25 November 2013


Posted in CSA, food tagged , at 1:39 pm by Tricia

seriously! i was surprised myself

cocoa on roasted cauliflower is yummy. seriously! i was surprised myself!

Despite this story at NPR telling me that cauliflower is not trending for Thanksgiving this year, I’ve been getting a lot of cauliflower from our CSA the past couple of months. A few years back I kept reading about roasting cauliflower in cocoa powder, so i managed to track down some recipes (including this one, which I’ve tweaked) and found a technique that Jonski Papa and I both like. Someday soon we might even get a child to try it, but I’ll admit that even the cocoa powder doesn’t totally mask the not-so-great smell of roasting cauliflower.

Oven Roasted Cocoa Cauliflower

Preheat oven to 400 F.

1 head cauliflower, cut or broken into florets
1 Tab olive oil
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1.5 tsp paprika (i have smoked sweet paprika on hand right now)
1/8 – 1/4 tsp garlic powder (i use the low end)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (i use 1/4)

You can either toss the cauliflower with the oil and then toss with the dry seasonings, or mix the seasonings into the oil and then toss the cauliflower in that. Once the cauliflower is sufficiently coated, put on a cookie sheet or roasting pan with low sides (for better roasting quality heat flow).

Cook at 400 F for about 25 minutes, until tender (cook less if you prefer it more crunchy). Serve warm. Reheats well if you have leftovers.

Perhaps this will inspire you to buck trendiness and add cauliflower to your Thanksgiving table. After all, cacao is a new world plant, so it’s appropriate from that perspective.


12 October 2013

Inspired Pie

Posted in CSA, food at 8:12 pm by Tricia

I recently bought some cinnamon apple goat cheese from Trader Joe’s, but Jonski Papa and I decided it was a bit too sweet to eat on it’s own (even with crackers). I also recently got a few puny misshapen pears from my CSA. And I had dough for a pie crust, left over from making chard pie last week. Somewhere in the back of my mind was lurking an idea: pear goat cheese tart. Maybe I had been seeing pears and goat cheese when looking for directions on how to crisp pancetta? Anyway, combine all this, start it simmering on low, and I ended up looking for recipes. I got inspired by this one and came up with my own creation.

unbaked pie

the pie, before cinnamon sugar or baking

Apple Pear Goat Cheese Tart/Pie

single pie crust
6 to 8 ounces apple cinnamon goat cheese
pears (mine might have been the equivalent of 2 ‘medium’ pears?)
an apple (unless, I suppose, you have lots of pears!) (I used honeycrisp; it’s what I have in the house right now)
cinnamon sugar (Trader Joe’s cinnamon sugar grinder ftw)

0. Preheat oven to 375° F.
1. Roll out pie crust and put in pie dish. If you actually own a tart dish, use that instead. Or ditch pans altogether and go galette style, as in the inspiring recipe.
2. Slice the goat cheese log into thin slices. Layer them on the crust. I managed to cover the crust with an almost complete log (we’d eaten a few slices before determining we didn’t like it on its own).
3. Slice up the pears and layer them over the goat cheese. I barely had enough for one layer – I’m sure more would be even better!
4. Using your nifty apple coring/peeling/slicing tool, turn the apple into a slinky. Cut the apple slinky in half from top to bottom so you have two neat stacks of apple slices. (Don’t have the nifty tool? I guess you can just core your apple and somehow generate nice even slices.)
5. Artistically (see above :^) place the apple slices atop the pear layer. I had leftover slices, which were eaten as appetizer by the child who set the table.
6. Grind (or sprinkle) cinnamon sugar over the apples.
7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until nicely browned.
8. Cool for 20 minutes or so and then eat.

I cooked for 40 minutes, but the naked crust edges got a bit overly done. You could probably avoid this problem if your pie was more full. Or if you actually used a tart pan, since apparently they are more shallow. Even with the slightly overdone edges, this was really really good – the sum is way better than the individual parts, especially that too-sweet goat cheese part. I would probably even buy the goat cheese another time, in order to make this again!

baked pie

finished pie – yum!!

15 March 2013

Out of hibernation

Posted in CSA, events, food at 2:27 pm by Tricia

The confluence of our annual Pi(e) Day party and the first spring CSA pickup has awakened my blog from winter hibernation.

