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The Box Meal Plan

Posted 4/17/2012 1:18pm by Bill Pastellak.


Pasta with Fava Beans, Kale, and Bacon

-Sticking two starches in one dish (pasta & beans) is often a recipe for disaster, but not here. All the ingredients in this dish complement one another and end up creating a tasty pasta dish without the need for a tomato or cream sauce. Use high quality olive oil, Parmesan, & bacon since this dish utilizes only a few ingredients.

Zucchini Bread

-I never quite understood who came up with the idea to put zucchini in a spice cake, but I imagine it was someone trying to get their kids to eat more vegetables. Regardless of its origin, zucchini bread is a wonderful as a breakfast pastry or  a (healthy-ish) dessert. Substitute raw sugar for white and use local pecans from the box to make this dish almost entirely local.


 Quick Strawberry Jam

-Strawberries can go from perfect to mushy and overripe in no time flat, so it's important to use them right away. This recipe for strawberry jam takes 10 minutes and will keep in the fridge (covered) for up to two weeks.


 Brown Rice Pudding

-Good rice pudding is a nice treat everyone once in a while. I'm sure everyone has a nice supply of the Cajun Grain rice in your cupboard, so this recipe can start to put a dent in it. Rather than dried fruit as the recipe recommends, top with the quick strawberry jam.

 

Posted 4/15/2012 10:18am by Bill Pastellak.

 

 Carrot & Sweet Potato Mash

-This week we are fortunate to get some honest to goodness full size carrots (no more tiny, baby carrots). Kids will go crazy for this slightly sweetened mash without even realizing there is almost two pounds of vegetables in the dish. Sweet potatoes & carrots are full of sugar, so I would eliminate the brown sugar for a tablespoon or two of local honey. Sprinkle some roasted pecans on this to put this dish over the top.

 Scrambled Eggs with Leeks, Fava Beans, Crispy Breadcrumbs

-This recipe makes use of the leeks and fava beans plus the wonderful yard eggs we have at the market. Rather than scrambled eggs, I would recommend turning this dish into a fritatta. Follow all the steps until it says stir the eggs. At this point, turn the heat down to medium low until the a light golden brown crust forms on the bottom which releases east from the pan. At that point, finish the dish in a 375 degree oven until the eggs set. When done, slide out of non-stick pan and cut into slices or cubes.


 Quick Strawberry Jam


-Strawberries can go from perfect to mushy and overripe in no time flat, so it's important to use them right away. This recipe for strawberry jam takes 10 minutes and will keep in the fridge (covered) for up to two weeks.

 Brown Rice Pudding

-Good rice pudding is a nice treat everyone once in a while. I'm sure everyone has a nice supply of the Cajun Grain rice in your cupboard, so this recipe can start to put a dent in it. Rather than dried fruit as the recipe recommends, top with the quick strawberry jam.

Posted 4/10/2012 1:14pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Fresh Fava Bean Hummus

-Fresh fava beans take a little bit to process, but once you taste the results you'll see why its worth the effort. This simple fava bean hummus will blow away anything you can buy in stores.

Kale & Sweet Potato Soup

-Greens and sweet potatoes are a "can't miss" combo. The spicy coconut milk broth ties these ingredients both together for a quick vegetarian soup that can act as a dinner in itself with the addition of rice.


 Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


-I know, I know...rhubarb is most definitely not local, but so what when a pie is this good. Straight strawberry pie can taste a bit flat, so the rhubarb brightens it up and gives it a little texture. If you purchase pre-made pie crusts, the prep time is about 20 minutes, making this recipe doable on a weekday night.

 Pickled Zucchini

-The pickling craze continues, this week with the first zucchini of the season. Quick pickles (of any kind) are a great way to process your produce and will hold (covered) in your fridge for up to two weeks.

Posted 4/3/2012 9:23am by Bill Pastellak.


 Minted Simple Syrup

-This minted simple syrup is a great addition to juices, fruit smoothies, and cocktails. I prefer to let the mint steep in the simple syrup for a few minutes after I have simmered it. This makes for a stronger mint flavor which can compete with the sweetness of the simple syrup.

Egg Salad with Radishes

-People either love or hate egg salad. I used to be one of the latter...until I tried it with radishes. The spiciness and crunch of the radishes is a perfect foil to the richness and creaminess of the egg salad. Rather than put them sliced on top, I like to dice them small and mix them into the egg salad itself.


Southern Cornbread


-Last week I had some delicious southern corn muffins from local catering company Nolavore. The strong corn flavor and wonderful butter from Mauthe's Dairy made me come back for seconds (and thirds). I highly recommend using the Mauthe's butter from the market for this recipe, as really takes the cornbread to the next level.

Kale Chips

-I've been hearing a lot lately about kale chips, so its due time I included them in the weekly box meal plan. This really isn't a recipe as much as it is dehydrating some leaves of kale. Regardless, it makes for a healthy alternative to potato chips.

Posted 3/30/2012 1:46pm by Bill Pastellak.


Fava Bean Dip with Goat Cheese and Garlic Recipe

-Fava beans are only around for a short while, so i wanted to make sure I found a recipe that didn't make them an afterthought. Mixed with local chevre from Ryal's, this recipe is almost 100% local.

Spinach Quiche

-Spinach quiche is a classic and perfect Sunday breakfast or brunch dish. Ignore the frozen spinach ingredient and (obviously) use fresh instead. To remove some of the water from the spinach which will make your quich soggy, first saute with a little bit of oil and garlic and then drain and squeeze out the excess liquid.


