Jul
11
    
Posted (Lori) in News

CUCUMBERS

There are lots of ways to use cucumbers. Save and chill a few slices to place over your eyes; they immediately make you feel cooler and may reduce puffiness. Although cucumbers are 95% water, they’re also full of vitamins (especially E and K) and research is showing that they’re also full of anti-oxidants and other healthy elements.

I found some recipes on the web that called for braising cucumbers; I tried and can’t recommend it. I don’t think cooking adds anything, and it takes away the great crunch. Would love to hear from someone who has a good cooked cucumber recipe.

Dips

In countries with hot climates, cucumbers are used as coolers, often combined with very spicy food. In Indian RAITA, they’re combined with curry and yogurt; in Greek TZAKTZIKI, they are mixed with lemon, dill, and yogurt. You’ll find recipes for both on p. 153 in Recipes from America’s Small Farms

Salads

Creamy (yogurt or sour cream) and tart (vinegar-based) cucumber salads are easy to make. Cucumbers are also part of classic chopped salads—tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, dill, salt and pepper, all chopped and seasoned with oil and vinegar.

CUCUMBER AND DILL SALAD

2 6-inch cucumbers; peel only if the skin is tough; thinly sliced

¼ cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a non-metal bowl; make sure all the cucumbers are submerged. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. To serve, remove the cucumbers with a slotted spoon. Don’t throw away the liquid—use it for storing leftovers or for the next batch.

JAPANESE CUCUMBER SALAD

3small cucumbers

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame seeds

Slice cucumbers as thin as you can. Stir in salt, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Squeeze water out from cucumbers.

In a small bowl, mix rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce together until sugar dissolves.

Add vinegar mixture and sesame seeds to prepared cucumbers and mix well.

Soups

Here’s the basic recipe, with some variations:

1 pound cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced

½ tsp salt

1-1/2 cups fat-free plain yogurt

1 green onion, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

4-1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill

Additional chopped green onion and snipped fresh dill

In a colander set over a bowl, toss cucumbers with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Squeeze and pat dry.

Place the cucumbers, yogurt, onion and garlic in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Stir in dill. Serve immediately in chilled bowls. Garnish with additional onion and dill.

Variations:

Add ½ cup of chopped shrimp

Add ½ teaspoon (or more, to taste) curry powder

Add flavored croutons; combine your favorite spices (curry, chili, zaatar, etc) with 2 tbs butter. Spread on bread, and cut into cubes..Spread the cubes on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven or in pan until golden.

Swirl in a few tablespoons of pesto.

Sandwiches

Cucumbers make elegant small open sandwiches—a triangle of bread, a shmear of cheese, a slice of cucumber, a sprinkle of salt. But they can also take part in heartier sandwiches—layered over cheese, tomatoes, broiled vegetables (such as eggplant and squash), And a chopped cucumber salad is just right in a pita, with or without falafel.

Stuffed

I couldn’t find many recipes for stuffed cucumbers on the web. Is it because it’s too obvious or because most people over five years old don’t eat them? I use cucumbers this way all the time.

Cut cucumbers in half and scoop out the seeds. Some stuffings that work well:

–Salmon, tuna, shrimp, or other seafood, mashed with mayo, horseradish sauce, or other dressings

–Bean dip or chilled refried beans

–Goat or feta cheese mixed with chopped radish, fennel, and garlic.

Pickles

If you still have cucumbers left over—there’s a great recipe for bread-and-butter pickles in Recipes from America’s Small Farms, p. 180

CHINESE SMASHED CUCUMBERS WITH SESAME OIL AND GARLIC

Sam Sifton, NYT

About 2 pounds thin-skinned cucumbers like English or Persian (8 to 10 mini cucumbers, 4 medium-size or 2 large greenhouse)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cucumbers

2 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus more for cucumbers

1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon grapeseed or extra-virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced or put through a press

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Small handful whole cilantro leaves, for garnish

2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

  1. Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Cut crosswise into pieces about 4 inches long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.
  2. On a work surface, place a piece of cucumber (or several) cut side down. Lay the blade of a large knife flat on top the cucumber and smash down lightly with your other hand. The skin will begin to crack, the flesh will break down and the seeds will separate. Repeat until the whole piece is smashed. Break or slice diagonally into bite-size pieces, leaving the seeds behind.
  3. Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer and toss with a big pinch of salt and a big pinch of sugar. Place a plastic bag filled with ice on top of the cucumbers to serve as a weight and place the strainer over a bowl. Let drain 15 to 30 minutes on the counter, or in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 4 hours.
  4. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar and rice vinegar. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in sesame oil and soy sauce.
  5. When ready to serve, shake cucumbers well to drain off any remaining liquid and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with grapeseed or olive oil and toss. Add half the dressing, half the garlic and the red pepper flakes to taste, and toss. Keep adding dressing until cucumbers are well coated but not drowned. Taste and add more pepper flakes and garlic if needed. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds.