One of my contributions was chard pie, which I’ve blogged about before. I used Trader Joe’s puff pastry as the crust (I’d already made 2 pie crusts – for a pecan and a chocolate chip pie – and Matthew made pizza crusts). As Matthew was telling someone that the chard was grown just a few miles down the road, I started laughing and announced that there was actually not any chard in the chard pie – it included spinach, a bit of arugula (I’d eaten most of it the day before), and the ‘salad mix’ that Jennifer bagged up for us (I saw a few leaves of kale, mustard or mizuna, and lots of other things). It turned out great – you don’t need chard to make the so-called Micah’s Yummy Chard Pie. This pie now makes regular appearances at our house (without the dill :^) – we grown-ups like it, and someday soon I might be able to get Z-boy to try it (not holding my breath for the other two. Like me, they’re not fans of straight eggs. Unlike me, they’re not all that adventurous about new foods, so might not buy the ‘but really, it doesn’t taste eggy!’ line).

I was quite excited when one of my friends showed up with a shoo-fly pie. I told her it was the perfect librarian pie, because I was thinking of the book Shoo-Fly Girl, by Lois Lenski. I’ve never had it before so had no idea what to expect, but between the molasses and the texture it tastes like a piece of really good gingerbread on a crust. She used Alton Brown’s recipe. I might have to try making it myself some day soon, and I might just go back and re-read Shoo-Fly Girl.

Pi(e) Day Spread

Most of the pies that were brought to the party. Savory in the front, sweet to the back, pizzas out of view to the left. I always forget to take a picture before the feeding frenzy begins!

pie party cleanup

A lot of the dishes used during our Pi(e) Party

13 October 2012

Hash Greens

Posted in CSA, food at 11:04 pm by Tricia

I am late to be posting this, since zucchini season is pretty much over where I live, but here it is nonetheless. When I was retrieving my CSA share one week, another member mentioned he would make zucchini fritters for his family with the squash he just picked up. This sounded interesting to me, so I perused my cookbooks to no avail. The internet was more helpful, and I ended up adapting a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which is itself an adaptation from Simply Recipes.

I made them three times. The first time, I had grated potatoes that had been hanging out in the kitchen for a few hours (spouse and a child made hash browns for an earlier meal) – i added them primarily to clean up. These were a big hit. The second time, I left out the potato, and that batch was more mushy – but I also made an error in the mixing order (zucchini to the egg before the flour? or something like that) which could have been the problem.  The third time, I added potatoes in again, but they didn’t have as much time to sit around  and the result was not as great as the first. Maybe the potato shreds really need to dry out?  Or maybe it was a fluke? Two out of three children liked Batch 1 but one of them did not stay a long-term fan. Hopefully he’ll be willing to try again next summer, because I certainly plan to make them again!

Hash Greens
(aka zucchini fritters meet hash browns)
Adapted from Zucchini Fritters at Smitten Kitchen

Yield: About 10 2 1/2 inch fritters

1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
~1 cup grated potatoes (as for hash browns)
2 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
other seasonings you might like, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying

Trim ends off zucchini and grate them with the shredding blade of a food processor (use the large holes of a box grater if you don’t have an FP). In a large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes.

While you are waiting for zucchini to weep, mix together the flour, baking soda, and some freshly ground black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the scallions with your lightly beaten egg.

Wring out the zucchini in one of the following ways: pressing it against the holes of a colander with a wooden spoon to extract the water, squeezing out small handfuls at a time, or wrapping it up in a clean dishtowel or piece of cheese cloth and wringing away. [I did all three, in order. More liquid came out at each step. At the end, you have a green ball, much more compact than the zucchini you started with!]

Taste the zuke shreds; and if you think it could benefit from more salt, add a little bit more (sk recommends 1/4 teaspoon).

Stir the green matter into the egg mixture, then add your potato shreds, and finally stir in the flour mixture.

In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Drop small bunches of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet and lightly flatten them with your spatula. Don’t crowd! Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, from 3 to 4 minutes. If you find this happening too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain briefly on paper towels.

If you’re going to need to cook more than 2 batches, SK recommends that you “transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed. Repeat process, keeping the pan well-oiled, with remaining batter. I like to make sure that the fritters have at least 10 minutes in the oven to finish setting and getting extra crisp.” (I skipped this step, as I was able to make 6 fritters in my ~8″ cast iron skillet.) And if you want a lemony-garlic sour cream topping for your fritters, check out the Smitten Kitchen post – it was a nice addition the time I made it.

12 April 2012

Various Veggies

Posted in CSA, food at 1:10 pm by Tricia

We’re in week 4 of the spring season at Capella Farm. I should be organized like my friend L and post my menu plans for what is in the box. Unfortunately, I tend to be spur of the moment when it comes to dinner. Here are some of the things I’ve prepared in the past three weeks:

Spring regulars – recipes I’ve posted before:

New this year (links go to recipes at other web sites):

  • grated parsnip apple salad with meyer lemon dressing
    • This appears in From Asparagus to Zucchini, p 113 – link above goes to an online version of it. I decided to make it since it was completely different from roasting or braising the parsnips. Bonus – I got to use another one of those meyer lemons left over from Pi(e) Day! The spousal unit really liked this – I thought the parsnip added an interesting taste, although it might be good to add a bit more dressing.
  • stir-fried carrots and ginger with mustard seeds
    • Another great dish from World Vegetarian.  This is quite spicy – you’ll want something bland to eat with it (rice, bread, or maybe top it with a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt). I put a few spoonfuls of it in my salad for the next day’s lunch. The rest of the leftovers went into a flour tortilla with sauteed greens on Taco Tuesday.
  • stir-fried bok choy with cashew sauce (From Asparagus to Zucchini, page 31)
    • After I made this recipe, I realized it’s not that different from cooking greens then dousing them with a peanut sauce – and I even had a jar of peanut sauce in the fridge. But actually, this does taste different. I had a large head of bok choy but the amount of sauce in the recipe was too much – I kept about half in the fridge and will use it on other cooked greens. Or maybe I’ll be inspired by this post at Arctic Garden Studio and do a stir-fry with tofu and more choi.
  • assorted sauteed greens recipes
    • We have a near-weekly dinner tradition of Taco Tuesday. I like to change mine up a bit (at least 3 of the other 4 in my family would be fine eating the same thing each week), so I sauteed rapini with garlic and cumin, then added some (Trader Joe’s tomatillo and roasted chile) salsa at the end of the cooking. I put this in a flour tortilla with leftover spicy carrots (see above) and yum! wonderful twist on Taco Tuesday!

17 July 2011

Spice Rack Challenge – Asian Slaw

Posted in CSA, events, food at 8:35 pm by Tricia

Update: I found out this week that what I thought was savoy cabbage was actually yukina savoy, a tasty green in the mustard family (sort of like tatsoi). Jennifer left us a note to “use it like spinach.” I guess that’s one reason it worked so well in a raw dish! I’m updating the term below because it was hard to find info about it online.

I’ve been negligent the past few months and have missed posting for the Spice Rack Challenge. May was coriander. I was getting fresh cilantro from Capella’s spring CSA, plus I have a couple of go-to recipes that include ground coriander: Spanish-style greens with chickpeas (we eat this regularly, with a variety of seasonal greens), or green beans with cumin and coriander (my favorite way to spice up green beans). But I didn’t post anything. June was mint, and I could have posted the Three-Herb Chimichurri (parsley, cilantro, and mint) from Raichlen’s How To Grill.  I originally made it to serve with grilled steaks but found it was really good on all sorts of things (such as rice, bland veggies, as a salad dressing, or whatever). But once again, I never got around to it.

The challenge for June is basil. I did intend to grow some of my own this year. I had a holy basil seedling that I potted up before leaving on 10 days of vacation. I forgot to line up anybody to water it, and left it on my porch – and it died. The other seedlings right next to it did fine, which was weird, but there you go: no home grown basil for me. But I did get some this past week from Capella Farms, so all was not lost. I’ve been planning to serve roll-your-own Vietnamese spring rolls for dinner, which ideally include Thai basil. Instead, while shopping at a Korean grocery for spring roll wrappers, I got seduced by their thinly sliced bulgogi meat. Tonight I assembled a mostly Korean feast, and included a cabbage dish from Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. The inspiring recipe is called “Napa Cabbage Salad with Southeast Asian Flavors.” I had savoy cabbage yukina savoy and no fish sauce, so modified it somewhat. I’m not big on cole slaw – or cabbage for that matter! – but this combo was really fabulous – the mix of fresh herbs is a great taste sensation. If I were given to hyperbole, I might say something like “a party in your mouth,” but instead I will bow to Bishop’s words when he writes that “the flavors are bright and crisp.” A bright, crisp, flavorful party in your mouth…

Bonus! This recipe actually includes basil AND mint AND coriander (in the form of fresh cilantro), so it kind of makes up for missing the past two months!

green (and orange!) ingredients from Capella

Asian Slaw

yukina savoy cabbage, chopped into thin strips
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
12 large basil leaves, cut into thin strips
12 large fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips
2 Tab minced fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tab lime juice
a few drops of worcestershire sauce (original recipe calls for 1.5 Tab fish sauce)
1 or 2 Tab diced green chiles from the freezer (recipe calls for 1 small Thai red chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced)
1 tsp sugar
1 Tab toasted sesame oil (original calls for 2 Tab roasted peanut oil )
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

1. Place the yukina savoy cabbage, carrots, and herbs in a large bowl.

2. Whisk the lime juice, worcestershire, chile, and sugar together in a small bowl. Stir occasionally to help the sugar to dissolve, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the oil.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Add the peanuts, toss, and serve immediately.

leftover slaw (bright crisp party in the bowl)

Tasty Turnips

Posted in CSA, food at 3:39 pm by Tricia

Turnips are not one of my favorite foods – or rather, I’m not all that comfortable cooking turnips, because I don’t have a repertoire of go-to recipes. But they show up in my CSA share, so I try to find interesting recipes to use them up. Here is the most recent success, courtesy of (what else?!?) World Vegetarian. I took it to a pot luck and it got gobbled up. I certainly enjoyed it!

(By the way, am I the only one who does that – takes new dishes to pot lucks? I figure a large audience like that is bound to have a few adventurous eaters, unlike my own family that is only adventurous on other people’s turf. I almost always taste test it first, and if something was a true disaster I wouldn’t take it along…)

Turnips with Yogurt and Tomato

Shaljam Lajavaab

1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
2 lbs turnips, peeled and cut into 1.5 inch dice
3 Tab peanut or canola oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds (original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp)
2 large shallots (about 1.5 oz), peeled and cut lengthwise into fine slivers (I used a small leek and part of a garlic scape)
2 medium tomatoes (8 oz), peeled and chopped (I only had a small tomato, so I used diced tomatoes from a can!)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne

Put the yogurt and salt into a large bowl. Beat lightly with a fork or whisk until the yogurt is smooth and creamy.

Pierce the turnip pieces on all sides with a fork and then put them into the bowl with the yogurt. Mix well and set aside for at least 3 hours. (You can leave the turnips in the yogurt for up to 8 hours, but refrigerate after 3.) Strain, but save the yogurt since you will be using it.

Put the oil in a large nonstick frying pan and set over high heat. When hot, put in the strained turnips. Stir and fry until the turnips are lightly browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium-high. Quickly put in the cumin seeds and stir once. Put in the shallots; stir and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the shallots are lightly browned. Put in the tomatoes and cayenne. Stir and fry for 1 minute. Put in the turnips and reserved yogurt. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. The yogurt will curdle as it cooks, but that is okay.

Next, turn the heat down to low and cook another 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. Do not allow the turnips to stick to the bottom of the pan. If necessary, sprinkle a little water if they seem too dry.

Serves 4 to 6.

ETA: After posting this, I looked for other turnip recipes on my blog and found a very similar one, braised turnips with tomatoes and cumin – the main difference being that one doesn’t have the yogurt.

14 July 2010

Paper Chef 54 – Super Supper Salad

Posted in CSA, events, food at 6:27 pm by Tricia

Paper Chef ingredients

lovely assemblage of ingredients

This past weekend was Paper Chef weekend. The ingredients, selected by the host Karen of Prospect: The Pantry, were raspberries, beans (any kind), zucchini, and cereal grains. I forgot about this entirely until late Monday, so figured I’d have to pass again. But then when my CSA box included green beans AND squashes (zucchini and others), plus raspberries are in season at the farmer’s market – well, I just had to pull together a last minute entry. I can’t think of a clever name, so I’ll just give the ingredients and directions.

