Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tilapia with Succotash and Turnip and Kohlrabi Au Gratin

Tonight's Supper utilized 5 CSA ingredients: Green Beans, 2 Roma Tomatoes, 1 large Tomato, 1 small bunch of Turnips, and 2 Kohlrabi

The Tilapia was the quick easy part of this dish. I just cut the fillets in half length wise (for portion control), salted and peppered both sides, then pan cooked them in a little olive oil and lemon juice in a non stick skillet on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side. The only downside is that they fall apart pretty easily when cooked. (Hence the fish pieces on the plate).

Here are the Succotash ingredients:

2 Roma Tomatoes
1 large Tomato
1 medium Tomato (from grocery store)
Green Beans
2 ears of Corn
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

First, I washed and cut the ends off the green beans. Then I cut the green beans into chunks, about 1 1/2 inch long:

Then, I blanched the green beans in salted boiling water for 5 minutes, drained, and set aside.

Next, I cut the corn off the two ears of corn and set aside.

Then I peeled the tomatoes. For those of you who have never peeled a tomato, it is actually very easy. You slice a small cross in the tomato on the side opposite the stem. Then you drop the tomato in boiling water for 30 seconds. Then you drop it in ice water for 1 minute. The peel comes right off with your fingers very easily.Then I chopped the tomatoes into about 1 inch chunks. Here are the prepared ingredients:

Then I added the tomatoes, corn, butter, and salt and pepper to a sauce pan. I brought the mixture to a boil, then simmered it for 10 minutes. then I added the Green Beans and simmered for another 10 minutes. In the end, it was a beautiful dish:

This dish tasted very good, and is a beautiful way to honor the ingredients by not altering them too much. This Succotash came out a little acidic for my tastes. This could be because one of the Roma Tomatoes was still a little green. I have also never made this with Green Beans before. In the past, I have always used Lima Beans, which add more starch to the dish and probably do a better job cutting the acid of the tomatoes.

Here are the ingredients for the Turnip and Kohlrabi Au Gratin:

6 slices of white bread
1 bunch of small turnips
2 kohlrabi
1/2 medium onion
4 oz. Gruyere Cheese
salt and pepper

First, I took a small casserole dish and sprayed it with pam. Then I washed and sliced the turnips and Kohlrabi:

Then I blanched the turnips and Kohlrabi in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, drained them, and set them aside.

I tore the white bread into strips. First, I put a single layer of white bread strips in the casserole dish. Then I put one layer of turnip/Kohlrabi slices. Next I salted and peppered the the layer of turnips and kohlrabi. Then, I sliced the onion very thin and put it in the dish in a single layer. Then I grated 4 oz of the cheese, and put half of the grated cheese in the dish as a layer. Next, I put on an additional layer of bread, turnips/kohlrabi, the rest of the cheese, then salt and pepper on top. Here is what the casserole looked like going into the oven:

I baked it at 325 for 25 minutes. Then turned the broiler on for about 3 minutes to get a nice brown on top:

I was working from a recipe from simply recipes. Since I had the Kohlrabi and had not yet been brave enough to use it, I decided to toss it in with the turnips. This dish tasted fantastic. Occasionally, I cook something that is seriously restaurant quality, this is one of those dishes. The Gruyere was a bit of a splurge, but I was happy to find it at Publix, it cost $6, and I only used half of it. Plus now I have another fun ingredient on hand to experiment with for next week's CSA delivery.


Here is a picture of our plates:

All I have left from the CSA is 3/4 of a medium green bell pepper (I will slice it and eat it raw at lunch tomorrow), and about 1/2 dozen large beets. I will probably roast the beets tomorrow night.

Speaking of tomorrow night, we will have roasted beets and leftovers. Tuesday I am making a beef roast in the crock pot with carrots, onions, and new potatoes. This is a comfort food, and nothing spectacular or interesting, so I will probably not post the recipe. However, Tuesday is the next CSA delivery, so I will be checking in with the new ingredients!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Caramelized Winter Squash and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Cilantro

Tonight's Supper utilized 5 CSA ingredients: 2 butternut squash, 1 acorn squash, cherry and heirloom tomatoes, green bell pepper, and cilantro.

I worked from the caramelized butternut squash recipe I tried here, but I made some improvements.

2 small butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter

I had 2 butternut squash, one from last week and one from this week. I cut the ends off, peeled them with a knife, and cut them into one inch square chunks.
I had one acorn squash. All the internet recipes say to cut these in half, leave the skin on, and roast them that way. Since I had the butternut squash I decided to cut the acorn squash into one inch chunks as well. This was much easier said than done. I would not recommend it. In the end the recipe came out great, but boy did it take me awhile to break down this acorn squash and get the rind off.

I put the chunks into a small roasting pan lined with foil, and tossed salt, pepper, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, and 2 tbsp of melted butter in until the chunks were well coated. I cooked it at 400 for 30 minutes, stirring the chunks every 10 minutes.

