Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

In this week’s medium CSA box there were plenty of tasty veggies, and among them the ingredients to make salsa! I’d never made salsa before, but it was really quick and easy.

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I quartered the four tomatillos that had come in the box, roughly chopped half of an onion and two cloves of garlic, threw it all in a blender and added a lime and a half worth of lime juice. A quick blend on the chop setting got it close to the right texture. Then I added in the two hot peppers from the CSA and five of the seeds, along with about half a cup of cilantro. A second and final blend got it to the perfect consistency. The recipe I was looking at said to boil it until it got to a relish-y consistency, but I really like the delicious-raw-freshness without the extra cooking. I ended adding five more pepper seeds for a little more bite, and it’s practically perfect!

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Poutine-Michelle

This summer I went on a bike tour of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec with my boyfriend Ben, and we ate plenty of the regional specialties.  When thinking of Quebec, the food that immediately comes to mind is poutine, so of course we had to eat some while there.  If you’ve ever been to Quebec, chances are you’ve heard of poutine.  If you haven’t, it’s a dish of french fries, cheese curd, and gravy.  From what I can tell, people either love it or hate it, but in Quebec it seemed like most people love it.  I had imagined that it had some kind of interesting history, but after doing only a quick google search it seems that it was invented only about 50 years ago.  While it certainly isn’t slow, it’s definitely pretty appetizing after riding a bike all day.

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While we only had the standard version, there are supposedly variations depending on what town you’re in and what their local specialties are.  In Matane, QC, we had been told that the specialty was poutine with béchamel sauce (instead of gravy), cheese curd and mini shrimp.  We were either duped or just didn’t stop at the right restaurant, because we didn’t get to try it, but nonetheless were intrigued by this variation.

Our trip ended in New Brunswick, which has its own take on the dish.  When someone tried to explain to us what poutine râpée was, we imagined that it would be hash browns (râpée means shredded or grated) instead of french fries with the usual toppings. But we were in for a surprise.  The woman that we ordered it from had made them herself that morning, and wanted to make very sure before she placed out order that poutine râpée was what we actually wanted. When she brought them out a few minutes later, we must have looked shocked because she seemed concerned, and maybe a little hurt.  Instead of french fries or even hash browns, it looked like it was just a ball of potato.  She told us that people usually either put salt and pepper or sugar on them- we went with the salt and pepper and dug in.  The best comparison I can make to try to explain what it was like is that it was sort of like a giant dumpling.  It had a think potato “skin” and the center was some sort of mystery meat with a little bit of gravy.

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While I can’t say it was delicious, it’s a classic dish of the Acadian people that was certainly worth trying.  It also dates back a lot longer than poutine quebecoise- probably to the late 1700-early 1800s.

Since it’s been almost three months since we got back from our trip, Ben and I had a hankering for a little more poutine.  Ben was recently in upstate New York, and he picked up some local cheese curd, and I grabbed some potatoes from the farmer’s market in Government Center.  We made rosemary oven fries instead of actually frying them: the recipe we looked at said to soak the potatoes in cold water for about 15 minutes before cooking them to make them crispier, but the soaking didn’t end up really helping. We also made a mushroom gravy by just sautéing onion, garlic, and white mushrooms before adding a tiny bit of soy sauce along with the broth and corn starch and letting it simmer down.  Putting it all together couldn’t be easier: just put the french fries on a place, cover them with the cheese curd, and pour as much gravy on top as you’d like.

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We thought it might have even been better than the poutine we got in Quebec!

Mushroom Pine Nut Dish- Jennie Vildzius

Summer is hot, I know, but sometimes you just gotta turn on your oven and cook something awesome. Well, let me tell you that this recipe is something awesome.

Some people don’t like mushrooms, and I guess I can understand why, but I think they’re great. They’re relatively mild and soak up whatever flavors you mix with them. This recipe has garlic, butter, white wine, and chives. What more could you want? Not much (except maybe dessert- always dessert).

