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Ashbless
I recently signed up for a home delivery of local and/or organic produce. For a smallish chunk of bills a tote of veggies appears once a week at my door. It's fairly random as to what comes but it is possible to let them know what should not come. So far I've left it open.

This fine evening I found something that vaguely resembles a lumpy skinny beet. The helpful list of contents identifies mystery roots as sunchokes or jerusalem artichokes. I also have a double handful of fresh basil.

Er, anybody have any idea how to cook/eat/dispose quietly of these things?
elphaba2
No idea about the sunchoke, but ohmygod fresh basil.

Take some tomatoes, slice em, put em on a slice of bread. Add chopped basil. Add mozerella and a drizzle of olive oil (or balsamic vinegar if you are adventurous). Melt. Put more bread on top, cut in half. Hold onto something solid while you eat it.

Take basil, put in food processor. Add two cloves garlic, some olive oil and sundried tomatoes (or an eense tomato paste). Blend. Put on EVERYTHING.

Take basil, boil it for a very long time in a small amount of water. Put in a squirt bottle; dab behind ears.

OK that last one was a joke (I love basil + the way it smells) but you can do a million things with it, honest. Also very good on homemade pizza and in some stir-fry-rice-soup variations.
Daria
Jerusulem artichokes are very good washed, boiled and eaten. Do them like baby potatoes, add butter, salt and pepper after cooking.
Ashbless
I found I liked the taste of the sunchokes but that boiled or baked they tended to cause gas. Not a great date food.

Anyone know what to do with leeks? I'm trying them roasted with other veg tonight but any other ideas?
EvilSpork
Leeks! Mmmmm, we have them all over the place in the woods here.

Good for parties: Take ham and cream cheese. Spread cream cheese on ham. Roll cheese covered ham around the leek.

OR! Potato leek soup! Do a cream and chicken base. I'd saute the leeks in butter with some shallots or onions, boil the potatoes in chicken broth until they're soft and mush them up a bit (not looking for mashed potatoes here though) and add the leeks/shallots/onions and boil it down until you're at a consistency you like then add cream. Or do a vegetable broth if you're not into the chicken idea. Fresh ground black pepper, salt to taste, any other spices you think will go well. Possibly lemon grass.
leopold
You can use leeks in casseroles as well. Try a couple next time you do one.
Mata
You can slice leeks (like a tree trunk) and fry them. Put loads of salt on them while you're frying and they will go nice and soft, and the salt takes away the bitter taste that leeks sometimes have.
Ashbless
It's fun to find out things about friends that you never knew. I hadn't realized that my best female friend out here absolutely loves eggplant. You would have thought I'd found german chocolate in the veg. basket. On her advice I stuffed and baked it. It went a strange olive green colour and looked like it might be slimy. It wasn't slimy, which I'm very thankful about, and was quite tasty.

I have kale again this week and next week they're threatening asperagus. The fruit has been good but I'm not sure on what to do with the two limes. The friend mentioned above really likes the idea of a margarita night. Pity she works most evenings and I work most days. This aspect of grown up life sucks. I have a lemon pie filling recipe that I'm very tempted to adapt and play with. Lime pie? Might work.
leopold
Lime pie should work, and I know of one - Key Lime Pie - which is pretty tasty. Limes tend not to lend themselves to desserts as well as lemons do, I think this might be due to them being a bit sharper. You could try mixing them in with lemons in desserts and see what happens. You can also have lime wedges with any Tex-Mex and many Spanish and Italian dishes, which the diner can squeeze on if they wish. Try mixing a little of the juice in with tuna mayonnaise, it lends a nice sharpness and stops it being cloying. Or squeeze it over fish instead of lemon. You can use the zest as well, like you can with lemons. Or slice it and serve with vodka, gin, tequila or in a long glass of water, cola or lemonade. Or google "lime recipes" for a zillion pages on what to do with them. Just don't eat them raw, unless you're feeling a bit masochistic!

Asparagus is lovely. I'm really envying your produce basket! You eat the tips and the soft part of the stalk, although some will argue on the stalk point (but I just ignore them biggrin.gif) To prepare, trim off the woody bit at the bottom (unless it comes ready trimmed). Steam it or boil it gently in lightly salted water, keeping the tips out of the water if possible, until it goes tender. Serve with a Hollandaise sauce, or drizzle with olive oil and black pepper, or just put a knob of butter on them if you're feeling very lazy. You can have that as a starter, or serve it alongside salmon, trout or a good steak, or in a salad. It's supposedly an aphrodisiac too. One note, if you eat a lot of it in one go, you may notice your wee smells a bit funny, so don't eat loads if you're planning on any passion wink.gif
Phyllis
QUOTE (leopold @ Apr 7 2009, 01:56 PM) *
Lime pie should work, and I know of one - Key Lime Pie - which is pretty tasty.

Key lime pie is made with Key limes, though, not regular ones. tongue.gif

I love using limes in just about everything. Try making a homemade salsa and squeeze a lime into it as it's cooking. Or make some pico de gallo (chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeņos, lime juice, and some people add cilantro but I don't as moop thinks it tastes of soap). Or make a nice salad with baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, olives, onions, some steamed asparagus and a squeeze of lime juice and mix it with cold pasta. Or make limeade!
leopold
QUOTE (candice @ Apr 8 2009, 10:18 PM) *
Key lime pie is made with Key limes, though, not regular ones. tongue.gif

A mere technicality. Although I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as a "Key lime", I just assumed it was because the pie came from the Florida Keys that it got it's name. You learn something new every day.

But I still want Ash's basket of goodies.
elphaba2
Limeade is awesome. I make it with about a third-cup of lime juice in a glass, add some honey and mix super crazy well, then water + ice. Plus mint! Crazy refreshing and only as many calories as the honey you put in. It is delicious before bed or anytime.

I use lime for cooking fish, as well. Salmon with ginger likes lime, so do other big meaty fishes like tuna, swordfish and shark. Tilapia like lime and almonds. Softer, more boring fish like lemon better (sole, flounder + cod).

MOJITOS ARE DELICIOUS.
Daria
Limes are also good if you're cooking haloumi, or chicken.
-Heat up a couple of spoons of honey, add juice of a lime, soy sauce, salt, pepper, chilli, herbs and grate in a bit of cream of coconut. Mix it all together, wait until it's very liquidy then add chopped up chicken breast.

Is good, I am told (my recipe, Wytu's food) with noodles or rice.
Ashbless
I took a week off from the tote as I wasn't eating quickly enough. From prior veggie deliveries I have loads of apples and oranges, 3 or 4 onions, and swiss chard still in the fridge. I've guests coming over to play Arkham horror on sunday so I thought I'd cut up the fruit into finger food.
Any suggestions for onions? I know they go well into homemade soups and added with hamburger but does anyone know how to go about making french onion soup?

My choice may have been a good one. Apparently this weeks tote included nettles. Aren't nettles weeds? The info sheet suggested steamng them to avoid the narsty stinging sensation. Still - can't say I'd've been very keen.
Kitty
French onion soup!!!

Its honestly supposed to be really super simple and not involve any wine. Just onions, butter, stock and flour. Slice up the onions thinly, toss in a large pot with butter and cook them down until they're mushy and brown, make a roux with butter and flour (I've honestly never had much luck with this part.... my roux always ends up very lumpy and yuck.... try making the roux in a separate pot or just buying the pre-made stuff that comes in a jar) add in stock and cook until heated.

Put some in a bowl (a bowl just a tiny bit larger than what you want your serving to be) top with slices of french bread and cheese (something you like, I think traditionally its gruyere, but emmentaler or swiss works nicely) pop it under the broiler untill the cheese is a little bubbly and a tiny bit brown. Enjoy!

Alternatively, if you don't want to mess with the roux you could thicken it with a bit of corn or potato starch mixed with cold water and then poured into the soup (if you add starch directly to hot liquid it clumps up and is impossible to fix....)
Moosh
QUOTE (Kitty @ Apr 19 2009, 03:54 AM) *
make a roux with butter and flour (I've honestly never had much luck with this part.... my roux always ends up very lumpy and yuck.... try making the roux in a separate pot or just buying the pre-made stuff that comes in a jar)


Don't you stir milk into a roux to stop it going lumpy and yuck? (I've only done it once and I can't really remember, so may be wrong.)
Kitty
QUOTE (CheeseMoose @ Apr 19 2009, 06:08 AM) *
Don't you stir milk into a roux to stop it going lumpy and yuck? (I've only done it once and I can't really remember, so may be wrong.)


Nope. A lot of cream sauces have a roux base though, so maybe thats what you're thinking?

You do have to slowly add the liquid to a roux to make sure it doesn't get lumpy. Don't dump all the stock in at once!! add maybe a quarter of it and get it mixed in really well before you add the rest.
leopold
Apparently, nettles are supposed to be quite nice (apart from the stingy bits!) and they can be used in much the same way as other cookable greens like spinach and spring cabbage. They have to be cooked in order to wilt the stings, but if you're brave you can eat them raw. There's a soup recipe which sounds like it'd be nice, but I've never tried it; I guess in a way I'm lucky I don't get much in the way of nettle growth in my garden.

Yes, nettles are weeds. So are dandelions, which have edible leaves and can be brewed to make wine, which is very nice! Dill is also a weed, and that stuff is great on fish, better than parsley IMHO. So don't write it off just because it's a weed. Genus means nothing. I'd not be tempted to eat rat, but rabbit tastes nice, and yet they are both rodents.

Onions can be used in just about anything. Try roasting them with other vegetables, such as potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash and carrots, with a good dose of salt and pepper. You can use them as part of many dishes. I could list them, but they'll work with just about anything.
Eli
Came across a website earlier this week which actually reminds me a lot of this thread. A shame I can't remember the site. Anyways. Apparently a certain corn-infecting disease is harvested along with the disease-rotten corn and is sold in a nice can by...Goya? not sure. It's usually served in a nice soft taco. Delicious stuff. (NOOO.) Never tried it, but the thought of eating puss-filled corn that looks like its been attacked by the mumps and a good helping of a possible staff infection just gets my mouth watering.
Phyllis
You can make nettle tea!

Onions -- do you have a crock pot? Peel the onions, chop them into quarters, stick them in the crock pot with a couple of tablespoons of butter, and leave them to slow cook for about 6 hours. Best caramelised onions ever. They can be added to all sorts of things, and the leftovers freeze really nicely.
Ashbless
Oyster mushrooms? Can they be used like any ordinary white mushrooms or are there preparation things I should know about?
I was also happy to find blood oranges. I'm getting a bit fruit heavy again in the fridge so it's time to go back to fruit salad for breakfast I suppose.
Daria
Oh god oyster mushrooms are SO good. Tougher in texture than "normal" mushrooms, with a deeper flavour. Really really really good cooked in butter with thin slices of zucchini (I usually use a potato peeler to slice them), some garlic and black pepper and eaten with pasta. Or just in stir fry. Or on toast. (Things are good on toast >_>)

I had some for tea in a thai-esque curry I made with peppers, carrots and lime. As a long-time vegetarian, I sometimes get chew-cravings and oyster (and shiitake) mushrooms are good for sating the carnivorous-teeth needs.
Ashbless
Freshly squeezed orange juice is very good. Freshly squeezed orange juice cut with freshly squeezed lemon juice (3:1) is an interesting taste sensation that I may not repeat for a while. blink.gif
It'd sure wake me up if I'd've chosen to drink it in the morning. As it is I've at least maxed my vitamin C requirement. biggrin.gif
elphaba2
Oh no! The orange juice!

There's a juice stand I go to sometimes that has a pineapple-apple-lemon mix they call the Hangover Cure. Not sure about the ratios, but you should try it if you've got a pineapple on hand--though I doubt it'll come in a BC farm-produce box.

(from my experience it doesn't really work, but--still delicious)
leopold
I dpn't think oyster mushrooms need any different prep to any other mushrooms. As Daria says, they're good in place of ordinary mushrooms, but I'd save them for use in dishes where you'd need a mushroomy flavour, such as the more delicately flavoured Far Eastern dishes. Or on toast smile.gif I don't think they work as well in a steak and mushroom pie, it'd be a waste of the taste and texture.

QUOTE (Ashbless @ May 5 2009, 05:14 AM) *
Freshly squeezed orange juice cut with freshly squeezed lemon juice (3:1) is an interesting taste sensation that I may not repeat for a while. blink.gif

Ooh, zingy! That's quite a high ratio of lemon juice and I'm not surprised you found it so, erm, intriguing. That much citrus juice is going to be a lip-shrinker whatever ratio you use, so if you're going to mix orange and lemon then you might want to cut it with a sweeter fruit juice such as apple, pear or pineapple.

As for a hangover cure, the only thing I've found that comes close (without reaching for pharmaceuticals) is a tall glass of ice-cold, full bore cola. If it's missing either the caffeine or the sugar - or, god forbid, both - then it doesn't work. Alas, this won't come in a farm produce box of any variety.
Ashbless
Are yam fries made in a similar way to potato based fries? There's a half dozen yams in the crisper at the moment.

Thank you for all the fantastic ideas by the way. It's been more fun thanks to you lot. biggrin.gif

The rest of the basket is pretty usual stuff. Lettuce, some radishes, kiwi fruit (grown here), a couple mangos (californian), some apples, a leek (one huge leek) and an onion. The leek I'm going to drop off at a friend's to go into ratatoie. Spelling? unsure.gif
Mayhap he'll offer to share.
Single ladies he's available. He's a good cook and a witty conversationalist. And he'd be some annoyed to find me advertising him on a forum so I'll just drop this shall I? laugh.gif

Yam fries?
leopold
Yam fries, no idea. I wouldn't know a yam if I fell over it, then it got up and bit me on the leg before announcing it was a yam and it didn't take too kindly to having blundering greal lummoxes like me falling over them.

