Member Diary Week #4-Mike & Amy

Thanks to the long weekend, we had Monday off from work, and figured we could knock out our distribution shift. After setting up, we manned the egg and berry table for the evening. For those of you who got the berry and egg shares, we can admit to severe jealousy, as after sitting with the multi-colored eggs and gorgeous buckets of berries, our vegetable share seemed insufficient. That said, what a vegetable bounty it was:

  • 1 White Onion
  • 1 Spanish Onion
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Leek
  • 2 heads of Garlic
  • 1 bag of Zucchini Flowers
  • 1 bunch of Kale
  • 1 bunch of Basil
  • 1 bunch of Epazote
  • 1 bunch of Carrots
  • 1 bunch of Beets

It was now time to cook, and being the OCD freaks we are, we needed to ensure we used all the ingredients.

Like most amateurs, we found established recipes to work from and tweaked where needed. The exception to going with a roadmap being the zucchini flower dumplings and the pizza, which were made up on the fly.

Meal 1 – Chipotle Chicken w/ Rice

Chipotle Chicken w/ Rice

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total).
  • Coarse salt & ground pepper.
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise.
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin.
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced.
  • 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes.
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice.
  • Lime wedges, for serving.
  • Chopped cilantro leaves, for serving.

Share Ingredients Used: Red Onion, Garlic

Directions

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high.

Season chicken on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Working in batches, brown chicken on both sides, about 6 minutes total; transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium.

Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot (if necessary, add a bit of water to release browned bits).

Add garlic, cumin, and chiles; cook until garlic is soft and fragrant, 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices, 3 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup water and return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot.

Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 25 minutes.

Remove several pieces of chicken and stir in rice, making sure it is completely submerged in liquid.

Replace chicken, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes more.

Serve with lime wedges and cilantro.

Verdict: Truth be told, we make this dish regularly and its always amazing. This particular batch was one of the tastiest in recent memory, which we’ll just go ahead and attribute to the fresh onion and garlic.

Meal 2 – Pizza!

Standard Pizza

  • 1/2 package Trader Joes whole wheat pizza dough.
  • 1/2 can Trader Joes pizza sauce.
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced.
  • 1 cup basil leaves.
  • 1/2 link Trader Joes red wine salami, cut into 1/8″ thick slices.
  • 1/2 package Trader Joes low-fat shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Share Ingredients Used: Basil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 (or as per dough instructions)

Roll the dough to desired size.

Add toppings.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Verdict:  Simple, easy, and always tasty, making pizza is a go-to weeknight meal for us. The fresh basil was absolutely wonderful, and a far cry better than anything we have had all season.

Meal 3 – Brown butter coated Whole Wheat Flatbread w/ Greens, Nuts, & Cheese

Brown Butter Coated Whole Wheat Flatbread w/ Greens, Nuts, and Cheese

For Brown Butter

  • 8 Tbs unsalted butter.

For Flatbread

  • 3 Tbs brown butter (once made).
  • 1 Tbs dry currants.
  • 2 cups kale, washed, stems removed and cut into thick strips.
  • 2 cups Swiss chard, washed, stems removed and cut into thick strips, 1/8 cup of stems reserved.
  • 1 Tbs olive oil.
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced.
  • sea salt and black pepper.
  • 1 Tbs sunflower seeds, toasted.
  • 1 flatbread (store bought is fine).
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta.

Share Ingredients Used: Kale, Swiss Chard, Garlic

Directions For the Brown Butter

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.

First, butter will separate, with the milk solids settling to the bottom of the pan.

After 8 to 10 minutes, butter will turn dark amber color.

Remove from heat, and line a strainer with a paper towel.

Pour butter through paper towel into a measuring cup to remove the solids.

Use immediately, or store in refrigerator.

Directions For the Flatbread

Turn oven to 400°(or as per instructions) and place shelf in top third of oven.

Place pizza stone on shelf and heat, ideally for one hour before baking flatbread.

Soak the currants in 1/4 cup hot water to plump them.

Cut reserved 1/8 cup of Swiss chard stems on a diagonal into very thin slices.

Heat olive oil in large pan over medium.

Add chard stems, garlic, 1/4 cup water, and pinches of sea salt and black pepper.

Saute about 1 minute, then add kale.

After 1 minute, add remaining chard, plus 1/4 tsp sea salt and a few pinches of pepper.

Raise temperature to medium-high and saute until greens are just tender, about 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low and add brown butter, currants and sunflower seeds.

Cook briefly, then season with salt and pepper.

Spread thin layer of olive oil on flatbread, then spread out half the cheese.

Add greens mixture, then top with remaining cheese.

Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Bake until bread is golden brown and puffed, about 10 minutes (or as per bread instructions).

Serve immediately.

Verdict:  Very, very tasty. Despite taking the easy way by using store bought flatbread, the real champion element of this dish were the vegetables. We were not shy piling on the veggies and cheese, and thus had much more than a classic appatizer-style flatbred. Vegetables, bread and cheese in one dish…sold.

Meal 4- Esquites

A Mexican favorite of street vendors, Esquites refers to fresh kernels of field corn or sweet corn. Sometimes the kernels are fried and flavored and other times not, but in the purest form the corn is sautéed lightly with butter or lard and seasoned with epazote. We have only had Esquites at La Superior, and were excited to try and replicate their magical version at home.

***A note about Ghee: We discovered Ghee last summer at Sahadis on Atlantic Ave, and our life changed. Ghee is the middle eastern version of lard, and like most things obscure and hard to find, it blows the alternatives to shame. Ghee, also known as clarified butter in anglophone countries, is made by simmering unsalted butter in a cooking vessel until all water has boiled off and the milk solids, or protein, have settled to the bottom. The cooked and clarified butter is then spooned off to avoid disturbing the milk solids on the bottom of the pan. Unlike butter, ghee can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation and remains moisture-free. Texture, color or taste of ghee depends on the source of the milk from which the butter was made and the extent of boiling. Further, the smoke point is far higher than most commonly used vegetable oils.

Esquites

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter.
  • 2 tbs ghee.
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped.
  • 4 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped.
  • 40 oz bag frozen corn kernals.
  • 6 to 8 fresh sprigs coarsely chopped.
  • 3/4 cup water.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped epazote and cilantro for garnish.

Share Ingredients Used: Epazote, White Onion

Instructions:

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat.

Saute the onion for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened.

Add the chiles and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the corn kernels, epazote, water, and salt, and reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the corn is tender.

Serve warm, sprinkled with the fresh epazote.

Verdict:  As much as we wanted to believe it was tasty, it wasn’t. Bland flavor and no real kick left us saddened for the brilliance of La Superior’s dish. Next time, we’re going to double the butter, quadruple the salt, add a bit of oxaxaca cheese, and bake it for 5 minutes at the end…that better do the trick or its getting axed from the make at home binder of recipes.

Meal 5- Zucchini Flower Pork Dumplings

Zucchini Flower Pork Dumplings

  • 2 tbs olive oil.
  • 2 clove garlic, minced.
  • 1 yellow onion, minced.
  • 1 pd ground pork.
  • 5 carrots, peeled and minced.
  • 1 leek, top greens discarded, minced.
  • 1/4 cup tamari sauce.
  • 2 tbs black bean sauce.
  • 1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes.
  • 1 handful basil, chopped.
  • Bag of zucchini flowers.

Share Ingredients Used: Zucchini Flowers, Garlic, Carrots, Leeks, Basil, Yellow Onion

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350.

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium.

Salt and pepper the pork.

Saute garlic for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.

Add onions, saute for 2 minutes.

Add pork, making sure to break up the clumps as you add to saute pan.

After 4-5 minutes, add carrots and leeks, stirring constantly.

Add black bean sauce and red pepper flakes, saute, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.

Add basil, stir for 1 minutes, remove from heat.

Unroll the zucchini flowers, removing the stem and pistils.

Add 2 tbs of the meat and veggie mixture, re-roll the flower like a dumpling wrapper.

Bake for 5 minutes, cool for 2, eat.

Verdict:  Not bad at all. We certainly didn’t head the advice of many blogs and used the flowers 3 days after pick up, rather than immediately. They certainly didn’t taste as fresh as they could have, but the filling made up for any lack of flavor in the flowers. There was plenty of leftover filling to play with as well, perhaps for an asian version of a sloppy joe?!?!

Meal 6- Spicy Beet Ice Cream (yes, it’s a meal!!)

Spicy Beet Ice Cream

  • 2 large beets.
  • 1 cup orange juice.
  • 12 eggs yolks.
  • 3/4 cup sugar.
  • 2 vanilla beans.
  • 2 1/2 cups cream.
  • 1 cup heavy cream.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne.

Share Ingredients Used: Beets


Directions

Roast beets in 350-degree oven until tender about 2 hours.

Peel and cut into small pieces.

Place beets in blender with orange juice and puree until smooth.

Split vanilla beans, scrape, and add seeds to the cream and scald.

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar and then stir into the cream mixture.

Stir over low heat until mixture begins to thicken (enough to coat the back of a spoon), about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.

Let ice cream chill in cooler, until fully chilled, about 4-6 hours.

Turn in an ice cream maker and serve, or freeze for later.

Success! Thanks to Mike & Amy for sharing their week of cooking & meal experimentation. Lots of delicious fodder for the rest of us!

One Response

  1. This is quite a menu. It’s great that you made the most of your share with such creativity. I am seriously impressed. Next time we come into town you are the designated chefs.

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