Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Click here to go to the recipe database.Several folks liked my 'what's up in the box' discussion last week, so I think I'll try it again. And recipe-wise, I'm shootin' from the hip this week, i.e. it's all just outta my head! Hope you enjoy. It's really how I cook. Make it up as I go along. - Debbie"What's Up in this week's box"Strawberries
: still in full swing; expect lots!Broccoli
: It's really almost broccolini... a bag of nice small tender broccoli stalks and heads (I particularly like ones with the green leaves too), but Tom says technically it is still broccoli (broccolini is a different variety).Cilantro
: don't just use the leaves and chuck the stems! Many people do not realize this, but the cilantro stems have just as much flavor as the leaves. So wherever chopped cilantro is called for, use both stems and leaves. Kohlrabi
: the sputnik veggie!! Definitely one of the weirder veggies out there; a squat, round bulb and the leaf stalks grow out from random points around its girth, rather than from the top like a normal root veggie. Even weirder, it's not actually a root veggie at all: in the field, the 'ball' sits on top of the soil with only a taproot that grows into the dirt. Truth is stranger than fiction. Save the greens though! They're good to eat too. I'll talk more about this below.Radishes
: did you know you can roast these guys? Betcha didn't! Look in the recipe database for Mark and Mary's Paprika Roasted Veggies
and roast some maybe with onion and summer squash or kohlrabi. Here's another idea: halve and grill them on a skewer alongside summer squash. Baste them with a nice lemony-garlicky vinaigrette (or your favorite veggie marinade) and give it a try!Kale
is the Red Russian this week; my favorite! I can eat kale every week, heck twice a week! Yum!!Sugar snap/snow peas
: they're a mix, because we don't quite have enough of either for everybody to get the same, but since the pods are edible in both kinds, they should be totally interchangeable. Sweet, crispy, pea-y... essence of peas. Yum again!Summer squash
: still the zephyrs, but this week the Small shares get them instead of the Family. Soon they will be in both! Here's a quick and easy no-cook goodie to make this week! I made it up recently (last heat wave), when some friends brought dim sum (shu mai) to share.
Massaged Tatsoi (and/or Mei qing
choi) with tahini and lemon
The technique is similar to when you're preparing sauerkraut or other
fermented veggies, only you're not fermenting them, just eating them
fresh: wash and coarsely chop a bunch of tatsoi, or a combination
of tatsoi and mei qing choi (any of the Asian chois). You'll want
lots, as it massages down to nothing! Place chopped greens in a bowl
that fits them, sprinkle moderately with salt (I toss and sprinkle,
toss and sprinkle, so as to get a little salt on more or less all
the leaves). Wash your hands, roll up your sleeves, then start squeezing
and massaging the greens with your hands until they break down and
start to give off their own juice. They will have now reduced exponentially
in volume. Add a spoonful or two of tahini and stir well to distribute.
Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to taste... and you're done! It's
great served in little bowls, with chopsticks.
Kohlrabi; what the heck do I do with this??
Be adventurous, of course! Separate the leaf stalks from the bulbs, wash them, strip leaves from their stems, and the leaves
can be used anywhere you might use kale. And there are LOTS of great kale
recipes... I'd for sure cook them as I often cook greens, in my 'hot salad' recipe: strip leaves from stems, cook in boiling, well-salted water around 3 minutes, drain well, chop, drizzle with good olive oil, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top, and maybe sprinkle on a little additional salt (if you're a salt fiend like me). Or leave off the salt and top with grated parmesan (also rather salty). I bet the kohlrabi leaves would be great in the 'crispy kale
' recipe too.
