Week 5: Road Vegetables

When the new box arrived on Tuesday, it was filled with peas, carrots, kohlrabi, and an assortment of other vegetables with mercifully long shelf lives. This, combined with the fact that I was gone most evenings at a gig that was so miserable that I temporarily lost my capacity for happiness (and cooking and eating), we subsisted on leftover chicken from our Indian-style dinner, which Andrew turned into chicken tikka masala and which we proceeded to eat for four days straight.

We had a short trip planned to Wisconsin on Sunday, and as of Saturday afternoon we hadn’t cooked a single vegetable yet from the box, so we decided to make as many things as we could all in one day and bring them with us. The only stipulation was that everything needed to taste decent room temperature and be easily transportable.

I threw myself into the process with immense enthusiasm, having not really had a chance to cook for the last two weeks. I was so excited to be in the kitchen again that I immediately violated CSA guiding principal No. 4, which is to under no circumstances use a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Kohlrabi Salad

In my defense, this Ottolenghi recipe doesn’t involve cooking in the literal sense,  just stirring enough yogurt, sour cream, and mascarpone into a handful of cubed kohlrabi to render this fairly innoccuous vegetable completely addictive.

The recipe also calls for sumac, which initially seems like one of those irritating, hopefully optional Ottolenghi ingredients that you have to look all over town for only to use 1/4 teaspoon of it in the recipe. Once you taste it, however, it immediately becomes clear that finding it would be worth a trip to Jerusalem and back. It has bright color and citrusy, tart flavor. Even better, we actually had some as a result of making our own za’atar from scratch a few months ago.

  1. Peel the kohlrabis and cut them up into little 2/3 inch dice. Put them into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix 1/3 cup of yogurt, 5 TB sour cream, 3 TB mascarpone, 1 clove of pressed garlic, 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice, and 1 TB olive oil, along with a little salt and pepper. Whisk it together and pour it on top of the kohlrabi.
  3. Sprinkle 2 TB shredded fresh mint on top, a few sprigs of watercress, and 1/4 tsp of sumac.

CSA vegetables used: kohlrabi

Other ingredients used: sour cream, mascarpone, yogurt, lemon, garlic, mint, olive oil, watercress, sumac

Marinated Broccoli with Cumin, Garlic, and Sesame Oil

This recipe comes from Melissa Clark.

  1. Take a large bowl and stir together 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Add about 2 heads of broccoli (cut into little florets) and mix everything around.
  2. In a skillet, heat 3/4 cup of olive oil and add 4 cloves of minced garlic and 2 teaspoons of cumin. Cook for about 30 seconds, and then stir in 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil and a large pinch of red pepper flakes. Pour on the broccoli and toss to combine. Let the broccoli steep in the oil mixture for at least an hour before eating.

Our friend Ammie brought this dish to a New Year’s party a few years back. I came away with the impression that it was the best thing I had ever tasted. Later, I assumed this was a result of the champagne, because it’s broccoli we’re talking about. However, having recreated it I stand by my initial assessment.

CSA vegetables used: broccoli

Other ingredients used: toasted sesame oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, olive oil, salt, red wine vinegar

Lemon Ricotta with Peas

The first time I made ricotta from scratch was on a frigid February day when it was too cold for any sane person to leave the apartment. We happened to have some milk and lemons on hand and I discovered that making ricotta is the easiest thing imaginable, though it may one day represent the first step in my eventual devolution into complete hipster-dom. I’m willing to risk it, though, because homemade ricotta is SO MUCH better than anything you can buy in a store, and pretty cost effective, especially if you use paper towels instead of cheesecloth to drain it.

  1. Heat a quart of milk on the stove until it’s 200 degrees. Turn off the heat and pour in a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt. It will separate instantly, but you are supposed to let it sit for about 10 minutes anyway just to make sure.
  2. Set up some sort of rig with a big bowl and a colander balanced on top of the bowl. Then lay a piece of paper towel in the colander (or cheesecloth if you’re fancy). Pour the separated milk into the paper towel. The whey will all go into the bowl and the ricotta will be left in the paper towel. Then you let it sit for a while to drain further.
  3. You have ricotta! And also whey, which you can throw in the fridge with the intention of doing something interesting with it, and then throw it out once it goes bad instead.
  4. We mixed our ricotta together with some CSA peas, a splash of olive oil, lemon zest, and basil.

 

CSA vegetables used: peas

Other ingredients used: milk, lemon, more lemon, basil

IMG_0664

Andrew and I and my cello ended up eating our picnic in a park overlooking Lake Michigan, about a ten minute drive north of downtown Milwaukee. We also brought along some pizza bianca which Andrew whipped together before we left the house (I’ll include his pizza dough recipe with my next post).

Next: The week of 19 vegetables.

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