Cooking With This Week's Box
Welcome back to another week of delicious cooking out of your CSA box. This week’s box has a few special treats in it including this week’s featured vegetable which is jicama! If you aren’t familiar with jicama, please take a few minutes to read this week’s vegetable feature. While it can be eaten raw or cooked, I’m opting to eat it raw this week and have found two tasty and very simple salad recipes to share with you. You may actually have enough jicama to give both a try! The Jicama Apple Slaw (see below) recipe is made with tart Granny Smith apples and has a creamy dressing made with yogurt, lime juice and zest as well as a little heat from some jalapeno. We included Granny Smith apples and limes in last week’s fruit box, so this might be a good recipe choice for members who also receive the fruit share. The second recipe is for Thai Jicama & Red Onion Salad. (See below) The author of this recipe recommends serving it with shrimp, but I think it would be delicious with any fish, seafood or even chicken.
I came across two interesting recipes this week for broccoli and cauliflower. The first recipe is Grilled Broccoli with Avocado and Sesame. This is an interesting recipe that has several components to it that come together in the end. Grilled broccoli is drizzled with a dressing made from avocado and tahini and then the salad is garnished with slices of red onion and a bit of pickled jalapeño. This salad will make good use of not only the broccoli in this week’s box, but also will utilize the jalapeños and red onions. Serve this salad as a main dish on its own or alongside grilled steak or chicken. The other recipe I came across is for Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic & Thyme. With this recipe you roast whole cloves of garlic with the cauliflower along with some onions. When you serve this dish, diners can squeeze the sweet roasted garlic out of its skins and eat it with the cauliflower or you can spread the roasted garlic on bread and to eat alongside the cauliflower. Any color of cauliflower will work for this recipe.
What are you going to do with that crispy head of iceberg lettuce!? Iceberg lettuce is light enough to be refreshing, but strong enough to hold up to creamy dressings such as blue cheese, ranch and thousand island. I’m going to go with a traditional Cobb Salad this week and will use a recipe featured in Saveur as my guide. This recipe calls for half of a head of iceberg mixed with some romaine and watercress. I’m going to just go with all iceberg lettuce and in place of the spicy watercress I’m going to add the flavorful, tender greens from the baby white turnips. I’ll use the grape tomatoes for this salad as well and may supplement with a few of the larger tomatoes.
While the Cobb Salad makes a nice main entrée salad with head lettuce, I’m going to save the Salad Mix to use as a base for a simple side salad that could go with any meal throughout the week and is a good “go-to” option when you are tight on time. I’ll use the orange Italian frying peppers to make my recipe for Creamy Roasted Sweet Pepper Dressing featured in our newsletter back in 2014. Once the dressing is made, all that’s left to do is just drizzle it on the salad mix and garnish with shredded carrot, tomatoes or any other vegetable of your choosing! This dressing also makes a great dip for carrot or jicama sticks.
Baby white turnips are one of those vegetables that we see in the spring and then it resurfaces for a few weeks in the fall. Since I chose to use the greens for the Cobb Salad, I’m going to prepare the actual turnips using this very simply recipe for Glazed Baby Turnips with Carrots. Serve this as a side dish with a seared pork chop or a slice of ham.
Finally, lets talk about this bag of sweet & delicious mini sweet peppers. These little gems are delicious just eaten as is for a snack, but you can kick that snack up a notch by cutting off the tops and stuffing them with cheese! I like to fill them with cream cheese or goat cheese, but you could also stick a piece of mozzarella inside and then pop them on the grill or put them under the broiler to melt the cheese and blister the pepper skin. If you just have too much in your kitchen to eat this week, mini sweet peppers do freeze well and are just as tasty in the winter as they are right now. I keep a bag in the freezer to use during the winter for pizzas, scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, etc.
