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

The Week of 17 Vegetables, Part 2

As the week progressed and we gradually started to see the back of the refrigerator, the weather was still a blistering 90 degrees and humid. This presented a challenge for using up certain vegetables. For instance, we had a dire need to find a purpose for three enormous heads of cauliflower, but the dishes we were interested in cooking all involved turning on an oven, frying them in hot oil, or slathering them in cheese—all of which sounded terrible given the temperature outside. We decided to save the cauliflower for when it cooled off, and hoped they wouldn’t be sitting in the refrigerator until October.

There were still any number of other vegetables to be used up, including a cucumber, some broccoli, green beans, and potatoes, and various types of onions. We also still had sour cherries. It was so hot that no food sounded particularly appealing, but I decided that if I was going to eat at all it was probably going to be a cold soup. We found an avocado and cucumber soup on Serious Eats which was perfect for our purposes.

Avocado and Cucumber Soup

  1. Take 1 avocado, 1 diced cucumber, 2 chopped tomatillos, 1/4 cup of onion, 1 small seeded (or not…) serrano, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of water and blitz them in a food processor. Put 2 teaspoons of cilantro on top.

CSA vegetables used: cucumber, white onion

Other ingredients used: avocado, tomatillos, 1 serrano chile, salt, water, cilantro

Grilled Chicken and Green Bean Salad

Next up were the green beans. Andrew found a recipe for grilled green beans from Serious Eats, and we decided to make it along with a grilled chicken. Andrew made a miso chicken and we grilled the green beans, tossed them with thin sliced red bell pepper, and slathered them in a miso dressing. The miso dressing was made from 3 TB dark brown sugar, 2 TB soy sauce, 2 TB white miso, 1 TB rice vinegar, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp ground white pepper.

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CSA vegetables used: green beans

Other ingredients used: chicken, red peppers, rice, miso, brown sugar, white miso, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, white pepper

Having broken the rules and tentatively waded back into Ottolenghi with last week’s kohlrabi recipe without any dire consequences, we were primed to do it again. Andrew tentatively suggested Ottolenghi’s Surprise Tatin for the potatoes, and I took one look at the artful and lovely picture of the finished product and latched on to the idea. We had all sorts of other rationalizations, including: once we make this, it’ll be great to have leftovers. Also: it only has nine ingredients, so how long could it take? The answer turned out to be all of Andrew’s afternoon, not to mention trips to multiple grocery stories attempting to locate the correct type of puff pastry.

Surprise Tatin

  1. Halve the tomatoes, drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put them in a 275 degree oven for 45 minutes until they are nice and dry.
  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 minutes and cut them into 1-inch thick disks.
  3. Saute the onions with oil and some salt for 10 minutes.
  4. Now it gets fun. Brush a 9-inch cake pan with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  5. Cook the 3 TB sugar and 2 TB butter on high heat until it’s caramelized. Pour the caramel into the cake pan and tilt it around so that it covers the bottom. Scatter 3 sprigs worth of oregano leaves on the bottom.
  6. Lay the potato slices close together at the bottom of the pan, cut side down. At this point, Andrew discovered that 1 LB of potatoes was not enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and had to return to step 2 and repeat.
  7. In the little gaps between the tomatoes, tuck in the onions and tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 5 oz of goat cheese, cut into slices and scattered over the top.
  8. Puff pastry time. Cut a disc of puff pastry 1 inch larger than the dimeter of the pan. Lay it over the tart and tuck in the edges down around the potatoes.
  9. At this point, if you’re exhausted and angry at the author, you can put it in the refrigerator for 24 hours and eat it later.
  10. Once it’s time to eat, bake the tatin in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and cook another 15 minutes. Then you remove it and let it sit for 2 minutes EXACTLY.
  11. This is the best part! Pull it out of the oven and stick an upside down plate on top. Now you “carefully but briskly” flip it over onto the plate and remove the pan.

