Week 2: Herb Pie in the Sky

When the box arrived on Tuesday, we were completely out of food and needed to do a fair amount of cooking right off the bat if we were going to get through Andrew’s upcoming double day. The box didn’t disappoint: we got rhubarb, two quarts of strawberries, spinach, lettuce, arugula, spring onions, green garlic, radishes, and more asparagus.

Aside from needing to cook, we also had a string of house guests coming to town, and I suddenly decided that the standards of cleanliness before guests arrive as a soon-to-be-married couple were dramatically higher than they where when we were co-habitating as boyfriend and girlfriend. I can’t explain this reasoning in any remotely healthy way, but I suppose of all of the ways the patriarchy manifests itself, this one is pretty harmless.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that the previous day we cleaned and reorganized the pantry,  and I also figured out how to descale my espresso maker. Having been without espresso for several years, caffeine at that level of concentration had a very dramatic effect on me.

We sat down to think through the week, and I came away with a plan that basically involved cooking every single dish for the rest of the week that afternoon and evening. We were going to grill ribs, bake cornbread, make salad, make a marinade for chicken legs, grill them, cook an elaborate Ottolenghi recipe, make rhubarb shrub, and also recaulk the bathtub.

Rhubarb Shrub

I discovered shrub, or drinking vinegar, over Christmas when one of my students had gifted me with some homemade cranberry shrub and I proceeded to drink it with bourbon and vermouth for most of January. I was excited because I didn’t know this stuff existed and I loved it. I’d experimented with flavored simple syrups in past summers, and while they are gorgeous and colorful they always ultimately go to waste because as it turns out, I hate sweet fruity cocktails.

This recipe from rhubarb shrub is from Serious Eats. First, slice 2 lbs rhubarb into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Add it to a pot along with a cup of sugar and a cup of white wine vinegar. Bring it to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes until the rhubarb has turned into stringy mush (this took about 15 minutes and a potato masher for me). Then, strain it through a fine mesh strainer and let it sit for about a half hour until it’s stopped drinking. You throw out the solids, and the bright pink liquid is yours.

CSA ingredients used: rhubarb

Other ingredients used: white wine vinegar, sugar

Grilled Spare Ribs with Cornbread and Buttermilk Dressing on Lettuce

Andrew cooked the ribs for about 24 hours in the sous-vide, and finished them on the grill. We used a tamarind BBQ sauce that we’d made and canned in the fall, and served them along with a homemade cornbread and a salad made from the CSA lettuce with the rest of last week’s buttermilk dressing.

CSA ingredients used: lettuce

Other ingredients used: spare ribs, tomatoes, cucumber, all of the cornbread ingredients

When we saw we were getting more spinach, we sent out a plea on Facebook for suggestions of what to do with it. We got any number of ideas, but our friend Matt responded with this herb pie that would use up a bunch of CSA ingredients in one go and would work really well for Andrew to take to go. The only downside was that it broke a well-documented CSA rule– don’t cook Ottolenghi recipes. However, armed with espresso I blithely declared that I could handle it, I would make it after dinner and we would have it for lunch along with chicken thighs for the rest of the week.

Chicken Thighs with Za’atar & Herb Pie

First the chicken thighs. We picked this recipe for a middle eastern chicken from Serious Eats to go along with the herb pie. You begin by making za’atar: 1 TB dried oregano, 1 TB dried thyme, 2 TB sesame seeds, 2 tsp ground sumac. You split it in half, put half to the side, and add 2 TB olive oil, salt, and 3 garlic cloves to the other half to make a paste. This goes all around and under the skin of the chicken thighs. The other half gets sprinkled on top of the chicken thighs later.

After letting the chicken marinade for a bit, Andrew grilled it while I got to work on the herb pie. It had sixteen ingredients (which never bodes well) but at this point we already had most of them. I decided to make the ricotta first. To make ricotta, you heat milk to 200 degrees and add some lemon juice and salt. Unfortunately, the lemon that I used was mostly mummified and I didn’t get enough juice out of it to curdle the milk. I tried to strain it, but nothing happened.

I usually strain ricotta through a paper towel rather than cheesecloth because I don’t want to spend $3.99 every time I make ricotta, but we had literally one piece of paper towel left. The semi-curdled milk just sat there on top of the paper towel, not draining through. It was actually remarkably impressive, and under different circumstances would have made an excellent advertisement for a paper towels. After about 20 minutes of staring at it waiting for it to strain, I went out and bought another lemon, a bunch of paper towels, and some actual cheesecloth.

