CSA Recipe #5 – Strawberries and Cream

Strawberries are good enough on their own, but I was looking for a little something extra. Luckily, I had some whipping cream in my fridge (for another recipe that I had to put on hold because my fridge was super full of vegetables).

I looked up some websites about making whipped cream in a jar (my hand-mixer is super dead), and I found one that seemed legit so I went for it.

At first I used a small salsa jar (about 485ml), but after shaking for 2 minutes I noticed that the cream hadn’t solidified much but it was getting bigger.  I was worried that it wouldn’t have room to “grow” so I switched to a larger salsa jar (800ml approx).

A minute or so shaking that jar and I finally got something resembling cream!  And a really tired arm!

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream (cold)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches of white sugar

Put all ingredients in a jar (preferably something around 800ml) and shake like crazy.

I chilled my first (small) jar in the fridge just in case, even though the website said that it wasn’t necessary. When I switched to the large jar I didn’t have time to chill it and it seemed to work fine, so I’m guessing that as long as your cream is cold you’ll be fine.

Cut up some strawberries, add them to the cream, and nom nom nom.

End Result: It wasn’t sweet enough for my tastes, so I’ll add more sugar next time (maybe 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp, or maybe icing sugar instead of granulated… hmm). It also wasn’t quite thick enough, but my arm was super tired. Starting with a larger jar should fix that problem.

The leftover cream went in the fridge & had started to lose its shape by the next day. I can only assume that more shaking will bring back its shape.

CSA Recipe Fail – Roasted Sweet Turnips

I’ll admit that I panicked.  There were so many vegetables in my fridge and I didn’t know how long they would stay good, so I wanted to cook the turnips before I left it too long and had to throw them out.  I’m only human, see, and as a human I am prone to making bad decisions.  I tell you this because mistakes are a great learning tool for me.

I had already turned the oven on for the beets, so I figured that I might as well roast some sweet turnips as well.  I wasn’t planning on eating them at the moment, but I figured that I could treat them as “leftovers”.

The problem was that I didn’t have a real/meal plan.  As any good heist movie will tell you, you need a plan.

I was thinking of making turnip greens to go with it, but then I remembered that I didn’t really like greens (it’s more of a texture thing than taste).  So after cooking the turnips I put them in the fridge in the hopes that I would think of something to add to them.  I didn’t think of anything, however, so a couple days later I re-heated them and ate them as is.  At that point I learned that some of them weren’t quite cooked all the way through.  I had even cooked them for 15 extra minutes. Next time I’ll put the oven at 425, like the beets, instead of 350.

If I had just calmed down and made a plan it would have been better.  I would have realized that I just needed to go to a store and buy potatoes and carrots, and then I could make a hash (something we always had for breakfast the morning after Sunday dinner, using up any leftover boiled carrots, potatoes, and turnips).  It could have been much more delicious.

Next time, turnips. Next time.

 

 

 

CSA Recipe #4 – Penne Pasta with Beet Greens & Feta

I have a lot of beet greens to work with.  I wanted to do something more than toss them in a salad, so it’s a good thing I found this recipe.  Actually, it’s a great thing I found this recipe, since it is delicious.

How did I find it?  I can’t remember.  I was probably searching for “beet greens + pasta” in Google, hoping to get a few easy recipes.  I don’t even know if I found a recipe or if I just saw the title and went “Yes… That one…”

And even with my limited skills it was delicious. It made a hell of a mess of my pot (melted cheese is delicious but can be difficult to clean), but I forgive it.  I could never stay mad at you, Feta Cheese.

Penne Pasta with Beet Greens and Feta

  • Penne Pasta
  • Beet Greens
  • Feta Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning (I used Italian & Greek)

Blanch the Greens.  Cook the pasta until al dente (instructions should be on the box, if you have the kind that comes in a box).  Drain the pasta & put back in a pot on almost-medium heat.  Add olive oil & Italian spices & Greek spices, mix together.  Add the greens & feta & toss until all ingredients are warm.

EAT.

End Result: I can’t explain why I love this dish so much – maybe it’s the cheese?  But it’s easy enough (only 1 veg to blanch this time), not many ingredients, and you can make a whole bunch at one time (yay leftovers!).

 

 

CSA Recipe #3 – Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

I was thinking of bottling the beets I got, but then I read some recipes and it all seemed like too much work (plus I only had about 5 beets). So I went with the next best thing – beet and goat cheese salad.

If you mention that something has goat cheese in it I’ll go for it.  I had a salad like this at Bistro Le Coq a while ago, which was delicious, so I was more than ready to try and replicate it.

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Roasting Beets:

Cut the leaves off the beets, leaving about an inch of stem (don’t cut off their roots). Wash and dry the beets.

Put the beets on tin foil, drizzle with olive oil, then wrap up the beets in the tin foil.  Bake at 425 for about 1 hour. The beets are done if a knife goes through them easily (try not to pierce the foil while doing this).

Remove the beets from the oven (be careful because there will probably be a bunch of beet juice in the foil which will dye everything pink) and let them cool down enough to be handled. Cut off the tops and the roots, then peel the skins off. Your hands will turn pink, as will everything else the beets touch, but if you rinse your hands after each beet you should be fine.

Salad Making:

Cut the beets into pieces (I cut them in half and then sliced them). Cut up lettuce, top with beets and chunks of goat cheese.  Top with dressing.

