Archive for the ‘Local Culinary Adventure’ Category

Kohlrabi Salad

I never used to know what to do with Kohlrabi. I’ve tried it baked, grilled, and boiled. Blah. Although I suppose it’s ok roasted with a bunch of other root vegetables, its currently 97F outside and there is no way I’m turning on the oven. Then I discovered it raw in this salad combination. It reminds of the seedless part of a cucumber: Mild, refreshing and crunchy. It’s also quite easy to make as it only requires a quick toss.  The vinaigrette is a keeper for a variety of salads… green, pasta, potato.

Kohlrabi Salad (serves 4)

  • 1 large bulb kohlrabi, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 cups greens
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 Tbsp Vinaigrette (see below)

Vinaigrette

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1″ piece fresh ginger, minced
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 c olive or grapeseed oil

20120623-184657.jpg

Advertisements

Grilled Garlic Scapes

I think I’ve discovered a use for nearly every part of the garlic plant. The bulb is the part everyone knows how to use, the greens go into pesto, and the scapes are terrific on the grill or lightly sautéed and added to omelets or quiches.

Planted in the fall, our garlic continues on its merry maturation cycle.  It recently sent up the flowering part of the plant or scape, which we chop off so that the plant can put its energy towards that delicious bulb.  Toss with a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil.

20120623-184622.jpg

A little grill flame and ta-da!  One guest described them as garlicky green beans.

 

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush or My Foraging Adventure

Once upon a time, there was a grand old mulberry tree. Then a parking lot rolled over its roots and it nearly died. But that mulberry would not give up. It sent up suckers and continues to bear fruit to this day for all those lucky enough to know it’s edible.

To identify a mulberry tree, look for three distinct leave shapes.

During their fruiting season, they will have berries in all stages of ripeness along their branches.

20120617-073846.jpg

When the berries are ripe, they will turn a dark (you won’t believe this) mulberry color and will nearly fly off the branches when touched.

20120617-073912.jpg

Enjoy!

20120617-074721.jpg

East Meets West: Bok Choy and Pasta

Bok Choy often pairs with Asian stir-fry, but I think the mild flavor lends itself to other regional cuisine. Here it’s added to Mediterranean pasta, cheeses, and herbs for a quick meal. I don’t have exact measurements because this is supposed to be fast – it will take as long as the pasta to cook – so just eyeball it.

East Meets West Pasta for Two

  • 1 cup pasta (Prepare according to package instructions. I recommend Food For Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 penne because it’s quick cooking and a complete protein.)
  • olive oil (about 2 tsp)
  • large handful fresh mushrooms (I used shiitake today, but a mix or others would be great, too.)
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmigiana or Romano cheese (or use Vegan substitute)
  • 1 oz. feta cheese (omit for Vegan)
  • pinch of fresh herbs such as oregano, basil, and/or parsley

Get the water boiling for the pasta and begin to cook according to the package instructions. In a saute pan, heat to medium low, drizzle about a tsp of olive oil, and cook the mushrooms until softened and beginning to brown. You may want to cover if they are too dry. Remove cover if using and add the bok choy. Cook until just wilted. Add to mushrooms and boy choy to the pasta along with the cheese and another drizzle of olive oil.

20120606-190110.jpg

Thanks for all the Sardine Toast, Alton Brown!

I have a confession. It’s my celebrity crush. Alton Brown. Who can resist, really? He blinded me with science and hit me with kitchen technology. Please tell me you remember that glorious one-hit wonder?

I love AB’s Sherried Sardine Toast and did my best to make it as local as possible by using Farmers’ Market bread and greens. There was nothing I could do about the California avocados and Portuguese sardines. Some power foods just don’t grow in our area and as much as I love local eating, I’m just doing my best. And this meal? Totally worth it!

Bibliopharm’s Ode to AB’s Sardine Toast

  • 1 can skinless, boneless sardines in oil, drained
  • 1 Tbsp Almond Romano Pesto (or other pesto or vinaigrette)
  • 4 slices cereal bread, toasted
  • 1 avocado
  • handful salad greens
Toss together the sardines and pesto.  Set aside.  Slice the avocados and arrange on the bread. You can then leave them like this or mash them a bit.  Top with salad greens and then with the sardine and pesto mixture.  Serves 2.

20120531-174745.jpg

Almond Romano Pesto and a Nod to Pestos in General

Got herbs in your garden or CSA? Make pesto! There’s much room for creativity, it’s marvelous and versatile stuff, and stores for weeks in the refrigerator.

The Basics…

  • 1 Bunch of Leafy Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Arugula, Oregano, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp Nuts (Pine Nuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, etc.)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup hard cheese (Parmigiana, Romano, Asiago, etc.)

Almond Romano Pesto

  • 1 bunch Parsely
  • 1 Tbsp Almonds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese

Toss it all into the food processor and process until it becomes a paste. Step back and smell the herbs. Your whole house will now smell fresh and green. Happy sigh. Add more olive oil if it’s too thick. Store in a lidded jar with a layer of olive oil, which will help it keep its bright color. Use it on pastas, in sandwiches, and on bruschetta, which is an Italian-style toast.

20120531-181335.jpg

When you’re ready to use, scoop out what you need, making sure the layer of olive oil is still enough to cover.

20120531-181343.jpg

Garlic Greens Pesto

To make this dish you need to start planning in autumn. What? You didn’t plant your garlic bulbs last fall? Ok then, just find yourself a farmers’ market and purchase some new garlic with its greens still attached. The young garlic is still tender and usually, although this also depends on the variety, has a milder, less pungent flavor. Still, this recipe is guaranteed to keep the vampires away! Use it on pasta, in sandwiches, and on bruschetta, which is an Italian-style toast.

Garlic Greens Pesto

  • 3-4 bulbs garlic with greens attached
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiana or Pecorino Romano Cheese or a Combination
  • 1 Tbsp Pine Nuts (You can also substitute walnuts)
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil

Remove the greens from the bulb with a knife or culinary scissor. Reserve the bulbs for other recipes.

20120528-075731.jpg

If using a food processor, help it out by precutting the garlic greens into 2″ pieces and/or peel the leaf layers almost like you would shuck corn.

20120528-075738.jpg

Add cheese, nuts, and olive oil.

Process until it comes together into a paste. You may need to add more olive oil if it’s too thick.

If you’re using a knife instead of a food processor, use the peeling method. Then chop into tiny pieces until you wish you had a food processor, but smile because you’re building all that upper body strength. Mix the minced greens with the remaining ingredients.

Place the pesto in a covered jar with a layer of olive oil. Store in the refrigerator.

20120528-075833.jpg

%d bloggers like this: