Hello darlings! I just LOVE Saturdays and picking up my CSA box! It's like Christmas every week although I do know that some of you think to yourself: "What the heck am I going to do with all of these vegetables?"
Honestly, La Diva has to sometimes REALLY push herself to come up with ways to creatively use all the produce within a week. It's challenging as I am trying to keep the meals healthy and low fat and naturally I don't want to go to the grocery for even more produce (if I don't have to.)
It's kind of like playing the brainiac tv show Jeopardy: I am making the ol' brain work hard to keep all of this in mind and come up with new dishes or try to remember dishes from past season. Thank goodness for the new search button on my blog!
So, here's the quick run-down from last week's share.
That big ol' tomato that I still had from the week before last was just crying out to be made into a lovely sauce. I cut it up into chunks and slow roasted it and along with some grape tomatoes I had (that were just starting to shrivel.) Slow roasting is super easy and brings all the natural sugars out. I added some rosemary sprigs, cut onion slices and garlic cloves and drizzled olive oil over the entire pan and roasted on a low temperature (220 F) for a few hours. Then into the food processor it went! I cooked the sauce on the stove a while longer and added a heaping tablespoon of home-made pesto I had left over and then pureed the sauce again. I used the sauce to top spinach and cheese stuffed shells for a hearty satisfying meal that works perfectly for a no-meat meal. (No, it's not my photo. I took this dish to a friend's for dinner and we served it up and ate it so quick, I had no time to shoot it!)
La Diva was a greedy little piggy and used the handful of oyster mushrooms sauteed with a bit of dill over toasted bagel halves! Yes, I could have bought more mushrooms and really made a star dish out of it but I'm not into buying MORE produce. Besides, eating mushrooms on toast for breakfast is a little habit I got into while living in Australia. I really enjoy it as a savory substitute for eggs. (the grapefruit was from the share before last.)
The dill is so difficult for me to utilize! It goes off so quickly and you really can't dry it, it ends up tasting like grass. Anyone have any ideas how I may preserve it better? I made a quick creamy dill dressing with mayo, plain yogurt, minced garlic and lemon and used that for salads.
The beets were roasted and topped with fresh dill in a feta and walnut side salad accompanied by a lamb steak made from lamb shoulder. I will not buy those again, they were soooo fatty. I wish the grocers here in the States would stock the lamb backstrap cut like they do in Australia. Imagine a nice, tender lean lamb strip like a pork tenderloin? Delightful, tasty and without all the fat! But because here in America or in the "land of waste" we just get all the prime parts of the lamb imported (like the chops) from New Zealand and Australia, so most of the lamb isn't even butchered here!
The dill was utilized again along with a few of the roma tomatoes and half of the cabbage head in an earthy, comforting European-styled casserole of pork chop, potato, cabbage, tomatoes and a sprinkling of caraway seeds. Mmmm....perfect warm-your-insides food for the chilly days we had in Miami! (lowest temps in a decade and down to the 40's! That's unheard of!) Keep in mind when buying the pork to get the cut with the bone and a bit of fat. Mine were too lean and still a bit tough after an hour of cooking!
Thumbs UP! My fave meal of the week was home-made mojo criollo* marinated skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, mashed potatoes (with more parsley!), sweet plantain and old-fashioned coleslaw using the last half of the cabbage!
Believe it or not, the parsley from the share before was still in good form. So, what else to do with the herb but make a chimichurri sauce? Used extensively with Argentine barbeque, the sauce has about as many variations as good ol' bolognese. I picked this recipe because this is how I like my sauce. The home-made chimichurri was REALLY green and earthy and delicious! I have to admit, until I made it at home, La Diva was not a huge fan of it. Probably because every time I've had it, there was always WAAAY too much vinegar and who the heck wants to put vinegar on lovely grilled beef? Not me! The sauce will last a few days in the fridge and can be used it over chicken, fish or veggies!
*a simple marinade used in Caribbean cooking with sour orange juice, lime, garlic, oregano, ground cumin, olive oil. I also use the Goya brand pre-made.
The black sapote is ripe NOW so I better think of something to do with it quick or peel it and freeze the paste till I have time to ponder a recipe for it!
Oops! I forgot to credit Marian for this photo! She goes to the farm and takes them each week for the CSA box. Click on the photo to take you to her blog, she's got a post about the farm and what they do during these cold snaps!
CSA mystery half-share box 1-9-10:
- green beans
- bok choy
- 3 green peppers (!)
- French breakfast radishes with green tops (2 bunches!)
- eggplants (2 small)
- betel leaf
Woo-hee, it's gettin' tough already to come up with ideas quick-smart! I am a bit lost as to what to do with the green beans besides just eating them steamed with butter and salt. Yes, I could put them in soup or a casserole or a curry but I must admit, I just like my green beans plain and on the side! (I'm wondering how the rest of the chimichurri might be on the beans? hmmm....)
Bok choy is going to be stir fried, perhaps with a green pepper and the komatsuna? With chicken or beef? I remember liking the komatsuna last year...enter it into my search button for some more ideas! (The pepper steak with komatsuna combo is a real winner!)
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE FREAKIN' GREEN PEPPERS? hmmm.....I'm not a huge fan of them and along with beets, radishes and turnips, La Diva is LEARNING TO LIKE THEM! haha! Any ideas are appreciated, I still have not stuffed them and these are not too big so that's an option!
Last season I made the mistake of wasting a lot of the greens that came with the tops of beets, radishes and turnips by not washing and using them before they wilted. Today I chopped them off the radish and washed them to be used TONIGHT! I'm thinking of a pasta with roasted radish and saute the greens with loads of garlic and a fruity olive oil. I just saw Mario Batali cook some white radish on Iron Chef, so I'm going to give cooking the radish a shot too. I suggest using all the greens as soon as you can.
With two nice sized eggplants, La Diva thinks its time once again to make me a nice caponata. And La Diva makes a mean one! (Click on the link to see my recipe.) Caponata is a very old and traditional Sicilian dish made from eggplant (like an Italian pickle) and is great to have on hand for unexpected company and as a savory snack served with crackers or served over fish (especially grilled tuna steak), chicken or rice!
The canistel or egg fruit will take a bit to ripen and I'm eager to eat them again! Such a mellow and strange flavor.....My coconut canistel muffins are da bomb!
And last, those nasty little betel leaves! haha! THIS TIME I'm going to cook the little buggers and not make the same mistake I did before, leaving them raw and unedible in a salad! I'm thinking I might wrap something in them??
That's it for today and I think that's quite enough! Fellow Miami CSA peeps, time to come forth and COMMENT! Ciao, darlings, La Diva can't wait to hear from you!cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party, personal chef, corporate events, catering, personal chef, party entertainment