Posts Tagged ‘black sapote’

My my my… Sapote!

As hinted at in my previous post, we’ve finally manage to make something from our seemingly ever-growing collection of slowly-riping black sapote fruit. June took the initiative and created a Black Sapote Kulfi recipe from scratch (or there abouts), and it’s seriously tasty!

Black Sapote Kulfi

Black Sapote Kulfi ... on a stick!

The end result is amazingly creamy, very smooth, and has a very interesting flavour. I’m not quite sure how to describe the flavour, now that I’m thinking about it, as it’s a strange mix that seems fruity, earthy, and tangy, yet doesn’t really taste like anything else. As for the kulfi itself, I personally think that it works best when only just defrosting, about a minute after coming out of the freezer, but June prefers it when it’s much softer. Either way, it tastes great, and the fact that it takes forever to melt means that you don’t need to worry about it dripping or turning to mush. That being said, it doesn’t really work that well on a stick like this, as it sticks to the mold making extraction rather tricky!

We’ll definitely be using our future sapotes this way; since there are at least two that are still ripening up, and inevitably there will be more in future boxes, so that shouldn’t be too far away. No more sapotes will go to waste, that’s for sure…

Colcannon at last!

Another productive cooking weekend means that we’ve made another dent on our burgeoning veg stocks. On Saturday, even before I’d had a chance to post the opening of Box 8, we’d used the mizuna and red round tomatoes for BLTs (well, BMT for June, BM for me):

Open BMT

Open BMT

Closed BMT

Closed BMT

The mizuna was an interesting change from the usual lettuce, since it was much leafier, like rocket/arugula without the kick really, and it kept the sarnies slightly healthier than the just ‘B’ they would have been otherwise (for me, anyway).

Yesterday, I threw together a simple salad using the rest of the mizuna, some more of the cabbage from Box 5, a few stalks of celery, a big handful of raisins, and pretty much our entire radish harvest (with a improvised dijonnaise-ish dressing). Delicious! Yes, I forgot about the green peppers (and the carrots we bought a few days back), so a slightly missed opportunity but no matter – the result was great, with the heat of the radishes and dijon mustard mixing with the sweetness of the raisins, and the contrasting textures and crunchiness levels all working well.

However, the star of Sunday’s dining was the Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi & Colcannon that June prepared in the evening.

Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi & Colcannon

Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi & Colcannon

The fish was great, perfectly done and the crusting was excellent. However, the star of the show was the colcannon. June decided to actually find a recipe (from one of her hundreds of cookbooks) rather than rely on my rather ad-hoc version, and then improvised a little on that with the addition of caramelised red onions. Oh my! I could have eaten the entire batch and barely noticed! It was easily the best colcannon I’ve ever had, and needless to say it’s henceforth definitely going to on our frequent cook-list. In fact, I think I’ll be making this version rather than my own from now on, which is saying something. It’s possible to say that it was the freshness (and quality) of the kale that lifted this dish, so I’m looking forward to trying this one with both future box contents and other types of kale.

Oh, and before I finish, a quick teaser… we’ve finally used 5 of our black sapotes, and the results are … impressive. More details on that another time!

Box 7 – Roundup

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Cabbage – Apart from the one or two leaves that we used as props for the Dim Sum, this cabbage is still in the fridge waiting for us.
  • Lacinato Kale – About half of the kale was used in the meat & two veg meal, and was delicious. The other half we’re planning at last to use in colcannon, but June’s cooking so it’ll be a different recipe to the one I usually make – if the meal is successful it’ll be blogged about separately later.
  • Garlic Chives – We used these in most of the Dim Sum recipes, and as garnish on the Szechuan Clementine Pork. I’m glad we managed to use it all while still fresh, and it added that little something to both dishes. Definitely worth having, and I hope to see it in more boxes to come.
  • Red Round Tomatoes – These took all week to ripen, and so we didn’t get a chance to use them until today. June used half of the larger one in a BLT, but it was the same as all the previous tomatoes – firm, not bitter or acid, but not very sweet either. The problem is that we’ve both had very sweet tomatoes (homegrown by my grandparents) in the UK, and it’s hard not to compare all other tomatoes to those.
  • Clementine Tangerines – The little one managed to destroy one of the two by the time we got the box home, but the other we managed to use for the Szechuan Clementine Pork. The Clementine was full of flavour, especially so considering how tiny they were, but since they’re essentially mandarin oranges they’re still a little on the tart side, something that needs to be compensated for in a recipe.
  • Carambola – We left it all week to make sure it was fully ripe, and sliced and ate it this morning. It was nice and juicy, soft yet still firm enough to bite into easily. However, as may seems like a theme of this post, it wasn’t as sweet as previous ones we’ve had. In fact, the sweetest starfruit we’ve ever had came from the ‘Robert is Here’ store earlier last year, and no subsequent ones (from there or elsewhere) have managed to attain that level. That being said, it wasn’t unsweet, and I quite happily polished it off within a few minutes.
  • Black Sapote – Still not ripe, as expected. Three of the four are coming along nicely, but the fourth is still very green.
  • Avocado – This one is definitely ripe now, so June will probably use it in the next day or two.

Ratings:

  • Hits – lacinato kale, garlic chives
  • Near Misses – carambola, round red tomatoes, clementine tangerines
  • Total Flops – none
  • Not Rated – cabbage, black sapote, avocado

Final Opinion:

The carambola, tomatoes, and clementines all shared a common quality – tasty, ripe, but not as sweet as they could have been. Otherwise this was a surprisingly good box, particularly so considering the inclement weather that seriously damaged much of the crops in the area. We’re rapidly accumulating black sapotes though, so we’re going to have to start experimenting with those soon.

Box 7 – Opening

What’s inside Box 7?

  • Cabbage – one head
  • Lacinato Kale – one bundle
  • Garlic Chives – one bundle
  • Red Round Tomatoes – two
  • Clementine Tangerines – two very small fruits
  • Carambola – one (AKA starfruit)
  • Black Sapote – four
  • Avocado – one, the Brooks ‘late’ variety this time
Box 7

Box 7

Initial Thoughts:

There was a very long (for Florida) cold spell this week, with several frosty nights, so much of the plants being grown for the CSA have suffered serious damage, so the contents of this box (and the next 4 probably) is reduced from the normal selection – including no extras box for swaps and additionals. If we’d been given the choice, we probably wouldn’t have kept the sapote or the cabbage, and swapped for something else (like a different kale or some more green chard), but since we couldn’t we’re going to have to make the best of what we’ve got.

Usage ideas:

  • Cabbage – We’ve still got the cabbage left from Box 5, so we’re definitely going to need to think of a few more ideas for all of it. While picking up the box from the farm, Farmer Margie suggested we try making it into a soup, cooking it until just translucent (ie not boiling it to death), so that might be worth a try.
  • Lacinato Kale – I’ve had curly kale quite often when cooking for myself back in the UK, so I might try my usual dish with this kale, Colcannon. Quick summary of the recipe is steam the kale until tender, then add to mashed potato to make a bubble & squeak-ish side.
  • Garlic Chives – Last time we only managed to use a little of the garlic chives when fresh, the rest are dry in the fridge. This time I hope we’ll use more, but that’ll really depend on the recipes we come up with to use the other box items.
  • Red Round Tomatoes – These two aren’t quite ripe yet, so they’ll be on the counter this week for use either later this week or next.
  • Clementine Tangerines – You’ll notice from the list above that there are two clementines in the box, but only one in the photo below. El nino managed to get hold of one from the box as we were going through it at the farm, and we (foolishly) let him keep playing with it in the car during the short drive home. Halfway home we noticed a very citrus-y smell in the air, and twisting around I could just about make out that he’d bitten a chunk out of the peel and apparently eaten out all the segments from inside. On getting home we found he’d just squished it so hard that the peel burst and the segments and juices had gotten all over him. So that’s why we only have one clementine left 🙂 As for the remaining fruit, the plan is to tonight cook the recipe in the CSA newsletter (Szechuan Clementine Chicken), but with pork instead of chicken.
  • Carambola – If it’s ripe enough, and hopefully fairly sweet, one or both of us will eat this as is. If it’s not so sweet, then we’ll need to be inventive… in other words, I’ve not a clue yet 🙂
  • Black Sapote – Wow, four sapotes this week, and all nearly the same size. Going on past history, it’ll be two weeks before these are ripe and usable, so these will be sitting on the counter until then.
  • Avocado – I suspect that June will take care of this in her usual way (with rice).

Photos by me, edited by June:

Cabbage

Cabbage

Lacinato Kale

Lacinato Kale

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

Red Round Tomatoes

Red Round Tomatoes

Clem

Clementine Tangerine(s)

Carambola

Carambola

Box 7

Black Sapote

Box 7

Brooks Avocado

Boxes 1 to 5 – Followups

Since we’ve got a habit of not using the entire box each week, but then (sometimes) using things in the following week(s), our verdicts on the missing items tends to get lost in the weekly cycles. Therefore, this post is a catchup for all those “we’ll eat it next week” things so far.

Box 1:

  • Roselle – This was used in the Roselle Experiments, which were both not very successful and a revelation that neither of us particular like the Roselle taste.

Box 2:

  • Green Pepper – sliced and frozen.
  • Yellow Squash – still at the back of the fridge somewhere, getting pretty elderly now so I suspect it’ll end up as trash unfortunately.
  • Black Sapote – these took forever to ripen, and when they did we were off in Mexico. They were overripe by the time we came back, to the point of leaking juices and getting mouldy, so they had to be thrown away. However, we did manage to salvage a little bit, which was enough for both of us to taste it – June thought it was very similar to a sweet avocado-ish flavour, whereas I thought it was fruitier than that.

Box 3:

  • Green Peppers – sliced and frozen.
  • Piper Betel Leaves – we used one of the leaves from the Box 6 selection, so we now at least know what it tastes like (very smoked sausage-like), and it appears the leaves are keeping well, so there’s plenty of time to come up with other ideas for this.

Box 4:

  • We missed Box 4 completely due to being in Mexico!

Box 5:

  • Asian Mix – added to the Beef & Aubergine curry that was ultimately abandoned (see Box 6 roundup).
  • Beets – we pondered using them during this week, but June’s reluctance meant we went with something else, so they’re still sitting there waiting. I just minutes ago mentioned the possibility of a cabbage & beet soup of some kind to June, and her response was “YERK!”, so we’re going to need some ingenuity to get a palatable use out of them.
  • Roma Tomatoes – we left them on the counter all last week and all this week, and they’re definitely looking ripe now. I still think that a stew of some sort would make good use of them, but no specific ideas yet.
  • Black Sapote – after learning from bad timing with the Box 2 black sapotes just how quickly they can go from underripe to overripe, we kept a much closer eye on these three. The smaller of the two ripened very quickly (just over a week), so we put them in the fridge to slow the process until the larger one had got to the same state. The larger one is now pretty much ripe as well, so I’m looking to find a use for them this week if possible.

Box 5 – Roundup

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Cabbage – Given that we had two heads, it was always going to be a challenge to use all this, and as expected we’ve still got one head left. The one head we did manage to make use of was chopped up for salads, firstly as a side for the Arroz Con Pollo, and secondly as part of my put-random-things-together salad meal yesterday evening. For the latter I added carrot, some of the lettuce, ranch dressing and bacon (of course), so it was kinda a cross between salad and coleslaw 🙂 The cabbage itself is nice and crisp, and surprisingly good raw. June’s been reluctant to cook any yet, but there’s still the other head to go, so I might persuade her to try adding some to a stirfry or similar in the coming week.
  • Asian Mix – We’ve not had a clue what to do with this yet, so it’s still waiting in the fridge.
  • Lettuce – As noted above, we both made salads yesterday evening, with June’s featuring the lettuce also. Since we keep our fridge a little on the cold side, and we put the lettuce in there after a quick rinse, the centre of the head was partially frozen when we took it out! Luckily, it was such a huge head that we had more than enough leaves from the outer edges for our salads that we didn’t need to defrost it. As for the lettuce itself, this particular variety is quite nice, as it’s fairly leafy (which June prefers over crunchy), but with a good sweetness too.
  • Beets – We (well, June) pondered making a soup featuring the beetroots earlier this week, but the recipe she found called for a chilled soup rather than hot, and given we’ve been in a cold spell here in Florida, something hot was preferred that day. Therefore, the beets are still sitting there awaiting either improved temperatures that would warrant a chilled soup, or another recipe idea.
  • Roma Tomatoes – These have been sitting on the counter all week, slowly ripening. We tried one with our salads since they were definitely looking riper yesterday, and found it to be firm but not bitter (not unlike the Cherry Tomatoes from previous boxes in that regard), but they’re definitely more suited to cooking applications than salads, so we still need to find a use for these now they’re nearly ripe.
  • Black Sapote – Once again these are things that have had to sit on the counter all week. The two smaller ones have ripened fairly quickly, and are probably about ready to eat this weekend, but the larger one is still green and might need another week yet. I’m still looking for ideas for using them, which is made trickier by the fact that any recipe we find will need to either be scaled down or designed to only use a small amount of sapote.
  • Parsley – Unfortunately, it appears the parsley is going the way of the thai basil from Box 3 – we trimmed the stalks and put it in water shortly after the unboxing photos were taken, but the parsley has been slowly wilting and dying all week, and there’s probably only 1/3 of the bundle that’s still usable now. Parsley has always been an afterthought of a herb in my mind, something that’s added as a garnish or final hit of colour to a dish, but none of the things we’ve eaten this week have really warranted it’s use, so it’s hard to know what to do with it, especially when it has an apparently short shelflife (well, in-vase-on-counter-life anyway).

Ratings:

  • Hits – cabbage, lettuce
  • Near Misses – none
  • Total Flops – parsley
  • Not Rated – asian mix, beets, roma tomatoes, black sapote

Final Opinion:

This was a pretty bad week for us, with not very much cooking going on, which is reflected in our lack of use of nearly half the box contents (although some of that was due to waiting for things to ripen). On the plus side, what we did manage to incorporate into our meals was consistently good, so it’s just a case of rebuilding the inertia that was lost over the Mexico/Christmas gaps and getting back into routine.

Since there were so many items from this box that still remain, I’ll post a followup later this week or next once we’ve actually used a significant amount of it, so that they’re not omitted.

Box 5 – Opening

What’s inside Box 5?

  • Cabbage – two heads (one from the extras box)
  • Oyster mushrooms – one bag, but we left these in the extras box in exchange for the extra cabbage
  • Asian mix – one bundle, taken from the extras in exchange for the dill
  • Lettuce – one (huge!) head, not sure which variety
  • Beets – 9, all topless
  • Roma Tomatoes – 6, not fully ripe
  • Dill – swapped for the Asian Mix
  • Black Sapote – 3, green and unripe
  • Parsley – one bundle, from the extras box
Box 5

Box 5

Initial thoughts:

After a couple of swaps, we’ve got a fairly balanced selection that I can see us eating without too much difficulty.

Usage ideas:

  • Cabbage – June likes this raw, so perhaps a salad, or added to the late stages of a stir-fry. Plenty of it though, so we’ll probably have to be a little inventive here.
  • Asian mix – I suspect this will become either a salad or stir-fry as well.
  • Lettuce – given that there’s so much of it, it’ll have to find multiple uses, but I suspect salad and BLT are in our future.
  • Beets – June’s not eaten beets (or beetroot as I’d call them) for many years, and I’ve only ever had them when pickled, so really no ideas for this yet.
  • Roma Tomatoes – the newsletter states that these were picked a little early due to the threat of a frost, so they’re a little under-ripe still. Once ripe, if they’re sweet they’ll be salad material, otherwise a pasta sauce might work.
  • Black Sapote – As per last time, these are still green, and will take several weeks to ripen, so plenty of time to think of uses for them.
  • Parsley – it’s a large bundle, so I suspect that we’ll only use part of it when fresh, and the rest will end up being dried for later use.

Photos, by June:

Cabbage

Cabbage

Asian Mix

Asian Mix

Lettuce

Lettuce

Beets

Beets

Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes

Black Sapote

Black Sapote

Parsley

Parsley

Box 2 – Roundup

Our second box, and the first that we’d have to try to utilise in just one week. So what did we do with it?

Actual usage & thoughts:

  • Italian Dandelion – The various other blogs by fellow members of our CSA all seem to agree on one thing – that the dandelion greens are very bitter. Therefore, we’ve not been bold enough to actually try doing anything with it for fear of making something we’d have to trash.
  • Garlic Chives – Added to the rice of the Lemon Chicken dish (see below). It definitely created an extra dimension to the rice, and there’s plenty more which I’m sure we’ll use in the coming weeks.
  • Lettuce (Romaine) – As covered in the previous post, I made an adhoc salad from it, and wished there was more of it!
  • Bok Choy – June cooked up a Lemon Chicken with Rice & Bok Choy dish (which I’m sure she’ll get around to blogging about eventually, since she took enough photos of it), which was excellent all round. The Bok Choy was very flavourful, and surprisingly sweet, so it make an excellent side to the dish. EDIT: June finally posted about the Bok Choy.
  • Green ‘Suntan’ Pepper – I admit I haven’t done anything with this yet, partly from laziness (since I’d be cooking for myself), and partly from inexperience (since I don’t cook that often). It still looks fine, so maybe next week I’ll find something that’ll work.
  • Yellow Squash – Pretty much the same as the green pepper above, I’ve not found anything to make this into yet.
  • Avocado – June did her usual with at least one of the two avocados, so I’m guessing there’s no complaints.
  • Black Sapote (AKA chocolate pudding fruit) – neither has riped yet, so not much can be said about it. It’ll probably be another week or two before they can be eaten.

Ratings:

  • Hits – Bok Choy, Garlic Chives, Lettuce, Avocado
  • Near Misses – none!
  • Total Flops – Italian Dandelion
  • Not Rated – Green Pepper, Yellow Squash, Black Sapote

Final Opinion:

From what we actually ate, there were definitely no complaints. However, from a combination of lack of ideas and unriped fruit, there is still quite a bit of produce left for the coming week(s), so I’ll have to hold off on final judgment until a later post.

Box 2 – Opening

What’s inside Box 2?

  • Italian Dandelion – one bundle
  • Garlic Chives – one bundle.
  • Lettuce – one (small) head, in this case Romaine
  • Bok Choy – one head, complete with caterpillar and other bugs!
  • Green ‘Suntan’ Pepper – one
  • Yellow Squash – one
  • Courgette (Zucchini) – one, swapped for an avocado since neither of us are fans of it
  • Avocado – ‘monroe’ variety this time, one plus the swapped one
  • Black Sapote (AKA chocolate pudding fruit) – two
Box 2

Box 2

Initial thoughts:

Another good selection, with only the Bok Choy being unusual. Black sapote would probably also be considered unusual by many, but since we’ve had it before, it’s not such an unknown to us. See June’s blog post for her thoughts on the box.

Usage ideas:

  • Italian Dandelion – June has already told me she’s going to cook the recipe from the CSA newsletter, namely Dandelion Fetuccini, so I’ll have to see if that comes to pass. Otherwise, a simple salad might work, as would steaming or light sauteing as a side.
  • Garlic Chives – these can be used in pretty much any dish where (a little) garlic is required, so it’s just a case of picking one.
  • Lettuce – another salad is probably on the cards, perhaps filling for a BLT too.
  • Bok Choy – I’ve no clues about this, so will have to research some Asian recipes for ideas. Might work well in combination with the garlic chives.
  • Green ‘Suntan’ Pepper – June’s not a fan of bell peppers, so I’m going to have to think of something for myself here. I suspect it’s not sweet enough to eat raw, so I’ll have to cook it. Maybe if I find a recipe that uses with with bok choy and garlic chives, I’ll kill three birds with one stone!
  • Yellow Squash – it’s pretty small, so perhaps a Yellow Squash Parmesan (ie fried then baked with cheese etc) for a one person meal.
  • Avocados – June will do her usual avocado and rice with these, I suspect…
  • Black Sapote (AKA chocolate fruit) – these just need to be left to ripen (when they become black and very soft), and can then just be eaten with a spoon, oh… or perhaps with icecream? Hopefully they’ll ripen quickly!

Photos, by June:

Italian Dandelion

Italian Dandelion

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

Lettuce (Romaine)

Lettuce (Romaine)

Bok Choy

Bok Choy

Green Pepper

Green Pepper

Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash

Avocados

Avocados

Black Sapote (Unripe)

Black Sapote (Unripe)