Tag Archives: CSA

Braised Bok Choy with Peanuts

bokchoyleavesThe CSA adventures continue. Another completely new vegetable to me has been bok choy. I’ve heard of bok choy. I may have consumed bok choy at some point though I can’t be certain. I know I’ve never cooked with it before which means I didn’t really know what to do with it.

I sent up the Twitter signal (something along the lines of “what the heck do I do with this thing?”) and all the replies that came back were “stir fry”. OK, sounded simple enough.

Next step was Google. I searched bok choy recipes and perused several before settling on a combination of two recipes:

Braised Bok Choy & Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

But before I could cook it, I needed to know how to prepare it. I went back to Google and found this video tutorial on YouTube:

Now that shows you want to do with the white, crunchy part but what about the green leafy part? Basically you just chop that part, as well, into bite sized pieces. And when cooking it, add the white part to the pan first because it takes longer to cook. You’ll just want the greens to wilt a bit.

Here’s what used & how I cooked it:

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 pound to 1 pound bok choy or baby bok choy, washed and trimmed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • ~ 1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts

Directions

  1. Heat the canola oil and olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add grated ginger and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until ginger perfumes the oil.
  2. Add the white bok choy pieces to the skillet. Stir fry for a 2-3 minutes until they become tender but not mushy, then add the greens. Allow them to wilt and turn bright green.
  3. Remove bok choy to a serving plate.
  4. Add broth, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar to the pan. Cook another 2 minutes or so to allow flavors to meld.
  5. Pour over bok choy. Toss with peanuts. Serve immediately.

bokchoystirfry

This was really delicious! I was quite pleased with how it turned out and I’m looking forward to making it again. DB gave it a hearty endorsement (he practically licked the plate) and the kids…looked at me like I had two heads. But that was about what I expected so no surprise there.

I pan fried some slices of polenta and poured some of the sauce from the stir fry over that as well. It was a filling, satisfying meal.

If you look at the recipe links you’ll see they call for sesame oil, which I didn’t have on hand, so I substituted the olive oil. One of them calls for oyster sauce (?). Didn’t have that either, so I omitted it. And I didn’t have cashews but I did have peanuts so that’s what I used there. Apparently, you can do that kind of thing with bok choy.

My friend Brittney sent me this link about bok choy: Five Way to Eat Bok Choy – a good tool for figuring out what to do bok choy!

Updated – Take a look at what Tracy did with this recipe. Yum!

Photobucket and fearless-fridays

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

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I have never, ever* made anything with butternut squash. In fact, I’ve never really been a “squash person” so to speak. Well, except for zucchini. I heart zucchini!

Our experience with the CSA has yielded lots and lots and lots of squash. Over the summer it was various summer squashes and now that we’re entering fall, it’s fall squashes like acorn and sweet dumpling and butternut. I roasted a sweet dumpling squash a few weeks ago that smelled and looked (once cut open) exactly like pumpkin. It had a very sweet, pleasant, squash-y taste but I was not enamored with the texture.

Last week, I picked up a butternut squash. My first inclination was to make soup. But then through a discussion on Facebook, my sister mentioned something about lasagna. That was rather intriguing. So, to the Internet I went! I perused several recipes until I found this one on RecipeZaar. (btw, great site for recipes!) Two things caught my eye about this recipe. First, the use of swiss chard (which I also had on hand from the CSA) and second, the white sauce which sounded much yummier than a tomato sauce.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1 large butternut squash, about 3 lbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (1 extra large onion)
  • 1 1/2 lbs swiss chard, chopped,tough stems discarded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground dried sage
  • 4 cups milk (2% is fine)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I used 2 cups because IMHO, lasagna should be really cheesy!)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped green onions (I omitted because I did not have any on hand.)

butternutcollage

Directions

Take the butternut squash and peel, seed, and cut it into 1/2-inch chunks.

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash chunks with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then place the chunks in a single layer on a large cookie sheet.

Roast the squash chunks for 30 minutes or until they’re easily pierced with a fork, stirring after 15 minutes.

Remove chunks from the oven and mash squash with a food processor (or fork or potato masher) until almost smooth; set aside. (I think the squash needs a tad more seasoning, maybe some more salt or a spice or herb to add a bit more flavor. We found it to be a bit bland done this way.)

Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, over medium heat melt together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 10 minutes or until golden, stirring often; add the Swiss chard and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the chard is wilted and the liquid evaporates, which will take about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, pepper, garlic salt, nutmeg, thyme, and sage and cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth and cook the sauce over medium-high heat until it boils and thickens slightly, stirring frequently. Boil for an additional 2 minutes while stirring, then whisk in all but 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Remove the saucepan from heat.

