Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Bars

I made these strawberry-rhubarb crumb bars last week, and I am sad that it took me so long to post the recipe. Last week I didn't receive any rhubarb from my CSA, but you still might be able to find it somewhere at the farmer's market. This recipe is adapted from Everyday Food's May 2009 issue of rhubarb crumb bars. I simply added more rhubarb and threw in some strawberries and oats. If you have to wait until next year to make this recipe, don't worry. The streusel on top is the best I have ever made (and so simple), that I would recommend using it for other fruit crisps or cobblers.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

CSA Week Three

For this week I got a ton of greens and no more rhubarb :( So for this week it looks like a ton of salads, sauteed greens and stir-fry.

Here is what I got:

-5 garlic scapes
-snow peas
-b0k choy
-mesclun greens
-2 zucchinis
-2 quarts of strawberries

Already this week, I made a spanish tortilla with scapes and spinach and quesadillas with spinach and black beans. Tonight I am making stir-fry with bok choy, scapes, zucchinis, and snow peas.

Here is what else might be in the menu:

Strawberry Dumplings

Vegetable Stir-Fry

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garlic Scape Pesto

When it comes to pesto, I have made a couple varieties depending on what I have had on hand. Since I had gotten a few garlic scapes and a bunch of basil from my CSA, I thought this could be the perfect combination.

Traditionally, pesto is a mixture of basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese. But you can do a lot of substituting. For example, I made mine with walnuts and garlic scapes instead. I feel the thing about pesto is that nothing has to be an exact measurement. Make it how you like it, whether you want to add more cheese or nuts, or less garlic, etc. That said, I just kind of put it together and tasted it as I went along, so feel free to improvise.

Here are the ingredients for my garlic scape pesto:
-1 cup basil leaves, packed
-2 garlic scapes, cut into 3 inch pieces
-1/4 cups walnuts
-1/4 or more of olive oil
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded
-salt and pepper to taste

To begin, chop garlic scapes into 3 inch pieces.
Place basil leaves, scapes, walnuts and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into food processor and pulse until combined.
Slowly add oil and process until smooth.
Transfer mixture into small bowl and mix in shredded parmesan. Season with salt and cracked pepper.
Use immediately on pasta, pizza, or bread. Or place covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator up to a few days. You could even freeze it. Click here to learn how.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Pops

I wanted to lay off on the dessert talk for a bit, but with all the sweet, delicious fruit in season, it is hard not to keep making dessert after dessert. The best part about fruit, is that it does most of the work for you and you really just add a dash of this or a dot of that and your done. Most recently I made strawberry Greek yogurt popsicles, trying to beckon in the New York summer that just doesn't seem to want to come. This cool treat is so easy to make, you wonder why you ever bought popsicles in the first place. The tangy yogurt against the sweet strawberries are the perfect combination. All you need are some popsicle molds which you can find practically anywhere, but I got mine a couple years ago at Bed Bath & Beyond. Click here to check out these cute rocket-shaped molds.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I made this strawberry rhubarb pie last weekend with my CSA strawberries and rhubarb. Although the flavors were there and the crust was flaky, I was disappointed in the runny filling. I even added tapioca powder as the recipe requested. I am still going to share it with you, because it was eaten up rather quickly. Also, the crust was so easy to make. I have never made a crust with shortening or eggs, and it came together very easily. I think it would be a good crust to try if you are first timer in comparison to just a flour, butter, salt and water crust. Next time I will just scoop some ice cream and call it cobbler :)

Here are the ingredients for Valerie Enters' Grandma's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie:
-2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
-1/2 cup cake flour
-3 teaspoons confectioners sugar, sifted
-1/2 cup shortening
-1/4 cup butter
-Pinch of salt
-1 egg
-2 teaspoons vinegar
-1/4 cup ice cold water
-2 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped
-2 1/2 cups strawberries, de-stemmed and cut into larger chunks
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-2 tablespoons minute tapioca
-1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
-1 egg white, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
-Large granule sugar for sprinkling

Start by making the crust. Begin by combining the flours, sugar, and salt. Add shortening and butter in small pieces. Take a pastry cutter or two knives and blend until well combined and crumbly.
Whisk egg, vinegar, and water in separate bowl and then pour over flour mixture. Mix until dough comes together without overworking it.
Divide dough into two halves and wrap in plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove one dough half and dust surface and dough with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin, making sure the dough is not sticking to the surface.
Take dough and wrap around rolling pin and carefully lift up and place in pie pan. Gently maneuver the dough so it lays flat against the pan and then take a knife or scissors and cut excess dough off the edges. Place pie pan in the refrigerator to chill.
Now for the filling, chop rhubarb up into 1/2 inch pieces. De-stem and quarter the strawberries.
Zest and juice once lemon.
Combine strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, vanilla, sugar, tapioca powder, and cinnamon.
Pour out over chilled crust. Dot the top of the filling with cubed butter. Brush edges of pie crust with egg wash.
Roll out second half of dough and drape over top of filling. Tuck under the edges of the excess pie dough and then crimp the edges with a fork.Brush the top of crust with egg wash and sprinkle with large granule sugar. Make a few 1 inch slits with a small knife to allow steam to be released. Take a few narrow pieces of foil and wrap on the edges of the crust so it will not burn during baking. I also like to place my pie on a foil lined baking sheet in case the filling bubbles over, it makes for easy clean up.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake for the remaining 45-50 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is starting to bubble. Remove the foil covering the crust the last 10 minutes of baking.
Let cool completely before serving.

