Week 13 Overview

Another week without a proper photo. It’s been a weird week. And unproductive week. A week of practicing patience with myself because progress isn’t linear and mental health isn’t always in our control. But the good news is: making pasta by hand really calms my nerves, so I think we may be taking a dive into that together in the near future. Yesterday I made ricotta gnocchi and if I think I am going to try my hand at garganelli soon. Anyway, here’s my plan for week 13.

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In the basket:
Malabar spinach
Kale
Hemp leaves
Purple potatoes
Summer squash
Purple Daikon radish sprouts
Cherry Tomatoes
Okra
Eggplant
Basil

The Plan:
1. I took two of the larger squash and chopped them finely to cook down in a meat sauce for pasta. I threw in the basil too. Half of it is already gone and I’m saving the other half for when I make garganelli!
2. The spinach, kale, and some of the hemp leaves are currently braising away with shallots and beef bacon in chicken stock. Part of that will go on some pizzas tonight. The rest I will probably save to eat over rice with an egg later in the week.
3. The smaller squash and a handful of hemp leaves will also go on a pizza!
4. Already ate the cherry tomatoes in a chimichurri roja panzanella with a couple cucumbers to cool it off.
5. Last summer I cooked an eggplant in my fire pit until it was falling apart and pureed it with some tahini. I think I’ll be eating something similar on toast with radish sprouts for breakfast in the coming days.
6. Like I said, I made ricotta gnocchi. And I’m going to experiment with a hemp leaf brown butter lemon sauce, the way you would use sage. But hemp. It might be great. It might taste like nothing. I will let you know.
7. I’m sorry I’ve said this so many weeks in a row, but I will be making more purple potato gnocchi. Gnocchi is the new savory clafoutis.

Week 12 Overview

This week I’m tired and I have a lot to do and all I want is comfort food- cheesy pasta and bacon and homemade bread and roast chicken. Hope you can get on board ;)

YES there were sprouts in my basket. I’m in no mood to deal with them this week. I gave them to my Mom who drove them two hours away from here.

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In the basket:
cherry tomatoes
hemp leaves
eggplant
squash
okra
rosemary
kohlrabi + greens
potatoes

extra: slicers and herbs from our garden, Persian cucumbers

The plan:
1. Dan Herget’s potatoes and charred okra in chimichurri roja (recipe coming soon), probably served with rotisserie chicken
2. Rosemary focaccia for a pretty chill wine/cheese board snack dinner this weekend
3. I’m going to try to make a riff on The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook Tiger Salad with hemp leaves using herbs from my garden, the Persian cucumbers, and a spicy, citrus-y, ginger-y shallot-y vinaigrette. If I’m being honest, I’ll eat it for lunch. If you’re making it for dinner I think it would be really nice with any kind of seafood- the original recipe is served with mussels over rice noodles.
4. Words can’t really describe how excited I am to put the cherry tomatoes, eggplant and squash into Claire Saffitz’s Cheesy Zucchini-Eggplant Bake and eat it over rigatoni.
5. Speaking of comfort: BACON. Stir-fried kohlrabi with its own leaves, garlic and bacon over rice.

My Yaya's Yemista

I’m told I ate yemista as a child and I really wish I remembered, but I don’t. I remember lamb and manestra on Easter and spanakopita at Christmas and saganaki at parties, but sadly, not yemista. Yes, surprise! I’m part Greek.

Even if I did remember, it wouldn’t matter in this moment because I’m not going to bore you with a lengthy, flowery flaunting of words about my food memories. I’m not fucking Marcel Proust. I’m your friendly internet cooking instructor with a heart of gold who almost always gets straight to the point.

And the point is this: yemista are Summer vegetables stuffed with beef, rice + LOTS of aromatics and my Mom sent me my Yaya’s recipe for them last week! They’re not difficult to make, but they are time consuming. Anything stuffed always is. Here’s some pointers-

1. Have a couple spare vegetables such as peppers or small globe zucchini on hand in case you end up with extra filling.
2. You’re turning the oven on, so fill it up! As you can see in the photos, I tossed in some fingerling potatoes with my yemista.
3. The shittier your tomatoes, the more doctoring you will have to do. If your tomatoes are sub par, add a couple Tablespoons of tomato paste and then 1 Tablespoon of sugar at a time until your filling tastes good. That’s why we (apparently) always made yemista in July- it’s when the tomatoes are the best.
4. The amount of herbs is truly non-negotiable. I used 3/4 cup finely chopped parsley, hemp leaves and mint, but team, I don’t think you’ll regret it if you use more. I’d recommend you use mostly parsley + small amounts of the other herbs. Pick at least two. My Mom says mint is the most important, but it’s strong! Don’t use more than 3 Tablespoons of it.
5. Yemista doesn’t keep well, so eat it while it’s hot and invited friends over to eat it when you make it!

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Yaya’s Yemista
-serves about six

large baking dish (something like one 9 x 13, or pictured: two 9 x 7 oval rarebits)
14 to 16 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil + extra for drizzling
1 onion, finely diced
1 pound ground beef
kosher salt
1/2 cup uncooked rice
optional: just a touch of grated nutmeg or allspice
at least 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs such as: parsley, dill, mint, and/or oregano

1. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and use a paring knife to cut loose the inner flesh. Take a small spoon and scoop out the rest of the flesh and seeds into a small bowl to use later. Sprinkle the inside of each tomato with a little salt and leave them sitting upside down with their tops beside them so you remember which is which.
2. Cook the onion in the olive oil over medium with a small pinch of salt until soft and beginning to show color, at least 10 minutes and up to 20. Add the beef and brown well with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
3. Preheat the oven to 350. Pour the reserved tomato innards into the pan with the rice and spices if using. Break up the meat and the tomato into very fine pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has absorbed into the rice/cooked off. Taste for seasoning.
4. Rub the outsides of the tomatoes with olive oil. Add the herbs to the beef and rice mixture, stir well and spoon it into the tomatoes. Put their little tops back on, pack them into a baking dish, drizzle with a more olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
5. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until tomatoes are just beginning to char and meat is tender. Serve immediately.

Week 11 Overview

Here we are, just short of halfway through the Bloomsbury Farm CSA season and I might die of heat exhaustion soon, but it’s okay cause I’ll go out eating tomatoes, ya know?

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In the basket:
cherry tomatoes
slicer tomatoes
yardlong beans
hemp leaves!
mint
sunflowers
sprouts
purple potatoes
squash

extra: cute okras from Lauren and from our garden, slicer tomatoes (Early Girls!) from our garden

The plan:
1. Toasted millet risotto with roasted squash, shelled yardlong beans, pecorino and herbs
2. More purple potato gnocchi, get the recipe by becoming a patron
3. Hemp leaf pizza, also get all my pizza secrets by becoming a patron
4. Cuban style black beans with rice, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions and crispy roasted okra (maybe raw okra salad later in the week, too. Here’s my gal Jess Benefield’s recipe: Slice fresh okra into very thin rounds, and season with shoyu dashi. Drizzle with some nice olive oil and finish with katsuobushi.)
5. Greek stuffed tomatoes- YEMISTA! MY YAYA’S RECIPE!
6. You guys, I really don’t know about the sprouts. I don’t know.