In an effort to make the experience as pleasant as possible, I prepped and organized everything carefully before starting, and cleaned as I went. I chopped spinach, green onions, arugula, parsley, mint, and dill, grated cheddar cheese and crumbled feta, grated lemon zest and chopped onions, and put everything in a nice little bowl of its own, just like in cooking videos. Shockingly, it does, in fact make for a much nicer cooking experience.

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The first step was to saute the a chopped onion in olive oil for about 8 minutes, cooking them but not browning them. After that, you add 1 LB chopped spinach and cook for a few minutes. Then all of the rest of the greens – 1 3/4 oz parsley, 1 3/4 oz arugula, 1 oz mint, and 2/3 oz dill. The recipe also calls for celery but we didn’t include it. Once these cook for a few minutes, you remove all of the greens and put them in a colander to cool.

At this point, I went to go decaulk the bathtub.

Once that was done, the greens were almost cool. The next step is to add 2 oz feta, 3 1/2 oz Cheddar cheese, and 4 oz ricotta to the mixture, along with the zest of 1 lemon, 2 eggs, 1/3 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and a 1/2 tsp sugar.

Now it’s finally time to play with the fillo dough. You put five layers of dough on top of each other, brushing each layer with olive oil before you add the next. It goes into a 8 1/2 inch casserole dish (this was momentarily confusing – the cookbook says a pie dish but the picture in the cookbook is of a rectangular dish. Because, England. Everything is a pie. But we figured it out.) Then comes the herb filling, followed by 5 more layers of dough, each brushed with oil. After that, you put it in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes and it’s done.

CSA ingredients used: spinach, some arugula

Other ingredients used: chicken, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic, sumac, sesame seeds, salt, onion, feta cheese, ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese, dill, mint, parsley, fillo dough, olive oil.

Next: I have to cook again?

Week 1: Field Report

There’s a certain false confidence that attends the first CSA box. Chicago has a late spring, so the box isn’t spilling over with abundance—it’s just the right amount of early vegetables. As Monday rolled around, we found that without too much strain, we’d succeeding in using up almost the entire box. The only things left were some asparagus, baby kale, and a few radishes.

We still had an ungodly amount of spinach pesto. You may recall from a previous post that I had claimed that it was best to freeze pesto before you mix in the cheese. But my older sister told me that was bananas, that she’d frozen plenty of cheesy pesto and it defrosted just fine. So since Andrew and I couldn’t stomach another spoonful of pesto (a welcome problem to have), we decided to go ahead and freeze it. This method from the Kitchn popped up on my Facebook newsfeed, which would have been exciting and convenient if such emotions weren’t shadowed by the sense that the bots are watching my every move.

The pesto method involves spreading it out on a piece of wax paper on a sheet pan, covering it with another piece of wax paper, and sticking it in the freezer. Once its frozen, you can break off pieces of whatever size you need when the urge comes. As a bonus, you don’t have to try to clean pesto out of your ice cube trays.

 

Grilled Salmon, Asparagus, and Kale with Buttermilk Dressing

Monday, Andrew’s day off, featured an extensive pantry cleansing, including a sorting and culling of spices. During that process, we discovered an unlabeled jar that contained a delicious spice rub. After some detective work, we figured out that it was from this recipe for lamb that consisted of cumin, Urfa Chile (this is the best thing ever), sumac (also the best thing ever), and salt. We slathered this all of the salmon and grilled it, along with the rest of the asparagus. We made a side salad using the CSA kale, and the remainder of the buttermilk dressing from earlier in the week.

CSA vegetables used: half of the asparagus, kale

Other ingredients used: salmon, rice, sumac, Urfa pepper flakes, cumin, salt

And that was the end of week one. To recap:

Dish CSA vegetables used Does it taste good? $$$? Exhausted? Gone? Or rotting in the fridge?
Spring Salad w/New Potatoes Potatoes, radishes, spring onions, asparagus Yes, thanks to the spring onions $ Yes We didn’t quite finish this before I got tired of the asparagus flavor gradually permeating everything
Spinach Pesto Spinach Yes, but not when you’ve eaten it four days in a row I know I said this last year, but why are pine nuts so effing expensive? No Definitely not gone, but safely frozen for a day a long, long time from now
Grilled Chicken & Lettuce with buttermilk dressing Lettuce, radishes, spring onions That was legitimately delicious lettuce $ No Gone
Orecchiette with Sausage & Rapini Rapini Totally fine $ No We got close to finishing this, but not quite
Saag Paneer Spinach Oh my god yes Surprisingly inexpensive, especially if you use paper towels instead of cheesecloth to strain the paneer Yes, but that’s more the result of eating fried cheese is surprisingly exhausting Gone, but not forgotten
Grilled Salmon, Asparagus, and Kale with buttermilk dressing Kale, asparagus yes $$$ (Salmon) No Gone

Casualties: None so far, but some of the radishes are looking a little shifty.

