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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beet Green Risotto

I know you must be sick of risotto recipes on here, but it is seriously my favorite food. I know it probably does not compare to real, Italian risotto, which is more soupy and creamy, but mine is pretty darn good and makes my family happy. And if I want perfect risotto then it's practice, practice, practice. Risotto is labor intensive in that you have to continuously stir for the entire 30 or so minutes it takes for the rice to reach that perfect al-dente state, where the center is still white with a bit of firmness. Have everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking. This weeks risotto was planned specifically for my recipe book I want to write based on a typical summer CSA.

Beet Green Risotto
1 C arborio rice
1 C white wine
4 C stock, kept warm on the stove
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 T unsalted butter
2 C baby beet greens, stems removed & set aside, leaves chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1 T vinegar (to help the beet greens retain their bright color)

In a large skillet add 2 T butter and melt over medium-low heat. Add onions and stems of beet greens (if they are bigger than 1 inch, chop smaller) and saute until onions are translucent and soft. Add rice and stir thoroughly. Once it starts to lightly brown add wine and start stirring. Once the wine is mostly absorbed in, add a ladle of warm stock and continue this process. Check the rice often and when it is just about cooked, still slightly firm in the middle, add one last ladle of stock with the beet greens and vinegar. Stir until stock is mostly absorbed and rice has soupy quality. Remove from heat and add butter, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately with a light side salad.

Parsnip Croquettes

Summer CSA has started with Hatchet Cove Farms and boy was I excited to get the first bag, delivered right to my front porch, on Tuesday morning. On top of my veggies, I also did some add-ons that they offered, through association with other food producers. One is a pound of fresh mushrooms from Oyster Creek in Damariscotta, and the other is a fresh loaf of bread from Village Bakery & Cafe in Waldoboro. I am so excited! The first batch of veggies contained early summer Broccoli (so sweet and tender), Pea Shoots (my favorite part of growing peas!), Mesclun Mix, Lacinato Kale (also known as Dino Kale), and Baby Beet Greens. The mushrooms were King Oyster's, which I've never had so should be exciting to try those, and the bread was a big moist loaf of classic sandwich bread. All-in-all, a great start to the summer CSA season.

That said, I still have some root veggies in the fridge to use up. Especially the parsnips. We have had parsnips 80 different ways this winter and I really thought I had run out of ideas. Then I stumbled across a recipe for Parsnip Croquettes - these are usually made with potatoes, and there heyday was back in 1970's (perhaps because they fry up nice and golden, like the color of that nice mustard yellow floor tile in the kitchen....and just about everything else in the 70's) - but I'm thinking about bringing them back in style. With a twist. I gathered up the ingredients I had and whipped up these nice little croquettes. We had them with Beet Green Risotto (recipe to follow) and a small side salad. I even made some yummy honey mustard dip for them. Delicious!

Parsnip Croquettes
5 large parsnips, peeled and cut into sticks (center rib removed)*
3 T chives,
1/2 C milk
1 egg
4 T wheat flour
1/2 C bread crumbs
3 T unsalted butter
salt & pepper
oil for frying

Steam parsnips until extremely soft and mushy. Remove from heat and mash in a large bowl. Add milk, a little bit at a time, and whip by hand. You want the mixture to be like mashed potatoes, not overly runny, but creamy. Add egg, chives, 2 T of flour, butter, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Mix remaining flour and bread crumbs in a separate dish. Roll parsnip mix into golf ball sized and roll in bread mixture until thoroughly covered. Set aside on a plate and repeat until all croquettes are made up. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour to set. When ready, heat oil in large skillet and fry up croquettes until brown on each side, gently pressing them into thick patties after the first flip. Makes 10 croquettes. Serve with the following dip or anything you'd like.

*Remember to keep those peelings, ribs, and any other unused part of your veggies for a weekly stock.

Honey Mustard
2 T mustard
2 T honey
1/2 T extra virgin olive oil

Whip ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Asparagus & Eggs

My CSA share last week from Little Ridge Farms included Asparagus. I love asparagus. In fact, I wait all year for it as the first official sign of spring. Those green wonderful little trees are so delectable when fresh off the farm...once you have them, you will never go back to the tasteless green sticks at the supermarket. In light of these wonderful veggies, I made a light spring dinner tonight.

Asparagus & Eggs
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed if necessary
2 eggs
2 handfuls sorrel
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 T butter, unsalted
3 T water

Citrus Avocado Sauce
1/2 avocado
1 T olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed
1/4 C orange juice
1 T honey
3 sprigs fresh rosemary

1. Place all ingredients for sauce in a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.

2. Heat 2 oil in large saute pan with a tight fitting lid, sprinkling pan with salt and pepper.

3. Saute asparagus spears for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice.

4. Cover with water and place lid on pan. Keep covered for 8 minutes, or until spears are tender.

5. Meanwhile, heat frying pan over meat heat and add butter. Fry 2 eggs, leaving the yolks runny.

6. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside, keeping warm.

7. Add sorrel to asparagus water and saute until wilted.

8. To plate: Place 1/2 sorrel on plate and cover with fried egg. Wrap asparagus around the egg/sorrel in a C shape, drizzling citrus avocado sauce over asparagus spears. Serve with toast.

The Power of Green

In an attempt to lose weight and get that great glow before my wedding, I'm pushing more raw foods in my diet. I've been doing my best with the local veggies that have been available, but now that I'm heading into CSA season, I can do even better. Today's power-packed lunch is all green and all goodness. The only non-raw item is the nori roll I used to wrap it all up....but close enough.

The Power of Green Wrap
1 stick of asparagus
1 scallion
1/2 avocado
few slices of cucumber
1 sheet nori

Cut off top of asparagus and leave that for garnish. Cut scallion and cucumber into sticks. Slice avocado, leaving some on the side for garnish. Place veggies on sheet of nori near top. Wet edges of nori with a damp finger. Roll tightly, slice in half and garnish with top of asparagus and pieces of avocado. Devour!!!