CSA Week #14: “Fall Sneaks Up” Edition
As you can see, the amount of veggies I’m getting is declining as the height of the season is over. But lots of squash in the future. For vegetarians, especially newbies, I highly recommend taking advantage. Squash can be a reasonable meat substitute in many dishes, and right now it’s super cheat at farmer’s markets. The one in Park Slope is selling it for less than $1 a pound.
Question for the hive mind: when do you recommend cutting down your basil and making pesto you can freeze with it? My basil isn’t growing as fast as it used to, but I’m also disinclined to take its life before its time. (This is what we in the business call “joking”, for our excitable wingnut trolls. I’m not actually worried if basil plants lose their lives.) I have cheese, nuts, and olive oil, so I’m ready to go whenever I need to. Is it time?
I took advantage of a lazy Sunday afternoon to prep ingredients for use later in the week, so that my cooking time on busier days was cut down to a minimum. I decided to cook up everything that I’d have to roast to softness to use anyway, namely the butternut squash and beets. I washed all the above. I put the beets in foil, and cut the butternut squash in half and seeded it. (All this gets saved for making veggie broth.) Everything went in the stove for an hour at 350. Pulled them out, let them cool, took their skins off, and put them in the fridge in a covered bowl.
1) At this point, I figured I might as well make buttermilk biscuits while the stove was already on. I made the dough, according to Bittman’s instructions, and cut out 6 biscuits. (Usually it makes more, but it was especially sticky for some reason, and I lost a lot of dough to rinsing it off my hands.) Pulled the roasted veggies out, heated the oven to 450, and put the biscuits in for 7 minutes.
2) Decided to modify a recipe from Melissa’s Great Book of Produce, for a California succotash. Her recipe calls for lima beans, but I used quinoa instead, and added some of the abundant cucumber I had. I also tossed in onion and a pepper, because I could. Basically, it was a matter of cooking up the corn, a hot pepper, and onion, then adding a can of hominy and a can of red beans. Turn off the heat, toss in the quinoa, the cucumber and some basil.
3) Steamed broccoli.
I have to say, the succotash with the biscuits was delicious. My idea of adding raw cucumber in at the last minute worked out great; the savory red bean flavor against the crisp cucumber was awesome.
Time: 45 minutes.
Leftovers: Lots of succotash and biscuits.
Soundtrack: The Teaches of Peaches.
Took the butternut squash and beets and decided to take Jamelle Bouie’s advice to me at the beginning of this project and make risotto with it. Since I was in a hurry, this was the perfect time for it. I put the already-roasted veggies in the food processor with some garlic and buzzed it until it was all puree. Then I made risotto with a Goya seasoning packet, veggie broth, some white wine vinegar, a little cumin and tumeric and the puree. What’s nice about risotto is you can put it all in the pot at once and basically just stir it frequently, but that’s it. It doesn’t take a lot of work otherwise. I served it with a biscuit and a little Parmesan cheese. It ended up looking like a big bowl of just marinara, but it didn’t taste that way at all.
1) Stuffed bell peppers was one of my favorites as a kid, so I used what was left of the stuffing to make one. Cut open and empty bell pepper. Fill it with stuffing, and bake it at 350 for half an hour. Split it with Marc, though you can make it with meat and rice or beans and rice instead of stuffing and a single one makes a great meal.
2) Steamed broccoli.
3) The last of the buttermilk biscuits.
Time: 45 minutes, mostly not cooking and doing other things (like work and dishes).
Soundtrack: Sadly, none. Doing work.
For some reason, all the pictures I took were blurry. Apologies.
Had an absolute ton of eggplant from this and last week’s still in the fridge. Decided to go ahead and make pasta with it, since I had a box of diced tomatoes. Diced up and salted the eggplant. After it had sat for a good hour, rinsed it and cooked it with white wine, onion, dried oregano and thyme, garlic, and the tomatoes in the skillet. Poured it over spaghetti.
Time: Hour and a half, with the salting, but without it, about as long as it takes to boil spaghetti.
Soundtrack: Was swapping off with Marc on DJ Hero.
Leftovers: Kept the sauce and pasta separate, with the vague hope I might do something more interesting than eating it straight for leftovers.
I thought it would be cool to use some of the leftover pasta for a pasta frittata. Beat a couple of eggs with salt and pepper, plus some oregano and chili powder. Poured it over the pasta. Put it a skillet that was heated up, turned it down to medium, 10 minutes on each side and done. Eaten with apple.
Time: 20 minutes.
The frittata was okay, but nothing to write home about. I’m still looking for ideas on what to do with leftover pasta besides just eat it cold or pop it in the microwave. Ideas?