Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Please Check Out My New Blog

Hi all! Please check out my new blog edamamemonster. You can find it at Don't worry CSA girl fans, I am still firmly committed to posting recipes featuring local veggies; in addition to, much, much more. Please let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Week 25 -- November 11, 2010

I can't believe this is the last week of my CSA! I'm bummed. Thanks to Blue House Farm for all the great fruits and veggies this season. And, thanks to Pie Ranch for the eggs. You may have noticed that I did not report the box for Week 24. Well, CSA girl spaced last week and forgot to pick up her box. I know! Isn't that crazy? I live for my CSA box. Well, it just shows everyone has their moments.

So, here is the final box for the season (drum roll please):

In this week's box: apples, arugula, brussels sprouts, chard, cilantro, early girl tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, olympic onions, radishes, red beets, and red bell peppers. Check in later this week to see what I make. And, check in with me during the winter. I have a couple of cooking projects I am going to post on this website. I want to learn to make bread and maybe pie. I also will be posting other recipes from veggies I get from the farmers market. So, please stay in touch!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Red Pepper, Radish & Zucchini Red Curry

When I saw this bunch of vegetables in my refrigerator I thought it was definitely time for some vegetables with red curry.

I was convinced that I couldn't make curry at home. Then, one day I was over at my friend Janie's house and she had this beautiful coconut curry cooking on the stove.

It is really simple. Just saute some onions, garlic, and ginger. Then, add whatever veggies you have. I used zucchini, summer squash, red pepper, and watermelon radish. I wasn't sure what would happen to the radishes when I incorporated them into this dish; but, they turned out sweet and tender. I always think of radishes as a vegetable that should be eaten raw; but, they tasted so good in this dish that I want to try them in some other recipes like stir fries.

I got a little fancy this time and made the sauce in a separate dish and then incorporated it with the veggies. I did this because I wanted to make sure that the red curry paste was mixed throughly with the coconut milk. You don't really have to do this. If you don't want to get more than one pot dirty then just add the red curry paste, coconut milk, and a dash of fish sauce to the pot with the veggies. I added a little brown sugar at the end to balance out the spiciness of the curry paste.

Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve over basmati rice. Delicious! This is a great way to get a variety of vegetables into your body in one meal. It sounds impossible but this truly is healthy comfort food.

Red Pepper, Radish & Zucchini Red Curry

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of fresh ginger, minced
2 zucchinis, chopped
4 small summer squashes, chopped
3 watermelon radishes, peeled and chopped
4 small red peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon of red curry paste
kosher salt
1 15 ounce can of light unsweetened coconut milk
1 splash of fish sauce
1 -2 teaspoons of brown sugar
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and ginger cook until fragrant -- about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

2. Meanwhile, add red curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce to a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.

3. Add the rest of the veggies to the pot with the onion, garlic and ginger. Add salt to taste. Cook until vegetables are softened. Add sauce and simmer for at least 20 minutes. This can simmer over low heat for up to an hour. Add brown sugar to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve over basmati rice.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 23 -- October 28, 2010

Here is this week's box:

In this week's box: brussels sprouts, cilantro, green leaf lettuce, green pippin apples, heirloom tomatoes, olympic onions, spicy serrano peppers, summer squash, sweet peppers, and watermelon radish. Check in later this week to see what I make.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rustic Tart with Roasted Peppers & Tomatoes

One of my goals when I started this blog was to learn how to make a savory tart. It seems like the perfect thing to do with seasonal vegetables. I studied several different types of tart crusts and galette crusts. Then, I came across a recipe that used puff pastry for the crust. Yes, puff pastry, that stuff you can find in the freezer section of almost any grocery store. Thaw it, roll it out the way you like, and you have a nice buttery crust.

I have been reading The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider. I really like it because each recipe starts with a basic recipe and then there are several things you can do with that basic recipe. I love learning new techniques and then improvising; so, I am really enjoying this cookbook.

One of the master recipes is for slow cooked tomatoes. I had some tomatoes in my box and so I sprinkled salt, pepper, olive oil, and a bit of sugar on them and cook them at 325 degrees for about 2 hours.

Another master recipe was for magic peppers. These are red and/or yellow peppers cooked at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. The thing that make the peppers magic is the heat and also the seasoning. Ms. Schneider recommends the following spices singly or in combination: fresh thyme or rosemary; fennel, cumin, or cracked coriander seeds; sweet-picante paprika or smoky pimenton de la Vera from Spain.

I had some Hungarian sweet paprika so I sprinkled some on the peppers along with olive oil and salt and pepper.

I assembled the tarts -- adding a bit of sliced shallots and an extra sprinkling of olive oil and kosher salt on top. I baked the tarts at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

And, then I had these delicious tarts. This is a really easy recipe and it looks like you had to take a cooking class to learn how to make it. I think to simplify this recipe you could roast the tomatoes and peppers together at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Serve it with a basic green salad. And, look, it's like you're dining at the Cafe at Chez Panisse without having to travel to Berkeley.

Rustic Tart with Roasted Peppers & Tomatoes
Adapted from The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider

1 pound ripe tomatoes
A pinch of sugar
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
4 large red or yellow peppers, or a combination
Black pepper
Seasonings, singly or in combination, such as fresh thyme or rosemary; fennel, cumin, or cracked coriander seeds; sweet-picante paprika or smoky pimenton de la Vera from Spain
1/2 of a 14 ounce package of frozen puff pastry dough
1 shallot, thinly sliced

NOTE: I think you can roast the tomatoes and peppers together at 450 degrees for 30 minutes and then add them to the tart. This would be a good way to turn this into a weekday dinner.

1. Thaw 1/2 of the dough in the package according to instructions on the container, preferably in the refrigerator for several hours. Return the rest of the dough to the freezer for later use.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle them with sugar, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. Roast for about 2 hours, until they have lost most of their liquid and are just beginning to brown. Take tomatoes out and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop each pepper into four pieces and remove the seeds, stem, and white membrane. Toss peppers with olive oil, salt, pepper and seasoning of choice. Arrange on a baking sheet skin down. Roast for about 30 minutes, until peppers are tender and slightly brown around the edges.

4. While peppers are roasting, cut puff pastry into 2 rectangles. Roll each piece into a square. Place the squares on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator until vegetables are ready.

5. When vegetables are ready, take puff pastry out of the refrigerator. Lower oven heat to 400 degrees. Place vegetables in the puff pastry. Top each tart with shallots, a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil, and some kosher salt. Fold about 1/2 of the edges of the pastry over the veggies. Back in oven until the pastry is deeply brown, about 25 minutes.

Week 22 -- October 21, 2010

Here is this week's box:

In this week's box: big beef tomatoes, cherokee heirloom tomatoes, golden delicious apples, hungarian hotwax peppers, purple top turnips, red cabbage, red russian kale, romaine lettuce, scunions, sweet corn, sweet peppers. What a bounty! I can't wait to get into the kitchen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tossed Sushi with Sesame Vegetables & Egg

Lately, I have been obsessed with Japanese cooking. I have plowed through many books from the library and stocked up on ingredients from my local Japanese market. There are two dishes I have been wanting to make for awhile. One, is the Japanese omelet or tamagoyaki. The other is tossed sushi or chirashi-zushi. The egg didn't work out the way I had planned so I'll spare you the gory details. But, the tossed sushi was delicious. First, I made the sushi rice. I like Nishiki brand sushi rice. I cook mine in my rice cooker on the sushi setting. But, you can cook it on the stove (see recipe at the bottom of this post). While the rice was cooking I made the veggies.

I blanched some spinach, carrot, and edamame in a pot of boiling water with a bit of soy sauce. After a few minutes, I took the veggies out of the hot water, rinsed them in cold water, and tossed them with toasted sesame seed oil, a bit of rice wine vinegar, and toasted sesame seeds.

I put some sushi rice in the bowl topped with some sliced egg, the sesame veggies, and a bit of avocado. I sprinkled some nori strips and toasted sesame seeds on top.

And, then, the secret weapon -- my homemade ponzu sauce. The ponzu sauce adds a nice saltiness and citrus flavor to the dish. It is easy to make and keeps forever in the refrigerator. Chirasi-zushi tastes like sushi but is a lot easier to make and a very flexible recipe. You can add any type of seasonal veggie or protein you like to this dish. And, making tossed sushi is a good way to practice making sushi rice without the pressure of also making the sushi rolls. It is also a good way to allow picky eaters in your family to build their own meal by putting whatever they like over the rice. You will not believe how easy it is to have a sushi bar experience in your home. Give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sushi Rice

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 pinch

2 cups short-grain white rice (I like Nishiki)

2 cups of water

1 teaspoon sake, optional

1. Wash rice in several changes of water until water runs clear. Soak in cooking water for 30 minutes (This step is optional but does make the rice nice and sticky). Combine rice with sake, a pinch of salt, and 2 1/2 cups water (if you’re using a rice cooker) or 3 cups water (if you’re cooking it on stovetop). Cook until water is absorbed, about 38 minutes in a rice cooker, about 25 minutes in a covered pot over medium-low heat.

2. While the rice is cooking, cook the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar and salt dissolve in the vinegar. Take off burner and let cool.

3. Turn rice into a large bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.

4. Using a rubber spatula, a wooden paddle or spoon, gently fold sweetened vinegar into rice, a little at a time. Rice should be glistening and moist but not wet, and sweet but not overly so. Use immediately with sushi toppings of your choice.

Yield: Enough rice for 4 generous or 6 small portions of sushi.

Sesame Vegetables


1 bunch of spinach
2 cups of carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 cups of edamame
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 drops of rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds

1. Heat a pot of water. When it starts to boil add soy sauce and spinach. Cook spinach until slightly wilted about 3-5 minutes. Take spinach out of the pot with tongs and put in a large bowl.

2. Add carrots and edamame to the pot of water. Bring heat up to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes. Take veggies out of pot, place in a strainer, and rinse under cold water.

3. Drain water from the bowl containing the spinach. Add edamame and carrots to the bowl. Sprinkle with toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as you like.

Ponzu Sauce

1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon dried bonito flakes (hana-katsuo)
2-inch square dried giant kelp (konbu)

Mix ingredients and let stand for 24 hours. Refrigerate. Keep indefinitely.

Tossed Sushi Put a generous scoop of sushi rice in each of 4 bowls. Top rice with sesame veggies, sliced omelet, and avocado. Sprinkle ponzu sauce, nori strips, and toasted sesame seeds on top.