Sunday, July 25, 2010

Notes from Nikki--more squash and greens recipes

Whew!!! What a hot and humid weekend. I am looking forward to a break in the heat more than you can imagine. Lucky for all of us Nikki is still cooking away in her kitchen. See her great recipes below:

Chard, Golden Raisin, and Toasted Pine Nut Rotelle

I am amazed at how long chard will keep in the fridge. Admittedly, the bunch of chard that I used in this recipe had been forgotten in the back of our fridge for almost two weeks. Whoops! Surprisingly, when I pulled it out of the plastic bag I had stored it in, it was marvelously fresh. Another reason I love belonging to a CSA! You can't beat freshly harvested food! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe for chard (perpetual spinach would work just fine too).

1 lb whole wheat Rotelle, or other pasta of your choosing
1 bunch rainbow chard, tough stems removed, chopped
1 small-medium red onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Glug of olive oil
1-1 1/2 lbs spicy, Italian chicken sausage, pre-cooked and sliced (Optional-- other sausages would also work here, or, for a vegetarian version of this dish, just leave it out. If you decide not to use spicy sausage, add in red pepper flakes for heat if you'd like.)
2 handfuls toasted pine nuts
2 handfuls golden raisins
3/4 C shredded parmesan plus more for passing at the table
Sea Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent.
Throw in the chard and saute until wilted and bright green.
Add in the sausage, sauteing until heated through.
Toss in the raisins and pine nuts.
Combine this mixture with the pasta, tossing gently until well combined.
Add in the parmesan and another glug of olive oil if the mixture is too dry.
Season with sea salt and pepper to your liking.
Serve topped with a sprinkling of parmesan plus more for passing at the table.


Summer Squash and Perpetual Spinach Soup
Seems like an odd time of year for soup, I know, but somehow the produce from this week's share just seemed to want to come together that way. You don't have to serve this piping hot, just warm enough. The soup is bright and lively like a summer soup should be, while still satisfying enough to be served as a semi-hearty dinner with the addition of potatoes and sour cream, and bread for dipping, of course. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

1 medium-large sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Glug of olive oil
1 very large or two medium-large summer squash (about 1.5-2 lbs), sliced
About 3/4-1 lb new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/4-1/2 inch, or quartered if small
3-4 C chicken or vegetable stock (Incidentally, I always use the scraps from the Inverbrook chickens we roast to make stock. I simply simmer the scraps in water to cover for a good 1/2 hour, turn off the heat, let cool, and then strain. I freeze the stock in 4 C size portions for use in recipes like this.)
I bunch perpetual spinach, stems removed, chopped (chard would work too)
1/2-3/4 C sour cream (half and half, cream, milk, plain whole milk yogurt, or buttermilk would also work)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Handful of finely chopped lemon basil (other types of basil would also be fine, throw in a bit of lemon zest to brighten things up)
Shredded parmesan cheese for topping

Using a large pot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until fragrant and softened a bit.
Throw in the squash and potatoes and saute briefly.
Cover the mixture with the stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender (10-15 minutes).
Add in the perpetual spinach, simmering briefly, and then turn off the heat.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency.
Stir in the sour cream and season generously with sea salt and pepper.
Add in the lemon basil.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve topped with a bit of shredded parmesan.


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