cranberry beans

The Accidental Locavore Has a Perfect Lunch

by Anne Maxfield on August 19, 2011

Accidental Locavore Leeks

This time of year the Accidental Locavore finds that cooking one thing invariably leads to another (and another…). For the recipes, just click on the links. I wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous leeks from this week’s farm box and knew there were potatoes in the fridge, so it seemed like a perfect excuse for vichyssoise. The Locavore used the fingerlings from Paul, even though peeling potatoes the size of a thumb was not my idea of fun, but luckily some people’s thumbs are bigger than others.

Taking an idea from Chef Kerry of Café Miranda, the vichyssoise got potato “croutons” in the form of tiny fingerling potato chips (his were French fries tossed on top of fish chowder) and snips of fresh chives from the garden, a more traditional garnish. Tasted great, although next time I may make a vegetable broth from the potato peelings and green part of the leeks, to heighten both flavors, instead of the traditional chicken stock. What do you think?Accidental Locavore Vichyssoise

Paired with the vichyssoise, a BLT. What better to do with local bacon, tomatoes at the peak of ripeness and great lettuce from Stokes Farm? Oh, forgot about the homemade mayo. Hungry yet? If, like the Accidental Locavore, you haven’t had a BLT in a long time, you owe it to yourself to remember how good they can be, especially with great ingredients.

What else did the Locaovore cook? With the summer squash, I made stuffed squash with yogurt sauce. It’s essentially an easy dish (to mess up), just time consuming. First you have to hollow out the squash, stuff them with a lamb and rice mixture, and slowly cook them in yogurt without breaking (separating) the yogurt. However the end result is delicious and well worth a little effort.

Accidental Locavore Fresh Cranberry BeansThen, Farmer Paul asked for some recipes for cranberry beans. The Locavore had some that I had dried last summer, so I soaked them and then cooked them, getting ready to do a gratin I had come across. When I went to the farm to return my box, Paul gave me a bunch of fresh beans, which tonight will be a salad, or a riff on ful medames to go with pork chops. They’re so pretty, it always seems a shame to cook them because they lose their speckles.

Accidental Locavore CantalopesOn the uncooked front, a pair of beautiful, perfectly ripe, little cantaloupes, or “candy-lopes” according to Paul, just cut up, made a delicious breakfast. A watermelon the size (and weight) of a large bowling ball was just amazing and reminded me how much I really like watermelon. And the first of the heirloom tomatoes, when they weren’t gracing the perfect lunch, were great in a traditional salad with mozzarella and basil.

Don’t you just love summer?



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Accidental Locavore Pimentos and Broccoli

Finally back on track with the farmbasket, but only for a week. If you’re like the Accidental Locavore you’re in huge denial that August (and the summer) is almost over. One of the big signs is that the Dutchess County Fair starts Tuesday. Paul Wigsten, my farmer and his son Will always have lots of their vegetables and a cow or two entered in the show. My neighbor Arthur is in charge of the horticulture area, and enters his gladiolas and other flowers. They usually score best in show ribbons in a lot of categories.
The downside? No basket next week, the lawn doesn’t get mowed for a week, and it’s the last weekend in August.
The upside? A trip to a real county fair, complete with exotic chickens, prize worthy vegetables, and more (junk) food than you can possibly imagine.
In this week’s basket, a big purple cabbage, lovely cantaloupe, bag of mesclun, red, orange and yellow peppers, along with pimentos, zucchini and squash, corn, tomatoes (one of my favorite heirloom varieties, German stripe), and cranberry beans (dried this time).
So what have I been doing with the veggies? True confession; the corn I’ve just been tossing on the grill, and the tomatoes have been mixed with basil and mozzarella. It’s my favorite thing to do with both of them and until we’re really into (gasp) September, I can’t get enough of them.
Tonight I’m grilling baby loin lamb chops that I’ve marinated in some (homemade) yogurt with cumin and other warm spices and roasting the broccoli, then tossing it in a little butter and some of the pureed garlic confit I made a few weeks ago. Sounds good right? Later in the week, I’m revisiting a great recipe from the NY Times last year, for a ratatouille pot pie, with Italian sausage, ratatouille, and a cornmeal topping. It’s more of a cobbler than a pie, and really delicious. Maybe I’ll see what happens if I toss a couple of the pimentos in…
I’m also going to try the cranberry beans in a gratin that I found online. I’m a sucker for the word gratin, aren’t you?



Accidental Locavore Pimentos and Cranberry Beans

 If you’re like the Accidental Locavore, you probably haven’t given pimentos much thought. They’re the little red things inside green olives, n’est pas? Correct, but how did they get there, and what do they look like? In this week’s farmbasket, there was a quartet of pimentos, along with a little note: “we’re pimentos, roast us“. It’s hard to spot in this photo, but behind the cranberry beans. there’s a little green stem, that’s one of the pimentos. They look a little like a persimmon, but bright red, heavy and firm.
Since sometimes, I do what I’m told, I roasted them on the grill until the skins were blackened and they were tender. Then put them in a bowl with a piece of saran wrap tightly over it, to steam off the skins (this works for roasting all peppers, so remember it) and let them sit for about 1/2 hour. Then I took the skin off, cut out the center and seeds, and cut them into strips. They’re currently in a jar with some olive oil, awaiting a salad, sandwich, or even a cocktail olive…

As you can see from the photo, I got a mess of cranberry beans. Anyone have a good recipe for them?
Also in this week’s basket, the first cantaloupe of the season which I am going to finish as soon as I post this. It’s perfect, and so good! Corn, tomatoes, including the first of the heirlooms, salad greens, romaine lettuce, little round squashes, yellow and green, tiny potatoes, possibly corrolas, a beautiful purple cabbage, zucchini and summer squash, and a bunch of basil with the biggest leaves I’ve ever seen!
Don’t forget to send me your ideas for the cranberry beans!
On Friday, my first attempt at pickling, check it out.