Posts tagged with Locavores
So long, summer, it was nice knowing you! Last Monday was our final CSA pickup of the season. There were fewer bags from Rolling Prairie than last year because of our unbearably hot summer, which stinks. But hey, we're lucky to have all these vegetable farmers around in the first place. And, it'll be easy to get some very yummy stuff at the Lawrence Farmers' Market for the next few weeks before everyone packs it up and calls it a season until spring.
That said, I promise I won't pack it up until spring. I'm planning to blog weekly on local/healthy/family eats on roughly the same schedule I've been keeping with Bye-Bye Bounty. If there's any topic you specifically want me to cover, let me know by messaging me at email@example.com.
So, on to this week's goodies.
During our final week with Rolling Prairie, we got sweet potatoes, potatoes, Swiss chard, peppers and two bags of salad mix.
The potatoes went in storage, the Swiss chard became wraps, and the peppers and salad mix contributed to, well, salad.
On Thursday night, we'd planned to have sweet potato medallions, so I was in for a surprise when I came home from my weekly girls' run and not only had my guys made the sweet potatoes, but they'd also made a yummy-looking new salad.
It's from the same book as the butternut squash and apple soup we made a few weeks ago, and it's just about as awesome. And as a bonus, it uses super cheap and super hearty ingredients (quinoa and chickpeas) as well as some things that can be found locally this time of year (basil, onions and romaine). Oh, and it makes a ton, so chances are, you'll have it for lunch the next day.
The combination of the sweet potatoes and the salad was absolutely perfect and hit the spot after running 10 miles at the end of a long workday. I highly recommend you try it (whether you have a long run planned or not).
Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad (By Isa Chandra Moskowitz, “Appetite for Reduction”)
2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Optional add-ins: roasted garlic, baked tofu or tempeh, shredded carrot, sprouts, fresh basil
1 recipe Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the salad ingredients together. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Keep chilled in a tightly sealed container for up to three days.
1/4 cup cashew pieces
2 tablespoons chopped shallot (or onion)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon agave nectar
3/4 teaspoon salt
A few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
First place the cashews and shallot in a food processor and pulse to get them chopped up. Then simply add the rest of the ingredients. Blend for at least 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides often, until completely smooth.
It’s really important that you blend for the full time, otherwise your dressing may be grainy. Transfer the dressing to a sealable container (a bowl covered with plastic wrap is just fine) and chill until ready to serve.
Well, we're almost to the end of the road. On Monday, I picked up my very last CSA haul of the year from Rolling Prairie. It's so sad to me because it signals the end of the summer. The days are getting cooler and pretty soon the Lawrence Farmers' Market will be a goner too. Sigh. But, I do feel a bit lucky, because I know from talking to friends that other CSAs have ended earlier than ours.
So, next week will be my last CSA blog until next spring, but I'm cooking up a weekly something to keep all of us foodies busy in the in-between.
But, until then, I had a lot of fun whipping up different items this week with last week's goodies.
Including sweet potato medallions...
A salad for work with our lettuce mix (plus local apples and walnuts)...
And Swiss chard wraps based on a recipe by my sweet friend Natalia.
Inside, that's a mixture of Natalia's "eggplant bacon" (made from local eggplant!), avocado, local tomatoes, and a cilantro-lime sauce/dip that made the whole thing have the same salty/sweet level as a BLT.
I highly recommend checking out Natalia's book if those wraps look like something you might want to try.
So, the recipe I'm going to share is the one for the sweet potato medallions. It's a recipe my dad gave us a few years ago and its a total staple for our family. I've blogged about it before, but because of some sort of glitch, that recipe (and a few others) is missing from my past blogs. But it's really too good not to share again.
Now, I do it with the amount of seasoning listed, but my dad — the recipe perfecter, as it were — will sometimes double the amount of seasoning and coat the potatoes a second time after flipping them. If you think that's your cup of tea, go for it.
Sweet Potato Medallions
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rounds (about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Olive oil/olive oil spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray two cookie sheets (lipped ones are best) with olive oil. Place the sweet potato rounds on the cookie sheets.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt and pepper.
Spray the sweet potatoes with oil, or put a little olive oil in a small bowl and coat each round with oil using a basting brush. Once all the rounds are coated, sprinkle on the sugar and spice mixture.
Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the rounds and put them in for another 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
What'd we get in our last week from Rolling Prairie? Two bags of salad greens, more chard leaves, potatoes, sweet potatoes and peppers.
