We had several exciting adventures yesterday: a real bounty pick-up at Wolfe Spring Farm, took in the annual New Marlborough Garden, and received a tasty, unexpected homemade treat from our neighbor Dan Doern (more on that later). Let’s focus on the CSA pick-up and ensuing kitchen chaos. As a refresher, we picked up the following:
And we had a bonus: U-pick ’em blueberries. June lifted the netting off the blueberry bushes and let us have at ’em. We picked almost a pint, unsure of how much Sam consumed along the way.
Hubs and I were excited to see the yellow cherry tomatoes in the basket and he suggested a great recipe that we’ve made several times – Spaghettini with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic and Fresh Herbs. It’s a little counter-intuitive because you have to heat up the kitchen roasting the tomatoes, which stinks in the middle of summer, and it’s also best served at room temperature. But let me tell you, it’s worth the effort (and the heat). You slow roast the tomatoes with a bunch of garlic cloves and it makes a sweet, savory sauce with deep, rich flavors. You will not be disappointed. I can’t remember where I originally found the recipe, and I’ve seen a bunch of variations online, so I’ll include my own adaptation.
Instructions for 1 Delicious Entree: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss 1-2 quarts of cherry tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 9X11″ baking dish (pyrex or ceramic preferred). Throw in 6-12 smashed cloves of garlic, healthy dash of kosher salt, few grinds of black pepper, and 2-3 dried hot peppers if you like some heat. Some recipes tell you to halve the tomatoes, but it is not necessary. Putting them in whole saves time, and has no impact on the final product.
Roast in 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. The tomatoes should get wrinkly and start to caramelize. You may need an additional 5-10 minutes depending on your oven. Give the pan a shake 1 or 2 times while baking, but otherwise leave unattended. Remove from oven and let cool. The tomatoes will have released some juices and you should have a beautiful chunky sauce.
Chop up a handful of fresh basil and any other herbs you may have on hand. I used fresh chives. Grate 1/4 cup parmiggiano to mix with pasta and sauce.
Prepare spaghettini as directed on package for 2 – 4 people. Once ready, drain water or scoop out with pasta server and add directly to pan of tomato sauce. Toss in chopped herbs and grated cheese. Transfer to serving bowl or serve directly into bowls. Yum!
You can also use the sauce for a take-off on bruschetta. We had some leftover last night and used it to make mini-pizzas for lunch. Sam loved them.
The Rest of the Basket: As I had written on Friday, I really wanted to make vegetable fritters. But, alas the contents of my basket did not comply. No beets, no leaks, no luck. Might try ’em this week with some produce purchased from the green market in town. Back to the basket.
For the salad greens, I have a ritual. I wash, spin and crisp them as soon as I get home. One downside is that it is far more labor intensive than buying a bag of ready washed greens, but hey, where’s the fun in that? We had mixed greens with our pasta last night and have lots more left.
I steamed the broccoli and the haricot verts, and stored them separately. We’ve already eaten some with a mustardy vinaigrette, and the nice thing about having them already cooked is that they are ready to go, as Julia Moskin advised.
So, all that sounds kind of humdrum. I wanted to do something interesting with the eggplant and felt I could let my creative juices flow because I don’t have to cater to hubs’s tastes on this one. He won’t go near eggplant. I felt an itch to attempt an Eggplant with Miso dressing recipe. I loosely followed this recipe, first roasting the sliced eggplant in the oven and then tossing it in the dressing. I admit I did not love the dressing. Perhaps it was the miso. Or perhaps I had no idea what I was doing as it was my first time ever cooking with miso paste. I had a jar of fermented bean miso in the fridge and cracked it open for the first time. I’m willing to try this again as I wasn’t fully satisfied with it – too salty, earthy tasting – but then again, I’m not great with eggplant dishes to begin with.
Anyone else ever try this? Or something similar?