Today is the first day of my CSA (community sponsored agriculture). For anyone not familiar with the term, it is an arrangement where you join (for lack of a better word) or buy shares from a farm early in the year then during the summer you get free produce from that farm. It works for the farmers who get funds to buy seeds, equipment, pay employees and for the members, fresh vegetables (usually organic) at reasonable prices. My farm is called Roxbury Farm, they are in New York State and have been operating for twenty something years. Each week during the summer I get a newsletter and on Thursdays I pick up the produce at a local church (I’ll take pictures soon). The amount of produce is very generous and I have friends who share my share with me. So what you see here is really only 1/3 of a share – since it is early in the summer, lettuce and greens make up a majority of the share. Look for lots of recipes using my CSA produce.
On Tuesday I promised you a use for pickled onions – here is one: add it to salads to add texture, color and a contrasting flavor. This is just the first of many times you will see them here.
Tahini is the name of a product made of ground sesame seeds (and sometimes oil) and is similar to, but thinner than, almond butter. You can find it in any store that sells Middle Eastern products or in any health food store. It’s also available in some supermarkets. Like almond butter, it will separate into solids on the bottom with oil on the top. Stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and without lumps before using in recipes.
The name tahini is also used to describe a dip/dressing made with tahini plus lemon juice, garlic, water, and other seasonings. I always associate tahini with hummos or falafel because that’s how I first encountered it on a trip to Israel – about a million years ago. Now when I have it in my refrigerator I find lots of other things to do with it, especially since going dairy free. It has a creaminess that is somewhat like sour cream. I serve it as a dip with crudities; a sauce with lamb burgers or shish kebobs; and as a dressing for salads.
I must be watching too much Top Chef and Next Food Network Star because the contestants frequently make pickles to compliment everything from grilled meats to soups to salads – you get the picture. I’m probably not the only one because now, when I go to restaurants, I’m getting them on my burgers, with my appetizers, etc – and I find I really like them. Pickles are easy to make and do perk up anything they are paired with. I chose to make onions, but you can use most sliced (I think thicker items, like whole kirby cucumbers need stronger brines and longer pickling times) vegetables and even some fruits (think pickled watermelon 3rinds). These are just mildly sweet and sour (my first try was much more vinegary) and the onions retain their crunch to add texture (my first batch was a little on the mushy side cause I cooked the onions in the vinegar).
I’m trying to assuage my guilt about posting just a condiment with the rationalization that on Friday I’ll be giving you a recipe to use these with. Stay Tuned…. Continue reading Pickled Onions→
Happy Passover. No recipes today. I am too bushed from last night’s seder (Passover dinner) and so busy with 2nd seder that I’m just giving you a recap of what I served at the 1st seder – you have all these recipes already. My guests said it was the best meal they ever had ; )
This is one of the few Hungarian recipes my mother made that did not start off with paprika, it’s one of the standard recipes to be served on holidays (this month being Passover). Mom (and probably all my ancestors) used to include one step that, I confess, I am too lazy to bother with. After salting the cucumbers and onions, she would take small handfuls and squeeze them over the sink until no more liquid would drip out. The result was cucumbers that were more wilted than ones in this recipe, however, I don’t think this recipe suffers even a little bit due to the shortcut. This is a refreshing salad, great with any main dish or sandwich (if you eat them). You can double this recipe easily, and because it stays “good” in the refrigerator for two weeks or more weeks, you can always have it on hand (though it will become less green and more wilted). Continue reading Wilted Cucumber Salad→
As you can imagine, I have a lot of homemade olive oil mayonnaise in my refrigerator at the moment. Rather than let it languish I’ve decided to give you two recipes for my midweek post and then, I promise, we will take a break from mayonnaise. You have the option of using the homemade mayo, vegan mayo or regular in both of these recipes. If you are using homemade mayonnaise, remember there is a raw egg in it and raw eggs can carry salmonella – use the freshest eggs you can find, and rinse the shell well before cracking. Continue reading All American Salads – Coleslaw and Potato Salad→