Monday, July 7, 2014

Kitchen Sink Recipes

Every chef needs a few "back pocket" recipes he or she can whip out and produce at the last minute. The ones you keep pantry supplies on hand for or the recipes you could make in your sleep (even if it's just boxed noodles and jarred pasta sauce.)

The CSA shareholder and the gardener need "Kitchen Sink" Recipes, too: recipes where you can put everything in but the kitchen sink, vegetable-wise. Val Colvin, the Farmer's Wife, gave a nod to my pizza-making in this vein, and I thought I'd share some of my favorite Kitchen Sink Recipes here. This is my go to list of meal ideas for my CSA basket. While I post one-two recipes each week that are a little "fancier" or more exotic as ideas for folks to use when contemplating their weekly harvest/haul, the ones below are far more regular features for us:

Stir-Fry: always an option with rice or noodles, with or without meat. Basic preparation tips: chop/slice veggies in similar sizes for even cooking. Start longer cooking veggies first (onions, cabbage, broccoli, roots in general (carrots, kohlrabi, etc)). Then do medium cooking veggies (peppers, beans, etc.). End with shortest cooking times (summer squash, peas, etc.). I usually use my Basic Stir Fry as a base and just change up sauces as I feel like it (BiBimBap is a nice variation, and Trader Joe's makes a great Teriyaki sauce--Soyaki--for when I'm in a hurry)

Pizza: YES! We put anything and everything on a pizza crust, with or without tomato sauce. Longer cooking veggies benefit from blanching first (potatoes, etc.) unless they're sliced VERY thin. Super short-cooking veggies benefit from pre-baking the crust slightly (i.e. lettuces). Check out the pizza category in the side bar for some possibilities.

Roasted Veggies: I eat these for any meal of the day. Yum yum yum. As with stir-fries, make sure everything is cut in similar sized pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast for 15-30 minutes or until veggies are done to your liking. Stir every 5-10. If you have a mixture of short and long cooking times, just start the longer ones first and add in the shorter ones halfway through. We roast at 400-425 degrees usually, but it's very flexible--if I have something else in the oven, I'll adjust the temperature accordingly. Favorites for this: potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, kohlrabi, onions, peppers, broccoli florets (add in halfway through), carrots, tomatoes (keep separate if you don't want their juice over everything else), summer squash, green beans, …. Leftovers can be topped with a fried egg for breakfast, folded into a wrap or used in a salad for lunch, or simply reheated and enjoyed anytime of the day. Grilled veggies are a similar option.

Wraps/Quesadillas: Saute some sliced bell peppers, onions, summer squash and throw 'em in your next tortilla. Use leftover roasted veggies, cooked greens, you name it--it can all go in a wrap or quesadilla or burrito.

Veggie Sandwiches: Anything that can be eaten raw goes into these. Sliced or shredded: carrots, bell peppers, kohlrabi, radishes, lettuces, greens, tomatoes, broccoli, summer squash, onions, ….

Salad: (duh) There's more than meets the eye here. Of course, we think of lettuce salads topped with the usual suspects: tomatoes and cucumbers. But don't forget that the Mediterranean, for instance, often eats a salad of tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers sans lettuce. And slaw is just cabbage salad. Other root veggies (kohlrabi and turnips, for example) can be shredded and used for slaw just like cabbage. Kale is delicious in a salad. In the Mediterranean, cooked greens are eaten cold with a drizzle of oil and vinegar as a salad. I often just eat a tomato or cucumber sliced with salt and pepper.

Quiche: We've camouflaged put lots of things in a cheesy, custardy egg base…. summer squash, greens, and nearly anything else (we've not tried root vegetables this way).

Ethnic: If you're trying to disguise the taste/texture of a vegetable you're learning to like, strong ethnic flavors can go a long way. We're curry fans, and curry dishes have helped us learn to like mustard greens, cauliflower, and turnips in particular. Salsa camouflages the blander tastes of summer squash, milder cooked greens, and the like--you can sneak them into burritos and enchiladas easily. Lasagna or manicotti is a good vehicle for cooked veggies, too. And, of course, stir fries full of familiar veggies can help hide one or two surprises.

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