 Pink Grapefruit Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette


-This simple recipe takes advantage of the super juicy grapefruit and strawberries that have (finally) hit their peak. Feel free to nix the radishes if they are not your favorite.

Kale Chips

-I've been hearing a lot lately about kale chips, so its due time I included them in the weekly box meal plan. This really isn't a recipe as much as it is dehydrating some leaves of kale. Regardless, it makes for a healthy alternative to potato chips.

Posted 3/24/2012 6:59pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Arugula Pecan Pesto

-Pesto is typically made with basil and pine nuts, but there are plenty of other varieties worth making. This recipe makes use of Macon Fry's wonderful arugula and the buttery pecans from Inglewood Plantation. Make sure to roast the pecans before processing to concentrate their flavor.

Ginger-Grapefruit Granita

-Sound fancy? It's not. Granitas are basically just fruit juice mixed with some simple syrup and frozen. Despite their simplicity, they are a nice refreshing low-cal dessert. Alternatively, if your throwing a dinner party, this is a great palate cleanser for in between courses.

Strawberry-Beet Jam

-I love strawberries. I love beets. Why not combine them in a delicious jam?

Shredded Kohlrabi Quick Pickles

-Thanks to Root and their delicious in-house pickles, I've become obsessed and will try and pickle almost anything. Now it's kohlrabi's turn. The kohlrabi in the box is most likely only 1lb., so make sure to half the ingredients in this recipe.

Posted 3/12/2012 9:04pm by Bill Pastellak.


Rice Pudding 

-Rice pudding is about as easy as a dessert gets. As with most simple dishes, it requires using all high quality ingredients. Use the popcorn rice and milk from Ryal's dairy for an all local dessert.

Stuffed Tomatoes

-Tomatoes are never out of season here thanks to the hydroponic tomato farm in La Rose, La. This dish is a taste of summer and makes the most out of the meaty textured beefsteak tomato.

Sauteed Chard with Raisins & Pine Nuts

-
This recipe is SOOO good and at the same time really easy to make. Chard has grown to become my favorite winter vegetable due in part to recipes such as this. Add a little balsamic vinegar to give the dish some acidity.

 Snow Pea & Sesame Saute

 

-This recipe is a perfect side dish for any Asian cuisine dinner. For a stronger sesame flavor, saute with sesame oil. I also recommend dissolving a quarter teaspoon of cornstarch in  a tablespoon of water and add with the soy sauce and honey. This will give the sauce a little thicker texture that sticks to the snow peas. 

Posted 3/12/2012 7:59am by Bill Pastellak.


Roasted Kohlrabi  

-Kohlrabi: the name actually means "cabbage-turnip", but this veggie tastes like a mix of turnips, cabbage, and cauliflower combined. The texture is akin to broccoli stalks, so this veggie benefits greatly from roasting by caramelizing the natural sugars and softening up the texture.

 Leeks with Anchovy Butter

-People either love or hate anchovies, so this recipe isn't for everyone. We've got beautiful organic leeks in the box this week, so I wanted to highlight them. This simple dish has few ingredients, so make sure to buy high quality anchovies and use good, unsalted butter.

Strawberry Agua Fresca

-
Water, Fruit, little bit of sugar...it doesn't get easier. Kids (and adults) will love this refreshing cold fruit drink. Feel free to use lemons or oranges for this recipe.

 Snow Pea & Sesame Saute

-This recipe is a perfect side dish for any Asian cuisine dinner. For a stronger sesame flavor, saute with sesame oil. I also recommend dissolving a quarter teaspoon of cornstarch in  a tablespoon of water and add with the soy sauce and honey. This will give the sauce a little thicker texture that sticks to the snow peas. 

Posted 3/9/2012 7:18am by Bill Pastellak.


Sweet Potato & Kale Soup with Coconut Milk & Curry

-In my opinion, soups are the best way to make use of the box ingredients. This recipe makes use of the kale (or chard) plus sweet potatoes. As with most soups, this dish makes for great leftover lunches.

Strawberries With Reduced Balsamic And Black Pepper

-The simple salad brings out the best of the strawberries. Serve as salad course or, alternatively, as a dessert over some good vanilla ice cream.

Quick Orange Pickled Beets

-
Many people avoid pickling because of the complicated canning process. This recipes eliminates the need for canning and utilizes the great combo of beets and oranges. I guarantee it will be gone long before it goes bad.

Roasted Turnips with Maple & Cardamom

 

-This is a wildcard recipe, so cook at your own risk.

Posted 2/27/2012 8:51pm by Bill Pastellak.
 
Strawberry Scones

-Scones are surprisingly easy to make and, when made at home, don't have to be saccharine sweet like those found at coffee shops. Add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the dough for an even better scone.

Caldo Verde

-This Portuguese soup is a regular in my dinner rotation. Andouille sausage is a great substitute for chorizo. Feel free to use either kale or collards (or both!) for this recipe.

Grapefruit Curd 

-When people think curd, they think lemons. In reality, curd can be made out of any citrus. Try this grapefruit curd for a unique flavored curd that is great on toast, bagels, or by itself.
 

 

-This dish isn't anything fancy, but it is a great side dish and works doubly as a great leftover lunch.

Posted 2/14/2012 12:45pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Strawberry Meyer Lemon Cocktail

-Parade season is upon us, but unfortunately citrus season is just about done. Make sure to make the most of out of it with this cocktail recipe that utilizes the delicious combo of lemons and strawberries.

-These unlikely partners make for a quick saute that can be served over brown jasmine rice for a vegetarian dinner.


