Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CSA Farm Share Quiche

CSA season is in full swing, and I am loving the challenge of so many vegetables and greens to get through each week.  We were away this weekend, and so lost two precious days to work on this week's haul.  With Friday looming, I needed something quick that would also work on our well stocked fridge to make for lunch.  

I zoomed onto facebook quickly in that "the toddler isn't currently in danger so I have 30 seconds to see what's happening" way that I'm sure most parents are familiar with, and am so glad I did.  A high school friend has recently started a blog, and had updated it with a quiche recipe.  I recalled some frozen crusts lounging in our downstairs freezer, did a quick tally of various greens and veggies I could use in the quiche, calculated the likelihood of getting the quiche made while making and feeding the cranky toddler his lunch ... and decided it was worth the gamble.  I'm not going to lie - it was one crazy hour and the kitchen looked a little worse for wear when all was said and done.  But the quiche made it into the oven before Q's nap, and was ready for lunch right on time.

Quiche is nothing groundbreaking, but I liked the proportions in this recipe.  I used 2 garlic scapes, one and a half small zucchinis and a handful of dandelion greens.  Otherwise I followed the recipe as written, although I did add some salt and pepper to the cooked veggies.  I did have a little too much filling (aka a little spillage) but that could have been due to my haste and or ingredient adjustments.  The flavor was creamy, cheesey and seemed well balanced by the inclusion of the greens.  I think this will definitely be a repeater recipe as I'm sure there will be more occasions when I need to use up produce while creating a delicious and not too heavy meal.  


Pie crust, frozen or home made
4 eggs
2/3 c. half & half/milk or 1/3 c. plain yogurt & 1/3 c. milk
1 c. cheddar cheese
1/2 c. chopped broccoli
1/2 c. chopped zucchini
1/4 c. onion
1 garlic scape, finely diced 
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whip eggs until fluffy and add milk. Meanwhile, saute filling ingredients in olive oil in a pan on medium heat, adding salt & pepper to taste. Add filling mixture to the pie crust and then add egg mixture. Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees 35 to 40 minutes. Top will be golden brown. Allow to cool some before serving. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Garlic Scape Pesto

M. and I have been members of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) organizations several times in the past.  Now we've left New York City and live in the Hudson Valley, we've joined a local, organic farm.  It's kind of fun going to the actual farm where the produce is grown to pick it up.  And there are nice perks like freezers with grass fed meats for purchase (for M. and the little sprout), delicious whole grain breads for purchase as well as flowers for picking and the farm's herb garden to raid.  And Little Sprout loves to watch the chickens in their chicken coop, which makes a trip to the farm a fun family outing.

We purchased a full share, but are clearly going to have to be on our game to keep up as this week's share was quite substantial.  Two pounds of mesclun - two pounds.  That can be measured by putting a ton of mesclun into the scale, and then when you find yourself cringing at how much mesclun there is realizing you're only at a pound!  Two heads of Napa cabbage, two large bunches of greens, two bunches of spring onions, two bunches of mystery greens, two bunches of baby carrots, two bunches of beets (with greens attached - yum!) and a quarter pound of garlic scapes.  Oh, there were also 2 pints of strawberries as well.  Those we had no problem polishing off.

I had lofty ambitions for the garlic scapes, however time got the best of me. As I switched into "CSA day is coming up - time to empty the fridge" panic last night, I went with the old standby of garlic scape pesto.  Now that we are the proud owners of a chest freezer, I planned on freezing most of it for a treat later in the summer using only what we needed for dinner last night.  I worked off of this recipe from the Washington Post (which was the first one that came up in my google search that sounded appealing) but I did make a few changes. I eyeballed about a half cup of pignolis instead of using the walnuts called for in the recipe due to (my) personal preference.  And I made a batch and a half of the recipe so as to use up all of my scapes. I also discovered myself perilously short on olive oil, and mixed the pesto with a blend of olive oil and pasta cooking water which made for a nice light texture.

The pesto was definitely pungent though - not for the faint of heart (or faint of garlic).  I froze some without cheese, as it freezes better that way.  And I added enough cheese to our dinner portion to make it taste "right" without really measuring.  I served the pasta with a big pile of the sauteed mystery greens, and a mesclun salad.  I'd say we've gotten through a pound of the mesclun so far, only a pound to go!

Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¼-1/2 cup grated parmigiano
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
For ½ pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Creamy Tomato Soup

As I contemplate a summer with minimal air conditioning, this week's cool weather has been a delightful opportunity to get some "warm" cooking in.  Turning on the oven doesn't affect the temperature of the house of hours, and cooking stovetop doesn't result in extra sweating.  There may not be too many of these days left, so I've been making the most of it.  

Yesterday was particularly cool and rainy, and just cried out for tomato soup.  I reached for a recipe I've never tried before (but heard good things about) and was pleased to see I had most of the ingredients on hand.  Living 20 + minutes from a grocery store these days is making me appreciate recipes that can be prepared from my well (over?) stocked pantry more and more.  
I did make a few changes.  I used spring onions from our farm share as I didn't have any leeks.  And I made a half recipe as I only had 1 can of whole tomatoes in the pantry.  We got two adult servings, and two boy sized servings from the recipe. It made a nice lunch when paired with a sandwich and a small salad with farm fresh mesclun greens.  

Overall, I really enjoyed this soup.  I liked the ease of the preparation, as well as the creamy taste minus a ton of cream.  I think my tomatoes could have roasted longer, I pulled them at 35 minutes because I needed to finish the soup.  I think they were not quite caramelized enough, but the resulting soup was still very enjoyable.  While it doesn't compare to a tomato soup made from fresh tomatoes, it was one of the better recipes utilizing canned tomatoes that I've tried. 

And, while I didn't get a perfect food blogger shot of the soup, I did get a picture of my boy shortly after tucking into a bowl of the soup.  I suppose that'll have to do.... :)

Creamy Tomato Soup
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop

2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, washed, and sliced crosswise into thin strips
1 tablespoon double-strength tomato paste (the kind in the tube)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
Cayenne pepper

1. Move an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Drain the tomatoes in a strainer set in a bowl to collect the juices. With your fingers, carefully open the tomatoes, one at a time, letting the juices and seeds drop into the strainer. Place the seeded tomatoes on the foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and roast until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are just beginning to color, about 20 minutes. Discard the seeds in the strainer and reserve the juice in the bowl. You should have about 2.5 cups strained tomato juice.

3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the leeks have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and nutmeg and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add the vegetable broth until the mixture is smooth (without lumps of flour). Add the reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes.

4. Puree the soup in batches until perfectly smooth. Return the soup to a clean saucepan and adjust the seasonings, adding salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Warm and serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container for several days and then warm over low heat before serving.

Serves 4.