Week 8: Elotes FTW

As predicted, the Week 8 box was….large. We had green cabbage, summer apples, corn, a truly massive quantity of broccoli, cauliflower, more carrots, more green beans, fennel, and more red currants. And a head of lettuce.

I had been waiting for the green cabbage for months. We’d been craving homemade sauerkraut since I had tried to make it last November and it got all moldy and we had to throw it out, and we had a brand new fermentation crock as a wedding present, along with fancy pickle weights that would theoretically prevent that from happening again.

Homemade Fermented Sauerkraut

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Moldiness aside, Sauerkraut is a actually easy to make. You cut up the cabbage and put it into a large bowl (or a fermentation crock, if you happen to have one!). You add about 3 TB of salt and knead it every 15 minutes for the next few hours, until you’ve produced enough liquid to cover the cabbage. In years past, the cabbage has sat in the refrigerator for a week or two before I get around to using it, making it pretty dry. This time I made it immediately, but I still didn’t get enough liquid out of it to cover the cabbage completely, so I made a brine of 1 cup water to 1 tsp salt and covered it with that.

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The trick is to get the cabbage to stay underneath the level of the water, and it wants to flat to the top. This recipe from Serious Eats recommended using some of the outer layers of the cabbage that you wouldn’t want to eat and putting those on top, and then putting the weights on top. It works like a dream!

The only downside is that this isn’t ready for 3 – 6 weeks.

CSA ingredients used: Green cabbage

Other ingredients used: water, salt

Pork Lettuce “Wraps”

The lettuce seemed like the next priority. We had some left over country-style pork chops   from the week before, and Andrew suggested that we make little lettuce rolls using some of the corn, sliced pork, leftover rice, and a dipping sauce.

The dipping sauce is 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup lime juice, 1/3 cup fish sauce, and 2 minced garlic cloves (It made way, way, more than I needed.)

 

I broke off the biggest leaves of lettuce and assembled them with sliced pork, corn, and rice.

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It immediately became clear that these were going to be impossible to eat, much less dip, because the lettuce leaves were not particularly inclined towards being rolled up. I gave up and threw everything together to make a salad instead, albeit one that had rice in it and a dipping sauce as dressing. It was a bit weird, but it got the job done.

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CSA ingredients used: lettuce, corn

Other ingredients used: pork chops, rice, water, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar

Grilled Elotes & Summer Squash Tacos

While musing about what to do with the first corn of the season that was properly celebratory, I came across this recipe for Elotes, or Grilled Mexican Street Corn. The picture at the top of the recipe was, shall we say, persuasive. It seemed a little indulgent to light the grill just to cook some corn, so we decided to grill the summer squash (from Week 6) and make tacos with a recipe I found at the blog Cookie and Kate.

While Andrew was lighting the chimney, I made the cheese mixture for the corn. It’s 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup feta cheese, 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup of minced cilantro. Once the corn comes off the grill, you coat the corn with the topping, squeeze lime and chile powder over the top, and go to town.

These were unreal. They were among the best thing I’ve ever tasted, which I suppose based on the contents of the cheese mixture shouldn’t be shocking. After fretting while making them about how they would taste as leftovers, we devoured all five ears between the two of us in about two minutes.

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CSA ingredients used: corn

Other ingredients used: mayonnaise, sour cream, feta cheese, cilantro, garlic, chile powder.

The squash turned out okay too, but had nothing on the corn.  We put the grilled squash on flour tortillas and ate it with black beans, tomatoes, and an avocado chimichurri (2 tsp lime juice, 1 cup parsley, 2 cloves of garlic, 3 TB olive oil, 1 TB water, red pepper flakes, and a little bit of cilantro.) We didn’t have quite enough parsley, and I decided to compensate by adding a bunch more garlic. This was less than brilliant; avocado chimichurri sounds like a great idea but it was so garlicky as to be almost inedible.

CSA ingredient used: summer squash

Other ingredients use: tortillas, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, lime, parsley, garlic, olive oil, water, red pepper flakes, cilantro

Buddha Bowl

Having used up most of the fun ingredients, it was time to turn my attention to the cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli. I decided to get some tofu and make Buddha Bowls for Andrew and I to take with us to our various weekend engagements.

I baked the tofu, which was sort of fun. You have to press it for a bit to get the moisture out before you chop it up and throw it on a baking sheet to bake for 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

 

After that, I steamed carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli and added them to the bowl along with rice. The sauce was a peanut sauce from Brand New Vegan: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup water, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 TB rice vinegar, 1 TB hoisin sauce, 1 tsp sriracha, 1/2 tsp chile garlic paste, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, and 1/3 cup peanut butter. It all went together in a saucepan and cooked for a few minutes until it was thickened.

I did not succeed in taking a picture of the buddha bowl itself, which is a shame, but this recipe is highly recommended.

CSA ingredients used: carrots, cauliflower, broccoli

Other ingredients used: rice, tofu, soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, sriracha, chile garlic paste, ginger, peanut butter.

Red Currant and Apple Chutney

By the end of the week, we’d used up almost everything except the fruit. We briefly entertained the idea of making a pork chops with an apple currant chutney, but upon remembering it take an hour and a half to make chutney, we decided to cook our pork chops and just eat them, and make chutney to have on something later in the week.

You slice up an onion and cook it for a bit in olive oil, and then let it caramelize (for 45 minutes or so). In a separate saucepan, you add three or four apples that have been cored and chopped and some red currants, and and 1/4 cup water. You simmer them over low heat for 30 minutes, and then add the onions, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and some salt.

It tasted pretty good! I even had it a few times on its own as a snack.

CSA ingredients used: red currants, apples, and onions

Other ingredients used: olive oil, water, brown sugar

Next: Let the pickling begin

Week 11: Rainbow Box

The Week 11 box was one of the most brilliantly colorful boxes of the summer, and also one of our favorites. We had purple eggplants, red onions and bright red fresno pepper, multicolored tomatoes and orange carrots. We also got an assortment of green peppers, tomatillos, corn, and a bright yellow melon. With only a few perishable items, we were able to relax about getting through everything in one week and focus on what we really wanted to do, which was eat as many tomatoes as possible.

Bacon, Mozzarella, and Tomato Sandwiches

We were craving BLTs, but we didn’t have lettuce. Andrew and I briefly conferred and determined that fresh mozzarella was a perfectly acceptable substitute for lettuce in a BLT. We spread olive oil on bread,  and then layered with mozzarella, bacon, halves cherry tomatoes, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

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CSA ingredients used: cherry tomatoes.

Other ingredients used: bacon, mozzarella cheese, bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar.

Eggplant Stir-Fry

The next night, we made an eggplant stir-fry using the eggplant, the green bell pepper, and fresno peppers. This recipe came from Epicurious.

  1. Mix 3 TB fish sauce, 1 TB light soy sauce, 3/4 cup warm water, and 2 TB brown sugar and set aside (this is the sauce).
  2. Heat up the wok on the grill and throw in 2 TB of oil. Then add the eggplant slices and stir-fry until they begin to brown. Remove them from the wok.
  3. Next, add another TB oil to the wok and fry up the onions. Once they’re soft, remove them from the wok.
  4. Finally, add 3 TB of garlic and a few TB of chopped chiles (we used the fresno peppers we had). After 30 seconds, add a sliced green pepper and the onions back in. Then add the eggplant back in
  5. Pour in the sauce and add a handful of basil. To thicken the sauce, add 2 tsp of corn starch that’s been mixed with 4 TB cold water.

CSA ingredients used: eggplant, green bell pepper, fresno pepper

Other ingredients used: garlic, vegetable oil, red onions, basil, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar.

Sauteed Corn with Cilantro, Chorizo, and Lime

I discovered this recipe last summer while searching for CSA-friendly meals to bring on our yearly cross-country road trip. It was really spectacularly delicious and insanely easy, so with a few ears of corn left to use up I decided to make it again. You take 4 ounces of the Spanish chorizo and saute it on olive oil in a pan until most of the fat has rendered, around 5 minutes. Then, add 4 cups of fresh corn and cook it in the chorizo fat until the corn has darkened. Finally, add 1/4 cup of cilantro and 1 TB lime juice.

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The cilantro turned out to be not all that important
CSA ingredients used: corn

Other ingredients used: Spanish chorizo, lime, olive oil.

Pork Chops with Salsa Verde and Apples

I’ve developed a habit of typing various combinations of CSA vegetables into google when procrastinating on something else. It’s usually not very successful for actually yielding good recipes—there are vegetables that just shouldn’t be eaten in combination, and no amount of will make them taste good.  In this case, I typed “apple” and “tomatillo” into Google and discovered a recipe for pork chops that actually looked fairly delicious. The recipe came from Serious Eats. The source was reputable enough for Andrew to sign off on it.

  1. Make a rub for the pork chops of 1 1/2 TB coriander, 1 1/2 TB cumin, 2 tsp, 1/2 tsp black pepper. Add a few TB of oil and mush it all together, then rub it on the pork chops.
  2. Simmer 1/2 LB of fresh tomatillos in boiling water for 8 minutes. Let them cool.
  3. Peel and core 2 apples, and cut them into 1/4 inch cubes.
  4. Once the tomatillos are cooled, blitz them in a food processor along with 1/2 cup of cilantro, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 TB fresh lime juice, 1 TB honey. The original recipe called for a teaspoon of chipotle chiles in adobo; we substituted a minced fresno pepper.
  5. Once everything is smooth, mix in the apple cubes to the tomatillo mixture.
  6. Sear the pork chops in olive oil for 3 minutes per side until they’re around 150 degrees. Let them cool for a few minutes, and then slather them in the apple tomatillo sauce.

CSA ingredients used: half of the tomatillos, apples, 1 fresno pepper.

Other ingredients used: cilantro, garlic, cumin, coriander, honey, lime juice.

Stir-Fried Cauliflower

Every week, there’s always one random vegetable leftover on Monday that needs to get used up, and it’s usually the one we’re the least excited about eating. In this case, I was completely convinced we had a leftover broccoli and decided to make the Thai Broccoli with Peanut Sauce stir fry (the recipe is here).

Unfortunately, we didn’t actually have a broccoli at all. We did, however, have a generous stock of cauliflowers that was not getting any smaller. Given that we were already pretty hungry, we decided to go ahead and make the stir-fry with cauliflower instead of broccoli (At least they are the same shape?).

We also didn’t have a red pepper so we used a green pepper instead. For a week that involved one of the most colorful boxes of the summer, we ended up with a very bland looking stir-fry.

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The verdict was that it was actually pretty good. In the end, the cauliflower was fine, but the green pepper tasted a littler weird – go figure.

CSA ingredients used: cauliflower, green pepper

Other ingredients used: tofu, coconut milk, fish sauce, cilantro, brown sugar, rice.

Next: Pizzas and other circular things