If you’ve read this blog since fall last year, you know I’m a total sucker for Nancy O’Connor’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burritos. I think they’re the perfect fall dish. And I had them this week, but I’m not going to write about them. Instead, I’m going to write about a dish we made for the first time that we just absolutely loved: Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Butternut-Apple Soup.
Now, I’m a veteran of sorts when it comes to butternut squash soup. I feel like I’ve made every single one out there (including Nancy’s great one from “The Rolling Prairie Cookbook”), but I can tell you this one was absolutely fabulous. And a total surprise, sort of.
First of all, I had no idea I was going to have soup the night we had it. I went for a 10-mile run with my running group and came home to a house that smelled heavenly. My boys had made dinner — which is always awesome to come home to. My hubby had found the recipe in Isa’s newest book, “Appetite for Reduction.”
Now, why was it so awesome? Because, besides the fact that it has just 200 calories per serving, it has quite a different taste than other butternut concoctions. It’s sweet because of the apples, and a bit sour because of lime juice and apple cider. Plus, there’s ginger, red pepper flakes and garlic in there to add quite the latent kick. Really, really excellent. Plus, the six servings are generous, and perfectly proportioned when shared with a crusty Wheatfields' baguette. Heaven.
And it used CSA squash, CSA onion, CSA garlic, local apples and local apples cider. Win/Win.
Butternut-Apple Soup (Recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, “Appetite for Reduction”)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, diced small
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 pound red apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 cups apple cider
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions in the oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent.
Add the ginger and garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and salt, and sauté for a minute more. Add the squash, apples, apple cider and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat just a bit and simmer briskly for about 20 more minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Puree the soup using either an immersion blender or by transferring half the soup at a time to a food processor or blender in batches. If you prefer, you can leave the soup a little chunky by only pureeing half or so. If using a blender, be sure to let the steam escape so that it doesn’t build up in the blender.
Add the lime juice and season to taste. Serves 6.
So, what’d we get this week — our penultimate week of the CSA season?
Apples, basil, greens, salad mix, peppers and sweet potatoes.
The end of the CSA is near.
Normally, we’re able to get our weekly goodies from Rolling Prairie clear through to Halloween. Not the case this year. Because of weeks of high heat and little water, the season is ending early. On Monday, I got an email from my pick-up site coordinator, Bob Lominska, saying that because of “the challenging weather” (he’s being nice) my last CSA pick-up as a regular customer will be Sept. 26.
I'm not sure other CSAs will be ending as soon, but I think pretty much every farmer/home gardener/container gardener had the same problems this year in Northeast Kansas. So, chances are, even if your CSA hasn’t given you an end date, you probably won’t be getting goodies very late this year.
The good news? Even after our CSAs have finished for the year, we should still be able to get local produce at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market for a few weeks. They haven’t announced as to if the season will end earlier than its usual mid-November date, but chances are we can still pick up something through November. So, there’s our silver lining. Plus, the local goods will still be coming through our groceries. The supply might not be the best, but chances won’t be totally out of luck.
And we’re lucky to have anything, honestly. Think about all the crops ruined by flooding, drought, storms and disease this year across the Midwest and we’re doing pretty stinking well.
So, what did we do with the bounty we picked up on Labor Day (above)? Actually, not that much. We stored the squash, ate the tomatoes and basil out of hand and juiced the cucumber. The okra we still have and are hoping to use this week.
And the eggplant, well, the eggplant went into a wonderful eggplant Parmesan that the hubby slaved over. We used Mark Bittman’s recipe, and the hubby loved it. But that’s all I can tell you because, well, I have no photographic evidence.
I took photos with my personal Droid, which I lost this weekend while helping out with the Hawk 100. We’ve searched high and low for it to no avail, which makes me think some goober picked it, wiped it clean and is hoping to sell it, since it’s relatively new.
So, in a word, no pics of the yummy eggplant parm. Very sad, indeed.
This week from Rolling Prairie, we got a true mixed bag of summer/fall treats: More eggplant, melon, basil, garlic, golden potatoes, sweet potatoes. (Notice how different the photos look, this photo was taken with my lovely work-issued iPhone 4).
So, this week I’m not going to do the typical “Here’s what I ate” and one recipe routine. It’s not that I’m feeling lazy after the long weekend, it’s just that we had so many great things with CSA ingredients last week.
Last week’s haul included grapes, basil, tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, onion and a cucumber.
