S. is an ace with salads. She did it again – a healthy, tasty salad everyone wanted seconds of.
She shares one of her little tricks. We asked her what to do if the onions are super strong and pungent. Doesn’t that put people off eating a salad with a lot of raw onions in it? She said “I took salt and rubbed the onions with it. Then washed the onions thoroughly. That took the spicy bite and odor out.” Simple, isn’t it?
Her Fall salad
- red onions
- red radishes
- olive oil
- black pepper
- Chimichurri (celery leaves, olive oil, garlic)
Check out what Li put into the Chimichurri! Yes, celery leaves instead of the far more common parsley! This is the essence of eating locally. Parsley isn’t grown in late fall, way after first frost, here in the Midwest. Celery leaves are plentiful and there was a big bag of them in each box from Tomato Mountain. So Li decided to make Chimichurri with it. We used some in the salad and each of us took some home.
I added my Chimichurri to ground beef and cooked it up with chunks of acorn squash later in the week and it was delicious and very flavorful. So next time I have more celery leaves than I know what to do with I will be putting handfuls in a food processor and buzzing them up with garlic and oil and storing the paste to be used later. I am pretty sure it would freeze pretty well too and add a welcome touch of green to mid-winter stews.
La made acorn squash soup. We have had acorn squash in every box and we are not sick of it yet. A large specimen was quartered; the seeds scooped out with a spoon and steamed until the flesh was soft. The “recipe” is below but definitely feel free to improvise!
La’s Acorn Squash soup
1. Melt a knob of butter with some olive oil in a pot
2. Add the following:
- scooped out flesh of one large or two small steamed acorn squash (if you have steamed the squash enough you can add the whole squash including the skin but then the soup does not come out the same gorgeous orange gold color you get if you leave the skin out)
- some roughly chopped onion
- a handful of celery leaves
- one large carrot, sliced thin or several small carrots cut up
- a stick of cinnamon (about 2 or 3 inches long)
- about 20 cardamom seeds (probably about 2 or 3 pods worth), lightly crushed
- freshly ground pepper
- chicken stock
3. Simmer about 30-45 minutes until it smells really good and the carrots are tender but not totally mushy.
4. Remove the stick of cinnamon and blend the soup with a hand-held stick blender. It’s nice to not blend it until totally smooth but to leave some recognizable bits of carrot and celery leaves for a better “mouth feel”.
5. Stir in some (about half a cup or a little more) cream, adjust seasonings and enjoy!
R made some caramelized onions. The secret ingredient in these was a splash of dry Vermouth. Obviously the alcohol evaporates off but the flavor was wonderful. The onions were very very sweet.
We used the broccoli two ways – stir fried, stalks, leaves and all, with olive oil and garlic and a much more sophisticated dish made by Q. She lightly boiled the broccoli after cutting it into florets and then topped it with a quick cooked sauce which included corn starch, soy sauce, chopped onions and balsamic vinegar. It was delicious!
All in all, our host, P, summed up the feeling perfectly when she said “The teamwork and camaraderie of this group is amazing. Never having had nine cooks working in my kitchen, I was astounded at how easy it felt to create and enjoy cooking locally and eating socially.”