Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chicken Sausage with Kabocha Squash Mash

Before the devastating floods that ended our CSA season last year, the farm was doing really well and was able to freeze some of the vegetables they were growing in anticipation of the Winter Share.  We unfortunately were not able to have our winter share, but the farm did sell the vegetables they were able to freeze and I got a 16oz package of frozen, pureed Kabocha Squash.  This is how I used it.  
Chicken Sausage with Kabocha Squash Mash
based on Everyday Food’s Cider-Glazed Chicken Sausages withButternut Mash
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
8 chicken sausages
1 t ground, dried sage
2 cups apple juice
salt and pepper
1 16ox package of frozen, pureed Kabocha Squash
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sausages and cook until sausage begin to brown, about 10 minutes.  Turn sausage occasionally to brown different sides.  Add sage and apple juice and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine potato and apple.  Cover with 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Cook until tender, 15 minutes.
Drain the potato and apple, then transfer to a container to blend with an immersion blender or a food processor.  Add the squash.  Process until smooth.  Add the yogurt and season with salt and pepper.  Pulse to incorporate the yogurt.
Serve the mash with sausages and onions.

Essential CSA Kitchen Tools – Ice Cube Trays

Do you have any ice cube trays?  Many of us may not because our refrigerators have ice makers. 
I do have several ice cube trays I use to store my CSA herbs and pesto.  I had a friend who went out and bought some after I told her how to store her CSA herbs.
In our CSA we get a small handful of two or three herbs every week.  Sometimes I don’t use them quick enough.  Like Basil on a Caprese Salad is only a scattering of leaves.  The basil is well used, but does not get you through the whole handful.    When we get Dill I do not have enough recipes in my repertoire or the taste buds for Dill to use it all in a timely fashion.  So...ice cube trays become an essential CSA Kitchen Tool.
Check out this post from 2010 about Freezing Herbs.  It details the process of freezing the herbs and putting them to use all winter in soups, stews, and braises.
I also will make pesto from all of my herbs and freeze them in the ice cube trays.  Then you can use them as needed. 
I’ve made several varieties of pesto in the past.
Basil Pesto
Arugula Pesto
Cilantro Pesto
Parsley Pesto
Looking forward to CSA season!  7 weeks till the first pick up!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Swiss Steak

My husband’s favorite meal is Swiss Steak.  I have never made this meal for him...until Monday night.  While growing up his grandmother made it for him on birthdays and special occasions, and likely just about any time he asked.  We’ve been together 14 years and during that time I’ve showed him many different recipes.  With each one I was sure he would say, “YES!!!, try this one – it sounds just like what I grew up with”.  He has never said that.  It has occurred to me many times just to make “The Joy of Cooking” version and see what he thinks.  So, with two pieces of steak still in the freezer from our CSA beef share, I did just that on Monday night.  It was DELICIOUS and my husband thought so too, BUT it apparently was NOT Swiss Steak.  
Monday Menu – Swiss Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli
Farm Share Food- Strip Steak, Rib Steak, Basil
The recipe calls for 2 pounds of bottom round or round steak.  I used the strip steak and rib steak I had from our CSA beef share.
Swiss Steak
from “The Joy of Cooking”
2 pounds beef
1 t minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 T bacon drippings (or vegetable oil)
1 cup diced onions
1 cup chopped carrots
½ cup diced celery
1 ½ cups chicken stock
2 T tomato paste
2 T chopped fresh basil (frozen from CSA season)
½ t dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Pat beef dry and sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper.  Dredge in flour and shakes off excess.
Heat bacon drippings in a Dutch oven on high heat.  Add the coated steak and sear until browned on both sides, 6-8 minutes total.  Remove the meat from the pan and reserve.
Add onions, carrots, and celery to the Dutch oven.  Cook until the vegetables have softened, 5-10 minutes.  Then add broth, tomato paste, basil, thyme and bay leaves. 
Return the meat to the pan.  Cover and bake 2 hours.
Serve by removing the meat to a platter.  Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.  Then spread vegetable mixture over the beef.

Back in the Groove....

It’s time to get back into the blogging groove for the 2012 CSA season!  First pick up is June 12th – can’t wait.

In the coming weeks watch for three posts about kitchen tools that are essential when you have a CSA.

April 24th – Ice Cube Trays

May 8th – Immersion Blender

May 22nd – Salad Spinner

 When the 2011 season ended I shared what I had stored up for the winter months.  As we gear up for the 2012 season I thought I would share what was left.  I’ll get back into the groove by posting how we are using up the last of what is stored.
Winter Squash
Crushed Tomato
Summer Squash Puree
Zucchini Puree
Parsley Pesto
Top Roast
Short Ribs
Ground Beef