Next: Oh no more spinach

 

 

Once More Into the Beets, My Friends

I used to follow an assortment of delightfully frivolous blogs, like one about how to dress yourself if you’re only five feet tall, and the best way to decorate your dorm room for less than ten dollars. At some point in many of these blogs, the writer would vanish for months at a time and re-emerge saying something like “Sorry I’ve been gone so long, I was doing XYZ.” I would roll my eyes and lose all respect for the author.

My original vision was that my CSA blog last year would be largely comedic, and the reader would enjoy laughing at my inept attempts to cook kohlrabi while giving myself food poisoning and having psychotic breaks about beet greens. In retrospect, I felt that last year’s CSA experience benefited from the observer effect, where the act of observation on a phenomenon changes it. Faced with a modest audience, we threw ourselves headlong into the CSA project, utilizing a combination of my organizational skills and Andrew’s culinary prowess. The end result was something disturbing similar to a food blog, at least for a few months.

The paradox, of course, about blogging about your overwhelm is that past a certain threshold, you are also too overwhelmed to blog.  So after posting a few times a week for eleven weeks, in the height of the season, drowning in tomatoes and corn and all manners of radishes, the blog went fallow, even as box after box of vegetables kept pouring into our apartment.

In a last ditch effort to salvage my self-respect, I went through all of my photos from the fall trying to see if I could figure out what we did with at least some of the vegetables. One of the reasons for starting the blog originally was to have documentation of what we actually cooked, so we could go back and find the recipes later (it’s nice to have a use for your blog that doesn’t depend on people actually reading it). Sadly, the evidence is pretty spotty:

September: This looks like some delicious…pork? In some sort of salsa? (Andrew tells me it’s jerk pork, and that it was delicious)

October:  I spent most of this month refreshing fivethirtyeight.com, but photographic evidence seems to indicate I also ate at least one bowl of pumpkin soup:

 

November: I spent most of this month randomly crying in public and drinking heavily, but we did host Thanksgiving using almost entirely CSA vegetables, which was pretty spectacular and also I’m sure none of my family members will agree to have a holiday at my apartment again until we get a dishwasher. No photographic evidence exists other than these pies, which do include CSA apples and CSA pumpkin mush. I remember that part pretty vividly. Andrew reminds me that the sour cherry pie also featured CSA sour cherries that we froze in July, because we’re smart.

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December: Three full boxes of vegetables came east with us for the holidays, which we spent alternating between Andrew’s family and mine. I don’ remember what we did with everything, except by the end of the trip most of the vegetables were gone and it came down to about eight watermelon radishes which we forced everyone to eat, like, 4 days in a row. Luckily, they were a big hit with members of the under-two crowd. 

 And that was the end of CSA 2016.

We hadn’t really considered not doing a CSA this year. We just sort of assumed it was on. But the spring got busier than usual. Andrew got a show downtown that began in April and that runs for six months straight. He’s gone for dinner 5-6 nights every week, and three days a week he isn’t around for lunch either. More rational people might have decided that this year it might make sense to make some changes, say, for instance, not having a CSA. 

But as the memory from last year of piles upon piles of giant brassicas rotting into puddles of brown goo faded once again, we thought, This time it will be a real challenge. Armed with two years’ experience and a sense of trepidation, we ventured once more into the, um, beets. 

Next: Would you like some pesto with your pesto?

Week 10: Saccatoosh

Every once in a while, a recipe presents itself that so perfectly accommodates the week’s assortment of vegetables that it feels as though some vegetable deity may in fact be looking out for us. The week 10 box included a pound each of fresh cranberry beans and fresh lima beans—still in their pods—and before we could even lament our fate, Andrew discovered this Smitten Kitchen recipe for summer succotash that not only called for our exact assortment of beans, but also included three other ingredients from the week’s box: corn, tomatoes, and an onion. Also, bacon!

It also gave me the chance to try and remember the word for succotash. Apparently telling people that you’ve made “saccatoosh” and it’s really tasty doesn’t give them a clear picture of what you’re talking about.

