Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: Winter CSA Box 3

That's a hunk of pink banana squash there.  Egad!  Braising greens, salad greens, two dozen eggs (my add-on), Delicata and acorn squashes, onions, turnips, leeks, dill, and some dried white beans.

Even though I was a little tired the night I picked up this box, its contents clearly were not going to wait for me to feel like dealing with them.  So onward I forged.

I washed the dill and put it to soak and revive.  Topped the turnips and leeks, cleaned up the onions, seeded and peeled and chunked the banana squash.  Realized I had some beets left from an earlier box, and so dinner began to take shape ... CSA Box Emergency Borscht.

A big chopping session ensued, and most of the onions and turnips and all of the dill and leeks went into a pot with a pound of Baron Farms pastured pork sausage, some cabbage, and some chicken broth.  And you know what?  By the time the soup was simmering nicely, I felt re-energized!

The cubed squash went into the fridge for another day, when I tossed it in coconut/sesame oil, coated it with Rogan Josh seasoning, and roasted it.  Divine! 

Sometimes the CSA boxes seem like a lot of work.  But we enjoyed the soup for several days, and the roasted squash was delicious.  Totally worth the effort!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kale, Cranberry and Blood Orange Salad

Because I'm usually the only cook around our house, I think constantly about faster ways to get things done in the kitchen and still end up with tasty, attractive results.

I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that kale salad is way easier, and even tastier, made in the food processor instead of with laborious stacking and slicing.  You can, of course, stack and slice for a different effect.  This method produces a more relish-like salad that is, I think, optimally flavorful and easy to eat.


If you don't have Perol blood orange vinegar, just use orange juice instead of the apple juice, use your usual vinegar, and stir in a little grated orange peel just before serving.  Or use other citrussy or fruity vinegar.  The object is to get a fruity taste in there!

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup apple juice

1 bunch Lacinato kale
1 small shallot

2 tablespoons Perel blood orange vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In food processor, chop shallot finely.

In small saucepan, combine apple juice and cranberries, and heat gently to warm.  Add chopped shallot, and remove pan from heat.  Set aside.

Wash kale, spin dry, and remove thick stems.  Place stemmed kale in food processor (in batches if too crowded) and chop coarsely.

Place chopped kale in medium bowl.  To juice mixture in pan add vinegar, olive oil and salt.  Stir, then pour dressing over kale and mix well. 

Just before serving, stir in walnuts.

Makes 4 servings.

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011: Winter CSA Box 2

My mother-in-law called one day, and chatted with Mr. Eating the Scenery.  She must have asked how I was doing, because Mr. ETS said, "Oh, she's having lots of fun with fruits and vegetables."

And so it is that we acquire, by virtue of that which engages us, a certain identity.  So be it.  I can think of worse things to be associated with!

The second Winter CSA box's largesse included salad greens, braising greens, spaghetti and acorn squash, broccoli, green cabbage, daikon radishes, onions, taters, and Brussels sprouts.  And yes, I'm having fun with them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Turkey in Two Hours

The original article from the Tri-City Herald.
Tried and true recipes, dogeared and written-on (try that on an iPad or Smartphone!), are still alive and well in many kitchens.  Years ago I started keeping these gems in a three-ring binder so as not to lose them ... and to experience again and again their consistently wonderful results.

Such a recipe is "A Turkey in 2 Hours" from a long-ago edition of the Tri-City Herald.  The technique is from Chef Wil Masset, then owner and master chef of Birchfield Manor in Yakima.  He is still there, though his son is now the chef and owner. 

My turkey weighed 15 pounds, and was Organic Prairie brand from Fred Meyer.  Blue Valley Meats offered local turkeys, but I didn't decide on the menu this year soon enough to order one from them.  I sincerely miss my former turkey providers, Russ and Laurie Stasska, who moved to North Carolina.  Happy holidays, you two!

from Chef Wil Masset, Birchfield Manor, Yakima

You will need:

  • Turkey
  • Sharp knives
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Carrots, Celery and Onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Position rack low enough so the oven can accommodate the roaster and turkey.  Remember the turkey will be on its side, and thus perhaps a bit higher than if it were lying flat.

Prepare your seasonings and oil in little bowls so you have them all ready for when you begin to massage the turkey. For my 15-pound turkey, I used 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 5 teaspoons paprika (2 sweet, 2 smoked, and 1 hot).

Cut off the turkey's crop skin at neck, and cut off wings at second joint.  Remove giblets.  I placed the neck in the roasting pan to use in stock.

Place the bird in a large roasting pan on a bed of chopped carrots, celery and onion.

Now, rub the turkey (and the wings) with a mixture of salt, pepper and paprika, inside and out.  Then rub olive oil into the turkey.

Arrange the turkey on its side, propping it up securely with the wings.  Placing the turkey on its side better uses the oven heat and speeds cooking, preserving the moisture in the meat.
Place the prepared turkey on its side.  This is important.
Place bird in oven and roast for about an hour and a half.  At this point (approximately three quarters of the way through the cooking time), carefully turn the turkey over.  Don't use forks or other implements that could pierce the skin and cause a loss of juices.  You can use clean potholders or dishcloths, or large tongs you can clamp between the cavity and the bird's skin surface, while stabilizing the bird using your protected hand on the other end.

Re-stabilize the turkey (remember to place it on its side) with the wings.  You can turn the wings, too.

Return turkey to oven and continue roasting for another half hour to an hour ... until juices run clear when meat is pierced at the thigh joint near the body.  A thermometer placed there should read at least 160 degrees.

My 15-pound turkey, which was completely thawed, took 2-1/2 hours to roast. 

If the breast meat is done but the leg/thigh joint needs more time, you can either cover the breast with foil, or slice off the breast meat, and roast the rest of the bird some more. 

This method produces a juicy, flavorful turkey, and the carcass/bones make a splendid stock.  I used the drippings to make a gravy using almond flour and arrowroot, from a recipe in this cookbook
My thanks to Wil Masset for taking the guesswork out of turkey cooking, thus adding a certain serenity to my holiday meal preparations. 

A 15-pound bird will easily serve 8 to 10 people.