Lot’s of variety, right? Totally. Lots of possibilities and not enough room in a single blog. So, I’ll describe the week in pictures. Because, honestly, they’re probably more taste bud-satisfying than any words I’d type. If you want specific recipes, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get them to you ASAP.
So, the second I took that picture of our entire week's haul, a certain little monster stole some grapes so fast he’s a blur.
But he didn’t eat them all, so the next morning the rest went into the blender with strawberries and peaches from Hiawatha that we bought at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. Smoothie time!
Next, I used some of my tomatoes in a veggie-heavy take on tabbouleh:
... And on a pizza made with the whole-wheat flour we received previously from our CSA. (That’s the kid holding up the peppers and some CSA onions, pre-chopping in the first photo).
The basil and cucumber made it into some more green juice and the squash went in the pantry for later use. All in all, a tasty week, for sure.
This week, we got quite the end-of-summer haul too: eggplant, tomatoes, squash, okra, cucumber, basil and melon.
When I was in high school, I picked up a vintage Dr. Pepper shirt from some random place (Friend’s closet? Garage sale? The drama department at school?) that said “Soy un Pepper” on it. I was taking high school Spanish and thought it was funny, so I wore it around, even though it was more than threadbare and smelled like a mothball-filled basement no matter how much I washed it.
I have no idea what the heck happened to that shirt beyond probably disintegration, but this week it came back to me in a vision. Why? Because of a sudden influx of peppers. You know how I love peppers, but suddenly we had little room in the crisper for anything else.
How’d we come to get such an awesome collection of peppers? Well, we combined leftovers from our CSA, garden and the Lawrence Farmers’ Market, with some peppers gifted to us from our sweet neighbors, Eric and Tracie. Seems their cupboards and fridge were overflowing too, so they brought us a big old haul:
So, you know what we made, those pepper fajitas/quesadillas, of course.
What’d we do with last week’s veggies?
That’s garlic, butternut squash, cucumbers, potatoes, whole-wheat flour, basil and pears — plus the green juice I made with some of the cucumbers, pears and basil from the CSA. I made that juice a few times last week with our CSA ingredients, stored the potatoes, flour, garlic and squash, and we just ate the rest of the pears outright. Yum!
As for the juice, the recipe is super easy ... if you have a juicer. If you don’t, you could cut everything up and blend it with some water and then strain it.
Garden Green Juice
1 pear or apple (optional)
1 handful basil
1/2 head of celery
1 lemon or lime
Run everything through the juicer!
What’d we get this week? Grapes, basil, tomatoes, peppers, butternut squash, onion and a cucumber. A pic:
I’m kind of sad because I know there are only about 10 more weeks to my CSA. Yes, that’s almost three months, but I’m still in mourning. Good thing I’ve got these beautiful fruits and veggies to cheer me up.
So, those are my fruits and veggies from last week: A melon (intact!), pretty bell peppers, tomatoes, an onion, potatoes and cucumbers.
I wish I could tell you I did something new and fantastic with it this week, but, um, no. It was just a summer week. You know, tomatoes washed and eaten as a work snack, melon inhaled by the kid, potatoes and onions in storage for another round of last week’s potato pancakes.
And the peppers? I thought about making my friend Laurie’s lovely fajitas, but instead fell back into making my very favorite kale salad with the pretty peppers, the CSA cucumber and the tomatoes I didn’t plow through at work.
This week we got: Garlic, butternut squash(!), cucumbers, potatoes, whole-wheat flour, basil and pears, as you can see, below. In the pic, there's also a glass of green juice that I made with one of the cucumbers before I took the pic. (We also had more pears, but the kid tore into those.)
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?
So, when a certain 2-year-old butterfingers dropped our yellow CSA watermelon this week, we made a smoothie.
Just take a halved small watermelon (above, already prepared, as it stands) and scoop the flesh into a blender, seeds and all. Add a little water (enough to get the blender going) and blend. Once all frothy and juicy, pour into a large glass or mason jar — running it through a metal wire strainer to get rid of the seed gunk — and wallah! Instant smoothie:
So, what else did we do with the beautiful veggies we received from Rolling Prairie last week?
Well, the tomatoes, basil and cucumbers all made it into various forms of salad, while the potatoes went to a dish we’d never tried before from Nancy O’Connor’s fabulous “Rolling Prairie Cookbook.”
