Kale, Eggplant, and Hot Peppers . . . oh my!

Wondering what to do with this week’s CSA? Here are some creative and delicious recipes featuring some of this week’s gleanings that are sure satisfy your palate and sense of adventure. Happy eating!

Kale

Oh, kale. That wonderful, nutrient packed leafy green that never fails to make an appearance. But if you find yourself tired of cooking kale the “usual” way over the stove top, try throwing it in a smoothie—trust us, it tastes awesome!

IMG 8958 thumb1   Classic Green Monster

Green Monster Smoothie

Yield: 1 serving/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
  • 1 ripe banana, preferably peeled + frozen
  • 2 handfuls organic spinach or 1 handful kale
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds OR 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp nut butter, optional
  • 1-3 ice cubes
  • protein powder of choice, optional

Directions: Starting with the liquid, add in 1 cup of milk of your choice. Now add in the chia or flax and nut butter. Next, add in the spinach followed by the banana on top. Blend until smooth. Add in your ice cubes and blend some more. Serves 1- about 2 cups.

From Oh She Glows http://ohsheglows.com/2011/01/13/classic-green-monster/

 

Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes

The eggplant and cherry tomatoes are continuing to grow rapidly (and no one here is complaining!) You can merge these two colorful veggies in a cianfotta, which is a traditional Italian stew—perfect for the chilly nights that are upon us!

Summer Vegetable Cianfotta

Summer Vegetable Cianfotta Recipe

1 globe eggplant, trimmed and diced (about 4 cups)
4 summer zucchini or squashes, trimmed and diced (about 4 cups)
Kosher salt
1 fennel bulb
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
4 sprigs (fresh) marjoram
1 bay leaf
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed (about 2 cups)
2 cups water
1 cup fiorelli or thinly sliced squash blossoms
1 cup cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
Block of aged pecorino for shaving

Preheat the oven to 300˚F.

Evenly distribute the eggplant and zucchini on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut off the stalks and feathery tops (reserve for another use) from the fennel bulb, halve lengthwise, and then cut away the core. Cut the halves lengthwise into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices. You should have about 2 cups.

In a 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed pot, combine the olive oil, garlic, marjoram, and bay leaf over medium heat and sweat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic begins to soften. Stir in the fennel and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook gently for about 2 minutes, or until the fennel begins to soften. Stir in the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes more.

Pat the zucchini and eggplant pieces dry and add them to the pot. Stir the vegetables to ensure they are coated evenly and generously with the oil. Cover the pot, place in the oven, and cook, stirring gently every 10 to 15 minutes, for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not falling apart.

Remove from the oven and drain off most of the olive oil from the vegetables (you can reserve the oil in the refrigerator for a future batch of cianfotta). Add the water to the vegetables, place over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the fiorelli and tomatoes and simmer for a minute or two more. Check for seasoning and season.

Divide the soup among warmed bowls. Using a vegetable peeler, shave a few pecorino curls over the top of each serving. Serve immediately.

Serves 8 as a first course, or 4 to 6 as a main course.

From 101 cookbooks http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/summer-vegetable-cianfotta-recipe.html

 

Hot Peppers

Tired of your usual fruit jellies? Try using this week’s hot peppers to make this spicy and out of the ordinary jelly! Tastes great on toast, with cheese and crackers, or even with peanut butter in a sandwich!

Hot Pepper Jelly

Makes 7 to 8 cups of jelly

1 3/4 cups red peppers, de-seeded and finely diced

1 1/2 cups green peppers, de-seeded and finely diced

3/4 cup jalepeno peppers, de-seeded and finely diced (7 jalepeno peppers that are about thumb-sized, each)

1 cup apple cider vinegar

Two 1.75-ounce packets Sure-Jell pectin (use the Pink “For Less or No Sugar Needed” Recipes box; not the Yellow box)

5 cups white sugar

Prepare the glass jars by sterilizing them.  Do this by washing jars and bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let jars stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Fill a very large stockpot with water and allow it to nearly boil on the stovetop.  This may take 15+ minutes given the size of the pot and amount of water, and while waiting, complete the rest of the steps.

Put on a pair of rubber kitchen gloves and finely chop the peppers by hand (or pulse using a food processor) and add them to a medium-sized 6 to 8-quart stock pot, taking care to avoid adding the seeds of the pepper to the mixture, being especially cautious with the jalepeno pepper seeds (slice each jalepeno in half, down the middle, and removed 80% of the seeds by hand, before finely chopping them). To the peppers, add the vinegar and Sure-Gell pectin (two packets). Place stockpot on the stovetop and bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) and stir constantly. After a full rolling boil is reached, add the sugar. It will foam and bubble up, and if foam is intense, skim it off with a spoon. Return to a full rolling boil and once full rolling boil is reached (it may take a minute or two to reach it) boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat.

Quickly ladle jelly into the sterile jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the tops. Cover with flat lids, and screw on bands tightly. Place the jars loosely into the nearly boiling water using tongs or carefully using two spatulas guiding them into the water (or if you have a canning rack, use it and slowly lower jars into pot). The water should cover the jars completely, and should be hot but not boiling when place the jars in. Bring water to a boil, and after it’s boiling, process for 10 to 12 minutes, partially dependent on altitude (the higher you are, the longer you process).

After processing, remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely, and do not disturb them. Choose their resting place wisely, because where ever they are placed, they need to remain undisturbed and untouched until they seal. You may begin to hear loud pops immediately, or within 24 hours and that means the jar has sealed. If you are uncertain if they’ve sealed, after the jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If the lid is sunken and does not spring back, it’s sealed (success!) If lid springs back, jar is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary. Unsealed or opened pepper jelly will likely keep for weeks in the refrigerator; and sealed jars of jelly will keep for one year or longer, if stored in a cool, dry place.

Notes: **Chopped peppers should reach 4 cups in total and the Kraft recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of red and green peppers, each, and 1 cup of jalepeno peppers. The Allrecipes recipe calls for 1/4 cup of jalepeno peppers.  I used 3/4 cup jalepeno peppers and found this jelly to be very hot. It’s at least twice as hot as the Trader Joe’s Pepper Jelly. I like spicy food and can handle lots of heat and this is even on the edge of my limits. If you are a person who likes things “mild” or do not want your sinuses cleared instantly, go with 1/4 cup jalepenos. The next time I make this I will likely reduce my jalepeno peppers to about 1/2 cup, or about 4-5 peppers, not 7; and I will take care to add fewer seeds.

You could also add yellow or orange peppers, and add all peppers in ratios and quantity to personal taste.

Highly recommended to wear gloves. Chopping peppers in this amount and quantity will irritate or burn your hands and with all the boiling water, keep gloves on.

From Averie Cooks http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2012/02/hot-pepper-jelly.html

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