August 6, 2010

CSA - Week 9

The last few years I've learned and changed a lot about my approach to food. Eating food in season is best - for your health, your pocketbook, and the community. This week I had Insalata Caprese for lunch several times. This salad only works with fresh, ripe ingredients. Since tomatoes are at their peak now, this is really the only time to eat this salad all year. It's the same with the corn - fresh, raw corn is really only to be enjoyed during the summer. The Quinoa Summer Salad hinges on the sweetness of the corn.

To extend the best of summer produce, I've utilized several preserving techniques this week: pickling, freezing, and jamming (is that a verb?). I made pickled banana peppers, froze corn (cook whole cob in boiling water for 3 minutes. when cool, cut corn from cob and freeze), and made blackberry freezer jam. What I really need is to learn how and obtain the proper tools for canning. I'm sure I will sometime soon.

CSA Week 9 yielded corn, orange tomato, cherry tomatoes, green pepper, cucumber, carrot, red potatoes, hot red pepper, banana peppers, blackberries, and eggs.

Here are the recipes:
Insalata Caprese
Blackberry Jam
Pickled Banana Peppers
Quinoa Summer Salad

Insalata Caprese

sliced ripe tomatoes
fresh mozzarella cheese
drizzle of olive oil
torn fresh basil
salt and pepper

Arrange the tomatoes and cheese artfully on a plate.  Sprinkle with torn basil, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

This quinoa salad totally worked because of the corn. The corn's sweetness balanced out the veggies and the slight bitterness of the quinoa. If you haven't tried quinoa, I highly recommend it. It's so easy to prepare, is super healthy, and can be used where you might use pasta or grains.

Quinoa Summer Salad

2 C. water
1 1/2 C. quinoa
kernels from 3 ears of white corn
1 large (1/2 lb) zucchini, diced
1/2 lb. mini sweet peppers (or one large orange bell pepper), diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
3 large jalapenos, veins and seeds removed, diced small
1 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

In a small (2 quart) saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa and bring back up to a simmer. Turn heat down to lowest setting, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, for another 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the warm quinoa with the rest of the ingredients. Stir until evenly mixed.

I followed these directions for the pickled peppers except that I didn't boil the filled jars. Instead, after filling the jars with the peppers and brine, I put the jars in the fridge.

Pickled Banana Peppers

10-12 banana peppers
1 hot pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard seed
1 tsp pepper corns
2 cloves garlic, peeled

The first thing you need to do is sterilize your jar. A hot water dishwashing cycle should work with a hot dry cycle. After removing from the dishwasher be sure to thoroughly dry the jar, lid and ring.

In a saucepan bring the vinegar, water, salt, peppercorns and mustard seed to a boil. Then remove from heat. In a large stock pot bring plain water to a boil.

While the brine is coming to a boil, slice the peppers into rings. Cut one of the garlic cloves into fourths and layer the peppers and garlic in a jar. Put the second garlic clove on top of the peppers.

Pour the brine over the peppers, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar. Place the lid on top of the jar making sure that seal is tight, then screw on the ring. Place the jar in the large stock pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the hot jar from the boiling water. After cooling for a few minutes check to make sure the jar sealed (If it is not sealed the middle of the lid will pop up and down). If it didn't seal just be sure to always keep it refrigerated. If it did seal you can keep in the pantry until the seal is broken.


Danielle said...

Yay! I have been looking for a good quinoa recipe. You are amazing

Suzanne said...

Remind me NOT to cook for you. You're doing all the cooking! Yaey for me!