Come on in, the okra’s fine

IMG_5861

I decided to tackle our okra first thing this week — I wasn’t sure how long it would keep and was dang curious about what it tasted like.

It seems like most recipes that call for okra are for soups and stews, which I didn’t feel would allow us to really experience its full IMG_5856flavor. Ditto with frying it. (Plus I don’t really fry stuff.) But this recipe for Roasted Okra seemed to fit the bill and was simple to boot — even simpler when I used my Trader Joe’s olive oil spray instead of drizzling olive oil over the okra pieces.

The roasted okra was a tad slimy, but not to distraction, and had an interesting flavor. We easily finished off the entire dish with grilled pork chops and patty pan squash sliced thin and fried in butter. (OK, so I do fry some things.)

CSA, hooray! Chapter 8

IMG_5845

I can’t believe we’re two months into CSA season. Our weekly box selection is definitely getting interesting:

  • okra
  • green bush beans
  • radishes
  • little leaf cucumbers
  • Japanese cucumber
  • zucchini
  • red Italian onion
  • tomatoes
  • Swiss chard

This week’s “what in the heck do I do with this?” veggie: Okra. I’ve never eaten it, let alone cooked with it.

Like I said, this is getting interesting.

So many snow peas

An abundance of snow peas has us agreeing wholeheartedly with the old adage that you can have too much of a good thing.

(Mike would also say this is true of Swiss chard, although he doesn’t necessarily consider it to be a “good thing.”)

Since it’s not really stir fry weather, and there are only so many times you can make a snack of snow peas and hummus, I tried this Food Network recipe for Glazed Snow Peas. How the mixture looked before going in the skillet, and after:

IMG_5823

IMG_5824

I’d repeat this recipe, but I unloaded our last bag of snow peas on a neighbor before heading out of town for the weekend.

CSA, hooray! Chapter 7

IMG_5800

This past week was a farm share fail. We ate out three times, way more than we like — especially when our refrigerator is full of fresh vegetables. But one night we drove to Milwaukee for the Paul McCartney concert (amazing); one night Mike was starving and not excited about the salmon and Swiss chard I had planned for dinner, so we tried the new Thai Burrito restaurant around the corner (interesting); and last night we went out for a nice dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, also in our neighborhood, to celebrate our shared birthday (really delicious).

Needless to say, we have plenty leftover from last week’s CSA, and today added:

  • leaf lettuce mix
  • snow peas
  • green bush beans
  • garlic
  • little leaf cucumbers
  • Japanese cucumber
  • zucchini
  • basil
  • broccoli
  • onion

I got right to it tonight, making pesto with the basil and garlic to top the salmon that was already thawed. I served it on top of plain Israeli couscous and sided it with my now-favorite recipe for Swiss chard, which Mike not-so-lovingly refers to as the “new kale.” I followed this easy Basil Salmon recipe from the Taste of Home website, which I’d recommend for when you don’t have any pine nuts in the house. Because really, who has pine nuts just lying around?

Plus, it was tasty. See for yourself:

IMG_5818

Zucchini bread

It’s a gorgeous summer day in Chicago. So why not stay inside, fire up the oven and make zucchini bread?IMG_5738

With two zucchinis in this week’s CSA share, and surely more to come, I was itching to attempt my first ever loaves. I found this recipe for Mom’s Zucchini Bread on Allrecipes.com, which left me wondering why my mom never made zucchini bread when I was growing up. When I called to ask, she said, “Because I don’t like it.” I’ve found this is her standard explanation for why we never had myriad foods I discovered as an adult.

I grated the larger of the two zucchinis in the food processor in mere seconds. The recipe calls for two cups, but I ended up with about 2 1/2 cups and threw it all in. My only other modification was substituting a cup of whole wheat flour for a cup of the all-purpose flour. The batter was really thick until I added in the grated zucchini, and tasted delicious. (Yes, I still lick the beater.)

No complaints about the end result:

IMG_5744

CSA, hooray! Chapter 6

IMG_5728

Scotch Hill Farm didn’t disappoint this week:

  • leaf lettuce mix
  • snow peas
  • green bush beans
  • bright lights Swiss chard
  • little leaf cucumbers
  • Japanese cucumbers
  • zucchini
  • patty pan squash
  • radishes

First off, yay for patty pan squash. I discovered these super cute little squashes last year, and am excited to cook with them again.

Second, I don’t know what to do with all of these radishes. I slice one up on every salad, but we still have an abundance. My brother Daren recently told me that he eats a good five radishes a day with hummus. I’m just not sure I can get on board with that.

Third, and last, one day in and we’ve finished off the green beans, a third of the lettuce and one of the leaf cucumbers. What to use tomorrow …

Swiss chard success

I finally did it. I managed to successfully cook Swiss chard as a side dish — not as a dessert!

I followed this Food Network recipe for Sautéed Swiss Chard, but used about half of the melted butter. (I didn’t drag out the scale, but I probably had about half the Swiss chard, too.) It was delicious, and super easy to make.

As I always am when sautéing greens, I was amazed at how little there was when I emptied the pot. Thankfully, I’d suspected that Swiss chard would be too kale-like for Mike’s liking, so also steamed some broccoli for him. But really, I couldn’t have been happier to have it all to myself.

IMG_5700