The spelling is "ratatouille". When done properly, it's very nice indeed.
Ashbless
The latest strange root is fresh ginger. I've some ideas from a cookbook by James Barber (the urban peasant). Apparently there's loads of food it's useful in. The ginger you get in Japanese restaurants is pickled, isn't it?

The yams are slowly being eaten. They're similar to potatoes in how they can be prepared. A local deli style vegetarian bakery also does a very yummy yam and squash salad with maple syrup and walnuts but I'm not sure of the spices/other stuff they add into it. I'll try to find out. Squash is usually available in the grocery store for reasonable prices.
elphaba2
Fresh ginger is awesome for fishes--if you like salmon, you can take ginger and soy sauce and make a tasty, classic glaze.
Daria
*puts ginger in just about anything and everything...* >_>
Ashbless
I've asked to skip this week as I've still got loads of veggies in the fridge.
I was thinking of bock choy in will chicken soup but does anyone have any other ways they love to use it?
It doesn't help that I still pick up fruit and veggies at the store sometimes. They had fresh cherries the other day! It's too tempting even when I know there's fruit at home that I should eat.
elphaba2
Not a huge bok choy fan myself but my roommate used to love sticking it in a pan with some garlic and olive oil, then drizzling with an eense of sesame oil after it was done. Pretty good way to cook most veggies, actually!
leopold
I've never tried Bok Choi either (do they spell this differently in different countries, I wonder?) but I've used Pak Choi a number of times. If they have any similarity - and I'm waiting for someone to tell me it's the same stuff now! - then it's a very mild cabbage flavour which responds best to a stir-fry or a quick steam. That said, I never boil cabbage anyway, the result is horrid mush which smells of old socks... eurgh! I wouldn't use it in a soup, either. Not after last time.

Elph's suggestion is how I'd do it, more or less. I'd use some grated ginger as well as the oils and fry it quickly, so it's just starting to wilt. Use it as a bed for Pad Thai or a piece of seared salmon, mmmm! Damn, now I'm hungry again sad.gif
Ashbless
What's a fennel bulb? It sort of looks like a stunted fat celery cluster with dill attached. I suppose lobbing it at a friend if he arrives without pressies is out of the question. So, barring friend abuse, how does one use this veg?

Ohhh, fresh spinach. Spinach salad for lunch tomorrow. Hurrah!
Phyllis
Do you like the taste of aniseed? If not, give the fennel to someone who does.

If you do, then I've heard that it's nice roasted with a bit of olive oil. Can't stand the stuff myself, so I suppose I'll never find out. smile.gif
leopold
I made potato and fennel soup once, which went down well with the kids (amazingly, because I didn't think they'd like it). Steam the fennel bulb for about 5 minutes, then chop it up and use instead of leeks in leek & potato soup. Tasted quite nice and the taste of anise doesn't come through too strongly.

You can use it raw in salads, but as Cand says, if you aren't big on aniseed then it's not going to be that nice.

Oh, and I've been told you shouldn't eat the fronds (the fluffy stuff atop the bulb) but I've no idea why.
Kitty
QUOTE (leopold @ Jun 8 2009, 07:17 AM) *
Oh, and I've been told you shouldn't eat the fronds (the fluffy stuff atop the bulb) but I've no idea why.


The fronds are actually okay to eat. Though for some reason, most recipes say not to use them.

They're great if you slice them thickly, put them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and top with parmesan and put in the oven till they're toasty looking. Also, if you're interested in making them as a salad-y type thing my favorite way to do it is to slice the fennel thinly (as thin as possible) and to then top with olive oil (the best you have) lemon, a tiny bit of garlic and pepper, and bulgur wheat (soak it in water until its tender. Usually 10-20 minutes)

Also, it is apparently a great vegetable for relieving gas. Read the wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fennel
leopold
On the subject of thin slicing of vegetables, make sure you have a large cooks knife, one like this:



And make sure it is obscenely sharp. Invest in a knife sharpener and use it regularly. You need the knife to be so sharp it'll cut an atmosphere biggrin.gif You'll then be able to slice wafers out of anything. Just keep your fingers out of the way, and be careful when washing it.

