Before I picked up my second share from Kawartha Ecological Growers over a week ago, I previewed the list of items on their website. As can be expected, my mind immediately turned to numerous meal ideas and I anxiously awaited the arrival of Thursday. The promise of dry beans and lil gem squashes really got me filled with excitement. This is what I had in my box along with the extra items that I chose:
- fingerling potatoes
- lil gem squashes
- red cabbage
- assorted microgreens/sprouts
- dry beans
- pickled cucumbers, onions, cauliflower in mustard sauce
- pork shoulder butt roast
At first glance, this box may not seem as versatile as the last share. After all, carrots, potatoes, and onions are often supporting players in cooking. Look beyond flashy recipes though, I found plenty of really interesting cooking ideas for such humble ingredients. I particularly savour the challenge of showcasing ordinary ingredients into extraordinary dishes. These are the different dishes I enjoyed:
|Warm Baked Goat Cheese & Sprouts
A simple but very elegant salad worthy of dinner parties! This salad uses the assorted sprouts from the CSA share. It was topped with black seedless grapes, candied pecans, warm baked goat cheese, and a maple mustard vinaigrette. I followed the technique from David Lebovitz for making the baked goat cheese. Recipe for the complete salad available here.
|Frijoles a la Charra & Skillet Cornbread
CSA share 4 and 5 joined forces to give me a meal of southern comfort food, though not the type of comfort food I grow up with. I adapted my recipe from Homesick Texan's pinto beans three way and cornbread recipes. The beans were stick-to-your-ribs good, porky and mildly spicy from the judicious use of jalapeno and chipotle in adobo. I prefer a thicker consistency for the beans so I threw in handfuls of cornmeal before it finished simmering. The beans came from this week's CSA share. Such big fat creamy beans!
The skillet cornbread contains no sugar and is unmistakably savory. The toasty flavour of the handmilled cornmeal is the star. It was the first time for me to make skillet cornbread and I thoroughly enjoyed pouring the batter into the hot skillet sizzling with bacon dripping. It made for a crisp brown crust.
|Pulled Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw
A pork shoulder butt roast was part of my extras in the share. Almost immediately, I heard pulled pork calling my name. This oven cooked version is based on the method published in Cook's Illustrated (an adaptation is posted on The Bitten Word) which involves liquid smoke in brining and the rub. The pork was covered under parchment and foil to roast to fork-tender. It was then given a brief uncovered roasting to give the outside some crispness.
The sweet and tangy barbeque sauce is made with defatted pan dripping and maple syrup, for that Canadian touch.
The colourful coleslaw is also pulled together with mainly contents from my share including purple cabbage and carrots. I added green onion and cilantro for more savory flavour. I couldn't decide between a oil/vinegar or creamy dressing...so I did both. I dressed the coleslaw with olive oil, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, greek-style yogurt, and maple mustard. I'm very pleased with this dish and definitely see myself making pulled pork more often from now on!
|Mustard Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
These mustard roasted fingerling potatoes have a good medley of flavour with a tempting aroma. The potatoes were tossed with grainy mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary, olive oil, butter, black pepper, and garlic. How can it not smell great? They are delicious hot out of the oven but I am partial to snacking on them at room temperature. The lemon flavour was unexpectedly pronounced but it's quite refreshing.
Recipe available from smitten kitchen.
|Tassajara Warm Red Cabbage Salad
A second salad from the same head of red cabbage, could it be?
I love warm salads. Personally, I'm not keen on crunching on raw ribbons of cabbage so this lightly sauteed warm cabbage salad is a wonderful alternative to the coleslaw I made earlier. I adapted from the recipe posted on 101 Cookbooks which has a wealth of vegetarian recipes. I used a mix of dried apricots and dried black mission figs. Instead of candied sunflower seeds, I made use of some candied pecans that I already made for the baked goat cheese and sprouts. My salad was topped with stripes of shaved romano cheese. With all that garlic, onion, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, cheeses, dried fruit, and candied nuts, this warm salad delivers big flavour. It can easily be a main course salad.
|Roasted Corn Pudding In Gem Squash
Roasted lil gem squashes are filled with peaches & cream corn kernels and a custard made with egg, cream, almond milk, anise seed, nutmeg, and scallions. They were finished off with a blanket of grated cheddar and broiled.
This is a good sidedish or vegetarian main course.
Recipe available here.
|Pot Roast With Polenta
Another combined effort from CSA share 4 and 5. This is a beef pot roast made with carrots, turnips, and onions from this week's share and served with panfried polenta cakes made from cornmeal in share 4. I bought the blade roast from Green Gate Farm, a regular at AppleTree and Green Barn Market. After over three hours of slow cooking, the beef is so unbelievably tender. Thanks go to The Pioneer Woman for showing me how to make this most basic dish. Two hours into cooking, my entire kitchen smelled like pot roast. The power of thyme and rosemary and bay leaf! It was all I could do not to peek into the pot.
Note to self: dishes involving brown sauce and fall-apart-fork-tender beef is delicious to eat but far from photogenic.
|French Onion Soup
I chose a bag of onions for CSA share 4. As luck would have it, I got another bag as part of the core items for share 5. Sooooo, I had an abundance of onions, a very rare occurence at my house. Obviously, it was time to make onion soup. Making onion soup is the easiest thing in the world as long as you have a bit of patience. This is the recipe I used. It's important to take the time to caramelize the onions nice and brown.
My version is topped with slices of toasted multigrain baguette and slivers of shaved gruyere. I absolutely hate to grate cheese so when I can use my vegetable peeler instead, I do.
Snowy winter days + fireplace + soupe a l'oignon au gratinee + Olympics Men's Hockey Gold = Very Happy Candy