Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

June 22, 2012

CSA cooking. My Very Own Version of ‘Chopped.’

After being gone for nearly nine months, opened a restaurant, restaurant …I’m back. Once I got done catching up on my sleep, I started catching up with my life and was delighted to find that I could still sign up for a CSA share. For those not in the know, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share is where you purchase a share (or a half-share in my case) directly from the farmer and you pick up your farm fresh vegetables once a week. I connected to my CSA share through Just Food, which has an easy CSA finder interface, for NYC residents. Click the link to find one near you.

1st CSA Haul

I paid $400 for fresh vegetables once a week from June 4th to November 1st. Which comes out to around $20 a week. I did pay extra for the eggs (4.50) and the strawberries (4.50).

In last weeks ‘basket’ was 4 potatoes, two onions, spinach, chard (which I had never cooked with), scallions, cilantro, radishes and an enormous head of boston lettuce. Obviously, this move was fueled by my desire for farm fresh food, and to help out local farmers, but I also did it to push myself out of my culinary comfort zone. Instead of browsing websites or cookbooks looking for something new to cook and then going shopping with a list of ingredients, I now have to look at my very own ‘Chopped’ basket and figure out how to cook for the week with what I have. It’s changing my cooking already more than I would have thought.

Working under the same idea, I went to the farmers market told myself just to pick up what looked good and worry about the recipes later.   I ended up with cod, scallops and turkey sausage. What I made last week was Fish and Chips, Chard with Chickpeas and Sopressata, Strawberry Jam, Turkey Sausage Meatballs with Cilantro and Spinach in a Shallot White Wine Sauce and Scallops with Panzanella. There was a salad at every meal, including lunch (sometimes was lunch).

The simplest of those recipes is of course the Strawberry Jam. Though 1 quart of berries only yielded me around 5 ounces of jam, it is delicious and super quick!

Strawberry Jam

1 quart strawberries
1 cup cane sugar
juice of 1 large lemon
zest of 1 lemon

Wash and hull and halve the strawberries. Put them into a pot with the sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Stir. Turn heat on medium-high and cook the berries down about 20 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. You don’t want it at a boil, a slow bubbling is ideal.

Bubbling

That’s it. Place in jar and refrigerate. Want a larger batch? Just double or triple the recipe.

The smell that permeated my apartment was better than any incense or candle and made it worth making the jam all in its own. Not to mention the gorgeous color.

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August 24, 2011

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Coconut

This almost seems like cheating as a recipe because though it has a lot of ingredients to give it flavor it’s so, so simple. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about coconut as a flavor in savory foods. But what I liked about this dish was that the coconut lended an really interesting texture as much as flavor. This dish managed to taste fresh, as well as a little smoky and had a lovely exotic flair from the coconut. This was equally as good cold as it was warm. You also can use this cooking method with nearly any vegetable of your choice.

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Coconut

1 1lb chopped green beans (small)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

6-8 dried curry leaves (you can use fresh)

1 cry red chili

1 tablespoon urad Dahl (lentils, for texture)

1 tablespoon chang Dahl(different sized lentils, for texture)

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons oil for frying

1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium/high heat. Add the dried red chili, urad dahl, chang dahl, curry leaves,  black mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook until the cumin seeds pop. Add the chopped green beans to the pan and sprinkle with the turmeric, chili powder and salt.

Stir through the spices and then add coconut. Stir all of this together and then cover and cook until the beans reach desired doneness. I like mine crunchy so it didn’t take long at all, 7-10 minutes. If you want them softer you will probably have to add 1/4 cup water during the cooking process so the spices and coconut don’t stick to the pan.

March 24, 2011

Japan, An Irradiated Food Supply

Like anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock I have been closely following events in Japan, with a particular eye on the effects of both the tsunami and the nuclear disasters on Japan’s food supply. I find the downplaying of the presence of radiation in Japans milk, vegetables and now tap water absolutely abhorrent, bordering on criminal. In this first video the expert tells us that radiation is everywhere, and if you go looking for it you will find it. Certainly, this is true, radiation bombards us everyday from the sun and depending on how close we are to it also depends on the amount of sunscreen we need to apply to stop our skin from literally burning, blistering and peeling from our bodies. If our skin is not properly protected from the supposedly benign sun radiation cancer can develop. So, you’ll excuse me if I don’t find the sun radiation comparison comforting.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

You will also excuse me if I find headlines like this one, Plume of Radiation moving Towards California Is Not Dangerous, patently ridiculous. Or this one; Obama: Japan’s radiation won’t reach the US. Because here’s the thing, just like with the oysters, we actually live on one planet, Earth, the only one we have and it is part of one huge weather system that affects every single person in one way or another. What is happening to Japan will effect us all whether we choose to perceive that reality or not. At least this  second video does not down play the seriousness or the scariness of what is happening to Japan’s food supply right now.

November 4, 2010

From The Mouth of Babes

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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