Yellow Curry

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Cooking sure takes on a new meaning when it’s performed after a full day’s work. Now instead of leisurely peeling carrots and marveling at their bright orange beauty, I find myself counting how many strokes of the peeler it takes to clean them of their lovely little roots. Did you know that Foxtail Farm’s carrots each take, on average, seventeen peels. The creamy fresh yellow potatoes take on average twenty-four peels and the same number of knife strokes to dice them! I’ve either developed obsessive compulsive traits, or I have math on my brain.

As many of you know I have spent the last two months exploring the virtues of my CSA box while on summer break from my teaching job. You have benefited from my crazy cooking adventures. Now my energetic and very eager fifth graders are anxiously awaiting the first day of school, and I am busy setting up a wonderful learning environment so their learning can be maximized. I’ve turned my attention away from menu planning and back to lessons. The blog is definitely enticing especially when last week’s CSA box was still lingering in the crisper drawer until just a minute ago. Tomorrow is Thursday, my next CSA box arrives, and my students will be coming to meet me at the Open House. The juggling act begins.

I still have five or six weeks of CSA boxes coming, so I’ll still be cooking. I’ll try to continue to post the recipes that work, but in warning, it could end up being a lot of soup.  We shall see.

This yellow curry uses Foxtail Farm yellow potatoes, carrots, yellow wax beans and delicious yellow onions. Not from the CSA were the garlic, spices and cilantro.

Yellow Curry Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into thin rings
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10-12 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound yellow wax beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 10 Holy Basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard seed
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seed
  • 2 Tbs. good curry powder (I used Penzey’s Hot Curry Powder)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • water for simmering

Directions: Saute the onion rings on low heat until they begin to caramelize and then add the spices. Turn the heat up just a little and remember, you will hear the mustard seeds start to pop and turn a little gray. Move the spices around and add the garlic. Saute just until the garlic releases its’ fragrance. Next add the potatoes, beans and carrots and enough water just to be able to simmer the veggies, perhaps three or four cups. When the potatoes are tender, gently fold in the herbs. Serve immediately over jasmin rice.

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Vegetarian Chili Fall ’09

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I love chili, and it is often a staple in our house during the winter months. I labeled this one “09” because I never make it the same way twice. It’s also one of Max’s favorite soups, and you know by now, if he makes a request for any of my cooking, I oblige. Here’s one he and I whipped up using two kinds of beans I had in the freezer and a bunch of CSA tomatoes, corn, carrots and onions. I usually use lots of peppers and like to add zucchini or sweet potatoes, but right now I am focused on using what’s in the box.

Spices for chili are also very flexible. You can use the dried chipotle, or any hot pepper. Sometimes I use pre-made chili powder spices, but often I just add cumin, pulverized dried, hot peppers and salt. You can add the spices last and play around until you get a flavor you like.

Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 8-10 carrots, diced
  • 8 cups cooked beans (we used 4 cups black and 4 cups white)
  • 8-12 tomatoes, pureed
  • 6 ears of corn
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 Tbs. dried and powdered chipotle pepper
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

Directions:

Microwave the corn in the husk for five minutes. Remove it and let it cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, saute the diced onions until they are translucent and add the minced garlic. Cook for a few seconds just until the garlic releases its fragrance. At this point the corn should be cool enough to remove the husks and cut the kernels from the cob. Add all other ingredients and let the soup simmer for about twenty minutes until the flavors are nicely melded. The beauty of any soup is the garnish and with chili it’s fun to be creative. We like ours with chunks of cheddar, avocado or a dollop of crema, and there must be the crunch factor so we eat it with either crackers or chips.

Herb Chimichurri

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I know, I know. We’re not supposed to serve anything with bits of green at a party, but we’re all friends. If someone starts to bare their teeth ever so slightly and seems to be fighting an uncontrollable urge to stick a fingernail between two teeth, take that as a cue to excuse yourself to the bathroom for a green speck check. What else are you supposed to do when basil is in season?

