Friday, June 13, 2008

Our First CSA dinner!

Wow. Just, wow. These were things I probably never would have tried without the CSA. Who am I kidding? I've never even seen some of this in the stores so I certainly wouldn't have tried it. But it was outstanding, and so much fun! I've been stuck in a bit of a food rut, and this booted me right out of it!

Here's what we had:

Shrimp Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

1 lb precooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
1/2 head Chinese cabbage, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped (I probably should have used a whole head, especially since I have no idea what to do with the other half a head)
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup diced water chestnuts
1 radish, cut into small papersticks (probably could have used 2 radishes...I wasn't sure how it would go but threw it in since I had it)
6 ounces baby bella mushrooms, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Splash rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
Egg Roll wrappers (I used 12 egg roll wrappers...your mileage may vary depending on how stuffed you make your egg rolls)
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

Heat the sesame and olive oils in a large skillet over medium high heat (oil amounts are approximate). Saute garlic and mushrooms until slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, water chestnuts, and radish. Saute an additional 2 minutes. Add the Chinese cabbage, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Stir well until cabbage begins to wilt. Add the shrimp, stir well, then remove from the heat.

Once filling has cooled slightly, fill egg roll wrappers. If you don't know how to do that, no worries. The directions are on the package of egg roll wrappers.

Add about 1/4" oil to a skillet and heat over high heat until a wooden chopstick dipped into the oil causes bubbles to appear. Carefully add egg rolls (there will be spatters unless you're a far better egg roll roller than I am). Turn once the first side has browned. I find it best to use a spatula in one hand and a chopstick in the other to turn the egg rolls. When the other side has browned, remove to paper towel lined plate to drain.

________________________

As if that wasn't enough, I also made:

Pan Seared Scallops over Wilted Tatsoi


The wilted tatsoi was really outstanding. I very loosely followed this recipe, except that I only used tatsoi rather than assorted Asian greens. Also, I only had seasoned rice vinegar (which they say specifically not to use), so I used it and omitted the sugar. I added some garlic, because, come on. How could you not use garlic in this? And I just eyeballed all the ingredient quantities since I wasn't using anywhere near the same quantity of greens. Anyway, it was delicious. I'm so glad we decided to try the tatsoi. We had a choice at our CSA of tatsoi or arugula, and I'm really happy we decide to go with the one we'd never heard of.

For the scallops I tried something a little different from my normal bread-and-fry-in-garlic-butter method I employ for most seafood. We had some lemon thyme that I didn't have any plans for, so I used that as my inspiration. I mean, it wasn't a big stretch to pair lemony flavors with seafood, but anyway :)

Ingredients:

1 lb sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
zest from 1/2 lemon
Oil for frying

Directions:

Rinse scallops in cold water and remove that little tough piece on the side. I don't know what it's called (anyone want to help me out?) It peels right off, though. Gently pat excess water off with paper towel.

Toss scallops with thyme, lemon pepper, and lemon zest until all scallops are lightly coated.

Add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of a skillet. Heat over high heat. Add scallops (don't overcrowd...do it in two batches if your pan is small). When the bottom of the scallop is lightly seared, turn over and cook the other side until it's seared. I'm hesitant to give cook times as it really depends on the size of your scallops, but it's quick...1 or 2 minutes per side approximately.

______________________

I also made mint iced tea with mint from the CSA. I even lightly sweetened it with local honey instead of sugar, and it was perfect...just a touch of sweet, and the honey flavor seemed to really match well with the mint. However, I brewed the tea way too weak. It's drinkable, but really needed to be about twice as strong as I made it.

Oh well. Hopefully we'll get more mint in next week's share so I can try again.

Random related thought:

Amount of time spent cooking this afternoon: about 2 hours

Amount of time spent cleaning after dinner: about 30 minutes

Amount of time spent blogging about dinner: about an hour

This wasn't quick. But it was fun. I'm not sure if I'll keep up the blog entries, or if anyone is at all interested in my recipes, but it's such a good way for ME to remember a recipe. I tend to just throw things together, and then when I want to make it again, I have only a vague idea of what I did the first time. I mean, I'm sure I won't follow the recipe next time anyway. I seem to be completely unable to make a recipe without tweaking it somehow, but at least now I have a starting point.

And as I told TK, hopefully we'll continue to love the CSA and will join again next year...I'll have a ready made set of recipes then if I keep blogging my recipes.

I will try to avoid having this turn into just a cooking blog, though. First of all, I'm not really that good a cook. B, I highly doubt I could avoid going off on unrelated tangents anyway. Such as, remember how in Mad About You Paul would always say his lists "First, blah blah. And B, blah blah" or "A, blah blah. And second, blah blah". That always cracked me up. So I just stole it for my list.

I'm overtired to the point of not making sense. I'm sure if I rechecked my blog reading level, it would be kindergarten after this rambling post.

Well, happy eating to y'all!

1 comment:

jules said...

okay, it's not even 8am and i'm drooling over your pan-seared scallops on wilted tatsoi. i, for one, vote that you continue with the CSA food updates. then again, i'm living vicariously through you on this one.

that "thing" on the scallops is generally referred to as the tough ligament. pan-seared scallops have become one of my favorite things to cook since we moved into our house (with a gas stovetop). they are so quick and delicious! i do add a bit of butter to the oil too as i think it helps carmelize them - YUM! and let's face it, what isn't better with a little butter?