Citrus Salad

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Here’s another fruit salad that seems fancy but is simple as anything.  Pick out a variety of citrus fruits.  Here I have a grapefruit, a Cara Cara orange, and some other type of orange.  Here’s a handy-dandy article about peeling, or rather, not peeling oranges.  I thought it might only work on tangerines (which are easy to peel in any event) but it kind of worked for my oranges and grapefruits.

Peel the citrus and separate the segments and cut them in half.  Add a drizzle or two of honey and a few drizzles of balsamic vinegar.  Once I added some chopped tarragon because I had some on hand. It was good, but I prefer it unadorned.  Super refreshing.

 

Stepped-up Fruit Salad

IMG_2805Over the Thanksgivukkah weekend, I had several family events to attend.  To counterbalance the loads of heavy food, I brought fruit salad.  Although fruit salad can be the dull dish that everyone passes over at a potluck, a few simple tricks can elevate it.

First, use whatever fruit is in season and looks good to you.  Forget the tired watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew unless it’s summertime.  In this salad, I used apple, pear, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes.

Then for the coup de grace.  Squeeze a lime or two over the salad.  Then add chopped mint.  Everyone will come up to you and ask you what you put in the salad, or they’ll ask, “did you put mint in the salad?” like it’s the most original and clever thing to do.  Which of course it is.

 

Good Enough Gourmet Joins a CSA, Part 2: Obsession

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So I’ve been obsessed by my CSA.  As I said in my last post, my first delivery came on a Sunday and I panicked a little, wondering what I was going to do with all that produce.  Sunday is my meal planning day so receiving the produce, planning my menu, and shopping in half a day was stressful.  Then I got smart.  The CSA posts what’s going to be in the boxes on the Wednesday prior.  So first thing Wednesday, I check online and then proceed to check every, uh, two or three minutes until it was posted.  Once it was posted, I copied the list onto paper, separating the list into fruits, vegetables to be used in a main course, and vegetables to be used as a side dish.  And then spent pretty much every minute thinking about what to make with these ingredients.  It was like being on the TV show Chopped or Master Chef, where you get a basket of ingredients and have to use them all.  Seriously, I’d be sitting in meetings at work thinking, “swiss chard and parsnips, hmm.”

Later that day, I received an email with the contents of the farm box.  It was different from what was posted in my online shopping cart earlier!  Help!  How can I make the Salade Nicoise I was planning without green beans?  Which list was right?  So I called the CSA…..and didn’t get a call back.  They probably have me on a “do not call” list for being a crazy lady.  (About a week later they did call me back and apologized profusely for temporarily misplacing my message and said that I could call as often as I wanted.)  So I changed my whole menu plan based on the new list, and lo and behold, when I received the basket, the first list was right and I got my green beans, but too late to make the Salade Nicoise.

My obsession is the antithesis of what getting a Farm Box is all about.  It’s about working with what’s fresh and in season, being flexible, rather than constructing rigid meal plans.  However, I’m a full-time working mom and weekends are my only time to grocery shop.  If I don’t plan out our meals in advance, we don’t eat.  So I’m ok with my obsession. Plus, it’s like a game, figuring out how to use every piece of produce.  Here’s what we had in CSA week 2:

  • Roast chicken with roasted purple potatoes and heirloom carrots
  • Chicken caesar salad and citrus salad with tarragon
  • Butternut squash soup and artichokes with garlic aoili
  • Omelets with tarragon, shallots and goat cheese; roasted beets, and sauteed beet greens
  • Quiche with swiss chard, broccoli, and zucchini
  • Risotto with green beans and heirloom carrots; green saladIMG_2812

 

 

The Good Enough Gourmet Joins A CSA

Rhymes. Nice.

CSA stands for Community-Sponsored Agriculture, and by joining I get a box of fruits and vegetables delivered to my doorstep every week, sourced from local farms.

I’ve thought about joining a CSA in the past, but rejected the idea. I live within walking distance from a farmers’ market; CSAs can be expensive; and most importantly, I’m big on meal planning and thought it would be too complicated to work around what’s in my farm box. But when a friend posted a picture of her farm box on Facebook, I decided to give it a try.

My first delivery came on Sunday. I was excited when I unpacked, and then……mild panic attack. What was I going to make this week with all this random produce? After much scouring of my recipes, the internet, and my cooking muscle memory, along with a few deep, cleansing breaths, I made a plan. And went shopping, delighted with how little I had to buy (which would have been much less if it weren’t Trader Joe’s holiday specialty item season – hello dark chocolate star cookies and white chocolate peppermint bark-coated pretzel slims).

