7.27.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 13

This time of year is my favorite for locally grown produce. It feels like everything is deliciously in season. In addition to another amazing CSA box this week,  I also made it to the farmer’s market with the intention of only buying sweet cherries. Silly me. I, of course ended up with way more than that, because this time of year, literally everything is good. Also, our garden is growing like gangbusters. I’ve started harvesting the first of many, many cucumbers, the Dragon Tongue beans and sungold tomatoes are still going strong, and it’s clear that the peppers and eggplants are not far off. I see a lot of delicious things in our future. Here’s what we’re cooking this week:

We’ve got Red Potatoes, we’ve got Zucchini, and that means we’ll be happily feasting on this Potato and Zucchini Hash for breakfast this week.

Few things make me happier than a big box of Heirloom Tomatoes. I seriously can’t get enough of these guys, which is why I’ve been supplementing my CSA supply with extras from the farmer’s market and from my back garden. Those that aren’t just eaten outright are getting marinated with plenty of fresh herbs and served up with creamy baked ricotta.

Plenty of fresh Basil from the garden and CSA is going to go great with any leftover Tomatoes and some grilled farmer’s market Sweet Corn in this tomato and grilled corn salad with basil vinaigrette.

Our backyard Cucumber plants are going crazy. I’ll be up to my eyeballs in cucumbers before I know it. One thing I know is that when life gives you too many cucumbers, your best bet is to make them into Bowen Appetit’s Cucumber Mint Agua Fresca.

This week’s Green Bell Peppers and Jalapeno Peppers are getting sauteed up in place of the poblanos in these poblano, black bean, and shrimp quesadillas. I am always, always down for quesadillas.

One thing I’m sure of when it comes to these lovely Walla Walla Onions: they’re getting grilled. Sliced crosswise, brushed with a bit of olive oil, and grilled to golden, caramelized perfection. Then, who knows. Chop em and add to salsas, salads, throw em on pizza, or mix with sour cream for grilled onion dip (and serve with potato chips, natch).

I’ve been craving a good caesar salad, and I’m thinking that with some massaged Kale and a good, homemade caesar dressing, I can make that happen this week.  

There’s something about Green Beans that keeps making me want to cook them up in all kinds of spicy ways. So as not to break with tradition, I’m thinking these Masaledar Sem (aka Spicy Indian Style Green Beans) on Food52 are sounding pretty amazing.

Because I’m always looking for new kitchen experiments to work on, and because we have a whole bunch of Dragon Tongue Beans on our hands, I’m thinking these Fermented Green Beans from Food52 are just what I need. 

Door County Sweet Cherries from the farmer’s market at last. I wait all year for these, and when I finally get them, the first thing I want to do (after stuffing my face with them) is make them into the cherry almond upside down cake. I suggest you do the same.

I also cannot pass up any opportunity to get my hands on some Blueberries. Our lone backyard blueberry bush is producing small amounts, so most of my blueberries are coming from the farmer’s market, and most of them are being made into blueberry skillet cornbread with maple butter.

When I see Shishito Peppers at the market, I always buy them, and you should too. Blistered in a hot pan with some sesame oil, topped with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of salt, and served alongside a frosty beer, they make the best summertime snack ever.

I had never attempted to cook with Baby Artichokes before, and this week I decided that was going to have to change. After picking some up at the market and getting to work in my kitchen, I soon realized that Smitten Kitchen’s Crispy Frizzled Artichokes with a slather of homemade aioli was definitely the right way to go.  

7.21.16 Spanish Chorizo, Sweet Corn, and Fried Egg Tacos

Tacos are always a good decision in my book. They can contain any number of fillings, are easy to assemble, and you can eat them for any meal of the day. I’d be hard pressed to name many  other foods that can pull this off. So in general, if I’m not entirely sure what to make for dinner, we end up eating tacos. And I’m pretty okay with this arrangement.

Last week’s trip to the farmer’s market resulted in the purchase of some sweet corn, and the idea for these tacos started to take shape. It soon became evident that I clearly had Spanish food on the brain, because before I knew it, I’d thrown in some spicy Spanish chorizo, smoked paprika, a sprinkle of manchego cheese, and a crispy olive oil fried egg.

This mashup between tapas and tacos works beautifully. But really, how could something involving sweet corn, cured meats, and a fried egg not be incredibly delicious?

Spanish Chorizo, Sweet Corn, and Fried Egg Tacos

Makes 4 tacos

  • 3 ears sweet corn
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup chopped scallion (green part only)
  • 2 oz Spanish chorizo, chopped (I used the Underground Meats Spanish Chorizo here)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 flour tortillas, warmed
  • 2 oz manchego cheese, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup baby arugula
  • Hot sauce for serving

1. Husk the corn, remove the silk, and cut the corn kernels off the cobs into a bowl.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallion and chorizo and cook until scallion is soft and chorizo begins to render, about 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and starting to caramelize, about 8-10 minutes. Add the cider vinegar, smoked paprika, and salt and cook 1 minute more. Season to taste with additional salt if needed.

4. Transfer corn mixture to a separate bowl and wipe pan clean. Add another 1 Tbsp olive oil, and once hot, crack in two of the eggs and fry them in the olive oil. Remove eggs to a plate, and repeat with the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil and other two eggs.

5. Place 1 egg atop each of the 4 warmed tortillas. Top each with equal amounts of the corn mixture, thinly sliced manchego cheese, and baby arugula leaves. Serve with hot sauce.

7.20.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 12

Big week this week in the CSA department. Tomatoes at last! All produce tastes best when it’s in season, but tomatoes most importantly so. Which is why I absolutely love when tomato season rolls around. We’ve got mixed heirlooms in the CSA, sun golds in the back garden, and really, we couldn’t be happier. Oh, and like a million other marvelous summery things showed up in this week’s CSA box, and I can’t wait to get cooking with them. Here’s what we’re working with this week:

New Red Potatoes and Dill go so well together, so it’s nice to see them both in our CSA box this week. I’m torn, because on the one hand, this seems like a good excuse to whip up some more of these grilled new potatoes with dill butter, but on the other hand, this Potato and Dill Chutney Panini on Food52 also sounds amazing. Here’s hoping I have enough for both.

More Carrots this week, which are always welcome in our household. I’m pretty much always down for grilling these days, so these Grill Roasted Carrots with Sweet Soy Glaze from Serious Eats are sounding pretty darn good right now.

And don’t forget about the Carrot Greens. I love to make these into a refreshing iced tea by pouring boiling water over them and letting them steep until cool before straining and serving over ice. Bonus points for adding fresh mint or lemon balm to the mix. Carrot greens are also great in this Chickpea Tabbouleh with Carrot Greens, which will also make use of the Parsley in this week’s CSA Box.

We also have plenty of Lettuce this week - both from the CSA and more from our back garden. I’ll be taking advantage of both said lettuce and the beautiful grilling weather to make this Grilled Romaine and Corn Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing from the Simple Foodie.

Big, sweet Walla Walla Onions are destined to be caramelized, I’m thinking. As in this caramelized onion and fennel tart. Served along with the aforementioned salad and a glass of wine, is going to make for one perfect summer dinner. Picnic anyone?

We couldn’t get enough of Serious Eats’ Easy Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans from last week’s Green Bean supply, so we were extra happy to get more this week as well. And those that don’t make it into said stir fry, are replacing the long beans Bon Appetit’s Vietnamese Long Bean Salad.

I harvested my first Dragon Tongue Beans from the garden this week AND got more from the CSA. Yay! Normally, I just snack on them raw or add them into a salad, but with plenty of beans to work with this week, I’m thinking of giving them a quick blanch, and tossing them with a super garlicky parsley pesto. Also a perfect way to make good use of the heirloom Garlic and Parsley we got in our CSA box as well.

We already talked about how excited I am about the Tomatoes. So excited, I can say they’ve already been eaten in the form of this super simple and super summery tomato, basil, and brie pasta.  

This Cumin Zucchini Salad with Pinto Beans from Naturally Ella seems like the perfect thing to do with this week’s Zucchini supply. (Not to mention, would probably make some pretty amazing tacos…).

This Warm Kohlrabi Dip from Five Senses Palate uses both the Kohlrabi and Kohlrabi Greens in something akin to spinach artichoke dip. So yeah, this is happening.