For original recipe, click here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Food, Inc.

Photo taken from www.empiremovies.com
If you have a couple hours this weekend, please go see the movie Food, Inc.

According to the movie's website:

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

Go to the Food Inc. Movie website to watch the trailer.

Here is a great review about the movie Food, Inc. in The Atlantic. Click here to read.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CSA Week Two

So this Wednesday I got the following from my CSA:

-2 stalks of rhubarb
-2 quarts of strawberries
-sugar snap peas
-3 garlic scapes
-1 bunch of turnips
-1 bunch of basil
-1 bunch of kale

Last night, I made a Spanish tortilla with some asparagus and kale. Here is my possible menu for the rest of the week:

Garlic Scape Pesto

Rhubarb Crumb Bars
Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles
Sugar Snap Peas and Asparagus Pasta
Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus and Mushrooms adapted from this recipe.
Braised Turnips with Poppy Seed Breadcrumbs
Strawberry-Walnut Salad
Stir-Fried Pea Shoots

If you are wondering what scapes are then click here and here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sesame Pea Shoot Salad

I made this recipe last year when I didn't know what to do with the pea shoots from my CSA. I am not the type of person to go crazy for dressing, in fact I would rather have my greens dry, but there are always exceptions and this is one instance. The salad has a sesame oil dressing that is sweet and light. I found this recipe on Epicurious, but changed the recipe to what I had around, which was pea shoots, sugar snap peas, and frozen peas. If you don't have pea shoots, don't worry just use the sugar snap peas and add some other vegetables like green beans and asparagus. Click here for original recipe.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Quick Strawberry Jam

With one of my quarts of strawberries I received from my CSA, I decided to make this quick strawberry jam from Everyday Food because it just looked too easy. It only takes three ingredients: strawberries, lemon, and sugar, and is insanely quick to make. Overall, I liked how the jam turned out, but it was a bit on the sweet side for me. Next time I will add only 1/3 cup of sugar instead of a 1/2 cup to see if I like it better.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CSA Week One

Last night I went and picked up my first batch of produce from my CSA. Although, it seemed a little less this year because of the oddly cool weather we have been having, it was still just as exciting. It is cool to see the dirt on the plants and even the roots left on the arugula. Here is what I got this week:

-1 bunch of arugula
-2 leeks
-1 bunch of lettuce
-1 bundle of asparagus
-1 bunch of pea shoots
-2 quarts of strawberries
-2 stalks of rhubarb
-1/2 dozen eggs

When you get fresh produce, it is important to store it away properly to ensure that it stays fresh for the longest period possible.

For certain vegetables such as lettuce, I like to place in a salad spinner and remove all the dust and dirt and then place in a paper towel-lined air-tight container. That way it is ready whenever I need it.
For herbs like dill I place in a glass of water and place in the fridge.
For the strawberries, if I am not using them right away I place them in the refrigerator on a paper towel-lined plate. Strawberries - especially local ones are very fragile and can easily get crushed in quart containers. Do not wash them until just before using them.
If you haven't seen pea-shoots, this is what they look like - so pretty:
Here is the menu I am planning to do this week:

-Rhubarb Strawberry Pie
-Sesame Pea-Shoot Salad
-Quick Strawberry Jam
-Quick Dill Pickles
-Strawberry Walnut Salad

I made a Spanish tortilla with asparagus, leeks, and potatoes last night. Here is a simple how-to on making a Spanish Tortilla (which is an egg and potato dish). Click here for a version from Everyday Food.

Preheat oven at 375 degrees.
Get a few potatoes and slice thinly. Salt and pepper generously. Heat olive in a non-stick or cast-iron skillet. Place potatoes and cook until tender crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally so the potatoes are rotated from the heat.
In the meantime, slice the rest of whatever you want to put it the skillet. I sliced up the asparagus and leeks. Place in the skillet and stir together and cook until tender.
Take 5-8 eggs (depending on how eggy you like it). Salt and pepper and put a generous dash of hot sauce and whisk together. Place egg mixture in skillet of the potatoes - the eggs should not cover all the potatoes.
Place in oven and cook for about 12-15 minutes until eggs have set and top becomes golden. Slice and serve with hot sauce on top.