Posts Tagged ‘Peppers’

CSA2 Week #17

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 by virginia

Josh was away again this week so it was up to me to pick up the CSA share. It was another fairly light week though, so the pickup was quick and easy. Although I enjoy getting tons of veggies each week, we have been struggling to get through everything as of late, so another light week was very welcome. This weekend we really cleaned out our fridge and tried to organize our remaining vegetables as best as we could. Now the fridge looks somewhat neat and organized! This week our share contents included:

Celery – 1 each
Greens – 0.5 lbs
Bok Choy – 1 each
Carrots – 1 lb
Peppers – 2 each
Mini Bell Peppers – 4 each
Radishes – 6 each
Beans – 0.5 lbs

Celery, radishes, string beans, carrots, mini bell peppers, red peppers, bok choy, swiss chard

The celery we got today was huge, though to be honest, we still haven’t eaten the celery from last week. I think we’re going to try and make a savory version of a celery/goat cheese dessert that we had at Del Posto two years ago. It was a shockingly delicious dessert that Josh loved, and I found a recipe for it in an article.

We’re both happy to see radishes again this week, as we can’t stop eating radishes with fresh ricotta on baguette slices. It’s become our go-to meal this year, rather than our usual fresh mozzarella/tomato/prosciutto/basil combo.

As for the carrots, I’m stockpiling the ones we get each week and will make a carrot ginger soup when we have enough of them. We also have quite a collection of mini bell peppers, which are kind of hard to use because of their size. Now that we have so many, plus two regular peppers, maybe I’ll figure out a good use for them.

More roasted bok choy and pasta carbonara with chard are also in the works. Now I just need to figure out something creative to do with all the string beans we have, as I’m tired of sauteed string beans with garlic. Any suggestions?

CSA2 Week #14

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 by virginia

Josh was out of town for work this week so it was up to me to get our CSA share. It was a fairly light week so the pickup was pretty easy, and I was happy to see a few new items on the list. This week our share contents included:

Pole beans – 0.5 lbs
Squash – 1.4 lbs
Jerusalem Artichokes – 1 lb
Shishito Peppers – 0.2 lbs
Bok Choy – 1 each.
Spaghetti Squash – 1 each
Tomatoes – 1 lb
Radish – 5 each

Bok choy, Jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, pole beans, shishito peppers, radishes, squash

In the original email we got from the CSA with our contents for the week, the list merely said “artichokes.” Josh and I were excited, as we had never received artichokes before, and I was hoping to make stuffed artichokes. When I showed up at the pickup site, however, the board said Jerusalem artichokes. I was slightly disappointed but still excited, since we only got a few Jerusalem artichokes last year but they shriveled before I had a chance to cook them. They kind of look like pieces of ginger, all gnarly with a brown skin. I was wondering how to prepare them, and more importantly, how to peel them without losing all the flesh, but a woman who was picking up her vegetables at the same time told me that roasting them like potatoes was best. Plus she said they didn’t need to be peeled, which was a relief!

Another “new” item that we got last year was bok choy, which I was really happy about. Roasted bok choy is one of my favorite CSA recipes, and I’m looking forward to eating it again.

A completely new item for us is the spaghetti squash. I’ve never prepared spaghetti squash before so I’ll need to look up some recipes. I’ve always read that it’s actually really a great noodle substitute, but as a pasta fiend, I have my doubts. Still, I’m eager to try it out.

The shishito peppers we received a few weeks ago were green, but these are bright red. The green peppers didn’t seem too spicy, but I wonder if they get spicier when they turn red. The email said they would be mild to hot, so we’ll see.

We also got more tomatoes, squash, radishes, and pole beans. I’m hoping we’ll be moving more into winter squashes soon, since I’m still overwhelmed with summer squash right now. Now that the weather is cooling down, I’m more amenable to making squash soup. It’s really easy – just roast the squash with some olive oil until soft and slightly carmelized, boil with stock or water (enough to cover the squash), puree, season, and serve. It’s a thick creamy soup with no cream in it, so definitely one of the more healthful dishes that we make. Try it out!

