Showing posts from September, 2009

CSA Week 16

That garlic is not small, everything else is large this week.

My CSA season is almost over. Two more pickups remain. I will miss the turnips and the squash. Until then I still have these to savor:

1 slice of pumpkin
1 big beet
4 ears of corn
4 tomatoes
2 turnips
1 large onion
1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
2 heads of garlic
6 apples
6 potatoes
1 larger than average bunch of kale
1 bunch of parsley
1/2 lb mizuna

Slab Bacon

Hunter Bacon, a mean cut of pork

Hunter bacon, the bacon for Hunter College students, by Hunter college students. Nah. My neighborhood of Kensington, Brooklyn, is full of Russian and Eastern European influences. We have 3 polish meat counters, that primarily offer pork products. My market only sells cured, smoked, or canned meats. Hunter bacon sort of slid off the shelf into my hands. I love its aggressive name and simple bold packaging. Not afraid to display vacuum sealed bacon and its lovely pools of white lard.

Honest bacon

I have not been disappointed by the Hunter Bacon's quality. Slab style bacon allows me to fry up as thin or thick a piece(rather as my knife skills allow) of bacon as I want. Thick bacon cooks up crispy on the outside, and tender and meaty in the middle. Nice. The thick bacon has a better texture too. A bit more fibered and hearty, like pork rib meat, rather than that crispy-sandy texture of the industrial sort. The authentic smokey flavor is described as "…


Power packed fresh sofrito with a slushy texture.

Its been announced I will be making tacos and other Latin food for my annual dinner party. I'm a little green to the ways of South and Central American food, so this is a real challenge. If I have learned one thing from watching Daisy Martinez, sofrito, sofrito, sofrito. Sofrito is not too different in principal from pesto, except its meant to be cooked with foods, not as a dressing. It goes in almost every pot of beans, rice, sauces, braises and more. Sofrito is the the base with a distinct fresh and herbal flavor. Culantro leaves are a major flavor component, and I think you will find them in any Latin market. Worth going out of your way for. They offer the same orange/fruity flavor as its coriander seed, but in more delicate perfumed way.


1 large yellow onions, chunks
3 cubanelle peppers, seeded, chunked
(the long lighter green ones or 2 green peppers)
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, chunked
20 cloves 0f garlic, peele…

Chili Rub Bacon Peanut Brittle Recipe Deserves a Place in the Book of Sins

Innocent candy contains bacon!

There is a special place in hell for people like me. People who mix meat with their desert or specifically bacon in my their candy. I had favorited a pine nut and bacon brittle recipe. Approx cost to make = $12 for 3 cups. My fellow food loving co-worker pointed out that the redhead in the East Village of New York City serves bacon peanut brittle ($6 and change for 1 bag on site). I ventured to buy and try a bag. Its not so brittle-ish, but more like candied nuts with a salty smokey flavor. Where is the bacon? I couldn't find any bacon! I vowed never to make an eater ask that question. My recipe is a 4 to 1, peanuts to bacon with a heat from spice to remind you where you may be headed.

Depraved Chili Rubbed Bacon Peanut Brittle

Chili Rub
1 Pasilla (aka ancho) chili or (you could also use a large mulatto)
2 Arbol chilies
1 New Mexico chili
(if you don't have access to these chilies substitute 2 tablespoons of store bought chili powder)
1/8 tsp cumin seed…

White Acorn Squash

Roast and consume.

I wasn't sure what to make of the pale squash in my share this week. It dawned on my its the albino sister of a regular acorn squash. I'm really really excited as the autumn vegetables first enter my kitchen this time of year. I am happy to eat them whole so I can appreciate the flavors, textures and colors. Roasting is the way.

Roasted White Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, stem removed, halved, and sliced into 6-8 sections
1 tblsp olive oil
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
generous pinch of salt

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the squash slices on a cookie sheet, drizzling oil evenly among them. Scatter rosemary and salt over slices and rub so the oil coats the sides and bottoms of the squash.

Cook for 20-30 minutes until fork tender.

This is a simple side dish for any meal, but it would look nice plated on a bed of greens. I actually eat squash (or sometimes roasted yams) for breakfast, because of their nutritional and complex carbohydrate content. I leave the skin …

Fancy Fine Chex Mix Time

Adult party snack for sharing.

If I went back to school this would be the first thing I toted in my brown bag lunch. Its crunchier, spicier, and more adult then your regular chex mix without the tongue numbing sodium of pre-packaged varieties.

Fancy Fine Chex Mix

2 egg whites
1 tblsp canola oil
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tblsp brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups pretzels
2 cups mixed nuts
1 cup of non-sweet plantain chips, crushed coarsely
1 box Crispix or Chex cereal
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk egg whites until foamy. Add the next 8 ingredients and blend.

In a large bowl mix all of the snacky ingredients. Pour egg white mixture on top and stir until covered. Spread over 2 large, rimmed cookie sheets. Place one cookie sheet on the top rack and one on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minute, stirring the sheets every 10 minutes, switching position after 20 minutes. Cool and toss in the cra…

CSA Week 14

Cute turnip!

The evening is darker and darker every time I collect my CSA share, and I know that its not long before this honor will end. My work schedule becomes hectic in the fall. I spend all day managing 3-5 clients, tense. Walking to the CSA pickup, waiting for the produce (albeit on the phone with a friendly client) and walking back home down Rugby Rd in fancy Prospect Park South is just the right speed for winding down a day. The hardest part, what to eat first!

This week brings:

1 winter squash, don't know the name of the white one, its in the picture
2 apples
2 pears
2 onions
2 turnips
2 lbs yellow potatoes
2 eggplants
4 ears of corn
1 bunch of basil
1 bunch of red chard
4 lbs tomatoes
2 lbs lima beans (which I spotted out of the corner of my eye and asked for instead of green beans. I don't think everyone got them)

Fall Flavored Red Lentil Eggplant Soup

Steaming soup, it must be cool outside.

Once upon a time as a waitress at a Lebanese restaurant The Grape Leaf Diner I became quite fond of a hearty red lentil soup. I asked Ata, the cook for instructions. Looking at me like I was slow he informed me to take lentils, water, and onions. Put them in a pot and boil until it was done. Simple. I have since made this recipe hundred upon hundred of times, tweaking and adding to highlight flavors. Its always a cold season favorite and this week it was the platform for finishing up my CSA eggplant, onions, and most potent rosemary.

Fall Flavored Red Lentil Eggplant Soup

10 cups water
2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked for stones
1/4 cup brown rice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/4 tsp (divided) fresh rosemary, finely minced
8 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
2-3 tblsp olive oil
1 med-large onion, coarsely chopped
1 eggplant, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 10 cups of water …


Blackberry brandy lent (likely an unnatural)
reddish color to the already purple jam.

I just wrote about figs! I know! But this amazing thing happened at the grocery store. Pints of black figs were only $1, offering me an opportunity to can a sweeter variation on that fig jam a days back.

The Fig Introduces Itself to Rosemary and Brandy Jam

4 pounds ripe fresh figs (preferably black), stemmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 9 cups)
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brandy
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

All in the (large thick stock) pot! Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until thick, about 30 minutes. Puree in a food processor, food mill, or blender. Bring back to the pot, and boil until the jam stops bubbling, and starts making gloppy gurgle sounds as the air escapes in big bubbles. Whats the real name for this step? About 10-15 minutes.

For canning: Divide and pour into 6 boiled clean pint jars. Clear the lips of the jars, a…

Hot Hot Hot Pickled Jalapenos

Behold the rich umbers, reds, and
greens of charred and oil packed peppers.

Jalapenos grow strong and spicy this summer. Last week Jorge, my farmer, had a big box of peppers (pick a peck anyone?) out for whomever wanted to deal with them. Hand up, I wanted them. Cool September weekends means canning time for me.

Oil Packed Jalapenos

1 cup water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
2.5 lbs or about 8-9 cups of whole jalapenos
1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
1 tsp whole seeds coriander
10 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup plus 6 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, torn
3 tsp bottled lemon juice (for acidity)

Heat water, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a large pot until sugar and salt have dissolved.

Trim stems of jalapenos, and make 2 slits in each pepper. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add coriander and onions saute about 3 minutes. Add the jalapenos to the skillet and raise heat to high. Saute, turning until peppers are seared and cracking on a f…

Sauerkraut Worth Waiting For

Eye-popping red cabbage kraut.

CSA Week 8 brought a gigantic 4-5 lb head of red cabbage. I made some orange and ginger slaw for pan-grilled tofu and avocado sandwiches, some salads, and some I ate plain. When I received an email from fellow Ditams Park CSAer about fermenting sauerkraut at home I was certain I knew what to do with my last 2-3 lbs of cabbage.

Sauerkraut is made with a similar process asbrined pickles. My recipe comes from the same website, Wild Fermentation, as the pickle recipe. Sauerkraut is among the ranks kimchi, miso, kombucha, horseradish, vinegar, cider, and wines which are left to ferment with the help of microscopic organism that break foods down and develop flavors. These organisms promote diversity among microbial cultures in your body (good for digestion) and can refine flavors unique to your environment.

Apple Ginger Red Sauerkraut

2 1/2 lb red cabbage, shredded
1 apple, shredded
1 onion, shredded
1 medium knob of ginger, peeled and shredded
2 tblsp sea salt

As you …

CSA Week 12

The season is half over. I've completed my volunteer shift. Now its time to hold tight (but in a gentle non-squish-squashy way) to the last of my vegetables. This week was again, heavy to carry home. Mostly due to a smashing watermelon. Here is the list:

2 acorn squashes, not pictures, whoops
1/2 lb yellow wax beans
1 lb red potatoes
1 bunch curly red kale
1 big red pepper
5 nice tomatoes
2 beets
2 onions, 1 white 1 yellow
2 long eggplants
4 ears of corn
1 medium watermelon
1 bunch of rosemary (strong!)

Bonus: some more jalapeno peppers. I plan to can this weekend, if I can gather some jars from local places, which sometimes is impossible.