After being out of town for several days, I’ve found an overabundance of ripe tomatoes in my personal garden. In other words, I better get busy canning or get busy cooking. This week, Heidi at the farm sent me home with a wonderful mix of goodies this week, including that delightfully fragrant basil which was a perfect mix with our family’s tomato harvest. Whether you grow your own tomatoes or have recently bought some at the local market, this recipe is quite delicious and simple; Highlighting the vibrant flavors of summer. In place of the black plum tomatoes listed below, you can swap them out for a Roma tomato or any other small variety. Enjoy!
Peeling your tomatoes - Bring a large pot of water to boil. Have a separate large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a little X on the bottom of each of your tomatoes (this will help the peeling process along). Add 6-8 tomatoes to the pot at a time and allow to boil for about 15 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them into the ice water. The skin should slide right off but if it's being a bit stubborn, use the end of a paring knife to help ease it off. Cut each of the tomatoes in half and use your finger to remove the seeds.
In a large saute pan (large enough to fit all of your pasta at the end) add your olive oil and heat on medium. Add your tomatoes, red wine and a pinch of salt. Allow to cook until soft and tender. With a potato masher, smoosh your tomatoes. Stirring occasionally, continue to cook for about 20 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
In a separate large pot, add 1 tablespoon of salt to boiling water. Cook your spaghetti until its just SHY of being al dente. Strain the pasta reserving a little bit of the pasta water. Add the cooked spaghetti to your pasta sauce, gently tossing and mixing the noodles. Continue to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes - if your sauce seems a little too thick, add 1 tablespoon of the reserved pasta water at a time.
Remove from heat and add your basil, butter and Parmesan cheese. Gently toss the pasta, blending well allowing the butter to melt and cote the noodles. Serve immediately.
Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I hate meatloaf. We’ve all had our remarkably awful memories of a family members dry and dreadful meatloaf. Admittedly, it took some time for me to hop on the meatloaf wagon due to severe childhood scarring. Meatloaf can really be delicious… if prepared properly. I decided to make an alternative recipe with the overabundance of leeks that I’ve had in my possession as of late. Secondly, I’ve discovered that large amounts of garlic intake and feeding a newborn baby does not go well together and results in a very gassy baby. What does that mean? I’ve had to find a way to replace my love for garlic in MANY of my recipes (sigh). The answer was LEEKS! One day I’ll be able to reintroduce garlic back into my diet but leeks will do for now. You can always add garlic to the recipe below and feel sorry for me later.
The key to keeping your meatloaf from tasting like the Sahara is to COOK your vegetables before adding them to your meat mixture and allowing them to cool. The addition of a little milk to your breadcrumbs will result in a very juicy, memorable (in a good way) meatloaf. I topped this one off with some homemade curry ketchup (you can find a great recipe here) or use some of your favorite bottled kind from the European market.
Clean and thinly slice your leek. Finely mince the onion, celery, bell peppers, celery and shred your carrots.
In a saute pan over low-medium heat, add your olive oil, the chopped and shredded veggies and red wine. Add fresh thyme, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes until onions are translucent. Stir frequently. Set aside and allow to COOL.
In a small bowl, add your bread crumbs and milk. Allow to soak for a few minutes.
In a separate large bowl, whisk your egg until frothy. Add your meat, cooked veggie mixture, soaked breadcrumbs and fresh chopped parsley. With clean hands, mix all of the ingredients together.
In a large baking pan, lightly oil the bottom and add the meat mix forming it into (you guessed it) a loaf!
Mix the honey and curry ketchup in a small dish and coat the top of your loaf with appx 1/4 cup.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for appx 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and add another 1/4 cup of ketchup to the top of it. Place your loaf back into the oven and cook for another 15 minutes.
Slice and serve with the remaining sauce along with some mashed potatoes and your favorite veggies! (We chose beets)
With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, we’ve whipped up a little Irish dinner with some of the goodies we included in this week’s CSA share. I tend to shy away from the American beer with green food colouring and routy “Irish” themed parties. Instead, I try to honor my great-grandparents by cooking some traditional peasant food and having a nice Irish stout. Boring isn’t it?
Included in this recipe are a few items from your box. Potatoes (of course) are used along with the rutabagas, carrots and yellow onions. Traditionally, the stew would be served with lamb but due to some objections in our household we swapped it out with some local Washington pasture beef. Another spin on my usual recipe is the choice of beer. I decided to keep things local by using Iron Horse Brewery’s Irish Death. It’s a little sweeter than Guinness which pairs perfectly with the dish in my personal opinion. All of which came from the wonderfully wet state of Washington.
Our cat Jones INSISTED on being in the photo but I assure you, no kitties were harmed in the preparation of this dish. The cow on the other-hand I cannot vouch for. Prepare your mise en place (no clue how to say that in Gaelic) By cutting up your onions in large pieces. Smash and finely chop your garlic. Peel and cut your carrots and rutabagas into about 3/4 inch chunks. Scrub and remove eyes from your potatoes and large 1 inch chunks. Set aside.
Season your stew meat with 1 tbsp of salt and and 1 tsp of pepper. Once seasoned, take a few paper towels and DRY the meat really well on all sides. This will help with the searing of the meat.
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat to medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add your meat a little at a time in batches without overcrowding the pot. Sear on each side for about 4 minutes. Add your finished meat to a separate bowl and set aside as you sear each batch.
Remove all of your meat from the stock pot and set aside. Deglaze the pot with 3/4 cup of dry red wine and lower your heat. Whisk for about 4 minutes and get all of the stuck on meat goodies stirred up.
At this point, add your onions and garlic and allow to cook until translucent and your wine has reduced and coated your onions.
Return your meat chunks back to the pot and pour in 2 1/2 cups of stout beer and 32 oz. of beef broth along with your chopped carrots, 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and let simmer on low for 90 minutes.
After your meat and carrots have been simmering, add your potatoes, rutabagas and pearl barley. Cover and simmer on low heat for another hour. This would be a great time to start cooking your Irish Soda Bread *hint hint* (recipe link located above)
After it's been cooking, remove the lid and stir the pot. Make sure to get all of the barley that may be on the bottom. Continue to simmer UNCOVERED for another 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and your potatoes and barley have cooked through.
Add salt and pepper to taste and chopped parsley. Stir and remove from heat and serve with Irish Soda Bread. Enjoy!