Sunday, June 29, 2008

CSA Week 1

Yippee! CSA started this past Tuesday, and did not disappoint!
We got Romaine, Butter lettuce, Swiss Chard, Radishes, Beets, Kale, Arugala and yup, more strawberries!
I made a simple salad with the lettuces and the arugala, strawberries and radishes, with a balsamic vinny:
From my meat delivery last month, I had a big chicken, so I grilled it and made a mustard glaze to baste it with. (You know it's fresh when there are feathers attached!)
I put Kosher salt, pepper and onion salt all over it, and smacked it on the grill. I used indirect heat, turning on only the back and front burners, leaving the middle burner off. You can see I roasted the gorgeous beets while the chicken cooked. I just stuck them on the upper rack, again, indirect heat. With about 30-40 minutes left to go, I started basting the chicken with the mustard glaze. Here's the finished bird and beets.
The chicken was delicious, and the beets were sweet.
To use up the Swiss chard, I made Italian Wedding Soup. Again, from last month's meat delivery, I had a pound of ground beef which I used for the meatballs, and of course, used the pretty yellow stems and green chard as the "green" in the soup. I used my pressure cooker, so when it was all said and done, it took about 20 minutes, and 18 of them were prep time....pressure cooking is awesome, you should really try it out if you never have.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In Season


Last Thursday I happened to stop in at Allendale Farms, in Boston, Ma and they had just that day, gotten the first local strawberries.
I bought 4 quarts!

I used 2 to make strawberry jam, and the rest I saved to eat, and to use for strawberry shortcake for the Father's Day brunch I was going to. Yum.

The jam came out pretty good. I actually used my bread machine to make it; it has a jam cycle. All you do is prep your fruit, add it to the bread pan, add sugar and select the jam cycle. An hour later, you have jam, ready to go or ready to can.
I used 2 Ball jars, and one empty jar that I kept from my honeymoon in Italy. In Cinque Terre, or 5 Lands, in the Liguria region, I bought some local honey. I kept the jar, and decided to use it, since I couldn't find any other ball jars. Check out the pic:

Miele, means "honey" and Limone obviously translates to "lemon". Lemons are one of the fruits that are grown in Cinque Terre; this honey came from Monterosso al Mare, one of the 5 villages, and the one that we happened to stay in.
Man, I could ramble on about Cinque Terre, but I won't. All I can say is, go, you've got to go to experience it!

Here are the 3 finished jars:

Well, the strawberry love continued today at Wilson Farm in Lexington, Ma. This weekend marked their Strawberry Festival, so we took the kids.
It was fun. They had an activity tent for the kids where they could make strawberry tops and balloons. There were hay rides around the farm, and free tastes of strawberry soup, shortcake etc.

I bought another 3 quarts today (as well as some amazing shell peas).....maybe I'll make some strawberry ice cream.....hmmmm.....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Squid Anyone?

When I was shopping for a client last week, the squid happened to look nice and fresh, so I picked up a pound. I decided to go for the "long cook" rather than the "short cook", because with squid it has to be either or; there is no in between or you'll end up with rubbery, tough squid.
I took some garlic, shallot and ginger and minced them, and got 'em cooking in pot.
I then added the squid, a nice shot of thai chile paste, a swig of soy sauce, some fish stock, chopped cilantro and chopped scallions and brought it all to a boil. I lowered the temp and simmered the mix for ~25 minutes.
Independently, I cooked up some soba noodles. Soba noodles are buckwheat noodles and are a good source of selenium and zinc. Plus, the buckwheat is digested slowly, giving you a sustained supply of good for you carbs.
I added the noodles into squid and viola, squid with buckwheat noodles in a sweet and spicy broth. It was very yummy.