This dinner really excited me. After a day of feeling overwhelmed by my fridge and trying to come up with camping food and dinner I had a breakthrough when I realized that I could a) freeze the leftover black-eyed peas and b)use the leftover squashita filling and the bunch of chard to make these veggie quesadillas I read about. And they turned out fabulous (of course, sometimes that is the joy of not having anything to compare them to). I used several cheeses because this is really a meal all about refashioning leftovers, I had to go buy tortillas for it and meant to buy monteray jack cheese (the suggested cheese) but forgot. Once I was home I realized that our remaining queso fresco would not be enough cheese; taking stock of the cheese basket in the fridge I grabbed the smoked gouda (again not enough) and the cheddar. I could have mixed them all up, but instead I made two with queso fresco, two with smoked gouda, two with cheddar, and one with a mixture of all three. I think the mixed cheese quesadillas was probably the best, but the smoked gouda by itself was surprisingly good.
Squash, Onion and Chard Quesadillas
- 1 small bunch chard
- leftover squashita filling (OR 1 small summer squash and increase the red onion)
- several slices red onion
- canola oil
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- queso fresco, sliced thinly
- smoked gouda, grated
- cheddar cheese, grated
- corn tortillas
This is a dish that you want to have everything ready before you start cooking. Give the chard a nice soak and then remove the tough stems. Using towels gently blot the chard of excess water but don’t worry about getting it totally dry. I sliced my chard first vertically and then across in thin (1/4″ to 1/2″) strips. For a change I did not use the stems. If you had to prep the squash, thinly slice it into halfmoons or pie wedge shapes. Thinly slice the onions into quarter circles – slice as much onion as your taste dictates. Slice or grate your cheese.
Heat a skillet up with oil and sautee the red onion, then add the squash and cook until heated (or soft if starting with raw squash, also remember to season it), pull the squash out of the skillet and set aside. Add more oil if necessary and the garlic, as soon as it is fragrant dump all the chard leaves on top of it and stir. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cover. Add a spoonfull of water if it needs help wilting. After maybe 1-2 minutes check and as soon as it is bright green remove the lid to let the excess water evaporate. Add the squash and onion back to the pan and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Heat a cast iron skillet (preferably) to medium. Place one corn tortilla in the skillet, as it begins to soften (anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute), flip it then add a thin layer of cheese, a spoonful of the veggie mixture, and another thin layer of cheese on top that to half the tortilla, fold it closed. Once the cheese has started melting and the tortilla has started getting golden and slightly toasty flip the quesadilla (try to keep the fold side down so your filling is less likely to fall out during flipping).
Repeat with the other tortillas. Two corn tortillas (standard small size) will fit once folded into the 10″ cast iron skillet. Even in my not-so-greatly seasoned cast iron skillets I’ve never needed to add oil or butter to encourage browning or inhibit sticking, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet I’d use a non-stick skillet. To speed the process up I also used an 8″ skillet to heat tortillas as the two quesadillas are currently cooking in the cast-iron. If the corn tortilla is not heated and soft it might crack when you try to fold it.
I didn’t manage to cook something for dinner last night, but as I left for my knit night thing TheHusband asked me if I had anything in mind for him to cook for himself. I answered, “I don’t know. Just eat some produce”. And so he did. When I got home I first asked what he ate, and then if he took a picture – he looked at me like I was nuts. From his description this was his salad:
- balsamic vinegar and olive oil
It probably looked a lot like the salad we made on August 12.
As I was putting away my CSA veggies on Tuesday night I noticed the nearly full pint of blackberries we bought from the farmer’s market last Saturday and luckily I immediately remembered the blackberry-basil basil-blackberry crumble I read about earlier in the day on The Bitten Word earlier in the day. And we just got basil and apples that day. Woo, I have everything we need to make this yummy sounding dessert. How did the blackberries last so long in the fridge? We found them lacking in flavor when eaten raw.
Refreshed from my cucumber dinner I set about to make a half-batch of basil-blackberry crumble (look at me making a recipe the same day I see it, look at me taking 2 more days before I post about it). I was a little worried about the crumb recipe – it didn’t seem like nearly enough flour for the amount of butter, but I went ahead and followed it anyway (a quick perusal of my cookbooks didn’t find anything to confirm or deny these proportions). I was surprised when the crumb mixture seemed to cover the unbaked fruit mixture, but once it was out of the oven my fears were confirmed – just not enough crumble covering the fruit. But it still tasted fabulous. Of course we decided at the very last minute it needed ice cream and so made a 10:20 pm trip to the grocery store for ice cream (and milk and balsamic vinegar-which worked out nicely).
