to get back into the CSA groove this year (our second-so we don’t have a lot to compare it to). I know two things for sure though…1) We are definitely using more of our weekly produce right off the bat than we did last year and 2) Now that we are cresting week five, we are getting more and more excited by returning fare from last season (currently, our favorite item is the garlic scape). I have a lot of new recipes to share with you that I have tried over the past two weeks!

Inevitably you will be eating a lot of salad throughout the season-with the awesomely succulent mix of salad greens we get weekly though, who wouldn’t? Last year we ate salad without trying to make our own dressing (perhaps once or twice we made an herb-based concoction of our own, but nothing really formal or recipe-based). I found some real winners on Pinterest (where I get most of my recipes these days-it is just so easy to use!).

Garlic Scape Green Goddess Dressing
Garlic Scape Green Goddess Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Greek non fat yogurt
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic scapes, roughly chopped (or 1 garlic clove, peeled)
  • 1/2 avocado, pit and skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon orange muscat vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • Water (to thin dressing)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a food processor, add yogurt, parsley, garlic scapes, avocado, vinegar and lime juice. Process until smooth.
  2. For a thinner dressing, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until at a desired consistency.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

- See more at: http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/06/garlic-scape-green-goddess-dressing/#sthash.FCqAyF94.dpuf

Seriously…this was so good! It is a little thick, so you can choose to thin it out if you wish, but I would also recommend using it as a dip for other fresh vegetables. I ate all of the snow peas that we got last week…and a great deal of those were dipped in this dressing. It was a lovely chip/dip substitute. Gus (who hates all things dip-related, which isn’t really a bad thing as far as I am concerned) actually tried it. He even sort-of liked it. He dipped a snow pea pod, bit off a chunk and even ingested it. Bite two warranted a grimace-but we celebrate small victories over food in this family.

For this recipe and the following recipe I used Fustini’s (there is a nice store in Holland if you haven’t been there yet) Lemongrass Mint vinegar rather than what the recipe called for. I found the mint really gave the dressings a delightful flavor!

Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chobani 0% plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Continue to add olive oil 1 tbsp at a time as necessary to create a smooth finish.

Again, this was a little thick, but absolutely delicious.

For those not into the cream-based dressings (like my husband) here is a vinegar-based dressing that we plan to try in the next week:

Garlic Scape Vinegarette

Garlic Scape Vinaigrette Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the garlic scape pieces and olive oil in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until emulsified and the garlic scapes are chopped into tiny bits.
  2. Add the red wine vinegar, dried mustard, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Now to deviate from the dressings. I tried a breakfast shake in an effort to expand my vegetable consumption into the morning hours.

(original source: http://nourishingourradiance.com/2012/01/green-love/):
Mint Chocolate Chip Kale Shake
serves 2* 1½ cups water
* 6 tablespoons cashews
* 2 tablespoons coconut oil
* 2 tablespoons coconut nectar or sweetener of choice
* ¼-½ teaspoon peppermint extract
* 4 large kale leaves
* 3 frozen Bananas
* 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

Place the water, cashews, coconut oil, sweetener and peppermint extract in a high speed blender. Blend until very smooth. Add the kale and blend again. Add the bananas and blend until smooth & frosty. Lastly, add the cacao nibs and blend gently just to combine.

Now my shake didn’t look as lovely as the image that I have posted above. I also substituted peanuts for the cashews and chocolate chips for the nibs. I found that this was a good shake for the morning, but it wasn’t the minty McShake flavor that I miss from my college days. Gus wouldn’t even try it. Could barely look at it.

I cooked two side-dishes for this blog. I have to admit that one of my least-favorite vegetables from the CSA is the bok choy, simply because I don’t really know what to do with it beyond an Asian-themed stir fry of some sort. In my quest for recipes I really found that is the theme with this vegetable.

Baby Bok Choy with Yellow Bell Peppers Recipe

For an added touch you can include some pine nuts in step one.

INGREDIENTS

baby-bok-choy-pep-1.jpg

  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 large yellow bell peppers, stem and seed pod removed and discarded, sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
  • 4 green onions, chopped, including green parts that are not dried out
  • 1 lb baby bok choy, bottom root ball cut off and discarded, rinsed thoroughly, torn into smaller pieces

METHOD

1 Heat a tablespoon each of grapeseed (or canola) oil and sesame oil in a large sauté pan on high heat. Add the chopped yellow peppers and green onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. (Keep a watch so that the onions don’t burn.)

baby-bok-choy-pep-2.jpg baby-bok-choy-pep-3.jpg

2 Lower the heat and add the bok choy. Stir to coat with the oil in the pan. Cook only until the bok choy has wilted. The thicker, whiter ends of the baby bok choy should still be somewhat crunchy.

Serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side.

This came out to be a very pleasant dish. Yellow peppers are one vegetable that my son will eat, so it is possible that he got some good-loving and nutritious bok choy residue with his meal that evening.

We also made this recipe originally from http://nomnompaleo.com/post/3101298440/stir-fried-napa-cabbage-with-mushrooms-and-bacon

Stir Fried Napa Cabbage with Bacon and Mushrooms

  • Small head of napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup diced bacon
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chicken broth

Brown bacon, add onions, then mushroom, then cabbage and finally the chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

This dish was a unique side dish with a decidedly German-like quality. It was good in June, but I would bet it would be even better come fall and winter.

This week I am featuring two awesome (and first-time) main dishes. I cheated on the ravioli dish and used wontons to make the ravioli (simply wet two sides and fold over) and used the leftover wontons for the dumplings a couple of days later. It was a great way to keep the shopping list at a minimum for the week. I am including just the first part of the recipe here but the original site is here: http://www.petitekitchenesse.com/2011/07/03/swiss-chard-garlic-scape-ravioli/

Swiss Chard & Garlic Scape Ravioli

yield: approximately 2 dozen large ravioli

  • 1 bunch of swiss and/or rainbow chard, washed and roughly chopped
  • a fistful of garlic scapes (approx. ⅓ cup, diced)
  • 1 cup of ricotta (I substituted goat cheese for the ricotta…AMAZING!)
  • ½ cup of parmesan
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • olive oil (for stir-frying)
  • 1 batch of egg pasta dough (I substituted wonton wrappers)

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add diced scapes (reserving about a tablespoon for garnish) and cook for a minute or two, then add chard and cook until just wilted. Transfer to a wooden cutting board, to absorb some of the excess liquid. (Depending on how watery your ricotta is, you may actually want to press out some of additional liquid from the chard with a large spoon.)

Combine chard and all other filling ingredients in a large bowl, then set aside.

After ravioli are assembled, flash boil them. Fry them in butter before serving.

These were delicious! Pick up a bottle of Pinot Grigio or a nice crisp pale ale to go with it!

chinese dumplings: boiled pork and cabbage dumplings

(http://www.steamykitchen.com/5849-chinese-boiled-pork-dumplings.html)

adapted from Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen

Salting and squeezing the water out of the cabbage is essential. It prevents your dumplings from being too soggy!

Makes 50 dumplings

12 ounces napa cabbage leaves, roughly chopped (or regular cabbage)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (use microplane grater)
1/4 cup minced Chinese chives or green onions (white and green parts)
2/3 pound ground pork
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 package frozen round dumpling wrappers (gyoza/potsticker wrappers), defrosted at room temperature for 30 minutes
for the slurry: 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1/2 cup water

1. To make the filling, put the cabbage in a food processor and process until cabbage is finely minced. Remove the cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let cabbage sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, return the food processor bowl to the stand and add the ginger, chives, pork, pepper, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. Pulse 4 times to mix the ingredients well. Set aside.

2. Use your hands to grab a handful of the cabbage and squeeze and discard the excess moisture out into the sink. You can also spoon all of the cabbage onto a cheesecloth and then squeeze all the water out. Place the dry cabbage back into the large bowl and add the pork mixture. Fold the cabbage into the pork mixture.

3. Mix together the slurry. Take one dumpling wrapper, spoon scant 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture onto the middle of the wrapper. Dip one finger into the slurry and “paint” the edges of the dumpling wrapper. Bring up the bottom side of the wrapper, fold up and press to shape into a half-moon shape, encasing all of the filling. Place on baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and repeat with rest of dumplings. Make sure that the dumplings do not touch each other on the sheet.

4 When all dumplings assembled, you can cook immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to several hours. To cook, half-fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. When boiling, and gently slide in 1/3 of the dumplings. When water returns to a boil, turn heat to a simmer and gently cook for 6-8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with hot chili sauce.

This was another big hit for the dinner table. It was a great, new way to enjoy cabbage! We used Creswick farms ground pork for the filling, and ended up freezing half of the filling for a later time. Gus ate some of this as well, which surprised us because he doesn’t like meat, or anything green!

The last recipe is one of our own, in-a-pinch meals. We always keep a jar of Alfredo sauce in the pantry for a quick meal. Any vegetables, sauteed with onions (caramelize them first…), mushrooms and garlic added to pasta with Alfredo sauce (we sometimes add pesto too) is a great way to quickly use up some vegetables in the fridge. Throw in some spinach and kale! Simple and quick!

That’s it for this week. Cheers and happy cooking!

About these ads
This entry was posted in Preserving!. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s