Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Week 11: Caramelized Corn With Mint

Woo-hoo! Another 20 peaches, plus eight plums, five apples, a half-pint of raspberries, four round tomatoes (two red, two green), and maybe a pint or so of cherry tomatoes that were the same size as the plums.

tomato vs. plumOur CSA has come to fruition.

Outside of some peach sorbet (using last week's recipe), the non-tomato fruit was eaten unadorned. I fried the green tomatoes and turned the red ones into salsa. With the salsa, we had corn and cheese quesadillas, using some of this week's fresh corn.

If you are looking for a new idea for corn, try the following.

corn with mintCaramelized Corn With Mint
(adapted from The New York Times)

3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed (or 2.5 cups corn)
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp minced fresh mint
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, or until the kernels are golden and browned. Stir in the mint and add salt to taste. Serve hot.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Week 10: Food Processor Sorbet

It's been an odd work week. The kind of work week that has me noshing on sorbet at 9:30 in the morning.

At least the sorbet's homemade. With just three ingredients: Cantaloupe, yogurt, and sugar. Breakfast food, really.

The CSA doesn't always deliver enough by way of fruit, but the past couple of weeks have been fantastic. Friday's pickup included another 20 peaches and a cantaloupe the size of a soccer ball. Most of that we ate as just plain fruit, though I sacrificed a couple of peaches to a failed meatloaf idea that involved a pie plate and a cloying sweet-and-sour topping.

Also in this week's share were pickling cucumbers (which became quick pickles); tomatoes and mint (the basis of a couscous salad); summer squash (broiled); and corn (eaten in various ways, including plain boiled; skillet browned; and in bean salad).

Food Processor Sorbet

(The recipe I have is attributed to Mark Bittman; you can find variations of this all over the Internet. Sorry for no photo; mine were all fuzzy. Must have had something to do with the brain freeze.)

1 pound frozen fruit (I froze small cubes of peeled cantaloupe)
1/2 cup yogurt (I used low-fat vanilla)
1/4 cup sugar
a couple of tablespoons of water

Place the ingredients in a food processor bowl fitted with a steel blade and process until pureed and creamy, but not liquefied. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, and add another tablespoon or two of water if needed. Serve the sorbet immediately, or freeze it for later use. Allow any frozen sorbet to sit at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes to soften before serving.

I'm pretty sure you could leave out the yogurt and make the sorbet dairy-free, but I haven't tried that out yet. If you have experience with this, let me know.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Week 9: Main-Dish Peaches

peach saladQuick word game: I say "peach" and you say ...

Cobbler, probably. Maybe pie. Maaaaayyyybe ice cream.

I bet you didn't say salad, or stir fry, or salsa.

When the farm gave us nearly 5 pounds of peaches last week, I dismissed the inclination to make a cobbler and took the opportunity to try out more savory recipes. That's how we wound up eating a peach and corn salad (pictured); beef stir fry with peaches; peach salsa; chicken in a ginger-peach sauce--not to mention a couple of peaches eaten just out of hand. (Naturally, I still indulged my sweet tooth with a cup of peach ice cream at Richardson's.)

It was not solely peaches in the share. We also received corn; tomatoes; eggplants; and 20 tiny plums. But peaches were the stars of the week.

Peach Salad With Corn and Fresh Mozzarella

This is a super-easy recipe, adapted from one on Our corn was so good we ate it raw, but you can boil or grill yours if you like.

Mix together:

2 peaches, diced
Kernels from 2 ears corn
2 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
6 basil leaves, slivered, or to taste

Eat the salad plain or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, or drizzle with both olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Serves 1 to 2 as a light entree.

Peach-Pepper Salsa

This one I served with pan-cooked tilapia.

2 diced peaches
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tsp minced jalapeno pepper (seeds removed)
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
juice from 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least an hour ahead of serving time to let flavors blend.

Beef Stir Fry With Peaches

Adapted from Steamy Kitchen

1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn starch
Black pepper, to taste
1 pound thinly sliced beef for stir fry
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces brown mushrooms, sliced
2 firm but ripe peaches, cut into wedges

Combine soy sauce, sugar, corn starch, black pepper, and beef. Let the beef marinate 10 minutes at room temperature.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Quickly cook beef, about 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from frying pan. Turn down the heat slightly and add onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, until vegetables soften and mushrooms give off some of their liquid.

Add in the peach slices and let them heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beef back into the pan, toss to combine and cook just another minute or so until heated through.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Week 8: Portion-Controlled Cobblers, and Other Delights for Two

mini blueberry cobblerWith both girls at overnight camp for the first time, The Programmer and I are adjusting to having dinners as a twosome.

Full Disclosure No. 1: The best thing we ate this week did not come from our kitchen. Rather, it was a fancy-schmancy dinner we had during a weekend get-away to celebrate our anniversary. (Sample menu item: Pan-roasted duck breast with braised celery root, wilted Asian greens, pineapple marmalade, and seared foie gras.)

Back home, the cooking was decidedly more pedestrian. (Sample menu item: Tuna from a can; skinny eggplants, brushed with olive oil and charred under the broiler; and fresh beans, shelled, boiled, and served with just a bit of salt and pepper.)

Actually, that was a pretty good dinner, and the leftover beans were good cold, with some thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Other simple delights from this week's basket:
  • Beets -- roasted, sliced, and served at room temperature with feta cheese;
  • Tomatoes -- chopped with cucumber and scallions for a chopped salad;
  • And green beans -- steamed and mixed with fresh corn, tomatoes, basil, and oregano.
As it was our anniversary week, we needed a blueberry dessert, too. (Here's the explanation from last year, in case you missed it.) With only two of us at home, it seemed prudent to keep the baked goods to small quantities. Hence, mini blueberry cobblers.

Full Disclosure No. 2: I'm bending the rules with this recipe, as the blueberries didn't come in our CSA share this past week, but they did come from the farm. I'm sure somebody's CSA is providing blueberries now.

Portion-Controlled Blueberry Cobblers

(Recipe adapted from The Pink Apron, who started with an Apple Cranberry Crisp recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who in turn started with a Michael Chiarello recipe in Bon Appetit.)

1.5 cups fresh blueberries
4 tsp Splenda granulated, or sugar
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind

1/3 cup flour
2 Tbsp corn meal
4 tsp Splenda granulated, or sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
5 tsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp fat-free milk

Toss together the filling ingredients until well combined. Divide among four (6 ounce) ramekins and set aside.

Place flour, corn meal, Splenda or sugar, baking powder, and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl and add milk. Stir until ingredients are evenly moistened.

Distribute topping over the filling. Place ramekins in the oven and bake until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm. A little whipped cream or ice cream on the top wouldn't hurt.