Monthly Archives: September 2011

CSA box #17

Well I am feeling overwhelmed with the amount of food that was in this box… and that we’ve barely made a dent in last week’s box, but this box looks spectacular.

Contents: red grape cheery tomatoes, bok choi, carrots, arugula, edamame, broccoli, salad mix, red leaf lettuce, onions, red potatoes, sweet dumpling squash and spaghetti squash.

I think this might be the second to last CSA box we get. I bet I’ll miss being overwhelmed.

Better than a Greek restaurant Spanakopita

I recently had spanakopita in a Greek restaurant, and I promise this version is better than anywhere I’ve ever had it. Except maybe in Greece. If you make this and know of a place that makes it better, let me know. I’ll be there tomorrow.

Better than a Greek restaurant Spanakopita: Ingredients
5 10oz boxes frozen chopped spinach (Birds Eye brand is best)
2 8oz bricks of Athenos feta cheese
1 16oz tub cottage cheese (2% milk or less)
1/2 tsp dill (I don’t like dill, so I don’t use it. Add it to the spinach mix if you want)
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 large white onion, diced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, unseasoned
1 sleeve/pack filo dough
1 tsp olive oil

A few hours ahead of making Directions:
1. If you buy phyllo dough frozen, thaw it out.
2. Unwrap the boxes of spinach, place in a bowl and thaw them out. When they are un-frozen, squeeze out the water in a colander.
3. Saute diced onion and green onions in some olive oil for 3-4 minutes, or until a little golden and set aside to cool.

When everything is unthawed/cooled Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
2. In a large bowl, mix spinach, cottage cheese, bread crumbs and onions together. Crumble in the feta.
3. Pam a 14×9 glass baking dish .
4. Roll out the phyllo dough and place a sheet on the bottom of the pan. Spray each layer w/ Pam… or brush some olive oil/melted butter on each layer. Do this a 3-5 times to create a bottom layer.
5. Drop the spinach mix in the to the baking dish and spread/even out.
6. Add 5-7 layers of phyllo on top of the mixture, still Pam’ing/buttering each layer including the top.
7. Bake for 45mins-1 hour. If it looks dry, you can reduce the oven temp to about 300° after about 45mins.

Don’t let rolling out phyllo dough scare you, Youtube to the rescue here to teach you have to roll it out. I can’t say I really know how considering my Mom made this whole thing from start to finish. Thanks Mom!

This is best served with a greek salad… those I haven’t been able to make better than a Greek restaurant or Greece.

CSA box #16

This box is a mix of summer and fall and includes: beets, basil, edamame, red kabocha squash, watermelon, leaf lettuce, red grape tomatoes, pepper mix, cabbage, green beans and onions.

Our newsletter let us know this will be the last of the basil, green beans, watermelon and tomatoes as we already had our first frost. Oh well, bring on the squash!

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Well, after googling “too much zucchini” I had to start googling “too many tomatoes.” My plant exploded over the last week and left me with about 4 lbs of tomatoes. The weather has also decided to turn into fall, so a soup was the best idea I could come up with.

I also really love tomato basil soups but have found the canned ones taste awful and the ones in restaurants tend to be a little on the creamy side.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
(Adapted from Ina Garten)

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes cut in quarters
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (aprpox 2 onions)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine (whatever is on hand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) canned tomatoes, with their juice (I used diced)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 quart stock or water

Directions
1.Preheat the oven to 400. Toss together the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet (or two) and roast for 45 minutes.
2. In an big stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 1 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 8 minutes–or until the onions start to brown.
3. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and water or stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.
4. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.
5. Use a hand blender to blend together. Taste for seasonings.

It’s really pretty easy. Especially if you order a stick mixer overnight from Amazon.com like I did. I have held out for years on buying an immersion blender for years, but I urge you to purchase one STAT. Maybe skip the overnight shipping…

This soup needs a little something, maybe a tablespoon of cream or milk, but I’ll let my book club tonight be the judge.

Summer Vegetable Tian

Is your garden and/or CSA box exploding with tomatoes and zucchini like mine? Well, quit googling the words “tomato and zucchini recipe” and make this Summer Vegetable Tian. Don’t worry, I still don’t even know what “tian” means.

