We recently signed up for yet another locally-sourced subscription food service providing awesomely fresh foods from the immediate area — in this case, a community-supported fishery, which is basically exactly what it sounds like, that is, a CSA with fish instead of produce. We get about a pound each of two different seafood products every week. This week we picked up shrimp and sea scallops. Tonight we needed a quick dinner, so we decided to try out one of the recipes suggested in the CSF newsletter: cumin scallops.
The recipe that the CSF folks shared came from my acquaintance Chef Shirlé, who, unlike me, is a proper (and super-talented) professional chef. Also, top-notch vocalist for rockers Free Electric State (currently) and countless other bands (formerly). Anyway, her recipe for cumin scallops is really just a riff on sautéed scallops, but the results are outstanding — and fast! Full disclosure: I played fast and loose with Shirlé’s recipe, so if you want to do this recipe up proper, this may not be the best model. Though it turned out okay for me.
Read on for lightning-fast scallop deliciousness
We’ve been busy here at Greek-o-Rican world headquarters, so I apologize for not having any exciting recipes to show of late. We were out of town last weekend, and I had a friend pick up the CSA box for us, so today I’ll give you a quick update on two weeks’ worth of CSA goodies.
No meat in the last two boxes–meat only comes once a month. We got eggs on weeks 2 and 3, but we gave eggs #2 to our friend for picking up our veggies. Eggs #3 are their usual selves — a dozen high quality eggs from pasture-raised chickens — so I decided that it didn’t make for a particularly exciting photo.
Anyway, here’s what we got over the past two weeks. Still mostly greens, but we’re starting to get some of the exciting stuff!
Read on for two weeks’ worth of highly nutritious local produce
I live in a pretty great town for food-related endeavors. There’s an excellent cooperative grocery store about half a mile away, a strong local food movement in the area, and two great farmer’s markets within easily accessible distance. This last point means that I had my choice of CSA subscriptions to purchase for the summer.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of a CSA — for “community supported agriculture” — it’s a business model whereby a farmer sells “subscriptions” to the produce from his or her farm for a season. Every week, the purchaser of the CSA share picks up a box of produce at a designated spot (often a booth at a farmer’s market) and gets a smorgasbord of groceries for the week. (CSA boxes are usually “farmer’s choice,” that is, the producer picks what goes into them each week — the farmer wants all the boxes to have the same contents and value, and needs to choose produce where there’s enough to go around.) The typical CSA runs 20 or 25 weeks and runs from mid-spring until autumn.
Read on to learn more about CSAs and the spoils from our latest CSA box
I love ribs. I must admit an attraction to the barbarian bone-gnawing involved. However, I can’t abide the price that they charge at the grocery store for a food product that’s 3/4 inedible by weight and which is traditionally considered a scrap cut of meat. I mean, who ever heard of paying $5 a pound for what’s essentially a string of bones chained together with a bit of meat and sinew? So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a few packages of particularly meaty beef short ribs at the local Harris Teeter for a reasonable 99 cents a pound–and ended up coming home with about six pounds worth.
Read on to find out what became of this beefy treasure
Postre de Tres Leches is a traditional Latin American dessert in which a dense, sweet cake is doused in a combination of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream. It’s topped with a thick layer of whipped cream, which I guess makes it quatro leches, but who’s counting?
A few weeks ago Alton Brown made tres leches cake on the “milk” episode of Good Eats, and I’d been dying to try it. So, in preparation of getting together with some friends to watch Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter, I thought I’d give the recipe a shot. (If anyone has appropriate puns for this juxtaposition, please let me know.)
Click here to read about our trip into the land of cream and sugar
So it’s about 10:30 when the Picky Epicurean and I get home from a lovely dinner engagement the other day. The Epicurean stumbles off to bed, as she tends to do. It’s about this time that I remember that I’m supposed to bring a an item into work tomorrow morning for a staff breakfast. What do I do, hotshot? Do I drive to the 24-hour grocery store and buy some bagels and cream cheese? Do I stop by the donut shop before work in the morning? Do I call in sick?
I do none of these things. Instead, I stay up until 1:30 making a freaking quiche.
Click here to learn of my foolish insomniac baking.
Last night The Picky Epicurean and I enjoyed some yummy chop steaks. (“Chop steak” is code for “hamburger without a bun,” to make me sound like less of a lazy cook.) The steaks came out pretty good, but I was rather off my game for the accompaniment. I ended up with partially burnt potatoes and grainy sauce, in the process rendering half a bottle of Two Buck Chuck and some otherwise-delicious caramelized onions totally worthless.
Learn more about my tale of woe by clicking here.
If you’ve ever tried to make pizza at home using fresh tomatoes or zucchini as a topping, you know that vegetables like this erupt liquid as they cook, which can lead to soggy pizza, loss of topping adhesion, and ultimately, antidepressant abuse. Before you let wet vegetables push you over the edge, consider this useful technique that can help you drive some of the moisture from the more water-laden staples.
Click here to read on.
This weekend was a good one for spending time outside–plenty of sun, not too hot, not too busy. This combination of factors triggered the “grilling” instinct within me, and I was itching to bust out the chimney starter. The Picky Epicurean also had a serious jonesing for pizza (one of her four food groups). There was only one solution: grilled pizza. I suppose another option would have been to conquer a sunny Italian archipalego, but our trireme is in the shop.
Click here to read about our adventures in pizza-grilling.
This weekend the Picky Epicurean and I had fun with grilled pizza, which we documented thoroughly and about which I will produce a writeup shortly. In the meantime, here are the basics to getting your charcoal grill up and running, should you need to get paleolithic on some meat or… uh… pizza crust.
I won’t go into any philosophical exposition on the whole charcoal vs. gas debate. Each certainly has its advantages, but for general purpose outdoor cooking, I’m a big fan of the carbonaceous action, though I won’t begrudge anyone their petrochemicals.
Without further ado: How to light your charcoal grill.
Step one: Pictured here is a chimney starter. It is your friend. You want one of these. If you do not have one, and you are cooking on a charcoal grill, go to your favorite grill supply shoppe and get one. (This one cost me under $8 at the hardware store.) In addition to the chimney starter, you will need some newspaper, some vegetable oil, and a source of fire. (Yes, and a grill and some charcoal. Sheesh!)
Click here to continue.