Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Whatcha Got in Your Box

May 31, 2011

FEEL FREE TO GIVE COMMENTS, but be nice. This is not my paid job.

In your box:
swedish peanut fingerling potatoes
jade cucumber
green cabbage
italian pole beans
torpedo onions
cluster tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

Swedish Peanut Fingerling Potatoes

Swedish-Greek Fingerlings
            I love the generalized Greek flavor profile of garlic, lemon and oregano. This update on a classic uses fresh oregano rather than that jar of dried that’s been in your spice rack for two years. Make a pact with me, no blood letting needed: that herbs are fresh leafy things; that you will grow them; that you will use them in their exquisite greenness and you will throw away those desiccated jars of pale green stuff in that spice rack. Agreed?
            You know those 1/4 lengths of big potatoes that are crunchy and long cooked with garlic, lemon and oregano? They grace every piece of roasted lamb at every Greek restaurant from San Diego to Tarpon Springs. What if we took that idea and made it with great local stuff? Yum. Let’s roll:

Find a nice roasting pan and get the oven preheated to 400. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 fair bit of fresh oregano, eight whole peeled clove of garlic, eight thin slices of lemon, 1/2 cup of good chicken stock, a bit of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Arrange in the baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes. When they are nice and toasty you could finish them with some fresh mint and a scoop of yogurt if you want. Plain yogurt. Peach yogurt would be gross.

Jade Cucumber

            There is so much crappy smoked salmon in the world but I have found one that is worth every penny. The Charlie Trotter branded stuff at Earthfare. Really good stuff. Lunch today will be that arranged on a plate, drizzled with olive oil and lemons and some chopped capers and then topped with a simple cucumber salsa.

Cucumber salsa
1 cucumber, finely diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 red jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped flatleaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all in a bowl and let sit at room temperature for an hour for the flavors to really come through.  You can serve this on just about anything and it will keep in the fridge for about three to four days.

Green Cabbage
These are stunning... Celia? What's the varietal again?
I actually grew a cabbage at home recently, or Beatrice (aged 8) and I did. It’s crazy how much space those thing need to grow.  For all that real estate they take up you’d think cabbages would be pricier! Later on when nappa cabbage comes in the box we’ll go through some kimchi recipes. For now if you’re feeling brazen you can make some sauerkraut.

Creole Braised Cabbage
I came across a great old recipe in Southern Sideboards: Recipes from the Junior League of Jackson Mississippi, for Hot Cabbage Creole. I love adopting old recipes and making them current. This would be a great side dish to bring to a friend’s front porch on a Sunday night. Love live out front porch lifestyle!

2 slices bacon
1/2 sweet onion, peeled and minced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and minced
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and minced
3 cluster tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 head cabbage, cored and chopped to 1 inch dice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Finely dice the bacon and render it down to a light crisp in a large pot (one with a lid). Add the onion, poblano and the red pepper. Cook down over medium heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes to the pot and cook for five minutes. Add the cabbage, salt, cayenne, stock and vinegar. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 45 minutes or so. Finish with a touch of butter and the chiopped parsley.


Basic Vinaigrette for Lettuces

Ya’ll have a vinaigrette problem and I am here to fix it. You need that staple in a mason jar in your fridge. The go to salad dressing that works on pretty much anything. Let’s do this:

1 tbls Dijon
1 shallot, really finely minced
1 cups evoo
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
2 tbls fresh lemon juice
1 talespoon chopped fresh tarragon
salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in a mason jar, screw on the cap and shake it up when you need it. Stays fresh in the fridge for ten days. Change the tarragon around if you want. It could be thyme or marjoram. Augment with different vinegars too!

Yellow and Green Pole Beans... a.k.a. my favorite bean
Pole Beans with mint, cream and shallot

String the beans.
Cook the beans in boiling water until tender. Cut into half inch lengths. Toss with a little melted butter, parmesan, salt, pepper and fresh mint.
Preheat broiler. Take a small cast iron skillet and place the beans in there.
Whip 1/4 cup whipping cream with a whisk until soft peaks form. Scoop this over the beans and then place in the broiled until the cream is toasted nicely. Serve immediately.


How about making a hot bacon vinagrette and then pouring the hot vinaigrette over some tatsoi and caramelized vidalias, then tossing to wilt the whole thing. Yum. I love wilted greens like tatsoi, stems and all.

Wilted Tatsoi with Caramelized Vidalias and Hot Bacon Vinaigrette

Caramelized Vidalias
Place a large cast iron pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Place some sliced onion in the pan and cook for about twenty minutes until they develop a lot of color and the sugars have really started to pop. Season with salt and remove from heat. Lovely on a hot dog too.


½ pound Benton’s bacon, finely diced and cooked until just crisp, saving the rendered fat
1 T grain mustard
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 T lemon juice
2 T rendered bacon fat
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

Once the bacon is cooked, set it aside separated as cooked bacon and bacon drippings.
In a medium bowl start emulsifying the olive oil into the mustard, using a whisk.  As this starts to thicken you can then thin down with your acids (vinegar and lemon juice).  Once all of the olive oil has been whisked in you can whisk in the 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat, the parsley and the finely chopped bacon.

Season.  Reheat over medium heat to pour over the tatsoi. 

Place the tatsoi in a bowl, lightly chopped. Add the onions and then pour over some hot vinaigrette. Not too much… you don’t want it too wet. Toss and serve.

Cluster Tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

Roast them in the oven with a bit of olive oil, season and serve them over a grilled steak! Or eat them like candy. I do.
Or a quick pasta. Just cut the tomatoes in half and cook them in olive oil in a pan with some garlic and then toss in some tagliatelle, some torn basil, tear in some arugula, a pat of butter and some freshly grated parmesan. Dinner in ten minutes!

Torpedo Onions

Things of beauty these onions. Blanche them and grill them and serve with as a side. Wonderful.


Okay, here is a recipe for collards. I know it ain’t your mother’s or your grandmother’s, it’s from a Canadian with one eyebrow. Enough said. They are great collards.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and minced
2 pounds cleaned collard greens, cleaned and pulled into edible sizes,
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sorghum or maple syrup
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup water
1 small smoked ham hock or hunk of slab bacon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
            You need a large pot here, because the collards are going to be a huge quantity while raw and much less when cooked. Please make sure that the collards are well washed in about three changes of water and have no grit about them.
            Place your large pot over medium heat and onion until you have some color.
            Add the collards and saute until a bit limp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook down. Add the sorghum or maple syrup. Add the stock, water and ham hock or bacon. Cook, covered, for about 2 hours, or until the collards are tender. When the collards are tender add the butter and reserve warm until serving.

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