Don't use this for carving meat, though. Large blades like this drag on the meat and make it hard to carve. For that you need something narrower:



And this needs to be sharp, too. So sharp it has an immediate witty and ascerbic retort for all situations. Anything less and you aren't carving the meat, you're bludgeoning it.

And neither of these are much good for cutting soft fruit, tomatoes, cheese or bread. These are all different knives again, but I'm not posting any more pictures as I'm sure everyone is getting bored now. Also, I've run out of sharp metaphors.
Kitty
On a tangent to what Leopold just posted.... There are ceramic knifes made by Kyocera that are absolutely amazing. Perfect for someone that doesn't like to take care of their knives.... They don't need sharpening more than once every year or two (you have to send them into Kyocera to get this done, unfortunately) The only thing you really need to take care of is not to drop them or try to pry with them (they're ceramic and will shatter/break)
Mata
... Or you could be lazy like me and get a decent set of kitchen scissors. Having trouble cutting the nasty bits off of half-frozen chicken? Get out the scissors. Bacon needs the fat cutting off of it? Get out the scissors.

Between scissors, a small vegetable knife, and a mallet, I've got most kitchen situations covered biggrin.gif
leopold
I use scissors to trim bacon fat as well. Far easier than fiddling about with a knife, isn't it? Haven't tried them on chicken though, might give that a bash when the need arises.

And the only mallet I own is a rubber one which I used when doing some stuff with wood in the garden. I use the flat of my cooks knife to crush garlic and if I need to tenderise any meat I put it in a bag and whack it with the rolling pin.
Mata
A mallet and a whopping great big knife is the only decent way of splitting up frozen chicken breasts. It's also quite cathartic biggrin.gif
leopold
Crikey! I wouldn't want to be your cutting surface ph34r.gif

It is annoying trying to separate chicken breasts from each other when you only want one, and if you're anything like me then you've already frozen them before considering the possibility of separating them and freezing them individually. But then I don't need to separate frozen chicken breasts very often. Normally I need several, and since they are packed in severals, it all works out quite nicely. They tend to separate quite easily without the ice bonding them together.
Ashbless
Okay I've another veg I've never known existed. Anyone know how to cook a dusky eggplant? Or should I look into how far it can be tossed with a model trebuchet. I'm loving the science shop now that I've mondays off again. biggrin.gif
Kitty
A quick google search resulted in pictures of eggplants that are most common around I live. They cook up like any other eggplant; salt them and drain them before cooking if you're worried about bitterness.

One of my favorite recipe's is from Nigella and happens to be on the front page of her website today!

http://www.nigella.com/recipe/recipe_detail.aspx?rid=284
craziness
yum! the fresh veggies sound so good, and so do everyone's ideas of what to do with them! personally i'm in love with this website: www.allrecipes.com
you can put the ingredient you have into one slot and it spits out a bunch of recipes with that in it. it's really cool. i hope this helps!
Kitty
Anyone know much about pumpkins?

I've recently been experimenting cooking pumpkins and I haven't been having much luck. I've had two sugar pie pumpkins and both never seem to cook though, no matter how long I put them in the oven. They seem to stay fairly firm with a raw-ish texture and the flesh is a bit stringy looking, and more yellow than orange.

Any idea's why this is happening? Is it the pumpkin or me?
elphaba2
Pre-cooking the pumpkin'll get rid of that problem, but then your pie will look a great deal like it came from a can. Are you into that?

I don't know these things. But the last two pumpkins I bought were chopped, peeled, thrown in boiling water (you can also steam pumpkin, but it takes longer and I haven't noticed any difference in taste) for 20 minutes, then pureed in the food processor. You're left with delicious SMOOTH PURE PUMPKIN STUFF which can get added to everything--yogurt, oatmeal, bread, your friend's faces, etc.

But if you don't want to go the whole hog as far as pureeing goes, try just slammin them dudes into boiling water for a few minutes, then seasoning and popping in your pie crust. Might work?
Daria
Like various kinds of squash, pumpkin contains a whoooole lot of water, so what I do is roast it. If you peel it, then chop it into chunks/ slices and roast it without any oil, you can then use it for sweet or savoury dishes.

I usually make honeyed pumpkin and apple crumble, cooking the pumpkin in a pan with honey and various spices like nutmeg and cinnamon and putting it into the crumble dish with the apple raw.
Curried pumpkin and carrot soup is also a good use, but I would definitely recommend roasting the pumpkin first.
Hobbes
QUOTE (Daria @ Oct 25 2009, 01:03 PM) *
I usually make honeyed pumpkin and apple crumble


Oh for goodnes sake... you'd think by now, modern technology would allow you to upload me a crumble that I can download into my tummy sad.gif
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