Marinated winter squash

Marinated winter squash

In this case butternut squash, which along with some basil was at the tail end of the previous basket. The recipe I used comes from the Lidia’s Italy site — the marinade was very tasty if a bit strong. Still, made for a good light lunch yesterday.

Corn, tomato and zucchini soup

Soup!

A combination of fortuitousness and weather — it’s been a very cool summer out here and it’s just starting to feel a bit like fall in corners. Also, I had a nicely open evening to cook up something, and had thought a little tomato soup would be a good idea.

Turned out something even better was to hand — a quick check in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything turned up this variant with corn, zucchini and plenty of basil, all of which I had sitting around courtesy of my last basket delivery. (To be fair the zucchini was more smaller summer squash but it was all the same principle!) It was the perfect opportunity to make use of it all — took about an hour and a half from stop to start and was worth it all, especially since there was plenty leftover for later in the wake.

Also, the broth I used had been prepared the other week from the remnants of the previous basket, so it was truly a totally from scratch preparation. All that and light on the olive oil and with no salt either. Tasted great!

If you’d like to try it, go nuts!

Some food updates…

…as it were. I should say also by means of introduction it’s just been a terribly busy time for me lately, with the upcoming school year and our concurrent adjustment with the general UC budget situation, so the sporadic nature of my posting here lately has a big reason behind it! But since today is a day off and I have nothing planned, I figured time for some blog work while enjoying a cool morning and Les Rallizes Denudes on the stereo.

In terms of cooking, a combination of dinners out and the very hot weather has meant that I’ve been concentrating on things like basic salads and a bit of bread in the evening, so for the most part there’s been nothing new to share. But over the past couple of weeks I’ve done a few experiments, so sharing a couple of here:

Thai basil fried rice

This was described in a cookbook I have as a gift from my aunt and uncle as Thai basil fried rice, and whatever the exact origin of the recipe it turned out nicely, though I was using a European basil instead. The key trick lies in including basil as both ingredient cooked with the rest and with garnish — while strong, it’s not overpowering, and is a nice twist on the more straightforward fried rices out there.

Baked zucchini spears

This baked zucchini spears recipe was found here, though as you can see my version turned out less heavily dredged in comparison. But no matter, even though it wasn’t thickly coated, it was still tasty with the right amount of spice and crunch, and was a good way to make use of a huge zucchini from the garden.

Potato and broccoli frittata

Finally from last night and taken from the Farmer John’s Cookbook, a potato and broccoli frittata, done quite honestly as a way to use up a variety of ingredients (potato and broccoli but also eggs and onions) as the next basket approaches on Thursday. A little effort but turned out nicely, I think I would add more spice to it while also trying to figure out how to get the potatoes brown more thoroughly while sauteeing them (my range is good but not always the most precise when it comes to ideal temperatures).

Stir-fried wheat noodles with kohlrabi and basil

Another example of random inspiration — I wondered idly last night what a search on kohlrabi and noodles would do in Google and found this recipe via Food and Wine.

It’s important to note that as ever I made some necessary on the fly changes — I had no rice noodles so made do with wheat, while the kohlrabi didn’t end up browning much and I substituted tofu in place of the red pepper (and, implicitly, the mung bean sprouts) in order to ensure some protein was included. Point being, though, this worked very well!

Three recipes thanks to Angelic Organics and Farmer John

I’ve spoken before about Angelic Organics, whose founder, John Peterson, has gained deserved fame as one of the key faces of the CSA movement. A couple of years back my friend Greg gave me a copy of the excellent Farmer John’s Cookbook and I’ve dipped in and out of it many times.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve gone ahead and tried a slew of recipes from the book, all of which were winners. I won’t post them here since I really encourage you to buy the book, but various sample recipes are available through the Angelic Organics site.

That first photo you see is of a simple sauteed kohlrabi — very tasty and a nice difference from the steaming of kohlrabi I’ve done several times before. Rich, but not overly so, and flavored just right.

The other day, meanwhile, I took a pumpkin which hadn’t been sacrificed to Halloween purposes and adapted a recipe in the book to create a pumpkin basil soup that was almost ridiculously good:

And earlier tonight, something I couldn’t imagine existing before I read it in the book — cucumber with risotto. Cooking cucumber seemed counterintuitive but I went ahead and…

Very, very delicious. Now, what to try next…

Risotto with basil and tomato, ready to eat

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, to mention that fine volume once again. What makes a risotto like this handy is its low-fat content — aside from oil used to initially cook some onion and tomato and then coat the rice, that was pretty much it for any sort of fats in this one. No butter and no cheese — there was veggie broth and white wine instead. The purple basil was chopped up and added at the very end.