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Last CSA share

Last Saturday we picked up our last CSA share. Jared has already made hot sauce, ketchup, and roasted pepper baba ghanoush.

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I think joining a CSA was ultimately a good thing, but we weren’t always the best about using everything up. However, I did eat a lot more vegetables than usual and tried some new things. It will be strange to go back to buying vegetables at the grocery store.

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Roasted red pepper hummus

Generally I prefer foods that are simple. I love intense flavors–dark chocolate, wasabi, pesto, blue cheese, smoked Gouda, sharp cheddar, feta (I guess a lot of these are cheese-related)–but I tend to not like them competing with one another. Jared tends toward the opposite–he likes to mix various spices and ingredients together to make something interesting. So tonight when I decided to make hummus, I made a version for me and one for him.

I mostly followed this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made it twice before and it is quite good. The recipe suggests peeling the chickpeas, which I do–it really does make the hummus wonderfully smooth. Although I love the recipe, I’ve felt that it was missing something that would turn it from great to excellent, and I thought olive oil would do the trick. I made the recipe as normal but added some extra-virgin olive oil along with the reserved chickpea water (I use canned chickpeas). I’m not so great at actually measuring things, so I can’t tell you how much olive oil I added, but it was probably a couple tablespoons.

When this was done, I removed half of the hummus from the food processor and added a roasted red pepper to the remaining half. Jared roasted this week’s CSA peppers on the grill and this seemed like a good time to use one.

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While the normal hummus was indeed excellent, the roasted red pepper version was divine. It has the perfect amount of smokiness and spiciness. I will definitely be rethinking my opinion of flavored hummus.

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Pasta with tomato sauce

I tried yesterday’s tomato sauce with some whole wheat pasta. The orangish color of the sauce is a bit misleading–it has sort of a macaroni-and-cheese look. The sauce was pretty good, but it has a slightly sour aftertaste. Next time I’ll add a pinch of sugar and a bit more olive oil. I’ll also use only red tomatoes for a better color. It is amazing how different homemade tomato sauce tastes from the stuff at the grocery store. I love the lightness, freshness, and simplicity of the flavor.

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I served it with chard from the CSA sauteed in olive oil with a bit of garlic.

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Simple tomato sauce and more

Today’s CSA share was huge and gorgeous.

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We have a lot of vegetables to use up, so we got started right away. This week’s share included four pounds of tomatoes. I already had a few tomatoes left over from last week in addition to the cherry tomatoes from my own garden, so I wanted to use them up quickly. I searched for an easy tomato sauce recipe using fresh tomatoes. I love the simple, fresh taste of real Italian tomato sauce and wanted something similar. I found several that I liked, but based my version most closely on this one from Lidia’s Italy.

I began by blanching and peeling four pounds of tomatoes of various types. I added 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil to a saucepan along with 2 cups of chopped onions and a bit of garlic. After sauteing the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes, I added the tomatoes.

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I cooked them on medium high, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. I added chopped basil about halfway through the cooking time when I realized I’d forgotten it, and ground in some pepper when the 20 minutes were up. It smelled and tasted quite good.

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I used the immersion blender to create a smoother consistency, then poured half into a jar to use this week. The other half went into the freezer to enjoy later.

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We didn’t actually try it out on pasta tonight because Jared made baingan bharta with this week’s six little eggplants. Roasting them on the grill gave them a wonderful flavor.

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The baingan bharta was a bit time-consuming to make, but it tasted wonderful.

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Veggie pasta and beets

I haven’t posted about our CSA shares in a while, but we are still getting lots of vegetables. We are falling behind a bit behind, so after today’s pickup we tried to incorporate as many leftover veggies as possible into the meal. I made some tricolor penne and added chopped green and yellow beans to the boiling water after a minute or two. Meanwhile I sauteed garlic, onions, sliced mushrooms, and chard in olive oil. When the pasta and beans were finished, I drained them and added them to the sauteed vegetables along with some goat cheese and a bit of reserved pasta water. The result was pretty good, though I think it would have been better without the beans–I like them, but their texture just isn’t quite right with pasta. Jared grilled the beets and they came out nicely–soft and juicy.

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Today’s meal used about 1/3 of our beans, all of our remaining chard, some of our huge supply of onions and garlic, our last beet, and also two ears of corn. (I did not photograph the corn because I hate it.)

This was a very quick way to use up a few of our surplus vegetables. However, we still have lots of beans, bell peppers, potatoes, corn, and okra–I think we’ll have to get more creative.

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Garlic scape pesto

I had never heard of garlic scapes until we got them in our CSA share. They are the stalks and flowers of garlic plants and have a lovely garlic flavor. They are also quite aesthetically pleasing–they curl up like strange alien tentacles.

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I had no idea what to do with them until a Google search turned up several recipes for garlic scape pesto. I love pesto and was pleased at the thought of cooking something besides stir-fry, so I decided to give it a try. I didn’t have all of the ingredients for any of the recipes, so I sort of winged it. Most of them called for pistachios, but I found one that used almonds instead. I chopped up ten scapes and added them to the food processor along with a handful of slivered almonds and some black pepper.

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After everything was chopped up, I added some olive oil. I didn’t keep track of how much–I just added it until it looked pesto-like. The result was maybe a cup of pretty, bright green pesto.

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I tried it on some tricolor penne with some crumbled feta and a pinch of sea salt. It was really good, though quite garlicky.

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Easy, quick, and delicious–perfect.