Tuesday, March 03, 2009

CSA Week 13 - Pad Thai, Panzanella, Kale Chips, Ceviche, Edible Collards 2, and King of Snake!

Here's this week. Sorry it's delayed, had to get the new site up and working. (Mostly...)

  • Yukon Savoy
Tonight it's going into a pasta dish with orecchiette, peas, the spring onion, some dill and pancetta, and a lemon cream sauce.
  • Carrots w/ Tops
I think I'm going to make the soup from the back of the newsletter. Let you know how it turns out.
  • Spring Onion
Pasta tonight.
  • Collards
I made collards edible again! See below.
  • Avocado
Probably salsa or guac when it's ripe.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
These went into a roasted veggie panzanella. See below.
  • Red Potatoes
Boiled, served with butter and dill as a side for a grilled rib eye and collards.
  • Cilantro
Most of it went into the ceviche. The rest will probably go into salsas. See below.
  • Mint
Mojitos! Also a bit went into ceviche pasta salad. See below.


  • Pad Thai / Bok Choi with Shiitake Mushrooms
A lot of the leftover veggies from last week went into a catch-all Pad Thai, especially the last half of the green beans. Next to it is a great use for our Bok Choi out in the garden, based on this recipe. It's easy and uses dried shiitakes, so we can make it pretty much any time. Except we ran out of fish sauce. Off to Lucky Mart...

Here's some advice on Pad Thai:
  1. Hot wok! Very very hot wok! I use my infrared thermometer to get it up to 450 or so before I start. It would go higher if it wasn't teflon and we had a decent fume hood. Then it's on full hot for the whole cooking. Also chop your garlic pretty big or it will be incinerated.
  2. Soak your noodles in cold water for at least two hours. You can cheat and pour boiling water over and wait 15 minutes, but they tend to both be a bit crunchy and yet somehow mushy at the same time, and they stick together something fierce.
  3. Ketchup. The Thai love it, and so should you. Sometime we'll make our friend Om's Ketchup Chicken and post it. Give your noodles a quick squirt when you add the fish sauce, etc.
  4. Palm sugar. Use palm sugar, or at the very least light brown sugar, not white sugar. Palm sugar has an almost maple flavor that is irreplaceable.
  5. Prep everything in advance. Preferably in little bowls by order of addition. Total cooking time will only be a few minutes.
  • Kale Chips
The kale went into Kale Chips. Snapped a photo this time. Here they are cooling. Very easy. Set the oven to 250. Clean and stem the kale. Lay it out on two cookie sheets. Spray with olive oil. Not too much. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Flip them, repeat. Into the oven for 20-25 minutes or so, or until they're crunchy and delicious. Took these to a party: devoured. Side effect: happy vegetarians.
  • Roasted Veggie Panzanella
Meredith had baked two loaves of bread for the week and for various reasons we had about 3/4 of a loaf leftover and rapidly getting stale. So this weekend the Cherry Tomatoes went into a roasted veggie panzanella using this recipe as a starting point. Included were a small bok choi, a green bell pepper and a poblano pepper from the garden (roasted and peeled, then chopped), as well as both Italian and Thai basil. Some feta and kalamatas completed it. Outstanding.
  • The Ceviche Saga
So we got the cilantro on Saturday, and I have a lot of chiles in the garden and we had two huge bags of lemons and limes. So I thought: ceviche! Thus began our hunt for fish. Sunday morning's fishing expedition went...poorly. I caught a small 'cuda but was not about to eat it. Everything else either got away or was tiny. So we went to the store.

Normally we are pretty picky about fish, very ardent about both locality and freshness. Doubly so if it's going to be eaten raw or cooked in citrus juice. So we were hoping to find some local mahi. No dice. So it was a choice between red snappers from Panama (big no-no), Chilean Sea Bass (are you kidding me?), Wild Salmon from the NW (a possibility) or Wild Cod from the U.S. We decided, after much debate, that cod was the safe choice and picked up a fillet, as well as some farmed U.S. bay scallops.

I got to juicing limes while Meredith set to making some refreshing beverages.

Side note: King of Snake!

