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CSA Week #9: It’s minty fresh!

August 13, 2010

Did you see those Japanese eggplants? This haul was: collards, yellow watermelon, basil, mint, grape tomatoes, green peppers, aforementioned eggplant, white onions, peaches, apples and more of that Iggy’s bread we love.

Roasted Tomato and Corn Risotto

I have a thing for risotto. It’s like love, but stronger. I will order it anywhere it’s on the menu. I also love arancini (The only real answer to what to do with any leftover risotto. Come to think of it, it’s the excuse I use to make too much risotto.) Made with arborio rice, it’s heavenly and creamy and comforting and you can eat it with a spoon. I love things you can eat with a spoon. Here’s something – I have successfully made risotto with pearled barley, and in some ways I prefer it. It makes me feel a bit more virtuous.

3-4 cups of vegetable broth

1 cup arborio rice

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 small onion, sliced into very thin half moons

2 ears of corn, kernels cut

2 big handfuls of basil

Grated parmesan or romano cheese. Maybe a cup or so.

the usual suspects: olive oil, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Put tomatoes in a dish for roasting, and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. I cooked mine for about 30 mins, until they were very soft.

In a small stockpot, heat the broth and keep the flame low (so that the heat is consistent. You want to add only hot broth to the rice and vegetables.) In a large sautee pan or soup pan, sautee onions and corn in olive oil, until softened. Add the uncooked rice and stir. It’ll make a kind of cracking noise. At this point I add a little butter (about a tablespoon) just to get a little creaminess in there.

Now, you’ll add the hot broth one ladle at a time. This process takes a bit. You want the rice to absorb the liquid and cook slowly, stirring all the while. You do need to babysit the process. When the last of the broth has been added, stir in the cheese. I go slowly with this, because you can always add more as you need to. When rice is fully cooked and liquid is absorbed, add the roasted tomatoes to the mix (if you add them sooner, they’ll fall apart) and the basil. Top with a little more cheese if you like. This made 4 servings for us.

Greek Yogurt with Peaches

I started making my own yogurt because 1) we were spending so much on it a month, the budget was getting out of control, and 2) because the much-mentioned Anne said it’s so easy, and I might as well.

We have a Salton YM7 maker, and it came from Amazon for about $23, on sale. It’s here for about $35 now:

http://www.amazon.com/Salton-YM7-42-Ounce-Electric-Yogurt/dp/B000FG0TSM

Once I make the yogurt, I cool it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and then strain with a cheesecloth. Instant greek yogurt! I typically use Brown Cow plain yogurt as my starter, and I don’t use powdered milk or a culture. I know everyone does it different though. Once you have your starter going, you can reuse your own a few times.

So, this is a typical breakfast, seen here in its handy-transport-to-work-Snaplock.

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1 small peach, diced into pieces

1 tablespoon walnuts

very small drizzle of maple syrup

Assemble like a little parfait. Enjoy!

Sesame Chicken with Udon

Stir fry is such a quick and easy solution! Every time I make it I wonder why I don’t do this more often.

1 bundle of udon noodles, cooked

1/2 onion, sliced into rounds or half moons

1 green pepper, cut into cubed pieces

2 celery stalks, sliced on an angle

2 carrots, cut into matchsticks

1 Japanese eggplant, skin on, cut into thin half moons

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 large chicken breast, cut into small, even sized pieces

For the stir fry sauce:

1/4 cup vegetable broth

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp balsamic or rice wine vinegar (all I had was balsamic and it came out really good! though, rice wine is the usual suspect for this dish.)

2 tsp hot or regular sesame oil

pinch of sugar

Cook udon according to directions and set aside. Mix all sauce ingredients well and set aside. In a wok or stir fry pan, heat a little oil and add your veggies to a very hot pan. Cook until they’re starting to soften. Add your chicken and sauce, reduce heat and partially cover. When chicken is cooked through, spoon over udon and garnish with sesame seeds if you like! Made 2 servings.

Roasted Eggplant Salad

I realize it’s kind of brown and not much to look at, but it was probably my favorite dish of the whole week. Mint, basil, eggplant, feta, balsamic…..the flavors all want to live together. I was sad to be out of eggplant, after this.

2 Japanese eggplants, skin on, cut into rounds

tomatoes to taste, diced

cucumber (I like the English cucumber, skin on and quartered)

small head red leaf lettuce, cut into ribbons

good handful each of basil and mint

crumbled feta cheese

olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Add your eggplant to roasting dish with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast until it looks like the above photo. I think mine took about 40 minutes. Assemble salad: mix the lettuce with basil and mint. Add tomatoes, cucumber and then warm eggplant. Top with crumbled feta. Sprinkle pepper, salt (if you need any) and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over to taste. We had this as a very delicious meal! No leftovers.

Marinated Panko-Tofu with Fried Rice

This kind of mock-fried rice is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. I cook the rice in advance, so it’s ready to go when I want to make this. I prefer Jasmine for this dish. I quickly sautee some vegetables, add a little low sodium soy sauce and a beaten egg. I have been known to throw in chickpeas too, in search of a little extra protein. Laugh if you will, but it goes down easy! 🙂 I’ll confess I like this best with broccoli and peas, but I sadly had neither. I was doing a use-it-up challange with the fridge, so I was reluctant to go shopping.

1/2 block extra firm tofu

2 scallions, minced

2 stalks celery, cut into small diced pieces

3 carrots, cut into similar size pieces as celery

~10 cabbage leaves, thick stems trimmed and cut into very thin ribbons

1 green pepper, cut into small matchsticks

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup cooked rice

soy sauce to taste

black and red pepper

3/4 cup San J Szechuan Sauce (or you can make your own)

sesame oil

Cut the tofu in half width-wise, then in half length-wise. These are your four pieces for the dish. You can then cut the tofu into fingers or cubes (I went with cubes). Arrange on a plate between several layers of papertowels and cover with a heavy pan, so that the water is pressed out. This will make for tastier baked tofu.

Once water is pressed out (takes about an hour), marinate the tofu. I really love the San J sauce, and you can find it at Whole Foods. It’s gluten free and spicy. Good stuff from a bottle! Marinate in marinade of your choice or the San J sauce. I left in it about 2 hours. Then coat each cube or finger in panko breadcrumbs.

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange tofu on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

In a sautee pan, heat a little bit of oil and add your vegetables. Cover and simmer to cook the cabbage thoroughly. Add cooked rice slowly, until the rice to vegetable ratio is the way you like it. Pour 2 beaten eggs over the mixture and cook on low until eggs are set. Drizzle on soy sauce and sesame oil. Top with baked tofu. Happy, happy.

Another Pizza?

Yes, another one! The recipe from the Week #8 is similar, though I used a can of crushed tomatoes here and added lots of oregano, red and black pepper, sea salt, a sprinkle of garlic powder and a pinch of sugar. Everything else is the same! (We love pizza in the Wade house!)

Spa Water

When life hands you mint and cucumbers, make spa water.

You need:

filtered water

a bunch of mint

cucumber sliced into thin rounds

Add mint and cucumber to the bottom of a pretty pitcher. Fill with water. Chill in the fridge. Ahhhhh.

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