Sunday, September 18, 2011

CSA Basket- Week Thirteen

This week we received a bunch of collard greens, a spaghetti squash, an eggplant, a bunch of leeks, a bag of small German potatoes, an acorn squash, two red peppers, two purple peppers, a butternut squash, four red ripe tomatoes, and two heirloom tomatoes. I'm excited for all the squash, it means fall is almost here!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mediterranean Couscous Bake

I'm a huge proponent of meal planning. I think it saves time and money, and helps keep one organized. It also involves making lists, which is something I'm strangely addicted to. However, I usually meal plan on Saturday for the following week and we go grocery shopping on Sunday. Having our CSA pick-up on Mondays sort of throws me for a loop. Since I don't know what we are going to get ahead of time, I am sometimes stuck trying to come up with a way to use something I totally wasn't expecting. And that is exactly how this dinner came about.

I have to admit that I'm particularly proud of this recipe. I wasn't going off of anything, just combining the vegetables that I needed to use up and keeping my fingers crossed. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The vegetables have great flavor without much added to them, and it is great as leftovers as well. I might have to try this one again! 

Mediterranean Couscous Bake
(serves 6 as a side, 4 as a main course)

2 green peppers, sliced
1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
drizzle of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of dry couscous
1 Tablespoon of butter
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of dry oregano
1/2 cup of feta cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with a bit of olive oil.

Cook peppers and eggplant in a large pan with the olive oil and garlic until eggplant is cooked and peppers are soft. Put them in the greased pan, and add the chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine. Cook couscous according to package directions, with the butter and salt in the water. When couscous is done, add it to the pan. Add the oregano and feta, and stir to combine. Sprinkle a bit more feta on top, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 10 more. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Peach Bars with Crumb Topping

It's hard to believe I had these peaches sitting around the kitchen for almost a week before I could decide what to make with them. I thought about pie, I thought about jam, I thought about peach shortbread cookies, but nothing seemed right. I finally decided on these peach crumb bars, and I am certainly glad I did!

I actually added a couple plums to the peaches in the filling and they gave it a bit of a tangy kick. They are the perfect combination of flavors and texture- a buttery, almost shortbread-y crust, sweet peach filling, and a nice, crumbly top. They went fast!

Peach Crumb Bars

1 1/2 cups of sugar, divided into 1 and 1/2 cup portions
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
zest of one lemon
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) of cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/4" pieces
1 large egg
5 cups peeled, chopped peaches- about 5 peaches (I used 4 peaches and 2 small plums)
5 teaspoons of cornstarch
juice of one lemon
1/4 teapoon of nutmeg

Directions: Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan with butter, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and flour. Add the salt and lemon zest, and stir together with a fork. Mix in the butter and egg with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Place about half of the dough mixture in the greased pan and press down to cover the bottom of the pan.

In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and nutmeg. Gently mix in the peaches and stir lightly until combined. Using a slotted spoon, spread the fruit evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining dough with over the top of the peaches.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. Cool completely before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Adapted from Annie's Eats, original recipe here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CSA Basket- Week Twelve

We had a break from our CSA pick-ups last week, but it resumed this week. I was slacking though and forgot to snap a picture- it was just one of those days. I was held up at work and barely got to the pick-up in time, H had his first night class this semester so he couldn't go for me, it started pouring just as I pulled into the driveway, and the phone started ringing as soon as I got in the house. Oye! That night definitey called for a glass of wine :)

It was quite a haul despite the lack of picture- two yellow tomatoes, three red ripe tomatoes, one pint of heirloom mini-plum tomatoes, two bunches of collard greens, one pint of small German potatoes, two yellow peppers, three Italian roasting peppers, a spaghetti squash, two bunches of sage, and an eggplant.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Zucchini and Spinach Gratin

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it as soon as possible. I am one of those people who loves bacon a little too much, and I loved the veggies in it as well. I just had a feeling this one was going to be a winner!

It ended up being a great side for chicken and roasted tomatoes, and it worked great as leftovers too!

Spinach and Zucchini Gratin
(serves 6)

2 large zucchinis
pinch of Kosher salt
drizzle of olive oil
6 cups of fresh spinach

4 slices of thick cut bacon
1 handful of fresh parsley
1 white onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
drizzle of olive oil

Directions: Grate zucchinis in a food processor, and place grated zucchini in a strainer over a bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, sprinkle with Kosher salt, and allow to sit over the bowl for 30 minutes. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan, and add spinach. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until spinach is mostly wilted. Place in another strainer over a bowl, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and allow to sit for 30 minutes as well.

Meanwhile, heat saucepan to medium high and add bacon. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side and remove. Pulse the bacon and with the parsley in a food processor until it's well chopped and set aside. Add sliced onion to the heated pan with bacon grease and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes. Place cooked onion and garlic in a large bowl, and add the bacon and parsley. Preheat oven to 350.

After zucchini and spinach are drained well, place them in the large bowl with the onion, garlic, bacon, and parsley and stir to combine. Add beaten egg and half of the Parmesan to the bowl and combine. Grease bottom and sides of a gratin dish with olive oil. Press vegetable mixture into bowl, and sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Enjoy!

Adapeted from Simply Recipes, original recipe here.