The background to this is that some months ago we put a single dried Bhut Jolokia chile into a bottle vodka and let it hang out ever since. Bhut Jolokias, or 'Ghost Chiles', are the hottest in the world, and can weigh in at a million scoville, nearly twice a habanero. Apart from hilarity at parties we hadn't found a use for this napalm, until we saw this recipe in last month's Bon Appetit:

King of Snake Cocktail - Bon Appétit | March 2009

From Indochine in Christchurch, New Zealand
Yield: Makes 2
1 1/3-inch slice peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 cups ice cubes
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chile-pepper-flavored vodka (such as Absolut Peppar or Stolichnaya Pepper)
2 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
Crushed ice

Muddle ginger and sugar in cocktail shaker until paste forms. Add all remaining ingredients except crushed ice; cover and shake 15 seconds. Fill 2 old-fashioned glasses with crushed ice. Strain cocktail into glasses and serve.

Put on Underworld's King of Snake really loud and drink up! This was actually really quite refreshing, the ginger helped balance the jaw dropping burn, keeping me just at the point of hiccups and leaving a lingering burn. Not something you want to shoot. But it was nice to sip while cooking. Moving on.

So the ceviche consisted of:
  • 2/3 cup lime juice, 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 8oz can of crab meat, not fancy lump or anything. You'll see why.
  • 1/4 cup or so of chopped celery
  • couple tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 t chopped, peeled ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled.
  • half cup of leftover jerked Grouper, picked off the head and spine. Mmm leftovers!
  • 4 T chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 t salt
Whizzz this all up in the blender until smooth. Then press through a sieve into a non-reactive bowl. Then add:
  • 1 lb or so 1/2" cubed white fish (mahi, tilapia, cod, snapper, grouper)
  • 1/2 lb bay scallops, cut in half if they are bigger than 1/2"
  • 2 T cilantro
  • 1/2 t salt
  • chiles to taste, minced. I used a jalapeno and a serrano, but use Peruvian Aji's if you can.
  • 1 cup red onion, julienned
Mix, cover, and let hang out for an hour and a half to two hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with chips, or spoon. Should serve four. Not the best CSA recipe I know, but it did use 6 T of the cilantro.

Side note: because we used the crab (you could use clam juice instead) we had a vibrant green paste leftover in the sieve. Thinking about it, I realized nothing that went in was raw and nothing was bad to eat as it was. So we mixed in some bread crumbs, formed it into patties and coated them in panko. Fried till crispy golden brown and delicious we had a badass Scooby-Snack for the chefs while we waited for the ceviche to 'cook'. Served with a quick sauce of ketchup, soy sauce and chile oil. Not bad, very limey.

So naturally there was leftovers. And leftover ceviche...goes bad fast. So the next day I decided to make a sortof pasta salad with it. The remaining ceviche was combined with:
  • half a pound bowtie pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
  • some capers, red onion, feta, kalamatas (pitted and chopped), mint, olive oil, sherry vinegar, half a big tomato and some frozen corn, thrown in with the pasta for the last 30 seconds or so of the boil to thaw
It was really good, and I ate it for lunch for two days! Today it was pretty fishy though, so I'm glad it's gone.

Edible Collards (2)

Part two in my ongoing struggle to make collard green edible. And I did find a second way. Apparently it's the way they do it in Brazil, and it is very quick and easy.

Cut the stems and larger veins out of the leaves. Discard the stems, they are more trouble than they're worth. Roll a stack of the leaves up like a cigar, then slice thinly (like 1/8" to 1/16"). Heat large pan to 350 or so. Throw in three chopped cloves of garlic, cook 30 seconds, then the greens. Stirfry them for about 3-4 minutes until they seem tender. Sprinkle with salt to taste, about a teaspoon and a half maybe. Serve.

That's it. Done. And it took like 10 minutes to make. None of this cooking them for hours until gray and lifeless. Or loading them up with pork. (Not that that is all bad...) In the future I may try adding some sesame oil and seeds...

Served this as a side with a grilled rib-eye topped with melted Stilton, and some of the red potatoes with butter and dill.


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