7.13.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 11

And we’re back. Sorry for the radio silence last week. It’s a bit hard to both pick up one’s CSA box and post about it while spending your days in remote parts of northern Wisconsin with minimal access to internet. We of course, had a marvelous time. Lots of sun, beaches, kayaking, campfire cookery, and general relaxation. And don’t you worry. Despite being out of town, our CSA box did not go to waste. I bequeathed it to my younger brother, who put it to good use. Of course, being a normal person (read: not a food blogger), he naturally didn’t photograph or record what he cooked with it. It’s cool. We’ll let it slide.

Week11.jpg

This week though, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming. And considering the amount of cheese consumed last weekend, a big box of veggies is a welcome sight. Here’s what we’re cooking with this week:

When I’m not just snacking on Green Beans raw, I like cooking them up into something spicy, like these Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans from the Food Lab.

Carrots are great in so many ways, but roasting them and drenching them in homemade avocado buttermilk ranch has got to be one of my favorites.

Beets and I, we are not friends. I want to like them so much, but gah, they just taste like...dirt. But never fear. I’ve decided that 2016 is the year I will overcome my beet aversion. So based on a marvelous suggestion from a friend, we’re going with beet pizza. I mean, how could pizza ever be bad right?  In addition to beets, we’ll throw on some arugula (from the back garden woot!) goat cheese, and walnuts, and we’ll see how it goes.

We’ve got Lettuce, we’ve got Basil, and we recently came into a whole bunch of peaches. So I’m thinking that this Grilled Peach and Bread Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette needs to happen. As soon as possible, preferably.

We’ll be breakfasting like kings this week on the Fingerling Potato and Zucchini Hash I’ll be making with all of the Zucchini and Onions we have from the CSA box this week.  

And this delicious looking Massaged Kale Salad with Pickled Cherries and Kohlrabi from Things I Made Today means we’ll be making good use of the Kale and Kohlrabi in this week’s CSA box as well.

I recently discovered these fried greens meatlessballs on Food52 and haven’t stopped making them since. They’re crazy good, and a perfect use for all manner of greens, like any leftover Kale, Kohlrabi Greens and Beet Greens we may happen to end up with.   

Oh, and did I mention that I’m on a podcast? Oh yes. I was very excited to be featured on the wonderful Chasing Creative podcast, and my episode dropped earlier this week. If you’re in the need for some new listening material, I highly recommend checking it out. In my episode, I talk about my life as a food blogger, why I love CSAs, and the books I love reading, among other things.

7.1.16 Grilled Bok Choy with Miso Gochujang Butter

I’ve got to say, our CSA, has been absolutely wonderful for many reasons. One of my favorite things though has been has been the challenge to be creative with our weekly produce. The fact is, our CSA has been a key player in pushing me to develop some pretty awesome recipes.

Take for example, this grilled bok choy. First off, I love bok choy - I love the greens, I love the texture of the stalks - I’m a huge fan of the stuff. But I’ll admit, for the longest time, I’d been in a bit of a bok choy rut. I’d get some bok choy and it would inevitably be made into… stir fry. Don’t get me wrong, stir fry is great. But there’s only so much stir fry one can take. After we got like 4 heads of bok choy from our CSA, I knew one thing: I could not handle any more stir fry. It was time to try something new.

First of all, I knew a grill was going to be involved. Grilling, after all, being my number one choice of cooking method when weather permits.  I had already planned to grill some Korean style chicken thighs, so gochujang - the funky, spicy, Korean fermented chile paste that you absolutely should have in your refrigerator - was on my mind. Mixing it with two of my other favorite condiments (butter and miso paste, obviously) just seemed smart. The resulting spicy, savory, umami bomb of a sauce was the perfect thing to slather on my bok choy before tossing it on the screaming hot grill to achieve smoky, slightly charred, and completely delicious perfection. This is the simplest of recipes, yes, but the results taste far from simple. With some sort of grilled meat, rice, and a side of kimchi, it’s a feast.

If you’re like me, this recipe - while insanely delicious - is probably not enough to get you through the semi-ridiculous amount of grilling you’ll be doing over the upcoming 4th of July weekend. So to ensure you enough recipes to keep you grilling all weekend long, several other Whisk members and I have teamed up to bring you a BBQ themed blog hop. Check out the links at the bottom of this post for some more summer recipes from other local Wisconsin bloggers, and get grilling already!

Grilled Bok Choy with Miso Gochujang Butter

Serves 2 generously as a side

Don’t have Gochujang on hand? I highly recommend picking some up at your local Asian grocery store as soon as possible. This Korean fermented chile paste is great to have on hand for many reasons, and will keep practically forever.

