Tuesday, July 19, 2011
It's ironic that here we are in the thick of summer with produce coming in fast and furious and I seem to have taken a little hiatus from writing this blog. Maybe not ironic exactly, but you get what I mean.
Summer's bounty is pretty awesome and we have been getting lots of great stuff -- zucchini, onions, pickling cukes, red and green cabbage, lettuce etc. Last week we even got garlic and shallots, too. I've been making alot of salad. And homemade salad dressing, which is better than anything from a bottle. (Sorry Paul Newman.)
If you've never made your own salad dressing you should know that it's easy, fast and tastes great. Here's how. Put one teaspoon Dijon mustard in a jar with screw on lid. Add some salt and freshly ground pepper. Add one garlic clove pressed or one finely chopped shallot. Mix in one tablespoon vinegar. I like white balsamic or red wine vinegar, but you can adjust what you pick based on your other salad ingredients. Shake. Add three to four tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Shake. Taste for seasonings and dress salad.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
One of the leafy green items we got this week was curly endive. Also known as chicory or frisée , it's a bitter lettuce. Very bitter. Mean girl bitter.
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to do with it. Had it been cooler outside I would have tossed it in a pot of Italian Wedding Soup, which would have blunted some of its sharpness. But the weatherman was calling for more typical Baltimore summer weather (Translation: Hot and sticky.)
So I made salad. With warm bacon dressing. And a poached egg on top. Break into the egg and the warm yolk drips over the dressed greens and creates this delicious, rich tasting sauce that complements sharp vinaigrette and salty bacon. I sprinkled my bowl with a little crumbled blue cheese, because I thought I remembered that a french bistro near here does the same.
Here's the recipe I used from Gourmet Magazine:
Recipe courtesy of Gourmet
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Culinary gods come and go.
When I first started cooking, Fannie Farmer was my go-to girl for recipes. Later it became Mark Bittman. And just this Spring I found a new go-to goddess -- Melissa Clark from the New York Times. The cookbook club I belong to (INSERT SHAMELESS PLUG HERE, uh sorry, I mean -- http://charmcitycookbooking.wordpress.com/) tested her book "In the Kitchen With A Good Appetite" in April and found a lot to like about the straightforward, unpretentious recipes.
The hands down winner of the book is this Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad. This is not a salad for the faint of heart. It's spicy, salty, garlicky, and crunchy. It can be a finger food at cocktail time or a salad on a buffet. Kids even like it. Shocking, but true.
So this recipe was what I thought of immediately when I saw the broccoli in the box this week. Sure the bunch was smaller than what you find in the grocery, but bigger than the head of CSA broccoli we got two weeks ago. Which means that summer is really here.
Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad
The theme of this week is: You can have any vegetable you want, kid, just as long as it's green.
Too early for tomatoes and watermelon, so here we are in Greenland. Must spend some time washing and spinning dry my haul and looking up salad recipes.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I never really thought much about radishes. They came in a plastic bag, tasted kind of sharp, and didn't make much of an impression on me when my mom tossed them in a salad.
Then one morning at the farmers market I cam across some pink and white radishes that were long and thin, with floppy green tops. I loved them upon first sight and bought them on the spot. I had no idea what to do with them, but through some high level research (um, Google) I discovered that these mild radishes go well with buttered bread and a sprinkling of coarse salt. And a new favorite sandwich was born.
So when the CSA box yielded a bunch of white radishes, I knew what to do. I washed them, cut off the tops and put them on a plate with some salt. I didn't include bread or butter, because I was cooking crab cake tacos and didn't want to spoil anyone's dinner. They were sweet and mild, salty and crunchy. Better than potato chips. Or close, anyway.
Monday, June 20, 2011
We are still eating a lot of salad. But tonight, I'm also planning to cook the swiss chard that I blanched earlier in the week.
I love swiss chard. It's mild, tastes good hot or cold, and is easy to prep. Basically all you do is put some olive oil in a skillet, add some garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the blanched chard. Cook until heated through. Add some raisins that you've soaked in hot water and drained, some toasted pine nuts, and some salt and freshly ground pepper.
If you prefer a true agrodolce, or sweet and sour chard, add some vinegar. If you aren't fond of fruit in your veg, leave out the raisins. And if you have some leftover, toss it in your eggs tomorrow at breakfast.