Cooking with this week’s box……
This week I want to introduce you to Alexandra Stafford, the blog writer behind alexandracooks.com. Alexandra lives in Upstate New York with her husband and four kids. She stays busy cooking with the vegetables from her own CSA share and shares her recipes on her blog. She also writes for Food52.com and recently published a cookbook about bread. Both of the recipes featured in this week’s newsletter come from her blog. So lets dive into the box and talk about this week’s featured vegetable first, Sweetheart Cabbage!
The first recipe in this week’s newsletter is Alexandra’s Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken. (See Below) It makes a nice main dish salad as it is light enough for a hot summer evening but filling enough to satisfy you. In addition to the cabbage, this slaw also uses carrots, snow peas and the green tops from the Cipollini onions as well as sliced onion. This recipe does make about 8 cups of slaw, so if you are a smaller household you will have leftovers or may want to cut the recipe in half. The slaw is delicious to eat as it is the next day, or repurpose it into spring rolls! They are pretty quick and easy to make and transport well if you want to take them for your lunch. If you’ve never worked with rice spring roll wrappers, be patient with yourself. Your first few will likely tear, but that happens to everyone and you can usually stick them back together. The other recipe option to consider using your cabbage for this week is The Simplest Slaw, (See Below) which is also featured in the newsletter. As the name indicates…it is a very simple recipe! It will leave you with a bowl of creamy cabbage slaw that will make a nice accompaniment to a grilled burger, pan-fried fish, or a barbecued pulled pork sandwich.
Alexandra has some other interesting vegetable focused recipes I’d like to highlight. You know those bushy carrot tops I’m always encouraging you to eat? Well you can always fall back on pesto or chimichurri, but here’s another idea to try. Alexandra has a recipe for Fried Greens Meatless Balls. This recipe calls for a lot of greens, so you could use the carrot tops along with chard if you like, or any beet tops, amaranth or other greens you might have remaining from last week’s delivery. There are some good ideas for variations in the comments listed below the recipe, so you might want to peruse them to see what other people have tried. These Fried Greens Meatless Balls would pair nicely with Alexandra’s New Potatoes with Green Harissa. These tasty potatoes will make good use of basil and any other herbs you have available from your herb garden. The recipe calls for 1 pound of potatoes, but you have 2 pounds in your box. You can either double the recipe if you’re feeding more people, or use the other pound of potatoes to make Crushed Potatoes with Cream and Garlic. This is a recipe from Nigel Slater’s cookbook that we featured in a previous newsletter. They are an excellent accompaniment to steak or roasted chicken.
The red chard this week is one of my favorite box contents! I’ve had my eye on Alexandra’s Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon,Parmesan and Breadcrumbs for awhile now. Chard is usually eaten cooked, but it is tender enough to eat raw if you slice it thinly. This could easily become a main dish salad by adding some protein such as chicken, tuna or some chickpeas or white beans.
During the summer we often have sandwiches, good for dinner and easy to make again for lunch the next day. This week I’m going to use the baby arugula to make Skirt Steak Sandwiches with Herbed Mayonnaise and Arugula. You’ll need to pick a few more herbs from your herb garden to make the mayonnaise. Serve these sandwiches with Alexandra’s Cucumber and Feta Salad. This recipe is part of another recipe, so scroll all the way to the bottom of the blog post and you’ll find it.
What shall we do with the zucchini this week? Well, I haven’t made zucchini fritters yet this year, so I think it’s time. Check out Alexandra’s recipe for Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki. Her Tzatziki doesn’t call for cucumbers, but I think I’ll dice some up and add it in.
Lastly, we need to use the broccoli! I’m saving some of the broccoli to make this Summer Breakfast Strata. It calls for a small head of broccoli and some zucchini. I may substitute more broccoli for some or all of the squash and might even add some mushrooms. Her recipe calls for garlic scapes, but the fresh Italian garlic will be a great substitute. We’ll enjoy this for Sunday brunch along with a few pieces of bacon and fresh fruit.
Lastly, before next week’s box rolls around I’ll pull out all the odds and ends of vegetables remaining and turn them into stir-fry. I’m going to use Alexandra’s Stir-Fried Veggies and Tofu recipe that has a simple 5-ingredient sauce to put on the stir-fry. Richard isn’t a big fan of tofu, so I’ll probably substitute chicken instead.