are still fairly small and tender, so Tom thinks they don't even need to be peeled. I'd have to see them to decide on that front, but basically you can just use your own judgment. If you want to peel them, grasp the skin at the top between a thumb and a knife blade and strips of skin will peel off (yeah, or you can just use a peeler). If not peeling, just cut off the leaves, slice and include in a stir-fry or gratin. I kind of like using them like jicama or celery, diced raw in tuna or egg salad, or sliced like you would radishes into fresh green salads. And of course you could just do the Weston Price
treatment: boil or steam until tender, then serve with lots of butter and salt. Maybe sprinkle on some herbs.Debbie's Cilantro-lime-soy salad dressing
We're getting salad greens, we're getting cilantro... try this: make a big bowl of mixed salad greens (yes, throw mizuna into the mix), maybe even add some sliced kohlrabi (I'd slice, then cut the slices into pieces so they're not too big). Sugar snap or snow peas would be good in this salad too! To make the dressing, chop up a bunch (as much as you like, not 'a bunch' as in the entire bunch) of fresh cilantro, both stems and leaves; combine chopped cilantro with fresh-squeezed lime juice, soy sauce, finely minced garlic (or garlic put through a press), and olive oil. Whisk well with a fork to blend. Toss salad greens with dressing. An added bonus, if you have it, is to crumble in some feta cheese and toss. This is really good.Mei qing choi and cilantro in miso soup
Make your favorite miso soup (or similar) recipe; add whole choi leaves (if small), or coarsely chopped if larger, and cook only a minute or two (you could also add some snow peas!). Serve hot, in bowls, adding the cilantro immediately after dishing into the bowls. It will cook just right in the residual heat, releasing its heavenly fragrance. Add the cilantro whole too, don't chop it up. If attached at the root, this is fine, just be sure the root is clean of dirt (it's how I've had cilantro in Thai soups; that's how I learned it, actually!). If there is no root (i.e. if it was cut off above the root), then just sprinkle a few cilantro sprigs in each bowl. For an added bonus, very thinly slice some of the fresh onions' green stems (they're just like big scallions) and scatter on top too.Sugar snap or snow peas in the nude
The best way to eat these guys: just 'barely' steam them. And I mean barely; the moment they turn bright green remove from heat, sprinkle with just a touch of salt, and eat them! If you're going to be serving these with some other dish as a side, wait to cook the peas until the very last moment before serving so you can enjoy them in their bright green brilliance. If you cook them too long, they go kind of olive-colored and limp. Still edible, of course, but they've lost their charm.Fat grilled onion slices
The fresh onions are so, well, fresh! And consequently they're quite
sweet. Try this, when you fire up the grill to barbecue your favorite
burger, steak, or tofu (or while you're grilling
that summer squash
: cut the onion into fat slices (a good ¾-inch
or so). Carefully thread a bamboo skewer through the slice sideways
(to hold the rings together; this is why the slices need to be fat).
Baste with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill over
low-ish heat. Ideally you want them to get translucent on the inside
and browned on the outside (if the fire is too hot they'll just burn
on the outside and still be raw on the inside). Turn with a spatula
if need be, to get them browned on both sides.
If you don't want to fire up the grill, you can achieve the same thing in a good cast-iron skillet. No need for the skewer in this case. Slow cook the slices in butter or olive oil over low heat (lid optional) until nice and browned; flip carefully with a spatula. If you mess up and the slice comes apart when you try to flip it, no biggie; just brown fry them then (cook and stir occasionally until nice and browned. Don't forget the salt and pepper). These are delicious with meat!!Chocolate-dipped strawberries
This is dead easy. Select some nice strawberries, cut off the calyx (green part), and have standing by. Melt some good dark chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave (careful not to overheat; the chocolate can burn!). Stir around with a spoon to liquefy. Dip the former-stem-end of each berry into the chocolate, then set chocolate-side down on some waxed paper on a plate or cookie sheet. Stick in the fridge until the chocolate cools and sets. If you have access to fresh mint, a nice touch is to set the chocolate-dipped berry down on a fresh mint leaf. It sticks as the chocolate cools, and is very pretty (and tasty too!). These will disappear quickly; trust me.