Here comes the humble belated blogger, crawling back to her neglected WordPress site looking at the long backlog of writing she’s been meaning to do. This spring has been a whirlwind of family visits, gardening, general home spring-fevery, more family visits and getting ready for The Modeens’ release of our first full length album in a few years – accompanied by the most gorgeous weather we’ve experienced in Tucson yet. All great things for the soul, but ultimately bad for this blog.
Well, I got so behind that I threw up my hands trying to catch up on weeks 9 and 10 at the CSA. Though I will throw in a photo of some lovely beans I got along the way:
These weren’t labeled, but best I can tell, they look like “Frijol en Seco” a type of pinto bean from New Mexico. I love the patterns. They were delicious and tender, too!
But enough looking back, let’s move on to a relatively recent, and quite interesting, CSA harvest!
I got some excellent veggies here including a fresh cabbage that became a nice vinegar-y slaw for some fish tacos. But I’m sure your eye has drifted to the odd tangle of what look like dwarf green beans on twigs.
These are “podding radishes”. They have a taste much like the regular root radish but in oh-so-adorable pod form. And we liked them! Originally from Asia, the plants are well-suited to our desert clime as they resist heat very well, unlike their burrowing cousins who are now bolting to seed as fast as possible. You can cook with them in sautes, soup and stews, but I liked them raw and when we had a couple of friends over I decided to try them as a crudite.
In other words, I was (ahem) too lazy to do anything other than rinse them well and pat dry. I thought it would be fun if we just picked a pod, snapped the pointy end off and dipped. The dip itself was very helpful in my ploy. Meet chipotle cream.
(Excuse the lighting, but it was night and these days we dine al fresco!) Chipotle cream is a new member of the household and we love him, her, uh – it very much. I mixed some mayo, greek yogurt and some minced chipotle in adobo sauce (with scoops of the sauce itself) and whisked it all up. That adobo sauce is SPICY so taste as you add or it just might melt through your bowl. But damn was that good. I’d come across the idea before here and there but was particularly inspired by this great article about how to marry chipotle cream and live with it happily forever after (or something like that).
The podding-radish-as-crudite idea is still catching on – though a fair amount was ingested that night – so in the future, it might be better if I at least take the pods off the stems. I’m sure that de-twigging could be a very meditative activity.
Something else I experimented with was a potato-leek-lentil soup with kale chips. Kale chips are extremely trendy right now but don’t ignore the hype. The stuff is awesome. I haven’t liked any of the bagged stuff from the store, though. Homemade, fresh from the oven is instantly addictive. And too easy not to do yourself. The internet is flooded with this recipe but it’s my blog so I’ll just add to the noise here:
1 bunch or big bag of kale
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Wash and dry your kale.
Tear into bite-size pieces. Maybe blot dry again – it’s best if they’re dryyyy.
Plop onto a roasting sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with some sea salt and pepper, then use your (clean!) hands to massage it all together.
Pop the sheet into the oven and start watching it after 10 minutes until they’re crispy and browned. Even if some parts get black, they’re fine if you have a high tolerance for carbon.
This may not look like much, but once you pop a chip in your mouth, your eyes will light up and you will never have the same lust for potato chips again.
As for the soup, I hadn’t intended on making potato-leek-lentil soup. I was going to make vegetable lentil soup until I remembered I had a bag of frozen leeks from Trader Joe’s and some heavy dairy product (in this case, half-and-half) and decided to go for it.
Potato-Leek-Lentil Soup with Dill
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrot, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bag of frozen leeks
8 small red-skinned potatoes, chopped
4 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 cup brown or green lentils
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup half-and-half (or 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream), more to taste
1 Tablespoon butter
Over medium heat, make a soffrito of the onion, carrot, celery (it should be about 2 parts onion, one part carrot, one part celery) and saute lovingly in the olive oil until almost golden.
Add the garlic and frozen leeks and saute for a few minutes.
Add the potatoes and saute until they start sweating.
Add the broth and lentils, bring to a boil, and take back down to a simmer.
Cook until lentils are done (should be about half an hour).
Add some dill to taste and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper.
Puree everything until smooth with an immersion blender (or pour into a blender in batches and puree)
Add a cup of half-and-half and 1 T of butter and simmer for a few more minutes.
Taste for seasoning (does it need more salt or white pepper?)
Ladle into bowls and top with kale chips.
You may have noticed the artichokes in the harvest picture. I haven’t mentioned them yet because I was leery of dealing with this edible thistle. That part with the choke is weird! For a while they lived in the corner of my eye, constant reminders that I would fail as a cook and a person if I let them just go to waste. But I finally managed to cook them and soon I’ll reveal a super simple and incredibly tasty recipe that’s having me on the hunt for more artichokes. But not now. Can’t type, gotta run!
Ciao for now!