Archive for June, 2012

Late Spring Crop Share Week 5 & 6 Report

Sorry I missed out last week everyone! Time got away from me and I figured at this rate I would be better doing a combined post. Well, summer is officially upon us, and with it comes the graduation fiestas, picnics, bbqs and heat. Lately we have been doing a lot of ‘cold’ cooking – salads, grilling outside to prevent the house from warming up and the like. It’s nice, I feel like in the heat we eat lighter but we have been getting some really wonderful things in our weekly crop shares so I have to start upping the ante and getting on the ball with testing out some new recipes. I’ll do my best, in the meantime, here is your week 5 & 6 breakdown —

What we received in weeks 5 & 6:

– Kohlrabi
– Corn (both weeks!!)
– Peaches
– Blackberries
– Blueberries
– Green Beans
– Squash
– Tomatoes
– Potatoes
– Green Peppers
– White Eggplant

How we are moving this farm to our table:

Last week I began working on the menu planning, we did OK sticking with our menu. There is definitely room for improvement. My softball season has ended for the summer (just in time for a new heat wave) so that leaves me more time in the evenings after work to try out new recipes and make a better effort out of using our crops in unique ways.

Week 5 our menu included our staple shrimp tacos with mango radish salsa, marinated chicken breast and veggie risotto, hamburgers and corn with homemade fries/chips and then leftovers.

This week we are looking to do:

1. Hamburgers and corn again so that we can use up the remainder of our buns from last week with grilled white eggplant. I have never had white eggplant before so I’m on the hunt for some recipes that will bring out its flavor.

2. Quick Pasta – possibly the cauliflower pasta I featured a while back. If not that recipe then we will go with a generic pasta with grilled chicken and homemade pasta sauce. A nice Italian meal 🙂

3. Grilled or baked chicken – sides are tbd. Most likely will include a veggie medley to finish up the fresh veggies we have, with a salad and then most likely rice. We haven’t had rice in quite some time.

4. Steak – temperatures are supposed to be warm so it is grilling time!! Sides will be potatoes since we have some leftover from our crop-shares the past few weeks with grilled onions and peppers (also courtesy of the crop share)

5. Night out – we will be traveling so there must be a night where we dine out, and this is the night!

I’ll keep you posted on how well we stick to the menu planned out this time. Could be hit or miss, but hopefully we are more on the hit side than the miss side. I’m also really hoping to find something good for that white eggplant. I have never cooked with one before so I’m not sure what to even expect flavor-wise. Should be fun! Best to you all – try to beat the heat!!

The BEST bagels this side of New York…

Being from the NJ (and just outside of NYC) I grew up with having amazing bagels and pizza available whenever and wherever I wanted them. It was something that simply just always existed and was pretty much always available. Moving to DC was a complete shock in those two areas of food. A girl (and her bagelman husband) can only be deprived for so long. Another former NJ resident friend of mine also had a longing for delicious bagels and unearthed a LA Times recipe for homemade bagels. With my stand mixer at the ready and a previous forray into bread making under my belt I rolled up my sleeves and was ready to make the bagels!

Here is a link to the recipe I followed: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/nov/12/food/la-fo-bagelrec12-2008nov12

Ingredients:

– 1 tbsp Barley Malt (or barley malt syrup)  OR 1 tbsp Honey
– 3 1/2 cups Unbleached Bread Flour
– 3 tsp Salt (divided!)
– 3/4 tsp Instant Yeast
– 1 cup + 2 tbsp Water
– 1 tsp Baking Soda
Toppings (sesame seeds, minced garlic, minced onion, etc etc)

What to do:

Mix the flour, 2 tsp salt, yeast, barley malt syrup (or honey) and water in a medium bowl (or with a stand mixer on 2) until the ingredients form a stiff, coarse ball of dough (about 3 min of mixing by hand, about 1 in a food processor). If you need at a pinch more water (we did add about one extra tbsp of water). Let dough rest 5 minutes.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface about 2 – 3 minutes until the dough has a slightly tacky feel. If the dough is too soft or too tacky, sprinkle just a little extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to several. You will not want to leave the dough overnight like this because you have to shape the bagels and let them rest shaped overnight before eating….

When you are ready to shape the bagels line a baking sheet with either parchment paper (greased lightly) or a silicone baking mat (whatever can withstand up to 450 F in the oven). Divide the dough into 6 – 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a loose, round ball by rolling it on a clean and dry surface. Do not use flour on the surface! If the dough slides too much and won’t ball up work the surface with a damp paper towel, small amounts of moisture will help the dough grip and form a ball. Once the dough is in a ball shape you can start making the dough into bagel shapes.

Using your hands roll each dough ball into a  rope about 8 – 10 inches long. If you need to moisten your surface again with a damp paper towel that will again add that grip/bite. Slightly taper the rope at the ends so that they are thinner than the middle and squeeze the overlapping ends together and press the ends into the work surface to ensure they are completely sealed. Even out the thickness of the dough so that there is about a 2 inch hole in the center (ah ha! It looks like a bagel, almost…). Place the bagel on the prepared sheet pan and repeat with the remaining dough balls. Lightly wipe the bagels wiht oil, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Wake up about 2 hours BEFORE you will want to eat your bagels for breakfast

Remove the bagels from the refrigerator 90 minutes before you plan to bake them. Fill a large stockpot with 3 quarts of water at least 4 inches deep and slowly bring the water to a boil. When it comes to a boil add the last 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda and simmer with the lid on.

