Tag Archives: locavore

Creamy Gorgonzola & Beet Pasta

A different kind of red sauce Italian.

For those of you keeping score at home we try to use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible and winter is no exception. With a generous gift of tasty beets from our friend Nette’s CSA we decided to recreate a pasta favorite of ours. Inspired by a dish at Locale, a great Italian joint in Astoria, this gorgonzola and beet bonanza is the definition of “not light fare,” but what it lacks in subtlety is braggadociously made up for by it’s sweet/earthy/tangy flavor.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Pot, Wooden Spoon, Frying Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Vegetable Peeler, Colander

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6-8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Riesling, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pale Ales, Witbiers, Brown Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb  gemelli pasta ($1.50/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 large red beet ($1.99/lb)
  • 2 C milk ($1.19/QT)
  • 6 oz gorgonzola cheese ($7.99/lb)
  • 1/2 C walnut halves (about $9/lb)
  • 3 TBSP butter, divided ($4.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar ($1.39/lb)
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar (about $6/17 oz bottle)
  • 1/3 C flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Before you start any cooking, dice your onion, mince your garlic, mince your walnuts and peel and shred your beet; this will save you time later.

Don't wear white while you're doing this; beet juice will find a way to get on everything.

  • Fill one of your pots about 3/4 full of water and put it over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and throw in about a palmful of salt. Add the pasta and a splash of olive oil, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until it’s soft but still has a little bite to it (a.k.a. al dente).
  • While the pasta is cooking put the frying pan over medium heat and throw in 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onions and garlic with a healthy dash of salt and pepper and cook them down for about 5 minutes. Once they’ve softened add the honey, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Stir everything up so it’s mixed well and drop the heat on your burner to low. Stir occasionally and let those puppies caramelize while you continue to prepare everything else.

Caramelized onions are the little black dress of flavor; a versatile addition for almost any occasion.

  • When your pasta is cooked drain it. At this point you should either grab another pot or just set your pasta aside for a few minutes while you reuse the pasta pot.
  • Put your pot back over medium heat and put in the other 2 tablespoons of butter. Once it’s melted, add about 1/4C of flour and stir thoroughly to start your roux (the thickening base for many sauces). Cook this until it’s a golden brown and stir in the milk.
  • At this point stir in the gorgonzola until it’s melted then add your beets to the mix. Mix together and toss the pasta back in the pot. Stir to coat everything evenly, add the caramelized onions and walnuts, stirring again to distribute. Serve with good bread and/or a light salad.

Add the beets once the cheese has incorporated into the sauce.

Orchard Sauce

Looks like applesauce, tastes like apple sauce with pears. Whoa!

Ok, we picked a cutesy name because it was shorter than saying apple and bosc pear sauce. Ginger and honey give this side dish standby a novel twist. Take it a step further and use apple cider instead of water for a richer flavor.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Pot, Potato Masher, Wooden Spoon, Vegetable Peeler, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Immersion Blender (optional)

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay, Viognier

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Lager, Hard Cider if you want a fruit overload

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs apples (about $1.50/lb)
  • 4 medium bosc pears ($1.99/lb)
  • 1/4 C water (free)
  • 1 TBSP light brown sugar ($1.39/lb)
  • 2 TSP ground cinnamon ($3/2.4 oz jar)
  • 1-2 TBSP ground ginger ($3.39/2 oz jar)
  • 1-2 TBSP honey ($3.99/12 oz)

Preparation:

  • Peel the apples and pears. Scoop out the core of the pears with a spoon and cube them into 1/4 inch pieces.

If you've got a corer you can use that but a spoon works just as well.

  • Cut the sides of the apples away from the cores and cube them into 1/4 inch pieces too.
  • Toss all the fruit into the pot and put it over medium-low heat. Add the water and stir occasionally. After about 5 minutes toss in the brown sugar, cinnamon, 1 TBSP of ginger and 1 TBSP of honey. Stir again and cook down for another 15 minutes.

Ginger gives the sauce a slightly spicy yet harmonious flavor.

  • At this point you should be able to mash things down a bit. Squish what you can, give it another stir and keep cooking. Continue to mash everything once every 5 minutes until it’s no longer chunky. Season to taste with more cinnamon, honey and ginger. If you have an immersion blender stick it in there to smooth things out a bit, otherwise cool, serve and call it rustic-style.

This is a good dish to make if you've had a tough day at work. The harder you mash the better it gets.

Autumn Harvest Wraps

Roasted harvest goodness all done up.

This wrap is an easy way to use a hodge podge of veggies to create a cornucopia of fall’s best flavors. Lose the kielbasa to make it a satisfying vegetarian delight. Lose the cheese to make it a vegan delight, then never call us again.

