CSA Week #4: How many uses for purslane yogurt can we find?
Let’s talk briefly about how to make cooking fun instead of mindless drudgery. Cooking is a lot more creative and usually less stressful than doing other kinds of housework, like scrubbing stuff on your hands and knees. Still it means a lot of doing stuff like chopping and mixing that can be, on their own, kind of boring. No wonder it sometimes feels easier to skip it and go to a takeout place instead. And of course, the whole point of this CSA project isn’t to make anyone feel guilty about getting takeout! I do that a lot myself. But the point of the project is to use the community to share ways to achieve the goal a lot of us have of cooking more, healthier, and, if you can, using more sustainable produce.
Folks—okay, female folks—have been finding ways to make cooking more relaxing and entertaining since roughly forever. There’s a reason that kitchens are the places many people gravitate to at social events, because many of us are conditioned to hanging out and having fun chatting while preparing food. But if you don’t have a bunch of people around to entertain you, there’s other things you can do. I use cooking as my time to really listen to music, which is great, because it’s so easy to get caught up in your life and forget to take the time to enjoy music. Or listen to new stuff. A lot of people, myself included, have taken advantage of laptop computers and will do things like catch up on blogs or Twitter feeds while cooking.
Share your strategies in comments! Sadly, I have no way to make cleaning up the kitchen fun, but I still see it as an opportunity to listen to music or catch up on podcasts.
1) Still had cucumbers and beets left, so started by making a quick tomato cucumber salad, with some basil from my fire escape herb garden. Basil (cut up with herb scissors), cucumber, tomato, a little olive oil, vinegar, a little dried oregano, salt, pepper, shake it up.
2) Sliced up roasted beets, nuked ‘em. Served them with the yogurt sauce that I made with the purslane.
3) Took some onion rolls, toasted them, and made sandwiches with the last bit of cucumber, more tomatoes, and delicious horseradish cheddar.
Time: 30 minutes, but I was moving real slow, because I was feeling lazy.
Prepping ahead of time
I had a lot of that purslane yogurt mix, and I was beginning to feel the chances of us eating it all were slim. So I flipped through Bittman’s book, and found a corn bread recipe where you could use yogurt instead of buttermilk. Thinking purslane cornbread sounded delicious, I went ahead and used what was left to make cornbread.
It was a little dry, and next time I intend to use way more yogurt.
Time: 40 minutes, 30 of which were the cornbread baking.
I ran out of CSA veggies quickly this past week, so I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and grabbed a bunch of different stuff that was priced low, including eggplant and zucchini, as well as onions. I still had pasta left, so I mixed the zucchini, onions, and some garlic, browned it and then added liquid in the form of the veggie broth I made last week and the eggplant. (The broth is pink because bits of beet made it in there.) Right at the end I tossed in a chopped tomato and fresh basil. I’m a huge fan of salting eggplant, by the way. I realized how much I liked eggplant only after someone taught me how to salt it before cooking it.
Time: 30 minutes. I did it while the cornbread baked.
1) Sweet potatoes were cheap at the farmer’s market, so I got those with some onions and green chilis. I like making a form of chili with sweet potatoes, so I cooked some pinto beans, mixed in the sweet potatoes, and then added onions and the chilis. (Over a period of time—the beans take the longest, then the potatoes, then the onions and chilis.) Cumin, chili powder, a little oregano, some Goya flavor packets.
2) Corn was also incredibly cheap, so I pan-grilled it with one of the green chilis and garlic.
3) Warmed up the cornbread.
Time: Over an hour, because of the beans, but actual cooking time was like 15 minutes.
Dinner #4 (after the new CSA shipment)
1) I was initially going to make quinoa with corn, but realized we should keep the corn for a grilling outing. Instead, I made the quinoa with one of the zucchini and some of the parsley. The beer growler full of homemade veggie broth came in handy. I used too much broth, but it tasted fine with salt, pepper, and parmesan.
2) I didn’t know what callaloo was, so I looked it up. It’s a popular green in Jamaica, according to my reading, and it’s a lot like spinach. I used a pair of scissors to cut all the leaves off, and cooked it with onions and garlic and a little seasoning salt.
3) Tragically, most of the peaches had their skin slip on the trip home. Rather than waste food, I cooked them with butter, cinnamon and a little sugar.
We had a couple to go to this week, so I used CSA stuff for our food-to-bring.
1) Brought both corns on the cob, which were grilled and enjoyed.
2) Cut up the cantaloupe and everyone enjoyed how very sweet it was.
3) Figured with all this talk of zucchini bread, I should make and bring some of that, too.
1) I still had a lot of cornbread left over, and it wasn’t working out so well because it was dry to begin with. So I googled a little, and concluded I should make cornbread stuffing. I wasn’t too hot on the idea of firing up the oven on a weekend—I don’t mind the heat when it’s just me, because I like heat, but Marc hates it—but Bittman’s book suggests making stuffing on the stove, so that’s what I did. I crumbled up the cornbread, added onions, garlic, parsley, jalapeno, and celery, and cooked it all up with vegetable broth and butter. Which means the purslane yogurt went through 3 incarnations: first, as a veggie dressing, then as cornbread, and now it meets its final resting place as cornbread stuffing.
2) Sliced up and salted eggplant to bring for the grill. Wish us luck with it all!
Right before I posted this, I scrambled eggs and ate them over toast with some of the cucumber and tomato, along with some basil from the garden and a little fromage blanc. The intention for lunch is cheese sandwiches with more cucumber and tomato.
Next week, there won’t be a CSA post, because I’ll be in Las Vegas for Netroots Nation, and am letting a friend have the vegetables from Wednesday’s pick-up.