I have to admit something. I still have basil pesto in my freezer from last summer. It’s true. I like the stuff a lot – once a year. It’s just too rich for me. It’s easy to overdose on it. So, I like to use my basil to make chimichurri instead. It still holds the wonderful basil flavor and you can use it much the same, but it’s just a little lighter. I learned about chimichurri while living in Ecuador where it was mostly made from parsley and used as a condiment for meat or empanadas. Every now and then, in different restaurants, I detected different herbs. That was all the permission I needed to think outside the box with chimichurri. I have made it with whatever herbs I have on hand, and it always tastes great.

My patio herb pot is exploding, so I plucked a huge pile of greens including rosemary, thyme and sage. The basil came from the CSA, and the cilantro is local but from the co-op. As you can see, chimichurri is a great accompaniment to fresh tomatoes, a lovely spread on sandwiches or a great condiment for any warm savory summer dish.

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Herb Chimichurri Recipe

Ingredients:

All herb amounts are approximate:

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 handful fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp. dried pepper flakes (optional: fresh chile)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions: Pulse in food procesor until well blended. This will be a little chunkier than pesto.

Three-ways To Salsa

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There is nothing better on a beautiful summer day than sitting outside sipping cold beer and dipping the old chips into something hot and spicy. I woke up thinking Mexico, and when I opened the fridge, the Minnesota tomatillos were just begging for a salsa lesson. Once I got started, the jealous garden tomatoes wanted to be spun around too. I ended up with the tomatillo, a roasted tomato and fresh tomato salsa.

Three Salsa Recipes

Tomatillo

The tomatillo and roasted tomato are basically the same salsa only one has tomatillos and the other tomatoes. All the ingredients get roasted on a sheet pan under the broiler until they start to blacken, then they get a zing through the food processor with lime juice, cilantro and salt.

* While I prep the ingredients for these salsas, I wrap a head of garlic in foil and place it in the oven at 400 degrees to roast it. When the other ingredients are ready to broil just toss the garlic on the sheet pan so it can continue to cook a little longer.

Tomatillo Ingredients:

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and washed
  • 1/2 medium white onion cut in quarters
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic*
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stem removed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro washed
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Line a large sheet pan with foil. Lay out washed tomatillos, chopped onion and jalapeno on the sheet. If you haven’t already started the garlic, that can be wrapped in foil and placed on the sheet pan as well. Place the vegetables under the broiler. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. I roast them until everything has a blackened spot on it. The onions take a little longer, so sometimes you may need to move things around so the tender veggies are further away from the heat. Once they are blackened a bit, set them aside to cool for a minute. When they are cool spoon them into a food processor and add the cilantro, lime juice salt and two of the roasted garlic cloves. Run the processor until the salsa is smooth. Refrigerate before serving.

Roasted Tomato Salsa Ingredients:

  • 10 Roma tomatoes washed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed
  • 1/2 medium white onion cut in quarters
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro washed
  • juice 1 lime
  • salt to taste

Roasted Tomato Salsa Directions:

Follow the same directions as for the tomatillos above. It’s very easy to make both of these recipes on one sheet tray together.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

A while back I posted this recipe but used red onions instead of white. These ingredients get a few pulses in the processor and you are ready to eat. Enjoy!

  • 6 Roma tomatoes quartered
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed
  • 1 lime juiced
  • salt to taste

Juiced Melons

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I have no idea what this fruit is! It came in the CSA box and was simply called, “melon.” One of the melons has a soft white flesh that is ridiculously juicy. The larger melon in the back is more like a crispy cantaloupe and both are very sweet. Since they’re so sweet and juicy, I am going to pretend like I am still living in Ecuador and juice them!

