Sunday, June 16, 2013

csa night

for the last few years, we've gone in together to buy a share of produce from the Dillner Family Farm's CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, and it's become a highlight of the summer. for one thing, we get to exclaim over and figure out what to do with such assorted veggies as kohlrabi, scapes (the shoots from garlic plants), and more greens than you can shake a stick at. plus, since there are always at least four of us cooking, we can put together elaborate dinners and brainstorm flavor profiles (oh, there are so many flavor profiles) way outside the scope of what any of us would do on our own. 

tonight's repast didn't push the culinary envelope, per se, but it hit the spot. plus we learned a lot about Caleb, including the fact that since his mother always made her own fresh whipped cream, he never quite mastered the art of the perfect Reddi-Wip garnish. 

le menu:

garlic butter steak salads

recipe adapted from here

for the steak:

2 TBSP minced garlic
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 TBSP minced fresh parsley
black pepper
2 lbs sirloin steak
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butter, minced garlic, parsley and black pepper in a small bowl. Scrape butter mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log. Twist the ends closed. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to let set. 

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and heat until shimmering. Rub salt and pepper over both sides of the steak. Add steak to skillet and cook for 3 minutes until well browned. Turn and cook for another 3 minutes, or until browned. Remove steak from skillet and repeat with remaining pieces if needed. Reserve oil in skillet. Transfer steak to baking sheet. Cut butter log into slices and arrange on top of each steak. Bake on middle rack 4-6 minutes for rare, 6-8 minutes for medium rare, and 8-10 minutes for medium. Let rest on clean cutting board for 5 minutes, then slice into strips. 

for the salad:
1 head lettuce
1 bunch spinach
1 red bell pepper
2 tomatoes
2 scapes
1 cucumber
blue cheese crumbles
3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil

Wash greens and tear into bite size pieces. Chop bell pepper, tomatoes, and cucumber. Slice scapes and saute in cast iron skillet with reserved oil for 2-3 minutes, until browned and slightly softened. Drain. In small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 

To assemble salads, divide greens into four bowls, then top with chopped vegetables. Lay steak strips over salad and sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top. Serve with balsamic vinaigrette. 

- - - - - - - 

strawberry shortcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 TBSP white sugar
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and cream of tartar in Kitchenaid with dough hook attachment. Cut in butter. Stir in cream and egg. Mix on medium speed for 2-4 minutes, until dough comes together. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 2 minutes. Press into a half-inch thick sheet. Cut into squares and arrange on baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden. 

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons sugar over sliced berries. Let shortcakes cool. Layer slices strawberries and whipped cream over short cakes and serve. 

- - - - - - - 

and that brings us to the most memorable part of the night, when we discovered that if you, in fact, grow up in Connecticut and your mother makes everything from scratch, you think this is an acceptable way to add whipped cream to a dessert: 

poor Caleb stood in the kitchen, innocently traversing the surface of his shortcake with a sorry little line of whipped cream, while we laughed so hard we couldn't speak. and it takes a lot for us not to speak. oh, CSA, we learn about so much more than cooking with you in our lives...

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