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

img_0579.jpg

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.

IMG_0581.JPG

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.

IMG_0584

IMG_0585

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.

IMG_0586

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.

IMG_0591.JPG

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 9: Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold Cauliflower

Two days into his 9-show week, Andrew came down with a cold and was surprisingly cheerful about it. He usually saves his colds for the end of a run of a show, and was excited to get it out of the way while he was already committed to spending 6 nights a week in a dark room. Vacation was around the corner, and we were both hopeful that this meant he wouldn’t get sick again for it.

Having a cold while trying to use up a CSA comes with its own set of challenges, given that most recipes are fairly labor intensive and nobody actually feels like eating vegetables when they are sick. However, we did a pretty commendable job by cooking a combination of soups and flavor-filled Indian style side dishes.

Sausage and Kale Soup

Andrew threw together this soup before running off for his Saturday matinee. We’d bought the Italian sausage for another purpose that Andrew now deemed unappetizing. So he took half of it, sliced it thickly, and browned it briefly in a pot. Then he took the sausage out, threw in some diced onion and garlic, and sauteed everything until it was wilted. He poured in some chicken stock we had in the freezer, added back the sausage, and cooked until the sausage was just cooked through. He tossed in some kale and simmered for the last minute. He declared it tasty enough, given his compromised abilities to discern flavor.

IMG_2105.JPG

CSA ingredients used: 1/2 of the kale, onion

Other ingredients used: sausage, garlic, chicken broth

Indian-Style Cauliflower Pickles

Through a combination of lack of inspiration and denial, we had developed a fairly dire cauliflower situation—with three heads of cauliflower from three different CSA weeks piling up in the refrigerator. With the weather finally cooling off, I felt it was time to face the cauliflower head-on (sorry).  I found myself drawn to the gorgeous scarlet color of the cauliflower in this Indian-style pickle recipe. The only barrier was my limited experience with frying, but I didn’t give it much thought, since when applying flame to a large pot of oil, what can possibly go wrong?

  1. You start by dicing up the cauliflower into florets and soak them in salt water for 10 minutes. Let them dry completely. The recipe recommended setting them outside to dry in the sun, but I was concerned they would become squirrel/pigeon food, so I used the top of the stove instead.
  2. Next, heat between 150 ml and 200 ml of oil in a wide pan until it’s smoking, and then fry the cauliflower. I didn’t measure the oil before I dumped it in, and ended up with way, way, too much oil. The first batch of cauliflower that went it instantly turned a perfect color of golden brown, but as I fished it out I realized I was about to start a grease fire, so I turned the oil off and hoped the residual heat would fry the remaining cauliflower.
IMG_2090
Some of these cauliflower florets are not like the others.

3. Next, you roast 1/2 TBSP of fenugreek seeds, and put them in a spice grinder along with 1 1/2 TBSP of mustard seeds. At this stage in the process, you’re supposed to put the cauliflower back in the oil, but I didn’t because I misunderstood the directions.

4. Mix the cauliflower with the powdered seeds, 90 ml of red chile powder [editors note: this is a LOT of chile powder. I had to grind up dried chiles that I found in the pantry and they tasted like…absolutely nothing, since they were 3 years old], 1/4 tsp turmeric, and the juice of 3/4 lemons. You mix everything together, and pour it, along with the oil, into a container.

IMG_2092.JPG
Now it appears I didn’t use enough oil

In spite of all of the various mishaps, the final product was delicious—especially the cauliflowers that had actually fried.

CSA ingredients used: 1 head of caulilfower

Other ingredients used: peanut oil, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, lemons, red chiles.

Roasted Beets with Chiles, Ginger, Yogurt, and Indian Spices

We very intelligently grilled the beets earlier in the week—wrapping them in foil and nestling them next to the coals while we were grilling the ratatouille—but then we forgot about them for a few days. When I rediscovered them, I also chose this salad with Indian spices from Melissa Clark, which looked both delicious and like something that Andrew might be able to taste as he entered the next stage of his cold.

  1. Slice up the beets into little cubes.
  2. Mince 1 clove of garlic and mash it up with a teaspoon of salt. Next, add 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 of a diced jalapeno pepper, a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, and 1 tsp of lime juice, and some salt.
  3. Spread the dressing on the beets.

IMG_2111.JPG

CSA vegetables used: beets

Other ingredients used: yogurt, mustard seeds, jalapeno, ginger, lime.

Lemony Carrot and Cauliflower Soup

With one cauliflower down, I was excited to see what I could do with the next one.  I had been searching all over for a recipe for cauliflower soup that seemed appealing in the middle of summer, and was unmoved until I discovered this one from Melissa Clark that used a combination of lemon and miso and would address some CSA carrots to boot. We substituted chicken broth for vegetable broth or water, because while I trusted Melissa Clark, I felt that when cooking with cauliflower you need all the help you can get.

  1. Toast 1 TB coriander for 2-3 minutes under they were fragrant. Then smoosh them in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Heat 1 TB oil in a large pot. Cook 2 cups of diced onions until they are soft, and then add a clove of garlic and cook for 1 minutes.
  3. Add 1 TB of diced carrots, the crushed coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 6 cups of chicken broth, along with 3 TB of white miso. Bring it to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, and then cover and cook another 10 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to liquify everything. Before eating, stir in 4 TB of lemon juice.

This was one of my favorite cauliflower dishes so far and we still had a fair amount of cauliflower and carrots left, so I made another batch to freeze for later (along with a note to myself to remember to add lemon when I defrosted it).

CSA ingredients used: 1 head of cauliflower, 5 carrots, 1 large onion, garlic.

Other ingredients used: coriander, salt, chicken broth, white miso.

Next: The perfect CSA recipe, if I could remember how to say it.