Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week 9

In this week’s share:

1 pound yellow wax beans

6-ounces arugula

1 Napa cabbage

1 head of red Romaine lettuce

Tomatoes (1 or 2 depending on size)

1 bunch of basil

1 12-ounce bag of snow peas

2 large red onions with green tops

Garlic (see storage tips below)

There are a number of items in this week’s share that can combine nicely. Below is an adaptation of a recipe for Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes, Arugula & Basil Dressing that Maryellen developed for a Fine Cooking magazine last summer. It makes use of the yellow beans, arugula, tomatoes, basil and onion tops in this week’s share.

This recipe for Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage (click on recipe name to connect to link) is a nice week-night stir fry. Kids are apt to like this one. Instead of using red bell pepper, as the recipe suggests, you can throw in some of your snow peas. And finely slice some of the green tops on your red onions in place of the chives. Or if you’d like to make use of your snow peas on their own, here’s another tempting stir-fry recipe: Sesame Chicken with Ginger and Snow Peas. To be truthful, we can’t say we’ve tried either of these recipes. But we’ve known author Tony Rosenfeld for many years. He’s a gifted cook, and writes recipes that work for real people living real (busy) lives. So we feel pretty comfortable recommending these two recipes.

We’re big on garlic. It finds its way into our dinners pretty much every night. So, to us, a bulb a week doesn’t seem over the top. If you’re not using up your garlic that fast, however, take heed. So long as you store it in a relatively cool (but not refrigerated), dry location and out of the sun, it will hold up for a good long while (unlike the garlic you’ll find in the supermarkets that typically comes from China). And if you feel like using up a bunch, here’s yet another Tony Rosenfeld recipe for slow-cooking garlic in extra virgin olive oil. It tempers and sweetens the garlic’s flavor and results in a creamy texture—much like roasted garlic. Only, you don’t have the sticky mess of squeezing cloves out of the skins, and you end up with a garlic-infused oil with which you can cook or use to make salad dressings. Spread the garlic and oil on a slice of a crusty bread and top with sliced tomato and basil (from your share), some goat cheese if you like too. It makes a simple appetizer or side to a salad. Slow-cooked garlic is a natural in pasta dishes. Use for a pizza topping. And if you still can’t use it up within a week’s time, put it in an airtight container and freeze for later use. We often make a double batch. It’s that good.

Yellow Wax Bean Salad with Tomatoes, Arugula & Basil Dressing

Serves four.

1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves

1 small strip lemon zest, about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide, white pith removed

3 tablespoons cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. kosher salt; more to taste

1 lb. fresh yellow wax beans, trimmed (long ones snapped in half)

1 cup arugula, rinsed and spun dry

1 tomato chopped into ½-inch pieces

¾ cups (5 oz.)1-inch-wide fresh mozzarella balls (ciliegine), halved

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; more to taste

Fill a large (8 qt.) stockpot ½ full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Put the basil and lemon zest in a medium-to-large sieve, immerse it in the boiling water and blanch for 5 seconds. Remove, tapping the sieve over the sink to shake off excess water. Turn off the burner but leave the water in the pot with the cover on. Roughly chop the lemon zest. Put the basil and lemon zest in a blender and pulse a few times to chop the leaves. With the blender running, pour the olive oil through the lid’s fill hole and process for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the blender and continue to purée until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds more. Transfer to a small dish or liquid measuring cup, and cover. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.

Return the water to a boil over high heat. Remove the cover and add the salt and then the beans. Cook until the beans are crisp-tender or fully tender, depending on your preference, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Spread the beans on a large rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate to cool completely. If making more than an hour ahead, cover with plastic wrap.

In a large bowl, combine the cooled beans with the arugula, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Drizzle with the basil oil and the lemon juice. Toss with tongs. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more lemon juice.

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