Last Week’s Kitchen

I’m in the midst of some vegetable anxiety. I still have nearly a full bin from last week (cabbage, scallions, onion, beet w/greens, carrots, lettuce, cuke) and just got the new box from our share at the farm: carrots, eggplant, onions, potatoes, squash, leeks, melon, tomatoes, basil. I will say again: buying a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share seemed like a good idea at the time, but it’s a lot of work to keep up with even our half share, especially since the kids often won’t eat what I make. (They DO love the farm’s carrots, though, as do I.)

Here were a couple things from last week, mostly from the CSA box (not the figs).

Here, Roasted Potato Slices with Lime and Chili. I’ve posted the recipe before, but not with a photo. I managed to snap this before it was devoured.

Roasted Potatoes with Chili and Lime

Not so the Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Popcorn, which had a really lovely green and white contrast. Until it disappeared.

Our grocery coop had some lovely looking figs,

Black Mission figs

so I made fig jam from Super Natural Cooking again, served here with Bent River a camembert-esque cheese made by the Alemar Cheese Company, on slices of Rustica Bakery baguette.

Fig jam

Alas, I decided to experiment and added a whole teaspoon of cardamom (I’m on something of a cardamom kick) which turned the whole batch bitter. I’m not sure whether to add more figs, more honey or both. Here is the base recipe, which I made before with very good results.

Fig Spread with Black Pepper and Toasted Sesame Seeds from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

1 1/2 lb. ripe fresh Black Mission figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2″ dice
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. honey
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. toasted unhulled sesame seeds

Toss chopped figs and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Stir in the honey and black pepper and set aside for 10 minutes. The figs will start to break down and get soupy. Pour the fig mixture in to a large, heavy pot over medium heat and bring to a slow, gurgling boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until the figs start to reduce and thicken, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sesame seeds and remove from the heat. Let the spread sit for 5 minutes, taste, and add more pepper to taste if needed.

This spread may be canned as you would other jams, but it keeps well for up to a week in the refrigerator. Makes 3 cups.

And my friend A. corralled my friend The Hoff and me to make soup for twenty for a Kevin Reich for Ward 1 fundraiser. We made a quadruple batch of squash stew based on a recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Squash soup

There were many compliments, and they sounded sincere, so I think the soup was a success. I’ve made it before, and would definitely make it again.

Thai Tofu and Autumn Squash Soup, adapted from a recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 medium leeks, white parts only, cleaned, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ slices
2 Tbl. peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 serrano chiles, minced
1 Tbl. finely grated ginger
1 Tbl. curry powder
1 tsp. light brown sugar
3 Tbl. wheat-free tamari
32 oz. mushroom broth
1 15 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 lbs autumn squash (we used a mix of butternut and delicata) peeled and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes
1 10-oz. pkg. silken firm tofu cut into 1/2″ cubes
Juice of one lime
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/3 c. chopped peanuts

Heat peanut oil in wide soup pot. Add leeks and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until partially softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, most of chiles, and ginger; cook 1 minute more, then add curry, sugar and soy sauce. Reduce heat to medium, scrape pan, and cook for a few more minutes. Add broth, coconut milk, squash, and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat Puree some or all of soup, in blender or with immersion blender. Taste for salt, add tofu, lime juice and cilantro.

Fry peanuts in a little peanut oil over medium heat in a small skillet, then chop. Serve stew over basmati or jasmine rice, garnished with peanuts and remaining chili.

This is a vegan, gluten-free soup. Plain yogurt with a little cardamom would make a nice garnish and you can try pepitas instead of peanuts. Serves 4.

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