Archive for ‘#3 Getting Comfy with your CSA Share’

April 29, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Lamb Chops, Green Tea Noodles with Wild Mushrooms, Shrimp Stuffed Broccoli Rabe with Hoisin BBQ Sauce

click recipe to enlarge

Click recipe to enlarge

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Lamb Chops with Radicchio Slaw
This is a perfect early spring dish. Hopefully your weather allows you to get outside and light up the grill. Radicchio is a tad too bitter to eat on it’s own, at least for my liking. I thinly sliced and soaked it in ice water to get rid of some of the bitterness, then added a mild cabbage. With the lime and honey it had just the right amount of bitterness to complement the sweet and spicy lamb chops. I marinated the lamb overnight, but if you’re pressed for time marinade it for at least an hour, it gets better the longer it sits in the marinade. Assemble the slaw before you cook the lamb. Pre heat the grill to high, and grill for about 10 minutes turning once or twice. Lower one section of the grill to low and cook the lamb indirectly for another 5 minutes or until it’s cooked to your liking, then transfer it back to high, and brush with the reserved marinade while turning on all sides allowing the sugars to caramelize. I know this is a lot to ask given the smell and crispy goodness, let the lamb rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting in to it (yes, even just a little piece). Trust me, it’ll be well worth it!

I’m crazy for Japanese noodles. Any flavor, shape, size, or form – stir fried, in soups, hot, cold, sweet, spicy or tangy – I could eat them everyday, definitely my happy food. If you were to sit down with me to eat a bowl of noodles, I would probably embarrass you. Because of this, only my dearest, non judging, mutual noodle crazed friends join me to eat in public (yes, I’m talking about you V.V. & M.I.). We sit down, giddy with anticipation, roll up our sleeves, load up on napkins, and go at it. Aren’t friends like this the best! This Cha Soba (Green Tea Soba) with wild mushrooms is a tasty little dish I’ve been making for several years now. It comes together in a snap and is really good served at room temperature, so its perfect party fare. Overcooked noodles make me sad, so it’s important to cook the noodles first and shock them in cold water. Sauté the mushrooms and quickly combine everything in the hot pan, then into the serving dish. You can eat it on it’s own or serve it with grilled meats.

Shrimp Stuffed Broccoli Rabe
I ran across this on a Chinese takeout menu a while back and instantly thought…how the heck do you stuff a piece of broccoli? Of course I ordered it; couldn’t imagine what it would be like.  It was shaped like dim sum (oooh, another thing I can’t seem to get enough of, focus), but tasted like a stir fry in bite size pieces. This restaurant served it with a simple teriyaki sauce.  I immediately knew that I wanted to re-create it. My version has broccoli rabe, shrimp speckled with bits of lemon zest, cilantro and scallions. I made a super flavorful, lightweight Hoisin BBQ sauce to go with it. Definitely a keeper.

April 21, 2011

Steak & Potato Finger Food – Apple Crostata with a Cheddar and Goat Cheese Crust

Apple Crostata
Aged cheddar and goat cheese Crostata crust? Yes, you read it right. I know what you are thinking…goat cheese in an apple tart crust?! I actually thought it might be a little crazy too. I usually make a sour cream crust with my fruit tarts, I like the subtle tang. I didn’t have any sour cream and rarely make a special trip to the market for an ingredient – I didn’t have any buttermilk either (does anyone REALLY keep buttermilk in their fridge? The only one I can think of that could reach into the fridge for a cold glass of buttermilk was Gramps (((shiver))). I don’t know how he did it, maybe it was one of those old school secret remedies that made him so strong and healthy. The only dairy thing I had in my fridge that was even remotely thicker than the milk was goat cheese – hmmmm, it has the tang of sour cream and buttermilk, why not. Back in the early days when I was serving up eggs at the local truck stop (pretty much the only gig in town for a young teenager). Sometimes guests would come in and ask me to warm them a piece of apple pie WITH A PIECE OF CHEDDAR CHEESE ON TOP! I thought this was quite strange. But hey, what ever they wanted – who was I to question it. Turns out they were on to something, its fabulous! I love the bit of salty with the sweet apples, and it makes the crust a bit crispier. For this tart, the cooking time may vary slightly depending on which apples you use and how soft you like them.  I like mine slightly firm, not too soft. If the apples aren’t cooked enough for you and the crust is done, just lower the oven temperature to 350 and drape a piece of foil over the top to finish cooking. Although the goat cheese is very subtle, you can use buttermilk or sour cream, you may have to add a bit more flour.

Twice Baked Baby Sweet Potatoes & Beef Ribeye Bites Wrapped with Prosciutto, Pomegranate Molasses and Blue Cheese Crust
I received some beautiful baby sweet potatoes in my CSA (community supported Agriculture) share this week and thought they would be perfect to use as hors d’oeuvres, and what goes better with potatoes than steak? We don’t eat a lot of beef, but when we do I usually make something like this. I think the original recipe came from my brother K (my twin actually), who’s an amazing cook. Or we wrote it together over the phone as he’s blazing through grocery store planning for a last minute dinner party. The conversation goes something like this; Rinnngggg – hello? “So I’m having some friends over tonight, I’m doing a cedar planked Salmon….and I want to do a really yummy sauce, what do you think?” We’ll write a menu on the spot as he grabs the ingredients, and it’s always a big hit. His version uses beef tenderloin, bacon, blue cheese crumbles, a balsamic reduction and grills them. All I have to say is, YUM.
Both these starters can be made ahead and put into a hot oven just before you serve them. If you do the beef ahead, prep it up until you top it with the blue cheese crust, then finish it in the broiler just before your ready to serve. While the steak is resting you can lower the oven to 400 and warm up the potatoes and serve everything at the same time. If you can’t find baby sweet potatoes use fingerlings and a sweet potato instead of the white potato.
If you can’t find Pomegranate Molasses you can make your own.