CUCUMBERS WITH LABNEH AND CHERRIES

Oliver Strand, NYT

for the cherries:

  • 2 cups sweet cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

for the za’atar:

  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds, ground
  • 1 tablespoon whole toasted sesame seeds
  • ¾ cup dried rose petals, roughly ground
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sumac
  • 1 teaspoon parsley seeds, ground, or toasted crushed fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

for the rose water labneh:

  • 2 cups labneh
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on a Microplane
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Black pepper, to taste

for the cucumbers:

  • 9 to 12 small cucumbers, rinsed and cut on the bias into 1/2-inch slices
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Make the cherries: Place the cherries in a bowl and add vinegar, sugar and salt. Toss to coat. Cover and let sit in refrigerator. (This can be done the day before.)
  2. Make the za’atar: Mix together ground raw sesame seeds, whole toasted sesame seeds, roughly ground rose petals, sumac, parsley or fennel seeds, and salt. (Za’atar will keep for up to one week in a tightly sealed container.)
  3. Make the rose water labneh: Combine labneh, salt, lemon zest, grated garlic, rose water, honey and pepper. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator. (This can be made earlier in the day.)
  4. Make the cucumbers: Mix together cucumbers with lemon juice, a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat and set aside.
  5. To assemble the salad, cover labneh with cucumbers and cherries, and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of za’atar on top. Serve family-style and immediately.

GINGER CUCUMBER SALAD WITH SCALLOPS

Mark Bittman, NYT

1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds cucumber, preferably thin Asian or English variety

½ cup rice vinegar or 1/2 cup white vinegar diluted with 1/4 cup water

2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

1 pound sea scallops (cut in half through their equators if very large) or shrimp, peeled

1 medium to large onion, sliced

½ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

PREPARATION

  1. With Asian or English cucumbers (or small garden cucumbers), slice thinly, preferably with a mandoline. With thick cucumbers, peel, halve lengthwise, and scoop out seeds before slicing.
  2. Mix vinegar, ginger, sugar and salt, and toss with cucumbers. Let stand for 30 to 60 minutes. (Refrigerate if marinating for more than an hour in warm weather.)
  3. Just before serving, drain excess liquid. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Wait a minute, then add scallops or shrimp. Sear for about 2 minutes to a side, then remove to a plate. Turn heat to medium, add remaining oil, onions and turmeric, if you are using it. Cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir onions into cucumbers, top with scallops or shrimp, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve.

 
Jul
11
    
Posted (Lori) in News

CABBAGE

To store fresh cabbage:

In the fridge: Place in a plastic bag with holes in it: it should keep for a week or even several weeks. If the outer leaves brown, just tear them off—the rest will still be fine.

In the freezer:(from HGTV.com—but I often put a head of cabbage in the freezer in a plastic bag; no washing, no blanching. When I thaw it, I wash each leaf. It’s easier to make stuffed cabbage with thawed frozen cabbage)

The first step in freezing cabbage is washing heads. Fresh-from-the-garden cabbage frequently hosts cabbage loopers or other caterpillars beneath outer leaves. Aphids, beetles, or earwigs may also be hiding inside leaves. Give hitchhikers cause to leave by soaking heads in a salt solution. Use 1 to 3 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water, and soak cabbage heads for half an hour. You can also soak heads in plain water for a few hours.
After soaking, rinse heads, and remove old or yellow outer leaves. Cut cabbage into quarters or wedges, or separate leaves. Choose how to cut heads based on your end use. For most cooked dishes, cabbage wedges are handy. Keep the core inside wedges; it helps hold leaves together during blanching.
Freezing cabbage without blanching is possible; you’ll just need to use it within 4 to 8 weeks. For the longest-lasting frozen cabbage, blanch wedges for 90 seconds. Use a colander to drain wedges after removing them from ice water.

Cabbages can be sautéed and stir-fried, braised, boiled, and baked. But in summer, cole slaws and other raw cabbage salads are an easy way to use them. You’ll find a selection of cole slaw recipes in Recipes from America’s Small Farms and a few more below, as well as recipes for cooked cabbage.

CABBAGE AND TOFU—no cooking

Cut the tofu into cubes, and tear the cabbage into bite-size pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and soy sauce; add whatever other vegetables (kohlrabi, greens, squash) that you have on hand, season with salt and pepper.

PEANUT, CARROT, AND CABBAGE SLAW

Serves 4

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons peanut butter

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

For the salad:

3 cups cabbage, shredded (from one head of a cabbage)

4 large carrots, grated

4 green onions, sliced thinly

4 large radishes, sliced thinly

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, to top

1/4 cup chopped peanuts, to top

To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.

In a large salad bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, green onions and radishes. Toss with dressing. Top with sesame seeds and peanuts. Serve immediately or chill before serving. This salad is best the day it’s prepared although it’s just fine the next day if covered and refrigerated.