Herbed Grains and Green Beans


1 cup (before cooking) of your favorite grain mix

4oz (~115 gr) green beans, cut into pieces
8 oz (~225 g) squash, cut into chunks
1 garlic scape, chopped
1 tab olive oil

1 medium sized (~5 oz) tomato
2 to 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
fresh raspberries (optional)

1 Tab olive oil
2 Tab raspberry vinegar
1 fresh raspberry (or more) (which you will squash)
leaves torn from a sprig of fresh thyme
leaves torn from a sprig of fresh oregano
fresh basil (at least 4 big leaves)
sprig of fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic (chopped fine or squashed through a garlic press)

1. Prepare the grains as directed. (I used a brown rice – daikon radish seed – black barley mix from Trader Joe’s. It takes about 35 minutes to cook. In the spirit of full disclosure and in conflict with the ingredients list above, it’s not my favorite grain mix, but it’s what I had on hand!)

2. While the grain are cooking, toss the green beans, squash, and garlic scapes with olive oil in a baking dish. Roast them in a preheated 450F oven for 15 minutes. (I don’t like the smell of roasting chopped garlic, but the scape added a nice garlicky flavor without that smell.)

3. As they roast and the grains cook, chop the tomato roughly and toss with some salt in your serving bowl.

4. Mix up the dressing: finely chop all the herbs together, then stir into the oil and vinegar mixture. Stir in the minced garlic and 1 raspberry (or more if you prefer) that you squash up as you stir. (Hey, maybe I should call this “grains, beans, squash, and squashed raspberries”! :^)

5. When the roasted vegetables come out of the oven, toss them with the tomato, crumbled feta, and dressing. By doing this while the vegetables are still warm, the tomato and feta will get softened a bit and release some more juices.

6. When the grains are ready, stir them in. Serve when you’re ready to eat (this salad will taste great warm or cold) – and top with a few more raspberries so you feel more in the spirit of the challenge!

I really liked the salad, and my husband praised it as well. If I were to change anything, I might use a little less dressing – or, alternatively, more green beans and squash and perhaps tomato. I used all the beans I had, but the grains easily could have stood up to double the amount. The fresh herbs were a fabulous addition – I could detect them in various bites, yet the flavors all melded so well that it wasn’t a distraction but a nice burst of tastiness. (As an aside, one of the things I really appreciate about my new CSA this year is that we can take small amounts of all the herbs she has available, not just a big clump of one variety.)

I added some fresh raspberries on top because it felt like a bit of a cheat to just resort to raspberry vinegar. They were a pleasant addition, but really felt like an add-on. I intended to add some lightly toasted pine nuts (the ones I currently have on hand don’t provoke pine mouth!) but totally forgot since I was running late and we needed to get the middle child to his baseball game. Maybe the combination of nuts and berries would feel more integral.

We had this salad with the first bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches of the season – using lettuce and a tomato from the farm share, bacon from a local farm (Ernst Farms), and naturally leavened bread that my husband makes. Yum! What a delightful summer supper!

BLT and salad

Paper Chef 54 dinner!

If you’re keeping score, all ingredients in the salad were local except for the grains mix, the olive oil, vinegar, and salt. And all the local ingredients except the raspberries (and including the flowers in the first photo) are from Capella Farm (our CSA)!

(And speaking of score, middle son hit two triples and a double at the game for at least 4 RBIs. His bat was on fire! Their team won the game, by a score of 16-6.)

15 June 2010

A sad waste of greens

Posted in CSA, food tagged at 7:51 pm by Tricia

If you come across a recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon of curry powder to season 2 pounds of mustard greens and a can of tomatoes, don’t bother making it. It’s boring and bland. Even with 1 tab fresh ginger. I suppose you could try increasing the seasoning, but if that doesn’t work out, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

And on top of this recipe fail (where I used up all my mustard greens AND my chard), I’m beginning to think my husband has a bitterness detector that I’m missing. He often claims that a greens dish is too bitter when I can’t taste any such element. Or maybe I’m fine but he’s like those people who think cilantro tastes like soap, and he’s missing subtle aromas and top notes and complexities…