Homemade Pomegranate Molasses
3 C. “POM” juice (not sure what this is? Click here for info)
1/2 C. lemon juice
sugar to taste

Place all the ingredients in a non reactive sauce pan. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce and simmer. Reduce by 1/3.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

April 13, 2011

Vietnamese Turkey Meatball Sandwiches (Banh Mi) – Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, Candied Bacon and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette – Mango Jellies (Pate de Fruits)

Vietnamese Turkey Meatball Sandwich (Banh Mi)

Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, Candied Bacon and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Mango Jellies (Pate de Fruits)

Vietnamese Turkey Meatball Sandwiches
The first time I had a Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) was about 6 years ago in San Francisco. I was immediately hooked, it had it all! Crispy-chewy-meaty-sweet-sour-warm-cold-tangy-herby-spicy! Your choice of warm slices of meat, usually braised in an amazing sauce and/or cold meats, pickled carrots and daikon, spicy jalapenos and a generous handful of cilantro neatly tucked inside a soft but crisp baguette. It was one of those meals where it was so good, and you are so stuffed, but want to eat another anyway.  There was this tiny hole in the wall shop, 3 seats in the whole place, smack in the middle of the Tenderloin District. If you’re not familiar with San Francisco, let me just say that I’m sure it won’t be on your list of places to visit along with Pier 39 and Alcatraz, but crazy and interesting in its own right – just make sure you take your extra large friend with you (as I did). At the time, I was working just blocks from this sandwich shop (the upper loin, if you will), not only was it the best sandwich I had ever eaten, it was the cheapest, at $2.99! I couldn’t believe it (I paid more for my grade school cafeteria lunch). I won’t tell you how many times I ate there that summer, but it was definitely my share – plus some. This Turkey Meatball Banh Mi is my spin on this sandwich I fell in love with many years ago. Instead of the carrots and daikon, I pickled the beautiful easter egg radishes that came in my CSA share this week, they turned the prettiest shade of pink. I replaced the jalapenos with serrano chilies, which are a bit hotter. I also used mini baguettes and hollowed out the cloudy inners, leaving the crunchy crust and plenty of room to fit more fillings!

Spinach Salad
I’m just going to say it, this spinach salad is one of the best I’ve ever made, really! And I make a salad just about every day. All the flavors play so well together. The crisp but sturdy baby spinach, with the creamy goat cheese, the chewy orange-honey candied bacon ((drool)), with the sweet and earthy roasted/marinated beets and the preserved lemon vinaigrette rounds it all off. If you’re not familiar with preserved lemons, put it on your shopping list. The taste is so special that I won’t even attempt to describe it to you. If goat cheese isn’t your favorite, you can use a creamy feta. There are a few steps to making this salad, but don’t let that discourage you (remember; best salad I’ve made), just plan ahead a bit. Make the beets early in the week so they can marinate, make the vinaigrette the next day- it gets better after a day or two in the fridge, and make the bacon the day you plan to serve the salad (or just before you serve, it goes faster than popcorn).

Mango Pate de Fruits
There must be a mango tree growing at every other house in our neighborhood, and around south Florida. Over the past several weeks I’ve watched the mango trees flower and now turn into tiny baby mangos. In the next month or two my counter will be overflowing with them, all being of different shapes, colors, sizes, texture and tastes – I think there are about 10 varieties (I’m sure I’ll be corrected by a few of my friends…..BS & WH ;-). My wonderful and generous friends and neighbors lovingly leaving them at my back door. When they start to ripen they fall from the trees by the hundreds, no joke – at least this is what I’ve heard. They are all over the neighborhood (along with star fruit, coconuts, avocados, and bananas) to pick up as you please, I figure the ones that are within arms length from the street are up for grabs. We have to get pretty creative to use them all up. I have friends that start canning their amazing mango chutney, others make mango jam for the holiday season, there’s mango cake, mango smoothies, mango ice cream, mango with your breakfast cereal…you name it, it usually gets mango in it. But what I haven’t received is mango jellies (pate de fruits). I received my first mangos of the season this week in my CSA share, and they were gorgeous. Last year my very dear friends G & R came over with many pounds from their HUGE tree, and we made lots and lots of jam. The recipe we came up with was so good that I thought the flavors would be perfect to use in these jellies.


April 6, 2011

#3 Getting Comfy with Your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

(Easter Egg Radishes, Scallions, Lemons, Baby Sweet Potatoes,  Radicchio, Shallots,Braeburn Apples, Broccoli Rabe, Mangos, Beets)

Upcoming Menu

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Lamb Chops with Radicchio Slaw
Baby Spinach Salad with Marinated Beets, Goat Cheese, Candied Bacon and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
Beef Ribeye Bites Wrapped with Prosciutto, Pomegranate Molasses and a Blue Cheese Crust
Twice Cooked Baby Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Chilies and Cream
Apple Crostata
Green Tea Noodles (Cha Soba) with Wild Mushrooms, Chives and Lemon – Soy Dressing
Vietnamese Turkey Meatball Sub (Banh Mi) with Pickled Radish
Shrimp Stuffed Broccoli Rabe with Hoisin BBQ Sauce
Mango Jellies (Pate de Fruit)

Check back soon for recipes and photos!

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