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The Box Meal Plan

Every market day, we seek out recipes to make it easy for you to use all the items in the box. We recommend looking through previous posts if you don't like this week's recipes.
Posted 1/26/2013 9:08am by Bill Pastellak.

 

Sweet Potato & Turnip Mash with Sage Butter

Coming up with a recipe just for turnips can be a challenge. There mild flavor and high water content make them difficult to use outside of pickles or salad toppers (at least for me). This recipe pairs them up with sweet potatoes and sage, with the turnip just playing a supporting role. Tip: I like to boil the turnips and sweet potatoes separately so that I can mash the sweet potatoes and leave the turnips intact. Having the little turnip bits gives the dish some texture and makes it more visually appealing.  

Brussel sprouts are notorious as the least favorite veggie of kids everywhere. Children in general have an aversion to bitter flavors, hence there dislike of those tiny little brussel sprouts. This recipe fixes them up with the salty, smokiness of bacon and the sweetness of raisins making them palatable for the little ones. If there ever was a recipe to get your gets to eat brussel sprouts, this is it.    

I've made this recipe a dozen times and it never gets old. The combo of chard, raisins, pecans, and balsamic vinegar gives you sweet, salty, bitter, and sour all in one dish. I serve this by itself as a side dish or on topped with baked whitefish on a bed of couscous as a main course.
Posted 1/21/2013 6:32pm by Bill Pastellak.

Vegetarian Borscht


The name might not be appealing, but the dish certainly is. Colored (and flavored) by beets, this vegetarian soup/stew is jam-packed with nutrients thanks pounds of vegetables. Tip: It's important to have a savory (umami) flavor in this soup. It's traditional done with a soup bone or beef shank, but dried maitake mushrooms or a tablespoon or two of soy sauce serve as a great vegetarian substitute. If using soy sauce, reduce the amount of salt called for in recipe.

Citrus Soda Syrup

This recipe works for any citrus. It may sound like a lot of sugar, but its important to follow the recipe to get the right consistency. The higher sugar amount also helps this recipe keep longer.

-1 c. filtered water
-1 c. local raw sugar (or 3/4 c. agave nectar)
-1 c. fresh citrus juice
-Zest of the juiced citrus

To prepare, heat up water and sugar until simmering and sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and add citrus juice and zest. Let steep for 1 hour at room temperature then put in a covered container and refrigerate. This will keep two weeks minimum in the fridge covered. Mix with seltzer water for soda or use as a flavoring for cocktails. 


 Brussels Sprouts Fritters


The caramelized leaves of the brussel sprout are quite possibly the tastiest morsel in the vegetable world. This recipe takes advantage of this by turning the brussel sprouts into fritters and pan frying them. Brussel sprouts really need acidity to bring out their flavor, so make sure not to leave out the vinaigrette called for in the recipe. 
 

Stuffed Beefsteak Tomatoes 

Beefsteak tomatoes are the workhorse of the tomato world. They are great toppers for sandwiches and work well for sauces, but when they are the star of the dish, they can use a little doctoring up. By roasting the tomato, you caramelized the sugar and remove some moisture to concentrate the flavor of the tomato. Tip: Feel free to add an egg and a 1/4 c. of bread crumbs to the stuffing recipe. It will add weight to the dish and help bind all the ingredients together.  

Posted 1/14/2013 4:37pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos


Burritos without meat sounded to me like pizza without cheese, but after tasting these roasted sweet potato burritos I was a changed man. The flavor of this veggie only burrito is insane, so good in fact, that you might mistake for something a lot less healthy. Roasting the sweet potatoes is key to this dish as it creates a nice crunchy, browned, spiced skin that makes the burrito.

Meyer Lemon Confit

Meyer lemons have become my favorite produce item this winter due to their wonderful flavor and versatility. I've used them from everything from lemon curd to gremolata and,. most recently, preserved lemons. Meyer lemon confit (or preserved lemons) is a wonderful in salad dressing, stews, as well as pretty much any Middle Eastern or North African dishes. Most importantly, its a way to preserve that wonderful meyer lemon flavor well into the summer months.  

 Grilled Carrots with Carrot Greens Pesto


Before working at the market, I thought of carrot tops nothing more than some nice greenery to make my bunch  of carrots look nice. Boy was I wrong. Much like parsley (a close relative of carrots), carrot greens are chock full of vitamins and nutrients. While not quite as palatable as parsley, they work extremely well when you are looking to add a green element and some bitterness to a dish. The "optional" step to use nuts is essential in my opinion. Adding the pecans from the box this week helps to emulsify the pesto and balance the bitterness of hte greens. Make sure to roast you pecans in the oven for a few minutes before using in the pesto. 
 

Chicken Divan  

This dish was probably out of vogue at restaurants 50 years ago, but I still love it as a comforting casserole dish. As a child, my mom made this dish countless time and was always a surefire way to sneak a heaping quantity of vegetables into our dinners. Like most comfort foods, their success lies in using quality ingredients and not those found on the back of a Campbell's Soup can or a Paula Deen recipe (mayonnaise AND sour cream in Chicken Divan? Really Paula Deen?)   