CSA2 Week #12

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 by virginia

We feel pretty lucky this week because we found out that the farms that source our CSA share weren’t too affected by the hurricane, though many farms in the area were pretty devastated by the weather and flooding. Apparently a lot of CSAs around the city have been cancelled because of this, so we definitely count ourselves to be one of the fortunate groups. Hopefully all those farms will be able to recover, though their losses from this season are pretty heartbreaking.

This week our share contents included:

Greens – 0.75 lbs
Squash – 3 lbs
Cucumber –  1.8 lbs
Mini Bell Peppers – 0.25 lbs
Watermelon – 1 each
Tomatoes – 3 lbs
Husk Cherries – 0.2 lbs

Kale, squash, tomatoes, mini bell peppers, cucumbers, husk cherries, watermelon

We got a new item today – husk cherries. I’ve seen pictures of these but I’ve never tasted them before. I think they’re meant to be eaten raw and are supposed to be slightly sweet and exotic tasting. I guess you just peel off the papery husk and enjoy? I’m pretty excited to try them.

I was also excited to see kale as our option for greens. Hooray for kale chips!

The watermelon we got today is probably the largest that we’ve ever gotten from the CSA. The little ones have tons of seeds in them so I’m curious if these will be equally as inundated. Nevertheless, the melons we get are always super sweet and juicy.

We also got a handful of tiny bell peppers. These are about the an inch or two in diameter, so not a whole lot of flesh to use. I wonder if these are spicy or sweet, since the last time we got mini peppers they definitely had a kick to them.

And yes, we got tons more tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers again. I did pick out these weird nubbly, small yellow cucumbers instead of the regular green kind. Something different, I guess. I’ll need to look into whether these should be eaten like regular cucumbers, or if they should be peeled first. Anyone have any ideas?

CSA2 Week #10

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by virginia

We had another heavy week of produce, so I was glad that Josh was the one to pick up our CSA share this week. The tote bag we use to carry our stuff was packed to the brim. I was glad to see a lot of variety though, and not just multiple pounds of one item. This week our share contents included:

Cucumbers – 1.75 lbs
Squash – 1 each
Asian Melon – 1 each
Napa Cabbage –  1 each
Shisito Peppers – 0.6 lbs
Tomatoes – 2 lbs
Tomatillos – 0.35lbs
Greens – 1 lb
White onion – 1 ea.
Broccoli – 0.8 lbs

Chard, onion, cucumbers, tomatillos, broccoli, tomatoes, Asian melon, squash, shisito peppers, napa cabbage

I’m intrigued by the shisito peppers because when I was looking for padron peppers in NYC, I read that shisitos are a common substitution for padrons. Maybe we’ll pan fry these in olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt to make our version of pimientos de padron, on of our favorite tapas.

The napa cabbage we got this week is HUGE. I still hope to make (and post about) lions head meatball stew with it. It’s such a tasty meal served over white rice, and the leftovers usually last me a week.

I was kind of disappointed that we got chard again this week for our greens. I had commented early on in the season that we got a lot of kale last year and not so much chard, and this year we’re getting lots of chard but not a lot of kale. We made collard chips one week but I have still yet to make any kale chips!

I still haven’t used the tomatillos from a few weeks ago, and so I hope they’re still good. Combined with this week’s batch, hopefully I’ll have enough to make a decent amount of salsa verde. They’re really quite small. We also didn’t get a ton of broccoli this week, just two small heads. Maybe I’ll try stir frying them with some green beans.

I’m not sure what to do with all the cucumbers. We still have some from last week as well, and I’m a bit pickled out at this point. Any suggestions?

CSA2 Week #9

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 by virginia

We weren’t expecting to pick up our CSA share this week but due to unforeseen circumstances, our trip was unfortunately cancelled. Not a big deal, as we plan on redoing the same trip next year. And this means we have more time to eat our veggies, as I was starting to get worried about the state of our fridge again. Hey, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? Well in this case, we got a ton of tomatoes this week, so Josh is making gazpacho, one of my favorites. This week our share contents included:

Greens – 1 lb
Peppers – 3 each
Squash – 1.15 lbs
Cucumber – 1.5 lbs
Tomatoes – 4.5  lbs
Watermelon – 1 each
Mint – 0.12 lbs
Perslaine – 0.12 lbs

Chard, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, purslane, squash, mint, watermelon on top

Spaghetti carbonara with chard is one of our favorite dishes, and so easy to make. It’s always a quick standby dinner for us. Other simple suppers include pureed zucchini soup, or zucchini pancakes with smoked salmon and poached eggs.

I was surprised to see purple peppers, since we’ve been getting a lot of green peppers. I wonder if they taste the same, or if they’re any sweeter. I might just eat those fresh with a salad.

We also got more purslane, which I’ve been using as a garnish. It adds a citrusy, almost sweet bite to every dish. This batch will be the perfect topping for Josh’s garlicky gazpacho.

As for the mint and watermelon, maybe we can combine those for a refreshing salad or an interesting dessert? So many possibilities!

CSA2 Week #8

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 by virginia

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. We were in Hilton Head for a long weekend and ended up staying an extra half day when our flight was cancelled due to weather here in NY. At least we had great weather down there, lots of sun, though it was pretty hot and humid. I sat by the pool while Josh golfed in the morning. Not a bad way to spend a few days. Now we’re back and have lots of work to catch up on before we head off on our next trip, next week.

Josh picked up the share this week, which was another heavy load. This week our share contents included:

Cucumbers – 1.75 lbs
Tomatoes – 1.9 lbs
Squash – 1.5 lbs
Greens – 1 lb
Beets – 0.75 lbs
Purslane – 0.4 lbs
Eggplant – 1.75 lbs
Peppers – 1.25 lbs
Melon – 1 each
Basil – 0.2 lbs

Kale, purslane, eggplant, tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, squash, peppers, basil, melon on top

This was the first week that we got tomatoes, and they’re pretty ripe. I’m sure we’ll get more in the next few weeks, and while these are standard red tomatoes, I can’t wait for the heirlooms to come in. I’m not sure if we’ll make a gazpacho with these, or just pair them simply with the gorgeous basil leaves we got.

For the greens, only kale was available, which is always fine by me. We also got some more purslane, which I’m still not sure is the best way to prepare. There’s also a wonky looking yellow melon, which I don’t know if it’s sweet or savory. I guess we’ll just have to cut into it to find out!

As usual, we got more squash and cucumbers, as well as a bunch more peppers. I’ve also got a big supply of eggplant now, though Claire’s idea of baba ganoush is definitely up my alley. I love smokey eggplant dip, and the few recipes I’ve looked up look pretty simple to make. We just don’t have much time to use up all our veggies, since we’ll be away for a week and a half starting next Wednesday. I’m pickling cucumbers as I write!

CSA2 Week #7

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 by virginia

It was a pretty hectic CSA Wednesday for me, as Josh was out of town and I had a work function to attend at 5:30. I ended up running out of my office at 3 to pick up the share, then running back to work right afterward. It was also tough because our share was so HEAVY this week, though the farm reports warn us that shares later on in the season will be smaller because things are ripening so fast right now due to the warm weather. This week our share contents included:

Cucumbers  – 2.5 lbs
Squash – 2 lbs
Greens – 1 lb
Eggplant – 1 lb
Peppers – 3 each
Purslane – 1/2 lb
Basil – 1/3 lb
Watermelon – 1 each
Dandelion – 1/3 lb
Tomatillos – 0.4 lbs
Beans – 2/3 lb
Corn – 2 each

Ruby chard, dandelion, squash, beans, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, watermelon, cucumbers, basil, corn, purslane

There were two new items for the season this week – corn and tomatillos. We got corn last year, but the tomatillos are brand new to us. I’d love to make a salsa verde with them, but we really don’t have a whole lot to work with. I can’t wait to try them out though, and experience their tanginess.

For the greens, we got ruby chard again. Beautiful stems though, so I’m excited. The leafy portion we’ll probably mix with dandelion and either eat them sauteed with garlic, or mixed into a spaghetti carbonara.

For the beans, I picked ordinary string  beans rather than yellow or green pole beans. I prefer the tender crispiness of string beans. I’m not sure what to do with the squash and eggplant, since we get those fairly often. Maybe mix them with the peppers for a nice ratatouille? I might also try to stuff the peppers, since we still have a few from last week to use up.

As for the basil, I have a batch of pesto already in the freezer, since we’ll be away this weekend and then for the next two weekends after. Hopefully another batch will keep just as well. With regard to the purslane, we ate a simple salad of purslane and parsley greens mixed with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil. Refreshing and delicious. It’s a bit intense, so a little goes a long way. The purslane has a nice lemony flavor to it. It’s a great accompaniment to something rich – try it out! Lots of omega-3s are just a bonus.

CSA2 Week #6

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 by virginia

Josh was in charge of picking up our CSA share this week, which was good because there was A LOT of stuff. I guess the warm weather has really rushed the ripening of a lot of the vegetables. Even so, I was pretty happy to see so much variety in addition to the quantity. This week our share included:

Squash – 2.75 lbs
Cucumbers – 2 lbs
Peppers – 0.8 lbs
Eggplant – 0.8 lbs
Basil – 0.5 lbs
Lettuce – 1 each
Greens – 1 lb
Purslane – 0.33 lbs
Beans – 0.6 lbs
Pole Beans – 0.75 lbs
Parsley – 0.15 lbs

Cucumbers, basil, string beans, collards, pole beans, peppers, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, purslane, squash

It’s the first time that we’ve received purslane, and I’m curious about it. I’ll have to do some research on how it should be prepared – anyone have any ideas? I’m also intrigued by the purple string beans, though I suspect they probably taste like regular string beans.  Supposedly they turn green when cooked; that seems pretty cool.

I plan on turning the cucumbers into Chinese style garlic pickles, which are delicious and super quick to make. As for the squash, I foresee some zucchini pancakes with smoked salmon and sous vide eggs – one of my favorite brunch dishes.

I was disappointed again that we didn’t get kale for greens, but collards make good chips as well. I’m not sure how to prepare the eggplants though, which are the thin Japanese style. Maybe in some sort of garlic sauce? So many possibilities, too little time. We’ll have to make a good dent in the veggies this week though, as Josh will be on a business trip next week and then we’re off to Hilton Head for a long weekend. We did a decent job cleaning out the fridge last week so we’re almost all caught up on our veggie shares, finally!

CSA2 Week #5

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 by virginia

Wednesday is upon us once again, which means it’s CSA time! This week, Josh and I picked up our share together, which made things go a bit more quickly. We were pretty excited that we got a few new items this time. Our share contents included:

Beets – 1 lb
Napa Cabbage – 1 each
Fennel – 1 each
Greens – 1 lb
Peppers – 3 each
Squash – 3 lbs
Cucumber – 1 lb
Broccoli – 3/4 lbs

Chard, peppers, cucumbers, fennel, napa, broccoli, squash, beets

I was a bit disappointed that we only had chard for our greens, as I was looking forward to getting some more kale. Nevertheless, the chard is gorgeous as usual, and I made a gratin last week using the chard stems. It was a big hit with Josh and a great way to use up the stems we would otherwise throw away.

For the squash, we picked out a big, round green squash and a flat UFO squash. I’ll probably end up roasting those and making a soup out of them. The beets will also be roasted, and perhaps the fennel.

I’m hoping to make a lion’s head meatball stew with the napa cabbage. I made some last year but never posted about it, and I think it’s a delicious recipe worth sharing. I know I keep saying that I want to post recipes, and I promise I’ll get around to it eventually!