The box also included artichokes, potatoes, swiss chard, a melon, another cauliflower (oof) and a half pound of okra. Oh, and a single beet, which vanished into the refrigerator only to be discovered again 3 weeks later. But first, the succotash:

Summer Succotash with Bacon

  1. Shell 1 LB cranberry bean. Cook the cranberry beans in water for 25 minutes.

2. Now, shell 1 LB of lima beans. Cook the lima beans in water for 5 minutes.

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3.  Fry up a bunch of bacon, remove it with a slotted spoon, then cook a diced onion in the bacon fat.

5. Put four ears worth of fresh corn, a bunch of diced up tomatoes, and 1 TB of sherry vinegar in a giant bowl. The original recipe called for these vegetables to be cooked, but we decided to keep everything raw.

6. Add the cranberry beans, the lima beans, and the bacon, and some chopped up basil.

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It’s a good thing this succotash tastes good, because we ended up with about 5 LBs of it

CSA ingredients used: corn, tomatoes, red onion, lima beans, cranberry beans

Other ingredients used: bacon, basil, sherry vinegar

German Potato Salad

Since we had leftover bacon, I also decided to make a German-style potato salad, which could be eaten cold and would give Andrew another dish he could take with him to the theater during the second week of his show. I blended together two recipes, one from the NY Times and one from Serious Eats, and managed to come away with a pretty delicious, though very vinegary, potato salad.

  1. Take 1 LB of potatoes and cut them up into 1 inch cubes. Put them in a pot and cover them with an inch of water. Bring them to a boil, and then cook them for 10 minutes until they’re tender.
  2. Fry some bacon. Once they bacon’s done, mince up an onion and cook it in the bacon fat for 5 minutes. Crumble up the bacon.
  3. Whisk together 1/3 cup of white vinegar, 2 TB sugar, 1 TB mustard, 2 tsp salt, and some pepper into a dressing.
  4. Toss everything together.

CSA vegetables used: potatoes, onion

Other ingredients used: bacon, mustard, white vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar

Pickled Okra

Okra has always been a fairly controversial vegetable in my family, and for that reason I’m not sure I’ve ever actually eaten it. Last year, we got okra in the box exactly once, and it sat in the refrigerator slowly rotting into a slimy mess over the course of several weeks. Since we already knew we were not motivated to cook with it, pickling seemed like the best option.

I selected a recipe from Alton Brown, who seemed like a fairly reliable guide to the world of pickling suspect vegetables. To pickle the okra, you clean it and then load it all up into mason jars figure out how many jars you need. Then you dump out the okra and sterilize the jars. Add 1 chile, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 clove of garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon of peppercorns in each jar. Then make a brine using 1 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 1/8 cup of salt.

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Odin also didn’t eat a lot of okra growing up.

Update: we opened the okra while on vacation and it was delicious! The okra wasn’t slimy in the least—it was crisp and crunchy and piquant with vinegar. It even got the seal of approval from my brother-in-law, who grew up in North Carolina and has very complex feelings about okra.

CSA ingredients used: okra

Other ingredients used: chiles, mustard seeds, garlic, peppercorns, rice wine vinegar, water, salt.

Grilled Baby Artichokes with “Caper” Mint Sauce

One night while Andrew was playing his show, I had dinner with my friend Amanda. We decided to grill clams and mussels (Andrew had a bad experience with mussels a few years back involving a bouillabaisse followed by lots of barfing, so now I only eat them if he isn’t home).

In addition to grilling shellfish, we also decided to cook something with the artichokes since they were starting to look a little sad. My intention was to recreate the April Bloomfield artichoke recipe from a few weeks back, but since we were grilling and didn’t want to use the stove if we didn’t need to, we decided to do this recipe from Epicurious. (Spoiler alert: Had I read the recipe carefully, I would have discovered that we still needed to use the stove for this one).

  1. First, you make a sauce. The sauce is 1/2 cup of olive oil, 6 anchovy filets, 2 1/2 teaspoons of capers, 1/4 cup of mint, and 1 TB white wine vinegar. At this stage, we discovered that we didn’t actually have capers, so we substituted Kalamata olives instead.
  2. Next, you trim the artichokes (as detailed in this post), and cook them in boiling salted water for 8 minutes. We somehow managed to miss the boiling step completely.
  3. Now you toss them with olive oil and put them on the grill for 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Once they’re cooked (or in this case, not cooked), you pull them off the grill and slather the sauce all over them.

