Is the food blog back? We’ll see, but for now, here’s something: my first ever stuffed shells! I’ve been wanting to make these for a while and finally assembled all the ingredients. The roasted tomato awesomesauce was part of the large quantity I put by in the freezer last summer, the chard was from the first farm share pickup of the season, and the basil came from the porch garden.
As it often my way, I looked at an assortment of recipes and combined them into something I thought would work. The “ricotta” is mostly a cross between two different recipes in Veganomicon. My original plan was to mix in spinach, but since I had the chard, used that. Good thing, too, because without it, I would have been pretty short on stuffing, so definitely pick a green, or if you can’t stand the idea of vegetables mixed in, make extra ricotta. You could also modify this recipe slightly for lasagna, which would maybe be a little less fancy but also save the stuffing time, though you’d have a higher pasta ratio.
The end result was quite delicious and I would definitely like to make this again. Leftovers have been fantastic. Even with the work of stuffing the shells, it was still pretty fast, and the most time-consuming part was our friend M. (who is a wonderful person, but a little slow in the kitchen) tearing and washing the chard. But if you use frozen greens, this is *really* fast.
I love pickles and I always have. As a Jew and a native New Yorker, it is in both my nature and nurture so shouldn’t surprise anyone. Perhaps more surprising in that I’ve rarely actually made them and thus far never made my favorites, but we start simple and work our way up. These two varieties of refrigerator pickles are very easy and quite yummy. I made the Swedish-style sweet slices for the first time last year when I was getting many many cucumbers in my farm share and couldn’t come up with ways to use them up fast enough. I used the food processor’s slicing disk to make ultra-thin slices and the results were fantastic (and never lost their crunch!) For the sours, I wanted something heftier, so I sliced them thickly by hand. I had far fewer cucumbers this year (sadness), so it didn’t take too long. I used plain distilled vinegar, so the sours are quite sharp, whereas the sweet were in white wine vinegar. You could certainly use a nicer vinegar for the sours.
I wanted to can pickles this year and I’d tried to grow pickling cukes in my garden, but they didn’t really flourish. I ended up with many small ones, useful (& yummy) for one or two salads apiece, but not really appropriate for pickling, and I neglected to buy a bushel from a local farm. Ah well. Still, these were all nummy and quite popular at potlucks.
Both of these can be scaled as far up as you want to go and keep quite well, assuming you can keep them from getting et.
For about a month, I was getting a lot of corn with my farm share. Ah, those were the days! With 12-24 ears to work with, I could make anything. Anything! Well, anything involving corn.
On the left is Chipotle Corn Soup (or maybe it needs a better name?) and is something I came up with. The first time, I just processed the corn raw, which was great, but I felt that roasting would really add depth so I wanted to try it that way, too. Then the second time, I didn’t roast because I was in a hurry. But after that, I took the time to grill the corn and really love the added smokiness. It’s great either way, though.
On the right is a Bean, Corn, and Chili Soup from DD’s Stillman CSA newsletter that Mark made while they were both over. The recipe called for pinto beans, but he also used Great Northern. All the vegetables except garlic were from my or DD’s share (the cilantro and celery I’d frozen), with tomatoes and basil from the garden. Very different from the first soup, it was still delicious.
I’ve been getting eggplant in my farm share (ir)regularly and though I’d take a shot at baba. I recall enjoying the dish when I was a kid, but on my second trip to Israel, when I worked as a volunteer, we were fed eggplant (usually roasted and mashed in some baba variant) just about EVERY meal EVERY day. After my return, I found myself unable to touch the stuff for years. I gradually worked my way back, starting with roasted, fried, and various curries, finally got to the point where I could eat baba, but it took quite a while before I could actually enjoy it. This represent the final milestone achieved: I actually made my own baba and enjoyed it. Only took me 15 years.
On a beautiful summer day, I wanted some freshly baked bread so decided it was time to take my first shot at focaccia. I searched many recipes and ended up combining aspects of several of them. The result was not quite the texture I was aiming for, but it was still light, flavorful, and delicious. I incorporated rosemary from my home garden (the top of the plant is visible to the right of the olive oil) in the dough as well as on top and also topped it with onions made from my farm share caramelized with some maple syrup and red wine.
My favorite thing to do with tomatoes is make bruschetta. I got addicted to the stuff at my favorite Italian place (Salvi Restaurant, Brooklyn, NY), where they serve it on crostini at the start of the meal along with grissini and warm bread. It was the first food I could really enjoy that had discernible tomatoes that weren’t cooked to the point of being sauce. Since then, I’ve taken big steps such as adding tomato slices to sandwiches. Last year I was able to start eating cherry tomatoes whole! But when using the standard sorts of tomato, I still make sure to remove the seed goop (aka “tomato snot”).
This particular batch, which I made with DD, used a mix of tomatoes from my farm share (red) and my garden (yellow) as well as basil from the garden. I have never measured anything for this dish, in part because a lot depends on the tomatoes. Go with what feels right.