I finally got around to making poblano souffles again. And it totally worked.
Archive for the ‘CSA’ Category
Posted in CSA, Eats, Photographs, tagged banana peppers, childhood, cooking, CSA, cucumber salad, eggplant, eggplant pasta, farm, grandparents, Italian dressing, mississippi, Southern Plate, tomatoes on July 20, 2011 | 1 Comment »
True confession: Despite growing up with ready access to my grandparents’ South Mississippi farm, I never learned to like cucumbers. Plates of cucumber slices would appear on the table throughout the summer, and I carefully avoided them.
I eventually learned that cucumbers were delicious alongside other foods. First, a high school friend made me a cucumber sandwich, well-salted and slathered with mayonnaise, and eventually I discovered cucumber salads. Mixed with tomatoes and an olive oil-based dressing, cucumbers became perfectly acceptable, if not well loved.
These perfectly acceptable vegetables show up every two weeks in my CSA box, so I had to find a go-to recipe for a quick and easy salad. Christy Jordan over at Southern Plate posted a recipe last year that looked like every cucumber salad I had ever loved. As a bonus, it called for bottled Italian dressing, so all I had to do was chop vegetables.
I pretty much just chopped up a cucumber, a medium tomato, a small red onion and a banana pepper, then coated the mixture with a few tablespoons of Italian dressing (the Southern Plate recipe calls for an entire bottle of dressing — I just can’t justify making the veggies slosh around in that much dressing).
Marinated for two hours, the salad was the perfect accompaniment to eggplant pasta (also a CSA-inspired dish). Marinated for two days, it was an even better accompaniment for leftover eggplant pasta.
Posted in CSA, Eats, tagged childhood, coleslaw, cooking, CSA, Food Network, food processor, husband, mayonnaise, postaday2011, Rachael Ray, shredding blade, South, vinegar, vinegar coleslaw, vinegar slaw on June 27, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
True confession: I didn’t eat coleslaw for nearly 30 nears.
For someone who grew up in the South, that’s quite an accomplishment.
The coleslaw I remember from my childhood was a gloppy, mayonnaise-laden mixture that I could not imagine eating. For one thing, it was incredibly crunchy, although I can’t tell you precisely WHY that was so off-putting to me. I’ve never been anti-mayonnaise, either, but those tiny bits of cabbage coated in it were uniquely unappealing.
At some point, however, I discovered vinegar-based coleslaw.
This. Yes. This made sense.
Flavored with vinegar and a little salt and sugar, this brand of coleslaw was more akin to a fresh salad than the heavy blob of a side dish I remembered. I was old enough by that time to be over the fear of crunchiness, too.
I still didn’t venture to make my own coleslaw, however, for a while after that. For one thing, I knew it was a dish that my sometimes-picky husband wasn’t going to touch.
When I joined a CSA, however, I suddenly found myself facing a head of cabbage every couple of weeks. I was also armed with a brand new food processor, complete with a shredding blade.
I quickly found a Rachael Ray recipe for Oil and Vinegar Slaw on FoodNetwork.com and went to work. It calls for a 16-ounce bag of shredded cabbage mix, but I just substituted 16 ounces of the head of cabbage (I just chopped off a chunk at a time and weighed it) and ran it through the shredding blade. I never looked up what else might be in cabbage mix, but what I’m making is delicious as is.
Oil and Vinegar Slaw
(Recipe by Rachael Ray)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 sack, 16 ounces, shredded cabbage mix for slaw salads
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Salt and pepper
Mix vinegar and sugar. Add oil. Add cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Toss with fingers to combine. Adjust seasoning. Let stand 20 minutes. Re-toss and serve.
The first CSA delivery of the season contained a ridiculously large basket of strawberries, so I needed a quick way to use a lot of them.
I remember jam-making and jelly-making as a hot, time-consuming process, but I also remember my grandmother switching to the easier “freezer jam” method at some point, so I don’t feel like that much of a cheater for using it.
I’ll find out whether it worked in approximately 17 hours.
