Crop Box Sunday! September 24th, 10:30AM to 2PM
The excessive heat has played havoc with some of the local crops, especially greens. But we are seeing a mix of summer and fall produce, which gives you many choices for eating farm to table.
Not a member yet? Why not? Click here to join the co-op at $100 for full membership. Be a member and a co-owner, bringing the power of economic independence to Riverside. Members can subscribe to our crop box too! $27/month with delivery available for $7.50/month. You benefit, your community benefits, and our partner farms and growers benefit.
Pomegranates are in! I like to just remove the arils from the pith and put them in a bowl in the refrigerator. A handful makes a great snack any time of day. The arils are great to top many foods: hummus, chicken, ice cream, breakfast cereal, yogurt. They are tasty, healthful, and pretty!
To remove the arils, first cut out the blossom end of the fruit, then cut through the outer rind top in bottom, in 4 or more places on the pomegranate. Then pull apart. You can remove the white inside pith and drop the arils into your container.
The seeds can be frozen to use later. Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. After a couple of hours they should be frozen and can be moved into a bag or other storage container. Having these tucked away to decorate holiday dishes will make me happy!
It is easy to extract the juice in a blender. Put the seeds only in your blender, blend to extract the juice, then strain out the seeds and any pith you missed.
The juice can be used to make jelly or pomegranate molasses. Pomegranate molasses is both sweet and tart and nice to add to salad dressings, drizzle over roasted vegetables, stir into iced or hot tea, drizzle on salmon, chicken, eggplant or grain based salads or use in many middle eastern dishes.
4 cups pomegranate juice
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a large, wide, uncovered saucepan, heat pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice on medium high until the sugar has dissolved and the juice simmers. Reduce heat just enough to maintain a simmer.
Simmer for about an hour, or until the juice has a syrupy consistency, and has reduced to 1 to 1 1/4 cups. Pour out into a jar. Let cool. Store chilled in the refrigerator.
If you want your pomegranate molasses to be sweeter, add more sugar to taste, while you are cooking it. Store in a bottle in the refrigerator.
A kitchen project using the Kirby cucumbers in this month’s box. Fermented kosher dill pickles are so easy (yes, really). You will be happy to have them. I am putting two web links here, so you can understand the processes in several pickle methods. Kosher dills are my favorites.
Fermented Kosher Dill Pickles
I recently had a spinach salad in a café with Apricot vinaigrette dressing. Wow it was good! Here is a recipe I found after coming home and trying to recreate the salad.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons apricot jam
½ teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Mix all ingredients in a jar and shake well until mixed.
On your plate make a bed of spinach, a few sliced cucumbers and shredded carrots, dressed in the Apricot Vinaigrette.
Crumbled Feta cheese
Decorate the edge of the plate with:
cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 halved figs
The restaurant offered it topped with grilled chicken, grilled salmon or smoked salmon. I ordered this on two different days it was so good!
Interested in a new, healthy dip? Bon Appetit included this recipe in the August issue. Try it. I think you will agree it is very tasty.
Lentil Puree with Cilantro
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup yellow or red lentils
1 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus more for serving
Combine onion, lentils, cumin, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are falling apart tender, 25-30 minutes. Let cool.
Puree lentil mixture, 1 cup cilantro, ¼ cup olive oil, and 2 Tbsp. lime juice in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a bowl. Drizzle with oil and lime juice; top with more cilantro, oil and lime juice. Top with more cilantro. Serve at room temperature.
We have Kabocha squash in this box. Kabocha are smaller, roundish, and sweeter than pumpkin or Butternut squash. It can be roasted or steamed. You can add cooked cubes to creamy pasta dishes, use it to replace pumpkin in pie or other baked goods.
Kabocha Squash Soup with Pomegranate and Pepitas
From The Kitchn.com. Serves 6.