Thirty minutes before baking heat the oven to 500 degrees

Test the bagels by placing one in a bowl of cold water, if it sinks and doesn’t float return it to the sheet for 15 minutes before re-testing. When one bagel passes they are all ready for the pot. Drop each bagel (gently!) into the simmering water. Add as many will fit in the pot. After 1 minute use a slotted spoon to flip each bagel over and poach for an extra 30 seconds. Remove each bagel to the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each bagel with your topping.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and reduce the heat to 450 F. Bake for 8 minutes and then rotate the sheet (if you use more than 1 sheet this is when you would want to rotate their positions as well). Check the underside of the bagels, if they get too dark place another baking sheet underneath the one you are using. Bake the bagels until they are golden brown (an additional 8 – 12 minutes from when you rotated them).

Once they have cooled off for about 30 minutes on a wire rack – ENJOY! Oh and please be sure to share with anyone else that appreciates a delicious bagel!

The finished bagels – YUM!

Late Spring CropShare – Week 4 Report

Hi Everyone!! This is the first week of the new format, I may continue to tweak it a bit until I find something that is uber comfortable but I’ll keep you posted. If you have any suggestions on what you think would help please do share!

What was included in the Cropshare:

– Cucumber
– White Baby Turnips
– Peaches
– Green Peppers
– Grape Tomatoes
– White Candy Onion
– Heirloom summer squash

On the Menu this week:

Saturday & Sunday – we have visitors in town so this weekend will be mild from a food standpoint. I plan to use the onions in peppers in a potato/hash brown type of dish. Nothing too fancy just quartered potatoes with sautéed onions, peppers and some seasoning.

Monday – Salads for lunch (I’ll get to use the delicious grape tomatoes and cucumber!). Dinner will be eaten out, or leftovers from food this past weekend as we have a busy schedule. I will be making homemade banana bread to have as a breakfast side or nice snack. I keep our almost spoiled bananas so that I can use less sugar when baking, I have quite a few frozen right now so its time for some bread!

Tuesday – We are planning to keep it simple with tacos. I have a lot of ground beef in the freezer already and a bunch of the fixins for this so we are all set on tacos and rice. We may even go for homemade spanish-style rice, if it turns out good I’ll definitely post the recipe!

Wednesday – Dinner will be Wegmans lemon chicken (pre-marinated for convenience) with pasta and some sautéed heirloom squash from the crop-share tossed with a few grape tomatoes and macadamia nut oil. Have you ever used macadamia nut oil? It is absolutely delicious!

Thursday – Homemade pizza night! Again it is a busier night so we can make this and then have it for lunch on Friday (bonus!). I would almost put money on the fact that the peaches from the crop-share are already history at this point. They are just so delicious!

Friday – Visitors again! Most likely another meal out. The weekends with visitors are tough for cooking at home. If we get something tempting enough in next week’s crop-share though we will have to cook it up for our guests. Depending on when they arrive I may plan to make a london broil.

Does anyone else do menu-planning? How is it?? This is really our first week. I am excited to have a plan and to know what to purchase. This is week one of the experiment, I’ll be happy to report how well we did to follow this next week!

Late Spring Crop Share Week 3 Report

The heat has backed off a bit, or will at least. We are no longer sweltering AS much in the heat but this past week has been rumbling with storms but then in the 70s and low 80s – how pleasant?! Anyways, this will be my last crop-share post with this format – just want to give everyone a heads up. I still plan to share details about what we have received each week but I am going to make the 2nd half of the post a bit more of a menu-planner. We want to start menu-planning for each week anyways so incorporating that into this post will ensure that I’m getting that done and shopping smartly each week!

What we received in week 3:

– Garlic
– Green Tomatos
– Cucumbers
– Blueberries
– Mushrooms
– Onion
– Cantaloupe

In the Kitchen:

We were already planning on making salsa so receiving garlic and the onion was PERFECT!

The rest of the items this week really just lend themselves to be nice side items or mix-ins for salads and such. There really aren’t any big plans for the remainder of the crop share this week. The green tomatoes are going to be fried up into delicious-ness before they even realize what happened to them, that’s for sure! 🙂

The rest of the items

Late Spring Crop Share Week 2 Report

It has been over 90 degrees lately so while this is called Late Spring I’m definitely feeling like this is early summer…. Anyways, onto the food. I’ll have to do another post in the coming days about warm weather crop storage. It has definitely been a challenge making sure we either eat or appropriately store the various food we get from the share, especially in the warmer months. We are still thrilled we went with the smaller size share like we have the past 3 croppings – while we get some great items it seems that our social calendar is pulling us in a few different directions and the warmer weather makes me want to cook a little less frequently, o having a smaller quantity has prevented waste.

What we received in week 2:

– Green Cabbage
– White Potatoes
– Bunched Beets
– Cucumbers
– White Corn
– Peaches (YUM!!)
– Cauliflower

In the Kitchen:

I’ve gotten cauliflower a bit lately so instead of falling back on our cauliflower favorite (the pasta dish) I am looking to use the cauliflower in a new way! Cauliflower seems versatile enough so I bet there are other ways we can prepare it and really enjoy it. I’ll keep y’all posted!

We are going to be having company this weekend so the potatoes will be perfect as hash browns – we still have some of the small red potatoes from last week (or the week before) so the two potato varieties combined will be a great way to spruce up hash browns! We also love using these smaller potatoes to make garlic fries (yep – I’ll post the recipe because they are amazing!)

I was so so so excited when I saw that we had received peaches. Peaches are one of my all time favorite fruits. Nothing beats a nice juicy peach in the heat that we have been having – it is just so refreshing! I am considering though picking up a few extra peaches and trying to make some type of cobbler to serve a la mode just to give my peaches a little variety…

I have never cooked with beets so that will definitely be new! Will absolutely keep you posted on that adventure!

 

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