Equipment Needed: 2 Baking Sheets, Wooden Spoon, 3 QT Pot w/ Lid, Steamer Basket, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Toothpicks

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6 wraps

Suggested Wine Pairing: Old Vine Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Rioja

Suggested Beer Pairing: Brown Ale, Oktoberfest, Dunkelweizen, Dopplebock, Brown Belgians

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of turkey kielbasa ($4.99/16 oz)
  • 1 butternut squash ($1.99/lb)
  • 1 bunch baby turnips (about $2.99/bunch)
  • 3 apples (about $1.50/lb)
  • 1 bunch kale ($1.50/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lb. fontina cheese ($7.99/lb)
  • 6 whole wheat wraps ($2.89/8 pack)
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar ($2.79/32 oz)
  • 2 TBSP grade A maple syrup ($7/8 oz)
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • 1 TBSP ground allspice ($3.79/1.95 oz jar)
  • 1/2 TBSP cayenne pepper ($2/3.5 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the fontina in the freezer to make it easier to grate.
  • Wash and peel the squash. Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut it into 1/2 inch chunks.

Cut the squash into bite-sized cubes for even roasting and easy eating.

  • Peel and halve your onion then cut it into thin strips. Mince the garlic  spread both evenly over the squash.
  • Wash the turnips and cut off the stems. Depending on their size either halve or quarter them; you want the pieces to be roughly the same size as the squash. Toss it in with everything else.

It's hard to come up with a witty caption for turnips. Fail.

  • Wash the apples and cut the sides off as close to the core as possible without getting any seeds or husk.

Don't slice the apples too thinly or they'll be too mushy.

  • Pour the vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil over the top of the veggies. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of salt and pepper in addition to the allspice and cayenne pepper evenly over the mix and stir everything together to evenly coat things. Toss the veggies in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • While the roasting is making it all happen, put your steamer basket in the 3 quart pot and add water until it just touches the bottom of the basket.
  • Cut the end of the stems off the kale, wash the leaves and cut them into 1 inch strips. Toss them in the steamer, cover the pot and put it over medium heat. Cook everything down for about 30 minutes or until tender.

We've never eaten as much kale as we have with this CSA.

  • While everything is cooking in its own special ways, take the kielbasa and cut it on a bias (diagonally) into 1/2 inch discs. Cut each disc in half and add it to the roasting mix with about 10 minutes left on the timer to heat it up (it’s pre-cooked).
  • Grate the fontina and set it aside. Once the veggies are roasted and the kale is soft take each wheat wrap and layer on the fillings. We like to lay down the roasted veggie mix, then the kale, then the cheese. Leave about an inch of space on each end of the wrap (just pick 2 opposite sides to be the ends) and fold the end up over top of the filling. Fold each side over and hold the whole thing in place with a couple strategically placed toothpicks.
  • Repeat the process until you’re out of ingredients and put them on your other baking sheet. Pop them back in the oven for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese, remove the toothpicks (very important) and enjoy.

Chicken Piccata with Warm Arugula Salad

 

It may not be a fall harvest, but your tongue will reap the rewards.

 

With fall well underway we aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to brighter, lighter dishes just yet. Our variation on this classic Italian dish uses lemon zest in the breading for more flavor and arugula in the salad for a nice, peppery counterpoint. Canned and frozen veggies, while not always ideal, reduce the time it takes to get from the stove to your mouth. We figured you’d be ok with that.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, 3 Plates, Spatula, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Bowl, Colander, Fork, Microplane, Paper Towels

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Lager, Lighter Ales

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts ($5.99/lb)
  • 3 eggs ($2.50/dozen)
  • 3 lemons ($0.50/each)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 4-6 C flour, divided ($1.89/2 lb bag)
  • 10 oz frozen peas ($1/package)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts ($3/13.75 oz)
  • 1/4lb  arugula ($3.89/5 oz)
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
  • Capers ($2/3 oz jar)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Wash and drain the arugula. Drain the can of artichoke hearts and cut them into quarters. Mince your garlic and set these three ingredients aside.
  • Wash and trim the chicken breasts and cut each one in half horizontally (like you were trying to butterfly them and went too far). If you really wanna put the effort in you can take a meat tenderizer and pound them thin, but this is quicker, easier and less messy.
  • Crack your eggs into a bowl, add a splash of water and whisk thoroughly. Put equal amounts of flour on two plates and arrange them flour plate, egg bowl, flour plate.
  • In the second flour plate add about two tablespoons of pepper and, using your microplane, grate in the skin of two lemons (congrats, you’ve just zested something). Make sure you stop when you start to see white, otherwise things will get bitter. Stir the flour, pepper and lemon zest together so all three are evenly incorporated.

 

Be careful to avoid the pith (white part) to keep everything citrusy.