Posted in CSA, Eats, Home, tagged cappuccino, corn, corn kernels, CSA, food, hulling strawberries, kitchen, minimalism, organization, OXO, Oxo corn stripper, Oxo Good Grips, Oxo strawberry huller, postaday2011, removing corn kernels, s'more makers, s'mores, strawberries, Unclutterer, unitasker on January 21, 2011 | 3 Comments »
Today, a friend sent me a link to Unclutterer, a blog about getting organized. The posts preach minimalism: the less stuff you own, the less stuff you have to organize. Every Wednesday the site mocks “unitaskers,” items that only serve one function while taking up valuable space. These products are often the worst of the “as seen on TV” club, and invariably enable you to do things that you can easily do without them, such as washing your feet or cracking eggs.
I admitted earlier this week to owning my own unitasker, an awesome cappuccino maker that, after a scroll through Unclutterer to see the ridiculous things that other people own, I’m liking more and more. While preparing dinner tonight, however, I realized that I’m actually the proud owner of two more unitaskers, both of which I needed for the substantial amount of produce in my CSA:
- The Oxo Good Grips Strawberry Huller, which pierces the strawberry, scoops out the hull and releases it in a couple of quick moves. Using a knife to cut out stems is tedious and a bit slow, and poking a straw into the center of each strawberry simply makes a mess and often doesn’t remove the entire stem. This unitasker is also small and easy to clean, so it stays.
- The Oxo Good Grips Corn Stripper, which strips and collects corn kernels as you move it down the corn cob. Sure, it does what a good sharp knife will do, but it does it without making a huge mess. Stripping corn with a knife results in flying kernels. The easy-to-clean container on this gadget is what makes it worth having. Fill it with corn kernels, dump them out into a bowl, then start filling it again.
So, in my kitchen a unitasker must perform its task much better than other multitasking accessories can and it must be easy to clean. (In fairness, apparently it also must be an Oxo product or an Italian import.)
I have this paranoid idea that most unitasker products are given as gifts by people who are hating on the clean, efficiently run kitchens of their recipients. What other explanation is there for the s’more makers that rampaged across American Christmas shopping lists a few years ago?
Posted in CSA, Eats, tagged chocolate pie, cookbooks, cooking, cooking for two, CSA, dessert, egg custard pie, holidays, homemade bread, kitchen, pecan pie, pies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, recipes, side dish, sweet potato bread, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato pie, sweet potatoes, Thanksgiving on November 21, 2010 | 4 Comments »
True confession: I have never liked sweet potato casserole, that impostor of a side dish that shows up on the table every year at Thanksgiving. It always seemed more fitting as a dessert, but it in no way could compare to the pecan, egg custard or chocolate pie that sat in the kitchen waiting for the turkey to be cleared.
Sweet potatoes are put to much better use in pies; sweet potato pie, after all, tastes astoundingly like pumpkin pie.
Posted in CSA, Eats, Photographs, tagged arugula, Birmingham, cashier, childhood, croutons, CSA, dressing, food, greens, husband, iceberg lettuce, Jitney Jungle, lettuce, mississippi, restaurant, salad, tomatoes on November 4, 2010 | 2 Comments »
I still remember the moment I discovered that salad could mean something more than iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, croutons and dressing. I was at a fancy mountainside restaurant in Birmingham, Ala., with my future husband, probably around 1995, when the waiter brought out our small starter salads. They were filled with … leaves. And no hint of the crunchy, flavorless iceberg lettuce my fiance and I had both grown up thinking was the foundation of salad.
I learned that the leaves were baby arugula greens, and suddenly a new culinary world opened for me: Salad was no longer that bland bit of crunch existing only to carry dressing or serve as a low-calorie, tasteless diet option, but a real opportunity for nutritious, delicious creativity in the kitchen. Non-iceberg greens could be sweet or bitter and carry their own weight in a salad without relying on the dressing to make up for lack of flavor.
How did America get so obsessed with iceberg lettuce? Probably the same reason that grocery-store tomatoes and apples taste like mushy cardboard: According to Practically Edible, iceberg lettuce is easy to grow, easy to ship and lasts a long time in the fridge compared to other greens.
Through the early ’90s, it was nearly impossible to find any other kinds of greens in your average suburban grocery store, at least in Mississippi. I only had to remember one lettuce code during my entire six-month stint as a Jitney Jungle cashier in 1990.
I’m working my way through a big batch of Sylvetta Italian arugula mixed with other fresh greens this week, thanks to a winter CSA split with MrsDragon over at Mrs Dragon’s Den. I even had to wash the dirt and a couple of tiny worms off, since my greens had just been plucked from the ground only two days earlier. Best salad ever.