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Green Beans

In the Kitchen

CSA Saturday

July 25, 2015
All of the beautiful produce that came in my CSA box

It’s been an excellent seven days in the kitchen, and I’m so excited to share my CSA-inspired meal ideas of the week with you today on this lovely CSA Saturday. Last Saturday’s box came packed to the gills with plums, tomatoes, green beans, red onions, jalapeños, a cantaloupe, and an Armenian cucumber. Many of these are repeat visitors as you may recall from previous CSA Saturdays, but I like to keep things fresh and exciting so read on to see what new things I made with them this week!

Let’s break it down.

Cucumber

I had big plans for this cucumber. He was going to get cooked (cooked!) with honey and rice vinegar and other exciting flavors. And then I ate him raw instead, without doing a single fancy cooking thing. I’m a barbarian like that.

Plums, Melon

Melon and Plum Salad

Juicy ripe cantaloupe and crimson plums played nicely with fig wedges and slices of the tiny tart apples I picked during an excursion to the Taylor Street Farm in San Jose this past Sunday. This tiny, tucked away urban farm is located practically beneath the 87 freeway exit for Taylor Street in San Jose. It’s a joy to wander around in– a tiny oasis in the city– and even has a U-Pick option for families who want to stop by and snag some local veggies and show the kids how food is grown. I couldn’t have made this tasty little fruit salad breakfast bowl without ’em! Of course, the melon and plums helped too.

Green Beans

Glazing the Beans

I recently picked up a copy of one of my favorite food & garden blogger’s cookbooks, and found myself cooking my way through several of her recipes this week, with a few tweaks and edits of my own (I can’t help myself! I’m a tinkerer.) These lovely balsamic-glazed green beans came from The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly. I have to say, I’m a huge fan! Both of the beans, and the book. If you’ve enjoyed my CSA Saturday series, you will definitely enjoy her cookbook, which focuses on how to use all of a garden’s bounty, including some of the underutilized and under-appreciated parts of plants, like tomato leaves and watermelon rind, both of which are totally edible! Who knew?

Balsamic Roasted Green Beans

Slicing Tomatoes

My tomatoes were so ripe when they arrived this week that some of them were already starting to split and run by Sunday, which meant I needed to use them ASAP! I sliced up the ripest of the lot and cooked them in a galette with the last of my homemade (frozen) pesto from my very first CSA box, three weeks ago. This recipe was also inspired by the CSA Cookbook. My main innovation was to swap out the ricotta the original recipe called for with goat cheese, and to drizzle a little local honey over the pie before serving, which kicked it up a notch and lent a subtle sweetness to the otherwise super savory dish.

Tomato Tart

The remaining tomatoes went into the freezer to keep them from spoiling, but reappeared later in the week in the form of a soup.

Cherry Tomatoes, Frozen Slicing Tomatoes

Cream of tomato soup. It’s a classic. You can’t really go wrong. You don’t even need a recipe. I just threw all my remaining tomatoes– both cherry and large– into a pot with some garlic and Italian herbs and simmered until I was ready to eat. Then I just added a dash of heavy cream and whizzed it all up with my immersion blender. I didn’t measure a thing and it was delicious.

Tomato Soup

Jalapeños 

I’ve got one word for you: chilaquiles. I vaguely followed this recipe, but I used all three of the jalapeños that came in my CSA box, and I roasted them and the tomatillos in the oven before blending them into the salsa verde. Once again, I didn’t measure a thing, so don’t worry about sticking too close to the recipe. Measuring is overrated. (Says the person who finds carpentry particularly challenging).

Chilaquiles

Red Onion

Making the Quinoa Cakes

I could think of no higher calling for red onion than cheesy quinoa cakes. Mince half of an onion and chuck it into a bowl with 3 cups of cooked quinoa, some chopped green onions, 2 beaten eggs, somewhere in the ballpark of 1/4 cup of flour (enough to hold the batter together), and a hefty handful each of goat cheese and cheddar. Form the resulting batter into rounds about 1/4 cup in volume and fry over high heat with olive oil, and you’ve got yourself a light and lovely vegetarian lunch.

