Archive | October, 2011

Geagua Family Farms CSA – Week Nineteen

22 Oct

Summer CSA – Week Nineteen

In this week’s share, we received a bunch of potatoes, a super-ginormously huge giant head of bok choy, a head of green lettuce, a head of garlic, a tomato, a red pepper, a dozen or so apples, a bunch of what I believe to be kale, and a small bag of spinach.  Zak is absolutely delighted by the bok choy, it is definitely one of his favorite ingredients.

I don’t have any leftovers from last week because, well, we didn’t pick up our share like a couple of knuckleheads.  Nor did my posts from this week make use of CSA ingredients, so I won’t bother doing a recap.

As far as plans for this week go, I am nearly as excited as Zak for the bok choy.  He’ll certainly be cooking up a portion of it to his liking, and I am planning on braising some in sesame oil and stock.  A stir fry with the pepper and some of the bok choy will probably be in the works.  I want to make either an apple pie or apple sauce with the apples – I’m not sure which.  My dad is having a clam bake today, so I’m hoping to get some leftover liquid and make spinach and polenta soup.  As usual, we shall see!

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Parmesan and Olive Oil Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Garlic

21 Oct

After his first bite of this dish, Zak remarked, “This reminds me why spaghetti squash is my favorite squash!”  While I am too enamored with squash of all description to truly choose a favorite, I agree with him that this is absolutely delicious.  The squash is slightly sweet, playing beautifully against the spice of the crushed red pepper flakes and saltiness of the Parmesan cheese.  The rest of this dish is rounded out perfectly with the rich roasted garlic.  Though the squash takes awhile to roast, the rest of this dish comes together super quickly.

You can roast the squash whole (and pierced with a knife) or half it and roast it flesh side down for slightly less time.  I really, really loath hacking into hard squashes, so I figured whole was the easier route for me.  Then, simply scrape out the innards when tender.  We both really loved this dish, and I highly recommend it.

Parmesan and Olive Oil Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Garlic

1 medium spaghetti squash

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

3-4 cloves roasted garlic, mashed with a fork

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for topping

2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375º.

Pierce spaghetti squash several times with a very sharp knife.  Place whole in the oven.  Place a baking sheet underneath to catch any drippings and avoid smoke.  Bake an hour or so until very easily pierced with a knife.

Using a large chef’s knife and oven mitts, cut in half lengthwise.  Use kitchen tongs to remove seeds.  [Note: They can be baked just like roasted pumpkin seeds for a great snack.]

Use a fork to shred the inside of the spaghetti squash.  Let drain in a colander to remove excess moisture for a few minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add roasted garlic and cook until sizzling.

Add the squash to the pan with the olive oil and roasted garlic.  Season with crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Add cheese and stir to combine.  Cook until heated through, tossing frequently, about 4-5 minutes.

Top with a few shavings of Parmesan, flat leaf parsley and a few pinches of crushed red pepper.

Red Wine and Olive Braised Rabbit with Mustard Sauteed Kale

21 Oct

I was driving home from school and making a mental grocery list.  I just needed to pick up a few things – some Brummel & Brown for toast in the morning, a container of cottage cheese because I’m a weirdo and its my favorite snack ever when topped with crushed red pepper flakes, and a 12 pack of beer.  Whenever I do a quick stop at that particular grocery store I always get some meat, either a whole chicken to roast or something else that looks good.  I settled on turkey legs or a breast for a mini-Thanksgiving at some point this weekend.  When I walked over to the freezer in which they are usually in, I noticed something different.  They had … whole rabbit.  And … duck.  Duck legs, duck breasts, whole rabbit … usually not items this particular store carries.

I went with the rabbit (for now – the duck will have its day!).  The cashier did a highly comical double-take when she rang it up.  First, the what the hell is this and since when do we carry it?  And then, oh my god it’s Peter Cottontail – who is this evil little weirdo buying a rabbit?

Whatever.  She’s obviously never eaten the recipe I am about to share with you.

First things first – my rabbit came whole (minus the head and organs), so I had to was completely happy to spend an hour Googling tons of videos on how to butcher a rabbit.  This video of Chef Rogers Powell was very helpful for me, but there are tons of videos and tutorials out there and I encourage you to find one that works for you.  I am not at all confident my butchering of the rabbit was up to snuff, so I won’t presume to explain to you how to do it.

After simmering in some red wine, the rabbit was tender and delicious.  The slightly game-y flavor was complimented by the bold red wine and salty bite of the olives.  The subtle punch of mustard from the sautéed kale worked beautifully with the rich flavors of wine and herbs.  Plus, this dish is absolutely gorgeous.  A beautiful burgundy color is imparted to the rabbit and onions and contrasts strikingly with the bright green kale.  If you’re not a rabbit-eating sort of person, I suspect this recipe would would really well with dark meat chicken pieces as well.

Red Wine and Olive Braised Rabbit with Mustard Sautéed Kale

Red Wine and Olive Braised Rabbit:

1 2 lb. rabbit, cut into serving pieces

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs. butter

3 tbs. fresh chives, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 small red onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and layers separated

1 small yellow onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and layers separated

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2/3 bottle red wine of choice (I used a California merlot)

1/3 cup kalamata olives, with pits

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Season rabbit pieces liberally with salt and pepper.  Mix together flour with more salt and pepper.  Lightly coat the rabbit pieces with the flour.

Heat olive oil and butter in heavy bottomed pot over medium heat until butter is melted and begins to sizzle.  Add rabbit pieces and sauté about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown, being sure not the crowd the pan.  Work in batches if necessary.  Add garlic, herbs, onions, and wine.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.

Cover and simmer about an hour and fifteen minutes until tender, turning over once.

Add kalamata olives and increase heat to medium or medium-high so liquid will reduce.

The final internal cooking temperature should be about 160º.

Serve over mustard sautéed kale greens with a few ladles of the braising liquid.

Mustard Sautéed Kale:

1 16 oz. bag chopped kale greens

1 tbs. olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped

1 tbs. whole grain Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add kale greens and boil 5-6 minutes until bright green.  Drain.

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Add mustard and greens and stir to combine.  Cook until greens are tender and heated through, about 5-6 minutes.

Herb and Olive Quinoa Cakes with Olive and Walnut Roasted Brussels Sprouts

20 Oct

When bopping around on the great unknown of the internet, I came across a recipe for quinoa cakes.  How had I not thought of it before?  I love quinoa and its nutty, wholesome goodness.  Add some herbs and olives and crisp it up and I’m bound to be a happy camper.  I certainly was.  Though the original recipe called for a kalamata aioli, I chopped up some olives and threw them directly in the patties.  I was really happy with the decision, as it added a meaty, salty bite.  Just make sure you buy already pitted olives.  Pitting them was a pain in the butt.  It was worth it, though.  These quinoa cakes would make a really awesome patty on a veggie burger, though they were definitely a real home run served simply with a lemon wedge and some plain Greek yogurt.

These roasted Brussels sprouts are a great accompaniment.  I loved the saltiness of the olives with the caramelization from roasting the sprouts.  The crunchy walnuts added a perfect contrast in texture.  They would also make a really amazing holiday side.  The overlap in flavors with the quinoa due to the olives and similar nuttiness made this a cohesive, filling meal.

Herb and Olive Quinoa Cakes with Olive and Walnut Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Herb and Olive Quinoa Cakes:

Adapted from Taste With the Eyes

1 cup quinoa

2 cups homemade chicken stock

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

2 tbs. fresh chives, finely chopped

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1 tbs. lemon juice

1 tbs. tahini paste

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tbs. canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium sauce pan.  Add quinoa and stir.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Cook 15-18 minutes until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed.  Turn off heat and let sit 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.  Let cool to room temperature.

Mix together with panko, herbs, olives, tahini, salt and pepper.

Add eggs and lemon and stir to combine.  Form into 6-8 patties about 3″ across.

Heat canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add 2-3 patties at a time and cook five minutes per side until golden brown.  Let excess oil drain off on a paper towel lined plate.

Olive and Walnut Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

1/4 lb. Brussels sprouts

2 tbs. olive oil

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

1/4 cup shelled walnuts

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine all ingredients in a shallow baking dish and toss to combine.  Roast about 30-40 minutes or until sprouts are caramelized and easily pierced with a fork, shaking often.

Herb and Lemon Whole Roasted Golden Trout

17 Oct

It took me some time to become confident enough in my cooking abilities to tackle a whole fish.  In retrospect, that was really silly – working with a whole fish is, in fact, one of the easiest seafood preparations out there.  Once you make sure the fish has been properly cleaned, which I have outlined with pictures below, it’s simply a matter of choosing a preparation and executing.  Whole grilled fish is excellent, as is a whole roasted fish.  Here, I lightly breaded and quickly sautéed the fish to crisp up the skin and finished it in the oven.  The flesh was succulent and moist, imparted with lovely citrus and herb flavors.  I love trout – it is reminiscent of salmon, but, in my opinion, milder.

After removing the fish from the pan, I quickly deglazed it with some white wine and added a bit of butter to create a really easy pan sauce.  I served this with some roasted Brussels sprouts for a healthy, delicious, and flavorful meal.

Herb and Lemon Whole Roasted Golden Trout

1 whole golden trout, about 1 lb.

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

3-4 tbs. chives, finely chopped

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbs. canola oil

1/4 cup white wine

1 tbs. butter

Preheat oven to 350°.

When picking out a fish, make sure it’s eyes are clear and it has very little “fishy” odor.  A little fish smell is okay, but the less fishy smelling, the fresher.

Oh yes, this guy’s eyes are clear as a bell.  Have your fishmonger wrap him up for you and scurry home.

Take the trout and unwrap it.  Your fishmonger should have removed the scales, but run the sharp edge of your knife from the tip of the tail to the head a few times to check for any loose ends.  Trout actually don’t have scales, but it’s good to get into the habit.

Check and make sure the gills are removed.  (Yes, I bite my nails.)

Yup, all gone.  If they are there (they will be sharp, so watch out!), use scissors to cut them loose and carefully remove.

Look on the top of the fish and cut loose any fins.  These tend to burn when you cook the fish and can cut you, so it’s best just to get rid of them.

Likewise for other flippers and fins.  Make sure you cut just beyond where they meet the body.

Cut off the flipper end of the tail.

And the little guys on the back.

Sorry, Mr. Fish.

Take a peek inside the cavity and make sure the fishmonger got rid of the guts.  Occasionally I’ve seen a piece of intestines here and there – cut them loose if you see any.  I forgot to take a picture of this part because the cavity was impeccable.

All done!

Season the cavity of the fish with salt and pepper.  Stuff with lemon slices, parsley, and chives.

Mix together flour, salt, and pepper on a large plate.  Lightly dredge fish with flour.

Heat canola oil in an oven-safe pan such as a cast iron skillet over high heat.  Add fish and cook 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Using a pair of kitchen tongs, carefully flip the fish.

Transfer immediately to the oven.

Cook 20-25 minutes or until flesh flakes easily and internal temperature reaches 140º.

Remove the fish from the pan and set aside.  Place pan over medium-high heat and add white wine.  Stir in butter and whisk until melted and combined with the wine and drippings from the fish.

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