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Cooking from my CSA (Oct 2011)

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Thanks to a tip from JasmineG, I've joined the cult of the Mariquita Mystery Box, and I have to say, it's seriously reinvigorated my cooking.

The box for 10/5/11 (Oakland pickup @ Camino):
Romanesco cauliflower
Yellow cauliflower
Red peppers
Fresh chile de arbol
Chile peppers
Celery
Gala apples
Potatoes
Basil
Tomatoes (mixed heirloom, New Girl)
Cilantro

Day 1:
Romanesco cauliflower with chili, fish sauce, basil, garlic - this was a riff off a Momofuku recipe - I sauteed the cauliflower instead of frying it, and used basil instead of mint because I didn't want to buy any additional herbs beyond what I had. It was ok, but this dish definitely works better with mint.

Day 2:
Beef and cauliflower tagine - this was a new recipe for me - Eat Your Books helped me find this Paula Wolfert gem (from Couscous and Other Good Food), which also used chilis and cilantro. The beef is flavored with onions (I used shallots), cilantro, paprika, cumin, ginger, and cayenne (I added a chopped fresh chile). The cauliflower is parboiled and added at the and put in the oven for an additional 15-30 minutes. I was amazed at how much flavor the cauliflower picked up in that short time, and it absorbed the stew juices beautifully, like an Atkins friendly mashed potato substitute.

Salad caprese - obvious, and perfect.

Apple galette (I had a scrap of leftover Trader Joe pastry, rolled it out, thinly sliced 2 of the little apples, fanned them out, sprinkled a tablespoon of turbinado sugar, and baked at 450 until pastry was brown)

Day 4:
Gnocchi with pesto - I had already committed to making gnocchi when I peeled the skins of my boiled potates (which looked like small russets) and discovered yellow, slightly waxy flesh. They made for slightly gummier gnocchi than usual - I think they would have been perfect for rosti.

Roast red peppers - these were used in 1) frittata (with parmesan and basil) and 2) romesco - garlic, chili, almonds, tomato, olive oil - I used it as a dip with blanched celery - am planning to use the rest with manchego for crostini). I didn't think about the combination of red peppers and potatoes, but just realized I could have done the Yukon Gold + romesco combo from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques (I really love Goin's romesco but it takes more time and effort than my version.)

The celery is probably the biggest challenge at this point - it was an enormous head, and I usually only use celery in mirepoix. I'd love to know what other people decided to use with theirs.

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  1. I got the same box, except my cauliflower was purple. So far I've only done a few simple things:

    Roasted romenesco and cauliflower -- I used one head of the romenesco and a half a head of the cauliflower and roasted them together at high heat, with just some olive oil, salt and garlic added at the end. They were both so good they were "like candy" as my friend said, with the caramelized edges.

    Panzanella -- with the tomatoes, basil and peppers, and a little garlic and some pan roasted corn (and some Acme green onion slab). I'm going to be so sad when tomato season is over.

    Peperonata -- this was my dinner tonight: sauteed onions, peppers and tomato, all from the box, cooked with olive oil until they've broken down and basil on top at the end. This is one of my favorite things to do with peppers and tomatoes, and it's great turned into a pasta sauce, spread on top of a pizza, or stirred into a frittata or with a fried egg, but I just ate it as is on top of bread.

    I also want tips on what to do with the celery, I might have to try to pull together some sort of cilantro/garlic/onion dip and have it with a lot of celery sticks this week.