Very recently Laura at (not so) Urban Hennery asked what food bloggers (am I a food blogger? I don’t feel like one, I just happen to be blogging about our CSA food this summer) eat when they aren’t blogging about it. Now I do think this blog project has caused me to unintentionally create more elaborate meals than I do on a regular basis, but if the food I cook comes from the CSA then I blog about it (the other nights tend to be leftovers or something mundane like pasta with jarred sauce or nacho-craving indulgences). If these cucumbers weren’t from the CSA I would have never ever blogged about it.
Well Tuesday night I wasn’t very hungry, was tired, didn’t feel like cooking, had a huge pile of produce on my dining room table…. Plus we now had oodles of cucumbers because I forgot we hadn’t eaten them from last week’s pickup and we got a gallon ziplock full from TheHusband’s mom’s garden when we visited her the week before and we got oodles more at this week’s pick-up. So I “made” cucumbers for dinner. Wash, slice, serve. Add a little bowl of salt to sprinkle on to taste. In the end that wasn’t all, but that was dinner.
Again not attempting rows, you see: rainbow chard, bell peppers, carrots, kale, cabbage, beets, apples, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, kohlrabi, summer squash, tomatoes and basil
Also I couldn’t resist taking a close-up of the braided carrots:
I’m skipping the salsa fresca recipe for now. It is proving to be bloggers-block inducing.
Monday night I made roasted beets, sauteed greens (beet and chard) and polenta with gorgonzola. Oh yes, and roasted green beens. It was a planned meal with just a fit of “use it up before Tuesday” thrown in (except I forgot I had a head of cabbage languishing in the back corner of the fridge). It also made entirely too many dishes (that TheHusband was kind enough to wash) – pot for polenta, pan for greens, baking sheet for green beans plus various bowls, cups, cutting boards. I’m not a very neat cook. I roasted the beets in the usual manner, I made the polenta according to TNBR, and sauteed the greens with some garlic (there are recipes out there) and made the green beans kind of sort following my first and therefore favorite roasted green bean recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook (now I just grab the cookbook when I forget how long they should be in the oven). The gooey white stuff in the middle of the polenta is the slice of gorgonzola dolce that is all melty.
Roasted Beets my non-recipe
- preheat oven to 375 F or 400 F
- scrub dirt off the beets
- cut off the greens (leaving maybe 1″ of stem on the beet), reserve greens for another use
- wrap in foil
- toss in oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on beet size, until a knife or fork slips in the beet flesh easily
- rub peel off and quickly wash beet-staining juice off your hands
- slice as desired
- preheat oven to 400 F
- clean green beans and snap the stem end off, cut in half if you like, lightly dry them with a towel
- place in a bowl, pour some oil on them (olive oil or canola-olive mix; teaspoon to 2 tablespoons)
- peel whole cloves of garlic (5 to 10 depending on how many green beans and how garlic-crazy you are), cut in half if they are way huge, add to bowl with green beans
- toss beans and garlic to coat with oil
- sprinkle with some salt and pepper and toss to coat again
- munch on the raw green beans that are too skinny and “would burn”, stop when you realize you’ve eaten half the green beans and soon there won’t be enough to serve two
- toss on a baking sheet and spread out
- put baking sheet in oven and stir after 10 minutes (maybe you will like them cooked to this degree, or leave in the oven another 5 to 10 minutes
- sprinkle with balsamic vinegar if desired (oops, forgot that Monday night), toasted almonds are also nice
non-recipe (loosely based on a recipe in TNBR
- wash greens thoroughly by giving them a nice soak in a bowlful of cool water
- shake water off and remove tough stems (don’t bother spinning them dry – a bit of water is helpful to the wilting process)
- cut leaves in half lengthwise and then chop into 1″ stripes
- set aside
- chop up stems finely (like you would dice onions)
- peel and mince 1 or 2 cloves garlic
- heat a skillet (with lid) up with some oil (again tablespoon or so), add the stems and sautee until soft, add the garlic and saute until fragrant them dump in all the greens and cover with the lid, after a minute stir, and again after a minute stir, if stuff is sticking add a tablespoon or two of water, remove from heat when greens are bright green and tender
- if you like squeeze lemon on top (I also like balsamic vinegar – but not both at once)
What are squashitas? Squash Fajitas of course. We had plans to make a nice big bowl of salsa fresca (that recipe will come later) and something for dinner. As I surveyed the contents of the fridge I remembered the two remaining summer squashes and started discussing ideas with TheHusband. “We could grill them…but what else would we have with it? No, we can’t eat just salsa and chips for dinner.” And so I decided to try out making veggie fajitas with the squash (and some onion and bell peppers). This dish is also great because it makes it easy to invite our ominvore (and meatitarian) friends over as long as they bring their meat-o-choice with them. I love build-your-own dishes for that reason.
