Saturday, March 28, 2009

CSA Week 17

Here's this week! Only three weeks left, down to the home stretch.

  • Red Potatoes
  • Daikons with Tops (3)
  • Bok Choi
  • Romaine Heart
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Spring Onion
  • Valencia Oranges (3)
  • Strawberries
Wow more daikon. Also my Bok Choi here are all so big they're starting to flower, so bok choi was certainly on the menu this weekend. And then I got another one! :)

Thinking the daikon tops, dandelion greens and one of my bok choi will be stirfried with some Black Bean Garlic sauce.

Potatoes will keep. Strawberries are dessert. Daikons were all dealt with today.

Here's how!

Leftover Wrapup and The Week So Far
  • Korean Spareribs; Daikon Slaw with Szechuan Peppercorns and Red Chile; Grilled Kimchi Bok Choi
So for tonight's dinner I finally got around to my Korean Spareribs. Picked up about two pounds worth of "Flanken" cut beef ribs. Thinner would have been better, these were pretty thick. But hey, what're you gonna do. Marinade was:
  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Mirin
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/8 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/8 Cup Sesame Oil
  • 1/8 Cup chopped garlic
  • a couple tablespoons of chopped chives because I didn't have any green onions around
Left it overnight. The next day, onto the grill until delicious. (And they were delicious!)

The Daikon Slaw was basically this recipe from Epicurious. It was good, but nothing to write home about. I would have liked more szechuan peppercorns. Also I grated the daikon, in the future I would recommend a julienne.

Finally, in my book there is no better way to cook bok choi than by grilling it. So I split the head, washed it out, and placed it in a baking dish. I took my remaining half-jar of daikon and bok choi kimchi from last week and blitzed it in the miniprep with a couple T's of sesame oil. Pour over the bok choi halves and work it in a bit. Onto the grill for about 3-4 minutes a side. Amazing. Just the right amount of burn, great intense flavor. Nice texture on the bok choi. And this meal used both daikon and bok choi in two different ways!
  • Paella!
I had a whole chicken, a bunch of veggies, it was a nice night, and I got the paella itch. And so it was. There are as many paella recipes as there are people with large shallow pans so I won't really get into the recipe too much, other than to say that I put in a whole jointed chicken with gizzards, some guanciale, a half pound of mussels, some Miami chorizo, a CSA zucchini and squash, some red bell peppers and a tomato from the yard, assorted CSA herbs and house herbs. And the last of my proper Calasparra rice.

Don't Do This

What I will mention is this: a tale of woe and tragedy that almost ruined my ricey dreams. It is a chronicle of hubris and punishment of ignorance. It concerns a nearly incinerated paellera and an overzealous grill-master.

Prior to this episode I always made paella inside, switching between the stove and oven. Keeps good control and the pan serves 8, not 30, so I don't need the big burner. But it was a nice night, so I decided to go outside and use the grill like a real man. Sadly, I was simultaneously overzealous with the charcoal and impatient in letting the fire die down. So the pan went on, oil went in, infrared thermometer said 375, chicken bits went in and were all cooked well, then they were removed and the guanciale went in. At this point things went horribly, horribly wrong.

Keeping the lid off the BBQ was really heating up the coals. Soon the thermometer was off the chart, the guanciale was beginning to burn, grease fires imminent. So I rescued the guanciale, took the pan off, ran across the deck with my lame pot mitts doing an insufficient job on the searing handles, dumped the now blackened oil, and spent about half an hour spraying the now blackened pan and trying to scrape the burned on crud off.

Took the noticeably still charred pan back inside and finished on the stove. The paella was still really, really good. Haven't been able to get my incinerated pan back to rights though...lesson learned.
  • Caldo Verde
Had to use last week's kale. Didn't want to make kale chips again. So the national soup of Portugal it is!

I set off from this recipe and it was good, but kinda bland, thin and lifeless. So I added some more paprika. Then I was pondering what else to do when it hit me: Trotter Gear! So I dug one of the jars out of the fridge and added a couple big spoonfuls. Suddenly the soup had body, and some nice unctuous goodness. Great with some fresh bread, and it used the leftover chorizo from the Paella, all the kale, and all my old red potatoes. To do again I would say use a good stock and some more garlic and it would be really good.
  • Tzatziki
I used last week's cucumbers to make some tzatziki. I'm fortunate enough to live near Miami's Oriental Bakery, so I was able to procure some fresh pitas and the secret ingredient to awesome tzatziki: labaneh.

To make watery, lame tzatziki you need non-fat plain yogurt.
To make ok, but still meh tzatziki you need plain yogurt.
To make good tzatziki you need strained yogurt.

You can take plain yogurt, hang it in some cheesecloth over the sink for a couple hours, and it will be good.

Or you can go for the gusto and skip straight to the thick-yogurt-cheese-universe-expanding-awesomeness of good labaneh. You can find it by the pint or quart at most middle eastern markets. There's a brand called Romi's out of New Jersey that's pretty good.

Here's the tzatziki recipe. Take two cucumbers. Top and tail them, then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Grate the cucumbers into a bowl and sprinkle with some salt. Let them sit for an hour or two, stirring occasionally, then strain them and wring them out in a paper towel. Mix the cucumbers with a pint of labaneh, two crushed cloves of garlic, a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and some minced mint or dill if you're feeling like it. Adjust for salt and serve with pitas, or on souvlaki or falafel, or with lamb. It's amazing.


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