Summer Vegetable Tian (adapted from For the Love of Cooking)
Ingredient List:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion cut in half and dicced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 russet potatoes, or red potatoes, unpeeled
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash (I didn’t have this, so I used zucchini)
2-3 tomatoes
Sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Dried thyme, marjoram to taste
1/2 cup of freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pam an au gratin baking dish or pie pan of some sort.
2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread this garlic/onion mixture on the bottom of the Pam’d baking dish.
3. Slice the potatoes, zucchini, squash and tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices… or as close as you can get them. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onion/garlic fitting them tightly into a spiral, making only one layer. (I liked to stick the tomato in between the zucchini + potato personally!)
4.Season with sea salt, black pepper, marjoram and dried thyme, to taste then Pam the top.
5. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
6. Uncover and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until browned.

I was scared to make this as it looks complicated, but it’s very easy. The flavors were really good, but next time I make it I might pour the onion/garlic mixture over the top so it is a little less subtle, per Brent’s suggestion.

I googled “what to serve with a vegetable tian” for about 5 minutes and all the internets could think up was chicken. Fail. I was going to make a rice dish of some kind but I decided to go with a little bit of mixed greens w/vinaigrette and a slice of garlic toast. That was just easier; it’s Monday and I felt like hanging out with Maeby/getting a head start on work. By head start on work I obviously mean accidently watching Extreme Couponing with my laptop open.

 

CSA box #15

This is a few days late and this is not the best picture of the wonderful contents of CSA box #15, but Friday I was in a rush (trying to pack for a weekend wedding 4 hours away!), and forgot to pick the box up… twice!  I’m glad I remembered.

Contents: butternut squash, onions, broccoli, a watermelon, green beans, lettuce, red tomatoes, tomatoes from our plant (not the CSA box but they snuck in the photo!), red potatoes, heriloom tomatoes, san marzano tomatoes, and garlic.

We are expecting some fall-like evenings this week so I look forward to roasting that squash.

So. Much. Zucchini.

Our “garden” consists of a zucchini plant, a tomato plant and two pepper plants placed in strange spots in our front yard. The zucchini plant is in an especially weird and hidden spot. So hidden that we check it one day and don’t see a thing growing, then a few days later this often happens:(Dollar for scale.)

So, I looked up some recipes. I found you two winners to make a complete dinner. Or late lunch. Or breakfast, if you feel like being in a food coma and/or going right back to bed: Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwiches + Zucchini Oven Chips. Both recipes I adapted from Cooking Light.

Zucchini Oven Chips (adapted because they burn at the original recipe temp)   The Ingredient List:

  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini (about 2 small- or one big giant one)
  • Cooking spray

Directions
1. Put the oven on 375°
2.Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stir.
3. Place milk in a shallow bowl.
4. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
5. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. I only had a baking sheet, so I just used that.
6. Bake at 375° for 10-20 minutes or until browned and crisp. Check them after 5 minutes and flip.
7. Serve immediately, these are good dipped in something. Maybe ketchup or ranch or whatever you are in to.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 6 slices
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (2-ounce) ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
  • 8 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Directions
1. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. (If you don’t have a grill pan, like me, you can just use a regular pan!)
2. Add 1 teaspoon oil and garlic; toss to coat. Arrange zucchini in grill pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.
3. Stick zucchini on a plate or dish of some sort. Drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. If you think it needs more vinegar, put it on there!
4. Top each roll evenly with zucchini, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
5. Heat the sandwiches in pan until warm (takes about 5 mins). OR if you have a panini maker, use that!

I ate one part of the sandwich open faced, which was awesome. We also used baguette bread since that is all we had, but these would taste the best with the ciabatta bread that Cooking Light  recommended. Finally, we dunked the sandwich in more balsamic vinegar, which if you are a vinegar fan makes this sandwich even more delicious.

This was an easy dinner and it was fun to eat a sandwich, which I don’t eat often… mostly because I can’t ever find a sandwich I like. I’m glad I found one, since I’m sure we will find some more surprise zucchini in the “garden.”