I think I finally perfected this recipe. There was just the right about of sweetness to bring out the natural flavor of the squash, and there was not too much butter as there was last time. This is seriously a nice warm, comforting, savory dish, it is a great way to feel more in the season for Halloween and Thanksgiving even though it is still 80 degrees outside.

For the roasted Cherry Tomato recipe, I used these ingredients:

roughly a dozen cherry tomatoes with a few small heirloom tomatoes thrown in
1/2 a very small onion sliced very thin
1/4 medium green bell pepper
handful of cilantro
salt, pepper, olive oil

First, I lined a small roasting pan with foil. I sliced the 1/2 onion very thin. I cut up 1/4 of the green bell pepper into very small chunks. I put the onions and bell pepper chunks into the foil lined pan, drizzled a little olive oil on top, and salted and peppered the mixture. Then I tossed it all around so that the vegetables were well coated with seasoning and oil.

I roasted this mixture in the oven at 400 for 10 minutes. Then I added the tomatoes (after I washed them and took the stems off) and mixed well. I roasted the mixture with the tomatoes for another 15 minutes, or just until the tomatoes start to crack.

Then I put the mixture in a serving dish and tossed in a handful of cilantro.

In the end, I had two beautiful side dishes:

These two dishes go really well together in a meal. The acidity of the tomato dish is a great balance to the richness of the winter squash.

I added a few slices of leftover chicken from Wednesday, and had a very nice supper!

Here is what I have left from the CSA delivery: green beans, a few tomatoes, beets, and turnips. I also have the Kohlrabi from last week. Later in the weekend, I will make a succotash with the beans and tomatoes, and add a little corn from the grocery store. I think I will roast the beets, turnips and Kohlrabi together, but I have not totally decided about that dish yet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chicken over mixed greens and apples with an apple juice reduction and pasta

Tonight I used three CSA ingredients: collards, beet tops, and turnip tops.

I had read that if beets and turnips were very fresh the tops could be cut up and used like any other green. This week's CSA delivery came and the tops to each of these vegetables were so fresh when I first glanced at them I thought they were lettuce! So for the mixed greens and apples, here are the ingredients:

1 bunch of collards
the green leafy parts of 1 bunch of turnips
the green and red leafy parts of 1 bunch of  beets
(not pictured because I was making this up as I went along): lemon juice and grape seed oil

First I washed the greens and seperated and discarded any thick stems. Then I cut the leaves into strips about 1 inch wide:

Next I blanched them in boiling salted water for 10 minutes:

In the mean time, I peeled and sliced 3 apples very thin. I put them in a large non-stick skillet and added 1 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of grape seed oil. After blanching I added the greens to the skillet and sauteed the apples with the greens for 10 minutes:

For the chicken, I took 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and seasoned them with salt and pepper, and a ground mixture of fennel seeds, thyme, a small amount of crushed red pepper, and 1 bay leaf.

Then I browned the chicken in some grape seed oil for about 3 minutes on each side:

Then I put the chicken in a baking dish and baked it at 350 for 20 more minutes.

When I took it out of the oven I let it rest for about 5 minutes, then I sliced the chicken in 1/2 inch strips. We have found serving the chicken in strips instead of whole breasts helps with portion control and you find you really do not need the whole thing to feel satisfied.

For the apple juice reduction, I took the pan in which I browned the chicken, and I did not wash it out. With the browned chicken bits and some of the seasoning from the chicken in it, I added about 3/4 cup of apple juice:

Then I just let it simmer until it reduced, it took about 10 minutes for it to thicken up and turn a nice dark caramel color:

Finally, I put the greens and apples on the plates, placed the chicken strips on top of them, then poured a little of the apple juice reduction on top of all of it:

Now, in the normal state of things, this would have been dinner. But I am pregnant, and I was craving some starch. More specifically, I was craving pasta roni angel hair and herbs from the box. So, I made that to go with the dish a put a little of it on the side:

Here is a close up of the plate:

I have made something very similar to this dish in the past but with Kale as the green, so I knew it would be pretty good.

Let me tell you, I could eat these mixed greens with apples ALL DAY LONG. They are delicious, and thanks to Nancy Bagnulo for the idea to mix apples with greens.

Tomorrow night we are having leftovers from tonight because I have a late meeting.

Friday night I am roasting some of the CSA vegetables to pair with pork chops!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CSA Week 4

This week's CSA delivery arrived today! Inside the bag I found:

1 bunch greens (probably collard)
1 bunch huge beets
1 small bunch turnips
1 small butternut squash
green beans
1 full size tomato
2 roma tomatoes
a dozen or more cherry tomatoes
a half dozen assorted hot peppers
1 small bunch cilantro
1 medium green bell pepper
1 mystery vegetable (gourd? squash?)

Left over from last week:

2 Kohlrabi

Here is a closeup of the mystery vegetable:

This week I will cook the green beans with some sliced almonds and maybe the roma tomatoes.

