The third week’s CSA box came as a welcome respite from the previous weeks’ leafy-green-athon. We were excited to see fennel and green garlic, which were among my favorite CSA items from last year. I was also eager to try the cilantro, and was determined to for the first time in my life use up a bunch of cilantro before it rotted. Andrew was pleased about sugar snap peas, and we both were a bit concerned by the turnips, since last year we had hoarded them for months until they got used up all at once at Thanksgiving dinner.
With our schedules getting busier and less time to cook, I became particularly obsessed with finding recipes that used more than one CSA item. When I saw that we had potatoes as well as spinach, I proposed using them together in some sort of gratin/galette/quiche/ tart/frittata/whatever. Then I helpfully headed off to rehearsal, leaving Andrew to contemplate whether he really felt like making another pie crust.
Unable or unwilling to decide about dinner, Andrew began by making this simple strawberry ice cream from Food52. The chief virtue of this recipes was that it used up another cup and a half of buttermilk that we still had leftover in the fridge. (We thought maybe we shouldn’t let things other than vegetables go bad in our fridge, either.) Andrew jumped at the chance to use some in ice cream.
Strawberry Ice Cream
To make the ice cream, you take one quart of strawberries and hull and quarter them and blend them with 3/4 cups sugar. Then add 1 1/2 cups of cold buttermilk, 1/3 cup sour cream, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix everything together until smooth. You freeze it in an ice cream maker and then transfer to your freezer to firm up for a few hours. We didn’t have quite enough sour cream, but we had some cream cheese kicking around in the fridge and used it to make up the difference.
Spinach, Potato, and Goat Cheese Quiche
I got home from rehearsal to find that Andrew had resigned himself to making a quiche. He pulled together the recipe from a couple different sources, starting with this recipe from Serious Eats, but also referencing Michael Ruhlman for the ratio for the quiche custard.
We’d been eating a lot of pie-type things, and Andrew started to feel that we should be a bit more health-conscious, probably because he has a front seat to the sheer amount of butter that goes into your average pie crust. He found a recipe for oat crust in the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook, hoping that 2/3rd of a cup of oats might counteract the consequences of a stick of butter in the crust.
To make the dough, you start with 2/3 cup (or 2.5 oz by weight) of regular old-fashioned oatmeal and grind the oats in a food processor until it becomes oat flour. Then you pulse in 3/4 cup (or 3 1/8 oz by weight) all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp kosher salt, and work in 1 stick of cold cubed butter. Dump the crumbly mix in a bowl and smear in 3–5 TB of ice cold water. To see if you’ve added enough water, pinch some dough—if it binds together, you should be good. Form dough into round, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When it’s rested, roll out and blind-baking the crust under pie weights for about 15 minutes in a 400°F oven.
To make the quiche filling, you fry the potatoes and onions in oil until they start to brown and drain them. Wilt the spinach in a dry pot for a few minutes (the giant pile of spinach reduces itself to a tiny ball in a very satisfying way). The potatoes and spinach go into the shell along with some big chunks of goat cheese, and followed by a custard poured over the top made with 4 eggs, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, and ¾ tsp kosher salt. It cooked in a 350°F oven for about an hour. Andrew pulled it when the thermometer stuck in the custard was at 170°F.
CSA vegetables used: spinach, 1/3 of the potatoes, 2 red spring onions
Other ingredients used: thyme, oatmeal, flour, butter, goat cheese, egg, milk, heavy cream, salt.
Shaved Fennel and Sugar Snap Peas with Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette
While the quiche cooked, we threw together a shaved salad that we loosely based on a recipe in Prune. We sliced raw fennel, spring onions, and sugar snap peas thinly on a bias.
The dressing called for garlic, which I made using some of the CSA green garlic. At this point in the season, the CSA garlic looks more like a scallion than garlic. You can barely see the outline of cloves inside each head. To make the dressing, grate the garlic against a microplane and mix it with ¾ cup olive oil and ¼ cup plus 1 TB lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
CSA vegetables used: 2 red spring onions, fennel, green garlic, ½ the sugar snap peas.
Other ingredients used: thyme, oatmeal, flour, butter, goat cheese, egg, milk, olive oil, lemon
We ate dinner at 9:30 at night, and while we were tired and cranky, we felt triumphant in having used up all the spinach, half the potatoes, half the sugar snap peas, the fennel, the last of the spring onions, some green garlic, not to mention half the strawberries, all in the first 12 hours of having the box.
Wednesday we decided to grill some steaks in honor of Andrew’s birthday. I had been struck by the size and heft of the CSA romaine—it had a subwoofer-like crunch when you broke off a leaf. It seemed perfect for a Caesar salad. Since we were already firing up the grill, we decided to grill the potatoes as well.
Grilled Steak, Potatoes, and Caesar Salad
The recipe for Caesar Salad, from Serious Eats starts with the croutons.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Take a bowl and whisk together 3 tablespoons oil and and minced 2 garlic cloves. Pass the oil through a strainer and put the garlic cloves aside for later.
- Next, dip a bunch of bread cubes in the garlic oil, add 2 TB parmesan cheese, and mix it all together. Put everything in the oven on a cookie sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
- The dressing is next: mix 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2-6 (this seems like a wide range, doesn’t it?) anchovies, 1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce, the garlic from before, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese together and blend. The recipe says with the blender running you should add 1/3 cup of canola oil. Then you pour it into a bowl and add 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Pull the croutons out (assuming you didn’t already burn them, like I did) and put another 2 TB of parmesan cheese over them.
- Mix dressing, croutons, and romaine together.
The grilled potato recipe also came from Serious Eats. The potatoes were left skin-on, cleaned, and cut roughly in half and boiled until tender. Then we tossed them with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper and finished by searing them over the hot side of the grill until they were crusty and dark. Andrew grilled lemon halves and the last of the spring onions alongside, then sliced the onions, and tossed the potatoes with the onions and with lemon juice in a bowl before serving.
The steaks were salted about 45 minutes before we planned to cook them, and then we let them rest so that the moisture from the salt would absorb back in. Once the grill was ready, Andrew cooked them on the grill along with the rest of the CSA potatoes and some lemons. He finished the steaks over the hot side of the grill, searing them until they reached an internal temperature of 125°F.
CSA vegetables used: half of the romaine, the rest of the potatoes
Other ingredients used: lemons, 2 steaks, 1 head of garlic, olive oil, canola oil, bread cubes
Next: In which Andrew cooks turnips while I visit the suburbs and we try dry curry.