In a 13″ x 9″ glass lasagna pan, spoon about 1/2 cup of the white sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles over the sauce, overlapping to fit; evenly spread all of the Swiss chard mixture over the noodles, top with about 1 cup white sauce, and sprinkle with about a 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles on top, then about 1 cup white sauce and all butternut squash chunks, then a 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining lasagna noodles, remaining white sauce, sprinkle with the chopped green onions and the remaining mozzarella cheese; sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Cover the lasagna pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly; let lasagna cool for 10 minutes before cutting, for easier serving.

butternutlasagna

I won’t lie, this dish took a really long time to make but you know what? It was SO worth it!

*OK, that’s partially untrue. I did assist my sister with the making of a butternut squash soup once. But it wasn’t a recipe initiated by me or consumed by me or my family.

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Basil Ice Cream

PhotobucketYes, you read that right. It says basil ice cream. I, too, was a bit skeptical when DB suggested it as a way to use some of the basil we get from our CSA. And the recipe, it’s just a tad bit…involved. But you know me, I like to try new things in the kitchen and it is ice cream after all!

The recipe we used was found on Epicurious. The only thing I did not have, equipment wise, was the fine mesh sieve. I picked one up at Target for under $10 (Sorry I can’t be more accurate than that but the receipt is long gone. You can be sure, though, that I got the best one I could for the least amount of money!) The whole milk and cream had to be specifically purchased but that’s par for the course when making homemade ice cream.

I really enjoyed the process of making the ice cream. The only drawback is that for all the work you do, you don’t get much more than about 2 – 3 cups of ice cream. However, basil ice cream is not really a “fill a bowl and veg on the couch in front of the television” type of ice cream. It’s more of a tasting ice cream, or a palette cleansing ice cream that you find in über fancy/gourmet restaurants.

(But I will confess…as good as it was, it was really good with some dark fudge sauce on it. Shhhh….our secret.)

Basil Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream

Special equipment:

  • an instant-read thermometer
  • an ice cream maker
  • a fine mesh sieve (if you don’t already have one)

Preparation:

steepingbasilBring milk, basil, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring, then remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender (reserve saucepan) and blend until basil is finely ground, about 1 minute.

Beat together yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 1 minute. Add milk mixture in a stream, beating until combined well. Pour mixture into reserved saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on thermometer (do not let boil). Immediately remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and stir until cold, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in cream and freeze in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours.

basilicecream

You may not believe it but, yes, totally tonguegasmic!

Next week…Kilauea Hala Kahiki Sherbet.

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fearless-fridaysI added this recipe to Home-Ec 101‘s Fearless Fridays. It did take a certain amount of setting aside cooking fears to accomplish this, so it fits rather well!

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More From the CSA Files

We’re a little over a month into our CSA season. I am getting better about either using or giving away the produce that we get each week. It’s quite a challenge because right now, in the midst of the growing season, our weekly “share” seems to get bigger each week! Unfortunately, there’s a lot coming through that our family just isn’t interested in. Beets and celery mainly. And I keep getting these good sized onions as well. I use onion, just not that much! Fortunately, onion keeps pretty well for awhile.

There have a been a few successes though. For instance, the other night I made a side dish to accompany our evening meal made entirely from CSA produce. It was really tasty and everyone liked it! We had received a half pound of green beans and five small red-skinned potatoes. Separately, not enough to feed the family but when put together with some onion and seasoned with some fresh oregano it was a plentiful side dish! (Many thanks to my mother-in-law for inspiring that recipe!)

I’ve used some spearmint to make a yummy fruit tea that received rave reviews and some bibb lettuce to make a salad that David and I devoured. Bibb lettuce, bacon, boiled egg and homemade blue cheese dressing. (Tonguegasmic as we like to say!) I’ve also done a Leek-y Chicken skillet dish (a Rachael Ray recipe) using leeks that we received. I have more leeks and will be repeating that dish since it was fairly well received by the family. (I make an alternate “chicken” dish for JBelle and GMan ends up just eating the chicken and pushing the leeks around his plate. lol) I got more rhubarb last week and made another upside down cake for the 4th of July. My sister-in-law, who grew up eating rhubarb delicacies, thought it was delicious!

We got 3 cucumbers that would be perfect for pickling, so we need to find a fairly simple recipe for pickling so that those can be used as well. We get carrots fairly often, too. They’re small but pretty tasty.

IMG_3803

I never got around to taking a picture of the final product. Oops!