Inka Grill (Cusco, Peru)

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 by virginia

We arrived in Cusco relatively late in the evening, and although they gave us a snack on the train, we found most of it to be pretty bad so we decided to go out for a late dinner when we got into the city. We asked the front desk at our hotel for some restaurant recommendations, specifically saying that we were in the mood for some Peruvian style chicken. One of the restaurants they sent us to was the Inka Grill, which was right on the main square. As soon as we saw it, we knew they didn’t serve the Peruvian chicken we were looking for, but it was late and the menu looked ok so we decided to go in anyway.

The restaurant was definitely more upscale than what we were looking for, though the decor was pretty nice. It wasn’t crowded because of the late dinner hour so it was pretty quiet, giving us the opportunity relax and chat. We started with a nice bottle of red wine and they brought us some homemade potato chips to start. The chips were made from yellow starchy potatoes, and even though they were fresh, they weren’t nearly as tasty as the chips we had at the Lobby Bar at Tambo del Inka. The chips came with a green sauce on the side for dipping, which I thought would be a garlicky ajo sauce, but turned out to a mint sauce made from my dreaded Andean mint. Yikes! I still don’t know what it is about Andean mint, but I had to force myself to swallow that bite rather than spit it out. Josh liked it though.

Yellow potato chips

We weren’t starving at this point so we couldn’t stomach the idea of an elaborate dinner. There was a small section of the menu that featured sampler platters, which we thought would be the perfect way to try different things without having to order tons of food. The samplers were portioned for two people so we picked out the one that seemed to be the most Peruvian, the Novo Andean Sampler, figuring that would be enough food to make up a light meal. We turned out to be right, as the platter was pretty huge.

Novo Andean sampler platter

The platter came with stuffed chili peppers, kiwicha chicken fingers, alpaca brochettes, and quinoa croquettes. The chili peppers were stuffed with meat and weren’t spicy. They were smothered in a gooey, stringy cheese that was similar to mozzarella. I was a bit nervous when I saw all the cheese, since I’m usually not a fan, but when it was melted over the chili pepper it worked well and added a nice richness and saltiness.

Stuffed chili peppers smothered in cheese

The kiwicha chicken fingers were strips of chicken coated in kiwicha, or amaranth seeds. The seeds have a similar flavor and texture to sesame seeds and provided a good crunch. The chicken strips were kind of thin so they were a little dry but we remedied that by dipping them into the accompanying sauces.

Kiwicha chicken fingers

This wasn’t the first time that we had eaten alpaca on our trip, and this version was pretty good. We knew from experience that alpaca can get dry very easily, but these brochettes were well seasoned and perfectly cooked so that they were still tender and juicy. The meat also tasted a bit beefier than usual, which was a pleasant surprise, as we had previously found alpaca to be more similar to veal or pork. This was one of our favorite components of the platter.

Alpaca brochettes

The quinoa croquettes were another of our favorites. They were nicely fried to a golden brown crisp on the outside and warm and creamy on the inside. It tasted like the quinoa had been mixed with cheese, which made it extremely rich and decadent. Quinoa normally has a lovely texture that rolls along on your tongue, and in this creamy format it was similar to cheese grits – we enjoyed it immensely.

Quinoa croquettes

Overall we liked the atmosphere of the Inka Grill, but we probably didn’t taste enough of their food to know whether or not it’s a good place to have dinner. The sampler platter was generously portioned but the chicken fingers were just ok, and the croquettes were good because they were fried well. The brochettes were pretty impressive though, so I guess my recommendation would be to stick with the “grill” part of the Inka Grill. The menu was pretty eclectic, with items like pizza and pasta, french onion soup, and oriental chicken salad. I guess it caters to every taste, but we tried to stick with choosing a platter that seemed the most Peruvian to us, or at least used Peruvian ingredients. I remember thinking that the restaurant was pretty pricey though, we didn’t look too in depth at the menu since we weren’t so hungry at the time.  Location might have been a factor, as it’s right on the Plaza de Armas, but we kind of got the feeling that this place caters mostly to tourists. It had an upscale vibe to it and was a nice place for a drink and a snack, but I think we had better and cheaper meals elsewhere.

Inka Grill
Portal de Panes 115 Plaza de Armas
Cusco, Peru