A Very First World Problem: Veggie Overload CSA Pick-up 9/8/12

Height of the season and everything is looking gorgeous. Generous June says to take as many tomatoes, cukes, eggplants, potatoes, onions, garlic and jalapeños as we can carry. Check it out


I’m planning on:
– gazpacho
– bread and butter pickles (a first for me!)
-baba ghanoush (in homage to Dan Doern)

And not sure what else with this bounty. Stay tuned…



How Timely: Mutant Red Grapes

Would love to know what exactly happened to this mutant bunch of conventionally grown red grapes?

Mutant Conventionally Grown Red Grapes - sourced from Fresh Direct

Mutant Conventionally Grown Red Grapes – sourced from Fresh Direct

I have no clue how these grapes were cultivated, but something clearly went cataclysmically wrong here. The grapes are crammed up against one another, not dangling from the stems. And the main stem is totally gnarled.

Mutant Conventionally Grown Red Grapes – sourced from Fresh Direct – See main stem

It’s just plain weird and kinda scary. I ordered these grapes from Fresh Direct, a local online grocer. I bought these grapes because they were on sale (busted), foregoing organic for an attractive price point. What a nasty surprise I got, and oh so timely after the release of the Stanford study on organic food v conventional. Forgot more nutritious, I just want a bunch of grapes to look like a bunch of grapes!

I can’t wait to get back to the farm tomorrow. Wolfe Spring CSA, here I come!


I had heard of this Italian dish and it always sounded nice. But we don’t eat a lot of bread so therefore we rarely have stale bread. It never came to be. And it seems silly to buy something just so it could get stale. We’ve made many tomato basil cheese etc salads but the stale, crusty bread hadn’t joined the party. So…..with the perfect storm of house guests last weekend who didn’t eat everything we bought (including a delicious, now hard as a shoe, Berkshire Mountain Bakery baguette), beautiful ripe Wolfe Spring Farm tomatoes bursting with juice, extra roasted WSF garlic sitting around, uneaten boiled WSF corn that was in the fridge for a day or two, fresh parsley, basil, and chives from our garden. I came to understand the true origin and beauty of this dish. Cut it all up, toss it all together with whatever vinegar turns you on (I used white balsamic the first time and it was a little timid. Then, good old supermarket red wine vinegar and it was just right), olive oil, salt and pepper (I also added little bit of minced WSF jalapeño for pizazz and some cubed pressed tofu for protein) let it sit for 10 minutes or so until the bread softens a little in the juices of the tomatoes , vinegar and oil, and BOOM, dinnuh! and lunch, and a snack. I was possessed by this fresh, quick, flavorful assembly of stuff lying around. I ate so much of it. I think it would be great with a little red onion, fresh cheese, anything you have left over that does’t seem too gross to put in. My guess is that the corn is not authentic but I adapted the dish to our region. Even though a dish may be common, tried and true, or part of the popular repertoire, it still feels new and exciting when we discover it, even “invent” it, for ourselves, doesn’t it? I think this is one of the great joys of cooking.

Got Bread?

Bayside Dinner in Bristol

Had a delicious meal last night at cousins Kara and David Milner’s beautiful bayfront home in Bristol, Rhode Island. Is nothing better than a lovingly prepared home-cooked, market-driven meal prepared by someone else?? Add a to-die for view and easy-going companionship and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect evening. Kara prepared Campfire Salmon, Israeli couscous and a crunchy seasonal salad.

Kara’s Camfire Salmon

The Campfire Salmon is a variation on a recipe from a handy cookbook called Simply in Season. Kara kindly walked me through the recipe briefly. Good thing about it is that you can prepare it in advance, wrap it up in tin foil, and pop it in the fridge until you are ready to grill (or bake in oven). Kara sliced up onion, placed a large filet of wild salmon on top, sliced up lemons and local zucchini to go on top, sprinked with some fresh dill, a dash of olive oil and a splash of white wine. Fold up the tin foil and cook immediately on a heated grill or 450 degree F oven, or store in fridge until ready to do so. This versatile recipe is a great way to feed a large group and you can add/subtract veggies based on what’s in season. Like it.

On the side, I loved Kara’s crunchy salad featuring heirloom cherry tomatoes and yellow cucumbers from a local CSA, crunchy fresh corn kernels, spinach, maybe some watercress (?) and sliced sweet red onions. Kara, chime in if I missed anything.

Kara’s Salad: tomatoes, yellow cucumbers, corn, spinach, red onion and watercress

And did I mention the Sour Cream Blueberry Pie for dessert?? So yummy, with a crispy lattice top and crust. Hubs refused to even taste at the mere mention of the words “sour cream.” His loss – was scrumptious. I haven’t bugged Kara yet for the recipe and probably won’t. Fear if I make it, it will go straight to my hips.

Thank you, Kara & David!

Sharing is Caring – Double Trouble Tomato Bruschetta

At least that’s what Barney says. Those of you with small kids will get a smile out of that. Those of you without will likely scorn me and unleash the unbabyme app on my web presence.  Ah well, can’t please everyone.

This afternoon’s post is about sharing. I am fortunate to have awesome readers who frequently send me recipes.  Going forward, I will periodically invite readers to post to this blog as well. I love sharing recipes and  collaborating to improve a meal.  And, clearly love talking about cooking with all of you.

I will be out of town the next few Saturdays, so will sadly miss my beloved CSA Pick-ups at Wolfe Spring Farm. In my place, I have drafted friend, neighbor and fellow foodie Dan Doern to wax poetic on summer’s finest. I am also sad to miss this period because it is really peak season now in the NE. Readers may remember Dan Doern from pickled haricot verts fame. No pressure, Dan, but don’t let us down.

In reality, I fear Dan will handily out-foodie me. Bring it, Dan.

And, also in the spirit of sharing, I wanted to pass along a recipe sent to me this morning by  long-time friend, social media superstar and part-time vegan, Nicolette Barber. Everyone’s trying to figure out what to do with this year’s tomato bounty. Nico shares a timely recipe for Double Tomato Bruschetta that looks scrumptious. Take your basic bruschetta recipe, add sun-dried tomatoes to increase depth of flavor and melt some mozz on top. Kick it up a notch, why dontcha?

All Recipes: Double Tomato Bruschetta

Haven’t tried the recipe, but want to. Readers, please keep sharing!

Another Great Corn Recipe: Sauteed Corn with Fresh Herbs Galore

Sure everyone loves corn on the cob. But after the first few butter-slathered corn on the cobs of the season, most folks start to wonder what to do with all those ears of corn. We had a bunch from our CSA pick-up, and as June reminded me, corn does not last. Fresh corn is a limited time only treat, and we all want to make the most of it.

Hubs and I discovered an awesome recipe in Bon Appetit a few years ago that has become one of our go-to recipes for summer corn. Sauteed Corn with Tons of Herbs is simple, easy and takes advantage of other seasonal items like fresh herbs and shallots. What else are you going to do with that parsley and basil gone wild in your garden?

From Bon Appetit:Summer Corn Saute with Tons of Herbs

This is an easy recipe, but it does take some elbow grease. First, remove the corn from the cobs.

Preparation: Corn removed from cobs

Next, chop up your herbs and shallots:

Hubs Handiwork: perfectly minced herbs and shallots

Then saute the shallots and cumin seeds in some butter, add the corn and continue to lightly saute. Remove from flame and fold in herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. Delicious warm or cold. Leftovers always welcome.

What do you do with summer corn once your love affair with corn on the cob has ended?

A Midsummer’s Favorite – Roasted Vegetable Gazpacho

Such a bountiful CSA Pick-up on Saturday…Here it is on my countertop and I already stored the purple potatoes.

CSA Pick-up 8/4/12

I had a few recipes in mind, like Gazpacho and Zucchini Bread. I also wanted to think of something to do with the corn, since we had corn on the cob the night before, and our pick-up included 6 ears. After June graciously picked some kirby cucumbers for us, I considered a standard gazpacho, but then remembered a favorite recipe from summers past.

I’ve made this recipe  for Roasted Gazpacho from Mark Bittman many times and it’s always been a success. It’s also a good way to use some vegetables like eggplant, squash, and overly ripe tomatoes in bulk that might be otherwise difficult to use up. In a nutshell, you chop up zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions and garlic, toss with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees. I used yellow squash instead of green zucchini here (picture below). Either works fine – another forgiving recipe.

Preparation for Roasted Gazpacho: Chopped vegetables tossed in olive oil and dash of kosher salt, ready to go into oven.

Cool, purée with 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 4 cups water. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped pepper, cucumbers, and/or tomatoes to add crunch. Enjoy!

Rebecca, a blogger in Colorado, transcribed the recipe and included a pic, and funnily enough, her final product looks nothing like mine.

I also made 2 loaves of yummy Orange Zucchini bread.

Orange Zucchini Bread

Our friend Nash passed along the recipe and it was the first time I tried this variation on the classic zucchini bread. The orange rind and juice add a nice touch – slight tartness and interesting accent of flavor. You can also use less white sugar since the orange juice adds natural sweetness than with a traditional recipe (usually calls for 2 cups of sugar).

Zucchini Orange Bread batter

Here is the recipe I followed, similar to the Cooks.com recipe I linked to above:

Orange Zucchini Bread

1/2 c. canolaoil
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour [I used 1 cup whole wheat, 2 cups all-purpose]
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. orange juice
2 tsp. grated orange rind
2 c. grated zucchini


Mix all dry ingredients and set aside. Then mix the rest of the ingredients and cream well. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Grease 2 bread pans and bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes. You can add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to batter as well.

Stay tuned for a great recipe for Sauteed Corn and Herbs…



It’s Thursday and do you know what’s Left in your CSA Basket?

Our CSA Pick-up day is Saturday and I’m usually out of food, ideas and energy for creative home cooking by Thursday night. Quick review of this week’s recipes:

But I’ve still got a few usable and useful items left, so it’s back to work tonight. I have the following left:

  • 1/3 quart cherry tomatoes – dinner tonight
  • Shallots and Garlic- dinner tonight,and these will last, so no hurry
  • Zucchini – have plans for zucchini bread this weekend, so sit tight
  • 1/2 head of cabbage – I’m out of ideas for you, cabbage head
  • 1 ear of early drought corn – Sam was going to eat for dinner, but the crazy rows look uninviting

Krazy Korn from CSA Pick-up 7/28/12

Krazy Korn is going in the compost bin.

We’ll have Salmon en Papillote and a green salad for dinner tonight. As I wrote in an earlier post, fish en Papillote is a simple to prepare dish for the kitchen weary. I’ll use the cherry tomatoes and shallots from my CSA pick-up, and then we’re ready again for Saturday’s stash.

American Classics: CSA Pick-up 7/28/12

This veritable bounty will be transformed into:
– Tangy mustard coleslaw – use cabbage
Corn chowder use corn, potatoes, tomatoes, shallots
Spaghetti al pesto genovese (ok, this isn’t an American Classic. Realized that after I published. Oops) – use string beans, potatoes, garlic and basil (from our garden and Wolfe Spring)

And more…stay tuned