Spinach and Apples

I am head over heels in love with the cornmeal pizza crusts from Vicolo Pizza. They beckon to me like blank canvasses waiting to be filled by all manner of culinary artistry. Tonight I brushed lemon olive oil onto one shell before heaping it with spinach sauteed with garlic, grated parmesan cheese, and little clumps of caramelized onions. The other I lined with a thick coat of caramelized onions before layering on my beloved tempeh bacon and slices of Rome Beauty apple. Both pizzas were sublime, and I scarfed down slices alongside a salad of lettuce and arugula, drizzled with the fruitiest dressing made from lemon olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and just a hint of orange syrup.

Spinach, Parmesean, Carmelized Onion, and Lemon Oil & Tempeh Bacon, Apples, and Carmelized Onion

Carrots and Carrots and Carrots

I finally made good use of my serious stockpile of carrots. This afternoon I cooked up a delicious carrot soup that, in addition to two bunches of carrots, used a bunch of leeks and an onion as well as the carrot tops and trimmings in the stock I made for the soup. It’s so interesting to me that I can stare for weeks at an uninspiring collection of carrots getting progressively floppier in my fridge, but I’ve probably eaten at least a full bunch today alone in soup form.

Carrot Soup and Persimmon Arugula Salad with Walnut Oil

I think I’ve cracked the Salad Code, as well, although I don’t want to get too cocky just yet. I bought a deep, pleasing wooden salad bowl the other day, with these great bamboo hand-shaped salad servers. They are kind of like these, only shaped even better to make them super fun to use tossing the salad about.

So those go along way towards making salad time more fun. I was fretting about making a salad today, even though it was clearly the perfect accompaniment to my carrot soup, because I’m out of olive oil. And that is when, necessity ever being the mother of invention, I rediscovered a magical, secret ingredient I haven’t used in a long, long time.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Toasted Walnut Grapeseed Oil. It’s so sweet, so incredibly flavored I can’t even describe the taste but my mouth is watering remembering it and I’m kinda wondering what would happen if I tried wearing it as perfume. I mixed the lovely pink leftover vinegar-sesame seed liquid from the radish salad with a touch of the walnut oil, threw together some lettuce, arugula, and a nice ripe persimmon, and voila! Salad I went back for seconds on!

Because I had a request for it, the carrot soup recipe is behind this cut… Continue reading

Rainbow Chard and Spinach

Tonight for Libby’s final meal I made a Chard, Spinach, and Onion Torta from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers. For the first time I really experienced that feeling I’d hoped to find by getting the CSA box – that sense of spontaneous discovery and trying new things based on whatever arrives. I mentally reviewed which veggies I still had left (a mighty surplus, I’m sad to report, since my next box comes tomorrow!) and then flipped open a favorite cookbook. The first recipe I flipped to was this torta, which I’d never made before, and, by substituting a bag of spinach for one of the two bunches of chard the recipe called for, I was able to use my large bunch of rainbow chard, that bag of spinach, an onion, and some garlic.

It was a perfect recipe to make tonight because it calls for a bread crumb crust. I never have bread in the house, but tonight I had half a loaf of getting-stale Grace Baking rosemary-potato bread I’d bought for Libby as a must-try Bay Area favorite, and the flavor it added to this dish was phenomenal. It basically makes the whole thing shine. (Not to knock the “light cream” I invented out of a mixture of broth and kefir, of course! I took several creative liberties with the recipe, as is my habit.) This was basically a full-meal dish, but we accompanied it with a salad of lettuce, radishes, carrots, and green beans from previous weeks’ boxes.

(It’s not a stellar picture but we were more interested in eating and getting Libby to the airport than in lighting and styling.)

Chard, Spinach, and Onion Torta

Butternut Squash

Inspired by the huge bowl of pumpkin seeds we had left after carving jack o’ lanterns last weekend, Libby and I decided to take on a recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli with Pumpkin Seed Pesto someone had posted on grouprecipes.com. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves in for…

First off, each pumpkin seed had to be individually hulled. Our huge bowl of seeds amounted to a paltry 1/2 cup after we (mostly Libby, who invented a fabulous technique involving systematic tiny pinches between the teeth) spent hours hulling the damn things. We were so exhausted that we decided to postpone the project for another day.

Four days later, we finally had everything assembled – butternut squashes boiled, pureed, and sauteed with onions and Earth Balance (we decided to make the ravioli filling using the squash from Weeks 2 & 3 since the pumpkin meat was currently in the form of rotting jack-o-lantern), pumpkin seeds roasted and blended into pesto, filling prepared – and then finally we made our ravioli. We didn’t make our own pasta (Thank God – it would have been another week!) but used premade wonton wrappers instead (sold in the supermarket in the produce section with the tofu and the fresh Asian noodles) which worked beautifully.

It was, admittedly, incredibly delicious. And, honestly, in no way worth all that work. However, there are many ways this process could have been streamlined, and I loved the ease and the artistry of making tortellini and ravioli shapes with the wonton wrappers, so I’m sure some much-simplified form of this recipe will live on in my kitchen.

Boxwise, this recipe used butternut squash, onions, and garlic. We ate our ravioli with a green salad with lettuce and carrots and green beans and radishes from Week 2 or 3 (I have a serious lettuce backlog) and the entire bunch of arugula sauteed with garlic. (I wouldn’t do this again – I was worried about all the greens I got this week going bad before I could eat them, so I cooked up the giant bunch of arugula, but it was so much tastier raw… oh well, I’ve learned now.)

Just for fun, here are Libby and I posing with the parent pumpkins who donated their seeds and started this whole mess in the first place!Halloween with the vomiting punkin and the hand-eating punkin

Sweet Corn

The last sweet corn of summer. Three ears yielded a lot of kernels – maybe even more on these cobs than the non-bonus cobs I had a couple of weeks ago. Libby husked and de-silked the stalks. She reported finding corn worms, but this time I was spared interacting with them in person.

Tonight for dinner Libby and I had a beautiful meal of Star Anise Tempeh (from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers), pillowy white sushi rice, a huge green salad (using some of a previous week’s lettuce and radishes and carrots, plus some leftover Nicoise green beans), the Indian Yogurt I’m obsessed with which is a variation of a 5 Spices, 50 Dishes recipe, and our yummy, yummy corn, cooked up with turmeric, mustard seed, dried serrano chiles, parsley, and hint of sugar in a delicious preparation from 5S, 50D.