As you can imagine, they didn’t come out spectacularly well since they were essentially raw inside, but they weren’t that bad either.

CSA ingredients used: baby artichokes

Other ingredients used: olive oil, olives, anchovies, white wine vinegar, mint

Sauerkraut

Turning our cabbage into sauerkraut was Andrew’s idea. I was skeptical that this would yield anything other than a jar of homemade sauerkraut sitting in our fridge for a year, but I decided to go for it. To make sauerkraut, you dice up 1 cabbage into tiny pieces. Put 1 tsp of salt with the cabbage and begin to work it with your hands. The salt will cause the cabbage to released liquid, although it releases more liquid if isn’t two weeks old already. Nevertheless, the cabbage should reduce enough to fit in one quart jar.

At this point, you’re supposed to add the liquid that you acquired, put the sauerkraut somewhere to fermented for a week, and call it a day. My cabbage failed to released any liquid at all, so I made a brine for it using 2 cups of water to 1 tsp salt and poured it over the top.

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If you think this sounds too simple to actually work, I agree with you. However, over the course of the week it did indeed turn into sauerkraut, and I absolutely loved it. It was a nice, tart ferment while somehow still tasting fresh. We brought it with us on vacation and ate it with hot dogs for a few family dinners.

CSA ingredients used: cabbage

Other ingredients used: water, salt

Garlicky Swiss Chard

Usually by Sunday or Monday,  I’m desperate enough to use up any vegetables we haven’t cooked yet that I will make random side dishes for us to pick at over the next few days that aren’t connected to any sort of meal. This is an favorite swiss chard recipe from Melissa Clark.

Roll up the chard and cut it into 1/4 inch strips. Heat some oil in a saucepan, add 2 cloves of minced garlic and saute for a minute, then add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir in the chard and cook uncovered for a few minutes, then cover and cook a few more minutes until the chard is bright green.

As with spinach, the chard impressed me with its ability to cook down into almost nothing. But it was tasty with leftovers.

CSA ingredients used: Swiss chard

Other ingredients used: garlic, red pepper flakes, oil

Next: A desperate move with a cauliflower

Week 8: Where there’s smoke, there’s…cabbage?

During my New Hampshire family vacation, I found a renewed appreciation for sitting next to lakes and watching the sun set while drinking wine.

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Exhibit A
It wasn’t quite a vacation from cooking—there were anywhere between 10 and 20 people eating dinner on any given night. My family’s level of trust in my cooking abilities seems to have grown significantly since I started blogging about all of the things Andrew and I cook together. The reality, however, is I don’t actually know how to “cook” at all, since the breakdown of our cooking ventures usually involves me measuring ingredients and throwing them in blenders while Andrew does the part that actually involves sticking food on a hot flame in a specific way until it tastes good.

 Nevertheless, I returned from vacation slightly more skilled at grilling meat for 20 people, and eager to jump back in to our cooking projects.

Pot-Roasted Artichokes with White Wine and Capers

This recipe comes from April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Greens cookbook. The plan had been to do something quick and easy, but we took a look at the recipe and couldn’t help ourselves. It was an especially silly choice considering that the recipe called for 18 artichokes and we only had 4.

The artichokes need to be “turned,” which sounds like its should be something really simple, like flipping them upside down. It’s not. To turn artichokes, you fill a bowl with water and squeeze in the juice of a lemon (or anything citrus). You throw the artichokes into the citrus water to prevent them from turning brown during the hour and a half it takes you to prep them. This is actually less of an issue if you only have four. You pluck off all of the green leaves, leaving only the softer, inner ones. Then you cut off about 1/2 inch of the stem and peal the remainder. Then you take about an inch off the tip as well. Now you are ready to cook them.

  1. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large pot until it’s smoking. Stand the artichokes cut-side down in the oil for a minute, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add 2 garlic cloves and a teaspoon of salt. Cook everything until the garlic is nice and smelly, around 3 minutes.
  2. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of white wine, and cook for 25 minutes until everything is soft. Add 1 tablespoon of capers near the end.
  3. Once the artichokes are soft, bring the heat back up again and simmer all of the wine away. Add some mint and parsley (we didn’t have parsley). Once the wine is gone (sad) and the artichokes are dark brown (less sad), they’re ready.

CSA vegetables used: artichokes, garlic

Other ingredients used: white wine, capers, mint

It was a sort of pitiful looking bowl of 4 artichokes, but they were so delicious that we declared it was completely worth the effort and swore to make the same recipe again if we ever got more artichokes in the box.

