Archive for September, 2010

The Fruits of Chicago

September 30, 2010

RAVENSWOOD, Chicago: I was impressed with the green space in this northern Chicago neighborhood! I’ve been on the road traveling across the country to my new home in Sandpoint Idaho, and Chicago was one of the first stops. My friend Jessica (jdelight!) lives in Ravenswood and we passed this amazing Urban oasis on our way to the Renegade Craft Sale downtown. The whole operation totally blew me away – pears! free to the public! more than this nice couple knew what to do with!

SO. COOL.

Little did I know this was just the beginning of my awe over fruit trees. I would soon be wishing for one of those long fruit picker arms for myself…

Hay!

GRILL CITY

September 13, 2010

METROPOLITAN AVE, Brooklyn: This is a special post for my CSA – explaining some options for the veg we got last week. With summer almost over, it’s time to get in that one last BBQ. Here are some alternatives for you city dwellers who don’t necessarily have the outdoor space for an entire grill. A fire escape could be outfitted with a hibachi or you can always get a grill pan just to achieve those nice ashy black lines. You can find a teeny tiny one of either for as little at $15.

hibachi on amazon

grill pan on amazon

The point of this post is grilling, and I am aiming to prove how just about everything from your farm share can be an awesome contribution to any bbq or picnic. Grilling is easy. All you need is fire, olive oil, salt and pepper. Here’s a look at the bounty from last Monday:

Veggie & fruit…

This one apple in the pack was crazy! It looked like it had another apple’s face on it! 

Oh! And a pumpkin!

There was so much potential, and so little time. I was leaving for an epic road trip on Thursday, so with the approval of my boss we threw a bon voyage bbq at my work to test the grill theory on the CSA.

Originally we had planned to make a delicious fruit salad chopping up all the apples and pears with pecans and goat cheese, however our plans were quickly foiled as the guests started arriving and munching the fruit whole. It was a great thing to watch, really.

Next up, the grill is hot, and I don’t eat hamburger -but we added egg to chopped beef to make patties. I heard they were great.

Corn, throw it on! Eggplant slices, cut thick and sprinkel with olive oil salt and pepper. Same for the peppers and beets. Fresh spinach makes a great fixin’.

The corn went so quick I almost didn’t get a pic of it… here and then gone…

What else? The cilantro is great for gaucamole, and the lemon grass could be added to black beans… or a fool proof backup plan is always tea, which is great because it can be made from the dried stalks at any time by just boiling with water…

Potato salad! Duh! We added some supplemental color (from the farmers market) and cooked ours in a pan, but most people boil the potatoes.

The squash blossoms also got pan fried – I know someone had posted previuosly about battering them with a flour based mixture, but all you really need is olive oil, salt and pepper. They transform into crispy delicacies.

The pumpkin is by far the most challenging. To be honest, it didn’t happen for the night of the bbq, and was solely ornamental – which was fine!

My friend Billy ended up taking it home…

I contemplated pumpkin lemon grass soup, could have been amazing… We talked about pumpkin pancakes, could have been divine… What ended up happening was simple and baked. The pumpkin was gutted and cubed, and laid flat on a baking sheet with the afformentioned olive oil, salt and pepper. The seeds turned out to be an incredible treat on the road.

So here I am, sitting in Chicago, fueled by pumpkin seeds and ready for wide open spaces. Everyone out there in Brooklyn, have one last bbq for me!

Eggcellent!

September 5, 2010

HUMBOLDT STREET, Brooklyn: My amazing farm share has kept me deep in eggs, which is awesome, but with moving coming up and my fridge logging in somewhere around two dozen of this fragile cargo – I needed a quick out. Enter Pickled Eggs, as suggested by my main squeeze. Supposedly they are very popular in Idaho especially in drinking establishments (I will find this out for myself in two weeks and counting…)

The concept is the same as anything pickled: water, vinegar, sugar, spices. I hard boiled the eggs and heated the 50/50 water/vinegar to boiling. I had a giant beet from the CSA that also needed using up, so I cubed it and threw it in to the 50/50 mix for the last couple minutes. All this mess was poured over the eggs (peeled! duh!) with peppercorns and a few hot pepperchinis in jars and lidded. The whole concoction should sit for a week or two to let the vinegar penetrate the yokes. To be honest the texture of the first one kinda grossed me out, but a few beers later I was loving them. I guess that is why they are popular in bars.

Cheese Please

September 4, 2010

HUMBOLDT STREET, Brooklyn: Before I packed up my kitchen supplies I made a valiant effort at making cheese. It’s something I have been meaning to experiment with for a long time, and it seemed like the perfect thing to do considering the abundance of tomatoes from the garden this year.

Mozzarella is probably the simplest to start with from what I’ve read about it. I got all my info from “the cheese lady” at www.cheesemaking.com – seemingly the primary source for supplies and info in the cheese making world. The intro to soft cheese is seriously everything one needs to get started, besides the milk and a pot to cook it in. It was fun, and really did only take 40 minutes or so from start to finish. I did a third of the recipe provided in my intro kit just because it was my first time and I didn’t want to waste materials. I was surprised how much milk it takes to make so little cheese, but it was the perfect amount just for me and I feel confident next time to take on a full batch to have enough to share with others. I definitely see the art behind temperature control and handling. My little ball was pretty hard, but still delish, and I have a better idea on what needs to happen to make it perfect.