We always like to see what others are doing, because the possibilities seem truly endless. Here's what our staff made this week:
My mom drove over from Georgia to spend the weekend with my partner and me at Smith Lake. (You might recognize her Apple Date Bars, a childhood treat that the magazine lightened in 2006.) Mom brought recipe boxes filled with childhood favorites, so cooking and photographing fit perfectly into our weekend of making new memories centered around food.
One small watermelon goes a long way. Its first appearance: Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions and Feta, served with a summer standby: pesto-marinated grilled chicken. Pickling the red onions softened their bite, but retained a nice twang that contrasted beautifully with the sweet, refreshing melon and salty feta. Confession: The photo is a stunt salad assembled the next morning. Friday's 9 p.m. dinner was served on a candlelit porch suited better for tableside lingering than amateur food photography. Now I truly know why Cooking Light photographs food in natural light.
Finally, the green pepper was simply diced and tossed with basil, garlic, and red onions and cumin-rubbed corn that I had grilled Saturday night in anticipation of an easy Sunday supper at home to cap off a wonderful weekend. Served it with seared hanger steak and arugula salad.
Just this year I've begun to really like okra so seeing a bag of it in my CSA goodies was a real treat. In the past I found them rather slimy. Although that does something for gumbo, it never did much for me. My fiancee, however,has loved okra forever, and I credit Stanton's technique with my turnaround.
Our soybeans were a treat and a cinch to work with. I love to steam them whole, toss them in a little soy sauce and rice vinegar, and pop them out of the shell straight into my mouth. It's a great mid-day snack filled with soy protein. Plus, soybeans seem so much more fun than most foods.
The portabello we received was enormous. It was Stanton’s turn to make dinner, and he likes to “clean out the fridge.” Fortunately, we have a fridge full of some really great things (thanks, Grow Alabama!). He made Cilantro Rice with Chicken, which was delicious. The rice tastes very rich with a little twang from the cilantro. We had cooked chicken breast which he substituted into the recipe and, of course, he used the portabello in place of the shiitakes. We both really liked it!
My enthusiasm for the CSA project was dampened slightly when I found a couple of big fat worms in my ears of corn. Horrors! But I soldiered on and made this recipe for Corn Spoon Bread. I love spoon bread and have made a few different versions. This one was very simple (and from sister pub Real Simple, appropriately enough) and good. And I’m inclined to like anything baked in a cast-iron skillet.
It turns out my favorite vegetable is eggs—who knew? I hated to copy Maelynn from a couple of weeks ago, but I really wanted to make an angel food cake. What better way to burn through a dozen eggs? This is only the second one I’ve made—the first was for my birthday, earlier in the year. That one was plain, so for this one I added 1 tablespoon
I’m afraid I gave the onions short shrift this time around. I didn’t really plan anything for them because I assumed they would be used in some other recipes. But then I proceeded to make three of the few recipes in the world that don’t call for onions. I’ll definitely pick them up in the future, though, and they should keep better than most of these other items.
The big surprise this week was the Spicy Pickled Beans. I’d never pickled anything before so I was curious/hesitant to try this one. Turns out, it was super simple and DELICIOUS! I’m on a pickling kick now. Look out little cukes. You’re next.
I finished the week with Olive-Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and rounded out a dinner of grilled chicken and couscous with a Yellow Squash Casserole. Like last round, I felt nourished by my CSA take and I’m glad it’s been fostering my newfound sense of adventure.