CSA Share #5: The Tide Rolls In!

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I could barely carry this week’s share, it was so bountiful! Pounds and pounds of Oh So Fresh summer vegetables await my imagination. I have more kale and lettuce than expected, and it’s finally time for a small batch of Garlic Dill Pickles to be put by, with the addition of those fascinating yellow pickling cukes. I hope they will be pretty in the jars.

While I have been cooking like a madwoman, my computer has conspired to prevent me sharing it all with you. One hard drive and complete reinstallation of all my software, and resetting all my preferences, and finally I can pop a few photos up here. First World Problems.

Just as I was casting about for something new and interesting to do with kale, I found this recipe on Food52: One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf. This dish is a study in textures, with the pleasantly chewy kale and the tender quinoa, and its flavors are surprisingly lightened by the lemon juice and zest, and the tangy goat cheese. It is easy to prepare, a filling side dish, and I found the leftovers perfect for stuffing the Magda squashes.

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Magda are a Middle Eastern squash variety with a firm flesh and nutty flavor, which makes them ideal for stuffing and baking. The pilaf was great as is, but this became a hearty main course when I topped it with leftover chicken from this little culinary endeavor:

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Nadia G has a new television series on Monday evenings, called “Bite This”. It’s distantly related to “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”, in that Nadia visits different restaurants around the country, and samples their signature dishes. The similarity ends there. Nadia and her crew of intentionally hunky male assistants are decidedly more edgy, over the top, and therefore more entertaining than Guy Fieri, and so far the food they’ve sampled has been more edgy too. Nadia’s website, bitchinlifestyle.tv, features the “Bitchin Supperclub”, a fun, friendly competition inviting her fans to cook and post photos of dishes seen on “Bite This.” The first dish is the one above: Chicken Tikka Poutine.

I have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. Poutine is a divine concoction of french fries, fresh cheese curds, and brown gravy. It’s Canadian in origin, and starting to appear in the US, in many forms. The Wikipedia page has more details, if you’re intrigued. I know I was intrigued enough to make my own gravy, and my own cheese curds, and my own french fries, for this dish. Obsession reigns supreme in my kitchen.

Chicken Tikka is an Indian creation, chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, cooked traditionally in a clay oven and served in small, bite-sized pieces. It has a bit of heat to it, what with the garlic, ginger, and chili powder in the marinade, and it has a lovely smokiness whether cooked in a tandoor, or on the grill or broiler for those of us unlucky enough not to have a clay tandoor.

So, now take a look at that picture again, and you’ll see bite-sized pieces of spicy chicken, cheese curds, crispy fries, and savory beef and onion gravy, topped with cilantro leaves and say, oooh, so THAT’S what Chicken Tikka Poutine is. If I didn’t care how large I became, I could eat poutine every day. Seriously, potatoes, cheese, and gravy-it’s a comfort trifecta. Yeah, and the leftover Chicken Tikka was super as a topping for my stuffed Magda squash.

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The cucumber salad alongside is a basic combination of extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and lots of fresh dill. Oh, and cucumbers, white and green. You can’t really tell there are white cucumbers in there, but they are there. The white cucumber’s flavor was no different than the green. I wish I had taken better advantage of the color difference, so I’m hoping more white cucumbers will appear at my CSA soon.

Oh, and because I said I would:

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Here’s more Strawberry Rhubarb Nonsense. This time, instead of cake, I went with Savoiardi, those sweet, airy, crunchy Italian ladyfinger cookies, and gave these beauties time in the refrigerator to soak up all that S/R goodness and soften just a bit. Oh, and of course, I grated chocolate over the top. Of course.

Through all the technical difficulties of the last week, I was able to keep calm and carry on cooking, grateful for the abundance of my life. I wish you abundance in yours. Rock on!

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