Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Click here to go to the recipe database.Kohlrabi is definitely the new kid on the block this week, so I'll talk about that below. I am very happy to see we're all getting rapini (broccoli rabe) again, ooh - and cauliflower! And dill!! Okay, dill is in the small shares only, but hopefully Tom will have it in the Family shares next week? Anyway, all sorts of new goodies.
I'd like to start though by sending you to a great link I saw in last week's Roots of Change newsletter, entitled "The Crisper Whisperer: 10 Secrets for Making the Most of your CSA", from a weblog called "Serious Eats". The author, Carolyn Cope aka Umami Girl, summarizes all sorts of things I know I've talked to members about over the years here in the newsletter... but she has them all together in one place! - Debbie
The Crisper Whisperer: 10 Secrets for Making the Most of Your CSA
by Carolyn Cope
and more of us join CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), the
question of what to do with all that produce looms
large. CSA membership can be a wonderful, rewarding experience, putting
you in direct contact with the source of your food, giving you a say in
how and what is grown, and providing an easy way to contribute to your
local community. Best of all, even if you work in a cubicle all day and
only dream of escaping to the country to start your own working farm,
you can still head home to a meal made with beautiful, fresh local foods
any day of the week.
But as the season wears on, the sheer magnitude of freshness
delivered by a good CSA can start to overwhelm busy people with regular
(or perhaps spectacular!) lives to lead. The good news is that with a
little weekly preparation and planning and a few simple strategies,
you'll rarely have a week where you can't use or freeze your whole haul."
... click here to read the whole blog (and the tips!)Kohlrabi
Ah yes, kohlrabi, the sputnik-veggie! At least, that's what I've always called it. First things first: as with any root or root-like veggies (kohlrabi is not actually a root veggie, as the bulb grows above ground), separate the leaf stalks from the bulbs before storing. Washed and stripped from their stems, the leaves can be used anywhere you might use kale. And as you know,
there are LOTS of great kale
recipes... I'd for sure cook kohlrabi greens the way I often cook greens: 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 or grated Parmesan. I bet the kohlrabi leaves would be great in the 'crispy kale
' recipe too.
bulbs are still fairly
small, you may not need to peel them. If they are large enough to warrant peeling, make a cut at the top and, grasping a bit of the skin
between a thumb and a knife blade, pull downwards towards the root end. The strips of skin will peel off
(yeah, or you can just use a peeler). If you're 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 (how about that fresh dill?).Here's a new kohlrabi recipe:Kohlrabi Stew
from Prairieland CSA in central Illinois
recipe by Tamra Stallings
1 tbsp. oil (olive is best)
1 large onion, slivered, or 1 c green onion sliced
2 large or 3 medium kohlrabi, peeled and cubed
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 medium potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 C tomatoes, peeled and chopped (canned is fine)
4 C broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp. molasses
Saute onions in oil for several minutes. Add
remaining ingredients and
bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or
vegetables are tender. Variation
: Tamra suggests removing the
broth, thickening it
to a gravy with a little flour, and adding chunks of fried tofu.
fall or winter, use the stew as a filling for a pot pie.Fresh Dill is a marvelous thing! Snip it into yogurt or butter for putting on potatoes; use it on fish, in carrot dishes, on summer squash, in tuna salad (or similar). Dill will can keep anywhere from a few days to a week in a bag in your refrigerator, depending on if your fridge is nice and cold and if the dill is not wet when you store it; I also find using Evert-Fresh green bags helps things keep longer. On the other hand, if you don't think you're going to
get to using your dill soon enough, consider drying it for later use. I've done this to good success.Fresh Cilantro is always a staple in my refrigerator, so I'm happy whenever we get it through our CSA box. For the Family Share folks who are getting it this week, here's a recipe to try...Ginger-Cilantro Rice
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping
1 C long-grain white rice
2 1-inch long pieces of fresh ginger, peeled, each cut into 4 rounds, plus 1 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 2/3 C chicken broth
1 1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro [leaves and
stems! the stems have lots of flavor!]
