Back from the dead

(Or, at least that’s what it feels like.)

This has been a string of tough days and weeks on the real life front, and my  cooking and blogging have suffered. I hope that this has turned a corner, and we can get back to our regularly scheduled summer abundance.

I’ve been sick for two and a half weeks now, though I’ve finally turned a corner and would call myself “mostly better.” Unfortunately, that meant I was sick throughout a brief family vacation to southern Delaware. I still managed to meet my one cooking goal while down there: Aunt Suzy had commented on how appealing my fritatta recipe looked, and I was able to make one for all of us for breakfast at the condo. I’d forgotten how irksome it is to use unfamiliar pans, but it came out okay, regardless.

I used spinach and garlic scapes from my Bloomfield-Montclair CSA share, and summer squash from Coeur et Sol.

What are garlic scapes, you ask?

Whole, they are long and twisty. This is one cut up into sections. They’re the green part that grows out of the top of garlic. They are like a firmer, garlic-flavored chive. They stir fry well, and they pretty seamlessly go into recipes where you’d use garlic (like this breakfast). They also make a mean pesto, but I can do another post on that, later.

I brought all of both of my shares down to the condo with me. Of course, I ended up trucking quite a bit home, but we did eat Crazy Salad at a few meals.

I kept thinking of this salad as a Tale of Two CSAs. The base salad mix came from Coeur et Sol, but there’s spinach in there from Farmer John. The radishes and kohlrabi were from Chelsa, but the carrots came from Farmer John’s booth at the farmer’s market.

… If you’re asking yourself, “What the heck is kohlrabi?” right now, you’re not alone. Kohlrabi was the first “odd” vegetable I experienced via CSA, and from my google searches in the past, I am not alone.

This pudgy, alien-looking vegetable is Kohlrabi. It also comes in purple, though both are white on the inside. It looks like a root, but it’s actually a bulbous stem. It’s a brassica – related to broccoli and cabbage. (Pro tip: this means the kohlrabi scraps do NOT go in the scrap bag for stock. Brassicas get smelly when they simmer.) One use for kohlrabi (the one Farmer John recommends repeatedly, though I do enjoy roasting) is to use it like jicama. I did just that for the salad, thanks to a grater I found in the condo kitchen.

Honestly, it’s perfectly fine like that. It adds a different texture and layer of flavor to the salad. However, I love cubing kohlrabi and roasting it, often with other root vegetables and a bunch of spices. I did this the previous week, with some radishes.

Yum, yum, yummmmmmm.

Vacation

AKA – Life sometimes gets in the way of our best-laid blogging plans.

We went for a long weekend up to Connecticut as a family to celebrate our anniversary, and since we were staying at a family-owned beach house, I had access to a kitchen, and my New Jersey produce came with me. With the exception of Saturday night, when my husband and I got away for a nice dinner out, we ate at home. I did pop down to the local farm stand for some corn – I was dying for it, and we’ve only gotten it in the farm share one year, so I always end up looking elsewhere.

Crab cakes and Salmon-Dill burgers courtesy of Atlantic Seafood.

Swordfish courtesy of Old Lyme Seafood.

The vegetable mix in the second meal is something I’m quite proud of, actually. I had an eggplant and a few summer squashes, and my plan had been to make “fries” out of them… until I realized that I’d forgotten to buy eggs.

I wasn’t going to bother with going back to the store (this was Sunday, and we were leaving Tuesday morning), so I improvised. I’d already discovered by this point that there was no olive oil in the house – something I’d assumed would be there and was incorrect – but I’d brought up tamari and rice vinegar on the off chance that I’d be cooking something out of Thug Kitchen. So, I chopped up all of those beautiful veggies, threw them in a big mixing bowl, and shook in a generous dousing of each of those. I peered through the spice cabinet and found “Italian seasoning” – basil, oregano, etc. I sprinkled some of that in there, as well as some of the lime sea salt that was an impulse purchase at Atlantic.

Threw this all on a sheet pan, and roasted it at 350 for about half an hour.

HEAVEN.

It reheated well for lunch the next day, too.

The takeaway here is, in my opinion, that improvisation almost always ends with some delicious discoveries. Would eggplant fries have been satisfying with a big hunk of swordfish? Sure. Were my last-minute roasted veggies better? YES. Oh, heavens, yes.