I had a good run last week of quick, yummy dinners that creatively used up the ingredients from my CSA box, so I thought I’d share.
Tuesday night we had these pork cutlets (minus the arugula and egg) with CSA spaghetti squash. I baked the squash until tender, scraped out all the fun strands and tossed them in a bowl with butter, dried sage and thyme, salt and pepper and freshly grated Parmesan (thanks to Meggan for that tip). Yum.
Wednesday night I made this lentil soup with sausage (changes: I used regular lentils, not French green, just because that’s what I had, and freshly made Italian sausage from New Sagaya). CSA ingredients: carrots, celery, onions. I really like how this recipe includes adding a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar at the end. The only thing that would have made this soup better would have been some greens–preferably kale, I think, but I had already used the kale I got the week before.
Thursday night I made fish tacos with halibut and a cabbage slaw (I used 1/2 head of green cabbage from the CSA). Thanks to my friend Mark for the fish taco recipe. This meal was like a nice little burst of summer in the middle of winter. I spiced the fish with paprika, cayenne, oregano, salt and pepper, and coated with a little flour before frying. Then we ate the fish in corn tortillas topped with the cabbage, which was sliced thinly, and mixed with a little sour cream, fresh cilantro, lime juice and salt. We garnished the tacos with more sour cream, lime juice and cilantro before eating.
By Friday night I had mostly used up the CSA stuff, so I made what is quickly becoming our favorite pasta dish–penne arrabbiatta (the Mark Bittman version, introduced to me by my wonderful sister Martha). Except I didn’t have penne, so I used linguine! Quick recipe: saute three to four cloves of chopped garlic in 3-4 T olive oil along with 1 tsp of crushed red pepper. Saute until garlic is golden but not yet brown. Add one 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes (you can chop first or grate them into the pan). Cook the sauce until it’s nice and thick. While the sauce is simmering, cook one pound of pasta until al dente. Add drained pasta to sauce, toss to fully incorporate, eat. I also took some creative license and added more garlic than what was called for. It was very delicious. My husband raved. I always keep a 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes around, and pasta, so I can make this dish whenever I want.
One other dish worth mentioning: I made rice with Ethiopian vegetable stew (alecha) for dinner a few nights ago. The recipe is from the Mennonite cookbook Extending the Table. I like to think of Alecha as the perfect Alaskan winter dish. It uses all the vegetables that grow really well here–onions, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper, along with something a little spicy (chopped jalapeno or just some cayenne) and you have a really great dinner. This really should be served on injera with doro wat (super spicy chicken) and all kinds of other Ethiopian dishes, but when that’s not possible, rice is fine.
I just picked up this week’s CSA box yesterday. So far I used the crimini mushrooms to top the homemade pizza I made last night, and I used almost all the broccoli as a side dish (steamed, then quickly sauteed with chopped garlic and the juice of half a lemon). Ingredients still to use: mustard greens, celery root, celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, oranges, apples. Anyone have any suggestions as to what to do with mustard greens?
And in case you’re wondering, the belly continues to grow! The little girl inside has started to kick more which is fun. I still feel like I’m eating all day long, but that’s okay. I’m finally figuring out how much food I have to take to work to keep me going. Today while at work I ate a clementine and snack mix for my morning snack, leftover rice and alecha for lunch along with leftover broccoli, and a slice of leftover pizza and another clementine as an afternoon snack. Whew. And now I’m eagerly waiting for my husband to arrive with take-out for dinner (the reason I didn’t cook: our kitchen is a disaster scene from making homemade pizza for dinner and pear tart for dessert last night. There are huge piles of dishes.)
Keep cooking and eating delicious food. That’s what gets me through these long Alaskan winters!