Cucumber Soup with Avocado Toasts

I’ve discovered this summer that while there are about a billion recipes for cold cucumber soup. Nevertheless, it’s hard to find one substantial enough to be a real meal. This recipe from Melissa Clark seemed a little more interesting than usual. She recommended serving it with avocado on toast, which also sounded like an excellent idea.

  1. Blitz 1 lb peeled cucumbers, 2 cups of buttermilk, 1 clove of garlic, 2 anchovies, 2 scallions, 1/2 a jalapeno (we used a full serrano…oops), 1/2 teaspoon of sherry vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a food processor.
  2. Smoosh some avocado on toast.

CSA vegetables used: cucumbers, garlic

Other ingredients used: buttermilk, avocado, anchovies, scallions, serrano, sherry vinegar, salt.

Pickled Green Beans

The green beans had started to build up and we were now in possession of about 3 LBs of them. I decided that while I wasn’t sure the idea of a pickled green bean sounded very good, how they actually tasted was going to be a problem for another day. I froze 2 lbs  of beans and pickled the remaining pound, using this recipe from the New York Times.

We wanted to make these pickles shelf-safe, since the purpose of this entire process was to get them out of the refrigerator. While I’ve made a lot of pickles at this point, I’ve usually just stored them in the fridge until we ate them all. I’m a little frightened of the canning and sealing process, with all of the various sterilizing and sealing steps and the myriad of ways you can die if it doesn’t go well. Nevertheless, my desire to empty the fridge of green beans gave me a new courage to face the threat of botulism, so I got to work.

  1. First, you trim the green beans and stick them upright in the jar just to make sure they fit. Then you trim off anything too long so that there’s still 1/2 inch of room at the top. Then you dump everything out.
  2. If you want them to be shelf-safe, first you sterilize the jars in a giant pot of boiling water. After the jars are sterilized, you put the green beans back in and add 1 teaspoon of coriander, 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, and few black peppercorns to each jar.
  3. Next, you combine 1 cup of white wine vinegar, 1 cup of sherry vinegar, 1 cup of water, 1 TB turbinado sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a small pot and bring it up to a boil. We were pretty low on white wine vinegar, so I substituted rice vinegar. Then we ran out of that and I substituted more sherry vinegar.
  4. Once the liquid simmers for 2 minutes, pour it into the green beans and seal them up. Then they go back in the boiling water  bath for 10 minutes.

CSA ingredients used: green beans

Other ingredients used: rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, garlic, coriander, mustard seeds, peppercorns, turbinado sugar.

Michelle Obama & Ribs

Andrew was about to start a show downtown, which meant we wouldn’t be eating dinner together six days a week for a few weeks. We decided to celebrate our last chance to cook an elaborate meal  by grilling ribs, which we had bought from our AirBnB host on a pig farm in Wisconsin the previous month. It was also a chance to go on a vegetable rampage. We grilled the cabbage and the tomatillos while listening to the first night of the DNC Convention on NPR—because if you are going to be a demographic cliche, you might as well really embrace it.

Andrew repurposed our grill for smoking—using this method stolen from Eater. We made a little ring of coals and sprinkled wood chips on top. We found some little grill lighting cubes which we used to light the coals, and then let them slowing catch. Then we jerry-rigged a little smoking rack on top of the grill and put the ribs in. 3 hours later, we had smoked ribs.

Once the ribs were done, we lit a new set of coals and grilled the cabbage and the tomatillos, onions, serranos, and garlic for salsa verde.

Salsa Verde

To make the salsa verde, we blitzed the tomatillos, onions, serranos, and garlic together in the food processor, along with some cilantro. This is a recipe I’ve used a lot of times, but I’ve never grilled everything before. It had a paler, mellow cooler than usual but it tasted incredible. Sadly, it also didn’t have any of the many preservatives that usually come in salsa, so we only got through about half of it before it went bad (three weeks later).

CSA vegetables used: tomatillos, onions

Other ingredients used: serranos, garlic, cilantro

Grilled Cabbage with Spicy Lime Dressing

We also made a spicy lime dressing to go along with the cabbage, from The Kitchn. The dressing was 1/4 cup of lime juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.

CSA ingredients used: cabbage

Other ingredients used: lime, olive oil, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, cayenne, sugar

Next: Andrew’s playing a show and can’t weigh in, so I cook a really random collection of dishes.