It’s been a couple of weeks since I have done a CSA post and we’ve almost had a full turnover in produce since last time. Here we are now, in the midst of summer in North Carolina. That means tons of tomatoes. This particular combination of made me think of Ratatouille. We make this versatile vegetable stew quite often and most of the key ingredients are already here. I am particularly fond of the recipe in the New Moosewood Cookbook. This week we were able to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned. Try it for lunch, as a side dish or with fresh scrambled eggs at breakfast.
The full list this week included:
3 bell peppers
1 pint sungolds – these are extraordinarily sweet and a great on their own or on top of a salad.
1 baggie of fresh basil
I used the peppers, eggplant and some of the tomatoes in the Ratatouille. The fresh basil and tomatoes are a can’t-miss duo. I decided to use the basil to make pesto and create a dish to pair it with the tomatoes. I came up with Grilled Bruschetta Chicken with Roasted Squash and Pesto Sauce. I really wanted to use spaghetti squash to make this a “pasta” dish but it was not to be had at the grocery store this week so I had to work with what I could get. I will post the full recipe soon.
Tonight Jacquie and I were looking for a seafood dinner. We both love crab cakes, but decided to try to make something with the frozen shrimp we already had in the freezer to be a little bit more graduate-student-budget friendly. You could easily substitute lump crabmeat in for the shrimp and turn out a delicious crab cake. In fact, this recipe was based on the gluten-free crab cake recipe from Jan’s Sushi Bar (some of the best Whole30 recipes and generally awesome food photos on the internet). One thing that really kills me when ordering crab cakes out is the amount of filler. Since this usually means breadcrumbs, this paleo option eliminates the filler in favor of some fresh onion and celery and chopped dill pickle. We served this with some fresh julienned bell pepper and carrots with whole CSA sungolds, sautéed very quickly in sunflower oil. We also added in some frozen corn that was leftover in the fridge. The cakes were topped with Sriracha-mayonnaise.
12 uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 small onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 dill pickle spear, minced
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp old bay seasoning
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 egg, beaten
few grinds of fresh black pepper
Add the shrimp to food processor and pulse a few times to chop. Be careful to leave a good amount of texture and not to puree the shrimp. Alternatively, you could chop them by hand. Combine the chopped shrimp with the rest of the ingredients, except for the coconut oil in a bowl. Form into four cakes and set on parchment paper in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Heat coconut oil in a skillet and fry the cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon and Sriracha-mayonnaise.
Believe it or not, this meal started with me creating something to use fresh beets I got in last week’s CSA. When I see them, it’s really hard for me not to think about fresh roasted beets. Next time I’m going to try incorporating them into something raw. I actually got the inspiration for the salmon recipe from the Trader Joe’s package. < aside >Why does Trader Joe’s sell their frozen fish in packages of three fillets? I realize it’s about a pound but three is not a convenient number. <\aside> I used Silverbrite because it was inexpensive, but next time I would use a brighter variety such as Coho or Sockeye. The vinaigrette for the salad paired perfectly with the pan sauce.
4 3-4 oz. salmon fillets
2 T olive oil
2 T grass-fed butter
2 T whole-grain mustard
2 T water
2 T lemon juice
1 T honey
Heat a sauté pan and add olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted add the mustard and cook for about a minute until the mustard seeds are lightly toasted. Add the salmon and cook about 3 minutes on each side. Add the water, cover and cook until the fish is cooked through (mine took about 5 more minutes). Remove the fish from the pan, add lemon juice to deglaze the pan. Add honey and cook until the pan sauce is reduced, 2-3 minutes.
6 T olive oil
3 T champagne vinegar
1 T whole-grain mustard
fresh-ground black pepper
Blend the ingredients (a magic bullet works really well for this type of thing). Alternatively, whisk the oil, vinegar and mustard, then stir in the finely minced shallot.
1 package (7 – 8 oz) wild arugula
1 c roasted beets
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
raw sunflower seeds
Lightly dress the arugula with the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Divide evenly and top with the beets, goat cheese, tomatoes and sunflower seeds. Place the salmon (whole fillets or sliced) on the salad and spoon the pan sauce over the salmon. Enjoy!
Today is Sunday at that means that you can probably find me in the kitchen for a good portion of the day stocking the fridge with things to eat during the week. Eating paleo means a lot of cooking and a lot of cleaning dishes for which we don’t always have time for during the week. Thinking ahead a few days and keeping things fresh and simple helps a lot. And at the end of it all, who doesn’t like to sit down to a nice dinner with a glass of red wine or a cold beer?
I was really looking forward to this meal. I was able to pack in a bunch of local/CSA ingredients. CSA blackberries and onions topped the pork chops from Walter’s Unlimited, who consistently provides the best pork (link and ground sausage, roasts, ribs, chops…) I have found anywhere. The chops were accompanied by a zucchini “pasta” salad using our own garden zucchini and CSA potatoes roasted with butter, smoked paprika and rosemary.
Pork Chops with Fresh Blackberry Sauce
4 fresh bone-in pork chops
3 T grass-fed butter, divided.
1 pint fresh blackberries
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
Melt half the butter in a small saucepan and cook the onions until they are softened and just starting to caramelize. Add the vinegar, honey and blackberries and simmer until the sauce has thickened and the berries are collapsed (about 15 minutes). While the sauce is simmering, heat the remaining butter in a saute pan, season the pork with salt and fresh black pepper cook the pork chops until brown and caramelized, about 4 minutes on each side. Depending on how thick the chops are they might not be quite done yet. If necessary, stick the chops in a 375-degree oven until the internal temperature is 160 degrees (mine took 5-10 minutes). Let the chops rest for a few minutes before serving. Remove the sauce from the heat and let stand for a few minutes (the sauce will thicken up a bit more as it cools). Spoon the sauce over the pork and enjoy!