Posted 1/12/2013 10:40am by Bill Pastellak.

 

Kale Salad with Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon


Citrus season saves the best for last. After months of satsumas, grapefruit, kumquats, and more, blood oranges are finally here. While everyone loves blood oranges for the blood colored flesh, its really their flavor that stands out. This recipe pairs them up with kale, a natural partner to citrus. The prep for this dish takes minutes, though letting the vinaigrette sit for a half hour or so will let the flavors meld and create a better dressing. Turn this into a light vegetarian dinner or lunch by serving over couscous or quinoa.

Creamy Cauliflower Fettucine Alfredo with Crispy Parmesan Breadcrumbs

This dish seemed crazy to me when I first saw it, but I was craving pasta and had a head of cauliflower so I figured I'd give it a shot. Boy was I surprised. The pureed cauliflower was a great substitute for the cups of heavy cream, adding plenty of thickness to the sauce while using a fraction of the fat. There is still some cream and cheese in the dish, but its infinitely healthier than the traditional way of making fettuccine Alfredo.

 Quick Pickled 'Shrooms


I'm a fan of pickled foods, mainly cause its a fast and easy way to add tons of flavor to vegetables. Quick pickles are great because they don't require the cumbersome canning process and can be used a few hours after you make them. These keep best in a glass mason jar, though a food safe plastic container works in a pinch. 


 Chicken Divan  

This dish was probably out of vogue at restaurants 50 years ago, but I still love it as a comforting casserole dish. As a child, my mom made this dish countless time and was always a surefire way to sneak a heaping quantity of vegetables into our dinners. Like most comfort foods, their success lies in using quality ingredients and not those found on the back of a Campbell's Soup can or a Paula Deen recipe (mayonnaise AND sour cream in Chicken Divan? Really Paula Deen?)   

Posted 1/5/2013 5:15pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Raw Beet, Orange, & Carrot Salad


Carrots, beets, and oranges go together like PB&J, and this recipe does a great job of showcasing this healthy trio. The dressing called for in this recipe is pretty ingredient heavy and you could easily get away with leaving out the cranberries and rosemary. Raw beet can have a pretty strong flavor, so I'd recommend tossing some goat cheese and organic pecans on top of this salad to balance out their earthiness.

Roasted Hakurei Turnips with Israeli Couscous Salad (Vegan)

The tiny, white Hakurei turnips couldn't be more different than the fibrous, huge purple tops most people are familiar with. These delicate, slightly sweet turnips are greet in salads or roasted and glazed. This recipe makes light dinner for two or is great prepared ahead of time for a workday lunch.

Sweet Potato Oatmeal

I made a recipe similar to this when I had glut of sweet potatoes and steel cut oats and, man, was it good. I upped the flavor a bit by adding in a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon and powdered ginger, as well as topping the finished dish with a dollop of Greek yogurt. This breakfast dish is packed full of fiber, protein, and minerals and is a great way to start your day. 


Sweet Tomato Jam With Honey and Vanilla 

Fresh tomatoes in the winter time just don't do it for me, so here's an exotic recipe that will get you viewing tomatoes in a whole new way. This recipe is pretty far out there, so I would half the recipe to test it out. I'm always looking for new flavor combos, so this one definitely takes the cake.

Posted 12/21/2012 2:51pm by Bill Pastellak.

 Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake


Now that I've got some extra time with holiday vacation, its time to get fancy. It's called a cake, but its really more of a baked omelette or torta. This sophisticated recipe is packed full of flavors, but nothing that can't be picked up at Hollygrove or any local supermarket. Tip: Roast the cauliflower before mixing in batter. It will concentrate the flavor and stop the cauliflower from making the cake soggy.

Old New Orleans Rum Balls

A great big package of Christmas goodies arrived from my girlfriend's mom yesterday. The best part? Rum balls. This confection of yesteryear is packed full sugar and booze, perfect for the holidays. With some local, organic pecans from the market and some Old New Orleans spiced rum, this treat is sure to please guests during your holiday get-togethers. 

Chocolate-Beet Cake

Beets. You love 'em or you hate 'em. No vegetable I know  is more polarizing than this one. I'm a beet lover and can put them in just about anything....except for dessert. Thankfully, this recipe takes care of that. The beets in this recipe add lots of moisture, sweetness, and a a hint of beet flavor to this cake. This recipe calls for creme fraiche and poppy seeds as a topping. Me? I'll stick with strawberries & goat cheese whipped cream.  


Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup) 

This recipe is an all time favorite of mine. Cheap, tasty, and filling, this soup is perfect for cold winter nights. Make sure to go for the real linguica or Spanish chorizo dry cured sausage; fresh sausage or smoked sausage won't cut it. If you want to keep it local, use the sweet potatoes in place of white ones. It will add a little sweetness to balance the heat of the sausage, plus they have a bunch more nutrients than white taters. 