CSA vegetables used: onions, potatoes

Other ingredients used: cherry tomatoes, sugar, butter, oregano, puff pastry sheets, goat cheese, salt, pepper.

As the most festive meal of the week, it seemed only fitting to cook a sour cherry pie to go along with the Surpise Tatin. Andrew has recently become enamored the baking column in Serious Eats written by Stella Parks, who goes by the pen name Bravetart. She had an old-fashioned dough recipe that he decided to try in place of his usual pie dough.

  1. Whisk together 8 ounces of flour, 1/2 ounce of sugar, and 4 grams of salt together in a bowl. Cut 2 sticks of butter into little 1/4 inch chunks and mix it all around. Then smoosh the butter with your fingers. Add 4 ounces of cold water.
  2. Roll the dough out into a 10 by 15 inch rectangle. Now you fold it up in a super complicated way that’s hard to get into without diagrams.
  3. Now you can roll it out and make a pie!
  4. To make the filling, take 2 lbs of pitted sour cherries, 1 ounce of lemon juice, 7 ounces of sugar, 3/4 teaspoons of kosher salt, and 1 1/2 ounces of tapioca starch and mix it together with a spatula. Pour it into the pie shell.
  5. Whisk 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 ounce of heavy cream, and a pinch of salt together and brush on top of the pie.
  6. Bake the pie in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees. Cover it loosely with silver foil and then bake another 15 minutes.
  7. The pie will have to cool pretty considerably before it solidifies enough to eat.

CSA vegetables used: sour cherries

Other ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, butter, lemon juices, tapioca starch, egg, heavy cream.

After a weekend that involved baking both a tatin and a pie, the next night we were looking for something that required little to no effort to cook. We found it in the form of this Serious Eats recipe, and once again pulled out the wok to stir-fry on the grill.

Stir-Fried Beef with Broccoli and Oyster Sauce

  1. Take 1 LB of hanger steak, cut into 1/4 inch strips, 1 TB soy sauce, and 1 TB xiaoshing wine and combine in a bowl. Let marinade for a couple of hours in the refrigerator
  2. Combine another 1/4 cup of soy sauce, with 2 tsp corn starch and mix it all around. Add another 1/4 cup of xiaoshing wine, 1/3 cup of chicken stock, 1/4 cup of oyster sauce, 1 TB sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil.
  3. Mix 2 minced cloves of garlic, 2 tsp minced ginger, and 3 scallions in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Cut the broccoli into florets.
  5. Once the coals are good, start stir-frying. Beef goes in first, and is cooked for about 1 minute and then gets dumped in a bowl. Next in goes the broccoli, followed by the the garlic/ginger/scallion mixture and the sauce. At the end, the beef goes back in and everything gets stir-fried together.

CSA vegetables used: broccoli, spring onions

Other ingredients used: 1 lb hanger steak, soy sauce, xiaoshing wine, corn starch, chicken stock, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger.

Next: Field Report, Weeks 5 & 6

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

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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.

Week 4: The Cruciferous Curse

When Andrew and I received the news that we were going to get Napa cabbage in this week’s CSA box, we quickly moved through the five stages of grief. Denial: It can’t possibly be as big a cabbage as last time. Anger: Why does the cabbage have to be this big? Who would ever make a cabbage this big? Bargaining: Maybe if we go cook all of the other ingredients in the CSA first, the cabbage will magically take care of itself. Depression: What am I doing? Why am I thinking about this cabbage at all? Is cooking vegetables the only worthwhile thing I’m doing with my life?  Acceptance: This is our fate. The only thing to do is move forward with determination and resolve. One leaf at a time.

Other people probably have a different reaction to the knowledge they are able to receive a Napa cabbage, something more along the lines of ambivalence. But, we had prior experiences that had left us deeply apprehensive. Last year the cabbage we got from the farm was the largest cabbage in the entire world. It lived in the refrigerator in a garbage bag since there was no other bag large enough to contain it, and took up an entire refrigerator shelf by itself. It was monstrous, and we had it for weeks, if not months before it became so desiccated that we threw it in the compost bin in despair. It became a symbol of our failure.

