CSA week 23 Overview

After 23 weeks, I finally made it out to the farm in Smyrna to pick up my CSA basket, only I came too late in the day and my basket was already en route to Nashville. But because everyone at Bloomsbury Farm is the best, they packed me another basket and let me give input about what I wanted (yes fairytale eggplant, 1,000 times no to more sprouts). I never thought I’d say this, especially after how clingy I felt about tomatoes at the end of August, but wow, I am glad it’s not tomato season anymore. For a moment there I thought Summer would last all winter, the tomato plants would never die and I would melt! Too much of a good thing, geez.

HMMessinger_CSAweek23.jpg

In the basket:

bok choy
tat soi
en choy
eggplant
sweet potatoes
turnips with their greens
a very cute lil hubbard squash

The plan:

1. Ever heard of a little recipe called steamed sweet potatoes with tahini butter? No? Well, prepare to get hooked. You’ll want to make them every time you get sweet potatoes. A steamer basket is helpful, but here’s how to DIY a steamer. I will likely throw the eggplant into the steamer too
2. Maybe you already saw this on my Thursday links, but I have ants in my pants to make Ben Mims’ pumpkin bread. He walks us through how to make our own pumpkin puree for the loaf and I think the baby hubbard squash or a red kuri squash will do nicely in place of a sugar pumpkin. It’s topped with salty, spiced, crunchy BREAD CRUMBS, which is a stroke of genius only Ben Mim’s would have. You may remember Ben Mims’ other genius recipe I was deeply obsessed with this Summer: Savory Tomato Clafoutis.
3. The bok choy is already gone, eaten steamed along with some sprouted tofu on top of Smitten Kitchen’s sesame noodles, which I make at least twice a month.
4. IT. IS. CONGEE. SEASON!!!!!!!!!!! I’m gonna stir fry the turnip greens and en choy with toasty garlic and sesame oil to go on top of congee with a soft boiled egg and hot sauce, TKO style.
5. One of my favorite recipes we made while shooting Rob Newton’s brand spankin’ new cookbook, Seeking the South, is turnip and potato pancakes with yogurt, dill and dillybeans. Maybe I’ll photograph it and share the recipe with you in the next couple days! I’ll probably skip the dillybeans, since green beans are now out of season and I still have half a jar of pickled fennel from my steak with brunost sauce dinner.
6. I saved the most generic for last. I happen to have just a little homemade tomato sauce and half a package of store-bought gnocchi lying around in the fridge. For the record, I would like you to know that I did not purchase dried gnocchi. It was here at Eivind’s house when I got here and has been sitting in the pantry ever since. I opened it out of desperation when we got back from Norway and now, here we are. It’s not…the worst thing in the world. I’m not too good to eat it. But I certainly don’t recommend you buy dried gnocchi from Trader Joe’s. ANYWAY, I will be eating it with the tomato sauce, some herbs, and the eggplant pan fried in butter.

Flap steak with brunost pan sauce and pickled fennel

Norwegians and I agree on a lot of things: salty licorice gummy fish are the best candy, humans shouldn’t work after 4pm, everyone should be quiet everywhere, mushy bowls of warm carbs are an art form, and breakfast and lunch should always include bread and cheese. Specifically: brunost.

Technically speaking, brunost isn’t a cheese at all but a by-product of cheese. It’s made by slowly cooking down and caramelizing leftover whey. Have you ever heard a more Pantry Raid thing in your life?

The flavor is mild and reminds me of brown butter. The texture is dense, creamy and a little odd, almost sticky. You either love it or you hate it. I ADORE it. Not only is it the most perfect topping for a piece of buttered bread, it melts like a dream. Norwegians like to use it to thicken stew. I have big ideas about putting it in frangipane and cheesy grits and hot chocolate, but until I have time to recipe test, here’s something a little more traditional- a pan sauce made with stock, fermented dairy and brunost. If you happen to have some juniper berries on hand to flavor this sauce, that would be very Norwegian. If not, freshly cracked black pepper is nice too.

