What I Made: Chard Rice Bowl, Barely Pickled Cucumbers, Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Anchovies and Sage, Pork Katsu with Pickled Cucumbers

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This is one of my favorite meals, it’s quick and easy and delicious. It tastes just as good without the chorizo so you vegetarians can make this, too. Just don’t leave out the cumin seeds or the garlic chips, those are the stars of this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup medium- or short-grain white or brown rice (I prefer brown but only had white — brown tastes better with this recipe)
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 fresh (uncured) chorizo sausages, casings removed, meat formed into patties OR smoked chorizo OR cured chorizo — I’ve yet to find a combo that doesn’t work
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, as needed

Preparation: 

  1. In a medium pot, combine rice with 2 1/3 cups lightly salted water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook until rice is tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand off the heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Toss in 1 tablespoon butter and salt to taste. Alternatively, cook rice in a rice cooker.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the chard leaves into 2-inch pieces and the stems into 1/2-inch lengths.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Toast cumin seeds in the dry pan until they are fragrant and slightly darker in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour cumin onto a plate to stop the cooking.
  4. If using uncured chorizo, add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, let it heat for a few seconds, then add chorizo patties and cook until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet, then add garlic. Cook until golden and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  6. Add chard stems and a large pinch of salt to the skillet. Cook until stems are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add chard leaves, another pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Cook until leaves are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Toss chard with rice, toasted cumin, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Barely Pickled Cucumbers:

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Ingredients:

  • Cucumbers
  • water
  • salt
  • coriander seeds
  • pepper seeds
  • smashed garlic
  • fresh dill

Preparation:

  1. Cut cucumbers into spears and place spears into jars.
  2. Fill jars with water; pour that water out into a cup and weigh.
  3. Add 5% of the water’s weight in salt to the water and transfer to a pot, heat along with coriander, pepper and garlic until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. Once brine is cooled, add fresh dill and pour over cucumber spears.
  5. Close lids and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Anchovies and Sage

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced, about 1/2 cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped, about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh summer savory or marjoram
  • 1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes, in halves or quarters
  • 1 pound fresh pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine
  • Handful of torn sage leaves

Preparation:

  1. Put red onion in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add anchovies, garlic, red pepper and vinegar. Stir in olive oil and savory. Add the cherry tomatoes, season with salt, and toss well to coat. Keep mixture cool (or refrigerate) for up to 3 hours.
  2. Boil pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until al dente, then drain and transfer to a wide low pasta bowl. Add cherry tomato mixture and toss well to coat. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve at room temperature, garnished with sage.

Pork Katsu with Pickled Cucumbers:

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This worked really well for me since I also have our fantastic meat share (ps that’s where I got the chorizo above, too) and their boneless pork chops were PERFECT for this meal. YUM!!!

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound small Kirby cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, more for seasoning
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons sugar
  • 8 thin slices boneless pork medallions or center-cut pork chops (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • ½ cup flour
  • Black pepper
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shiso or basil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted Asian sesame oil

Preparation:

  1. Place the cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl. Toss them with 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon sugar.
  2. Place each piece of pork between sheets of waxed paper. Pound meat to 1/8-inch thickness.
  3. Place eggs in a large shallow bowl; whisk in the Worcestershire and tomato paste. Place the panko and flour in two separate shallow bowls.
  4. Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Dip each cutlet in the flour (tap off excess), the egg mixture (ditto), then dredge in panko crumbs.
  5. Heat a large pan, pour in 1/8 inch of oil and heat for 30 seconds. Working in batches, put cutlets in the pan. Immediately shake and tilt it so the oil rolls over the pork in waves (this will give it a lighter, crisper crust). Shake the pan occasionally, until cutlets are golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip them and shake again. Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer pork to a paper-towel-lined platter to drain.
  6. Pat the cucumbers dry with paper towels. Toss with scallions, vinegar, shiso, soy sauce, sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Serve cutlets with pickled cucumbers on the side.
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What I Made: Cucumber Edition

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Cucumber Noodles with Vegan Basil Cream Sauce, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Ingredients:

Basil Vegan Cream Sauce:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft (a few hours or overnight)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white miso
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Noodles:

  • 3-4 cucumbers
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup basil vegan cream sauce
  • Fresh ground pepper

Preparation:

  1. Blend cashews, water, lemon juice, and miso until smooth.
  2. Add chopped garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Blend on lowest speed to incorporate. You should still see the chopped basil leaves.
  3. Spiralize the cucumber noodles.
  4. Pat the noodles dry with paper towels.
  5. Stir in the sauce, tomatoes and pine nuts.
  6. Top with fresh ground pepper.

That’s all there is to it. So, so good.

Mark Bittman’s Asian Cucumber Soup

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice-wine or white-wine vinegar
  • 1 small chili, stemmed, seeded and minced, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne,or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups chicken stock, chilled (I used my stock from meat share, so good!)
  • ½ cup minced scallions OR added value spring onions, both white and green parts
  • 1 cup chopped watercress or arugula (optional)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, mint,Thai basil or a combination.

Preparation

  1. Peel cucumbers, then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Slice cucumbers as thinly as possible (a mandoline is ideal for this). Mix them in a large bowl with soy sauce, vinegar, chili and sugar, then refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Add stock, scallions, watercress or arugula if you like, and stir. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Just before serving, garnish with herb or herbs of your choice.

Asian Style Cucumber Salad:

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large thin-skinned cucumbers(about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced thin
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Shoyu or Tamari
  • 1 teaspoon agave or raw honey
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced or pureed
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • teaspoon cayenne (more to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, sliced very thin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Preparation:

  1. Sprinkle the cucumbers with a generous amount of salt and let sit in a colander in the sink for 15 minutes. Rinse and dry on a kitchen towel. Transfer to a salad bowl.
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and pepper. Whisk in the sesame oil. Toss with the cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro. Chill until ready to serve.

Pickling Day – Part 1

I’m drowning in cucumbers. I should have known better when I planted, but I never do.

When the seeds are going in the ground, it’s all hope and joy and rainbows. Then, as the seedlings emerge, I’m thrilled to welcome each and every one. “See: I am useful!” I think. “I could survive a zombie apocalypse. People would welcome me to their camp because I *can* grow things!”

But then I can’t stand the thought of murdering my babies. So I fail to thin.

And the next thing you know I’m drowning cucumbers because I have, um, 12 plants producing in what should be a space for 3.

So, what to do with 9 pounds of cucumber (today’s haul) sitting on the counter? Make pickles.

But, that’s too much produce staring at me to even think about quick pickles; there’d be room for nothing else in the refrigerator. So, it’s a day for full-on water-bath canning. (If you quick pickle, you can’t keep your goods in the pantry because they’ll spoil. But if you water-bath can, they are sealed and can be stored on the shelf for years. Trust me. My mom still sends me her circa-1988 jams.)

{More after the jump.}
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CSA share: August 7

Red Hook Farm melons are coming to the CSA.

CSA members:

August is here and all of our nightshades are, too! Right on schedule. That means the much anticipated trio for ratatouille: eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. They are all just beginning and will pick up in abundance in the next couple of weeks.

The full shares will be getting cherry tomatoes and eggplant this week while the small shares will just be getting eggplant. Don’t be sad, small shares. There are just so many of you that we will be giving you the cherry tomatoes next week when we have abundance!

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Cucumbers, Corn and Crab

Sometimes enthusiasm gets the better of my common and culinary sense. This was one of those weeks.

When I saw Moirah’s scallion-sauce spicy cucumber recipe, I instantly decided I wanted to make it. Cucumbers are one of those Adult Things I’m still coming to terms with, like taxes and treadmills.

I’ve had an aversion to them my whole life, but I’m grudgingly accepting that there might, in some conceivable variants of this universe, be a handful of ways of preparing them that I don’t hate. My first inkling of this was when I cracked a jar of Rick’s People’s Pickles and realised I love pretty much anything with that much garlic.

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