CSA Pick-up 9/22/11: masochism

Hello people, as Baby Sam would say. Another red letter day at Wolfe Spring Farm. New this week: watermelon, shiitake mushrooms, kale and cauliflower

Here’s what we prepared today:
– Freekeh Pilaf
– Minestrone soup (100% local, ex tr olive oil and parmiggiano)
– Smashed fingerling potatoes and garlic
– Kale Chips
– Roasted Eggplant
– Insalata Caprese

That’s where the masochism comes in. And I’ve still got 3 pounds of tomatoes left – yellow cherry tomatoes and standard red tomatoes. Any suggestions other than tomato sauce?

Tabbouli Tabbouli Tabbouli

I just said it 3X because it’s kind of a dirty word in our house. Some people (who will go unnamed) won’t touch it. So instead of putting it on the menu, I made a delicious quinoa recipe on Saturday with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and garlic from our CSA pick-up, along with parsley, chives and mint from our garden, and didn’t utter the 8 letter word. And what do you know? It was roundly enjoyed.

I’ve written about quinoa and its virtues before, so no need to blather on about that. I will say that this recipe from Bon Appetit for Tabbouli-style quinoa was easy to prepare and very enjoyable: crunchy, summery, fresh and healthy. It also lasts a day or two, tasting better on day 2 if you ask me.

Bon Appetit’s Tabbouli Quinoa. My preparation looked the exact same

I prepared the recipe with minimal modifications and it was perfect [used chopped and seeded hothouse tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes]. Here’s how I know:

  1. Aesthetics: it looked exactly like BA’s photo above (ex the cherry tomatoes)
  2. 2nd Helpings: Served at a casual buffet lunch and discerning guests came back for more (ok, not super scientific, but unless everything else tasted awful…)
  3. The “H” Factor: Hubs liked it

Just call it something else. Chalk up another win for quinoa. I still have to try Rebecca’s recipe before the end of the month.

Let the Odyssey Begin: Home Pickling

With a bounty of Kirby cucumbers, what can you do but pickle?

All I can say is, it’s good to have a partner in this endeavor. And I was fortunate to have two: Hubs and my Cuisinart. No, Hubs is not in same category as Cuisinart, but you know what I mean. I had never made pickles before, so this was an adventure indeed. We decided on Bread & Butter Pickles for a few reasons:

  1. Hubs loves them
  2.  Can be made “refrigerator-style,” like Dan’s awesome pickled string beans. No need for serious canning experience, of which I have none
  3. Good value! We’ve been buying jars of these at the green market for $6 or $7

Truth be told, Hubs has got me hooked on these Bread & Butter Pickles, too. I am used to traditional sour dill pickles (maybe even a half-sour), which are the kind I grew up on.

We’d go downtown to the Lower East Side with my grandmother and buy them out of the barrel at Gus’s, back when the LES was still populated by discount merchants and Jewish delicatessens, not hipsters and cocktail bars.

Here’s what we did: We worked off of 2 recipes we found online: borrowing ingredients from Smitten Kitchen’s blog and  and technique from an old-school recipe on  A Way to Garden. I liked the fact that Smitten Kitchen used about 1/2 the sugar used in the old-school recipe. And, skipping to the chase, you would never know. These pickles are sweet and succulent at the same time; you’d never think they needed more sugar.


4 pounds cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick — “pickling” or kirby cucumbers work best here
4 bell peppers sliced lengthwise [ok to omit if you don’t have them on hand]
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1cup Diamond Kosher salt [Updated: Why Diamond? Read this first.]
2 cups sugar (1/2 cup per pound of cucumbers)
1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar [Original recipe calls for less, but we were low on liquid, so I’d recommend more]
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 tablespoon mustard seeds
4 tablespoon coriander seeds (if ground, use 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon celery seed


Use Cuisinart or mandoline to slice cucumbers and onions. It is definitely a time saver and worth the extra time afterwards  to wash all the piece parts of the equipment.

In a very large bowl, combine the cucumbers, peppers, onion and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture with ice. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. In a large pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil. Drain cucumbers and onions. Add to vinegar mixture and bring back to a boil.

Pickles in the pot: kirbies transformed in 5 minutes to pickle green color

Simmer for 5 minutes, then ladle them (with the liquid) into clean jars. Be careful as you are ladling boiling hot liquid into the jars. Hubs was particularly helpful in this step. As the jars cool, you should hear the light “pop” of the seal vacuuming tight. Once cooled, keep them in the fridge. They will keep quite well for six months or so.

Bread & Butter Pickles ready to go

Yield: 14 1/2 pint jars. Of course, I mis-placed a lid from one of the Ball glass jars at the end of the process and had to use an old jam container. Ah well.

Ye Grande Olde Yakitori

“Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee,” said my father-in-law in a recent email, attaching this tantalizing photo.

Yakitori by chef Chieko Hamado – Nashville, TN – July 2012

The colors and textures of this meal look fantastic, and I love the bamboo placemats as well. Steve, my father-in-law, enjoyed this eye-catching Yakitori at his friend Chieko Hamado’s home in Nashville, TN. I researched Yakitori and learned from Wikipedia that it can refer to any skewered foods. Here are some details about the meal as told by Steve, my father-in-law and roaming gourmand.

Organic home grown carrots, cold new potatoes, shrimp and mashed avocado with onion and cream cheese, couscous and tomato and onion salad, prosciutto wrapped around cucumber, miniature tomato mozzarella.  Korean style BBQ beef and Yakatori chicken.  Garlic and olive oil  sauce from ground green leaf like basil called beef steak leaf.

Take me to Tennessee, I say.  Steve, please chime in on anything I missed.