The first few weeks that I lived in Ecuador I would be greeted at the breakfast table by a pitcher of brightly colored juice that I could not always identify by taste. It was then that I learned about tomate de arbol, tamarindo, and maracuya. Every household with electricity has a blender where these fruits or others like papaya, cantaloupe, pineapple and watermelon were blended along with a little sugar. Some of the fruits like orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit were of course squeezed.

This juice recipe includes the fruit of three melons and three cukes. After peeling the fruits and removing the seeds, I ran the blender until the fruit was very fine, and then pressed it through a sieve. It’s a fairly thick juice, so if you prefer a little more liquid, add about two cups of water and mix it together. I also did not add sugar, as the melons were very sweet on their own.

I can close my eyes while I sip this juice and travel back to Ecuador 1991! Isn’t it amazing how food causes time travel?

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Eat Local Challenge

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Eat Local Challenge – Minnesota

Here in Minnesota, the “Eat Local Challenge” takes place in August during peak harvest time. The local co-ops have challenged folks to eat at least 80% of their food during this month from local sources. As you can see from the photo above, my family has no problem accomplishing that goal! When I need to pick up other ingredients from the co-op, they make it really easy by posting these big green “Local” stickers next to the item on the shelf, so I can be thoughtful about what I want to buy and to whom I will give my money. Since the co-op started doing this a few years ago, I am sure more of my food dollar stays in Minnesota. Fruit and coffee are really the only things we buy that travel long distances.

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The bounty on the counter above is our week eleven CSA share from Foxtail Farm. For eleven weeks now I’ve been cooking, feeding, entertaining and creating. You might be thinking that I must be feeling a little fatigued by now, but no, actually not fatigued, just sad. Yesterday I looked at this gigantic pile of produce and the first thing I thought was, I need to have a BIG party. There is no possible way that I could cook all these veggies and have the food consumed by the time next Thursday’s box arrived. Unfortunately, our schedule will not permit a big party this week, so I go back to sad. I prefer to use fresh ingredients in my recipes, but am now facing the fact that some of this will need to be preserved for later use.

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So, last night I took on the “What can I put in the freezer?” challenge. Here’s what I accomplished.

  • Beet Stems and Leaves- removed stems and leaves. After washing them, I cut the stem from the leaf and chopped them into one-inch pieces. They went into a quick blanch pot followed by an ice water submersion and then into a freezer container. The leaves were then chopped and sent through the same process and packed separately.
  • Beets – these were roasted, peeled, diced and packed.
  • Mizuna or Vitamin Green – quick blanch, cold dunk and packed.
  • Flat Leaf Parsley – This got washed, dried, chopped and packed.
  • Corn on the cob – two minute blanch in boiling water, cold water submersion, cut corn from the cob and pack.
  • Tomatoes – These got turned into a freezable soup – recipe to follow.
  • Carrots – I have simply been washing the carrots the last few weeks and leaving them in the fridge for Max to munch on, but these got peeled, a 30 second blanch, a cold water dunk and packed for the freezer.

Still headed for the freezer are the tomatillos that will be roasted into salsa and tomatoes sauced with garlic, onions and basil. Fresh from the CSA I am left with yellow squash, cucumbers, some interesting melons, and a couple of onions. We’ll see what that turns into!

Zucchini Bread

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It’s not that I don’t like baking, I just can’t stand having sweets around the house. The minute I start eating foods with lots of sugar, I find that I am hungry all the time, or at least find myself thinking about eating more. If I start eating sweets over the course of a couple of days, I find that I am more hungry overall, and then I start gaining weight. I always lose weight in the fall when school starts, but as soon as the Halloween candy comes, the weight starts finding a home again. It feels like a vicious circle, so I try to not even start with sugary things. I find if I keep them totally out of my life, my eating habits can stay in check.

Today when I set out to make zucchini bread, my guilty brain influenced the recipe. “Can’t you take some of that sugar out? Can’t you add something a little more healthy?” the brain asked. Luckily, like many one-pot dishes, sweet breads have a built in slush factor. They are kind of like my friend Kate’s “Garbage Curry.” Anything can go into them and they’ll turn out pretty tasty. I swapped out cane sugar for agave nectar and instead of all white flour, I added some whole wheat, chickpea flour and flax bran. My adaptation lowers the glycemic index, adds protein, fibre and omega 3s.