Posted 10/2/2012 2:59pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Coconut-Flavored Sweet Potato with Mustard Greens

-I've made this recipe a dozen times and will make it at least a dozen more before I tire of it. This vegetarian main dish of sweet potatoes & mustard greens simmered in a coconut milk with spices is a can't miss dish. Served over brown jasmine rice, it becomes a complete meal.

Lima Bean Hummus

Chickpeas get all the love when making hummus, but really any pea or bean will work. This simple hummus recipe is great snack or, with a salad, a light lunch. For extra flavor, simmer the lima beans until tender in chicken or vegetable stock. It's important to cook the beans properly, as limas (and all beans) are toxic to eat raw.

German Potato Salad

-Potato salad gets a such a bad wrap due to the sickly-sweet, mayonnaise based concoctions found in most grocery store prepared food aisles. This mustard based version restores the good name of potato salad. This is great as a side dish, but I honestly could eat it all by itself its so good.

Mixed Mushroom Risotto with Garlic, Lemon & Sage Oil

-This dish sounds super-fancy, but in reality risotto is a cinch to make if you follow some very basic rules. The cremini & the shiitake mushrooms in the box give this dish a great earthy flavor. Be sure to use a decent wine & parmesan cheese, as the provide much of the flavor for the finished dish.

Posted 9/30/2012 5:00pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Coconut-Flavored Sweet Potato with Mustard Greens

-I've made this recipe a dozen times and will make it at least a dozen more before I tire of it. This vegetarian main dish of sweet potatoes & mustard greens simmered in a coconut milk with spices is a can't miss dish. Served over brown jasmine rice, it becomes a complete meal.

Yellow Squash Fritters

Our farmers keep on throwing yellow squash at us and this is about the only dish I still get excited about making after four straight squash-filled months. This recipe can be made gluten-free by using garbanzo bean flour or any other gluten-free flour.

German Potato Salad

-Potato salad gets a such a bad wrap due to the sickly-sweet, mayonnaise based concoctions found in most grocery store prepared food aisles. This mustard based version restores the good name of potato salad. This is great as a side dish, but I honestly could eat it all by itself its so good.

Posted 9/25/2012 12:20pm by Bill Pastellak.

 

Spiced Arkansas Black Apples and Dumplings

-Like an apple pie, but easier. Arkansas Black apples are great for baking and keep their shape and texture despite long cooking times. This recipe can be made gluten free by subbing out all-purpose flour for corn flour or sorghum flour.


 Mustard Greens with Peanut Sauce

-Mustard greens have a nutty quality to them that compliments peanuts perfectly. For an all-local (albeit more time consuming) recipe, roast the raw peanuts from the box and grind into peanut butter.

Savory Sweet Potato Soufflé


"Sweet" sweet potato dishes are all too common and, unfortunately, most taste pretty similar. This savory sweet potato souffle allows you to experience sweet potatoes in a whole new way.

Squash Fritters

-Summer squash, while delicious in its own right, is fairly mild flavored and needs some gussying up to excite the taste buds. This recipe, though not the healthiest, takes care of that problem.  While not the biggest fan of fried food, I can't resist a crunchy squash fritter fresh out of the frier. Sprinkle with some Parmesan or Pecorino for even more flavor.

Posted 9/4/2012 8:46am by Bill Pastellak.

 

Pink-Eyed Peas & Grits

-Pink Eyed Peas have become a recent favorite of mine, as they cook up quick and are pretty close in taste to your more common green peas. Served over grits, this becomes a complete meal. Omit ham hocks and replace with vegetable stock for a  vegetarian dish.

Cajun Boiled Peanuts

-This recipe was spurred on by a Facebook fan saying how they used the green peanuts in the Tuesday box prior to the power going out. All the ingredients are most likely already in your pantry, so this is a hassle free snack that will keep well in the fridge for a few days.


Summer Greens Pasta

-Mustards are back (hopefully for good) and I couldn't wait to take advantage of the first greens of the fall season. Greens with pasta are a favorite of mine, as the bitterness of the greens counteracts the heaviness of pasta. Toss a little garlic, green onions from the box, and butter in to the mix and you have a complete cheap meal in less than a half and hour.

Asian Eggplant Stir-Fry with Thai Basil

Many folks ask about the Thai basil when we put it in the box, so I found this recipe to showcase it. Thai basil is slightly different than regular basil, having smaller leaves and a slight licorice flavor. It complements eggplant very well and is as common in Thai cuisine as sweet basil is in Italian dishes. This recipe has a number of ingredients, but comes together quickly. Use regular water instead of coconut water if you don't have any on hand.

 Greek Cucumber Salad

-This recipe was a childhood favorite of mine and a dish I was certain to eat long before my veggie loving days. This recipe comes together in minutes and actually improves in flavor after a few hours in the fridge. Great as a healthy snack or as an alternative to a green salad.

 

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