Saturday, February 6, 2010

CSA week nine wrap-up, week ten start-up

I made a couple dishes worth mentioning here but not worth a full post. The radishes, cabbage and avocado garnished fish tacos made with beer battered mahi mahi. Mahi is a particularly good fish for the purpose, by the way.

I also made a yakitori using more cabbage, spring onion, green pepper, carrots and rapini (which I misidentified last week, but can recognize now that I've got some proper komatsuna for comparison). Most recipes just toss everything in a pan, fry it up and call it a day, but I found one with an interesting approach I wanted to try. I separately cooked the meat, vegetables and noodles, keeping each a little al dente. Then I fried the noodles in a large pan long enough to dry them out a little but not to get them crispy and mixed in the meat and a somewhat watered-down sauce. Then I laid the vegetables out on top of the noodles. Once the sauce came to a boil, I covered the pan and reduced the heat. The idea is that the excess water boils off, steaming the vegetables while the noodles absorb the sauce's flavors. Once the pan is just about dry, it's done. The goals is to keep the flavors clean and distinct and I think it worked pretty well. A step above previous yakitoris I've made where the flavors have been on the muddy side.

I finished the week with half a cabbage, one spring onion, a little parsley and a completely untouched head of lettuce left. So I think that's the last straw; I'm leaving the lettuce behind from now on.

For week ten, let's start with the fruit. Hidden in the back left corner are a couple carambolas and in the middle are two tangerines and two sour oranges. I think. There were supposed to be four tangerines and one orange, but I think I've got everything correctly identified. The oranges are very juicy so, if they've got both and good and a good amount of flavor, unlike much of the fruit we've had so far, I'm thinking doing an ice cream.

Also on the left hand side is a bunch of komatsuna. I want to use it in its traditional role in a Japanese soup or hot pot. I might freeze it to wait until we get some daikon so I can do it properly. Or maybe I'll just wilt them down, dress them in a sesame dressing and serve them as a bento-style side-dish.

Next to the komatsuna are four tiny canistels. I've just used my leftover roasted canistel in another savory application (even stranger than the meatballs) so I want to make something sweet with these. I'm curious if I could use them in the meringue cookie/mini-spongecake recipe I came up with last week so I might try that.

Next up a big bunch of scallions. Combined with my leftover spring onion and a bunch of store-bought scallions I've got, that's quite a bit and hard to use up in one shot. I've found a Greek scallion pie recipe that's interesting, but I don't really want to make it without the fresh chervil it calls for and I know I'm unlikely to get my hands on any. Maybe I'll ditch the dill and mint it calls for too and completely switch around the flavor profile. Other than that, there's Chinese-style scallion pancakes, but those use less than you'd expect. I'll have to think about this.

That's a bag of thyme to the right. There's way too much to bother coming up with thyme heavy recipes to try to use it up. The last bag like this we got I just stuck in the freezer and have been pulling from ever since. The flavor's not quite as good as fresh, but it's not bad and it's certainly convenient.

The radishes I've already used half of. I really like them thinly sliced and fried, particularly with eggs, so I'll probably use the rest that way.

Below that's a bunch of cilantro. This particular bunch was already half rotted so there's less there than it appears. Since I've got parsley from last week too I might make something North African, but I might just pull from both to season whatever comes up. Most savory dishes could benefit from a handful of one or the other if you ask me.

And finally, the bag in the bottom center is full of baby arugula which I quite like wilted over pasta in a butter/olive oil sauce with a bit of ham and, maybe, a fried egg. I've discussed this before, I'm certain. It's one of my go-to comfort food don't-feel-like proper cooking dishes.

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