Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CSA leftovers - The last of the winter produce

Both the black sapote in pantry and the tomatoes in my garden are insisting on rotting instead of ripening so I haven't made the dishes I was hoping to have made by now. And that leaves me without the interesting posts that would have results.

Instead, since it seems I feel compelled to post something, here's a couple of less interesting dishes I've made recently. These feature the leftover turnips and beets from the last few weeks of the CSA. I thought they'd last longer in the refrigerator, but they started getting squishy pretty quickly. Maybe it was because of the leaky water jug that boosted the humidity. Whatever the reason, using them promptly seemed prudent.

First, we've got roasted chicken with turnips. Roasting chicken with root vegetables is pretty standard, but here, following a Bittman recipe, I surrounded the chicken with fairly thinly sliced turnips about halfway through cooking and then, after this photo was taken, finished them up under high heat while the chicken was resting. No picture of the finished dish as it turned out unpresentably beige. It's because I finally found a chicken under three pounds to roast. It's good that I finally had a sensible amount of meat, but bad that it cooked through before anything had a chance to brown up crispy. Still, unlike the other times I've cooked chicken with chunks of potatoes or carrots or whatever, the thinly sliced turnips cooked through and picked up a lot of good flavor from their swim in the drippings. A bigger pan and a longer cooking time is all they really would need to be something special.

Second up is pickled beets. There are lots of variations on pickled beet recipes out there suggesting a lot of different techniques. There were a couple elements that seem important to me: a)roast the beets instead of boiling them. This concentrates the flavor and leaves the vegetable cells ready to soak up the pickling brine instead of saturated with unflavored water, and b)keep the seasoning simple to let the flavor of the beets come through. I used white and white wine vinegar and a tarragon herb blend along with a fair amount of sugar and just a little salt. I had salted the beets before roasting already, mainly to just draw out the moisture. I also layered the beets with sliced onion and threw in a couple eggs since, apparently, that's what you do when you're pickling beets. It's early days yet, but signs are pointing towards tasty.

How are you folks adjusting to South Florida's summer produce drought?


kat said...

I always roast vegetables with my chicken but never thought to slice them that thin. We usually get pretty small chickens but haven't had a brown getting them brown & crisp.

billjac said...

I'm sure getting the skin and meat done simultaneously isn't impossible. It's just a matter of adjusting the cooking time and temperature, but, as it was my first time cooking a bird so small, I did so incorrectly.

Marian said...

I miss the CSA! Eating the last of the turnips this week, and eyeballing the last of the beets for pickles. Like to roast beets before pickling, and add garlic and dill.

billjac said...

I miss it too. It's been hard to muster up enthusiasm for cooking without those ingredients staring at me waiting to be used. Maybe I need to buy some new cookbooks and start leafing through them looking for recipes I need to make right away.

Cintia said...

I buy my produce through Annie's buying club when there is no CSA. They try to carry as much local produce as available and it is organic.

billjac said...

I've been looking at Annie's website. It looks like a really good idea. Thanks for suggesting it.