I looked over many zucchini bread recipes and ultimately used as my base Smitten Kitchen’s adapted recipe. I wanted to keep it pretty simple with the hopes that Maximillian would at least try it! This one is deliciously moist and you’ll notice right away that it’s not too sweet.

Zucchini Bread From Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from several sources

Yield: 2 loaves or approximately 24 muffins

3 eggs
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)

Vegetarian Perspective’s Rearrangement of the Zucchini Bread Recipe

3 eggs

1 cup canola oil

1 1/4 cups agave nectar – lower glycemic level

1 large grated zucchini

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup organic all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour – adds protein

1/2 cup chickpea flour – adds protein

1/2 cup flaxseed meal (Bob’s Red Mill brand) – adds fibre, and Omega-3s

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Note: I baked this zucchini bread as cake in a 9 x 13 inch cake pan and it only took 35 minutes to bake.

Frozen Garlic and Onion Puree

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Onions and garlic are rolling out of the fields and into our kitchens, and school is about to start. What do these two ideas have in common? Kids, shortcuts and planning ahead. Here’s the kid part: I am fortunate to have a child who is proud to tell anyone that he likes onions, but I know lots of families with picky eaters who will go through great pains to avoid these foods. My Brazilian aunt couldn’t stand that her daughters wouldn’t eat onions or garlic, so she began to puree them with olive oil. When she cooked, the flavors were there, but no visible remains were to be seen or picked out by the girls. The adults in the family no longer had to suffer through a bland meal and the kids were happy too.

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I’ve made pastes like Thai curry and roasted chile and frozen them successfully before, so I thought I’d see what happens with the onion garlic combo in the freezer. I wasn’t sure what freezing onions and garlic would do to their flavor, so I did a little test run, and I think I’ll be very happy having two containers of this stuff when it comes to whipping up quick soups and other one-pot meals in the fall when I’m busy with teaching. That’s the short-cut and planning ahead part.

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I have an automatic ice-maker and no ice cube trays so instead I use a cake pan to freeze my purees.

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Once the paste is a little frozen, I score it with my pastry blade then pop it back into the freezer to firm up.

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After it freezes a little longer, score it again on the lines. Now the squares can be removed and placed into a freezer container for later use.

Next fall and winter when using the frozen puree, just start with some oil in a hot pan and drop one of the squares in. Once you break it all apart, lower the heat. You’ll want to just let it cook enough to release the flavors, but not burn the garlic.

Frozen Garlic and Onion Puree Recipe

Ingredients:

3 large onions

3 whole heads garlic, peeled

olive oil

Directions:

Peel the garlic, chop the onions and puree them in a blender. You will need to pulse and push the vegetables down. Add only enough oil to make the mixture smooth. Follow the directions above for freezing, or spoon into ice-cube trays. Once the cubes are made, they should be kept in a good airtight freezer container. I’ve used both freezer bags and the new ziplock brand freezer containers. I like the containers better because they can be reused many times.

Note: I have a Breville Blender with a wide bottom base. It works great for jobs like this.

Spicy Corn Ceviche

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If you’ve been to Peru or Ecuador, you know the world’s most famous ceviches. Creamy white pieces of fish tenderize and mellow as they are bathed in a marinade of lime juice and salt. Added to the mix are thin slivers of red onions, green pepper, the aji chile and tiny specks of cilantro. Ceviche is served cold, mostly in the coastal areas, and usually next to an icy beer. It pairs nicely with “patacones” or fried and salted plantains.