Here’s what I’m making this week:
1) lentil soup (uses the leek, carrots, and a bit of sweet potato) and salad (uses the baby mustard greens, carrots, tomatoes, and an avocado)
2) sausage and vegetable stew (uses the other leek, sweet potato, carrots, and parsnips)
3) roasted fish and salad with roasted heirloom beets and goat cheese (uses the baby mustard greens and the beets)
4) lamb burgers with sautéed beet greens and baked potato chips (uses the rosemary, the shallot, the lemon, the beet greens, and the potatoes)
5) rice and quinoa bowl with vegetables and tahini sauce (uses the shallot, the sweet potato, the kale, the carrots, and the other avocado)

You might think these vegetables sound boring, but when I say carrots, I’m talking tiny, colorful heirloom carrots that you don’t have to peel and are super sweet and have a more carrot-y flavor than other carrots you’ve had.

We’ll see how it goes. So far, I’ve made meal #1 and it was quite good. Pictures and possibly recipes to come.

Tuna and White Bean Salad

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Dark leafy greens, protein/omega 3s, and fiber in one dish and you don’t even have to cook. It’s a keeper. But be forewarned, this dish can be bland. Here are some suggestions for avoiding blandness: spice up the vinaigrette by adding extra Dijon mustard or a few shakes of Tabasco; add dried herbs (Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence) to the vinaigrette; use boldly flavored and/or spicy olives (I like to splurge on nice olives from the olive bar at my market); add lemon pepper to the tuna mixture; substitute another herb for the parsley — fresh tarragon might be nice.

Tuna and White Bean Salad, adapted from marthastewart.com

Ingredients:

- 1 lemon
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 5 oz. bag of baby spinach or another salad green
- 2 cans tuna
- 2 cans cannellini beans
- 1 shallot
- 1/4 cup green olives
- 2 T. parsley

Instructions:

1) Put the greens into a large salad bowl.

2) In a bowl large enough to hold the bean/tuna mixture, combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Add olive oil and whisk (as much olive oil as you need to make a vinaigrette that tastes right to you). Put some of the vinaigrette onto the greens and toss; leave the rest in the bowl.

3) To the bowl, add tuna (drained and broken up), cannellini beans (rinsed and drained), shallot (chopped), olives (roughly chopped), and parsley (chopped). Stir to combine.

4) Add tuna mixture to the salad bowl with the greens. Serve.

Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Olives

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This recipe is flexible – you can swap out the cod for another thick fish, you can swap out the herbs for whatever you like, you can swap out the vegetables….no, don’t swap out the vegetables. The ones listed are delicious – the creamy potatoes, the sweet tomatoes, and the salty, vinegary olives make a great combination. Best of all, this dish is made on one sheet pan.

Ingredients:

2 lbs (or however much comes in a bag) baby potatoes
4 cloves garlic
olive oil
dried herbs (I used Herbes de Provence – highly recommended!)
salt and pepper
4 cod fillets (about 6 oz. each)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 c. pitted Kalamata olives (or whatever olives you like – I buy a mix from the bulk olive bar)
fancy salt (e.g. French grey salt) – optional

Instructions:

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. The Good Enough Gourmet is in love with Reynolds nonstick foil. No they don’t pay me to say that although they should, since I say it quite often.

2) Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Put the potatoes and the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves on to the baking sheet and toss with olive oil (how much? enough to coat – about a tablespoon and a half), herbs, salt and pepper. Put into oven and roast for 20 minutes.

3) Cut tomatoes in half, and I like to cut the olives in half too. Drizzle the cod with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs (whatever you used on the potatoes), salt, and pepper.

4) Remove baking sheet from oven. Add tomatoes and olives to the potatoes, stir, and try to reposition the potatoes so they brown evenly (they’ll probably be dark on the side that was resting on the foil, so turn them over so the other side browns). Push the vegetables to the side and add the cod to the other side.

5) Return baking sheet to oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Be sure to check the fish after 15 minutes – fish goes from flaky to dry in minutes.

6) Remove from oven. If you’re ambitious, find the roasted garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic from the peel and stir into the veggies. If you’re like me, just let your lucky diners find the roasted garlic as a prize and they can squeeze it out onto their own portion. Just make sure one person doesn’t get all the garlic!

7) Serve, and sprinkle individual portions with French grey salt if desired. The perfect finishing touch.

Gnocchi with Zucchini and Tomatoes

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I didn’t expect this dish to be as delicious as it was. Pasta water – in this case gnocchi water- is the magic elixir.  Adapted from Everyday Food.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 package gnocchi
  • Reserved gnocchi water
  • Fresh basil (I used 1/2 of a small package)
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1) Put a large pot of water up to boil. Salt the water when it reaches the boil.

2) Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Slice zucchini. Press or chop garlic.

3) Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini and cook for 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.

4) Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Ideally, you’d be adding your gnocchi to the boiling water at the same time as you’re adding the tomatoes to the skillet.

5) Rather than draining the gnocchi and adding it to the skillet, use a large spoon to transfer the gnocchi from the water to the skillet, adding a little gnocchi water as you go.

6) Stir together, add a little more gnocchi water if it’s not saucy enough, and add butter, Parmesan cheese, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.