Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Some "culinary" highlights from the last couple weeks

It's been a bit of an adventure in the kitchen as of late, mostly because I seem to have taken on some recipes written for a more experienced cook than myself. The true highlights of our meals have been the daily unadulterated salads in our lunches and the fresh green beans (in other words, the food I can't possibly get wrong accept for perhaps chopping it into uneven portions). We're still relying quite a bit on non-local ingredients such as dried spices and sugar, something that is not likely to change in the near future (unless I suddenly become a culinary genius and start cooking successfully with my locally sourced honey). Here are some moments of, um, "inspiration" from the last couple weeks.

I attempted my first home-made tomato sauce following a recipe in Local Flavors by Deborah Madison, but since I wasn't instructed to peel the tomatoes, I didn't. I only learned afterwards that it would have helped immensely. Coupled with the fact that I didn't have a food mill (supposedly an indispensable piece of kitchen equipment?!?), I was laboring over the pot trying to force tomatoes through my sieve with a potato masher. At the end of it all, I had a whole cup and a half of tomato sauce to show for over an hour of work, and I was a tad grumpier for it.

Mmmmm, peaches! The last couple weeks have brought lots and lots of peaches in our CSA boxes. Unfortunately not enough to make a pie, but I did cook up some spiced peaches. They were tasty both hot and cold, and stored very well in the fridge. I also sugared some up and served them over angel food cake with whipped cream (peach shortcake) at a barbecue with family over the weekend.

Spiced Peaches (from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison)

Makes 1 pint

4 cups peeled and sliced peaches
1/2 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

Place peaches, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and balsamic vinegar in a nonstick skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until thick. Stir in ginger. Pour into a clean jar, cover, and keep refrigerated.

I'm not even going to try to put my Clean-out-the-refrigerator Soup into a recipe form! The title is self-explanatory. I used some of the last of my boxed vegetable broth and cooked up a whole bunch of rainbow kale (CSA box), a bunch of bok choy (CSA box), some onions (J.R. Organics), garlic (Sage Mountain Farm) and various seasonings (my very own cupboard). It wasn't the most flavorful or memorable soup, but it stopped the hunger and sometimes that's all it takes to call dinner a success!

We also managed an omelet using eggs (local Alta Dena free-range), tomatoes (CSA box), onions (J.R. Organics), garlic (Sage Mountain Farm), parsley (CSA box), and some finely chopped zucchini (CSA box). It was wonderful tasting, but horrible looking. Therefore, no photo. Sorry. I only admit my most outrageous failures in textual form. Photographs are far too incriminating!

These were the most glorious green beans (CSA) with purple-skinned carrots (J.R. Organics)! Does anyone know the real name for these types of carrots? I couldn't bear to peel the bright skins off, so I just gave them a good scrubbing and tossed them in. They were delicious! A fillet of sea bass (Catalina Offshore Products) with lots of salt and pepper squared it all off.


Rebecca said...

I once tried a recipe called "Spinach Noodles" that sounded wonderful and healthy, but came out looking (and tasting!) like I had thrown cooked pasta into dirt and grass and then served it up to the family! Not only did I not take a picture of it, I also scribbled it out in my cookbook and wrote "YUK!!!" in big letters across it, to warn future cooks!

Danielle said...

Needless to say, your "clean-out-the-refrigerator-soup" comes out much prettier than mine ever has.

Maybe you should post a recipe...

Diane said...

Glad you left the skin on your carrots. My grandparents said that lots of vitamins were in the skins!