Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
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Hullo everyone and welcome to Week Two of scrumptious squeaky-fresh winter-kissed veggies from our farm! I hope everyone enjoyed their bounty last week, and expect you are all looking forward to that apricot jam. Of course another treat inside the boxes this week is preserved (lightly pickled) dry-farmed tomatoes and basil. Summer in a jar, I call it. You can eat them right out of the jar if you like - just like pickles! No need to cook with them if you don't want to. And don't forget those Brussels sprouts -- are you all hooked yet? Oh, and by the way, if you ever see comments in square brackets [like this] in a recipe, that's me, adding my two cents. (Existing members know this; I'm just lettin' the newbies know!) - Debbie
First off, here's a kale recipe sent in by member John Steele, who says his wife really likes it this way:
Kale and coconut salad with currants
by John Steele (the cook of the family)
kale (any kind)
shredded dry coconut
dried currants [or golden raisins or dried cherries, if you don't have currants]
good olive oil [or any fragrant oil like walnut or ??]
fresh lemon juice
Lightly steam kale, just until wilted, then cool. Drizzle with oil and squeeze a little lemon over all [I think I'd sprinkle in a little salt here], sprinkle with dry coconut and scatter on currants.John's recipe, of course, reminds me of my old standby for winter greens like kale, collards beet greens, broccolini or broccoli raab and the like. It's what I call 'hot salad'. It's a recipe I 'cooked up', so to speak, for winter... when I'm really interested in having a green salad, but not so excited about having a
cold salad. Brrrr. Of course this is equally good as a side dish, and also a common preparation step for when I'm putting cooked leafy greens in other recipes. A real keeper!
Debbie's "Hot Salad"
kale (or other cooking green)
good olive oil
optional: grated fresh parmesan cheese
My favorite green for this recipe is the red Russian kale, but honestly, I do it with all the cooking greens, as I mention above. For leafy greens, first strip leaves from stems (easy: hold the stem in one hand and zzzzip off the leaves - it's SO much easier than cutting them off with a knife!). Compost the stems and hold the leaves. Another time-saver is: I don't chop them until after
they're cooked. Much less messy because the volume has decreased significantly.
Anyway, for the leafy greens, bring a pot of well-salted water (think 'seawater') to a boil. Add greens and turn heat down to medium. Poke 'em down in the water so they all get nicely submerged and let 'em cook a few minutes. If you like a little tooth to your greens (and prefer to minimally cook your greens in general), a quick minute will suffice. If you like them silkier and more tender, two to three minutes. After you start cooking them this way a few times, you'll find a done-ness that suits your own happiness.
Drain greens in a strainer, squeezing out excess water with the back of a wooden spoon (you don't want them soggy). You will discover your large pile of raw greens has shrunk considerably! Put lump of cooked greens on a cutting board and chop to your desired degree of bite-size-ness.
(If you are making this with other green things such as broccolini, just steam it, and you don't have to do the squeeze and chop step either.)
Divide kale among salad plates while still warm, drizzle with olive oil (the warm kale volatilizes the oil a bit, making it fragrant and wonderful - hence the suggestion of using a 'good' olive oil, if you have one!), squeeze on the lemon juice, fairly generously, then sprinkle with additional sea salt. Greens love salt. (And so do I!)
That's it! Serve it like that. That's your salad. If you want to gussy it up, grate fresh parmesan cheese on top too. If you use the parmesan, you can cut down on, or leave off, the sprinkled salt, as the cheese provides the 'salt'.This next recipe was also sent in by a member - Cara Finn - who made this up from 'what was left in the bottom of the fridge'. A healthy inspiration, by the way! Since it uses several ingredients that we're getting in our boxes this week, I thought it'd be a good time to share it!Southwestern Rutabaga Soup
by Cara Finn
Cara says the pasilla pepper added great flavor, but any pepper with interest will work. It's very easy and doesn't need potatoes for thickening. And it freezes well too.
2 large rutabagas
1 large carrot
1 large Pasilla pepper
1 jalepeno pepper
1 leek - tender parts only
3 stalks celery
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup butter and/or olive oil
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Saute sliced peppers, leek, garlic and celery in butter till soft and sweated, but not brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cut rutabaga and carrot into half-inch cubes (more or less) and put into a pot with the sauteed veggies. Add stock to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until veggies are very, very tender. Cool enough to handle, then puree in food processor. Return to soup pot and add cream or milk till it's the consistency you want. Chop fresh cilantro and add to soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.Roasted Brussels sprouts
One of the more important things to know when cooking Brussels sprouts is that you don't want to overcook them. So I don't recommend boiling at all. Just don't go there or you'll ruin them. Lightly steam them, or pan brown them like I talked about last week, or... roast them!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Toss trimmed sprouts with olive oil (or a combo of oil and melted butter - even better!), and finely chopped shallots and/or garlic. Spread in a pan or glass baking dish and sprinkle with salt (and pepper, if you like), then bake for about 20 minutes. That's all!Fusilli with cauliflower and black olives
from Guiliano Hazan's "Everything Italian"
serves 4 to 6
1 lb. cauliflower, leaves and stems trimmed
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley [it's in the box this week!]
1/8 tsp. [a pinch or two] of crushed red pepper flakes
8 black Greek olives [Kalamata]
1 1/2 lbs. fresh, ripe plum tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped [obviously this is NOT tomato season, so I'd simply substitute canned chopped tomatoes]
1 lb. fusilli
3 tbsp. freshly grated pecorino romano
Bring a pot of water large enough to hold cauliflower to a boil. Add cauliflower to boiling water. (White vegetables will taste sweeter if you do not add salt to the boiling water.) [Well that's new to me! See, I learned something new here!!] Boil cauliflower until it is tender, 10 to 15 minutes [I've seen recipes like this before, where you boil the whole head before cutting up, instead of cutting up and steaming the florettes. Interesting!]. Drain and cut into pieces no larger than half an inch.
Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 4 quarts water and place over high heat. Put garlic and olive oil in a 10-inch saute pan and place it over medium-high heat. Saute until garlic begins to sizzle. Add parsley and red pepper flakes and stir a few times. Add cauliflower and season with salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is quite tender and begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
While cauliflower is sauteeing, cut olive flesh from pits and coarsely chop. When cauliflower is done, add tomatoes and cook for 6 to 8 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and the fusilli to the boiling pasta water. Just before pasta is done, add olives to sauce, stir well, and remove from heat. When pasta is cooked, drain it and toss with sauce and grated pecorino cheese, and serve.Beet and Apple Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette
from a book called "The Midwest: America's Breadbasket and Lager Country
The lead-in reads, "Earthy beets, tart apples, and a spicy vinaigrette make this dish irresistible with beer. We think a malty Amber Lager goes best, but a Pale Ale would also be very nice."
6 medium beets, unpeeled, tops removed
2 tart apples
3 green onions or scallions, thinly slicedfor horseradish vinaigrette
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
3 tbsp. red wine or raspberry vinegar
1/2 C olive oil
salt and pepper
Cook the unpeeled beets in plenty of boiling water until a knife point can easily be inserted. The timing depends on the size of the beets, but 15 - 20 minutes should be about right. Let cool and peel the beets. Cut into shreds or julienne strips. Peel and shred the apples. In a large salad bowl, mix together the beets, apples and green onions or scallions.
Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients well [they say to do this in a food processor, but I think that's not necessary. A good whisk will emulsify it!]
Toss salad with dressing and let sit for 1 hour or so in the refrigerator before serving. This flavorful vinaigrette is also good on leeks [which are also in the box this week!]