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The real recipe name for this is too long, so we just call it the “mushroom pine nut dish.” Feel free to do the same, or dub it something else such as “garlic mushroom thing” or “yummy side dish of excellence;” I grant you creative license. The names may vary in the end, but this is how it comes to be:

Ingredients:

*1 lb. mixed large fresh spring mushrooms, such as morel, portobello, shiitake, oyster, cremini and white button, brushed clean

4 T unsalted butter, room temperature

4 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 T. dry white wine or sherry 

1/3 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

1 T chopped fresh chives

Directions:
1. Preheat an oven to 450°F.
2. Cut the larger mushrooms into pieces so that all the mushrooms, whole and cut, are about the same size. Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer in a large roasting pan.
3. In a bowl, using a fork, mix together the butter, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Dot the tops of the mushrooms with small dollops. Sprinkle the wine evenly over all.
4. Roast the mushrooms until they begin to sizzle and brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the pine nuts, and continue roasting until the mushrooms are cooked through and browned in places, 5-10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a serving dish and sprinkle with the chives.


*Hey you. Yes, you. If you haven’t ventured outside of the plain, boring, white button mushroom box, then I encourage you to step into the fungi forest. Basically, the weirder the mushroom shape, the more flavor it has. I love really curly, freaky-lookin’ things because they taste unique and earthy and wonderful. Part of what makes this recipe great is using a variety of shrooms, so don’t be shy; give ’em a try!

CSA Sandwich and Omelet

Between this week and last week, my small share of the CSA came with rainbow chard, collards, shallots, and mushrooms among other things.  

Chard and Mozzarella Sandwiches

Last week I made open-face chard and mozzarella sandwiches, and I’m definitely going to make them again this week, they’re delicious!

Ingredients

  • good bread
  • oilve oil
  • a bunch of rainbow chard
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mozzarella

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the onions and garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  2. Remove the stems from the chard leaves, cutting a bit into the leaf itself to remove some of the thicker stem/rib. Chop the stems into about 1/2-inch pieces. Add to to the pan with the onion and garlic, also adding the chopped tomatoes.
  3. Roughly chop the chard leaves and add to the pan as well, adding salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients in the pan, allowing the leaves to cook down. Once the chard is wilted, remove from the heat.
  4. Place the mozzarella cheese on the bread slices, then top with the chard mixture.

I bought a day old loaf of nice bread from American Provisions (only $1!) and toasted it on the stove with the mozzarella pieces so that it would all be warm.  

I ran out of cheese to go with the leftovers, but they were just as delicious on plain toast.  

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Recipe adapted from http://dkscooks.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/open-face-chard-and-mozzarella-sandwich/

 

Omelet

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • goat cheese
  • olive oil
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • salad/lettuce/spinach/ some kind of greens you like

Directions

  1. Beat together two eggs, as much goat cheese as you’d like, and salt and pepper
  2. Pour into pan heated with olive oil, lift up the edges of the omelet to let uncooked parts run under as you go, and let cook through. 
  3. Sauté the mushrooms, shallot, and garlic in a different pan.  After a few minutes, add the greens and cook until wilted.  
  4. Once the mushrooms and greens are done, put them on top of the omelet, sprinkle with more goat cheese, fold the omelet in half, and enjoy!Image

 

Avocado with Hot Sauce, Lime, and Cheese

Avocado with Hot Sauce, Lime, and Cheese

Michelle O’Donnell

 

As soon as Mara sent me this recipe I couldn’t wait to make it.  It’s got some of my favorite things in it, was super easy to make and it turned out to be delicious.  With just avocados, limes, hot sauce, cheese and seasonings, I think it’s my new favorite meal and snack. In fact I’ve already made it twice in the last 24 hours.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime*
  • your favorite hot sauce*
  • cheese*
  • salt and pepper

*The limes that I used weren’t especially juicy, so I used the entire lime, but if you’ve got juicier limes you might need less.

*the recipe suggests Tobasco or Louisiana, but I used a Pique that I made a while back that used habaneros, carrots, and lime.  

*I used a mexican blend, the recipe calls for parmesan. 

Directions

  1. Cut the avocado in half, removing the seed.
  2. Poke holes all over with a fork so that the lime juice and hot sauce will soak in.
  3. Spread desired amount of hot sauce over each half of the avocado. Squeeze lime juice evenly over both halves.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.Image
  4. Fill just the cavities of the avocado with cheese and put under a broiler for about two minutes, or enough to melt the cheese.
  5. Cover the rest of each half with more cheese, and put back under the broiler for another two minutes.  
  6. Enjoy!Image

Original recipe here.

Moroccan Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce

Moroccan Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce

These were absolutely delicious. Lots of veggies and lots of chopping but completely worth the effort.  We made large rolls, but making little rolls would be perfect for appetizers!

Part 1: Phyllo Rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups combination of yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 2½–3 cups zucchini or yellow squash, cubed
  • 1–1¼ cups onion, chopped
  • 1½–2 cups fennel bulb, chopped (about 1 medium bulb)
  • ½ cup dried apricots (preferably unsulfured), chopped (or if in season, 1 cup fresh figs, stems removed, and halved)
  • 5–6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½–2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas or white beans
  • ½ cup (packed) fresh basil (or parsley) leaves, minced
  • 8 to 12 sheets phyllo pastry sheets (see notes)
  • 2½–3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (to brush phyllo)
  • 1/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds, lightly toasted (for garnish)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF
  2. Toss bell peppers, zucchini, onion, fennel, apricots, and garlic with oil, cumin, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. 
  3. Roast for 35-45 minutes until veggies are caramelized in some spots and softened.
  4. Remove from oven, toss in chickpeas or white beans and basil, and let cool slightly.Image
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
  6. Line a baking dish or sheet with parchment paper. Place a lightly dampened dish towel over phyllo sheets to keep moist while preparing rolls.
  7. Lightly brush top of one sheet with oil. Place another sheet (not brushed with oil) on top. Spread ¾–1 cup roasted veggie mixture (see note) down the center of top sheet, leaving 1–2-in (2½–5-cm) space from edges. Fold left side over filling and roll up, tucking in sides as you go.
  8. Brush with additional oil and place in lined baking dish or sheet. Repeat process until all phyllo and mixture are used.
  9. Bake for 24–28 minutes, until golden brown.

Part 2: Balsamic Maple Sauce

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Earth Balance Buttery Spread (we used butter)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp (rounded) sea salt
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder (1 tsp Arrowroot powder = 1 T flour or 1 1/2 t. cornstarch)
  • 3 tbsp tamari (aka soy sauce)

Directions

  1. In a saucepan on low heat, combine syrup, vinegar, butter, garlic, and salt, and heat for several minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine arrowroot (or substitute) and tamari (soy sauce).
  3. Add mixture to saucepan, stir to incorporate, and bring to a boil.  
  4. Let boil gently for about 1 minute then remove from heat.

Part 3: Put it together

  1. Drizzle the sauce over the rolls, and serve! We had them with salad and used the sauce as dressing.Image

 

Rosemary and Lemon Cupcakes

Rosemary and Lemon Cupcakes

We have a few herb plants around the house, so I wanted to use the rosemary in something, and these cupcakes were born! Everyone who tried them liked them, but then consensus seemed to be that the rosemary flavor wasn’t very strong.  I’m not sure if it just needs more rosemary, or if we should have used a food processor to chop it instead of just a knife. We also didn’t have lemon extract, but adding extra lemon juice worked pretty well!

Part 1: Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons  finely shredded lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Lemon Glaze (recipe below)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium-high for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, lemon extract, and vanilla. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping bowl. (I always do the butter/eggs/sugar mix first so I only have to use one bowl)Image
  2. In medium bowl combine cake flour, rosemary, baking powder and salt; set aside.Image
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture; beat on low after each just until combined. Stir in the lemon peel and lemon juice.
  4. Spoon batter in prepared cups to three-fourths full. Bake 22 to 25 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean.Cool in muffin cups on rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.Image
Part 2: Lemon Glaze
 
When we tasted the glaze as we were making it, we thought it tasted too much like just powdered sugar and not enough like lemon. We kept adding lemon until it tasted lemony, but once we put it on the cupcakes we figured out that it probably wouldn’t have made a difference if we hadn’t added the extra lemon juice. We also didn’t add the lemon peel because the designated lemon peelers were having some trouble with their job.
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5-5 1/2  teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
Directions
  1. Combine powdered sugar and enough of the lemon juice to reach a spreading consistency. Stir in lemon peel. Image
  2. Put it on the cupcakes and enjoy!Image

 

 

 

Creamy Tortellini Soup

Thanks to Mara for this recipe!
 
Creamy Tortellini Soup
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1 1.8 oz envelope white sauce mix
  • 4 c water
  • 14 oz veggie broth
  • 1.5 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 8 oz dried cheese tortellini
  • 6 c baby spinach leaves
  • Finely shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
 
Directions:
 
  • In slow cooker, put white sauce mix and water. Stir until smooth.
  • Stir in broth, mushrooms, onion, garlic, basil, salt, oregano, and red pepper.
  • Cover and cook on low for 5 – 6 hours or on high for 2.5 – 3 hours. Stir in tortellini, cover, and cook on high for 45 minutes. (When I was out buying supplies, I was a tad frazzled and could only find frozen tortellini instead of the dried tortellini. The frozen seemed to still work pretty well.)
  • Stir in milk and spinach. (I did this about 20 minutes after I put the tortellini in. Plus we only had about 2 cups of spinach because I forgot to buy more, and it was still good.)
  • Serve and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

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The verdict: I thought it was kind of salty. But I was eating pretzels right before this, so I don’t know how that affected my taste buds. It was sort of a “meh” dish for me, but everyone else in my family couldn’t get enough of it. So we had no leftovers for the next day, which is usually a pretty good benchmark of how much the dish was liked. I think this would also be one of those good recipes in which you can just dump any and all vegetables you want into it. But don’t hold me to that.
 
PS- This is really good with corn muffins. Well, anything tastes good with a corn muffin. But especially this.

Thai Tofu Wrap with Peanut Sauce

As my friends are slowly getting home from their respective schools for the summer, we’ve decided that we need to cook as much delicious food as possible this summer.  Tonight we tried out these awesome wraps that were super tasty, and easy and fun to make with the group. The recipe called for chicken, but to make it vegetarian we just substituted tofu! 

Part 1: Marinade the tofu

Ingredients

  • extra firm tofu (the recipe called for 3 small chicken breasts)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Mix the soy sauce, vegetable oil and grill seasoning to make the marinade.  Grill seasoning isn’t something that we have in our cabinet, but it’s just an easy mixture of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, and red pepper flakes.  We also found that we needed to double the amount of marinade, but this can depend on how much tofu you decide to make.  
  • Slice tofu into four segments length wise, dip each side in the marinade, and place in a baking pan.  
  • Bake on the top rack for 15 minutes, turn each slice over, and bake for another 15 minutes.  
  • Cut into cubes after the tofu has cooled.
 

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Part 2: Salad Base

Ingredients

  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 scallions, sliced on an angle
  • 12 leaves basil, chopped or torn
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves (4 sprigs)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Salt

Directions

  • Combine and toss these ingredients to make the salad base for the wrap.  

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Part 3: Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or more!)
  • 3 tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or enough to give desired consistency)
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. chili flakes 
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 tbs. grated ginger
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tbs. chopped parsley

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor until it reaches desired consistency. 
  • **Careful! If you’re not one for spicy things, cut back on the spices, because this sauce has quite the kick!**

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Part 4: Put it together

  • Flat bread worked great to wrap everything up in, but tortillas, pita, or other similar things would probably work too!
  • Add the salad, tofu, and peanut sauce to the wrap, roll it up, and taste the goodness! 

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Chips and Salsa for Real

So I am a California girl through and through. Back home there is one snack one simply cannot live without: chips and salsa. Now this common but delectable treat can come in all shapes and sizes, tastes and textures, etc and etc. You can always go for the bagged chips and store bought combo; however, I have to say, that’s just not how my community likes to roll. We make our own salsa and chips. By making your own raw salsa, you’re allowing all of the ingredients to speak for themselves in lovely collection of fruits and vegetables. Although, the healthy qualities of a homemade salsa is quickly cancelled out by the obscenely delicious deep fried tortilla chips with fresh parmesan grated on top. Why do we add parm on Mexican food? Because its awesome, and I am always down for a little Latino-Italiana fusion if you catch my drift.  Below you’ll find a few of my favorite salsa recipe and my recipe for tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Peach Habanero Salsa

2 peaches, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1-2 Habanero chilies (depends on how spicy you want it), finely, finely, finely chopped
6 limes
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp cider apple vinegar
Sea salt
½ bunch of finely chopped cilantro

Juice the lemon and limes. Soak diced onion in lime/lemon zest for 10-20 minutes to take the raw onion flavor out of the onion. Mix with everything else.

Deep Fried Tortilla Chips

Peanut Oil (for some reason its supposed to be healthier; however, if you’re deep frying anything, health should not be a part of your concern)
Tortillas, chopped into 8ths (with no more than 8 inches in diameter, you can use corn, whole wheat or flour)
Parmesan Cheese
Sea Salt

Pour oil in a wok, should be about 3-5 inches. Heat oil to 375F over medium high heat, then reduce to maintain that temperature. Frying the tortilla wedges in batches, as to not overcrowd the pan, cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning them once. Drain on paper bag. Sprinkle salt and cheese on while still hot. Allow to cool down.

Don’t Forget the Tequila

If you are of age, of course.

Written by Slow Food NU Member

Meg Lazar