Oh, I love summer, and I love my CSA! My food tastes so much better when I work in the fields for it and contemplate what I want to do with all those gorgeous veggies! Here are a few items from this week:
This week my CSA box included lots of tomatoes and cucumbers, so of course I made Gazpacho. I used to make huge quantities of this wonderful cold, summer soup to serve from my food trailer at festivals — such a great, healthy and delicious treat while you’re out enjoying the fair and something really unique among all those grease-laden fried offerings and sugary commercial products.
In my cafe, I had a Robot Coupe, which was great for petite dicing all the veggies. It made a beautiful Gazpacho, and I’ll try to include a picture here. I no longer have the Robot Coupe and don’t want to dice such large amounts by hand, but I found my food processor worked perfectly well as long as I pulsed each veggie separately to get a nice, even texture.
GAZPACHO (I doubled this recipe, which made about 4-5 quarts)
Red bell peppers, 3 medium, petite diced or chunked and pulsed in food processor
Cucumbers, 3 medium, petite diced or pulsed in food processor
Plum tomatoes, 6-8 medium, petite diced or pulsed in food processor
Red onion, 2 medium, pulsed in food processor
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Tomato Juice, one quart cold
Extra virgin olive oil, 3/4 cups
Sea salt, 1 tsp.
Oregano, 1/2 tsp.
Basil, 1/2 tsp.
Wine vinegar, 2 TB
Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp.
Szeged hot paprika, 1 tsp.
Lemon juice, 2 TB
Cilantro, 1 bunch, chopped
Run the veggies through a Robot Coupe on a small dicing blade, maybe 3/8″ — or pulse each veggie separately to a coarse but even consistency in a food processor. Place in a bowl or other receptable. Add the tomato juice, extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic, seasonings and cilantro. Chill thoroughly until ready to eat. I prefer to make it one day in advance — the plum tomatoes thicken to a wonderful consistency.
This is a green bean stew I made with my CSA beans. Virtually every Middle Easter/Mediterranean country has its version of beans stewed in tomatoes with garlic, lemon and olive oil. You’ll find my original recipe here.
I made a couple of small changes this time: 1) I didn’t want to use my beautiful fresh tomatoes from the CSA because we like to eat them fresh while we can and barely adorned. Instead I used canned petite diced tomatoes — a 19 oz. can will replace what’s in the original recipe. I also wanted it a little “soupier” since the beans needed to cook longer, so I added some water with the tomatoes. 2) Other than the garlic, I added the seasonings toward the end of the cooking time, and I reduced the hot paprika some due to sensitive palates in my family these days.
These beans included yellow, green and purple — so cool! I have to double-check the exact varieties. I love picking things and taking them home to eat.
These are my refrigerator pickles. They’re all made with fresh (uncooked) veggies stuffed into a glass jar with lots of garlic and sometimes lots of dill. Then I make a brine of 4 cups water to 1 cup vinegar and 3 TB kosher salt to pour over. Sometimes I have to make extra or less brine and just reduce or add to everything proportionally. I usually drop a habanero cut in half into the jar so the pickles are kind of spicy. I like that! Then I stick them in the ‘fridge to “cook” for at least a couple of weeks, and they’re ready. Easy peasy. I’ll have lots set up for winter this year so I can add a dash of color, spice and tanginess to meals when it’s all white and cold outside.
The first one is a “pickle” I made today (pictured above). I usually make something like this with white cauliflower and red cabbage. Everything turns a beautiful bright burgundy color. This time I used white cabbage and beets. I’m looking forward to seeing how they come out!
Next, a catch-all pickle I made a couple of weeks ago. They’re ready to eat now, and the kohlrabi were a nice surprise! They make very good pickles.
Lots of patty pan squash this week, so I made up this salad of roasted patty pan, roasted peppers, red onion, grape tomatoes, cucumber and a little curly kale.
For the roasted veggies, I rubbed them in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, spread them on a pan and sprinkled with salt and smoked paprika (what an amazing aroma!). When everything was finished and cooled, I mixed them with a tiny bit more extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and hot paprika. This is the result.
CORN ON THE COB
We also enjoyed some delicious corn and fresh tomatoes with basil. I posted the tomato earlier this week. I discovered a neat trick with the corn. My microwave died, and Meijer’s was out of the wonderful Chipotle Just Mayo from Hampton Creek, so I used Hampton’s Mayo and mixed in some of the amazing chipotle peppers dry seasoning I picked up. Then I cut the two ends off each piece of corn (in the husks) up to where the corn starts. I put those in a hot oven, about 550 degrees. When the husks were pretty well charred, the corn was done.
I pulled it out (used potholders for that as much as I could) and pulled off the husks with the silks. When the corn was still hot but cool enough for me to handle, I spread the chipotle mayo on it, and…well, oh my. It was really good!
MOROCCAN BEET SALAD. I love the color of beets. It’s one of the truly dramatic culinary colors. Of course, I shared with you my MOROCCAN BEET SALAD.
BEET HUMMUS. Now try my HUMMUS, but halve the recipe, then replace at least 1 cup of the cooked chickpeas with cooked, cooled, cut up beets. You can also use white beans instead of the chickpeas in this recipe, but then…it wouldn’t be Hummus (Hummus means “chickpeas”).
BEET SOUP. Now I don’t happen to have a picture or an exact recipe for this next one but will sometime soon. On the other hand, you probably don’t need a recipe — it’s so easy! Beet Soup. Yum, and oh, so gorgeous. Peel the beets, cut into chunks and put in a pot with chunks of onion and perhaps a little peeled fresh ginger root if desired. Barely cover with water, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer until beets are tender. Blend all in a high-powered blender until it’s small and a beautiful magenta color. For seasonings, I usually use one TB salt to a gallon of soup, but for this one, keep the salt very light so you can enjoy the sweetness of the beets. I also add about 1 tsp. Szeged Hot Paprika for every TB of salt — but here, too, just add to suit your taste, especially if you used a little ginger. Serve hot or cold.
BEET CHIPS. Peel and slice raw beets thinly. Brush with extra virgin olive oil and place on a baking pan. Roast at 450 degree until crisp. Salt if desired, or enjoy sweet, as they are.
RAW VEGAN BEET CASHEW CAKE. I found this recipe on Pinterest from createnplate.com. Haven’t tried it yet but will sometime soon. The color is so extraordinary. Make the crust with 1 cup dates and 1/2 cup almonds. Blend together and spread into a 6-7″ round pan. For the cake, soak 2 cups cashews for 2 hours and place in a high-powered blender. Add 1 beet, peeled and cut up, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 TB fresh lemon juice and 2 TB water. Blend ’til smooth. Pour into pan over crust. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Check out my big recipe files of Pins on Pinterest, lots more Beet ideas — LeslieCooks.
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