HMMessinger_brunostgravy.jpg

Flap Steak with Brunost Pan Sauce
-serves four

1 1/3 pounds flap steak
neutral oil
kosher salt
2/3 cup good stock
1T honey
60 grams grated brunost (about one cup)
a scant cup room temperature creme fraiche
1T cornstarch slurried with 2T water
fresh cracked black pepper

Pickled fennel
one medium bulb fennel
1 small shallot
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup filtered water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2T sugar
2 bay leaves
warm spices such as 8 whole cloves, 2 star anise, or a 3” cinnamon stick

1. Make the pickled fennel: slice the fennel and shallot very, very thin and place in a clean jar with bay leaves and spices. Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil, then pour over the vegetables. Set aside to cool.
2. Make the steak: let a cast iron skillet preheat over high for at least five minutes. Pat steak dry and season with kosher salt. Add enough oil to the pan to thinly coat it. Cook steak on the first side for five minutes and on the second side for 3-4 minutes for a perfect medium to medium rare.
3. Remove steak from the pan and let it rest on a plate tented with foil. Turn the heat down to low, pour stock and honey into the pan with the steak drippings and bring to a simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients, ending with cornstarch slurry and whisk constantly until the sauce is smooth and thickened, 3-5 minutes. Add in any juices the steak has released and lots of black pepper, taste and add salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Week 19 Overview

This past week has been the least planned of all of them. That’s kind of how life goes the week before you leave for vacation and I’m not going to apologize for it. Everything piled up at the last minute and I found myself eating a little takeout and a lot of things on rice or toast. The “plan” you will see below is not an exciting one or one that I am following enough to keep it out of quotation marks. But at this point in the season, I have come to look at these overviews as a documentary project about what Lauren grows and what an average person cooks as much as I have viewed it as a cook-along up until now. I have big ideas about printing out a little book of the photos and cooking plans at the end of the year so that one day it can be a piece of history and not another piece of important information lost to the depths of the Internet.

Week19CSA_HMMessinger.jpg

In the basket:
slicer tomato
red potato
salsa
okra
basil
eggplant
summer squash
sprouts
sweet potato greens

Extras:
turnip greens
lettuce
pawpaws

The “Plan”
1. One large skillet, full of halved eggplants and okra, chickpeas and shichimi togarashi, serve over rice with spoonfuls of tahini and a squeeze of lemon
2. Tonight! Squash, potato and red onion hash with salsa and dollops of Greek yogurt
3. Turnip and sweet potato greens braised with shallots and beef bacon over rice
4. Toast with vegan cream cheese, sliced tomatoes and sprouts
5. Salad with leftover BBQ brisket and leftover roasted vegetables- mostly squash and okra

Week 18 Overview

Summer is winding down here in Tennessee and we’ve got a final burst of tomatoes, okra and squash. I’m ripping my tomato plants out later this week to make space for greens and my winter squash plants have begun to fruit. Soon we’ll be making pies and soups, but for now- one last round of tomato sandwiches.

HMMessinger_CSAweek18.jpg

In the basket:
slicer tomatoes
sungold tomatoes
okra
green beans
chives
zucchini
salsa

The plan:
1. Tonight I’m having baked salmon over rice with chives and crispy okra.
2. I happen to have some bone in, skin on chicken thighs in my freezer- I think I’m going to braise them with the salsa, shallots, a little cider and maybe a spoonful of chiles in adobo.
3. It’s September, so I’m guessing these are some of our last slicer tomatoes. Meaning: we are morally obligated to eat tomato sandwiches this week.
4. I’m hellbent on making this lentil salad from Basically with almonds, kale, scallions and castelvetrano olives and I just don’t see why I shouldn’t throw my sungold tomatoes into it!
5. Lately I’ve had pad see ew on my mind. My best friend and I used to order it to share from a place on Harvard Ave. in Brookline when it was too cold to go out and buy groceries and it’s one of the most comforting dishes in the whole world to me. It also happens to be one of the easiest Thai dishes to make! I’m going to use this recipe from Serious Eats with green beans and zucchini instead of broccoli and chicken. Honestly, I’m not convinced you need the Oyster Sauce, since most oyster sauce is made of sugar, some form of salt, a thickener and fake oyster flavoring. I think you could easily add extra sugar and fish sauce plus a little corn starch instead. I’ll let you now how it goes!