  • 1 large head of bok choy
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang (in a pinch, sub sriracha)

1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat.

2. Cut the base off the bok choy head and separate into individual stalks. Lay stalks out in a single layer on a baking sheet.

3. Mix the melted butter, miso, and gochujang together until completely combined. Brush mixture evenly over the surface of the bok choy stalks. Pro tip: some of the miso gochujang butter will inevitably drip off of the bok choy before it makes its way to the grill. Don’t let a bit of that tasty stuff go to waste - toss it with the grilled bok choy after it comes off the grill for extra deliciousness.

4. Transfer bok choy stalks on the hot side of the grill (perpendicular to the grill grates), and grill until stalks are tender and leaves are beginning to char, about 5-6 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

5. Return grilled bok choy back to the baking sheet, making sure to mix it with any of the butter mixture that dripped onto the pan before grilling. Serve bok choy in stalks, or chop into bite sized pieces.

6.29.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 10

CSA Week 4: Here we go! Lots of great stuff showed up this week (but really, when is that not the case?). We’ve got to make the most of it, since we’ll be travelling all of next week, spending some quality time cabining (is that a word? If not, it should be) in the Apostle Islands and Wisconsin Northwoods and enjoying summer for all it’s worth. And knowing me, you can bet there’s going to be a lot of delicious food involved. Luckily, we’ll be well supplied.

We also hit up the farmer’s market this week for some additional produce (go big or go home, right?). My original motivation was the hope of getting my hands on some early season cherries. I got to the market at 7am, and by the time I found the cherries, there were only 3 boxes left. I call that pretty lucky. Also, I ended up getting sidetracked and buying some other things too. Here’s what we’re cooking with this week:

I don’t have a lot of experience with turnip cookery, so I’m excited to get cooking with these lovely little Hakurei Turnips. I’m thinking this Turnip, Ramp, and White Bean Dip from the Leek and the Carrot sounds lovely. And while ramps are sadly no longer in season, the fresh Scallions that also arrived in our CSA box will make a nice substitute.  As luck would have it, we also have  plenty of Snap Peas, which are the perfect vehicle for eating said dip.

Because I’m all for any excuse to grill, I’ll be grilling up some deliciously smoky pork chops and topping them with pickled greens, so good thing we have plenty of Kale and Turnip Greens to work with.

Lettuce from the CSA, and still pulling lettuce from the back garden. Time for some more Thai Fried Egg Salad I’m thinking.

Both regular Basil from the CSA and Thai Basil from the farmer’s market. I can’t get enough of the stuff. I absolutely love the way it smells. When I’m not keeping it in big bunches on the windowsill to keep my kitchen smelling summery and amazing, I’m stir frying it up in Pok Pok’s Stir-Fried Chicken with Hot Basil (and subbing Garlic Scapes for the long beans of course).

Zucchini and Scallions in our CSA box this week are making me think these Grilled Summer Squash Tacos with Avocado Salsa were meant to be.

I thought I’d add some variety to my salad game with some Radicchio. Besides, that which does not become salad is going to be delicious grilled up and served with fresh mozzarella and garlic vinaigrette like Bowen Appetit does.

This Peacock Broccoli was just too pretty not to buy. A colorfully purplish variety of broccoli, this one was cooked forever, as in Food52’s Broccoli Cooked Forever because it’s hard for me to resist the thought of slow cooking broccoli in olive oil with plenty of garlic and anchovies. Throw it atop some crusty bread slathered with fresh ricotta, and you won’t be disappointed.

Fresh Peas are sweet, summery tasting, and I love having them on hand so I can make copious amounts of Ottolenghi’s Conchiglie with Yogurt, Peas, and Chili. Also, a good way to use up any extra Basil you still may have hanging around.

More Strawberries means more of this Strawberry Salad with Raspberry Cinnamon Vinaigrette, which is good, because we have no shortage of lettuce.

And last but not least, the elusive Cherries. I was only able to find tart cherries, but that’s okay because tart cherries mean pie, and I can always, always get behind pie. This Sour Cherry Pie from Bon Appetit is simple, classic, and mighty tasty.