When we unearthed this year’s Napa cabbage from the larger-than-usual box, it was, if anything, bigger than last year’s.

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We weighed it and were alarmed, but not surprised to discover that it was 4 lbs, 2 oz. 

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Odin’s feelings about the cabbage are also pretty mixed.

As with all our problems, we felt it best to start bthrowing it in a Walgreen’s bag, putting in the fridge, and ignoring it for as much of the week as possible.

We decide to tackle the CSA broccoli instead. This recipe for a red pepper and broccoli stir-fry with Thai peanut sauce is from Cooks Illustrated. It’s easy and awesome and we’ve made it dozens of times, though this was the first time we’ve stir-fried in on the grill (our new favorite form of cooking). We usually add tofu to it in order to make it a little more substantial.

Stir-fried Broccoli and Red Peppers with Peanut Sauce

We love the peanut sauce, so we usually “halve again” the sauce portion, which makes for some interesting math problems. To make the sauce, you mix together 4.5 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1.5 tablespoons of light brown sugar, 1.5 tablespoons lime juice and some zest, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add 3/4 cups + whatever half of that is of coconut milk, whatever 1/4 + 1/8 cups of water is, and 4.5 tablespoons of peanut butter. Whisk it all together and set it aside. Then you can prep the vegetables: slice up 1 large red pepper into strips and cut the broccoli into 1 inch chunks.

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Add the 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. Once it’s shimmering, add the tofu and cook it until it’s slightly browned. Then cook the red pepper and the broccoli one batch at a time and brown for a minute or two. Push the vegetables to the side and add another teaspoon of oil. Cook about a tablespoon of minced ginger and a tablespoon of minced garlic until it’s fragrant and then mix back in the rest of the vegetables.

Pour in the sauce and then simmer everything through until crisp tender. We usually serve it on brown rice.

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CSA vegetables used: Broccoli

Other ingredients used: Red peppers, tofu, peanut butter, fish sauce, lime

Side note: If you have a new jar of peanut butter, you can use this method to mix it together.

Other side note: Don’t lose hold of the jar, or you will get peanut butter all over your kitchen.

After the joy of the broccoli, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and deal with the Napa cabbage. One might think that the smartest thing to do with the Napa cabbage was something simple, like coleslaw or kimchi. But I had been pushing cabbage rolls for a while, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me now. Maybe because I felt an urge to get in touch with my Eastern European roots? Or because they froze well and also had protein in them?

Andrew was not particularly convinced, but in a moment of meat craving decided to give it a go. In an act that ultimately proved a great test to our relationship, I ran off to a wedding gig, leaving Andrew to cook them by himself. My gig was all the way out in Geneva, IL—and an hour and a half each way—and I think he was cooking cabbage rolls the entire time I was gone. I texted periodically to see how he was doing and his responses caused me to become increasingly concerned about his emotional state.

Cabbage Rolls

Our recipe came from All About Braising, an excellent cookbook by Molly Stevens that has been the source of any number of totally delicious, easy recipes. We are not totally sure if this is one of them.

The Cabbage:

  1. You are supposed to boil a pot of water and submerge the entire head of cabbage upside down in the water. This was clearly not going to be an option for us, since there isn’t a pot large enough to hold this cabbage, so Andrew tore off about 2/3rds of the leaves and blanched 4 at a time for about 30 seconds in the water, then plunged them in ice water to stop the cooking. He admitted later that the Napa cabbage leaves were really beautiful after blanching.
  2. 12 of the leaves will get used to wrap the filling. This will be called Cabbage 1. The rest get chopped it to be included in with the sauce, and will be referred to as Cabbage 2.

The Filling:

  1. Chop an onion into 1/4 inch dice. This will be called Onions 1.
  2. Now you partially cook some rice. You melt a tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan and add Onion 1 and mix it around. Once Onions 1 is cooked, add 1/2 cup of white jasmine rice and cook it for 1-2 minutes. Then you raise the heat to high, add 3/4 cup of chicken stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Then you transfer it to a bowl and spread it out so that it will cool.
  3. Once the rice is cooled, add 1 lb ground pork and 1/2 lb ground beef (we ground the meat ourselves). You also add 1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon of chopped thyme, salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and a 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Mix it all together well.

 

The sauce:

  1. Now you “rinse the sauerkraut,” which is kind of a weird step. You pour out a pound of sauerkraut into a colander and rise it in cold water. Then you squeeze out the excess water into the sink.
  2. Fry about 5 or 6 oz of bacon until crisp.
  3. Chop another two onions into 1/4 inch SLICES and set those aside. These we will call Onions 2.
  4. Now you take Onions 2, along with 3 celery stalks and 2 carrots that have been diced and cook them in the bacon fat. Saute the vegetables until they’re softened, about 15 minutes. Add the Cabbage 2 and cook another 5 minutes. Add the sauerkraut transfer everything to a large bowl. Add 1 can of chopped tomatoes and all of their juices, along with some more black pepper.

Put it all together:

  1. Preheat over to 325 degrees.
  2. To make the rolls: divide the rice filling into 12 portions. Take a leaf of Cabbage 1 and place it on a work surface. Put one of the filling portions in the center of the cabbage and then roll it up. There are some super complication instructions in the recipe for how to do this, but if you’ve ever rolled up a burrito or a spring roll, just do that.
  3. Now you basically spread 1/2 of the sauerkraut/vegetable mix on the bottom of the lasagna pan, put the cabbage rolls on top, and add the other half of the sauerkraut/vegetable mix. Put bacon crumbles on top.
  4. Bake covered with silver foil for 1 1/2 hours.

When I got home from my gig, Andrew had been cooking for nearly 4 and a half hours, and was laying on the couch in the front room with a glazed expression on his face. He pulled himself together and we hopefully sat down to dinner.

The cabbage rolls were edible in a technical sense of the word. They were fine. But definitely not worth cooking for four and a half hours. We ate them with a loaf of bread and some cheese and then froze the rest. We think we might eat them again if it was -15 degrees out and we had run out of food and the car wouldn’t start, something which isn’t out of the realm of possibility come February.

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No matter how many pictures we took, these still ended up looking about as appetizing as cabbage stuffed with ground meat.


CSA vegetables used: 1/2 of the cabbage

Other ingredients used: sauerkraut, onions, butter, rice, chicken stock, pork, beef, an egg, thyme, bacon, celery, carrots, a can of tomatoes

The next day, the temperature was back up to 90 degrees and I had two outdoor gigs. I didn’t get home until 8:00 or so, drenched in sweat from playing nestled in the corner at someone’s garden wedding. I tentatively texted Andrew from the gig to see if he was still willing to cook us dinner after the cabbage roll experience, or whether I should consider swinging by Chipotle instead, or maybe sneaking into the wedding reception. I was pleasantly surprised when he cheerfully declared that dinner would be ready when I got home.

The only CSA vegetable still unaccounted for was the bok choy, and Andrew had selected a simple vegetable stir-fry from Hot Sour Salty Sweet.

Pad Pak

To make this dish, you fry up 2 crushed garlic cloves in 2 TB oil in a wok, then add 1/4 pound of mushrooms, and 1/2 lb bok choy. Then you add 1 TB fish sauce, and cook for a few minutes before adding 1 TB fermented soybean paste. Serve with rice.

CSA vegetables used: bok choy

Other ingredients used: Mushrooms, fish sauce, fermented bean paste

Andrew prepped the ingredients in the time it took the coals to heat through in the chimney starter. It took about 10 minutes max to cook in a wok resting on the coals. It was the perfect dish for a hot night—the vegetables were still crisp, flavorful and browned from the intense heat of the coals.

Next: Indian-style dinner