Since I thankfully don’t receive any fish in my CSA box, and wouldn’t eat it anyway, I opted instead to turn my lovely sweet corn into a ceviche of great Midwestern style. Everything in this ceviche is local with the exception of the lime! Having no green peppers at the moment, I instead opted for diced cucumbers to give the salad a little color and crunch, and used the red Thai Chiles I bought last weekend at the Kingfield Farmer’s Market to spice it up. Here’s how my nine-year-old son described it when he gave it a taste – word for word, “Wow! First you taste the lime, then you get a little zing from the peppers, but then it gets all sweet and mellow from the corn.” He may end up as a part time sommelier if he keeps talking like that!

Spicy Corn Ceviche Recipe

The only fussy thing about this ceviche is cooking the corn and cutting it from the cob. I’m sure you could use frozen corn if you want to make the recipe, but skip the fuss. I’m a firm believer that corn, like asparagus, should only be cooked for two or three minutes in boiling water. As I clean the corn, I get a big pan of water boiling and only when it is furiously bouncing on the stove do I drop in the ears of corn. I quickly replace the lid, check the clock, and remove after no more than three minutes. Perfection!

Ingredients:

12 ears fresh sweetcorn, cooked and removed from the cob

1 small vidalia onion, diced

1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced

3-5 Thai chiles

1 small bunch cilantro

1 Tbs. canola oil

Juice of 1 lime

salt to taste

Directions:

Cook the corn and cut the kernels from the cob. Dice the onion and the cucumber and mix in bowl with corn. In a food processor, chop the chiles and the cilantro. Mix everything together and add the oil, lime juice and a sprinkle of salt. Enjoy!

Green Beans Spicy

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Ever since my friend, Kate gave me a copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, I’ve been playing around with Indian spices. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have no idea what I’m doing, but have been getting some pretty tasty results. Every time I mess with Indian, I imagine one of the Chowdhury family mamas is over my shoulder tisk, tisk, tisking me! Tonight I actually looked to see if somebody was there.

I love the spices, and I am sure there is a provincial rhyme or reason as to why some go together and some do not. At this point in time, I am experimenting to see what I like – being the great fusionist that I am! I love putting the brown mustard seed into hot oil until it pops and then sprinkling the other spices in and watching them bubble furiously in the oil. The aroma they give off just sends me to the moon! Fabulous.

These green beans got simmered in savory Indian spices along with some Thai hot chiles from the Kingfield market and some basil from the CSA. This is truly a simple dish to be enjoyed with a side of brown basmati and coconut chutney (p. 663 in World Vegetarian).

Green Beans Spicy Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans

2 or 3 Thai Chiles finely minced

8-10 large basil leaves finely minced

1 Tbs. canola oil

1/2 tsp. brown mustard seed

1/4 tsp. turmuric

1/2 tsp. cumin powder

1/4 tsp.  ground coriander

splash of water

salt to taste

Directions:

Clean and cut the beans into small pieces. Mince the chiles and basil. Heat oil in saute pan and add mustard seed. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add the other spices. Stir them and let them cook for a moment. Then add the beans, basil, and chiles. Mix them around in the spice mixture to coat. Add a splash of water and cover the pan to cook for five minutes. I like my beans firm, so you may choose to cook them a little longer. Salt to taste.

Rice Crusted Zucchini Pie

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I’m not sure if you ever heard of Ole and Lena. Well, they live here up north in Minnesota loving life and bumbling around. They will make you laugh for sure especially if you put on your best “Up North” Minnesota accent when you read or tell one of their jokes. I always heard lots of Ole and Lena tales from my dad after he moved far north to Duluth.

Here’s one for you – remember the accent!

Vell, don’tcha know, old Ole got sick and vus dyin’ in his bed. And vhile vaitin’ for her old husband to kick duh bucket, Lena started in to cookin’. She vus makin’ lefsa and a nice zucchini hotdish. Well, Old Ole, he loved nuttin’ better than Lena’s hotdish, and ven he smelled it from da deathbed, up he went to da kitchen. Vhen Lena saw dat he vas eatin’ a plate of hotdish and lefsa she took it from him and said, “Ole, vat are ya doin’? Dat hotdish is for duh funeral don’tcha know!”