Grilling the Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa Cakes

Bon appetit!

Bon Appetit

 

In the Kitchen

Happy 4th & a CSA Saturday

July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day! I hope your day is filled with good friends, good times, and most importantly, good food. Which brings us right to the point of today’s post because it’s that time again– time for another CSA Saturday!

As far as I’m concerned, it’s not summer until I’ve bitten into the first vine-ripened tomato of the season, which makes June 27th my personal first day of summer, since that’s when I got the first tomato in my CSA box. It was beautiful– not quite round, not quite red, completely delicious. It transformed, almost like magic, into a decadent pizza with almost no input on my behalf. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s a take a look at what else arrived in my box this week.

CSA Produce

Bell peppers, tomatoes, and corn, oh my! The trifecta of summer. Not to mention that juicy honeydew melon. I’m not talking about those bland watery green balls you buy at the supermarket. We’re talking sweet, delicious honey-flavored flesh. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Excuse me while I go cut off a slice…

…and we’re back. What else? Let’s see. We’ve got some kirby cucumbers, a mess of green beans, three heads of garlic, and a bunch of chives.

So what did I cook up in my kitchen this week with all that deliciousness? Stick with me, and we’ll find out.

Garlic

I’m putting garlic first on this list because those three heads of garlic became the base of most of my meals for the week. First, I roasted the heck out of them.

Roasty Toasty Garlic

Then I spent the rest of the week squeezing out the melty roasted cloves and smearing them on everything in sight. They got spread across thick-cut slices of toast, covered with smashed avocado, and topped with a fried egg. They got whizzed into a mouth-tingling roasted jalapeño-garlic aioli and smeared on grilled corn.

Roasted Garlic Aioli

Most importantly, they formed the basis for my next recipe…

Tomatoes & Peppers

Mamma mia, it’s a pizza! Whole wheat pizza with roasted garlic smashed right onto the crust, smothered in tomato sauce, and topped with more roasted tomatoes, peppers, and onions. It was good. It was real good. It hit the spot.

Tomato & Pepper Pizza

Sweet Corn

That first pizza was so good, in fact, that I made a second pizza, just so the first one wouldn’t feel lonely in my belly. This one got the leftover pesto treatment (from last week’s CSA!) before being sprinkled with sweet corn kernels fresh off the cob, chopped zucchini and a judicious amount of cheese. Heck yeah.

Pizza

A couple more ears of corn got tossed on the grill and smeared with the aforementioned jalapeño-garlic aioli. It was a revelation. I’m never eating plain corn again, and you shouldn’t either.

Melon

Melon is a beautiful invention. I like to think of it as nature’s bowl. Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and you’ve got yourself the perfect little cup to hold a helping of yogurt. The combo of sweet melon and sour yogurt is a big winner in my book.

Melon

Cucumbers

Speaking of sour, this week we got all kinds of pickle-happy in my kitchen. I mean that in a strictly culinary sense, I promise you. Check out these dill cucumber spears, made with the randomly sized cukes we inherited in our box this week. I can barely wait the week it takes for them to fully soak in the brine! They look so good now.

Cucumber Pickles

Green Beans

This was our second week of green beans and we went in a radically different direction this week. Last week we made a Green Bean and Potato Curry. This week we made… more pickles! This is a special little recipe I’m developing for hot ‘n garlicky fermented green beans and okra. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out! I’m no psychic, but I’m seeing lots of Bloody Marys in these pickles’ future.

Green Bean Pickles 2

Green Bean Pickles 1

And that’s all for this week folks! You may have noticed I didn’t use the chives in any of my meals this week, and that’s because they got saved for a special recipe that I’ll be releasing sometime in the next week and a half, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Now go grill things! Happy 4th.