Braised Beets & Carrots in Orange Juice

-Beets & carrots are two of my favorite root vegetables and the go particularly well with fresh orange juice. Adjust this recipe by adding a bunch of carrots and use the carrot tops (similar to parsley) instead of the rosemary.

Citrus Pickled Turnips with Gin and Juniper Berries

-This is wildcard recipe I found thanks to some flavor combos recommended by The Flavor Bible.  My guess is this will be the most delicious pickle ever or an epic failure. You'll never know if don't try....

Posted 2/10/2012 9:14am by Bill Pastellak.


Blaukraut

-I made this recipe a few weeks back with some braised pork and man was it good. The German flavor combinations were completely different than the French & Asian cuisines I typically make and were a welcome surprise to my taste buds.

-Unless you want to pick up an extra bunch of turnips, I would recommend halving all the ingredients other than the turnips. Otherwise, you won't even be able to taste the turnips in the dish.

Colcannon Soup with Kale

-This is one of my favorite recipes for the winter and the recent string of cold days gives me an excuse to make it. You can also use half head of cabbage instead of kale if you prefer.

Citrus Pickled Turnips with Gin and Juniper Berries

-This is wildcard recipe I found thanks to some flavor combos recommended by The Flavor Bible.  My guess is this will be the most delicious pickle ever or an epic failure. You'll never know if don't try....

 

Posted 2/7/2012 9:59am by Bill Pastellak.

 -Unless you want to pick up an extra bunch of turnips, I would recommend halving all the ingredients other than the turnips. Otherwise, you won't even be able to taste the turnips in the dish.


 Borscht 

-If you haven't made borscht yet, you're missing out. This rustic eastern European dish uses the simplest of ingredients, but has flavor that is matched by few homemade dishes I've eaten this year. This soup/stew is even better after sitting in the fridge for a day.

 Arugula Pecan Pesto

-This is great alternative to basil-pine nut pesto and takes advantage of our new supply of local pecans from Inglewood Farm in Alexandria, LA.

 

Posted 1/27/2012 2:15pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Strawberry & Lemon Curd Trifle

(This recipe takes a few steps, but it's worth it. I recommend buying good pound cake instead of making it. I've baked for years and have yet to make a decent pound cake. Plus, it takes forever.)

 

Quick Pickled Cabbage


(The cabbage heads this week are HUGE, so unless you are a cabbage fanatic, you'll have a hard time using it all up. This is a nice and easy quick pickle recipe that is perfect as a snack or a side dish.)
 
 Moroccan Beet Salad

(Beet salads can't be beat, 'nuff said. Let this dish sit in the fridge over night for the best flavor.)

 

 Blood Orange Vinaigrette
(I would quadruple this recipe so that you have some leftover. For best flavor, let sit overnight (or during the day) to allow the flavors to blend.)

 

Posted 1/13/2012 10:31am by Bill Pastellak.

Glad to see parsley from the Vintage Garden Farm in the box this week. By far one of the most underrated ingredients, parsley is a great ingredient which can change the entire flavor of a dish. Plus, it's a superfood! Also, try the mixed citrus curd. There is no better time of the year for citrus than right now. Oh, and Borscht is in this week's box meal plan again. It's great for these chilly winter nights and tastes even better the second day.

 Sweet Potato & Carrot Latkes
(I fry in Coconut Oil (not virgin) because it holds up to light frying much better than canola.)
 
Mixed Citrus Curd
(Use equal parts blood orange and meyer lemons to make up the 1/3c of juice and tablespoon of zest.)
 

 Cream of Spinach Mushroom Soup 

 

Borscht

(I followed this recipe exactly and it came out perfectly. Feel free to use and fatty, bony, or grisly cuts of meet for the bone shank. All that will break down in the long, slow cooking process)

Posted 1/10/2012 1:02pm by Bill Pastellak.

Big thanks to everyone who gave us recipes. We know there are some good home cooks out there, so we wanted to make sure we got your recipe ideas as well. Also, from here on out I'll be including a gluten-free recipe each week for those folks who are gluten sensitive/intolerant.

 

(Use a pre-baked pie shell to save on time or make your own crust if you'll be making this on a day off)  

 

Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomatoes  

 

African Bean Sweet Potato Soup (Gluten-Free)

Posted 1/3/2012 8:58pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

First box of the new year! It's a good one too, with all the winter staples plus the first blood oranges of the year. And what would be the fun of a new year without a resolution? This year I'm making mine fun and attainable: cooking more international dishes. A recent trip to Cafe Abyssinia (you should go, it's amazing) made me realize all the wonderful flavors I'm missing out on from the lesser known cuisines of the world, so it's my plan to do one meal a week from an unfamiliar cuisine

Ethiopian Cabbage Dish (Atakilt)

Braised Beets

Cajun Rice Risotto

Roasted Broccoli

Marinated Tomatoes Teruel
(I have personally never tried this one, but it sounds like a interesting way to get some more flavor in those winter tomatoes)

Posted 12/20/2011 9:07am by Bill Pastellak.
 

Roasted Cauliflower

Swiss Chard & Cheddar Quiche

Pine Bark Recipe
(This one is decadent, but it is a family favorite. We use dark chocolate and sprinkle chopped almonds on top.)

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole
(I've had this every Christmas morning since I can remember. It's great because you make it the night before and toss it in the oven Christmas morning while you're opening presents!)