Now I debated and debated whether or not to post the following picture, I took 3 and all were blurry – this was the best of the bunch; finally I decided if I could post poorly lit photos I could post a blurry photo.
- 2 summer squash (these were fairly big summer squash)
- 1/2 – 3/4 white onion
- handful of frozen tri-colored bell peppers (fresh would be better if you have it)
- 1 garlic clove, smooshed in garlic press (or minced)
- cumin (my guess 1/2 t)
- chipotle powder (my guess 1/8 t)
- queso fresco (or other cheese), crumbled
- sour cream
Cut the summer squash into slices. For the long squash that involved slicing it lengthwise, then in half so the slices were half-moon shapes; for the pattypan that involved cutting it into wedges and then slicing (think pie shapes). Cut the onion into slices. Cut your bell peppers if you need to (the frozen ones come pre-sliced). Heat a skillet up and add some oil (a tablespoon or two), then add the onion (now I would also add fresh peppers) and start to cook it, when it is half-way soft add the squash and the frozen peppers. When it is about cooked add the garlic, and salt. Stir well, then add the cumin and chipotle powder (I didn’t measure it at all, just eyeballed it so those amounts above are guestimates of what I used) let it cook just a bit and then taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Prep your toppings, crumbling or grating the cheese and tearing the cilantro into small pieces. Heat your tortilla and add the filling and your preferred toppings.
Yet another dish from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures, I really enjoy her combination of broccoli, eggs and smoked cheese (my one complaint is that the smoked cheese doesn’t melt very well, but it is still tasty). I know I didn’t have quite as much broccoli as called for and my eggs must have been small because it came out a little thin and didn’t take nearly as long too cook as recommended. I think my frittata only spent about 5 minutes on the stovetop and maybe that much under the broiler; I also opted to add about half the cheese to the egg mixture and sprinkle the other half on top once the frittata was set. Jeanne Lemlin says the frittata serves two, but we ate 1/4 each for dinner and then had the other half for lunch today.
I also had TheHusband throw together this recipe for Pickled Beets from Simply Recipes. They were lovely, with just a little bit of bite from the mustard. She says serves four but I think it made about three generous servings (and of course I like to be generous with beets) and we nibbled on polished off that 3rd serving about 90 minutes after dinner.
Broccoli and Smoked Cheese Frittata from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4-5 c broccoli florets
- 3 green onions*
- 1/4 c water
- 5 large eggs
- 1/4 t salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 c grated smoked gouda or mozerella cheese
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
*I added a bit of green onion because I have it in the house. I don’t think it was noticeable one way or the other in the dish.
This dish is quick, so it best to have the veggies prepped before you turn on the pan. I use a 10″ non-stick skillet that is oven safe (this goes under the broiler so it needs to be oven safe). Start by turning the pan on medium heat (and turn your broiler on). Add the oil and the garlic and sautee until just fragrant, then add the broccoli and stir. Add the water and cover. Let it cook until bright green, as usual you want it to maintain just a bit of crunch because it will be cooking more in the frittata. If all the water has not evaporated uncover it and stir so it evaporates. If you are using green onion add it now. Dump the broccoli onto a plate (or the cutting board you just used) in a single layer and let it cool. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, salt and black pepper, add about half the cheese and the cooled broccoli. Wipe the skillet out if it is messy (I’m lazy and didn’t), add the butter and let it melt, then dump the egg mixture in. When the sides begin to set, gently lift/loosen the edges with a thin spatula and tilt the pan so the liquid egg can go under the set edges. When it is mostly set (Lemlin says this takes 15 minutes, it took mine maybe 5), but still wobbly and raw in the center I stick it under the broiler and check after each minute. When it is totally set but not yet golden I sprinkled the remaining cheese on top and stick under the broiler again for 1-2 minutes for it to melt (or get melty-ish). Remove from the oven and turn onto a plate (this is where the cheese on top is maybe a silly idea, unless you flip it again. Sometimes it is best to run a thin spatula all the way around the frittata to make sure it is loose before you flip it out of the pan.
When I’m feeling fancy I call this a composed vegetable plate, but tonight it is just veggies with more veggies. And some yummy bread. Luckily the weather is cool enough to roast vegetables, unfortunately my roasted veggie timing was all off. The potatoes were slightly over cooked, the kohlrabi slightly undercooked and I didn’t start the squash in time to be ready with everything else. Oh well. And now I realize that I should have made a yummy bean dip for that bread, oh well maybe next time. I also decided to make some cabbage according to an Orangette recipe. Now cabbage is not maligned in our house, but generally relegated to a tasty taco topping. So we have roasted kohlrabi (a delicious and simple way to eat it IMO – though our huge softball sized kohlrabi made way too much for two), roasted potatoes (itty bitty new potatoes), roasted pattypan squash and roasted red peppers as well as sauteed green cabbage with apples and red onion (or in my case shallot since that is what I had in the pantry). Sadly it turned out that we had way too much kohlrabi and cabbage and not enough potatoes (which were really tasty paired with the cabbage), and overall I just overfilled our plates. Lesson learned I guess (um, hope).
Roasting veggies basics
- preheat oven to 375 or 400 F
- cut into large-bite size pieces
- toss in a bowl with some oil (start with 1 tablespoon), salt, pepper and other seasonings if desired
- toss onto a baking sheet in a single layer, ideally not too crowded
- put in oven, check and maybe stir/turn half-way through baking time
How long to cook? Time is dependent on vegetable and size; the potatoes and kohlrabi were in for 20 minutes (too long for the size of potato, slightly too short for kohlrabi), squash and red pepper were in for about 10 or 15 minutes; it always depends on how well done you want them – the squash could have been cooked a wee bit longer.
Actually it was Ziti and Broccoli Salad with Sun-dried tomato Pesto from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin, minus the ziti plus some fusilli shaped pasta. The choice was a broccoli and smoked cheese frittata or this and TheHusband’s eyes lit up when he took a look at this recipe. Our large head of broccoli from last week just barely made enough broccoli IMO, and only 3 cups of it was the florets. I found the pesto to be very thick and really noticed the garlic bite, but my taste buds are also a little off from a cold. I also thinks it makes a lot of pasta salad and am wondering what is up with cookbook authors thinking 4 oz of dried pasta is a serving; we’ve eaten 5 servings (2 for dinner, 3 for lunch) and have one more left, but I gorged myself on it Wednesday after barely eating all of Tuesday and early Wednesday. So I think it makes a minimum of 6 generous servings, and closer to 8 if you eat it with something else.
Pasta with broccoli and sun-dried tomato pesto
- I lb. short pasta
- 4-5 c broccoli florets (about 1 bunch)
- 2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes (the dried kind, not oil pack)
- 1/3 c olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T chopped fresh basil (1 t. dried)
- 1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
- 3 T chopped walnuts (I used almonds)
- 2 T freshly grated parmesan
- 1/2 t salt
- black pepper to taste
Put a pot of water on to boil of course. Grab another pot and steamer insert (make sure it is big enough to hold the broccoli) and steam the sun-dried tomatoes for about 7 minutes so they get soft (I also pulled out a 1/4 c of the water after steaming and set it aside, just in case-but don’t dump the water from the steamer pot just yet). Place the sun-dried tomatoes in the food processor and add the olive oil and garlic and pulse until it is a paste. Add the herbs and pulse some more, then add the nuts and cheese (you are supposed to stir the nuts and cheese in by hand, but I said “bah” to that) and pulse a couple times to combine. While the pasta is boiling steam the broccoli (same steamer pan, add more water if necessary) until it is bright green and still a wee bit crisp (Lemlin has you drop it in boiling water and then pat dry, I figure the steamer is already out so I used it instead). Dump the steamed broccoli into a big bowl. When the pasta is done drain it, reserving 1 tablespoon of the starchy pasta water, and dump it in the bowl with the broccoli. Stir the tablespoon of pasta water into the pesto to thin it out a little (at this point I added a bit more oil and a tablespoon of the tomatoey water too, I thought it needed it) and then dump the pesto into the big bowl with the pasta and broccoli and stir until everything is coated nicely.