The first half of our summer has been a flurry of activity as we’ve scrambled to cram activities into this fleeting season of beautiful CT weather. Well… stated more correctly, I have dragged my husband away from his video games for many afternoons of beach-bumming and pool-going; Pokémon Go has been particularly useful bait to encourage our summer excursions!
My cooking options have been limited this past month; our air conditioning is not fully functional (however, I do not care for AC, so it’s really made no difference) so I avoid oven-cooking that would produce excess heat in the house.
Additionally, as far as the blog is concerned, much of my cooking has been done late at night. Without daylight to take my blog-pictures, I am in direct violation of Bon Appetit’s 10 Commandments of Taking Instagram Food Pics. Consequently, this has meant less blog posts… well, Game of Thrones and Pokémon Go have definitely contributed to the paucity of blog posts as well 😉
Here are some of the highlights from our last few weeks of the Provider Farm CSA (for more on what a CSA is, check out my first post on the topic).
Kale: Kale Chips
It seems that the reign of kale as the omnipresent health-ingredient of choice has ended. This scorned vegetation maintains one bastion of resistance among my culinary affections: kale chips. Yes, I know, it’s a basic white girl snack. I only enjoy these in the comfort of my Uggs and black leggings… in the privacy of my pumpkin-spice-scented home.
Every time I make kale chips, I am astounded by the transformation that this leafy green undergoes. Leathery texture yields to incomparable crispness. My new favorite recipe involves nutritional yeast. I recognize that this yellow powder is probably an acquired taste carried over from my hippie-child upbringing, but I’d say it’s worth a try!
If 葉媽媽 agrees to the publishing of her recipe (and if I can figure out the correct ingredient ratios), I will share a recipe for Asian (Taiwanese?) pickles on the blog soon! I’m going to hazard a guess that this is a Yeh-family original recipe because google searches for the ingredients have not yielded any similar recipes.
Fennel: a good friend of all things meaty
We ventured beyond the usual sausage & fennel pairing into the realm of chicken thighs. I needed something low-maintenance to cook one morning for our work-lunches and came upon this recipe from The Kitchn. It was so easy (compared to our usual fare) to just roughly chop the fennel, toss all of the ingredients together, and stick it in the oven!
Spring Onions: Sauté
I didn’t know that spring onions were a thing until we picked them up at the CSA. I had heard the term as a an alternate name for scallions/green onions. The Kitchn explains the difference succinctly:
These onions come from the varietals that produce bulbs and are basically more mature versions of scallions. They are planted as seedlings in the late fall and then harvested the next spring, thus the word “spring” in the name.
Spring onions are sweeter and mellower than regular onions, but the greens are more intense in flavor than scallions.
I would describe the flavor as a mix between leeks and pearl-onions; the texture of the bulbs is distinctly onion, but the stalks can be treated like a milder version of scallions. I chopped the bulbs into petals and roughly chopped the stalks to sauté with a handful of shrimp as well as oyster sauce and white pepper powder.
(Purple?!) Napa Cabbage
The look of it kind of reminds me of the red weed that grew everywhere in War of the Worlds. This napa was gorgeous… but it gave a strange purple-tint to our food!
Beets: An unexpected pairing
My husband had a hankering for swedish meatballs, which we prepared with a traditional gravy. However, we had no lingonberry jam on hand to complete the classic Ikea triumvirate. My mind jumped to cranberry sauce… which we also do not have, so I found a recipe from The Tasting Table that combines beets, cranberries, and red wine into a mixture that paired fabulously with our meaty morsels.
Tangy, yet earthy… or as my coworkers would describe it: “ewww, it tastes like dirt”, this complex sauce was a perfect foil to the straightforward appeal of rich meatballs.
P.S. in using this recipe, I cut the sugar content in half and used dried cranberries instead of fresh.