Posted 12/18/2011 12:34pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

-Sweet, cauliflower is in the box. I've waited alllll year for this. My favorite veg ever. For my Sunday dinner, I will be making a Curried Cauliflower Soup. The recipe is good, but take note of these changes which will take your soup to another level. First, add a half teaspoon of coriander when you add spices. Coriander complements cumin perfectly and adds some brightness to the soup. Also, peel a granny smith apple and saute it with the onion. The apple adds another layer of flavor plus some acidity to the soup.

-Cherry tomatoes are in the box for the first time during the summer. Typically, you don't get cherry tomatoes this time of year, but Covey Rise Farms up in Husser has managed to extend their growing season thanks to our mild late fall. This recipe for Cherry Tomato & Lemon Salad would typically be too acidic for my taste buds, but the milder Meyer Lemons in the box make this a nice salad alternative to your typical green salad.

-This is the third I've posted the recipe for Coconut-Flavored Sweet Potatoes on the box meal plan and it won't be the last. It's plenty healthy, filling, and easy to make and will remain in my rotation of recipes as long as sweet potatoes are in the box. Make sure to add a good bit of salt to this recipe, as it is need to bring out the full flavor of the spices in this dish.

Posted 12/10/2011 10:44am by Bill Pastellak.

 

-Cabbage is finally in the box! Yes! Why so excited? Well, I'm half-Polish and had a grandmother who could cook a cabbage a thousand ways, all of which tasted delicious. My two favorite dishes are Haluski & Halupki. Haluski is basically just cabbage, onions, and noodles, but its one of those comfort foods this is great for these cold nights. I add a half-pound of kielbasa (or any smoked sausage) to spice it up a little. Halupki (or pigs in a blanket as my nanna used to call them) are another great comfort food and my personal favorite.

-It's the time of year for soup, so I've have been trying to find a soup recipe for every winter veggie that we get in. This week I'm working on tatsoi. This recipe Hanoi Noodle Soup with Chicken, Baby Tatsoi, and Bok Choyhas a bunch of southeast asian flavors and is a welcome change from the mirepoix based soups I've been making for the past month.

-I was in the checkout line at Whole Foods last night and I couldn't help but take a look at the little jar of goodies they keep right by the register. Normally they have overpriced bite sized chocolates, but this time they caught my attention....chocolate covered orange slices. For only 37 cents, how could I NOT buy it? Anyways, it was delicious and I realized they would be super easy to make at home so here's a recipe for candied oranges. To finish, wait until oranges cool and dip them in melted dark chocolate. Set on parchment until they harden.

 

Posted 12/7/2011 9:38am by Bill Pastellak.

-Another week and another box with turnips. What to do, what to do....I (unfortunately) am all outta recipe ideas for turnips. Thankfully, our facebook fans are not. Mia Calamia posted the idea of Turnip Fries with parmesan and black pepper. The recipe is just for the fries, so make sure to toss the finished fries in grated parmesan with a half teaspoon or so of fresh ground pepper. She made the suggestion of finishing them with truffle oil to get super fancy.

-Shiitakes have been in the box for as long as I can remember. I've made them in all sorts of dishes, but I've pretty much posted all those recipe already, so I'm going to the source to see what they do with their shrooms. Check out the recipe page for shiitakes by Mississippi Natural Products. They stop in at the market every Friday to drop off a few cases to make sure you have the freshest mushrooms possible.

-There are three types of citrus in the box this week, so why not do something that combines all three? This recipe for Mixed Citrus Salad with Feta & Mint is a nice easy dish that works well as an alternative to your typical lettuce & mixed greens salad.

Posted 12/3/2011 10:16am by Bill Pastellak.

-Last Saturday I went with some friends from out of town to Ancora. There they had a delicious dish of pickled beets, blue cheese, pistachios, and strawberries. Sounds crazy, but man was it good. Anyways, it got me thinking about all the beets in the box how how I could make some pickled beets at home. This recipe for Quick Pickled Beets is easy as pie and does not require the complicated canning process which can deter many from making pickles.

-Ever since I started working at the market & farm I've been hearing about how good Baked Kale Chips are, but I've never actually taken the time to make them. Fortunately, I have some kale in the fridge that's a little long in the tooth, (plus I don't have any Zapp's) so I figured why not give em a try to see if they can satisfy my salty, crunchy snack fix.

-Turnips? No thanks. I think they are watery, flavorless, and I just plain don't like them. But they are in the box, so I must find SOMETHING to do with them. Fortunately, in my cooking classes for Hollygrove kids, I realized the best thing to do with veggies is disguise them so you don't even know your eating them. I figured why not try this little trick on myself? This recipe for Turnip Gratin uses all the flavors and textures of delicious potato gratin so I don't even realize I'm eating turnips. Almost.

 

 

 

Posted 11/21/2011 3:08pm by Bill Pastellak.

So this week we're not doing the regular box meal plan, but rather giving you an arrangement of thanksgiving dishes you can make with your local produce. There are some items not from the box, but its Thanksgiving so we think its okay to to mix in some non-local produce.

Cranberry Satsuma Relish

Lemon Glazed Sweet Potatoes 

 

Stuffed Winter Squash

 

Lemon Curd Pie  

 

Butternut Squash Soup 

Sage & Honey Cornbread

Gratin of Greens

 

Posted 11/18/2011 10:24am by Bill Pastellak.

 

- Last Sunday we held a going away potluck for our former general manager Paul Baricos. I wanted to make something special and different, so I spent some time looking for recipes and ended up finding a delicious one for Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup. I switched out the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for three teaspoons of five spice powder for a slightly brighter flavor. I also added in a tablespoon of Steen's Cane Syrup to bring out the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. This soup was amazing.

