Posts Tagged ‘lacinato kale’

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.

Mid-week Munchies

We’ve been fairly good with actually cooking this week, which means we’ve also been using our half box’s contents. However, most of the meals aren’t really blog-worthy in their own right, so here’s a quick summary:

Saturday – A first for us, in that we actually tried out a recipe from the CSA newsletter! The dish in question was an (apparently fairly bastardised) Szechuan Clementine Chicken that we substituted pork instead of chicken. Obviously, this used our one remaining clementine, and was garnished with garlic chives. To be honest, while the resultant meal was good enough to eat (and pretty hot from the chili), it wasn’t anything notable, especially since it ended up far too dry for my liking – I’m British, I like my sauces! I don’t think we’ll be having this particular one again.

Sunday – Dim Sum! Between us (well, I took photos and folded wontons, June did the rest … but that’s just details), we put together a tasty selection. The cabbage from Box 7 got used as a prop (as the photos will show), and the cabbage from Box 5 was part of the filling of the Pork Buns, along with the garlic chives from Box 7. Those garlic chives also appeared in the Beef Wontons, since we’d still got a bit left. I’ve never been a fan of boiled wontons, but the fried ones – and the steamed buns – were delicious.

Tuesday – A quick meat-and-two-veg dish of grilled chicken, steamed lacinato kale, and roasted beets. While the kale was excellent (June sauted it in olive oil with garlic before steaming), the beets weren’t softening in the oven so we had to resort to nuking them to speed things up. However, the end result wasn’t really worth the effort, as the texture was both too soft in places and too crunchy in others, and the flavour lacked impact. Oh, and the reasons we didn’t make my normal colcannon are twofold – June didn’t realise that I wanted to cook it that way, and we didn’t have any potatoes left!

Today – I finally found a use for at least some of the hundreds… well, three, green peppers that have been taunting me from the fridge for the past weeks. June hadn’t planned anything this evening, and I was impatient (ie hungry enough to actually do something about it), so I decided to throw something simple together. Half a green pepper got thinly sliced into strips and quickly fried along with some Polish Kielbasa, before being tossed into a wholemeal wrap (or three). While the pepper wasn’t as sweet as some, and to be frank was on the elderly side, it was still firm and crisp, making for a good contrast in the wraps.

No idea what we’ll be having tomorrow or Friday yet, so the week is still wide open!

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