 

  • Put the frying pan over medium heat and add about 1/4 inch of olive oil. Before you start dredging and frying take a third plate and put a couple of paper towels on it so you can drain the chicken a bit before serving.
  • Dredge each chicken breast in this order: flour, egg, flour/lemon mix. Once you’ve coated as many pieces as will fit in the pan at once place them in gently to avoid splattering. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side until the flour crust is a golden brown with crispy bits.

 

An initial hit of flour helps everything stick to the chicken better.

 

 

See you on the flipside.

 

  • Once the chicken is cooked place it on the paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt and squeeze a healthy dose of lemon juice on each piece. Add more olive oil to the pan to keep the level constant and repeat dredging, frying and flavoring until every piece is done. At this point you can either put a cover over the chicken or toss it in the oven at 200°F to keep it warm while you finish the salad.
  • In the same pan re-coat the bottom with olive oil, add the garlic and cook it down for 2 minutes. Toss in the peas, artichoke hearts and vinegar and heat the whole mix until the peas are cooked through (about 5-8 minutes).

 

Vinegar complements the lemon and keeps the veggies in check.

 

  • On each serving plate add a bed of arugula, a couple scoops of the veggie mixture and place the chicken on top. Spoon about a tablespoon of capers over everything for a nice briny counterpoint.

Potato Salad with Peas

A side dish for all seasons.

This picnic classic makes the easy transition from summer staple to tailgate treat (bonus: if you can boil water you can make this dish). We were fortunate enough to have potatoes, onions and peppers from our CSA to bring the freshness. Peas and dill keep things light(ish) while a hit of mustard keeps your tongue interested.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Pot w/lid, 2 QT Pot w/lid, 1 QT Pot,  Serving Bowl or Casserole Dish, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Grassy, mineral-y whites to cut through the dressing

Suggested Beer Pairing: Whatever’s in the cooler

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs potatoes ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 green pepper ($1.99/lb)
  • 10 oz frozen peas ($1/10 oz package)
  • 2 eggs (about $2/dozen)
  • 1/4-1/2 C mayonnaise ($3.99/15 oz)
  • 3 TBSP white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
  • 3 TBSP deli/brown mustard ($1.99/12 oz)
  • 1 TBSP sugar ($1.39/lb)
  • 2 TSP dried dill ($3.50/2.3 oz jar)
  • Garlic powder ($1.99/2.5 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Scrub and wash the potatoes, removing any of the eyes. Leaving the skin on, quarter your spuds and put them in the 3 QT pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until a fork can slide into a chunk without resistance (about 30 minutes).
  • While the potatoes are boiling put your eggs in the other pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat off, cover and let them sit for 12 minutes in the hot water. Drain and pop them in the fridge until you’re ready to mix the salad.
  • While everything else is boiling (we told you there’d be boiling) cover the peas in water in the 1 QT pot and cook per the instructions (usually bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes).
  • As you’re waiting for the eggs, tubers and peas in the jacuzzi dice your onion and pepper. Once everything is cooked and drained, pop it in the fridge for an hour to cool everything down.

Be sure to remove the seeds and ribs from the inside before dicing.

  • Once they’re cooled, dice the potatoes into 1 inch chunks and toss them in the serving bowl or dish.

Cut into equally forkable pieces.

  • Shell and cut the eggs into tiny pieces and toss them in along with the peas, onions, mayo, mustard, dill and a couple of dashes of garlic powder. Mix together and more mayo or mustard until everything’s evenly coated; salt and pepper to taste.

Spicy mustard gives the salad a kick to keep you coming back.

Fried Eggplant with Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio pesto brings this one to a new level.

At our parents house last week, Mom decided she wanted some eggplant. never content to leave well enough alone we decided to up the ante and add a delicious pesto variation, some fresh tomatoes from the garden, and some fresh mozzarella. The result was a delicious Italian-inspired lunch celebrating the final flavors of summer.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Spatula, 2 Baking Sheets, Food Processor, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, 2 Plates, Bowl, Fork

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sauvignon Blanc

Suggested Beer Pairing: Lager, Pilsner, Belgian White

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants ($1.49/lb)
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella ($6.99/lb)
  • 2 C fresh basil ($3/bunch, you’ll need about 2 bunches)
  • 4 eggs ($2/dozen)
  • Panko bread crumbs (around $3/12 oz)
  • Flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • 1/2 C pistachios (about $8/lb)
  • Parmagiano Reggiano cheese ($10/lb)
  • Fresh lemon juice ($0.50/lemon)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP water (free)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pesto Preparation:

  • Shell the pistachios and toss them in the food processor.
  • Wash your basil and take the leaves off the stems, measure out a loosely packed 2 cups and add them to the food processor as well.
  • Peel and halve the garlic cloves. For now, add only one of them to the mix. Drizzle in about 3 TBSP of olive oil and add roughly 1/4 C of cheese (you can add it in slices, small chunks or grate it). Pulse the mixture until it becomes a paste.