-The organic meyer lemons in the box this are quite possibly the best citrus ever. They are larger and juicer than normally lemons and have a slightly sweeter flavor that makes them perfect for desserts. I fell in love with lemon curd a few years back and have been making it ever since. This recipe for lemon curd does a good job of explaining the cooking process, since it can curdle if it is not heated properly. Healthy? Absolutely not. But delicious? Oh yeah.


- Beets are finally in the box this week (nice!). This recipe for  Roasted Beets & Sauteed Greens takes advantage of both the beet root and the greens. Make sure to cook this soon after you get your box as the beet greens only last a day or so in your fridge.

Posted 11/15/2011 11:52am by Bill Pastellak.

 

- So often I get caught up seeing how creative I can get with ingredients, I forget some of the tried and true classics. This recipe for Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing is a staple at restaurants everywhere. As is the case with many "classics", these recipes are executed poorly and end up being rather bland and flavorless. When it's done right with fresh ingredients, this recipe makes for a delicious lunch or light dinner.

-I'm surprised to see green beans in the box this week, but you won't see me complaining. Fresh green beans are my favorite vegetables and have been since I was a kid. I've never found a need to do much more than quickly blanch them and saute in some salt in butter, but since we have lemons in the box, why not toss them into the mix? This recipe for Green Beans with Lemon & Garlic is a perfect side dish for any dinner.

- Radishes & cucumbers make two of the best pickles out there and this recipe for Japanese-Style Cucumber & Radish Salad is basically a quick pickle recipe. This asian flavored dish is a nice change of pace from the glut of greens and sweet potato dishes that are typical this time of year.

Posted 11/11/2011 12:26pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

- So often I get caught up seeing how creative I can get with ingredients, I forget some of the tried and true classics. This recipe for Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing is a staple at restaurants everywhere. As is the case with many "classics", these recipes are executed poorly and end up being rather bland and flavorless. When it's done right with fresh ingredients, this recipe makes for a delicious lunch or light dinner.

-Kale is awesome. You can eat it raw, stir fry it, braise it, put it in a soup, and even make chips! Plus, there are a number of different varieties, all which have their own unique flavor. This week we have Red Russian Kale from the Vintage Garden Farm in Chalmette. I'll be honest, I tend to stick with the curly kale or Tuscan kale, so I'm not too sure how cook it. Luckily, I found these three recipes which give you some choices when putting together your own box meal plan.

-On a recent trips to Whole Foods, I stopped on over at their sandwich station to pick up dinner to go. I had never tried their po-boys before, so I decided to try out their fried green tomato & goat cheese po-boy. It was heaven. Here is a recipe that you can do yourselves. Feel free to put in on a Leidenheimer loaf instead of sliced bread to make it a real po-boy.

 

Posted 11/8/2011 9:48am by Bill Pastellak.


-It's my belief that any vegetable can be turned into a delicious soup. I've tried out cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, butternut squash, roasted red peppers...you name it, I've made a soup out of it. This week, instead of making traditional tomato basil soup, I figured I would try out this recipe for Spicy Green Tomato Soup. Top with some cilantro from the community gardeners and greek yogurt from Ryal's to finish off this dish.

 

-I'm sure many of you have seen (or tasted) the delicious sweet potato pies our community gardener Erskin Taylor sells on each market day. I'm not sure this recipe for Sweet Potato Pie tops those, but at least it gives you something to do with the sweet potatoes that are a staple in the box almost every week.

 

-Here's another cheese, bitter green, and pasta recipe using the rapini from the box and feta from Ryal's dairy.. Quick, easy, and you get your starches, veggies, and proteins all at once. Feel free to use a whole wheat or gluten free pasta instead your plain old white pasta. The strong flavors of the rapini and feta will stand up to the hearty varieties of pasta.

Posted 11/4/2011 5:29pm by Bill Pastellak.

-Green tomatoes are a funny thing. Take any other fruit and try and it eat in unripe and tastes gross. But green tomatoes, for some reason, are delicious unripe and offer a flavor completely different than there ripe counterparts. And what better way to prepare green tomatoes than to fry them. This recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes comes from our market manager Alyssa Denny. I recommend frying these guys in refined coconut oil. Not only does it have a nice, neutral flavor, but it does not oxidize easily when heated and create those nasty transfats like many other common cooking oils.
 
 
-One of my favorite breakfast foods ever is pancakes. Growing up, I remember eating stacks upon stacks of Bisquick pancakes until I couldn't move. Smothered with butter and fake maple syrup, it was heaven. Healthy, no. But delicious? Absolutely. Fortunately, as I have grown up I 've realized homemade pancakes taste infinitely better and lack all the additives found in pre-made pancake mix. With sweet potatoes in the box this week, I figured why not combine two of my favorites things and make sweet potato pancakes.  To make it even healthier, I use a few tablespoons of maple syrup and mix into some plain yogurt as a spread instead of the traditional heaps of butter and syrup.
 
 
-I absolutely love the combination of broccoli and cheddar. The richness of the cheese and the slight bitterness of the broccoli make for a wonderful flavor combo. Unfortunately, this combo has been defiled thanks to nasty products like cheez wiz(?). I still remember the cheez wiz commercials showing kids happily eating their broccoli (or other vegetables) thanks to the addition of that disgusting neon flavored cheese-ish product. WHY!! Fortunately, making your own "cheese wiz" doesn't require a laundry list of unpronounceable ingredients, but a just a few, all of which you can pick up at the market. This page has a couple of recipes for making cheese sauce and also explains some does and dont's when making roux-based sauces.
Posted 10/31/2011 4:31pm by Bill Pastellak.

The past month I have gone through a ton of recipes trying to figure out fresh ideas for the box items. Today I'll be sharing some of my favorite recipes and changes I found made them just a bit better than the original. 

 

-Long have I neglected the mushrooms in the box. Outside of using sautéed mushrooms to top a steak, I am clueless as to what to do with them. Fortunately, The Flavor Bible (my favorite book) informed me that the cremini mushrooms in the box this week go well with arugula (in the box) and goat cheese. Who would have thought? I'm not sold yet, but I'll definitely be trying out this recipe for Cremini Mushroom Pasta with Arugula & Goat Cheese for my Sunday dinner.

  

*Don't use spaghetti in this recipe. Rather, use a a tubular macaroni like penne or elbows. Plus, thin the goat cheese with a little cream or milk prior to mixing with pasta to make it easier to mix all the ingredients together.

 

-Without a doubt, the first thing I'll be making is an arugula-citrus salad. My two favorite items of early fall in one dish? You betcha. Feel free to substitute the almonds for pecans if you wanna keep it local as possible.

 

*Make sure to add a dash of salt to this salad to bring out all the flavors

 

-Spinach is back for the fall & winter and I want to make y'all aware of a delicious flavor combo: spinach, feta, & cumin. These seemingly random items come together to make a delicious flavor that is more than the sum of the parts. This recipe for Open faced Spinach and Feta Borek is all the delicious goodness of spanakopita without the hard work of putting together lasagna. Squirt a little lemon juice on top of this dish to balance out the saltiness of the feta and the earthiness of the spinach.

  

-It's the first week ever we have broccoli rabe in the box, so I spent some time looking for a good recipe that will do justice to this relatively unknown bitter green. Broccoli rabe looks like tiny heads of broccoli, but the flavor more closely resembles that of a mustard green with a bit more bitterness. I'm a fan of the bitterness though, as it stands up strong to the starchiness of ingredients like pasta and potatoes. You can also turn this recipe for Sauteed Broccoli Rabe & Potatoes into a Sunday brunch frittata by pouring beaten eggs over the finished dish and tossing it in the oven for a few minutes. If not, it's a perfect combo of starches & vegetables that make for a delicious side dish for a weekday dinner. 

 

*Add a 1/2 lb. of mild or hot italian sausage to this skillet dish to make a delicious hash  

 

Posted 10/28/2011 12:35pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

-Pesto has always been a fave of my due to its versatility and great flavor. It's great on pasta, sandwiches, and even mixed with mayo for a delicious spread. Basil & arugula pesto are great, but this week's recipe for Spinach Kale Pesto has me really excited. The earthiness of the spinach and the bitterness of raw kale should make this a flavor combo something entirely different from the run of the mill pesto. Also, I like eating raw greens whenever possible and this recipe allows me to do that.

-Everyone loves satsumas. They're easy to peel, have few seeds, and aren't nearly as acidic as some other forms of citrus. There really isn't a need to much with a satsuma other than eat it, but what's the fun in that? This recipe for a Satsuma Mojito from Cochon combines cocktails AND local produce. What could be better than that?

-Looking over the recipes, I realized I haven't really done any dessert recipes for the meal plan. I'm not sure why, since about half my time in the kitchen goes towards baking or some other sweet. This week I found a recipe for Brown Jasmine Rice Pudding that is a perfect comfort snack for these cool, fall nights. And if you are a regular buyer of the box like me, you probably have enough brown jasmine rice in your pantry to feed a small army, so here's an easy way to use some of it up.

-Sweet potatoes are a box staple this time of year, so it gets pretty difficult to come up with new & exciting recipes every week. Fortunately, I found a great recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries which I used at a cooking class for Hollygrove kids last week. Don't be thrown off by the egg whites; they provide the crunch that you can usually only get from deep frying potatoes. Feel free to experiment with a variety of seasonings. I used a generic cajun seasoning mix and they came out fine.

Posted 10/24/2011 2:31pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

-I talk about it all the time to the rest of the staff and I can't recommend it enough. CooksIllustrated.com is the BEST online database for recipes. Tried and true recipes by the 1000s, there is not a dinner that goes by without me checking out their website. Why? Because they're the best. Period. Anyways, I brought this all up because of a wonderful Caldo Verde (Portugese Kale & Potato Soup) recipe that I found on Cook's Illustrated that is my number one favorite soup. This recipe is not that one, but it is pretty close. What better way to celebrate the cool weather and the first week of kale being in the box than this delicious soup? Serve with Broa, a traditional Portugese corn bread, to make it ultra-authentic.

 

-A few weeks back I put up a recipe for Coconut-Flavored Sweet Potatoes with Mustard Greens. I'm doin' it again this week for those who may have missed it, but also because it is pretty darn good. Plus, I'm not fooling anyone into thinking I cook 365 completely original dinners a year. I have my faves for each season that are in heavy rotation for my dinners, with this being one of them. Make sure to add substantially more salt than listed in the recipe. Serve over brown jasmine rice for a complete meal.

 

-Spinach is back for the fall & winter and I want to make y'all aware of a delicious flavor combo: spinach, feta, & cumin. These seemingly random items come together to make a delicious flavor that is more than the sum of the parts. This recipe for Open faced Spinach and Feta Borek is all the delicious goodness of spanakopita without the hard work of putting together lasagna. Squirt a little lemon juice on top of this dish to balance out the saltiness of the feta and the earthiness of the spinach.

 

-The combination of radishes, salt, & butter on bread seems (to me) like an incredibly underwhelming snack that just leaves something to be desired. But apparently the French eat this combo on the regular for breakfast and they seem to know their food, so who am I to argue. This not so much a recipe, but directions for the Open-Face Butter and Radish Sandwiches. And please, if there are any French ex-pats out there, please let me know if this "radishes for breakfast" is for real in France or just a myth perpetuated by innumerable food blogs.

Posted 10/21/2011 7:54am by Bill Pastellak.

 

-As a north-easterner, I couldn't be happier about the arrival of fall and cool weather. Not only do I get to bust out all my sweaters and jackets, but I get to start baking again and eating all those deliciously heavy foods that just don't work in the sticky NOLA summers. This week I'll be cooking up some Sweet Potato Biscuits and honeyed five spice butter to schmear on them. I don't have a recipe quite yet for the honeyed five spice butter, but it won't be much more than a stick of butter (softened and then creamed), a teaspoon or two of Jay Martin's honey and a ¼ teaspoon of five spice powder. Let the butter sit at room temp for half hour or so before using to let the spices permeate the butter. All the flavors of sweet potato pie, but in biscuit form.

-Two years ago I made my first risotto (shiitake risotto) based on a Cooks Illustrated recipe. Despite numerous attempts, I haven't been able to top the first risotto I ever made. I can't post the original recipe due to copyright issues, but this recipe for mushroom risotto comes pretty close to matching it. You can use equal parts shiitakes and baby bellas from the market or any other flavorful mushroom for that matter, but absolutely no white button mushrooms. You can also substitute Cajun Grain brown jasmine rice for the Arborio rice, though the flavor and texture will be affected.

-Spicy arugula works great in any salad mix, but is versatile enough to use in salsa verdes and even pestos.  This recipe for arugula-pecan pesto is better (in my opinion) than the traditional basil-pine nut pesto. Feel free to use walnuts if you don't like pecans. Whichever nut you use, make sure to toast them in the oven first for a few minutes to reduce moisture content and concentrate the flavor.

-So often we equate recipes with a lot of veggies as healthy dishes. This is not one of them. Fried and topped with a little slab of butter, this recipe fried yellow squash is sure to please. Double batter these babies with cornmeal for a crunchy, sweet, and salty snack that can't be beat.

As always, if you have great recipe you would love to share, please send it over to bill@hollygrovemarket.com and we will post it next week.

Posted 10/17/2011 2:58pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

-It’s the first week ever we have broccoli rabe in the box, so I spent some time looking for a good recipe that will do justice to this relatively unknown bitter green. Broccoli rabe looks like tiny heads of broccoli, but the flavor more closely resembles that of a mustard green with a bit more bitterness. I’m a fan of the bitterness though, as it stands up strong to the starchiness of ingredients like pasta and potatoes.  You can also turn this recipe for Sautéed Broccoli Rabe & Potatoes into a Sunday brunch frittata by pouring beaten eggs over the finished dish and tossing it in the oven for a few minutes. If not, it’s a perfect combo of starches & vegetables that make for a delicious side dish for a weekday dinner.

-While I was at the grocery store this past week I took a look salad bar and the sad display of julienned carrots, incredibly thick slices of cucumber, and radishes and realized how often we cover up their true flavor with salad dressing.  In fact, childhood memories of those bland supermarket salads made me avoid cucumbers and radishes like the plague.  So when I saw them in the box this week, I set out to find a salad recipe which would do them justice. I found a recipe for Cucumber, Radish and Green Onion Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing that sounds fresh and light and complements the flavors of the items in the box this week.

-I love potatoes. Fried, boiled, mashed, hashed, any way you cook them, I’ll eat them. Unfortunately, no potatoes in the box this week (and probably not for quite a while), so I will have to make due with a substitute. With what you ask? Turnips! That’s right; turnips are a great substitute for making mashed potatoes. This recipe for Savory Smashed Turnips fixes them up with all the traditional mashed potato flavors so you can barely tell the difference.

-Love ‘em or hate ‘em, mustard greens are here to stay. Try out this recipe for Mustard Mustard Greens that ventures away from the traditional onions and smoked meat flavored greens.

Posted 10/13/2011 8:16pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

-Long have I neglected the mushrooms in the box.  Outside of using sautéed mushrooms to top a steak,  I am clueless as to what to do with them. Fortunately, The Flavor Bible (my favorite book) informed me that the cremini mushrooms in the box this week go well with arugula (in the box) and goat cheese. Who would have thought? I’m not sold yet, but I’ll definitely be trying out this recipe for Cremini Mushroom Pasta with Arugula & Goat Cheese for my Sunday dinner.

-Tatsoi! I love saying it, but don’t really have a clue to as how to cook it. Keeping in the theme of using my less than favorite items as the star in my dinners this week, I will be using the tatsoi to make Browned Butter Pasta with Tatsoi & Sage. More pasta, I know….but the bitterness of the greens should help to balance the all the starches in the pasta. If you don’t like this, feel free to substitute the tatsoi for bok choy or any other green in your stir fries.

-Radishes? Pickle them. I hate them otherwise, but for some reason, the process of pickling these spicy root vegetables transforms them into an irresistible side dish or condiment. This recipe for pickled radishes is a simple recipe which doesn’t require the tedious task of canning the pickles. They won’t last as long, but the total time from start to finish is considerably shorter.

-I’m in full on fall cooking mood now. Winter squash, sweet potatoes, sage, thyme, & rosemary are in heavy rotation in my kitchen. But the yellow squash in the box reminds me that summer isn’t done quite yet. This recipe for a summer squash sandwich is a nice dish that doesn’t take a long time and can be used for lunch or a quick dinner.

Posted 10/10/2011 4:39pm by Bill Pastellak.

-I am not a fan of mustard greens. I could eat collards all day long, but for some reason mustards don’t do it for me. So when I found a recipe for mustards that included sweet potatoes & coconut milk – two of my favorite ingredients – I figured why not give those mustard greens a shot. This dish of Coconut-Flavored Sweet Potato with Mustard Greens will be on my dinner table tonight, so I will let you know how it goes tomorrow. Update: Its really good, but add waaay more salt to balance the starches and bring out the flavor of the spices.

-The corn this week from Frank Fekete in Hungarian Settlement is looking great, so I figured why not make corn chowder out of it. You’ll have to get a few extra ears of corn (or use half frozen/half fresh), but I guarantee it’s worth it. Fresh corn, combined with whole milk & cream from Ryal’s dairy can’t be beat. Use bacon if you don't have salted pork.

-Okra is somehow still hanging on, despite the fact we are well into fall. Even so, they won’t be around too much longer. You can ensure you have some for the winter time by making some okra pickles from the pound you get in the box this week.

-Not sure what to do with those baby heirloom squashes? Just purchase (or make your own) hummus and dip in the baby squashes. In fact, any veggie dip will work. They are perfectly fine to eat raw and are much tastier than their full grown counterparts. We tried this out with hummus from Mona's at a tabling event a few weeks back and it was a hit!

-I’m sure most of the satsumas from the box will be devoured before the car ride home, but for those of you who saved them, check out this Stir-Fried Satsuma Shrimp from New Orleans food writer Tom Fitzmorris. Plus, it knocks out two items in the box.

Posted 10/7/2011 1:48pm by Bill Pastellak.

So Fall seems like it's finally here to stay, and with it, the season's lots of citrus. As always, satsumas mark the beginning of the citrus season. Plus, Macon Fry's arugula is in full production, so you expect to see that in regular rotation in the box for the Fall & Winter growing seasons. Also in the box are plenty of peppery mustard and turnip greens, not to mention summer squash and cucumbers who don't seem to know summer's over. 

 

-Without a doubt, the first thing I'll be making is an arugula-citrus salad. My two favorite items of early fall saladin one dish? You betcha. Feel free to substitute the almonds for pecans if you wanna keep it local as possible.

 

-I'm not a huge fan of radishes, but I was turned on to radish & egg salad a few years back. Don't know why it works so well, but it does. I'll be getting fancy and making a Curried Egg Salad, Raegg saladdish and Fall Pea Shoot Tartine. Sound complicated? It's not.  In reality, its a just tasty egg salad sandwich. I'm not sure pea shoots will be one of the microgreens, so I substituting whichever kind I get.

 

-Cucumber Water. Add a little flavor to your water, plus some electrolytes from the cucumbers to keep you hydrated. It's like veggie gatorade. Just thinly slice some cucumbers, toss them in pitcher of water and refrigerate for at least a half an hour before serving 

 

-Chicken Soup is my favorite meal this time of year . It's easy, it tastes good, and one pot of chicken soup will last you the week. I use this Chicken Soup recipe as a base and add herbs, like rosemary, sage, and thyme  when making the stock. I like to cook the stock for at least an hour and a half to make sure I get all the flavor out of the chicken and vegetables. I also discard the vegetables after making the stock and add in fresh ones to finish the soup. Using brown jasmine rice is not only healthier, but waaaayy tastier than plain old noodles. Use about a half pound for the included recipe.

 

Have awesome recipe you wanna share? Send to bill@hollygrovemarket.comand we will include it in next week's email.  

Posted 10/4/2011 1:48pm by Bill Pastellak.

Every market day, we're going to post what we do with the box. We know it can be tough to use all the items, so we hope this recipes make it easier to take full advantage of the box.

-For Tuesday, I’m starting with my box by cooking up a nice Radish & Greens Saute as a side dish. Side dish for what you ask? Not sure yet. But the radish greens don't last too long, so it’s best to use them right away.

-For Wednesday, I'm going with Sweet Potato Burritos. I like this more as a lunch meal, so I halve the recipe and cook all the ingredients the night before. I'll make the burrito in the morning and wrap it up in foil and then toss it in the toaster oven at work for a nice filling, hot lunch.

-An oldie, but goodie. Thursday for dinner I'll be making Stuffed Bell Peppers with the brown jasmine rice and some grass fed beef from the market. You may need to pick up another bell pepper or halve the recipe depending on how many peppers you get in the box.

-Steak Night! Friday I’ll be making a nice grass fed beef steak with Garlic Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms with a simple green salad of arugula and balsamic vinaigrette.

Have some good recipes or ideas you want to share with us? Send it to bill@hollygrovemarket.com and we will post it next week.

 

The Box Meal Plan: October 28th through October 30thOctober 27th, 2014

We'll give you some more on Friday, but to give you a chance to plan more than a few hours in advance, welcome to the Halloween recipe edition! This week we're going a little off of our typical commit

What's In the Box?October 27th, 2014

  About the Weekly Local Produce Box -For $25, customers can purchase a share of local produce from our network of farmers in Louisiana & southern Mississippi. The produce in the box is a mix

The Box Meal Plan: October 25th through October 27thOctober 24th, 2014

  Whipped Butternut Butter is a decadent addition to any breakfast (or lunch, dinner, dessert...). We shared a recipe for homemade pumpkin puree last week, and don't forget that butternut squash

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