I made coleslaw, from scratch(!), using a head of cabbage from our share. My prior experience with making coleslaw consisted of buying a bag of coleslaw veggies and a jar of coleslaw dressing and mixing them together. Making it myself was much more satisfying albeit tedious. (I made sure to loudly express my desire for a food processor to my family members who partook of the coleslaw.) I perused several recipes looking for one that used only ingredients that I had on hand (basically vinegar or apple cider vingear, oil and seasonings.) I admit I was quite taken with this bleu cheese coleslaw recipe from the Barefoot Contessa but that will have to wait for another time! I ended up just adding apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to the cabbages and carrots (from the grocer, not the CSA) and letting it set in the fridge overnight. It turned out well, and received compliments at dinner that night though I think it could be improved upon. (And my hearty thanks to Heather for telling me how to prepare the cabbage!)

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Adventures in CSA-ing

glamour MaliaFirst, if you don’t know, CSA (community supported agriculture) is a local food program where you receive a weekly delivery of produce fresh off the farm for about 6 months out of the year. We joined the Long Hungry Creek Farm CSA this year. Long Hungry Creek Farm is in Red Boiling Springs, TN and is run by a guy named Jeff, better known as the Barefoot Farmer. You can buy single shares or family shares. We are sharing a family share with some friends of ours. It works out to be a bit cheaper that way.

The interesting thing about this is that it’s not like going to the grocery store or even the farmer’s market and picking and choosing what you want. You get what has been harvested that week. It comes to you freshly picked and unwashed. You either use it or lose it or possibly give it away. That’s the challenge of being in a CSA. We’ve had two pick-ups so far and already I’ve received quite an education! Also, my learning curve needs to get a bit steeper if we’re really going to make this worthwhile for us!

rhubarbMy first adventure was rhubarb. I knew we’d be getting rhubarb and I was very excited about it. I’ve had rhubarb only one time in my whole life. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by it and even though I knew all kinds of cakes and pies (and we all know how I feel about cakes and pies, right?) are make with it, I’ve just never ventured out to use it myself. Also, I was under the impression that rhubarb is red. So on the first pick-up when there’s these long, green stalks that look like celery, I’m a bit confused but I just go with it. When I go to chop it up for baking, it’s still green. Turns out, rhubarb is only red if it’s been grown in a hot house (thank you Google & Wikipedia!) Who knew? Well, now we both do!

I was able to make two desserts using the rhubarb we received. First, I made a recipe that was provided by the CSA. They send an e-mail newsletter the day before the pick-up telling us what we’ll be getting and it includes some recipes for some items from the week’s harvest. I made the Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert bars andthey were quite yummy. Since there was oatmeal used in the recipe, I deemed them appropriate for breakfast!

The only other time I’ve ever had rhubarb was back when we lived in Virginia. We had visited a coworker of DB’s who lived on some lovely land on the outskirts of town. She had encouraged DB to drop by sometime, so one Saturday afternoon we took advantage of the offer. After we arrived, she pointed out some things on their property (like an orchard!) that we go and look at. As we meandered around and took in the views, she was busy in her kitchen. When we returned to the house, she had baked a rhubarb upside down cake, had made coffee and had set out some really yummy cheeses and crackers. (This woman definitely has the gift of hospitality!) I was leery of the cake but to be polite, I tried it and was very pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. All that to say, the second thing I made was rhubarb upside down cake*! And it was every bit as yummy as I remembered.

garlicscapeDid you know that garlic grows under the ground and has an edible stalk that can be harvested before harvesting the garlic (it just grows back)? It’s called scape and it’s delicious! It’s especially yummy when you sautee it in olive oil and then add chard or other greens (we got swiss chard on the first pick up and beet greens on the second) to it. There are lots of things you can do with scape. And it keeps nicely in the fridge.

We got a lot of lettuce. I learned, too late for the first week’s batch, that you can put lettuce in water, set it in the fridge and it will perk up again. I lost the lettuce from the first week because I didn’t know this. The lettuce we got this week has been so good! Quite flavorful and colorful. I hope we get it all eaten, we’re not big salad people so it’s been hard to get it all consumed.

I need to be more proactive about giving away things that we won’t eat, like the radishes we got the first week (which we also lost, see what I mean about learning curve?) I’m excited to see what each week’s harvest brings. Trying new foods has been very fun, at least for me. The kids are kind of unphased by it. They tend to be rather picky. They’re supposed to take a least one bite of whatever is on their plate. I made JBelle try the beet greens tonight. She didn’t care for them though it may have actually been the balsamic vinegar that was on them that turned her off!

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 This post is my pick for this week’s “I Am Blissfully Domestic“.

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