DATE, FETA AND RED CABBAGE SALAD

https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/11/date-feta-and-red-cabbage-salad/

If you don’t like your cabbage too crunchy, dressing it as directed and letting it rest in the salad bowl for a while before adding the other ingredients will soften and wilt it a bit.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side

1 to 1 1/4 pounds red cabbage (1 small head or half of a large one), sliced very thin

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice (I use lime)

Salt and red pepper flakes (I used the mild Aleppo variety) to taste

About 1/2 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped or sliced

4 ounces feta, crumbled into chunks

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 teaspoons well-toasted sesame seeds

Toss cabbage with olive oil and first tablespoons of lime juice, plus salt and pepper, coating leaves evenly. Taste and add more lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. I do this a few times, making sure I really get this base well seasoned because it will be hard to do it as well later.

Toss dressed cabbage gently with half of dates and feta. Sprinkle with remaining dates, then feta, then parsley and sesame seeds. Dig in.

Do ahead: The whole salad can sit assembled for at least an hour, if not longer in the fridge. Mine is going strong on the second day. You can also prepare the parts separately (feta, chopped dates, sliced cabbage) to assemble right before serving, if you’re planning ahead for Thanksgiving or a dinner party.

CABBAGE AND PEPPER SALAD(From Natasha’s Kitchen.com)

Salad Ingredients:

1/2 large or 1 small cabbage

1 yellow or orange or  red bell pepper (or 5-6 mini peppers)

1 small head of broccoli

1/2 cup chopped green onion

Dressing Ingredients:

Juice of 1 small lemon

3 tbsp sunflower oil (olive oil works too but sunflower is better)

1 tbsp mayo

1 tbsp sour cream

1 tsp sugar

1/2  tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp salt

2 heaping tbsp dill (fresh or frozen)

2 heaping tbsp parsley (optional)

For the dressing: In a small bowl mix all the ingredients. Refrigerate dressing and start on the salad.

Wash your veggies. Using a mandoline or a knife, thinly slice 1 small cabbage and place in a large mixing bowl.

Chop 1 small head of broccoli into small peaces.

Cut bell pepper into small strips.

Dice half a bunch of green onions, about ½ cup. Add everything to the mixing bowl.

When ready to serve, pour the prepared dressing over the salad and mix well until all of the veggies are evenly coated with the dressing.

ANDY’S FAVORITE CABBAGE (from Mariquita Farms)

Sliced green cabbage

Sliced onion (red, green or white)

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

White wine

Sauté the onion and cabbage in oil, then add wine, salt and pepper.  This is a magnificent dish.

RUSSIAN BRAISED CABBAGE

Stephanie shared a favorite cabbage recipe.  She says, “I made it many times last year and everyone loved it.  I used the jersey cabbage, the red cabbage, and the green cabbage and all tasted great.  I make a vegetarian version without the pork and have sometimes substituted mayonnaise for sour cream.  It freezes well too.”

You can find the full recipe here, with step-by-step photos. Comments note that chicken can be substituted for the pork and that potatoes can be added in a vegetarian verions

http://natashaskitchen.com/2011/01/19/russian-stewed-cabbage

Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 50 mins

Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

Serving: 10

1 med – large cabbage head

½ lb or up to 1 lb of pork

1 medium onion

2 large carrots

2 Tbsp of sour cream

4 Tbsp of ketchup

1 Tbsp of brown sugar

2 bay leaves

2 tsp of salt

½ tsp of pepper

6 Tbsp of olive oil

Shred the cabbage into thin slices using mandolin or by cutting it in half or into quarters, then finely shredding each piece with the flat end of the cabbage against the counter. Place sliced cabbage into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt on the cabbage and scrunch the cabbage using both hands for 30 sec to soften it.

Dice the onion and grate both carrots.

Preheat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Saute onions and carrots for 5 min, mixing frequently. When almost done, mix in 2 Tbsp of sour cream. Empty contents of the skillet into mixing bowl with the cabbage.

Cut pork into small cubes.

Using the same skillet, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil and cook pork for 5 min over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When cooked through, add it to the mixing bowl with cabbage, carrots and onion.

Add 1 Tbsp of brown sugar, 1 tsp of salt, ½ tsp of pepper, 4 Tbsp of ketchup and mix all contents of the bowl together.

Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to large skillet or dutch oven. And cabbage mixture and set the heat to medium. Add 2 bay leaves.

Cover and cook cabbage for 35-40 min, stirring every 15 min. Reduce temperature to medium-low after 20 min. Add more ketchup or salt to taste, if desired. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Notes

Cooking time may vary – if not using a dutch oven, you may need to add an extra 5 minutes if cabbage is not soft enough.

SUSPICIOUSLY DELICIOUS CABBAGE

Serves 2-4

2 tbsp butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 finely choppe garlicscape)

1 heaped tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 medium green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

3/4 cup heavy cream (or less, half-and-half also works)

Salt and black pepper to taste

In a very large pan, heat the butter over a medium heat until it is melted and starting to bubble a little. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.

Stir in the ginger and cook for about a minute. Then, add the cabbage, stirring well to coat it with the butter and other flavors. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes, until the cabbage is soft and caramelised.

Turn the heat down to low and stir in the cream, making sure to scrape any browned bits up from the pan bottom. Cover and continue to cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Uncover, add salt and pepper to taste. Then cook for a few more minutes, stirring once or twice, to let some of the liquid evaporate. Adjust the seasonings as desired and serve.

OVEN-ROASTED GARLIC CABBAGE; from the PALEO COOKBOOK)

SERVES: 4

1 green cabbage, cut into 1” thick slices;

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or melted ghee;

5 large garlic cloves, minced; or 3 tbs minced garlicscape

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Brush both sides of each cabbage slice with the olive oil or ghee.

Spread the garlic evenly on each side of the cabbage slices, and season them to taste with salt and pepper.

Roast in your oven for 20 minutes; then turn the slices over and roast them again for another 20 minutes or until the edges are crispy.

SPICY STIR-FRIED CABBAGE, TOFU AND RED PEPPER

12 ounces firm or extra firm organic tofu, cut into dominoes

1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, divided

1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

5 cups shredded cabbage or about 1/2 cabbage (red, green or both)

1 red bell pepper, julienned (or squash, cut into matchsticks)

3 green onions, sliced (reserve one green onion for garnish)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

2 large garlic cloves, minced (or a tablespoon of chopped scapes)

pinch or two red pepper flakes

himalayn salt & cracked pepper to taste

sesame seeds as garnish

soba or ramen noodles or quinoafor serving; cook while you stir-fry.

Start your quinoa or rice and set aside.

Cut the tofu into dominoes (mine are double domino size) and press between paper towels or dish cloth (there won’t be too much water so this will go quick). In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the stock, 1 tablespoon tamari and rice wine vinegar.

Heat a large wok or large skillet over med. high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two when added to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and swirl to coat, add tofu and stir-fry until golden, about 3 – 4 minutes on each side. Add remaining tablespoon tamari/soy sauce, toss together for a few seconds and transfer to a plate.

Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the garlic and ginger to the wok/skillet and stir-fry for a no longer than 10 seconds, you want to just start to smell the fragrance. Add red bell pepper and stir-fry for 1 – 2 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add cabbage, stir-fry for 1 minute, add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, stir-fry another 1 to 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Return the tofu and add 2/3 of the green onions to the vegetable mixture, stir in stock/tamari mixture and stir-fry for another minute or, until it has just about evaporated. Remove from heat and serve with quinoa, rice or noodles of choice. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onions and/or cilantro.

Serves 3 generously.

Notes: If you don’t have seasoned rice wine vinegar, simply add a pinch of sugar or teaspoon of maple syrup.

BRAISED RED CABBAGE & DRIED CHERRIES

From DinnerwithJulie.com

adapted from Sheila Lukins’ All Around the World Cookbook

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. butter

1 small red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup red wine

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Set a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and heat the butter until it melts. When the foaming subsides, add the rest of the ingredients and cook over low heat until warmed through, then put the lid on and pop it into the oven for an hour or two – closer to two. The cabbage will be cooked through, and the liquid thickened a bit. Taste and add a little more honey and/or vinegar as you like to suit your taste (or apple juice if it needs a bit more liquid) and bake a little longer or simmer on the stovetop with the lid off if you want to cook it down a bit.

It’s better after a day or two in the fridge; serve immediately or cool and refrigerate until you’re ready for it.


 
Jul
10
    
Posted (Lori) in News

FENNEL

I’m not a great fan of the flavor of fennel, but I find that when it’s mixed with other vegetables, it adds a great background texture and taste. People rave over the Marinated Fennel and Mushroom recipe in Recipes from America’s Small Farms, p.115. Steve Waxman’s recipe for Tomato-Fennel Soup,  in Recipes from America’s Farmsis also great. And Candice provided a link to an article on fennel:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/five-ways-to-eat-fresh-fennel-78022417/

SOME THOUGHTS ON FENNEL from Carnegie Hill website, by Barbara Thalenfeld

Fennel can be eaten raw, although the flavor might be too intense for some. Remove the tough outer skin and core and then shave it into thin slices using a mandoline. Mix the fennel with baby arugula, chopped kalamata olives, thin apple slices and orange segments. I toss with a simple balsamic vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Sometimes I top the salad with chopped walnuts.

Braised fennel is also delicious tossed in veggie pasta or served alongside fish or chicken. I remove the outer layer (but not the core – this helps it stay together), slice into 1/2 – 1 1/2 slices and lay flat in a casserole dish. I season the fennel with salt and pepper and add approx. 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock or chicken stock and 1 tablespoon of white wine, cover and braise in a 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes until tender (you may want to braise it longer or shorter, depending on the size). I then remove the cover and allow the fennel to brown just a bit in the oven, about 15 minutes. The flavor is sweet and mellow.

The leaves on top of the fennel bulb can be saved to use as an herb to add extra flavor or as a garnish.

Anastasia wrote: After last week’s delivery of fennel, I started searching for recipes to use up the fronds, and tried this wonderful and simple risotto and steamed salmon recipe on the Cheese Traveler blog.

GARLIC SCAPE, SNAP PEA, AND FENNEL RISOTTO

https://thecheesetraveler.com/tag/maggies-round/

2 tbsp butter

4-6 garlic scapes

1 small onion

splash of sherry vinegar

1 cp Arborio rice

1 cp pearled barley

1 qt stock (vegetable or chicken)

1 cp Pino Grigio wine

1 cp fresh snap peas

¼ cp chopped fennel fronds

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp paprika

2 oz. gruyuere, diced (optional)

Melt butter in a pan on medium heat. Heat stock in a separate pan and keep covered on low heat. Cut scapes and onion into butter and sauté until onions are semi-transparent. Add a splash of sherry vinegar (or similar light wine or rice vinegar). Add rice and barley and sauté in the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine, and when absorbed, begin adding the warm stock, one half cup at a time as the rice adsorbs the liquid, stirring often if not constantly. When the rice and barley begin to plump, add paprika and salt, snap peas and fennel fronds. To test the rice, bite through a single grain and check that there is no uncooked (white) spot in the center. Once fully cooked, remove from heat and stir in diced gruyere until evenly melted.

STEAMED FENNEL SALMON WITH COLLARDS AND KALE

https://thecheesetraveler.com/tag/maggies-round/

Fennel fronds and thick greens make a wonderful base for cooking fish, and the flavor of fennel pairs particularly well with salmon. This recipe steams the fish over a bed of greens, and the fish soaks up the flavors as the steam rises.

1-1/2 lbs fresh salmon

2cps fennel fronds coarsely chopped

4 large collard leaves cut in thick strips

4 Red Russian kale leaves coarsely chopped (optional. If not using, just double the collards, or substitute beet greens)

juice of ½ lemon

a splash of rice or sherry vinegar

fresh or dried oregano

olive oil

salt and pepper

Use a dutch oven or similarly large, heavy pot with lid on the stove top. Heat the pot to medium to low. Line the bottom of the pot with the cut fennel fronds, collards, and kale (if using). Gently place the salmon on top of the greens. Juice the ½ lemon on the salmon. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to moisten the salmon and greens, sprinkle oregano, salt and pepper on top of the salmon. Cook on a low heat, with the lid shut to steam the salmon. The moisture released from the greens will protect the salmon from burning. Cook until the fish is pink and flakes.

CUCUMBER & FENNEL SALAD

Good Food Magazine

PREP: 15 MINS

SERVES 4

This refreshing side salad is low-fat, superhealthy and full of summer flavor

1 large cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and cut into thin half moons

1 tsp sugar

1 fennel bulb, finely sliced

½ cup reduced-fat sour cream or yogurt

juice 1 lemon

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

small bunch dill, roughly chopped

Put cucumber in a sieve. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and the sugar, then leave for 10 mins. Add fennel.

Mix sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar and dill, then season with black pepper and add to fennel mix.

SQUASH SMOTHERED IN FENNEL AND THYME

INGREDIENTS

2 small summer squash, (about 12 ounces)

1 1/2 cups sliced fennel bulb, (about 1 small bulb), plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds, divided

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic

PREPARATION

1      Preheat oven to 450°F.

2      Quarter squash lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Combine the squash with sliced fennel, oil, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread the mixture evenly on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and roast until the vegetables are tender and the fennel is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more. Stir in fennel fronds and serve.

FENNEL AND CELERY SALAD

From Mark Bittman, NYT

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, some fronds reserved

3 celery ribs, trimmed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more to taste

Salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste

Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.

Cut fennel bulbs in quarters lengthwise, discarding outer layer if it is exceedingly tough. Use a mandoline to slice quarters thinly; slice celery equally thin.

Put sliced fennel and celery into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Top with lots of freshly shaved Parmesan and chopped fennel fronds if you like.

FENNEL AND PLUM SALAD

Can be made well in advance of serving. From the California Walnut Board; serves 6.

1 head fennel, the stems and feathery tops removed

4 firm but ripe plums, pitted, halved and thinly sliced

1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, torn in small pieces

2 tablespoons chopped chives

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup chopped toasted California walnuts

To make the fennel and plum salad, cut the fennel in half lengthwise. Slice it very thinly, using a mandolin, the thinnest slicing blade of a food processsor, or a very sharp knife. Place in a large bowl and add the plums, parsley, chives, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and coat, then refrigerate for an hour or two. When you are ready to serve, add the walnuts and toss the salad again.

ZUCCHINI-AND-FENNEL SALAD WITH PECORINO AND MINT

1 ¼ pounds zucchini

½ cup torn mint leaves

1 cup shaved aged pecorino Romano

1 small head fennel, cored and thinly shaved

Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

PREPARATION

1      Use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to thinly shave the zucchini lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini, mint, pecorino Romano, fennel, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Add more lemon juice or olive oil to taste.

FENNEL SLAW WITH MINT VINAIGRETTE

Prep time: 10 minutesMarinating time: 1 hourYield: Serves 4-6

The sugar helps bring out the natural sweetness of the fennel, don’t leave out!

Ingredients

1 large fennel bulb (or 2 medium bulbs)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

2 teaspoons minced shallot or onion

1 Make the vinaigrette: Put the lemon juice, shallot, mustard, salt, sugar and mint in a blender and pulse briefly to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until it is well combined.

2 Shave the fennel into thin slices: Using a mandoline, shave the fennel into 1/8 inch slices starting from the bottom of the bulb. Don’t worry about coring the fennel bulb, it’s unnecessary. If you don’t have a mandoline, slice the bulb as thin as you can. Chop some of the fennel fronds as well to toss in with the salad.

3 Marinate fennel with vinaigrette: Toss with the fennel and marinate for at least an hour. Serve this salad either cold or at room temperature.

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fennel_slaw_with_mint_vinaigrette/#ixzz4mQVTY3dW


 
Jul
10
    
Posted (Lori) in News

PRESERVING SUMMER SQUASH

Posted (Lori) in News

If you have more summer squash than you can manage, save some for the winter. Here are ways to preserve it without taking up too much space in your freezer:

1. Pulp it. Wash it, trim off the ends, cut into chunks and puree in a food processor or blender—not too fine, just pulse for a few seconds. Measure into one- to two-cup quantities, pack in ziplock bags, remove as much air as possible and freeze. You can use the pulp for zucchini breads or soups after the season. ADD A TAG TO THE BAG THAT SAYS WHAT IT IS, WHEN YOU PACKED AND THE QUANTITY. You think you’ll remember–trust me, you won’t.

2. Make and freeze a zucchini dip: from: http://food.visitphilly.com/zucchini-spread/

This time of year, home gardeners and CSA members alike are positively swimming in zucchini. Here’s a recipe that has the capacity to use up several pounds in a single swoop, freezes well and tastes great to boot. Serve it up at your next cocktail party or backyard bbq.

3 pounds zucchini, cut into a 1/2 inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

5 garlic cloves, gently smashed

5-6 springs of thyme

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4-5 turns of a pepper grinder

Place a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and allow them to melt together. Roughly chop the smashed garlic and add it to the pan. Add the zucchini cubes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the zucchini has begun to soften. Strip the thyme leaves off their stems and add them to the pot.

Reduce the heat and continue to cook, stirring often. The goal is to melt the zucchini into a spreadable paste. The goal is to cook the liquid out of the zucchini and intensify the flavors without reducing it to total mush. If at any point, the zucchini starts to brown, add a splash of water (or white wine if you happen to have an open bottle) and reduce the heat a bit more.

Total cooking time should be right around an hour. Three pounds of zucchini typically yields around two cups of spread.

Once cooked, the spread will last up to one week in the fridge. Serve on toasted baguette rounds or crackers.

3. Make and freeze or can zucchini relish from http://www.simplebites.net/canning-week-zucchini-pepper-sweet-relish

Serves/Yield: 5 jars

Crunchy and sweet, this homemade relish is pure green gold, and the hot new condiment you need for your sandwiches and burgers.

Ingredients

•          6 cups/890 g chopped green bell pepper (about 8 whole peppers)

•          6 cups grated green & yellow zucchini (about 3 pounds zucchini)

•          2-1/2 cups grated onion (about 2 large onions)

•          4 cups/960 ml apple cider vinegar, divided

•          2 cups/400 g granulated sugar

•          2 Tablespoons sea salt

•          2 Tablespoons mustard seed

•          1 teaspoon celery seed

•          1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

1      Prepare a boiling water bath and 5 regular-mouth 1-pint/500 ml jars according to our canning basics post. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.

2      Combine the chopped bell pepper, zucchini, and onion in a large, nonreactive pot. Stir in 2 cups/480 ml of the apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the vegetables have cooked down, about 30 minutes.

3      Drain the vegetables and return to the pot. Add the remaining apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed, celery seed, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

4      Ladle the relish into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch/12 mm of headspace. Gently tap the jars on a towel-lined countertop to help loosen any bubbles before using a wooden chopstick to dislodge any remaining bubbles. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

5      When the processing time is up, remove the canning pot from the heat and remove the lid. Let the jars sit in the pot for an additional 5-minutes. This helps to prevent the relish from reacting to the rapid temperature change and bubbling out of the jars.

4. SHRED IT on the coarsest holes of a box grater or with the shredding blade in a food processor. Pack into ziplock bags; MARK THE BAGS; you can use it in zucchini fritters in the winter.


 
Jul
10
    
Posted (Lori) in News

SUMMER SQUASH

We’ve seen a lot of squash in the past few weeks; some of you have asked for recipes and I dug out an old post that provides many ways to deal with this versatile vegetable.

FROM THE BOOK: Two of my favorite recipes from Recipes from America’s Small Farms are squash-centric: Greek Zucchini Cakes (p. 151) and Picante Zucchini (p. 165). The Squash Pizza (p. 168) is also nice and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. Squash (or a mixture of squash and chard) can be substituted for broccoli in Broccoli Flan (p. 75). The Basic Vegetable Quiche (p. 20), Basic Gratin (p. 25—I tried it with potatoes and zucchini, it was yummy); Basic Fried Vegetables and Fritters (p. 32-33), Basic Stir-Fried Vegetables (p 34) and Basic Pilaf (p. 35) are great with summer squash. I tried the Basic Souffle with zucchini, and I wouldn’t recommend it unless something with a stronger taste was added—the squash was too bland and the whole thing tasted like scrambled eggs that took an hour to prepare.

QUICKIES: 20 MINUTES OR LESS

Broiled squash: Slice squash diagonally into large ovals. Coat a cookie sheet with olive oil, using a misto (if you don’t have a misto, just spread the oil on the cookie sheet, or better yet, buy a misto—they cost about $15 and you won’t be sorry). Arrange the squash slices on the cookie sheets and coat the tops with oil. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes, until the squash is brown. Remove from oven, turn each slice, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Return to over and broil for another 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted and squash is brown around the edges.

Or—instead of cheese, spread horseradish dressing OR honey mustard over the ovals after you turn them.

Or—instead of slicing into ovals, cut into half lengthwise. These will take about 8 minutes to cook through. Add the cheese or sauce after 4 minutes, but don’t turn. If the squash won’t sit steadily, cut a thin slice off the bottom.

Squash kabobs: Cut squash into small spears. Thread onto skewers. Brush with oil and place on a cookie sheet. Put under a broiler for 4 minutes, turn, broil another four minutes. Add salt and pepper. (If you have time, marinate the kabobs in oil, vinegar or lemon, onion, herbs, and spices before broiling.)

Skillet squash: Heat olive oil in a large skillet; add minced garlic and onion; sauté until soft. Chop 6 squash into chunks or circles. Add to skillet and sauté until soft, about 4-6 minutes. Add 2 cups tomato sauce or canned plum tomatoes; cook, stirring, until heated through. Add whatever herbs you like &/or have on hand—basil, parsley, oregano, and rosemary are particularly nice. Cook another two minutes. Top with grated parmesan and serve (over rice or pasta, it makes a full meal).

Quick squash pancakes: The Greek Zucchini Cakes and Basic Fritters (FROM THE BOOK, above) are nice, but you can get the job done even faster. Just throw 4 cups of cubed zucchini into a blender/food processor with a small chopped onions, a couple of cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper. Pulse for a few seconds. Drain off the liquid and throw the pulp into a bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons of salad oil on a large skillet. Add 2 beaten eggs and 1/2 cup of grated cheese to the pulp. Form into 2-inch long ovals and drop into the heated oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side, turning once.

Squash and pasta; squash and rice. Slice squash thinly; sauté in olive oil until brown and crispy. Add salt and pepper to taste; serve over pasta or rice, topped with parmesan or other cheese. Of course, you can add other vegetables (mushrooms, eggplant, onions, string beans, greens) to the sauté pan, but it’s fine with just the squash.

PULP THEM: Wash, cut into chunks and throw them in the food processor; pulse for 15-20 seconds. Put the pulp in a colander and let it sit over a pot for a half hour to get rid of some of the water. Put the remaining pulp into freezer bags in 2-3 cup portions—they take up very little room in even the smallest freezer. Sometime next winter, you’re going to make wonderful zucchini bread, fritters or pancakes (see above), or thicken a soup or stew with the stuff in those little bags.

MAKE SANDWICHES: Slice squash vertically into long strips. Broil or sauté them until soft; season with salt and pepper. Layer into sandwiches with sautéed or carmelized onions, roasted tomatoes, sliced or grated cheese. Spread bread with mustard, honey mustard, or horseradish sauce. This works well in pita, wrap, or flat bread.

STUFF THEM: Cut squash in half and scoop the pulp out of each half, leaving 1/4” on all sides. This is easier said than done; I find that I need to cut into the pulp with a knife and try to dig down so that I can use a spoon to get the pulp out; the whole thing gets pretty messy, but the spoon smooths it out, and who sees what’s under the stuffing anyway? Then chop the pulp; heat some oil or butter in skillet, add garlic, chopped onion or scallion, whatever other vegetables you have around (chopped finely), some rice or mashed potatoes. Toss the whole thing until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, then add 2 beaten eggs. Stuff the scooped out squash with this mixture, then top with a little parmesan and/or bread crumbs. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes; a few minutes under the broiler will brown the top nicely, but isn’t absolutely necessary.

For other stuffings, see Recipes from America’s Small Farms, p. 164. Stuffing is particularly suited to pattypan squash. Slice off the top, then get the pulp out however you can.

SQUASH CHIPS: Mix 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup water until blended. Mixture should be a thin batter, but thick enough to stick to squash—add water or flour until this is achieved. Slice squash into large ovals. Heat oil in a large skillet, so that it goes about 1/8” up the sides of the skillet. Dip squash ovals into flour batter on both sides. When oil is hot enough to sizzle, drop the squash into oil so that the ovals are close but not touching. Fry for a minute or two on each side, until the batter browns around the edges. Using a pancake turner, turn onto paper towels to drain, and make the next batch. Salt the finished chips and serve hot.

PICKLE AND CAN THEM: I used to be afraid that the stuff that I canned would kill someone—but I’ve been doing it for years and we’re all still alive. If you follow the canning directions carefully and discard any food that looks the slightest bit suspicious, there’s no reason that the food you can should be any more dangerous than other parts of life. I’ve invested in a big canning pot and rack, but if can be done with a big soup pot. You will need a jar holder to remove the jars from the hot batch, but you can get one for about $1.00. Most hardware stores (including Rainbow on 75th& 1st)) carry the jars and lids. Here’s one recipe for pickled squash; there are lots of others on the internet. If you can’t get over the “I might kill someone with these” feeling if you store on a shelf for six months, you can still make half the recipe, cover the jars tightly, and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

SUMMER SQUASH BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES (Gourmet  | July 2001)

Yield: Makes 6 (1-pint) jars

Active time: 1 1/4 hr Start to finish: 5 1/2 hr (plus 1 week for flavors to develop)

4 lb small yellow squash and green zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (12 cups)

2 large onions, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons canning salt

1 quart crushed ice

2 1/4 cups cider vinegar

1 cup pure maple syrup (preferably dark amber)

3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

6 (4- to 5-inch-long) fresh red chiles such as Holland red hot finger peppers)

Special equipment: 6 (1-pint) canning jars with lids and screw bands

Preparation

Toss together yellow squash, zucchini, and onions with 1/4 cup canning salt and crushed ice in a large bowl. Press a plate directly onto vegetables and place a 5-pound weight on top (a bag of sugar in a sealed plastic bag works well). Let stand at room temperature 4 hours.

Sterilize jars and lids.

Bring vinegar, syrup, water, mustard seeds, allspice, celery seeds, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons canning salt to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan, then simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Cut a lengthwise slit in each chile (don’t cut all the way through), then add chiles to pickling liquid and continue to simmer 1 minute.

Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel 1 minute, then invert.

Drain vegetables in a colander set over a bowl to catch liquid, then pack into jars, tucking a chile pepper into side of each jar. Fill jars with pickling liquid, leaving 1/4 inch of space at top, then run a thin knife between vegetables and jar to eliminate air bubbles.

Seal, process, and store filled jars , boiling pickles in jars 20 minutes.

Let pickles stand in jars at least 1 week for flavors to develop.

FAUX APPLE PIE

I didn’t believe it either, but this pie, made with squash and without a single apple, tastes just like apple pie. It think this means that we’re tasting the sugar and cinnamon and not the apples when we eat apple pie, but it’s still a good way to use a lot of squash. I use a streusel or crumb topping instead of the second crust.

INGREDIENTS

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

4 medium-sized summer squash

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 pinch salt

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

pinch ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. Peel the zucchini. Cut into quarters lengthwise, then remove seeds and cut crosswise (as you would cut apples for apple pie). Toss together 4 cups chopped zucchini, lemon juice and salt. Place mixture into frying pan and cook until tender-crisp.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, cream of tartar, nutmeg and flour. Add the cooked zucchini to sugar mixture and mix well. It will be a little runny, but that’s OK.

3. Place filling into a 9 inch pie crust, dot with butter, and place top crust on. Bake in oven at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

SUMMER SQUASH RIBBONS

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds zucchini, yellow, or zephyr squash

1 shallot, very thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chiffonade of basil

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

2 ounces goat cheese

Trim the ends off the squash and, using a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or knife, cut the squash lengthwise into very thin strips.

Place in a large bowl with the sliced shallot, olive oil, and vinegar, and gently toss to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then add the basil and pine nuts and gently toss to combine.

Transfer to a serving dish(es) and crumble goat cheese on top. Serve immediately.

SUMMER SQUASH ANGEL HAIR

Serves 2

4 ounces angel hair pasta

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 small onion

2 garlic cloves, pressed

2 medium summer squash or zucchini, grated

salt

pinch cayenne pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to the boil.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, 5-10 minutes. Put in the pinch of cayenne pepper and of salt to taste, then add the grated zucchini and the garlic and cook over medium heat until reduced, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper and a little more salt and turn the heat to low.

When the water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt and the angel hair and cook according to package directions (angel hair cooks quite quickly – it will take only 2-3 minutes). Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of pasta water.

Add the angel hair and pasta water to the summer squash and turn the heat to high. Let the whole thing reduce, then scoop into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately.