In this week’s box:
More delicious strawberries are headed your way this week! Here’s a simple recipe I found in a brochure put out by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for strawberry butter. This butter is great for muffins, bagels, pancakes, biscuits and fresh homemade bread.
2 cups fresh strawberries
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
Place everything in a mixing bowl and blend until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate in an air-tight container.
There are a lot of greens in this week’s box, but don’t think that needs to mean that all your meals should look the same. The lettuce is obviously going to make a lot of great salads and sandwich toppers, but don’t limit its uses in your kitchen. Ditch the carbs and save money on bread by making lettuce wraps. Fillings could include your favorite chicken salad, hummus, taco meat, burrito fillings, etc. I have my eye on this slow cooker carne asada and these Thai beef lettuce wraps (which would also use some of your onions)…decisions, decisions!
If you’re feeling really adventurous, use some of your eggs in this recipe for Vietnamese pancakes. This is kind of a savory cross between an omelet and a crepe that is served lettuce-wrap style at Spotsylvania’s Pho Saigon restaurant. This would probably be especially good with Bok Choy. (I also just noticed that the June/July issue of “Fine Cooking” magazine – on newsstands now,has a beautiful spread on Korean barbecue that suggests serving the various chicken, beef, rice and vegetable dishes with red or green leaf lettuce leaves in wrap form. This spread also includes recipes for a number of other items you’ll find in your CSA box over the course of the season, including radishes and cucumbers.)
A classic use of Romaine lettuce is Caesar salad. Lucky for you, you also have farm-fresh eggs to add to the dressing. Here is Julia Child’s take on Caesar salad, a labor of love. For a little bit easier take on this classic, here is Tyler Florence’s version.
You’ve seen Swiss chard before, and I’d love to hear how you enjoyed it (e-mail me here). Last year, I made this chard, sausage and white bean soup several times, and it’s definitely a winner. But I also love chard for egg dishes like frittatas and quiches. If you’ve never made your own pie crust for quiche, you are missing a treat. It’s so much tastier than those store-bought crusts, more like a biscuit than a cardboard crust. I’m not going to say it’s any lower in fat, but it lacks the preservatives and (if you use all butter) the trans fats found in many commercial crusts. Here is a recipe for Swiss chard and onion quiche that I made during the first week of Snead’s CSA pickup. It looks long, but I swear, it is not that difficult.
for the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I often substitute 1/2 cup of this with white whole-wheat flour. It makes me feel better about the butter.)
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
for the filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 spring onions, white and green parts chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard
1/4 cup milk, cream, half-and-half or plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste (and any herbs, such as chives, thyme or parsley, that you happen to have)
2 oz goat cheese
make the crust:
This can be done ahead of time, as this dough will freeze well for several months.
Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until butter is broken up a little smaller than pea-sized pieces. With the machine on, pour the ice water into the feed tube. Allow machine to run until dough just begins to ball up in the bowl.
Dump this very loose dough onto a well-floured work surface. Knead it lightly, and gather it into one big ball. Cut this ball in half, shape each half into a disc and wrap them separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least two hours, or up to 2 days, or freeze for several months.
When you’re ready to make quiche, remove dough from refrigerator about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to work with it. Roll it out on a floured surface until it’s big enough to fit your pie dish (I use a standard Pyrex dish). Allow extra to hang over the sides, and tuck it under so it fits the dish, then use your fingers to make ridges. Or just forget about all that, cut off the extra, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, give it a twist or roll and bake it up into makeshift pastries in the oven with the pie (These will cook faster than the quiche.).
make the filling:
Separate the green chard leaves from the colored stalks. Tear the leaves into 1 to 2-inch chunks and set aside. Finely chop the stalks.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and chard stalks and saute until translucent. Add chard greens and a couple small pinches of salt. Saute until the greens cook down.
While this mixture cooks, mix eggs with milk, salt and pepper to taste and chopped herbs, if using. Whisk well until mixture is of uniform color.
Spoon greens mixture into prepared pie crust. Pour egg mixture over this, taking care to spread it around the pie dish. Top with crumbled goat cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, or until quiche is solid. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.
A quick note: The same great vegetables you’re enjoying in your CSA box are also being used in many local restaurants. Kybecca’s take on Snead’s asparagus was recently featured by a Northern Virginia Magazine food blogger. Find the post here.