Friday, May 22, 2009

Calabacitas con Nopalitos

A super simple way to use several of your CSA veggies this week, and versatile enough to accommodate any number of variations to suit your taste and/or mood!

Calabacitas is Spanish for "little squash" or really, little pieces of squash, and the same applies to the nopalitos (little pieces of nopales). While the nopales can get a little slimy while cooking (not unlike okra), the sliminess tends to wane the longer you cook them, and also, if you keep the mixture relatively dry (as in roasting or sauteing rather than in a stew).
  • 2 medium-sized summer squash--any variety works, and a mix is great, too
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 roasted green chiles or 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large nopal paddle, chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt & Pepper


  • 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1.2 cup shredded cheese or crumbled queso seco/ricotta salata (optional)

Optional ingredients:

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Green onions
  • Chopped greens (spinach, quelites, etc.)
  • Red chile
  • Splash of Cream
  • Splash of Tequila

For the Calabacitas, start with bite-sized pieces of summer squash--. If your squash are rather big and full of big seeds, you can opt to remove them first. For zucchini and yellow squash, usually half-moons or quartered slices works well, but you can cube the squash instead, though it may need slightly more cooking time. Heat a few tablespoons of butter or oil in a large skillet until very hot. First add onions, stirring to cook one minute or so. Add garlic, chile pepper, squash, nopalitos & corn. Saute on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes or so, until vegetables start to brown slightly. Add remaining ingredients, including optional ingredients if using, and cook several minutes more, until everything is cooked to your taste. Squeeze lime or lemon juice over veggies and garnish with cilantro & cheese (if using) to serve.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

French Breakfast Radishes

Ahhh, Radishes... They are one of those things that people tend to either love or hate. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. I love radishes sometimes, and I love things that have a similar bite, such as horseradish, nasturtium, and mustard, but never really developed much of a taste for regular ol' radishes...that is, until I became a CSA member. Like many other offerings of the CSA that tend to fall into this category (turnips, greens, chiles, beets, you know, the ones you regularly see in abundance in the trade basket or the ones that you take, disdainfully, that end up wilting away in the back of your crisper drawer), I have, over time, developed more of an appreciation, if not downright desire, for many of them. Perhaps that is because, by nature, I am constantly looking for new and interesting ways of preparing them, some simple, some complex. Perhaps part of it is that I realize that the fresh, enlivened versions are actually quite good compared to their insipid, dull supermarket cousins. Whatever the reason, I am glad that I have expanded my culinary horizons to incorporate them into my cooking and eating. Besides, who couldn't at least be intrigued by these little beauties...?

We made a wonderful salad with the ingredients below for lunch today, and served it with pita chips and some little pre-made filo shells we had begging to be used. It would also be exceptional added to cooked quinoa, pasta, or heaven-forbid, wheat berries, or even served simply over a bed of greens. In the interest of infinite variations, this salad is open to many other interpretations based on what you have on hand and what you have a hankering for (carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, chile peppers, crab, turkey, salmon, turnips, kohlrabi, cabbage, peas, bean, corn, oranges, etc., etc., etc.)

  • 1 handful radishes, chopped
  • 1 handful radish greens, minced
  • 2 green onions (or I'itoi onions), minced
  • 2 Tbs. capers
  • 1 cucumber or several pickles, chopped
  • 2 avocadoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill weed, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or yogurt
  • 1 can tuna, drained & flaked (if in oil, do not drain, but reduce amount of mayo)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Friday, May 8, 2009

Halibut with Beets, Greens and Dill-Orange Gremolata

Happened upon this on the website (Parent of Gourmet, Self, and Bon Appetit magazines). If you still have some beets left from last week, this would be a great use of them, along with the dill and oranges from this week! Serve with a side of roasted potatoes!

The whole beet—greens and all—is used in this clever, elegant main. Gremolata—a mixture of chopped herbs, garlic, and citrus peel—is the classic topping for osso buco. This garlic-free variation gives bright, fresh flavor to the halibut.

Bruschetta in a Bowl

What do you do when you are too lazy to slice and toast the bread for Bruschetta? Toss it in with the rest of the ingredients, warm it in the oven and Voila! Less messy for the kids, too!

While this version has quite a few ingredients (I was trying to use up little bits of everything I had in my fridge/pantry!), it can be as simple or varied as you like. Even just tomatoes and basil work, and I also recently saw a recipe for roasted beet bruschetta. Of course you can still serve this the traditional way as well, spooned onto sliced, toasted bread.

  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (or 1/2 can)
  • 1 Tbs capers
  • 1 leek (white part), sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fava beans
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives
  • 1 Tbs sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 slices crusty stale bread, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cubed mozzarella cheese

Combine all ingredients except bread and cheese in oven-proof dish. Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is soft. Toss in bread and cheese and return to oven for 5-10 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melty.