Friday, July 23, 2010

Once more unto the beets! Wait, where'd they go?

Our half CSA share consisted of a bunch of basil,4 onions, a parsley bunch,3 tomatoes, a jalapeno pepper, a red pepper, a cucumber, swiss chard, and a lovely melon. We supplemented the yield with the following items: pasta (fettucine), lamb sausages with sage, a store bought roasted chicken (a bargain @ $3.99, plus it is still too hot to cook much inside), corn,and some prosciutto.

It continues to be hothothot, bad even for a Southern summer. The grass crunches underfoot. Our tomatoes, ostensibly watered by the neighbor kids, were not, so now are compost. I have been trying to serve light or grilled dinners to keep the heat down inside. This is what we had this week:

Saturday: Grilled lamb sausages, grilled corn on the cob. I left the silks and husks on two of the four ears, and husked the other two .I wanted to experiment with the caramelization of the natural sugars in the corn. I still prefer cooking them with the husks on: makes the air smell great. One ear was left over; I used it for Sunday, when we used the store bought chicken for our chicken tostadas. I put a base of fresh made guacamole on the tostada, put some chicken on that, then topped it with the salsa which included CSA tomatoes,onion, jalapeno,and the corn scraped from the cob saved from the previous evening. I was bad and made refried beans as a side, using the America's Test Kitchen recipe. Bad because it is all based on rendering salt pork, a staple here, makes my cardiologist do backflips. He would have approved of Monday's meal:I used a kilo of mussels, farm raised, tinier and sweeter than their wild cousins, on the fettucine. This and the previous recipe came from the latest issue of Cooking Light.

On Tuesday , I used some of the sweet melon, a couple ounces of prosciutto, and some baby spinach (subbing for the suddenly rare arugula) on 'bowtie' pasta, a nice light dinner for a hot Richmond evening. Felt like a wild man, so accompanied it with a Riesling Reserve, juuuust right. Wednesday, alas omysistersandbrothers, RR did not cook much, the Missus handled dinner.It was beans and hot dog casserole, though she did utilize a CSA onion and the red pepper. I could not leave well enough alone; prior to her arrival from work I made some fresh corn and basil cornbread to accompany. It is a good time of year to make this , with the ingredients so fresh and available: the recipe may be found on here. Thursday, RR dined alone, as the Missus had a work function to attend. I ate leftovers, or as Julia C. put it, 'feasting on remains'. You know me, dangerous when bored, so I used the CSA cuke and some tomatoes I bought at Olympus Farm on the way home from work to make gazpacho,using Jamie Oliver's recipe.We'll have that with the cornbread tonight. Years ago, we ate at one of Jose Andres' restaurants in DC, and I had the gazpacho. One of the best soups I ever had, it was a nigh on religious experience. Fresh, and one could taste each ingredient, unlike my poor muddy attempt. Something to strive for. Sublimity.


Barrett Bonden said...

A kilo of mussels. My mind travels back to a French working port called Pornichet, some time before France switched to the euro. A chalked-up sign said F 45, Moules, frites and some other phrase, which I have sadly forgotten, which implied an all-you-can-eat deal. In sterling this would have been about £4.50. The mussels came in a bucket and when we were down to the last dozen the bucket was replaced with another bucket without our asking. I'm trying to work out what that load of mussels might have been by weight but the arithmetic escapes me.

The Crow said...

I like cobs brushed with olive oil after they're roasted as you describe. When I have it on hand, I like to grate a bit of Asiago on while the corn is still hot.

Your cornbread recipe sounds good, too. I'll have to try that soon. A few months ago, I used polenta to make cornbread, which was pretty good - a little denser and more moist than usual, but wonderful flavor.

I thoroughly enjoy your cooking posts, RR.