Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
The only thing that's really new in the boxes this week is leeks (and of course the concord grapes or pears in the fruit option). So here are just a variety of ideas... some old, some new! - DebbieMore regarding the strawberries
The strawberries are going to be fragile this week, with the heat, so I encourage everyone to use them quickly; don't try to store them. Since we're all only getting one basket per share, this isn't too big of a challenge! But if
the berries make it home from pick-up (i.e. they haven't been eaten on the way home), cut them up and throw them in a blender with some whole milk plain yogurt (and optional juice from an orange), then save that for breakfast! Or cut them into a bowl and sprinkle with just a little
sugar (you really don't need much), then drizzle with balsamic vinegar (the good kind, if you have it) and toss. Let it rest while you make dinner, then treat yourself to this as a succulent dessert! If you have fresh mint, sliver a few mint leaves and add with the vinegar. This adds a lovely third dimension.The SJ Mercury News ran a story about the chef for Nepenthe (down in Big Sur) last week, and her simple recipe for this crisp made me think of our fruit share members - because it's just what we're getting right now!Apple-Raspberry Crisp
Robin Burnside, "The Homesteader's Kitchen"
serves 6 - 8
1/2 C unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces
1 C sucanat or brown sugar
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 C rolled oats
1 tbsp. cinnamon (optional)
8 C sliced firm apples [the Galas will be fabulous for this!]
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice [I know this is to keep the apples from browning and to add tartness, but if you didn't have fresh lemons handy, you could leave this out and it'd be fine. You could also substitute 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar]
1 tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour or tapioca powder
4 C fresh raspberries [2 baskets will be enough, even if it doesn't measure to 4 C]
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the butter, sucanat and flour in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the oats and cinnamon and pulse again. By hand, use a pastry cutter or your fingertips to cut the butter in until evenly blended, but still crumbly. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the apples and lemon juice. Sprinkle in the tablespoon of flour, add the raspberries and gently toss. Place the fruit in an 8 x 12-inch ovenproof glass or ceramic baking dish and evenly distribute the crumb topping to cover the top, gently pressing around the edges to hold in place.
Bake 40 - 50 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the topping nicely browned.Is your fridge overflowing with carrots? How about this soup then?Moroccan Carrot Soup
Bon Appetit, undated clipping
2 tbsp. butter
1 C chopped onion
1 lb. carrots, peeled, cut into half-inch dice [more or less]
2 1/2 C chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 C plain [whole milk] yogurt, stirred to loosen
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool. Finely grind in a spice mill [or in a mortar and pestle, if you don't happen to have a spice mill - I don't].
Remove soup from heat. Puree in batches in blender until smooth [carefully! Hot liquid in a blender can 'explode' as the gas rapidly expands. Don't overfill, and/or allow soup to cool some before blending.] Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt evenly over each bowl; sprinkle generously with toasted ground cumin.Next up, a nice new leek recipe, from my clippings file.Baked Penne with Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks
Bon Appetit, March 2009
Bon Appetit's 'spin' on this recipe: "An extra-sharp raw-milk cheddar from England is the perfect counterpart to the sweet sauteed leeks in this upscale twist on mac and cheese." [my two cents: find a more local raw-milk cheddar... you don't need one from England; lots of closer cheese-makers around here!]
1/4 C (half a stick) butter
5 C chopped leeks (white and light green parts only) [as long as you cut off the outer dark green leaves above where they branch out from the stalk, you can use the medium-green layers underneath. Be sure to check for dirt though!]
1/4 C all purpose flour
3 1/2 C whole milk
1 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 C, packed)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
2 large eggs
1 lb. penne pasta
Lightly butter a 15x10x2-inch baking dish. Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat. Cover saucepan and cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes (do not brown). Uncover saucepan; add flour. Stir 2 minutes. Add milk; bring to a simmer, stirring often. Add cheese, mustard, and pepper sauce. Stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Season cheese sauce to taste with salt.
Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Gradually
whisk in 1 C cheese sauce (i.e. slowly and carefully... adding hot cheese sauce to eggs too quickly will make them curdle!)
Stir egg mixture into cheese sauce in saucepan.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot.
Stir cheese sauce into pasta in pot. Transfer to prepared baking dish. (Can be made 2 hrs ahead of time and let stand at room temperature.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake pasta until cheese sauce is bubbling around edges and some ends of pasta are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let stand 15 minutes. Serve hot.Now that our sweet peppers are starting to color up, I thought this would be a good time for a 'mixed pepper' recipe.Roasted Mixed Peppers with Capers and Marjoram
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping, adapted to box ingredients
serves 4 to 6
8 to 10 mixed color sweet peppers from the box
4 or so of either the Hungarian or Padron hot peppers
3 tbsp. flavorful olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp. drained capers
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh marjoram plus leaves for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
Char both hot and sweet peppers over a gas flame or in a broiler [or on a gas or charcoal grill] until blackened on all sides. Place in a large bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap and cool. ]I just enclose them in a paper or plastic bag. This allows them to steam, which allows the skins to separate easily from the flesh.] Once cool enough to handle, peel, seed and stem them. Cut the sweet peppers into larger (inch-wide) strips, and the hot peppers into smaller (half-inch wide) strips; combine both in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, capers, chopped marjoram, garlic and vinegar and toss to incorporate evenly. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. Sprinkle marjoram leaves over top and serve. [I'd either serve this with toast or crackers, as an appetizer, or as a side dish to a regular meal.]And lastly, I love this idea: a BLT salad!Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Salad with Aioli Dressing
modified from another undated Bon Appetit clipping
serves 4 to 6
Bon Appetit suggests serving this salad with grilled bread... that sounds good too!
about 6 slices of applewood smoked bacon
1 lg or 2 smaller romaine heads, leaves washed, dried, coarsely torn
6 smaller dry-farmed tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp. white wine [or cider] vinegar
Cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels, leaving about 1 tbsp. of the drippings [and the yummy bacon essence] in the skillet.
Place lettuce and tomatoes in a large serving bowl. Heat bacon drippings over medium heat; add garlic, sizzle for a moment or two, then add mayonnaise and vinegar; whisk until blended, 30 to 40 seconds. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over lettuce and tomatoes and toss to coat. Crumble bacon over the top and serve immediately.