1 small kabocha squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 medium Gala apples (about 1 pound) peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
5 cups vegetable stock, plus more if needed
1 medium russet potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup coconut milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pure maple syrup, toasted pepitas and pomegranate arils, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the squash cut side down on baking sheet, and roast until completely tender when pierced with a knife, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool to the touch. Scoop out 2 cups of flesh and set aside, reserving remaining squash for another use. (This step can be completed up to 2 days in advance.)
Heat oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in thyme and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the vinegar, stock, potato, and reserved roasted squash. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat and let cool slightly. Puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or working in batches in a standard blender. (Don’t forget to hold the blender lid tightly with a folded towel when blending hot soup!) Stir in the coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the soup between bowls. Drizzle with a little maple syrup and top with toasted pepitas and pomegranate seeds.
If you have last month’s butternut squash still on hand (they last for a long time!) try this quick vegetarian recipe.
Quick Butternut Squash Curry
From TheKitchn.com. Serves 4 to 6.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from about a 1-inch piece)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets (about 2 cups florets)
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into thin 2-inch-long strips
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup water
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the curry paste and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the squash, broccoli, and bell pepper and toss to evenly coat in the curry paste. Add the coconut milk and water and stir to combine.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt as needed. Serve over cooked rice with chopped cilantro sprinkled over the top.
Or, if you prefer green curry, here is another. You can use prepared green curry paste to make this recipe faster.
Butternut Squash in Fresh Green Curry
From TheKitchn.com. Serves 4 to 6.
1 small butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds (see Recipe Notes)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallot or onion
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped, peeled fresh ginger root
2 fresh green jalapeños, or 1 fresh green serrano chile (see Recipe Notes)
3/4 cupcoarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems, divided
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups), divided
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Trim off stem and blossom end of butternut squash. Halve lengthwise and scoop out and discard seeds and fibers. Cut into large chunks and carefully peel each chunk. Cut peeled chunks into 1-inch pieces; you will have about 4 cups. Set aside.
In a mini food processor or blender, combine shallot, garlic, ginger, chiles, 3 tablespoons water, and 1/2 cup of the cilantro and grind, pulsing and stopping often to scrape sides of container, until a fairly smooth paste forms. You will have about 1/4 cup bright green paste. Set aside.
Shake coconut milk can well. Spoon out 1/2 cup into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add curry paste and cook, mashing and stirring until paste is dissolved into coconut milk and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, sugar, salt, and butternut squash. Increase heat to high and bring curry to a rolling boil. Stir well, reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil, and continue cooking until squash is tender and sauce is smooth and evenly colored a soothing green, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut all but a few of the basil leaves crosswise into thin strips. When curry is cooked, stir in basil strips and the remaining 1/4 cup of cilantro. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the reserved basil leaves and serve hot or warm.
One more winter squash recipe, but this one is for your slow cooker.
Butternut Squash & Chickpea Coconut Curry
from Tasty-yummies.com. Serves 8.
2 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups dried organic chick peas
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can 13.5 ounce organic coconut milk (you can use light here, I didn’t)
1 bunch of fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped (you could also use kale here)
1 1/2 cups freshly shelled peas (you can use frozen here, if you wish)
1-2 large tomatoes, diced
3 cups vegetable broth or water
3 tablespoons yellow curry powder (you can use your own blend of spices here, I just happen to have a premixed curry powder from a local indian grocery store that I love)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (save some for serving)
Rinse and sort through the dry chickpeas. Cut the skin off the squash, remove seeds and cut into 1 inch square cubes. Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker besides the peas and spinach. Cook on high for 6 hours. About 20-30 minutes before serving add in the fresh peas and spinach, and give it a stir. If your sauce seems to be a bit too thin or watery when it is done cooking, you could make a quick mix of cornstarch and hot water and pour a tablespoon or two of the mixture into the crock pot, allow it to simmer a bit longer. This will thicken it right up.
Serve over brown basmati or jasmine rice topped with fresh cilantro, mint or basil and maybe even some shredded coconut.