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Rice Crusted Zucchini Pie Recipe

Prep:

Make two cups brown rice, saute onions and garlic, slice zucchini, devein and steam dinosaur kale and puree sauce.

Crust Ingredients:

2 cups brown rice, uncooked

1 bunch dinosaur kale

1 tsp. canola oil

1 egg

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. After the rice cooks, turn it out into a large bowl. Fold in the oil, salt and egg first. When it is well mixed, gently fold in the kale. Press this into an oiled baking pan. I used a large 9x13ish pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes to allow it to firm up a little. This photo is the crust before I baked it.

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Toppings:

2 Vadalia onions sliced and sauteed

8 cloves garlic, sauteed

3 thinly sliced zucchini

2 thinly sliced yellow squash

parmesan cheese

Directions: While the crust bakes, saute the onions and garlic. Then slice the squashes into thin rounds.

Sauce Ingredients:

8 ounces feta

5 roma tomatoes

1 handful fresh basil

Directions: Puree together with a food processor.

Assembly: Think of this like a pizza. You make the crust, top it with sauce, add other delicacies and finally, cheese. With this monster, after you bake the crust you will first spread the onion and garlic saute, then add the sauce and finally, decorate with the squash rounds and a sprinkle of cheese.

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Pickled Cabbage

I know all of you looked at the Pupusas and thought they looked interesting, but you weren’t ready to take that one on. I know. But, I gotta tell you, they are so utterly satisfying, and so unbelievably tasty with this side of curtido – pickled cabbage. You don’t know what you’re missing! Jeff and I had Pupusas for breakfast both Saturday and Sunday. Not only did we load them up with the curtido, but also some cotija (Mexican dry cheese a little like parmesan) and a little bit of crema agria (Mexican sour cream) – amazing!

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I made the curtido on Thursday last week, and it just keeps getting better in the fridge. Next time I plan to serve Pupusas, I’ll make sure the curtido is at least a few days old. It will keep in the fridge for about a month!

Ingredients:

1 head cabbage thinly sliced

2 red onions thinly sliced

2 jalapenos minced

5 cups boiling water

apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. sugar

Mexican oregano

Directions:

1) Slice the cabbage and onions and place is large bowl or big flat baking dish

2) Mince jalapenos and mix in with cabbage and onions

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3) Boil water – when it comes to a boil, pour it over the cabbage mixture. Mix the water into the cabbage for a minute, then dump the water off

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4) Add enough vinegar to almost cover the cabbage

5) Sprinkle salt, sugar and oregano over cabbage and mix

6) Place cabbage in a glass container. Push the cabbage down so that it is mostly covered in vinegar. Place a plate on top with a weight to keep the cabbage pushed down. Refrigerate.

Tzatziki

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Flipping through the food folds of memory, I came across an old friend. Back when I was in college at the University of Minnesota, I met a Greek woman who was working on her PhD in physics. Following the custom of international friends in my family, I invited her to spend Christmas with us. We shared the Minnesota culinary custom of eating Wild Rice Casserole for Christmas dinner, and she taught us to eat Tzatziki and drink Ouzo. We eventually lost touch with each other, but her friendship is still alive in this light, refreshing and very versatile sauce. I love to serve this with warmed pita bread as a simple appetizer, it can be used to top spicy Indian dishes like a chutney, and is great as a light salad dressing.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 medium English cucumber peeled

Pinch kosher salt

1 clove garlic

1 tsp. olive oil

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

5 to 6 mint leaves

Directions: Peel cucumber and chop into 1-inch pieces. Put all ingredients in food processor and zing.