Don't be stingy with the oil, you want to be able to spread the pesto easily.

Ditto for the cheese. Don't be afraid to load it up.

  • Add 1 TBSP lemon juice (a big lemon’s worth), a pinch of salt and about 1/2 TBSP pepper. Hit pulse a few more times and adjust the pesto to your taste with more of any of the ingredients. We like to have a bit more of the pistachio and cheese flavor.

Eggplant Preparation:

  • Wash your eggplant and slice it into 1/4 inch discs (peel the eggplant beforehand if you like for a more tender bite; we did them half and half). Place on a baking sheet and salt liberally. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the salt to draw out some of their natural bitterness.

Cut into even-sized discs for quick, even cooking.

  • While the veggies are doing their osmosis thing, mix your eggs in a bowl with about 2 TBSP warm water. Pour the breadcrumbs on one plate and flour on another plate. Use about a cup of each at a time so you don’t get everything eggy all at once.
  • Pat the eggplant slices dry. To coat them,  dredge the pieces in flour, give them a quick dip in the eggwash, and then coat them with Panko. Return them to the baking sheet. Slice the mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices and have at the ready.

Pat the eggplant dry before you coat them.

Double coating it helps everything adhere better.

  • Preheat your oven to 250° F (this is to keep the eggplant warm while you fry the other pieces). Put your frying pan over medium head and coat the bottom of the pan liberally with olive oil.
  • Fry the eggplant pieces until nicely browned (about 3-4 minutes per side). Add back to the baking sheet and when a full sheet is done cover each slice with mozzarella and put them in the oven while you finish the others. Add more olive oil to the pan as required to keep things running smoothly.
  • Serve with the pesto, balsamic vinegar and sliced tomatoes if desired (highly recommended).

Carolina-style Honey Mustard Pulled Pork with Coleslaw

Nirvana on a bun.

Easy. Repeat after us, “easy.” When you realize that the preparation of the accompaniment is more complicated than something as delicious as pulled pork you’ll punch yourself in the face for not making this earlier. This is a sweet and spicy play on Carolina-style (read: vinegar-based) barbecue that’s a no-fail FAF (fire and forget; there, we can make catchphrases too).

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Dutch Oven or Heavy Oven-proof Pot, Colander, Mixing Bowl, Cheese Grater, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Spoon, 2 Forks

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Old Vine Zinfandel, Shiraz, Oaky Chardonnay

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Red Ale, Scotch Ale

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs boneless pork butt (usually around $2/lb)
  • 1 head cabbage ($1.50/lb)
  • 2 large carrots ($1.99/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 clove garlic ($1.99/lb)
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise ($3.99/15 oz)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon ($0.50/each)
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
  • 1 C honey mustard ($3/12 oz)
  • 1/2 C sugar ($2.39/2 lb box)
  • 1/4 C light brown sugar ($1.39/lb)
  • 3/4 C apple cider vinegar ($2.79/32 oz)
  • 1/4 C water (free)
  • 2 1/2 TBSP chili powder ($3/3.5 oz jar)
  • 1 TSP cayenne pepper ($3/2 oz jar
  • 1 TSP Worcestershire sauce ($3.75/10 oz)
  • Hamburger buns (optional) ($2.89/8 pack)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pork Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  • Whisk together the following ingredients in your dutch oven and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes: apple cider vinegar, both sugars, honey mustard, chili powder, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, water, garlic clove (peeled and halved), and 2 TBSP black pepper.

    Whisk that sauce up and make sure the bottom doesn't burn.

  • While your barbecue brew is cooking away salt and pepper your pork thoroughly. Once the sauce is ready pop that little piggy in and throw it in the oven for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until you can slide a fork into it with no resistance.
  • Using two forks, pull the meat apart until it’s fully shredded and has reabsorbed some of the barbecue sauce. Serve by itself or on a bun with a healthy scoop of slaw.

Shred that little piggy up real nice-like.

Coleslaw Preparation:

  • Peel and wash your carrots, then shred them down on your cheese grater.

A cheese grater makes short work of the carrots and keeps the pieces consistent.

  • Wash the cabbage and  cut it off the core in quarters. Turn each piece on its side and slice into thin pieces (as thin as you can get without losing any fingertips).

Cut that cruciferous beauty into thin slices.

  • Peel and cut the onion into eighths and slice into thin pieces (same fingertip rule applies).
  • Throw everything in a mixing bowl, add the vinegar, lemon juice and mayo and stir it all together. Adjust the creaminess with more or less mayo and vinegar accordingly. Salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside (or on top of as we prefer) that beautiful pork butt.