It’s kind of amazing we’ve never made this recipe because it seems like we’ve tried nearly everything in this cookbook. (FYI: I won’t treat you to a current pic of the cookbook because it’s got the stains and smells of being VERY well-loved … which is probably slightly disgusting in a cooking blog.) But we did finally try them while having friends over for dinner and they were awesome, even if my photography is not.
Green Onion and Potato Pancakes (From Nancy O’Connor’s “Rolling Prairie Cookbook”)
1 pound potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
12 green onions, bulbs and greens, chopped
¼ cup minced parsley
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup lowfat sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons oil for frying
Wash potatoes, cut into big chunks, boil, and mash — no need to peel, the skins add nice texture and color to the pancakes. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and sauté for 3 minutes, until just tender. Combine potatoes, onions and remaining ingredients, except for frying oil. Stir well. Heat 1 tablespoon of the frying oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop pancake mixture onto hot skillet, approximately 2 heaping tablespoons per pancake. Flatten with a spatula. Fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Repeat for rest of mixture. Makes 12 to 14 pancakes.
So, what'd we get this week in our CSA bag? Tomatoes, cucumber, onion, potatoes, baby melon and assorted peppers.
So, my friend Laurie has been staying with us for a little while before moving out of Lawrence. I’m super bummed about her leaving, but I must say that while she’s been staying with us, I’ve been eating WELL. (Good thing she’s my running buddy, too.).
Laurie’s great in the kitchen, even if it’s my kitchen. And she was sweet enough to share with us her top-secret fajita quesadilla/taco recipe while staying in our house. She was also nice enough to make it once and then basically make it again so I could “practice” and get it right. That way, after she moves I won’t be calling her in a panic at dinnertime wondering why my fajita seasoning wasn’t thickening right.
And, you know what, that fajita seasoning was just perfect for the mountain of peppers we’ve amassed from our Rolling Prairie CSA and my own impulsiveness at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market. I really can’t turn down a pretty purple pepper or a mellow yellow one or the bright orange ones in my garden.
Seriously. I need to be stopped. I actually posted a Facebook message with just this picture of a pepper because I was so proud:
Yeah. So, thanks to Laurie’s cooking skills and my hoarding, I bring you Fajita Quesadillas/Tacos.
Fajita Quesadillas/Tacos (recipe from Laurie Euler)
4-5 small bell and/or frying peppers
1/2 large onion
1 recipe Fajita Seasoning Mix (below)
Cheese or Cashew Cheese
Fajita-sized flour tortillas
Fajita Seasoning Mix (adapted from Food.com)
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Mix seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Slice bell peppers and onions into sticks or squares, whichever you prefer. Throw them in a saucepan or large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sauté until the peppers are soft.
Next, add all the seasoning mix and add about a 1/4-1/2 cup water to the pan. Continue to sauté until the sauce thickens and coats the peppers and onions (this should take a few minutes).
Set peppers aside to cool. In a separate frying pan, warm two flour tortillas, one on top of the other. Flip them and once they’re warm take the top one off, put peppers and cheese on the bottom and then top with the other tortilla. Flip and heat through — 15 to 20 seconds. Put quesadilla on a plate, cut into four pieces and serve. To make the taco version, warm the tortillas in the pan and then put them on a plate. Stuff full of fajita peppers, cheese and whatever else you might want. Enjoy!.
What’d we get this week — my first without my buddy Laurie around? (Sniff). Tomatoes — both regular and cherry — potatoes, basil, cucumbers and a little yellow watermelon.
First, I apologize for my opening photo. Not the sexiest food photo known to man, I must admit. BUT, the meal depicted in the photo is absolutely lovely.
That, my friends, is the Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte. Why I say “THE” is because if you’re a follower of the blog you know my love affair with this torte began last year.
I love it for several reasons. Firstly, because it uses two of the summer’s most abundant veggies, whether you find them at the market or are a member of a CSA like Rolling Prairie: summer squash and potatoes. I also have it on our family meal rotation because it’s hearty and goes well with when paired with a salad made of our seasonal, local ingredients and some local or homemade bread. It’s also fabulous reheated, which makes for an easy lunch. Bonus: The hubby/executive chef of the household loves it.
In fact, there’s only two real downsides to the torte:
It requires a lot of chopping. Not that that’s a problem when your favorite meal is kale salad.
The recipe is REALLY long. So, if you want to make it, I’ll do what I did last year and send you to the original post.
So, what’d we get this week? Basil, tomatoes, potatoes, honey, peppers and the cutest little yellow watermelon you ever did see: