ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends


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Abundant Zucchini Recipes: Zucchini Fritatta

Zucchini Fritatta

(From KCRW.com)

This is a variant on the spaghetti-based Italian Fritatta. 

  • 2 to 3 medium,  1 to 2 large, or 1 jumbo zucchini
  • 4 to 6 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheese like parmesan or cheddar
  • 2 tbsp Butter or oil
  • Garlic or onion powder

Heat the oven to 400F and place a 10 to 12 inch cast iron skillet in in the oven to get hot. 

Run the zucchini through the mandoline and cut into long julienne strips. If you don’t have a mandoline, cut into uniform slices, then cross-cut into julienne strips or grate the zucchini. Toss the zucchini with salt and pepper, garlic or onion powder, and 1/3 cup of grated cheese. Beat the eggs. 

Once the oven is hot, add butter or oil to the hot skillet and swirl to coat the bottom. Remove the skillet from the oven and loosely pile the zucchini in the hot skillet. Return to the oven and cook for 8-12 minutes until the zucchini smells toasted and fragrant. Remove the skillet again from the oven and pour the eggs over the zucchini. Cook another 8-12 minutes until the center of the eggs are firm. Top with 2/3 cup of cheese and cook about 5 minutes longer, until the cheese is brown and bubbly. 

Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes to firm up. Slice into wedges. 

 

 


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Blueberry Picking

I traveled to Super Acres Blueberry Farm in Lyme, NH with my colleagues from work to pick blueberries. This was my first you-pick blueberry experience. Blueberries are easy to pick because they grow on 5 to 8 foot tall bushes, meaning you get to spend a lot of time in the shade and pick berries standing up. No bending and straining your back for blueberries.

With our berries, I made blueberry jam (3 lbs, 10 half-pints), blueberry buckle (1.5 lbs) and ate the rest with breakfast. I think we may go back again and pick more for the freezer.

Super Acres farm is also dog-friendly, so I can take the pooch with too!


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This Week in Veg: We don’t eat all of these vegetables

20140709-094250-34970703.jpg When talking with my non-– CSA friends about joining a CSA, one of the first concerns that comes up is, “how do you eat all of those vegetables?”

My answer? We don’t.

Sure, we do eat a good portion of these vegetables, or else we wouldn’t have joined the CSA. But, honestly, there’s a lot of things that still will turn bad in the bottom of our refrigerator. Arugula and red lettuce are common culprits. We don’t sweat it, we have a compost pile. The food isn’t “going to waste”, we’re making fertilizer for next year’s garden.

But only about 5% of our CSA box will go bad. That’s because I often anticipate foods that we might not eat, and I’ll either find a special recipe to use with that vegetable, like I did with the pesto and arugula. Alternatively, some of the foods we put away to eat in the winter. This week, we received a large head of broccoli. Broccoli is really easy to blanch and freeze, and we eat it all throughout the winter in different dishes like stirfry and garbage rice. I know that the value of that broccoli will be greater to me in November or March then it will be this week. So, into the freezer it goes.

Last, I know there’s some vegetables that we just don’t eat in our house. Eggplant is probably the best example. What I will do is leave the eggplant at the CSA pickup point. There’s often someone else there picking up their vegetables who might enjoy an eggplant which would otherwise just rot in my refrigerator. I also occasionally give away CSA vegetables to my friends and neighbors when we are really overwhelmed with too many vegetables.

So, when you look at these pictures and you think “how do you eat all of that?” We don’t. We have figured out how to cheat the CSA system so that we don’t have to eat all of those vegetables. But importantly we don’t let the vegetables go to waste.


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Fresh Green Pea Soup with Pea Shoots

2014-06-20 18.31.09This past week, we got a bag of pea shoots in our CSA. New vegetable for me. I was just going to put them into a salad and eat them like any other green, but I decided to look around a bit for a good recipe that could feature pea shoots. I found a recipe for fresh pea soup that I was able to make with the pea shoots and a bag of frozen peas from last year. I saved a few pea shoots to put on top of the soup, but the majority of the shoots were cooked with frozen peas and chicken stock, then pureed til smooth.

Of course, pureeing hot soup in the blender, I had a few minor “explosions” and the dog apparently likes the green pea soup – he licked up every last trace from the floor. Good dog. Get your veggies.

Since I avoid the lactose sugar, I used greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche to give the soup some extra body. The process of making yogurt converts lactose sugar to lactic acid, hence, I can usually eat well-made plain yogurt without too many issues.

We served the soup warm, but not hot. I think it would have also been quite tasty chilled.


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Massaging vegetables: Cucumber Sunomono

Cooks Illustrated suggests massaging kale. “Kneading and squeezing” will break down cell walls. They recommend 5 minutes for standard kale and 1-2 minutes for lacinato and red Russian kale.

Here’s the thing… the Japanese technique of sunomono also uses massage to break down cell walls and make vegetables softer and more tender. The difference is the Japanese method includes salt, which helps break down cell walls and extract moisture, but then rinses the vegetables to remove the excess saltiness.

I think this calls for Sunomono, or Japanese cucumber salad! This dish is great on a hot summer day, served with cold soba noodles and iced dipping sauce.

Sunomono

Serves 2 generously.

  1. Peel, cut in half the long way and seed one cucumber. Cut into thin slices on the mandoline.
  2. Mix cucumber and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl. Gently rub the cucumbers with salt until they become tender, but not limp, and give away lots of liquid. Gently squeeze the cucumbers to remove any excess liquid. Save the liquid to make a dressing in step 3.
  3. In a microwave-safe glass measuring cup, measure out the cucumber liquid to get 1/4 cup. If theres too much, pour out excess. If there’s not enough, add water. Mix a pinch of dashi granules, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce and a big pinch of sugar in with the cucumber water. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir to dissolve the dashi and sugar.
  4. Arrange half of cucumber slices in the center of a bowl. Pour over a generous amount of dressing, leaving a puddle in the bottom of the bowl. If time allows, chill to be ice-cold.

 


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This Week in Veg: A Cucumber is a fruit…

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We got two new and exciting things in the CSA this week: Cucumbers and Russian red kale.

The Cucumbers are the bearer of good news – Summer is almost here. They’re the first “vegetable” that we get each season that really needs some sun to grow. The turnips, asparagus, radishes, and bok choi that we’ve got over the last few weeks are cool-weather crops.

The red Russian kale is a fad, I think. Is there some local restaurant that’s doing something fancy with this type of kale? What ever am I going to do with an entire bag?