Well Dined

4Oct/110

CSA Week 16

This was our last week of the CSA - I'm sad that it is over, but at the same time it's nice to have a break from the constant rush to cook and eat all that produce before it goes bad each week. I'm glad we did it this way for our first time, it really pushed me out of my cooking comfort zone and forced me to use ingredients that I wouldn't normally buy. I'm really grateful for the learning experience, but next year I think we will do a half-share.


In the share:
Green beans
Kale
Onions
Bell peppers
Tomatoes
Eggplant
Corn
Jalapenos
Apples
Peaches

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First up, I decided to make a Southern Indian style chicken curry with peaches, red onion, and coconut milk. Creamy, sweet, spicy (though not necessarily spicy hot), and easy to make - this is a fantastic weeknight meal.


All the ingredients, ready to go. Cubed chicken breast, fresh ginger, and peaches, onion and peppers from the CSA.


I sauteed the onion and ginger with some garlic and lemon juice. I sauteed the jalapenos separately so that Jasper could add them to his portion. While I love the spices of Indian cooking, I don't like spicy hot food. Luckily, it is fairly easy to make fantastically spiced Indian food at home that is not spicy. Jasper, on the other hand, can't get enough spicy heat. I like to have something on hand that he can add to his food to kick up the heat - red pepper flakes for Italian, Sriracha for Chinese, cayenne or hot peppers, etc...


Next, I browned the chicken and added my favorite curry blend (It is packed with flavor and a little sweet and not at all spicy). In Indian cooking, it is traditional to add the spices to the pan before you add the liquid in order to wake them up.


Then, I added the peaches and the onion mixture with a little water. Look at the gorgeous colors! The smell was just as lively.


Lastly, I added the coconut milk and some more lemon juice to make it creamy and tangy, and oh-so-good. Toasted naan bread brushed with oil is the perfect thing to soak up all that flavorful liquid.

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With the rest of the potatoes from last week and the corn from this week, I decided to make a coconut, corn, and shrimp chowder. I diced the potatoes so that they were similar in size to the corn kernels. Then I added them to a stock pot with onion and garlic.


Next, I added coconut milk, chicken broth, cumin, coriander, and salt and pepper.


I simmered for about 15 minutes, then added shrimp and let them cook through. The result was creamy with a hint of spice and a little bit exotic.

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There is apparently an extremely famous tomato sauce recipe floating around out there on the blogosphere that I had never heard of until a friend brought my attention to it. It is by an Italian cookbook author named Marcella Hazan and contains only three ingredients (other than salt): tomatoes, butter, and an onion. So simple and yet the flavor achieved is so rich and complex, who knew? Well, other than everyone else, that is. So here it is - the famous three ingredient sauce!


Ok, the first step is to peel the tomatoes. You can use a food mill or freeze them, but I prefer a good ol'fashioned blanch.


Cut an "x" into the bottom of the tomatoes and drop into boiling water. After 10 seconds of boiling, shock the tomatoes in ice water.


The tomatoes should peel easily after that. If you would like to avoid this step/ if you want to make this sauce in the winter - use a 28oz can of San Marzano tomatoes.


Chop up the tomatoes and throw them in a pot with butter and an onion and simmer, simmer, simmer, until the sauce is thick and luscious.


Add salt to taste and discard the onion before serving. Or you could chop it up and use it in something else because I'm sure it would be delicious! Food 52 recommends using it as a topping for Italian sausage.

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So what did I do with that beautiful tomato sauce I made? I added it to a gorgeous eggplant pasta dish.


I chopped up the eggplant from the CSA, drizzled it with olive oil and roasted it.


Then I thinly sliced a red onion and caramelized it, adding garlic and a splash each of sherry and balsamic vinegar.


I added the roasted eggplant and the tomato sauce to the onion mixture and heated it until it simmered.


Then I added in cooked pasta and fresh basil for a dish that was rich and vibrant, tangy and sweet.

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Southern Indian Chicken Curry
adapted from Real Simple
serves 4

4 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
2 small jalapenos, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
4 to 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1 3/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 tbsp curry powder of choice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ripe yellow peaches, skinned and roughly chopped
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the onions in skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos, garlic, ginger, and 4 tbsp of the lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes more. Transfer the mixture to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to skillet and raise heat to medium-high. Add the chicken and stir-fry until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the curry powder and salt and stir-fry for 2 minutes more. Add the peaches, onion mixture, and 1/2 cup water and simmer for 8 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Taste and add the remaining lemon juice, if necessary. Serve with rice or flat bread, or both, if desired.

Coconut, Shrimp, and Corn Chowder
adapted from Real Simple
serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1/4-inch dice
3 cups corn (6 ears fresh or 16 oz frozen)
1 13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, potatoes, and corn and cook for 1 minute.

Add the coconut milk, broth, cumin, coriander, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the shrimp and simmer until pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into individual bowls.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce
adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking via Food 52
enough for 1lb of pasta

2 lbs fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
5 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt to taste

Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter and onion, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato (this is just an indication, no need to try to strain the fat out, just stir it back int).

Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing with pasta (or chop it up and add it back in). Serve with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table.

Pasta with Eggplant
adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables via Alexandra Cooks
serves 4-6

2 large eggplants
olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
sherry vinegar (or sherry and balsamic vinegar)
1 handful or 2 of basil leaves
kosher salt
1 lb. penne, fusilli, rotini, or gemelli pasta
2 cups Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce (see above)

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the eggplants into cubes about 3/4-inch square, toss them lightly with olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or so, until the eggplant is brown and tender.

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook the pasta to al dente.

Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan with the olive oil and onions over medium heat. Sauté the onions until just caramelized, about 25 to 30 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a moment more, then deglaze with a splash of sherry vinegar (or a splash each of sherry and balsamic vinegar). Add the eggplant and tomato sauce, heat to simmering. Drain the pasta, and add it to the tomato sauce, toss gently. Chiffonade the basil and add it the pan.

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