Thursday, June 21, 2012

Week 1: Zucchini and Cheese Frittata; Spanish-Style Greens and Chickpeas

Just the other day I was musing about how it would be nice if the first CSA basket of the season filled my fridge. I really should have thought that one out a bit more.

We had a family obligation that coincided with our pickup date, and as fun as trips and family gatherings are, they do shorten the cooking week. I definitely felt challenged, not to mention overwhelmed and exhausted, when I saw the overflowing shelf of greens in my refrigerator the night we got back.

Fortunately, I recovered quickly. In the past three days I have tackled spinach, chard, and zucchini, and have made a reasonable dent in lettuce and radishes. I'm about to admit defeat on kale, however. Too much for a shortened week, let alone one when it's 90 degrees outside. I think I'll have to blanch and freeze it, just to make room for this Friday's pickup.

Zucchini and Cheese Frittata
(Adapted recipe from Sorrento cheese. Serves 4 to 6. If you want to double the recipe, bake it in a 9-by-13-inch dish for 20 minutes.)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/8 cup dry white wine
6 eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and bell pepper for about 5 minutes, or until the onions soften. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and wine, and cook until the zucchini is soft and the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes more. Set aside.

Beat the eggs, add the ricotta, and whisk together until smooth. Stir in the vegetables and pour the mixture into the pie plate. Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until set and slightly browned on top.

Spanish-Style Greens and Chickpeas
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Serves 4 as a side dish. Makes a nice, light entree, too, served with a leafy salad and some crusty bread.)

1/2 pound Swiss chard
1/2 pound fresh spinach
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided use
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1-1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Smoked paprika and lemon juice, optional for serving

Thoroughly wash the chard and spinach. Remove stems from the chard (these can be saved for another use), and roughly chop the leaves.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven. Shake off any excess water on the leaves, then add the chard and spinach to the pot. (You may need to add the leaves in batches.) Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until the greens wilt and the leaves are tender. Remove the greens to a colander and set aside to drain.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce, vinegar, and chickpeas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are heated through. Add the drained greens to the pan and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. (You may not need to add salt if you use salted tomato sauce and chickpeas.) Sprinkle the dish with smoked paprika and lemon juice as desired. I forgot to do this the night I cooked the dish, but I really liked it on the leftovers.

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