Zucchini Fritters

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Courtney's Potato and Corn Herbed Fritter

My darling neighbor, Courtney, has inspired me. Instead of borrowing a cup or sugar or a stick of butter, she shares her culinary creations, and this lady can cook! I’ve returned the favor and had her taste a few of my concoctions as well. Yesterday she came to return a plate and had filled it with potato and corn herbed fritters with just a little zing of hot pepper. They were delicious. My first thought was, Thank God for ambitious cooks – I love having them for neighbors! My second thought was, I could make zucchini fritters!

Again, my goal is to rid the fridge of all CSA veggies before Thursday. This Indian curried version of the zucchini fritter has local, organic zucchini, onions and eggs. I served it with Tzatziki made with CSA cucumbers and mint from my garden. Serious fantastic fusion of flavors!

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Ingredients:

3 medium zucchini, grated

2 small onions, grated

salt to sprinkle

5 cloves garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

1/3 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups bread crumbs

2 tsp. canola oil

1 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. brown mustard seed

1/4 tsp. asefetida

1/2 tsp. garam masala

Directions:

1. Grate the zucchini and onions. Sprinkle with salt and mix. Place them in a cheese cloth or towel over a colander. Let the vegetables sit while you prep the other things. Later you will squeeze out the liquid.

2. Use a food processor to chop the garlic and walnuts. Dump these into a large mixing bowl and add the flour.

3. Heat the canola oil in a pan. You will place all the spices in hot oil and cook until the mustard seed begins to pop. Dump all spices and oil into you mixing bowl with walnuts, garlic and flour. Mix all together.

4. In a separate bowl beat two eggs. Then add them to the other ingredients.

5. Squeeze water from zucchini and onions and add to mixing bowl.

6. Oil two cookie sheets with canola. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

7. Make balls about one and a half inches in diameter, roll in breadcrumbs and flatten slightly.

8. Bake until the bottoms brown then gently flip. Place them back in the oven until the fritters are browned on both sides. I baked this batch about 50 minutes.

9. Serve with Tzatziki.

Farm Fresh Spring Rolls

 

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Farm Fresh Spring Rolls


I am doomed! It is Wednesday already and last Thursday’s CSA produce is still running wild in the fridge. When one buys into a CSA, one must remember one has duties to the box. There is to be no skipping meals, no eating out, no going to weddings or birthday parties or amusement parks. It’s all about serving the produce. Fortunately, we have guests coming this evening, so I can whip most of it up into little bites and free the fridge for tomorrow’s new veggie hooligans. What better way to wrangle produce than to swaddle it tightly in spring roll wrappers.

These babies are stuffed first with either udon or rice vermicelli and then loaded with fresh herbs including mint, basil and cilantro. I julienned yellow squash and cucumber and had tons of field greens to fill ’em up. Obviously, the rice paper wrappers and noodles were not CSA items, but the greens, cukes, squash and basil all came from Foxtail Farm. The mint and cilantro are from my garden. How’s that for local?

I have never in my life made spring rolls before, but after watching a couple of YouTube demos, I felt pretty confident. The idea is to wet the wrapper, place all the ingredients in the middle, fold in the sides and then the bottom, so you essentially have an envelope. Then you stuff all the filling down into the envelope and roll it up tightly. It’s remarkably easy and totally worth it. I served these with both a spicy peanut sauce as well as a Spring Roll Vinaigrette.

Farm Fresh Spring Rolls

  • Spring roll wrappers – my package had 15
  • cooked udon, soba or rice noodles
  • salad greens
  • fresh herbs – mint, basil, cilantro
  • julienned vegetables – cucumbers, carrots, yellow squash, peppers, steamed asparagus, bean sprouts, green onions, snap peas. (Anything can be used as long as it is thinly sliced or julienned.)

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/3 cup creamy organic peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce

Directions: Dissolve the brown sugar in the water then mix all ingredients in a food processor.

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Vegetarian Spring Roll Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. Mirin
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. chile garlic sauce
  • dash salt

Spicy Sesame Ginger Sauce

  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 2 tsp. minced ginger
  • 2 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1/2 lime,  juiced
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts to garnish