Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Box of Plenty

With San Francisco still trying to decide if it's Winter or Spring, I'm feeling pretty grateful to be able to pickup fresh seasonal veggie deliveries from Eatwell Farm. The box of goodies that we picked up just over a week ago has provided us with a refrigerator full of fresh, crisp and delicious fruits and vegetables that never had to see the inside of a supermarket.

In the spirit of our little city apartment receiving the bounty of the season directly from the farm, I want to share the dishes we made over the last week trying to use as many ingredients from the box in each meal as possible. Some days, like Monday, are busy and the missus and I get home at different times, so it's usually leftovers or a quick and easy pasta. Last Monday, Mrs. Rosewater got crafty and threw together a tasty little pesto with spinach, walnuts, and a generous dose of olive oil. It's all about what you have in your cupboard.

Luckily, the rest of the week is a little more consistent, so we have plenty of time to put together a proper dinner for two. Mid-week, we borrowed a recipe from the Eatwell Farm Newsletter for a vegetable risotto. My relationship with risotto has been pretty hit and miss in the past, and it has often turned into a marginally edible rice-paste with vegetables. This time? Not a problem. The rice was just right, and the addition of tarragon made it wonderfully fragrant and richly flavored.

Radish & Leek Risotto

1 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 large or 2 small leeks, with tops removed and diced
1 bunch of radishes (about 8) chopped into small cubes
1 bunch of green garlic (4 - 5), cleaned, trimmed and chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 Small handful of tarragon, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Saute the leeks, garlic and radishes in the oil until the radishes begin to become translucent and the leeks begin to shrink, about 5 - 10 minutes. Add rice and stir for a couple of minutes, until the oil has been absorbed by the rice. Slowly add heated broth one ladle at a time, stirring constantly, until absorbed and the rice is cooked completely. Taste the rice frequently to test it's doneness. When rice is fully cooked, remove from heat and add tarragon. Season with salt and pepper. No risotto is complete without cheese, so grate about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (or more, if you like) into the risotto before you serve and stir it in. Serve in a bowl topped with more parmesan cheese. (Yes, I like cheese.)

And since San Francisco and the Bay Area seem to be suffering from juvenile fits of cold wind and rain this month instead of a proper grown-up storm, it felt like a good time to make a thick, tasty soup to keep us warm. Plus, it's pretty much the only thing I know how to make with butternut squash. The recipe changes each time because I always have different ingredients in the refrigerator, sometimes things that need to be cooked and eaten before they go bad.

Photo note: The picture above was not taken by my talented photographer wife, but instead by me. Notice the chipped bowl? I didn't. This is why I leave the visual stuff to the missus, and I stick to the words.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 2 1/2 lb butternut squash (or 2 small squashes) peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 Sweet red onion, chopped
4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced
1 large or 2 small leeks, tops removed and chopped
Small handful of tarragon, chopped
5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large stockpot. Saute the onion, leek and garlic until they become fragrant and the onion begins to turn translucent. Add squash, and saute for a couple of minutes and stir in salt and pepper. Add white wine, and allow the alcohol to cook off and liquid to reduce, stirring occasionally. Add 5 cups of broth; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cook until squash is tender, about 40 min. Remove from heat and add tarragon.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and thick. If soup is too thin, return to heat and allow to reduce slightly. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil or heavy cream, and with a plate of crusty, toasted bread nearby.

This soup wasn't the best I've ever made, but it did the trick. I think it needed to be a little thicker, and some cream would have added to the flavor. I love the sweetness of the squash paired with the tart bite of onion and leek. The tarragon just added that little something extra.

Having this huge box of farm fresh veggies thrust at us all at once was a little intimidating, so it's going to be an adventure making sure we get the most out of each delivery and nothing goes to waste. If you haven't already, look into finding a local CSA in your area, and keep your kitchen stocked with the freshest seasonal produce around.



Sarah E. Hoffman said...

I love the radish and leek idea - I have both in my fridge right now. I know what I am having for supper tommorrow!

cathlene#35 said...

I rather like the charm of the chipped bowl myself ....