Featured Vegetable: Jicama
Jicama is the odd-shaped vegetable with brown skin occupying one corner of this week’s CSA box. It is also known as yam bean, Mexican yam or Mexican turnip and is native to Mexico. The name of this vegetable is pronounced HICK-uh-mah or HEE-kuh-mah. It is a tropical plant that resembles a bean plant with bean-like vines and seed pods. The jicama grows underground and is a tuber that can produce multiple tubers off the one main stem.
|Once you peel away the outer skin, jicama has solid white flesh.|
On the outside jicama is not the most attractive or flashy vegetable. Peel away the brown, leathery skin and you’ll find a solid white flesh inside that is mild in flavor, crunchy with a slight sweetness and slightly starchy. You can eat jicama both raw and cooked. One of the most basic ways to eat jicama is to slice it into sticks and give it a squeeze of lime juice and a light sprinkling of chili powder and salt. Jicama also pairs well with citrus fruit and is often used in raw salads and salsas prepared with limes and/or oranges. It also pairs well with avocado, peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, seafood, onions, and garlic to name just a few complementary ingredients. In Asian cuisine you may find jicama used in stir-fry type preparations. When stir-fried, jicama should be added towards the end of cooking to retain the crisp texture. If you let it get just slightly soft, it has almost a potato-like flavor and texture.
Jicama is very sensitive to chill injury, so it is best to store it on your kitchen counter until you are ready to use it. Once you cut into it, store any cut jicama in the refrigerator and eat it within a few days.
|Jose Antonio holding a piece of Jicama!|
We credit one of our crew members, Jose Antonio Cervantes Gutierrez (aka JAC), with introducing jicama to Wisconsin. One day we were working in the greenhouse and he presented me with a handful of seeds in a small packet. He asked if I thought we could grow it here? Well, I had no idea how to grow jicama and had only eaten it several times. We decided to give it a try and after several years of learning we are finally getting good results! I asked him why he brought those seeds with him when he came to work here that year. There is a large farm not far from where he lives that grows large amounts of jicama. He would pass by their fields, see the jicama and was intrigued by it. He said he brought them because he had tried planting them at home, but couldn’t ever watch them grow because he had to leave to come here to work! So, he brought the seeds with him so we could plant them here and he could watch them develop! JAC’s favorite way to eat jicama is to eat it raw with a squeeze of lime juice and salt or lime juice and a sprinkling of Tajin, a seasoning mix made from salt and a specific type of chile.
We don’t grow jicama every year, but in our survey at the end of last year we asked you to vote for the top three vegetables you wanted to see us grow this year and jicama made the list! You asked for it and here it is! We’re grateful to JAC for introducing us to something new and we’re glad you, our members, have grown to appreciate it too!
Jicama Apple Slaw
Yield: 4-5 servings
|Picture from Food52.com|
1 small jicama, peeled and fine julienned (3-4 cups)
1 Granny Smith apple, fine julienned
2 Tbsps cilantro, chopped
¼ green cabbage head, shredded (could substitute broccoli stems)
For the Dressing:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 limes, zest and juice
¼ cup sherry wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Mix julienned jicama, apples, cilantro, and cabbage together.
- Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Toss with jicama apple mixture. Season as needed with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately. This recipe is best eaten the day of.
Recipe borrowed from Food52.com.
Thai Jicama & Red Onion Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
|Recipe picture from Cookingcanuk.com|
1 small or ½ of a medium jicama, peeled
½ small red onion, peeled
1 ½ Tbsp fish sauce
1 ½ Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp agave nectar (can substitute sugar)
1 red chili, minced or ½ tsp red chile flakes
¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Cut jicama into quarters, then thinly slice. Thinly slice the red onion into half-moon pieces.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, rice vinegar and agave nectar or sugar until it dissolves. Add chile or chile flakes and whisk again.
- Place the jicama and onion slices into a medium-sized bowl. Toss with the rice vinegar dressing.
- Add the cilantro and toss again. Serve.
Recipe borrowed from cookincanuck.com.