1 green onion, thinly sliced [use stems from our fresh onions]
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
1 tsp. (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar
Combine rice and ginger rounds in large saucepan. Add broth; sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil, stirring often. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is tender and broth is absorbed, about 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine chopped cilantro, green onion, and minced ginger in a mini food processor [or blender] Add both oils and 1 tsp. vinegar. Blend until almost smooth. Season cilantro oil to taste with salt, pepper and more vinegar, if desired.
Transfer rice to bowl. Remove ginger rounds. Mix in cilantro oil and serve.Cauliflower is fine raw or steamed, however my favorite way to eat it is roasted. There two truly excellent recipes in the database for this: Mark and Mary's (Excellent!) Paprika Roasted Veggies, and North African Roasted Cauliflower. But you can also roast it very simply, just drizzled with a little olive oil and tossed to coat, and sprinkled with a little salt and herbs. How about that fresh dill? Here's a new roasted cauliflower recipe you can try if you've done the above two before and want to try something new:Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Summer Squash, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons
modified slightly from a recent Bon Appetit clipping
The author writes, "The croutons found their way into this dish thanks to the frugality of Italian cooks. Puglians don't throw anything out; any left-over bread is used in the pasta."
1 large head cauliflower, trimmed, cut into 1-inch florets
8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb. orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or medium-size shell pasta
1 1/2 C 1/3-inch cubed crusty country-style bread
3 medium summer squash, [any type], cut into 1/3-inch cubes (about 3 C)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped [or 2 stalks of green garlic, chopped]
7 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/2 C chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1/3 C (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
2 tbsp. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss cauliflower florets with 1 tbsp. olive oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until cauliflower florets are tender and beginning to brown in spots, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling generously salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1 1/3 C pasta cooking liquid. Set pasta and cooking liquid aside separately.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in large deep nonstick skillet or large pot over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes and saute until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool. Reserve skillet or pot.
Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to same skillet or pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add summer squash and garlic and saute until squash is golden brown and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cauliflower and anchovies and saute until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add drained pasta, reserved pasta-cooking water, remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1/3 C parsley, 1/3 C Parmesan, and Pecorino Romano cheese and toss to coat. Season pasta to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide pasta among 6 bowls; sprinkle with fried croutons, remaining parsley, and additional Parmesan cheese and serve.Lastly, here's a recipe sent in by member Christie Boone for broccoli rabe. She says she's made it with prosciutto, with bacon, and with just Parmesan, and "it is all good."Broccoli Rabe with Cannellini and
Serves four as a side, two as a main course
1 bunch broccoli rabe, about 1 pound
2 to 3 thin slices of prosciutto, sliced into smallish pieces [about 1/2
to 3/4 cup]
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste-see Kitchen Notes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 15-ounce can Canellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces small pasta (see Kitchen Notes)
Fill a large pot halfway with water and
bring to a boil. Meanwhile rinse the broccoli rabe thoroughly under cold
running water. Trim off the bottom inch or so of the stems, plus lower
leaves, if they are tough. Slice the stems and leaves into 1-1/2 to
2-inch sections. When the water comes to a boil, add the chopped
broccoli rabe and stir to make sure it all comes in contact with the
water. After 1 minute, drain broccoli rabe in a colander and run cold
water over it to stop the cooking. Set aside in colander to continue
Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook pasta
according to package directions. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive
oil to keep it from sticking together.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium
flame. Add prosciutto and saut 4 tablespoons olive oil. When it begins
to shimmer, Add prosciutto and sauté until just crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until
fragrant-about 45 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and toss to coat with oil.
Add Cannellini beans and cooked pasta. Toss to combine. Season with salt
and pepper and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to
serving bowl and serve immediately.Kitchen NotesHeat things up a little.
The crushed red pepper is a key ingredient in many Italian recipes.
Adding 1/2 teaspoon gave the dish a nice, lively touch. Use slightly
less if you're particularly sensitive to spicy foods; on the other hand,
feel free to add more if you like serious heat.Choosing your pasta.
you can find it, try using Ditalini (little thimbles): small,
short pasta tubes. If not, small shells will work, as
will orechiette. But keep the scale-and the amount-in proportion with the dish and
its ingredients.Making it vegetarian.
could just eliminate the prosciutto and be done with it. But I think the
savory edge it adds is key. To replace it, grate some good quality
parmesan cheese over the finished dish before serving.