I want to make mixed greens (with the collards, and maybe the beet tops and turnip tops) cooked with apples. (thanks to Nancy Bagnulo for the idea!)

 I will roast the beets this week, maybe along with the butternut squash, the turnips, and the mystery vegetable.

I am giving the assorted hot peppers away again this week.

That leaves the cherry tomatoes and the cilantro. Not sure what I will do with these yet, but I am thinking maybe using them together in some kind of relish.

As a side note, I have not written since last Thursday. I have cooked, but nothing with any new recipes. Friday night I pulled out some frozen pulled pork bbq, served it on a whole wheat bun, and paired it with green beans and radish/turnip chips.

Yesterday, I used the rest of the cherry tomatoes in a tomato and avocado salad. Delicious!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Squash Cakes

Tonight, I made Squash Cakes and paired them with left over dishes from earlier in the week: Sauteed Swiss Chard and Beets, Apples, and Pears. Seriously. Delicious. Supper.

The Squash Cakes used patty pan squash, summer squash, zucchinis, and onions, all from the CSA.

 I worked from a recipe I have made several times before using zucchini only.


3 tiny patty pan squash
1 tiny summer squash
2 tiny zucchini
4 small long green onions
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp mayo
1 egg lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper

I have butter pictured but I decided to use vegetable oil at the last minute instead.

First, I washed the squash and zucchini, then I used a grater to shred them. I took the shredded bits and wrung them out between two paper towels to try to get the excess water out.  This made just under 1 cup of shredded squash and zucchini.

Then I sliced up the root part of the onions very thin and added them to the shredded squash and zucchini:

Then I added the egg, flour, parm, mayo, salt and pepper and mixed it all up thoroughly:

Next, I headed the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Then I added the batter, making patties with 2 heaping tbsp of batter at a time:

I cooked the patties for about 3-4 minutes on each side:

The brown up nicely, will fill your home with a great smell, and they taste FANTASTIC.

I paired them with leftovers from CSA dishes made earlier in the week for a very nice supper:

What is not pictured is that I ate all 5 of the Squash Cakes by myself, along with the Swiss chard and beets, apples and pears. The baby just could not leave those last 3 Squash Cakes in the fridge for leftovers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Roasted Okra, Sauteed Swiss Chard, and Tomato and Avocado Salad

Tonight I was finishing up last week's CSA delivery and diving into this week's.

CSA ingredients used: okra, 2 bunches swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, basil

I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out what to do with this Okra. I know, I am from the south, so the answer should be easy: fry it. Let me tell you, I LOVE fried okra. I always have. However, remember that one of my rules is that I do not fry food at home. I am not a fan of slimy okra, and have never enjoyed the flavor okra takes on when it is stewed with tomatoes. So, I found this recipe with really good reviews online for roasted okra and gave it a try. Of course, I modified it a little to fit ingredients I had available in the kitchen.

All that is needed is washed okra, pam, salt and pepper. Do not cut or chop the okra. Just wash it.

Spray a baking dish with the pam. Salt and pepper the okra. Spread the okra out in the baking dish. Add a light spray of the pam on the okra.

Then bake the okra at 425 for 20 minutes, turning them with a spatula every 5 minutes. Here is the finished product:

Ok folks, confession time: I was super skeptical about this dish. Even as I was cooking it and smelling it, I was just sure that this would be my first blog entry about a total failure of a dish. However, it was DELICIOUS. It tasted just like fried okra but without the breading. The texture was perfect, not woody or slimy. It was not crunchy as the recipe I had read described, but the texture and taste were very pleasant. It was like fake fried okra: ffokra. I will certainly make this again. Oh, and did I mention it was easy and took no special ingredients?

Next dish: Sauteed Swiss Chard

I used 2 bunches of swiss chard, 4 tbsp grape seed oil, salt, pepper, 2 tsp lemon juice.

First, I washed each leaf of swiss chard. Then I folded the leaves in half, cut off the stems, and chopped the stems into 1 inch chunks:

Then I sliced the leaves into 1 inch strips width-wise:
I put 2 tbsp of grape seed oil into a large non-stick skillet. Then I added the stems, and salt and pepper. I sauteed the stems for about 7 minutes.

Then I added the other 2 tbsp of grape seed oil, the leaves, and more salt and pepper to the pan. I mixed the stems and the leaves well, then sauteed for another 7 minutes.

Finally, I drizzled the lemon juice over the finished cooked product before serving.

The taste and flavors of this dish were fantastic. However, I was not a fan of the texture. They were a little course for my taste. Next time I will try similar seasonings but a different cooking method.

Finally,  I made tomato and avocado salad. It was the same tomato salad recipe from last week, only I added a cut up avocado that I bought at the grocery store that was beautiful and cheap.

Here are my three dishes for the evening:

Which made for a nice vegetarian plate for supper: