Member Diary: Meeshka’s July 16th share

Our Half Monty share of veggies, eggs, orchard, and berries is split between three
roommates: Mo, Michele, and myself, Teresa. Last month, Michele moved into her
own place, and I leave New York in just a week for the West Coast, so it’s with a heavy
heart that I cooked up this week’s share. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and farmshare
has provided me with a welcome challenge to incorporate new items into my repertoire,
and for that I – and my palate – are forever grateful! So consider this member diary my
departing love letter to Southside CSA.

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The July 16th farmshare gave us: red lettuce, carrots, beets, yellow squash, leeks,
radishes, onions, lemongrass, blueberries, and plums.

I started with the blueberries and plums. Though many of you may have learned how to
preserve fruit from your dear old grandmothers, all I ever learned was how to crochet. So
a recent class at the Brooklyn Brainery taught by DP Chutney Collective’s Drake Page
taught me the basics. A few weeks back Michele and I made a strawberry mint jam with
our farmshare booty, and though you can’t really go wrong with those flavors, the texture
was a bit tougher than I would have liked. So I found a recipe for Blueberry Plum Jam,
doubled the recipe and subbed in lavender for the basil they call for, and tried my hand
again.

Blueberry Plum Basil Jam
Courtesy of Canning Across America
Yield: 2 half pints and some change–can be doubled or tripled
1. Combine the following in a heavy-bottomed, stainless steel or enameled cast-iron pot:
2 pints blueberries
5 or 6 small, slightly underripe sweet plums, halved and pitted
1 cup sugar
2. Let sit for an hour to macerate.
3. Place pot over medium heat to dissolve any remaining sugar granules, and add 1/2
Tbs strained lemon juice.
4. Raise heat to med-high and boil mixture for about 10 minutes. Add a couple whole
sprigs of basil a few minutes before you take it off the heat. Stir somewhere between
frequently and occasionally (just to keep the sugar from scorching the bottom.) You’ll
know your jam is done when the bubbles have spaced out, and they look slightly
larger and become darker. Remove pot from heat, cover and let basil infuse for 5
minutes.
5. Remove basil and spoon mixture into hot jars. Seal with two-piece lids. Process for
10 min in boiling waterbath.

Overall, I was happy with the consistency, and was surprised at how punchy the lavender
flavor turned out to be – I had added only 2 Tablespoons to the entire batch. If I do
it again I think I’d change the proportions to include more plums, and just a bit less lavender.

My next move was to quick pickle the radishes. In heat like this, sometimes you just can’t
bear standing over the stove for too long, and cold, pickled veggies have such a satisfying
crunch on a humid day. So I found a recipe for sweet and sour pickle radishes and went
for it.

Quick-Pickled Sweet and Sour Radishes
Courtesy of cookthink.com
Serves 4-6 as a side dish.
This recipe is adapted from Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking. We toned down
the soy sauce and traded out some of the sugar for vinegar because we love this dish as a
condiment alongside rich, salty meat dishes.

1 pound radishes, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon sambal olek

1. Prep the radishes and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle them with the white sugar and salt,
and mix well with your fingers. Set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sambal
in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
3. Rinse, drain and dry the radishes. Toss them with the dressing and serve.

I should note that I did not have sambal olek, which I learned is one variation of Sambal,
the Indonesian pepper paste. Olek (or ulek) just refers to the Indonesian stoneware that
resembles a mortar, which would likely be used to make the spicy condiment. I should
also note that I found the variation above to be mostly sour and barely sweet, and I might
increase the sugar proportions to get a bit more balance next time.

With the carrots and yellow squash, I modified a recipe for Spicy Moroccan Carrots to
include the squash. Though at first it seemed like too much work to blanch the carrots
and then pan-fry both veggies before combining with the dressing, the end result was
worth it. Though I ate them the same day rather than letting the salad sit overnight, as the
squash wouldn’t have held up as well as the carrots.

Spicy Moroccan Carrots
Courtesy of New York Magazine
Makes 5 servings

2 pounds carrots, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for sautéing
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced pinch of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar

1. Place carrots in a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil, cooking until slightly
tender but not overdone, approximately 15 minutes depending on the size of the
carrots.
2. Drain and place carrots in an ice-water bath until cool
3. Slice diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
4. In a large pan, sauté the carrot slices in olive oil until slightly brown, cooking them in
small batches if your pan becomes crowded.
5. Place carrots in a bowl, add the olive oil and the remaining ingredients, and mix well.
For best results, refrigerate overnight and serve at room temperature.

Last but not least, I used the beets and leeks in a favorite recipe of mine from 101
Cookbooks for a Pan-Fried Chickpea Salad. The recipe calls for leeks but not beets, but
having made this dish before I knew the beets would add a nice juiciness and great color.
I cubed the beets and pan-fried them for about 15-20 minutes to make sure they were
cooked through, and added them to the whole mixture when it was ready.

Pan-Fried Chickpea Salad
Courtesy of 101 Cookbooks
Yields 4 servings.

1 tablespoon clarified butter, olive oil, or coconut oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), pat them completely dry with clean dish
towel
1 cup of chopped leeks
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I typically use low-fat Greek)
1 1/2 teaspoons Indian-style curry powder (or to taste)
scant 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 or 2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup of loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup red onion or red spring onions, chopped

Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet and add the chickpeas. Sauté over medium-high
heat, stirring occasionally, until they start getting a bit golden in color. Stir in the leeks
and cook until the chickpeas are more golden and the leeks have browned a bit as well,

roughly 7 – 10 minutes total. At the last minute stir in the garlic and the lemon zest.
Remove from heat, and set aside.

While the chickpeas cool (I like to serve this salad at room temperature), make the yogurt
dressing by combining the yogurt, curry powder, and salt in a small bowl. If you need
to thin it out a bit, particularly if you are using Greek yogurt, whisk in warm water a
tablespoon at a time. Taste, adjust, and set aside.

When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the chickpea mixture with most of the
cilantro and most of the chopped red onion. Add about 1/2 of the yogurt dressing and toss
again. If you like more dressing, keep adding until you are pleased. Serve on a platter
sprinkled with the remaining onions and cilantro.

There you have it. Please comment with tips, tricks, or variations on any of the recipes
above or things that you’ve tried with this week’s goodies!

One Response

  1. Wow, you made me hungry! Going to definitely try the blueberry plum jam. Thanks!

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