Dressing:

Mix together equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, then add some freshly ground pepper. Top salad with dressing.

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End Result: YES. I could probably add something else to the salad, since it seems very basic, but roasted beets are delicious and goat cheese is awesome.

CSA Recipe #2 – Noodles with Julienne Carrots and Bok Choy

When I realized that I had vermicelli noodles and bok choy I knew I wanted to make this. Not that I had a recipe.  I googled, found a few, and went for the easiest one. Well, maybe it wasn’t the easiest. It involved blanching vegetables, a thing I’ve never done before.

Making this took way longer than I thought. There was the carrot washing, the drying, the dicing (I really should buy a kitchen mandolin), doing all of that for the bok choy, then the cooking, the cooling, the patting dry again, and oh man there are so many steps to this. I suggest taking time to prep and being better organized than I was.

This is one of those recipes where there’s not really a recipe (hypocrite, thy name is me).  You add in as much as you think you’d like.  I had 7 small-ish carrots and one little head of bok choy, and then two big handfuls of noodles (I made enough for left-overs).  Next time I’d add more bok choy or maybe some other veggie (I don’t know… snow peas?).

Noodles with Julienne Carrots and Bok Choy (An approximation)

Blanching:

Wash, dry, and peel the carrots. Cut into long thin shapes (I tried for slightly larger than matchstick-size, but I lack consistency). Do the same for the bok choy.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots for 60 seconds, remove carrots using a slotted spoon (or sieve if you don’t have a slotted spoon), put into a colander and rinse under cold water for 60 seconds. Dry.

Using the same pot of water, put in the bok choy for 30 seconds, remove, rinse under cold water, dry.

I was going to use the same pot for the noodles but the bok choy turned the water green. I was worried about my noodles tasting too ‘greeny’, so I poured it out and brought another pot of water to boil. Thankfully I had carrot top pesto to make while I was waiting.

  • Side note: the blanched veggies smelled and looked great. The blanching is supposed to kill enzymes or something. I’ve always just used them raw, but this is an interesting way to pre-cook them.

The noodles went in for 1 minute, then were rinsed under cold water. The recipe I found said to chop the noodles into 6 inch pieces so that they’d fry better, but since the noodles were just a huge mass I wasn’t very precise.  I may have gone a bit knife-crazy, because I ended up with diced noodles that were 3″ or less. At least that made it easier for me to eat this dish with a spoon.

Frying:

I heated up some sesame oil in the pan (enough to cover the pan), and added the noddles. Then I added the carrots and bok choy, and some soy sauce. I pretty much added soy sauce until it turned the colour I wanted. Then I added some greek spice mix, because I was worried that it would be bland.

I was super hungry by this point so I just cooked everything until my patience ran out.

However, I made sure to toss sesame seeds on top before eating, to make it look good.

End Result: Good enough, but could have used more spices/veggies.

CSA Recipe #1 – Carrot Top Pesto

One thing I dislike about recipes is the tendency to be vague (how big is a pinch and what’s a knob of butter?).  It’s okay to cook with instinct, but what if you don’t have any instinct?

The recipe I found for Carrot Top Pesto said that you need the greens from 1 bunch of carrots. What does that mean? How many are in a bunch? Why is there no weight measurement?

When I made this I decided to half the other ingredients, just in case. I only had about 7 small carrots, so I wasn’t sure if I would have enough greens. Turns out I had enough for the full recipe.

Also, I discovered that my food processor attachment doesn’t work that well. The blades don’t go far enough out to the sides so there were still some stalks and leaves left in there and it was chunkier than normal pesto. I also didn’t measure my lemon juice (I didn’t have a lemon but I had some juice so I poured it in until I thought ‘good enough’ – see, even I’m guilty of vagueness!). It was quite lemony, but luckily I like things tart.

Carrot Top Pesto

  • greens from one bunch of carrots (8ish?)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon (1 Tbsp maybe?)
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Wash and dry greens. Pulse in blender with other ingredients until it becomes a pesto-like consistency (or, if you’re like me, until you’re tired of trying). If it’s still pretty pulpy, add a bit more olive oil.

End Result: I spread this on a piece of bread and it was delicious – lemony, garlicy, and green. The next time I buy carrots I’m going for the ones with tops.

pesto2

The CSA Test-Run

I love baking, but I’m not a big fan of cooking. That statement might sound ridiculous, but it’s true. I think it’s partly because if I’m cooking something for breakfast/dinner/supper I want the recipe to be easy and quick, since I’m probably hungry when I start making it and I want it now. Baking can take as long as it wants, because I’m baking treats which I should only eat in moderation.  And if the recipe’s difficult then I have earned that piece of pie/tart/torte/cake/all of the above.

A friend of mine has a CSA – a farm share – but she went out of town this week so she graciously offered her share to me (I’m considering signing up for one, but I’m intimidated by all the greenery).  Honestly, farm shares are pretty cool. The share she has lets you pick 6 things from their weekly offerings. The offerings change depending on what’s ready to be picked, but it’s local and fresh.

I chose strawberries, rhubarb, beets (with greens), sweet turnips (with greens), carrots (with greens), and bok choy.  As someone who doesn’t cook much, and who only really cooks for one person, it’s a lot of stuff.  Thankfully I didn’t have much on the go for the past week.

But I wanted to do my friend proud and make some damn good meals. So I went to the internets, looked up some easy recipes, and got to planning!