It looks like agriculture in North Carolina turned over last week. Greens have been gone for a couple of weeks now and it looks like the squash season was short. This week is the first of the blackberries and the blueberries are a week or two out. Onions are consistent and getting larger. This week included:
1 pint blackberries. We ate all of these but stay tuned next week for some grilled pork chops with blackberry chutney.
1 fennel. This is one of my favorite vegetables although it is hit-or-miss with people. If you really like the flavor, try serving it raw on a salad with blue cheese and fresh orange. If you’re looking to chill out the licorice flavor, try making this vegan- and paleo-friendly roasted fennel and tomato soup.
3 large onions. This is the first red onions we’ve seen.
1# carrots. Had these for lunch with some sliced cucumber, tomato and tuna salad.
Potatoes. While these are not strictly paleo, I’m not going to turn down any fresh farm food. We incorporated these into a gratin with grass-fed cheddar. I used the rest for roasted potatoes with rosemary served with fresh farm bratwurst and sautéed peppers and onions.
Here’s a recipe for a quick pickle; no cooking or waiting. A great way to use fresh cucumbers which will be plentiful now that summer has arrived. These are also salt-free, unlike those dubious jars from the grocery store. I can remember eating these growing up, so I have to thank my Mom for the inspiration on this one. Try them at your next BBQ.
Slice three medium-sized fresh cucumbers very thinly using a knife or mandoline. Add them to a mixture to 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tbsp each of sugar, dill and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and refrigerate until you are ready to eat them, which could be immediately.
So I’m liking this posting with a week delay. Rather than speculation, I have results. This week (last week) was sort of a transition week. More summer veggies and a really great variety. Spinach and lettuces are less frequent. Summer squash is plentiful. This week included:
1 lettuce. Instead of salads this week we did chicken lettuce wraps. We cooked skinless chicken thighs in enchilada sauce I had frozen with a dash of homemade hot sauce. I would say this was a marginal success. The chicken was really good but it was too messy. I have yet to find a good paleo tortilla. I’ve tried coconut flour but they were too fluffy and fell apart easily.
3# squash. This was mostly the yellow summer squash and 1 large green zucchini. We incorporated this into “meatless Monday” by making a squash “pasta bake”. Essentially this was cooked sliced zucchini, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes and italian seasonings topped with fresh mozzarella and baked until brown and bubbly.
Swiss chard. We made Jacquie’s breakfast casserole again using local sausage and sweet potatoes. Went really well with the homemade hot sauce and yielded breakfast for four days this week.
Beets. One of me and Jacquie’s favorite veggies. Nothing better than roasted beets with a little olive oil. There weren’t many so we also made roasted parsnips to go with them. Both were a great side dish for chicken Kiev.
Cucumbers. Made some quick pickles with these to serve with a marinated and grilled flank steak.
I’ll be the first to admit this sounded strange when I first heard of it but it is awesome. Even if you are an avocado hater (I know they exist but I haven’t figured it out) I really encourage you to give this a try. The texture is smoother and creamier than any dairy-based pudding I’ve ever tasted. Plus it packs on the vitamins, minerals and healthy monounsaturated fat from the avocado and fiber, antioxidants and minerals from the cocoa powder. Jacquie says it had a hint of ripe banana flavor which I agreed with after refrigerating for a day or two. Even though the honey and cocoa make this fairly rich, I guarantee it won’t last long.
We served ours with our CSA strawberries. You could also try adding some banana or other fruit. Some cinnamon would also be good.
So Morley and I just went to pick up our CSA box and it’s like Armageddon in Chapel Hill, NC. We had thunderstorms roll through this evening and some of the traffic lights lost power. There were car horns and sirens everywhere (which Morley likes to imitate by howling at them). To be fair this is how it gets every time there is weather down here; North Carolinians can’t handle it. Or maybe it was just a free-for-all mob-style protest of the passing of Amendment 1, I can’t be sure…
But anyway, Morley and I did manage to eventually get our veggies home. You can tell this stuff is fresh. It was dirtier this week than the last couple of weeks, probably because of the rain today.
I didn’t do a Week 4 post because everything was a repeat of something we had previously. I still have some lettuce and spinach from last week that I am trying to quickly finish up now that the stocks are replenished. I’m also super-excited that we just bought a food dehydrator. I can’t decide what to dehydrate first! Looks like there are some possibilities here. So here’s a list of the contents. Quite a bounty this week.
1 pint of strawberries – Still strawberry season here in NC. No complaints from this guy. I might try dehydrating these.
1 head of cauliflower
1 bunch of turnips – The onions and turnips are easy. I was really excited to see these. I see a breakfast casserole in our future made with grated turnips, diced onions, eggs and farm sausage.
3 green/3 yellow squash – Another option for dehydrating. I want to try me some zucchini chips.
3/4# spinach – I’ve been eating a lot of spinach lately. Will have to think about this one a little more.
It’s week three of the CSA and holy lettuce! We just finished our salad from last week and here comes round two. What I’m really excited about is the swiss chard though. I’m not sure that I’ve ever eaten this particular vegetable much less prepared it. It looks like it could be good sautéed and Eric recommended trying it in a raw salad.
Two more pints of delicious strawberries this week. The bad news it looks like the rain and cold have hurt the ripening strawberries. The good news is that the rain helps the blueberries and blackberries and those have survived the cold so far. I’m looking forward to both! For the first time the farm is also growing mushrooms. An email update says they’ve cleared some trees and shrubs where the mushroom logs are incubating and preparing the area for production.