Oops, Beets!

Sooooooo I broke one of the fundamental rules of the kitchen. I started a recipe before I made sure I had everything I need. In this case, it wasn’t any ordinary cooking project; it was a canning project. The thing I was missing wasn’t some easily substituted ingredient; it was a piece of equipment (or, more accurately, a piece of a piece of equipment). I had not used my pressure canner since I moved a year and a half ago. The gauge was exactly where I expected it to be, but the pressure regulator weight has gone missing!

By the time I realized this, I already had many, many pounds of beets cleaned and boiling on the stove. Insert facepalm here. So, when a thorough search did not turn up the weight, I decided to finish making the recipe. We used some immediately, and I froze the rest. Who knows if it’ll hold up in the freezer, but it’s better than nothing!

The recipe is one I’ve done before – Orange Thyme Beets.

Last night, I used some of the beets, chopped and mixed with couscous, as a side with dinner. Today at lunch, I took leftovers of that mix and added feta cheese that I’ve had marinating in olive oil and herbs from my garden. It was delicious both ways. So, not a complete loss!

The CSA Cookbook

OK, so it’s been quite clear so far in my blogging journey that Thug Kitchen is my favorite cookbook, and quite frankly, my default place to turn when I’m not sure what to do with my vegetables. Now we’ll get our first (of hopefully many) chance to see that I do, in fact, have some variety and range in my sources.

Linda Ly’s cookbook couldn’t have a more straightforward name if it tried – The CSA Cookbook. Subtitled: No-waste recipes for cooking your way through a community supported agriculture box, farmers’ market, or backyard bounty.

Well, then. Amazon impulse purchase back in the spring? Yes, ma’am!

I’ve only scraped the surface of what Ms. Ly shares in this book, but what has impressed me so far is how truly she does provide ways to use what would otherwise be waste, and today I’m focusing on herbs.

No matter how vigilant you are, at some point in the season, you can pretty much guarantee your basil plant is going to “bolt.” It’ll send up flowers that, while pretty and apparently a huge favorite of the bees that hang out in my yard, are kind of awkward to do anything with. When I snap them off, I historically have just used them to stuff a chicken, or added them to my stock bag.

Then I discovered Ms. Ly’s recipe for infused vinegar. My first batch is still steeping – it takes 2 weeks, minimum – but I’m optimistic for it! The vinegar (in my case, white vinegar, though she suggested that one might try champagne vinegar to be fancy – perhaps a future batch. steeps with the basil flowers and orange peel.

We’re already big fans in this household of another of her steeping suggestions: feta cheese with herbs. She gives instructions for using up all the ends of the bundles of herbs that you have sitting in your freezer. Some of her suggestions end up as salad dressings, but this has become a favorite appetizer in our house. My current batch is steeping with garlic chives from the share this week.

Long story short, if you find yourself at a loss for how to handle odds and ends of your share, and you want a cookbook that shepherds you through making the most of the season, this cookbook is right for you. There’s definite truth in advertising with her title.