Saturday, February 19, 2011

CSA week ten wrap-up, week 11 start-up

I made a couple dishes last week not worth a full blog post but worth a mention here: spinach pasta dough and Italian wedding soup.

The spinach pasta dough was a real pain to work with. I kept adding more flour to compensate for the moisture in the spinach, but it stayed sticky and delicate and refused to roll out well in my pasta machine. I ended up using half the dough to make some really tough gnocchi and some noodles that stuck together into a lump and putting the rest in the freezer. It'll probably roll out better half-defrosted, I figure. If it had good spinach flavor, maybe it'd be worth all this trouble, but I could barely taste any. Big waste of some quality spinach.

The Italian wedding soup, on the other hand, was quite good, but it's just adding meatballs and coarsely chopped escarole (or curly endive) to chicken soup and finishing off with egg-drop-soup-style egg threads made out of alfredo sauce. I did make my own meatballs, but not much there to write about.

What's left then? Half a head of escarole, half a head of celery, half a container of grape tomatoes, most of the parsley, the honey and a still-not-ripe canistel. Huh, I thought I had made more of a dent in the share than that. I'll make a frittata or a stew or suchlike to use that up.

If this week's share looks sparse, that's because I left the lettuce behind, as usual, as well as the mizuna. I've got nothing against mizuna, but I'm getting tired of greens at this point, plus I need to limit how many new ingredients I bring in this week. my freezer is completely full and I need to clear out some space so I can make ice cream.

So, the only real non-seasoning ingredient I need to deal with here is the kale. There's a German beer-braised kale recipe that caught my I, but kale has been trendy recently so there are interesting recipes floating around out there. Or maybe I'll just make chips; That's always an option.

For the curry leaves, the trick is using a reasonable amount of them at once. Jamie Oliver has a few recipes that ask for a handful; his fish soup looks pretty good.

I might go Indian again with the dill (as mentioned in the newsletter). I wasn't too impressed with the curry I made with them last April, not while it was fresh, but it improved over time in the freezer and was very tasty when defrosted.

The carrot I've already snacked upon and, as carrots go, it was a good one.

I'll save the pulp from the black sapote when it's ripe and wait for more. It's easier to use in bulk, I've found. I'll probably do the same with the canistel, now that I think about it.

Finally, the green onions are no problem. I use plenty of onions and scallions in my cooking so these should substitute in nicely.

That's still three or four dishes all of which will probably have leftovers. Even if I can pull most of the non-share ingredients out of the freezer, I don't know if I'll be making much progress towards emptying it out. Maybe I'll save the dill and curry leaves. They both freeze well.


drlindak said...

Hi! I had some pretty good luck with spinach and dandelion greens (from the extras box) pasta last week. ENORMOUS batch that fed 8 people with leftovers, so yes, it must have used quite a bit of flour. I used two eggs, all the spinach, a big bunch of dandelion greens and kept adding flour until the texture was right. Maybe 4 cups? It was a lot. But delicious!

On another note, I've looked at the curry leaves for 3 years until they've gone bad, and this year I'm determined to use them. I've looked through all of your recipes. For a first attempt what do you think - Stir Fried Shrimp, Garlicky Tomato Curry?

billjac said...

It's been years so I can't really remember which recipes showed off the curry leaves to best advantage and I seem to have whined about their flavor not coming through in most of the write-ups. I do remember that the aromas of both of the Malaysian dishes got positive comments at work when I brought in leftovers. I also remember liking the the tomato curry quite a bit, especially with the poached egg, but as it's really just a sauce, you might add in some meat if you've got carnivores to satisfy in your family.

In either case, throw in some more curry leaves right at the end so their flavor doesn't get lost.

Anonymous said...

You could try making Vadouvan aka Vadouvan Spice with the curry leaf. Epicurious has a recipe/write-up, as do others. Supposedly the newest "it" spice... we do want to stay in front of food trends, right?!?

billjac said...

Vadouvan sounds intriguing, certainly, but at a ratio of 1 Tablespoon of curry leaves to 2 pounds onions, I don't thing they'll be adding much to the flavor profile.