My basket this week had a lovely mix of great stuff, although now that it’s fall, every week the first thing I look for is tomatoes. You know it’s all over when they stop coming. However this week there were three big red ones, and lots of little ones in my garden, although my basil is pretty much over. Back this week were cranberry beans, and now the weather is perfect for a gratin with the beans and I scored a bunch of duck legs confit from Hudson Valley Fois Gras, so they will go well together.
Some green peppers and pimentos were tossed in a great steak pizzaiola my husband made last night. He takes a steak or pork chops and sautees them with some onions and garlic. Then he adds some plum tomatoes, crushed, a little of the juice, and sometimes mushrooms, and/or peppers. Let it simmer until everything is tender and the flavors melded together and serve over the widest egg noodles you can find. So nice when he cooks!
A little bit of mesclun, enough to go with the tomatoes, and some radhishes, and I have lunch for today anyway. Another lovely orange cauliflower, broccoli, an acorn squash, potatoes, beans, and yes, more zucchini. If it gets warm enough, I’m making a salad Nicoise while we have all the ingredients fresh and local. I’ve got some lamb curry sausage which I’m going to have with the zucchini, and some chick peas with zaatar, a Middle Eastern spice.
Other than roasting it, or making soup, what do you do with winter squash? And can you roast the seeds like pumpkin seeds?
Finally a farmbasket. Lots of good stuff this week, tomatoes, both large and cherry (really sweet!), mesclun, corn, jalapenos, green and red peppers, pimentos, yellow and green zucchini, a big yellow melon (muskmelon?), eggplant, and leeks. The pepper, eggplant, zucchini, and tomato combo calls for a batch of ratatouille, and since it’s going to be cooler, I don’t mind standing over the stove. Since I’m going to be grilling a leg of lamb, it’s a perfect side dish.
The leeks are a pleasant surprise, not meaning to be ungrateful, a handful of potatoes would have made vichyssoise a snap. Ah, I’d have to go buy cream, so it’s no biggie. Creaming the leeks to go with the lamb is also an option, I’ll let you know which way it goes.
The other thing I keep hoping will show up in my basket are those weird little green peppers that are supposed to be like playing Russian Roulette with food. One out of ten of them are supposed to be really hot. You saute them in olive oil until they’re blackened, sprinkle them with sea salt, and enjoy. Addictive.
Last week, theAccidental Locavore was using up the last of the latest farmbasket and anticipating company so I whipped up a batch of potato salad and coleslaw. I’m not a big fan of mayo and egg based potato salad so my fat delivery system comes via bacon. Here’s my version of a French potato salad:
- Wash and cut into small chunks about a dozen small potatoes. I used small corollas, but new potatoes work fine too.
- Cook in salted water to cover, until fork tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, slowly cook about 4-5 slices of thick bacon, sliced into 1/2″ matchsticks until browned and the fat is rendered.
- Drain the potatoes and put in a large bowl.
- Add 1 red onion chopped and about a tablespoon of fresh thyme (leaves stripped from the stems). You can also use fresh tarragon.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and add to the potatoes.
- Pour the bacon fat into a small heatproof bowl. Add red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and about 1-2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Mix well and pour over the potatoes. Toss until the dressing is absorbed.
- You may need to add a little olive oildepending on how much fat the bacon has rendered. I like my salad dressing to be a little more acid than oily so I usually do about a 50-50 oil to acid ratio, but it’s up to you to adjust to taste.
For the party colored coleslaw, shred in a food processor with the shredding disk:
- 1 small head purple cabbage
- 1 each red,orange, and yellow peppers
- 1-2 carrots (peeled)
Put in a mixing bowl. Add 1 onion finely chopped (I used a red one, keeping with the party colors)
- About a cup of mayonnaise (I used my own)
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup juice from a container of dill pickles (if you have it)
- Salt and pepper
Adjust to taste, serve and enjoy.
This weekend, while we were shooting our next Accidental Locavore video, I learned a lot about zucchini, and summer squash. Bet you didn’t know that they can double in size during the course of a day. So if you’re the type who gets tired of watching paint dry…
Also size does matter. If you’re serving them in slices, choose smaller ones; the seeds won’t be so apparent and they will hold their shape better. For the recipe I posted last week, you want nice small ones. Use the bigger ones where looks don’t matter. Zucchini bread, ratatouille and soups; these you can use a larger one. You should also look for squash and zucchini with firm skin with a slight sheen to it. Store them in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
- Also in the basket this week, a beautiful eggplant. When my husband saw it, he immediately asked for eggplant parmigiana, so I’m off to get some local mozzarella.
- More corn, but better this week, sweeter and smaller kernels. Made a batch of the no-fail mayo, and we’re going to try the corn Mexican stylewith the mayonnaise and some queso fresco.
- Cucumberswill be made into a great cucumber, yogurt soup with the surprise of pepperoncini.
- Frank made a great pasta with some of the broccoli, a lavender pepper, some of the zucchini, and some of the peas from an earlier basket.
- And thanks to Bill Telepan, for reminding me to shuck and freeze the rest of the peas (more about my great lunch there later).
But wait there’s more…
- Large orange beets, which I roasted for Frank, since you know no matter what color they are, I’m not eating them!
- A big head of red leaf lettuce
- Green beans
- Three colors of peppers, lavender, pale yellow, and chartreuse.
That’s it for this week (and next as Farmer Paul is off the the bluegrass festival and some well deserved time off). Stay tuned for the new video, it’s going to be great!