Saturday, December 20, 2008

CSA week three wrap-up, week four start-up

There's a whole lot of vegetables in this week's share but not a lot of inspiration. I don't know, maybe it's just me but I'm not seeing a whole lot of culinary possibilities here.

But first, the end of last week. The only thing to mention that I haven't already posted about is my second batch of roasted ratatouille. I made a bunch of changes I probably shouldn't have. First, piling it all up in one pan was a big mistake which I knew but I thought I'd give the word of a high-profile long-term successful food blogger a chance and go against my better instincts. But the vegetables didn't just not roast well, they didn't even cook well. I eventually had to spoon half into a second pan just to get the dish going. There's no way Clotilde's recipe works as written. I may try putting the leftovers under the broiler to see if that improves matters. That left me at the end of the week with a full freezer, one spare squash and the avocado from two weeks ago finally ready to use.

And before leaving last week, I'd like to hear from anyone who successfully used the hon tsai tai. Was it just a matter of cutting it small enough that you didn't have to chew it? Or cooking it until it fell apart? Did anyone find a way to make the stems edible?

And then there's this week's share. I've got to say I like the looks of the chili tofu with beans and bok choy recipe in the newsletter. I've never paired tamarind with tomatoes and I'm curious what it's like. I notice that it says to separate the leaves and stems of the bok choy but then neglects to treat them differently. I'd suggest adding in the stems with the beans and the leaves at the end as the recipe states. It also doesn't mention dissolving the tamarind concentrate in a Tablespoon of water and letting it sit for an hour. You should do that too.

That should use up all of the bok choy I think and most of the green beans.

Acorn squash (I took a second from the extras bin) is best halved, brushed with something sweet, stuffed and roasted but I may try making soup instead. Or as well as I've got two.

Arugula and radish tops are good substitutes for spinach in pasta dishes, quiches and the like. Improvements really as they have more character than spinach does. I've been meaning to try making a savory tart that they'd work well in. Maybe now's the time.

Salad mix is, of course, salad, but so is parsley in this amount. I'm not a huge fan of parsley in general but I was surprised how much I liked the parsley salad that accompanies Fergus Henderson's roast marrowbones recipe. I'm planning a beef dish just as rich as roast marrowbones but about as hoity-toity as marrowbones are rustic. I'll bet it'll pair nicely with the same salad, though.

The radishes could be more salad, but as I say in that post, I do like them with a bit of bread and butter too. Breakfast radishes are better for that, but the round ones I've got might do. I'll have to try them and see.

Same goes for the tomatoes. Four is a lot but if one goes into the chili tofu and another to salads, two more over two weeks will find their own way into dishes without any real planning needed.

This week's avocado won't be usable for a while, but there's still the one from two weeks ago. I had the idea to pair it with scallops and found a surprising number of recipes with both. I'll probably just do a ceviche.

That leaves the carambola and sugar cane. There's not enough carambola too really cook with, but I might try an infusion substituting in a chunk of sugar cane for refined sugar. I don't actually have any idea how to do that or if it will even work. Should be interesting to try.


kat said...

I have some many radishes right now from our csa I don't even know what to do with them anymore

Anonymous said...

Make a simple pickle! An Asian variation with sesame oil and a bit of soy sauce makes them taste great. A Japanese variation slices them into a jar, packed tightly, then honey is poured in to fill the jar. Let sit for 2 hours, then refrigerate. Different, and the liquid (you'll be amazed how much liquid comes out of the radishes to thin the honey)is traditionally used to help respiratory function. (I got this from one of our Japanese interns, whose grandfather does it regularly- and not just with radishes, but with turnips, too.

billjac said...

You know, I've seen those recipes for Japanese pickled radishes and they all talk about how good they are for you but none talk about how good they taste. So I figured they must taste awful. Your description of "different" doesn't fill me with much hope either.

But you're right; it is time for me to pickle something. I've used up all my radishes already in my Spanish tortilla, but I think I'll pickle whatever comes next week.