15 November 2011

Boxed food, the good kind

Recently when my friend Heather was dropping off my weekly goodies from her grocery delivery business, she said she had a deal for me. She'd leave me a small cardboard box full of winter veg if I'd cook it up, write it down and pass it along. Sounded like a fair trade to me.

Here's what was in my box:

1 butternut squash
4 medium carrots
2 bunches bok choy
1 bunch of kale
1 lemon cucumber
2 kohlrabi
1 yellow summer squash
4 habaneros
several turnips
handful of potatoes
couple of jalapenos
few other random peppers
dozen or so small, hot green chilies

And here's what I did with it:
  • Summer squash and kale saute. Nice, quick side dish or part of a veg entree on top of rice, pasta or a baked potato. Slice veg. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Add squash and season with salt and pepper. Give the squash time to brown and get yummy before pushing it around the pan. Once the squash is done, add the kale and a touch more oil and cook, moving veggies around the pan for a minute or two. Season with more salt. Turn the heat off and remove from pan.
  • Pepper preserves. The habaneros and tiny green chilies are too hot for my crowd, so I dried them in my dehydrator. Simple enough. Just cut off the stems and threw them in. I store the in an air-tight container (read: old peanut butter jar) with other dried chilies. I use them when cooking beans, in soups, dips, casseroles, etc. The handful of jalapenos were married with the remaining ones from my own garden for a batch of jalapeno jelly. Yum.
  • Pear and Butternut Squash Soup. Cut off both ends of the squash. Then cut in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds (I use a grapefruit spoon) and discard. Rub a little oil, salt and pepper on the exposed flesh of the squash and roast in a 400 degree oven, flesh side down, until the squash is fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool completely (if you can do this the night before, you'll make quick work of your soup the next day). Once completely cool, you can easily peel away the skin and discard. Saute one small onion in a stock pot. Add a few cups of stock (veg or chicken). Add squash and a can of pears and the juice. Use an immersion blender (or work in batches with a food processor or blender) to puree. Heat pureed soup and finish with cream, milk or a few tablespoon of butter. Serve hot topped with creme fraiche or sour cream and crusty bread.
  • Dress up a salad. Kohlrabi looks funny with it's tough outer skin, and stems shooting out all around. It's actually a very nice, mild flavor that can add a bit of a crunch (think jicama). To prep, pull off the leaves (which could be swapped for kale in many recipes). Use a paring knife to peel off the fibrous skin. Then slice, cut matchstick pieces, cube or grate. Toss in a salad along with that lemon cucumber. Or munch on it with carrot sticks and apples for a healthy snack.
  • Bok Choy, cherry tomatoes and fried egg over rice. Trim the end off the bok choy and slice crosswise into inch-wide strips. Add a bit of oil to a hot skillet and add the bok choy. Season with salt and pepper and cook until nearly done. Add tomatoes and cook just until burst. Remove from skillet and dump directly onto cooked rice. In the same pan, fry an egg. Slide cooked egg off the skillet and on top the veg. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Curried Root Veggies. Prep and slice carrots, potatoes and turnips into similar-size pieces. Toss with oil, salt, pepper and curry powder. Spread in a single layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in a 400 degree oven until fork tender and veggies brown nicely. Another veggie that will merry well in this mix is cauliflower. This is a great side dish or serve atop coconut rice for an entree.
(These veggies were fine, but they would have been better with a bit more time in the oven to get nice and browned. I had screaming kids, so I pulled mine a bit early. Do whatever keeps you sane!)


h said...

So incredibly kind of you to make these local veggies even more beautiful. Ms. Donna and Ms. D will be proud to know that a little knack can go far - and I know a lot of people will be turning to these ideas when they next get their boxes of veg! Gorgeous!

Heather said...

Hi i’m Heather! I have a question for you! Please email me :)