Sorry, you’re getting our leftovers. Pictures of them, anyway!
Roasted Beets with Feta hardly needed a recipe. I boil my beets rather than roasting them: I find this preparation to be neater, and I don’t notice a decrease in flavor at all. In fact, this batch of beets (from my farm share) was particularly flavorful, earthy and sweet. I followed the proportions given for the dressing in this recipe but made significantly more, since I poured it over three times as many beets plus a large bowl of salad. I sliced a brick of feta and served it on the side. This is a salad that can stand up to brisk weather, especially when paired with soup.
I tried a Crock-Pot Butternut Squash Soup from A Year of Slow Cooking (love that blog). I made several adjustments: 2 smallish squash (from my farm share), only 1 onion, only 1 apple, and turmeric instead of coriander because I didn’t have any. I used vegetable stock. Since I had my oven on to bake Brownie Roll-Out Cookies, I decided to roast the squash and onion rather than putting them into the crock raw or microwaved. They were fully cooked before they even joined the other ingredients in the slow cooker. I did use my immersion blender at the end to make it smooth and creamy, and needed to add an additional cup of water to thin it out a bit. This is a keep recipe for us — though none of the kids would try it (including my niece), I think they might be persuaded to in the future. Even J. had it later that night and thought it was very good.
Along with dinner rolls, this soup and salad combo was a well-received dinner (by the adults eating it — my various in-laws and me and J.) and a welcome lighter alternative to some of the meals I’ve been cooking for them lately.
At the last pick-up we received swiss chard, a carnival squash, 5 Italia red peppers, a pint of Juliet tomatoes, arugula, lettuce mix, 3 beautiful pale purple eggplant, beefsteak and Roma tomatoes, and parsley and cilantro. And thankfully, a reprieve from corn.
I baked the carnival squash along with the kabocha from a few weeks prior, and although it was good the kabocha put it to shame — it was so incredibly sweet and creamy with nothing but a pinch of salt on top. This batch of red peppers is also delicious, perfect for eating raw. I’ve been putting some pepper rings in the boys’ lunches, but so far they haven’t been touched. I plan on roasting the eggplant tomorrow and making some sort of dinner salad with it, the arugula, and tomatoes.
I was inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Grilled Eggplant and Olive Pizza to make this pizza; mine included grilled slices of CSA eggplant and onion, plus fresh parsley and provolone cheese. J. didn’t want olives, so I nixed those.
I slice the eggplant too thin and didn’t brush them with enough olive oil, so instead of getting smokey and creamy while they cooked on the grill, they became a little like eggplant chips. I figured the texture wouldn’t be terrible underneath provolone, so I carried on with the pizza-making. I buy refrigerated pizza at my local supermarket — they carry both white and whole wheat varieties (I used one of each this time). I follow the directions on the package, letting the dough come to room temperature and dusting my surface with flour before stretching it out. Even though I’m able to get the dough stretched out pretty thin, it never gets crisp like a crust should. Maybe I should be par-baking the crust before I add toppings? A different pan? (Usually I use a cookie sheet.) I wind up taking the pizzas out when the tops look done, but often the crust is undercooked a bit and still doughy.
J., who is getting better at figuring out ways to be both truthful and tactful about my cooking at the same time, took one bite and said “We probably need a pizza stone in order to get the crust crisp.” He ate salad instead. The plain mozzarella and tomato sauce pizza I made for the kids suffered the same consistency/undercooked issues, and even G. who is our most eager pizza-eater only made it through half a slice before making a beeline for a container of yogurt. I thought it was fine, but clearly I have lower pizza standards than the rest of my family. I ate a couple of slices of the eggplant pizza, and then peeled the toppings off the rest of the pie to round out my lunch.
Once the three of them had alternate food in front of them, there was a lull in our lunch conversation, and G. piped up out of nowhere: “There are all different kinds of happy.” Yes, there really are. We talked about some (excited, kind of sad/emotional like at a wedding, etc.), and then I volunteered this one: “I’m happy because even though this meal didn’t turn out as planned, I’m proud (happy) that I used the grill again and that I made a nice meal for my family.” Even if they didn’t eat it. That’s still a happy in my book.
I’ve been getting a lot of corn from our farm share each week, and since I had half a log of goat cheese left from the Roasted Squash & Goat Cheese Pasta Salad I made recently, I decided to try to find a recipe that would use up both of those ingredients. Bobby Flay’s Corn and Goat Cheese Grits fit the bill, especially since I always have stone-ground cornmeal in my pantry (I use Indian Head brand). I used fresh corn, of course!
I followed the recipe as written, except that I used skim milk instead of whole (it’s what I keep in the house). This recipe is easy and so creamy and rich — I loved it. Pay attention, though, to the cooking instructions on the cornmeal you use. Mine only needed 15 minutes to cook, not the “about 40 minutes” suggested in the recipe.
My friends said they liked this side dish, and even those who are not huge fans of goat cheese thought it was good, and not too “goat-y,” for lack of a better word. I think this dish would pair well with a big mess of sauteed swiss chard or collard greens for a vegetarian meal, or alongside a roasted chicken.
I'm Dara, the Chick in the Kitchen. Living in the suburbs of Manhattan with my two school-aged boys and husband. Feeding my family something more diverse than a different shape of pasta each night. Read more about me and CITK, and keep in touch: