CSA

Cabbage, summer squash, zucchini, corn (not as much as usual but still I have a lot of corn), cubanelles, apples, tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, potatoes, an eggplant(!), and several clusters of the cutest little grapes. They were so tiny and perfect. The clusters looked just the way you would expect a cluster of grapes to look!

I should have taken a real picture… but I ate all of the grapes already. They were so sweet!


Since I won’t be able to cook most of my veggies right away, I’m working on getting them preserved in some fashion. The tomatoes went straight into the freezer, the potatoes and garlic will be fine until I return.

I did make zucchini and summer squash “noodles” for dinner last night (pic to follow).

chili

My plans for the day were cancelled at the last minute, and the weather was dreary, so I was looking forward to a lazy Sunday at home. I happened to run across the November 2008 issue of Food & Wine magazine at the gym. They had a nice article about Rancho Gordo, which reminded me that I had a package of Santa Maria pinquito beans in the cupboard. Since I had the afternoon free to cook, it seemed like the perfect time to try them out.

I soaked the beans for a few hours. According to the Rancho Gordo website, it isn’t necessary, but it does speed up the cooking process. They absorbed a lot of water!






I started with Hatch chile butter from Whole Foods for the mirepoix (yes, that means there were carrots in my chili). I used 1/2 sweet onions and 1/2 shallots (leftover from CSA). I added the beans, along with the water that they were soaking in, and I added water until the beans were completely submerged.


While the beans were simmering, I smoked the steak tips. I started with a dry rub which has… a little bit of everything. It’s the same dry rub that I used when I made brisket. 1.5 lbs of sirloin tips barely fits into the smoker – I’m glad that I have the larger smoker!


And while the beans were simmering, and the tips were smoking, I made jalapeno cornbread with buttermilk.

After the beans were cooked through, I added spices and tomatoes (a few fresh and one can of peeled whole tomatoes). As the skin peeled off of the fresh tomatoes I removed the skins. When the tips were finished smoking I chopped them up and added that to the mix.


The final product:


It was definitely much better than my usual quick-and-easy chili (ground beef and canned kidney beans). The texture of the beans was great, and the smoky flavor permeated throughout the chili, so it was well worth the time.

tomato

On Twitter, Rick Bayless suggested freezing tomatoes for future use in sauces. No cooking or blanching or peeling or anything, just freezing them whole. This sounds bizarre to me, but since I won’t be home much this week, I might as well give it a try…

peachy

Did I mention that there were peaches in today’s CSA delivery? At any rate – I added another jar of peach ginger jam to the cupboard, because the peaches were beyond ripe. The jam is tasty, but I really don’t need more jam! I’m going to try using it on chicken or in baking. Maybe it will work as a substitute for applesauce?

CSA Monday

I know this was a rough year for the farmers… but today’s CSA was very disappointing. Lettuce, corn on the cob, potatoes, zucchini, cucumber, shallots, grapes, a beefsteak tomato. Except for the grapes, that’s all the usual stuff… but there was a lot less of it. If I didn’t have so many plans this week, I would definitely need to supplement this week’s delivery.

Dinner was smoked salmon with home fries (inspired by the smoked salmon hash at S&S, only less greasy), salad, washed down with Pretty Things Baby Tree (still love it!), followed by sesame candy and this peanut candy that I can’t describe. Joe says it’s like extra-peanutty halvah.