There you have it…this week’s box is all used up. Thank you Alexandra for helping us find a use for everything in the box! Now it’s time to start planning what to do with the tomatoes, eggplant and peppers that we’ll be picking very soon! Have a great week and have fun cooking!—Chef Andrea
Feature: Sweetheart Cabbage
Sweetheart cabbage is a unique cabbage both in appearance as well as other characteristics. We plant most of our cabbage for harvest in the fall as cabbage thrives and tastes better when it is grown in more cool temperatures. One of the unique attributes of sweetheart cabbage is that it does fare well as an early-season cabbage. It is known as a “salad cabbage” because the leaves are tender enough to be eaten raw in salads and the flavor is mild and well-balanced. Another reason we grow this variety for summer harvest is that it gives us another option for a “salad green” during the part of the season where salad mix and lettuce are not available. You can recognize sweetheart cabbage by its pointy head with tightly wrapped leaves.
Sweetheart cabbage may be eaten raw or lightly cooked. I recommend slicing it thinly or shredding it for use in vegetable slaws or other raw salads. It can also be used to make spring rolls (see this week’s recipe) or you may use the leaves as a wrap in place of tortillas or bread. If you choose to cook it, I’d recommend a quick cooking method such as stir-frying or grilling and be careful not to overcook it!
Store your sweetheart cabbage loosely wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Lightly rinse the outer leaves before using. If you don’t use the entire cabbage for one preparation, wrap the remaining portion of cabbage and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. One cabbage typically yields 6-8 cups of shredded cabbage.
Thai-Style Slaw with (or without) Chicken
2 chicken breasts, about 1 lb., (optional)
6-8 cups shredded cabbage
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup thinly sliced snow or sugar snap peas*
2 to 3 carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
6 scallions, thinly sliced (May substitute the green onion tops in this week’s box)
1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped to yield about 1 cup
1 small red onion or purple cipollini onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice and the zest of 2 limes
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 ½ Tbsp sugar
½ tsp Sriracha, plus more to taste
*Note from Chef Andrea: The original recipe called for red peppers, but the author encourages you to substitute whatever vegetables you have in season. I chose to use snow peas in place of the peppers.
- If you are using the chicken, bring a small pot of water to a boil and salt the water as if you were going to boil pasta. Drop in the chicken breasts. Cover the pot. Remove pot from heat. Let stand 15 minutes. Uncover. Remove breasts. Let cool briefly. Pull/shred into pieces.
- Meanwhile, cut the cabbage in quarters and remove the core. Thinly slice the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Pour in the oil. Sprinkle evenly with the salt. Massage the cabbage with your hands. Really squeeze it firmly until it shrinks in size and becomes more saturated in hue.
- To the bowl of cabbage, add the peas*, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and red onion. Add the chicken, if using.
- Make the dressing: Stir together the lime juice, lime zest, fish sauce, sugar, and Sriracha. Pour over the bowl of vegetables. Toss to coat evenly. Taste. Adjust with more salt or Sriracha as needed.
Chef Andrea’s Variations: This recipe was written by Alexandra Stafford and was featured on her blog, alexandracooks.com. The actual recipe may be found at Food52.com. It is delicious as it was originally written, however here are a few variations you might want to consider trying.
|Chef Andrea's Spring Rolls with a Basil leaf added!|
- In addition to the cilantro, add fresh basil and/or mint to the slaw.
- Consider garnishing the slaw with chopped roasted peanuts or cashews
- If you have any leftover slaw, repurpose it the next day to make fresh spring rolls using rice paper wrappers. Simply soak the rice wrappers in water for 20-30 seconds to soften them, then put some of the slaw in the middle of the wrapper and roll it tightly like a burrito. If you plan to do this with the leftovers, I’d recommend saving about ¼ to ⅓ of the dressing to use as a dipping sauce with the spring rolls.
Simplest Cabbage Slaw
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
½ cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 small head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Taste. For more bite, add another teaspoon of vinegar. Stir and taste again. Adjust with more salt if necessary.
- In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage and onion. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Taste. Adjust with more salt if needed.