6.24.16 Strawberry Oatmeal Cookie Tart

There’s lots to love about this time of year. Besides the obvious things like beautiful weather, ample opportunities for outdoor activities, cooking nearly everything on the grill, and being inundated with lots of amazing produce, I also love this time of year because the sheer abundance of certain fruits and veggies make it so easy for me to come up with delicious things to cook. Last week’s ample supply of lettuce meant we were in for some serious salad. This week, it’s strawberries.

Specifically, 10+ pounds of strawberries picked by Forrest, Leo, and I over the weekend (okay, Forrest and I picked them, and Leo sat around looking cute and smashing them into his face). A  load of laundry and a bath to get all the sticky strawberry juice off this kid, he still somehow smells like strawberries. I love it.

So what does one do with so many berries? While it seems like a lot, the truth is, the entire lot went from sitting in a giant flat container on the counter, to either being eaten straight, cooked, or preserved in two days. I made strawberry rhubarb crumb bars, a big batch of jam, froze plenty of berries for a special treat come colder weather, and pureed some with basil to feed to the baby. What was left turned into this tart.

And by tart, I mean giant oatmeal cookie topped with mascarpone and fresh strawberries. But we’ll call it a tart, because we’re fancy like that. It’s simple to make (which of course I’m all about), and can we talk about just how absolutely lovely it is? It’s almost too pretty to eat. The key word here being almost.

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookie Tart

Makes 1 9-inch tart

I used sugar as a sweetener for the mascarpone topping, namely because babies Leo’s age aren’t supposed to eat honey, and after he longingly watched me making this dessert from his high chair perch, I figured he deserved a little taste. It was his 7 month birthday after all. But to those who aren’t sharing with babies, I’d definitely recommend using honey.

Cookie Base:

  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick) room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Topping and Assembly:

  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature.
  • ¼ cup sugar (or sub 3 Tbsp honey)
  • 1 ½ cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 inch tart pan.

2. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

3. In a larger bowl, mix the butter and both sugars together until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture, mixing until well combined.

4. Press dough evenly into the bottom (no need to push dough up onto the sides here) of your greased tart pan. Make sure dough is approximately the same thickness all the way across.

5. Bake cookie at 375 until top is puffed, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

6. Once cookie has cooled, make the topping: use a mixer to whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone and sugar or honey and continue mixing until just combined.

7. Spread mascarpone topping evenly atop cooled cookie. Arrange sliced strawberries on top and sprinkle evenly with pistachios if desired.

6.22.16 Wisconsin Grown | Part 9

Another week, another CSA box filled of all kinds of beautiful things. On top of which, we’re starting to harvest lettuce, baby arugula, and baby mizuna from the back garden - hooray! Here’s what we’ll be cooking this week:

  • Garlic Scapes are the flower stalk of the garlic plant. They’re generally harvested around this time of year so that the garlic plant can put all of its energy into growing the garlic bulb. And incidentally, they’re quite delicious. You can use garlic scapes in any number of ways, but sometimes just keeping it simple and throwing them on the grill a la Things I Made Today is the way to go.
  • Admittedly, I’m not the hugest fan of Kohlrabi. It’s not that it tastes bad, just kind of...meh. I never could figure out what to do with the stuff until I decided to treat it like green papaya and make Spicy Thai Kohlrabi Salad. Great success.
  • We all know Radishes + butter + sea salt is heavenly, but these Radishes with Dukkah from Bon Appetit seem like another intriguing way to turn radishes into tasty snack food. Which, obviously, I'm all about. 
  • I absolutely LOVE Cilantro, and tend to put it on or in pretty much everything. As I’ve had little to no success growing my own (it always bolts on me pretty much immediately), I was so happy to receive some in this week’s CSA box. And to celebrate, I’m thinking some Cilantro Lime Hummus is in order.
  • Chard + cheese in pie form? You had me at cheese. Slab Galette with Swiss Chard and Gruyere from Food52.  
  • Snap Peas are so good, you really don’t need to (nor should you) do much to them. Served raw with a side of Whipped Feta Dip to dip them in seems like a good plan to me.
  • Between the CSA box and our garden, we’re well supplied with Salad Greens once again this week. Will we ever get tired of salad? So long as we’re eating things like Avocado Chickpea Salad from Naturally Ella, probably not.
  • Because we already have salad greens well covered, this week’s Arugula will be pestofied and slathered on pizza.