Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tex-Mex Cornbread Skillet

If you’re looking for a hearty, warm, satisfying winter meal that you can eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, look no further than Tex-Mex Cornbread Skillet made with ground beef from the Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm share. I used Beth’s recipe from this month’s newsletter as a jumping off point. It comes together fast and really is as good as it looks and sounds.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Tex-Mex Cornbread Skillet

Sunday, December 21, 2008

dec 2008 | meat share | contents

Ground beef (2 lbs)
Stir Fry Strips
Beef Polish Sausage
Bacon
Pork Sausage
Pork Shoulder Steak
Chicken
1/2 dozen eggs

24 Boxes is expanding!
As of today, I am technically at 25 boxes* due to the pick up of my December Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm Meat CSA share. Actually, it was an insulated bag full of local and sustainable Angus beef, pasture raised chicken, free range eggs and farm raised pork. It’s a monthly share that offers a variety of pick up locations throughout the city and western suburbs. I can’t wait to add this into my rotation and it’s especially fun to participate this time of the year now that my vegetable boxes have ceased. Which leads me to my next increase in box count...

As many of you know, the Angelic Organic shares do not start until the second week of June. That leaves me anxiously awaiting my first box and making do with the farmers markets when they open in May. But in 2009, I’ve signed up for a Spring share from Genesis Growers that will take me through April and May and provide me with wonderful Spring vegetables and early fruits like rhubarb and strawberries. So much to look forward to in 2009...

* No, I’m not going to change the name!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Celery Root & Apple Purée

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Cooking! If you have room to squeeze one more dish on the table, make it this one. Celery Root (aka Celeriac) & Apple Purée tastes like a cross between creamy, buttery mashed potatoes and sweet baked apples with an underlying hint of celery. And if you don’t get around to making it today, the purée would pair wonderfully with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Celery Root & Apple Purée

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2008 | box no. 23 | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that vegetable.

cooking greens
Spinach, Collard Tops, Winterbor Kale Tops

fruiting crops
Popcorn
roots
Potatoes, Rutabaga, Celeriac, Carrots
brassicas
Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli Florets, Purple Kohrabi, Cabbage
alliums
Garlic, Onions

Week 23 newsletter

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sliced Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter

I always struggle with Brussels sprouts. I’ve tried all different ways of cooking them – roasting, pan searing, even braising them with bacon. None of them did it for me. They always had that “funky” taste and sometimes came out mushy. I’ve heard different theories on causes of the funky taste. Number one reason could be overcooking (admittedly, that blame lies with the cook). Another theory proposed that the tiny core of each sprout was to blame. One recommended solution was to pull off all the outer leaves, one by one, and discard the core. I actually tried it – and it did work – but boy was it a pain in the you-know-what. Then I tried a new approach: slicing the sprouts very thin. The resulting pieces cooked up very quickly, thus solving the overcooking, mushy problem (and it’s a lot faster than pulling off the leaves one at a time). And because you have to grip on to the stem of each sprout in order to slice it, you end up discarding the core. When all is said and done, you’re left with crisp, buttery Brussels sprouts without a lot of prep time in the kitchen.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Sliced Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

2008 | box no. 21 | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that vegetable.

cooking greens
Spinach,
Red Russian Kale, Winterbor Kale
fruiting crops
Popcorn
roots
Potatoes, Rutabaga, Beets, Celeriac
brassicas
Brussels Sprouts, Kohlrabi
alliums
Garlic, Onion

Week 21 newsletter

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sweet Potato Salad with Caramelized Red Onions

When I hear “salad”, it usually conjures images of lazy summer dinners or outdoor picnics – days when you yearn for something cool and crisp. But this salad is all about Fall. The roasted sweet potatoes and caramelized red onions are enveloped in a sweet, piquant dressing and served with the peppery bite of arugula. The big kick of flavor comes from the toasted guajillo chile dressing. Don’t be scared – it’s not spicy. Guajillos are rich, smoky and only register at 6,000 heat units on the Scoville scale (the spiciest of chiles and peppers can clock in at 855,000 units or more!). My favorite source for dried chiles is Penzey’s. They have a huge selection of quality herbs, spices and dried chiles.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Sweet Potato Salad with Caramelized Red Onions

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Turkeys

Since returning from vacation, I’ve been focusing a lot of my kitchen time on stocking up for winter – roasting, pureeing and freezing squash and sugar pumpkins, harvesting the last of my patio-grown jalapeños and drying them in a dehydrator for a powdered spice, and I even “put up” some pickled beets and blackberry jam before I left for Hawaii. All in all, necessary, but not very exciting “post-worthy” stuff. I’ve got some ideas in the hopper and I promise I’ll be back to posting recipes soon.

In the mean time, if you’re in the Chicagoland area looking for a Butterball alternative, check out this link from Slow Food Chicago. These farmers have turkeys, ham, geese, ducks, goats, and lamb available for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are conscientious stewards of land and animals, and are committed to sustainable and humane livestock production.

Many of the turkeys can be picked up at farmers market locations in Oak Park, Evanston or the Green City Winter Market in Lincoln Park. You can also arrange delivery or pick up directly from the farms.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bacon, Leek & Potato Gratin

This month’s issue of Fine Cooking has a fabulous article about Potato Gratin. It’s essentially a blueprint for building great gratins, one layer at a time. I chose to go with a Bacon, Leek & Potato version with Gruyere cheese and a bread crumb topping. The best thing about this recipe is it’s versatility – you can change it up to suit your tastes. Swap out broccoli for the flavor layer and use cheddar instead of Gruyere. Or layer in Bacon & Mushrooms and top with Fontina cheese. The possibilities are as deep as your imagination – or your well-stocked refrigerator. That said, I’m partial to this version. My husband and I ate nearly three-quarters of it the first time I made it! It’s that good...

Housekeeping note: this will be my last post until the week of October 13. Husband and I are going on our delayed honeymoon in heavenly Hawaii. Aloha!

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Bacon, Leek & Potato Gratin

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

2008 | box no. 13 | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that vegetable.

salad greens
Lettuce, Arugula
cooking greens

Kale
alliums

Onions
, Leeks
fruiting crops
Peppers, Eggplant, Green Heirloom Tomato, Acorn Squash
herbs
Basil, Oregano
roots
Potatoes
brassicas
Cauliflower
, Broccoli

Week 13 newsletter

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

French Onion Soup with Cheese Croutons

Fall weather has officially arrived here in Chicago – chilly nights, breezy and cool days. I love fall weather and I love fall food. This French Onion Soup has a deep, dark broth that is a result of the caramelization of the red onions in the first step. As an alternative to the layer of goopy, greasy cheese, serve with cheese croutons for dipping, sopping and scooping up the soft, flavorful broth and onions. Put away the flip flops, cozy up in slippers, and enjoy a bowl of this comforting fall weather soup.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

French Onion Soup with Cheese Croutons

Saturday, September 06, 2008

2008 | box no. 12 | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that vegetable.

salad greens
Lettuce, Choi
cooking greens

Collards
alliums

Red Onions

fruiting crops
Tomatoes, Peppers, Orange Honeydew Melon, Red Kuri Squash
herbs
Parsley
roots
Carrots

brassicas
Cauliflower


Week 12 newsletter

Friday, September 05, 2008

Seeding a Watermelon

Great instructions for seeding a watermelon; it really does the trick!
The majority of seeds in a watermelon are found in a concentric ring a few inches from the center of the melon. You can take advantage of this fact when removing seeds. First cut the melon into circular slices of the desired thickness. Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, remove the seedless melon center. With a paring knife, next cut out the ring that contains most of the seeds, and then cut along the inner boundary of the rind. Simply lift off the rind and slice the now-seedless fruit, including the melon center. – cooksillustrated.com email newsletter

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Another tomato recipe already? Well folks, we’re at that time of year when you can use all the tomato recipes you can get your hands on. And this is a great one for using up a lot of tomatoes with minimal effort and fantastic results. Best of all, this is a perfect recipe to make in large batches and freeze – it’s an easy way to capture the flavor of summer tomatoes and enjoy them when it’s cold and dreary.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fresh Tomato Salsa

This is prime, peak season for tomatoes and they’re the perfect ripeness and flavor for an outstanding fresh tomato salsa. The key to a chunky texture, rather than a soggy salsa, is to let the tomatoes drain in a colander for 30 minutes to purge excess water. Then simply toss with the other ingredients, season with lime juice, salt, sugar and a pinch of pepper.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2008 | box no. 10 | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that vegetable.

salad greens
Lettuce
cooking greens

Pac Choi
alliums

Leeks

fruiting crops
Eggplant, Tomatoes, Peppers, Hot Peppers, Sweet Corn, Asian Sun Jewel Melon
herbs
Basil, Sage
stems
Fennel


Week 10 newsletter

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moroccan Carrot Salad

We’ve been lucky this year with carrots – this was the fifth week in a row that we’ve received a bunch in our box. Last year, I can only remember getting them once or twice due to the incessant 2007 August rain. But this year, the farm has been yielding bumper crops, and it’s likely we’ll receive more on Saturday. So, what do to with all those carrots? How about a cool, crunchy, spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad – a great alternative to boring, old carrot sticks.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Roasted Ratatouille

Admittedly, this recipe is about one week late. Last week’s box contents were a perfect mix for ratatouille – eggplant, zucchini, garlic, onion, and parsley. But many of you, like me I suspect, have vegetables that hang around the week after and this is a perfect recipe for clearing out your refrigerator. There are a lot of variations and styles of ratatouille and everyone has their favorite. I am a big fan of roasting and I like my vegetables to remain separate and distinct, so this version is perfect for my tastes. You can serve this bruschetta-style on toasted bread with goat cheese. Or, as a side dish to fish or poultry, warm or room temperature.

As I was researching this recipe, I discovered a little tidbit about eggplants that I never knew: there are male and female eggplants! Females have more seeds and some people find them more bitter than their male counterparts. Who knew? You learn something new every day.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Roasted Ratatouille

Zucchini on Foodista

Saturday, August 16, 2008

2008 | box no. 09 | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that vegetable.

root crops
Carrots
salad greens
Lettuce
cooking greens

Kale
alliums

Leeks

fruiting crops
Cucumbers, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Peppers, Hot Peppers, Sweet Corn, Watermelon
herbs
Oregano, Summer Savory
stems
Celery


Week 09 newsletter

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lemon Balm Sun Tea

Oh what to do with the lemon balm? I ask myself that question every time I get this little known herb in my box. Well, this time I actually used it – some of it, at least. I tied together a bunch of lemon balm along with three black tea bags (you can use any tea you like – black, white, green, herbal...) and placed the bundle in a 2-quart container. Fill it up with filtered water, place in a sunny spot and the tea will be ready in 3 to 5 hours depending on how hot and sunny it is that day.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hot Pepper Jelly

Ever since I bought The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook last year, I’ve had my eye on their recipe for Hot Pepper Jelly. In part because I’m a huge fan of anything with cream cheese. But most appealing was that the recipe called for green peppers. We receive a LOT of green peppers in our boxes and, quite honestly, not a big fan. Love red peppers; but green peppers, not so much. I usually hand them over to my Dad so he can make stuffed green peppers or I donate them back to the swap box.

But it’s a different story when I have the time and the other ingredients to make Hot Pepper Jelly. Then I can’t wait for the green peppers to arrive. This most recent batch of jelly posed a bit of a challenge – the recipe calls for jalapenos and, for those of us in the U.S., you’ll be hard-pressed to locate them in the grocery store because of the recent salmonella contamination. So, you can either hit your local farmers market or, if you’re lucky, raid your own garden. Otherwise, you can do what I did – substitute an equal volume (1 cup) of other fresh peppers. I used a combination of poblanos, cubanelles and one habanero for heat.

All of the pickling and canning recipes in The Lee Bros.’ cookbook are refrigerator pickles – meaning that they are not shelf stable, so you will need to keep them in the refrigerator. If you’re not familiar with basic canning principals and techniques, you should visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website – a great resource to learn the do’s and dont’s of safe and successful canning.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Hot Pepper Jelly

Saturday, August 02, 2008

2008 | box no. 07 | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that vegetable.

root crops
Carrots
salad greens
Lettuce, Arugula
brassicas

Cabbage, Broccoli
alliums
Sweet Onions

fruiting crops
Zucchini & Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green Peppers
herbs
Cilantro, Basil, Dill
stems
Celery


Week 07 newsletter

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Well Done Burgers Done Well

There’s a hard core group of burger purists out there that are probably horrified at the title of this post. Well Done Burgers! Never. Burgers are to be medium (at most) if they are to be enjoyed and appreciated at all, they say. Here’s the deal: I like a medium/medium-well burger as much as the next person – if I’m at a restaurant where someone who’s experienced is doing the grilling. Too often, I’ve started off grilling with the best of intentions, only to find that the burger is either (a) undercooked and I have to throw it back on the grill or (b) overcooked and dried out. So, when I tried this recipe, I hit the jackpot.

I can’t claim that I had anything to do with this recipe – not even the catchy name. This is a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that was put to the test, tried, retried and refined until they got it right. And they did. These burgers stay moist and flavorful even when grilled to well done. And they’re so forgiving, that if you leave them on for a minute or two extra, here and there, they don’t suffer. These are my go-to entertaining burgers when I want to hang out with my guests instead of manning the grill and being overly concerned about “who gets the medium-rare burger?”...

You might be wondering, what does a burger have to do with a vegetable share box. That’s where the toppings come in. I piled this one with caramelized fennel and onions (from this week’s box) along with avocado and brie. Decadent and delicious.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Well Done Burgers Done Well

Monday, July 28, 2008

Veggie Cold Cut Deli Style Sandwiches

The adjustable mandoline slicer is one of my most favorite and heavily used tools in the summer kitchen. In this recipe, it makes short work of turning garden vegetables into thin ribbons and slices. I piled on these “cold cuts” along with a garlic and herb cheese spread. In no time at all, I had a spectacular Veggie Cold Cut Deli Style Sandwich stacked with zucchini, squash, red bell pepper, carrots and radish.


Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Veggie Cold Cut Deli Style Sandwiches

Zucchini on Foodista

Saturday, July 26, 2008

2008 | box no. 06 | contents

Click on an ingredient and link to a past 24 Boxes post using that vegetable.

cooking greens

Dinosaur Kale
root crops
Young Turnips, Carrots
salad greens
Lettuce, Mizuna
brassicas

Cauliflower, Broccoli
alliums
Sweet Onions

fruiting crops
Zucchini & Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green Peppers
herbs
Thyme
stems
Fennel


Week 06 newsletter