Posts tagged with wardsberryfarmcsa:

Φασολάκια γιαχνί Runner Beans in Tomato Sauce

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Runner beans in tomato sauce is another simple but great, traditional Greek recipe. This dish is considered ladera αδερά), which is a dish cooked on the stovetop with olive oil.

 The beans are tenderized by the acidic tomato, and the piquant garlic and zesty lemon compliment the subtle flavors of the dish. Feta is a great accompaniment, and it is often made with peeled, whole potatoes.

This is a strong side dish to many meals, especially a hearty meat dish. That being said, it could definitely stand on its own for a light lunch, especially when including potatoes, feta, etc.

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Ingredients:

Runner beans, 1 lb

Tomatoes, 1lb, grated or pureed

Garlic, 4 cloves sliced in filets

Olive oil, 1/4 cup

Salt, to taste

Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch

Snip the woody end of the beans and then slice in half, on the diagonal.

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Slice the garlic into filets and sauté with the olive oil in a deep sauté pan on medium heat. Once translucent, add the beans. Then, add the tomato and cover with a lid. Cook on low heat until the beans are soft, about 15-30 minutes.

Season with salt and the chili. Serve with lemon and feta cheese. 

Pasta Bolognese

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Bolognese sauce, or in Italian, ragù alla bolognese, is one of the most well-known sauces for pasta in Italy. As I learned from a very picky Italian from Bologna, there is a very specific way to make a proper bolognese. One of the things I really appreciate about the bolognese is the vegetable to meat ratio, in favor of the vegetables. The bolognese should always have onions, celery, carrots, wine, beef and some tomato. Some optional ingredients include pancetta and milk or cream, but this recipe does not include those. I think the biggest difference between the Italian bolognese is that it has much less tomato than in the US. That being said, it’s still a great way to use those imperfect, bruised and super ripe tomatoes from the garden or market.

To serve the bolognese, it’s best paired with a thick pasta such as tagliatelle, pappardelle or fettucini. Also acceptable are tube pastas such as rigatoni or penne. Stay away from spaghetti. 

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Ingredients:

Ground beef, 1 lb
2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
4 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
Ripe tomatoes, 3/4 lb, pureed
Dry white wine, 1 cup
Olive oil, 3 tbsp
Salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Nutmeg, a dash (optional)

In order to dice the onions, celery, carrots and puree the tomatoes, I recommend using a food processor, if you have one. The vegetables should be diced as finely as possible. I’ve seen an Italian use a hand blender to puree them. Of course, feel free to do this with a knife as well. I do not peel the tomatoes (gasp!).

Saute the onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery and sauté for another 10 minutes. Then add the ground beef and turn the heat on high, mixing constantly with a wood spoon, until you can barely see any pink. Lower the heat to medium and add the white wine and let cook for a few minutes. Then, add the tomato, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cover and turn the heat on low. Cook for 3-4 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so. By using fresh tomatoes, you’ll probably have enough liquid without having to add any during the cooking process. If the sauce gets dry, add a little water or another splash of wine.

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Once the sauce is about ready, boil the pasta in heavily salted water for the time determined on the bag/box (use a timer; this needs to be precise!) Transfer the cooked pasta to the sauté pan with the hot sauce and coat well. Serve with grated parmigiana.

Φασολια Μαυροματικα Σαλατα Greek black-eyed pea salad

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I first had this salad in the restaurant of an ecotourism village in Crete. The cook, Stavroula, made some of the best food I’ve ever had. As a little appetizer before each meal, they gave us a small plate of salad with black-eyed peas. It was drenched with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and it was absolutely delicious. The crunchy vegetables, which can vary, paired with the acidity of the balsamic vinegar are unexpectedly harmonious companions to the al dente black-eyed peas. This salad is a must for the summer, when colorful peppers and other veggies are in their peak.

This salad was served with peppers and a little parsley and it was fabulous. You can add red onions and dill and it will be great. I used carrot and cherry tomato because that’s what I had in the fridge. Be careful not to overcook the peas; they should be al dente. Soaking dried peas overnight is not necessary, but it will speed up the cooking time. I don’t recommend using canned beans for this; they are too soft.

Ingredients:

Dried black-eyed peas, 1 cup
2 bell peppers (or any other sweet pepper), diced
1 red onion, diced
Parsley, 1/2 cup chopped
Balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup
Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
Salt, to taste

Put the peas in a pot with generously salted boiling water and cook until al dente, probably around 40 minutes, depending on whether you soaked them or not.

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In the meantime,  dice the peppers and onions. I soak any onion that I use for salad in cold water for at least 15 minutes in order to mellow the pungent bite of a raw onion. It eliminates the lingering aftertaste of the raw onion, as well.

Strain the peas and run some cold water over them. Mix with the vegetables, olive oil and vinegar and season with salt to taste.

This salad is perfect for a light lunch, or served as an appetizer or side salad.

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Gazpacho español

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Gazpacho is a quintessential dish found on menus and in homes all over Spain during the hot summer months. It’s cool and refreshing, easy and quick to make, deliciously healthy and a wonderful way to use all those perfectly juicy tomatoes, crispy peppers and cucumbers coming out of the garden. It’s also a good opportunity to use up super ripe, possibly bruised and imperfect tomatoes (see photo above). They may not be pretty, but they often have the most intense tomato flavor.

Gazpacho is one of several cold summer soups coming from the south of Spain, and the most well-known. Hailing from Cordoba, there’s salmorejo, which is quite similar to gazpacho, but features only tomatoes from the vegetable department, with a bit of garlic, vinegar and lots of olive oil and bread. Perhaps most exotic and least known is Malaga’s ajo blanco, a blend of garlic, almonds, olive oil, bread and sometimes vinegar. It’s commonly garnished with grapes.

While all these soups have their virtues, gazpacho uses the most vegetables, and from that perspective, could be considered a bit healthier and lighter, not to mention a solution to the mid to late summer garden explosion. The soup is versatile, so feel free to add an extra tomato or pepper, etc. Don’t overdo it on the cucumbers. Red peppers are the nicest because of their color, but you can use any color pepper. It’s hard to screw up, as long as you blend it to a smooth texture and flavor it well with salt and vinegar (it requires more than you might want to add. Taste and add more until the flavors are vibrant and pronounced).

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Ingredients:

Ripe tomatoes, 2-3lbs
2 peppers
1 large cucumber
Garlic, 1/4 clove
Olive oil, 3 tablespoons
Red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, 1/4 cup plus more to taste
Stale bread, about 3-4oz or a few slices
Salt, to taste

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Roughly chop the tomatoes and peppers, peel and slice the cucumbers and break up the bread. If you only have fresh bread, toast it slightly. Add the vinegar, garlic, olive oil and a little salt. Mix with a blender on high speed until completely smooth. The color should lighten to a bright red or orange. I don’t have a large blender, so first I used a hand blender, which isn’t strong enough to get a smooth consistency so then smoothed it out using a smoothie blender. Don’t use a food processor. Use a blender!

Taste for salt and vinegar and add more if needed. Olive oil will add more creaminess.

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The most traditional garnish is chopped, hard-boiled egg and little slices of jamon serrano. 

lemon garlic green beans

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This dish is by far the most delicious way I have found to cook green beans. If you like lemon and garlic, you are bound to love this. The green beans soak up all the garlic and lemon and with a light slick of olive oil and a dusting of salt, they’re fantastic. I usually don’t say this, but, the more garlic, the better.  

Ingredients: serves 3-4

Green beans, about 1.5 lbs
Garlic, 4 cloves, chopped
3 lemons
Olive oil, 3 tbsp
Salt, to taste

Remove the woody stem end of the green bean and discard. Boil a large pot of generously salted water and blanch the beans until bright green, for about 3-5 minutes.

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In the meantime, saute the chopped garlic in olive oil in a large saute pan until translucent. Transfer the blanched green beans to the saute pan and stir. Add the lemon juice and season quite generously with salt. Cook for another few minutes, until beans are coated with the sauce and just barely soft. If they are a bit dry, add more lemon juice or a little water. They should be tangy and a little salty.

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carrot bread

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Carrot bread is the perfect breakfast: healthy, filling, and very tasty. This bread is full of carrot and barely sweet. The recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour and is light and airy. Raisins optional, nuts too.

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Ingredients:

Carrots, shredded, 2-3 cups
Whole wheat pastry flour, 1 1/4 cups
2 eggs
Sugar, 1/2 cup
Butter, 1/2 cup or 1 stick
Baking powder, 1 tsp
Baking soda, 1/2 tsp
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
Raisins, 1/2 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5” loaf pan with butter or oil. 

Using a whisk, cream together softened butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Add the shredded carrot and all the remaining dry ingredients and stir together until combined. Mix in raisins. 

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Transfer to loaf pan and cook for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

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grilled summer squash salad

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I love this salad because of the way it transforms zucchini into charred, salty morsels of deliciousness. The combination of lemon, anchovy, caper, dijon mustard and herbs makes a very flavorful vinaigrette. Serve this dish warm for the best debut. Perfect for a summer meal.

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Ingredients:

Zucchini, 3 lbs, sliced 1/2 inch thick or if using patty pans or round squash, halved or quartered, depending on size
1 Spring onion or yellow onion, sliced
Parsley, 1/2 cup, chopped
Anchovy filets in oil, 1 tin
Capers, 1.5 tsp
Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp
2 lemons
Extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Coat the sliced or halved zucchini and onion with a few glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on high heat or if you don’t have a grill, sauté in a pan on high heat, turning to brown each side. A good char, both on the grill or in the pan is important to the flavor of the salad. The zucchini will take at least a good 15 minutes to char on both sides and cook all the way through; the onions about 10 minutes.

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While the zucchini is grilling, make the vinaigrette. Chop the anchovies into small pieces. Juice the lemons and combine all the rest of the ingredients, including a tsp of olive oil. 

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When the zucchini has finished grilling, toss with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with parsley. You can also use other fresh herbs on hand such as oregano or basil. Serve warm.

This goes very well with a crusty baguette.

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summer bluefish

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If you’re looking for a lovely recipe for fish in the summertime, this is it. This dish capitalizes on tangy, mouthwatering tomatoes, fresh and pungent chives and salty capers. While I used bluefish, an under appreciated species that’s found off the coast of MA in the summer months, you can use this recipe for almost any type of fish. Bluefish is known for its strong flavor, but if its very fresh (caught and eaten within 24-48 hours), it has a delicate flavor and and buttery texture. It’s usually one of the cheapest fish at the market, making it a great value. 

I served this with a creamy saffron risotto. You could serve it with any kind of starch or salad and it will be great.

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Ingredients: Makes enough for 2 servings

Bluefish filet with skin, 12oz to 1lb
Cherry tomatoes, 1 pint or about 2 cups, halved
Chives, a handful, chopped
Capers, 1 tbsp
Olive oil, 1 tbsp
Garlic, 1 clove, sliced
Capers, 1 1/2 tsp
Salt and pepper, to taste

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Saute garlic until golden brown with olive oil in a medium sized pan on medium high heat. Remove garlic and reserve. Season the fish with salt and pepper on each side and place it in the pan, skin side down. Add cherry tomatoes. Sear fish for 5 minutes and then flip over and cook for another 5 minutes or until the flesh is firm to the touch. Around 7 minutes of cooking, add capers, chives and crispy garlic. Tomatoes should be slightly cooked, but not completely mushy. Serve with saffron risotto, a green salad or some crusty bread.

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chocolate zucchini bread

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One of my favorite ways to use zucchini in the summer is to make moist and delicious zucchini bread. Similar to other quick breads like banana and carrot, the zucchini lends a lot of moisture and nutrition. In this version, I’ve decreased sugar content and bumped up the zucchini, to maximize the nutritive value. I’m also using whole wheat pastry flour, my secret ingredient for baking quick breads. Chocolate turns this into a real treat; definitely go for a high-quality semi-sweet or even bittersweet bar and chop it into chunks. The result is much tastier than plain old chips.

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Ingredients: Makes an 8” loaf or 12 muffins

Zucchini, 2 medium grated
Whole wheat pastry flour, 1 1/2 cups
2 eggs
Butter, 1/2 cup or 1 stick, melted
Sugar, 1/2 cup
Semi-sweet chocolate, 3/4 cup, chopped
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
Cinnamon, 1 tsp
Baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon
Baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Baking powder
Baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (176 celsius) and grease an 8” loaf pan or a muffin tin.

Grate the zucchini. It’s preferable to use  medium zucchini. If you have a big boy, that will work too, but you definitely need to salt it.  Either way, you will have much less risk of an overly dense and wet bread if you salt it. Do that by salting the grated zucchini generously with kosher salt and then let it sweat for about 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse it with cold water and squeeze the hell out of it until it’s practically dehydrated (exaggeration). If you don’t do this step, I’m afraid the bread will be too dense from the excess moisture of the zucchini.

While your zucchini is sweating, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla and zucchini and mix to combine. Then stir in the remaining dry ingredients just to combine. Add the chocolate chips. Pour into the loaf pan or muffin tins. Bake for an hour or until toothpick comes out clean. In my experience, it usually takes about 65-70 minutes. Let cool and serve. If you don’t like a very moist bread, you can drop the zucchini to 1 1/2 cups.

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strawberry cream tart

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Strawberry season marks the beginning of summer, when our landscape becomes verdant and fertile again from the abundant sun and rain of spring. It’s a joyous time, when our spirits are high in anticipation of all the potential of summer this year. It’s also really the only time of year when strawberries have flavor, thus they’re worth seeking out, whether from your local farmers market or if you have the inclination, the strawberry field. Or of course, if they come in your CSA box. For me personally, there’s no greater pleasure than plucking the first juicy, red fruit from the vine. 

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That being said, these berries are such gems that they’re almost too good to cook with. If you are inclined to prepare something, I recommend this fresh tart, which leaves the strawberries in their raw, unadulterated state. While I do provide instructions for the traditional tart crust and pastry cream, both staples of the pastry world, feel free to substitute with puff pastry and mascarpone cheese, which would be equally as delicious (and a lot less time consuming). If you choose the puff pastry, Just stretch it over the tart shell and bake until golden brown. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Ingredients:

Fresh strawberries, halved, 1 quart

Pastry cream: (makes about 1 cup)
Whole milk, 1/14 cups
3 egg yolks
Cornstarch, 4 tbsp
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp, or 1/2 vanilla pod 

Tart crust (pate brisee): (makes 1 8” round)
All purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups
Butter, 1 stick or 1/2 cup
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Cold water, 4 tbsp or more

Start by making the tart crust (skip this part if you’re using puff pastry). It’s essentially a standard pie crust recipe. It can be done by hand or in the food processor or mixer. Cut the butter into cubes and work them into the combined flour and salt. I like to use a whisk because I don’t own a pastry cutter. Whatever works best for you. Once the mixture resembles a course meal, start adding tablespoons of water until the dough starts coming together. Start with 4 tablespoons and if it’s still falling apart, add more. Don’t work the dough too much; just until it forms a dough. Make a ball with the dough and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for 20 minutes (or freeze for 5-10 if you’re pressed for time) and then on a floured surface, roll it to about a 10” round, by extending from the center out and then rotating about 90 degrees and repeating. This method ensures you get an even round. Make sure the round is well-floured. Fold in half and transfer to the 8” tart pan or pie pan, whatever you prefer. Form the dough into the pan and form the edges how you’d like them. On both, let the dough extend a half inch outside of the pan so that when it baked and shrinks, you’ll still have a good edge. Refrigerate again for 20 minutes (or freezer method for less), and then cover with foil, add pastry weights or dried beans so that the dough doesn’t rise, and bake for 18 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit. Then, remove foil and weights and bake for another 14 minutes, until golden. Let cool.

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To make the pastry cream (if you don’t use mascarpone), put the milk to boil with the vanilla in a small saucepan on low-medium heat. In the meantime, combine the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Once the milk is at boiling point (don’t let it boil over or you’ll have spilled milk!), remove from the heat. Add just a little milk to the egg mixture to temper the eggs (slowly increase the temperature so the eggs don’t cook), and stir. Then slowly add the rest of the milk and stir. Return to the saucepan and place on low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk for about 30-60 seconds. Once it thickens, remove from the heat. Let the cream come to room temperature or close.

Then, simply spread the cream onto the tart crust, sprinkle with lemon verbena if you have, and then arrange the halved strawberries in a spiral, starting at the crust and making your way in. Enjoy!

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